WHERE HE STANDS: After two weeks in third place, Jeff Gordon dropped one spot to fourth after Martinsville. He trails points leader Jeff Gordon by 11 points, is one point behind third-ranked Carl Edwards and leads fifth-ranked Jimmie Johnson by seven points.
TEXAS RECORD: 26 career starts, 1 wins, 8 top-5s, 11 top-10s, 3 poles. Best career finish: First in spring 2009. Finished 38th in this race last year and also 38th in last fall's Chase race there. He has six DNF's there.
LOOKING AHEAD: For whatever reason, Gordon struggles far too often at a 1.5-mile track like Texas. That can be seen by his six career DNFs, as well as his two disappointing finishes in both races there last year. Here's his thoughts on Sunday's race: "I always enjoy the trip to Texas Motor Speedway. It's a fast, high-banked track with multiple grooves. There should be a lot of tire wear and drop off of the speeds during the race which should lead to an exciting race. I can't wait to get there, especially with how well we ran at Fontana. We had a fast race car in California, and I hope to have another fast one in Texas."
LOOKING BACK: Gordon struggled with the handling on his car at Martinsville but ultimately finished a still respectable 12th.
ETC.: Gordon has completed just 88.0 percent (7,650) of the 8,695 total laps contested in 26 career starts at Texas. His average start there is 12.2 and his average finish is 17.8. But perhaps the most noteworthy stat of all is he has a surprisingly high six DNFs there.
48 JIMMIE JOHNSON, Chevrolet
Team: Hendrick Motorsports
WHERE HE STANDS: Jimmie Johnson regained the one position in the standings that he lost after Fontana, climbing back into fifth place after Martinsville. He trails points leader Dale Earnhardt Jr. 18 points, is seven points behind fourth-ranked Jeff Gordon and leads sixth-ranked Kyle Busch by 20 points.
TEXAS RECORD: 21 career starts, 3 wins, 10 top-5s, 16 top-10s, 1 pole. Best career finish: First in fall 2007, fall 2012 and fall 2013. Finished sixth in this race last year and was won the fall Chase race there.
LOOKING AHEAD: Johnson is still looking for his first win. It looked like he might do it at Martinsville, where he dominated, only to come up short to Kurt Busch. Here's his thoughts on Sunday's race at Texas: "Texas is one of the more interesting racetracks we race on. The characteristics of the track - the bumps and the surface will make for an exciting race. So far with six winners in six races the racing in 2014 has been really exciting for the fans. We've run up front and led a lot but haven't been able to finish the job. I'm not too sure what the tire situation will be this weekend - if it will be the same tire as California or not - but it's been a good track for us in the past and it would be great to get our first win of the season this weekend."
LOOKING BACK: Johnson dominated at Martinsville, leading 296 of the event's 500 laps, only to come up short and finish second to Kurt Busch. It was the second straight race that Johnson dominated (he also did so the week before at Fontana), only to fail to reach victory lane.
ETC.: Johnson has completed 97.1 percent (6,821) of the 7,025 total laps contested in 21 career starts at Texas. His average start there is an outstanding 8.5 and his average finish is an equally outstanding 8.7. He has one DNF there.
18 KYLE BUSCH, Toyota
Team: Joe Gibbs Racing
WHERE HE STANDS: After climbing seven spots after Fontana, Kyle Busch gained one more place in the standings after Martinsville, from seventh to sixth. He trails points leader Dale Earnhardt Jr. by 38 points, is 20 points behind fifth-ranked Jimmie Johnson and leads seventh-ranked Brad Keselowski by one point.
TEXAS RECORD: 17 career starts, 1 win, 6 top-5s, 7 top-10s, 1 pole. Best career finish: First in spring 2013. Finished first in this race last year and 13th in the fall Chase race there.
LOOKING AHEAD: Texas has long vexed Kyle until he finally broke through with his first career Cup win there last spring. He's going for his second win in three weeks and also to extend the Busch family winning streak to three on Sunday (older brother Kurt won this past Sunday at Martinsville). Here's Kyle's thoughts on Texas: "Texas is a really fast mile-and-a-half racetrack. The asphalt is getting a little bit older but it's still really fast for a few laps and still kind of a pain sometimes because it is so aero-dependent, that when you do run the bottom, it's hard to pass. You've got to be able to move around a little bit and run the middle, run the top and show some ability to go all over the racetrack. We're getting closer each and every time, it feels like. Sometimes not so much - you kind of go forward and then you go backward and then you kind of come back forward some. Hopefully, Texas will be good to us this time around, also, and we can get a win with our Interstate Batteries Camry like at Fontana."
LOOKING BACK: Busch led 22 laps at Martinsville but subsequently faded, ultimately finishing 14th.
ETC.: Busch has completed 98.5 percent (5,603) of the 5,689 total laps contested in 17 career starts at Texas. His average start there is 13.9 and average finish is 14.0. He has zero DNFs there.
2 BRAD KESELOWSKI, Ford
Team: Penske Racing
WHERE HE STANDS: For the second week in a row, Brad Keselowski dropped three places in the standings. He's now gone from first to seventh after the last two races. He trails points leader Dale Earnhardt Jr. by 39 points, is one point behind sixth-ranked Kyle Busch and leads eighth-ranked Joey Logano by one point.
TEXAS RECORD: 11 career starts, 0 wins, 1 top-5s, 3 top-10s, 0 poles. Best career finish: second in fall 2012. Finished ninth in this race last year and was sixth in last fall's Chase race there.
LOOKING AHEAD: Since his win at Las Vegas, Keselowski has had a rough go of it in the last three races, finishing 14th at Bristol, 26th at Fontana and a season-worst 38th at Martinsville. He's looking to turn things around this Sunday at Texas: "We realize that there will be days where things just don't go your way. Over these last three races, we ran through someone's oil, got a flat tire while running fifth with five laps to go and had a pit-lane crash. Those are things that happen to everyone over the course of the season. The way I look at it is our Ford Fusion's have been fast and we have had cars that are capable of running up front everywhere we've been. Of course, that win makes it easier to deal with the ups and downs. We're in excellent shape heading into this weekend, and we won't be surprised to be in even better shape when it's over."
LOOKING BACK: Keselowski was involved in a pit road accident with Kurt Busch and Casey Mears just 44 laps into Sunday's race at Martinsville, and was forced to miss more than 30 laps while the damage was repaired. He eventually got back on track but finished 38th.