Sprint Cup Chase 2014: NASCAR Standings and Schedule After Duck Commander 500

Patrick Clarke@@_Pat_ClarkeCorrespondent IApril 7, 2014

FORT WORTH, TX - APRIL 04:Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell-Pennzoil/Hertz Ford, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 4, 2014 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images for Texas Motor Speedway)
Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

Joey Logano's triumph in the Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on Monday marks the seventh different winner in seven races to open the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup campaign.

NASCAR's official Twitter account confirmed the thrilling finish:

The result has also created a wide-open competition atop the Chase standings heading into Saturday night's action under the lights at Darlington Raceway. Carl Edwards is 12 points back of points leader Jeff Gordon, but he currently sits atop the Chase race thanks to his victory at Bristol last month. (Keep in mind that the new Chase format puts a premium on winning races.) But Logano, Kurt Busch and Dale Earnhardt Jr. aren't far behind. 

Below we'll take a closer look at the latest Sprint Cup standings and look ahead to the remaining race schedule. 

2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Standings
1Carl Edwards247-121
2Joey Logano235-241
3Kyle Busch231-281
4Dale Earnhardt Jr.228-311
5Brad Keselowski218-411
6Kurt Busch151-1081
7Kevin Harvick138-1211
8Jeff Gordon259---0
9Matt Kenseth255-40
10Jimmie Johnson228-310
11Brian Vickers205-540
12Paul Menard203-560
T13Ryan Newman202-570
T13Austin Dillon202-570
15Denny Hamlin197-620
16Tony Stewart189-700
Top 16 drivers qualify for the Chase
2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Schedule (Races 8-26)
DateRaceTrackTime (ET)TV
Sat, April 12Bojangles Southern 500Darlington Raceway6:30 p.m.Fox
Sat, April 26Toyota Owners 400Richmond International Raceway7 p.m.Fox
Sun, May 4Aaron's 499Talladega Superspeedway1 p.m.Fox
Sat, May 10Kansas 400Kansas Speedway7:30 p.m.Fox
Fri, May 16Sprint ShowdownCharlotte Motor Speedway7 p.m.Fox Sports 1
Sat, May 17NASCAR Sprint All-Star RaceCharlotte Motor Speedway9 p.m.Fox Sports 1
Sun, May 25Coca-Cola 600Charlotte Motor Speedway6 p.m.Fox
Sun, June 1FedEx 400Dover International Speedway1 p.m.Fox
Sun, June 8Pocono 400Pocono Raceway1 p.m.TNT
Sun, June 15Quicken Loans 400Michigan International Speedway1 p.m.TNT
Sun, June 22Toyota-Save Mart 350Sonoma3 p.m.TNT
Sat, June 28Quaker State 400Kentucky Speedway7:30 p.m.TNT
Sat, July 5Coke Zero 400Daytona International Speedway7:30 p.m.TNT
Sun, July 13Camping World RV Sales 301New Hampshire Motor Speedway1 p.m.TNT
Sun, July 27Crown Royal 400Indianapolis Motor Speedway1 p.m.ESPN
Sun, Aug. 3GoBowling.com 400Pocono Raceway1 p.m.ESPN
Sun, Aug. 10Cheez-It 355 at The GlenWatkins Glen International1 p.m.ESPN
Sun, Aug. 17Pure Michigan 400Michigan International Speedway1 p.m.ESPN
Sat, Aug. 23Irwin Tools Night RaceBristol Motor Speedway7:30 p.m.ABC
Sun, Aug. 31AdvoCare 500Atlanta Motor Speedway7:30 p.m.ESPN
Sat, Sept. 6Federated Auto Parts 400Richmond International Raceway7:30 p.m.ABC


Up Next: Bojangles Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway

DARLINGTON, SC - MAY 11:  Kurt Busch, driver of the #78 Furniture Row Racing / Serta Chevrolet, and Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe's Emerald Green Chevrolet, lead the field before the start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Bojangles' Southern 500 a
John Harrelson/Getty Images

Following a short week off as a result of weekend rain in Texas, the sport's top drivers will head to Darlington, S.C. this weekend for the eighth race of the season.

Typically run on Mother's Day weekend, the track "too tough to tame" has been moved up the schedule in 2014 to improve the fan experience, according to track president Chip Wile per the Associated Press:

We all believe in Darlington's future...I think this is our new date, moving forward. We want to have a consistent date that people can get their minds wrapped around. Mother's Day did work for us. But I think this will be better.

The lower temperatures experienced in mid-April as opposed to mid-May are expected to make for a better overall fan experience. Plus, Wile and NASCAR hope to attract local college race fans, who are usually busy with exams and graduation in May.

DARLINGTON, SC - MAY 11:  A general view of the race track during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Bojangles' Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway on May 11, 2013 in Darlington, South Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

But regardless of whether you're watching trackside or at home in your living room, Saturday night's race promises to feature plenty of surprises. 

With no dominant driver emerging through the first seven races of 2014, it's anyone's guess as to who will head to victory lane this weekend. Matt Kenseth won this race a year ago but is still searching for his first victory of the new season, settling for three consecutive top-10 finishes.

DARLINGTON, SC - MAY 11:  Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 The Home Depot / Husky Toyota, celebrates with the trophy in victory lane after winning  the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Bojangles' Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway on May 11, 2013 in Darlington, So
Geoff Burke/Getty Images

Kyle Busch is another driver to watch for this coming weekend. Busch picked up a win at California last month and is coming off an impressive third place finish at Texas on Monday. 

Not to mention he's run well at Darlington in each of the past two years, finishing fourth in 2012 and sixth last year. 

With only 19 points races remaining on the schedule until the Chase begins in mid-September, things are beginning to heat up in the Sprint Cup series and Saturday night's race under the lights in Darlington could go a long way in determining which driver hoists the series title at season's end. 


Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter. 

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