BRISTOL MOTOR SPEEDWAY, BRISTOL, TENN.
WINNER: Matt Kenseth POLE SITTER: Matt Kenseth
CURRENT POINTS LEADER: Tony Stewart, 3,410 (+213 over Jimmie Johnson)
WHAT HAPPENED: Kenseth (17), who had struggled earlier in the season, continued
his surge up the standings with a win that left the '03 Cup champ just 11
points shy of the final spot in the Chase field. He led 415 of the 500 laps.
THIS RACE IN 2006: Aug. 26, NBC/TNT
9/4 SONY HD
CALIFORNIA SPEEDWAY, FONTANA. CALIF.
WINNER: Kyle Busch POLE SITTER: Carl Edwards
CURRENT POINTS LEADER: Tony Stewart, 3,570 (+209 over Greg Biffle)
WHAT HAPPENED: Reigning champion Kurt Busch's kid brother held off a quartet of
challengers after a caution on Lap 248 set up a green-white-checker finish. The
20-year-old became the youngest driver to win on the Cup circuit.
THIS RACE IN 2006: Sept. 3, NBC/TNT
9/10 CHEVY ROCK
& ROLL 400
RICHMOND INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY, RICHMOND, VA.
WINNER: Kurt Busch POLE SITTER: Kevin Harvick
CURRENT POINTS LEADER: Tony Stewart, 3,716 (+185 over Greg Biffle)
WHAT HAPPENED: The Roush Racing camp was rocking at Richmond as Kurt Busch won
the race and secured a spot in the Chase along with all four of his teammates.
The full Chase field (above) was all smiles after the race.
THIS RACE IN 2006: Sept. 9, NBC
Not with a Bang,
but With a Whimper
should never have gone to Wrigley Field on that sunny day last May. Early in
the NASCAR season Gordon looked golden, winning three of the first nine
races--including the Daytona 500--and finishing second in the 10th race. As he
flew to Chicago on May 24 to sing Take Me Out to the Ballgame during the
seventh-inning stretch of a game between the Cubs and the Houston Astros, the
four-time Cup champion appeared to be on his way to a fifth title. True, he'd
finished 39th at the Chevy American Revolution 400 at Richmond on May 14, but
no one in the garage expected that to be the start of a summer swoon for the
number 24 Dupont Chevy.
Standing in the
broadcast booth at Wrigley, microphone in hand, Gordon first spun out by
referring to the Friendly Confines as "Wrigley Stadium," prompting a
thunder of boos from the faithful. He then proceeded to butcher the lyrics to
the iconic tune.
unfortunate day, Gordon--who explained his gaffes by saying he had simply been
really, really nervous--has not finished higher than sixth in a race and has
had a hard-to-believe eight finishes of 20th or worse. He has fallen from
second to 12th in the point standings and now desperately needs a win on
Saturday night at Richmond in the final race of NASCAR's regular season if he's
going to have any chance of sneaking into the Top 10 and qualifying for the
Chase. [ Gordon, after troubles in the pits and a brush with the wall, would
finish 30th and remain in 12th place.]
-- LARS ANDERSON
REPRINTED FROM SI.COM, Sept. 9, 2005