Race: NASCAR Banking 500 only from Bank of America
Date: Saturday October 17th, 2009
Track: Lowe's Motor Speedway
Time: 7 pm ET
As the Chase slowly winds down, we find ourselves at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte, NC, the home of NASCAR. This is the home of Jimmie Johnson, or at least that's what I like to call it seeing as though he's won here and dominated so many times.
Lowe's Motor Speedway is a 1.5 mile quad-oval with 24 degree banking in the turns and 5 degree banking on the straights. The frontstretch is 1980 feet and the backstretch boasts 1500 feet.
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We are going to be running this race under the lights. It's going to make for an exciting Saturday night race. If we take a look at the past winners here, we will see that Jimmie Johnson won the race 4 times in a row from 2004 to 2005. Since then, Kasey Kahne has racked up 3 wins with Jeff Burton, David Reutimann, Jeff Gordon, and Casey Mears getting in a few of their own.
Picking a winner here is easy.
My Pick: Jimmie Johnson
While that may be the obvious pick and the same from last weekend, you have to understand how similar this track is to Fontana. This track just screams Johnson's name and he comes alive even more under the lights here for some reason. It's been a while since he's won, but I'm willing to bet that he's going to pull it out this weekend. He won last weekend at Fontana and tends to go balls to the walls when we get down into Chase territory. Johnson is also looking for a fourth championship.
Other contenders to watch for are Jeff Gordon and, surprisingly, Kasey Kahne. Kahne does very well at this particular track and is sure to be on a mission after a late-race wreck last weekend. Gordon always runs strong here as well and has definitely picked up momentum in the last few weeks as we close out the season.
Here's a look at your current top 12 in the points heading in to Charlotte:
1. Jimmie Johnson
2. Mark Martin
3. Juan Montoya
4. Tony Stewart
5. Jeff Gordon
6. Kurt Busch
7. Greg Biffle
8. Carl Edwards
9. Denny Hamlin
10. Ryan Newman
11. Kasey Kahne
12. Brian Vickers
Not to be too cynical, but those guys from 8th on back have a LOT of catching up to do if they want to keep their Chase dreams alive. Look for the real contenders to by Kurt Busch and up. This weekend is going to be very telling for the drivers. If they can manage to keep the tires on their cars and stay out of trouble, we are going to see a lot of hard driving.
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