Team: Richard Petty Motorsports
WHERE HE STANDS: 22nd, 46 points out of the top 10. Lost one spot last week.
POCONO RECORD: Two top-10 finishes in 10 starts.
LOOKING AHEAD: Ambrose said, "Pocono is a track that drives like a road course. We expect to have good speed because of the long straightaways. Our horsepower has been great all year. I enjoy driving the turns, they are so different and challenging, but it's fun. It's the most unique track on the circuit and, again, maybe has some road course characteristics in some parts of the track. You have to really work on the setup, and that's where our engineering (crew) will help us."
LOOKING BACK: Ambrose finished 16th at Dover. "I think we knew it was going to be a difficult day based on how we thought the track conditions would affect our car," said Ambrose. "I think the guys did a good job making adjustments on the car to keep up with the track, but we could've been better today. All in all, I think we salvaged a decent day, although it would've been nice to say we had a top-15 leaving Dover."
ETC.: Ambrose feels the changes the team is making in its approach will make a big difference in the long run. "We're doing more testing, (spending) more time with our engineering team and we're starting to use our own ideas instead of being so reliant on others," said Ambrose. "We're taking those steps to become independent and that's going to help us. It's a long process, but we continue to see improvement. We'll keep taking steps to get better."
1 JAMIE MCMURRAY, Chevrolet
Team: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates
WHERE HE STANDS: 23rd, 60 points out of the top 10.
POCONO RECORD: Four top-10 finishes in 22 starts including a second in August 2008.
LOOKING AHEAD: McMurray believes Pocono is all "about compromise. You can't have your car good in all three turns, so just working to make the car good to carry speed down the long straightaways is really important. I think the best thing about Pocono is the shifting. I feel like that opens up opportunity to pass."
LOOKING BACK: McMurray was cruising along in the top 15 when he suddenly hit a large chunk of concrete - a piece of the track that had come apart. "Initially, I thought I'd blown a tire out," said McMurray. "When I hit it, it actually pushed the car to the right and I got into the fence a little bit. I didn't see anything. It just hit the front end and ripped the splitter off. It killed the front end. That pan that is underneath there is critical. It definitely took a lot of front downforce off the car, but our guys did a really good job recovering and we salvaged what we could today." The race had to be red-flagged for 22 minutes and 22 seconds while track and NASCAR officials patched the hole in the second turn. McMurray ended the day in 13th place.
ETC.: McMurray said one of the most enjoyable parts of his win in the All-Star Race was going to the race shop on the Monday after the victory. "I can't tell you how many of the guys who work in our shop were slapping their wife in bed saying, 'Wake up...he's going to win'," said a beaming McMurray. "I think that's great - that was pretty cool."
78 MARTIN TRUEX, Chevrolet
Team: Furniture Row Racing
WHERE HE STANDS: 25th, 88 points out of the top 10. Gained one spot last week.
POCONO RECORD: Five top-10 finishes including two thirds in 16 starts.
LOOKING AHEAD: Truex, a New Jersey native, said, "Next to Dover, Pocono Raceway is my second home track and hopefully we can pull off another strong performance as we did last week in Dover by finishing sixth. We need a win to make the Chase, but before you win in the Sprint Cup Series you need to start running close to the front. We're running so much better lately. I am ready and confident for a really hot performance on Sunday."
LOOKING BACK: Truex was all smiles after his best finish of the season - sixth. "All in all, it was a good day," said Truex. "We battled from the beginning, lost the handling of the car for a while but our crew chief Todd Berrier made some great calls throughout the race and we were able to finish strong. You can just feel it that we're heading in the right direction. We also had a top-10 car last week in Charlotte but had a freak breakage occur with nine laps remaining."
ETC.: Truex, who is in his first season with Furniture Row Racing, feels the team is finally making some real headway. "We're a new team and it takes a while to get all the pieces of the puzzle in place," said Truex. "We're learning about this car and how to be competitive with it. We still have a ways to go but the feeling is upbeat knowing that we have more speed and can be more competitive."
41 KURT BUSCH, Chevrolet
Team: Stewart-Haas Racing
WHERE HE STANDS: 27th, 136 points out of the top 10. Gained one spot last week.
POCONO RECORD: Finished seventh and third in the two races in 2013. Has three top-three finishes in his last five races. Overall has two wins and 14 top-10 finishes including 10 top-five's in 25 starts.
LOOKING AHEAD: Busch feels Pocono is "a little bit like Darlington in that all the corners are different, so you have to manage them the best that you can and not be perfect in one corner versus another. It's fun to win at a race track that is so unique because of how different that track is compared to all the other oval tracks."