14 TONY STEWART, Chevrolet
Team: Stewart-Haas Racing
WHERE HE STANDS: 15th, 20 points out of the top 10. Gained two spots last week.
TEXAS RECORD: Two wins and 12 top-10 finishes in 23 starts.
LOOKING AHEAD: Stewart said a driver has "to be comfortable" at Texas "or you're not going to go fast. The more comfortable I am, the faster we go. We've seen the track get wider, and it's made it to where you can move around on the race track and where you can run the top side or the bottom side. It's nice from a driver's perspective to be able to have that flexibility behind the steering wheel, knowing that if your car's not driving exactly the way you want it to, you can move around and a find a spot the car likes better."
LOOKING BACK: While Stewart's day was a long one, he was all smiles afterwards after stopping on the race track to congratulate teammate Kurt Busch on his Martinsville victory. "Really happy for Kurt Busch and everyone on the Haas Automation team," said Stewart. "For us, it wasn't the day we wanted for our Code 3 Associations/Mobile 1 Chevy by any means," added Stewart, who finished 17th.
ETC.: Stewart called Busch's victory "a big win for Gene Haas. He had a big hand in putting this all together. And for him and Haas Automation to get a win this early in the season, I think it says a lot about his vision." Stewart was also quick to praise Daniel Knost, Busch's crew chief. "He's in his first year as a crew chief and he's obviously doing a really good job. We knew he was capable and he's proving that."
47 A J ALLMENDINGER, Chevrolet
Team: JTG Daugherty Racing
WHERE HE STANDS: 16th, 22 points out of the top 10. Gained six spots last week.
TEXAS RECORD: Two top-10 finishes in 10 starts.
LOOKING AHEAD: Allmendinger said, "I'm excited to go to Texas. That's because of the success we've already had and the speed we have shown at the mile-and-a-half's and the things the guys are doing at the shop right now. All of it makes me feel like what we have learned over the last couple of weeks will make our Texas car quicker. Some of the ideas we have come up with on our own and some with the RCR (Richard Childress Racing) alliance. I'm really looking forward to this weekend."
LOOKING BACK: Allmendinger finished 11th at Martinsville. "It was a really good race for us," said Allmendinger. "At times on the long runs, we maybe were the fastest car out there. It was fun. I had to be careful not to burn the tires off early on, which made me defensive and then we would get rolling and the Busch's Beans Chevrolet SS was pretty good. We've just to work on the mapping on pit road. When you are bucking all the way through pit road and you can't tell if you were at pit road speed or five below -- it was killing us. An 11th-place is a little disappointing, but to have another decent points day is not a bad day for us."
ETC.: Co-owner Tad Geschickter is quite pleased with how quick the changes the team made over the winter are producing results. "To see it come together in the first five to six races and start to get the finishes we deserve has been huge for us and definitely gives us more confidence in all the decisions we made," said Geschickter. "We have had really good speed this year."
15 CLINT BOWYER, Toyota
Team: Michael Waltrip Racing
WHERE HE STANDS: 17th, 24 points out of the top 10. Gained six spots last week.
TEXAS RECORD: Finished 10th last November for his ninth top-10 finish in 16 starts.
LOOKING AHEAD: Bowyer is another driver that hopes to bounce back after a frustrating end to the Martinsville race. "I can't wait to get to Texas and start working on getting that win that will put us in the Chase," said Bowyer. "We really had a good shot at one last week. Hopefully we'll have another real good shot at one this week."
LOOKING BACK: Bowyer had run down and passed Martinsville master Jimmie Johnson with 50 laps to go in the race. Bowyer led the next 11 laps before a caution was waved when Carl Edwards spun in turn two. The pit crew had trouble removing the right-rear tire and by the time Bowyer returned to the track he was 10th for the final restart. "We had the lead there at the end and had trouble in the pits and came out 10th," said a dejected Bowyer. "We just didn't have enough time to make it up. Just really disappointed. Felt we could have had the win." Instead, Bowyer had to settle for a ninth-place finish.
ETC.: Bowyer laughs when asked about the worst injury he ever suffered in a race car. "Believe it or not I've scrambled my marbles a few times - can you tell," said a smiling Bowyer. "I woke up in the infield car center at Charlotte a few years ago, clearly thought the wreck happened a lot different than it had. I was hollering at Richard (Childress, his car owner at the time) because I thought Kevin (Harvick, his teammate at the time) wrecked me. He was like 'No, he didn't do it.' We were in this argument and I'm looking over his shoulder watching the replay on TV and he (Harvick) didn't get into me. My head hurt that day."
16 GREG BIFFLE, Ford
Team: Roush Fenway Racing
WHERE HE STANDS: 18th, 25 points out of the top 10. Gained three spots last week.
TEXAS RECORD: 10 top-10 finishes in the last 11 races including one win and seven top-five's. His first win at the track came on April 17, 2005 when he led 219 laps.