With his win Saturday at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill., JR Motorsports driver and rookie Chase Elliott not only visited victory lane for the third time this year, he also made a return to the top of the NASCAR Nationwide Series championship points standings. In doing so, he replaced teammate Regan Smith atop the standings after Smith finished outside the top-10 in the 15th spot. Smith is now in second, seven points behind Elliott.
Four full-time and championship-eligible Nationwide drivers have posted wins this season -- Elliott, Smith, Elliott Sadler and Brendan Gaughan. Of the four, Elliott is the only one with multiple wins. Three of those four race-winning drivers occupy the top-three spots in the standings, with Sadler in third, eight points behind leader Elliott, but only a single point behind Smith. Meanwhile, Gaughan is seventh in points, 120 points out of first.
The top-three -- Elliott, Smith and Sadler -- have separated themselves, somewhat, from the rest of the pack. While they're within 10 points of each others, the next driver on the list, Ty Dillon, is 30 points out of first, 22 points behind third-place Sadler.
1. Chase Elliott, leader
2. Regan Smith, -7
3. Elliott Sadler, -8
4. Ty Dillon, -30
5. Brian Scott, -47
6. Trevor Bayne, -50
7. Brendan Gaughan, -120
8. Chris Buescher, -123
9. James Buescher, -154
10. Ryan Reed, -161
The No. 54 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota team was still in the owner points lead after Chicagoland, but not by much. Ryan Blaney drove the No. 22 Team Penske Ford to a ninth-place finish to pull the team to within five points of the No. 54 team. Sam Hornish Jr., who was driving the No. 54 at Chicagoland retired from the race early with an engine issue.
The top-three teams in the owner standings continue to be occupied by teams that primarily utilize the services of Sprint Cup drivers, with the No. 54 in the lead, the No. 22 in second, and the No. 41 Turner Scott Motorsports Chevrolet in third.
The No. 9 JR Motorsports Chevrolet team, for which driver points leader Elliott drivers, is fourth in the owner standings, 74 points out of first. As far as the owner standings go, the No. 54 and No. 22 teams look to have left everyone else in the dust. The No. 42 is 45 points behind the leading No. 54 and, therefore, 40 points behind the No. 22. And those three primarily-Sprint-Cup-driven cars are way ahead of the pack. Elliott's No. 9 is a distant 74 points out of the lead and 29 points behind the No. 42 team that sits third.
Here's a look at the owner standings:
1. No. 54 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, leader
2. No. 22 Team Penske Ford, -5
3. No. 42 Turner Scott Motorsports Chevrolet, -45
4. No. 9 JR Motorsports Chevrolet, -74
5. No. 7 JR Motorsports chevrolet, -81
6. No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, -82
7. No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, -102
8. No. 3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet, -104
9. No. 2 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet, -121
10. No. 6 Roush Fenway Racing Ford, -124