42 KYLE LARSON, Chevrolet
Team: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates
WHERE HE STANDS: 15th, 16 points out of the top 10. Gained four spots last week.
DARLINGTON RECORD: Will be making his Sprint Cup debut.
LOOKING AHEAD: Larson is "looking forward to going to Darlington because the groove is right on the wall so it kind of suits my driving style. I like going to the top, and it seems like the closer you get to the wall there the faster you go. The track is also pretty rough so the times slow down a lot. After a few laps when times slow down it's a little bit easier to pass because you can move around more and it just seems like there are more lanes to these worn out tracks. I did well there last year in the Nationwide car (finished sixth), so it should be good going back to race the Target Chevy."
LOOKING BACK: Larson was part of a four-car race for the third spot on the last lap of the race as he ended up fifth for his third top-10 finish in the last four races. "We had a really good Target Chevy today," said Larson. "We were average on short runs but I thought we were the best car on a long run. Shine (crew chief Chris Heroy) and everybody did a great job working on it after practice on Friday. We were terrible, so they worked their butts off all weekend and gave us a good finish."
ETC.: Larson believes his first Sprint Cup victory isn't that far away. "I feel like we've been a top-10 car most races," said the rookie driver. "I think if we just keep ourselves in contention, things will work out late in the race or we might have a dominating car one day and get our first win. I feel like right now it could come at a mile-and-a-half or a little bit bigger track. They just suit my driving style better. It reminds me of dirt track racing where you can search around for different lines. I didn't see anybody else as high as I was, at least on the exit of the corners (at Texas). Just always searching for grip and it seems like it pays off."
16 GREG BIFFLE, Ford
Team: Roush Fenway Racing
WHERE HE STANDS: 16th, 16 points out of the top 10. Gained two spots last week.
DARLINGTON RECORD: Two wins and five top-10 finishes in 13 starts.
LOOKING AHEAD: Biffle said, "I love the Darlington race track, it's been good to us over the years and I've got a couple of wins there. I'm proud of have American Red Cross on the car this weekend and hope to get them a good finish, hopefully even a win. I know how important donating blood is and I hope we are bringing awareness to that campaign."
LOOKING BACK: Biffle ran up front all afternoon as he finished sixth at Texas. "We had a shot at a top five," said Biffle. "Things got a little wild on that last lap and we came up just a little short (in the race for a top-five finish). This is a step in the right direction for the 16. But we're just not where the other guys are yet, so we've just got to keep getting better. We just have to keep getting our cars better."
ETC.: Crew chief Matt Pucci is quick to point out "Darlington has two distinct opposite different configurations of corners. It's a balancing act between each end trying to get the car to do one thing at one end and not be the total opposite at the other end. A balancing act you have to work on pretty hard. You've got to keep up with the race track all night long as the track changes over the course of the night to be there at the end."
15 CLINT BOWYER, Toyota
Team: Michael Waltrip Racing
WHERE HE STANDS: 17th, 16 points out of the top 10.
DARLINGTON RECORD: Only one top-10 finish in nine starts.
LOOKING AHEAD: Even though he has had more finishes of 31st or worse (three) than he has had top-10s (one) at Darlington, Bowyer enjoys going to the South Carolina facility. "It has so much history, and it is such a neat place to race at," said Bowyer. "We've actually ran well there the last two times (finishing 11th both times). We just need to put a whole race together and we will get the results we deserve for the way we are running. Hopefully that will happen this weekend."
LOOKING BACK: Bowyer was running fifth when he was forced to make a second pit stop during a yellow flag for a missing lug nut. The extra stop dropped him to 15th in the running order. Bowyer rallied to finish eighth, but he felt he could have challenged for the win without the problems on pit road. "We had another shot at it (the victory) today," said a frustrated Bowyer. "Our Willie's Duck Dinner Toyota was really good. We just had a problem on a stop there at the end. The car was great today. We're going to get ourselves a win here soon if we keep running like this."
ETC.: Crew chief Brian Pattie, like Bowyer, is frustrated with the team's problems on pit road. "You can't come in first and come out tenth (like the team did at Martinsville)," said Pattie. "Our problem is lack of execution and lack of focus. If we can't fix that we won't win races and we won't make the Chase. We have to be a better team at the end of the race."
9 MARCOS AMBROSE, Ford
Team: Richard Petty Motorsports
WHERE HE STANDS: 18th, 17 points out of the top 10. Lost four spots last week.
DARLINGTON RECORD: One top-10 finish in five starts.