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Last Updated Sunday, Oct 24, 2010 1:29 am, EDT

Bank of America 500

Status: Final Charlotte Motor Speedway

Race Capsule

Charlotte Motor Speedway
  • What:

    Race 31 of 36 on Sprint Cup circuit

  • Where:

    Charlotte Motor Speedway, Concord, NC

  • When:

    October 16, 2010 7:46 pm EDT

  • Laps:

    334

  • Track Length:

    1.5 miles

  • Race Length:

    501.00 miles

  • Purse:

    $5,173,755

Drivers to Watch

Jeff Gordon Gordon advanced one position in the points up to fourth but is 85 out of the Cup lead. Gordon returns to the site of his first career victory -- the 1994 Coca-Cola 600 is one of his five wins, 16 top-five finishes and 20 top-10s in 35 Charlotte starts. He was fourth last October and sixth in May and has three top-five and five top-10 finishes in his last six starts at the 1.5-mile track. "I love Charlotte and love going there," he said. "We weren't very good there in May, so we've been really looking hard at our notes and setups and cars and trying to do some things to be better when we go back there. It's a very fast race track, high-banked, and I think it's hard to pass there, so qualifying is pretty important. We've been missing some of that the last couple times. I think we've learned some things since we were there and track position is important everywhere we go, but having a really well-balanced race car there is equally or more important."
AJ Allmendinger Allmendinger is still looking for his first top-10 finish at Charlotte. His 14th-place finish in May is his best finish in seven starts at the 1.5-mile speedway. "I think Charlotte Motor Speedway is one of the most temperature-sensitive track that we go to," said Allmendinger. "When it's hot out, the track is very slick and you fight grip issues, but when it's a little cooler, like I expect it will be this weekend, the track can get really tight."
Mark Martin Martin has four wins and 23 top-10 finishes in 51 starts at Charlotte. He finished fourth in this year's 600. "We had a really good finish there in May," said Martin. "We had a good race car, but Alan (Gustafson, the crew chief) made some really great pit calls too that put us in the right position there at the end." Martin again will be driving a new car. "That seems to have been good for us the past couple of weeks," he said.
Paul Menard Menard finished eighth in the May race at Charlotte for his first top-10 finish in seven starts there. "I look forward to the mile-and-a-half tracks these days because we have really worked hard on that program and it has paid off throughout the season," said Menard. "We're looking forward to qualifying well and then keeping our Menards Ford Fusion up front all night."
Kyle Busch Busch dropped two more spots in the standings, to ninth, and is 187 points behind Jimmie Johnson. Busch is another driver attempting to win a Cup race at Charlotte for the first time in his career, but he does have four top-five and seven top-10 finishes in 13 CMS starts. He was eighth last October and third in May and has a streak of six top-10 finishes there, including four top-fives.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. Earnhardt has nine top-10 finishes in 22 starts at Charlotte. Although he did win The Winston All-Star race in his rookie season, Earnhardt is still looking for his first regular-season victory at the track where his father had a lot of success. "I always liked the trophies that they had in Charlotte back in the day, the big gold ones they had," said Earnhardt. "We had a lot of them around the house when I was growing up."
Jimmie Johnson Johnson has stretched his Chase lead to 36 points heading into Saturday night's Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. This is one of Johnson's best tracks in the Chase: He has six wins, nine top-five finishes and 13 top-10s in 18 starts. He is the defending winner of this race, but he faltered badly in the 600 on May 30 with a 37th-place finish. "I'm looking forward to Charlotte," Johnson said. "I always like racing there. Although we had a tough summer on the 1.5-mile tracks, we had a lot of speed, especially the first half of the race. So we looked at what we were doing and at the balance of the car and the directions we were working on; there was enough that went wrong that we knew not to go down that road any longer. So I feel that we've made a good change. So I'm optimistic and I feel that we've come to a good conclusion with things. But we've got to get on the track and really prove it and be in the hunt. There are only six races left, but that's a lot of racing."
Ryan Newman Newman won his ninth pole at CMS in the spring and finished ninth in the race. Newman has two runner-up finishes at Charlotte in his seven top-10s in 19 starts. "When I first came there with Buddy Baker, we drove around in a rental car and after one lap I told him I was going to like this place," said Newman. "I like the speed. I like the banking."
Joey Logano Logano has two top-10 finishes in three starts at Charlotte and finished 13th in the other race. "I have a lot of confidence going into this weekend, and although we haven't had the best finishes the last couple of weeks, I think (they've) been great weeks for the Home Depot team. We've been able to turn misfortunes into decent finishes, which helps with the consistency we've been lacking."
Martin Truex Jr. Truex has only two top-10 finishes in 10 starts at Charlotte. "We're using the track time to get stronger as a new team," said crew chief Pat Tryson, "and to figure out what makes our cars go faster. We also are going to take a few more chances on the track because we have nothing to lose."
Kurt Busch Busch remains sixth in the standings but is 140 behind Jimmie Johnson. Busch has one win (in the 600 last May), four top-five finishes and five top-10s in 20 starts at Charlotte. He was 10th in this race last October but has two top-three finishes in his last four CMS starts.
David Reutimann Reutimann finished fifth in the spring race at Charlotte to give him two top-five finishes in the last three races at the track. "It's been a good season, and we need to finish out the season on a strong note," said Reutimann. "We need to finish out as strong as we can to give our guys a little momentum during the offseason."
Matt Kenseth Kenseth will be shooting for his fourth straight top-10 finish at Charlotte and fifth in the last six races there. He has one win, six top-five finishes and 11 top-10s in 22 starts at CMS. Kenseth finished second in the fall race a year ago. "We've been running better the last month or two, and we hope to get a win or two before the end of the year," said Kenseth. "Track position has been really important at Charlotte since the introduction of this car with the spoiler."
Jeff Burton Burton moved up a position in the standings and is eighth, 177 out of the top spot. Burton is a three-time Cup winner at Charlotte, his most recent victory coming in this race in 2008. He has eight top-five and 15 top-10 finishes in 33 starts and was 14th in this race last year and 25th in May. Since his 2008 win, he has finished outside the top 13 in three straight CMS races. "Charlotte is a good race track for us," Burton said. "We typically run well there. We haven't run well there recently, but we feel it's a good race track for us. Despite being very difficult to drive, it's a solid track for us. Charlotte changed a few years ago. They really made a big difference in the way you have to drive the car. The top lane has come in really well at Charlotte, too. You can run the bottom, and you can run the top. The tire there, typically, is hard to get going on, but it's good in the long runs but hard to make good grip to start. The tire will continue to get better there. The thing about Charlotte is getting through the corners well. If you can get through the corners, you'll be in good shape."
Clint Bowyer Bowyer will be seeking his third consecutive top-10 finish at Charlotte. "Nine times out of 10, if I can get that outside line rolling, I can get myself a good finish," said Bowyer. "It's one of those races where you have to be able to roll through the center (of the turn) well, be on the gas and makes those straightaways as long as possible."
Greg Biffle Biffle fell two positions in the standings to 10th place, 215 out of first. Biffle has never won a Cup race at Charlotte and has two top-five and five top-10 finishes in 15 starts there. He was 16th in this race last year and 32nd in May's 600. He has finished outside the top-15 in his last three CMS starts. "We're going to just go out and do our best the rest of the season pretty much like we have all year," Biffle said. "We will still go out there every week and try to get the Ford into Victory Lane and gain as many positions in the points as we can. This is our last night race of the season, and it would obviously be awesome to win in Charlotte. We had a good run during the Coke 600 before I got loose and hit the wall. I feel pretty confident that we should have a good run this weekend with the way we've been running at the mile-and-a-half tracks."
Denny Hamlin Hamlin is 36 points out of first place heading into Chase race No. 5 at Charlotte. He is attempting to score his first CMS victory and his first top-five at the track where he has just three top-10 finishes in 10 starts. He was 42nd last October and 18th in May. He has finished outside of the top-10 in his last six CMS starts. "It's been a tough race track for me to finish well at," Hamlin said. "I think eighth is my best finish there (in his first Cup race there, in 2005), but we've run much, much better than that. Last year in the Chase we were leading. We've gotten a lot better at that race track because of the teammates that we have. Obviously, I feel like that race track in particular you've got to be very patient because at the end of the race, strategy gets all mixed up and you have to be aware of what tires you have on at the end to make a run on it. I think the track has more grip when we go back in the fall than what it does in the spring. We'll be looking at fast speeds."
Kevin Harvick Harvick maintains third place in the standings but has dropped to 54 points out of first place. Harvick is another driver looking for his first Cup win at Charlotte, where he has only one top-five and three top-10 finishes in 19 starts. He was 18th last October and 11th in May. He hasn't scored a top-10 finish at Charlotte since this race in 2003 -- 13 races ago. "A top-10 finish (at Charlotte) would be like a win," Harvick said. "That's our goal for the weekend is to run in the top 10 and have a solid day. Obviously, you want to win every weekend, but our history at Charlotte has not been good, so I think a goal of finishing in the top 10 is more realistic. I feel really comfortable where I am. I feel like we've been through a lot of these situations before. I feel like we've run better this year and been more consistent. I know that we've started the Chase better than we've ever started before. It seems like looking back at our performance, the last four or five races are our strength based upon the last few times that we've been in the Chase. You never know how it's all going to shake out, but I feel really good about the situation that we're in as a team, and we just go race every week as hard as we can."
Kasey Kahne Kahne has five top-10 finishes in the last six races at Charlotte, including one win and one runner-up finish. He was 12th in the other event. Overall, Kahne has three wins at CMS. "I always like Charlotte because it's a good track for us," said Kahne. "The cars have changed a lot with the setups as far as what we do and what other teams do, so we just need to get working hard at that. If we hit on it, we'll be up front this week."
David Ragan Ragan has only one top-10 finish in seven starts at Charlotte and has finished 20th or worse in the last three races at CMS. "Drew (Blickensderfer, the crew chief) and I are getting better every week, so another week together will be good," said Ragan. "If we continue the way we've been working together, we should earn a good finish."
Jamie McMurray McMurray finished second in the spring race at Charlotte and won his first Cup race at the track back on Oct. 13, 2002. "We had an awesome run there back in May, and our car only got better as the night wore on," said McMurray. "So hopefully with us starting this race at night, we'll be able to find that late speed from the Coke 600 early and often."
Tony Stewart Stewart made one of the biggest jumps in the Chase this season, moving up five positions in one week to fifth in the standings, but is still 107 points out of first place. Stewart has one win (this race in 2003), six top-five finishes and 11 top-10s in 23 Charlotte starts. He was 13th last October and 15th in May and is hoping to break a streak in which he has finished outside of the top 10 in his last five CMS starts. "It always seems like (at Charlotte) it's a battle of trying to get your car to cut through the center of the corner and keep the forward drive in it," Stewart said. "It seems like it's a sacrifice of one or the other, but the two ends are different. It seems like you can carry a lot more speed through (turns) 1 and 2, and (turns) 3 and 4 are a little more like thread-the-needle type corners. Sometimes there isn't a big difference (between the two races at Charlotte). You know they're spread out so far and they're at the beginning of summer and the end of summer, so a lot of times they can be very similar."
Brad Keselowski Keselowski has finished 12th and 20th in his two Cup races at Charlotte. "The surface at Charlotte Motor Speedway is in great shape," said Keselowski. "They have done an outstanding job with that race track. The repave on it was awesome, and it continues to get better with a little bit of aging on it."
Juan Pablo Montoya Montoya has only one top-10 finish in seven starts at Charlotte. "Charlotte Motor Speedway is just one of those tracks we haven't had much luck at," said Montoya. "But we're hoping for a strong performance this weekend. I've always enjoyed racing at the mile-and-a-half tracks, but this one escapes me for some reason."