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NASCAR - Sprint Cup - Kobalt Tools 500 Preview

From The Sports Network

 
DATE: Sunday, November 13th
SITE: Phoenix International Raceway (1964) -- Avondale, Arizona
TRACK: one-mile oval - 1,179 feet (Frontstretch); 1,551 feet (Backstretch)
CAPACITY: 76,812 (Grandstand seating)
ANNUAL: 24th
TELEVISION: ESPN
ANNOUNCERS: Allen Bestwick, Dale Jarrett, Andy Petree
RADIO: Motor Racing Network (MRN)/SIRIUS NASCAR Radio
START TIME: 3 p.m. (et)/Green Flag: 3:15 p.m. (et)
DEFENDING CHAMPION: Carl Edwards
RUNNER-UP: Ryan Newman
POLE WINNER: Carl Edwards (Finished 1st)
LAPS: 312
MILES: 312 (500 kilometers)
QUALIFYING RECORD: Carl Edwards, 2010 (136.389 m.p.h.)
RACE RECORD: Tony Stewart, 1999 (118.132 m.p.h.)
TOTAL PURSE: $4,998,285 (2010 figures)
PAYOUTS: 1st Place - $247,098; 2nd Place - $190,529; 3rd Place - $165,690
 
2010 Finish
FinishDriverStartFinishDriverStart
1Carl Edwards16Kevin Harvick29
2Ryan Newman187Matt Kenseth15
3Joey Logano108Mark Martin28
4Greg Biffle49Kurt Busch3
5Jimmie Johnson2110Jamie McMurray5
2010 Kobalt Tools 500 Facts and Figures
AVERAGE SPEED: 110.758 m.p.h.
MARGIN OF VICTORY: 4.770 seconds
CAUTION FLAGS: 5 for 25 laps
LEAD CHANGES: 13 among 6 drivers
POLE WINNER: Carl Edwards (136.389 m.p.h.)
Past Kobalt Tools 500 Winners (Starting Position) Car -- Speed
2010 -- Carl Edwards (1st) -- Ford -- 110.758 m.p.h.
2009 -- Jimmie Johnson (3rd) -- Chevrolet -- 110.486 m.p.h.
2008 -- Jimmie Johnson (1st) -- Chevrolet -- 97.804
2007 -- Jimmie Johnson (6th) -- Chevrolet -- 102.989 m.p.h.
2006 -- Kevin Harvick (2nd) -- Chevrolet -- 96.131 m.p.h.
2005 -- Kyle Busch (15th) -- Chevrolet -- 102.641 m.p.h.
2004 -- Dale Earnhardt Jr (14th) -- Chevrolet -- 94.848 m.p.h.
2003 -- Dale Earnhardt Jr (11th) -- Chevrolet -- 93.984 m.p.h.
2002 -- Matt Kenseth (28th) -- Ford -- 113.857 m.p.h.
2001 -- Jeff Burton (3rd) -- Ford -- 102.613 m.p.h.
2000 -- Jeff Burton (2nd) -- Ford -- 105.041 m.p.h.
1999 -- Tony Stewart (11th) -- Pontiac -- 118.132 m.p.h. (race record)
1998 -- Rusty Wallace (6th) -- Ford -- 108.211 m.p.h.
1997 -- Dale Jarrett (9th) -- Ford -- 110.824 m.p.h.
1996 -- Bobby Hamilton (17th) -- Pontiac -- 109.709 m.p.h.
1995 -- Ricky Rudd (29th) -- Ford -- 102.128 m.p.h.
1994 -- Terry Labonte (19th) -- Chevrolet -- 107.463 m.p.h.
1993 -- Mark Martin (3rd) -- Ford -- 100.375 m.p.h.
1992 -- Davey Allison (12th) -- Ford -- 103.885 m.p.h.
1991 -- Davey Allison (13th) -- Ford -- 95.746 m.p.h.
1990 -- Dale Earnhardt (3rd) -- Chevrolet -- 96.786 m.p.h.
1989 -- Bill Elliott (13th) -- Ford -- 105.683 m.p.h.
1988 -- Alan Kulwicki (21st) -- Ford -- 90.457 m.p.h.
 
NOTE: Formerly called Checker 500 (1988, 1990), Autoworks 500 (1989), Pyroil
500 (1991), Pyroil 500k (1992), Slick 50 500 (1993-94), Dura Lube 500
(1995-97), Dura Lube/KMart 300 (1998), Checker Auto Parts/Dura Lube 500k
(2000), Checker Auto Parts 500 (2001-09), Checker O'Reilly Auto Parts
500 (2009).
 
Past Kobalt Tools 500 Pole Winners (Finish)
2010 -- Carl Edwards -- 1st
2009 -- Martin Truex Jr -- 5th
2008 -- Jimmie Johnson -- 1st
2007 -- Carl Edwards -- 42nd
2006 -- Jeff Gordon -- 4th
2005 -- Denny Hamlin -- 13th
2004 -- Ryan Newman -- 2nd
2003 -- Ryan Newman -- 3rd
2002 -- Ryan Newman -- 18th
2001 -- Casey Atwood -- 14th
2000 -- Rusty Wallace -- 4th
1999 -- John Andretti -- 8th
1998 -- Ken Schrader -- 22nd
1997 -- Bobby Hamilton -- 3rd
1996 -- Bobby Labonte -- 9th
1995 -- Bill Elliott -- 14th
1994 -- Sterling Marlin -- 3rd
1993 -- Bill Elliott -- 5th
1992 -- Rusty Wallace -- 28th
1991 -- Geoffrey Bodine -- 8th
1990 -- Rusty Wallace -- 38th
1989 -- Ken Schrader -- 13th
1988 -- Geoffrey Bodine -- 6th
Last Race Results
RACE: AAA Texas 500 (November 6th)
SITE: Texas Motor Speedway -- Ft. Worth, Texas
MILES: 501
LAPS: 334
WINNER: Tony Stewart
RUNNER-UP: Carl Edwards
THIRD: Kasey Kahne
FOURTH: Matt Kenseth
FIFTH: Greg Biffle
POLE WINNER: Greg Biffle (Finished 5th)
TIME OF RACE: 3 hours, 16 minutes, 51 seconds
AVERAGE SPEED: 152.705 m.p.h.
MARGIN OF VICTORY: 1.092 seconds
CAUTION FLAGS: 5 for 21 laps
LEAD CHANGES: 23 among 10 drivers
LAP LEADERS: G. Biffle 1-23; M. Kenseth 24-42; T. Stewart 43-45; M. Kenseth
46-88; C. Edwards 89-90; M. Kenseth 91-112; C. Edwards 113; P.
Menard 114; M. Kenseth 115-116; T. Stewart 117; M. Kenseth 118;
T. Stewart 119-158; J. Johnson 159; B. Keselowski 160-161; T.
Stewart 162-202; K. Kahne 203-206; T. Stewart 207-263; C. Edwards
264-274; T. Stewart 275-300; K. Kahne 301; J. Burton 302-319; R.
Newman 320-323; J. Burton 324-329; T. Stewart 330-334.
Kobalt Tools 500 Entry List
CarDriver, HometownCar/Name
00David Reutimann (Zephyrhills, FL)Toyota/Tums
1Jamie McMurray (Joplin, MO)Chevrolet/McDonald's
2Brad Keselowski (Rochester Hills, MI)Dodge/Miller Lite
4Kasey Kahne (Enumclaw, WA)Toyota/Red Bull
5Mark Martin (Batesville, AR)Chevrolet/GoDaddy.com/Carquest
6David Ragan (Unadilla, GA)Ford/UPS My Choice
7Robby Gordon (Orange, CA)Dodge/Speed Energy
9Marcos Ambrose (Launceston, Australia)Ford/DeWalt
11Denny Hamlin (Chesterfield, VA)Toyota/FedEx Freight
13Casey Mears (Bakersfield, CA)Toyota/GEICO
14Tony Stewart (Columbus, IN)Chevrolet/Office Depot/Mobil 1
16Greg Biffle (Vancouver, WA)Ford/3M/Meguiars
17Matt Kenseth (Cambridge, WI)Ford/Crown Royal
18Kyle Busch (Las Vegas, NV)Toyota/M&M's
20Joey Logano (Middletown, CT)Toyota/Home Depot
22Kurt Busch (Las Vegas, NV)Dodge/Shell/Pennzoil
23Scott Riggs (Bahama, NC)Toyota/North Texas Pipe
24Jeff Gordon (Vallejo, CA)Chevrolet/DuPont
27Paul Menard (Eau Claire, WI)Chevrolet/Menards/Peak
29Kevin Harvick (Bakersfield, CA)Chevrolet/Budweiser
30David Stremme (South Bend, IN)Chevrolet/Inception Motorsports
31Jeff Burton (South Boston, VA)Chevrolet/Caterpillar
32Mike Bliss (Milwaukie, OR)Ford/Veterans United Home Loans
33Clint Bowyer (Emporia, KS)Chevrolet/Cheerios/Hamb. Helper
34David Gilliland (Riverside, CA)Ford/TBA
35Dave Blaney (Hartford, OH)Chevrolet/Golden Corral
36Geoffrey Bodine (Chemung, NY)Chevrolet/Luke & Associates
37To Be AnnouncedFord/TBA
38J.J. Yeley (Phoenix, AZ)Ford/Vampt
39Ryan Newman (South Bend, IN)Chevrolet/U.S. Army Veterans Day
42Juan Pablo Montoya (Bogota, Colombia)Chevrolet/Target
43A.J. Allmendinger (Los Gatos, CA)Ford/Wix Filters
46Scott Speed (Manteca, CA)Ford/Green Stuff Absorbant
47Bobby Labonte (Corpus Christi, TX)Toyota/Wounded Warrior Project
48Jimmie Johnson (El Cajon, CA)Chevrolet/Lowe's/Kobalt Tools
51Landon Cassill (Cedar Rapids, IA)Chevrolet/Phoenix Construction
55Travis Kvapil (Janesville, WI)Ford/Aloft Hotels
56Martin Truex Jr. (Mayetta, NJ)Toyota/NAPA Auto Parts
66Michael McDowell (Glendale, AZ)Toyota/HP Racing
71Andy Lally (Northport, NY)Ford/TRG Motorsports
78Regan Smith (Cato, NY)Chevrolet/Furniture Row Racing
83Brian Vickers (Thomasville, NC)Toyota/Red Bull
84Cole Whitt (Alpine, CA)Toyota/TBA
87Joe Nemechek (Lakeland, FL)Toyota/TBA
88Dale Earnhardt Jr. (Kannapolis, NC)Chevrolet/Diet Mountain Dew
99 *Carl Edwards (Columbia, MO)Ford/Aflac
 
* - Defending champion
 
Leading Contenders (Finish the last nine years)
Driver200220032004200520062007200820092010
Carl Edwards------37th6th5th42nd4th16thWon
Ryan Newman18th3rd2nd12th15th5th34th20th2nd
Joey Logano---------------------21st3rd
Greg Biffle---15th13th2nd34th2nd11th14th4th
Jimmie Johnson15th2nd6th7th2ndWonWonWon5th
Kevin Harvick17th34th4th23rdWon6th7th24th6th
Matt KensethWon6th36th32nd13th3rd15th18th7th
Mark Martin4th10th15th14th6th---14th4th8th
Kurt Busch6th4th10th---8th12th2nd6th9th
Jamie McMurray40th12th24th18th40th23rd3rd19th10th
Jeff Gordon3rd7th3rd3rd4th10th41st9th11th
Denny Hamlin---------13th3rd16th5th3rd12th
Kyle Busch---------Won38th8th8th12th13th
Dale Earnhardt Jr5thWonWon40th9th43rd6th35th14th
Martin Truex Jr------------12th7th43rd5th15th
Juan Pablo Montoya---------------17th17th8th16th
Tony Stewart8th18th8th4th14th4th22nd25th17th
Jeff Burton12th8th11th15th10th9th9th2nd19th
Clint Bowyer-------------33rd11th12th7th21st
David Reutimann------------------25th10th26th
Paul Menard---------------22nd26th29th29th
Kasey Kahne------5th27th7th40th13th15th30th
Brad Keselowski---------------------37th42nd
Brian Vickers---13th18th26th11th21st42nd38th---
 
Mover of the Week
Jeff Gordon - Started in the 23rd position and finished 6th
 
Sports Network Selections
Pick to Win - Jimmie Johnson
Darkhorse - Jeff Burton
 
Last Week's Pick to Win (Tony Stewart) - Finished 1st
Last Week's Darkhorse (Kasey Kahne) - Finished 3rd
 
NOTES:
Eight down and just two to go, as the Sprint Cup circuit slides into Phoenix this week for the Kobalt Tools 500. Only three points separate Carl Edwards from his nearest competitor, Tony Stewart.

Stewart, a two-time Sprint Cup Series champion, led 173 of 334 laps last week, but had to come from in the closing laps to grab the win. Jeff Burton held the lead late in the race when he opted not to pit during the final round of stops, but Burton ran out of fuel with five laps to go, allowing Stewart to take the top spot for good. Edwards finished one second behind Stewart in the runner-up spot.

Just two weeks ago, Edwards had a 14-point advantage, but Stewart has posted back-to-back wins to narrow the gap. During the Chase, Stewart has four wins, while Edwards is winless, but has seven top-10s.

All but eliminated is five-time defending Series champion Jimmie Johnson, who stands in sixth place, 55 points back.

Johnson has been the dominant driver at Phoenix lately, winning four of the last eight races here and has finished no worse than seventh in the previous 12 races at Phoenix. His average finish here is 4.8.

Johnson's three-race win streak here was stopped last season by Edwards, as he snapped a 70-race winless streak. Edwards passed Denny Hamlin for the lead with 47 laps remaining, and then conserved enough fuel to claim his first Sprint Cup win since the 2008 season-ending race at Homestead, FL. Edwards had a dominating weekend at Phoenix by winning the pole and leading the way in all three practices for the 312-mile (500 km) race. Edwards went on to win the final race of the 2010 to place fourth on the points list.

Another driver with modest success at PIR is Kevin Harvick, who has two Sprint Cup wins, as well as four Camping World Truck and one Nationwide Series victories here. Although he has struggled in the Sprint Cup races here, Harvick has not finished outside the top-10 in 18 straight Nationwide and Truck Series races. Earlier this year, Harvick was third and fourth respectively on the Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series' at Phoenix.

In 2008, Johnson became the first pole sitter to win this race, as he edged Kurt Busch by less than half a second to join Dale Earnhardt Jr, Jeff Burton and Davey Allison as the only back-to-back champions of this race. Johnson led 217 of 313 laps and held off Busch in a green-white-checkered finish.

Johnson, a 55-race winner in the Sprint Cup Series, continued the Chevrolet dominance in this race in 2007, as he posted his 33rd career title, defeating Greg Biffle by less than a second. Johnson led twice for 55 laps, including the final 24. Pole sitter Carl Edwards led the first 87 laps, but failed to finish due to engine problems and placed 42nd.

In 2006, Harvick crossed the finish line 0.250 of a second ahead of Johnson to claim his 10th career Sprint Cup title and fifth of that campaign. Harvick, who started second on the grid, led for a whopping 252 laps, including the final 30. Pole sitter Jeff Gordon was out in front for the first three laps and finished fourth.

Kyle Busch out-dueled Greg Biffle in 2005 by less than a second for his second career Sprint Cup title. Busch led for a total of 63 laps, including the final 28 in front of a crowd of 105,000. Busch, who started 15th on the grid, led on three separate occasions, while Biffle led four times for 189 laps. Pole sitter Denny Hamlin led for 23 laps and finished 13th.

This and That from Phoenix International Raceway: Construction was completed in January 1964. The facility consisted of a one-mile oval and a 2.5-mile road course. Alan Kulwicki won the first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix on Nov. 6, 1988. Ricky Rudd won the 1995 race from the 29th-place starting position, the furthest back a race winner has started. In 30 previous races at PIR, the pole sitter has won four times and the top-10 starting spot has captured half of the races. Several changes have been made to PIR, as the frontstretch went from 52 to 62 feet and the dog-leg curve between the second and third turns was pushed out 95 feet. In addition, pit road was reconfigured with the installation of concrete pit stalls.

The last time the points leader with two races remaining failed to win the series championship occurred in 1992, when Bill Elliott relinquished an 85- point advantage to Alan Kulwicki.

The 10-race Chase for the Sprint Cup championship concludes with the November 20th Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, as Carl Edwards defends his title.

11/08 18:10:16 ET

As of November 8, 2011, at 06:10 PM ET

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