(Carl Edwards starts Sunday's race from the pole position for Roush Fenway Racing)
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - A quick look at the 43 drivers who will take the green flag in Sunday's running of "The Great American Race:"
Daytona 500 Driver Quick Takes
Carl Edwards – Perfect way to help recover from last season’s championship disappointment with a start from the pole. Four top 10 finishes in his last five Daytona starts.
Greg Biffle - One of the strongest in practice during Speedweeks, will he keep it up in the race?
Tony Stewart – A winner in one of Thursday’s Gatorade Duel looking for his first career Daytona 500 win.
Matt Kenseth – The 2009 race winner also took a checkered flag in the Duel, the first ever for Roush Fenway Racing.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. – The winless drought is heading to four years but a return to pack drafting style of racing could be just what the doctor ordered for Junior.
Regan Smith – The one car Furniture Row Racing team shocked the world with a Southern 500 victory last season. Smith has a good shot at another NASCAR crown jewel on Sunday.
Marcos Ambrose – Consistently fast all through Speedweeks and a driver whose comfort level has risen dramatically over the last year.
Jimmie Johnson – Will have Chad Knaus at his side for the 500 despite the pre-inspection penalty. Motivated to bounce back into title contention and to bring Knaus his first Daytona 500 win.
Jeff Burton – A solid Daytona outing will go a long way in helping the veteran driver’s quest to improve over his last two seasons of mediocrity.
Elliott Sadler – Returns to the Sprint Cup Series in a fourth Richard Childress Racing entry and a potent one at that.
Michael McDowell – One of Thursday’s Cinderella stories that overcame long odds to earn a spot in the 500. Will most likely hook up with pal Trevor Bayne in the draft as they did in the Duel.
Joey Logano – Got stronger as the week went on and worked well with Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch. Sunday is first race with new crew chief Jason Ratcliff.
Kevin Harvick – Reunited with former Nationwide Series crew chief Shane Wilson. Harvick is the 2007 Daytona 500 winner.
Kyle Busch – Spectacular Budweiser Shootout performance has raised the expectation level that this is the year Busch finally breaks through and wins Daytona. However potential Toyota overheating issues will be a challenge.
A.J. Allmendinger – Begins his Penske Racing career with the car that was strong last year during Speedweeks when Kurt Busch was behind the wheel.
Jeff Gordon – The four—time series champion wound up on his roof in the wild Budweiser Shootout. Starts at the rear in a back-up car that crew chief Alan Gustaffson says is potentially a better piece.
Robby Gordon – Got in through his Duel and immediately offered to sell the position to the highest bidder. So far no takers but the green flag has not flown just yet.
Ryan Newman – A former winner of the event when he was with Penske Racing. Will only draft with SHR teammate Tony Stewart in an emergency as team tries not to put both cars at risk.
Jamie McMurray – The 2010 Daytona 500 winner needs a good start to the season as a first step of erasing last year’s miserable effort.
Kasey Kahne – Begins his Hendrick career in a back-up after a practice accident earlier in the week.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. – Makes his Daytona 500 debut in the Roush Fenway Racing entry that David Ragan drove to victory at Daytona last July
Mark Martin – Still chasing the elusive Daytona 500 win and begins his career with Michael Waltrip Racing.
Brad Keselowski – Has had a dicey Speedweeks so far with practice crashes in the Sprint Cup Series and a big accident in Friday night’s truck series race.
Dave Blaney – Had a guaranteed starting spot in the race until team owner Tommy Baldwin worked out a deal with Stewart-Haas Racing for Danica Patrick. But Blaney raced his way into the 500 through the Duel and has underdog written all over him.
David Ragan – His first career Sprint Cup win came at Daytona in July. Faces an uphill battle with the Front Row Motorsports team that did show some promise on restrictor plate tracks last year.
Martin Truex Jr. – The leader of the Michael Waltrip Racing team in terms of tenure will try to work with new teammates Clint Bowyer and Mark Martin in the draft.
Aric Almirola – Richard Petty Motorsports’ newest driver would like nothing better than to follow Trevor Bayne taking the Wood Brothers to victory lane last year by bringing “The King” a win in the iconic No. 43.
Kurt Busch – The man who wanted to bring the fun back to his career after parting ways with Penske Racing has one of his best chances at Daytona with the plate potent Phoenix Racing organization.
Danica Patrick – Has already made headlines this week with her huge Duel crash and a pole in the season-opening Nationwide Series race. She’ll have lots of eyeballs on her first 500 performance to say the least.
Clint Bowyer – Race number one of his Michael Waltrip Racing career and a pre-season pick by some to finally bring the organization a Chase berth.
Denny Hamlin – Former Daytona 500 and Sprint Cup Series championship winning crew chief Darian Grubb will try to guide Hamlin to his first victory in “The Great American Race.”
Bobby Labonte – The veteran driver brings a new sense of energy to Daytona thanks to some off season moves by the JTG Daugherty Racing team including new crew chief Todd Berrier.
David Gilliland – Surprised everyone with a third place finish in last year’s Daytona 500. Starts a back-up car Sunday after a big crash in Thursday’s Duel.
Joe Nemechek – “Front Row Joe” starts a long way from there on Sunday but just making the race was an accomplishment for this independent driver.
Juan Pablo Montoya – Another driver in a back-up ride after his Duel crash on Thursday. New crew chief Chris Heroy trying to help JPM shake last year’s blues.
Casey Mears – The switch to Ford by Germain Racing hasn’t reaped any benefits just yet.
Paul Menard – Has been very critical of NASCAR’s new restrictor plate rules package, not surprising since Menard in on his third car of the week.
David Reutimann – Landed with the new BK Racing team, which bought the assets of the former Red Bull Racing operation.
Landon Cassill – Reutimann’s teammate at BK Racing spent last year with Phoenix Racing where he was ushered aside for the Kurt Busch “Just Wants to Have Fun” tour.
Trevor Bayne – The 2011 Cinderella winner was forced to race his way into 50 to defend his crown. He’ll have to come a long way from back in the field to get back into contention but has proven to again be worthy running in the draft this Speedweeks.
Tony Raines – The Indiana driver and former short track standout drove another Front Row Motorsports entry into the field and kept veterans like Michael Waltrip and Kenny Wallace out in the process.
David Stremme – The Inception Motorsports team has eight full-time employees, the same number of people hired to polish Jimmie Johnson’s helmet at Hendrick Motorsports.
Terry Labonte – In on a past champion’s provision which by the way was earned by his 1996 title. Nothing against “Texas Terry” but that’s a rule in need of changing.