NASCAR Sprint Cup Series

 
                 === This Week in Auto Racing Sept. 29 - 30 ===
 
 Philadelphia,  PA (Sports Network) - The Chase for the Sprint Cup championship
 moves  on  to Dover International  Speedway. The  Nationwide Series is also at
 Dover, while the Camping World Truck Series heads to Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
 
 NASCAR
 
 Sprint Cup Series
 
 AAA 400 - Dover International Speedway - Dover, Del.
 
 Round  three in  the 10-race Chase for the Sprint Cup championship takes place
 this weekend at Dover International Speedway.
 
 After  finishing  second at both Chicago  and New Hampshire, Jimmie Johnson is
 atop  the championship  standings, as he holds only a one-point advantage over
 Brad  Keselowski. Denny Hamlin's win last Sunday at New Hampshire moved him to
 within seven points of the lead.
 
 Dover,  also known  as  "The Monster  Mile,"  could be  the  turning point  in
 Johnson's  quest for a sixth Sprint Cup Series title. The driver of the No. 48
 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet has won four of the last seven races there.
 
 In  June, Johnson  avoided a 12-car wreck  in the early stages of the race and
 led 289 of 400 laps to claim his seventh win at Dover. It moved him into a tie
 with  NASCAR Hall  of Famers Richard Petty and Bobby Allison for most all-time
 victories at this one-mile, concrete-surfaced racetrack.
 
 "So  far it's been  a great track for us," Johnson said. "The thing there that
 is  tough and we have been very fortunate to miss it, if something happens, we
 know  it's a  self-cleaning track, and you  get torn up pretty bad because you
 are going so fast."
 
 Dover  is one  of several tracks on  the Chase schedule where Johnson has been
 dominant. Johnson has also been strong at Charlotte, Martinsville and Phoenix.
 His biggest concern in the Chase, though, is Talladega on Oct. 7.
 
 "We have tracks that have been great to the 48 for a lot of years; tracks that
 we  were very  successful at in the  spring events," he said. "The one hanging
 out there that has me concerned, is the same for everybody else, is Talladega.
 I  haven't finished  a plate  race this  year...But outside  of 'Dega  and the
 unknown  at that track, there's a lot of tracks for this 48 team that I'm very
 optimistic."
 
 Johnson  won  the Chase race at  Dover in consecutive seasons from 2009-10. He
 finished second there one year ago.
 
 While  Johnson maybe dreading Talladega, Hamlin is worried about Dover. Hamlin
 considers  Dover as  one  of  his most  troublesome  tracks.  His most  recent
 finishes  there show it.  He has just two top-10 finishes in his last 10 races
 there.
 
 "It's  unlike any racetrack that we go to all year," Hamlin said. "There is no
 high-banked,  one-mile  track other than Dover.  It's concrete on top of that,
 which  makes it even  more difficult. If the track was paved, I'm sure I would
 run  a lot better  there, because I have such a good feel on the pavement. But
 the  concrete surface  has kind of thrown me  for a loop over the course of my
 career."
 
 Hamlin  has  yet to win a  Sprint Cup race at  Dover. His best finish there is
 fourth,  which  came in the  2007 and '10 spring  events. Hamlin does have two
 Nationwide Series victories at this track.
 
 Keselowski  has  also struggled  at Dover.  His best finish  in his five races
 there  is  12th, which came  earlier this season. He  placed 20th at Dover one
 year ago.
 
 "There  is no question that Dover is probably our weakest track in the Chase,"
 Keselowski  said. "We've  had some good, not  great, cars there in the past. I
 let  a top-10  finish slip away there last  year when I stalled the car on pit
 road  late in the  race. So we know we can get a solid finish, but we're going
 up there to win the race.
 
 "I  know (crew  chief) Paul  (Wolfe) has  really targeted  Dover for  the last
 several weeks, really putting a lot of emphasis on it. I'm confident we can go
 up there and keep ourselves in the championship conversation."
 
 Keselowski  began  the Chase by  winning at Chicago.  He finished sixth at New
 Hampshire.
 
 While seven points separate the top-three drivers, Tony Stewart, the defending
 series champion, heads to Dover with a 10-point deficit. Kasey Kahne and Clint
 Bowyer are both 15 points behind. Dale Earnhardt Jr. trails by 26.
 
 Dover  has been a difficult track for Earnhardt Jr. as well. Earnhardt Jr. had
 finished  outside the top-10 in eighth consecutive races there before snapping
 that streak with a fourth-place run in June. He won at Dover in Sept. 2001.
 
 "Dover's a tough track, a track that I don't have the greatest track record on
 over  the  last several races, although  we did finish in the top-five earlier
 this  year,"  Earnhardt Jr. said. "I  got good confidence going in. We're just
 going to try to maximize our opportunity on the racetrack."
 
 Eight  through 12th in the Chase standings right now are: Kevin Harvick (-31),
 Greg  Biffle (-33), Martin Truex Jr. (-34), Matt Kenseth (-35) and Jeff Gordon
 (-45).
 
 Forty-eight teams are on the preliminary entry list for the AAA 400.
 
 
 Nationwide Series
 
 OneMain Financial 200 - Dover International Speedway - Dover, Del.
 
 The  Nationwide  Series will  join Sprint Cup  at Dover International Speedway
 this  weekend. Last  week, Nationwide  coupled  with the  Camping World  Truck
 Series at Kentucky.
 
 When  Nationwide  last ran at  Dover in June,  Mayetta, N.J. native Ryan Truex
 nearly  pulled  off a  win at  his home  track. Truex,  the younger brother of
 Sprint  Cup regular Martin  Truex Jr., claimed his first pole in the series at
 Dover.  He held  the lead  late in  the  race, but  Joey Logano  took the  top
 position away from him when he was caught up in lapped traffic.
 
 "I  learned a  lot in the spring, and  it will really help me coming back this
 time,"  said Truex,  who finished  a Nationwide  career-best second  at Dover.
 "Plus, I know now not to run into lapped cars with five to go."
 
 Truex  will  be behind the  wheel of  the No. 99  Toyota for RAB Racing, which
 formed an alliance with Michael Waltrip Racing earlier this year. He drove the
 No.  20 Toyota  for Joe Gibbs Racing  in the spring race at Dover. He finished
 eighth and 18th in last year's Nationwide races there.
 
 "Dover  has always  been one  of my  strongest tracks,"  he said.  "Martin has
 taught  me tricks over  the years. Plus, I've always wanted to run well there,
 since  it's my hometown  race. After the June race, I now know the feel I need
 in the car and how to run the race to win for sure."
 
 Truex,  the  2009 Camping World  East Series champion  and 2010 K&N Pro Series
 East  titleholder, has  competed  in  nine Nationwide  races  this season.  In
 addition  to his  second-place  run at  Dover, Truex  has  three other  top-10
 finishes for the year.
 
 With  six  races to go, Elliott  Sadler holds a four-point lead over defending
 series  champion Ricky  Stenhouse Jr.  Rookie Austin  Dillon, who  is Sadler's
 teammate at Richard Childress Racing, won last Saturday's race at Kentucky and
 moved to within 19 points of the lead.
 
 Forty-six  teams  are on the preliminary  entry list for the OneMain Financial
 200.  Kyle  Busch, Kasey  Kahne, Paul  Menard and Logano  are those Sprint Cup
 regulars scheduled to compete in this race.
 
 
 Camping World Truck Series
 
 Smith's 350 - Las Vegas Motor Speedway - Las Vegas, Nev.
 
 While  the  Sprint Cup and  Nationwide Series run  at Dover, the Camping World
 Truck Series travels west to Las Vegas Motor Speedway this weekend.
 
 The Truck Series will race at nighttime in Las Vegas this year after running a
 daytime  event there last  season. The 2011 race ran hours prior to the Sprint
 Cup night event held at Charlotte.
 
 James  Buescher heads  to Las  Vegas with  a whole  lot of  momentum. Buescher
 notched  his series-leading  fourth win of the season at Kentucky. All four of
 his  victories  this year have  come on 1.5-mile  racetracks. Las Vegas is the
 next mile-and-a-half track on the schedule.
 
 "The team and I are really confident that we can go to Vegas and win this race
 after  last  weekend's performance,"  Buescher said. "We  had some trouble the
 week  prior in  Iowa,  but this  team  never gives  up. That  is  the type  of
 performance  you need  to win  championships. Las  Vegas Motor  Speedway falls
 right into our wheel house with it being an intermediate track."
 
 After  winning at  Kentucky, Buescher moved to within four points of leader Ty
 Dillon,  who  is a rookie in  the series this  year. When Buescher went to Las
 Vegas  last year, he trailed Ty's elder brother, Austin, by just three points.
 Austin Dillon went on to win the series championship by a six-point margin.
 
 Ty Dillon will compete in a truck race at Las Vegas for the first time.
 
 "I'm  confident that  we'll have  a fast  truck at  Las Vegas,"  he said.  "My
 brother,  Austin, won here in the past, and we'll have the notes from that win
 to  start off with  on Friday when we unload. I really like racing on 1.5-mile
 tracks, and I'm excited to race in Vegas."
 
 Buescher  has  three starts at  Las Vegas. He finished  3rd in 2010 and placed
 21st last year. Buescher finished 13th in his first race there in 2009.
 
 Travis  Pastrana will make his truck debut at Las Vegas. Pastrana, a worldwide
 action sports icon, has competed in nine Nationwide races this season. He will
 pull  double duty  on Saturday at Las Vegas. The 28-year-old driver is entered
 in the Global RallyCross Championship (GRC) event there.
 
 "I'm  really  excited," Pastrana said. "The  GRC program has been awesome. I'm
 really  looking forward to great racing. I'm trying to get my future more into
 NASCAR,  and  I always  wanted to race  (in Las Vegas).  I watched last year's
 Smith's 350 (truck) race here from the grandstands."
 
 There  have  been 13  different winners in  15 truck races  at Las Vegas. Todd
 Bodine,  Brendan Gaughan, Ron Hornaday Jr. and Johnny Sauter are those drivers
 competing  in  this event  that have  won there  in the  past. Hornaday is the
 defending race winner.
 
 Thirty-two teams are on the preliminary entry list for the Smith's 350.
 
 09/27 14:13:58 ET

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