ETC.: Earnhardt has completed 98.9 percent (13,365) of the 13,513 total laps contested in 27 career starts at Bristol. His average start is 21.7, while his average finish is a significantly better 11.6. He has one DNF there.
2 BRAD KESELOWSKI, Ford
Team: Penske Racing
WHERE HE STANDS: Defending Sprint Cup champion Brad Keselowski remained in eighth place for the second straight week after Michigan. Keselowski trails points leader Jimmie Johnson by 146 points (down from 174 points the week before), is 12 points behind seventh-ranked Dale Earnhardt Jr., and leads ninth-ranked Kurt Busch by just two points.
BRISTOL RECORD: 7 career starts, 2 wins, 3 top-fives, 3 top-10s and 0 poles. Best career finish: First in summer 2011 and spring 2012. Finished a career-worst 30th in this race last year and rebounded to third in this year's spring race there.
LOOKING AHEAD: Keselowski is far from being secure to make the Chase. In fact, not only is he just four points ahead of 10th place, he also remains winless thus far in 2013. Given his success in the past at Bristol, he has to give it his all to earn that first win of the year this Saturday night. Here's his thoughts: "Bristol is absolutely coming at a good time. I like to think of Bristol as one of my better racetracks, probably in the top three. I took to it from the first time I drove out on the surface. It's a man's racetrack and I like that about it. We need to get a win in these last three races before the Chase begins. We know what we can do in the Miller Lite Ford at Bristol, but past success doesn't guarantee anything for the future. We need to have a focused weekend from the time we roll off the truck. I would rather have a win or two and be a wild card than finish seventh or eighth and squeak my way into the Chase without any wins. The momentum of a win and the confidence it instills in you and the fear that it puts in your competition is more than worth it."
LOOKING BACK: After finishing second the week before at Watkins Glen, Keselowski led 17 laps at Michigan but faded near the end of the race to a 12th-place finish.
ETC.: Keselowski has completed 98.1 (3,433) of the 3,500 total laps contested in seven career starts at Bristol. His average start is 13.7, while his average finish is 12.1. He has zero DNFs there.
78 KURT BUSCH, Chevrolet
Team: Furniture Row Racing
WHERE HE STANDS: Kurt Busch moved up two spots to ninth place in the standings after Michigan. He trails points leader Jimmie Johnson by 148 points, is two points behind eighth-ranked Brad Keselowski and leads 10th-ranked Greg Biffle by a mere two points.
BRISTOL RECORD: 25 career starts, 5 wins, 7 top-fives, 14 top-10s and 1 poles. Best career finish: First in spring 2002, spring and summer 2003, spring 2004 and spring 2006. Finished 28th in this race last year but rebounded to finish fourth in this year's spring race there.
LOOKING AHEAD: With three races left, the elder Busch brother is back in the top-10 and must do everything in his power to stay there. Plus, given that he still has yet to win a race this season and has been one of the most dominant drivers at Bristol over the last decade, the stage could be set for him to reach victory lane and significantly help his Chase chances on Saturday night. Here's his thoughts on the race: "It's a good chance for us to break through (for a win). The Bristol night race is one of those top-five events of the year where you feel the excitement and the electricity. We're in the Chase mix and the biggest thing is to stay out of trouble. We all know that trouble can happen at any corner at Bristol. There's 500 laps at Bristol and we have to protect our car and still finish well. There's three weeks to go where we could get in a little fender-bender, some itty-bitty thing can happen that will put us on the outside. We need to stay focused and worry about what we do and not what others do."
LOOKING BACK: Looking like the vintage driver that won the first Chase championship in 2004, Busch had one of his best outings of the season, leading 43 laps and finishing third at Michigan.
ETC.: Busch has completed 94.8 percent (11,859) of the 12,513 total laps contested in 25 career starts at Bristol. His average start is 19.2, while his average finish there is 13.4. He has two DNFs there.
16 GREG BIFFLE, Ford
Team: Roush Fenway Racing
WHERE HE STANDS: Greg Biffle dropped one spot in the standings to 10th after Michigan. He trails points leader Jimmie Johnson by 150 points (down from 181 points the week before), is two points behind ninth-ranked Kurt Busch and leads 11th-ranked Kasey Kahne by four points.
BRISTOL RECORD: 21 career starts, 0 wins, 6 top-fives, 11 top-10s, 1 poles. Best career finish: Third in summer 2005. Finished 19th in this race last year and was 11th in this year's spring race there.
LOOKING AHEAD: There's no easy way to say this: Biffle is in deep trouble with three races left to make the Chase. He's just four points ahead of 11th-ranked Kasey Kahne, who right now is the leading candidate to make the Chase with one of the two wild-card berths - provided Kahne doesn't get back in the top-10 in the next three races. If he does so, Biffle would likely be knocked out of the top-10 and would have to rally by Richmond to make the playoffs. Here's his thoughts on Saturday's race at Bristol: "I'm really looking forward to Bristol this weekend. We always have good runs at that race track. You race right up against the fence, as fast as you can go. Saturday night under the lights, where else would you want to be except Bristol, Tennessee."
LOOKING BACK: After having won the last two races at Michigan, Biffle led 28 laps there on Sunday before fading to an eventual ninth-place finish.
ETC.: Biffle has completed 98.3 percent (10,330) of the 10,513 total laps contested in 21 career starts at Bristol. His average start is 13.4 and average finish is 12.1. He has one DNF there.
5 KASEY KAHNE, Chevrolet
Team: Hendrick Motorsports
WHERE HE STANDS: 11th, only four points out of the top 10. Gained one spot last week. Stands first in the wild card standings with two wins.