Glance at the 12 drivers in the Chase Print
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Wednesday, 20 October 2010 05:35
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 A glance at the 12 drivers competing in NASCAR's Chase for the Sprint Cup championship heading into this weekend's race at Martinsville Speedway (in order of points):
DRIVER: Jimmie Johnson
CHASE POINTS: first, 5,843 points
CAR: No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet
TEAM: Hendrick Motorsports
POSITION CHANGE: None.
CAREER MARTINSVILLE STARTS: 17
BEST MARTINSVILLE FINISH: 1st (six times)
LAST WEEK: Let's see, spun out early in the race at Charlotte, then wheeled his way all the way up to third and extended his lead over Denny Hamlin. So much for a chink in the armor.
CHASE CHATTER: ``It's amazing what goes through your mind when you're sliding sideways on the back straightaway,'' Johnson said. ``I saw my hard work for the year and dreams of being a five-time champion go away.''

DRIVER: Denny Hamlin
CHASE POINTS: second, 5,802 points (-41)
CAR: No. 11 FedEx Toyota
TEAM: Joe Gibbs Racing
POSITION CHANGE: None.
CAREER MARTINSVILLE STARTS: 10
BEST MARTINSVILLE FINISH: 1st (three times)
LAST WEEK: Posted a career-best fourth at Charlotte to keep Johnson well within sight heading to a track that's been a second home to him.
CHASE CHATTER: ``We have three race tracks that we've won at in these last six races or so,'' Hamlin said. ``I'm pretty confident that we should be looking good here soon.''

DRIVER: Kevin Harvick
CHASE POINTS: third, 5,766 points (-77)
CAR: No. 29 Shell-Pennzoil Chevrolet
TEAM: Richard Childress Racing
POSITION CHANGE: None.
CAREER MARTINSVILLE STARTS: 18
BEST MARTINSVILLE FINISH: 7th (three times)
LAST WEEK: Lost a little bit of ground to Johnson and Hamlin in Charlotte, finishing eighth. Still, as the most consistent driver all season, isn't quite out of it yet.
CHASE CHATTER: ``For me, this place is just a struggle,'' Harvick said. ``I struggle getting the feel that I want. To come out of here with an eighth-place finish feels like a victory.''

DRIVER: Jeff Gordon
CHASE POINTS: fourth, 5,687 points (-156)
CAR: No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet
TEAM: Hendrick Motorsports
POSITION CHANGE: None.
CAREER MARTINSVILLE STARTS: 35
BEST MARTINSVILLE FINISH: 1st (seven times)
LAST WEEK: Started from the pole at Charlotte but an ignition problem had him fighting his car all night. He came in 23rd and will likely need a miracle to seriously threaten his teammate down the stretch.
CHASE CHATTER: ``It was not a lot of fun,'' he said. ``We had about everything go wrong that could go wrong.''

DRIVER: Kyle Busch
CHASE POINTS: fifth, 5,666 points (-177)
CAR: No. 18 M&Ms Toyota
TEAM: Joe Gibbs Racing
POSITION CHANGE: Plus 4.
CAREER MARTINSVILLE STARTS: 11
BEST MARTINSVILLE FINISH: 4th (three times)
LAST WEEK: Bounced back from a debacle in California to end up second in Charlotte and vault three spots in the standings. Of course, that wasn't good enough to satisfy him after he led 217 laps before being passed by Jamie McMurray late.
CHASE CHATTER: ``It's real, real frustrating to not come out of here with a win at a track that I have yet to win at and have been so fast at,'' Busch said.

DRIVER: Tony Stewart
CHASE POINTS: sixth, 5,666 points (-177)
CAR: No. 14 Old Spice/Office Depot Chevrolet
TEAM: Stewart/Haas Racing
POSITION CHANGE: Minus 1.
CAREER MARTINSVILLE STARTS: 23
BEST MARTINSVILLE FINISH: 1st (twice)
LAST WEEK: Couldn't capitalize on his win in California the week before, limping to a 21st-place in Charlotte.
CHASE CHATTER: ``It was just a comedy of errors,'' said crew chief Darian Grubb. ``We evidently just missed it on the setup. Not really sure what happened.''

DRIVER: Carl Edwards
CHASE POINTS: seventh, 5,643 points (-200)
CAR: No. 99 Aflac Ford
TEAM: Roush Fenway Racing
POSITION CHANGE: None.
CAREER MARTINSVILLE STARTS: 12
BEST MARTINSVILLE FINISH: 3rd (Fall, 2008)
LAST WEEK: Started up front but quickly slipped toward the middle of the pack in Charlotte, eventually finishing 12th.
CHASE CHATTER: ``Fundamentally there's something wrong with the way we set our Fusion up for (Charlotte),'' Edwards said. ``It's frustrating because I know we can run better than that.''

DRIVER: Greg Biffle
CHASE POINTS: eighth, 5,618 points (-225)
CAR: No. 16 3M Ford
TEAM: Roush Fenway Racing
POSITION CHANGE: Plus 2.
CAREER MARTINSVILLE STARTS: 15
BEST MARTINSVILLE FINISH: 7th (Fall, 2007)
LAST WEEK: Grinded out a fifth-place finish in Charlotte, using a midrace adjustment to climb his way from the back of the field.
CHASE CHATTER: ``It was a really good night,'' Biffle said. ``The Scotch Blue 3M Ford Fusion ran really good. We didn't qualify very well, so we had to work our way to the front.''

DRIVER: Kurt Busch
CHASE POINTS: ninth, 5,606 points (-237)
CAR: No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge
TEAM: Penske Racing
POSITION CHANGE: Minus 3.
CAREER MARTINSVILLE STARTS: 20
BEST MARTINSVILLE FINISH: 1st (Fall, 2002)
LAST WEEK: Here's the difference between being Johnson and everybody else. While Johnson avoided disaster while spinning out, Busch didn't. Struggled all night before brushing the wall and finished 30th.
CHASE CHATTER: ``It's really tough to explain,'' Busch said. ``We started with decent track position (15th), we ran third fastest in final practice in nearly the same conditions and yet our car just reacted completely opposite.''

DRIVER: Jeff Burton
CHASE POINTS: 10th, 5,604 points (-239)
CAR: No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet
TEAM: Richard Childress Racing
POSITION CHANGE: Minus 2.
CAREER MARTINSVILLE STARTS: 32
BEST MARTINSVILLE FINISH: 1st (Fall, 1997)
LAST WEEK: Ended up 20th at Charlotte thanks to a car that had problems when the temperature dropped and an unfortunate spin going into Turn 1 while trying to pass teammate Clint Bowyer.
CHASE CHATTER: ``I tried to make something happen when I spun and it, obviously, didn't work out well for us,'' Burton said.

DRIVER: Matt Kenseth
CHASE POINTS: 11th, 5,587 points (-256)
CAR: No. 17 Crown Royal Ford
TEAM: Roush Fenway Racing
POSITION CHANGE: None.
CAREER MARTINSVILLE STARTS: 21
BEST MARTINSVILLE FINISH: 2nd (Spring, 2002)
LAST WEEK: Ran sixth in Charlotte to post his 12th top-10 of the season.
CHASE CHATTER: ``Lately we've had cars that could run in the top 10, which is encouraging, we just haven't gotten those finishes and that's disappointing, so it was nice to get the finish tonight.''

DRIVER: Clint Bowyer
CHASE POINTS: 12th, 5,543 points (-300)
CAR: No. 33 Cheerios/Hamburger Helper Chevrolet
TEAM: Richard Childress Racing
POSITION CHANGE: None.
CAREER MARTINSVILLE STARTS: 9
BEST MARTINSVILLE FINISH: 5th (Spring, 2009)
LAST WEEK: His horrific Chase continued with a 17th-place in Charlotte that included a couple of on-track run-ins and some shoddy work in the pits.
CHASE CHATTER: ``Man, that was rough,'' Bowyer said. ``It was pretty much a nightmare. This was just a bad weekend all together.''
 

NASCAR Odds

Driver Odds
Sprint Cup - Odds to Win the Sylvania 300 @ New Hampshire Motor Speedway
Brad Keselowski #2 +250
Kevin Harvick #4 +550
Jeff Gordon #24 +600
Jimmie Johnson #48 +800
Denny Hamlin #11 +1000
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