NASCAR Preview

Last Updated Wednesday, Jul 20, 2005 5:27 pm, EDT

UAW-GM Quality 500

Status: Final Lowe's Motor Speedway

Race Capsule

Charlotte Motor Speedway
  • What:

    Race 31 of 36 on Sprint Cup circuit

  • Where:

    Lowe's Motor Speedway, Concord, NC

  • When:

    October 11, 2003 7:30 pm EDT

  • Laps:


  • Track Length:

    1.5 miles

  • Race Length:

    500.00 miles

  • Purse:


Drivers to Watch

Ryan Newman Won the Banquet 400 last week for his series-high eighth victory this year; gambled on fuel mileage to run the final 79 laps without a pit stop at Kansas and passed fellow Dodge driver Jeremy Mayfield with 28 laps remaining; Sunday marked his ninth career checkered flag; trails leader Matt Kenseth by 364 points in the standings with six races remaining; has won six of the last 13 races and moved from 16th to fourth in the standings during that stretch.
Jeff Gordon finished fifth in his third straight race last week at Kansas; also was fifth at Dover and Talladega which gives him 11 top-five finishes this season; sixth in standings for the past four race weeks; in 21 starts at Charlotte, has registered 12 top-10 finishes, including four wins, which is tied for first with Mark Martin among active drivers; only one of those victories has come in the fall event (1999); has a streak of three straight top-10 finishes at Charlotte, including an eighth in May; has led at least one lap in 16 of his 21 starts, but has been shut out in his last four appearances; outstanding in qualifying with seven career poles, which ranks second all-time at the track to David Pearson (14), and has started among the top 10 in four of his last six starts.
Jimmie Johnson Had a seventh-place finish at Kansas, his fifth top 10 in last seven races, and slipped one position to fifth as Kansas winner Ryan Newman surged ahead; is 16 points behind Newman; dominated race in May at this track to win the Coca-Cola 600 and The Winston; chasing a sweep this weekend as he looks to join the late Dale Earnhardt (1986) as the only drivers to sweep at Lowe's since 1976; made Winston Cup debut in this race here in 2001 and finished 39th.
Bill Elliott Makes 54th career start at Lowe's, where he has two wins, four poles, 10 top-fives and 21 top-10s; last pole was the 1992 Coca-Cola 600; the two wins came in the fall races of 1984 and 1987; has led more laps here than any other active driver (1,136); led 115 of the 267 laps last weekend at Kansas, the first time he led in most laps since Indianapolis in August 2002; advanced two positions to the 13th position for highest ranking this season; is 129 points out of the top-10.
Tony Stewart Reigning Winston Cup champion registered third successive top-five finish with a fourth-place performance at Kansas and improved a position to eighth; this is his highest ranking since he was eighth after the Chicago race in July; finished 40th in the May event at Charlotte, ending a run of five consecutive finishes among the top six; overall, has six top-10 finishes in nine career starts, including a best of second in this race in 2001; has qualified in the top 10 in last four starts, including a pole last October.
Kevin Harvick Sixth-place finish at Kansas was third top-10 finish in a row and eighth in the last 10 races; shaved 177 points off Matt Kenseth's lead in the standings and is 259 points behind, the closest any competitor has been to Kenseth since early August when Dale Earnhardt Jr. was 258 behind; had a pair of top-10 finishes here in his rookie season of 2001, including a runner-up effort in the May race, but placed outside the top 20 in two of last three starts at this track; finished 13th here in May.
Kurt Busch Finished 40th last week at Kansas Speedway when engine failed; also had a 40th-place finish at Atlanta in March; has been in the top 10 of the standings for 29 of 30 race weeks; does not have a top 10 finish in six starts at Lowe's; best result was a pair of 12th-place finishes; has led at least one lap in last three starts here, including 46 last October.
Jamie McMurray Defending champion of the UAW-GM Quality 500; the 27-year-old Missouri native leads the Rookie of the Year standings by 25 points over Greg Biffle with six races remaining; has been the top rookie finisher in 16 races this season, including the last seven in a row; has five top-10 finishes in those seven races and ranks 17th in the Winston Cup standings; has scored two top-fives and five top-10s in last seven races; will be pulling double duty this weekend as he will run in both the Busch Series and Winston Cup events.
Terry Labonte Veteran driver will be seeking first top 10 at this speedway since an eighth in May 1997, a stretch of 12 races; made 50 career starts at Lowe's, with 17 results in the top 10, highlighted by October win in 1996; 10th in standings despite beging outside the top 15 in the last four races; was 16th at Kansas last Sunday; has been in top 10 standings for five straight weeks.
Matt Kenseth It appeared easy for the first 28 races this season, but the pointsleader ran into bad luck for the second week in a row; his engine failed while leading at Talladega Superspeedway and crashed on lap 70 in Sunday's Banquet 400 at Kansas Speedway; has lost 177 points on his once-whopping lead in the standings; entered Sunday's race with a 354-point lead over Kevin Harvick, but after returning to the track and finishing 36th, the edge is now 259 points; returns to the site of his first career Winston Cup victory scored on May 28, 2000; has four top-10 finishes in eight career starts at Lowe's, including runner-up finishes in two of his last three starts; was second in the 2001 and 2002 May race, sandwiched by a 34th-place finish last October; has led in his last seven starts at Lowe's, including a high of 82 laps in May.