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

NASCAR Nextel All-Star Challenge

Status: Final Lowe's Motor Speedway

Race Capsule

Charlotte Motor Speedway
  • What:

    Sprint Cup circuit

  • Where:

    Lowe's Motor Speedway, Concord, NC

  • When:

    May 21, 2005 9:00 pm EDT

  • Laps:

    90

  • Track Length:

    1.5 miles

  • Race Length:

    135.00 miles

  • Purse:

    $3,216,700

Drivers to Watch

Ryan Newman Won pole for last week's All-Star Challenge and led the most laps (45) in the event before spinning into the wall on the second lap of the third and final segment; leads the series with three poles this season after posting the highest total in that category in 2004 (9), 2003 (11) and 2002 (6); qualified second to Kahne for the last two points events and has started in the top 10 in 18 straight races; has five top-10s, including top-fives in each of the last two races; in eight previous starts here, has three top-10s, including top-fives in both 2003 races; has four career poles here, including the first of his career in 2001, and his average start of 2.25 is highest among all drivers at track.
Mark Martin Four-time series runner-up became the oldest winner of the NASCAR Nextel All-Star Challenge last week at age 46; led 24 laps, including the final 19, to win the All-Star event for the second time in 16 starts and collect over $1 million; last visited victory lane in a points race in Dover on June 6, 2004; is 10th in the series standings in what he announced last year as his final full season on the circuit; has five top-10s this season with best result being a third in Advance Auto Parts 500 in Nashville on April 10; hoping to ride momentum of All-Star victory into a run at first series title: "We've been in the top 10 in every race but one this year, so it's not outside the realm of possibility. If we're going to come back here with fire in our eyes in the 600 and man, we go from here to Dover, there to Pocono and then from there to Michigan, we could get on a roll here."
Elliott Sadler Led three times for 21 laps but finished a distant second to Martin in last week's All-Star Challenge here; is fourth in the series standings despite only one top-five finish; ran seventh in Richmond two weeks ago for his sixth top-10 result; best finishing this season was a second in the Food City 500 a day after winning his first pole since 2003; has only three career poles in 224 career events; finished outside the top 15 in his first 11 career starts here before running fifth in this event last year and adding a seventh in the UAW-GM Quality 500 in October.
Kasey Kahne Claimed his first career checkered flag in 47 starts two weeks ago in Chevy American Revolution 400 at Richmond; led a career-high 242 laps, including the final 106, to finally break through after six career runner-ups; has recorded four top-fives over the last eight events to climb 23 spots to 15th in the standings; was fourth on the circuit with 13 top-fives as a rookie last year; ran 12th in this event last year before being saddled with a 32nd following an accident here in October; was among seven cars knocked out due to a nine-car pile-up on lap 36 in last weekend's All-Star Challenge here.
Jimmie Johnson Swept both events here last year, including the UAW-GM Quality 500 in October to begin a string of six straight finishes of sixth or better to close the season; won four events during that season-ending run to come within eight points of a series title; carried the top-10 streak through the first seven events of this season before running 15th in Phoenix on April 23; saddled with a season-worst 40th in Richmond two weeks ago, whittling his points lead over Biffle to 41; won this race from the pole last year after winning it from a starting position of 37th in 2003; has finished no worse than seventh in his last six starts on this track; ran fifth in the All-Star Challenge here last weekend.
Kurt Busch Defending series champion is fifth in the standings this year and has been in the top 10 every week since the second event of 2004; ran 17th in Richmond two weeks ago after recording a season-worst 37th in Darlington the previous week; tied for third with four top-fives, including his 12th career checkered flag in the Subway Fresh 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on April 23; after not finishing among the top 10 in his first eight career starts here, ran fourth in the UAW-GM Quality 500 on October 16 among his nine top-10s during the inaugural 10-race "Chase for the Nextel Cup"; ran seventh in the All-Star Challenge here last weekend.
Greg Biffle Has won a series-high four races in the last 12 points events dating to the 2004 finale; each one of his three victories this season have followed a win by Jeff Gordon; is just 41 points behind series front-runner Jimmie Johnson on the strength of seven top-10s, including a sixth in Richmond two weeks ago; has held a lead in eight of 11 points races for a series-high 739 laps; competed in last weekend's NASCAR Nextel All-Star Challenge here but was unable to finish for the second straight year; was knocked out of the non-points All-Star event by teammate Kurt Busch on lap 11 in 2004 and was forced out on lap 70 this year when Elliott Sadler damaged his left-front fender; struggled on this track last year, running 21st in this event and 33rd in the fall race.
Jeff Gordon Four-time series champion is third in the standings, 124 points off the pace set by Hendrick Motorsports teammate Johnson; ran fourth in the All-Star Challenge here last weekend for his sixth top-five in the event; won it in 1995, 1997 and 2001 and went on to win the series title after each victory; leads all active drivers with seven poles here and is tied with Mark Martin for the wins lead with four; tied with Biffle for the circuit lead with three checkered flags this year; his 72 career checkered flags are four shy of matching the late Dale Earnhardt for sixth on the all-time list; has won this race three times, including his first career premier series on May 29, 1994; ran 30th in this event last year but rebounded with a second in the UAW-GM Quality 500 here on October 16.
Tony Stewart Sponsored by Home Depot, the leading competitor of Lowe's; ran into Joe Nemechek on lap 36 of last weekend's All-Star Challenge, triggering a nine-car pile-up that rendered seven cars unable to continue, including his own; the 2002 series champion is sixth in the standings this year on the strength of six top-10s; ran second to Kahne in Richmond two weeks ago for his second runner-up in a three-race span; won a side-by-side battle with pole-sitter Ryan Newman over the final six laps to take his first checkered flag on this track in the UAW-GM Quality 500 in 2003; has nine top-10s, including six top-fives, in 12 starts here; ran ninth in this event last year and followed with a 10th in the fall event here as one of his six top-10s during the "Chase".
Dale Earnhardt Jr. Ran sixth in this event last year to maintain his position atop the circuit standings; held that lead until June 20, when he finished 21st in the DHL 400; also claimed the series' top spot following a third in the inaugural "Chase" opener in New Hampshire; fell two spots to 11th in this year's standings after a 14th in Richmond two weeks ago; has managed only five top-10s through the season's first 11 points events; has yet to take a checkered flag this year after setting a career high with six in 2004; qualified last for last weekend's All-Star Challenge here after being penalized 20 seconds for speeding on pit road; ran 10th in the race - last among drivers who completed all 90 laps; won the All-Star event as a rookie in 2000 but is seeking first points victory on this track; will have Steve Hmiel, who replaced Pete Rondeau on Tuesday, as his crew chief.