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NASCAR NOTES: Hendrick drivers view Chase from different angles

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Photo Credit: John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR Photo Credit: John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR
Glenn Campbell - "The Lugnut Cowboy" Glenn Campbell - "The Lugnut Cowboy"
AUGUSTA, GA (RNN) -

After placing four teams into the Chase for NASCAR's highest prize, Hendrick Motorsports drivers find themselves looking at the challenge from several different viewpoints.

The No. 88 team of Dale Earnhardt Jr. is out of contention after missing two races with a concussion. His stellar season is not going to end the way it seemed to be headed but, his presence on the team is important to his teammates.

"I just continue to applaud him in the decision that he made," said Jeff Gordon on Earnhardt's return to action this week in Martinsville. "I think he can come back now feeling very positive about how he handled the situation as well as be a positive impact on the rest of us. It's great to have him back."

Gordon is also out of contention after turning in two lack =luster performances at Charlotte and Kansas.

"We faltered in Charlotte then, this past weekend, a 10th place finish," explained Gordon of his championship woes. "Those just aren't good enough results to make up the points that we had lost in Chicago."

Still the four time-champion is not giving up.

"We never give up. We never quit," continued Gordon. "We go to every race giving it everything but, obviously the chances are pretty slim of us winning No. 5 this year."

The third member of the Hendrick lineup, Kasey Kahne, finds himself in the same position as Gordon and Earnhardt. His fifth place standing with four races to go leave him and his teammates with the mission of building momentum for the 2013 season.

The only driver of the Hendrick stable that has a shot at a championship is Jimmie Johnson. With five titles to his credit, a sixth could be on the horizon if he continues to put pressure on leader Brad Keselowski.

"It's go time," said Johnson of his chances in the last four weeks. "It's tough to live it because it's stressful, but this is what we grew up wanting to be part of as kids, racing for a championship."

Can the five time champion get number six? Gordon seems to think Johnson's experience could be the difference.

"I think experience can benefit all of us," said Gordon on his teammate's chances. "You tend to be a little more patient, make better decisions, and know how to do better at reacting to situations. I think that it is possible for him and the team to continue to get better."

So, as Johnson views the championship Chase from the top of the standings, his teammates will do their part in providing information to help him bring home another trophy for Hendrick Motorsports. We'll see how well they do in four weeks.

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