17 RICKY STENHOUSE JR., Ford
Team: Roush Fenway Racing
WHERE HE STANDS: 25th, 57 points out of the top 10. Lost one spot last week.
LOOKING AHEAD: After four straight finishes of 20th or worse, Stenhouse is glad to see a break in the schedule. "Everyone needs some time off," said Stenhouse. "We haven't run that well the last few weeks so hopefully the off weekend will help us get back on the right track."
LOOKING BACK: Stenhouse got the "lucky dog" award twice in the waning laps of the race to get back on the lead lap and finish 20th at Darlington. The lucky dog award is given to the first driver a lap down when a caution flag flies. "We never gave up and ended up finishing on the lead lap," said Stenhouse. "For some reason, our Nationwide Insurance Ford was super tight for a majority of the race. After all our adversity this weekend, we'll take our 20th-place finish and regroup during the off weekend."
ETC.: Crew chief Mike Kelley said he learned a very valuable lesson last year after Stenhouse moved up to the Sprint Cup Series and Kelley remained part of Roush Racing's Nationwide program. "I was kind of one of the guys that thought it (the importance of chemistry between the driver and crew chief) was overrated," said Kelley. "I would tell you a year later it is probably underrated. I had a great relationship with Trevor (Bayne, his Nationwide driver in 2013), but I can look people in the face today and tell them it was different (than his relationship with Stenhouse). I still communicated a lot with Ricky (last year). We talked about a lot of things, how his day went, how my day went. That is when I started realizing how important it is." Kelley and Stenhouse were reunited after the 2013 season.
41 KURT BUSCH, Chevrolet
Team: Stewart-Haas Racing
WHERE HE STANDS: 26th, 71 points out of the top 10. Lost one spot last week.
LOOKING AHEAD: After the "terrible" ending to the Darlington race, Busch is glad to "get away" for a few days. "The guys on the team have been working really hard since the start of the year, and they need some time off," said Busch. "We don't get a lot of weekends off in this business so it is always nice to have one."
LOOKING BACK: Busch was in a foul mood after a late-race accident left him in 31st place. Busch, who had been running in the top 10 at the time of the accident, expressed his displeasure with Clint Bowyer after climbing out of his wrecked race car. "That was a terrible way to end what could have been a decent night," said Busch. "Someone moved me out of their way and it ruined our night. I hate it for the team, but we keep learning each other and we will get better."
ETC.: Gene Haas, co-owner of Stewart-Haas Racing, will be spending a lot of his time in the coming weeks working on his new Formula One team. "I think we can beat the Europeans at their own game," said Haas. "I wouldn't be doing it if I thought I was going to fail. But that's the challenge -- proving other people wrong." Haas' team would be the first American-based Formula One team since Parnelli Jones Racing in the 1970's. Mario Andretti drove for Jones from 1974 to 1976.