Three Joe Gibbs Racing drivers, three Hendrick Motorsports drivers, three Richard Childress Racing drivers, three Roush Fenway drivers will go for NASCAR's top prize

Did everyone notice the breakdown of teams for the drivers in the Chase for the Sprint Cup?


Three Joe Gibbs Racing drivers, three Hendrick Motorsports drivers, three Richard Childress Racing drivers, three Roush Fenway drivers.


Not one driver from outside the 'Big Four.'


No Gillett Evernham, no Penske Racing, no Ganassi/Sabates, no Wood Brothers, no DEI, no Petty Enterprises and no Bill Davis Racing.


The rich keep getting richer.


The last driver to make the Chase, Clint Bowyer, is the defending champion of the race at New Hampshire this weekend. He started on the pole and led 222 laps on the way to his first career Cup victory.


'Once you're in the Chase, the sky is the limit and anything can happen,' said Bowyer. 'Based on everything that has happened (on his team this year), it's a relief that it all worked out.'


TESTY:


This is why drivers who are moving to other teams sometimes leave early.


That testy exchange between Tony Stewart and Greg Zipadelli at the end of Sunday's race at Richmond wasn't the first of its kind in the past few months and it probably won't be the last.


Something shifts in the relationship of a driver to his crew when he has one foot out the door.


Stewart is fiery, of course, and this has been an especially difficult season because the team hasn't won. But there seems to be more of an edge in their voices than I've ever heard in their communications before.


??The next 10 races could be interesting in the 20 camp.


NEW VENUE:


The NHRA also kicks off its championship countdown this weekend and it'll be at a spectacular new racing complex.


The zMAX Dragway at Concord, built in Bruton Smith's lavish style, plays host to its first event as the points are reset and the drivers are ready to go.


Those who have seen the facility are just as lavish in their praise. John Force has already promised to kiss Smith for building such a beautiful track.


Warren and Kurt Johnson won't go that far, but both had nothing but the highest compliments for the place.


'This is absolutely the best facility I have ever raced at in my career,' said Kurt Johnson late last week after a test session. 'Since no one had really gone down this track before, we came here expecting to only make eighth-mile runs.'


Instead, Johnson was able to make it the length of the track four times with no problems.


'The track didn't have a whole lot of rubber on it and yet it held everything that our (car), as well as every other team, put out there and it's only going to get better from here,' said Warren Johnson, the elder statesman of Pro Stock. 'In addition, the shutdown area here is smoother than the racing surfaces at many of the other tracks we run on. This promises to be a great race.'


GREAT AND NOT SO GREAT:


The open-wheelers both had great races on Sunday and crazy finishes.


Helio Castroneves found out he won the IndyCar finale at Joliet in the garage after a malfunctioning transponder on Scott Dixon's car showed Dixon was the winner. It came down to a photo finish.


F1, as only F1 can, took Lewis Hamilton's win away after an amazing drive at the Belgian Grand Prix.


BIG NIGHT AT SPEEDWAY:


Peoria Speedway promoter Sherrie Hamilton has a big night on tap Saturday.


On the schedule is the makeup of the Modified World 100 which was rained out last Saturday, regular Hornet and Late Model features and championships in Sportsman, Street Stock and Hornets.


Gates open at 4 p.m. and racing is at 5 p.m. Admission is only $10.


Jane Miller is the Journal Star motorsports columnist. She can be reached at jmiller@pjstar.com or 686-3207.?