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7.29 INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY
2011 RECAP PAUL MENARD, the fourth first-time Cup winner of the year, became the first driver to ever get his maiden victory at Indy after holding off a quickly closing Jeff Gordon.
TRACK FACT The last Cup competitor to drive a car other than a Chevrolet to Victory Lane at the Brickyard 400 was Bill Elliott, who won in a Dodge in '02.
EYE ON 2012 Teams always bring their best equipment, which explains why four of the last seven winners here have gone on to win the title. It could be Jimmie Johnson time.
WALTRIP "The front straight is tight. Pit road is tight. There's a lot of people everywhere. It's my favorite track because of the history. Walking in gives me cold chills."
7.7 DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY
2011 RECAP A penalty cost DAVID RAGAN a shot at the 500, but the then-25-year-old won his first Cup event in July on a second shot at a green-white-checkered finish.
TRACK FACT The winning speed here (159.491 mph) was the fastest average of the 2011 Cup season. Talladega had held that distinction for the previous five years.
EYE ON 2012 Roush Fenway's Fords, which finished one-two at this event last year, will continue to have a mechanical edge on the high banks of the 2.5-mile tri-oval.