* Sweep Success: Greg Biffle aims for second Dover victory * Uphill Battle: Defending champion Kurt Busch looks to rebound from poor Chase start NEWS AND NOTES On the Right Track Most competitors in the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup...
* Sweep Success: Greg Biffle aims for second Dover victory
* Uphill Battle: Defending champion Kurt Busch looks to rebound from poor Chase start
NEWS AND NOTES
On the Right Track
Most competitors in the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup have been successful at Dover. Here's a look at some of those drivers' Dover statistics:
• Tony Stewart has 11 top-10 finishes in his 13 career starts at Dover. His 15th-place finish earlier this season was the worst in his career at the track. Stewart has an average finish of fifth at the track, the best of any driver with more than one start there.
• Rusty Wallace has 21 top-10 finishes in 43 races at Dover. He won three straight races at the track in 1993 and 1994.
• Mark Martin has competed in 38 races at Dover, scoring four victories and 23 top-10 finishes.
• Jimmie Johnson has three top fives and five top 10s in seven career starts at Dover.
Biffle Looks for Dover Sweep ... If the past five years are any barometer, look for Greg Biffle (No. 16 National Guard Ford) to -- perhaps -- complete the season sweep at Dover. The same driver has won both Dover races in three of the past five seasons -- Ryan Newman in 2003, Jimmie Johnson in 2002 and Tony Stewart in 2000.
"The whole team is really excited about going to Dover this weekend," Biffle said. "We feel strong about another top-five finish and possibly a win. You never know what could happen with tires and pit stops, but we definitely feel confident about a top five."
Tough Start for Defending Champ ... A year after starting the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup with a win at New Hampshire, Kurt Busch (No. 97 Crown Royal Ford) faces a different scenario this season. He was involved in an incident on Lap 3 last Sunday and never recovered, finishing 35th. Unfortunately for him, there are no mulligans. Going into the second race in the Chase, Busch sits in 10th place, 142 points behind leader Tony Stewart.
"Now we have to go and attack each race for a win," Busch said. "We have to go to Dover and expect to win and try to build our points back up."
The Battle for 11th Heats Up ... For drivers outside the top 10 in points, much remains at stake. Not only can any one driver win any week, but the 11th-place driver in the final point standings wins over $1 million and a trip to the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Awards Ceremony in New York City. Jamie McMurray (No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge) moved into the 11th position by one point over Jeff Gordon (No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet) thanks to a 12th-place finish at New Hampshire.
Here's a look at drivers in spots 11 through 15 entering race No. 28 at Dover:
• Jamie McMurray, who finished 11th last season, currently controls that position. He gained two spots in the standings following his 12th-place finish at New Hampshire.
• Jeff Gordon is in 12th place, trailing McMurray by one point. He remained 12th following a 14th-place finish at New Hampshire. This is Gordon's fourth week in the 12th-place spot.
• Kevin Harvick (No. 29 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet) is in 13th place. He gained one spot following a 10th-place finish at New Hampshire. Harvick trails McMurray by 23 points.
• Elliott Sadler (No. 38 M&M's Ford) is in 14th place. He dropped three spots in the standings following a 30th-place finish at New Hampshire. Sadler trails McMurray by 32 points.
• Dale Earnhardt Jr. (No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet) is in 15th place. He gained one spot in the standings after a fifth-place finish at Richmond. Earnhardt Jr. trails McMurray by 100 points.
Pit Crew Spotlight: Dover Close to Home for No. 19 Team ... This weekend's trip to Dover will give key members of the No. 19 crew the opportunity to shine in front of hometown fans. Team owner Ray Evernham is from nearby Hazlet, N.J. and three important members of his race-day crew are also from the Northeast region. Crew chief Richard "Slugger" Labbe hails from Biddeford, Maine and both tire carriers are New Jersey natives -- Bob Dowens, front tire carrier, from Holmdel and Donald Marvel, rear tire carrier, from Union Beach.
For more team rosters visit www.nascarmedia.com/crew/crewhomepage.jsp.
From Victory Lane to The Oprah Winfrey Show ... Just three weeks after becoming the youngest driver to win a NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series event, Kyle Busch (No. 5 Kellogg's Chevrolet) will appear on The Oprah Winfrey Show on Friday, Sept. 23.
"Meeting Oprah and being on the show was an incredible experience," said Busch. "My mom (Gaye Busch) and grandma (Joann Busch) came to the taping. They're huge Oprah fans and never miss a show, so it was a neat experience for all of us. We had a great time in Chicago. Oprah was awesome and I just feel lucky to have an opportunity like that. I was a little nervous, but hopefully I did OK."
Chevrolet Extends Lead Over Ford In Manufacturers Standings ... After 27 races in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series season, Chevrolet extended its lead to 18 points (197-179) over Ford in the manufacturers standings. Ryan Newman's New Hampshire win was the third Dodge win of the season, giving the manufacturer 137 points. Points are earned in this fashion: Nine points to the highest-finishing car type; six points to the second-highest finishing type; four points for the third-highest finishing type. ... Chevrolet has won the championship the last two years. ... Tony Stewart is currently the leading Chevrolet driver, as the series leader. Greg Biffle, in second place, is the top Ford driver. Newman is the leading Dodge driver, third in the points. Each manufacturer is represented in the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup field; Ford has five cars in the Chase, along with three Dodges and two Chevrolets.
Milestone Markers ... Casey Mears (No. 41 Target Dodge) should make his 100th career start this weekend. His best career finish is fourth -- earlier this season at Texas Motor Speedway and last season at Watkins Glen International. ... Ricky Rudd (No. 21 Motorcraft Genuine Parts Ford) is expected to make his 55th career start at Dover this weekend, passing Dave Marcis (54) for the all-time record for starts in a NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race at the track.
Corporate Corner ... MBNA RacePoints is the title sponsor for Sunday's NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race at Dover International Speedway. NASCAR RacePoints is the Official Rewards Program of NASCAR. It is a free consumer loyalty program designed to allow participants to earn points based on purchases made with participating NASCAR sponsors. Accumulated points can be tracked and redeemed online for race-related rewards, in the exclusive NASCAR RacePoints catalog. Currently, Nextel, MBNA America Bank, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, XM Satellite Radio, CENTRIX Financial, Goody's, Home 123 Corporation, and Jackson Hewitt are issuing NASCAR RacePoints. Fans can sign up for NASCAR RacePoints by going to www.nascar.com and clicking on NASCAR RacePoints.
From the Archives: Allison's Dover Sweep Led to Title ... NASCAR legend Bobby Allison swept both races at Dover in 1983 on his way to winning the championship. Allison drove a Buick that season for the famed DiGard Racing team, which featured crew members Robert Yates (owner of Robert Yates Racing) and Gary Nelson (NASCAR's Vice President of Research and Development.)
Allison started 10th in the spring event and led 256 of the 500 laps. There were 28 lead changes among nine drivers before Allison took the checkered flag by a margin of two seconds over former DiGard driver Darrell Waltrip.
The fall race at Dover saw Allison start seventh. Again, he led the most laps to beat Geoff Bodine by one car length.
Allison and his DiGard team won six races en route to the 1983 championship, including sweeps at Dover and Richmond.
On Deck: Talladega Superspeedway ... Race No. 29 on the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup schedule will be Sunday, Oct. 2 -- the UAW-Ford 500 at Talladega Superspeedway. The 2.66-mile tri-oval -- the longest on the NASCAR circuit -- has hosted 72 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races since it opened in 1969. ... Dale Earnhardt Jr. is defending champion. Joe Nemechek was last year's polesitter. Jeff Gordon won the Aarons 499 at Talladega Superspeedway earlier this season.
The race: MBNA RacePoints 400 (Race No. 28 of the 36-race NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series season.)
The track: Dover International Speedway, Dover, Del. (1-mile oval.)
The date/time: Sunday, Sept. 25, 1:10 p.m. (ET).
TV: TNT, 12:30 p.m. (ET).
Radio: MRN/XM Satellite.
Posted awards: $4,976,638.
Race length: 400 laps, 400 miles.
Track layout: 1-mile oval.
2004 winner: Ryan Newman.
2004 polesitter: Jeremy Mayfield.
Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Standings: 1. Tony Stewart 5,230. 2. Greg Biffle 5,210. 3. Ryan Newman 5,190. 4. Rusty Wallace 5,190. 5. Matt Kenseth 5,180. 6. Jimmie Johnson 5,177. 7. Mark Martin 5,176. 8. Jeremy Mayfield 5,135. 9. Carl Edwards 5,121. 10. Kurt Busch 5,088.