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ON THE TRACKS | This weekend's events



Published: Fri, October 27, 2006 @ 12:00 a.m.



NASCAR NEXTEL CUP

Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500

Hampton, Ga.

Schedule: Friday, qualifying (Speed Channel, 7 p.m.); Sunday, race (NBC, 2:30 p.m.).

Track: Atlanta Motor Speedway (quad-oval, 1.54 miles, 24 degrees banking in turns).

Race distance: 500.5 miles, 325 laps.

Last race: There's a new leader in NASCAR's Chase for the championship, and a whole bunch of drivers are very much back in contention. Jimmie Johnson took the lead from Bobby Labonte with 55 laps to go and held it through several restarts to win the crash-filled Subway 500 at Martinsville Speedway, while 2003 champion Matt Kenseth jumped ahead in a tightened points race. Kenseth assumed the points lead when Jeff Burton called it a day after 217 laps because of engine trouble.

Last year: Carl Edwards swept both Cup races at Atlanta Motor Speedway and made up some ground in the Chase for the championship. Tony Stewart finished ninth and increased his lead atop the standings from 15 points to 43 points over Johnson, who finished 16th -- the last driver on the lead lap.

Fast facts: Any of the top nine drivers in the standings could take over the points lead after this race. The top five are separated by 48 points while 171 points divide all 10 Chase participants. ... Kasey Kahne won the Golden Corral 500 at Atlanta on March 19. ... Chevrolet leads Dodge by 61 points in the manufacturers' standings. ... Georgia native Reed Sorenson made his Cup debut in last year's event, finishing 41st. ... Ken Schrader made his 700th career start last weekend. He's 12th on the career list and is expected to tie Buddy Baker for 11th on Sunday.

Next race: Dickies 500, Nov. 5, Fort Worth, Texas

NASCAR BUSCH

Sam's Town 250

Memphis, Tenn.

Schedule: Saturday, qualifying, 11:05 a.m., race (NBC, 2 p.m.).

Track: Memphis Motorsports Park (oval, .75 miles, 11 degrees banking in turns).

Race distance: 187.5 miles, 250 laps.

Last race: Dave Blaney wound up the winner at Lowe's Motor Speedway on Oct. 13 in a finish that included red-flag stoppages for a scoring glitch and a crash by Carl Edwards and Casey Mears while battling for the win. Edwards' crash relegated him to a 27th-place finish and gave Kevin Harvick, who came back from an early tire problem and a lost lap to finish ninth, his second Busch championship with four races remaining.

Last year: Clint Bowyer won his second race of the season, rallying from deep in the field to win the Sam's Town 250.

Fast facts: Juan Pablo Montoya, a former Champ Car champion and Indianapolis 500 winner, is expected to make his NASCAR debut in this race. He will run a full Nextel Cup schedule next season. ... There have been no repeat winners over the first seven Busch races at Memphis. ... Richard Childress can clinch the owners' championship if Harvick finishes 35th or better.

Next race: O'Reilly Challenge, Nov. 4, Fort Worth, Texas

NASCAR CRAFTSMAN TRUCKS

EasyCare Vehicle Service Contracts 200

Hampton, Ga.

Schedule: Saturday, qualifying, 1:15 p.m., race (Speed Channel, 4:30 p.m.).

Track: Atlanta Motor Speedway (quad-oval, 1.54 miles, 24 degrees banking in turns).

Race distance: 200 miles, 130 laps.

Last race: Jack Sprague took the lead when NASCAR took it away from Ted Musgrave with 61 laps to go and won for the first time in 13 career starts at Martinsville Speedway. Musgrave, who hoped to run the entire 200-lap race without a pit stop, grabbed the lead from Sprague on the 34th lap and held it through several restarts until the 138th lap, when he was penalized for an improper restart after several warnings.

Last year: Kyle Busch won the truck race at Atlanta, charging from eighth to a victory in a three-lap dash that ended with most of the leaders involved in a crash.

Fast facts: Johnny Benson moved within 79 points of standings leader Todd Bodine with four races remaining. It is the smallest deficit since June 1. ... Three of the last four races will be competed on 1.5-mile tracks. Bodine has seven career victories on those tracks, including two this season. ... The polesitter has won four of the last five races. ... Toyota will clinch the manufacturers' championship with a victory this weekend.

Next race: Silverado 350, Nov. 3, Fort Worth, Texas

NHRA

ACDelco Nationals

Las Vegas

Schedule: Friday, qualifying, 5:30 p.m.; Saturday, qualifying, 2 p.m.; Sunday, eliminations, 2 p.m.

Track: The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Last event: Jason Line raced to his fourth Pro Stock victory of the season in the Torco Racing Fuels Nationals on Oct. 15 to move closer to securing his first world championship title. Cory McClenathan and Eric Medlen also won their divisions.

Last year: Greg Anderson claimed his third straight Pro Stock title by turning in the top qualifying speed at the AC Delco Las Vegas Nationals. Tony Schumacher secured the Top Fuel championship during qualifying and beat Dave Grubnic in the final to set division records with four consecutive victories and six straight final round appearances. Ron Capps, Kurt Johnson and Chip Ellis also won.

Fast facts: Jason Line can clinch the Pro Stock title by recording at least 20 more points than second-place driver and teammate Anderson. ... John Force is 46 points ahead of Capps in the Funny Car standings. ... Pro Stock driver Warren Johnson is expected to compete in his 500th national event this weekend. ... Tony Pedregon clinched his first Funny Car championship at the 2003 event.

Associated Press

Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.




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