A look at Jeff Gordon, Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch this weekend in Texas

Last Week: It took 33 races, but the Jeff Gordon swan song hit its highest note yet with a dramatic win in Martinsville. Leading 35 laps en route to his ninth grandfather clock, the future Hall of Famer described the victory “unlike anything he'd ever experienced.” But if we know Gordon, he's already turned his focus to the Great American Speedway. His lone Texas win came back in 2009, but he's nabbed two top-10's in his last three races at the Fort Worth track, so the odds of him building on his Chase momentum are strong.

Earlier This Year: Stop me if you've heard this before, but Kevin Harvick was certainly one to watch at the Duck Commander 500 earlier this year. While the No. 4 driver does have three wins on the year, it feels like he could have had a dozen. One of his twenty top-5 showings came back in April at Texas with a second place finish. While he has yet to find a win at there, his average finish is stronger than any other driver remaining in the Chase. This weekend is a good opportunity for the defending champ to secure a spot in the Championship Four and defend his title.

Who To Watch: There was a time earlier this season when it felt like Kyle Busch could run the table on the 2015 NASCAR Season. Momentum has slowed down a bit since the Joe Gibbs driver won four in a five race stretch back in June/July, but this weekend could be one where he kicks the tires and lights those Chase fires. With a win, eight top-5 finishes and a fourth place showing in last year's AAA Texas 500, he has a better Texas resume than any remaining Chase driver.

A look at the chances for Joey Logano, Kevin Harvick and Jeff Gordon this weekend in Martinsville.

Last Week: Get your brooms out, cause we had ourselves a sweep. Logano took not one, not two but all three of the Contender Round races, culminating with his victory at Talladega. With four top-5's in just 13 Martinsville starts, including three in a row, he has the ability to keep the streak going this weekend.

Earlier This Year: While it was Denny Hamlin who took home his fifth grandfather clock after winning the STP 500 back in March, it was actually Kevin Harvick who paced all drivers with 154 laps led. Gordon is the only remaining Chase driver with more top-10 finishes at Martinsville, and he's earned three in his last four contests at the track.

Who To Watch: The same guy eyes have been on all season long. Jeff Gordon. IIt's hard to find a track on the circuit at which the ol' 24 hasn’t had a long line of success… that history just hasn't translated into a 2015 win. But with eight wins, seven poles and more top-10 finishes than any other driver at the half-miler, maybe Jeff can punch his ticket to the Championship round with a win at one of his favorite tracks.
Rusty Wallace dishes on day racing at RIR
NASCAR Hall of Famer Rusty Wallace shares his thoughts on Richmond's shift to a Sunday race.
When I heard about the possibility of a Sunday race coming back to Richmond, I got really excited about it.

It really brings back the history of Richmond. When I came into NASCAR it was always Sundays; bright, sunny, everyone saw the cars gleaming under the sunshine – it was a NASCAR tradition. I remember the days when night racing started, and it was definitely dramatic. We'd see flashes going off around the track when someone took the lead, and it was exciting, it was really cool. But sometimes change is good, especially when we're going back to tradition, and there's nothing wrong with tradition.

I moved down from St. Louis, Missouri to chase my NASCAR dreams, but my whole family would come out on Sunday afternoons to watch me race. I remember people piling onto the tailgate of our truck and everyone being there for the big event that day. There's just something about being under the bright sunshine that seems right to me.

Rusty Wallace dishes on day racing at RIR
Wallace has six wins at RIR, three of those coming during the day.
I won a lot of races on Sunday afternoons, and had a good time doing it. I think it's going to be exciting and something different to the fans of RIR.

Now, I know there might be some of you who have never seen a scheduled day race at RIR. Let me tell you what to expect: you're going to see more cautions, you're going to see more action and more passing. I can say that because I know the track is going to be slicker, it's going to be hotter, there's not going to be nearly as much grip and it's going to be more exciting- that's just all there is to it.

It's a win-win for fans at the track and at home. The drivers and owners can bring more people out to the track now, so I expect we'll see more going on around the race, more entertaining and more fan festivities. Personally, I can see myself coming into Richmond earlier and spending time with the fans on Saturday nights.

For the fans at home, Sunday afternoons are when they have a little time to sit down and spend some time watching some really good NASCAR racing at Richmond. With this change there's going to be a lot more eyeballs on the track on a Sunday afternoon.

I think it'll be fun and I think there are a lot of positives ahead of us. We can't forget where the sport came from, so I'm all for this change. 
Joey Logano, Dale Junior and Brade Keselowski's chances at Talladega

Last Week: He did it again. After picking up his fourth win of 2015 in Charlotte, Joey Logano tacked on his fifth last week in Kansas. For the season, the No. 22 driver has earned a victory on a short track (Bristol), road course (Watkins Glen), a restrictor-plate track (Daytona) and the 1.5-milers (Charlotte and Kansas). He's fast everywhere, and has shown he's a threat week in and week out.

Earlier This Year: Few drivers have the kind of track success like Dale Earnhardt Jr does at Talladega. With six wins at the track, Junior is always one to watch when NASCAR rolls into Alabama. After a remarkable streak at the Lincoln track early in his career (a streak of seven races where he collected five wins and two second-place showings), Junior found himself back in 'Dega's winner's circle earlier this season. With his history at the track and the need for a big-time performance, he's certainly one to keep an eye on this week.

Who To Watch: This season's been one of hot streaks. Joe Gibbs Racing rattled off six wins in a row back in August and September, while the Hendrick crew took three of four races in May . With Joey Logano racking up The Chase wins, maybe Brad Keselowski decides to join the party. Without a win since March, look for the defending GEICO 500 champ to make some noise and advance to the Eliminator Round with his Penske teammate.

Also... if I told you a driver led 225 laps over the past two races, you'd think he'd be a lock to advance in the Chase, right? Unfortunately for Matt Kenseth, that's not the case. Banged up cars forced Kenseth out at Charlotte and into a 14th-place showing at Kansas, meaning he now sits on the outside looking in. But with how he's driven this season and in the Chase (plus a win and six Top-10's at 'Dega), he's not one to count out just yet.

Matt Kenseth isn't one to count out

Joey Logano, Kevin Harvick, Jeff Gordon at Kansas

Last Week: We called Penske making some noise, and while Keselowki managed a top-10 finish it was teammate Joey Logano who brought the hammer in Charlotte. Five-time winner Matt Kenseth had the early advantage, but contact with Ryan Newman sent him into the outside wall and the No. 20 driver was forced to leave the contest early. Logano seized the opportunity and lead a race-high 227 laps en route to his fourth win of the season.

Earlier This Year: It might have been Jimmie Johnson who took home that killer Spongebob trophy back in May, we all remember the one, Kevin Harvick had an equally impressive showing at Kansas earlier this season. The 56 laps led was just the latest in a string of strong performances in Kansas City. The defending champion has earned the pole in three of the last four races, with a win and a pair of second place finishes during that span.

Who To Watch: Remember Ryan Newman's 2014 run? Well Jeff Gordon is putting on a remarkably similar show. Even without a 2015 win, Gordon still sits inside the top-8 of the standings with several strong tracks on the horizon. Kansas is one such track, where Gordon has three wins and more top-10 finishes than any driver not named Jimmie Johnson. After a fourth place showing back in May, Gordon is one to keep an eye on if he can continue to build on that success.
Kevin Harvick, Carl Edwards and Brad Keselowski

Last Week: It was a wild one. Race favorite Jimmie Johnson was forced out early, Kevin Harvick brought out the hammer and four fewer names have a shot at the 2015 Sprint Cup Championship. It was a true win-to-get-in scenario for the reigning champ, and he responded with 355 of 400 laps led in the most dominant performance of his career.

Earlier This Year: After a string of Top-10 finishes, Carl Edwards finally found his way into Charlotte’s Victory Lane at the Coca-Cola 600 back in May. He’s followed it up with some eye-opening finishes on the 1.5-milers, and his average finish ranks only second to Kevin Harvick over the past eight Charlotte contests. Teammates Denny Hamlin and Matt Kenseth already have Chase wins this season; so don’t be shocked to see Edwards add his name to the list.

Who To Watch: Team Penske has been rather quiet through three Chase races, but Brad Keselowski might change that this weekend. The No. 2 driver nabbed his first Charlotte win in October of 2013, and secured a Top-10 finish earlier this season.
Matt Kenseth, Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon all have reasons to smile at Dover
Last Week: Can anyone stop JGR? Another week, another win for the Joe Gibbs Racing machine as Matt Kenseth found his way to Victory Lane for a NASCAR-leading fifth time this season. With defending champ Kevin Harvick running out of fuel with three laps to go, Kenseth took advantage and punched his ticket to the Contender Round alongside teammate Denny Hamlin.

Earlier This Year: Six-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson took the checkered flag at the FedEx 400 Benefiting Autism Speaks back in May. Johnson has had unparalleled success on the Delaware track, with 10 wins, almost 3,000 laps led and his best average finish (6.8) of any track. Experts have Johnson pegged as the odds-on favorite to secure his spot as one of the 12 Contenders with another strong performance in Dover.

Who To Watch: Jeff Gordon currently finds himself sitting inside the top-12, but not comfortably. Currently 10th in points, there's no time like the present for Jeff to pick up his first win of the season. Just a year ago "The Kid," picked up his fourth and final win of the 2014 season at the Monster Mile. Hopefully it won't be the last win of his full-time racing career.