By the numbers: The 2013 Chasers at Talladega

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Hold your breath. Cross your fingers. Talladega has arrived.

The 2013 Chase for the Sprint Cup contenders will look to keep their cars and championship hopes intact in Sunday’s Camping World RV Sales 500 – the sixth race in this year’s postseason – at the 2.66-mile Talladega Superspeedway.

Chaos is always just a heartbeat away at this track thanks to the pack racing created by the speed-robbing restrictor plates, and it makes for a race that is marked by both excitement and dread. It wouldn’t be surprising to see more than one Chaser’s title bid end in that patented Talladega mega-crash – “The Big One.”

But the wild card nature of Talladega also can lend itself to stunning upsets. Take Sprint Cup’s last visit to Talladega in May, which ended with Front Row Motorsports’ David Ragan getting a push from teammate David Gilliland on the final lap to win in a green-white-checkered finish.

Of course, that G-W-C finale was set up by a Big One with six laps to go, triggered by contact involving J.J. Yeley and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. down the backstretch. Adding to the spectacle, Kurt Busch was hit by a wayward Yeley and flipped onto the roof of Ryan Newman.

As provided by NASCAR, here are statistics on how each Chase contender has done results-wise at ‘Dega in their careers. But don’t bother trying to use these numbers to predict who wins on Sunday, because, time and again, this track has proven how unpredictable it can be.

Matt Kenseth (LEADER, 2,225 points)
· One win, five Top-5s, nine Top-10s
· Average Finish: 17.6 in 27 races
· Series-best Average Running Position of 14.1

Jimmie Johnson (Second, -4 points)
· Two wins, six Top-5s, 10 Top-10s
· Average Finish: 17.1 in 23 races
· Average Running Position: 17.5, 11th-best

Kevin Harvick (Third, -29 points)
· One win, Top-5s, 10 Top-10s
· Average Finish: 16.4 in 25 races
· Average Running Position: 19.0, 21st-best

Jeff Gordon (Fourth, -36 points)
· Six wins, 15 Top-5s, 19 Top-10s
· Average Finish: 16.3 in 41 races
· Average Running Position: 18.4, 18th-best

Kyle Busch (Fifth, -37 points)
· One win, three Top-5s, four Top-10s
· Average Finish: 22.9 in 17 races
· Average Running Position: 19.1, 22nd-best

Greg Biffle (Sixth, -58 points)
· Two Top-5s, five Top-10s
· Average Finish: 19.9 in 21 races
· Average Running Position: 21.4, 28th-best

Kurt Busch (Seventh, -59 points)
· Six Top-5s, 13 Top-10s
· Average Finish: 16.7 in 25 races
· Average Running Position: 15.1, third-best

Clint Bowyer (Eighth, -63 points)
· Two wins, four Top-5s, seven Top-10s
· Average Finish: 16.3 in 15 races
· Average Running Position: 21.2, 27th-best

Dale Earnhardt Jr. (Ninth, -66 points)
· Five wins, nine Top-5s, 13 Top-10s
· Average Finish: 15.1 in 27 races
· Average Running Position: 15.1, second-best

Carl Edwards (10th, -67 points)
· Two Top-5s, five Top-10s
· Average Finish: 20.8 in 18 races
· Average Running Position: 24.0, 39th-best

Joey Logano (11th, -75 points)
· Two Top-5s, four Top-10s
· Average Finish: 20.0 in nine races
· Average Running Position: 17.8, 14th-best

Ryan Newman (12th, -78 points)
· Four Top-5s, eight Top-10s
· Average Finish: 22.2 in 23 races
· Average Running Position: 21.6, 30th-best

Kasey Kahne (13th, -81 points)
· Three Top-5s, four Top-10s
· Average Finish: 21.5 in 19 races
· Average Running Position: 21.1, 26th-best

Ferrari teammates Vettel and Raikkonen fastest in rainy final practice at Australian GP

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MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Ferrari drivers Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen went one-two in the final practice session ahead of qualifying at the water-logged Australian Grand Prix on Saturday.

Vettel set a best-lap time of 1 minute, 26.067 seconds, more than 2.4 seconds faster than his teammate in second.

Both Ferrari drivers switched from their intermediate tires to the super-fast, ultra-soft tires for the final few laps of the session, testing conditions on the track after a day-long downpour left it slick and filled with small puddles.

Mercedes drivers Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton did not opt to try out their soft tires, sticking to the intermediates for the entire session. They had the seventh- and eighth-fastest times, after topping the leaderboard in practice in dry conditions on Friday.

The heavy rains subsided by early afternoon, allowing the track to rapidly dry during the third practice session and making conditions safe for drivers to test their soft tires.

Still, only a few drivers completed a timed lap with the softer compounds, with Mercedes, Red Bull and most of the others staying with their intermediates.

Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson had the third-fastest time of the session on ultrasoft tires, followed by Red Bull’s Max Verstappen on intermediates.

Hamilton remains the favorite to capture his fifth straight pole position at the Australian Grand Prix in qualifying later Saturday. He had the fastest laps on ultrasoft tires in the two practice sessions on Friday, though Verstappen was right behind him.

Verstappen and Vettel both slid on the slick track early in the third practice session, but maintained control and completed their runs without incident.

Verstappen’s teammate, Daniel Ricciardo, had the sixth-fastest time of the session. The Australian’s chances of winning his fifth career Grand Prix on his home track in Melbourne took a hit late Friday when he was assessed a three-place grid penalty for Sunday’s race.

The Australian driver was penalized for driving too fast under red-flag conditions during Friday’s second practice session because of debris on the track.