Team: Stewart-Haas Racing
WHERE HE STANDS: 22nd, 59 points out of the top 10. Lost one spot last week.
CHARLOTTE RECORD: One win and nine top-10 finishes including eight top-five's in 15 starts.
LOOKING AHEAD: Stewart believes there are several ways to look at Saturday night's All-Star Race. "If your car is driving well, you're running for $1 million," said Stewart. "But if your car isn't driving well, you're learning from that and applying it to the 600 instead. I've always looked at it as however your car is driving in the All-Star Race is relatively true to how your car is going to drive in the 600."
LOOKING BACK: The race began well for Stewart as he ran in the top 10 for the first two-thirds of the race. But then he lost track position with a four-tire stop during the sixth of eight caution flags while many of his rivals were taking on only two tires. This dropped Stewart to 17th and he was never able to recover as he ended the night in 20th place. "The car just didn't go in traffic," said crew chief Chad Johnson. "Track position caught us tonight."
ETC.: Stewart feels "guys that run well in the All-Star Race will run well in the Coke 600 (on May 25), but they're not going to beat and bang like they might in the All-Star Race. I've always looked on the All-Star Race as a really good test because it's really the only time we have to run at night in race conditions."
1 JAMIE MCMURRAY, Chevrolet
Team: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates
WHERE HE STANDS: 24th, 81 points out of the top 10.
CHARLOTTE RECORD: Two top-10 finishes in seven starts.
LOOKING AHEAD: McMurray calls the All-Star Race "a fun race. Anytime that you put a million dollars on the line for a race you can expect plenty of excitement. Of course it is really nice to know that you have already qualified for the Sprint All-Star Race and not have to rely on racing your way in through the Showdown or have the fans select you through the fan vote. It is always interesting to see how the format changes from year to year, but in the end that last segment (10 laps) usually seems to be pretty wild."
LOOKING BACK: McMurray was running fourth when he cut a tire and slammed hard into the fourth-turn wall. The car quickly became engulfed in flames from a cut oil line. With the fire growing, McMurray was forced to make a quick exit from the car with help from his crew and NASCAR officials. He escaped unhurt. "I just entered turn three and I heard a small pop and then just lost all the steering and got into the fence and knocked the oil line and everything off which caused the fire," said McMurray. "We didn't have any tire issues all weekend so I'm not sure what happened. We really had a good run going." McMurray ended the night in 39th place.
ETC.: The team will open its shop to race fans Thursday afternoon with McMurray and teammate Kyle Larson on hand to greet the fans and sign autographs. In addition, there will be pit crew demonstrations and behind-the-scenes shop tours. The open house will run from 3 to 6 p.m.
10 DANICA PATRICK, Chevrolet
Team: Stewart-Haas Racing
WHERE SHE STANDS: 27th, 114 points out of the top 10. Gained two spots last week.
CHARLOTTE RECORD: Finished 20th in her All-Star debut a year ago.
LOOKING AHEAD: A year ago, Patrick qualified for the All-Star Race by winning the fan vote. "It was very flattering," said Patrick. "I'm very fortunate for the fans that I have. I have to say that from a driver's perspective I would rather race my way in, but if I have to get in by fan vote - what other way is better than that? I mean to have the fans put you in the race was something special." She is the favorite to win the fan vote again this year.
LOOKING BACK: Patrick finished a career-best seventh at Kansas after qualifying in the top 10 for the second straight race. "My goal at the beginning of the race was really just to stay up in that lead group," said Patrick. "You're going to move up; you're going to move down, but generally to average out to where I was starting (eighth). I feel like we did all that." Patrick got as high as third after passing Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and teammate and boss Tony Stewart. But she said "the most rewarding part of my night was probably when I drove around the outside of the 48 (Jimmie Johnson) on a restart. That was probably my most rewarding thing of the night. I say that with all the respect in the world. It's a big deal because he is (six-time champion) Jimmie Johnson."
ETC.: Patrick believes her good run at Kansas is just the first of many good runs. "This is a new car, and it was so good," said Patrick. "I think it shows when the runs were long and I would keep coming. That just shows this is a good car. They (her team) built a great one. And we've got more of them coming. That's the even better news."
41 KURT BUSCH, Chevrolet
Team: Stewart-Haas Racing
WHERE HE STANDS: 28th, 126 points out of the top 10. Lost one spot last week.
CHARLOTTE RECORD: One win and seven top-10 finishes including five top-five's in 12 starts.
LOOKING AHEAD: Saturday will be the first chance for Busch to see if all of the logistics are in place for his attempt at running both the Indianapolis 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 on the same day are in place. "We are confident we have everything lined up, but this weekend will be our first chance to see it in action," said Busch. "The first round of qualifying for the 500 will be Saturday afternoon and then we will have to hurry to get to Charlotte in time (7:10 p.m.) for the special qualifying session for the All-Star Race. It should be a fun and interesting day." The All-Star Race will start at 9:15 p.m.