CHICAGOLAND RECORD: Finished third last year for his third top-six finish in the last four races.
LOOKING AHEAD: Kahne admits "the pressure's on you each week (in the Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship) from the driver to the team to the pit guys on Sundays. It's a tough part of the season, but it's what we're all here for, - to step up when it really counts and make things happen. I know we have a really strong team. If we can run strong the next few weeks, I think we'll be in a really good spot. We just need to try and put those final 10 races together. That's what it's all about."
LOOKING BACK: Kahne hoped to race his way into the top 10 in the point standings so he could earn six bonus points for his two wins. But he struggled all night and finished 14th to earn the first of the two wild-card spots in the Chase. "Just glad we had it wrapped up because we were struggling throughout the race," said Kahne. "Just off. Never really got it figured out. I haven't been able to figure this place (Richmond) out. I don't know if it's the way I drive this track or if we're missing it setup-wise. I'm not sure. I'm definitely glad this one isn't one of the final 10."
ETC.: Kahne believes his team is very capable of winning the championship. "I would say the majority of the season we've had as much speed as anybody, and if we can put that together for nine or ten of these next 10 races, we'll definitely have a shot."
39 RYAN NEWMAN, Chevrolet
Team: Stewart-Haas Racing
WHERE HE STANDS: 12th, 15 points out of first.
CHICAGOLAND RECORD: Finished fifth a year ago for his fifth top-10 finish in the last six races.
LOOKING AHEAD: Newman is now part of the 2013 Chase for the Championship. He admits "I was really shocked" when NASCAR called him Monday night to tell him that they had penalized Michael Waltrip Racing for manipulating the outcome of Saturday night's race at Richmond. The penalties included a 50-point penalty for Martin Truex, Jr., which dropped him out of a tie with Newman for the final wild card spot. Truex had won the tiebreaker because of his second-place finish at Texas earlier this year. "I feel bad for Martin," said Newman. "I want to go out and do the best I can in the Chase and do the best I can for my team, but at the same time, I'm disappointed my buddy isn't part of it. I feel he didn't know anything about it and he had the carpet ripped out from underneath him. And I know exactly how that feels."
LOOKING BACK: Newman was leading the Richmond race after running down and passing Carl Edwards with 10 laps to go. Newman seemed en route to his second win of the season and a guaranteed spot in the Chase. Then with seven laps remaining, Clint Bowyer, Truex' teammate at MWR, spun to bring out the yellow flag. Newman lost the race off pit road, coming out fifth. He rallied to finish third. "What happened to me Saturday night is the toughest thing I've ever gone through in any kind of racing in my 30 years of driving because of the way everything went down," added Newman. "We could have won it on pit road. Instead, we lost it on pit road."
ETC.: Newman said Bowyer called him Monday night to apologize "about 10 minutes after NASCAR called. He said he was frustrated since he had a car that could have won the race if that earlier yellow flag hadn't come out. Sometimes we do stupid things when we are frustrated. I could tell by the sound of his voice, I really feel he was genuine with his remorse. He said it was a heat of the moment thing, and he told me the biggest thing was he was glad NASCAR did what they did and took the action they did to get me in the Chase. But, no, he did not say with the exact words that he spun on purpose."
24 JEFF GORDON, Chevrolet
Team: Hendrick Motorsports
WHERE HE STANDS: 13th.
CHICAGOLAND RECORD: One win and seven top-10 finishes including six top-five's in 12 starts.
LOOKING AHEAD: Gordon admits "we haven't had the year this team is capable of, and that's where our focus (for the rest of 2013) will be. We're going into these last 10 races trying to step it up, be more competitive and hopefully get a win or two. We've had some good runs (at Chicagoland), so we're hoping for a big weekend."
LOOKING BACK: Gordon thought he had raced his way into the Chase with 10 laps to go. "My spotter said you've got to get the 14 (Mark Martin)," said Gordon. "I got by. I thought we were okay." Then Clint Bowyer spun with seven laps remaining to bring out the yellow flag and completely change the whole complexion of the race and the battle for the Chase. When the checkered flag fell, Gordon was eighth, but one point short in his bid to make the Chase. "It's disappointing to miss it that close," said Gordon. "We were in and that last caution - you know it's going to be wild and crazy (on the restart). Unfortunately with those two guys up front with old tires we just couldn't get our line to move. Just didn't make up the spots we needed to."
ETC.: Since Gordon was impacted by the decisions by Michael Waltrip Racing that resulted in NASCAR heavily penalizing the organization including docking Martin Truex, Jr., 50 points to knock him out of the Chase, the sanctioning body was asked "what about Gordon?" NASCAR President Mike Helton replied, "The way we go about this is we look at the incident and only the incident because we know from experience if you try to look at the ripple effect of an incident you can't cover all those bases." Gordon, naturally, wasn't happy with the ruling. "Take me out of this completely," tweeted Gordon Monday night. "At this point all that matters to me is if NASCAR decides to fix this then fix it completely! Feel bad for Truex. But the guy who started all of this (Bowyer) not affected at all??? Don't agree!"
1 JAMIE MCMURRAY, Chevrolet
Team: Earnhardt Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates
WHERE HE STANDS: 14th, 29 points out of 13th place. Gained two spots last week.
CHICAGOLAND SPEEDWAY: Only two top-10 finishes in 10 starts.
LOOKING AHEAD: McMurray said, "I like going to Chicagoland Speedway. We have had some good qualifying results and decent runs there, we just need to piece together a complete weekend. We are coming off a strong performance Saturday night in Richmond; hopefully we can continue that and try to get a win for our team in one of these last 10 races."
LOOKING BACK: McMurray's only shot at making the Chase for the Championship was to win the race. And he ran up front all night, leading twice for six laps, before finishing fourth for only his second top-five finish of the season. "That was a great night for our team," said McMurray. "Our car was really good early in the race, but we struggled a little in the middle. We had really good pit stops tonight that put us in position for that top-five finish."
ETC.: McMurray is another driver who would love "to be a spoiler" in the Chase for the Championship. "I really feel we are close to getting a win," said McMurray. "Our cars are so much better. We just need a little racing luck. It sure would be nice to get a win during the Chase. That would be really good for the whole EGR."