By Jenna Fryer
AP Auto Racing Writer
The 10 drivers competing in NASCAR’s Chase for the Nextel Cup championship, in order of points:
DRIVER: Jeff Burton
TEAM: Richard Childress Racing
CAR: No. 31 Cingular Wireless Chevrolet
CHASE POINTS: First, 5,511
POSITION CHANGE: None
WHAT HAPPENED: Burton was one of the few drivers to not have fuel mileage problems in Kansas and managed a fifth-place finish. Although he finished fourth at Talladega in May, he’s not thrilled about returning there this weekend.
SPEAKING: “Talladega is probably the most nervous I am before a race. If you do this long enough, you have to understand the odds. The odds are there is going to be a big wreck at Talladega. The odds are every two or three races you’ll end up being in one of those wrecks. So is it your turn? You kind of feel like you’re playing Russian Roulette a little bit,” Burton said.
DRIVER: Denny Hamlin
TEAM: Joe Gibbs Racing
CAR: No. 11 FedEx Chevrolet
CHASE POINTS: Second, -69
POSITION CHANGE: Plus 1
WHAT HAPPENED: Hamlin twice was penalized for speeding on pit road, and had a vibration in his wheel. Still, he finished 18th and improved his place in the Chase standings. Hamlin will be making his second start at Talladega. He was 22nd in the spring, partly because of a penalty.
SPEAKING: “I think if you asked the guys running in the Chase, most of them would say this is the wild-card race on the schedule. It will come down to having a car that will handle in the draft and a little bit of luck this weekend. You do what you can to avoid that trouble and save your car, but it’s not always in your control,” Hamlin said.
DRIVER: Mark Martin
TEAM: Roush Racing
By Jenna Fryer
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