LOOKING AHEAD: Kahne doesn't believe the new Gen-6 car will have much of an impact on the racing at Bristol this weekend. "That track is so unique and so different and knowing how we race there, you'll probably still have that similar race that we've had in the past. That's just one unique place where you have 43 cars on that small (half-mile) of a race track with so much banking."
LOOKING BACK: Kahne dominated the Las Vegas race as he led six times for a race-high 114 laps, but a long pit stop on his final stop of the day dropped him to sixth for the last restart and he was not able to get around Matt Kenseth in a stirring 30-lap duel. "I caught him," said Kahne. "I just couldn't pass him. We definitely had the best car today. When I got to him at the end, my tires got a little greasy. I think it was the two runs on the left-side tires that made it a little more difficult to pass that final run. We still had a great day (finishing second). My engine was unbelievable, the car was perfect and the guys did an awesome job. We just didn't get the win."
ETC.: Crew chief Kenny Francis smiles as he admits, "Kasey and I do kind of communicate by osmosis sometimes it seems like. We've been together for a long time. He's the only driver I've had for a while now. Between Kasey, myself and my engineer, Keith Rodden, we've all been together for a number of years. We can even look at each other and tell what we're thinking or what's going on."
22 JOEY LOGANO, Ford
Team: Penske Racing
WHERE HE STANDS: 15th, 12 points out of the top 10. Gained six spots last week.
BRISTOL RECORD: Finished eighth in the August race for his first top-10 finish in eight starts. He led 139 laps in the night event.
LOOKING AHEAD: Logano said, "There has always been a special feeling about Bristol. It's just so unique from everywhere else we go. You just don't see a lot of places that look like it, from the size (half-mile) to the high banks to the grandstands surrounding the place. It's just different there, both as a fan and as a driver."
LOOKING BACK: Logano was penalized for speeding as he left pit road after his first pit stop and he spent the rest of the race trying to overcome this penalty. "I felt like we had a top-five car, but just made a mistake," said Logano, who ended the day in 12th place. "I screwed up and sped down pit road on the first stop. I never really had an opportunity to recover good enough to show what we had. The guys gave me a really good race car today."
ETC.: Logano points out "even though we aren't running the speeds we do at a lot of other places, things happen faster at Bristol than almost anywhere else we go. And that makes it exciting. It's unpredictable. And because of that, it's always a fan favorite."
9 MARCOS AMBROSE, Ford
Team: Richard Petty Motorsports
WHERE HE STANDS: 16th, 14 points out of the top 10. Lost four spots last week.
BRISTOL RECORD: Finished fifth in the August race last year for his fourth top-10 finish in eight starts.
LOOKING AHEAD: Ambrose said he "really likes Bristol. You are up on the wheel for all 500 laps of the race. That's the kind of racing I like and really excel at. It is definitely one of the tracks that fit my style of racing."
LOOKING BACK: Ambrose battled an extremely loose race car all day as he finished 22nd at Las Vegas. "It was a long day for everyone on the Stanley Racing crew," said Ambrose. "The car was really loose, and it was frustrating. I know Drew (Blickensderfer, crew chief) tried everything today to help it go faster for me. We did the best we could today under the circumstances, and now, we'll go (to Bristol) and make up the ground we lost today."
ETC.: Ambrose admits "the last few weeks have been tough. The cars have not been as good as we know they can be. I know the guys are back at the shop working their butts off so we can have a good finish this weekend (at Bristol). We fell back to 16th in the points last week and have got to get back up in the top 12. The only way to do that is post good finishes and get some wins."
18 KYLE BUSCH, Toyota
Team: Joe Gibbs Racing
WHERE HE STANDS: 17th, 16 points out of the top 10. Gained 16 spots last week.
BRISTOL RECORD: In the last nine races, he has four victories and six top-nine finishes. Overall, he has five wins and 11 top-10 finishes, including seven top-five's in 16 starts.
LOOKING AHEAD: Busch said, "We've had a lot of success at Bristol, but not last year. We've really hit a road block there for some reason, but things are different with the track changes last fall and the fact that we'll be working with a new car this time around, as well. We have to get back on our horse a little bit and this is a good way to do it."
LOOKING BACK: Busch delighted the huge crowd with several spectacular moves, including diving below the yellow line on one restart to grab the lead. But he "kept getting too loose" at the end of the long runs and ended the day in fourth place. "It was fast, it was really fast yesterday, just wasn't as fast as it needed to be today on the long runs," said Busch. "We had by far the best car in practice -- I don't know where that went. The worst Gibbs (Joe Gibbs Racing) car ended up winning the race (Matt Kenseth). It's funny how this game works."
ETC.: Busch said his most memorable experience at Bristol is "August 2010 -- being able to do the sweep. We won the truck race on Wednesday night, backed it up with the Nationwide race Friday and took home the Cup race on Saturday night."
14 TONY STEWART, Chevrolet