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

UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400

Status: Final Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Race Capsule

Las Vegas Motor Speedway
  • What:

    Race 3 of 36 on Sprint Cup circuit

  • Where:

    Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Las Vegas, NV

  • When:

    March 13, 2005 3:05 pm EST

  • Laps:


  • Track Length:

    1.5 miles

  • Race Length:

    401.00 miles

  • Purse:


Drivers to Watch

Ryan Newman Although he has qualified in the top five here each of the last three years, has yet to win a pole at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, making it one of only 10 tracks on which he has not won a pole; ran ninth in California two weeks ago to climb seven spots in the standings to 12th - the same position he was in after two races last year; took the checkered flag just twice last year on the heels of a series-high eight wins in 2003; looking to improve on 27th-place finish here in 2004: "We struggled pretty badly in Vegas last year. That was probably our worst showing of the 2004 season. We didn't test at the track last year, but we made sure we were out there this year for the pre-season test. We had a great test session there and hopefully that will show this weekend."
Greg Biffle Took the checkered flag in California two weeks ago for his fourth career Nextel Cup victory; has won twice in the last three races dating to 2004 finale at Homestead-Miami Motor Speedway; three of his five top-five finishes dating to the beginning of 2004 have been victories; moved up 19 spots in the standings to fifth with 273 points, 67 off the pace set by Roush Racing teammate Kurt Busch; after failing to qualify for this event in 2003, was knocked out with engine problems after just 23 laps last year, finishing 40th.
Kurt Busch The 26-year-old defending series champion followed up a runner-up finish in the Daytona 500 with a third two weeks ago in California to take over the top spot in the standings with 340 points; trying to become the first driver since Jeff Gordon in 1997-98 to repeat as series champion; dating to last season, has 11 top-10 finishes in the last 12 races; the Las Vegas native has qualified in the top 10 for this event each of the last four years; best finish here was a ninth last year after qualifying second; saddled with a 38th-place finish here in 2003 after being part of a multi-car crash on lap 177.
Kasey Kahne Set a track qualifying record here last year with a lap of 174.904 mph before finishing second to then-defending series champion Kenseth for the second straight race; was one of five runner-up finishes last year, tied with Mark Martin for most on the circuit; has struggled with finishes of 22nd and 40th this year, leaving him 34th in the standings; an accident in California two weeks ago led to his fourth finish of 40th or worse in 38 career starts; the 2004 Rookie of the Year is still in search of his first career checkered flag.
Matt Kenseth The 2003 series champion has won this event each of the last two seasons, accounting for two-thirds of his checkered flags since the beginning of 2003; victory here last year completed back-to-back triumphs over runner-up Kahne; after finishing outside of the top 10 in each of the final nine races of 2004, has not cracked the top 20 in either of the first two events this season; completed just 34 laps and was saddled with a 42nd-place finish in Daytona and late on-track problems led to a 26th in California the next week; trying not to get discouraged by the early results: "It's always disappointing when you don't get the result, but I'd rather be running good and leading laps and feeling like we're capable of winning races and not getting the finishes due to circumstances than to be running bad all day and then luck into a 10th- or 15th-place finish."
Jimmie Johnson Ran second behind Greg Biffle in Auto Club 500 two weeks ago in his home state of California; after closing 2004 eight standings points behind Busch in the closest finish in series history, enters the third event of 2005 five points behind front-running Busch; only he and Busch have finished in the top five in each of the season's first two events; including impressive run to finish last season, has recorded eight straight top-10s, including four victories; led the series in victories (8), top-fives (20) and laps led (1,312) in 2004; ran 16th in this event last year, his worst finish in three starts here.
Jeff Gordon Four-time series champion opened 2005 by taking the checkered flag in the Daytona 500 for the third time in his career; struggled with engine problems two weeks ago in California, finishing 30th after qualifying 28th; ended a streak of four straight finishes among the top three dating to last year; dropped to 10th in the standings, 82 points off the pace; won this race in 2001 but has not finished better than 15th in the last three events here; led 53 laps here in 2003 but was involved in a crash on lap 179, relegating him to 37th.
Mark Martin The 46-year-old climbed four spots to third in the standings following a seventh-place finish in the Auto Club 500 two weeks ago; ran sixth in season-opening Daytona 500 and is one of four drivers with a top-10 in each of the first two events of 2005; while he has yet to win a premier series event this year, took the checkered flag in an IROC race in Daytona and won the Busch Series race in California; leads the IROC series with 12 career wins and the Busch Series with 46; won this event in 1998, setting a track record with an average speed of 146.554 mph; leads all drivers with six top-10s here, including a fifth last year after starting sixth.
Tony Stewart Plagued by poor handling on his Chevrolet Monte Carlo, battled to a 17th-place finish in California two weeks ago; that result coupled with a seventh in the Daytona 500 has him seventh in the standings; has been in the top 10 in standings points after every race since the MBNA America 400 on September 21, 2003; has found success here, finishing in the top five four times in the last five years; his best finish over that stretch was a second in 2000; led 45 laps en route to a third-place finish here last year.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. Opened season with a third-place finish in Daytona but endured multiple tire problems en route to a miserable 32nd the following week in California; it was the fourth time in the last seven races he did not crack the top 20; fell to 14th in the standings - his worst ranking since being 18th after this race in 2003; qualified 36th and finished 35th following handling difficulties here last year - a far cry since being runner-up to Matt Kenseth here after qualifying fourth in 2003; only other top-10 finish in five events here was a 10th after starting third and leading 42 laps in 2000.