Auto racing: A glance at drivers in Sunday's Daytona 500
No. 00 Toyota, Michael Waltrip Racing
DRIVER: David Reutimann
BORN: March 2, 1970
HOMETOWN: Zephyrhills, Fla.
CREW CHIEF: Rodney Childers
NOTES: Reutimann won his first career Sprint Cup race at Charlotte and two poles last season, flirting with qualification for the Chase. Finished 16th in points. With team owner Michael Waltrip stepping back from full-time racing, Reutimann and Martin Truex Jr. will take over as the team's top guns.
No. 1 Chevrolet, Earnhardt Ganassi Racing
DRIVER: Jamie McMurray
BORN: June 3, 1976
HOMETOWN: Joplin, Mo.
CREW CHIEF: Kevin "Bono" Manion
NOTES: McMurray won at Talladega last year but missed the Chase and finished a disappointing 22nd in series points in his final year at Roush Fenway Racing. Returned to Earnhardt Ganassi in the offseason and has looked strong in Daytona Speedweeks with his new team.
No. 2 Dodge, Penske Racing
DRIVER: Kurt Busch
BORN: Aug. 4, 1978
HOMETOWN: Las Vegas
CREW CHIEF: Steve Addington
NOTES: The 2004 Cup champion rebounded from a disappointing 2008, made the Chase and finished fourth last season. Won at Atlanta and Texas. After Pat Tryson left to join Martin Truex Jr. at Michael Waltrip Racing, Busch will be paired with Addington — who was fired as crew chief for Busch's younger brother, Kyle, at Joe Gibbs Racing last season.
No. 5 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports
DRIVER: Mark Martin
BORN: Jan. 9, 1959
HOMETOWN: Batesville, Ark.
CREW CHIEF: Alan Gustafson
NOTES: At 51 years old, Martin is back for another run at the Cup championship that has eluded him during his storied career. Won five races and finished second in series points last year, the fifth runner-up finish of his career. Kicked off Speedweeks by winning Daytona 500 pole.
No. 6 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing
DRIVER: David Ragan
BORN: Dec. 24, 1985
HOMETOWN: Unadilla, Ga.
CREW CHIEF: Donnie Wingo.
NOTES: After an impressive 2008, Ragan took a step backward last season, finishing 27th in series points. The team moved crew chief Jimmy Fennig to a research and development role and paired Ragan with Jamie McMurray's former crew chief, Donnie Wingo.
No. 7 Toyota, Robby Gordon Motorsports
DRIVER: Robby Gordon
BORN: Jan. 2, 1969
HOMETOWN: Orange, Calif.
CREW CHIEF: Iain Watt
NOTES: Gordon enters his sixth season as an owner/driver. Finished third at Charlotte last season, his first top-five finish since 2007, but finished 34th in series points. Team recently announced alliance with BAM Racing.
No. 9 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports
DRIVER: Kasey Kahne
BORN: April 10, 1980
HOMETOWN: Enumclaw, Wash.
CREW CHIEF: Kenny Francis
NOTES: Kahne won two races for the second year in a row and made the Chase for the first time since 2006. But he struggled from there, finishing 32nd or worse three times in the final 10 races to finish 10th in series points. Team still sorting through fallout from multiple mergers and switch to Fords, but Kahne has driving ability to contend.
No. 11 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing
DRIVER: Denny Hamlin
BORN: Nov. 18, 1980
HOMETOWN: Chesterfield, Va.
CREW CHIEF: Mike Ford
NOTES: Hamlin won four races, made the Chase last season and finished fifth in series points. Tore his left anterior cruciate ligament playing basketball in January but has said he will postpone surgery until after the season. Expected to contend — if the injury doesn't slow him down.
No. 12 Dodge, Penske Racing
DRIVER: Brad Keselowski
BORN: Feb. 12, 1984
HOMETOWN: Rochester Hills, Mich.
CREW CHIEF: Jay Guy
NOTES: Aggressive, up-and-coming driver ran a partial Cup schedule last season, winning at Talladega in just his fifth career start. Running feud with Denny Hamlin spiced up final months of Nationwide series season and could carry over to Cup.
No. 13 Toyota, Germain Racing
DRIVER: Max Papis
BORN: Oct. 3, 1969
HOMETOWN: Como, Italy
CREW CHIEF: Robert "Bootie" Barker
NOTES: After success in the truck series, Germain ran a partial Cup schedule last season with Papis, including an eighth-place finish at Watkins Glen. After making the Daytona 500 field, Papis — a former open-wheel and sports car racer — insisted he doesn't want to be known as a road course specialist any more. Instead, he wants to be called, "Mad Max, the NASCAR racer."
No. 14 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing
DRIVER: Tony Stewart
BORN: May 20, 1971
HOMETOWN: Columbus, Ind.
CREW CHIEF: Darian Grubb
NOTES: The two-time series champion flirted last season with becoming the first driver/owner to win the Cup title since Alan Kulwicki in 1992. Still looking for his first Daytona 500 victory in his 12th try.
No. 16 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing
DRIVER: Greg Biffle
BORN: Dec. 23, 1969
HOMETOWN: Vancouver, Wash.
CREW CHIEF: Greg Erwin
NOTES: Biffle was winless last season but still made the Chase, finishing seventh in the final standings. Won the 2003 July race at Daytona, but has never finished higher than 10th in the Daytona 500.
No. 17 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing
DRIVER: Matt Kenseth
BORN: March 10, 1972
HOMETOWN: Cambridge, Wis.
CREW CHIEF: Drew Blickensderfer
NOTES: Kenseth opened the season with his first Daytona 500 victory, followed by a win at California the next week. Season began to slide in Week 3, and he missed the Chase for the first time since its 2004 inception.
No. 18 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing
DRIVER: Kyle Busch
BORN: May 2, 1985
HOMETOWN: Las Vegas
CREW CHIEF: Dave Rogers
NOTES: Busch was hit-or-miss last season, winning four races but missing the Chase. His crew chief was fired before the season ended, so Busch goes into this year juggling both a change atop the pit box and his new role as owner of his own Truck Series team.
No. 19 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports
DRIVER: Elliott Sadler
BORN: April 30, 1975
HOMETOWN: Emporia, Va.
CREW CHIEF: Wally Rogers
NOTES: Sadler nearly won the Daytona 500 — he was out front briefly before the race ended early because of rain — but it was just one of five top-10 finishes all season. He wound up 26th in the final standings.
No. 20 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing
DRIVER: Joey Logano
BORN: May 24, 1990
HOMETOWN: Middletown, Conn.
CREW CHIEF: Greg Zipadelli
NOTES: Logano made huge strides during last year's rookie season, rebounding from a slow start to win his first career Cup race at New Hampshire in June. He finished 20th in the points, and should improve upon that this year.
No. 21 Ford, Wood Brothers Racing
DRIVER: Bill Elliott
BORN: Oct. 8, 1955
HOMETOWN: Dawsonville, Ga.
CREW CHIEF: David Hyder
NOTES: The two-time Daytona 500 winner is making his 28th start in the race, and has a good motor. He's scaled back considerably over the past several years, and ran just 12 races last season.
No. 24 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports
DRIVER: Jeff Gordon
BORN: Aug. 4, 1971
HOMETOWN: Pittsboro, Ind.
CREW CHIEF: Steve Letarte
NOTES: The four-time series champion begins yet another quest for the fifth Cup title that has eluded him since 2002. He's a three-time Daytona 500 winner, but will be racing in a backup car Sunday.
No. 26 Ford, Latitude 43 Motorsports
DRIVER: Boris Said
BORN: Sept. 18, 1962
HOMETOWN: New York
CREW CHIEF: Frankie Stoddard
NOTES: A new team that is getting cars and engines from Roush Fenway Racing, Said has only a five-race schedule lined up. It will be his third Daytona 500 start, and his best finish was 14th in 2007.
No. 29 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing
DRIVER: Kevin Harvick
BORN: Dec. 8, 1975
HOMETOWN: Bakersfield, Calif.
CREW CHIEF: Gil Martin
NOTES: Harvick has not won a points race since his 2007 Daytona 500 victory, but has won the past two exhibition Budweiser Shootouts that open Speedweeks. Finished second to Jimmie Johnson in Thursday's first qualifying race.
No. 31 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing
DRIVER: Jeff Burton
BORN: June 29, 1967
HOMETOWN: South Boston, Va.
CREW CHIEF: Todd Berrier
NOTES: Burton had to go to a backup car for the Daytona 500 after crashing in his qualifying race. Went winless last season as all of RCR fell off the pace, but is a key part of the rebuilding effort.
No. 33 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing
DRIVER: Clint Bowyer
BORN: May 30, 1979
HOMETOWN: Emporia, Kan.
CREW CHIEF: Shane Wilson
NOTES: Bowyer failed to win a race in 2009 for the second time in four seasons, missed the Chase for the first time in three years and finished 15th in points. Will start in a backup car after hitting the wall in practice Wednesday.
No. 34 Ford, Front Row Motorsports with Yates Racing
DRIVER: John Andretti
BORN: March 12, 1963
CREW CHIEF: Steve Lane.
NOTES: Andretti finished 35th in owner points last season and secured a starting spot in the Daytona 500 and the next four races in 2010. He's looking for his first top-10 finish since 2003.
No. 36 Chevrolet, Tommy Baldwin Racing
DRIVER: Mike Bliss
BORN: April 5, 1965
HOMETOWN: Milwaukie, Ore.
CREW CHIEF: Kevin Buskirk
NOTES: Bliss joined fledgling Tommy Baldwin Racing with hopes of running a full schedule in 2010. He finished fifth in points in the Nationwide Series last year. His 13 Cup starts in 2009 were mostly start-and-park endeavors for owner James Finch.
No. 37 Ford, Front Row Motorsports with Yates Racing
DRIVER: Travis Kvapil
BORN: March 1, 1976
HOMETOWN: Janesville, Wis.
CREW CHIEF: Peter Sospenzo
NOTES: The former truck series champion has been reunited with owner Robert Yates. Together, they finished 23rd in points in 2008.
No. 38 Ford, Front Row Motorsports with Yates Racing
DRIVER: Robert Richardson
BORN: April 4, 1982
HOMETOWN: McKinney, Texas
CREW CHIEF: Randy Seals
NOTES: Richardson finished a surprising 18th at Talladega in his Sprint Cup debut last season. Is racing full time in the Nationwide Series, but will make several starts in the Cup series.
No. 39 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing
DRIVER: Ryan Newman
BORN: Dec. 8, 1977
HOMETOWN: South Bend, Ind.
CREW CHIEF: Tony Gibson
NOTES: Newman made the Chase and finished ninth in points in his first season with new Stewart-Haas team. His lone victory since 2005 came at the 2008 Daytona 500.
No. 42 Chevrolet, Earnhardt Ganassi Racing
DRIVER: Juan Pablo Montoya
BORN: Sept. 20, 1975
HOMETOWN: Bogota, Colombia
CREW CHIEF: Brian Pattie
NOTES: Montoya had a breakout year in his third season in NASCAR. He made the Chase and finished eighth in points. Still looking for his first victory on an oval track.
No. 43 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports
DRIVER: AJ Allmendinger
BORN: Dec. 16, 1981
HOMETOWN: Los Gatos, Calif.
CREW CHIEF: Mike Shiplett
NOTES: Allmendinger was third in last year's Daytona 500, a strong showing for team owner Richard Petty, but didn't have another top-five finish and ended up 24th in points.
No. 47 Toyota, Michael Waltrip Racing
DRIVER: Marcos Ambrose
BORN: Sept. 1, 1976
HOMETOWN: Launceston, Australia
CREW CHIEF: Frank Kerr
NOTES: The laid-back Australian finished 18th in his first full season in the Cup series. Had seven top-10 finishes in 2009, including strong runs at two road courses, a superspeedway and a short track.
No. 48 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports
DRIVER: Jimmie Johnson
BORN: Sept. 17, 1975
HOMETOWN: El Cajon, Calif.
CREW CHIEF: Chad Knaus
NOTES: How about a five-peat? Johnson made history in 2009 by becoming the first driver to win four consecutive championships. Now, he's facing impending fatherhood and more attention than ever. He also is the preseason pick to win the title.
No. 51 Toyota, Michael Waltrip Racing
DRIVER: Michael Waltrip
BORN: April 30, 1963
HOMETOWN: Owensboro, Ky.
CREW CHIEF: Bobby Kennedy
NOTES: Waltrip eked out a starting spot in what could be his last Daytona 500, the race that has provided him with so many highs and lows during his 26-year career. The two-time Daytona 500 winner, though, is looking for better results after spinning four times during Speedweeks.
No. 55 Toyota, Prism Motorsports
DRIVER: Michael McDowell.
BORN: Dec. 21, 1984
HOMETOWN: Glendale, Ariz.
CREW CHIEF: Zachary McGowan
NOTES: Still searching for enough sponsorship money to race the full season. Also looking to do more than be known for a horrific crash at Texas in 2008. He hit the wall and barrel-rolled his car down the track. McDowell wasn't injured, but the clip became a YouTube sensation.
No. 56 Toyota, Michael Waltrip Racing
DRIVER: Martin Truex Jr.
BORN: June 29, 1980
HOMETOWN: Mayetta, N.J.
CREW CHIEF: Pat Tryson
NOTES: Truex Jr. moved from Earnhardt Ganassi Racing to Michael Waltrip Racing, hoping for a fresh start after winning just once in four full seasons. Had just one top-five finish last season.
No. 71 Chevrolet, TRG Motorsports
DRIVER: Bobby Labonte
BORN: May 8, 1964
HOMETOWN: Corpus Christi, Texas
CREW CHIEF: Doug Randolph
NOTES: Labonte joined TRG late last season, and team owner Kevin Buckler has committed to running the entire season even though they don't have full sponsorship. The 2000 Cup series champion enters another season looking for his first victory since 2003.
No. 77 Dodge, Penske Racing
DRIVER: Sam Hornish Jr.
BORN: July 2, 1979
HOMETOWN: Defiance, Ohio
CREW CHIEF: Travis Geisler
NOTES: The former Indy 500 winner and three-time IndyCar Series champion showed improvement in his second Cup season, posting two top-five finishes, but still finished 28th in points thanks to eight DNFs. Has struggled in Speedweeks, starting with admitting he owed four-time champ Jimmie Johnson an apology for wrecking him late in last year's Chase.
No. 78 Chevrolet, Furniture Row Racing
DRIVER: Regan Smith
BORN: Sept. 23, 1983
HOMETOWN: Cato, N.Y.
CREW CHIEF: Ryan Coniam
NOTES: Smith is a decent place racer who nearly won the 2008 Talladega fall race, but his pass of winner Tony Stewart was ruled illegal by NASCAR because he drove below the yellow, out-of-bounds line. Also finished a season-best 12th at Daytona last year.
No. 82 Toyota, Red Bull Racing
DRIVER: Scott Speed
BORN: Jan. 24, 1983
HOMETOWN: Manteca, Calif.
CREW CHIEF: Jimmy Elledge
NOTES: Speed had a rough first season in a high-profile ride, finishing 35th in points. His late pass in one of Thursday's qualifying races helped fellow Toyota driver Michael Waltrip make the Daytona 500.
No. 83 Toyota, Red Bull Racing
DRIVER: Brian Vickers
BORN: Oct. 24, 1983
HOMETOWN: Thomasville, N.C.
CREW CHIEF: Ryan Pemberton
NOTES: Vickers made more strides in his third season with Red Bull, moving from 19th to 12th in points and qualifying for the Chase. Picked up his second career Cup win on fuel strategy at Michigan in August.
No. 87 Toyota, NEMCO Motorsports
DRIVER: Joe Nemechek
BORN: Sept. 26, 1963
HOMETOWN: Lakeland, Fla.
CREW CHIEF: Philippe Lopez
NOTES: The veteran driver begins his second season driving for himself. He made 30 races in 2009, but had 27 DNFs because he mostly used the start-and-park philosophy. Earned a Daytona 500 starting spot during time trials.
No. 88 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports
DRIVER: Dale Earnhardt Jr.
BORN: Oct. 10, 1974
HOMETOWN: Kannapolis, N.C.
CREW CHIEF: Lance McGrewNOTES: NASCAR's most popular driver enters a critical season at Hendrick Motorsports. He was a career-low 25th in points and failed to win a race for the second time in 10 years. His crew chief and cousin, Tony Eury Jr., was fired midway through the season, and team owner Rick Hendrick vowed to get the lagging team turned around.
No. 98 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports
DRIVER: Paul Menard
BORN: Aug. 21, 1980
HOMETOWN: Eau Claire, Wis.
CREW CHIEF: Richard "Slugger" Labbe
NOTES: Menard joined Richard Petty Motorsports after the team announced a merger with Yates Racing. Spent most of his career driving for Dale Earnhardt Inc. Had his highest points finish (26th) in 2008 and his only top-five finish at Talladega's fall race.
No. 99 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing
DRIVER: Carl Edwards
BORN: Aug. 15, 1979
HOMETOWN: Columbia, Mo.
CREW CHIEF: Bob Osborne
NOTES: Edwards was winless in 2009 after winning a series-high nine races in 2008. Made the Chase and finished 11th in points, far off many preseason predictions that had him winning the championship. Is awaiting the birth of his first child.