ETC.: Kahne has a career average start in the All-Star Race of 12.0 and an average finish of 12.3.

18 KYLE BUSCH, Toyota

Team: Joe Gibbs Racing

WHERE HE STANDS: Kyle Busch climbed two spots, from 10th to eighth, after Darlington. He trails points leader Jimmie Johnson by 98 points, is one point behind the sixth-place tie between Brad Keselowski and Kasey Kahne, and leads ninth-ranked Aric Almirola by eight points.

ALL-STAR RECORD: 7 career starts, 0 wins, 2 top-fives, 3 top-10s, 3 poles. Best career finish: Second in 2011. Finished fourth in last year's race.

LOOKING AHEAD: The All-Star Race has been frustrating for Busch over the years. He came so close in 2011, only to lose a tight finish to Carl Edwards. Busch wants an All-Star win bad, and Saturday night may just be his best opportunity yet. Here are Busch's thoughts on the race: "Being an all-star and being in the All-Star Race is one of the most fun things we get to do each year. ... It's an exciting night and there's a lot of energy there. Charlotte does a great job. I think it's an awesome venue for that race. ... You're giving it all you've got every single lap. You're definitely up on top of the wheel and your guys do the best they can to give you a good car."

LOOKING BACK: Busch ran near the front for most of last year's All-Star Race, but ultimately trailed off at the end to finish fourth to winner Jimmie Johnson.

ETC.: Busch's driver rating is No. 2 in the overall All-Star performance among this year's field. He has a career average start in the All-Star Race of 5.3 and an average finish of 12.4.


Team: Richard Petty Motorsports

WHERE HE STANDS: Aric Almirola dropped one spot, from eighth to ninth, after Darlington. He trails points leader Jimmie Johnson by 106 points, is 8 points behind eighth-ranked Kyle Busch and leads 10th-ranked Kevin Harvick by two points.

ALL-STAR RECORD: 0 career starts, 0 wins, 0 top-fives, 0 top-10s, 0 poles. Has never been in the All-Star Race, but finished seventh in his only appearance in the Sprint Showdown (last season). Almirola is hoping to be one of the top-2 drivers (along with the fan vote winner) in Saturday night's Showdown to transfer into the All-Star Race main event later that same night.

LOOKING AHEAD: Almirola started fifth and finished seventh in last year's Sprint Showdown, the preliminary qualifying event for the Sprint All-Star Race. He'll again try to race his way into this year's All-Star Race via the Showdown. Almirola is very confident he can do it, particularly given the great start to the season he's had thus far. Here are his thoughts on Saturday: "I'm really excited for All-Star weekend. Our team, both the 43 and 9 (Marcus Ambrose), have been fast at Charlotte. We had an all RPM front row last spring. We tested there in January and were the fastest car, so I have a lot of confidence that we will be fast this weekend. Our mile-and-a-half program has been strong since Todd (Parrott) and I teamed up last season. Our goal is to win the Sprint Showdown and race for the win in the All-Star Race."

LOOKING BEHIND: Almirola has competed in just one Sprint Showdown. He started fifth and finished seventh in last year's Showdown and did not transfer into the All-Star Race main event.

ETC.: Almirola is still looking for his first career start in the All-Star Race. His average start in the preliminary event, the Sprint Showdown, is fifth, while his average finish is seventh, both of those marks coming in last year's Showdown.

29 KEVIN HARVICK, Chevrolet

Team: Richard Childress Racing

WHERE HE STANDS: Kevin Harvick climbed two spots and back into the top-10 from 12th after Darlington, tied with Paul Menard. Both drivers trail points leader Jimmie Johnson by 108 points, is 2 points behind ninth-ranked Aric Almirola and lead the 12th-ranked tied pair of Jeff Gordon and Greg Biffle by four points each.

ALL-STAR RECORD: 12 career starts, 1 win, 2 top-fives, 7 top-10s, 0 poles. Best career finish in All-Star Race: First in 2007. Finished sixth in last year's race.

LOOKING AHEAD: Harvick considers the All-Star Race one of his favorite races. And the incentive is ratcheted up this year with a potential $1 million bonus on top of the $1 million prize for first place. Here's Harvick's thoughts on Saturday's race: "Anytime they put that much money in front of anybody it's going to cause things to rise to another level. Take the points away from that and you really have some unique scenarios that come up. I think adding the bonus for winning all five segments is really going to add a twist to the event as well, especially for the driver who wins the first segment. They're going to be giving it all they have to try and win the remaining segments to collect the additional $1 million bonus. It's always fun when you know there is really nothing on the line but to win. If you do, then usually there is a big check waiting for you at the end so that gives you some bragging rights and a lot of money."

LOOKING BACK: Harvick had a strong car in last year's All-Star Race but couldn't catch frontrunners Jimmie Johnson, Brad Keselowski and Matt Kenseth at the end, ultimately finishing sixth.

ETC.: Harvick's average start in the All-Star Race is 8.6 and average finish is 10.5

27 PAUL MENARD, Chevrolet

Team: Richard Childress Racing

WHERE HE STANDS: Tied for 10th. Lost two spots last week.