27 PAUL MENARD, Chevrolet
Team: Richard Childress Racing
WHERE HE STANDS: 24th, 30 points out of the top 10. Gained six spots last week.
LAS VEGAS RECORD: Will be shooting for his third straight top-10 finish.
LOOKING AHEAD: Menard said, "Las Vegas has been a good track for us the past couple years. We haven't won, but I feel like we can every time I roll through the tunnel in turn two to enter the track. The pavement is wearing and the track is gaining more and more character with the high frequency bumps and grip level going away. It is a track where multiple grooves come in and you can pass more easily than other tracks."
LOOKING BACK: Menard finished 23rd at Phoenix. "We just seemed to struggle with changing track and handling conditions during the entire week," said Menard. "We'd make the change to fix one part, and then the other end of the track would give us problem. But, we never gave up, tried to race our way back onto the lead lap there at the end, but we couldn't gain on the two cars in front of us that were on our lap."
ETC.: Menard loves going to Vegas, but not to gamble. "I'm not a gambler, so the casinos don't matter to me that much," said Menard. "But, there are some great restaurants we take advantage of while we're in town."
55 BRIAN VICKERS, Toyota
Team: Michael Waltrip Racing
WHERE HE STANDS: 25th, 31 points out of the top 10. Gained three spots last week.
LAS VEGAS RECORD: Has finished in the top 10 in two of his last three starts.
LOOKING AHEAD: Vickers is quick to point out "it's been a few years since I have raced at Vegas in a Sprint Cup car. I think because of the progressive banking it should be a little easier to pass than it was at Phoenix. But how much is debatable. I think you will see a good race. I just hope we are part of the battle up front."
LOOKING BACK: Vickers finished 25th at Phoenix. "The reality is I think we had a decent car," said Vickers. "The guys on this Aaron's Dream Machine Camry worked really hard and made a lot of gains over the weekend from where we started to where we finished. The first run, I think we were one of the fastest cars on the track and the second run we were trying to make an adjustment and the left-rear jack screw broke so we didn't get our adjustment. I think we even went the wrong way and that killed us - we lost track position and went a lap down."
ETC.: Vickers couldn't be happier that Jeff Burton has joined Michael Waltrip Racing as a test driver. "It's fantastic having Jeff involved and what he can bring to this team," said Vickers. "I think just having him on board, especially for me this past off-season, just being able to have two drivers in cars testing when I wasn't able to be in a car has been huge. We couldn't ask for a better guy to be in that role, in my opinion."
41 KURT BUSCH, Chevrolet
Team: Stewart-Haas Racing
WHERE HE STANDS: 30th, 35 points out of the top 10. Lost 10 spots last week.
LAS VEGAS RECORD: Three top-10 finishes in 13 starts.
LOOKING AHEAD: Busch admits "Vegas hasn't been that good to me, especially for it being my hometown track. But I feel this weekend can change all that. We had a good car at Phoenix, just had some bad luck. So I feel we will be good this weekend, especially with the test day on Thursday to help us out. I feel good about how this weekend is going to go."
LOOKING BACK: After running in the top 10 for most of the first 200 laps, Busch ran into engine problems with the power plant finally expiring with 20 laps to go. As a result, Busch finished 39th. "That was a disappointing finish for the 41 team," said Busch. "We had a good Haas Automation Chevrolet early on. To have a top-10 car all afternoon and then not finish the race is a tough way to end your day."
ETC.: Busch will be the first driver in more than a decade to attempt the "double" on Memorial Day weekend. Andretti Autosport announced Monday that Busch will be in one of their five cars attempting to qualify for the Indianapolis 500. Later that day (May 25) Busch will compete in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The 500, if he qualifies for the race, will be his first IndyCar start. In 2013, Busch tested at Indy for the Andretti team and in the process passed the mandated Rookie Orientation program that will allow him to tackle the "Double." Busch called the possibility "a dream come true. To go to the famous Brickyard with the iconic Andretti name, it doesn't get much cooler or better than that. It is tough to do now for a variety of factors, but when the opportunity is there, I want to do it."
78 MARTIN TRUEXJR., Chevrolet
Team: Furniture Row Racing
WHERE HE STANDS: 35th, 41 points out of the top 10. Gained five spots last week.
LAS VEGAS RECORD: Finished eighth in 2013 for his second top-10 finish in the last three races.