Team: Earnhardt Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates
WHERE HE STANDS: 23rd, 25 points out of the top 10. Gained one spot last week.
BRISTOL RECORD: Finished eighth in the spring race a year ago for his third top-10 finish in 12 starts.
LOOKING AHEAD: Montoya has high hopes for this weekend. "The Target team ran really well at Bristol last year," said Montoya. "Actually both of our cars ran well at Bristol last year so it should be a good weekend for us. Our cars have been fast (this year). We're just trying to find the right balance on the handling and it's getting there. We've made a lot of gains since last year and we need to keep that momentum going."
LOOKING BACK: Like his teammate Jamie McMurray, Montoya had to start at the back of the field after changing engines Sunday morning. But Montoya didn't have as good a car at McMurray and spent most of the race just trying to stay on the lead lap. "It was tough out there today," said Montoya, after finishing 19th. "It was not easy to pass and, with the long green-flag runs, it was difficult to get track position. We were able to fight back in the end and get back on the lead lap, but didn't have enough to get to the front."
ETC.: When asked if the last two seasons have been humbling, Montoya replied, "It is not humbling; it sucks. It's not about humbling. I've won at everything I've been in, and I came to NASCAR and I've been good. I know I can do it. To run where we've run, it hasn't been fun. It hasn't been fun for Chip (Ganassi, team owner) or Jamie (McMurray) or myself, or the crew chiefs, or the organization or Target. We know we have the right tools to make it work, and I think this year we've done enough over the winter that is going to put us in a better situation."
10 DANICA PATRICK, Chevrolet
Team: Stewart-Haas Racing
WHERE SHE STANDS: 30th, 35 points out of the top 10. Lost eight spots last week.
BRISTOL RECORD: Finished 29th in her lone Sprint Cup start. Finished ninth in the August Nationwide Series race.
LOOKING AHEAD: Patrick said she really "liked Bristol since the first time" she saw the track. "For me, I respond to the banking, which translates to grip and it's definitely there," adds Patrick. "We were having a decent run in the Cup car (last year), we were lead lap and top 20 after 440 laps and unfortunately were taken out, but I think all those events lead us to (having) more potential the next time around with a better baseline setup."
LOOKING BACK: It was a long, long afternoon for Patrick as she finished 33rd, six laps back of winner Matt Kenseth. "It was a real tough day, no doubt," said Patrick. "We knew we were going to have tough days, but this is not the kind of tough day we thought about. I was extremely loose the whole time. I felt like I was about to spin out on the front straight. We just have to figure out how to make it better and work our butts off to make sure that we never have this day again."
ETC.: Patrick said her poor run at Las Vegas "are the days you earn your money, not the days like Daytona, where you run up in the top five all day. Those days are great. These are the days that you have to be strong and you have to work through it and not let it drag you down."
39 RYAN NEWMAN, Chevrolet
Team: Stewart-Haas Racing
WHERE HE STANDS: 31st, 38 points out of the top 10. Lost 11 spots last week.
BRISTOL RECORD: 12 top-10 finishes in 22 starts.
LOOKING AHEAD: Newman "really enjoys racing at Bristol. I enjoy the re-configuration of the track. I hope we'll have a tire there this weekend that will allow us to use all three or four lanes of the track. It's just a great race track and a great short track. I love the fact that it's concrete and doesn't seem like it changes a whole lot. Once you get a car right, it's typically right for 500 laps, which is difficult to get on some of the race tracks. Honestly, there's no place like Bristol."
LOOKING BACK: Newman suffered engine failure late in the Las Vegas race and finished 38th. Newman was quick to blame himself for the blown engine. "I missed a shift," said Newman. "I missed a shift because of the restart, but that's my responsibility, not those guys in front of me. It's entirely on me. I could point fingers at the final restart, but it was still my fault."
ETC.: Newman feels "patience" is really important at Bristol "because it can be a track that really challenges your mentality. There, more so than most race tracks, it's that mental stamina of controlling your emotions and controlling the race car according to your emotions and making the best of all the situations you are in. Bristol is different every time you come there. It can be a lot of green-flag runs and a lot of single-file racing, or it can be crazy and it can get randomly crazier."