ETC.: Labonte still wants to race, but he is not sure how many races he will be running in 2014. "I've talking to a lot of people in Cup, Nationwide and the trucks and we'll see what happens," said Labonte. "If this team decides to run any more Cup races, I hope to be part of that deal."
36 REED SORENSON, Chevrolet
Team: Tommy Baldwin Racing
WHERE HE STANDS: 15th, six points out of the top 10.
PHOENIX RECORD: His best finish in nine starts is 12th.
LOOKING AHEAD: Sorenson said, "We had a great run in Daytona and I am looking forward to getting back behind the wheel of my Chevy. I enjoy working with Todd (Parrott, crew chief), he is a huge asset to the team, and I know these guys have been working hard to get the cars ready to go for this weekend in Phoenix. Hopefully, we can have another solid run and continue the momentum for the start of the season."
LOOKING BACK: Sorenson was one of the unlucky drivers to be involved in the last-lap accident as he ended up spinning across the finish line in 16th place. "We had a great car today," said Sorenson. "I am so proud to say that we were up front competing for a top-10. Those cautions there at the end got us shuffled back a little bit, and then we got caught up in the accident on the final lap. I hate that we weren't able to get a top-10, but we had a great run today."
ETC.: Parrott looks on his new job with Tommy Baldwin Racing as a "new beginning." Parrott, the crew chief for Dale Jarrett when Jarrett won the 1999 Winston Cup championship, was suspended last year and lost his job with Richard Petty Motorsports for failing a drug test. After completing NASCAR's drug recovery program, Parrott began looking for a new job. In hiring Parrott to be the crew chief for the 36 car, Baldwin said, "we at TBR are excited to take another step and grow our company with Todd Parrott. He will be a great addition to the team. I think it's important for everyone in this sport to have a second chance. Todd has earned that right by handing everything as a professional, and we are proud to have him on board."
99 CARL EDWARDS, Ford
Team: Roush Fenway Racing
WHERE HE STANDS: 16th, six points out of the top 10.
PHOENIX RECORD: Won this race a year ago after leading 122 laps. It was his second win at the one-mile track. Overall has 11 top-10 finishes including seven top-five's in 19 starts.
LOOKING AHEAD: Edwards can't wait to get to Phoenix. "We had a great car there a year ago, and I feel we are going to have another great one this weekend," said Edwards. "That track has always been good to me, and I feel it will be again this year. Winning early was big last year, and it is even bigger this year with a win meaning you are in the Chase."
LOOKING BACK: Edwards led three times for eight laps including three with 25 laps to go while battling Dale Earnhardt Jr. for the lead. But Edwards was involved in the last-lap accident and finished the night in 17th place. "We had a really fast Fastenal Ford," said Edwards. "I got to lead so that was really run. The 88 (Dale Earnhardt Jr.) was very good. He definitely deserved the win. The reason we all crashed at the end was there was still some oil on the race track (from a previous wreck). I just hate to tear up that race car. That was a really good car."
ETC.: During the off-season, Edwards participated in a 'mock' NFL combine at Velocity Sports Performance, where he was worked out by former University of Tennessee football coach Phillip Fulmer and current East Tennessee State head coach Carl Torbush. Activities at the combine tested skills of agility, quickness and flexibility and included everything from stretching to executing true passing and blocking drills. "I learned a little bit about being a defensive back," said Edwards. "I realized as these guys talked to me that the sport of football is very technical - just like racing. You have to work on it for years to get better."
9 MARCOS AMBROSE, Ford
Team: Richard Petty Motorsports
WHERE HE STANDS: 17th, eight points out of the top 10.
PHOENIX RECORD: Only one top-10 finish in 11 starts.
LOOKING AHEAD: Ambrose hopes to put his troubles at Phoenix behind him this weekend. "We haven't run as well there as we would like," said Ambrose. "But our short track program was a lot better the last half of last year so we have high hopes for this weekend. We really want to get this year started off on the right foot and a good run at Phoenix will help us do that."
LOOKING BACK: Despite being involved in two accidents, Ambrose finished 18th in the Daytona 500. "We had a fast car today," said Ambrose. "The Stanley Ford was good all week and the car was fast tonight. That is encouraging. We were caught up in that wreck close to the end. From there we survived the other ones and finished the race on the lead lap. We had a (good) chance for the majority of the day. We had a good car."
ETC.: With Juan Pablo Montoya moving to the IndyCar Series in 2014, Ambrose becomes the lone international driver on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. "I'm proud to be from Australia," said Ambrose. "The sport is widely popular back home as is Richard Petty. Everybody knows Richard Petty and it's cool to be the guy that is representing Richard Petty Motorsports and NASCAR globally."
18 KYLE BUSCH, Toyota
Team: Joe Gibbs Racing
WHERE HE STANDS: 18th, eight points out of the top 10.