LOOKING BACK: Newman finished seventh at Pocono for his fourth straight top-seven finish at the 2.5-mile speedway. "Our Wix Filters Chevrolet handled pretty well throughout the race," said Newman. "We got a little behind in the beginning, but I am thinking it may have been a set of tires that cost us to lose some track position. After that, we just fine tuned our car and worked our way up to the front. We needed this top-10 after last week's disappointing result (31st after being involved in a wreck to fall out of the top 10)."
ETC.: Newman calls his win at Michigan in June 2004 "a special one because my dad was there. But I hadn't started my family yet. I won that race for him. Now I think it will be even more special to win because both my father and my two daughters will be at the track with me. My kids are my biggest accomplishment or my trophies, so-to-speak, so to win the Quicken Loans 400 on Sunday will be even more special. I want to hoist that trophy with them by my side."
4 KEVIN HARVICK, Chevrolet
Team: Stewart-Haas Racing
WHERE HE STANDS: 12th, 14 points out of the top 10.
MICHIGAN RECORD: Finished second in both 2013 races. Overall has one win and 10 top-10 finishes in 26 starts.
LOOKING AHEAD: Harvick said, "Usually, when you're hooked up at Michigan, the leaders have clean air and move through traffic pretty well, but if you're in the middle of the pack, you find yourself getting behind and going a lap down pretty quick. You just have to be going from the time the green flag drops and keep yourself in position at the end. We are taking one of our best cars to Michigan." Harvick dominated Phoenix in this car, leading 224 of the 312 laps in scoring the team's first win of the season. The last time he raced chassis No. 842 was at Kansas where Harvick won the pole, led 36 laps and finished second.
LOOKING BACK: Harvick knows he very easily could have four or five wins this season. "We have run really good all year long, but something keeps biting us," said Harvick. At Pocono, Harvick was running second when he was forced to make an unscheduled pit stop with 44 laps to go with a flat left-front tire. He dropped all the way to 32nd before rallying to finish 14th. "We had another great car," said Harvick. "And once again, we had something go wrong to keep us from challenging for the win." Harvick does have two wins in 2014. "But we could have a lot more."
ETC.: Greg Zipadelli, competition director of Stewart-Haas Racing, was both pleased and mystified after the Pocono race. "We had a good day going," said Zipadelli. "It was encouraging to have all four cars have speed all weekend. We've had one or two or three, but never all of them. There was a lot of the day when they ran one-two-three. We've just got to figure out how to close the deal (after three of the four ran into problems)." When asked how he explained all of the things that have happened to Harvick this year, Zipadelli replied, "I try not to think about it too much because it gets frustrating and because I really don't think there's an answer to it."
55 BRIAN VICKERS, Toyota
Team: Michael Waltrip Racing
WHERE HE STANDS: 13th, 25 points out of the top 10.
MICHIGAN RECORD: One win and eight top-10 finishes in 14 starts.
LOOKING AHEAD: Scott Miller, the team's vice president of competition, admits "everything about this sport is nerve-racking if you want it to be. I think you have to be insane to do this, but all of us love it. The new format places more emphasis on winning, but it was nerve-racking under the old way. If you were eighth through 12th under the old system you were on pins and needles those last five races (before the Chase). If you were 13th, you were trying to claw your way in. Under the new format, you have the same concerns."
LOOKING BACK: After running in the top 10 for most of the first half of the race, Vickers ran into handling problems during the final 80 laps and finished 19th at Pocono. "Not that great day for the Aaron's Dream Machine," said Vickers. "We were okay by ourselves, just had no speed in traffic. Just kept floating the nose and couldn't get around guys. We have a lot of work to do before we come back (in August), but I'm confident we'll get a handle on it."
ETC.: Miller is confident that both Vickers and teammate Clint Bowyer can win a race between now and Richmond - the last race before the 2014 Chase for the Championship begins. "The cars have been running good enough and we have some good tracks coming up," said Miller. "We'll see if we can get that victory (for both teams)."
16 GREG BIFFLE, Ford
Team: Roush Fenway Racing
WHERE HE STANDS: 14th, 32 points out of the top 10. Gained two spots last week.
MICHIGAN RECORD: Won the June race a year ago for his second straight win at the two-mile facility and his fourth overall. Will be shooting for his fifth straight top-nine finish.
LOOKING AHEAD: Biffle said, "Last year was the best Father's Day ever. The 1,000th win for Ford and to have my daughter there for her first victory lane. I'm not sure how to top that, but hopefully something spectacular will happen. Michigan is one of my favorite tracks; it's a big fast place and has lots of room to race. There is always a lot of strategy going on. Fuel mileage and pit stops are very important."
LOOKING BACK: It was an up-and-down day for Biffle as he finished 16th at Pocono. After battling major handling problems early in the race, the team made two big adjustments that made a huge difference as Biffle rallied to run in the top 10. But he ran into problems on the final two restarts to end his top-10 hopes. "We got the car a lot better, but on that final restart when the 22 (Joey Logano) lost an engine, things got a little jumbled up and we were in the wrong lane and lost a few spots," said Biffle.
ETC.: How things have changed for Biffle. After weeks of speculation about his future, multiple sources have told the Charlotte (NC) Observer that Biffle will sign a contract extension with Roush Fenway Racing in the very near future. "I have talked with other teams and there are options there but I think Roush is where I want to stay," Biffle said on PRN's Garagepass radio show. "I really like the program at Roush Fenway. I really like (sponsor) 3M and that's really my focus. I'm hoping we have it done in the next month or so."
3 AUSTIN DILLON, Chevrolet
Team: Richard Childress Racing