It was a race to remember, as a trio of former championship-winning drivers took the top spot in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series standings at Mid-Ohio on Saturday.
It was an impressive victory for the No. 8 seed Hendrick Motorsports.
In fact, it was one of the fastest finishes in the series, with the No, 7-seed JGR Motorsports getting its first victory since January.
That win came on the final lap of qualifying for the season-opening Daytona 500.
The No. 7- seed Team Penske, meanwhile, has now won all three of its Sprint Cup starts this season.
For the record, that’s one of only two times in NASCAR history that the No., 1 seed has won a race and then followed that up with a second-place finish.
It happened to Jeff Gordon at the 2005 Daytona 500 and to Jimmie Johnson at Watkins Glen in 2014.
Both times, they were among the top 10 drivers in the field.
The second-seeded No. 9 seed is a good sign for the rest of the field, as well.
They were also among the 10 best drivers in qualifying, including the No 6-seed Jimmie Alexander.
This is a solid start for the next generation of drivers, especially with Ryan Blaney, who finished in the top four at Sonoma in 2014, on the cusp of making his debut in the Cup.
There’s also good news for the #7- and #8-seeds, with Alex Bowman, who made the Chase for the Sprint Cup last season, returning for his second year.
He also has the backing of his teammates.
For the second straight year, this team has been running the same four-car package, with three cars running in the No 2 and No 4 spots.
That means Kyle Busch is one of three drivers to race in the Chase, and it means Kyle Larson will also be making his Chase debut.
The rest of Larson’s team, including No. 1 seed Brad Keselowski and No. 2 seed Scott Dixon, are also returning.
That leaves only the top six spots in the standings.
This race could decide which team is the last in the final standings, as it will decide whether or not Hendrick gets the No 1 seed or not.
The two-car, two-turn, four-lap Chase format was a big reason Hendrick won the championship last year, and the top two drivers in each qualifying session were guaranteed a Chase spot.
In the Chase format, the winner of a race gets to race the race for the championship.
But there are rules about what is and is not allowed in a race.
For instance, the No.-1 and No.-2 drivers will be able to race each other, but the driver that finishes third and fourth in qualifying will not.
In addition to that, the top five drivers in a qualifying session will get to race one another for the Chase.
For that reason, it’s important to be prepared for a tough race Saturday.NASCAR’s Chase format is designed to reward the drivers who have won the last two races in a series.
In this case, Hendrick has been very consistent over the last four years, and his success has helped Hendrick earn the No 4 seed and earn the first three wins of his career.
That has helped him win the race, and in fact, Hendrik has won the race twice this season: this year at Sonomascan, and again last month at Richmond.
For more on NASCAR’s Chase Series, check out the NASCAR Playoffs site.