17 MATT KENSETH, Ford

Team: Roush Fenway Racing

WHERE HE STANDS: After spending the last four weeks in second place, this year's Daytona 500 winner took over the Sprint Cup points lead after Sunday's race at Pocono. He is 10 points ahead of second-ranked Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and 16 points ahead of Roush Fenway Racing teammate and former points leader Greg Biffle.

MICHIGAN RECORD: 25 career starts, 2 wins, 11 top-5s, 16 top-10s, 0 poles. Best career finish: 1st in spring 2002 and midsummer 2006. Finished 2nd in this race last year but fell to 10th in the midsummer race there.

LOOKING AHEAD: Not only did Kenseth move into first place in the Sprint Cup standings at Pocono on Sunday, he next is going to a track that is one of his favorite and most successful in the series -- Michigan International Speedway. Here's Kenseth's scouting report for this weekend: "Michigan is one of my favorite tracks throughout the season, and I always look forward to going to Michigan since it's in the Midwest. It's really important to have a good-handling car at Michigan since it's a big sweeping track. We participated in the tire test here in April and saw some pretty quick lap times. There was a ton of grip, and I assume it would be a little faster as the track gets dusted off and rubbered in, so speeds should pick up a bit. When we were in race trim, we were almost four seconds faster than we were racing last year, which is quite a difference. Racing at Michigan is a big weekend for us since the area is the headquarters for Roush Industries and Ford Motor Company."

LOOKING BACK: Kenseth lived up to his nickname of Mr. Consistency once again this season, doing enough to have a strong seventh-place finish at Pocono. Much like at Dover, he didn't have a car quite good enough to win the race, but he and his crew continued to work on it throughout the race to come home with yet another top-10 finish -- and took over the championship lead as an added bonus.

ETC.: Kenseth has completed 97.5 percent of the 4,771 laps contested in his 25 career starts at Michigan. While he has a mediocre average start of 19.4, his average finish is an outstanding 9.5. He also has 1 DNF.

88 DALE EARNHARDT JR., Chevrolet

Team: Hendrick Motorsports

WHERE HE STANDS: Climbed from third to second place after Pocono. Earnhardt is 10 points behind new series leader Matt Kenseth and 6 points ahead of third-ranked Greg Biffle.

MICHIGAN RECORD: 25 career starts, 1 wins, 4 top-5s, 8 top-10s, 2 poles. Best career finish: 1st in spring 2008 race. Finished 21st in this race last year and 14th in the midsummer race.

LOOKING AHEAD: Will Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s 143-race winless streak finally end Sunday at the same place he won his last Cup race, Michigan International Speedway in June 2008? Given how well he has raced this season, essentially doing everything he has needed to do to win -- except to actually reach victory lane -- Michigan could afford Earnhardt his best opportunity this season to finally break that long winless streak. Here's how Junior looks at Sunday's race: "I'm looking forward to going to Michigan and testing there for the day (on Thursday). With the repave some things might be similar to Pocono. We learned a lot during the five days up there, and hopefully we can go to Michigan with some of that stuff we learned and have a strong car."

LOOKING BACK: For the umpteenth time this season, Earnhardt looked as if he was headed to victory lane. But poor pit stops in the latter part of the Pocono race knocked him back in the pack, and he ultimately finished eighth. While he gained another top-10, to have led the race Sunday and come so close has to be disappointing for Earnhardt. It's time for a big breakthrough. Will Michigan be the place for that?

ETC.: Earnhardt has completed 99.1 percent (4,851) of the 4,894 laps he has contested during his 25 career starts the