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

Race Capsule

Bristol Motor Speedway
  • What:

    Race 5 of 36 on Sprint Cup circuit

  • Where:

    Bristol Motor Speedway, Bristol, TN

  • When:

    April 3, 2005 1:15 pm EDT

  • Laps:

    500

  • Track Length:

    0.533 miles

  • Race Length:

    267.00 miles

  • Purse:

    $5,336,617

Drivers to Watch

In his final full season on the circuit, the 48-year-old is ninth in the standings through four events; ran 10th in both the season-opening Daytona 500 and the Auto Club 500 the following week; suffered his worst result of the season two weeks ago, a 27th in the Golden Corral 500; was runner-up to Kurt Busch in this event as one of just three top-fives last year; finished 16th in the standings in 2004 - his lowest season-ending rank since completing 1985 in 19th; nine of his 55 career victories have come on this track, including six checkered flags in this race; most recent checkered flag overall came at the Advance Auto Parts 500 in the eighth event of last year.
Jeff Gordon Four-time series champion won this race four consecutive times between 1995-98; won season-opening Daytona 500 for the third time in his career but since has fallen to 12th in the standings; was 13th in the standings entering this race last year but finished the season third, a mere 16 points behind Busch; got caught up in an accident on the first lap of the Golden Corral 500 two weeks ago and was saddled with a 39th-place finish - his worst result since a 41st in the Carolina Dodge Dealers 400 on March 21, 2004; was ninth in this event last year after qualifying second; ran 14th in Sharpie 500 in August after winning his fourth career pole on this track.
Ryan Newman Has won each of the last two poles, giving him an astounding 29 in 120 career events; is only driver with multiple poles thus far in 2005 after leading the circuit in that category each of the last three seasons; won the pole for this event each of the last two years, setting the track qualifying record with a lap of 128.709 mph in 2003; two of his 14 top-10s came here last year, including a second in the Sharpie 500 in August; climbed two spots to sixth in the standings despite a 14th in the Golden Corral 500 two weeks ago; had run ninth in each of two previous races; attempting to be the first driver to win this event in a Dodge since Richard Petty in 1975.
Greg Biffle Led a race-high nine times for 151 laps before finishing third in the Golden Corral 500 on March 20; climbed to second in the standings, 82 points behind Jimmie Johnson; has three top-10s, including a checkered flag in the Auto Club 500 on February 27, since running 25th in the season-opening Daytona 500; it marked his first streak of three straight top-10s in his premier series career; has finished sixth or better four times in five races dating to his checkered flag in the Ford 400, last season's finale; best finish in four starts on this track was a fifth in this event in 2003.
Tony Stewart The 2002 series champion ran 17th in the Golden Corral 500 two weeks ago, ending a string of seven straight top-10s at Atlanta Motor Speedway; matched his worst finish of the season but dropped him only one spot to seventh in the standings; began the season with a seventh in the Daytona 500 despite leading a race-high 107 laps; has never finished better than 15th in six starts in the spring race here, including a 24th last year; won here under the lights in 2001, finished second in 2000 and fifth in 1999; led a total of 429 laps in those races; looking to reverse his fortunes here: "It's one of my favorites, but Bristol is a track of feast or famine. ... Lately we've had a couple of long days there. Obviously, we're looking to change that."
Jimmie Johnson Came within 0.028 seconds of winning his second consecutive checkered flag two weeks ago at Atlanta Motor Speedway; despite being overtaken by Edwards just before the finish line, claimed an 82-points standings lead over Biffle; briefly had taken a 15-point lead over Busch the previous week following his victory in Las Vegas but was docked 25 points for a rule infraction on his Chevrolet Monte Carlo; crew chief Chad Knaus initially was suspended two races for the infraction, but NASCAR lifted the suspension on March 23; has run either first or second in all but two of the last 10 races dating to last year, taking five checkered flags in that span; has strung together 10 straight finishes of sixth or better; is the only driver to run in the top five in each of four events this year after leading the circuit with 20 top-fives last year.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. The most popular driver on the circuit each of the last two years has struggled since running third in the season-opening Daytona 500; ran 24th at Atlanta Motor Speedway two weeks ago following back-to-back finishes near the back of the pack; is 26th in the standings - his lowest career ranking through the season's first four races; won the most recent event here - the Sharpie 500 on August 28 - among his three career short-track checkered flags; also won twice in 11 races at Richmond; in search of first victory with crew chief Pete Rondeau, who replaced Tony Eury Sr. prior to this season.
Matt Kenseth The 2003 series champion has six straight top-10 finishes here, including a fifth in this event last year; struggled to start this season with three finishes of 26th or worse, continuing a trend he started with nine straight results outside the top 10 to complete last year; only top-10 finish since running second to Busch in the opener of the "Chase" was an eighth in Las Vegas on March 13; battled steering problems following an accident on the first lap of the Golden Corral 500 and finished 31st; also fell to 31st in the standings; led circuit with 25 top-10s in 2003 but slipped to seventh in the series with 16 last year.
Kurt Busch Defending series champion has dominated here in recent years, winning four of the last six events on this track, including this race the last three years; became the youngest winner at Bristol on March 24, 2002 (23 years, 7 months, 20 days) after bumping then-rival Jimmy Spencer with 55 laps remaining; fell from first to fourth in the standings after recurring tire problems led to a 32nd-place finish in the Golden Corral 500 two weeks ago; his only two finishes outside the top 10 over the last 14 races have come at Atlanta Motor Speedway; was the leader in the first race after Easter last year - the only time he was the front-runner prior to the inaugural "Chase for the Nextel Cup."
Carl Edwards Emerged as NASCAR's latest star after winning the Golden Corral 500 following a thrilling final-lap battle with Johnson; traded paint with Johnson before taking the checkered flag by a mere 0.028 seconds; was his first career victory on this circuit and it came a day after he recorded his first Busch Series triumph; became first driver to win both events in the same weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway; celebrated both victories with backflips off his Ford Taurus; climbed to third in the standings, 87 points behind Johnson; an accident led to a 33rd-place finish in August's Sharpie 500 in only previous start on this track.