Team: Michael Waltrip Racing
WHERE HE STANDS: 11th, only two points out of the top 10. Stands first in the wild card standings with one win.
INDY RECORD: Finished eighth a year ago for his first top-10 finish at the famed Brickyard.
LOOKING AHEAD: Truex said, "Just going to Indy is cool. It has so much history around it. The prestige of winning there is incredible. It sure would be nice to kiss the bricks. I think we have a chance. We have had some really good runs there over the years including last year in the NAPA Toyota. You definitely need horsepower, aero and good handling. You need it all to be fast there."
LOOKING BACK: Truex finished 16th at Loudon.
ETC.: Truex spent the off week relaxing in the Bahamas. This included swimming with sharks. "It was something that I had never done before and it certainly wasn't scary or even crazy like you would expect it to be. They were only three to four feet long and we were given instructions as to what to do. By all means, we're not talking about great whites. They were nurse sharks so they were not aggressive. They just wanted you to pet them. We had a good time and my batteries got charged up in time for one of the biggest weeks in our sport."
24 JEFF GORDON, Chevrolet
Team: Hendrick Motorsports
WHERE HE STANDS: 12th, only two points out of the top 10. Stands third in the wild card standings.
INDY RECORD: Will be seeking his third straight top-five finish and sixth top-nine finish in the last seven races. Has won the famed Brickyard 400 four times. His 11 top-five finishes and 15 top-10 finishes rank first in those two categories as does 477 laps led.
LOOKING AHEAD: Gordon, who grew up in Pittsboro, Ind., only a few miles from Indianapolis Motor Speedway, said, "I never dreamed I would win one, let alone four there. Winning five would be unimaginable. This is just a special place. Flying in, I'm always excited and eager to look out the window and see the track. I think I was 11 the first time I flew over the track, and I thought that was the coolest thing. I just love this event (the Brickyard 400) and competing here. I think this track suits my driving style, and the team has given me great cars here over the years. I always come here with confidence."
LOOKING BACK: Gordon rallied from a late spin to finish 10th at Loudon to move up two spots in the standings and close to within only two points of the top 10.
ETC.: Gordon feels the team needs to "win a race or two, being tied for 11th isn't doing us a whole lot of good. We've got to be a little further up, but it's nice to be that close (to the top 10). We continue to have frustrating days and things not going quite our way, but yet we continue to hang in there (in his bid to make the Chase). Hopefully, we can get it turned around and have some things go our way when it matters most and get ourselves in this Chase."
14 TONY STEWART, Chevrolet
Team: Stewart-Haas Racing
WHERE HE STANDS: 13th, only five points out of the top 10. Stands second in the wild card standings with one win.
INDY RECORD: Will be seeking his fifth straight top-10 finish and tenth in the last 11 races. Included in this streak is two wins - 2005 and 2007.
LOOKING AHEAD: Stewart said, "This is an event that I definitely circle on my schedule, emotionally having a lot invested in it. To us it's definitely not just another stop that's on the calendar and on the schedule. You don't just pull in and say, 'We're going to go in and try to win the race,' then pull out of here. When you're here, you're amped up because you're at Indianapolis. It's definitely not just another victory to us. It's a big deal for us to win here."
LOOKING BACK: Stewart led 84 of the final 100 laps, but ran out of gas on the start of the green-white-checkered flag finish to end up 26th at Loudon.
ETC.: Stewart admits he wasn't a big fan of NASCAR racing at Indianapolis Motor Speedway when the idea first came up in the early 1990's. "The first time they came (in 1994), I'll be honest, I was 100 percent against it," said Stewart. "When you grow up in the state of Indiana, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is the Holy Grail to you. I didn't want to see anything different come to it. To me, it was the Indy 500 and that's all it was supposed to be. But after the second year, I was kind of on the fence and by the third year I was a fan. Luckily my career path allowed me to come race here. Kissing the bricks (after his win in 2005) was everything to me. My whole life, since I was a kid, that's what I wanted to do. Not that I had some fascination with kissing bricks as a kid. But my fascination to do it here was pretty obsessive."
78 KURT BUSCH, Chevrolet
Team: Furniture Row Racing
WHERE HE STANDS: 14th, only seven points out of the top 10.
INDY RECORD: Four top-10 finishes in 12 starts.
LOOKING AHEAD: Busch said, "Indy has been a tough track for me. It's been frustrating there just to find the groove over the years. My first time at Indy I got a top-five and never gotten another one since. It might have been blind luck the first time out. When they diamonded out the surface that's when I started to (really) struggle - since that moment in 2005. It's like you're throwing a setup out in the middle of the track and you hope that it sticks for Sunday. We took a big hit in New Hampshire and need to get back into the top-10. We're right there, but need to avoid mistakes and being in the wrong place at the wrong time."