* The race for 11th place: Harvick yields position to Sadler but remains in contention for bonus award * Martin and Edwards seeing success at halfway mark of Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup NEWS AND NOTES Race for 11th Place: Sadler moves...
* The race for 11th place: Harvick yields position to Sadler but remains in contention for bonus award
* Martin and Edwards seeing success at halfway mark of Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup
NEWS AND NOTES
Race for 11th Place: Sadler moves up ... Drivers racing for the 11th position in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup standings aren't treating their cause as anything less than a full-fledged race to be the best. Last week's 11th place driver, Kevin Harvick (No. 29 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet), fell out of the running early in last weekend's UAW-GM Quality 500 at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Harvick didn't hesitate to get his repaired car back on the track to keep pace with his rivals. Harvick slipped one position despite the effort, yet the former NASCAR Busch Series champion stayed in the hunt for the top spot outside the top 10. At the end of the season, the driver in 11th place in the final standings will receive a point-fund payout in excess of $1 million, which will include a $250,000 bonus.
Here's a closer look at the drivers in spots 11 through 15, who are separated by only 63 points:
• 11th place -- Elliott Sadler (No. 38 M&M's Ford), currently controls that position. He gained two spots following a 27th-place finish at Lowe's Motor Speedway.
• 12th place -- Kevin Harvick, after recording a 28th-place finish at Lowe's. He trails Sadler by 11 points.
• 13th place -- Joe Nemechek (No. 01 U.S. Army Chevrolet), who gained two spots after a fourth-place finish at Lowe's. Nemechek trails Sadler by 17 points.
• 14th place -- Jamie McMurray (No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge) dropped two spots in the standings following his 31st-place finish at Lowe's. McMurray trails Sadler by 21 points.
• 15th place -- Brian Vickers (No. 25 GMC Financial Services Chevrolet) is making his first appearance in the top 15 this season. He gained two spots following his 12th-place finish at Lowe's. Vickers trails Sadler by 63 points.
Martin on the march ... Mark Martin (No. 6 Viagra Ford) left Talladega Superspeedway trailing points leader Tony Stewart by 138 points. After his win at Kansas Speedway, Martin was only 113 points out of the lead. At Lowe's Motor Speedway, Martin's fifth-place finish moved him up to fifth place in the standings, just 51 points behind Tony Stewart (No. 20 Home Depot Chevrolet) and Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet), who each have 5,777 points. Martin's rapid rise in a three-race span is good news for drivers who have struggled in the first half of the Chase -- anything can still happen with five races remaining.
Edwards a factor but seeks breakthrough after Martinsville struggles ... Carl Edwards (No. 99 Office Depot Ford) may be in his first full-time NASCAR NEXTEL Cup season and his first Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup, but he's not driving like it. Last week's 10-place finish at Lowe's Motor Speedway was his fourth straight top-10 effort in five Chase races, and now, he's only 54 points out of first place. This Sunday's Subway 500 may prove a significant challenge, however. Edwards finished 24th at Martinsville last fall and 38th in April, his only two series starts there. His average Martinsville finish of 31st ranks 10th among the 10 Chase drivers.
On Wednesday, Edwards will enjoy a different kind of speed-filled experience when he visits the 169th Fighter Wing of the South Carolina Air National Guard. He'll fly in a F-16 Fighting Falcon based at the McEntire Joint National Guard Base outside Columbia, S.C.
"I just can't wait," Edwards said. "It will be so awesome. I have wanted to fly in a fighter jet my whole life."
Pit Crew Spotlight: Wood Brothers Racing close to home ... Located only 28 miles to the west of Martinsville in Stuart, Va., the Wood Brothers Racing team has been a hometown crowd favorite for many years. The team, led by owners Glen, Eddie, Len Wood and Kim Wood Hall, was founded in 1953 and has recorded a win in each of the last five decades... Several team members are Virginia natives, including transport drivers Phil and Ray Anderson (Claudville, Va.), engineer William "Hoyt" Overbaugh (Lewisburg, Va.), machinist Bennie Belcher (Roanoke, Va.), maintenance mechanic George Houchins (Stuart, Va.), and suspension specialist Lane "Butch" Moricle Jr. (Stuart, Va.). For more team rosters visit www.nascarmedia.com/crew/crewhomepage.jsp.
Manufacturers Standings ... Chevrolet continues to lead the Manufacturers' Championship standings with 227 points. Chevrolet teams have won 15 of 31 races this year and recorded a total of 66 top-five finishes. Ford, meanwhile, is ranked second in the standings with 207 points. Its teams have claimed 13 wins and 57 top-five finishes. Dodge remains third in the standings with three wins and 155 points.
The NASCAR Leaderboard ... While Jimmie Johnson and Tony Stewart both claim 5,777 points atop the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup standings, Stewart is in first place because he has five wins this season compared to Johnson's four. Stewart's 2005 statistics also continue to lead the field in several key categories. Stewart leads in winnings, laps led, miles led, wins (tied with Greg Biffle, No. 16 National Guard/Subway Ford with five wins each), top-five finishes and top-10 finishes. This week's Leaderboard graphic shows who's topping the charts in these and other statistical categories.
From the archives: Petty still the "King" at Martinsville Speedway ... During Richard Petty's 34-year driving career (1958-92), he accumulated a remarkable record at Martinsville Speedway. Petty has 15 wins, the most of any driver in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series, and he also leads in top-five finishes (30) and top 10 finishes (37). His first Martinsville victory came in 1960, marked as the second of Petty's record-setting 200 wins. He was 22 years, 9 months, 8 days old at the time, making "The King" the youngest driver to win at Martinsville Speedway to this day.
On Deck: Atlanta Motor Speedway ... The NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series continues with the 33rd race of the 36-race season at Atlanta Motor Speedway Oct. 30. Jimmie Johnson is the defending champion of the Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 while Ryan Newman (No. 12 Alltel Dodge) sat on the Bud Pole last year.
The race: Subway 500
The track: Martinsville (Va.) Speedway
The date/time: Sunday, Oct. 23 at 1:00 p.m. (ET).
TV: NBC, 12:30 p.m. (ET).
Radio: MRN/XM Satellite.
Posted awards: $4,705,474.
Race length: 500 laps, 263 miles.
Track layout: .526-mile oval.
2004 winner: Jimmie Johnson.
2004 polesitter: Ryan Newman.
NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Top 10: 1. Tony Stewart 5,777. 2. Jimmie Johnson 5,777. 3. Greg Biffle 5,766. 4. Ryan Newman 5,760. 5. Mark Martin 5,726. 6. Carl Edwards 5,723. 7. Rusty Wallace 5,685. 8. Jeremy Mayfield 5,662. 9. Matt Kenseth 5,653. 10. Kurt Busch 5,635.