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Last Updated Sunday, Sep 3, 2006 1:45 am, EDT

Race Capsule

Bristol Motor Speedway
  • What:

    Race 26 of 38 on Sprint Cup circuit

  • Where:

    Bristol Motor Speedway, Bristol, TN

  • When:

    August 26, 2006 7:40 pm EDT

  • Laps:

    500

  • Track Length:

    0.533 miles

  • Race Length:

    267.00 miles

  • Purse:

    $6,055,119

Drivers to Watch

Jeff Burton Dropped five spots in the standings to ninth after having engine troubles on the 19th lap last week at Michigan; has finished outside the top 10 in each of his last three races, including 15th at Indianapolis despite starting from the pole; ran ninth at Pocono, his ninth top-10 finish in 11 races; has placed inside the top 15 in 16 of his last 17 races, including 11 top-10 finishes over that span; ran second from the pole at Chicagoland, his best finish of the season; ended up second in this event last season, one of his six top-five finishes in 21 starts here.
Matt Kenseth Used a risky decision to not pit on lap 131 to win the GFS Marketplace 400, his third title of the season and 13th of his career; moved within 58 points of leader Jimmie Johnson in the Nextel Cup standings; was runner-up to Johnson at Indianapolis, his third second-place finish this season; has placed outside the top 10 in six of his last nine starts; registered second consecutive 14th-place finish at Pocono; appeared primed to win at Chicagoland before getting bumped by Gordon with four laps remaining en route to a 22nd-place finish; after three straight top-five finishes from May 28-June 11, ran 13th and 17th the next two weeks; leads the circuit with 12 top-five finishes; ran third here in Food City 500 in March; has eight top-10 finishes in last nine races at Bristol, including a win in this event last year.
Tony Stewart Recorded second straight top-three finish with third at Michigan last week; was runner-up to Harvick at Watkins Glen two weeks ago; has climbed two spots to fifth in the standings, 11 points behind Mark Martin; rebounded from poor start at Indianapolis to finish eighth, one of his 13 top-10 finishes this season; bounced back from consecutive poor performances by running seventh at Pocono; struggled in the two weeks after winning the Pepsi 400 at Daytona, finishing 37th at New Hampshire and 32nd at Chicagoland; defending series champion persevered through a right shoulder injury to finish third at this year's Pocono 500; crashed in both the Nextel and Busch races at Charlotte and suffered from a fractured right scapula; was runner-up to Johnson at Talladega, his second straight second-place finish; won his first race of the season at Martinsville; ran eighth here last year, his first top-10 finish since winning in 2001.
Denny Hamlin Registered his fifth consecutive finish within the top 10 on Sunday with a ninth at Michigan; sits eighth in the standings, just four points ahead of Jeff Burton; ran 10th at Indianapolis and captured the checkered flag five weeks ago at Pocono, his second career victory; became the second rookie in series history to win both races at a single track and the sixth driver to complete a season sweep of both Pocono races; finished sixth at New Hampshire; leads Clint Bowyer in standings for the Raybestos Rookie of the Year; was runner-up to Earnhardt at Richmond and won the season-opening Budweiser Shootout, a non-points event; finished 14th at Food City 500 in March, his only previous start here.
Kevin Harvick Ran 11th at Michigan International, his seventh consecutive finish within the top 12; remained third in the standings, 317 points behind leader Jimmie Johnson; had registered five consecutive top-five finishes before Michigan; captured the checkered flag at Phoenix on April 22, his first victory this season; ran 37th in this event last year; won the Food City 500 on this track in 2005 and placed second in that event in March.
Jeff Gordon Continued climb up the Nextel Cup standings with a second at Michigan last week, his fourth top-three finish in his last seven races; jumped up three places to sixth in the standings, nine points in front of Kyle Busch; finished 16th at Indianapolis, ran third at Pocono and placed 15th at New Hampshire; made bold late move at Chicagoland, bumping Matt Kenseth in lap 263 and going on to win the USG Sheetrock 400, his second victory in three weeks; continued his dominance on road courses by winning at California; it was the first victory in the last 20 races for Gordon, whose previous best finish this year was a second at the season-opening Daytona 500; the four-time Nextel Cup champion has been obscured this season by Hendrick Motorsports teammate and current points leader Jimmie Johnson; placed sixth in this event last season, one of his 14 top-10 placings in 21 appearances on this track; won race in 2002.
Mark Martin Climbed up two spots to fourth in the Nextel Cup standings after placing fifth at Michigan last week; has run within the top five in three of his last five races; ran fifth at Indianapolis and placed fourth at New Hampshire; has five top-five finishes and 11 top-10s this season; was runner-up to Kasey Kahne at Atlanta, his best finish this season; before sixth-place showing in Food City 500 here in March, had eight finishes of 16 or higher in previous 10 starts at Bristol.
Jimmie Johnson Was unable to add to his series-leading total of 17 top-10 finishes at Michigan International last week after crashing on the fourth turn before battling back to place 13th; it was just the fourth time this season he has placed outside the top 12; saw lead over Matt Kenseth in Nextel Cup standings cut to 58 points; captured the checkered flag at Indianapolis to become just the second driver in NASCAR history to win at Daytona and the Brickyard in the same season; also drove to victory this season at Talladega and Las Vegas; also won the Nextel All-Star Challenge at Lowe's Motor Speedway; absolutely dominated the circuit over the first six races, registering two victories among five finishes inside the top six; has struggled here with three placings outside of 15th in last four appearances; finished 36th in this race last year after experiencing engine problems; has never won at Bristol in nine starts.
Kyle Busch Crashed on second turn of lap 43 en route to finishing 39th last week, snapping a string of seven consecutive placings in the top 12; dropped two spots in the standings to seventh, just two points in front of Denny Hamlin; made incredible late comeback to finish ninth at Watkins Glen, his 12th top-10 finish this season; finished seventh at Indianapolis; has seven top-five finishes this season, his second on the circuit; captured the checkered flag at New Hampshire, his first victory this season and third career; ran third at Chicagoland one week after placing second at Daytona; placed 33rd in this event last year.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. Finished within the top 10 for just the third time in eight races with a sixth at GFS Marketplace 400 last week; remained 10th in the standings, 49 points in front of Kasey Kahne for the 10th and final berth in the Chase; trails Jeff Burton by 35 points for ninth place and is 41 behind Kyle Busch for seventh; finished last at New Hampshire, completing just 34 laps before withdrawing with engine trouble; ran fifth at Chicagoland; captured the checkered flag at Richmond, his first victory of the season that snapped a string of 27 starts without a victory; has placed inside the top 15 in 16 of 23 races this season; finished ninth in this event last season after winning in 2004.