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Aug 31, 2008 - 10:19 AM
August 31, 2008
California Speedway
Fontana, California
Race 25 of 36 on Sprint Cup circuit

TV: ESPN, 8 p.m. EDT

Laps: 250
Track length: 2-mile oval
Race length: 500 miles

Qualifying record: Kyle Busch, Chevrolet, 188.245 mph
Race Record: Jeff Gordon, Chevrolet, 155.012 mph


Jeff Burton
Team: Richard Childress Racing
Car: No. 31 Chevrolet Impala
2008 Earnings: $3,611,272

One of the circuit's most consistent drivers has struggled of
late; ran in the top 15 through the first 17 races, but has an
average finish of 25th over past seven starts - including just
one top 10 which came at the Brickyard; finished 42nd at
Bristol to remain fifth in the standings, 492 points behind
leader Kyle Busch; won first Bristol race for lone victory of
the season; had 10 top 10s through first 19 races; 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 2007 season
came in April at Texas; finished the season strong with five
top 10s over the final six races; ran fourth in this race last

Kyle Busch
Team: Joe Gibbs Racing
Car: No. 18 Toyota Camry
2008 Earnings: $5,323,663

Is in the midst of a stellar first season with Joe Gibbs Racing,
winning eight races and posting 15 top fives through 24 races;
lead dropped to 212 points atop the standings after finishing
second to Carl Edwards at Bristol; win at Watkins Glen gave him
a sweep of the road courses following victory at Sonoma in June;
prior to win at the Glen had "slumped" with a 15th at the
Brickyard and 36th at Pocono; also ran dead last at the first
Pocono race; ran 17th at the first Bristol race after power
steering failed and transmission issues relegated him to 38th
at Martinsville; has wins at Atlanta, Talladega, Darlington,
Dover and the second Daytona race; runner-up finish at Richmond
was marred by a late-race incident with Dale Earnhardt Jr.; had
the dominant car and led the most laps at the Daytona 500; is
building off a sensational run at Hendrick Motorsports in his
move to JGR and Toyota; finished fifth in the final 2007
standings after qualifying for the Chase for the second
consecutive season; had 20 top-10 finishes last season,
including 11 top fives; lone win came during the first Bristol
race - the inaugural Car of Tomorrow event; ran third in this
race last season.

Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Team: Hendrick Motorsports
Car: No. 88 Chevrolet Impala
2008 Earnings: $3,309,270

The circuit's most popular driver jumped to third in the
standings, 416 points behind Kyle Busch after running 18th at
Bristol; snapped a 76-race winless stretch by winning first
Michigan race on fumes; in eight races since has an average
finish of 17 and just one top 10; was involved in a late-race
incident with Busch at Richmond while racing for the win and
wound up 15th; has 12 top 10s through 24 races; ran fifth at
Bristol after a third at Atlanta and second at Las Vegas; was
the top finishing Hendrick car at the Daytona 500 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; suffered through a tough final season
at DEI, finishing 16th in the standings; had 12 top 10s last
season, but also posted 11 finishes of 25th or worse; finished
fifth in this race last season.

Carl Edwards
Team: Roush Fenway Racing
Car: No. 99 Ford Fusion
2008 Earnings: $5,099,200

Earned sixth win of the season at Bristol to pull within 212
points of series leader Kyle Busch; finished second to Jimmie
Johnson at the Brickyard - his fourth runner-up this season; was
also second to Busch at Darlington, Dover and the second Daytona
race; won at Texas for his third win of the season; was docked
100 points and fell from the top spot in the standings after
being penalized after his win at Las Vegas; victory at Texas was
his 10th career Cup win; had the dominant car again at Atlanta,
but blew an engine and finished 42nd; ran 19th in the Daytona
500; qualified for the Chase last year and won at Dover after
placing 12th at New Hampshire, but failed post-race inspection
and was docked 25 points; penalty dropped him from third to
sixth in the standings and he never recovered; won the 2007
NASCAR Busch Series championship; finished second in this race
last year.

Jeff Gordon
Team: Hendrick Motorsports
Car: No. 24 Chevrolet Impala
2008 Earnings: $3,974,408

Ran 10th at Pocono for his 10th top 10 of the season, but
slipped to 29th at Watkins Glen and 42nd at Michigan to fall
three spots to ninth in the standings; remains there after
running fifth at Bristol; has yet to win this season but has
nine top-fives; has four DNFs this season after posting just
one last year; rebounded to finish fifth at Atlanta after being
involved in a scary late-race crash at Las Vegas where he
finished 35th; bounced back with a third at California after
opening 2008 season with a disappointing 39th in 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; had six
checkered flags last season and 81 career, just two shy of
tying Cale Yarborough for fifth place all-time; ran 22nd in
this race last year.

Jimmie Johnson
Team: Hendrick Motorsports
Car: No. 48 Chevrolet Impala
2008 Earnings: $4,710,104

Recent strong stretch was halted by running 17th at Michigan and
33rd at Bristol to drop to fourth in the standings; finished
third at Pocono following a win at the Brickyard and runner-up
at Chicago; two-time defending series champion blew a motor at
Lowe's and finished in 39th place; bounced back with three top
10s, including a sixth at Michigan; picked up his first win of
the season at Phoenix; had a disappointing three-race stretch at
Las Vegas, Atlanta and Bristol when his average finish was 20th;
ran 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 last season, then took off - winning
four straight races over the second half of the Chase; finished
last season with 10 wins, 20 top fives, 24 top 10s, yet failed
to finish four races; won this race last year.

Kasey Kahne
Team: Gillett Evernham Motorsports
Car: No. 9 Dodge
2008 Earnings: $4,799,992

Chase hopes took serious hit with consecutive 40th place
finishes at Michigan and Bristol; dropped to 13th in the
standings, 56 points outside the Chase; bounced back from a
disappointing 33rd at Sonoma and 30th at Loudon by running
seventh at Daytona, 15th at Chicago and seventh at the
Brickyard; finished second to Dale Earnhardt Jr. at Michigan;
won first Pocono race from the pole; had a stellar two weeks at
Lowe's, winning the Sprint All-Star Challenge then snapping a
52-race winless skid by taking the checkered flag in the
Coca-Cola 600; has 11 top 10s this season; after winning six
races in 2006, struggled in 2007 when he finished 19th in the
standings with just one top five and eight top 10s; also had six
DNFs and dipped as low as 36th in the standings at one point;
took on the famed Budweiser sponsorship after Earnhardt moved to
Hendrick Motorsports; finished 10th in this race last year.

Matt Kenseth
Team: Roush Fenway Racing
Car: No. 17 Ford Fusion
2008 Earnings: $3,792,647

Finished ninth at Bristol and sits 10th in the standings; ran
third at Daytona and first Michigan race; finished 38th at
Richmond and 41st at Talladega; ran 38th at Phoenix following a
ninth at Texas and 30th at Martinsville; had consecutive top 10s
at Bristol and Atlanta; was 20th at Las Vegas due to a late-race
incident with Jeff Gordon; ran 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
long-time crew chief Robbie Reiser who has been replaced atop
the box by Chip Bolin; ran seventh in this race last year.

Tony Stewart
Team: Joe Gibbs Racing
Car: No. 20 Toyota Camry
2008 Earnings: $4,483,500

Finished eighth at Bristol; slid to a 23rd-place finish after
running well at the Brickyard; finished fifth at Chicago in
first race since announcing he will leave JGR at the end of the
season to drive for his own Stewart-Haas Racing team next
season; fell ill at Daytona and was relieved by J.J. Yeley who
finished 20th; was involved in an early crash at Dover and
finished 41st; came close to winning at Lowe's, but cut down a
tire with three laps remaining while leading and finished 18th;
finished 38th at Talladega then bounced back to finish fourth at
Richmond; ran 14th at Phoenix following back-to-back top-10
finishes at Martinsville and Texas; finished second to teammate
Kyle Busch at Atlanta, but was vocal about the poor Goodyear
tire quality; suffered a hard crash at Las Vegas, injured his
ankle and finished last; had another disappointment in the
Daytona 500, finishing third despite having the lead with one
lap to go; finished 13th in this race last year.

2007 Top 10
1. Jimmie Johnson (48), Chevrolet
2. Carl Edwards (99), Ford
3. Kyle Busch (5), Chevrolet
4. Jeff Burton (31), Chevrolet
5. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (8), Chevrolet
6. Martin Truex Jr. (1), Chevrolet
7. Matt Kenseth (17), Ford
8. Brian Vickers (83), Toyota
9. Kurt Busch (2), Dodge
10. Kasey Kahne (9), Dodge

Past Champions
2007 Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 131.502 mph
2006 Kasey Kahne, Dodge, 144.462 mph
2005 Kyle Busch, Chevrolet, 136.356 mph
2004 Elliott Sadler, Ford, 128.324 mph

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