At Pocono in July, Kurt Busch scorched the competition (and then his tires)
with his second win of '05.
when he finished the Tour de France, said 'I'm going out on top.' And so am I.
-- RUSTY WALLACE after his second-place finish at Pocono convinced him that he
could still contend for the championship in his final year of racing.
CHICAGOLAND SPEEDWAY, JOLIET, ILL.
WINNER: Dale Earnhardt Jr. POLE SITTER: Jimmie Johnson
CURRENT POINTS LEADER: Jimmie Johnson, 2,548 (+108 over Greg Biffle)
WHAT HAPPENED: "It's been a long time coming, man," said Junior (above)
after driving his number 8 Budweiser Chevrolet to his first victory since
Phoenix in November 2004. "I was worried I was going to go winless this
THIS RACE IN 2006: July 9, NBC/TNT
7/17 NEW ENGLAND
NEW HAMPSHIRE INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY, LOUDON, N.H.
WINNER: Tony Stewart POLE SITTER: Brian Vickers
CURRENT POINTS LEADER: Jimmie Johnson, 2,672 (+77 over Greg Biffle)
WHAT HAPPENED: His nickname may be Smoke, but Stewart was on fire in midseason.
(Here, he burned off excess fuel after qualifying.) At Loudon he continued his
hot streak, winning for the third time in four races.
THIS RACE IN 2006: July 16, NBC/TNT
POCONO RACEWAY, POCONO, PA.
WINNER: Kurt Busch POLE SITTER: Jamie McMurray
CURRENT POINTS LEADER: Jimmie Johnson, 2,799 (+66 over Tony Stewart)
WHAT HAPPENED: Keeping grizzled veterans Rusty Wallace and Mark Martin in his
rearview mirror through five caution periods--and, more important, five
restarts--in the final 23 laps, Busch cruised to the 13th victory of his
THIS RACE IN 2006: July 23, NBC/TNT
8/7 ALLSTATE 400
AT THE BRICKYARD
INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY, INDIANAPOLIS, IND.
WINNER: Tony Stewart POLE SITTER: Elliott Sadler
CURRENT POINTS LEADER: Tony Stewart, 2,923 (+75 over Jimmie Johnson)
WHAT HAPPENED: "It's the coolest feeling in the world," said Stewart
(20), kissing Indy's famous bricks after his win at this track, located just 45
minutes from his home in Columbus. Stewart also vowed to sleep with the race
THIS RACE IN 2006: Aug. 6, NBC/TNT
IF IT hadn't
blown up, it would have gone to hell. -- DALE EARNHARDT JR. describing his Car's
engine, which failed after 211 laps, dropping Junior to a 38th-place finish
that eliminated him from contention for the Chase for the Nextel Cup.
At Fontana, Joe Nemechek (01) and Dale Earnhardt Jr. engaged in some California
SATELLITE RADIO AT THE GLEN
WATKINS GLEN INTERNATIONAL, WATKINS GLEN, N.Y.
WINNER: Tony Stewart POLE SITTER: Tony Stewart
CURRENT POINTS LEADER: Tony Stewart, 3,113 (+105 over Jimmie Johnson)
WHAT HAPPENED: Stewart, who had taken over first place in the standings the
week before, kept on rolling on the rolling hills of the Glen, zooming away
from Robbie Gordon on the last restart despite a broken alternator.
THIS RACE IN 2006: Aug. 13, NBC/TNT
MICHIGAN INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY, BROOKLYN, MICH.
WINNER: Jeremy Mayfield POLE SITTER: Joe Nemechek
CURRENT POINTS LEADER: Tony Stewart, 3,268 (+126 over Jimmie Johnson)
WHAT HAPPENED: A gutsy call from crew chief Slugger Labbe gave Mayfield the win
and a near-certain spot in the Chase field. Mayfield stretched his final tank
of gas over the last 52 laps and inherited the lead with six laps to go.
THIS RACE IN 2006: Aug. 20, NBC/TNT