Capsules for all drivers competing in the Chase for the Sprint Cup.
48 JIMMIE JOHNSON, Chevrolet
Team: Hendrick Motorsports
WHERE HE STANDS: After being tied with Matt Kenseth heading into this past Sunday's race at Texas, Jimmie Johnson regained sole possession of first place. He leads Kenseth by seven points and is 40 points ahead of third-ranked Kevin Harvick.
PHOENIX RECORD: 20 career starts, 4 wins, 13 top-5s, 16 top-10s, 1 pole. Best career finish: First in fall 2007, spring 2008, fall 2008 and fall 2009. Finished 32nd in this race last year and was second in this year's spring race there.
LOOKING AHEAD: Johnson knows his slim lead over Kenseth means virtually nothing. Here's his thoughts on Sunday's race at PIR, which is one of his best tracks: "There's still a lot of racing left, and the two tracks that remain on the schedule are very challenging tracks. Last year we were in this situation with a points lead. We had a seven point lead going into Phoenix and had a very bad race and blew a right front tire. Actually had a decent race going but blew out a right front tire and hammered the wall. It really hurt our opportunity and our chance to win a sixth championship then. So I'm just not going to put my guard down. We need to go into Phoenix, race well. We finished second there in the spring, so we feel strong about our setup and the performance we should have there, but that doesn't guarantee us anything, and we need to go out and have a good strong, clean weekend."
LOOKING BACK: Johnson did what he had to do at Texas, dominating the race - led 255 of 334 laps -- en route to his sixth win of the season, one less than Matt Kenseth's seven wins.
ETC.: Johnson has completed 99.4 percent (6,282) of the 6,321 total laps contested in 20 career starts at Phoenix. His average start there is 12.5 and his average finish is an outstanding 6.4. He has zero DNFs there.
20 MATT KENSETH, Toyota
Team: Joe Gibbs Racing
WHERE HE STANDS: After being in a tie with Jimmie Johnson heading into this past Sunday's race at Texas, Kenseth left the Lone Star State in second place, seven points behind Johnson. He leads third-ranked Kevin Harvick by 33 points.
PHOENIX RECORD: 22 career starts, 1 wins, 5 top-fives, 9 top-10s, 1 poles. Best career finish: First in fall 2002. Finished 14th in this race last year and was seventh in this year's spring race there.
LOOKING AHEAD: Kenseth goes from what historically had been one of his best tracks (Texas) to one of his most marginal tracks (Phoenix). He can't leave PIR with more than a 10-point deficit between himself and Johnson, lest he may be too far away to catch Johnson in the season finale at Homestead next week. Here's Kenseth's thoughts on Sunday's pivotal race: "We're right in it (championship battle). As good as my team is, even if nobody has any trouble -- if we hit everything right we can have days like (Johnson) had (at Texas) and we've had them this year. I still feel good, I'm still confident. I wish I was seven points ahead, but at the end of the day it's in our hands."
LOOKING BACK: Try as he may, Kenseth just could not get closer to Johnson at Texas, ultimately finishing for a still very good fourth-place finish.
ETC.: Kenseth has struggled in his career at Phoenix, having completed just 91.4 percent (6,382) of the 6,945 total laps contested in 22 career starts at Phoenix. His average start is 20.1, while his average finish is a marginal 17.2. He has four DNFs there.
29 KEVIN HARVICK, Chevrolet
Team: Richard Childress Racing
WHERE HE STANDS: Kevin Harvick moved back into sole possession of third place after Texas. He trails points leader Jimmie Johnson by 40 points, second-ranked Matt Kenseth by 33 points and leads fourth-ranked Kyle Busch by 12 points.
PHOENIX RECORD: 21 career starts, 3 wins, 6 top-fives, 10 top-10s, 0 poles. Best career finish: First in spring and fall 2006 and fall 2012. Was first in this race last year and 13th in this year's spring race there.
LOOKING AHEAD: Phoenix has long been one of Harvick's best tracks and he's likely to have yet another strong finish there on Sunday. Here's his thoughts on the season's second-to-last race: "You really have to have an understanding of the track. Every time we go back, I feel like we learn something different. We really did well at Phoenix last year, and also ran well there earlier this season, but we didn't play the strategy game correctly at the end and lost the track position we needed. I feel like you have to play the strategy game; the track is still racy enough where you can make up time if your car is good, but you need to stay focused on strategy. Phoenix has done a great job redesigning the track. It's a great place for us as a team, but you have to play the game right with the strategy."
LOOKING BACK: Harvick followed up his sixth-place finish at Martinsville with an eighth-place showing at Texas this past Sunday. While he remains in mathematical contention for the championship, it's likely he won't finish the season higher than third.
ETC.: Harvick has completed 99.7 percent (6,611) of the 6,633 total laps contested in 21 career starts at Phoenix. His average start is 18.5 and average finish is 12.9. He has zero DNFs there.
18 KYLE BUSCH, Toyota
Team: Joe Gibbs Racing
WHERE HE STANDS: After dropping from a tie for third to fifth after Martinsville, Kyle Busch climbed back one spot into fourth place following Texas. He trails points leader Jimmie Johnson by 52 points, is 12 points behind third-ranked Kevin Harvick and leads fifth-ranked Dale Earnhardt Jr. by 10 points.
PHOENIX RECORD: 17 career starts, 1 wins, 3 top-fives, 10 top-10s, 2 poles. Best career finish: First in fall 2005. Finished third in this race last year (after starting from the pole) and was a disappointing 23rd in this year's spring race there.
LOOKING AHEAD: Another Chase, another championship opportunity gone by the wayside. That's the case for Kyle Busch, who many thought would break through for his first Cup crown in 2013. Unfortunately, he will fall short. Here's his thoughts on Sunday's race at Phoenix: "Barring Kansas, I think we've done a really nice job and the way - knock on wood - there wasn't a big one at Talladega that didn't get any championship contenders really, but that's where you try to make up ground when you can, when some of those guys have a bad day and you don't. That's when you make up big ground and nobody really did anything. It was just a little bit of swap here and there. Other than that, we've run a lot better this year than in years past. Apparently, there's still a lot more room for improvement just with the bar that those guys at the front have set."
LOOKING BACK: Busch struggled at Texas. Although he led two laps, he still couldn't do better than his eventual 13th-place finish.
ETC.: Busch has completed 96.3 percent (5,184) of the 5,382 total laps contested in 17 career starts at Phoenix. His average start is 13.1, while his average finish is 13.9. He has one DNF there.
88 DALE EARNHARDT JR., Chevrolet
Team: Hendrick Motorsports
WHERE HE STANDS: Dale Earnhardt Jr. climbed two spots, from seventh to fifth, after Texas. He trails points leader and Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jimmie Johnson by 62 points, is 10 points behind fourth-ranked Kyle Busch and is seven points ahead of the sixth-place tie between Jeff Gordon and Clint Bowyer.
PHOENIX RECORD: 22 career starts, 2 wins, 5 top-fives, 9 top-10s and 0 poles. Best career finish: First in 2003 and 2004. Finished 21st in this race last year and was fifth in this year's spring race there.
LOOKING AHEAD: Earnhardt is on the cusp of finishing with his best overall ranking in the Sprint Cup standings since he was fifth in 2006 (he was also seventh in 2011). Junior is also winding up his third consecutive Chase appearance for the first time in his career. Here's his thoughts on Sunday's race at Phoenix: "Winning a race would really lift the team's spirits. You work too hard all season long not to get to Victory Lane. I know how much the guys want the win on the team, so that's what we're working for now. We've got two races to go and we'd love to get a win in one of them and continue to have a good run in the Chase." Earnhardt's last win was in June 2012 at Michigan, which was his first win since June 2008, also at Michigan).
LOOKING BACK: Although he didn't lead a lap, Earnhardt had an outstanding race at Texas, a place where he won the first Sprint Cup race of his career back in 2000. Unfortunately this time, he came close but couldn't beat the commanding performance by Jimmie Johnson, with Earnhardt ultimately finishing second in the Lone Star State.
ETC.: Earnhardt has completed 93.0 percent (6,461) of the 6,945 total laps contested in 22 career starts at Phoenix. His average start is 17.8, while his average finish is an almost identical 17.6. He has three DNFs there.
24 JEFF GORDON, Chevrolet
Team: Hendrick Motorsports
WHERE HE STANDS: After having his best weekend of the season with a win at Martinsville, Jeff Gordon had his worst weekend of 2013 at Texas. He crashed early and lost 42 points in the standings, dropping him from third and into a tie for sixth place with Clint Bowyer. He now trails points leader Jimmie Johnson by 69 points, is seven points behind fifth-ranked Dale Earnhardt Jr. and is four points ahead of eighth-ranked Greg Biffle.