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Last Updated Monday, Mar 24, 2008 1:52 am, EDT

Race Capsule

Bristol Motor Speedway
  • What:

    Race 5 of 36 on Sprint Cup circuit

  • Where:

    Bristol Motor Speedway, Bristol, TN

  • When:

    March 16, 2008 2:20 pm EDT

  • Laps:

    500

  • Track Length:

    0.533 miles

  • Race Length:

    267.00 miles

  • Purse:

    $5,661,265

Drivers to Watch

Jimmie Johnson Two-time defending series champion finished a disappointing 13th at Atlanta after running 19th at Las Vegas; ran second at California after starting this campaign with a 27th at the Daytona 500; sits 13th in the standings; battled teammate Gordon for the top spot in the Chase early on, last season, then took off - winning four straight races over the second half of the Chase; suffered through an up-and-down season before the Chase, finishing 39th at the Brickyard after a fiery crash on the heels of a 37th at Chicago; finished the season with 10 wins, 20 top fives, 24 top 10s and failed to finish four races; finished 16th at this race last year.
Carl Edwards Was docked 100 points and fell from the top spot in the standings after being penalized after his win at Las Vegas; victory at Las Vegas was his ninth career Cup win a week after taking the checkered flag at California; had the dominant car again at Atlanta, but blew an engine and finished 42nd to drop to 17th in the standings; ran 19th in the Daytona 500; qualified for the Chase last year and won at Dover after finishing 12th at New Hampshire, but failed post-race inspection and was docked 25 points and fined; penalty dropped him from third to sixth in the standings and he never recovered; won the 2007 NASCAR Busch Series championship; finished with 11 top fives and 15 top 10s last year; also won at Michigan and Bristol; ran 12th here in March last year.
Jeff Burton One of the circuit's most consistent drivers finished 13th in the Daytona 500 and eighth at California; was fifth in Las Vegas and 10th at Atlanta to sit fifth in the standings; finished eighth in last season's standings, one year after placing seventh; finished in the top 10 in half of the races last season, including nine top fives; lone win of the season came in April at Texas; finished the season strong with five top 10s over the final six races; finished second here in March last year and has never won at Bristol.
Jeff Gordon Rebounded to finish fifth at Atlanta after being involved in a scary late-race crash at Las Vegas where he finished 35th; bounced back with a third at California after opening his 2008 season with a disappointing 39th in the Daytona 500; already has two DNFs this season after posting just one last year; only a dominant finish by teammate Jimmie Johnson kept him from capturing a fifth championship last season; finished with 10 top-10 finishes in the final 11 races - the other finish in that span was an 11th at Dover; totaled a remarkable 30 top-10 finishes and 21 top-fives in 36 races last year; spun with less than two laps remaining at Watkins Glen while leading, costing him another potential win - still managed to finish ninth; had six checkered flags last season and 81 career, just two shy of tying Cale Yarborough for fifth place all-time; reached a landmark milestone at the first Talladega race, recording his 77th career victory to pass the late Dale Earnhardt for sixth all-time; had 10 poles last season - double that of Ryan Newman who had five; finished third in this race last year and has five career wins at Bristol.
Tony Stewart Finished second to teammate Kyle Busch at Atlanta, but was vocal about the poor Goodyear tire quality after the race; suffered a hard crash at Las Vegas, injured his ankle and finished dead last; had another disappointment at Daytona, finishing third despite having the lead with one lap to go; took sixth at California after the Daytona 500; moved within two points of the points lead after the first two Chase races last year, but could not keep pace with Johnson and Gordon and faded to sixth in the final standings; finished second at Richmond to enter the Chase on a hot streak; pre-Chase surge included fourth at Bristol as well as running 10th at Michigan on the heels of winning at Watkins Glen - his third win; captured back-to-back victories at Chicagoland and at the Brickyard; won three races in total to go along with 23 top-10s; ran 35th in this race last year.
Kyle Busch Has gotten off to a stellar start with Joe Gibbs Racing, placing fourth in the first two races and winning last week at Atlanta; had the dominant car and led the most laps at the Daytona 500; was strong at Las Vegas early, but struggled late and wound up 11th; sits atop the standings, 73 points ahead of Greg Biffle; is looking to build off a sensational run at Hendrick Motorsports as he moves to JGR and Toyota; finished fifth in the final 2007 standings after qualifying for the Chase for the second consecutive season; had 20 top-10 finishes in 36 races last season, including 11 top-fives; lone win came during the first Bristol race - the inaugural Car of Tomorrow event.
Matt Kenseth Finished eighth at Atlanta a week after running 20th at Las Vegas due to a late-race incident with Jeff Gordon; ran fifth at California, fresh off a disappointing 35th place showing at the Daytona 500; last season had a late-Chase surge with a win at the season-ending race at Homestead, following a third at Phoenix and a second at Texas; finished fourth in the final standings; had 13 top-five finishes and 22 top 10s last season; won the series championship in 2003 despite capturing only one checkered flag, prompting NASCAR to change to its current Chase format; enters this season without longtime crew chief Robbie Reiser who has been replaced by Chip Bolin; ran 11th in the first Bristol race last year.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. The circuit's most popular driver finished third at Atlanta after running second at Las Vegas; was the top finishing Hendrick car at the Daytona with a ninth-place showing; was involved in an early-race crash at California and finished 40th; made the move from his father's Dale Earnhardt Inc., where he won 17 Cup events, to Hendrick Motorsports; got off to a good start with his new team by winning the Bud Shootout; has not won a points race since Richmond in May 2006; suffered through a tough final season at DEI, finishing 16th in the standings; had 12 top 10's last season, but also posted 11 finishes of 25th or worse; finished seventh in the first Bristol race last season.