All-Star: News of note, schedule

NEWS AND NOTES All-Star Eligibility • Race winners (drivers and owners) from the previous and current NASCAR NEXTEL Cup seasons. • Winner of the NEXTEL Open, a preliminary event for teams not qualified for the all-star event. • ...

NEWS AND NOTES

All-Star Eligibility

• Race winners (drivers and owners) from the previous and current NASCAR NEXTEL Cup seasons.

• Winner of the NEXTEL Open, a preliminary event for teams not qualified for the all-star event.

• Another NEXTEL Open driver who wins a fan vote into the all-star event.

• Past event champions.

• NASCAR NEXTEL Cup champions from the previous 10 seasons (1995-2005) who are active drivers and have competed in at least one series event during the 2005 or 2006 seasons.

All-Star Format

• 90 laps/135 miles.

• Three segments: 40 laps, 30 laps, 20 laps.

• No eliminations prior to final segment.

• Mandatory 10-minute pit stop between first and second segments.

• During pit stop, random drawing will determine a field inversion; from six to 12 cars will be inverted for the start of the second segment.

The Field: Following is a rundown of the 18 drivers who have qualified for the NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge. The field will also have two other drivers: the winner of the NEXTEL Open preliminary race on Saturday night and another driver chosen via the NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge Fan Vote. (Note: Terry Labonte has qualified as a past all-star champion, but will not compete.)

Greg Biffle (No. 16 National Guard Ford) Team: Roush Racing Crew chief: Doug Richert How Biffle qualified: Victory at California Speedway in February 2005 All-star starts: 2 Best finish: 14th in 2005

Kurt Busch (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge) Team: Penske Racing South Crew chief: Roy McCauley How Busch qualified: Victory at Phoenix International Raceway in April 2005 All-star starts: 4 Best finish: 2nd in 2003

Kyle Busch (No. 5 Kellogg's Chevrolet) Team: Hendrick Motorsports Crew chief: Alan Gustafson How Busch qualified: Victory at California Speedway in September 2005 All-star starts: None Best finish: N/A

Dale Earnhardt Jr. (No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet) Team: Dale Earnhardt Inc. Crew chief: Tony Eury Jr. How Earnhardt qualified: Victory at Chicagoland Speedway in July 2005 All-star starts: 6 Best finish: 1st in 2000

Carl Edwards (No. 99 Office Depot Ford) Team: Roush Racing Crew chief: Wally Brown How Edwards qualified: Victory at Atlanta Motor Speedway in March 2005 All-star starts: 1 Best finish: 15th in 2005

Dale Jarrett (No. 88 UPS Ford) Team: Robert Yates Racing Crew chief: Richard "Slugger" Labbe How Jarrett qualified: Victory at Talladega Superspeedway in October 2005 All-star starts: 14 Best finish: 2nd in 2000 and 2001

Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet) Team: Hendrick Motorsports Crew chief: Chad Knaus How Johnson qualified: Victory at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in March 2005 All-star starts: 4 Best finish: 1st in 2003

Jeff Gordon (No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet) Team: Hendrick Motorsports Crew chief: Steve Letarte How Gordon qualified: Victory at Daytona International Speedway in February 2005 All-star starts: 12 Best finish: 1st in 1995, 1997 and 2001

Kevin Harvick (No. 29 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet) Team: Richard Childress Racing Crew chief: Todd Berrier How Harvick qualified: Victory at Bristol Motor Speedway in April 2005 All-star starts: 5 Best finish: 7th in 2003

Dale Jarrett (No. 88 UPS Ford) Team: Robert Yates Racing Crew chief: Richard "Slugger" Labbe How Jarrett qualified: Victory at Talladega Superspeedway in October 2005 All-star starts: 14 Best finish: 2nd in 2000 and 2001

Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet) Team: Hendrick Motorsports Crew chief: Chad Knaus How Johnson qualified: Victory at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in March 2005 All-star starts: 4 Best finish: 1st in 2003

Kasey Kahne (No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge) Team: Evernham Motorsports Crew chief: Ken Francis How Kahne qualified: Victory at Richmond International Raceway in May 2005 All-star starts: 1 Best finish: 16th

Matt Kenseth (No. 17 DEWALT Power Tools Ford Team: Roush Racing Crew chief: Robbie Reiser How Kenseth qualified: Victory at Bristol Motor Speedway in August 2005 All-star starts: 5 Best finish: 1st in 2004

Bobby Labonte (No. 43 Cheerios Dodge) Team: Petty Enterprises Crew chief: Todd Parrott How Labonte qualified: Winning 2000 series championship All-star starts: 11 Best finish: 2nd in 1997 and 1998

Mark Martin (No. 6 AAA Ford) Team: Roush Racing Crew chief: Pat Tryson How Martin qualified: Victory at Kansas Speedway in October 2005 All-star starts: 16 Best finish: 1st in 1998 and 2005

Jeremy Mayfield (No. 19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge) Team: Evernham Motorsports Crew chief: Chris Andrews How Mayfield qualified: Victory at Michigan International Speedway in August 2005 All-star starts: 6 Best finish: 5th in 1999

Jamie McMurray (No. 26 Crown Royal/Sharpie/IRWIN Ford) Team: Roush Racing Crew chief: Bob Osborne How McMurray qualified: By owner Jack Roush's victory at Phoenix International Raceway in April 2005 All-star starts: 1 Best finish: 22nd in 2003

Ryan Newman (No. 12 Alltel Dodge) Team: Penske Racing South Crew chief: Matt Borland How Newman qualified: Victory at New Hampshire International Speedway in September 2005 All-star starts: 4 Best finish: 1st in 2002

Tony Stewart (No. 20 The Home Depot Chevrolet) Team: Joe Gibbs Racing Crew chief: Greg Zipadelli How Stewart qualified: Victory at Infineon Raceway in June 2005 All-star starts: 7 Best finish: 2nd in 1999

Michael Waltrip (No. 55 NAPA Dodge) Team: Waltrip-Jasper Racing Crew chief: Derrick Finley How Waltrip qualified: Victory in 1996 all-star event All-star starts: 13 Best finish: 1st in 1996

NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge Fan Vote winner ?

NEXTEL Open winner ?

About The NEXTEL Open: The label of a preliminary race is somewhat misleading, when describing the NEXTEL Open. It's NASCAR's version of a "last-chance" race, with teams who have not won a race during the preceding and current seasons trying to grab a victory and a "transfer" spot into the NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge. There is this caveat: Teams competing in the open must have finished in the top 50 of the final 2005 series points or be in the top 50 of the current points as of March 13.

It's a 30-lap sprint -- divided into segments of 20 and 10 -- that sometimes pays off big-time. In 1996 Michael Waltrip (No. 55 NAPA Dodge) finished fifth in the open. In those days, though, the top-five finishers transferred to the all-star race. Waltrip capitalized by pulling a stunning upset; at the time, he had yet to win a series points event. In 2002 Ryan Newman (No. 12 Alltel Dodge) won one of two preliminaries held then, and went on to become only the second rookie to win the all-star title.

The NEXTEL Open will be broadcast by FX. It will start at approximately 7:30 p.m., to be followed at approximately 9 p.m. by the NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge.

Johnson-Stewart 1-2 In Series Standings ... The NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series starts racing for points again next week at LMS, site of the May 28 Coca-Cola 600, with Jimmie Johnson holding a 93-point lead over reigning series champion Tony Stewart. Johnson will feel good about his chances for padding the lead. He has won the Coca-Cola 600 the last three years, and has won the last four series races at LMS overall -- both records.

On Deck: NASCAR's "endurance" race ... Race No. 12 on the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series schedule will be Sunday, May 28 (FOX, 5 p.m. ET) at Lowe's Motor Speedway -- the Coca-Cola 600, long recognized as one of NASCAR's "majors." Jimmie Johnson has won the race the last three years, an all-time record.

Fast Facts

Next race: 22nd Annual NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge (non-points event)

The track: Lowe's Motor Speedway, Concord, N.C.

The date/time: Saturday, May 20, 7:30 p.m. (ET)

TV: FX, 7 p.m. (ET).
Radio: MRN/XM Satellite

Posted awards: $3,250,450

Winner's purse: $1,005,000

Race length: 135 laps/90 miles
Track layout: 1.5-mile oval

2005 winner: Mark Martin

Past all-star champions in field: Mark Martin (1998, 2005), Matt Kenseth (2004), Jimmie Johnson (2003), Ryan Newman (2002), Jeff Gordon (1995, 1997, 2001), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (2000), Michael Waltrip (1996).

Practice/Qualifying Schedule:
Friday -- 12-1:30 p.m., NEXTEL Open practice. 1:50-3:15 p.m., NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge practice. 6:05 p.m. -- NEXTEL Open qualifying. 7:10 p.m., NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge qualifying. Saturday -- 7:30 p.m., NEXTEL Open.

-nascar-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Jeff Gordon , Dale Jarrett , Matt Kenseth , Bobby Labonte , Terry Labonte , Jeremy Mayfield , Tony Stewart , Michael Waltrip , Kevin Harvick , Greg Biffle , Kurt Busch , Ryan Newman , Jimmie Johnson , Jamie McMurray , Kasey Kahne , Carl Edwards , Jack Roush , Robert Yates , Chad Knaus , Doug Richert , Tony Eury Jr. , Kyle Busch , Mark Martin
Teams Richard Childress Racing , Team Penske , Hendrick Motorsports , Joe Gibbs Racing , Yates Racing