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Last Updated Sunday, Oct 23, 2005 2:11 am, 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 15, 2005 7:10 pm EDT

  • Laps:

    334

  • Track Length:

    1.5 miles

  • Race Length:

    501.00 miles

  • Purse:

    $5,180,384

Drivers to Watch

Ryan Newman Started from the rear of the field due to transmission work on his Dodge after qualifying and battled to a 23rd in Kansas; ran in the top five in each of the first three "Chase" races, including a win in New Hampshire, to close within four points of front-running Stewart; enters this event 75 points off the pace in second; has three career top-fives here, including a fifth in May; was running third late in this race last year before an accident relegated him to a 14th-place finish; leads the circuit with six poles, including a track-record qualifying effort of 192.988 mph in the series' last trip here; leads all active drivers with a 2.11 average start here on the strength of five poles, including the first of his career in 2001; the last driver to qualify for the "Chase" is looking to recover from his worst result in the last six races: "We're disappointed with our finish last weekend in Kansas but we're not letting that get us down. We're still second in points and we've still got a shot at this championship. If that was our one mulligan then I think we'll be OK. We just can't have any more finishes like that."
Jimmie Johnson Won a thrilling final-lap battle with Bobby Labonte to set a record with a third straight victory on this track in May's Coca-Cola 600; was 247 points off the pace entering this race last year before mounting a furious comeback that left him eight points behind Busch to mark the closest standings finish in stock car racing history; won four of the final six races last year, ending the season with a circuit-high eight checkered flags; fell a spot to fifth in the standings despite a sixth in Kansas last week; was his third top-10 in four "Chase" events and 18th of the season, good for second on the circuit; only result outside the top-10 during the "Chase" was a 31st in Talladega, where he was responsible for the first of two major accidents; hoping to build on a 7.37 average finish here: "At Charlotte, I've been waiting for our success to slow down there. I thought it would be that way in the spring. We got off to a slow start but by the end of the night we made the right adjustments and ended up winning the race. Going to Charlotte, there is really only one direction for us to go and that's not winning. If that happens, so be it. But I really feel comfortable and confident about our chances there."
Tony Stewart Widened his lead to 75 points over Newman with a fourth in last week's Banquet 400; was his 15th top-10 in the last 16 races, a stretch which includes each of his five checkered flags this season; was 10th in the points standings before the streak began with a second in Michigan on June 19; finished 24th here in May among his eight results of 15th or worse in the season's first 14 events; leads the circuit with 15 top-fives and 21 top-10s and needs one more victory to match his career high set in 2000; won this event in 2003 and finished 10th last year among his nine top-10s in 13 career starts here; the 2002 series champion is unconcerned about the chasing pack as he pursues a second title: "It's more important for me to make sure we're doing everything 100 percent. We can't control what they do anyway, so why worry about what they're doing? The only thing we can control is what we do. We need to focus 100 percent of our energy on what we're doing and not on what everybody else is doing."
Mark Martin The 46-year-old led 139 laps and withstood a late charge by Biffle to win last week's Banquet 400 at Kansas, ending a 57-race winless streak; bounced back from a 41st at Talladega the previous week, when he was involved in the first of two major accidents there; is 113 points off the pace in seventh place on the strength of three top-10s in the first four "Chase" events; won the non-points Nextel All-Star Challenge here in May but was saddled with a 28th in the Coca-Cola 600 the next week; has recorded 19 top-10s in 41 career starts here; tied for the lead among active drivers with four triumphs here, with the most recent coming in May 2002; has eight top-fives and 15 top-10s in his penultimate season on the circuit.
Kurt Busch Defending series champion is last among the 10 title-eligible competitors, 224 points off the pace; beginning with a 35th in New Hampshire, has finished outside the top 10 in three of the first four "Chase" events; posted nine top-10s in the 10-race championship run last season; appeared poised to challenge for another title with six top-10s, including two of his three victories this season, in the nine races leading up to the "Chase"; ran fourth in this race last season for his only top-10 result in 10 starts here; an early spin led to a last-place finish here in May.
Carl Edwards Ran third behind Roush Racing teammates Martin and Biffle at his home track in Kansas last week but remained sixth in the standings, 95 points off the pace; has run in the top 10 in each of the last three races after opening the "Chase" with a 19th; is just seven points out of third place; has posted 10 top-fives, including two victories, in his first full premier series season; also is fourth in the Busch Series standings, racking up four wins on that circuit; ran third here in May.
Matt Kenseth The 2003 series champion continued his impressive second half of the season with a fifth from the pole last week in Kansas; was his third top-five in four "Chase" events and ninth in the last 16 races; managed only one top-10 in the inaugural "Chase"; entered the 10-race championship run ninth in the standings and has climbed to eighth, 116 points out of first but just 28 behind third-place Biffle; recorded his lone checkered flag of the season in dominant fashion, leading 415 laps from the pole in the Sharpie 500 on August 27; was caught up in an accident involving DEI teammates Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Michael Waltrip here in May, resulting in a 37th-place finish; won the spring race here in 2000 among his six top-10s in 12 starts here.
Greg Biffle Challenged Roush Racing teammate Mark Martin late before settling for second in last week's Banquet 400 at Kansas; climbed two spots to third in the standings, 88 points off the pace; opened the "Chase" with a fourth in New Hampshire for his fifth straight top-six before finishing 13th in Dover and 27th in Talladega; tied with Tony Stewart for the circuit lead with five checkered flags this season but has not visited victory lane since June 19 at Michigan; second in the series with 12 top-fives; ran in the top 10 nine times in this year's first 13 events, including a sixth here in May; finished 33rd in this event last year and has an 18.6 average finish in five career starts here.
In his final season on the circuit, the 49-year-old is fourth in the standings, 90 points off the pace; has run in the top 10 in four of the last events, including three of the first four "Chase" races; with Mark Martin's win last week, is the only championship-eligible driver without a victory this season as his last checkered flag game in Martinsville on April 18, 2004; has been running at the finish in 43 consecutive races, the longest active streak on the circuit; the 1989 series champion has two career victories here but none since May 1990; ran 10th here in May and has eight top-15 finishes in the last nine events on this track.
Ran 16th last week in Kansas to tumble a spot to ninth in the standings; has run outside the top 10 in three of the first four "Chase" events, leaving him 157 points off the pace; was an additional 100 points back in 10th place entering this race last year; has recorded only four top-fives and eight top-10s this season, easily the lowest totals among championship-eligible contenders; hoping to build upon a fourth-place showing in May's Coca-Cola 600 here: We ran pretty well at Charlotte in the 600. We finished with a strong fourth after starting in the back. This Dodge crew fought back all night to bring us to the front. Our Dodge Chargers have been fast on the (1 1/2-mile) tracks this year, and in each race our pit stop average has improved. I believe we are going to be front contenders before the end of the night."