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

Zach Veach splits with Andretti Autosport for rest of IndyCar season

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Zach Veach will be leaving his Andretti Autosport ride with three races remaining in the season, choosing to explore options after the decision was made he wouldn’t return for 2021.

In a Wednesday release, Andretti Autosport said a replacement driver for the No. 26 Dallara-Honda would be named in the coming days. The NTT IndyCar Series will race Oct. 2-3 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and then conclude the season Oct. 25 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida.

Veach was ranked 11th in the points standings through 11 races of his third season with Andretti. Since a fourth in the June 6 season opener at Texas Motor Speedway, he hadn’t finished higher than 14th.

“The decision was made that I will not be returning in 2021 with Andretti Autosport in the No. 26 Gainbridge car,” Veach said in the Andretti release. “This, along with knowing that limited testing exists for teams due to COVID, have led me to the decision to step out of the car for the remainder of the 2020 IndyCar season. I am doing this to allow the team to have time with other drivers as they prepare for 2021, and so that I can also explore my own 2021 options.

“This is the hardest decision I have ever made, but to me, racing is about family, and it is my belief that you take care of your family. Andretti Autosport is my family and I feel this is what is best to help us all reach the next step. I will forever be grateful to Michael and the team for all of their support over the years. I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for a relationship that started many years ago with Road to Indy. I will also be forever grateful to Dan Towriss for his friendship and for the opportunity he and Gainbridge have given me.

“My love for this sport and the people involved is unmeasurable, and I look forward to continuing to be amongst the racing world and fans in 2021.”

Said team owner Michael Andretti: “We first welcomed Zach to the Andretti team back in his USF2000 days and have enjoyed watching him grow and evolve as a racer, and a person. His decision to allow us to use the last few races to explore our 2021 options shows the measure of his character.

“Zach has always placed team and family first, and we’re very happy to have had him as part of ours for so many years. We wish him the best in whatever 2021 may bring and will always consider him a friend.”

Andretti fields five full-time cars for Veach, Alexander Rossi, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti and Colton Herta.

It also has fielded James Hinchcliffe in three races this season.