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Last Updated Sunday, Mar 7, 2010 2:02 am, EST

Race Capsule

Las Vegas Motor Speedway
  • What:

    Race 3 of 35 on XFINITY circuit

  • Where:

    Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Las Vegas, NV

  • When:

    February 27, 2010 4:46 pm EST

  • Laps:

    200

  • Track Length:

    1.5 miles

  • Race Length:

    300.00 miles

  • Purse:

    $1,479,944

Drivers to Watch

Brad Keselowski Keselowski finished 12th in his Cup debut at Charlotte last fall. "This will be my first 600, but I think we can have a pretty good day based on how well Kurt (Busch, his teammate) ran in the All-Star Race and what we learned in the race," said Keselowski.
Kevin Harvick Harvick takes a 69-point lead into Sunday night's Coca-Cola 600. Harvick is looking for his first win at Charlotte Motor Speedway, where he has only one top-five and three top-10 finishes in 18 starts. His best finish was second in the 2001 Coke 600. He was 41st in the 600 last year and 18th in the 500-mile race in October. He has not had a top-10 finish there since he was eighth in the 2001 October race -- a streak of 16 straight outside the top 10. "This race has been the Achilles' heel of everything we have done over the last several years at Charlotte, for whatever reason," Harvick said. "We ran a lot better there the last race we went to. I think we ran 13th or 14th, which is like a victory for us, so hopefully we can build on that. Like I said, we had a decent test and hopefully we can move forward. Our goal going there is to run in the top 10 and have a solid day. You obviously want to win, but the history at Charlotte has not been good for us so going there with a top-10 goal is what I think is realistic."
Carl Edwards Edwards, 281 points out of the top spot, is another big-name driver without a Charlotte win. He has four top-fives and seven top-10s in 10 starts there and was fourth last May and 39th in October. He has three top-10 finishes in his last five starts at the 1.5-mile oval. "Thanks to the fans, we got to run in the All Star race and we got a really good feel for what we need to work on for the Coke 600," Edwards said, referring to the fact he got into the All-Star Race as a fan selection. "This race is one of my favorites just because it's grueling and it tests man and machine both. We've been close before and usually run very well at this race. The track changes so much throughout the race that it's really a fun challenge for everybody."
Denny Hamlin Hamlin is 150 points back of first place. He has never won at Charlotte and has never even finished in the top five; his record is three top-10 finishes in nine starts. He was 11th in the 600 last year and 42nd in the 500-mile race last October, increasing his Charlotte streak to five straight finishes out of the top 10. "I think, truthfully, there are only about five guys that know they can win every single week," Hamlin said. "And anybody who says they know they can -- all the guys you talk to who probably don't -- are probably lying to you. Truthfully, it's very hard. Some guys have better race tracks than others. For me, it's the same way. When I reach my good race tracks -- I knew I could win at those tracks. I didn't necessarily have the confidence when I went to Texas or Darlington or Homestead. Now it seems like every race track I go to, I really do feel like we can win. So that's a big boost for myself, and it feels like we are on the right track."
Kyle Busch Busch is another driver hoping to get his first Cup win at Charlotte, where he has three top-five and six top-10 finishes in 12 starts. He was sixth last year in the 600 and eighth in the BankofAmerica 500. He has a streak of five straight top-10s and seven top-10s in his last eight races at Charlotte. "You want to win this race," Busch said. "I've been close last year, leading all the laps and then getting the thing called by rain just after we had pitted and didn't stay out. The year before that, we were really fast here. I think we ran third or something. I'd like to win this race. ... It's one of the races on my list before I'm done. Being the longest race of the year, it is a grueling event, it is a tiresome race, but for me, racing everything I can every weekend, I seem to knock that out of there. Four hundred laps around here might seem like a long time, but when you're in the seat and you have a good driving race car, it's not that long."
Paul Menard Menard is still looking for his first top-10 finish at Charlotte. His best finish in six starts at the track is 14th. He will be driving the same car he ran last weekend. "Because of the way it ran both at the test and during the Showdown, we feel like this car is the best one for the 600, too," said crew chief Slugger Labbe.
Biffle, 187 points out of first, has never won at Charlotte, where he has two top-five and five top-10 finishes in 14 starts. He was 20th last May and 16th in October. "It takes a lot of patience," Biffle said of the 600. "It's such a long race and it requires a totally different mindset. It's kind of like two races. The first half is survival and the second half is making sure the car will handle well into the night and then making your way to the front if you're not already there. We learned a lot in the Showdown and the All-Star race last weekend, and I think we found a few things that will help us out a lot this weekend. I'm pretty excited about it. We should have a good run in the 600, and I think this team will continue to progress more and more over the next few weeks."