Team: Joe Gibbs Racing

WHERE HE STANDS: After jumping from 14th to ninth after Dover, Denny Hamlin climbed one more position to eighth after Sunday's race at Pocono. He trails points leader Jeff Gordon by 78 points, is 21 points behind seventh-ranked Carl Edwards and leads ninth-ranked Joey Logano by two points.

MICHIGAN RECORD: 16 career starts, 2 win, 5 top-5s, 7 top-10s, 0 poles. Best career finish: First in spring 2010 and spring 2011. Finished 30th in this race last season and was 20th in the mid-summer encore race there.

LOOKING AHEAD: Hamlin has struggled greatly of late at Michigan. In his last five starts since winning there in spring 2011, he's finished 35th, 34th, 11th, 30th and 20th.

LOOKING BACK: After finishing fifth at Dover, Hamlin led four laps and finished a very strong fourth at Pocono this past Sunday. "(Pocono) was a challenge for everyone. These cars poke such a big hole in the air you can't get around whoever is in front of you -- you have to be substantially faster. Those are the cards you are dealt and you have to deal with it. We had great strategy, great pit stops. ... It's a good run for us: two top-fives in a row for us this year and that's not bad."

ETC.: Hamlin has completed 97.1 percent (3,048) of the 3,139 total laps contested in 16 career starts at Michigan. His average start there is 13.9 and average finish is 15.0. He has two DNFs there.


Team: Penske Racing

WHERE HE STANDS: Joey Logano fell three spots, from sixth to ninth, after Sunday's race at Pocono. He trails points leader Jeff Gordon by 80 points, is two points behind eighth-ranked Denny Hamlin and leads 10th-ranked Kyle Larson by one point.

MICHIGAN RECORD: 10 career starts, 1 wins, 1 top-5s, 5 top-10s, 1 pole. Best career finish: First in mid-summer 2013. Finished ninth in this race last year and won from the pole in the mid-summer encore race there.

LOOKING AHEAD: After a run of bad luck for several races in a row, Logano finally hit paydirt at Michigan last season. After finishing ninth there last June, he won the mid-summer race there in convincing fashion. Here's his thoughts about returning to Michigan: "(Last year's win) was huge. It was a big deal for sure. I wanted to win so badly and I felt we were close a bunch of times before that. I wanted to prove to Roger (team owner Roger Penske) and Todd (crew chief Todd Gordon) and the guys on the team that they made the right decision in bringing me over here. It also proved to me that I could do it. We kept that confidence over the off-season and we have kept it going into this year. So you can look back at that win and I feel a lot of it started in Michigan last year. Hopefully years from now, we can say that was the first of many, many wins for Roger Penske."

LOOKING BACK: Logano had a good run at Dover. While he didn't lead any laps, he still wound up with a top 10 showing, finishing eighth.

ETC.: Logano has completed 92.8 percent (1,859) of 2,004 laps contested in 10 career starts at Michigan. His average start there is 15.6 and average finish is 16.7. He has one DNF there.

42 KYLE LARSON, Chevrolet

Team: Chip Ganassi Racing

WHERE HE STANDS: Kyle Larson remained in 10th place for the second consecutive week after Sunday's race at Pocono. He trails points leader Jeff Gordon by 81 points, is one point behind ninth-ranked Joey Logano and leads 11th-ranked Ryan Newman by six points.

MICHIGAN RECORD: 0 career starts, 0 wins, 0 top-5s, 0 top-10s, 0 poles. This will be Larson's first career start in the Sprint Cup Series at Michigan. However, he has one prior start there in the Nationwide Series, finishing second in the spring race there last season.

LOOKING AHEAD: For the second consecutive week, Larson takes to a track that he's never raced upon in the Sprint Cup Series before. But coming off a strong fifth-place finish at Pocono in his first-ever start there last Sunday, look for Larson to do well again this Sunday. Here's his thoughts: "I'm looking forward to getting to Michigan this weekend and building off the momentum from the top-five finish at Pocono. Our (cars) seem to be getting better and better, so it will be good to be back on the track and see what we've got for this weekend. I had a good race at Michigan last year in the Nationwide car, so I'm excited to see what we can do in the Cup car. We're always looking for a win, but will just try to stay consistent this weekend as we continue to work on getting into victory lane."

LOOKING BACK: Larson had a great run and was the highest-finishing rookie this past Sunday at Pocono, finishing fifth.

ETC.: Larson will be making his first career Sprint Cup start at Michigan this Sunday.

31 RYAN NEWMAN, Chevrolet

Team: Richard Childress Racing

WHERE HE STANDS: 11th, only six points out of the top 10.

MICHIGAN RECORD: Two wins and seven top-10 finishes including five top-five's in 25 starts.

LOOKING AHEAD: Newman said, "Michigan is its own unique two-mile track. You really can't compare it to places like California Speedway anymore. They've kind of flip flopped. Before, California was the new pavement and Michigan was old. Now, it's the opposite. We are still looking for our first win of the season and hopefully we can do it right down the road from the Quicken Loans headquarters."