Time is running out, and the playoffs for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series title will begin after the next two races. Much is at stake and several drivers have amped up their performance, but will it be enough?
Winning is all that matters with the Chase about to begin. Some drivers have nothing to lose and everything to gain by doing whatever it takes to garner a win.
The battle for the wild-card berth is intense for drivers who are 11th through 20th in the point standings with only one win.
It will likely be after the last lap at Richmond before we know exactly who will be in the Chase. Let's take a look at drivers who may be ready to pounce on a win and rally in the NASCAR playoffs.
Greg Biffle, a Roush Fenway Racing driver, led the point standings much of the first half of NASCAR's preseason. Now he is once again atop the rankings with two wins this season.
Biffle has finished sixth or better three times with one win in the last five races. The win at Michigan came at Jimmie Johnson's cost when his engine failed, but Biffle was ready to take advantage when it mattered.
The driver of the No. 16 may not be favored to win the championship, but he feels confident that their team will be a force to deal with.
Perhaps he will need a bit of luck along with his driving talent and strong cars if he is to butt heads with Johnson for the title. Biffle has series titles in NASCAR Nationwide and NCWTS.
Brad Keselowski would like nothing better than to take his Penske Racing Miller Lite No. 2 Dodge to a NASCAR Sprint Cup championship with their impending departure from the sport at the end of the season.
So far this season, Keselowski has scored three wins and is currently seventh in the point standings.
This driver has had four top-five finishes in the last six races. A finish of 30th at Bristol was due to a wreck.
Keselowski's team is headed by crew chief Paul Wolfe, who is a risk taker and strategist with daring pit calls. The chemistry between the driver and Wolfe is strong, and they will be formidable in the Chase.
Kasey Kahne seems to have a lock on the first wild-card berth; unless by chance someone falls out of the top 10 and he moves in. He is 11th in the point standings.
Kahne has driven his No. 5 Chevrolet to two wins, and he has scored three top-10 finishes in the last four races, two of which were second and third place.
This driver seems to have some momentum going as he heads to Atlanta, where he has two wins and six top-five finishes.
There is little doubt five-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson is out to capture his sixth title.
The Hendrick Motorsports driver has taken his Lowe's No. 48 Chevrolet to three wins and has an average finish this season of 10.3.
Johnson has finished third or better three times in last five races, and one finish was a win. Currently he is second in the point standings, 11 markers behind the leader.
Marcos Ambrose has really gained momentum in recent weeks with his No. 9 Ford out of Richard Petty Motorsports.
He won at Watkins Glen and has had two consecutive top-five finishes. Currently he is ranked 16th in the standings.
Ambrose is getting close, but he has yet to win on an oval track. He has looked strong with the last two finishes, but he is a long shot to win before the start of the Chase.
Jeff Gordon has four Cup titles, and he badly wants to at least tie teammate Jimmie Johnson before his driving days are over.
Gordon and his No. 24 team have been plagued by a plethora of incidents for most of the season, but he appears to be getting on track with his Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet.
Gordon is 14th in the standings with finishes of sixth or better in four of the last six races. That includes a win at the Pennsylvania 400.
This driver is very good at Atlanta and Richmond, so it would be no surprise to see him get a second win and slide into the Chase via the Wild Card.