ON THE TRACKS | This weekend's events



NASCARNEXTEL CUPGFS Marketpalce 400Brooklyn, Mich.
Schedule: Today, qualifying, 3:10 p.m.; Sunday, race (TNT, 2 p.m.)Track: Michigan International Speedway (d-shaped oval, 2 miles, 18 degrees banking in turns)Race distance: 400 miles, 200 laps.Last year: Ryan Newman was able to stretch his final tank of gas 52 laps and easily beat Kevin Harvick, who made his last pit stop on lap 149, by 1.652-seconds -- about 10 car lengths.Fast facts: Jimmie Johnson, who remains at No. 1 for the eighth consecutive race week, failed to finish for a second straight week with engine trouble. ... Jeff Gordon has closed within 40 points of Johnson with seven top-five finishes in his last nine races. ... Stewart, the 2000 winner at Michigan, has had five top-five finishes in his last six races. ... Jeff Burton moves to Richard Childress Racing's No. 30 Chevrolet this week after ending a nine-year run with Roush Racing.
BUSCH SERIESCabela's 250Brooklyn, Mich.
Schedule: Today, qualifying (Speed Channel, 1 p.m.; Saturday, race (TNT, 1 p.m.)Track: Michigan International Speedway (d-shaped oval, 2 miles, 18 degrees banking in turns)Race distance: 250 miles, 125 laps.Last race: Kyle Busch passed up a final pit stop for tires, then held off Johnny Sauter in the final laps to win the Kroger 200 at Indianapolis Raceway Park on Aug. 7, his fourth victory of the season.Last year: Pit strategy and rain helped Kevin Harvick win. Tony Stewart, making his first Busch start since 1998, led 82 of the first 100 laps before surrendering the lead to Harvick after pitting.Fast facts: Mark Martin, who won a Busch Series-record 45 races between 1987 and 2000, makes his return to the series. Martin, who will be making his 201st start in a Busch race, made his first one on Aug. 13, 1982; his last was a second-place finish at Homestead in 2000. ... Jason Leffler has gained 893 points in moving from eighth to third place over his last six races, including three consecutive third-place finishes. ... No driver has won more than won more than one pole at Michigan. ... Rusty Wallace will run in his first Busch race since 1997.Next race: Food City 250, Aug. 27, Bristol, Tenn.
INDY RACING LEAGUEHonda Indy 225Fountain, Colo.
Schedule: Saturday qualifying, 5:30 p.m.; Sunday race (ABC, 3:30 p.m.)Track: Pikes Peak International Raceway (d-shaped oval, 1 mile, 10 degrees banking in turns)Race distance: 225 miles, 225 laps.Last race: Adrian Fernandez led 51 of 200 laps and beat polesitter Buddy Rice to the finish line by 0.0581 seconds for his first IRL victory in the Belterra Casino Indy 300 at Kentucky Speedway. It was the second win in his dual role as owner/driver for Fernandez, who moved into ninth in the point standings.Last year: Scott Dixon led the final 84 laps and won under caution. Two cars spun out in the final 10 laps, producing two yellows.Fast facts: Fernandez's win secured the IRL series manufacturers championship for Honda. ... Honda holds the top three spots in the driver point standings (Tony Kanaan, Buddy Rice and Dan Wheldon). ... Kanaan has recorded 10 consecutive top-five finishes. ... Rice can tie Billy Boat's series record for most poles (6) in a season at Pikes Peak. ... The Hondy Indy 225 is one of three races won last year by reigning series champion Scott Dixon, whose best finish this season was second at Phoenix. ... At an elevation of 5,357 feet above sea level, Pikes Peak is the highest track in the IndyCar Series.Next race: Firestone Indy 225, Aug. 29, Nazareth, Pa.
NHRAO'Reilly Mid-South NationalsMemphis, Tenn.
Schedule: Today, qualifying, 4:30 p.m.; Saturday, qualifying, 3 p.m.(ESPN2, 10 p.m., tape); Sunday, eliminations, 3 p.m(ESPN2, 10 p.m., tape)Track: Memphis Motorsports Park.Last event: Funny Car driver Eric Medlen and Pro Stock's David Connolly earned the first victories of their careers at the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway. Tony Schumacher (Top Fuel), posted his sixth win of the season, and Craig Treble (Pro Stock Bike) earned his eighth career triumph.Last year: Whit Bazemore took over the points lead in the Funny Car standings after his victory. Tony Schumacher rebounded from a crash earlier in the weekend to claim Top Fuel while Greg Anderson and Reggie Showers posted victories in Pro Stock and Pro Stock Bike, respectively.Fast facts: This is the seventh year of the event. ... This is the second time this season that the series has featured night racing. ... Lori Johns is the only Top Fuel driver to win back-to-back events at Memphis (1990-91). ... Three of the last four Memphis winners in Top Fuel have gone on to win the NHRA championship (Larry Dixon, Kenny Bernstein, and Gary Scelzi). ... Dixon has been in the Top Fuel final in the last four Mid-South Nationals. ... John Force, who has won 12 Funny Car titles overall and 10 of the last 11, holds a 164-point lead. ... Jeg Coughlin and Warren Johnson are the only two Pro Stock drivers with more than one career victory at Memphis.Next event: Mac Tools U.S. Nationals, Sept. 4, Indianapolis
Associated Press
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