WHERE HE STANDS: Carl Edwards remained in third place for the eighth consecutive week after Atlanta, although he is now tied with Kevin Harvick, who moved up from fourth to a tie for third. Edwards trails points leader Jimmie Johnson by 42 points, is 14 points behind second-ranked Clint Bowyer (down from 35 prior to Atlanta) and leads fifth-ranked Kyle Busch by nine points.
RICHMOND RECORD: 18 career starts, 0 wins, 3 top-fives, 9 top-10s, 1 poles. Best career finish: Second in summer 2011. Was 17th in this race last year and was sixth in this year's spring race there.
LOOKING AHEAD: Edwards barely lost the championship in 2011 on a tiebreaker to Tony Stewart, then failed to make the Chase last season. He's locked into it this year, though, and looks forward to Saturday's race at Richmond: "Going into Richmond locked into the Chase is a huge relief for us. I know how stressful that race can be and how stressful it will be for a number of the guys in the field. We've run really well there lately and have really fast race cars so, just like Bristol and Atlanta, we feel like we can go there and have a really good shot at winning the race. I like the race track because it's the perfect mix of high speeds and short track racing; there are multiple grooves, it's really fun to drive on. But the real story is the Chase and who's going to be in it, and it'll be interesting to watch that, Even from the driver seat I think a lot of the drivers and the crews will be watching that race just like the fans to see who gets in."
LOOKING BACK: Edwards led 68 laps and looked like he'd have a strong finish at Atlanta. Unfortunately, he ultimately finished one lap down in 18th place, the second consecutive race where he had a strong outing, only to fall back at the end (led 119 laps at Bristol only to suffer mechanical issues and finish 39th).
ETC.: Edwards has completed 96.9 percent (6,993) of 7,216 total laps contested in 18 career starts at Richmond. His average start is 12.6 and average finish is 14.4. He has one DNF there.
18 KYLE BUSCH, Toyota
Team: Joe Gibbs Racing
WHERE HE STANDS: Kyle Busch remained in fifth place for the fourth consecutive week after Atlanta. He trails points leader Jimmie Johnson by 51 (down from 82 the week before), is nine points behind the third-place tie of Kevin Harvick and Carl Edwards and leads sixth-ranked Matt Kenseth by 18 points (up from three points prior to Atlanta).
RICHMOND RECORD: 17 career starts, 4 wins, 12 top-fives, 13 top-10s, 1 poles. Best career finish: First in spring 2009, spring 2010, spring 2011 and spring 2012. Finished 16th in this race last year and was 24th in this year's spring race there.
LOOKING AHEAD: Busch is locked into the Chase and coming off a win at Atlanta, could double-up at Richmond, which has been one of his best tracks. Here's his thoughts on the final pre-Chase race Saturday night: "I think our team has done well this year. I think our qualifying has been a real strong suit. Other than my screw-up at Bristol a few weeks ago, I feel like our cars have been good. They've been fast and we've had decent runs throughout races and sometimes we got behind on adjustments, which was probably our weakest point - just making sure we make the right adjustments through the race. Now, we proved we could do that at Atlanta last weekend, which was really encouraging. You can't be scared to come back on an adjustment if you make a mistake on something. We've done that a few times this year, where we've gone back and it's worked for us. You have to have a little luck on your side, you have to have some execution and you have to be able to put your car in the right place."
LOOKING BACK: Busch had an outstanding race at Atlanta, leading 36 laps, including the most important last lap to win there.
ETC.: Busch has completed 100 percent (6,815) of the 6,816 total laps contested in 17 career starts at Richmond. His average start is 12.4, while his average finish is an outstanding 6.5. He has zero DNFs there.
20 MATT KENSETH, Toyota
Team: Joe Gibbs Racing
WHERE HE STANDS: Matt Kenseth remained in sixth place for the third consecutive week after Atlanta. He trails points leader Jimmie Johnson by 69 points (down from 85 last week), is 18 points behind fifth-ranked Kyle Busch and leads seventh-ranked Dale Earnhardt Jr. by 18 points.
RICHMOND RECORD: 27 career starts, 1 wins, 4 top-fives, 11 top-10s, 1 poles. Best career finish: First in summer 2002. Finished fifth in this race last year and was seventh in this year's spring race there.
LOOKING AHEAD: Kenseth could be the No. 1 seed when the Chase points are reset after Richmond if Jimmie Johnson doesn't win. That's why Kenseth comes into Richmond with nothing else in mind but to win his sixth race, thus assuring him of the top spot heading into the Chase: "I feel pretty confident right now. I feel like we have a really good race team. Right now, we're really on top of our game on pit road and with car prep and the rest of the stuff. I feel good about all that, but you have to perform each and every week once you get there. The wins are great -- obviously as long as we make the top-10 that seeds us up toward the top. We should be at least a tie or hopefully ahead. That is good. You have to put together 10 strong, solid weeks for sure."
LOOKING BACK: Kenseth had a decent car but not one likely capable of winning. Still, he wound up with a respectable 12th place finish at Atlanta.
ETC.: Kenseth has completed 97.7 percent (10,564) of the 10,809 total laps contested in 27 career starts at Richmond. His average start is 20.8, while his average finish is 16.2. He has one DNF there.
88 DALE EARNHARDT JR., Chevrolet
Team: Hendrick Motorsports
WHERE HE STANDS: Dale Earnhardt Jr. remained in seventh place for the third consecutive week after Atlanta. He trails teammate and points leader Jimmie Johnson by 87 points (down from 107 the week before), is 18 points behind sixth-ranked Matt Kenseth and leads eighth-ranked Joey Logano by 21 points.
RICHMOND RECORD: 28 career starts, 3 wins, 9 top-fives, 12 top-10s, 1 pole. Best career finish: First in spring 2000, spring 2004, spring 2006. Finished 14th in this race last year (after earning the pole) and was 10th in this year's spring race there.
LOOKING AHEAD: Richmond has been very good to Earnhardt over the years. He needs a big boost going into the Chase and a win - his first since June 2012 - would be the best way to do so. Here's his thoughts on Sunday's race: "It will be good to go to Richmond with a really nice cushion on the guys behind us. We tested at Richmond so hopefully that's going to pay off for us. I'm ready to make the Chase and get to Chicago."
LOOKING BACK: Earnhardt had another strong, consistent run at Atlanta. While he didn't lead a lap, he finished a strong eighth.