The defending champion, Carl Edwards, beat Jimmy Johnson in a rain-plagued race in May 2008, but among those given a chance to win Sunday, if they qualify, are veterans Mark Martin, the current points leader, Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart and young upstart Joey Logano.
"I'm actually really looking forward to getting back to California," Logano said in a statement. "(In 2008) It was only the second race of the season so I was still trying to figure these cars out. We started out pretty bad, but got much better at the end."
Martin's 5,551 points lead Johnson (5,533) and Juan Pablo Montoya (5,500) in the latest Sprint Cup standings on the way to determining the 2009 points winner.