Team: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates
WHERE HE STANDS: 22nd, 33 points out of the top 10. Gained one spot last week.
CALIFORNIA RECORD: Will be making his Sprint Cup debut. Finished sixth in the Nationwide Series race last year.
LOOKING AHEAD: Larson, an Elk Grove, Calif., native, has high hopes for this weekend after his good run at Bristol. "It's definitely a good feeling going into California, my home state," said Larson. "We've had really fast cars all year long. Just haven't really caught the right breaks to those top-10s. I feel at Phoenix and Vegas both we had top-10 cars. I think with the good finish at Bristol, it's really going to hopefully turn things around, hopefully bring a lot of consistency."
LOOKING BACK: Larson finished a career-best 10th at Bristol. "We had a really good run today," said the rookie driver. "Started off the race in 20th place and got to the top 10 pretty easily in the beginning and then pretty much stayed in the top 10 for the whole race and inched our way to the front. Ran in second and third for a long time. It's crazy to think it's kind of a disappointing finish for the way we ran most of the race. Just got a little bit too tight in the center (of the corners) and ended up 10th."
ETC.: Larson, in his rookie Sprint Cup season, admits there are "a lot of adjustments" in the move from the Nationwide Series to the Cup Series. "Maybe the one that stands out is trying to get your feedback right to your crew chief from Happy Hour to the race," adds Larson. "That's something we've struggled with at Phoenix and Vegas both were making the right adjustments on the car to start out the race good. We got behind a little bit in the beginning of both races and it's hard to come back from those. These really are the first four races I've got to work with Chris Heroy (his Cup crew chief). The communication part has been a big adjustment."
14 TONY STEWART, Chevrolet
Team: Stewart-Haas Racing
WHERE HE STANDS: 23rd, 34 points out of the top 10. Gained four spots last week.
CALIFORNIA RECORD: Won the 2010 and 2012 races. Has five top-nine finishes in the last seven races.
LOOKING AHEAD: Stewart said, "It's nice knowing that as a driver you can help yourself out and you're not relying so much on the car (when racing at California). Regardless of what everyone else is doing, you can find a way to help yourself out. It makes you feel good knowing that because the place is so wide, you can move around, and basically, earn your money that day. If you feel like you're slower than the pace you need to be running, you're going to move up the race track and find a place that helps balance your race car."
LOOKING BACK: Stewart was all smiles after finishing fourth at Bristol, a season-high best. "To start 37th and end up fourth, I'm pretty excited about that," said Stewart. "Everybody just worked hard all weekend. We had a long way to go from Friday when we weren't very good, and every day we just got better and better. So, I'm really proud of Chad Johnson (crew chief) and everybody on this Bass Pro Shops/Mobile 1 team."
ETC: After missing the last 15 races of the 2013 season with a broken right leg, Stewart had struggled in the first three races of the season. "To come to Bristol and run 500 laps here and get a top-five is just what the doctor ordered," said a beaming Stewart. "It's big. This is such a physical place. If you look at the lap times we were running - mid-15 second laps around here all day - it's no walk in the park, by any means. It's not a win, I know that, but it feels like a win."
78 MARTIN TRUEX JR., Chevrolet
Team: Furniture Row Racing
WHERE HE STANDS: 29th, 61 points out of the top 10; Lost four spots last week.
CALIFORNIA RECORD: Three top-10 finishes in 13 starts.
LOOKING AHEAD: Truex believes "it's time for our Furniture Row Racing team to showcase what we really have. We just haven't been able to close the deal in the first four races. We've had mechanical woes and other issues to contend with. Auto Club Speedway is one of the best races of the year and I am looking to be in the mix on Sunday with our Chevrolet SS."
LOOKING BACK: Truex seemed headed for a top-10 finish when he got clipped on the right rear late in the event. The impact damaged the car's track-bar mount that eventually broke, causing the left-rear tire to go flat as Truex spun and hit the wall. As a result, he ended up 36th. "I felt we had a shot for a top-10 and then all that stuff happened," said a dejected Truex. "Very disappointing - we've had some tough luck this year, but it will change."
ETC.: Truex feels "Auto Club Speedway is a difficult track because it eats the tires off the car so fast and it's really hard to get your car dialed in there. The good news about the track is that it's wide - probably the widest track we go to - and you can run all over. It's a venue that I really like to compete at."
41 KURT BUSCH, Chevrolet
Team: Stewart-Haas Racing
WHERE HE STANDS: 31st, 65 points out of the top 10. Lost three spots last week.
CALIFORNIA RECORD: Finished fifth a year ago for his second straight top-nine finish. Overall has one win and 10 top-10 finishes including five top-five's in 20 starts. His three poles are tied for the top spot in that category with Denny Hamlin.
LOOKING AHEAD: Busch calls the California speedway "a cool race track. They have cool people and it's just a different atmosphere. It is just a little different feel than everywhere else we visit and it helps break things up a little bit. The track itself is a fast track. You have to be able to balance drafting down the straightaways and the handling in the corners. I enjoy going to southern California and the race track has been good to me over the years."