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Last Updated Monday, May 21, 2007 1:48 am, EDT

Dodge Avenger 500

Status: Final Darlington Raceway

Race Capsule

Darlington Raceway
  • What:

    Race 12 of 41 on Sprint Cup circuit

  • Where:

    Darlington Raceway, Darlington, SC

  • When:

    May 12, 2007 7:15 pm EDT

  • Laps:

    367

  • Track Length:

    1.366 miles

  • Race Length:

    501.00 miles

  • Purse:

    $5,507,009

Drivers to Watch

Greg Biffle Has gotten off to a slow start this season and cannot seem to regain the form which helped him finish tied for second in the series standing in 2005; registered top-10 finishes at Bristol and Texas but has failed to place inside the top 15 in each of the last three events, including a 19th-place performance at Richmond last week; is 15th in the current standings and trails Dale Earnhardt Jr. by 81 points for 12th place; has won each of the last two races at this track.
Denny Hamlin Ran third at his hometown track of Richmond last weekend to climb to fourth in the standings, 332 points behind Gordon; has placed third in three of the last five races and has five top-10 finishes this season; clearly has avoided a sophomore slump this season, placing inside the top 15 in seven of the last nine events; finished 10th in this race last year.
Jeff Gordon Captured his fourth consecutive pole last week at Richmond and finished fourth, his sixth consecutive top-five finish; reached a landmark milestone at Talladega, recording his 77th career victory to pass the late Dale Earnhardt for sixth on NASCAR's all-time list; has completely dominated the circuit this season, placing inside the top 10 in nine of 10 races and finishing no lower than 12th; is on pace to capture his fifth career title, leading the series in poles (6), top-five finishes (8) and top-10s (9); owns a comfortable 211-point cushion in the standings; was runner-up to Biffle in this event last season and has been tremendous at this track, registering six victories, 14 top-five finishes and 17 top-10s.
Jimmie Johnson Captured his series-leading fourth victory of the season at Richmond and moved to second in the standings; still trails Hendrick Motorsports teammate Gordon by 211 points; finished second at Talladega to continue his fast start to the season; despite collecting seven top-five finishes, has been hurt by a pair of finishes outside the top 35; also has captured checkered flags at Las Vegas, Atlanta and Martinsville; reigning series champion ran fourth in this event last season.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. Ran 13th at Richmond to climb to 12th in the standings, 19 points ahead of Jamie McMurray for the final Chase spot; registered consecutive top-10 finishes at Bristol and Martinsville after failing to place inside the top 10 over the first four races; may have been bothered by recent distractions stemming from his ongoing contract negotiations with DEI; finished fifth in this event last season but has struggled at this track, registering just two top-five finishes in 12 career starts.
Tony Stewart Has made noise off the track but has been quiet behind the wheel, failing to record a win and collecting just two top-five finishes over the first 10 races; one of the circuit's most inconsistent drivers, collecting six top-10 finishes while placing 25th or worse in the other four events; sputtered to 28th place two weeks ago at Talladega after crashing on the final lap but rebounded by running eighth last week at Richmond; followed up 25th-place finish at Texas by running second three weeks ago at Phoenix, his second runner-up finish of the campaign; ran 12th in this event last season.
Matt Kenseth Has been outstanding since struggling to 27th place at Daytona, running inside the top 11 in the next seven races; struggled to 14th place two weeks ago at Talladega but bounced back with a a 10th-place finish at Richmond to remain third in the standings; finished fifth three weeks ago at Phoenix, his fifth top-five finish of the season; ran third in this event last season - his only top-five finish in 13 career starts at this track.
Jeff Burton Could not overcome early engine trouble at Richmond and finished a season-worst 43rd; fell to fifth in the standings and trails leader Jeff Gordon by 339 points; also ran 34th at Talladega, where he was taken out in wreck in lap 152; has five top-five finishes and six top-10s this season; captured his first victory of the season four weeks ago at Texas; finished ninth in this event last season and has fared well at this track, collecting eight top-five finishes and 13 top-10s in 24 career starts; won both races at this track in 1999.
Kyle Busch Rebounded from a rough weekend at Talladega by finishing second last week at Richmond, his third top-five finish of the season; climbed tow spots to sixth in the standings; has been outstanding over the first four COT races this year, winning at Bristol and registering top-10 finishes at Martinsville, Phoenix and Richmond; ran seventh in this event last season.