WHERE HE STANDS: Jeff Gordon remained in fourth place for the second straight week. Gordon trails series leader Matt Kenseth by 36 points, is seven points behind third-ranked Harvick and leads fifth-ranked Kyle Busch by just one point.
TALLADEGA RECORD: 41 career starts, 6 wins, 15 top-fives, 19 top-10s, 3 poles. Best career finish: First in summer 1996, spring 2000, spring 2004, spring 2005, spring and fall 2007. Was runner-up in this race last year and was 11th in this year's spring race there.
LOOKING AHEAD: Gordon knows he needs another strong finish like his runner-up showing in this race last year if he is to have any chance of still winning a fifth career Sprint Cup championship. Here's his thoughts on Sunday's race: "You have to go into this race with a positive attitude. With the big-pack racing, there is always the chance of the 'big one.' But you have to approach this race with a positive attitude; fight to avoid whatever may occur and hope that you come out of it with a race car. It doesn't even need to be in one piece. It just needs to get across the (finish) line with a decent finish."
LOOKING BACK: Gordon led 26 laps but faded near the end, yet still finished with a respectable seventh-place showing at Charlotte on Saturday night.
ETC.: Gordon has completed 91.6 percent (7,041) of 7,689 total laps contested in 41 career starts at Talladega. His average start is 11.4 and average finish is 16.2. He has nine DNFs there.
18 KYLE BUSCH, Toyota
Team: Joe Gibbs Racing
WHERE HE STANDS: Kyle Busch remained in fifth place in the standings for the second straight week after Charlotte. He trails points leader and Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Matt Kenseth by 37 points (down from 12 prior to Kansas), is one point behind fourth-place Jeff Gordon and leads sixth-ranked Greg Biffle by 21 points.
TALLADEGA RECORD: 17 career starts, 1 wins, 3 top-fives, 4 top-10s, 0 poles. Best career finish: First in spring 2008. Finished third in this race last year and was 37th in this year's spring race there.
LOOKING AHEAD: Busch needs to bounce back from his disappointing 37th-place finish at Talladega in the spring. Unfortunately, Busch's hyper-aggressive driving style doesn't mesh well with 'Dega's restrictor plate racing, evidenced by just four top-10 finishes and five DNFs in 17 career starts. Here's Busch's thoughts on Sunday's race: "I think many of us have said that from the very beginning: you just have no idea how Talladega will turn out. All you can do is focus on what you can control, get your car driving as well as you can in practice, go out there and hope you can stay out of the big wreck and bring home a decent finish. (Being a former winner there) doesn't matter at all. It's such a crapshoot there in the last 20, 30 or 40 laps that you never really know who is going to win, what's going to happen, and where the wreck is going to come from."
LOOKING BACK: Busch had a good run at Charlotte, leading four laps en route to a fifth-place finish on Saturday night.
ETC.: Busch has completed just 88.8 percent (2,874) of the 3,236 total laps contested in 17 career starts at Talladega. His average start is 20.4, while his average finish is 22.9, one of his worst at any Cup track. He also has five DNFs there.
16 GREG BIFFLE, Ford
Team: Roush Fenway Racing
WHERE HE STANDS: Greg Biffle remained in sixth place for the third consecutive week after Saturday's race at Charlotte. He trails points leader Matt Kenseth by 58 points (down from 44 points prior to Charlotte), is 21 points behind fifth-ranked Kyle Busch, and leads seventh-ranked Kurt Busch by one point.
TALLADEGA RECORD: 21 career starts, 0 wins, 2 top-fives, 5 top-10s, 0 poles. Best career finish: Fourth in fall 2009. Was sixth in this race last year and 36th in this year's spring race there.
LOOKING AHEAD: Time is running out on Biffle's hopes for his first Cup championship. He can only hope he avoids the inevitable wrecks Sunday and that points leaders Matt Kenseth and Jimmie Johnson don't. That would close the points gap pretty quickly. Here's his thoughts on Sunday's race: "I'm really looking forward to Talladega this weekend. Nobody knows what's going to happen, it could be our chance to make up some points, or it could go the other way. We'll have to wait and see what happens."
LOOKING BACK: Biffle finished 16th at Charlotte, which cost him dearly in the points. He needs to make up what he lost Saturday this Sunday at Talladega, lest his championship chances could likely be over after the race.
ETC.: Biffle has completed 92.4 percent (3,683) of 3,988 total laps contested in 21 career starts at Talladega. His average start is 16.3 and average finish is 19.9. He has five DNFs there.
78 KURT BUSCH, Chevrolet
Team: Furniture Row Racing
WHERE HE STANDS: Kurt Busch remained in seventh place for the second straight race after Charlotte. He trails series leader Matt Kenseth by 59 points (down from 47 before Charlotte), is one point behind sixth-ranked Greg Biffle and leads eighth-ranked Clint Bowyer by four points.
TALLADEGA RECORD: 25 career starts, 0 wins, 6 top-fives, 13 top-10s and 0 poles. Best career finish: Third in spring 2001, spring 2002, fall 2006 and spring 2007. Finished 39th in this race last year and was 30th in this year's spring race there.
LOOKING AHEAD: Busch needs a miracle to get back into contention for the Chase. Unfortunately, he's likely not going to find it at Talladega, where he has struggled greatly in recent years. In fact, of his last 11 starts at 'Dega, Busch has finished 18th or lower in nine of those races. Here's his thoughts on Sunday's race: "It's shake and bake time. It's so difficult to predict Talladega. You can ride around in the back, charge up front all day and either way your day can end with your car on the hook, like we did in the spring race. You just hope to have Lady Luck guide you to a top-10 finish. Restrictor plate races have turned into this pattern that it is hard to have any type of strength over any other team. It just comes down to being in the right place at the right time."
LOOKING BACK: After an impressive runner-up finish at Kansas the week before, Busch struggled at Charlotte, ultimately finishing 14th, far lower than he hoped for or needed to get back into Chase contention.