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NASCAR - Sprint Cup - AAA Texas 500 Preview

From The Sports Network

 
DATE: Sunday, Nov. 4
SITE: Texas Motor Speedway (1997) -- Fort Worth, Texas
TRACK: 1.5-mile oval - 2,250 feet (Frontstretch); 1,330 feet (Backstretch)
CAPACITY: 138,122 (Total Permanent Seating)
ANNUAL: 8th
TELEVISION: ESPN
ANNOUNCERS: Allen Bestwick, Dale Jarrett, Andy Petree
RADIO: Performance Racing Network (PRN)/SIRIUS NASCAR Radio
START TIME: 3 p.m. ET/Green Flag: 3:16 p.m. ET
DEFENDING CHAMPION: Tony Stewart
RUNNER-UP: Carl Edwards
POLE WINNER: Greg Biffle (Finished fifth)
LAPS: 334
MILES: 501
QUALIFYING RECORD: Brian Vickers, 2006 (196.235 mph)
RACE RECORD: Greg Biffle, 2012 (160.577 mph)
TOTAL PURSE: $6,969,209
PAYOUTS: 1st Place - $484,783; 2nd - $361,566; 3rd - $231,883 (2001 figures)
 
2011 Finish
FinishDriverStartFinishDriverStart
1Tony Stewart56Jeff Gordon23
2Carl Edwards77Dale Earnhardt Jr6
3Kasey Kahne98Martin Truex Jr19
4Matt Kenseth39Clint Bowyer18
5Greg Biffle110A.J. Allmendinger26
2011 AAA Texas 500 Facts and Figures
AVERAGE SPEED: 152.705 m.p.h.
TIME OF RACE: 3 hours, 16 minutes, 51 seconds
MARGIN OF VICTORY: 1.092 seconds
CAUTION FLAGS: 5 for 21 laps
LEAD CHANGES: 23 among 10 drivers
POLE WINNER: Greg Biffle (193.736 mph)
Past AAA Texas 500 Winners (Starting Position) Car -- Speed
2011 -- Tony Stewart (5th) -- Chevrolet -- 152.705 mph
2010 -- Denny Hamlin (30th) -- Toyota -- 140.456 mph
2009 -- Kurt Busch (3rd) -- Dodge -- 147.137 mph
2008 -- Carl Edwards (16th) -- Ford -- 144.219 mph
2007 -- Jimmie Johnson (8th) -- Chevrolet -- 131.219 mph
2006 -- Tony Stewart (8th) -- Chevrolet -- 134.891 mph
2005 -- Carl Edwards (30th) -- Ford -- 151.055 mph
Past AAA Texas 500 Pole Winners (Finish)
2011 -- Greg Biffle -- 5th
2010 -- Elliott Sadler -- 23rd
2009 -- Jeff Gordon -- 13th
2008 -- Jeff Gordon -- 2nd
2007 -- Martin Truex Jr -- 3rd
2006 -- Brian Vickers -- 27th
2005 -- Ryan Newman -- 25th
Last Race Results
RACE: Tums Fast Relief 500 (Oct. 28)
SITE: Martinsville Speedway -- Martinsville, Va.
MILES: 263
LAPS: 500
WINNER: Jimmie Johnson
RUNNER-UP: Kyle Busch
THIRD: Kasey Kahne
FOURTH: Aric Almirola
FIFTH: Clint Bowyer
POLE WINNER: Jimmie Johnson (Finished first)
TIME OF RACE: 3 hours, 23 minutes, 9 seconds
AVERAGE SPEED: 77.677 mph
MARGIN OF VICTORY: 0.479 second
CAUTION FLAGS: 11 for 64 laps
LEAD CHANGES: 22 among 9 drivers
LAP LEADERS: J. Johnson 1-47; T. Kvapil 48; J. Johnson 49-67; J. Gordon 68-98;
J. Johnson 99-106; J. Gordon 107-146; B. Vickers 147-164; D.
Hamlin 165-170; J. Johnson 171-182; C. Bowyer 183-200; J. Johnson
201-204; J. Gordon 205-225; C. Bowyer 226-234; J. Johnson
235-237; C. Bowyer 238-349; D. Hamlin 350-355; B. Vickers
356-364; M. Kenseth 365; K. Kahne 366-377; C. Bowyer 378-392; J.
Johnson 393-477; B. Keselowski 478-485; J. Johnson 486-500.
AAA Texas 500 Entry List
CarDriver, HometownCar/Name
1Jamie McMurray (Joplin, MO)Chevrolet/McDonald's
2Brad Keselowski (Rochester Hills, MI)Dodge/Miller Lite
5Kasey Kahne (Enumclaw, WA)Chevrolet/hendrickcars.com
9Marcos Ambrose (Launceston, Australia)Ford/Mac Tools
10Danica Patrick (Roscoe, IL)Chevrolet/GoDaddy.com
11Denny Hamlin (Chesterfield, VA)Toyota/FedEx Office
13Casey Mears (Bakersfield, CA)Ford/Geico
14 *Tony Stewart (Columbus, IN)Chevrolet/Mobil 1/Office Depot
15Clint Bowyer (Emporia, KS)Toyota/5-Hour Energy
16Greg Biffle (Vancouver, WA)Ford/3M
17Matt Kenseth (Cambridge, WI)Ford/Roush Fenway Racing
18Kyle Busch (Las Vegas, NV)Toyota/Snickers
19Mike Bliss (Milwaukie, OR)Toyota/Plinker Tactical
20Joey Logano (Middletown, CT)Toyota/The Home Depot
21Trevor Bayne (Knoxville, TN)Ford/Motorcraft/Quick Lane Tire
22Sam Hornish Jr. (Defiance, OH)Dodge/Shell/Pennzoil
24Jeff Gordon (Vallejo, CA)Chevrolet/Drive to End Hunger
26Josh Wise (Riverside, CA)Ford/MDS Transport
27Paul Menard (Eau Claire, WI)Chevrolet/Menards/Quaker State
29Kevin Harvick (Bakersfield, CA)Chevrolet/Rheem/Budweiser
30David Stremme (South Bend, IN)Toyota/Inception Motorsports
31Jeff Burton (South Boston, VA)Chevrolet/Caterpillar
32Ken Schrader (Fenton, MO)Ford/Federated Auto Parts
33Stephen Leicht (Asheville, NC)Chevrolet/TBA
34David Ragan (Unadilla, GA)Ford/Certainteed-31W
36Dave Blaney (Hartford, OH)Chevrolet/Tommy Baldwin Racing
37J.J. Yeley (Phoenix, AZ)Chevrolet/TBA
38David Gilliland (Riverside, CA)Ford/TBA
39Ryan Newman (South Bend, IN)Chevrolet/Quicken Loans
42Juan Pablo Montoya (Bogota, Colombia)Chevrolet/Huggies
43Aric Almirola (Tampa, FL)Ford/Farmland
47Bobby Labonte (Corpus Christi, TX)Toyota/Wounded Warrior Project
48Jimmie Johnson (El Cajon, CA)Chevrolet/Lowe's
51A.J. Allmendinger (Los Gatos, CA)Chevrolet/Phoenix Construction
55Mark Martin (Batesville, AR)Toyota/Aaron's Dream Machine
56Martin Truex Jr. (Mayetta, NJ)Toyota/NAPA
78Kurt Busch (Las Vegas, NV)Chevrolet/Furniture Row
79Kelly Bires (Mauston, WI)Ford/United Supermarkets
83Landon Cassill (Cedar Rapids, IA)Toyota/Burger King
87Joe Nemechek (Lakeland, FL)Toyota/AM FM Energy Wood&Pellet
88Dale Earnhardt Jr. (Kannapolis, NC)Chevrolet/Diet Mt. Dew/Nat Guard
91Reed Sorenson (Peachtree City, GA)Chevrolet/Plinker Tactical
93Travis Kvapil (Janesville, WI)Toyota/Dr. Pepper
95Scott Speed (Manteca, CA)Ford/TBA
98Michael McDowell (Glendale, AZ)Ford/Phil Parsons Racing
99Carl Edwards (Columbia, MO)Ford/Aflac
 
* - Defending champion
 
Leading Contenders (Finish last seven years)
Driver2005200620072008200920102011
Tony Stewart6thWon11th16th6th11thWon
Carl EdwardsWon15th26thWon39th19th2nd
Kasey Kahne42nd33rd18th24th33rd13th3rd
Matt Kenseth3rd12th2nd9th3rd2nd4th
Greg Biffle20th35th33rd5th8th5th5th
Jeff Gordon14th9th7th2nd13th37th6th
Dale Earnhardt Jr8th6th14th20th25th25th7th
Martin Truex Jr15th14th3rd8th14th38th8th
Clint Bowyer---5th19th4th7th7th9th
Kevin Harvick16th3rd10th7th5th6th13th
Jimmie Johnson5th2ndWon15th38th9th14th
Ryan Newman25th34th5th28th12th20th16th
Mark Martin2nd22nd34th12th4th3rd19th
Denny Hamlin7th10th29th17th2ndWon20th
Brad Keselowski---------19th35th33rd24th
Kyle Busch21st4th4th6th11th32nd---
 
Mover of the Week
Brad Keselowski - Started in the 32nd position and finished sixth
 
Sports Network Selections
Pick to Win - Jimmie Johnson
Dark horse - Matt Kenseth
 
Last Week's Pick to Win (Tony Stewart) - Finished 27th
Last Week's Darkhorse (Kyle Busch) - Finished second
 
NOTES:
Tony Stewart might be the defending race winner, but Jimmie Johnson is the points leader heading into the final three races in the Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship.

Johnson, who started on the pole, grabbed a two-point lead over Brad Keselowski with his victory last week at Martinsville. With just 14 laps remaining, Johnson took the lead and held on for his fourth win of the season and sixth top-10 finish in the last seven races.

Although he finished 14th last year, Johnson has had great success in Texas, posting a 9.2 average starting position and a 9.7 finish. In all, he has led 275 laps in 18 Texas starts with one win and 13 top-10 finishes. Johnson has four top-10s in his last five starts in the Lone Star State, including a runner-up finish this past April.

Last season, Stewart led 173 of 334 laps, but had to come from behind 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.

Stewart has struggled in the Chase and stands 10th, 71 points behind Johnson. Despite three wins and 15 top-10s this year, Stewart has only one top-10 in the last five races to fall well back.

In 2010, Denny Hamlin grabbed the lead from Mark Martin with 29 laps remaining, but an incident involving Patrick Carpentier set up a three-lap shootout to the finish. After the restart, Matt Kenseth made a furious charge for the lead, but Hamlin held Kenseth off at the finish by 0.5 seconds for his series-leading eighth win of that season. He scored a season sweep at the fast 1.5-mile Texas track. His win here in the spring of 2010 came nearly three weeks after he underwent surgery for a torn ACL in his left knee. Despite the win, Hamlin finished second to Johnson in the Sprint Cup chase.

Kurt Busch conserved enough fuel to win at TMS in 2009. Busch inherited the lead when his younger brother, Kyle, ran out of fuel with less than three laps remaining. Kyle Busch led 232 of 334 laps, but wound up 11th after coasting into the pits for fuel. The margin of victory was 25.686 seconds over Denny Hamlin.

Carl Edwards raced to victory at Texas Motor Speedway in 2008, as he easily defeated pole sitter Jeff Gordon by over eight seconds. Edwards, who started 16th on the grid, led five times for 212 laps while posting one of his nine wins that season. Since winning nine times in 2008, Edwards has just three wins to his credit.

In 2007, Jimmie Johnson avenged his runner-up finish the previous season with a victory over Matt Kenseth for his ninth win of that campaign. Johnson won by 0.944 of a second, as he recorded win No. 32 of 59 career titles. Johnson reclaimed the lead with just three laps remaining to overtake Kenseth. Pole sitter Martin Truex Jr. finished third, while Kyle Busch placed fourth after leading for a race-high 153 laps.

Stewart clipped Johnson in '06 by less than a second for his 29th career Sprint Cup title. Stewart, who now has 47 victories to his credit, started eighth on the grid and led for a race-high 278 laps. Pole sitter Brian Vickers led for only five laps and finished 27th. Stewart reclaimed the lead on lap 324 for the eighth time and edged out Johnson by 0.272 of a second.

This and That from Texas Motor Speedway: The first NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway was on April 6, 1997. There have been 23 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at the speedway, one per season 1997 through 2004 and two races per year since 2005. Four drivers have competed in all 23 Texas races: Jeff Burton, Jeff Gordon, Bobby Labonte and Mark Martin. Kenseth started 31st en route to his victory at Texas in 2002, the deepest in the field that a race winner has started.

The pole sitter has never won this race, and in the 23 previous races at Texas Motor Speedway, only one from the top qualifying position has crossed the finish line first (Kasey Kahne, April 2006). Seventeen of the 23 races have been won from a top-10 starting position.

Back in 2005, Edwards won for the fourth time that year, as he sneaked past Martin by less than a second to capture the inaugural running of this race. Edwards, who led five times for a total of 82 laps, reclaimed the lead on the second-to-last lap for the win. Pole sitter Ryan Newman finished 25th, while Kenseth, who led three times for 149 laps, finished third.

The penultimate race in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship takes place at Phoenix International Raceway with the Nov. 11 AdvoCare 500. Kahne won last year's race there.

10/31 16:13:49 ET

As of October 31, 2012, at 04:14 PM ET

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