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NASCAR Point Standings After New Hampshire: Carl Edwards Back On Top

Carl Edwards had a less-than-desired finish of 13th at Sunday's Lenox Industrial Tools 301 at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway, but the result was enough to put him back atop the Sprint Cup Standings. He now stands seven markers over five-time defending series champion Jimmie Johnson, who finished fifth Sunday after hitting nearly everything but the lottery.

The big loser was Kyle Busch, who entered the race atop the standings. He dropped to fifth (rather than retaining the lead as we erronously reported after the race. Moral of the story: don't try to do point calculations from NASCAR.com's leaderboard), now 20 points off the lead.

Things aren't all bad for Busch, though. As things stand now, he will be tied for the NASCAR Sprint Cup lead with his best buddy - Kevin Harvick - when the points are reset after Richmond on September 10 for the Chase for the Sprint Cup. Both have three victories, good for 30 bonus points when the playoff begins.

Dale Earnhardt Jr's backslide through the standings continued with his 15th-place finish Sunday. He dropped to ninth in the standings, just seven points ahead of 11th-placed Tony Stewart.  He was third in the standings after the June race at Pocono - where he finished sixth, his third-straight top-10 finish. He has finished 15th or worse in the five races since, losing six spots in the process. 

In the race for the two wild card spots, Georgia's David Ragan is the lone driver between positions 11-20 with a victory this season. He currently holds the first wild card spot. Two-time champion Stewitart - runner-up to teammate/employee Ryan Newman Sunday - has the other spot on merit of points.

To see where all drivers are in the current Sprint Cup standings, visit Jayski.com.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.