There's an odd sense of dejà vu at Richmond International Raceway this time around.
Jeff Gordon comes into Saturday night's Federated Auto Parts 400 in 11th place in the NASCAR Sprint Cup points standings, just six points behind 10th-place Kurt Busch. Last year at this race, Gordon rolled in seven points behind Kyle Busch for the final wild-card spot in the Chase for the Sprint Cup and was able to advance on the basis of a runner-up finish.
This time around, there are clear strengths and weaknesses for both the combatants. Gordon, the four-time champion, and Kurt Busch, a/k/a/ "The Outlaw," have both had their fair share of highs and lows this season.
Busch and the No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Chevrolet have been fast at almost every track they've raced at, faster than Gordon's No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy many times. In seven out of the last eight races, Busch has out-qualified Gordon.
"It's definitely been impressive," Gordon said of Busch's performance. "They've had a lot...