<
>

Capsule look at the Nextel Cup Chase

11/10/2004

A glance at the 10 drivers competing in NASCAR's Chase for the
Nextel Cup, in order of points standings:

Kurt Busch

CAR: No. 97 Sharpie Ford
CHASE POINTS: First, 6,191
POSITION CHANGE: none
WHAT HAPPENED: Busch almost ran out of gas before he was able
to pit at Phoenix, and his car stalled as he tried to get off the
service road. He then lost even more ground when a caution came
out. Still, he battled to a 10th place finish and held onto his
lead in the standings.
SPEAKING: "With our hiccups out of the way, it's now a fresh
slate for these final two races because now it just seems like
we've got less and less competitors to look at and less and less
competitors to beat out on the race track,'' Busch said.

Jeff Gordon

CAR: No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet
CHASE POINTS: Second, 6,150
POSITION CHANGE: Plus 1
WHAT HAPPENED: Gordon gained 31 points on the leader by
finishing third. He trails Busch by 41 as he heads into the
Southern 500 at Darlington -- a race Gordon has won three times.
SPEAKING: "We're second in the points with only two races
left, so we need to be aggressive. The pressure will keep building
and it will become more intense,'' Gordon said.

Dale Earnhardt Jr.

CAR: No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet
CHASE POINTS: Third, 6,144 points
POSITION CHANGE: Plus 2
WHAT HAPPENED: Earnhardt won in Phoenix to pull within 47
points of Busch. Before getting out of his car in Victory Lane,
crew chief Tony Eury reminded him to watch his language. Earnhardt,
remember, lost 25 this season for cursing in a Victory Lane
interview.
SPEAKING: "For us, there is no strategy. We've given back so
many points we should have right now that we can't even worry about
it anymore. It's done. It's past. Get over it. We just have to lead
the most laps and win each race. If we win the Cup, cool. If we
don't, I know we'll still be proud of the season we've had,''
Earnhardt said.

Jimmie Johnson

CAR: No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet
CHASE POINTS: Fourth, 6,143
POSITION CHANGE: Minus 2
WHAT HAPPENED: Johnson gained 11 points on Busch but is still
48 points out of first place. He slipped two spots in the standings
after finishing sixth.
SPEAKING: "I'm absolutely shocked that I'm back in the middle
of this points race. Winning races has put us back in that
situation, plus some bad luck on other guys part,'' Johnson said.

Mark Martin

CAR: No. 6 Viagra Ford
CHASE POINTS: Fifth, 6,089
POSITION CHANGE: Minus 1
WHAT HAPPENED: Martin called the Chase a tale of lost
opportunities after finishing 15th in Phoenix and falling 102
points behind the leader.
SPEAKING: "We've been a lot better over the last 10 races
than our finishes show. We've had good cars, but we've had trouble
getting to where we need to be, so hopefully we can close the
season out with a couple of really strong efforts,'' Martin said.

Tony Stewart

CAR: No. 20 Home Depot Chevrolet
CHASE POINTS: Sixth, 6,049
POSITION CHANGE: none
WHAT HAPPENED: Stewart finished eighth. He's 142 points behind
Busch.

SPEAKING: "It's not the kind of finish that we wanted, but
that's why we've been champions in the past. We expect more out of
ourselves,'' said Stewart, the 2002 series champion.

Ryan Newman

CAR: No. 12 ALLTEL Dodge
CHASE POINTS: Seventh, 6,036
POSITION CHANGE: None
WHAT HAPPENED: Newman started from the pole, lost a lap during
a green flag pit stop, but battled back to finish second.
SPEAKING: "I've always said the last two years as long as
were not mathematically out of it count us in. We're going to be
there to win the race at Darlington and Homestead and lead the most
laps and try to get as many points as possible just like everybody
else. It's just a matter of what team can do it,'' Newman said.

Elliott Sadler

CAR: No. 38 M&M's Ford
CHASE POINTS: Eighth, 5,869
POSITION CHANGE: None
WHAT HAPPENED: Sadler wrecked because of a flat tire and
finished 38th. He's looking forward to Darlington, and hoping to
get another victory before the season ends.
SPEAKING: "I really want to win one (at Darlington) because
that means I would have beaten the best. To win at Darlington says
a lot,'' Sadler said.

Matt Kenseth

CAR: No. 17 DeWalt Tools Ford
CHASE POINTS: Ninth, 5,855
POSITION CHANGE: None
WHAT HAPPENED: Kenseth blew his engine just after the halfway
point of the race and finished 36th.
SPEAKING: "I think as a team, we went out and had a great day
last week, even though we didn't get the finish. The guys performed
great all day long on the stops and I was satisfied with how the
car responded to our changes,'' crew chief Robbie Reiser said.

Jeremy Mayfield

CAR: No. 19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge
CHASE POINTS: 10th, 5,836
POSITION CHANGE: None
WHAT HAPPENED: Mayfield managed to finish 21st but set his
sights on Darlington, one of his favorite racetracks.
SPEAKING: "I can't wait for Darlington. That's my favorite
track. I can't wait to get there. I used a lot of luck up at
Richmond, but we're going to Darlington and we should do well
there,'' Mayfield said.