LOOKING BACK: Busch led three times for a race-high 102 laps, but his victory hopes were eliminated with 75 laps to go when he was involved in a multi-car accident. Busch ended up 31st to lose five spots in the standings and fall out of the top 10.
ETC.: Busch hopes his test run in an open-wheel car at Indy in May will boost his chances of a good showing in the 400 on Sunday. "I had a great experience at Indy back in May testing an Andretti Autosport Indy car," said Busch. "It's an awesome feeling to race at this historic track and a victory at Indianapolis Motor Speedway is what drivers want on their resume."
1 JAMIE MCMURRAY, Chevrolet
Team: Earnhardt Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates
WHERE HE STANDS: 15th, 16 points out of the top 10.
INDY RECORD: Won the 2010 race. Has five top-seven finishes in 10 starts.
LOOKING AHEAD: McMurray is "ready to get to Indy this week. Our team is very focused right now and we are ready to get back to action this weekend in Indianapolis. We have worked hard to put ourselves in a good position over the last few weeks with some solid finishes. Indianapolis is one of the places that is special to win with all the history and tradition at the speedway. I feel that our cars are getting better every week and the Brickyard would be a great place to get on a roll as we head closer to the Chase."
LOOKING BACK: McMurray finished 12th at New Hampshire Motor Speedway to move up two spots in the standings and close to within 16 points of the top 10.
ETC.: McMurray feels he could be in the top 10 in the point standings if his luck hadn't been so bad in the first half of the season. "Our year has been really good, we've just not be able to finish where we've been running," said McMurray, noting a blown tire at Michigan, a punctured radiator at Dover, a broken radiator at Charlotte and being in the wrong place at the wrong time at Daytona. "Speed-wise we've been good all year."
43 ARIC ALMIROLA, Ford
Team: Richard Petty Motorsports
WHERE HE STANDS: 16th, 21 points out of the top 10.
INDY RECORD: Finished 19th last year in his first Cup start.
LOOKING AHEAD: Almirola said, "Indy is awesome. It is unreal to drive down that front straightaway with grandstands on both sides. It's like you are driving through a tunnel at 200 miles per hour. It's an amazing feeling. I remember when they started racing the Brickyard 400, watching it, and thinking what it would be like to race at that track with all its history and nostalgia. Now, to have that opportunity, is really special."
LOOKING BACK: Excellent pit strategy allowed Almirola to finish fifth at New Hampshire Motor Speedway to gain three spots in the standings and get back in the thick of the battle for the Chase.
ETC.: Crew chief Todd Parrott is the one that started the NASCAR tradition of kissing the bricks when he was the crew chief for Dale Jarrett. Following Jarrett's win in 1996, Parrott suggested that to celebrate the win "we need to kick the bricks at the Brickyard." The Jarrett-Parrott combo won the race a second time in 1999.
31 JEFF BURTON, Chevrolet
Team: Richard Childress Racing
WHERE HE STANDS: 17th, 25 points out of the top 10.
INDY RECORD: Five top-10 finishes in 19 starts.
LOOKING AHEAD: Burton believes "it's definitely not easy" getting around Indianapolis Motor Speedway. "You have to be aggressive and push yourself," adds Burton. "The corners look the same, but they drive completely different. Turns one and three are at the end of those long straightaways and you would think they are the same, but they aren't. Turn three has way more grip then turn one, while turn two has the least amount of grip. Then you get to turn four and realize it has the most grip. Most people don't know this, but all of the corners also have different banking which makes it unique. It's a really interesting race track."
LOOKING BACK: Burton led four times for 14 races and finished a season-high third at Loudon to jump four spots in the standings and boost his chances of making the Chase.
ETC.: Burton is convinced the decision by Indianapolis Motor Speedway to bring NASCAR to the famed facility "was a game changer for NASCAR. In the 1990's, NASCAR took over as the leader in motorsports. Going to Indianapolis put us in a different category and we've gone there and put on good races and filled the stands every time. I think it was good for Indy, too. Bringing stock cars there was a historic occasion and it ruffled a few feathers, but at the end of the day, it was good for the race track and for the area. Overall, it has had a positive impact on the sport."
22 JOEY LOGANO, Ford
Team: Penske Racing