Capsules for the top 20 drivers in the Sprint Cup stands, plus five additional drivers of note.

By Jerry Bonkowski and Bob Moore

48 JIMMIE JOHNSON, Chevrolet

Team: Hendrick Motorsports

WHERE HE STANDS: Jimmie Johnson remained in first place for the fourth straight week after Richmond. He leads second-ranked Carl Edwards by 43 points and third-ranked Dale Earnhardt Jr. by 46 points.

TALLADEGA RECORD: 22 career starts, 2 wins, 5 top-5s, 9 top-10s, 1 pole. Best career finish: first in spring 2006 and spring 2011. Finished 35th in the spring race last year (engine problems), and was 17th there in the fall.

LOOKING AHEAD: Johnson continues to have the best car in the Cup series and is among the favorites to win again at Talladega this Sunday. Talladega also holds good memories for crew chief Chad Knaus, who early in his career worked as a fabricator and mechanic for Stanley Smith Motorsports in Chelsea, Ala., in 1991. Here's Knaus's thoughts: "I honestly love going to Talladega. It's a great racetrack and one I remember from my childhood. I used to come here with Stanley Smith years and years and years ago, and we would focus so much effort into this racetrack. Superspeedway racing is probably what got me my start in motorsports, so I really do look forward to coming back to Talladega."

LOOKING BACK: Johnson typically does well at Richmond, but just didn't have the right car this past Saturday, settling for a 12th-place finish.

ETC.: Johnson has completed 93.6 percent (3,906) of the 4,172 total laps contested in 22 career starts at Talladega. His average start is 10.2 and average finish is 17.7. He has a career-high eight DNFs there.

99 CARL EDWARDS, Ford

Team: Roush Fenway Racing

WHERE HE STANDS: Carl Edwards climbed four spots, from sixth to second place, after Richmond. He trails points leader Jimmie Johnson by 43 points and is three points ahead of a third-ranked tie between Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kasey Kahne.

TALLADEGA RECORD: 17 career starts, 0 wins, 1 top-fives, 4 top-10s, 0 poles. Best career finish: Fifth in fall 2005. Finished 31st in last year's spring race and was 36th in the fall race there.

LOOKING AHEAD: Without question, Talladega has been one of Edwards' worst tracks on the Sprint Cup circuit. But there's cause for optimism in this Sunday's Aaron's 499 because Edwards is in second place in the standings and has lots of momentum. The key is to stay out of trouble there. Here are his thoughts on Sunday's race: "We'd love to get our first superspeedway win as a team. (Crew chief) Jimmy Fennig was able to win two of these speedway races with Matt Kenseth last year, so I feel like I have the best guy on the box that I could have. We've got a fast race car, our mission is to be there on the last lap in position to win. ... As long as we don't wreck five cars like we did in Daytona I think it will be a success. We want to come out of there in a good spot in points, second is nice and we don't want to fall any lower than that."

LOOKING BACK: Edwards had a strong outing at Richmond, finishing sixth and allowing him to climb four positions in the standings, to second place.

ETC.: Edwards has completed just 88.4 percent (2,858) of the 3,232 total laps contested in 17 career starts at Talladega. His average start is 14.9 and average finish is 21.8. He has five DNFs there.

88 DALE EARNHARDT JR., Chevrolet

Team: Hendrick Motorsports

WHERE HE STANDS: Dale Earnhardt Jr. moved up two positions after Richmond and into a tie for third place with Hendrick Motorsports teammate Kasey Kahne. The pair trail points leader Jimmie Johnson by 46 points, are three points behind second-ranked Carl Edwards and lead fifth-ranked Clint Bowyer by seven points.

TALLADEGA RECORD: 26 career starts, 5 wins, 9 top-fives, 13 top-10s and 0 poles. Best career finish: First in fall 2001, spring 2002, fall 2002, spring 2003 and fall 2004. Finished ninth in the spring race there last year, and was 20th in the fall race.