* Edwards, Sadler, Jarrett and Gordon under pressure as "Race to the Chase" continues * Looking back: Gordon has been in Stewart's shoes before; Labonte found success at Michigan NEWS AND NOTES Race to the Chase -- Drivers on the Bubble ...
* Edwards, Sadler, Jarrett and Gordon under pressure as "Race to the Chase" continues
* Looking back: Gordon has been in Stewart's shoes before; Labonte found success at Michigan
NEWS AND NOTES
Race to the Chase -- Drivers on the Bubble ... Drivers aiming for a berth in the "Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup," which begins Sept. 18 at New Hampshire International Speedway, have four more chances to solidify their position in the standings.
Following the Sept. 10 race at Richmond International Raceway, the top 10 drivers (and any other driver within 400 points of the leader) are eligible to compete for the series title during the season's final 10 events. Those driver's points will be reset and they'll be the only drivers eligible to win the title.
Currently, there are 10 drivers eligible for the "Chase" and none outside the top 10 are within 400 points of leader Tony Stewart. Carl Edwards (No. 99 AAA Ford) is ranked 10th, 520 points behind Stewart. Outside the top 10, time is running out for these drivers:
• Elliott Sadler (No. 38 M&M's Ford) -- Eleventh-ranked Sadler was a "Chase" participant in 2004 but has struggled to make the cut in 2005. He hasn't finished in the top five since April 3 at Bristol Motor Speedway. At Michigan, Sadler has two top-10 finishes in 13 races, coming in Aug. 2004 and June 2003. Sadler is 523 points out of first place and three behind Edwards.
• Dale Jarrett (No. 88 UPS Ford) -- Jarrett is tied with Sadler, his Robert Yates Racing teammate (both have 2,590 points), but Jarrett is ranked 12th due to Sadler's best finish of second (at Bristol) serving as the tie-breaker. Jarrett has a solid record at Michigan, with four wins and 15 top-five finishes, including his first career victory in 1991.
• Jeff Gordon (No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet) -- This four-time NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series champion began the 2004 "Chase" ranked first, after recording five wins and 11 top-five finishes in the first 26 races of 2004. Currently, he is 13th, 587 points behind Stewart. He improved one position in the standings with his 14th-place finish at Watkins Glen last weekend. Gordon trails 10th-place Edwards by 67 points.
• Kevin Harvick (No. 29 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet) is 14th, trailing Edwards by 67 points and Stewart by 590 points.
• Dale Earnhardt Jr. (No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet) is 15th, trailing Edwards by 160 points and Stewart by 683 points.
Stewart's Streak? Nothing New for Gordon ... While Tony Stewart's results over the past eight weeks have been nothing short of amazing, NASCAR fans have seen this type of summertime streak before. During the period from June 26-Aug. 14, Stewart has won five races and sat on the pole on two occasions. During the same period in 2004, Jeff Gordon won three races and three Bud Pole Awards. Gordon also enjoyed a Stewart-like performance in 1998, when he won five races during the same stretch, including victories at Infineon, Pocono, Indianapolis, Watkins Glen and Michigan.
Bill Elliott Back on Track ... 1998 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series champion Bill Elliott is scheduled to make his seventh start of the 2005 season at Michigan. Elliott is the second-winningest driver at Michigan, with seven victories from 1984-87, including four consecutive wins in 1985-86. Elliott is scheduled to drive the No. 91 Auto Value/Bumper to Bumper Dodge for Evernham Motorsports.
Hall of Fame Site Visits Continue ... NASCAR officials are continuing to visit and evaluate potential sites for a NASCAR Hall of Fame. The first site visit was held last week, as representatives from Daytona Beach's Hall of Fame effort made their presentation. Atlanta organizers make their presentation today while additional site visits are scheduled for Aug. 17 in Charlotte, N.C., Aug. 18 in Kansas City and Aug. 23 in Richmond, Va. At each visit, NASCAR officials meet with local organizing officials, tour the prospective site locations and engage in detailed discussions regarding each proposal.
Media Opportunities at Michigan ... Kasey Kahne (No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge) will hold a press conference on Friday, Aug. 19 at 10:15 a.m., in the media center at Michigan International Speedway, to discuss the new Kasey Kahne Foundation to support chronically ill children and their families, and the upcoming eBay charity auction to benefit Cornerstone Schools in Detroit, Mich. ... Jamie McMurray (No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge) will participate in Nextel's weekly "Wake Up Call" press conference this week. McMurray will be available to the media on Friday at 11 a.m., in the Michigan media center.
Chevrolet Maintains Manufacturers' Championship Standings Lead ... Tony Stewart's recent success has helped Chevrolet stay on top of the Manufacturers' Championship standings. With 12 wins this season, Chevrolet now has 164 points. Chevrolet, which won the title in 2004, has recorded 527 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series victories since 1955. Ford Motor Company is ranked second in the standings with 147 points; Dodge is third with 107 points. Stewart leads the Chevrolet camp with five wins in his Monte Carlo, while Biffle leads the Ford ranks, also with five wins in his Taurus. Kasey Kahne (No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge) has the lone victory for Dodge this season.
From the Archives: Labonte Brothers Finish 1-2 at Michigan in '95 ... Although the GFS Marketplace 400 has been won from the pole eight times, it has been 10 years since it was last accomplished. Bobby Labonte (No. 18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet), driving the same make of car for the same team (Joe Gibbs Racing) with the same sponsor as he does today, turned a lap of 184.403 mph to capture the first starting spot in August 1995. Labonte also had won the track's spring race that season, after starting 19th. In the August race, Labonte took over the lead from Jeff Gordon on lap 186 and held the front spot for the remainder of the race, beating his brother Terry Labonte by nearly seven seconds. It was his third career win.
On the Right Track
• Greg Biffle has scored three top-five finishes, including two consecutive victories, in his last four races at Michigan.
• Matt Kenseth (No. 17 DeWalt Ford) has scored five straight top-10 finishes at Michigan, the longest current top-10 streak at that track.
• Mark Martin (No. 6 Viagra Ford) has led more laps (872) than any other full-time driver at Michigan.
• Rusty Wallace (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge) has scored five victories in his 43 races at Michigan, the most of any full-time driver.
• All three manufacturers (Chevrolet, Ford and Dodge) have posted at least one victory in the last nine NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races at Michigan, with a Ford driver winning five of the last seven.
On Deck: Bristol Motor Speedway ... Excitement will run high at the Sharpie 500, the annual Saturday night showdown at the .533-mile Bristol Motor Speedway in Northeastern Tennessee. The race, which is sold out for the 15th consecutive year, is scheduled to begin at 7:40 p.m. on Aug. 27. Reigning NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series champion Kurt Busch (No. 97 IRWIN Ford) has recorded four wins in the past seven races there. TNT will broadcast live coverage of the race beginning at 7:00 p.m. (ET).
The race: GFS Marketplace 400. (Race No. 23 of the 36-race NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series season.)
The track: Michigan International Speedway, Brooklyn, Mich (2.0-mile oval).
The date/time: Sunday, Aug. 21 at 2 p.m. (ET)
TV: TNT, 1:30 p.m. (ET).
Radio: MRN/XM Satellite.
Posted awards: $4,912,254.
Race length: 200 laps/400 miles.
Track layout: 2.0-mile oval.
2004 winner: Greg Biffle
2004 polesitter: Jimmie Johnson (lineup set by points)
NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Top 10: 1. Tony Stewart 3,113, 2. Jimmie Johnson 3,008, 3. Greg Biffle 2,861, 4. Rusty Wallace 2,855, 5. Mark Martin 2,782, 6. Kurt Busch 2,692, 7. Jeremy Mayfield 2,684, 8. Ryan Newman 2,646, 9. Jamie McMurray 2,599, 10. Carl Edwards 2,593.