Glance at the 12 drivers in the Chase Print
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Wednesday, 10 November 2010 06:00
NASCAR Headline News

 A glance at the 12 drivers competing in NASCAR's Chase for the Sprint Cup championship heading into this weekend's race at Phoenix International Speedway (in order of points):
DRIVER: Denny Hamlin
CHASE POINTS: first, 6,325 points
CAR: No. 11 FedEx Toyota
TEAM: Joe Gibbs Racing
POSITION CHANGE: Plus 1.
CAREER PHOENIX STARTS: 10
BEST PHOENIX FINISH: 3rd (four times)
LAST WEEK: The preseason pick to end Johnson's championship reign is in perfect position with two to go. Rose to the top of the standings with a win in Texas and looks as hot now as he did during his torrid stretch during the early summer.
CHASE CHATTER: ``I'm not going to be conservative having the lead,'' Hamlin said. ``I'm going to want to stretch that out before we get to Homestead. So that's pretty much my mindset.''

DRIVER: Jimmie Johnson
CHASE POINTS: second, 6,292 points (-33)
CAR: No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet
TEAM: Hendrick Motorsports
POSITION CHANGE: Minus 1.
CAREER PHOENIX STARTS: 14
BEST PHOENIX FINISH: 1st (four times)
LAST WEEK: The pursuit of a fifth straight championship hit a serious bump in Texas, where Johnson finished ninth following some pit road miscues and a car that couldn't do what he wanted it to in traffic.
CHASE CHATTER: ``I've lost plenty of championships in the past. This is racing. It doesn't come easy,'' Johnson said. ``You're not going to get what you want every single year and every single weekend.''

DRIVER: Kevin Harvick
CHASE POINTS: third, 6,266 points (-59)
CAR: No. 29 Shell-Pennzoil Chevrolet
TEAM: Richard Childress Racing
POSITION CHANGE: None.
CAREER PHOENIX STARTS: 15
BEST PHOENIX FINISH: 1st (twice)
LAST WEEK: Kept hanging around in Texas thanks to some stellar work in the pits and heroic driving after a late scrape with the wall left his No. 29 car with some significant damage in the right rear. Finished sixth to remain in contention but likely needs at least one win in the last two races to have a shot.
CHASE CHATTER: ``The pit crew was awesome,'' Harvick said. ``We gained a ton of positions on pit road. We are still in this thing, and we are definitely looking forward to Phoenix.''

DRIVER: Carl Edwards
CHASE POINTS: fourth, 6,008 points (-317)
CAR: No. 99 Aflac Ford
TEAM: Roush Fenway Racing
POSITION CHANGE: Plus 2.
CAREER PHOENIX STARTS: 12
BEST PHOENIX FINISH: 4th (three times)
LAST WEEK: Finished 19th in Texas but continued his steady climb up the Chase standings. A good bet to finish fourth despite not having a win all year.
CHASE CHATTER: ``We fought the handling much of the race, but had it working pretty well by the end,'' Edwards said. ``Despite all that we gained in the points and are up to fourth so at least that worked in our favor today.''

DRIVER: Matt Kenseth
CHASE POINTS: fifth, 6,000 points (-325)
CAR: No. 17 Crown Royal Ford
TEAM: Roush Fenway Racing
POSITION CHANGE: Plus 3.
CAREER PHOENIX STARTS: 16
BEST PHOENIX FINISH: 1st (2002)
LAST WEEK: Briefly took the lead from Hamlin with a lap to go at Texas, but couldn't quite hold off the points leader and finished second. Appears to be getting stronger as the weeks pass, jumping five spots in the standings over the last two races.
CHASE CHATTER: ``I got on the gas and cleared him down there and I thought everything was good and as soon as I got in front of him my car just took off,'' Kenseth said. ``I am disappointed we finished second but happy we performed that well.''

DRIVER: Jeff Gordon
CHASE POINTS: sixth, 5,994 points (-331)
CAR: No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet
TEAM: Hendrick Motorsports
POSITION CHANGE: Minus 2.
CAREER PHOENIX STARTS: 23
BEST PHOENIX FINISH: 1st (Spring, 2007)
LAST WEEK: Finished 37th in Texas but provided the day's most memorable moment when the typically even-keeled four-time champion got into a shoving match with Jeff Burton after Burton intentionally took him out as they drove under caution.
CHASE CHATTER: ``I thought it was really stupid,'' Gordon said. ``Sometimes I can't hold my emotions back and believe it or not I was holding them back right there.''

DRIVER: Kyle Busch
CHASE POINTS: seventh, 5,986 points (-339)
CAR: No. 18 M&Ms Toyota
TEAM: Joe Gibbs Racing
POSITION CHANGE: Minus 2.
CAREER PHOENIX STARTS: 11
BEST PHOENIX FINISH: 1st (Fall, 2005)
LAST WEEK: Another frustrating Chase day left Busch fuming. He came in 32nd at Texas after being spun out then getting called for speeding in the pits while trying to remain on the lead lap following some hasty repairs. He gave NASCAR officials a not-so-subtle hand gesture in anger and was hit with another penalty.
CHASE CHATTER: ``I wasn't trying to speed. They penalized me for it,'' Busch said. ``I'm sorry I lost my cool to everybody on this team, to everybody at NASCAR and all of my guys that support me.''

DRIVER: Tony Stewart
CHASE POINTS: eighth, 5,962 points (-363)
CAR: No. 14 Old Spice/Office Depot Chevrolet
TEAM: Stewart/Haas Racing
POSITION CHANGE: Minus 1.
CAREER PHOENIX STARTS: 17
BEST PHOENIX FINISH: 1st (1999)
LAST WEEK: Opted for four tires on a late pit stop instead of two, the move dropped him to 16th before he rallied to finish 11th.
CHASE CHATTER: ``We're eighth in points, so who cares?'' Stewart said. ``I'd rather take a chance on doing something to go forward than worry about losing spots and going backward.''

DRIVER: Greg Biffle
CHASE POINTS: ninth, 5,953 points (-372)
CAR: No. 16 3M Ford
TEAM: Roush Fenway Racing
POSITION CHANGE: Plus 2.
CAREER PHOENIX STARTS: 13
BEST PHOENIX FINISH: 2nd (twice)
LAST WEEK: Led 224 laps at Texas before late transmission problems sent him tumbling through the field to eighth.
CHASE CHATTER: ``It's good to be disappointed with an eighth-place finish,'' Biffle said. ``I remember just a couple of months ago when we would have loved to have had a top-10.''

DRIVER: Clint Bowyer
CHASE POINTS: 10th, 5,928 points (-397)
CAR: No. 33 Cheerios/Hamburger Helper Chevrolet
TEAM: Richard Childress Racing
POSITION CHANGE: None.
CAREER PHOENIX STARTS: 10
BEST PHOENIX FINISH: 2nd (Spring, 2008)
LAST WEEK: Escaped the Chase cellar with a seventh-place showing at Texas.
CHASE CHATTER: ``We are now in the top 10 in points and I think we proved to everyone tonight that this team isn't giving up anytime soon,'' Bowyer said.

DRIVER: Kurt Busch
CHASE POINTS: 11th, 5,890 points (-435)
CAR: No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge
TEAM: Penske Racing
POSITION CHANGE: Minus 2.
CAREER PHOENIX STARTS: 15
BEST PHOENIX FINISH: 1st (2005)
LAST WEEK: Finished 24th at Texas and isn't sure why. Ran in midpack most of the day before his car got a little too loose, forcing him to do all he could to simply hang on.
CHASE CHATTER: ``I thought that we were pretty good on the short runs, but just struggled on long green-flag racing,'' Busch said.

DRIVER: Jeff Burton
CHASE POINTS: 12th, 5,852 points (-473)
CAR: No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet
TEAM: Richard Childress Racing
POSITION CHANGE: Minus 2.
CAREER PHOENIX STARTS: 22
BEST PHOENIX FINISH: 1st (twice)
LAST WEEK: Ended up 36th in Texas after trading paint and a couple of shoves with Jeff Gordon. Burton took responsibility for the dustup.
CHASE CHATTER: ``I honestly don't know what happened,'' Burton said. ``It was 100 percent my fault. It was like once we got together, I couldn't get off of him.''
 

NASCAR Odds

Driver Odds
Sprint Cup - Odds to Win the Crown Royal/Brickyard 400 @ Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Jimmie Johnson #48 +450
Brad Keselowski #2 +550
Kevin Harvick #4 +750
Jeff Gordon #24 +800
Tony Stewart #14 +1000
More NASCAR odds

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