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NASCAR Driver Capsules

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[July 18, 2014]  The Sports Xchange
 
 Capsules for the top 20 drivers in the Sprint Cup standings, plus five additional drivers of note.
 
 By Jerry Bonkowski and Bob Moore

24 JEFF GORDON, Chevrolet

Team: Hendrick Motorsports

WHERE HE STANDS: Jeff Gordon remained in first place for the sixth consecutive week after New Hampshire and for 12 of the last 13 weeks. Gordon leads second-ranked Dale Earnhardt Jr. by just 12 points (was 27 points last week).

INDIANAPOLIS RECORD: 20 career starts, 4 wins, 11 top-5s, 16 top-10s, 3 poles. Best career finish: First in 1994, 1998, 2001 and 2004. Finished seventh in this race last year.

LOOKING AHEAD: Gordon is still looking for his second win of the season, and is also looking for his first win at Indy since 2001. "Yeah, every time it's something special when you go to Indianapolis," Gordon said. "It's just such a cool place, so much history, and obviously a lot of great memories for me and confidence. As a driver when I go there, of course it takes a great car and a great team to win that race, but it seems like most years that we've been there, we've had a car that's capable of winning. With the type of season that we're having, I'm extremely excited about going to Indianapolis. I think that the way that our cars are performing, the way our engines are performing, Indianapolis is a track that we certainly can win at. It's hard to believe it's been 20 years, but looking forward to celebrating those 20 years hopefully with another win."

LOOKING BACK: Gordon led 19 laps at New Hampshire, but his car faded and he eventually wound up with a disappointing 26th-place finish, the last car on the lead lap.

ETC.: Gordon has completed 96.2 percent (3,079) of the 3,201 total laps contested in 20 career starts at Indianapolis. His average start there is 12.2 and average finish is an outstanding 8.8. He has one DNF there.

88 DALE EARNHARDT JR., Chevrolet

Team: Hendrick Motorsports

WHERE HE STANDS: Former points leader Dale Earnhardt Jr. remained in second place for the second week. Earnhardt trails points leader and Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jeff Gordon by 27 points and is 24 points ahead of third-ranked Brad Keselowski.

INDIANAPOLIS RECORD: 14 career starts, 0 wins, 1 top-5s, 4 top-10s, 0 poles. Best career finish: Fourth in 2012. Finished sixth in this race last year.

LOOKING AHEAD: Earnhardt has never won at Indianapolis, but he's coming off his two best showings there in 2012 (fourth) and last year (sixth, tying his earlier previous best in 2006).

LOOKING BACK: Earnhardt had a decent run and finished 10th at New Hampshire. Although after the race, he complained about how he and his team should have finished higher than they did. "I think we worked real hard to finish where we finished," Earnhardt said after the race. "The guys worked their guts out every practice. We changed a lot of stuff on the car. It was real disappointing not to have the speed a lot of those other guys had. The No. 2 (Brad Keselowski) and the Gibbs guys they were all real fast. Hats off to them because they surely got their cars figured out. It's just real frustrating all day long to be playing second fiddle. We worked really hard all day to finish 10th. Pretty disappointing we will go home and work on it and try to do better."

ETC.: Earnhardt has completed 93.0 percent (2,084 laps) of the 2,241 total laps contested in 14 career starts at Indianapolis. His average start there is 16.9 and average finish is 19.3. He has three DNFs there.

2 BRAD KESELOWSKI, Ford

Team: Penske Racing

WHERE HE STANDS: After two weeks in fourth place, Brad Keselowski moved up to third place after New Hampshire. He trails points leader Jeff Gordon by 36 points (was 65 points prior to Loudon), is 24 points behind second-ranked Dale Earnhardt Jr. and leads fourth-ranked Matt Kenseth by 13 points.

INDIANAPOLIS RECORD: Four career starts, 0 wins, 0 top-5s, 2 top-10s, 0 poles. Best career finish: Ninth in 2011 and 2012. Finished 21st in this race last year.

LOOKING AHEAD: Keselowski is looking for his first top-five, if not his first win, at the legendary Brickyard. He's also looking for his second straight win after his triumph this past Sunday at New Hampshire (and third win in the last four races).

LOOKING BACK: After finishing 18th at Daytona, Keselowski bounced back to earn his second win in three races, adding New Hampshire to his win three weeks ago at Kentucky. "Where do I start? The team was just really on it today," Keselowski said after the race. "It really feels like we've hit our stride, and I'm kind of quiet and somber because I want to soak it all in. I don't want this moment to go away so quick. It seems like you get in Victory Lane and you're rushed around left and right you don't really get a chance to soak it in. This was just such a phenomenal weekend, and these don't happen that often, and that's what makes it special. You try to appreciate them and enjoy them and hope that there's more but not count on it, because these are big deals, winning races at the Sprint Cup level - sweeping a weekend, and it's all possible because of the hard work and effort from everyone at Team Penske. I can drive the heck out of a car, but you can only do so much. You've got to have a good horse, and we had that today. I'm just really, really thankful and happy with the form we have."

ETC.: Keselowski has completed a perfect 100 percent (640) of the 640 total laps contested in four career starts at Indianapolis. His average start is 12.5 and his average finish is 14.5. He has zero DNFs there.

20 MATT KENSETH, Toyota

Team: Joe Gibbs Racing

WHERE HE STANDS: After two weeks in fifth-place, Matt Kenseth moved up to fourth-place after Loudon. He trails points leader Jeff Gordon by 49 points (after being 71 points behind prior to Loudon), is 13 points behind third-ranked Brad Keselowski and leads fifth-ranked Jimmie Johnson by 23 points.

INDIANAPOLIS RECORD: 14 career starts, 0 wins, 6 top-5s, 8 top-10s, 0 poles. Best career finish: Second in 2003 and 2006. Finished fifth in this race last year.

LOOKING AHEAD: Kenseth is still looking for his first win of the season - not to mention his first career win at Indianapolis.

LOOKING BACK: Kenseth led 12 laps at New Hampshire and finished fourth. "Green-white-checkers on 80 lap tires are always exciting," Kenseth said. "I got a good move in (turns) one and two and got a couple of those there and Kyle (Larson) and I got racing. I had a good run off of (turn) two and was going to try to go in the corner and use him up as much as I could -- and he got up in the third groove and grabbed that sticky stuff and raced it off the corner. So, we both raced as hard as we could there without wrecking. That was fun, except for him beating me -- that part was no good. The rest was fun. Overall, it was a good day. ... I feel like we're definitely moving in the right direction."

ETC.: Kenseth has completed just 90.9 percent (2,038) of the 2,241 total laps contested in 14 career starts at Indianapolis. His average start is 19.2 and his average finish is 15.1. He has two DNFs there.

48 JIMMIE JOHNSON, Chevrolet

Team: Hendrick Motorsports

WHERE HE STANDS: After dropping from second to third after Daytona, Jimmie Johnson dropped two more spots to fifth place after New Hampshire. He trails points leader and teammate Jeff Gordon by 72 points (was 55 before Loudon), is 23 points behind fourth-ranked Matt Kenseth and leads sixth-ranked Carl Edwards by 24 points.

INDIANAPOLIS RECORD: 12 career starts, 4 wins, 5 top-5s, 6 top-10s, 1 pole. Best career finish: First in 2006, 2008, 2009 and 2012. Finished second in this race last year.

LOOKING AHEAD: After coming up one spot short in last year's race, Johnson looks to once again become the winningest NASCAR driver at Indianapolis - he and teammate Jeff Gordon are tied among all drivers with four wins each.

LOOKING BACK: Johnson completed just 11 laps before he was involved in a race-ending wreck, resulting in his second consecutive 42nd-place finish of the season, first at Daytona the week before and then at Loudon. "The first one (tire issue he had just a few laps into the race), I was able to drive the car all the way through Turns 1 and 2. I knew I had a flat and then got down the back and came in. The other one just blew on the straight as soon as I hit the brakes. I'm not sure what caused it. I'm sure there will be a lot of speculation and I'm sure finger pointing back to the teams or our team. But we saw some issues here especially with that particular tire the last couple of days. We will try to dig in and learn more, but I can promise you one thing is wasn't low tire pressure. I've been out here for two days running around and haven't had a flat."

ETC.: Johnson has completed 90.1 percent (1,731) of 1,921 total laps in 12 career starts at Indianapolis. Even with four wins there, his average start is 12.6 and his average finish is 15.6. He also has three DNFs there.

99 CARL EDWARDS, Ford

Team: Roush Fenway Racing

WHERE HE STANDS: Carl Edwards climbed one spot, from seventh to sixth, after New Hampshire. He is now 96 points behind series leader Jeff Gordon (was 108 points back prior to Loudon), is 24 points behind fifth-ranked Jimmie Johnson and leads seventh-ranked Ryan Newman by one point.

INDIANAPOLIS RECORD: Nine career starts, 0 win, 1 top-5, 3 top-10s, 0 poles. Best career finish: Second in 2008. Finished 13th in this race last year.

LOOKING AHEAD: Edwards will be making the 10th career start of his Sprint Cup career next Sunday at Indianapolis and is still in search of his first career win there (and his second career top-five, for that matter).

LOOKING BACK: Edwards had a relatively uneventful race at New Hampshire, finishing 13th.

ETC.: Even though he has never won a Sprint Cup race there, Edwards has completed an almost perfect 99.7 percent (1,436) of 1,440 total laps contested in nine career starts at Indianapolis. His average start there is 19.9 and his average finish is 13.2. He has zero DNFs there.

31 RYAN NEWMAN, Chevrolet

Team: Richard Childress Racing

WHERE HE STANDS: After three straight weeks in eighth place, Ryan Newman moved up one spot to seventh after New Hampshire. He trails points leader Jeff Gordon by 97 points (was 117 points behind before Loudon), is one point behind sixth-ranked Carl Edwards and leads eighth-ranked Kyle Busch by six points.

INDIANAPOLIS RECORD: 13 career starts, 1 wins, 2 top-5, 3 top-10, 1 pole. Best career finish: First in 2013. Finished first in this race last year (after starting from the pole).

LOOKING AHEAD: Newman hopes to win a second straight Brickyard 400 on July 27. His win in last year's race all but equaled Newman's Daytona 500 victory several years ago, with significant importance due to being an Indiana native.

LOOKING BACK: Newman had a good, strong run at Loudon, which is one of his favorite tracks regardless, finishing fifth. "We just finally got to where we should have been running all day in the last little bit there," Newman said after the race. "Good run for the Caterpillar Chevrolet team. The guys did a good job today. Thank all the fans for coming out. I enjoyed the modified races as well as this Cup race. We had a really good long run car we just never got the track position we needed to really show it. The longer runs there at the end paid off and that restart was obviously to our advantage."

ETC.: Newman has completed 92.8 percent (1,931) of the 2,081 total laps contested in 13 career starts at Indianapolis. His average start there is an outstanding 7.4 and his average finish is 17.7. He has two DNFs there.

18 KYLE BUSCH, Toyota

Team: Joe Gibbs Racing

WHERE HE STANDS: After climbing from 10th to ninth after Daytona, Kyle Busch jumped up one more spot to eighth after New Hampshire. He trails points leader Jeff Gordon by 103 points (was 127 points back prior to Loudon), is six points behind seventh-ranked Ryan Newman and leads ninth-ranked Joey Logano by 16 points.

INDIANAPOLIS RECORD: 9 career starts, 0 wins, 2 top-5s, 7 top-10s, 0 poles. Best career finish: Second in 2012. Finished 10th in this race last season.

LOOKING AHEAD: Busch makes his 10th career start next week at Indianapolis and is still in pursuit of his first Sprint Cup win there.

LOOKING BACK: Busch gave it everything he had but came up short to Brad Keselowski at New Hampshire, finishing a close second. "The guys did a great job today," Busch said after the race. "This Interstate Batteries Camry was good. Should have been anywhere from fourth to sixth, but we made a gutsy call there at the end to stay out and see if we can make it on fuel -- barely made it, ran out right at the start-finish. Couldn't have timed it more perfect. That was good. Solid effort for our team. We still know we got a little bit of work to do trying to get better and be able to catch up with some of our other competitors. All in all, a decent day to be coming home second for our Interstate Batteries Camry."

ETC.: Busch has completed 96.7 percent (1,392 laps) of the 1,440 total laps contested in nine career starts at Indianapolis. His average start there is a mediocre 20.9, but has a much-better average finish of 11.6. He has zero DNFs there.

22 JOEY LOGANO, Ford

Team: Penske Racing

WHERE HE STANDS: After moving up to sixth following Daytona, Joey Logano dropped three spots to ninth after New Hampshire. He trails points leader Jeff Gordon by 119 points, is 16 points behind eighth-ranked Kyle Busch and leads 10th-ranked Clint Bowyer by three points.

INDIANAPOLIS RECORD: 5 career starts, 0 wins, 0 top-5s, 2 top-10, 0 poles. Best career finish: Eighth in 2013. Finished eighth in this race last year.

LOOKING AHEAD: Logano bounced back after two straight poor performances to finish eighth at Indianapolis last season. He's definitely looking for his first career top-five at the fabled Brickyard, if not his first win there next weekend.

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LOOKING BACK: Logano was involved in a wreck with Morgan Shepherd on Lap 211 of Sunday's race at New Hampshire, ultimately finishing 40th (Shepherd, ironically, wound up 39th in the final order). "I got taken out by the slowest car out there," Logano said after the race. "You would think there would be some courtesy to the leaders. We were in second place. (Shepard) gets out of the way on the straightaway and then goes into the corner and slides right up into the lane I was in. We were doing a good job after having a left rear flat in practice and having to go to a backup car. We were out there running second. I can't get too mad at ourselves over this...I feel like that should be stuff that shouldn't happen at this level of racing. It's just too bad because I feel like we were a second-place car. We were the second best. We didn't have anything for Brad. But it would have been nice to get a 1-2 Team Penske finish. I feel like we have missed out on that three or four times this year."

ETC.: Logano has completed 98.0 percent (784 laps) of the 800 laps contested in five career starts at Indianapolis. His average start there is 17.2 and average finish is a nearly identical 17.4. He has zero DNFs there.

15 CLINT BOWYER, Toyota

Team: Michael Waltrip Racing

WHERE HE STANDS: Clint Bowyer climbed two spots in the standings, from 12th to 10th after New Hampshire. He trails points leader Jeff Gordon by 122 points, is three points behind ninth-ranked Joey Logano and leads 11th-ranked Paul Menard by seven points.

INDIANAPOLIS RECORD: 8 career starts, 0 wins, 2 top-5s, 2 top-10s, 0 poles. Best career finish: Fourth in 2006 and 2010. Finished 20th in this race last year.

LOOKING AHEAD: Time is starting to close in on Bowyer to assure himself that he'll make the revamped and expanded Chase for the Sprint Cup. If he can get a win in the next seven races, that likely will be enough to lock in Bowyer into the Chase. But until then, he has to keep working at it. Indianapolis has been particularly arduous for Bowyer. Can he turn things around there next weekend?

LOOKING BACK: Bowyer had a very strong run at New Hampshire, leading 36 laps before ultimately settling for a still-decent sixth-place finish. "Just frustrating," Bowyer said of his finish after Sunday's race. "Kind of our M.O. This year, nothing goes right. We got into position to get a top-five and a solid run and the 4 (Kevin Harvick) runs out of gas and stacks us all up on the bottom and a bunch of them get around us. We got the consistency down -- we just got to keep gaining on it. We're here to win races for 5-Hour Energy and everybody and all our partners on this Toyota. We're just not quite there yet. We still got some work to do to catch up to the Fords and the Hendrick cars. We're gaining on it. We got the consistency."

ETC.: Bowyer has completed a perfect 100 percent (1,280 laps) of the 1,280 total laps contested in eight previous career starts at Indianapolis. His average start there is 20.0 and average finish is a significantly better 13.2. He has zero DNFs there.

27 PAUL MENARD, Chevrolet

Team: Richard Childress Racing

WHERE HE STANDS: 11th, only seven points out of the top 10. Lost one spot to fall out of the top 10 last week. Would make the Chase if the Chase for the Championship began this week.

LOOKING AHEAD: Menard said, "We're looking forward to the off weekend, but we'll be ready to get back at it in Indy. We won there a couple of years ago, so all of us can't wait to get back there. We are doing everything we can to make the Chase."

LOOKING BACK: Menard battled a loose-handling race car for most of the day as he finished 19th at New Hampshire. "Loudon is traditionally not very good to us so it's good to come out of it with a decent finish," said Menard. "It's not where we could've been, but we salvaged it there at the end when guys were running out of fuel."

ETC.: Menard said he really enjoys being around his two teammates - Ryan Newman and rookie Austin Dillon. "It's two new guys (to RCR) and two guys that are very different in their personalities and the way they think," said Menard. "You have Ryan, who is a degreed engineer, been around the sport a long time, a multi-time race winner and a Chase guy every year. And then we have Austin, who is this young and enthusiastic guy and full of energy. I feel like we all have the same interests, we can talk about racing, talk about hunting, talk about just being outside or doing something totally different, spend time together doing that and get to know each other a lot better."

11 DENNY HAMLIN, Toyota

Team: Joe Gibbs Racing

WHERE HE STANDS: 12th, 18 points out of the top 10. Gained two spots last week. Will make the Chase as a result of his Talladega win.

LOOKING AHEAD: Hamlin said he will "enjoy the weekend off, but it is the road crew and the guys back at the shop that really need this weekend off. We get so few weekends off, and they work so hard. It will just be nice for them to get a couple of days off."

LOOKING BACK: Hamlin led twice for 20 laps and was running second when a late-race caution flag forced him to pit for fuel. The crew decided to change all four tires, and that decision helped Hamlin rally in the final two laps to finish eighth at Loudon. "It's a tough finish to swallow, for sure," said a frustrated Hamlin. "We adjusted our car throughout the day and got it pretty good on that last run. I got up to second and within five car lengths of the 2 (Brad Keselowski) before I was told I had to save more fuel. The last caution was pretty unlucky for us, because we were going to finish second, but we still rallied from 16th to eighth in two laps at the end."

ETC.: Hamlin is involved with a lot of charities, but the one that is the "most personal" is cystic fibrosis because of his cousin. "He's kind of going through a tough time," said Hamlin. "It's tough for any family that has cystic fibrosis and I've met a lot of kids that have it and they live at the hospital a lot. It's tough to be in that situation. I'm very fortunate to be partnered with the people I'm partnered with because FedEx really allows me the liberty to be out there and help promote these great organizations. It makes me feel really good when I'm able to go out there and have a sponsor that supports that."

4 KEVIN HARVICK, Chevrolet

Team: Stewart-Haas Racing

WHERE HE STANDS: 13th, 20 points out of the top 10. Lost two spots last week. Will make the Chase because of his two wins so far in 2014.

LOOKING AHEAD: Harvick is looking forward to spending the week off with his family. "They are usually at the track with me," said Harvick, "but there is just something different when you can get away by yourself with your family. It will be a fun time."

LOOKING BACK: The gamble to try and run the final 82 laps on one tank of fuel backfired for Harvick when a caution flag was waved with two laps to go sending the race in overtime. Harvick was second when the green flag waved for the green-white-checkered flag finish. But he immediately ran out of gas as he ended the day in 30th place. "We would have been in great shape if the race had gone the regular distance (301 laps), but those extra four laps killed us," said Harvick. "That last caution really, really hurt."

ETC.: Harvick has nothing but high praise for crew chief Rodney Childers when it comes to putting together the 4 team. "He recruited every single person on this team," said Harvick. "They all came for the same reasons. They all want to win races. They all want to win and race for championships and when you put that kind of people together with that determination everybody pushes everybody else."

42 KYLE LARSON, Chevrolet

Team: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates

WHERE HE STANDS: 14th, 24 points out of the top 10. Gained three spots last week. Would make the Chase if the Chase for the Championship began this week.

LOOKING AHEAD: As a new and first-time home owner and an expectant father, Larson had a lot on his plate as he heads in the last off week of the season. "I much prefer racing, but we have a lot of things we need to do while we are off," said Larson. "I'm sure having a blast right now driving these Target Chevrolets. I want to thank Chip (Ganassi, car owner) and everybody at the shop. These race cars have been a lot faster this year than they have in the past. Just really want to thank those guys."

LOOKING BACK: Larson was running 16th when a caution flag fell on lap 113 of the 301-lap race at Loudon. Crew chief Chris Heroy decided to gamble by telling Larson not to pit. "It was a bold call by Shine to get us some track position and it really paid off," said Larson, who ran in the top 10 for the rest of the day before ending the race in the third spot. "We talked about it in our team meeting - that it is going to take a really dumb call, or what would look dumb, but hopefully work out. It did. We got to lead some laps (13) and maintained our track position all race long after that. Great pit calls by Shine. The Target Chevy was really good. The last restart worked out for us (as he jumped from sixth to third). All in all, a really good day."

ETC.: Three straight finishes of 28th or worse had dropped Larson from eighth to 17th in the point standings, and more importantly, dropped him out of a spot in the Chase. "It's been a rough three weeks," said Larson. "We were really good (three top-five finishes and seven top-10's in the first 15 races) and then we had two DNF's (did not finish) and then a bad race at Sonoma. That is why this (the top-five finish at Loudon) is so important. To get back up in the points. To get back where we are in the Chase. This is what we needed as we head into the off week."

3 AUSTIN DILLON, Chevrolet

Team: Richard Childress Racing

WHERE HE STANDS: 15th. Lost two spots last week. Tied with fellow rookie Kyle Larson in the point standings, but because Larson has more top-five finishes Dillon is on the outside looking in when it comes to making the Chase if the Chase for the Championship began this week.

LOOKING AHEAD: Dillon knows the team needs the week off, but he kind of wishes "we would be racing this weekend. We want to make the Chase, and we are so close to doing that. But the guys that go on the road each week and the guys back at the shop need some time off. This is their last weekend off for the rest of the season."

LOOKING BACK: Dillon rallied in the final 50 laps to finish 14th at Loudon. "To finish 14th is quite an accomplishment after the day we had in the Dow Chevrolet," said Dillon. "The car really reacted well once the sun came out, and we seemed to perform better on four tires versus two tires all day long. We were able to take advantage of the green-white-checker restart at the end, too and gain some positions."

ETC.: Since his grandfather Richard Childress started RCR, Dillon feels a little extra responsibility to everyone that is part of the organization. "I've grown up with those guys, know how much heart and soul they put in the race cars," said Dillon. "I said it at our kickoff lunch. We have a great house at RCR. When I cross the bridge (that leads to the facility), that's our house. When we get to the track, my job and our teams' jobs are to represent our house. That's what we try and do every time we bring our stuff to the race track."

16 GREG BIFFLE, Ford

Team: Roush Fenway Racing

WHERE HE STANDS: 16th, only five points out of a spot in the Chase. Lost one spot last week.

LOOKING AHEAD: Biffle said he is "just going to get away for a few days" during the upcoming off weekend. "Everyone at Roush Fenway has been working hard to get better, but they also need a break and this is the last weekend to get away," said Biffle. "So it will be nice for everyone in the organization to get a couple of days off before we start the big push for the Chase."

LOOKING BACK: After hitting the wall early in the race, Biffle struggled with an ill-handling race car for most of the first half of the race. But he rallied in the second half to finish 15th at Loudon. "We battled really hard today to come away with a 15th-place finish," said Biffle. "I'm proud of the guys. My crew didn't give up and we were able to make the most of it today. We stayed in the hunt (for a place in the Chase for the Championship)."

ETC.: Doug Yates, the chief executive officer for Roush Yates Engines, said his organization is "really pushing hard to get Greg Biffle a win, along with Marcos Ambrose and Ricky Stenhouse. I applaud NASCAR because this new format is doing exactly what it's supposed to do. It's supposed to have some wildcards and really make it exciting, but as far as breaking the season down we're really focused on the Chase and what we have to do as an engine company to give our teams what they need to win this championship."

5 KASEY KAHNE, Chevrolet

Team: Hendrick Motorsports

WHERE HE STANDS: 17th, only nine points out of a spot in the Chase. Gained one spot last week.

LOOKING AHEAD: Kahne does not have an off week as he will race in the Nationwide Series event at Chicagoland Speedway on Saturday night. He will drive the number 5 Great Clips Chevrolet for JR Motorsports. In Kahne's last Nationwide start, he edged teammate Regan Smith by 0.021 seconds for the win in the Firecracker 250 at Daytona.

LOOKING BACK: After running in and just outside the top 10 all day, Kahne ended the day in 11th place. "We had stretches where we were pretty good, and then we had stretches where we were real tight," said Kahne. "We had a top-10 car, but things got a little crazy on that green-white-checkered deal and we just missed getting us another top 10. We needed another lap or two and we would have been two or three spots better."

ETC.: As the Sprint Cup Series takes its last week off this season, Kahne is still on the outside looking in when it comes to being part of this year's Chase for the Championship. But he is still very confident that come September he will be in the hunt for the championship. "We aren't that far out points wise, and we feel we have some real chances to win a race between now and Richmond," said Kahne. End of Part 1 - more to follow

[ 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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