WHERE HE STANDS: After losing four places in the previous two races, Hamlin regained two spots at Phoenix, moving back to fifth place. He trails points leader Brad Keselowski by 62 points, fourth-ranked Clint Bowyer by 10 points and leads sixth-ranked Matt Kenseth by 12 points.
HOMESTEAD RECORD: 7 career starts, 1 win, 3 top-5s, 4 top-10s, 0 poles. Best career finish: first in 2009. Finished ninth in this race last year.
LOOKING AHEAD: Hamlin's Chase hopes are done, but he mathematically he can still finish as high as third place. By the way, Sunday is Hamlin's 32nd birthday; a win to close out the season would be a great birthday present to himself. Hamlin's thoughts on Sunday's race in Homestead are the same that he had going into Phoenix: "We're going to try to work our way as far up in the points as we possibly can and just keep digging."
LOOKING BACK: Hamlin had an outstanding race at Phoenix, finishing second, right in front of Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch. Unfortunately for Hamlin's hopes for the Chase, it was too little, too late.
ETC.: Hamlin has completed an outstanding 99.8 percent (1,866) of the 1,870 laps contested in his 7 career starts at Homestead. His average start there is a terrible 31.0, but his average finish is a significantly better 10.9. He has 0 DNFs there.
17 MATT KENSETH, Ford
Team: Roush Fenway Racing
WHERE HE STANDS: Kenseth fell one spot after Phoenix, dropping from a tie for fifth to sixth. He trails points leader Brad Keselowski by 74 points, fifth-ranked Denny Hamlin by 12 points and leads seventh-ranked and Roush Fenway Racing teammate Greg Biffle by four points.
HOMESTEAD RECORD: 12 career starts, 1 win, 3 top-5s, 5 top-10s, 0 poles. Best career finish: first in 2007. Finished fourth in this race last year.
LOOKING AHEAD: Kenseth ends his 13-year tenure at Roush Fenway Racing at Homestead. He moves to Joe Gibbs Racing next season. And even though his championship hopes this season have fallen short, Kenseth can still mathematically finish as high as third. He'll need a bit of luck, though. Here are crew chief Jimmy Fennig's thoughts on Sunday's race: "We're looking to get a win for Matt this weekend. Our team is hoping to close out the season and Matt's time here at Roush doing all we could for him. The car we're bringing this weekend is our winning car from Kansas and I feel it's a really good car."
LOOKING BACK: Kenseth had an ill-handling car at Phoenix, leaving him with a 14th-place finish.
ETC.: Kenseth has completed 91.0 percent (2,921) of the 3,209 laps he's contested during his 12 career starts at Homestead. His average start is 19.6; average finish is 17.6. He also has two DNFs there.
16 GREG BIFFLE, Ford
Team: Roush Fenway Racing
WHERE HE STANDS: Greg Biffle climbed three spots, from 10th to seventh, after Phoenix. He trails points leader Brad Keselowski by 78 points, sixth-ranked Matt Kenseth by four points and leads eighth-ranked Kevin Harvick by eight points.
HOMESTEAD RECORD: 10 career starts, 3 wins, 3 top-5s, 4 top-10s, 0 poles. Best finish: first, three years in a row: 2004, 2005 and 2006. Finished 35th in this race last year, tying his career-worst showing.
LOOKING AHEAD: Biffle has little left to race for other than the best finish he can amass in the remaining two races. Mathematically, he can potentially finish as high as third, but a more likely finish would be in the top-five. Here are Biffle's thoughts on the season finale: "I'm looking forward to Homestead this weekend and I hope to have another good run. We've won three times there, so hopefully we can finish off the season in the top five in points if everything goes our way. … I've got my fingers crossed."
LOOKING BACK: After consecutive finishes of 10th in the previous two races, Biffle finished seventh at Phoenix.
ETC.: Biffle has completed 94.5 percent (2,527) of the 2,675 laps contested in his 10 career starts at Homestead. His average start is 16.4; average finish is 15.3. He also has 2 DNFs there.
29 KEVIN HARVICK, Chevrolet
Team: Richard Childress Racing
WHERE HE STANDS: Harvick jumped up three spots, from 11th to eighth, following his late surge for the win at Phoenix. He stands 86 points behind points leader Brad Keselowski, trails seventh-ranked Matt Kenseth by eight and leads ninth-ranked Tony Stewart by one point.
HOMESTEAD RECORD: 11 career starts, 0 wins, 5 top-5s, 9 top-10s, 0 poles. Best finish: second in 2003 and 2008. Finished eighth in this race last year.
LOOKING AHEAD: Harvick has a mathematical chance of cracking the top five, but that's about all he has to look forward to, other than potentially finishing the season with a second straight win. Here are his thoughts on Sunday's season finale: "Homestead has been one of those tracks we've been fortunate to go to where everything kind of fits the styles of the way our cars are built to run and my driving style. It's definitely been a good race track for us and we're looking forward to going down there and closing out the season strong this week."
LOOKING BACK: Harvick looked like the kind of driver who won three come-from-behind races last year by rallying late and winning Sunday at Phoenix, holding off Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch for the win.
ETC.: Harvick has completed 99.9 percent (2,941) of the 2,942 laps contested in his 11 career starts at Homestead. His average start is 13.9, with an outstanding average finish of 7.9. He has two DNFs there.
14 TONY STEWART, Chevrolet
Team: Stewart Haas Racing
WHERE HE STANDS: Tony Stewart fell one spot in the standings, from a tie for eighth to ninth place after Phoenix. He trails points leader Brad Keselowski by 87 points, eighth-ranked Kevin Harvick by one point and leads 10th-ranked Martin Truex Jr. by 24 points.
HOMESTEAD RECORD: 13 career starts, 3 wins, 4 top-5s, 7 top-10s, 0 poles. Best career finish: first in 1999, 2000 and 2011. Finished first in this race last year, capping off the season with his third career Sprint Cup championship.