ETC.: Busch became the first driver to win three straight Nationwide Series races at Phoenix by dominating the rain-shortened event on Saturday. Busch led 155 of the 168 laps run before rain ended the race. The victory was Busch's 64th of his Nationwide career, extending his own Series record. "All the credit goes to Adam Stevens (crew chief) and everybody back at the shop," said Busch. "I think just the pure dominance we've shown here the last few times that we've come here and the amount of laps we've led with how fast our cars are is pretty phenomenal."
31 RYAN NEWMAN, Chevrolet
Team: Richard Childress Racing
WHERE HE STANDS: 15th, only four points out of the top 10. Gained six spots last week.
LAS VEGAS RECORD: Has finished in the top five in two of the last three races. Overall has one win and six top-10 finishes in 13 starts.
LOOKING AHEAD: Newman believes this weekend will be "a good vibe for what is our backbone core of racing. I think Las Vegas is going to be extremely important for everybody since it is the first 1.5-mile track that we run with the new rules. You are going to have a much better idea of what you have and what you need to work on after this weekend."
LOOKING BACK: Newman finished seventh at Phoenix for his second straight top-10 finish and third in the last four races at the one-mile facility. "It was a good team effort for our Quicken Loans Chevrolet," said Newman. "The guys did a good job in the pits. We caught a break with the debris caution (with 60 laps to go), which was a good thing for the team. It feels good to run up front, lead laps and earn a top-10 finish with my new team." Newman joined RCR during the winter after five seasons with Stewart-Haas Racing.
ETC.: Newman is a big fan of the extra four hours of testing that NASCAR is giving the teams on Thursday. "I think it's important," said Newman. "I think it's important to know how your car is and how comfortable you are as a driver. It kind of gives you a different perspective on how you need to unload the race car on Friday. Do you need to spend more time in race trim or in qualifying trim? The extra little bit of laps is good for giving you a heads-up."
3 AUSTIN DILLON, Chevrolet
Team: Richard Childress Racing
WHERE HE STANDS: 16th, eight points out of the top 10. Lost seven spots last week.
LAS VEGAS RECORD: Finished 21st in his Cup debut a year ago.
LOOKING AHEAD: Dillon calls Las Vegas Motor Speedway "one of my favorite venues we go to. I was fortunate enough to race there in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series last year and we had a decent car, so this year I'm excited to try it again," adds Dillon. "Having a full test day there Thursday will be a big help."
LOOKING BACK: It was a long, long afternoon for the rookie driver as he finished 24th at Phoenix. "It was a long day for sure, but I learned a lot," said Dillon. "The handling of the American Ethanol Chevrolet SS changed completely from yesterday to today. We were extremely loose to begin the day. I definitely learned a lot throughout the race and by the end of the event; we were running some of the fastest lap times of the race."
ETC.: Dillon feels it is "cool being able to have Phoenix and Las Vegas back-to-back because you can stay out West with your guys on the team and have a good time, then get focused by Thursday and have a good time at the track." Dillon said he likes "to play a little blackjack. I like to hang out at South Point (Hotel and Casino, where he will participate in an autograph session on Thursday at 5:30 p.m. Pacific Time)."
9 MARCOS AMBROSE, Ford
Team: Richard Petty Motorsports
WHERE HE STANDS: 17th, 15 points out of the top 10.
LAS VEGAS RECORD: One top-five finish in five starts.
LOOKING AHEAD: Ambrose will be running a new car this weekend, and he couldn't be happier. "One of the things that RPM has committed to myself and the entire organization is to take the new sponsorship funds our partners have given us and dedicate it to the cars," said Ambrose. "We expect to run more new chassis this year as we go along, especially at the tracks like Vegas where downforce matters so much. We're really putting an emphasis on this."
LOOKING BACK: Ambrose finished 21st at Phoenix. "Our starting position (29th) didn't help us today," said Ambrose. "Our car was pretty good in clean air, but racing where we were there just wasn't enough of it. The few times we did have clean air in front of us we were running some of the fastest laps on the track, but I just didn't have any grip in traffic. I fought really hard for the majority of the race to get that lucky dog (and get back on the lead lap), but our timing wasn't the greatest today."
ETC.: Car owner Richard Petty was named one of the five recipients of the Winner's Circle awards, given annually since 20004 by the North Carolina Division of Tourism, Film and Sports Development. The award is given to people who have made significant and continuing contributions to the growth and success of North Carolina's tourism industry.
5 KASEY KAHNE, Chevrolet
Team: Hendrick Motorsports
WHERE HE STANDS: 18th, 17 points out of the top 10. Gained 11 spots last week.