2 BRAD KESELOWSKI, Dodge
Team: Penske Racing
WHERE HE STANDS: Brad Keselowski climbed back into first place in the standings with one race to remaining in the season. He leads points leader Jimmie Johnson by 20 points and third-ranked Kasey Kahne by 50 points.
HOMESTEAD RECORD: 4 career starts, 0 wins, 0 top-5s, 0 top-10s, 0 poles. Best career finish: 13th in 2010. Finished 20th in this race last year.
LOOKING AHEAD: There are three scenarios for Keselowski to assure himself his first Sprint Cup championship in Sunday's season finale: He must finish 15th or higher, or 16th and lead at least one lap, or 17th and leads the most laps led (even if Johnson wins the race). Here are Keselowski's thoughts on Sunday's race: "Having a legitimate shot to win the championship this weekend is something that I take great pride in because I know we got there together. Everything about this team is first-class, from our owner to our facility to our sponsor, Miller Lite. We have everything we need to be a championship contender for years to come and it's exciting to be a part of that."
LOOKING BACK: Keselowski led 10 laps at Phoenix and looked like he could potentially earn a top-five finish, but ultimately settled for a sixth-place showing.
ETC.: Keselowski has completed 99.8 percent (1,066) of the 1,068 laps contested in his four career Cup starts at Homestead. His average start is a mediocre 20.2, while his average finish is also 20.2. He has 0 DNFs there.
48 JIMMIE JOHNSON, Chevrolet
Team: Hendrick Motorsports
WHERE HE STANDS: Jimmie Johnson fell from first to second place after Phoenix. He trails points leader Brad Keselowski by 20 points heading into Sunday's season finale at Homestead. He leads third-ranked and Hendrick Motorsports teammate Kasey Kahne, who is out of the running for the championship, by 30 points.
HOMESTEAD RECORD: 11 career starts, 0 wins, 4 top-5s, 7 top-10s, 2 poles. Best career finish: second in 2004 and 2010. Finished 32nd in this race last year, his second-worst career performance there.
LOOKING AHEAD: If Johnson is to win his sixth career Sprint Cup championship, the formula is fairly simple: he must finish at least 18 positions higher than Brad Keselowski. That's why a win is so important for Johnson, who has never won at Homestead, one of the few tracks he hasn't reached victory lane. Keselowski can win the title if he finishes 15th or higher, or 16th and leads at least one lap, or 17th and leads the most laps led. Here's Johnson's thoughts on what's on the line Sunday: "My focus is going down there and winning the race. We typically haven't had to have that mentality going into this race, but we have shown we can race for the win. We did it in 2010 against Denny (Hamlin), finished second and won the championship. This 48 Lowe's team can do it again. We have nothing to lose and can gamble and take chances. Brad (Keselowski) doesn't have that luxury. This isn't over. This team never gives up and we don't intend to now."
LOOKING BACK: After wins at Martinsville and Texas, Johnson hit the wall at Phoenix, literally, when a tire blew out, sending him into the wall. Johnson finished a disappointing 32nd in the race, and watched the points margin swing from a seven-point lead before Phoenix to a 20-point deficit afterward.
ETC.: Johnson has completed 94.9 percent (2,793) of the 2,942 laps completed in his 11 career starts at Homestead. His average start is 17.2 and average finish is 13.5. He has 0 DNFs there.
5 KASEY KAHNE, Chevrolet
Team: Hendrick Motorsports
WHERE HE STANDS: Kasey Kahne climbed one spot to third in the standings after Phoenix. He trails points leader Brad Keselowski by 50 points, second-ranked Jimmie Johnson by 30 points and fourth-ranked Clint Bowyer by two points.
HOMESTEAD RECORD: 8 career starts, 0 wins, 1 top-5, 4 top-10s, 2 poles. Best career finish: fourth in 2006. Finished seventh in this race last year.
LOOKING AHEAD: With no chance to win the championship, Kahne hopes to finish the season right where he is now: third place in the standings. "I'm excited to finish off the season strong at Homestead. We usually qualify really well there, and we've had strong finishes the last couple of years."
LOOKING BACK: Kahne's Chase chances officially ended at Phoenix, where he finished fourth.
ETC.: Kahne has completed 96.2 percent (2,060) of the 2,141 laps contested in his 8 career starts at Homestead. His average start is 7.2, but his average finish is 14.8. He also has 1 DNF there.
15 CLINT BOWYER, Toyota
Team: Michael Waltrip Racing
WHERE HE STANDS: Bowyer fell from third to fourth in the standings after Phoenix. He is 52 points behind series leader Brad Keselowski, two points behind third-ranked Kasey Kahne and leads fifth-ranked Denny Hamlin by 10 points.
HOMESTEAD RECORD: 6 career starts, 0 wins, 1 top-5, 3 top-10s, 0 poles. Best career finish: fifth in 2008. Finished sixth in this race last year.
LOOKING AHEAD: With his Chase chances ended at Phoenix, the best season finish he can hope for is third place. Here are the thoughts of Michael Waltrip Racing executive vice president and general manager Ty Norris: "We are all proud of the entire organization, especially the run for the championship from the No. 15 team. This group came together very late last year and overcame a lot of early season adversity. Once all of the key players learned how to work with each other, this team has been in great form. What has been most impressive is the depth across the organization with speed every week, at all different tracks with all three teams and five different drivers. That broad consistency is what gives us the confidence we will be able to continue this trend into the 2013 season and beyond."
LOOKING BACK: Bowyer still had a mathematical chance of contending for the championship until he was intentionally wrecked by Jeff Gordon with two laps left in Sunday's race at Phoenix, igniting a pit road brawl between crew members for both teams. Bowyer ultimately finished 28th.
ETC.: Bowyer has completed 98.4 percent (1,578) of the 1,603 laps contested in his six career starts at Homestead. His average start is 16.7; his average finish is 13.8. He has 0 DNFs there.
11 DENNY HAMLIN, Toyota
Team: Joe Gibbs Racing
WHERE HE STANDS: After losing four places in the previous two races, Hamlin regained two spots at Phoenix, moving back to fifth place. He trails points leader Brad Keselowski by 62 points, fourth-ranked Clint Bowyer by 10 points and leads sixth-ranked Matt Kenseth by 12 points.
HOMESTEAD RECORD: 7 career starts, 1 win, 3 top-5s, 4 top-10s, 0 poles. Best career finish: first in 2009. Finished ninth in this race last year.
LOOKING AHEAD: Hamlin's Chase hopes are done, but he mathematically he can still finish as high as third place. By the way, Sunday is Hamlin's 32nd birthday; a win to close out the season would be a great birthday present to himself. Hamlin's thoughts on Sunday's race in Homestead are the same that he had going into Phoenix: "We're going to try to work our way as far up in the points as we possibly can and just keep digging."
LOOKING BACK: Hamlin had an outstanding race at Phoenix, finishing second, right in front of Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch. Unfortunately for Hamlin's hopes for the Chase, it was too little, too late.
ETC.: Hamlin has completed an outstanding 99.8 percent (1,866) of the 1,870 laps contested in his 7 career starts at Homestead. His average start there is a terrible 31.0, but his average finish is a significantly better 10.9. He has 0 DNFs there.
17 MATT KENSETH, Ford
Team: Roush Fenway Racing
WHERE HE STANDS: Kenseth fell one spot after Phoenix, dropping from a tie for fifth to sixth. He trails points leader Brad Keselowski by 74 points, fifth-ranked Denny Hamlin by 12 points and leads seventh-ranked and Roush Fenway Racing teammate Greg Biffle by four points.
HOMESTEAD RECORD: 12 career starts, 1 win, 3 top-5s, 5 top-10s, 0 poles. Best career finish: first in 2007. Finished fourth in this race last year.
LOOKING AHEAD: Kenseth ends his 13-year tenure at Roush Fenway Racing at Homestead. He moves to Joe Gibbs Racing next season. And even though his championship hopes this season have fallen short, Kenseth can still mathematically finish as high as third. He'll need a bit of luck, though. Here are crew chief Jimmy Fennig's thoughts on Sunday's race: "We're looking to get a win for Matt this weekend. Our team is hoping to close out the season and Matt's time here at Roush doing all we could for him. The car we're bringing this weekend is our winning car from Kansas and I feel it's a really good car."