LOOKING AHEAD: Busch said, "The Sprint All-Star race is always one of the highlights of the season. We feel confident that our 78 car could be the magic piece to take home the million bucks. You have to act like it's qualifying for those last 10 laps and you have to ignore the other cars on the track because you have to get all the speed you can get out of your car."
LOOKING BACK: After winning the pole at a record speed of 181.918 miles per hour at Darlington, Busch led 69 of the first 73 laps before running in major handling problems. "We were wicked free and could not keep up with the changing conditions of the track," said Busch after his 14th-place finish. "We made a number of chassis and air pressure adjustments but couldn't get the car hooked up." When asked how loose it was, Busch replied, "On a scale of one to 10, it's an 11. We let it slip away and that's disappointing. But we won the pole, led laps, ran up front for a good portion of the race and came away with a respectable finish." Busch has now led 108 laps in 11 races this season. Prior to the 2013 season, Furniture Row Racing had led a total of 48 laps in 199 races.
ETC.: Busch could race in this year's Indianapolis 500 after completing all three phases of the rookie orientation at Indianapolis Motor Speedway last week. But Busch said any thoughts of competing in the 500 are at least a year away. "I need to get more comfortable in the Indy Car because a day like today, I'm white-knuckled, my hands were tense and firm and that was only after 10 laps," said Busch following his test with Andretti Autosport. He ran 83 laps with a top lap of 218.210 miles per hour.
22 JOEY LOGANO, Ford
Team: Penske Racing
WHERE HE STANDS: 19th, 56 points out of the top 10. Lost one spot last week.
ALL-STAR RECORD: Two top-eight finishes in two starts.
LOOKING AHEAD: Logano has high hopes for this weekend. "The last few times we've been at Charlotte we've run good," said Logano. "And we've had a couple good runs in the last couple of All-Star races. So I feel good about Saturday night. This is a fun weekend without a lot of pressure. You just go out and try to win and not worry about the big picture (making the Chase for the Championship)."
LOOKING BACK: Logano ran into overheating problems late in the race and had to make several trips down pit road to cool the engine down enough where he could finish the race. As a result, he ended up 22nd. "It's frustrating because you know you have a car that is probably an eighth to tenth-place car based on the cars you are passing during the race," said Logano.
ETC.: Steve Reis will be acting crew chief again this weekend. Reis is filling in while Todd Gordon serves his suspension. Again this weekend Greg Erwin, who is Sam Hornish's crew chief on the Nationwide Series, will assist Reis on race day. "Everybody did a real good job at Darlington," said Logano. "They gave me a good car, we just have some bad luck or we could have had a good day."
31 JEFF BURTON, Chevrolet
Team: Richard Childress Racing
WHERE HE STANDS: 20th, 57 points out of the top 10. Lost one spot last week.
ALL-STAR RECORD: Five top-10 finishes in 12 starts.
LOOKING AHEAD: Burton won the Sprint Showdown in 2003. He needs a repeat win on Saturday night if he wants to qualify for the All-Star Race. Yet Burton plans to go "big-picture racing" this weekend. "Obviously, we want to win the Sprint Showdown, qualify for the All-Star Race and win it too, but every practice session and qualifying run we make this weekend gives us the opportunity to learn more about our 1.5-mile program," said Burton.
LOOKING BACK: Burton finished 21st at Darlington. "That was a tough night for the 31 Caterpillar team," said Burton. "We definitely didn't get the rotation we wanted to in the middle of the turns which pretty much set the tone for the evening. These guys never gave up and we were able to play strategy and gain some positions in the end. But it wasn't the night we had hoped for."
ETC.: Burton said he does not race any differently in a non-points race than he does in regular Cup event. "I race the same way no matter what the situation is," said Burton. "Typically the rules have been set by how they (the other drivers) have raced me to this point. You have to be who you normally are. When you try to get out of character, I think it does more harm than good."
14 TONY STEWART, Chevrolet
Team: Stewart-Haas Racing
WHERE HE STANDS: 21st, 62 points out of the top 10. Gained one spot last week.
ALL-STAR RECORD: One win and nine top-10 finishes including eight top-five's in 14 starts.
LOOKING AHEAD: Stewart said the All-Star race is "an event for the fans. But there's also a lot of bragging rights, too. Charlotte is an area where 95 percent of the Cup teams are based, so when you go there, you want to run well. You do it for the fans, but at the same time, you do it for your organization and your team. That's why the All-Star race is important."
LOOKING BACK: Stewart was running eighth on a restart with 59 laps to go, but he brushed the wall moments after the green flag was waved again. This led to a number of pit stops during the final 50 laps as he ended the night in 15th place. Late in the race, Stewart told his crew the car was feeling like a "soapy dishrag."
ETC.: While Stewart wants to win the All-Star race, he plans to use this weekend as a test session to figure out what the team is missing in its quest to run up front with the new Gen-6 car. Stewart has only one top-10 finish in the first 11 races of 2013. "The hard part is trying to figure out what you're missing when you're off," said Stewart. "That's the frustrating part."
42 JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, Chevrolet