By Jerry Bonkowski and Bob Moore
48 JIMMIE JOHNSON, Chevrolet
Team: Hendrick Motorsports
WHERE HE STANDS: Jimmie Johnson remained in first place for the 20th straight week after Atlanta. He leads second-ranked Clint Bowyer by 28 points and third-ranked Carl Edwards and Kevin Harvick by 42 points.
RICHMOND RECORD: 23 career starts, 3 wins, 5 top-5s, 8 top-10s, 2 poles. Best career finish: First in spring and summer 2007 and summer 2008. Finished 13th in this race last year and was 12th in this year's spring race there.
LOOKING AHEAD: Johnson has one last chance to earn his fifth win, which would put him equal with Matt Kenseth, but also give Johnson the top seed in the Chase for the Sprint Cup when the standings are reset. Here's his thoughts on Saturday's race: "We obviously would like to have a good run at Richmond this weekend. We've been a little streaky there but we had a good test with the rest of the Hendrick teams a couple of weeks ago. But honestly, the only thing that will help us with the Chase is a win. We are obviously leading the points but all that goes away and we won't be leading once we get out of Richmond unless we win. I'm proud of the fact that we are the points leader, but you don't get anything for winning the regular season - no extra points, not even a T-shirt or a mug. Seriously, every point counts and we'd like to have this Lowe's team start the Chase as the top seed, but doing that means we have to win this weekend."
LOOKING BACK: Johnson had his third straight poor finish: 40th (Michigan), 36th (Bristol) 28th (Atlanta). Unless he wins at Richmond, he'll likely start the Chase in second place when the points are reset.
ETC.: Johnson has completed 94.5 percent (8,703) of the 9,209 total laps contested in 23 career starts at Richmond. His average start there is 12.7 and average finish is 16.3. He has one DNF there.
15 CLINT BOWYER, Toyota
Team: Michael Waltrip Racing
WHERE HE STANDS: Clint Bowyer remained in second place for the eighth consecutive week after Atlanta. He trails series leader Jimmie Johnson by 25 points and leads the third-place tie of Carl Edwards and Kevin Harvick by 14 points.
RICHMOND RECORD: 15 career starts, 2 wins, 3 top-fives, 9 top-10s, 0 poles. Best career finish: First in spring 2008 and summer 2012. Won this race last year and was runner-up in this year's spring race there.
LOOKING AHEAD: Bowyer does very well at Richmond. While he won't be in contention to be on top when the Chase points are reset, a strong run - especially a win - would definitely help his cause to start the Chase even higher. Here's his thoughts: "I know the points reset after Richmond and we're going to be chasing after Jimmie, Matt Kenseth and a bunch of other guys again ... but can bet that Brian (Pattie) and I are going to do everything we can to score some bonus points before this thing gets going. We have ... chances to throw caution to the wind and go get some points - and you can bet we're going to take our shots. We won at Richmond last year ... so we are going to take our best pieces and see what we can do to get on the board."
LOOKING BACK: After a sixth-place finish at Watkins Glen and a fifth at Michigan, Bowyer had a terrible finish at Atlanta, ending up 39th. Fortunately, points leader Jimmie Johnson also had a rough night, so Bowyer only saw Johnson regain seven points of his lead in the standings.
ETC.: Bowyer has completed 100 percent (6015) of the 6,016 total laps contested in 15 career starts at Richmond. His average start is 13.5 and average finish is an outstanding 9.1. He has zero DNFs there.
29 KEVIN HARVICK, Chevrolet
Team: Richard Childress Racing
WHERE HE STANDS: After 10 weeks in fourth place, Kevin Harvick moved into a tie for third with Carl Edwards after Atlanta. He trails series leader Jimmie Johnson by 42 points, is 14 points behind second-ranked Clint Bowyer and leads fifth-ranked Kyle Busch by nine points.
RICHMOND RECORD: 25 career starts, 3 wins, 7 top-fives, 16 top-10s, 1 poles. Best career finish: First in summer 2006, summer 2011 and spring 2013. Was 10th in this race last year and won this year's spring race there.
LOOKING AHEAD: Harvick hopes to gain some bonus points and increase his ranking when the Chase standings are reset after Richmond. A win would be big for him and his team. Here's his thoughts: "This little stretch leading up to the Chase for us is kind of a trial-and-error period as we go to different styles of race tracks and try different things. Obviously, we won the race at Richmond earlier in the year on a crazy restart. We ran ok during the first half of the race and ran fairly good toward the end of the night, and one thing we have learned and try to remember about Richmond is that tires are king at that track. I'm hoping we can repeat the outcome we had there in the spring, but the big thing is making sure we can continue to learn things that will help us in the Chase."
LOOKING BACK: Harvick bounced back from a disappointing 34th-place finish at Bristol the week before to end up ninth at Atlanta. He didn't lead any laps, but was able to battle through handling problems for a top-10 finish that also allowed him to climb one spot in the overall season standings.
ETC.: Harvick has completed 98.8 percent (9,892) of the 10,009 total laps contested in 25 career starts at Richmond. His average start is 16.5 and average finish is 11.3. He has zero DNFs there.
99 CARL EDWARDS, Ford
Team: Roush Fenway Racing