A glance at the 12 drivers competing in NASCAR's Chase for the Sprint Cup championship heading into this weekend's race at Talladega Superspeedway (in order of points):
DRIVER: Jimmie Johnson
CHASE POINTS: first, 5,998 points
CAR: No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet
TEAM: Hendrick Motorsports
POSITION CHANGE: None.
CAREER TALLADEGA STARTS: 17
BEST TALLADEGA FINISH: 1st (Spring, 2006)
LAST WEEK: A very rare misstep in Martinsville, a place he's dominated lately. Struggled to find the right setup early and settled for fifth, allowing Hamlin to pull within six points with four races remaining.
CHASE CHATTER: ``It was a solid performance, something we can't be disappointed in,'' Johnson said. ``I wish we were a little better but there is a lot of racing left.''

DRIVER: Denny Hamlin
CHASE POINTS: second, 5,992 points (-6)
CAR: No. 11 FedEx Toyota
TEAM: Joe Gibbs Racing
POSITION CHANGE: None.
CAREER TALLADEGA STARTS: 9
BEST TALLADEGA FINISH: 3rd (Spring, 2008)
LAST WEEK: Pulled off a perfect weekend at Martinsville, taking the pole then pulling away from Johnson over the final 30 laps to sweep both stops at NASCAR's shortest track and turning the Chase into a two-driver race.
CHASE CHATTER: ``I don't think I've ever closed that well, ever,'' Hamlin said.

DRIVER: Kevin Harvick
CHASE POINTS: third, 5,936 points (-62)
CAR: No. 29 Shell-Pennzoil Chevrolet
TEAM: Richard Childress Racing
POSITION CHANGE: None.
CAREER TALLADEGA STARTS: 19
BEST TALLADEGA FINISH: 1st (Spring, 2010)
LAST WEEK: Posted his best-ever finish at Martinsville by coming in third, perhaps thanks to a pit crew switch with Clint Bowyer's folks. Drew within 62 points of Johnson, but will likely need to win at least one of the last four races to make a run at the title.
CHASE CHATTER: ``Right now, we have four more weeks,'' Harvick said. ``I'm really looking forward to Talladega and just racing hard.''

DRIVER: Kyle Busch
CHASE POINTS: fourth, 5,826 points (-172)
CAR: No. 18 M&Ms Toyota
TEAM: Joe Gibbs Racing
POSITION CHANGE: Plus 1.
CAREER TALLADEGA STARTS: 11
BEST TALLADEGA FINISH: 1st (Spring, 2008)
LAST WEEK: Continued his strong mid-Chase run with a fourth-place at Martinsville including a terrific move past Johnson in the final laps.
CHASE CHATTER: ``Jimmie and I, we know how to do it and I didn't do it rough enough to where I turned him or anything,'' Busch said. ``I just tried to give him a little bit, a little bit to try to get by him.''

DRIVER: Jeff Gordon
CHASE POINTS: fifth, 5,795 points (-203)
CAR: No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet
TEAM: Hendrick Motorsports
POSITION CHANGE: Minus 1.
CAREER TALLADEGA STARTS: 35
BEST TALLADEGA FINISH: 1st (six times)
LAST WEEK: Slipped further out of serious contention with a 20th-place effort at Martinsville, helped in part by a midrace run-in with Kurt Busch that send Gordon into the wall in Turn 4.
CHASE CHATTER: ``At this point we're just racing to try to get the best finishes, and we'll continue to do that as we move forward,'' Gordon said.

DRIVER: Carl Edwards
CHASE POINTS: sixth, 5,785 points (-213)
CAR: No. 99 Aflac Ford
TEAM: Roush Fenway Racing
POSITION CHANGE: Plus 1.
CAREER TALLADEGA STARTS: 12
BEST TALLADEGA FINISH: 5th (Fall, 2005)
LAST WEEK: Continued to grind it out at Martinsville, finishing eighth as he closes in on a second straight season without a victory.
CHASE CHATTER: ``I know for me personally I was worn out toward the end, but to come home eighth, I don't know how we did in points, but it's probably better than we started and that's good,'' Edwards said.

DRIVER: Tony Stewart
CHASE POINTS: seventh, 5,762 points (-236)
CAR: No. 14 Old Spice/Office Depot Chevrolet
TEAM: Stewart/Haas Racing
POSITION CHANGE: Minus 1.
CAREER TALLADEGA STARTS: 23
BEST TALLADEGA FINISH: 1st (Fall, 2008)
LAST WEEK: A pair of pit road miscues and a late tire problem sent Stewart tumbling through the field at Martinsville, finishing 24th.
CHASE CHATTER: ``It went green for a really long time at the end, and our car got really tight and we're not sure really why,'' crew chief Darian Grubb said.

DRIVER: Jeff Burton
CHASE POINTS: eighth, 5,752 points (-246)
CAR: No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet
TEAM: Richard Childress Racing
POSITION CHANGE: Plus 2.
CAREER TALLADEGA STARTS: 33
BEST TALLADEGA FINISH: 3rd (Fall, 2001)
LAST WEEK: Jumped a couple of spots in the standings with a strong run in Martinsville, running as high as second before coming in ninth to post his 15th top-10 of the season.
CHASE CHATTER: ``We weren't as good as we needed to be at the end,'' Burton said. ``We put a great effort out there and it's hard to believe you can finish ninth in a car that was that good.''

DRIVER: Kurt Busch
CHASE POINTS: ninth, 5,721 points (-277)
CAR: No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge
TEAM: Penske Racing
POSITION CHANGE: None.
CAREER TALLADEGA STARTS: 19
BEST TALLADEGA FINISH: 3rd (four times)
LAST WEEK: Finished 16th at Martinsville, but settled a score, knocking Gordon out of serious contention by sending the four-time champion into the wall.
CHASE CHATTER: ``I didn't mean to get into him that hard, but I guess that shows the game we're gonna play,'' Busch said. ``One bump versus another bump, it still seems like the scorecard isn't even.''

DRIVER: Matt Kenseth
CHASE POINTS: 10th, 5,705 points (-293)
CAR: No. 17 Crown Royal Ford
TEAM: Roush Fenway Racing
POSITION CHANGE: Plus 1.
CAREER TALLADEGA STARTS: 21
BEST TALLADEGA FINISH: 3rd (Fall, 2005)
LAST WEEK: A penalty for speeding while exiting pit road late in the race at Martinsville cost him as he ended up 15th.
CHASE CHATTER: ``We sped on pit road somehow, which was weird because I wasn't racing anybody,'' Kenseth said. ``I guess I wasn't paying enough attention on the last segment down there.''

DRIVER: Greg Biffle
CHASE POINTS: 11th, 5,682 points (-316)
CAR: No. 16 3M Ford
TEAM: Roush Fenway Racing
POSITION CHANGE: Minus 3.
CAREER TALLADEGA STARTS: 15
BEST TALLADEGA FINISH: 4th (Fall, 2009)
LAST WEEK: A pair of pit-road penalties and a cut tire sent Biffle sinking to a 33rd-place finish at Martinsville.
CHASE CHATTER: ``It was kind of unfortunate today,'' Biffle said.

DRIVER: Clint Bowyer
CHASE POINTS: 12th, 5,592 points (-406)
CAR: No. 33 Cheerios/Hamburger Helper Chevrolet
TEAM: Richard Childress Racing
POSITION CHANGE: None.
CAREER TALLADEGA STARTS: 9
BEST TALLADEGA FINISH: 5th (Fall, 2005)
LAST WEEK: His miserable Chase continued at Martinsville, where a midrace collision with the wall sent him to the garage for a lengthy stretch and he wound up 38th.
CHASE CHATTER: ``We were working on the handling and thought we were getting it figured out,'' Bowyer said.

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