WHERE HE STANDS: Kasey Kahne fell one spot after Richmond and into a third-place tie with teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr. The pair trail points leader Jimmie Johnson by 46 points, are three points behind second-ranked Carl Edwards and lead fifth-ranked Clint Bowyer by seven points.

TALLADEGA RECORD: 18 career starts, 0 wins, 3 top-five, 4 top-10s, 1 pole. Best career finish: Second in fall 2006 and second in fall 2009. Finished fourth in last year's spring race, and was 12th in the fall race there (including winning the pole).

LOOKING AHEAD: Even with winning the pole last fall, Talladega has not been very hospitable to Kahne over his Sprint Cup career. He's hoping to change that this Sunday. Here are his thoughts: "I race. That's all I really want to do is race cars. I've been able to my whole life, and I enjoy it. I love every bit of it. To be able to think about racing each week, whether we're doing appearances or testing or whatever it may be during the week and then you get to go and race a Sprint Cup car on Saturday or Sunday from here until the end of November, I'm loving what's going on."

LOOKING BACK: After finishing runner-up the week before at Kansas, Kahne struggled to a 21st-place finish Saturday night at Richmond.

ETC.: Kahne has completed just 87.9 percent (3,006) of the 3,420 total laps contested in 18 career starts at Talladega. His average start is 23.6 and average finish is 20.3. He has two DNFs there.


Team: Michael Waltrip Racing

WHERE HE STANDS: Clint Bowyer climbed four spots, from ninth to fifth after Richmond. He is 53 points behind series leader Jimmie Johnson, trails the third-ranked tie of Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kasey Kahne by seven points and leads sixth-ranked Brad Keselowski by six points.

TALLADEGA RECORD: 14 career starts, 2 wins, 4 top-fives, 7 top-10s, 0 poles. Best career finish: First in fall 2010 and fall 2011. Finished sixth in last year's spring race and was 23rd in the fall race there.

LOOKING AHEAD: Bowyer would love to earn his first restrictor plate win at Talladega this Sunday. Here are his thoughts about racing there: "Talladega is like rolling the dice at a craps table - how do you do it, when you do it - are you going to get on a roll? I mean, that's exactly the way it is. Everybody has a shot at winning. Everybody has the same dice. You just have to have a lucky roll, lucky push and just get up there. That's really what it's come down to."

LOOKING BACK: Bowyer had a very strong run and finish at Richmond, finishing runner-up to winner Kevin Harvick. It was Bowyer's second top-five showing in a week, having ending up fifth at Kansas.

ETC.: Bowyer has completed just 84.4 percent (2,245) of the 2,660 total laps contested in 14 career starts at Talladega. His average start is 18.7 and average finish is 16.1. He has three DNFs there.


Team: Penske Racing

WHERE HE STANDS: Brad Keselowski continued his downward spiral in the standings at Richmond. After three weeks in second place, he fell one position to third after Kansas and three spots after Saturday's race at Richmond, dropping to sixth place. He trails points leader Jimmie Johnson by 59 points, fifth-ranked Clint Bowyer by six points and leads seventh-ranked Kyle Busch by six points.

TALLADEGA RECORD: 8 career starts, 2 wins, 3 top-fives, 6 top-10s and 0 poles. Best career finish: First in spring 2009 and spring 2012. Finished first in this race last year and was seventh in the fall race there.

LOOKING AHEAD: Some drivers never figure out Talladega, but that's not the case with Keselowski, who has won there twice already in his career, including his first-ever Cup race there back in 2009. Even more, he has top-10 finishes in six of his eight starts there. Look for another strong finish this Sunday. Here's his thoughts on the race: "You really have to pay attention to how the race unfolds at Talladega. There are times when you need to be patient. There are times when you need to keep your head about you and race smart. But you are going to have to be aggressive at the end. Those are three elements of restrictor-plate racing that I work on throughout the race."

LOOKING BACK: Keselowski had a terrible showing at Richmond, finishing 33rd, including hitting the wall that cost him a few laps. He needs a big bounce back this Sunday.

ETC.: Keselowski has completed an impressive 97.0 percent (1,480) of the 1,526 total laps contested in eight career starts at Talladega. His average start is 18.9 and average finish is an impressive 12.2. He has one DNF there.

18 KYLE BUSCH, Toyota

Team: Joe Gibbs Racing

WHERE HE STANDS: After climbing 15 positions in the previous four races, Kyle Busch took a nose dive from second to seventh after Kansas, the same position he remains in after Richmond. He trails points leader Jimmie Johnson by 65 points, is points behind sixth-ranked Brad Keselowski and leads eighth-ranked Greg Biffle by six points.

TALLADEGA RECORD: 16 career starts, 1 wins, 3 top-five, 4 top-10s, 0 poles. Best career finish: First in spring 2008. Finished second in last year's spring race, and was third in the fall race.

LOOKING AHEAD: Busch is looking to give himself a belated 28th birthday present (his birthday is May 2), but he knows a good finish at Talladega isn't easy: "The key there is to somehow stay out of trouble. You pretty much stay around the bottom since there is a lot of grip there, and you can pretty much run wide open every single lap. Everyone can run up on top of each other. When you get single file at the bottom, sometimes it's hard to get a lane on the outside with enough good cars to get something going. It can be frustrating at times because of that. It also seems to still put on a good race each time we go there. If you can be a contender and stay in line on the bottom, you can make it a pretty easy and safe race. Normally, guys are not content doing that, so that's when it starts to get crazy."

LOOKING BACK: Busch started out strong at Richmond and ultimately led 40 laps of the 406-lap event. But he struggled in the second half of the race and dropped like a rock to an eventual and disappointing 24th-place finish.