SPRINT UAW-Dodge 400

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Mar 2, 2008 - 11:19 AM
March 2, 2008
Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Las Vegas, Nevada
Race 3 of 37 on Sprint Cup circuit

TV: FOX, 3:30 p.m. EST

Laps: 267
Track length: 1 1/2 miles
Race length: 400 miles

Qualifying record: Kasey Kahne, Dodge, 174.904 mph, 2004
Race record: Mark Martin, Ford, 146.554 mph, 1998


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

Clint Bowyer
Team: Richard Childress Racing
Car: No. 07 Chevrolet Impala
2008 Earnings: $430,695

Started the season with a 24th at Daytona after being involved
in a late-race crash and a 19th at California; is looking to
build on breakthrough 2007 campaign when he finished third in
the final standings after qualifying for his first Chase for the
Championship; started his first Chase in grand fashion, winning
his first career Cup race at New Hampshire; finished with 17
top 10s and five top-fives in 36 races last season, including two
poles; finished 36th in this event last year.


Jeff Burton
Team: Richard Childress Racing
Car: No. 31 Chevrolet Impala
2008 Earnings: $465,754

One of the circuit's most consistent drivers finished 13th in
the Daytona 500 and eighth at California; finished eighth in
last season's standings, one year after placing seventh;
finished in the top 10 in half of the races last season,
including nine top fives; lone win of the season came in April
at Texas; finished the season strong with five top 10s over the
final six races; finished 15th here last year and has won twice
at this track.


Kurt Busch
Team: Penske Racing South
Car: No. 2 Dodge Charger
2008 Earnings: $1,192,570

Pushed teammate Ryan Newman across the finish line to give
Penske Racing a 1-2 finish in the Daytona 500; followed with a
13th at California to sit fourth in the standings; bounced back
from an inconsistent first season with Penske to finish seventh
in the standings last year; won at Michigan and Pocono and
posted 14 top-10 finishes; also had four finishes of 30th or
worse; won the championship in 2004 but was released from his
contract at Roush Racing after the following season, when he
finished 10th in the standings but was suspended for the final
two races after an incident with the Phoenix police; finished
26th here last year.


Kyle Busch
Team: Joe Gibbs Racing
Car: No. 18 Toyota Camry
2008 Earnings: $806,988

Has gotten off to a stellar start with Joe Gibbs Racing, placing
fourth in both races thus far to take the early lead in the
standings, six points ahead of Ryan Newman; had the dominant car
and led the most laps at the Daytona 500; is looking to build
off a sensational run at Hendrick Motorsports as he moves to JGR
and Toyota; finished fifth in the final standings after
qualifying for the Chase for the second consecutive season; had
20 top-10 finishes in 36 races last season, including 11
top-fives; lone win came during the first Bristol race - the
inaugural Car of Tomorrow event; finished ninth in this race last
season.


Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Team: Hendrick Motorsports
Car: No. 88 Chevrolet Impala
2008 Earnings: $656,245

The circuit's most popular driver was the top finishing Hendrick
car at the Daytona with a ninth-place showing; was involved in
an early-race crash at California and finished 40th; made the
move from his father's Dale Earnhardt Inc., where he won 17 Cup
events, to Hendrick Motorsports; got off to a good start with his
new team by winning the Bud Shootout; has not won a points race
since Richmond in May 2006; suffered through a tough final season
at DEI, finishing 16th in the standings; had 12 top-10's last
season, but also posted 11 finishes of 25th or worse; finished
11th in Las Vegas last season.


Carl Edwards
Team: Roush Fenway Racing
Car: No. 99 Ford Fusion
2008 Earnings: $704,020

Won at California for his eighth career Cup win; ran 19th in the
Daytona 500; qualified for the Chase last year and 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 and he never recovered;
won the 2007 NASCAR Busch Series championship; finished with 11
top-fives and 15 top-10s last year; also won at Michigan and
Bristol; ran sixth here last year.


Denny Hamlin
Team: Joe Gibbs Racing
Car: No. 11 Toyota Camry
2008 Earnings: $502,607

Has gotten off to a slow start this season unlike JGR teammates
Kyle Busch and Tony Stewart; started off his third season with a
17th at the Daytona 500 and a 41st at California; avoided the
sophomore slump last year after enjoying a breakthrough rookie
campaign in 2006, posting 12 top-five and 18 top-10 finishes;
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 en route to finishing 12th and last among Chase
competitors; followed up the win at New Hampshire by finishing
dead last at Daytona after wrecking early in the race with
teammate Tony Stewart; ran third in this race last year.


Jeff Gordon
Team: Hendrick Motorsports
Car: No. 24 Chevrolet Impala
2008 Earnings: $374,099

Bounced back with a third at California after opening his 2008
season with a disappointing 39th at the Daytona 500; only a
dominant finish by teammate Jimmie Johnson kept him from
capturing a fifth championship last season; finished with 10
top-10 finishes in the final 11 races - the other finish in that
span was an 11th at Dover; totaled a remarkable 30 top-10
finishes and 21 top-fives in 36 races last year; spun with less
than two laps remaining at Watkins Glen while leading, costing
him another potential win - still managed to finish ninth; had
six checkered flags last season and 81 career, just two shy of
tying Cale Yarborough for fifth place all-time; reached a
landmark milestone at the first Talladega race, recording his
77th career victory to pass the late Dale Earnhardt for sixth
all-time; had 10 poles last season - double that of Ryan Newman
who had five; finished second in this race last year to Johnson.


Jimmie Johnson
Team: Hendrick Motorsports
Car: No. 48 Chevrolet Impala
2008 Earnings: $646,242

Two-time defending series champion finished second at California
after starting this campaign with a 27th at the Daytona 500;
battled teammate Gordon for the top spot in the Chase early on,
last season, then took off - winning four straight races over
the second half of the Chase; suffered through an up-and-down
season before the Chase, finishing 39th at the Brickyard after a
fiery crash on the heels of a 37th at Chicago; finished the
season with 10 wins, 20 top fives, 24 top 10s and failed to
finish four races; has won this race three years in a row; in six
starts at Las Vegas has completed all 1,605 laps of competition
and three top-five and four top-10 finishes.


Matt Kenseth
Team: Roush Fenway Racing
Car: No. 17 Ford Fusion
2008 Earnings: $477,970

Finished fifth at California, fresh off a disappointing 35th
place showing at the Daytona 500; last season had a late-Chase
surge with a win at the season-ending race at Homestead,
following a third at Phoenix and a second at Texas; finished
fourth in the final standings; had 13 top-five finishes and 22
top 10s last season; won the series championship in 2003 despite
capturing only one checkered flag, prompting NASCAR to change to
its current Chase format; enters this season without longtime
crew chief Robbie Reiser who has been replaced by Chip Bolin;
ran fourth at Las Vegas last year, where he is a two-time
winner.


Ryan Newman
Team: Penske Racing
Car: No. 12 Dodge Charger
2008 Earnings: $1,686,670

Snapped an 81-race winless streak by winning the Daytona 500;
last win came at the September race at New Hampshire in 2005;
got a huge push from teammate Kurt Busch to earn the win, giving
Penske Racing its first-ever Daytona 500 victory; followed
Daytona victory with a 10th at California; known as a top
qualifier; earned the nickname "Rocketman" after winning a
series-high 11 poles in 2003; finished 13th in the final
standings last year - his second straight season out of the
Chase after dropping to 18th in 2006; finished eighth at this
race last year.


Tony Stewart
Team: Joe Gibbs Racing
Car: No. 20 Toyota Camry
2008 Earnings: $1,144,110

Suffered another disappointment at Daytona, finishing third
despite having the lead with one lap to go; took sixth at
California last week; moved within two points of the points lead
after the first two Chase races last year, but could not keep
pace with Johnson and Gordon and faded to sixth in the final
standings; finished second at Richmond to enter the Chase on a
hot streak; pre-Chase surge included 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; won three races in total to go
along with 23 top-10s; ran seventh here last year and is still
seeking his first win at Las Vegas.


2007 Top 10
-----------
1. Jimmie Johnson (48), Chevrolet
2. Jeff Gordon (24), Chevrolet
3. Denny Hamlin (11), Chevrolet
4. Matt Kenseth (17), Ford
5. Mark Martin (01), Chevrolet
6. Carl Edwards (99), Ford
7. Tony Stewart (20), Chevrolet
8. Ryan Newman (12), Dodge
9. Kyle Busch (5), Chevrolet
10. Jamie McMurray (26), Ford

Past Champions
--------------
2007 Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 128.183 mph
2006 Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 133.358 mph
2005 Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 121.038 mph
2004 Matt Kenseth, Ford, 128.790 mph
2003 Matt Kenseth, Ford, 132.934 mph
2002 Sterling Marlin, Dodge, 136.754 mph
2001 Jeff Gordon, Chevrolet, 135.377 mph
2000 Jeff Burton, Ford, 119.982 mph
1999 Jeff Burton, Ford, 137.535 mph
1998 Mark Martin, Ford, 146.554 mph







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