LOOKING BACK: Bowyer ran in the top 10 for most of the California race before suffering engine failure with only 16 laps remaining. As a result, he finished 35th to drop out of the top 10.
ETC.: Bowyer said, "I love cars. All kinds from pickups to classics to something a little new and different. I also have my own style and the way I like to do things. RK Motors in Charlotte (NC) - I've worked with them now twice as far as the 2011 barn-find Tundra and the 2012 Tekked Out Prius. They did such a good job with the Tundra that we took it to Barrett-Jackson and auctioned it off last year and raised over $100,000 (for Bowyer's charity the 79 Fund)."
29 KEVIN HARVICK, Chevrolet
Team: Richard Childress Racing
WHERE HE STANDS: 15th, 15 points out of the top 10.
MARTINSVILLE RECORD: One win and 10 top-10 finishes in 23 starts.
LOOKING AHEAD: Harvick feels running well at Martinsville is "a balance between being patient and making the right moves. You can get lapped pretty quickly if your car is off. You want to take care of your race car, but you want to take advantage of the opportunities (to pass) when you get them."
LOOKING BACK: Harvick ran in the top 10 for most of the California race, but ran into handling problems late in the event and ended the day in 13th place.
ETC.: Saving your brakes is always a key at Martinsville, but Harvick believes "the brakes and the rotors and everything are so good now that the issue you have now is the tires. The brakes will basically meld the bead of the tire because they're so hot, so you have to concentrate on not only the cooling of the brakes, but also the cooling of the tires."
1 JAMIE MCMURRAY, Chevrolet
Team: Earnhardt Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates
WHERE HE STANDS: 16th, 20 points out of the top 10.
MARTINSVILLE RECORD: Ten top-10 finishes in 20 starts.
LOOKING AHEAD: McMurray calls Martinsville "one of my favorite places to race. I have had some good runs there and I just think that it is fun to go short-track racing like that. I am also excited for the special paint scheme that we will run this weekend. We are going to support our IndyCar teammate Charlie Kimball with a diabetes awareness paint scheme for Race with Insulin. Kimball is the first licensed driver with diabetes to compete at the most elite level of IndyCar."
LOOKING BACK: McMurray ran in the top 10 for the first half of the California race, but ran into handling problems during the final 100 laps and ended the day in 19th place.
ETC.: McMurray spent Monday and Tuesday testing at Richmond International Raceway. "It's crazy to be testing at a track that we actually run at," said McMurray. "We don't get to do this very often. It was odd pulling in here and getting to log laps somewhere where we are going to race at. For a lot of teams, this is a tough track to get around. That's why this test is so important."
43 ARIC ALMIROLA, Ford
Team: Richard Petty Motorsports
WHERE HE STANDS: 17th, 20 points out of the top 10.
MARTINSVILLE RECORD: Will be seeking his third straight top-eight finish.
LOOKING AHEAD: Almirola is looking forward to returning to Martinsville after a very successful 2012 at the flat, half-mile speedway. "Our team did a great job at Martinsville last year," said Almirola. "We had two top-10s, first an eighth and then up to fourth in the fall. We're hoping we can move up another four spots and get to victory lane. It would be really special to win there. We have STP on the car, the same as the last win (1999) for the 43 car there."
LOOKING BACK: Almirola finished 14th at Auto Club Speedway to jump three spots in the standings.
ETC.: Almirola said, "History means a lot to me. Richard (Petty) has the most clocks from Martinsville (a record 16 including 15 as a driver), but I know he would really like to add another to his collection. I sure would love to put one in my house, too. Todd (Parrott, crew chief) really knows what it takes to get a car around this track. We really want the win - especially with all of the history Petty (Enterprises) has here."
24 JEFF GORDON, Chevrolet
Team: Hendrick Motorsports