NEXTEL UAW-Ford 500

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UAW-Ford 500 Preview

Oct 7, 2007 - 10:27 AM
October 7, 2007 
Talladega Superspeedway
Talladega, Alabama

Race 30 of 37 on Nextel Cup circuit
(29th points race; 4th of 10 in "Chase for the Nextel Cup")

TV: ABC, 1 p.m. EDT

Laps: 188
Track length: 2.66 miles
Race length: 500 miles

Qualifying record: Bill Elliott, 212.809 mph, 1987
Race record: Mark Martin, 188.354 mph, 1997


DRIVERS TO WATCH
----------------

Clint Bowyer
Team: Richard Childress Racing
Car: No. 07 Chevrolet Impala
2007 Earnings: $3,450,869
Chase Points: 5,492 (3rd)

Followed up his first career Nextel Cup win at New Hampshire by
running 12th at Dover and second at Kansas; moved up two spots
to third in the Chase standings, 14 points behind leader Jeff
Gordon; finished 12th at Richmond and ran 20th at California,
following a third at Bristol in three races prior to the Chase;
has 14 top-10 finishes in 28 races this season; has four
top-five finishes, including a fourth on the road course at
Sonoma to go along with his solid showing at Bristol and win at
New Hampshire; has finished 30th or worse just three times -
36th at Las Vegas, 35th at Talladega and 37th at the first race
in New Hampshire; ran 35th here last year.


Jeff Burton
Team: Richard Childress Racing
Car: No. 31 Chevrolet Impala
2007 Earnings: $5,053,832
Chase Points: 5,320 (10th)

Dropped to 10th in the Chase standings after running 36th at
Kansas; started the Chase in seventh place, but dropped to 11th
with his second straight 18th place finish at New Hampshire,
following Richmond; ran fourth at California and 12th at Bristol
prior to Richmond; finished out of the top-10 in four races
before California; prior to that tough stretch had registered
four top-10 finishes over a six-race span; ran seventh at first
New Hampshire race and third at Sonoma to end a streak of four
consecutive finishes outside the top 10; has seven top-five
finishes and 14 top-10s and has only four finishes of 34th or
worse this season; captured his only victory of the season at
Texas; was 27th here last season.


Kyle Busch
Team: Hendrick Motorsports
Car: No. 5 Chevrolet Impala
2007 Earnings: $3,816,168
Chase Points: 5,370 (6th)

Was run over by Dale Earnhardt Jr. at Kansas and finished 41st
to drop two spots in the standings; started Chase with fourth at
New Hampshire and fifth at Dover; trails Hendrick teammate
Gordon by just 136 points; ran 20th at Richmond following a
third-place showing at California and a ninth at Bristol; has 16
top-10 finishes in 28 races this season, including eight
top-fives; lone win of the season came during the first Bristol
race - the inaugural Car of Tomorrow event; will leave Hendrick
Motorsports at the end of the season for Joe Gibbs Racing; ran
37th here in April and 11th at this race last year.


Kurt Busch
Team: Penske Racing
Car: No. 2 Dodge Avenger
2007 Earnings: $4,269,590
Chase Points: 5,329 (9th)

Title hopes still slim with an 11th at Kansas after starting the
Chase with a 25th at New Hampshire and 29th at Dover; sits
ninth in the Chase standings; did not qualify for Chase until
late in the Richmond race, where he finished ninth; turned
season around over last nine races before the Chase by finishing
out of the top 10 just twice with 11th place finishes at the
Brickyard and Watkins Glen; won at Pocono, then later at
Michigan during the rain-delayed event; has a pair of
third-place finishes at Talladega and the second Daytona race;
the 2004 Nextel Cup Champion has eight finishes of 25th or worse
this season; ran third here a year ago.


Carl Edwards
Team: Roush Fenway Racing
Car: No. 17 Ford Fusion
2007 Earnings: $3,763,987
Chase Points: 5,364 (7th)

Wrecked at Kansas and finished 37th to fall one spot to seventh;
won at Dover after finishing 12th at New Hampshire, but failed
post-race inspection and was docked 25 points and fined; penalty
dropped him from third to sixth in the standings; ran 42nd at
Richmond, but prior to that had four consecutive top-10
finishes, including a win at Bristol and a runner-up finish at
California; also won at Michigan earlier this year; has eight
top-fives and 12 top-10s this year; has been consistent with
only a trio of finishes lower than 30, including a 42nd at
Talladega; ran ninth here last season.


Jeff Gordon
Team: Hendrick Motorsports
Car: No. 24 Chevrolet Impala
2007 Earnings: $5,833,620
Chase Points: 5,500 (2nd)

Ran fifth at Kansas, but dropped out of the top spot in the
standings; trails teammate Jimmie Johnson by six points;
rebounded from rough stretch leading up to the Chase by
finishing 11th at Dover and second to Bowyer at New Hampshire;
prior to the Chase finished fourth at Richmond but was 22nd at
California, 19th at Bristol and 27th at Michigan over previous
three races; prior to Michigan had finished in the top 10 in 10
straight races; was the first driver to clinch a spot in the
"Chase for the Championship"; spun with less than two laps
remaining at Watkins Glen while leading, costing him a potential
fifth win this season - still managed to finish ninth; was
docked 100 points for failing post-qualifying inspections at
Sonoma, where he ran seventh; has four checkered flags this
season and 79 career, just four shy of tying Cale Yarborough for
fifth place all-time; reached a landmark milestone at
Talladega, recording his 77th career victory to pass the late
Dale Earnhardt for sixth all-time; won here in April and placed
36th at this race last year.


Denny Hamlin
Team: Joe Gibbs Racing
Car: No. 11 Chevrolet Impala
2007 Earnings: $4,107,614
Chase Points: 5,258 (12th)

Title hopes all but dashed after 29th at Kansas; ran 38th at
Dover, dropping to last among Chase contenders; was involved in
an altercation with Kyle Petty in the garage following wreck
midway through the race at Dover; won his only race of the
season at New Hampshire in July, but could manage only a
15th-place finish at Loudon to start the Chase; followed up the
win at New Hampshire by finishing dead last at Daytona after
wrecking early in the race with teammate Tony Stewart; avoided
the sophomore slump by posting 10 top-five and 15 top-finishes
this season; finished second at Darlington and Watkins Glen and
has four third-place finishes at Las Vegas, Martinsville,
Phoenix and Richmond; also finished last at Bristol; was 21st in
last two starts at Talladega.


Kevin Harvick
Team: Richard Childress Racing
Car: No. 29 Chevrolet Impala
2007 Earnings: $6,565,141
Chase Points: 5,380 (5th)

Jumped four spots to fifth in the standings after running sixth
at Kansas; was the final driver to clinch a berth in the Chase
and opened with a 17th at New Hampshire and a 20th at Dover
despite suffering through tire issues in both races; prior to
the Chase finished seventh at Richmond, ending struggles which
included five straight finishes out of the top-10; has finished
33rd or worse three times in 27 races this season; was 36th at
Watkins Glen on the heels of a 17th at Pocono; won the
season-opening Daytona 500 by nipping Mark Martin at the finish
line; has four top-fives and 11 top 10s this season; finished
second to Juan Pablo Montoya on the road course at Sonoma; ran
sixth in last two races at Talladega.


Jimmie Johnson
Team: Hendrick Motorsports
Car: No. 48 Chevrolet Impala
2007 Earnings: $5,827,094
Chase Points: 5,506 (1st)

Reclaimed top spot in the Chase after a third at Kansas; opened
the Chase with a 14th at Dover following a sixth at New
Hampshire; earned top seed with consecutive wins at Richmond and
California; was 21st at Bristol, but posted back-to-back third
place finishes at Michigan and Watkins Glen; defending series
champion has suffered through an up-and-down season, finishing
39th at the Brickyard after a fiery crash on the heels of a 37th
at Chicago; prior to those two poor showings, finished 10th at
Daytona after running fifth at New Hampshire; has also posted
victories this season at Las Vegas, Atlanta, Martinsville and
the first Richmond race; despite collecting 15 top-five
finishes, has been hurt by five finishes outside the top 35; was
second here in April and 24th last October.

Matt Kenseth
Team: Roush Fenway Racing
Car: No. 17 Ford Fusion
2007 Earnings: $5,025,917
Chase Points: 5,287 (11th)

Back-to-back 35th-place finishes at Dover and Kansas all but end
title hopes; sits 11th in the standings; ran seventh at New
Hampshire; did not close the regular season strong with a 14th
at Richmond after a seventh at California - a week after
crashing and finishing 39th at Bristol; ran fourth at Michigan
in the rain delayed race; posted fourth straight top-10 finish
by placing 10th at the Brickyard; ran 34th and 42nd,
respectively, prior to the four straight top-10 results;
captured his only victory of the season in the campaign's second
race at California; has eight top-five finishes and 17 top-10s
this season; finished 14th here in April and fourth last
October.


Tony Stewart
Team: Joe Gibbs Racing
Car: No. 20 Chevrolet Impala
2007 Earnings: $5,448,824
Chase Points: 5,389 (4th)

Dropped to fourth in the standings after 39th at Kansas and sits
117 points behind Johnson; had moved within two points of the
with a ninth at Dover after placing third at New Hampshire;
finished second at Richmond to enter the Chase on a hot streak;
recent surge includes fourth at Bristol as well as running 10th
at Michigan on the heels of winning at Watkins Glen - his third
win; captured back-to-back victories at Chicagoland and at the
Brickyard while placing sixth at Pocono; finished 38th at
Daytona prior to his win at Chicago after an early-race crash
with teammate Denny Hamlin; was 28th here in April and 22nd last
October.


Martin Truex Jr.
Team: Dale Earnhardt Inc.
Car: No. 1 Chevrolet Impala
2007 Earnings: $4,061,561
Chase Points: 5,348 (8th)

Ran 38th at Kansas and 13th at Dover following a fifth at New
Hampshire to start his first Chase; finished 15th at Richmond,
but only needed to start the race to qualify; has been
overshadowed by more famous teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr., but has
outperformed him all season; won his first career Nextel Cup
race at Dover in June; has six top-fives and 11 top 10s,
including a third at Pocono and second at Michigan in
back-to-back weeks after the win at Dover; finished second in
both Michigan races this year; has only two other finishes
outside the top 30 this season - 42nd at California and 37th at
Bristol during the early part of the season; ran fifth here last
October and 10th in April.


2006 Top 10
-----------
1. Brian Vickers (25), Chevrolet
2. Kasey Kahne (9), Dodge
3. Kurt Busch (97), Ford
4. Matt Kenseth, (17), Ford
5. Martin Truex Jr. (1), Chevrolet
6. Kevin Harvick (29), Chevrolet
7. Jeff Green (66), Chevrolet
8. Mark Martin (6), Ford
9. Carl Edwards (99), Ford
10. Bobby Labonte (43), Dodge

Past Champions
--------------
2006 Brian Vickers, Chevrolet
2005 Dale Jarrett, Ford
2004 Dale Earnhardt Jr., Chevrolet
2003 Michael Waltrip, Chevrolet
2002 Dale Earnhardt Jr., Chevrolet
2001 Dale Earnhardt Jr., Chevrolet
2000 Dale Earnhardt, Chevrolet
1999 Dale Earnhardt, Chevrolet
1998 Dale Jarrett, Chevrolet
1997 Terry Labonte, Chevrolet
1996 Jeff Gordon, Chevrolet
1995 Sterling Marlin, Chevrolet
1994 Jimmy Spencer, Ford
1993 Dale Earnhardt, Chevrolet
1992 Ernie Irvan, Chevrolet
1991 Dale Earnhardt, Chevrolet
1990 Dale Earnhardt, Chevrolet
1989 Terry Labonte, Ford
1988 Ken Schrader, Chevrolet
1987 Bill Elliot, Ford
1986 Bobby Hillin, Buick
1985 Cale Yarborough, Ford
1984 Dale Earnhardt, Chevrolet
1983 Dale Earnhardt, Ford
1982 Darrell Waltrip, Buick
1981 Ron Bouchard, Buick
1980 Neil Bonnett, Mercury
1979 Darrell Waltrip, Oldsmobile
1978 Lennie Pond, Oldsmobile
1977 Donnie Allison, Chevrolet
1976 Dave Marcis, Dodge
1975 Buddy Baker, Ford
1974 Richard Petty, 74 Dodge
1973 Dick Brooks, 72 Plymouth
1972 James Hylton, 71 Mercury
1971 Bobby Allison, 69 Mercury
1970 Pete Hamilton, 70 Plymouth
1969 Richard Brickhouse, 69 Dodge







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