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2012 NASCAR Standings: Dale Earnhardt Jr. Takes Points Lead

A top-five finish for Dale Earnhardt Jr. at the Brickyard 400 lifted the driver into first place in the Sprint Cup Series standings. For Earnhardt Jr., it's the first time he's been in first since Sept. 19, 2004.

With his win on Sunday, Jimmie Johnson is in fourth place and trails Earnhardt Jr. by 27 points.

Here is a look at the top-20 drivers in the standings:

  1. Dale Earnhardt Jr. +143 inside Chase
  2. Matt Kenseth +129
  3. Greg Biffle +121
  4. Jimmie Johnson +116
  5. Denny Hamlin +79
  6. Kevin Harvick +65
  7. Martin Truex Jr. +65
  8. Tony Stewart +64
  9. Brad Keselowski +61
  10. Clint Bowyer +55
  11. Kyle Busch -55 from Chase (Holds No. 2 Wild Card with one win)
  12. Carl Edwards -61 from Chase (no wins)
  13. Kasey Kahne -64 from Chase (Holds No. 1 Wild Card with two wins)
  14. Ryan Newman -70 from Chase, -15 from No. 2 Wild Card (one win)
  15. Jeff Gordon -79 from Chase (no wins)
  16. Paul Menard -79 from Chase (no wins)
  17. Joey Logano -99 from Chase, -44 from No. 2 Wild Card (one win)
  18. Marcos Ambrose -124 from Chase (no wins)
  19. Jamie McMurray -135 from Chase (no wins)
  20. Jeff Burton -138 from Chase (no wins)

For more on this race head over to NASCAR Ranting and Raving and also check out SB Nation's dedicated NASCAR page.

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