As the NASCAR circuit gets ready for their final three races, they will do so fairly close to home this weekend as they head to the North Carolina Speedway in Rockingham. Rockingham is a little over two hours away from the majority of the race...
As the NASCAR circuit gets ready for their final three races, they will do so fairly close to home this weekend as they head to the North Carolina Speedway in Rockingham. Rockingham is a little over two hours away from the majority of the race shops which are based in Mooresville, N.C.
The 1.017 mile track, better known as "the Rock" is always a race that teams would love to mark on their win list. Not only does the winner get a really cool trophy, but they also get their named carved into a huge granite stone which sits right outside of the track's entrance. That's the real reason teams want to win, it has nothing to do with points or prestige.
Okay, so maybe it does a little. Especially for points leader Tony Stewart. Stewart heads into Rockingham knowing that if he averages a finish of ninth in the final three events, his new nickname will be "Champ." Stewart has a decent record there as well. In seven career starts, he has three fourth place finishes.
Last week numerous teams spent two days testing the historic track in preparation for the 400-mile event. One of which was four-time champion Jeff Gordon. Gordon currently sits seventh in points and after his rough outting two weeks ago at Martinsville, it's apparent his shot at title number five went to the wayside. Also testing with Gordon was his Hendrick Motorsports teammate Joe Nemechek. Nemechek may pose one of the biggest threats to win as he heads to Rockingham with serious momentum after pulling out a runner-up finish at Atlanta. To give Nemechek an added boost, all he has to do is look at the trophy on his mantel, he is the defending race winner of the Pop Secret 400 and dominated 193 of the 393 laps last fall.
Ganassi Racing's Jamie McMurray also took advantage of the two day test and is hoping for a repeat of his Charlotte run. After his Busch Series win at Atlanta and yet another top-10 run in his short Winston Cup career, McMurray is running on pure adrenaline.
Veteran Rusty Wallace sat out the test at "The Rock" but is sure to be one to watch. With only three races remaining, Wallace is hungry for a win in order to keep his consecutive 16-year win-streak alive. He currently has a 59-race drought and Rockingham is a track he knows how to win on. Wallace currently leads all active drivers with five career wins on the one-mile track.
If Wallace were to stumble and have a rough outting at Rockingham, all he has to do is wait a week until the series heads to Phoenix. Last fall Wallace, as well as Casey Atwood, took turns leading the majority of the event before cut tires handed Jeff Burton the victory. Although time is running out on a final charge towards his second title, career win number 55 may come this weekend.