Driver Handicaps: Charlotte

31414Jpg
    This weekend the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series heads to Lowe's Motor Speedway for the Bank of America 500. To help you make your Dale Jr. Reality Cup Racing fantasy picks, RacingOne brings you our weekly detailed look at some of the field for the 334-lap event.

    Who's HOT at Lowe's
  • Jimmie Johnson has won five of the last seven races, including four consecutive. He also will be driving the same car that won May's All-Star race.
  • Mark Martin and Jeff Gordon are tied for second in wins (4) among active drivers.
  • Bobby Labonte has the best average finish (9.2) among all drivers that have entered every race since 1998.
  • Carl Edwards has the best finishing average (5.3) among active drivers.
  • Kasey Kahne led 158 laps en route to the Coca-Cola 600 win in May.
  • Denny Hamlin has finished in the top 10 in his two starts.

    Keep an Eye on at Lowe's
  • In the last 10 races at Lowe's Motor Speedway, Tony Stewart has led 430 laps. He led 149 of them en route to his 2002 win in this event.
  • Greg Biffle has finished seventh or better in his last three starts at LMS.
  • Matt Kenseth will be driving the same car that finished fifth at LMS in May.
  • Scott Riggs had a good showing in May by winning the NEXTEL Open and leading 90 laps in the Coca-Cola 600.
  • Kurt Busch participated in a tire test at LMS in August.
  • Last October, Elliott Sadler led 112 laps after capturing his first pole at the track and the qualifying record. This weekend will mark his first track start with Evernham Motorsports.

    Cut to The Chase
    Jimmie Johnson has the best average finish (6.2) at Lowe's Motor Speedway among all the "Chase" contenders. For a complete rundown on how the "Chase" competitors stack up at Lowe's visit RacingOne's "Cut to The Chase" section.

    Lowe's Rookie Report
    Martin Truex Jr., David Stremme and Denny Hamlin are the only Raybestos Rookie of the Year candidates to have competed in two NEXTEL Cup Series race at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Truex is the only rookie that has competed in two Coca-Cola 600s, finishing seventh in that event last year - the best Cup Charlotte finish of all of the 2006 rookies. Hamlin is right behind with an eighth-place finish last fall in the 500-mile event. This year Hamlin scored a ninth-place finish in the 600, marking the only rookie contender to have two top 10s at LMS. Reed Sorenson followed Hamlin across the finish line in 10th in his first Cup start at the track. All of the drivers have at least competed in three or more Busch Series races with Truex and Stremme scoring the most top 10s with two. Rookie Standings

    Track Performers
    Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers in wins on 1.5-mile speedways with eight, with his last coming at Chicago in July. Gordon's teammate Jimmie Johnson and Roush Racing's Mark Martin are tied for second with seven wins a piece. Championship leader Jeff Burton is third with five victories. Martin leads all active full-time drivers in top 10s (44) and laps led with 1,795. Ryan Newman, who has five poles at LMS, leads all active drivers in poles with nine on 1.5-mile tracks.

    Qualifying Tidbits
    Elliott Sadler won his first pole at Lowe's Motor Speedway in this event last year, setting the qualifying record at 193.216 mph. It marked the first pole by a Ford at LMS since 2001 when Jimmy Spencer took the top spot in Travis Carter's No. 26 in this event. A Dodge has won three of the last four poles at Charlotte, with the last coming from Scott Riggs in May. Ryan Newman, who has the best starting average at 3.5, won the pole for the 2005 Coca-Cola 600 marking his fifth pole in 11 attempts at LMS. Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers with seven poles in 27 starts. Overall in the last 11 races, Riggs, Newman, Sadler and Jimmie Johnson have combined to win all the poles among full-time drivers. In 2002, qualifying was rained out. Past Pole Winners | Starting Positions of Winners

    Lowe's Loop Data Stat Leaders (2005-2006 season)
  • Kurt Busch is the fastest driver early in a run during the first 25 percent of a green flag run since a pit stop at 185.346 mph (Must have completed 75% of scheduled laps). Michael Waltrip, David Reutimann, Dale Jarrett and Tony Stewart round out the top five.
  • Greg Biffle and Jimmie Johnson, respectively, hold average running positions of 8.1 and 8.5.
  • Jimmie Johnson and Greg Biffle, respectively, have completed 177 and 148 quality passes (Passing a car running in the top 15 while under a green flag).
  • Kurt Busch is the fastest driver late in a run since a pit stop at 184.606 mph (Fastest speed during last 25 percent of standard green flag run. Must have completed 75% of scheduled laps). Michael Waltrip (184.527), David Reutimann (181.939), Tony Stewart (178.716) and Dale Jarrett (178.455) round out the top five.
  • Jimmie Johnson has the best average Driver Rating at 119.2.

    Last Five Number of Lead Changes
    2006-37
    2005-35
    2005-37
    2004-18
    2004-16

    Last Five Number of Cautions Laps
    2006-66
    2005-84
    2005-103
    2004-53
    2004-37

    RacingOne Staff Picks

    Jeff Wackerlin: Mark Martin
    Pete Pistone: Jeff Gordon
    Jorge Mondaca: Kurt Busch
    J.J. O'Malley: Kevin Harvick
    Shawn Akers: Jimmie Johnson

    Some Non-Chase Driver Notes - In order of point standings (Excluding Rookies)

    11. Tony Stewart (Points: 3824): Stewart's spring track time at Lowe's Motor Speedway in the NEXTEL Cup Coca-Cola 600, all-star race and Busch Series race was abbreviated to 114 laps, after he suffered crashes. He finished 42nd in the Cup race with only 32 laps run on the newly-paved surface. This finish came on the heels of finishes the previous year of 24th and 25th. In 15 starts at Lowe's, Stewart has captured six top-five and nine top-10 finishes. In the last 10 races at Lowe's Motor Speedway, Stewart has led 430 laps. He led 149 of them en route to his 2002 win in this event. The Home Depot team is bringing the same car (chassis no. 120) that won this fall at Kansas and finished ninth in its debut at California in September.

    12. Carl Edwards (Points Behind: -236): Edwards has the best average finish (5.33) of all active drivers at LMS. He has three Cup starts at Charlotte, finishing third in both of his Coca-Cola 600 starts. His 21 laps led at the track were all led in the two spring races, 10 in 2005 and 11 in 2006. Edwards will be in chassis no. RK-272 this weekend. He last raced this car in the spring at LMS. This past May, Edwards won the Busch Series race at Lowe's Motor Speedway for his first career victory at the track.

    13. Greg Biffle (Points Behind: -327): Biffle has made seven starts at LMS. His best finish there was third in this event last year, marking his only top-five finish and third top-10. In addition to his Cup record at Charlotte, Biffle has two wins, two top-five finishes and eight top-10 finishes in the NASCAR Busch Series. His team is running the yellow Subway paint scheme on chassis no. RK-201, which was raced this season at Atlanta, Charlotte and both Pocono's.

    14. Kurt Busch (Points Behind: -472): Busch started seventh and finished second in last year's fall race at LMS, his best finish and second top five at the track in 12 starts. He was involved in an early-race crash in the spring, relegating him to a 39th-place finish in his first start at Lowe's in the No. 2. In August, Busch logged 156 laps at Charlotte during a tire test.

    15. Casey Mears (Points Behind: -564): Mears will be making his eighth NEXTEL Cup start at Lowe's Motor Speedway this weekend. His best finish at the track is sixth, which he earned last fall after starting ninth. That was his second of two top-10 finishes. This spring he started 30th and finished 23rd. The No. 42 Texaco/Havoline team is bringing chassis No. 403, which was run at California this September, Michigan and Indianapolis this summer, and Darlington in May. Mears will also be running in Friday's Busch Series race, the last of the year for him.

    16. Brian Vickers (Points Behind: -587) : Vickers made his Cup Series debut at Lowe's Motor Speedway in this event in 2003. After starting 20th, he posted a 33rd-place finish. Since that start, his best finish at the track was 12th, last year in this event. He made one start there inside the top 10, having started fifth for the 2004 Coca-Cola 600. His team is bringing chassis no. 384 this weekend, marking the car's fourth race of the season. It was previously run at Michigan, Chicagoland and California, recording top-five starts at all three.

    17. Ryan Newman (Points Behind: -628): Before this spring when he started 18th, Newman had qualifying figured out at LMS. In his other 10 starts at the track he started within the top four every time, scoring five poles, two second-place and three fourth-place starts. His 3.55 starting average is the best of any of the 489 drivers that have competed at Charlotte. His qualifying success hasn't translated as well to the race finishes. Newman has three top-five and five top-10 finishes at LMS and three DNFs. His best finish of second came in this event in 2003. He has led a total of 222 laps over six different races. The No. 12 team is bringing chassis PRS-79, which was last raced to a 24th-place finish at Dover this September. He won the pole with this chassis at Dover in June and finished eighth with it at Bristol in August.

    20. Elliott Sadler (Points Behind: -791): Sadler started on the pole for last year's fall event at Charlotte with his former team. He will be making his first start at Lowe's with Evernham Motorsports this weekend. In 16 starts at the track he's started in the top-10 eight times. He's posted one top-five and two top-10 finishes at the track, with a best finish of fifth in the spring 2004 race. Additionally, he's led 184 laps at the 1.5-mile track.

    21. Scott Riggs (Points Behind: -810): Riggs won the pole for the spring race at LMS and went on to lead 90 laps before a pit miscue landed him a 13th-place finish, his best at the track. He will be making his sixth start at Lowe's this weekend in chassis No. 130, the same car from the spring race.

    22. Jamie McMurray (Points Behind: -820): Lowe's Motor Speedway is home to McMurray's first and only NASCAR Cup victory. He won this event in his second NASCAR Cup career start in 2002. Since then, he's made seven starts at the track, which is statistically his third best track on the circuit. In those starts, he's finished in the top five twice and the top 10 five times. One of those top-10's came this spring in his first start at Lowe's with Roush Racing. McMurray finished eighth after starting 33rd. His 13.1 average finish at Lowe's is the sixth best among active drivers. He'll be bringing chassis RK-393, the car that McMurray finished 20th with at Fontana in September.

    23. Dale Jarrett (Points Behind: -863): Two of Dale Jarrett's three wins at Charlotte came in the fall 500-mile race, the last of which in 1997. The first five times he raced at Lowe's Motor Speedway, his day ended in the garage. He added to his DNF total of 12 at Lowe's this spring when he was involved in an accident with Tony Stewart, resulting in a 43rd-place finish. Jarrett has made 39 starts at Lowe's and has finished in the top five 11 times and top 10 18 times and has led a total of 530 laps.

    25. Bobby Labonte (Points Behind: -951): Labonte will make his 28th career start at Lowe's and second there with Petty Enterprises on Saturday. This spring he started fifth for the second race in a row, but only posted a 17th-place finish. Labonte has won twice at LMS, recording his first career win there in May 1995 and last winning in this event in 2000. He has 11 top-five and 16 top-10 finishes there, with a finishing average of 13.074. He has led 805 laps in 20 races.

    31. Joe Nemechek (Points Behind: -1292): In 24 starts at Charlotte, Nemechek has only posted two top fives and four top 10s. His best finish here of fourth was in last fall's race. In total, he's led 47 laps at LMS, 26 in the spring 2005 race where he was in contention for the win before a flat tire with eight laps to go relegated him to an 18th-place finish.

    32. Sterling Marlin (Points Behind: -1468): Marlin is making his 52nd start at Lowe's Motor Speedway this Saturday, the most starts there of any full-time active driver. He won in this event in 2001, giving him one of his seven total top-five and 13 top-10 finishes. In his first start with MB2 Motorsports this spring, Marlin started 16th and finished 28th. His team is bringing a new car to the track.

Photos

  • Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500
  • Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500
  • Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500
  • Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500
  • Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500
  • Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500
  • Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500
  • Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500
  • Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500
  • Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500
  • Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500
  • Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500
  • Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500
  • Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500
  • Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500
  • Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500
  • Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500
  • Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500
  • Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500
  • Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500
  • Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500
  • Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500
  • Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500
  • Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500
  • From the Archives: Atlanta
  • From the Archives: Atlanta
  • From the Archives: Atlanta
  • From the Archives: Atlanta
  • From the Archives: Atlanta
  • From the Archives: Atlanta
  • From the Archives: Atlanta
  • From the Archives: Atlanta
  • From the Archives: Atlanta
  • From the Archives: Atlanta
  • From the Archives: Atlanta
  • Daytona 500 Champion's Breakfast
  • Daytona 500 Champion's Breakfast
  • Daytona 500 Champion's Breakfast
  • Daytona 500 Champion's Breakfast
  • Daytona 500 Champion's Breakfast
  • Daytona 500 Champion's Breakfast
  • Daytona 500 Champion's Breakfast
  • Daytona 500 Champion's Breakfast
  • Daytona 500 Champion's Breakfast
  • Daytona 500 Champion's Breakfast
  • Daytona 500 Champion's Breakfast
  • Daytona 500 Champion's Breakfast
  • Daytona 500 Champion's Breakfast
  • Daytona 500
  • Daytona 500

Advertisement

  • © 2015 MRN. All Rights Reserved

    FacebookTwitterDiggDeliciousLinkedInGoogle BookmarksYahoo BookmarksLive (MSN)

    ISC Track Sites