Team: Michael Waltrip Racing
WHERE HE STANDS: After dropping from third to seventh after Phoenix, Mark Martin rebounded to gain back one position in the standings after Las Vegas, leaving him in sixth place. He trails points leader Jimmie Johnson by 34 points, fifth-place Carl Edwards by three points and leads seventh-place (tie) Matt Kenseth and Greg Biffle by two points each.
BRISTOL RECORD: 46 career starts, two wins, 16 top-fives, 23 top-10s and nine poles. Best career finish: first in August 1993 and August 1998. Did not compete in either race at Bristol in 2012.
LOOKING AHEAD: Unfortunately, Martin will not be racing Sunday at Bristol. He'll be replaced by Brian Vickers who did well in filling in for Martin in last year's Bristol races, finishing fifth in the March race and a career-best fourth in the August race. This will be the first of nine races in the first 26 pre-Chase for the Sprint Cup races that Martin will miss by choice. He is also slated to miss three Chase races. When it came to his two top-five finishes at Bristol last season in place of Martin, Vickers said, "(We
were) pleased, but not satisfied. I would have loved to have won one of those races and we came very close. Obviously, very pleased with the results and how it all worked out considering it was part-time."
LOOKING BACK: After finishing third in the season-opening Daytona 500, the 29th time he's been in the Great American Race, Martin had a disappointing 21st place finish at Phoenix and finished 14th at Las Vegas.
ETC.: Martin has completed 94.1 percent (21,488) of 22,845 laps in 46 career starts at Bristol. He has an average start of 10.3 and an average finish of 13.7. He has five DNFs there. Vickers has completed 96.3 percent (7,720) of 8,013 laps in 16 career starts at Bristol. He has an average start of 23.4 and an average finish of 22.1. He also has one DNF there.
20 MATT KENSETH, Toyota
Team: Joe Gibbs Racing
WHERE HE STANDS: Matt Kenseth was the biggest mover in the top 10 after Las Vegas, climbing 11 spots from 18th to a tie for seventh place with former teammate Greg Biffle. The pair trail points leader Jimmie Johnson by 36 points each, sixth-ranked Mark Martin by two points and lead ninth-ranked Clint Bowyer by four points.
BRISTOL RECORD: 26 career starts, two wins, 10 top-fives, 17 top-10s, one pole. Best career finish: First in August 2005 and August 2006. Finished 2nd in this race last year and was 25th there last August.
LOOKING AHEAD: Kenseth comes into Bristol with a big head of steam, having won his first race for Joe Gibbs Racing on Sunday at Las Vegas. He also is looking to repeat his strong finish at Bristol last March, when he finished second. Here are Kenseth's thoughts about his win at Las Vegas and looking ahead to Bristol: "Coach (Joe Gibbs) hired me to come in there and climb in that car and win races, so you certainly want to do that and you don't want to disappoint people. I'm glad we got a win, but it's still only Week 3. I feel like this is the beginning, you know, and have a lot of confidence, had a lot of confidence after our first meeting and decided to go do this and just had a great feeling about it. ... It's always great to get a win early in the season, but you certainly don't want to act like it stops. You want to go to the next one and start thinking about Bristol and what we're going to try to do there. That's the great thing about the sport, it never stops -- you only get to enjoy it for a couple days. It feels really great to get the win, and hopefully that'll keep some momentum going for our team."
LOOKING BACK: Kenseth led just 42 laps, but the most important was the last one, as he won at Las Vegas. It was his first win for Joe Gibbs Racing and also in a Toyota. Plus, it was on Kenseth's 41st birthday, making him only the third driver in Cup history to win on their birthday.
ETC.: Kenseth has completed 97.7 percent (12,711) of 13,013 laps in his 26 career starts at Bristol. His average start is 17.2 and average finish is 12.1. He has three DNFs there.
16 GREG BIFFLE, Ford
Team: Roush Fenway Racing
WHERE HE STANDS: Greg Biffle dropped one position from sixth into a tie with Matt Kenseth for seventh. The pair trail points leader Jimmie Johnson by 36 points each, follow sixth-ranked Mark Martin by two points and lead ninth-ranked Clint Bowyer by four points.
BRISTOL RECORD: 20 career starts, zero wins, six top-fives, 11 top-10s and one pole. Best career finish: third in August 2005. Finished 13th in this race last year (after starting from the pole) and was 19th in the August race.
LOOKING AHEAD: Biffle just can't catch a break at Bristol. Even though he spent the early part of his career racing on short tracks up and down the West Coast, Biffle has never been able to figure out Bristol's half-mile enough to earn his first win there. But he's hoping to change that on Sunday. Here are Biffle's thoughts on Bristol: "I'm looking forward to Bristol now that Las Vegas is behind us. We run hard at Bristol, which is always fun and exciting. I cannot wait to get to Bristol and redeem ourselves. We are a better team than we've been running; we made a mistake last week. Track position is key. You've got to be up front and stay out front. Seems like it's harder and harder to pass since all the teams are getting close together and the cars are getting close together. It's going to take being out front, good pit stops and a good pit stall selection to win at Bristol this weekend."
LOOKING BACK: Biffle typically does very well on 1.5-mile tracks, but not this past Sunday at Las Vegas, where he struggled to a 17th-place finish.