WHERE HE STANDS: Kevin Harvick moved up eight spots, from 12th to fourth, after his win Sunday at Phoenix. He trails points leader Dale Earnhardt Jr. by 11 points, third-ranked Jeff Gordon by one point and leads fifth-ranked Jimmie Johnson by one point.
LAS VEGAS RECORD: 13 career starts, 0 wins, 3 top-5s, 5 top-10s, 0 poles. Best career finish: Second in 2010. Finished ninth in this race last year and was 11th in the 2012 race there.
LOOKING AHEAD: Harvick is bound and determined to not only win more races with his new team, Stewart-Haas Racing, he also thinks he can finally win his first Sprint Cup championship this year with the team, as well. Here's his thoughts about Sunday's race in Las Vegas: "We tested with the new no ride-height rule at Charlotte ... at the end of last year and I expect the cars to have a little bit more grip and a little bit more speed than what we had before (at Las Vegas). ... I know they've worked hard on it, but things happen a lot more aggressively coming into the pit stall and everything is hot and so you've just got to make sure that's right."
LOOKING BACK: Harvick said he wanted to win early for his new home, Stewart-Haas Racing, and that's what he did in Sunday's second race of the season. He had the most dominant car, leading 224 of the 312 laps.
ETC.: Harvick has been about as near-perfect as you can be at Las Vegas, completing 99.9 percent (3,487) of the 3,492 total laps contested in 13 career starts at Las Vegas. His average start there is 21.1 and his average finish is a significantly better 12.7. He has zero DNFs there.
48 JIMMIE JOHNSON, Chevrolet
Team: Hendrick Motorsports
WHERE HE STANDS: Jimmie Johnson dropped one spot in the rankings, falling from fourth to fifth after Sunday's race at Phoenix. He trails points leader Dale Earnhardt Jr. by 12 points, is one point behind fourth-ranked Kevin Harvick and leads sixth-ranked Joey Logano by three points.
LAS VEGAS RECORD: 12 career starts, 4 wins, 5 top-5s, 7 top-10s, 0 poles. Best career finish: First in 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2010. Finished sixth in this race last year and was second in the 2012 race there.
LOOKING AHEAD: Johnson is one of the most dominant drivers at Las Vegas, and if there's a place for him to pick up his first win of the 2014 season, Sin City is as good a place as any. Here's his thoughts on Sunday's race: "We are looking forward to the opportunity for the extra test day in Vegas. With all the rule changes, we really need that time on these types of tracks to figure some things out. Again, this weekend will be pretty interesting. Plus this race is sponsored by Lowe's/KOBALT so we want to do well for KOBALT and keep that trophy in house."
LOOKING BACK: After finishing fifth in the season-opening Daytona 500, Johnson just barely missed a second consecutive top-five finish, ending up sixth at Phoenix.
ETC.: Johnson has completed a near-perfect 99.9 percent (3,222) of the 3,225 total laps contested in 12 career starts at Las Vegas. His average start there is 13.4 and his average finish is an outstanding 9.5. He has zero DNFs there.
22 JOEY LOGANO, Ford
Team: Penske Racing
WHERE HE STANDS: Joey Logano climbed four spots, from 10th to sixth, after Sunday's race at Phoenix. He trails points leader Dale Earnhardt Jr. by 15 points, is three points behind fifth-ranked Jimmie Johnson and leads seventh-ranked Matt Kenseth by five points.
LAS VEGAS RECORD: 5 career starts, 0 wins, 0 top-5s, 1 top-10s, 0 poles. Best career finish: Sixth in 2010. Finished 12th in this race last year and was 16th in the 2012 race there.
LOOKING AHEAD: Logano continues to build upon last season's breakout year, when he qualified for the Chase for the Sprint Cup for the first time, and is continuing that roll already this season. When asked whether the new format for the Chase for the Sprint Cup will change the way he races, Logano said, "Yes and no. I mean, you are going to take more chances at the end of the race. That is what happened with us last weekend. At the end, I thought I would try and stick it in there three-wide and make a pass for the lead. That is what you have to do to try and win one of these things. We lost a spot because of it, but that's not a big deal. But you aren't going to try something if you could lose a bunch of spots, because points are still important. A fourth is still better than a 20th. So it will be a case-by-case thing, but I think you will see a lot more of people 'going for it' at the end of races."
LOOKING BACK: Logano has certainly gotten off to a strong start this season, finishing 11th in the season-opening Daytona 500 and fourth this past Sunday at Phoenix.
ETC.: Logano has been near-perfect at Las Vegas, completing 99 percent (1,352) of the 1,353 laps contested there. His average start is 12.2 and average finish is 14.0.
20 MATT KENSETH, Toyota
Team: Joe Gibbs Racing
WHERE HE STANDS: Matt Kenseth fell one spot in the standings, from sixth to seventh, following Sunday's race in Phoenix. He trails points leader Dale Earnhardt Jr. by 20 points, is five points behind sixth-ranked Joey Logano and is two points ahead of eighth-ranked Denny Hamlin.
LAS VEGAS RECORD: 14 career starts, 3 wins, 6 top-5s, 7 top-10s, 1 poles. Best career finish: First in 2003, 2004 and 2013. Finished first in this race last year and was 22nd in the 2012 race there.
LOOKING AHEAD: After winning a series-high seven races last season, Kenseth is still in pursuit of his first win of the 2014 season. Las Vegas is one of his favorite and most successful tracks. Here's what crew chief Jason Ratcliff has to say about Sunday's race: "I'm anticipating things are going to get exponentially better as we head to Las Vegas this weekend because I feel that we were able to learn so much last week at Phoenix in regards to the new rules package, as well as the new qualifying format. Even though I feel like we might not be performing up to our expectations that we had hoped for so far, we're learning a lot of stuff really quickly, and I think we'll be able to start applying some of that this week. Vegas is really special for this group because it was our first win with Matt last season. I have a really good feeling about this weekend."
LOOKING BACK: After finishing sixth in the season-opening Daytona 500, Kenseth could manage only a 12th-place finish Sunday at Phoenix.