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Last Updated Monday, Aug 1, 2005 1:15 am, EDT

Pennsylvania 500

Status: Final Pocono Raceway

Race Capsule

Pocono Raceway
  • What:

    Race 20 of 36 on Sprint Cup circuit

  • Where:

    Pocono Raceway, Long Pond, PA

  • When:

    July 24, 2005 1:40 pm EDT

  • Laps:

    200

  • Track Length:

    2.5 miles

  • Race Length:

    500.00 miles

  • Purse:

    $4,795,586

Drivers to Watch

Kurt Busch Defending series champion made a bid for his third straight checkered flag at New Hampshire International Speedway but was passed on lap 246 by Stewart and settled for second in the New Hampshire 300; climbed five spots to fifth in the standings, 325 points off the pace; claimed a checkered flag in Phoenix in April, and that win gives him the tiebreaker over Ryan Newman, who also is 325 points back but has not won; was runner-up to Newman in this event in 2003 but transmission problems led to a 26th in last year's edition; ran 22nd in the Pocono 500 here last month.
Mark Martin Four-time series runner-up is seventh in the standings this season, 352 points off the pace; in what he announced in 2004 would be his final season, has nine top-10s, including five top-fives; seeking his first points win since June 6, 2004 at Dover - a span of 42 races without a checkered flag; won the non-points Nextel All-Star Challenge in May; ran seventh in the Pocono 500 in June for his 26th top-10 in 37 races here but still is seeking his first career win at this track; there is a distinct possibility that he will drive the No. 6 Ford again next year before Jamie McMurray takes over in 2007, as he has made an agreement with team owner Jack Roush: "Only if Jamie McMurray doesn't become available in the 6 car. I have pretty much made a committment to Jack that I would drive the car until Jamie took over."
Ryan Newman Led 22 laps early and finished seventh in New Hampshire last week for his ninth top-10 of the season; climbed a spot to sixth in the standings, 325 points off the pace; leads the circuit with five poles this season after claiming the most poles in each of the last three seasons; won this race from the pole among a series-high eight checkered flags in 2003; has only two wins since the beginning of the 2004 campaign, however, and none this year; best finish in 2005 was a third at Richmond on May 14; ran 13th in this race last year and finished 36th here in June for his worst result in seven starts on this track.
Tony Stewart The 2002 series champion continued his torrid run by leading 232 laps and winning last week's New England 300 for his third victory in four weeks after going 29 straight races without visiting victory lane; his string of five consecutive top-fives has vaulted him from 10th to third in the standings, just 85 points off the pace; has gained 285 points on front-running Johnson during that span; has scored eight top-10s in 12 starts here but has finished 37th, 25th and 35th in his last three races at Pocono; his lone win here came in the Pocono 500 in June 2003.
Greg Biffle Bumped into rookie Kyle Busch with 17 laps to go but rebounded to finish fifth in last week's New Hampshire 300; was his seventh top-five of the season and kept him in second place in the points standings, eight points ahead of surging Tony Stewart; leads the circuit with five victories this year and has visited victory lane six times in the last 20 points races dating to last season's finale; ran fourth in this event last season a day after winning a Busch Series event in Colorado; has finished 11th or worse in his other four starts here, including a 30th in the Pocono 500 on June 12.
Jimmie Johnson The circuit's points leader ran 13th in New Hampshire last week, marking just his sixth finish outside the top 10 in 19 events this season; has wins in Las Vegas and at Lowe's Motor Speedway this year after setting a career high with eight victories in 2004, when he came within eight points of a title; has finished runner-up in the standings each of the last two years but has a 77-point lead on Biffle thus far in 2005; swept both races here last year and ran sixth in the Pocono 500 last month; also was leading the standings at this point in the season but was second entering the "Chase"; hoping to avoid significant slumps the rest of the way: "We hit a slow spot in the season (last year) a little bit before the final 10 started and right as it started. Hopefully our slow spots are behind us and we can just keep going and keep finishing in the top five and win a couple more races and be the champion at the end of the year."
In his final full season on the circuit, is fourth in the series standings, 230 points off the pace; ran eighth in last week's New England 300 for his eighth straight finish of 12th or better; his 15 top-15s are tied with Johnson for most on the circuit; seeking his first victory since April 18, 2004 - a span of 47 races without a triumph; four of his 55 career checkered flags have come on this track, with the most recent coming in this event in 2000; his 735 laps led here rank third all-time behind Gordon (841) and Geoffrey Bodine (806).
Jeff Gordon Four-time series champion encountered late brake problems and finished 25th in New Hampshire last week, continuing a prolonged slump in which he's finished 25th or worse seven times in the last nine events; is 15th in the standings, a whopping 538 points off the pace set by teammate Jimmie Johnson and 120 out of 10th; tied for second on the circuit with three victories this season but all came within the season's first nine events, including the season-opening Daytona 500; has three wins, 12 top-fives and 18 top-10s in 25 career starts at this track; ran fifth in this event last year and ninth in the Pocono 500 in June.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. Has begun to turn season around with three consecutive top-10s, including his first victory of the season in Chicago two weeks ago; ran ninth in New Hampshire last week for his eighth top-10 of the season; is 13th in the standings, 59 points outside the top 10 with seven races remaining before the "Chase for the Nextel Cup"; prior to his recent streak of top-10s, had six straight results of 14th or worse, including three outside the top 30; ran 25th in this event last year when John Andretti was summoned for relief driving duty as Earnhardt still was suffering from burns sustained two weeks earlier in an American LeMans warmup event; ran third in this race in 2003.