Pocono II: Round 20 preview

*Pocono a pressure point in Race to the Chase DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 18, 2006) -- Pressure to excel is growing incrementally as the "Race to the Chase" continues this weekend at Pocono Raceway. The unique 2.5-mile triangle in Long Pond, Pa.,...

*Pocono a pressure point in Race to the Chase

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 18, 2006) -- Pressure to excel is growing incrementally as the "Race to the Chase" continues this weekend at Pocono Raceway. The unique 2.5-mile triangle in Long Pond, Pa., hosts the series 20th race of the season, the Pennsylvania 500 (TNT, 1:30 p.m.) The race is the third of 10 races that will determine eligibility for the 2006 Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup.

Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet) arrives at Pocono's second event of the season as the series' point leader for the third consecutive year. Johnson leads Matt Kenseth (No. 17 DEWALT Tools Ford) by 68 points, the smallest point margin he's brought to the event. He led Greg Biffle (No. 16 National Guard/Subway Ford) by 77 points last year; and Dale Earnhardt Jr. (No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet) by 165 points in 2004.

For his part, Johnson swept both Pocono events in 2004. Last year, he posted finishes of sixth and 12th. Carl Edwards (No. 99 Office Depot Ford) and Kurt Busch (now driving the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge) won the 2005 events.

Busch, the eventual 2004 series champion, was fifth in points entering the 2004 Pennsylvania 500, while 2005 champion Tony Stewart (No. 20 Home Depot Chevrolet) was third in points arriving for the second Pocono event last year.

New Hampshire race winner Kyle Busch (No. 5 Kellogg's Chevrolet) was the greatest gainer in the series standings this past Sunday. He jumped four positions from eighth to fourth in the standings. Meanwhile, Stewart lost four positions in the standings, falling from seventh to 11th in points. Earnhardt Jr. also lost four spots in the standings, moving from fourth to eighth place.

Among active drivers, Jeff Gordon (No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet) and Dale Jarrett (No. 88 UPS Ford) are the leading Pocono race winners with three each. Ken Schrader (No. 21 Little Debbie Ford) and Bill Elliott lead Pocono Budweiser Pole Award winners with five each.

-nascar-

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Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Bill Elliott , Jeff Gordon , Dale Jarrett , Matt Kenseth , Tony Stewart , Greg Biffle , Jimmie Johnson , Carl Edwards , Kyle Busch