Capsules for the top 20 drivers in the Sprint Cup standings, plus five additional drivers of note.
By Jerry Bonkowski and Bob Moore
88 DALE EARNHARDT JR., Chevrolet
Team: Hendrick Motorsports
WHERE HE STANDS: Dale Earnhardt Jr. leads the Sprint Cup Series standings for the second straight week after Sunday's race at Phoenix International Raceway. Earnhardt leads second-ranked Brad Keselowski by six points and third-ranked Jeff Gordon by 10 points.
LAS VEGAS RECORD: 14 career starts, 0 wins, 2 top-5s, 7 top-10s, 0 poles. Best career finish: Second in 2003 and 2008. Finished seventh in this race last year and was 10th in the 2012 race there.
LOOKING AHEAD: Earnhardt comes into Las Vegas off to the best start of his 15-year Sprint Cup career. He won in the season-opening Daytona 500 and finished runner-up Sunday at Phoenix. Here's his thoughts about Sunday's race: "Vegas has a lot of bumps going into Turn 1. They are something else. I'm impressed each time I go there how much rougher it is. That really challenges you to set the car up to be able to get through the bumps. Your performance at Vegas can set the tone for the other intermediate tracks. Confidence is everything and when you go to Vegas. If you run well, you expect to go to the next mile-and-a-half and run well."
LOOKING BACK: Earnhardt continued to have the best start of any driver in the Sprint Cup Series, finishing second at Phoenix to winner Kevin Harvick.
ETC.: Earnhardt has completed 91.0 percent (3,312) of the 3,640 total laps contested in 14 career starts at Las Vegas. His average start there is 21.1 and his average finish is 15.6. He has two DNFs there.
2 BRAD KESELOWSKI, Ford
Team: Penske Racing
WHERE HE STANDS: Brad Keselowski moved up one spot, from third to second, after Sunday's race at Phoenix. He trails points leader Dale Earnhardt Jr. by just six points and leads third-ranked Jeff Gordon by four points.
LAS VEGAS RECORD: 5 career starts, 0 wins, 1 top-5s, 1 top-10s, 1 poles. Best career finish: Third in 2013 (after starting from the pole). Finished third in this race last year and 32nd in the 2012 race there.
LOOKING AHEAD: Keselowski has been consistent in the first two races, finishing third each time. He's off to a good start and looking to avenge last year's disappointing season, where he failed to make the Chase for the Sprint Cup, let alone defend his 2012 Cup championship. Here's his thoughts about Sunday's race in Las Vegas: "Our No. 2 Miller Lite Ford team has come out strong in the first couple of races and I am proud of the effort. Now we just have to get that last little bit in order to win races. We will continue working with winning in mind in order to ensure we position ourselves to be in the new championship playoff format. It's nice to be sitting second in the points early in the season. The best part is that we're just getting started."
LOOKING BACK: Keselowski had the strongest Ford at Phoenix and challenged Kevin Harvick all the way to the checkered flag. If there had been another lap or two, the outcome may have been different.
ETC.: Keselowski has completed 94.4 percent (1,277) of the 1,353 total laps contested in five career starts at Las Vegas. His average start there is 14.0 and his average finish is 25.0. He has zero DNFs there. Up until last year's third-place finish, he had never finished higher than 26th in his prior four starts at Las Vegas.
24 JEFF GORDON, Chevrolet
Team: Hendrick Motorsports
WHERE HE STANDS: Jeff Gordon moved up one spot, from fourth to third in the Sprint Cup standings, after Phoenix. He trails points leader Dale Earnhardt Jr. by 10 points, is four points behind second-ranked Brad Keselowski and leads fourth-ranked Kevin Harvick by one point.
LAS VEGAS RECORD: 16 career starts, 1 wins, 6 top-5s, 7 top-10s, 0 poles. Best career finish: First in 2001. Finished 25th in this race last year and was 12th in the 2012 race there.
LOOKING AHEAD: Gordon is off to a good start, exactly what he needs to do if he hopes to win a fifth Sprint Cup championship this year (and if he does so, he's already said he'll retire then). Here's Gordon's thoughts on Sunday's race at Las Vegas: "The challenges we will face at Vegas are the same challenges we have faced in the past. We're up against the loads (of the car) in general at speed but also trying to get over these bumps, and that's very, very challenging. You can run up high (to avoid bumps in Turn 1), but even then usually your left-side tires are on them."
LOOKING BACK: After helping teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr. to a win in the season-opening Daytona 500, Gordon again helped push Earnhardt to a runner-up finish Sunday in Phoenix. Gordon had a good run himself, finishing fifth in the race.
ETC.: Gordon has completed 96.3 percent (4,018) of the 4,174 total laps contested in 16 career starts at Las Vegas. His average start there is 13.6 and his average finish is 15.4. He has three DNFs there.
4 KEVIN HARVICK, Chevrolet
Team: Stewart-Haas Racing