All eight of the drivers still mathematically eligible for NASCAR's two wild card spots spoke to reporters on Thursday evening at Richmond International Raceway – and expressed varying degrees of optimism.
For the majority of them, a win would be enough to get into the Chase. Others, though, need a win plus some help (in the form of misfortune from their competitors).
Here's a sampling of what the contenders had to say:
Kasey Kahne (near-lock for No. 1 wild card)
"As long as we show up and race well like we did at the first (Richmond) race and like we have been for the last few months – other than Atlanta – we should be in a pretty good spot."
"I checked (the scenarios) all out last night. ... We have a pretty good shot of making it, I feel like."
Kyle Busch (currently holds No. 2 wild card; needs to win OR finish ahead of other one-win drivers in points and hope they don't win)
"There's a great opportunity for (the race) to be very wild, and there's a great opportunity for it to be a little dull. To be honest with you, I'm going more with the dull side. I'd rather have it be more dull, because there'd be less B.S. afterward, I guess.
"It comes down to every man for himself. This is your year, this race here. Otherwise, if you don't make the Chase, essentially you're just another car out there making circles."
Jeff Gordon (needs a win to get No. 2 wild card OR pass Kyle Busch in points and hope another one-win driver doesn't win)
"We're treating this as if this is our championship, as if this is our Homestead. We're ready to win this race this weekend and seal the deal."
"Listen, we come here to win. We're going to be putting the best effort we possibly can throughout the whole weekend to try and accomplish that. We can't start playing out scenarios in our heads right now. We're going to do what it takes to win, whatever that means."
Joey Logano (needs a win to get No. 2 wild card)
"We've got to go and win. At least we know exactly what we've got to do – we don't have to carry a calculator with us or anything. We know it's do or die. It's kind of nice to know that, I guess, but it's no easy task, either."
"This race is going to be super entertaining because there are a lot of guys in the same boat as us. You never know what's going to happen. It'll be interesting to see who is in the top five on that final restart, because that's when it's going to get crazy."
Ryan Newman (needs a win to get No. 2 wild card)
"As simple and stupid as it sounds, we're here to win. I'm not going to crash everybody out of the way just to give ourselves an opportunity, because that's not the way I am."
"We still have the potential to have that dream come true, but you can have it all abolished in one lap or one corner. There's a lot of emotion that gets carried with that. It's the do-or-die moment on Saturday night."
Marcos Ambrose (needs a win to get No. 2 wild card)
"The big names that have yet to make the Chase have more pressure than I have. I'm along for the ride. I'm enjoying it. We have a chance to make some history, and we're going to give it our best shot. We go into this race and I'm happy to be a contender, and we'll see how it plays out."
Carl Edwards (needs a win plus must pass all the other one-win drivers in points to get No. 2 wild card)
"I've got to hope for Kyle Busch and Jeff Gordon to have bad nights, and we've got to win the race. That's three things that have to happen, but the only thing I can control is to go out and win the race. So I'm going to try to win the race, and I think we have a car that can do it. We showed in the spring we have a fast enough car to lead laps here and challenge for the win."
"I'm hoping for an insane race. I want rain delays and oil on the track...I want things to happen. I need people to run out of fuel and have crazy cautions and go four-wide down into Turn 1. That's what I need, and I'll take whatever I can get."
"If Kyle and Jeff are in the positions they need to be in (for Edwards to make it with a win), I would not want to be in front of our 99 car at the end of this race. We have to win. That's all there is to it."
Paul Menard (needs a win plus must pass all the other one-win drivers in points to get No. 2 wild card)
"I'm honored to be in the hunt for the Chase. We're a longshot – we know that – and for us, it's simple: We just have to go out and win the race, and everything else will take care of itself."