Cut To The Chase: Charlotte

RacingOne breaks down each of the 2006 "Chase for the NEXTEL Cup" competitor's performances at Lowe's Motor Speedway with comprehensive statistics and notes by driver.

1. Jeff Burton
Points: 5598
Best Chase Track by Average: Phoenix
Total Wins on Chase Tracks: 11 (Including Dover 2006)
Total DNFs on Chase Tracks: 24
Average Charlotte Finish Rank Among Chase Drivers: Fourth

Jeff Burton has raced in four events at Lowe's Motor Speedway with Richard Childress Racing. His best finish with the team came in this year's Coca-Cola 600 when he placed sixth. That race also marked the first time in seven races Burton has led laps (12) at the 1.5-mile track. The majority of Burton's 25 starts at LMS came with Roush Racing - the team he scored his two LMS wins with in the 1999 and 2001 Coca-Cola 600. In the events Burton won, he led a combined 323 laps. This weekend Burton will pilot the same car (chassis No. 173) that raced at LMS in May. This car has posted four top-10 finishes in six starts this season.

Track
Starts
Poles
Wins
Avg. Start
Avg. Finish
Laps Led
% Completed
DNFs
Charlotte
25
0
2
24.1
15.8
369
92.8
4
Martinsville
24
0
1
16.9
14.3
574
92.5
3
Atlanta
24
0
0
27.5
18.0
101
93.1
3
Texas
11
0
1
27.2
17.5
145
96.1
1
Phoenix
14
0
2
23.5
11.6
215
99.6
0
Homestead
7
0
0
24.3
13.7
5
97.7
0
Totals
105
0
6
23.9
15.2
1409
95.3
11


2. Matt Kenseth
Points Behind: -6
Best Chase Track by Average: New Hampshire
Total Wins on Chase Tracks: 4
Total DNFs on Chase Tracks: 20
Average Charlotte Finish Rank Among Chase Drivers: Third

Matt Kenseth has captured seven top-10 finishes at Lowe's Motor Speedway, including his first NEXTEL Cup win in 2000. His victory total also includes a win in the All-Star race and two wins in the Busch Series. Kenseth has led in nine races at the speedway for 168 laps and has suffered three DNFs, most recently last year in May event (37th). This weekend he will race the same car (chassis No. RK-323) that finished fifth in May at LMS.

Track
Starts
Poles
Wins
Avg. Start
Avg. Finish
Laps Led
% Completed
DNFs
Charlotte
14
0
1
22.9
14.9
168
93.0
3
Martinsville
13
0
0
24.5
17.2
59
98.4
2
Atlanta
13
0
0
25.5
17.5
49
91.7
3
Texas
8
0
1
20.1
12.1
313
98.1
1
Phoenix
8
0
1
21.0
20.8
60
82.2
3
Homestead
6
0
0
26.0
25.5
0
82.1
2
Totals
62
0
3
23.3
18.0
649
90.9
14


3. Mark Martin
Points Behind: -10
Best Chase Track by Average: Phoenix
Total Wins on Chase Tracks: 17
Total DNFs on Chase Tracks: 48
Average Charlotte Finish Rank Among Chase Drivers: Fifth

Three of Mark Martin's victories at Lowe's Motor Speedway came in this event in 1992, 1995 and 1998. Martin's only top 10s since wining the 2002 Coca-Cola 600 has been in the last two races when he finished fifth and fourth, respectively. Last year Martin posted his first DNF at LMS since 1994 with a 28th-place finish in the Coca-Cola 600. He is the current leader among active full-time drivers in laps led (1,168) and top-five finishes (17) at LMS. This weekend Martin will be driving the same chassis (RK-381) that has three top fives in the last two months (Kansas, Michigan and Indy).

Track
Starts
Poles
Wins
Avg. Start
Avg. Finish
Laps Led
% Completed
DNFs
Charlotte
43
2
4
11.1
15.9
1168
87.7
12
Martinsville
41
3
2
13.2
13.2
318
93.7
6
Atlanta
41
1
2
10.4
15.7
924
87.4
12
Texas
11
0
1
12.0
13.5
169
92.5
1
Phoenix
20
0
1
11.4
9.4
582
97.5
1
Homestead
7
0
0
18.0
11.6
30
98.7
1
Totals
163
6
10
12.7
13.2
3191
92.9
33


4. Kevin Harvick
Points: -33
Best Chase Track by Average: Homestead
Total Wins on Chase Tracks: 3 (Including New Hampshire 2006)
Total DNFs on Chase Tracks: 5
Average Charlotte Finish Rank Among Chase Drivers: Ninth

Kevin Harvick posted his best finish (second) at Lowe's Motor Speedway in his first track start in 2001 (Coca-Cola 600). His last of three top 10s came in the 2003 fall race. Since then, Harvick has posted a finishing average of 27.0, including one DNF (36th) in the 2004 fall race. This weekend Harvick will drive the same car (chassis No. 174) that finished third at Indy in August.

Track
Starts
Poles
Wins
Avg. Start
Avg. Finish
Laps Led
% Completed
DNFs
Charlotte
11
0
0
18.6
20.4
2
94.6
1
Martinsville
10
0
0
18.1
19.1
147
97.7
0
Atlanta
11
1
1
17.2
24.6
59
95.7
3
Texas
7
0
0
23.1
13.4
4
99.8
0
Phoenix
7
0
1
16.1
16.4
10
99.2
0
Homestead
5
0
0
15.6
9.4
59
100.0
0
Totals
51
1
2
18.1
17.2
281
97.8
4


5. Denny Hamlin
Points Behind: -51
Best Chase Track by Average: Texas
Total Wins on Chase Tracks: 0
Total DNFs on Chase Tracks: 0
Average Charlotte Finish Rank Among Chase Drivers: Second

Denny Hamlin joins Jimmie Johnson as the only two "Chase" contenders that have an average finish of 14.0 or better at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Hamlin is the only rookie that has two top 10s at LMS. This weekend Hamlin will pilot that same car that swept Pocono and finished 18th at Kansas in 2006.

Track
Starts
Poles
Wins
Avg. Start
Avg. Finish
Laps Led
% Completed
DNFs
Charlotte
2
0
0
23.5
8.5
26
100.0
0
Martinsville
2
0
0
23.0
22.5
0
80.7
0
Atlanta
2
0
0
16.0
25.0
16
99.5
0
Texas
2
0
0
11.0
5.5
41
100.0
0
Phoenix
2
1
0
3.5
23.5
23
96.3
0
Homestead
1
0
0
42.0
33.0
1
98.5
0
Totals
11
1
0
19.8
19.7
107
95.8
0


6. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Points Behind: -106
Best Chase Track by Average: Texas
Total Wins on Chase Tracks: 10
Total DNFs on Chase Tracks: 17
Average Charlotte Finish Rank Among Chase Drivers: Seventh

Last season, Dale Earnhardt Jr. posted his third and fourth finishes of 30th or worse in 14 races at Lowe's Motor Speedway. His 42nd-place finish in this event in 2005 was his worst finish at the track and third DNF. Junior was able to bounce back in May with an 11th-place finish. His third-place finish in the 2004 fall race was his career best at the track. In the 2000 May race, Dale Jr. won his first career Cup pole and became the first rookie to win the All-Star race the prior weekend. Earnhardt will be seeking his sixth consecutive top 10 in chassis No. 39 on Saturday. This car's last race came at Kansas where it finished 10th.

Track
Starts
Poles
Wins
Avg. Start
Avg. Finish
Laps Led
% Completed
DNFs
Charlotte
14
1
0
15.4
18.4
198
92.7
3
Martinsville
13
0
0
12.8
14.4
451
97.6
2
Atlanta
14
1
1
15.7
11.9
475
99.1
1
Texas
8
1
1
8.5
10.8
253
94.7
1
Phoenix
8
0
2
15.1
17.2
310
90.9
2
Homestead
6
0
0
20.8
19.2
46
99.7
0
Totals
63
3
4
14.7
15.3
1733
95.8
9


7. Jeff Gordon
Points Behind: -147
Best Chase Track by Average: Kansas
Total Wins on Chase Tracks: 28
Total DNFs on Chase Tracks: 28
Average Charlotte Finish Rank Among Chase Drivers: Sixth

Jeff Gordon is tied for second with Mark Martin among active drivers with four victories (three in the 600) and leads all with seven poles at Lowe's Motor Speedway. For the first time in his career, Gordon is coming off three consecutive DNFs at LMS. His last of 13 top fives came in this event in 2004 when he finished second. The May race marked the 18th race Gordon has led a lap at LMS. Overall he has led 458 circuits, the third most among the "Chase" contenders.

Track
Starts
Poles
Wins
Avg. Start
Avg. Finish
Laps Led
% Completed
DNFs
Charlotte
27
7
4
8.0
16.2
458
93.5
7
Martinsville
27
5
7
7.3
7.6
2041
99.1
0
Atlanta
28
1
4
14.1
13.6
976
90.2
5
Texas
11
0
0
11.0
17.5
133
87.7
2
Phoenix
15
1
0
10.3
8.9
191
97.4
1
Homestead
7
0
0
15.4
9.6
46
99.8
0
Totals
115
14
15
11.0
12.2
3845
94.6
15


8. Jimmie Johnson
Points Behind: -156
Best Chase Track by Average: Charlotte
Total Wins on Chase Tracks: 13
Total DNFs on Chase Tracks: 11
Average Charlotte Finish Rank Among Chase Drivers: First

Jimmie Johnson has finished in the top 10, with five wins, in nine of the 10 races he's competed in at Lowe's Motor Speedway. His 2003 Coca-Cola 600 win, one of three 600 wins, came from the furthest starting position in 37th. Johnson’s finishing average of 6.7, coupled with a 39th-place finish in his first start, leads all the "Chase" Contenders. Johnson, who has led 884 laps over the last eight consecutive races at LMS, will race chassis No. 48363 this weekend. This is the same car that won the All-Star race and led 105 laps at Kansas last month.

Track
Starts
Poles
Wins
Avg. Start
Avg. Finish
Laps Led
% Completed
DNFs
Charlotte
10
2
5
8.0
6.2
884
96.0
1
Martinsville
9
1
1
13.8
7.9
366
98.8
1
Atlanta
10
0
1
9.8
11.8
176
99.3
1
Texas
6
0
0
11.7
7.0
2
100.0
0
Phoenix
6
0
0
12.8
8.7
85
100.0
0
Homestead
5
0
0
25.4
15.6
34
89.3
1
Totals
46
3
7
13.6
9.5
1547
97.2
4


9. Kasey Kahne
Points Behind: -185
Best Chase Track by Average: Atlanta
Total Wins on Chase Tracks: 3
Total DNFs on Chase Tracks: 11
Average Charlotte Finish Rank Among Chase Drivers: Eighth

Kasey Kahne is coming off his first win at Lowe's Motor Speedway after leading 158 laps. The finish was his first top 10 in five starts and it marked the fifth time Kahne led a race at the 1.5-mile track. In the 2004 fall race, Kahne dominated the race at LMS, leading 207 laps before blowing a right front tire and crashing into the wall on lap 267. Prior to his win, his best finish (12th) came in his first start at the speedway in the 2004 Coca-Cola 600. This weekend Kahne will be back behind the wheel of the same car (chassis No. 131) that won the pole for the All-Star race in May.

Track
Starts
Poles
Wins
Avg. Start
Avg. Finish
Laps Led
% Completed
DNFs
Charlotte
5
0
1
13.4
18.8
416
96.2
1
Martinsville
5
0
0
25.4
17.6
18
94.9
1
Atlanta
5
1
1
11.2
9.8
89
97.0
1
Texas
4
1
1
5.5
20.0
211
81.4
2
Phoenix
4
0
0
15.5
13.8
0
99.9
0
Homestead
2
0
0
3.5
27.0
0
85.3
1
Totals
25
2
3
12.4
17.8
734
92.5
6


10. Kyle Busch
Points Behind: -185
Best Chase Track by Average: Dover
Total Wins on Chase Tracks: 2
Total DNFs on Chase Tracks: 8
Average Charlotte Finish Rank Among Chase Drivers: 10th

Kyle Busch has the worst average finish (33.6) among the "Chase" contenders at Lowe's Motor Speedway. His best finish (25th) in five starts came in the 2005 Coca-Cola 600 after starting sixth - his only top-10 start. The 2005 season saw Busch lead his only laps at LMS for a combined total of 62. Busch has had success in the Busch and Truck Series at LMS, capturing two wins in both series. This weekend Busch will return in the same car (chassis No. 349) that led 55 laps in the 2005 May race before blowing a tire.

Track
Starts
Poles
Wins
Avg. Start
Avg. Finish
Laps Led
% Completed
DNFs
Charlotte
5
0
0
22.4
33.6
62
81.2
3
Martinsville
3
0
0
20.3
17.7
0
86.9
1
Atlanta
4
0
0
23.5
19.8
4
78.4
1
Texas
3
0
0
28.3
25.3
0
99.1
0
Phoenix
3
1
1
14.3
15.0
78
94.3
0
Homestead
1
0
0
4.0
41.0
0
43.1
1
Totals
19
1
1
18.8
25.4
144
80.5
6

Photos

  • From the Archives: Dover
  • From the Archives: Dover
  • From the Archives: Dover
  • From the Archives: Dover
  • From the Archives: Dover
  • From the Archives: Dover
  • Coca-Cola 600
  • Coca-Cola 600
  • Coca-Cola 600
  • Coca-Cola 600
  • Coca-Cola 600
  • Coca-Cola 600
  • Coca-Cola 600
  • Coca-Cola 600
  • Coca-Cola 600
  • Coca-Cola 600
  • Coca-Cola 600
  • Coca-Cola 600
  • Coca-Cola 600
  • Coca-Cola 600
  • Coca-Cola 600
  • Coca-Cola 600
  • Coca-Cola 600
  • Coca-Cola 600
  • Coca-Cola 600
  • Coca-Cola 600
  • Coca-Cola 600
  • Coca-Cola 600
  • Coca-Cola 600
  • Coca-Cola 600
  • Coca-Cola 600
  • Coca-Cola 600
  • Coca-Cola 600
  • Coca-Cola 600
  • From the Archives: Charlotte
  • From the Archives: Charlotte
  • From the Archives: Charlotte
  • From the Archives: Charlotte
  • From the Archives: Charlotte
  • From the Archives: Charlotte
  • From the Archives: Charlotte
  • From the Archives: Charlotte
  • From the Archives: Charlotte
  • From the Archives: Charlotte
  • Sprint All-Star Race
  • Sprint All-Star Race
  • Sprint All-Star Race
  • Sprint All-Star Race
  • Sprint All-Star Race
  • Sprint All-Star Race

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