What a race we saw at Bristol Motor Speedway, as four different drivers spent significant time at the front. In the end, the dominant driver finished third, while the eventual winner had never finished better than 13th there previously.
After the action Saturday night, who's hot and who's not? Which drivers are looking good as NASCAR wraps up its regular season and heads to the Chase in just a few weeks?
Believe it or not, making the Chase isn't an impossibility for any of these 20 drivers, although at this point, there are only two Chase spots up for grabs.
The top nine drivers are basically locked in (Junior Nation, feel free to breathe a sigh of relief), while Brad Keselowski will get in either as a wild card or possibly as a member of the top 10.
Tony Stewart could get in by maintaining his position in the top 10, and Denny Hamlin could make the Chase by staying ahead of the other one-win drivers. The other nine drivers could get in by winning one of the next two races.
Kyle Busch didn't have the weekend he was hoping for at Bristol.
He won just one of the three races he entered, taking the Nationwide event on Friday night.
The Cup race was a complete failure, as Busch struggled to even run in the top 10 after winning four of the previous five Bristol Cup races.
Nevertheless, Rowdy is still at the top of the Power Rankings with his four victories and position at the top of the points standings. He's still in fine shape as the beginning of the Chase looms ever nearer.
Bristol: 14th, four laps led
2011 Standings: Co-leader, four wins
Rest of the Chase field, beware: Five-Time is heating up as the Chase is about to begin.
Sure, Johnson has just one win on the year. But he has five top-5's in the past seven races, and several times has been one adjustment away from returning to victory lane.
Jimmie, Chad & Co. are tied for the points lead and are the team to beat come Chase time. He's still the champ until someone figures out how to dethrone the King of the Chase.
Bristol: Fourth, 76 laps led
2011 Standings: Co-leader, one win
The Drive for Five is still alive as Gordon and crew chief Alan Gustafson are heating up at the right time.
Gordon dominated Bristol before a poor pit stop prevented him from winning, as the No. 24 team is flexing its muscle at the Chase draws near.
Gordon has nine top-10's in the past 12 races with a worst finish of 17th. The four-time champion knows what it takes to win a title, and no one would be surprised to see Gordon celebrating his first title in a decade at Homestead-Miami Speedway in November.
Bristol: Third, 206 laps led
2011 Standings: Fourth, two wins
This man is the hottest driver on the planet right now.
In the month of August, Keselowski has two wins and an average finish of 1.75. He's all the way up to 11th in the standings, just 21 points behind Tony Stewart in 10th.
Keselowski has established himself as a 2011 title contender. Whether or not he can keep up his torrid pace remains to be seen, but you can bet the other Chasers will be taking him seriously.
Bristol: First, 89 laps led
2011 Standings: 11th, three wins
The ever-consistent Matt Kenseth looks ready to contend for the championship, with just one finish worse than 16th in the past 15 races.
While teammates Carl Edwards, Greg Biffle and David Ragan have fallen off the pace, the 2003 champion is staying strong this summer. I expect him to hang around the championship lead into October and possibly beyond.
Bristol: Sixth, 110 laps led
2011 Standings: Third, two wins
Carl Edwards has fallen off the map in the last month or two.
After leading the points for much of the season he's fallen to fourth and still has just one win on the year.
Edwards has just three top-10 results in the past seven races with a handful of laps led. He'll need to do better than that if he hopes to finally get that first Sprint Cup championship. Cousin Carl has the talent and the team to do so, but he'll need to turn it around soon.
2011 Standings: Fourth, one win
Rocketman won the pole for the Bristol race but ran a mostly mediocre race before recovering to finish eighth.
Ryan Newman is a marginal championship contender at best, as he's lacked the consistency to make a serious bid for the title. He's had a decent year with one win to his credit, but he hasn't done enough to move into the upper echelon of championship hopefuls.
Bristol: Eighth, four laps led (won pole)
2011 Standings: Seventh, one win
Kevin Harvick may be sitting at fifth in the standings, but right now he's no championship contender.
In the past seven races Harvick has just one top-10 with no laps led. With just 130 laps led all season, Happy is missing the magic that fueled his near-championship run in 2010.
Harvick may have three wins on the year but with the way he's running right now, the No. 29 team doesn't appear ready to challenge for a title this season.
Bristol: 22nd, one lap down
2011 Standings: Fifth, three wins
Like Kevin Harvick, Kurt Busch has lost his way lately.
Up until a couple of months ago, Busch was one of the hottest drivers in the Sprint Cup garage. Now Busch is needing all of the cushion he built up over most of the season just to stay in the top 10 in the standings.
Busch has just one top-15 in the past five races and has fallen to eighth in the points. He'll make the Chase, but I don't expect him to make much noise once the Chase begins.
2011 Standings: Eighth, one win
Junior Nation will be able to celebrate a Chase berth in 2011.
NASCAR's most popular driver is safely inside the top 10 in the points, 39 points ahead of Brad Keselowski in 11th.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. has come close to a few victories in 2011, and may be able to score a win for the first time since 2008, but will he contend for the title?
It's not likely, given the way Junior has been running as of late. He's finished 16th or better in the past six races but has just one top-10 during that time.
That's fine for a driver trying desperately to hang on and make the Chase, but a far fetch from being championship-winning material.
2011 Standings: Ninth
Hamlin finally stopped the bleeding with a seventh-place run at Bristol, his first top-10 since New Hampshire in July.
He'll likely make the Chase, barring a victory over the next two races by a driver such as Clint Bowyer, A.J. Allmendinger, Kasey Kahne, Greg Biffle, Paul Menard, David Ragan or Marcos Ambrose.
That's lot of drivers to be rooting against, but I like Hamlin's chances. His chances to win the Chase? Not so much.
2011 Standings: 13th, one win
Martin Truex Jr. had one of his best runs all year at Bristol.
He held off the dominant car in Jeff Gordon to finish runner-up, but despite that impressive performance, it may be too little, too late to make the Chase.
At this point, Truex Jr. is winless and sits 27 points behind Denny Hamlin for the second wild card spot.
Even if he were to win at Atlanta or Richmond, it's unlikely Truex Jr. could make up the 27 points separating himself and Hamlin to take away Hamlin's Chase spot.
Bristol: Second, five laps led
2011 Standings: 17th
I'd be making a face like that, too, after an awful run like Tony Stewart had at Bristol Saturday night.
Bristol isn't one of his better tracks, but even still I'm sure that finishing three laps off the pace is not what Smoke envisioned.
Stewart is still in position to make the Chase, sitting in 10th place, 21 points ahead of 11th-place Brad Keselowski.
Unfortunately, making the Chase and running well in the Chase are two entirely different matters, a fact Stewart fully recognizes. Don't bet on Stewart winning a third championship in 2011.
Bristol: 28th, three laps down
2011 Standings: 10th
Clint Bowyer is doing everything possible to not make the Chase.
He seems to be doing his best to match the string of horrible runs by drivers such as Denny Hamlin and Tony Stewart. Bowyer could still make the Chase as a wild card with a victory (and he does have a previous win at Richmond), but with the way he's running right now, that doesn't appear likely.
Bristol: 26th, two laps down
2011 Standings: 12th (22 points behind 10th)
The 2011 season has largely been a disappointment for A.J. Allmendinger.
Five drivers have earned their first career Sprint Cup victories this year, but not the 'Dinger.
All hope isn't quite gone, and Allmendinger could conceivably make the Chase with a win in one of the next two races.
Don't count on it, however. Allmendinger has led a grand total of 24 laps all season.
2011 Standings: 14th (46 points behind 10th)
Kasey Kahne can't wait for 2012 when he will move into his new ride at Hendrick Motorsports.
The No. 4 team hasn't been terrible this season, but without a win, and likely without making the Chase (not to mention the possibility that Red Bull will be exiting NASCAR after the season ends), the 2011 season has been a disappointing one for Kahne.
2011 Standings: 15th
Greg Biffle is a better driver than the one who finished 31st at Bristol, four laps off the pace.
He's a better driver than the one with a single top-5 and just seven top-10s in 2011.
He's a better driver than the one who hasn't won since October of last year.
But right now he's not driving like it.
Bristol: 31st, four laps down
2011 Standings: 16th
Marcos Ambrose finally got his long-awaited first Sprint Cup Series win at Watkins Glen this year.
Other than that, the Tasmanian's season hasn't been as good as expected, with just four top-5's and eight top-10's.
Nevertheless, like the next two drivers on this list, Ambrose can still make the Chase by scoring a second victory in the next two races.
2011 Standings: 22nd, one win
Paul Menard hasn't led a lap since his dramatic victory at the Brickyard four races ago. Even worse, he's failed to take advantage of Denny Hamlin's struggles, and has actually fallen from 14th to 20th in the standings since that victory.
Menard can still make the Chase after a terrible Bristol run, but he'll need to win one of the next two races to do it. I'm not counting on that happening after finishes of 26th or worse in the last three races.
Bristol: 30th, four laps down
2011 Standings: 20th, one win
David Ragan managed to finish on the lead lap at Bristol, but just barely as the last of 20 cars completing all 500 circuits.
Ragan is definitely on the hot seat at Roush Fenway Racing, and more than likely it'll take a win or two to keep his ride for 2012 and beyond.
Making the Chase wouldn't hurt either, but with just one top-10 and four laps led since his Daytona victory in July, don't hold your breath. RFR could be in for a shakeup after the 2011 season finale.
2011 Standings: 21st, one win