TALLADEGA RECORD: 8 career starts, 2 wins, 3 top-fives, 6 top-10s and 0 poles. Best career finish: First in spring 2009 and spring 2012. Finished first in this race last year and was seventh in the fall race there.
LOOKING AHEAD: Some drivers never figure out Talladega, but that's not the case with Keselowski, who has won there twice already in his career, including his first-ever Cup race there back in 2009. Even more, he has top-10 finishes in six of his eight starts there. Look for another strong finish this Sunday. Here's his thoughts on the race: "You really have to pay attention to how the race unfolds at Talladega. There are times when you need to be patient. There are times when you need to keep your head about you and race smart. But you are going to have to be aggressive at the end. Those are three elements of restrictor-plate racing that I work on throughout the race."
LOOKING BACK: Keselowski had a terrible showing at Richmond, finishing 33rd, including hitting the wall that cost him a few laps. He needs a big bounce back this Sunday.
ETC.: Keselowski has completed an impressive 97.0 percent (1,480) of the 1,526 total laps contested in eight career starts at Talladega. His average start is 18.9 and average finish is an impressive 12.2. He has one DNF there.
18 KYLE BUSCH, Toyota
Team: Joe Gibbs Racing
WHERE HE STANDS: After climbing 15 positions in the previous four races, Kyle Busch took a nose dive from second to seventh after Kansas, the same position he remains in after Richmond. He trails points leader Jimmie Johnson by 65 points, is points behind sixth-ranked Brad Keselowski and leads eighth-ranked Greg Biffle by six points.
TALLADEGA RECORD: 16 career starts, 1 wins, 3 top-five, 4 top-10s, 0 poles. Best career finish: First in spring 2008. Finished second in last year's spring race, and was third in the fall race.
LOOKING AHEAD: Busch is looking to give himself a belated 28th birthday present (his birthday is May 2), but he knows a good finish at Talladega isn't easy: "The key there is to somehow stay out of trouble. You pretty much stay around the bottom since there is a lot of grip there, and you can pretty much run wide open every single lap. Everyone can run up on top of each other. When you get single file at the bottom, sometimes it's hard to get a lane on the outside with enough good cars to get something going. It can be frustrating at times because of that. It also seems to still put on a good race each time we go there. If you can be a contender and stay in line on the bottom, you can make it a pretty easy and safe race. Normally, guys are not content doing that, so that's when it starts to get crazy."
LOOKING BACK: Busch started out strong at Richmond and ultimately led 40 laps of the 406-lap event. But he struggled in the second half of the race and dropped like a rock to an eventual and disappointing 24th-place finish.
ETC.: Busch has completed 89.9 percent (2,736) of the 3,044 total laps contested in 16 career starts at Talladega. His average start is 20.9 and average finish is 22.1. He has a career-high five DNFs there.
16 GREG BIFFLE, Ford
Team: Roush Fenway Racing
WHERE HE STANDS: Greg Biffle dropped the most of anyone in the top-10 after Richmond, falling four positions, from fourth to eighth. He trails series leader Jimmie Johnson by 71 points (after being just 47 points behind heading into Richmond), is six points behind seventh-ranked Kyle Busch and leads the ninth-ranked tie between Paul Menard and Kevin Harvick by one point each.
TALLADEGA RECORD: 20 career starts, 0 wins, 2 top-fives, 5 top-10s and 0 poles. Best career finish: Fourth in fall 2009. Finished fifth in the spring race last year and was sixth in the fall race there.
LOOKING AHEAD: Biffle has struggled at Talladega throughout his Sprint Cup career. Every time he goes there, he hopes to change his run of bad luck. Maybe that will finally happen Sunday. Here are his thoughts about the race: "I'm really looking forward to Talladega. We've been working really hard on our restrictor-plate program. We did a tire test for Goodyear at Daytona and so we think we learned a little bit of speed secrets. You never know what will happen at Talladega. It's a lot wider racetrack and we are probably going to be three or four wide. For sure it will be an exciting finish."
LOOKING BACK: Biffle had arguably his worst performance of the season at Richmond, finishing 36th. After wrecking, he ultimately finished 15 laps off the lead lap.
ETC.: Biffle has completed 93.3 percent (3,542) of the 3,796 total laps contested in 20 career starts at Talladega. His average start is 16.3 and average finish is 19.0. He has a career-high five DNFs there.
27 PAUL MENARD, Chevrolet
Team: Richard Childress Racing
WHERE HE STANDS: Paul Menard moved up one spot to a tie for ninth place in the standings with Richmond winner and Richard Childress Racing teammate Kevin Harvick. The pair are 72 points behind series leader Jimmie Johnson, trails eighth-ranked Greg Biffle by one point and leads 11th-ranked Aric Almirola by 13 points.
TALLADEGA RECORD: 13 career starts, 0 wins, 1 top-fives, 1 top-10s, 0 poles. Best career finish: Second in fall 2008. Finished 17th in last year's spring race and was 28th in the fall race there.
LOOKING AHEAD: Menard goes from one of his worst tracks (Richmond) to yet another poor track for him (Talladega). Of his five DNFs there, four have been due to being caught up in one of Talladega's infamous "Big Ones." Here are his thoughts for this Sunday's race: "Going into Talladega, there is always an unknown factor. We need to make sure we stay out of trouble and bring home the CertainTeed/Menards Chevrolet SS in one piece at the end of the day. With the Gen-6 car it's going to be hard to make moves and passes at Talladega. We're going to have to be a little more creative with strategy and how we work the race. I'm going to have to be more patient, because you can't just pull out and pass with the new car like you used to be able to do. Our goal this weekend is to continue to complete laps and be consistent. If we can do that and be there at the end I think we'll be in good shape."
LOOKING BACK: For one of the first times this season, Menard was not the highest-finishing driver in the Richard Childress Racing stable (teammate Kevin Harvick won) at Richmond. Still, he didn't have that bad of a night, finishing 13th.
ETC.: Menard has completed 83.1 percent (2,053) of the 2,472 total laps contested in 13 career starts at Talladega. His average start is 19.8 and his average finish is 22.5. He has five DNFs there.
29 KEVIN HARVICK, Chevrolet
Team: Richard Childress Racing
WHERE HE STANDS: Kevin Harvick moved up two spots, from 11th to a tie for ninth with Paul Menard after Richmond. Harvick and Menard both trail points leader Jimmie Johnson by 72 points, are one point behind eighth-ranked Greg Biffle and lead 11th-ranked Aric Almirola by 13 points.
TALLADEGA RECORD: 24 career starts, 1 win, 6 top-five, 10 top-10s, 1 pole. Best career finish: First in spring 2009. Finished 25th in last year's spring race, and was 11th in the fall race there.
LOOKING AHEAD: Harvick has become quite the proficient driver at Talladega. He has developed a knack for not getting into trouble in most races - in other words, he avoids many of the multi-car big wrecks that invariably occur there. Here are his thoughts about Sunday's race: "I like restrictor-plate racing, but our luck hasn't been that great lately on that style track. Last season, we thought we were going to have a chance to win coming to the checkers during the second races of the season at Daytona and Talladega, but we wound up coming in on a wrecker. We just haven't gotten the finishes we thought we would at those tracks, even though we've had good runs. We're coming off a win at Richmond, so I'm hoping we can carry that momentum into the race this weekend."
LOOKING BEHIND: Harvick led just three laps at Richmond, including the most important one, the final lap, as he won his first race of 2013 (and first win since Phoenix last fall).
ETC.: Harvick has completed 97.8 percent (4,446) of the 4,548 total laps contested in 24 career starts at Talladega. His average start is 22.0 and his average finish is 15.4. He has one DNF there.
43 ARIC ALMIROLA, Ford
Team: Richard Petty Motorsports
WHERE HE STANDS: 11th, 13 points out of the top 10. Gained one spot last week.
TALLADEGA RECORD: Still looking for his first top-10 finish. In six starts, his best finish is 12th.
LOOKING AHEAD: Almirola believes "Talladega is a bit of a crapshoot. You go in knowing you have a one in 43 chance of winning the race, but also have a one in 43 chance of ending up on your roof and done for the day. We're right in the thick of it for a Chase position. Although some think it's still early for that, but every race is important. Right now, we're taking advantage of all of them."
LOOKING BACK: Almirola rallied in the final half of the race to finish eighth at Richmond for his third straight top-10 finish, a career best. "That was incredible," said Almirola. "Great day by our guys who never gave up. That is what it takes in this series. At one point we were almost a lap down. We were in big trouble and Todd Parrott (crew chief) made so many adjustments and kept making it better and better and better. There at the end we were a solid top-seven car and I'm really proud of the whole team."
ETC.: Crew chief Todd Parrott is "very proud of the season we've put together so far. If we keep putting ourselves in position for top-10s and keep improving, we'll start posting top-five's and really be in contention to win each week. That's our goal. Talladega is difficult because you really don't know what you are going to get until the last few laps. We just have to give Aric a fast car and try to be in the right place at the right time at the end."
1 JAMIE MCMURRAY, Chevrolet