by Matt Taliaferro
1. Carl Edwards Edwards has been first or second in the point standings after 17 of the 19 races this year. It may be tight at the top, but as others come and go, Carl remains.
2. Kyle Busch Kyle claims the flat tire that ended his day in Loudon was due to excessive brake heat, but it looked more like it was due to excessive contact with Hendrick Motorsports cars.
10. Tony Stewart On the topic of wins, Stewart (also on the Chase bubble) needs one in the worst way. The good news is that the Brickyard is up next and a runner-up showing in Loudon is fresh on his mind.
11. Joey Logano A string of top-15 runs may be too little too late if Logano can’t pick up a victory.
12. Dale Earnhardt Jr. Junior is going the wrong way fast. Never has there been a better time for an off weekend.
13. Kasey Kahne From 19th to 15th in the standings in the last three weeks. Is there a spoiler in our midst?
14. David Ragan Ragan joins Stewart as the wild card qualifier for the Chase as they run now. Needs to change his lack-luster Indy ways, though.
15. Brad Keselowski Is 25 points out of 20th in the standings and, with his Kansas win, a Chase spot. My thinking is he gets there.
Just off the lead pack: AJ Allmendinger, Greg Biffle, Clint Bowyer, Paul Menard, David Reutimann
You can follow Matt on Twitter @MattTaliaferro