CALIFORNIA RECORD: Three top-nine finishes in the last four races. Overall has one win and 10 top-10 finishes in 17 starts.
LOOKING AHEAD: Over the years, the intermediate tracks have been real good to Kahne with nine of his 16 career wins and 15 of his 26 pole positions coming on the l.5- and two-mile speedways. For that reason, he is quite anxious to get to California. "We just seem to run better at the intermediate tracks," said Kahne. "The track has been good to Hendrick Motorsports over the years, and we hope that continues on Sunday."
LOOKING BACK: Kahne was pleased with his eighth-place finish at Bristol for his second straight top-10 finish of the young season, but after winning the spring race a year ago and finishing second in the night August event he had hoped for a little better day. "We had a pretty good car, but track position is so important here we were just not able to show all we had," said Kahne, who did lead twice for 16 laps. With teammate Jeff Gordon finishing just ahead of him, Kahne's top-10 finish gave Hendrick Motorsports its 1,500th career top-10 finish.
ETC.: Kahne has moved up 18 spots in the Sprint Cup standings in the last three weeks and is now only two points out of the top 10. He hopes that trend continues at California this weekend. "We've had some good runs at California in recent years, and we expect another one this weekend," said Kahne. "To get into the top 10 this early will make everyone on the 5 team feel good."
16 GREG BIFFLE, Ford
Team: Roush Fenway Racing
WHERE HE STANDS: 12th, only four points out of the top 10.
CALIFORNIA RECORD: Has finished sixth in the last two races. Overall has one win and seven top-10 finishes including four top-five's in 19 starts.
LOOKING AHEAD: Biffle said, "I'm really excited about California. It's one of my favorite places to race and we seem to run really well there. It's very similar to Michigan and we run really well at Michigan." Biffle won the first race at Michigan last year and finished ninth in the second event. "I can't wait to get on the track this weekend," adds Biffle.
LOOKING BACK: Despite being forced to use a back-up car after an accident in practice on Friday and battling tire problems throughout the race, Biffle was able to come home in 12th place. "Boy, that was a long day - and night," said Biffle. "Actually, it has been a long weekend. But we were able to get a decent finish out of it so we can't complain too much."
ETC.: There have been four different winners in the first four races this year. Biffle feels this might be the weekend he makes it five for five. "We just seem to run well on the two-mile tracks," said Biffle. "Before the season began, most people said there would not be 16 different winners in the first 26 races, but the way this season is starting who knows. I just know I want to win a race in the very near future." There will be 16 drivers in this year's Chase for the Sprint Cup championship, and a win is supposed to all but guarantee a driver a spot in the Chase.
3 AUSTIN DILLON, Chevrolet
Team: Richard Childress Racing
WHERE HE STANDS: 13th, only five points out of the top 10.
CALIFORNIA RECORD: Will be making his Sprint Cup debut. Finished fifth in both of his Nationwide Series starts at the two-mile track.
LOOKING AHEAD: Dillon said, "Auto Club Speedway is definitely a fun place, there are a lot of options (on where to run). I think you'll see the groove come and go. The top of the race track right up by the wall might be as fast as the very bottom. It was a heck of a race last year between Joey Logano and Denny Hamlin. Hopefully, we can go there and slice and dice a little bit."
LOOKING BACK: Dillon and fellow rookie Kyle Larson spent the last 20 laps racing side-by-side for the 10th spot with Larson winning the battle by inches. "I really wish we could have gotten the 42 (Larson) so we could have finished inside the top-10 and earned Rookie of the Race honors, but overall we really have to be happy with a performance like that our first time in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Bristol," said Dillon. "The car changed a lot during the race with the weather and rubber build-up on the track, but (crew chief) Gil Martin and the team were well-prepared with chassis adjustments on pit road."
ETC. Every Wednesday Dillon is using his twitter account @austindillon3 to challenge race fans on the "Allin-Challenge." Dillon might ask for the best poker-race photo or he might ask the fans to help crew chief Gil Martin's son Ford find a date for his upcoming prom. Dillon said each challenge will be unique and the winner, as determined by Dillon himself, will win race tickets and/or memorabilia.
18 KYLE BUSCH, Toyota
Team: Joe Gibbs Racing
WHERE HE STANDS: 14th, 11 points out of the top 10. Lost four spots last week to fall out of the top 10.
CALIFORNIA RECORD: Won the race a year ago for his second win at the two-mile track. Has finished third, second and first respectively in the last three races. Overall has 11 top-10 finishes including seven top-five's in 16 starts.
LOOKING AHEAD: Busch hopes for another performance this weekend like he had at California a year ago. "We had the best car there all day (leading 125 of the 200 laps), but we ended up getting some late cautions and had to make some hard decisions on whether to stay out on old tires or lose our track position," said Busch. "We ended up getting passed by Joey (Logano) and Denny (Hamlin). They got caught up racing each other, and I was coming even if they didn't end up wrecking. I was digging on the high side and they got together. It was a crazy finish, one I won't forget for a while, and I'm sure the fans won't forget anytime soon, either."
LOOKING BACK: Following the sixth caution flag of the evening, Busch took control of the race as he led 73 straight laps before running into tire problems that forced an unscheduled pit stop. As a result, he returned to the track two laps down. Busch still had hopes of a top-10 finish when the car got "real loose" as he bounced hard off the fourth-turn wall with 105 laps to go. Despite sitting sideways in the middle of the track, all of his compatriots missed Busch as he was finally able to limp back to the pits. He ended the night in 29th place.
ETC.: Busch won his third consecutive NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Bristol on Saturday. The win was the 65th of his Nationwide career, a series record. It was also his 16th national series victory at Bristol, which is more than any driver at any track in NASCAR national series history. Busch has won five Sprint Cup races, seven Nationwide events and four Camping World Truck Series races at Bristol. "I just enjoy coming to Bristol," said Busch. "This reminds me of one of my favorite race tracks - Winchester Speedway in Indiana that I raced late models at and just a real high speed race track. It takes guts to go fast I guess, especially at Winchester for sure. This is a place that's just like it and now with the top side being what it is versus the bottom, it seems like guts prevail here little bit more as well."