By Jerry Bonkowski and Bob Moore
48 JIMMIE JOHNSON, Chevrolet
Team: Hendrick Motorsports
WHERE HE STANDS: Jimmie Johnson remained in first place for the sixth straight week after Darlington. He leads second-ranked Carl Edwards by 44 points and third-ranked Matt Kenseth by 59 points.
ALL-STAR RECORD: 11 career starts, 3 wins, 7 top-5s, 7 top-10s, 1 pole. Best career finish: first in 2003, 2006 and 2012 races. Finished first in last year's race.
LOOKING AHEAD: Johnson is tied with Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jeff Gordon and the late Dale Earnhardt for most All-Star wins, including last year's win. Johnson comes into the race with the third-best driver ranking of the field, behind Marcos Ambrose and Kyle Busch. Here's Johnson's thoughts on Saturday night's race, particularly with the $1 million bonus put up by track owner Bruton Smith to potentially go along with the $1 million prize for winning the All-Star Race: "It means a lot now, it's got a million more reasons if you are able to win all the segments. It's a huge payday. It's fun to race without points and that sets you up for a nice Memorial (Day) weekend and a good starting point with your race car."
LOOKING BACK: Johnson won last year's All-Star race to tie Jeff Gordon and the late Dale Earnhardt for most wins in the exhibition event (three wins each). Johnson wound up winning $1,071,340 for the triumph.
ETC.: Johnson's average start in the All-Star Race is 9.1 and his average finish is an outstanding 6.6.
99 CARL EDWARDS, Ford
Team: Roush Fenway Racing
WHERE HE STANDS: Carl Edwards remained in second place for the third consecutive week after Darlington. He trails points leader Jimmie Johnson by 44 points and is 15 points ahead of third-ranked Matt Kenseth.
ALL-STAR RECORD: 7 career starts, 1 win, 6 top-fives, 9 top-10s, 0 poles. Best career finish: First in 2011. Finished 23rd (last) in last year's race.
LOOKING AHEAD: Edwards went from winning the 2011 All-Star Race to dead last (23rd) in the 2012 event after suffering engine problems after just 25 laps. It was a bitter disappointment in a season that mirrored that disappointment. In a sense, everything that went good for Edwards in 2011, when he missed winning the Cup championship by a tie-breaker, went totally bad in 2012. Given the bounce back he's made in the standings this season, look for Edwards to have a big race Saturday night.
LOOKING BACK: Edwards came into last year's All-Star Race thinking he'd have a great race, coming in very optimistic. Unfortunately, his day ended just over a fourth of the way through when his engine suffered failure, ending his race after just 25 of the scheduled 90 laps.
ETC.: Edwards career average starting spot in the All-Star Race is 13.0 and average finish is 11.3.
20 MATT KENSETH, Toyota
Team: Joe Gibbs Racing
WHERE HE STANDS: After having most of the points he had lost due to penalty after his controversial win at Kansas reinstated upon appeal last week, Kenseth moved up one spot in the standings, from fourth to third after Darlington. He trails series leader Jimmie Johnson by 59 points, is 15 points behind second-ranked Carl Edwards and leads fourth-ranked Dale Earnhardt Jr. by five points.
ALL-STAR RECORD: 12 career starts, 1 win, 5 top-fives, 9 top-10s, 2 poles. Best career finish: First in 2004. Finished 3rd in last year's race.
LOOKING AHEAD: Kenseth has been one of the hottest drivers during the first 11 races of the Sprint Cup season, including a series-leading three wins, most recently this past Saturday at Darlington. He comes into this Saturday's All-Star Race looking for not only the win, but also to win all five segments to collect the $1 million bonus put up by track owner Bruton Smith. Here's Kenseth's thoughts on the success he and his team have enjoyed thus far this season: "I think the goal of a race team and an organization is to never peak. I think it's to continue to keep getting better. That's one thing I've seen over there pretty much from day one. They're not standing still. They're always trying to build a better car. TRD (Toyota Racing Development) is trying to build a better engine. We're always trying to do that -- working on the future. I think that's how racing is. No, I don't have any concern. I really feel like with this team, driving this car, I feel like the sky's the limit. This stuff has been incredibly fast. Jason (Ratcliff, crew chief) and I have a special bond right away -- with the whole team. Gosh, I couldn't feel much better about our year so far."
LOOKING BACK: Kenseth had a strong run in last year's race, finishing third. He challenged for the lead, but Jimmie Johnson and Brad Keselowski finished ahead of him.
ETC.: Kenseth's career average starting spot in the All-Star Race is 9.3 and average finish is an outstanding 6.3.
88 DALE EARNHARDT JR., Chevrolet
Team: Hendrick Motorsports