56 MARTIN TRUEX JR., Toyota
Team: Michael Waltrip Racing
WHERE HE STANDS: 15th, 40 points out of the top 10. Lost two spots last week.
TALLADEGA RECORD: Four top-10 finishes in 16 starts.
LOOKING AHEAD: Truex knows this is an important weekend in his bid to qualify for the Chase for the Championship again in 2013. "We've got to stay out of trouble and get a good finish," said Truex. "That is hard to do at Talladega. There is so much luck involved. I know we'll have a good car; we just need to avoid all the trouble and get us a solid finish. If we can do that, I'll think we'll be in good shape (in his bid to make the Chase)."
LOOKING BACK: Truex was running second with 55 laps to go when he was clipped by Kurt Busch and sent spinning to end any hopes Truex had of a top-10 finish. Instead, he ended the night in 17th place. "He (Busch) had me hooked on the straightaway and was kind of driving me down the straightaway a little bit and I had no intention of cutting down on him going into (turn) three, but he had me jacked up the whole way. When he let off, my car got on the left rear and went straight and then I got up in the marbles and then I just had to spin it out. He didn't need to do that. It's a shame to get where we were and get spun. I'll remember if we get in that position again what I'll do to Kurt."
ETC.: Truex believes all three MWR cars "will be fast at Talladega. Both Michael (Waltrip) and Clint (Bowyer) know what it takes to win there. Maybe this time it will be my turn (to drive into victory lane). It sure would be nice if we could hook up together and stay up front all day."
39 RYAN NEWMAN, Chevrolet
Team: Stewart-Haas Racing
WHERE HE STANDS: 16th, 42 points out of the top 10. Gained one spot last week.
TALLADEGA RECORD: Finished ninth in the race last fall. Overall has eight top-10 finishes including four top-five's in 22 starts.
LOOKING AHEAD: Newman said, "I wouldn't say I dread coming to Talladega. It's not my favorite race track, but I don't say I dread it. I love driving a race car, even at Talladega. I think the difference is there's more potential to get involved in something out of your making there, and that's frustrating to me. But that's not just me. Everyone hopes they can avoid the big crash there."
LOOKING BACK: Newman battled an ill-handling race car all night as he finished 15th at Richmond. "It was a long, challenging night," said Newman. "We didn't hit on what we needed to with our Outback Steakhouse Chevrolet," said Newman. "Matt Borland (crew chief) and the guys kept working on it all night, and we made some improvements on it, but we never got it where we needed it to be."
ETC.: When asked what it takes to get a good finish at Talladega, Newman smiled as he said, "I wish I knew the answer to that. We've been on the short end of the stick at Talladega for the past few years. To be successful at Talladega, you've got to keep yourself in the hunt so you can be there at the end. If you have a good car, you can stay toward the front all day. If you don't, you have to put yourself in a position that will allow you to be in the best possible position at the end. It's as simple, or as complex, as that."
22 JOEY LOGANO, Ford
Team: Penske Racing
WHERE HE STANDS: 17th, 43 points out of the top 10. Gained three spots last week.
TALLADEGA RECORD: Four top-10 finishes in eight starts.
LOOKING AHEAD: When it comes to restrictor-plate racing, "some people really like it and some people don't," said Logano. "That's just part of the nature of restrictor-plate racing. I really enjoy it and I feel like I've become adaptable to it since I started (five years ago). The worst part about it is that you only control part of your own destiny. When you are out there racing in a pack, your day can be ruined by someone else's mistake. We've all had it happen to us."
LOOKING BACK: Logano rallied in the final 100 laps to finish third at Richmond. "It wasn't pretty, that's for sure," said Logano. "It looked like at the beginning of the race we were going to finish 20th. We were going backwards, but (crew chief) Todd Gordon made some good adjustments and got some speed back in the car. We put four tires on it (during the late-race caution) and got in the right lane on that restart and I think that's what meant a lot. To take a race that was going like that and be able to change it over and come home third, I couldn't be more proud of these Shell/Pennzoil guys."
ETC.: Logano feels the new Gen-6 car has made "the style of plate racing that we have become accustomed to different. It ended up being a lot faster to stay in line and work on timing to make your moves (at Daytona). It will be interesting to see if it's the same way this weekend at Talladega. We have our ideas as to how the race will play out, but we will just have to wait and see."
17 RICKY STENHOUSE JR., Ford
Team: Roush Fenway Racing
WHERE HE STANDS: 18th, 47 points out of the top 10.
TALLADEGA RECORD: Will be making his Sprint Cup debut. Finished third in last year's Nationwide race.