Capsules for the top 20 drivers in the Sprint Cup standings, plus five additional drivers of note.
By Jerry Bonkowski and Bob Moore
24 JEFF GORDON, Chevrolet
Team: Hendrick Motorsports
WHERE HE STANDS: Jeff Gordon remained in first place for the fourth consecutive week after Kentucky and for 10 of the last 11 weeks. Gordon leads the second-ranked tie of Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. by 24 points each.
DAYTONA RECORD: 43 career starts, 6 wins, 13 top-5s, 20 top-10s, 3 poles. Best career finish: First in summer 1995, winter 1997, summer 1998, winter 1999, summer 2004 and winter 2005. Finished 34th in this race last year and was fourth in this year's Daytona 500.
LOOKING AHEAD: Gordon makes his 44th career start at Daytona this Saturday. He's looking for his first win there since capturing the 2005 Daytona 500. Here's his thoughts on what it takes to win at Daytona: "Luck. We were fortunate there earlier this year to not get caught up in any wrecks and finished in the top five. That's our plan again this weekend. Hopefully we're battling our teammates for the win again, as well. The July race is different because the track is hot and slick and you need a good-handling car. But you still need to avoid the 'big one' or 'big ones.'"
LOOKING BACK: Gordon did not lead any laps Saturday at Kentucky, but finished sixth.
ETC.: Gordon has completed 94.7 percent (7,218) of the 7,623 total laps contested in 43 career starts at Daytona. His average start there is 10.5 and his average finish is 16.3. He has six DNFs there.
48 JIMMIE JOHNSON, Chevrolet
Team: Hendrick Motorsports
WHERE HE STANDS: Jimmie Johnson remained in second place for the third straight week after Kentucky. He is tied for second place with teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr.; the pair trails points leader and teammate Jeff Gordon by 24 points and leads fourth-ranked Brad Keselowski by 34 points.
DAYTONA RECORD: 25 career starts, 3 win, 9 top-5s, 12 top-10s, 2 poles. Best career finish: First in winter 2006, winter 2013 and summer 2013. Finished first in this race last year and was fifth in this year's Daytona 500.
LOOKING AHEAD: Johnson is looking for his third win at Daytona in the last four races there. Here's his thoughts on Saturday's race: "We had a tough weekend in Kentucky; we have some things to work on and we know it. I commend everyone for keeping their composure through a frustrating night. I'm looking forward to Daytona this weekend. We are taking the car we had at Talladega, and it was pretty fast. We had a good outing last time at Daytona and hope for a good night with the Lowe's Patriotic Chevrolet."
LOOKING BACK: Johnson will have to wait until next year to potentially check off Kentucky from his bucket list: it's one of only four tracks that he's never won at in his career. In this past Saturday's race there, Johnson finished 10th.
ETC.: Johnson has completed 4,097 laps (92.6 percent) of the 4,426 laps contested in 25 career starts at Daytona. His average start there is 10.4 and his average finish is 17.0. He has five DNFs there.
88 DALE EARNHARDT JR., Chevrolet
Team: Hendrick Motorsports
WHERE HE STANDS: After being in third place for the previous three weeks, former points leader Dale Earnhardt Jr. moved into a tie for second place with teammate Jimmie Johnson. Earnhardt and Johnson trail points leader and Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jeff Gordon by 24 points each and are 34 points ahead of fourth-ranked Brad Keselowski.
DAYTONA RECORD: 29 career starts, 3 wins, 11 top-5s, 17 top-10s, 1 pole. Best career finish: First in summer 2001, winter 2004 and winter 2014. Finished eighth in this race last year and won this year's Daytona 500.
LOOKING AHEAD: Earnhardt is hoping to pick up where he left off in February when he won the Daytona 500 for the second time and now seeks to do a season sweep there on Saturday night. He'll make his 30th career start at the legendary 2.5-mile track.
LOOKING BACK: Earnhardt earned his third top-5 finish on 1.5-mile tracks this season. His thoughts: "This place (Kentucky) is a bit of a handful for me. I don't think I've got it figured out just yet. And I don't exactly know what I'm looking for and how I need the car to drive. So Steve (crew chief Steve Letarte) and the guys did a good job in having to deal with me and trying to put a good car under me this weekend. It was a lot of fun in the race."
ETC.: Earnhardt has completed 97.0 percent (4,992 laps) of the 5,146 total laps contested in 29 career starts at Daytona. His average start there is 11.2 and average finish is 13.4. He has three DNFs there.
2 BRAD KESELOWSKI, Ford
Team: Penske Racing
WHERE HE STANDS: Brad Keselowski moved up one spot, from fifth to fourth place following Kentucky. He trails points leader Jeff Gordon by 58 points, is 34 points behind the second-place tie of Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. and leads fifth-ranked Matt Kenseth by five points.
DAYTONA RECORD: 10 career starts, 0 wins, 2 top-5s, 3 top-10s, 0 poles. Best career finish: Third in winter 2014. Finished 21st in this race last year and was third in this year's Daytona 500.
LOOKING AHEAD: After struggling in his earlier career starts at Daytona, Keselowski has now amassed two top-five finishes in his last three starts, including a career-best third-place finish in February in the Daytona 500. Here's his thoughts on Saturday's race: "My hand is a little sore, but it's not too bad (after cutting his hand when a bottle broke while celebrating in victory lane this past Saturday at Kentucky). Ideally, the stitches will come out before (Daytona on Saturday). In terms of it affecting my ability to drive, it won't bother me at all. While I am right handed, I drive left handed, if that makes sense. On top of that, Daytona is probably the easiest place that we go in terms of the amount of load on the driver's hands. It's never fun getting hurt or getting stitches for that matter, but with the right perspective it can serve as a motivator."
LOOKING BACK: Keselowski dominated Saturday's race at Kentucky, leading 199 of the 267 laps en route to his second win of the season in Sprint Cup.
ETC.: Keselowski has completed 94.0 percent (1,725) of the 1,835 total laps contested in 10 career starts at Daytona. His average start is a mediocre 22.5 and his average finish is 20.2. He has three DNFs there.
20 MATT KENSETH, Toyota
Team: Joe Gibbs Racing
WHERE HE STANDS: After two weeks in fourth place, Matt Kenseth dropped one position to fifth place following Kentucky. He trails points leader Jeff Gordon by 63 points, is five points behind fourth-ranked Brad Keselowski and leads sixth-ranked Carl Edwards by 19 points.
DAYTONA RECORD: 29 career starts, 2 wins, 6 top-5s, 14 top-10s, 1 pole. Best career finish: First in winter 2009 and winter 2012. Finished 33rd in this race last year and was sixth in this year's Daytona 500.
LOOKING AHEAD: Kenseth has won two Daytona 500s but has never won the summer race there. He's looking to change that this Saturday in his 30th career Sprint Cup start at the legendary 2.5-mile track. "The heat -- it's a night race, but it's a lot hotter so it kind of balances out. The track is starting to age a little bit and handling is still not a big concern yet," he said. "It's probably getting closer to being a concern or something you have to work on. The plate stuff -- we got wrecked at Talladega, but last year we ran really good at Daytona and all the plate races. Denny (Hamlin) was really dominant at Speedweeks, so I'm looking forward to getting back down there. We had really good cars there in February and hopefully we will again."
LOOKING BACK: After suffering one of his worst performances and finishes of the season at Sonoma (finished 42nd), Kenseth rebounded to an excellent fourth-place finish this past Saturday at Kentucky.
ETC.: Kenseth has completed 92.0 percent (4,732) of the 5,146 total laps contested in 29 career starts at Daytona. His average start there is 18.4 and his average finish is 17.1. He has five DNFs there.
99 CARL EDWARDS, Ford
Team: Roush Fenway Racing
WHERE HE STANDS: Carl Edwards remained in sixth place after Kentucky, 82 points behind series leader Jeff Gordon, is 19 points behind fifth-ranked Matt Kenseth and leads seventh-ranked Joey Logano by 17 points.