LOOKING AHEAD: Ambrose said, "We were bit by bad luck again last week, but hopefully all that is behind now. We're ready for some good luck, and Talladega is a place where you need it. Anything can happen at these superspeedway races. We've just got to be in the right place at the right time and stay out of trouble."

LOOKING BACK: Ambrose was running just outside the top 10 when he suffered engine failure. As a result, he ended the night in 42nd place. "This is so disappointing for us," said Ambrose. "We've had fantastic power from Ford Racing and Roush Yates Engines so we can't complain. It's just the racing gods aren't on our side this year. We were fast tonight and ran in and around the top 10. Our luck has to change."

ETC.: Crew chief Drew Blickensderfer feels it is very important "for us to keep our heads up and know that we deserve and can get top-10 finishes. We had a good car last weekend and another problem out of our control. We'll have a good car this weekend (at Talladega). We just need to be there at the end."


Team: Earnhardt Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates

WHERE HE STANDS: 24th, 88 points out of the top 10. Gained three spots last week.

TALLADEGA RECORD: Three top-five finishes in 12 starts.

LOOKING AHEAD: Montoya said, "When you come out of turn four on the last lap, you forget who was your friend. Talladega is a place where you have to be loyal to people until you get to the tri-oval. At that point, it's every man for himself. It's always been that way."

LOOKING BACK: Montoya had led for 67 straight laps and was only three laps from winning his first oval-track race in NASCAR when the yellow flag was waved after Brian Vickers crashed in turn four. Naturally, Montoya was "pissed off." But he quickly realized he needed to pit for tires to keep his victory hopes alive. But it was not to be as he finished fourth. "We restarted (for the green-white-checkered flag finish) on the outside and we were screwed," said Montoya. "It was a no-brainer to pit and take tires. What hurt us is we restarted on the outside and when you restart on the outside and people (ahead of him) have got really bad tires, everything backs up. When you are on the outside, you have nowhere to go. When you are on the inside, you can jump to the inside of those guys. We had a great car. The guys did an amazing job. It is just the luck of the draw."

ETC.: To call the year a disaster might be too strong a statement, but Montoya was struggling mightily before the Richmond raced. In the first eight races, he had five finishes of 26th or worse. He had only one finish - 12th - better than 19th. Everything that could go wrong had gone wrong. And that is why he had a smile on his face after the Richmond race despite seeing that elusive oval-track win disappear with only three laps remaining. "Everyone on the Depend Chevy this week did an amazing job," said Montoya. "We had a great car. Same as last week, we had a great car." But two loose wheels left him in 27th place. "The pit crew redeemed themselves tonight," added Montoya. "They did a great job all day, no mistakes. This is what we needed. We needed to come out of here with a good finish."

10 DANICA PATRICK, Chevrolet

Team: Stewart-Haas Racing

WHERE SHE STANDS: 26th, 102 points out of the top 10. Lost one spot last week.

TALLADEGA RECORD: Finished 13th in the spring race a year ago.

LOOKING AHEAD: Patrick is really looking forward to Talladega after winning the pole for the Daytona 500, running in the top five for most of the race and becoming the first woman to lead a lap at Daytona. "I feel like I've learned some lessons from Daytona about the draft," said Patrick. "There are a lot of people that have a good chance of winning Talladega. I'm hopeful we are one of them at the end of the race. But, we won't know until the end of the race."

LOOKING BACK: It was another long, long evening for Patrick as she finished a disappointing 29th at Richmond. "We were just so tight in the center of the corner," said Patrick. "We just couldn't loosen the car up enough to make the center work the way we needed to. Tony Gibson (crew chief) and the Go Daddy guys threw a lot at it, but we just couldn't get the center quite right."

ETC.: Patrick said she really enjoyed appearing on "The Colbert Report" a couple of weeks ago. "I think it is a great show," said Patrick. "It is really funny. I love his (Stephen Colbert) sense of humor. That was the first time I have been on his show. I was excited. He's a cool guy. When we got done, he came back and said good job, that was fun, sorry I went a little bit long, but I was having a good time. That's a very nice thing for him to say. I had a good time. I felt like he went kind of easy on me. It's always fun to do those kinds of things that are a little different and outside the box."