10 biggest gainers and losers in the Sprint Cup points standings
With a weekend off for the stars of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, it's a good time to take a look at just who's gained the most ground and who's lost the most in the last year.
Here are 10 drivers who made major moves in the Sprint Cup points standings from the same time a year ago, when we were preparing to head to Sonoma Raceway, to right now.
UP: TREVOR BAYNE, +9 -- Although Roush Fenway Racing as a team still has work to do, Bayne has made solid procgress, rising from 27th in points a year ago to 18th now.
DOWN: DALE EARNHARDT JR., -7 -- To be fair to Earnhardt, he hasn't had a bad season so far, finishing second in four different races. But he has slid from 4th to 11th in points.
UP: KURT BUSCH, + 9 -- Second in points to his Stewart-Haas Racing teammate Kevin Harvick, Busch is a legitimate championship threat and has improved his points position form 11th at the time last year.
DOWN: JAMIE MCMURRAY, -7 -- Last year, McMurray made the Chase for the Sprint Cup for the first time and he could do it again. But he's 14th in points now, vs. 7th last year.
UP: CARL EDWARDS, +10 -- A year ago at this time, Edwards was 14th in points and getting used to things in his first year with Joe Gibbs Racing. Now, he's won twice and is all the way up to 4th in points.
DOWN: CASEY MEARS, -7 -- The 2016 season hasn't gone especially well for Mears and the Germain Racing squad, as he's mired back in 28th place in the standings vs. 21st at this point in 2015.
UP: AUSTIN DILLON, +11 -- Now in his third full season of Sprint Cup racing, Dillon show tremendous progress to get to 12th in points. He could well make the Chase this year.
DOWN: PAUL MENARD, - 10 -- This definitely hasn't been the season Menard has been hoping for so far, as he heads to the Sonoma race mired way back in 22nd position. A year ago he was 12th at this time.
DOWN: ARIC ALMIROLA, -10 -- Another driver struggling to meet last year's performance level is Richard Petty Motorsports driver Almirola, who is 26th in the driver standings right now.
UP: KYLE BUSCH, + 30 -- No surprise here, really. Busch missed the first 11 races of the 2015 season with leg and foot injuries and was 39th in the standings heading to Sonoma. This year, he already has three victories and is ninth in points.