Car: 00, Toyota Michael Waltrip Racing
Overview: Drove in 00 car for the first five races of 2008 before replacing retired Dale Jarrett in the team’s 44 car for the rest of the season. Finished 22nd in points in his second full season in Cup.
2009: 12th at the Daytona 500; 14th Sunday at Fontana, Calif.
Car: 07, Chevrolet Richard Childress Racing
Overview: Moving from Hendrick Motorsports to become RCR’s fourth Cup driver, Mears takes over the car driven into the Chase last year by Clint Bowyer, who moves to RCR’s new 33. Mears finished 20th in points last season.
2009: 12th at Daytona; 24th at Fontana
Car: 09, Chevrolet Phoenix Racing
Overview: The veteran and winner of the 2002 Las Vegas race is starting the season with a new team. He last drove full time in 2006.
2009: Did not qualify at Fontana
Martin Truex Jr.
Car: 1, Chevrolet Earnhardt Ganassi Racing
Overview: Part of newly merged Earnhardt Ganassi team. Had disappointing 2008 after getting first Cup victory and making the field for the Chase the previous year. Truex finished 15th in the standings
2009: 11th at Daytona; 27th at Fontana
Car: 2, Dodge Penske Racing
Overview: 2004 Cup champion ran his string of seasons with at least one victory to seven last season and finished 18th in points with five top-fives and 10 top-10s but also failed to finish five races.
2009: 10th at Daytona; 5th at Fontana
Car: 4, Chevrolet Hendrick Motorsports
Overview: At 50 years old, Martin joins old friend Rick Hendrick. Martin plans to run the full season and attempt to win his first Cup championship after two years of a part-time schedule for Bobby Ginn and Dale Earnhardt Inc. Won Vegas in 1998.
2009: 16th at Daytona; 40th at Fontana
Car: 6, Ford Roush Fenway Racing
Overview: Flirted with making the Chase before finishing 13th in the points last year. Had six top-fives and 14 top-10s.
2009: 6th at Daytona; 17th at Fontana
Car: 7, Toyota Robby Gordon Motorsports
Overview: Entering his fifth season as an owner/driver, Gordon is switching from Dodge to Toyota for 2009 after finishing 33rd in the points last year. He had three top-10s and seven top-20 finishes in 2008.
2009: 34th at Daytona; 30th at Fontana
Car: 7, Chevrolet Earnhardt Ganassi Racing
Overview: Ran 12 races for Dale Earnhardt Inc. last year while sharing a ride with Mark Martin. Team is hopeful it can find enough backing to run the entire season.
2009: 30th at Daytona; 35th at Fontana
Car: 9, Dodge Richard Petty Motorsports
Overview: Driving for new Richard Petty Motorsports team. Bounced back after a winless 2007 to win points races at Charlotte and Pocono last year, along with the NASCAR All-Star event. Finished 14th in season points.
2009: 29th at Daytona; 12th at Fontana
Car: 11, Toyota Joe Gibbs Racing
Overview: Hamlin made the Chase for the third straight year, winding up eighth. Matched his 2007 season totals of one win, one pole, 12 top-fives and 18 top-10s.
2009: 26th at Daytona; 6th at Fontana
Car: 12, Dodge Penske Racing
Overview: Back in Cup full-time after losing ride with Chip Ganassi Racing following 2007 season. Replaces longtime Penske driver Ryan Newman after working with the team last year as a test driver. Also drove in 2008 for Rusty Wallace Racing in Nationwide Series, finishing 11th.
2009: 33rd at Daytona; 13th at Fontana
Car: 14, Chevrolet Stewart-Haas Racing
Overview: Two-time series champion has left Joe Gibbs Racing after a successful 10-year Cup career to run his own team, taking over what was the Haas CNC team. Hired engineer Darian Grubb away from Hendrick Motorsports to be his crew chief and brought Ryan Newman in as his teammate.
2009: 8th at Daytona; 8th at Fontana
Car: 16, Ford Roush Fenway Racing
Overview: Coming off a strong season, in which he won two poles, two races and finished third in the points after missing the Chase the previous two years. Signed a three-year contract extension with Roush Fenway team.
2009: 20th at Daytona; 4th at Fontana
Car:17, Ford Roush Fenway Racing
Overview: Failed to win a Cup race for the first time since 2001 but has won the first two races this year. Has made the Chase every year since the new format began in 2004. The 2003 series champion wound up 11th last season. He won at Las Vegas in 2003 and 2004.
2009: 1st at Daytona; 1st at Fontana
Car: 18, Toyota Joe Gibbs Racing
Overview: The Las Vegas native’s first year with Joe Gibbs Racing and driving a Toyota was superb. Had 21 victories; eight in Cup, 10 in Nationwide and three in trucks. But his 2008 season turned sour in the Chase, when he stumbled at the start of the 10-race playoff and wound up 10th in the points.
2009: 41st at Daytona; 3rd at Fontana
Car: 19, Dodge Richard Petty Motorsports
Overview: Coming off mediocre season and tumultuous offseason in which he lost his ride, then regained it with the newly merged RPM team. Went winless for fourth straight season and finished 24th in the points last year.
2009: 5th at Daytona; 25th at Fontana
Car: 20, Toyota Joe Gibbs Racing
Overview: Highly touted rookie turned 18 in May and replaces two-time series champion Stewart, who has moved on to his own team. Last year, won his third Nationwide Series race.
2009: 43rd at Daytona; 26th at Fontana
Car: 24, Chevrolet Hendrick Motorsports
Overview: Coming off first winless year since rookie season in 1993, four-time Cup champion is getting off to good start this year with crew chief Steve Letarte. Gordon won at Las Vegas in 2001.
2009: 13th at Daytona; 2nd at Fontana
Car: 26, Ford Roush Fenway Racing
Overview: McMurray is entering his fourth season with Roush Fenway and seventh full season in Cup but has yet to make the Chase.
2009: 37th at Daytona; 16th at Fontana
Car: 28, Ford Yates Racing
Overview: Kvapil remains with Yates Racing after a solid season in 2008, earning a pole, four top-10s and a 23rd-place points finish. Kvapil gave up the No. 28’s owner points to new teammate Paul Menard, so Kvapil will have to qualify on speed for the first five races.
2009: 42nd at Daytona; 18th at Fontana
Car: 29, Chevrolet Richard Childress Racing
Overview: Coming off first winless season since 2004 and only second in eight full years in Cup. He had seven top-fives, 19 top-10s and matched his career-best points finish of fourth.
2009: 2nd at Daytona; 38th at Fontana
Car: 31, Chevrolet Richard Childress Racing
Overview: Finished the year sixth in points with seven top-fives and 18 top-10s, his best showing since finishing third in 2000, when he won the Las Vegas race. He also won Las Vegas in 1999.
2009: 28th at Daytona; 32nd at Fontana
Car: 33, Chevrolet Richard Childress Racing
Overview: After finishing third and fifth in the points in RCR’s 07 car the last two years, Bowyer moves to the 33 to make room for the team’s fourth entry, Casey Mears. Bowyer gets an all-new crew and crew chief. Won the 2008 Nationwide championship.
2009: 4th at Daytona; 19th at Fontana
Car: 34, Chevrolet Front Row Motorsports
Overview: Andretti and Front Row Motorsports are a late addition to 2009 after reaching a deal with Earnhardt Ganassi Racing. Didn’t make the field in seven of 10 attempts in 2008.
2009: 19th at Daytona; 31st at Fontana
Car: 36, Toyota Tommy Baldwin Racing
Overview: Riggs joins fledgling Tommy Baldwin Racing with hopes of running a full schedule in 2009. Never finished better than 20th in points and has never won in 167 career starts.
2009: 25th at Daytona; 36th at Fontana
Car: 376, Dodge Front Row Motorsports
Overview: Has three top-10 finishes in 128 Cup starts. Ran 11 races and failed to qualify for 10 others last year while splitting time between Haas CNC Racing and Front Row Motorsports.
2009: DNQ at Daytona; DNQ at Fontana
Car: 39, Chevrolet Stewart-Haas Racing
Overview: Won the 2008 Daytona 500 for Penske Racing but faded to 18th in points. Left the team to join Stewart-Haas Racing.
2009: 36th at Daytona; 28th at Fontana
Car: 41, Toyota Mayfield Motorsports
Overview: Back in Cup as driver for his own team after running only eight races in 2008. Has won five Cup races in 428 starts. Made the Chase in 2004 and 2005 driving for Evernham Motorsports.
2009: 40th at Daytona; 34th at Fontana
Juan Pablo Montoya
Car: 42, Chevrolet Earnhardt Ganassi Racing
Overview: Fell from 20th to 25th in points last year, with three top-10s, compared with six top-10s and a win during his rookie year in 2007.
2009: 14th at Daytona; 11th at Fontana
Car: 43, Dodge Richard Petty Motorsports
Overview: Sorenson moves to Richard Petty Motorsports after spending four years with Ganassi. Will drive Richard Petty’s legendary No. 43.
2009: 9th at Daytona; 21st at Fontana
Car: 44, Dodge Richard Petty Motorsports
Overview: Will run at least the first eight races for the newly merged team in 2009 while trying to get sponsorship for a full year.
2009: 3rd at Daytona; 29th at Fontana
Car: 47, Toyota JTG Daugherty Racing
Overview: The laid-back Australian finished 10th in the Nationwide Series a year ago and collected a top-five in his 11 Cup starts.
2009: 17th at Daytona; 22nd at Fontana
Car: 48, Chevrolet Hendrick Motorsports
Overview: Johnson goes for a fourth consecutive Cup championship with crew chief Chad Knaus. The duo has won at Las Vegas three times.
2009: 31st at Daytona; 9th at Fontana
Car: 55, Toyota Michael Waltrip Racing
Overview: Last season wasn’t nearly as disastrous as 2007, as he climbed from 44th to 29th in the standings.
2009: 7th at Daytona; 15th at Fontana
Car: 66, Toyota Prism Motorsports
Overview: Terry Labonte drove the car at Daytona, and Blaney qualified for Fontana.
2009: 42nd at Fontana
Car: 71, Chevrolet TRG Motorsports
Overview: Team bought equipment from and has technical alliance with Richard Childress Racing.
2009: 33rd at Fontana
Sam Hornish Jr.
Car: 77, Dodge Penske Racing
Overview: Former Indy 500 winner and three-time IndyCar Series champ had a tough first season in Cup. Didn’t finish better than 14th in any race and wound up 39th in driver points.
2009: 32nd at Daytona; 23rd at Fontana
Car: 78, Chevrolet Furniture Row Racing
Overview: The 25-year-old Smith, the 2008 Rookie of the Year, takes over for Joe Nemechek. Still looking for his first top-10 in Cup.
2009: 21st at Daytona; DNQ at Fontana
Car: 82, Toyota Red Bull Racing
Overview: The former Formula One regular got the spot previously held by AJ Allmendinger.
2009: 35th at Daytona; 41st at Fontana
Car: 83, Toyota Red Bull Racing
Overview: Jumped from 38th to 19th in the standings, thanks to second-year team’s significant improvement. Has 172 starts and one Cup victory and is still only 25.
2009: 39th at Daytona; 10th at Fontana
Car: 96, Ford Hall of Fame Racing
Overview: Labonte moved to a new team after spending the last three years at Petty Enterprises. Hasn’t won since 2003, and the 2000 series champ hasn’t finished better than 12th in points since 2004.
2009: 22nd at Daytona; 20th at Fontana
Car: 98, Ford Yates Racing
Overview: Menard moves to Yates after spending most of his career with Dale Earnhardt Inc. Won one pole and had one top-10 last year. He’s locked into the field after Yates moved owner points from Kvapil.
2009: 38th at Daytona; 37th at Fontana
Car: 99, Ford Roush Fenway Racing
Overview: Edwards is the reigning Las Vegas champion, and Roush Fenway has won six of the 12 Cup races at LVMS.
2009: 18th at Daytona; 7th at Fontana
Car: 87, Toyota NEMCO Motorsports
Overview: The veteran driver goes to work for himself after leaving Furniture Row Racing following a 37th-place points finish last year.
2009: DNQ at Daytona; 43rd at Fontana
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Car: 88, Chevrolet Hendrick Motorsports
Overview: Earnhardt, who remains perhaps the most popular driver on the Sprint Cup circuit, won one race last year and finished 12th in points.
2009: 27th at Daytona; 39th at Fontana
Max Papis: Car 13, GEICO Toyota
Brad Keselowski: Car 25, GoDaddy.com Chevrolet
Dexter Bean: Car 51, Black Jack Dodge
Todd Bodine: Car 64, Sponsor TBA, Toyota
Mike Garvey: Car 73, Quality Concrete DodgeDownload PDF of driver capsules — Group 1
Download PDF of driver capsules — Group 2