Carl Edwards

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Posted by sonny 04/21/2009 @ 02:07

Tags : carl edwards, drivers, motor sports, sports

News headlines
Carl Edwards wins Milwaukee Nationwide race - The Associated Press
(AP) — Carl Edwards made the most of his one-day Wisconsin getaway, winning Saturday's Nationwide series race at the Milwaukee Mile after taking a brief break from his Sprint Cup duties in California. It's a repeat victory at Milwaukee and the first...
Drivers on Chase bubble must act quickly - FOXSports.com
While Busch's 15th-place finish at Infineon was not dire, Carl Edwards' 13th-place showing enabled the No. 99 Ford to move within 33 points of fourth-place. Still, only 137 points separate Edwards from Kasey Kahne, who is currently 13th in the driver...
NASCAR: Carl Edwards - My projected winner. - Kansas City Star
Carl Edwards in victoryEdwards may be sixth in the rankings and he may be starting 29th, but I favor him to do his flip after the Life Lock 400 at Michigan International Speedway. The reason is simple – in nine starts, he has eight top-10 finishes,...
Series Richmond spotlight - Cameron Dodson - Motorsport.com
Dodson, who competed in a car fielded by NASCAR Sprint Cup star Carl Edwards, himself a graduate of the USAC Silver Crown series, will make his return as part of a two-car team backed by Edwards. Dodson's teammate will be veteran USAC racer Josh Wise...
NASCAR Sprint Cup Leaders - OregonLive.com
5, Carl Edwards, 2051. 6, Ryan Newman, 2046. 7, Denny Hamlin, 2009. 8, Greg Biffle, 1992. 9, Kyle Busch, 1962. 10, Matt Kenseth, 1957. 11, Mark Martin, 1926. 12, Juan Pablo Montoya, 1917. 13, Kasey Kahne, 1914. 14, David Reutimann, 1877....
Sonoma: Carl Edwards NASCAR Sprint Cup Race Preview - PaddockTalk
●CARL EDWARDS enters Infineon sixth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup point standings, 262 markers behind point leader Tony Stewart. In 15 Cup Series starts in 2009, Edwards has accumulated four top-five and eight top-10 finishes. ●FOR THE RECORD…...
Carl Edwards finally gets a chance to do a backflip - al.com
Carl Edwards finally got a chance to do a backflip on Saturday night -- winning the NASCAR Nationwide race at The Milwaukee Mile after passing Kyle Busch with 44 laps to go. For Edwards it was his Nationwide first win of the season and first NASCAR win...
Carl Edwards hopes MIS will give him elusive win - MLive.com
One year ago, heading to the June NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stop at Michigan International Speedway, Carl Edwards had three wins under his belt. This year, Edwards is looking for his first win of the season. Everything else, it seems,...
Edwards Battles From Back To Win - HardcoreRaceFans.com
Defending last year's victory at Milwaukee, Carl Edwards stole the lead from Kyle Busch with 44 laps remaining in the NorthernTool.com 250 NASCAR Nationwide Series event and raced his way into Victory Lane at The Milwaukee Mile on Saturday night....
Edwards returns to defend Mile title - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
By Dave Kallmann of the Journal Sentinel AP Carl Edwards hopes to get his first victory of 2009 in the NorthernTool.com 250 at the Milwaukee Mile Saturday night. By the most noticeable number in the NASCAR Nationwide Series statistics, Carl Edwards...

Carl Edwards

CarlEdwards.jpg

Carl Michael Edwards, II (born August 15, 1979) is an American NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and Nationwide Series driver for Roush Fenway Racing.

In the Sprint Cup Series, Edwards drives the #99 Aflac Ford Fusion. He will also have sponsorship from Subway for 3 races and Claritin for one race. He drives the #60 Ford Fusion in the Nationwide Series, which is sponsored by Scotts-Miracle Gro (and their brands, Scotts, Miracle-Gro, Ortho and Roundup), Save-A-Lot Food Stores, Citigroup, vitaminwater, and the World Financial Group.

Edwards grew up in Columbia, Missouri, watching his father, Carl, Sr., race, and was inspired to do the same. Carl, Sr. has been racing modified stock cars and USAC midget sprint cars for over four decades, winning over 200 races. Carl, Jr.'s career began in 1993, when he raced Minicup cars all over the Midwest. His success was not far off, in 1994, he won four feature races in the MMRA National Future stars Minicup series. He added a combined total of 14 wins from the 1995 and 1996 seasons. Carl attended the University of Missouri, and was a substitute teacher when he began racing in NASCAR.

Edwards' big break came in 2001, when he competed in 7 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series events for MB Motorsports. His best finish in the seven races was 8th at Kansas Speedway. He also ran one Busch Series race for Bost Motorsports, finishing 38th at Gateway International Raceway. However, it was enough to impress Jack Roush, and Edwards became a full-time Truck Series competitor in 2003, driving the #99 Ford F-150 sponsored by Superchips. He won Rookie-of-the-Year honors in addition, to three race wins, eventually finishing 8th in the points standings at the end of the season. In 2004, he notched three more race wins, including the season-opening Florida Dodge Dealers 250 at the Daytona International Speedway. At season's end, Edwards finished 4th in the points. In August 2004, he made his NEXTEL Cup Series debut, replacing Jeff Burton, who left the team, in the No. 99 Ford Taurus for Roush Racing, at the Michigan International Speedway. He finished 10th. He drove the #99 Ford for the remainder of the 2004 NEXTEL Cup. He also once again ran one Busch Series race; this time for Bobby Benton's RAB Racing team at Bristol Motor Speedway with sponsorship from Mac Tools.

In 2005, Edwards became a full-time driver in both the NEXTEL Cup and Busch Series. He has already won races in each, and he made history in the process of winning. On March 19, 2005, Edwards won the Aaron's 312 at the Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia, recording his first Busch Series win. The next day, he beat Jimmie Johnson by 2-hundredths of a second to win the Golden Corral 500 at the same track for his first NEXTEL Cup Series win. Until this took place, no driver had ever won both the Busch and NEXTEL Cup Series races in the same weekend at Atlanta, although the feat had been pulled off numerous times before at other tracks by other drivers. Also, Edwards became the first driver in NASCAR history to pick up his first career Busch and NEXTEL Cup Series wins in the same weekend, and became the eleventh driver in NASCAR history to win races in all three of the organization's major racing series.

On June 12, 2005, Edwards picked up his second NEXTEL Cup win by taking the checkered flag at the Pocono 500 at the Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. The weekend was somewhat bittersweet for Edwards, as the Busch Series race at the Nashville Superspeedway in Lebanon, Tennessee had been rained out the night before, and rescheduled for the same day. Even worse, qualifying for that race had been rained out, too, and in NASCAR, when qualifying is rained out, the starting grid is set by owner points. Through this process, Edwards was awarded pole, but Hank Parker Jr. ended up driving the car to a 20th place finish. Since Edwards did not start the race he was not awarded any points, and as such lost a 74 point lead in Busch Series points and dropped to fourth in the standings; Edwards never recovered from the missed race and finished the season third in points, well behind eventual series champion Martin Truex, Jr..

Edwards got his third win of 2005 on October 30 in the Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Edwards got his fourth win at Texas and became the tenth different driver to win at that track, and the fifth to win there for Roush Racing. By finishing the remainder of the 2004 season in the NEXTEL #99 car, he was not eligible to compete for the 2005 Rookie of the Year in NEXTEL Cup, but did win the 2005 Busch Series Rookie of the Year.

In 2006, Carl Edwards' and Roush Racing struggled to keep up with the competition. Edwards did not win a race in 2006. His best finish was at Michigan Speedway where he finished 2nd.

On May 18, 2007, Edwards won the pole for the 2007 NEXTEL Open, and while he lead almost the entire 40 lap race, he faded to third in the last few laps, just missing the feature event. On June 17, 2007 Carl Edwards broke his 52 race winless streak in the Nextel Cup by winning the Citizens Bank 400. Shortly thereafter, on July 23, he dislocated his thumb in an eleven car pileup at a late model race at Nebraska Raceway Park (formerly I-80 Speedway) near Lincoln, Nebraska. Carl won his second race of the 2007 season, and sixth career Cup race, at the Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 25. During the post-race interview on Victory Lane, Edwards commented on the race, saying, "This is the biggest win of my career". At the conclusion of the first 26 races, the 2007 "regular season", Edwards ranked 6th in overall standings, with 3372 points, 477 points behind overall points leader Jeff Gordon. Edwards entered the 2007 Chase for the Nextel Cup in 4th place, with 5020 points, based on his two wins in the 2007 season, clinching a spot in the Chase after his win at the Sharpie 500 at Bristol. Edwards struggled through the Chase despite winning at Dover during the Chase. The Hendrick duo of Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon dominated the Chase for the Championship winning 6 of the 10 races and finishing #1 and #2 in the final 2007 standings. Edwards finished 9th in the final 2007 standings.

On November 3, 2007, Edwards clinched his first NASCAR Busch Series Championship by finishing 11th at the O'Reilly Challenge. This came despite struggling in the second half of the Busch Series season. Edwards became the 19th different Busch Series Champion in the 26 years of the modern-era series.

2008 was Carl Edwards strongest year for Edwards finishing second to Jimmie Johnson in the NASCARSprint Cup Series Edwards won the 2008 Auto Club 500 his 1st Sprint Cup win of the year. The following week, Edwards won the UAW-Dodge 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, his first back to back victories since 2005 when he won back to back in Atlanta and Texas. These victories would put Edwards at the top of the point standings for the first time in his career.

However, following the Las Vegas win, on March 5, 2008, NASCAR penalized Edwards, owner Jack Roush, and crew chief Bob Osborne for violations found in post-race inspection. The No. 99 car driven by Carl Edwards was found to be in violation of Sections 12-4-A, 12-4-Q, and 20-2.1J of the 2008 NASCAR rulebook, specifically the cover was off the oil tank. The violations were found during post-race inspection at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 2. The following penalties were levied by NASCAR: Edwards was fined 100 driver points and stripped his 10 bonus points for the Las Vegas win which would be used to seat him in the Chase for Championship (should he make The Chase). Roush was fined 100 owner points and Osborne was suspended for six races and fined $100,000. RFR may contest the penalty, but only for the basis of drivers and owners points lost, as Osborne will begin serving his suspension. However, others in the garage, such as Ryan Newman, Elliot Sadler, and Lee White of Toyota have criticized the Roush Fenway team, saying that it was intentional. A similar penalty involving the #0 JD Motorsports team, who also had their oil tank top removed, was contested by the team but was not lifted.Edwards was leading the Kobalt Tools 500 looking for his 3rd consecutive victory, but on lap 274 his car began to smoke and his crew diagnosed the problem as a broken transmission. Edwards went on to finish 42nd. On April 7, he won the Samsung 500 at Texas Motor Speedway for his third win of the season.

On May 2, Edwards announced that he had signed a multi-year contract to remain with Roush Fenway Racing.It was announced that Aflac will be the full time sponsor of the 99 car in 2009. This was the largest sponsorship contract that Roush Fenway Racing has ever signed.

On August 3, Carl got his fourth NASCAR Sprint Cup victory of the season, surviving a rain delay and fuel shortage to win at Pocono.

On August 17, Carl Edwards dominated the 3M Performance 400 at Michigan International Speedway capturing his fifth win of the season and surpassing his career high season win total of four in 2005.

On August 24, Carl Edwards earned another victory by winning the Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. The win was his second consecutive and sixth of the season. He did a bump and run Kyle Busch in the closing laps to take the win from the dominant driver of the night. Busch showed his displeasure with Edwards after the race by driving into the side of Edwards' car, to which he returned the favor by spinning Kyle out.

On October 26, Edwards earned his 7th victory of the season with a win in the Pep Boys Auto 500 at Atlanta.

On November 2, Edwards tied Kyle Busch for the series wins lead by winning his second Dickies 500 at Texas, his eighth win of the season. He reduced his deficit in the points to 106 behind Jimmie Johnson.

On November 9 at Phoenix, Edwards finished fourth behind race winner Johnson, who by virtue of the win and the 10 bonus points he earned for leading one lap and the most laps took a 141-point lead over Edwards.

Edwards won the season finale at Homestead to take over the series wins lead for the season, extending his career high win total to nine. However, he did not finish far ahead enough of Johnson to take the Sprint Cup championship, as Johnson finished fifteenth and led at least one lap to win the championship by 69 points over Edwards (who led the most laps).

Heading into the 2009 Nascar Sprint Cup Season, Carl Edwards will be sponsored by Aflac. The Office Depot sponsorship heads over to Tony Stewart and his Stewart-Haas team. Subway will also join the #99 car in 3 races. Claritin will return this season for one race.

On June 6, 2007, Carl won the 2007 NEXTEL Prelude to the Dream at the Eldora Speedway. The Prelude is a dirt late model race organized in part by Tony Stewart, owner of Eldora, to benefit the Victory Junction Gang Camp and other worthy causes. Over 20 NEXTEL Cup drivers participated in the heat races and 30-lap feature, along with other drivers from different forms of motorsports. Edwards started second in the feature and held off Kyle Busch and Jeff Gordon to win.

Edwards participated in the 2008 Race of Champions, partnered by Tanner Foust. While in the individual event Edwards faced 7-time Formula One Champion Michael Schumacher and defeated him. In the next round, however, Edwards was defeated by eventual runner-up David Coulthard.

Edwards once dated Olympic gold medal-winning swimmer Amanda Beard.

Edwards is a first cousin once removed to fellow NASCAR driver Ken Schrader, who furiously told Edwards early in his racing career to get dirt track experience before going to Cup; he would later take the advice. Edwards would give a business card to other teams for his services before getting a ride with Roush Racing.

Off the track, Carl has been busy promoting his new record label, Back40 Records, a company he started with a high school friend back in Columbia, MO.

During the week of the Auto Club 500, Edwards participated in taping of the Fox television series 24, where he played Homeland Security Agent Jim Hill.

Carl Edwards and Dr. Katherine Downey (or Kate Downey) were married January 3rd, 2009. .

Carl Edwards has appeared on the covers of ESPN The Magazine and Men's Health shirtless, displaying his muscular body. He appeared in an Under Armour commercial during Super Bowl XLII. For a NASCAR driver, Edwards spends a lot of time developing his body, as photos of his abdominal and pectoral muscles have shown. Edwards made an appearance on the February 22, 2006 episode of The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. Ferguson produced the cover of the February issue of ESPN The Magazine which featured a bare-chested photo of Edwards. Joking that Edwards' nipples seemed far apart, Ferguson suggested this was due to the high rates of speed at which Edwards often traveled.

Edwards is popular among fans for celebrating his wins by doing a backflip off his car (or truck), a style of celebration he took from sprint car driver Tyler Walker. Seizing on the popularity of Edwards' trademark celebrations, Ford has recently run several "Overactive Adrenaline Disorder" commercials featuring a "young Carl" performing backflips in his baby crib, off of a couch, and off a doctors exam table. Edwards also performed his signature backflip not once, but twice in a recent This Is Sportscenter commercial when he tried to cheer up anchor Neil Everett following a bad show. He has recently appeared in Aflac Commercials with the Aflac duck driving the #99 car and doing Carl's trademark backflip which causes Carl Edwards to utter "I taught him that!". After his win in Milwaukee in the Nationwide Series in 2008, Edwards opted out of his typical backflip. NHRA racer Scott Kalitta was killed earlier that day and Edwards felt his backflip was inappropriate.

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Tony Stewart

Tony Stewart's entry from the 1999 Indianapolis 500.

Anthony Wayne Stewart (born May 20, 1971 in Columbus, Indiana) is an American race car driver/car owner/entrepreneur, in NASCAR's Sprint Cup. During his career he has won championships in the Winston Cup, Nextel Cup and IndyCar Series. He has also won championships in USAC and the IROC series.

He currently drives the #14 Office Depot/Old Spice Chevrolet Impala SS for his own team, Stewart Haas Racing under crew chief Darian Grubb. Stewart also drives part-time in the #80 Hendrickcars.com Chevrolet Impala SS for Hendrick Motorsports in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. From 1999 until 2008, he drove the #20 Joe Gibbs Racing car, under crew chief Greg Zipadelli, with Home Depot as the primary sponsor. His ten year tenure with the same team, sponsor, and crew chief is a NASCAR record.

Stewart grew up racing go karts and was successful very early, winning a World Karting Assoc. championship in 1987. He raced three-quarter midgets until 1991, when he moved up to the United States Auto Club (USAC) series with help from one of his karting sponsors and friend Mark Dismore. Stewart was the USAC Rookie of the Year in 1991, fifth in 1993 after winning the Hut Hundred, and was the National Midget series champion in 1994.

In 1995, Stewart became the hottest driver to win USAC's version of the Triple Crown, earning championships in all three of USAC's major divisions, National Midget, Sprint, and Silver Crown. The highlights of the year were winning the Hut Hundred and 4-Crown Nationals.

When he wasn't racing IndyCars, he raced stock cars. In 1996, Tony made his NASCAR Busch Series debut, driving for car owner Harry Rainer. In nine races, however, he had only a best finish of 16th place. He had more success in a one-time ride in the Craftsman Truck Series, where he finished 10th. He owns a track in wisconsin called Cedar Lake Speedway.

Tony was poised to improve his Indy Racing League (IRL) standing in 1997, but struggled with finishing at times. He failed to finish the first three races of a ten race schedule, but recovered to finish second at Phoenix. At that year's Indy 500, Stewart had a good enough car to win his first IRL race, leading 64 laps. However, he trailed off near the end of the race and settled for 5th. Tony finally got his first career win at Pikes Peak, where he led all but seven laps of a 200 lap race. He became the leading contender for the series' championship after a bad slump knocked points leader Davey Hamilton out of first place. Despite an average end to his season, finishing 7th, 14th, ffand 11th, and five DNFs, Stewart did just enough to beat Hamilton for the IRL title. He also raced in a few midget events, finishing thirteenth and eleventh in the 1997 and 1998 USAC national points, and winning the Copper Classic both years. Between his time in USAC and the IRL, Stewart earned the nickname of Smoke, first for slipping the right rear tire during dirt races, and for blowing his engine often during his '97 championship run. Most NASCAR fans and analysts today refer to Stewart by his nickname.

As he had done the previous year, he raced a handful of Busch Series races. This time, he was racing for Joe Gibbs, NFL Hall of Fame head coach of the Washington Redskins who was having a lot of success with driver Bobby Labonte in Winston Cup. When Stewart was able to finish races, he finished in the top 10, and had a 3rd place finish at Charlotte. Stewart so impressed Gibbs that he was signed to drive the majority of the Busch schedule in 1998 to go along with a full-time IRL schedule.

The double duty did not affect his performance in either series. In the IRL, he won twice and finished 3rd in the championship. His season was something of a disappointment, especially as he finished last in the Indy 500 because of an engine failure.

On the Busch side, he finished in the top-five five times in 22 starts. He came extremely close to winning his first Busch Series race at Rockingham, but was beaten on a last lap pass by Matt Kenseth. Stewart finished a solid 2nd place in 2 (of 31) starts, ahead of six drivers with more starts, and had an average finish that was comparable to some of the series' top 10 finishers. Gibbs had enough confidence in Tony that he was moved into Cup for the 1999 season. With that move, Stewart ended his three year career as a full time IRL driver.

Stewart started his Winston Cup career in 1999 with a bang, as he qualified his #20 Home Depot Pontiac in second place in his first Cup race, the Daytona 500. He showed courage in one of the Gatorade Twin 125 races, when involved in a great battle with Dale Earnhardt for the win. The Intimidator came out on top, but Stewart had nonetheless impressed quite a few people with his performance. In the 500 itself, Stewart ran near the front until problems with the car relegated him to a 28th place finish.

Stewart spent most of his rookie season wowing people, as his car was often in the top 10. He only failed to finish a race once, and even then, he was credited with 9th place. He won a pair of pole positions at short tracks, and set a series record for victories by a rookie with three (two of which within the last three races of the year). He finished his first year an unprecedented 4th in points, the highest points finish by a rookie in the modern era (until 2006 when rookie, and former teammate, Denny Hamlin finished 3rd), and only bested by James Hylton, who finished 2nd as a first-timer in 1966. Not surprisingly, he ran away with the Winston Cup Rookie of the Year award.

Stewart also attempted to race 1,100 miles (1,800 km) on Memorial Day Weekend, as he competed in both the Indy 500 during the day and the Coca-Cola 600 in Charlotte, N.C., at night. His attempt at "The Double" was fairly successful. He finished in the top 10 at both races; ninth in the 1999 Indy 500 and fourth at Lowe's Motor Speedway. However, he only completed 1,090 miles (1,750 km) of the scheduled 1,100.

Stewart's 2001 season got off to a frightening start, as he was involved in a spectacular crash in the Daytona 500 where his car violently flipped over several times toward the middle of the race that also had the final-lap crash that killed Dale Earnhardt Sr. He walked away unscathed, recovered to win three more races and, as he'd done before, ran near the front most of the season. Statistically, he had a worse season than 2000, but he was the runner-up to Gordon for the Cup championship.

For the second time he ran "The Double" on Memorial Day Weekend, in spite of a 17 minute rain delay at Indianapolis. He finished 6th in the Indianapolis 500 and 3rd in the Coca Cola 600, running all 1,100 miles (1,800 km) of the two races.

The 2001 season was not without controversy, however. Jeff Gordon pulled a "bump and run" on Stewart to gain a better finishing position in a race in Bristol, and it resulted in Stewart retaliating in a post-race incident by spinning Gordon out on pit road. Stewart was fined and placed on probation by NASCAR. He got into further trouble at Daytona, when he confronted a Winston Cup official after ignoring a black flag. At the same race, he also got into an incident with a reporter, kicking away a tape recorder. He confronted the same NASCAR official at the race in Talladega after refusing to wear a mandated head-and-neck restraint. Stewart was not allowed to practice until wearing one and only managed to practice after his crew chief, Greg Zipadelli intervened. His fines and probation periods resulting from these incidents have earned Stewart a reputation of having a hot-temper, and he became NASCAR's "bad boy".

Tony started 2002 even more inauspiciously than in the previous season, as his Daytona 500 lasted just two laps due to a blown engine. He went on to win twice early in the season but was only seventh in the points standings at the halfway point of the season. The second half of his season was plagued by an altercation with a photographer after the Brickyard 400. NASCAR put Stewart on probation for the rest of the season. He went on to win the very next week at Watkins Glen, and went on a hot streak in the final races, finishing consistently in the top five. At the end of the year, Stewart held off a charging Mark Martin to win his first Winston Cup championship. Many see this as a symbolic passing of the torch, as Stewart collected his first championship the year after Jeff Gordon won his fourth championship, who won his first championship the year after Earnhardt won his last championship. Earnhardt won his first championship in 1980, the year after Richard Petty won his seventh and final championship.

As defending champion, Stewart managed to have a relatively incident-free 2003. Driving a Chevrolet instead of his previous Pontiac (Gibbs switched between manufacturers), Stewart actually had his worst Cup season (until the 2006 season), but it was still good enough for seventh in the points. He only won twice that season but led more laps than he had the previous year and was highly competitive in the final races of the year.

The 2004 season was highlighted by first victory coming at Chicagoland as well as his second victory at Watkins Glen International. Stewart qualified fourth for the first ever Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup. However an incident at the first race of The Chase at New Hampshire International Speedway dashed hopes of a second series title.

In November, Stewart became the owner of one of the most legendary short tracks in America, Eldora Speedway. Located in New Weston, Ohio, Eldora is a half-mile dirt track known to many as "Auto Racing's Showcase Since 1954." Stewart began racing there in 1991 and continues racing in special events alongside other Nextel Cup drivers and dirt track legends.

In 2004, Stewart teamed with Englishman Andy Wallace and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. in a Boss Motorsports Chevrolet to take fourth in the 24 Hours of Daytona sports car race. The result does not show the trio's performance, however: They had dominated the race until the last two hours, when the suspension cracked. With 15 minutes left in the race, and with Stewart at the wheel, one of the rear wheels came off, finally ending their run. In addition to placing fourth overall, the trio placed third in the Daytona Prototype class.

2005 was one of Stewart's most successful years in the Nextel Cup. He won five races, including the Allstate 400 at The Brickyard, a race that Stewart said he would give up his championship to win, and took with it the No. 1 seed heading into NASCAR's Chase for the Nextel Cup 10-race playoff.

On August 16 Stewart was fined $5,000 for hitting the car of Brian Vickers, after the completion of the Busch Series Zippo 200 at Watkins Glen International. Stewart was driving a Busch series car owned by Kevin Harvick Incorporated at the time. Stewart also was placed on probation until December 31.

On November 20, Stewart won his second NASCAR Nextel Cup Championship, joining Jeff Gordon as the only active, full-time drivers to have won multiple championships. He also is one of the youngest drivers to win multiple championships. During the 2005 season, Stewart won a total of $13,578,168, including $6,173,633 for winning the championship, the largest season total in NASCAR history. Stewart also went through training to become a deputy sheriff in Alabama.

Stewart's 2006 season was very much up and down. He had competitive cars and scored early wins at Daytona and Martinsville. However he also had strings of bad luck. He also suffered a shoulder injury due to two heavy crashes in both the Busch and Cup races at Charlotte during the Memorial Day Weekend races (Stewart's Busch car hit the Turn 4 wall so hard it even knocked the rear end off the car). During the Dover race, he was substituted by Ricky Rudd, and in later weeks had to drive in pain.

Additionally he has once again been involved in several on track controversies.

Following a rough Bud Shootout on February 12, Stewart expressed concern to the media about the possibility of aggressive driving resulting in the serious injury or death of a driver. It came during a week in which the racing world remembered the fifth anniversary of the death of legend Dale Earnhardt, who died on the final lap of the 2001 Daytona 500. Just a few days after Stewart's comments to the media, during the 48th running of the Daytona 500, he was involved in a number of incidents with Jeff Gordon, Kyle Busch and Matt Kenseth, who he chased halfway across the track to run into the grass. "He has no room to complain," Stewart said of his brush with Kenseth. "He started it, and I finished it".

On May 20 during Nascar's All Star Race Stewart and Kenseth wrecked again. Each driver claimed it was the other one's fault with Stewart saying, "if (Kenseth) thinks it's my fault and I (caused the wreck) he's screwed up in his head." Following the wreck, several media outlets proclaimed the new Stewart-Kenseth rivalry as must-see TV. The so-called rivalry was short-lived as Kenseth and Stewart participated as friends in a joint promotional tour for DeWalt and Home Depot; Kenseth also appeared in September at Stewart's Eldora Speedway in the NEXTEL PRELUDE with NASCAR drivers, as well as the ARCA Truck Series event there.

On July 23, Stewart once again was at the center of a media storm. On lap 31 of the Pennsylvania 500, Stewart was accidentally squeezed against the wall by fellow driver Clint Bowyer. Stewart responded by waving his hand in anger, then purposely hitting Bowyer's car. This contact sent Bowyer spinning down the front stretch where he collided with Carl Edwards. Stewart was promptly held one lap by NASCAR for rough driving. He did however pass leader Ryan Newman to get back on the lead lap and eventually rallied to finish 7th and get back in the top 10 in the point standings. After initially refusing to take responsibility for the incident he apologized the next day.

Tony Stewart missed the cut to qualify for the 2006 Chase for the Nextel Cup by 16 points. He finished poorly at Richmond after wrecking his primary car in practice, and was displaced in the top ten by Kasey Kahne. As a result, he finished the 2006 season 11th in points, his worst thus far in his career, as he had completed each of his seven previous seasons in the top ten in points. Commenting on not being in the 2006 Chase, he says: “It lets us have the ability to take chances and try things ... that we've been wanting to try but just haven't had the luxury to do it. If we were in the Chase we wouldn't have that ability”. Stewart won three races in the 2006 Chase (Kansas, Atlanta, and Texas).

The season wasn't totally unkind to Stewart, however. He was a participant in the 30th season of IROC and won 2 of the 4 races (Texas, and the Daytona road course) on his way to capturing the series championship. He won a million dollars for the effort, but made an offer to return his prize money if IROC would hold one of its events at his Eldora Speedway. This offer was not entertained as IROC folded in 2007.

His 2007 racing season started out with Stewart winning his second Chili Bowl Nationals midget car feature. Tony started off the Daytona Speedweeks with a win in the 2007 Budweiser Shootout. It was his third win in the race. He also won his qualifying race for the Daytona 500.

On lap 152 of the Daytona 500, the rear of Stewart's car slid up the track, and when he tried to cut down the track, he smacked the front of Kurt Busch's car knocking both of them out of the race. Tony and the Busch brothers (Kurt and Kyle) were the three leaders for the majority of the race.

On March 22, 2007, it was released that Stewart would be on the cover of NASCAR 2008 for the third time (2001, 2004, 2008).

In his first Car of Tomorrow race with the Impala SS, Stewart was dominant at Bristol Motor Speedway, leading 257 of 504 laps (green-white-checkered finish), before he experienced a fuel pump problem. At the third Car of Tomorrow race at Phoenix International Raceway, Stewart lead a race high 154 laps, but a late race caution moved Stewart to second, where he finished behind Jeff Gordon. In the following week, Stewart implied the cautions were "bogus" and that NASCAR is rigged like professional wrestling.

On June 4, 2007, Stewart and Kurt Busch had an incident on pit road in the Autism Speaks 400 at Dover International Speedway. Busch passed Stewart on the inside, and Stewart smacked Busch into the wall, knocking out Busch, but with Stewart staying in the race. Under the caution, Stewart was on pit road in his pit box when Kurt Busch pulled along side to express his feelings over the incident. One of Stewart's crewmen had to jump out of the way of Kurt's car to avoid being hit.

At the All-Star Challenge at Lowe's Motor Speedway, he finished 5th behind Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson, Mark Martin, and Jeff Burton. At the Coca-Cola 600, Stewart finished sixth, after having to come in to pit for fuel.

On July 15, 2007, Stewart led a race high 108 laps and recorded his 30th career NEXTEL Cup win at the USG Sheetrock 400 at Chicagoland Speedway.

On July 29, 2007, after leading a race high 66 of 160 laps, Stewart won the "Allstate 400 at the Brickyard" race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, just 45 minutes from where he grew up. During the victory lane interview, Stewart was penalized 25 points and fined $25,000 for violating NASCAR's policy on the use of obscene language during interviews during the race.

On August 12, 2007, he won the Centurion Boats at the Glen at Watkins Glen International after Jeff Gordon spun his car around after wheel hopping in turn 1 with two laps to go.

Stewart began the 2008 season starting 6th for the 50th running of the Daytona 500, and was only able to come up with a 3rd place finish after being passed on the last lap by Ryan Newman and Kurt Busch.

With 3 laps to go in the 2008 Coca-Cola 600, Stewart cut a tire and saved it from contact with the wall. However, Stewart had to give up the lead to future race winner Kasey Kahne in order to take pits.

On July 5, during the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway, Tony began feeling ill and turned the car over to former Joe Gibbs Racing teammate JJ Yeley, who finished 20th after getting involved in two wrecks in the last 5 laps. Stewart earned his first win of the season in the AMP Energy 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on October 5th. On the final lap Stewart was passed by Regan Smith. NASCAR declared that Smith had made an illegal pass and awarded the victory to Stewart.

On July 8, 2008, it was reported that Stewart had been granted a release of the last year of his contract with Joe Gibbs Racing, and will make the move over to Haas CNC Racing to drive one of Haas' Chevrolets, which will be co-sponsored by Office Depot and Old Spice.Tony Stewart in 2009 will be owner of Stewart Haas Racing and own two cars the #14 Office Depot/Old Spice chevy and the #39 U.S Army Chevy. Stewart will also own half of the team, renaming it Stewart-Haas Racing. The reports also indicate that the deal will make Stewart the highest paid driver in NASCAR. The expected announcement of his departure from JGR was planned on Wednesday, July 9, and announcement of deal with Haas on July 10. It was announced on July 21 that Stewart will drive the #14 Office Depot/Old Spice Chevrolet car next season for Stewart-Haas Racing. He is the greatest driver, up to date, to drive for Joe Gibbs with 33 wins and two championships(One Winston Cup championship and one NEXTEL Cup championship).

On August 15th, 2008 it was announced at Michigan International Speedway that Ryan Newman signed a multi-year contract to drive the number 4 car for Stewart Haas Racing and will be a teammate to Stewart who will wheel the above mentioned 14 car for SHR. On his radio show on August 18, 2008, Tony Stewart surprised guest Ryan Newman with the announcement that he would not be driving the number 4 car, but rather the number 39 car. Recently it revealed that Newman's sponsor will be the U.S. Army that comes over from Dale Earnhardt, Inc..

As the most recent series champion not among the Top 35 in owner's points, Stewart was first in line for past champion's provisionals for the first five races of 2009. He made the first five races of 2009.

He frequently makes appearances on dirt tracks, appearing regularly at an ARCA race on dirt and at many prominent midget car events, USAC's Turkey Night Grand Prix, and the indoor Chili Bowl Midget Nationals.

During his NASCAR career, Tony Stewart once was told by #20 team owner Joe Gibbs that he could no longer compete in races outside of his Sprint Cup obligations. Stewart worked around this by entering a USAC National Midget race under the pseudonym "Smokey Jones" with the crowd at the track none the wiser. After winning the feature, "Smokey Jones" got out of his car and revealed himself to the crowd as Tony Stewart. He also once entered himself in a race, driving the infamous "Munchkin" midget chassis, as "Mikey Fedorchek Jr." after buying the Munchkin from Mike Fedorchek during a card game.

Stewart is the owner of various open-wheel short track racing cars, most of them being sponsored by Chevrolet since 2007, which has drawn the ire of some Toyota racing executives in NASCAR, especially since Toyota began extensive USAC midget and sprint sponsorship in 2007.

In 2009 Tony will own half of Haas CNC Racing which will become Stewart-Haas Racing. Haas CNC Racing, which fielded the #66 and #70 cars will now feild the numbers 14 and 39 as Stewart-Haas Racing. This decision involved parting ways with long-time crew chief Greg Zipadelli, sponsor The Home Depot, car number 20, and owner Joe Gibbs, all of which he spent 10 years with. He will drive the #14 Chevrolet Impala.Ryan Newman is also joining him at Stewart Haas Racing racing the #39 Impala.

Tony Stewart formed the racing team Stewart-Haas Racing, which also owns the #39 U.S. Army car, driven by Ryan Newman. Stewart drives the #14 Old Spice car, while the #20 The Home Depot car is driven by Joey Logano. In the Budwieser Shootout Tony Stewart finished 3rd. Teammate Ryan Newman wrecked three times, the last one taking out the #14 with him. Ryan Newman's car for the Daytona 500 was one of Stewart's backup cars, but they painted it to match the #39 Army scheme. Both Stewart and Newman were forced into backup cars, therefore moving them from their original starting positions in the 500, to the rear. Stewart and Newman finished 8th and 36th respectively.

Stewart has won USAC car owner titles in the Silver Crown division in 2002 and 2003 with J. J. Yeley, and in 2004 with Dave Steele. He also collected owner titles in USAC's National Sprint Car Series with Yeley in 2003 and Jay Drake in 2004.

Stewart's USAC midget and sprint cars carry #20 and #21, while his Silver Crown car carries #22.

Stewart also owns a dirt late model Chevrolet Impala that carries #20 he races frequently, including the Sprint Prelude to the Dream contest at Eldora Speedway. During its debut in 2007, Carl Edwards won, however, a year later in 2008 Stewart won the race himself. The money won is given to Victory Junction Gang Camp.

He is also the owner of Custom Works, a company that manufactures radio controlled oval track cars, and has had a degree of success as a r/c racer himself.

NASCAR driver Tony Stewart purchased Eldora Speedway speedway located near Rossburg, Ohio in late 2004 from Earl Baltes. Tony Stewart is currently a co-owner of Paducah International Raceway in Paducah, KY. He also co-owns Macon Speedway in Macon, IL along with Kenny Schrader, Kenny Wallace and Bob Sargent.

Founded in 2003 by Tony Stewart, the principal purposes of the Tony Stewart Foundation are to raise and donate funds to help care for chronically ill children, drivers injured in motorsports activities and to support other charitable organizations in the protection of various animal species. The Tony Stewart Foundation will raise and donate funds to charitable interests, specifically those that support the aforementioned groups.

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Gateway International Raceway

Gateway International Raceway Logo.png

Gateway International Raceway is a race track in Madison, Illinois, USA, just minutes from Downtown St. Louis, Missouri. It hosts a NASCAR Nationwide Series event and a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race on a 1.25 mile (2 kilometer) oval, a 1.5-mile (2.4 km) infield Road Course used by SCCA and various car clubs, and also has a quarter-mile drag strip that hosts an annual National Hot Rod Association event. The facilities are owned by Dover Motorsports, a group that also owns Memphis Motorsports Park, Dover International Speedway and the Nashville Superspeedway among others.

The first major event held at the facility was a CART series held on Saturday May 24, 1997, the day before the Indy Racing League's Indianapolis 500. Rather than scheduling a race directly opposite the Indy 500 (as they had done in 1996 with the U.S. 500), CART scheduled Gateway the day before to serve as their Memorial Day weekend open-wheel alternative without direct conflict. After a couple years, track management grew increasingly dissatisfied with its apparent use, as seen by some, as a political pawn or statement by CART and IRL/USAC and its poor attendance as fans generally chose to travel to the Indy 500 for the weekend instead. For 2000, the race was moved to the fall. In 2001, its was dropped from the CART series schedule, and switched alliances to the Indy Racing League. After mediocre attendance, the event was dropped altogether after 2003.

The 1.25-mile (2.01 km) oval is a favorite of many of the drivers who race there due to the unique shape and different degrees of banking in each corner. Turns 1 & 2 have characteristics similar to New Hampshire Motor Speedway while Turns 3 & 4 are similar to Phoenix International Raceway and the track's egg shape mimics the legendary Darlington Raceway. Several NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams test at GIR in preparation for these events.

There is also an 1.6-mile (2.6 km) infield road course used by sports car clubs and motorcycle organizations through the warmer months. This roadcourse hosted a round of the AMA Superbike Championship in 1995. Canadian Miguel Duhamel won the superbike class in blistering hot conditions.

In late 2006, Lenny Batycki took over as the vice president and general manager of the track. Unlike most of his predecessors, Batycki brought with him extensive marketing and PR knowledge of motorsports, having been a vice president at the North Carolina Speedway in Rockingham, NC and a vice president at Richard Childress Racing for a number of years, working with the late Dale Earnhardt for the last years of the seven-time champion's career.

In early January 2008, it was announced that the Missouri-Illinois Dodge Dealers would move their sponsorship from the NASCAR Craftsman Truck race to the NASCAR Nationwide Series race. The July 19 Nationwide Series will now be called the Missouri-Illinois Dodge Dealers 250. At the 2008 event, Carl Edwards became the fourth driver to win two NASCAR Nationwide Series events at GIR.

It was a big year in 2008 for the NHRA at GIR as legendary 14-time Funny Car champion John Force earned his 1,000th career round win against Ron Capps. Making the event doubly special was the fact it happened on his 59th birthday one week after he lost to his daughter, Ashley Force, in the finals at Atlanta for her first career Funny Car win. Another storyline in the day's event was Rod Fuller beating his arch rival Tony Schumacher in the finals. It would be a big win for Fuller as it represented one of the very few times Schumacher would be beat in an historic season for The Sarge, who won 15 races, with seven of them consecutively with 31 round wins in a row, en route to his fifth consecutive Top Fuel title and his sixth overall.

The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Gateway was sponsored by Camping World, becoming the Camping World 200. Ironically, the race was won by defending Truck Series champion Ron Hornaday, whose #33 Truck fielded by Kevin Harvick Inc. is sponsored by Camping World.

Also at the 2008 Camping World 200, GIR introduced its brand-new victory lane, a throwback to the one used at Rockingham. The project, spearheaded by Batycki, was an immediate hit as Hornaday and the rest of the Truck Series competitors were very complimentary of the new addition.

In 2009, two new events were added to the season schedule: The American Drag Racing League, a sanction headquarted in nearby O'Fallon, Missouri, and the USAC .25 Midget Series, the racing league's new quartermidget tour. The USAC event is in conjunction with the Gold Crown Nationals, a midget race co-sanctioned by USAC and POWRi scheduled to run at Tri-City Speedway in Pontoon Beach, Illinois.

Gateway International Raceway GM Lenny Batycki with 2008 Camping World 200 winner Ron Hornaday.

The winners of the 2008 NHRA POWERade Series O'Reilly Midwest Nationals celebrate in the Winners' Circle at Gateway.

GIR PR Director Brandon Mudd with Carl Edwards in the GIR Victory Lane at the end of the 2008 Missouri-Illinois Dodge Dealers 250.

Metallica's Summer Sanitarium Tour of 2000 made a stop at Gateway on July 3, 2000. Other artist featured at the concert were Korn, Kid Rock, Powerman 5000, System of a Down.

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Jimmie Johnson

Jimmie Johnson qualifying at Auto Club Speedway

Jimmie Kenneth Johnson (born September 17, 1975 in El Cajon, California) is a current NASCAR Sprint Cup race car driver who drives the #48 Lowe's Chevrolet Impala SS co-owned by Rick Hendrick and his teammate Jeff Gordon and operated by Hendrick Motorsports. Johnson is the reigning three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion. In 2008 he became only the second driver to win three consecutive Sprint Cup Series Championships (Cale Yarborough won in 1976, '77, and '78).

Johnson began his racing career on 50cc motorcycles at the age of five years old. Johnson was successful on motorcycles at an early age. By the time he was eight, he won the 60cc class championship despite injuring his knee with several races left in the season. From motorcycle racing he made the move onto four wheels and competed in several off-road leagues including SODA, SCORE International and Mickey Thompson Entertainment Group. He accumulated over 25 wins, 100 top-three finishes, six championships, and received Rookie of the Year honors in all three leagues. Johnson raced with Herzog Motorsports in the 1996 and 1997 SODA series. Johnson was a field reporter for ESPN in the SODA series.

In 1998, Johnson joined the American Speed Association (ASA) circuit, finishing fourth in the season while picking up Rookie of the Year honors. During this time, Johnson also began racing in the NASCAR Busch Series, driving in three events. In 1999, Johnson continued to run in both the ASA and the Busch Series, winning twice and finishing third in the ASA point race. By 2000, Johnson became a Busch Series driver with Herzog Motorsports, finished 10th in the points standings and third in the Rookie of the Year standings. He won his only Busch Series race in 2001 at the Hills Brothers Coffee 300 at Chicagoland Speedway in his 81st series event.

During the 2000 Season, Johnson was left in a tight spot while racing in the NASCAR Busch Series. Herzog Motorsports, which had fielded Johnson's cars for much of his career, was in a dilemma after losing their sponsor, Alltel to Penske Racing shortly after Roger Penske's son Greg was named to Alltel's Board of Directors. During the driver's meeting before the Busch Series race at Michigan International Speedway, Johnson asked fellow NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon for advice. Gordon kept in touch with Johnson after the incident, and a few months later, Hendrick Motorsports, on Gordon's recommendation, offered him a driver development deal with the potential of advancing in 2002.

Johnson's pre-Sprint Cup career is also noted for a crash that occurred at Watkins Glen when the brakes on his car failed heading into turn one. With his car running almost at full-speed, Johnson crashed head-on into the Styrofoam insulation and guardrail. Surprisingly Johnson emerged from the car uninjured, pumping his fists in the air in excitement.

Some of Johnson's most notable accomplishments throughout his NASCAR career include: In his rookie season he became the first rookie in the Cup series to sweep both races at a track when he won both races at Dover International Speedway. He became the first rookie ever to lead in the point standings (and to date the only rookie to do so). He is the only driver to finish in the top five in the standings in his first five full seasons. He has never finished below fifth in the final Sprint Cup points standings, finishing second twice (in 2003 and 2004) and winning the 2006, 2007, and 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup championships. Since his rookie season Johnson ranks second among all active drivers with an average of 4.5 wins a season (behind Jeff Gordon's 5.6) and second in average top 10 finishes a season with 21.25 (behind Tony Stewart's 21.28). In 2006, Johnson became the only driver to win the Daytona 500, Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, Aaron's 499 and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship all in the same year. He is the only driver to win three Coca-Cola 600s in a row. He also holds the record at Lowe's Motor Speedway with four straight wins and five total point race wins at the track. In 2007 he tied a NASCAR modern era record by winning four straight races, a feat last accomplished by his teammate Jeff Gordon in 1998.

Johnson began racing in the Cup series in 2002. He won the pole at the 2002 Daytona 500 and ended up finishing the race in 15th place. His rookie season would only improve from there, winning three races, finishing in the top-10 21 times, and having an average finish of 13.5 for the year. Johnson's first Cup win was in his home state at California Speedway, in the NAPA Auto Parts 500. Later in the year, he won the MBNA Platinum 400 and MBNA All-American Heroes 400, both held at Dover. Despite finishing the most points of any modern era rookie (James Hylton has the highest points finish for a rookie: 2nd), he was runner-up to Ryan Newman for NASCAR Rookie of the Year because the Rookie of the Year is awarded based on a driver's 15 best finishes, not his total points.

For his 2003 Cup campaign, Johnson had three points-race victories: first winning the Coca Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway and later sweeping both races at New Hampshire International Speedway, the New England 300 and the Sylvania 300. His 2003 Cup season statistics include 14 top-five finishes and 20 top-ten finishes, with an average finishing position of 11.4. Johnson finished the season second in the points standings to Matt Kenseth. Johnson got his first and second wins in back to back weekends by winning the The Winston on May 18 and the Coca-Cola 600 on May 25, both at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Drivers competing in The Winston (now known as the Sprint All-Star Challenge) do not earn points.

The second victory of the 2004 Chase, at the Subway 500 in Martinsville, Virginia on October 24, 2004, was marred by tragedy. Owner Rick Hendrick's son (Ricky Hendrick), twin nieces, brother, and chief engine builder Randy Dorton as well as Joe Turner, Scott Lathram were killed in an airplane crash en route to the race. All eight passengers and both pilots died in the incident, and Johnson was told after completion of the race.

Johnson passed Mark Martin with six laps to go the next week in Atlanta Motor Speedway to win the Bass Pro Shops/MBNA 500. Johnson won under the lights at Darlington in the final Mountain Dew Southern 500, and became the first driver since Jeff Gordon to win two legs of NASCAR's Grand Slam in a season. Despite this, Johnson's efforts would be futile as he would finish second in points to Kurt Busch by only 8 points, the closest points finish in NASCAR history. Johnson's 2004 Cup season statistics include 23 top-10 finishes, with an average finishing position of 12.1.

In 2005, Johnson stayed in the top five in the points standings all year, winning at Las Vegas, Lowe's Motor Speedway, Dover International Speedway, and then again at Lowe's Motor Speedway. In total, Johnson had four straight wins at his sponsor (Lowe's) sponsored track in Charlotte, North Carolina, and became only the second driver to win three consecutive races in one of NASCAR's majors (his car owner, Jeff Gordon, won four consecutive Southern 500 titles from 1995-1998, but that leg of the Grand Slam was eliminated in the Ferko lawsuit). Johnson had a chance to win the championship coming into the November 20 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, but finished 5th in points after crashing at the midway point of the event with a tire problem. Tony Stewart, Greg Biffle, Carl Edwards, and Mark Martin all finished ahead of the #48 Chevrolet. Johnson's 2005 Cup season statistics include 22 top-10 finishes with an average finishing position of 12.7.

Johnson won his first Daytona 500 on February 19, even though his regular crew chief, Chad Knaus, had been suspended after a rule infraction during qualifying. Darian Grubb was the crew chief when Johnson won the Daytona 500. His win was the second consecutive win at the Daytona 500 for Hendrick Motorsports. Johnson finished second at the next race at California Speedway and then beat Matt Kenseth by half a car length with a pass on the final turn on the caution-extended UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Johnson became the eighth driver to win a Career Grand Slam by winning the Aaron's 499 at Talladega by passing teammate Brian Vickers at the start of the final lap, finishing off an unprecedented streak of six wins in the past eleven majors. He won the final segment and million dollar bonus in the NEXTEL All-Star Challenge. Johnson was trying to go for five straight wins at a superspeedway, but he finished second to Kasey Kahne at the 2006 Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway. He came back from cutting his tire and going all the way down to 38th place to win the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard at Indianapolis, joining Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Sr. as drivers to have won the Career Grand Slam and the Allstate 400. After a horrible finish at New Hampshire International Speedway, Johnson fell to 9th in points, but then he went on to win the Subway 500 at Martinsville, raising him to fourth in the standings to eventually win the championship. Johnson's 2006 season ended with a 9th place finish at Homestead-Miami Speedway, winning his first career NEXTEL Cup Series Championship. His total winnings for the 2006 season were a record $15,770,125. On December 6, 2006 it was announced that he was voted the 2006 Driver of the Year, which is a unique award, as it covers all racing series in the United States. Johnson's 2006 Cup season statistics include 24 top-10 finishes with an average finishing position of 9.7.

Johnson's 2007 season began with a DNF after he was knocked out of the Daytona 500 when he was bumped into the infield. He recovered quickly with a third place finish at California the next week, and went onto win the UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400, the Kobalt Tools 500, and the Goody's Cool Orange 500.

On May 6, 2007, Johnson won the Jim Stewart 400 at Richmond. During the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, Johnson blew a tire and crashed hard into the outer wall. As the car erupted in flames, although suffering slight eyebrow burns, Johnson climbed out and was not injured.

On September 2, he clinched a position in The Chase for the NEXTEL Cup with his win at Fontana in the Sharp AQUOS 500; Johnson entered The Chase as the leader, with 5060 points, based on his six regular season wins. The next week, he won the Chevy Rock & Roll 400.

On October 21, Johnson won the Subway 500 at Martinsville for his seventh win of the season, breaking a tie with then-points leader Jeff Gordon for most wins on the season. On October 28, Johnson won again at the Pep Boys Auto 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, moving him to within nine points of Gordon in the race for the 2007 Nextel Cup Championship. Johnson donated all of his winnings from this race to the victims of the wildfires in San Diego, California. He followed that victory with another at the Texas Motor Speedway on November 4. On November 11, he won his fourth straight race at Phoenix, making him the first driver since Gordon in 1998 to win four consecutive races. Johnson's streak brought his win total for the year to ten, making him the first driver to win 10 or more times in a season since Gordon, who did it three consecutive years (the last being a record-tying 13 win season in 1998). With the win Johnson joined Gordon (three times), Rusty Wallace, Dale Earnhardt, Darrell Waltrip (twice), Bill Elliott, Cale Yarborough, and Richard Petty as the only modern-era drivers to win 10 or more times during a season.

He won his second straight championship on November 18, 2007 at Homestead-Miami Speedway with a 7th place finish. He defeated Jeff Gordon by 77 points. The championship was the final one with NEXTEL as the series title sponsor. It was also the final championship to use cars based on the 1964 Holman Moody Ford Fairlane template.

Johnson started on the pole for the Auto Club 500 due to rain canceling qualifying, and the field being determined by 2007 owner points.

Qualifying for the Food City 500 at Bristol was rained out, so the starting grid was set by 2007 owners points. Since Johnson was the 2007 champion, he would start on the pole.

Johnson qualified 7th for the Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix. He dominated the race, leading a race-high 120 laps. In the final laps, Johnson played the fuel mileage game as the other leaders headed to pit road for gas. Johnson went the distance and won over Clint Bowyer, his first win in 2008.

Johnson won the pole for the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard. In a wild race of cautions, Johnson held off Carl Edwards to win his 2nd race of the year, and his 2nd at Indy.

After a string of bad luck at Michigan and Bristol, Johnson earned the pole for the Pepsi 500 at Auto Club Speedway and dominated the race from start, leading 227 of the 270 laps raced. He won his third of the season and third win at the track.

Johnson started third in the Chevy Rock & Roll 400 due to the cancellation of qualifying because Tropical Storm Hanna. He battled Tony Stewart late in the race to go on and win the 37th race of his career and his 3rd Richmond win.

Johnson started first and finished first in three races during the 2008 Chase for the Sprint Cup: the Camping World RV 400 at Kansas, the TUMS QuikPak 500 at Martinsville, and the Checker O'Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Pheonix. He also earned two other poles during the Chase: the Bank of America 500 at Lowe's Motor Speedway, and the Pep Boys Auto 500 at Atlanta.

After starting 30th, Johnson crossed the finish line in 15th and gained his third straight championship at the Ford 400. He became only the second driver to accomplish this.

Johnson participated in two Grand Am Rolex Sports Car series races in 2007; Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona (January 24-28) and the Porsche Brumos 250 at Daytona (July 5). His NASCAR sponsor Lowe's paired him up with the Riley factory entry driven by Jim Mathews and Marc Goossens.

Johnson has also participated in some more-recent off-road events, including a winning drive with Team USA at the 2002 Race of Champions. Johnson appeared at the event again in 2004 and was scheduled to appear alongside Travis Pastrana at the event in Paris's Stade de France on December 16, 2006. Due to an injury, he was not able to drive in the race, but still went to offer support as a consultantalso in dirt truck racing.

Jimmie Johnson attended Granite Hills High School in El Cajon, California near San Diego. He went to the same high school as friend and current free-agent second baseman Marcus Giles. His No.48 is retired at his school for all sports.

Johnson has been married to Chandra Janway since December 11, 2004.

He is an avid San Diego Padres and San Diego Chargers fan as they are his hometown teams. He also follows the Atlanta Braves and the Carolina Panthers (His adopted team since he is now based in North Carolina; the latter is based in Charlotte, close to Lowe's headquarters in Mooresville, NC). As is the custom on Fox's NFC Championship Game broadcasts (or Super Bowl when Fox has the Super Bowl that year), Jimmie appeared on the post-game show for the 2007 NFC Championship game when the Chicago Bears defeated the New Orleans Saints (The NASCAR Sprint Cup champion makes an appearance during that game). His interview aired directly opposite of the opening kickoff of the AFC Championship game.

Johnson maintains strong ties to the San Diego area. He is a part of one of the local San Diego Chevy dealers that carries his name (along with owner Rick Hendrick). Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet in the Kearny Mesa section of San Diego County. Jimmie was named San Diego's Pro-Athlete of the Year by the San Diego Hall of Champions on January 31, 2007. San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders also proclaimed October 9th, Jimmie Johnson Day.

Johnson formerly hosted a weekly radio show, "Not What You Expected", on XM Satellite Radio. Marty Smith, NASCAR journalist and friend of Johnson's, hosted it with him. They had numerous guests on the show including Major League Baseball player and Johnson's high school friend Marcus Giles, fellow drivers Brian Vickers, Matt Kenseth, and Jeff Gordon, crew chief Chad Knaus, singer and friend Nick Lachey, and others.

Following his second NASCAR championship Jimmie Johnson purchased a new Gulfstream jet to travel to weekly racing events.

Jimmie Johnson launched the Jimmie Johnson Foundation in February 2006. The Jimmie Johnson Foundation is dedicated to assisting children, families and communities in need throughout the United States. The Foundation strives to help everyone, particularly children, pursue their dreams.

The Jimmie Johnson Foundation supports charitable organizations that further the mission of the foundation. Current and past projects include granting wishes for children through the Make-A-Wish Foundation, assisting the American Red Cross with disaster relief efforts, building a four-lane bowling alley for children with chronic and life-threatening illnesses at the Victory Junction Gang Camp, and hosting a golf tournament in San Diego to raise funds to build a Habitat for Humanity home in Jimmie’s home town of El Cajon.

In 2007 and 2008, Johnson won at his home track, California Speedway, in a special Jimmie Johnson Foundation paint scheme.

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2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series

#48-Jimmie Johnson takes the green flag along side #55-Michael Waltrip in the start of the 50th running of "The Great American Race".

The 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series began on February 9, 2008 at Daytona International Speedway with the Budweiser Shootout, followed by pole qualifying on Sunday, February 10, 2008 for the 50th Daytona 500 on February 17. The season continued with the 2008 Chase for the Sprint Cup beginning on September 14 with the Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and concluded with the Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16. Due to the merger in 2005 of Sprint and Nextel, NASCAR's premier series was known as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series beginning with the 2008 season, crowning the first champion under the new Sprint sponsorship. The series has no connection with Sprint car racing, as NASCAR uses stock car bodies. Coors Light also replaced Budweiser as Official Beer of NASCAR, thereby becoming the new sponsor of the Pole Award given to pole winner in each Sprint Cup Series race. However, Budweiser was still the official sponsor for Bud Shootout at Daytona in February.

All Sprint Cup races utilized the Car of Tomorrow (CoT) template. NASCAR announced on May 22, 2007 that the original timetable, which would have the full-time use of the single car template in 2009, was being abandoned as 80% of all owners were in favor of moving the full-time use of the CoT one year ahead so they would not race with two sets of rules for all but ten races. The cars approved for the 2008 season were the Chevrolet Impala, the Dodge Charger, the Ford Fusion and the Toyota Camry. Dodge had used the Avenger in the 2007 CoT races, but stated that the Charger would be used full time in 2008.

The Economic crisis of 2008, with high gas prices over US $4 a gallon caused NASCAR's largely blue-collar fan base to feel the pinch. While Bristol was one of a few tracks that still sold out, others saw crowds shrink. Daytona International Speedway sold out the Daytona 500, the Coke Zero 400 did not. Some track ticket packages now included all-you-can-eat deals, and tracks also offered nearby campgrounds to entice those who come for several days to see Nationwide and Craftsman Truck races. For their fall race, Lowe's Motor Speedway offered discounts on local hotel rooms, novelties and food and drink.

The economy also affected the teams themselves with high diesel fuel prices, with that fuel needed to power the semi-trailer trucks which transport the race cars to and from racetracks. Sponsorships also grew increasingly harder to come by, further increasing the gap between teams. Before the season began, Morgan-McClure Motorsports ceased operations for their single-car team, while Yates Racing had no major sponsor on the #28 and #38 cars that they run in the series, as their M&M's sponsorships moved to the Joe Gibbs Racing's #18 team. The Yates team made do in piecemeal fashion, finding companies to sponsor a few races at a time, a practice that paid the bills but stretched the marketing department. As a result of the cutbacks, half of the one hundred employees at Yates were laid off.

Even better sponsored teams struggled. On July 1, Chip Ganassi Racing shut down its #40 team with 2007 IndyCar Champion and Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti driving because of a lack of sponsorship funding, becoming the first major victim. Ganassi Racing lost 70 jobs as a result of the closure. Other companies also switched teams for 2009. Caterpillar Inc., despite its decade long relationship with Bill Davis Racing and its flagship #22, moved to Richard Childress Racing's #31 car driven by Jeff Burton, while General Mills, associating itself with Petty Enterprises since 2000, also left to head for RCR's fourth team.

To counter many of these problems, teams also took on financial partners, much like Fenway Sports Group joining Jack Roush and George Gillett teaming up with Ray Evernham last year. In June 2008, Petty Enterprises sold a majority share to Boston Ventures as another example of the economic struggles.

See 2008 Chase for the Sprint Cup for the final standings.

Teams that were required to qualify on speed each week are listed with their owners' points standing in bold.

The following is a list of teams that tried to run the full 36 race schedule in 2008.

NOTE: Chase teams standings have a yellow background.

NOTES: 1. Bill Davis Racing's #27 team suspended operations on March 10, 2008, due to lack of sponsorship. The team had originally planned to run the full schedule with former F1 driver Jacques Villeneuve. That team is officially listed as 47th in owners points. 2. Chip Ganassi Racing's #40 team suspended operations on July 1, also due to a lack of sponsorship. Dario Franchitti was to have run the full schedule, and was listed as 40th in owners points at that time. Bryan Clauson was scheduled to run in the #40 at the Bank of America 500 and the Pep Boys Auto 500, but both times qualifying was rained out and the car did not make the field.

Drivers in bold were released during the season.

The following is a list of teams that ran part time in 2008.

The 2008 season marked the second year of television contracts with FOX, TNT and ESPN/ABC. The biggest changes involved ESPN and ABC, as Dale Jarrett became the network's lead race color commentator and Rusty Wallace became the pre-race analyst. Dale, who completed his driving career with the Sprint All-Star Race XXIV, followed in the footsteps of his father, Ned, who worked with ESPN through most of the 1980s through the 2000 NASCAR season. Allen Bestwick took over the hosting role for all races as well as some editions of ESPN 2's NASCAR Now, replacing Brent Musburger and Suzy Kolber on the pre-race show, with Shannon Spake taking Bestwick's place as pit reporter. Also, veteran NASCAR reporter Nicole Manske (along with Ryan Burr) took over as a part-time host of NASCAR Now show for Erik Kuselias. No major changes were made by Fox and TNT for the 2008 season.

One innovation was FOX's "Gopher Cam", placed below the track near the inside of the turns for a unique perspective. In the need for a name for their new mascot, Fox turned to internet users and even drivers for suggestions, and the gopher cam mascot was named "Digger". "Digger" is now emblazoned on T-shirts, hats and even as a plush toy. Another innovation was TNT's "RaceBuddy", an internet application that showed multiple views of the race and radio feeds from drivers (using NASCAR.com's RaceDay Scanner).

In Canada NASCAR races were seen on TSN and RDS in English and French, while Speed Channel Latin America held the rights in Mexico and all of Latin America, including the Bud Shootout, the Gatorade Duels and the Sprint All-Star Race.

Sky Sports held the rights in Great Britain, while Five US aired a one-hour highlights package preceding each race. In Australia the 2008 Sprint Cup Series season was covered by FOX SPORTS as usual however, Free-to-air TV's TEN HD presented marquee events live along with one hour highlights packages from all other rounds the Saturday after the event. TenHD also presented the entire Nationwide series season, marking the first time that a full NASCAR Championship was shown on Free-to-Air TV in Australia, mostly due to Marcos Ambrose's involvement in the series. NTV held the rights in Japan, while Sky Italia held rights in Italy (only NNS) and Premiere Sport held the German rights. In Spain, Teledeporte broadcasted six live races and hour-long summaries of the remaining thirty.

On January 21, 2008, NASCAR announced various competition changes for the 2008 season.

The first tests followed the change of the calendar at Daytona International Speedway in the first two full weeks of January. Teams that finished in odd numbered positions (1, 3, 5, etc.) through the 2007 USG Sheetrock 400 tested January 7 through 9, while even numbered finishers (2, 4, 6, etc.) through that same period tested January 14 through 16. Speed televised nightly reports throughout this period, as well as the events of the annual Media Tour in Charlotte and the tests in Las Vegas (held on January 28 and 29th) and California (held on January 31 and February 1).

On April 15, an additional practice session was announced by NASCAR at Lowe's to be held on May 5 and 6th due to problems that were unforeseen at both Las Vegas and Texas during their spring races.

See List of 2008 NASCAR races for a complete list and schedule of the 2008 season races.

The 2008 NASCAR season and the 2008 edition of Speedweeks began with the thirtieth annual Budweiser Shootout on February 9 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. The non-points race, featured the previous season's pole winners and past winners of the event. Following tradition teams randomly picked their starting positions, Kurt Busch drew the pole, but ultimately had to start near the rear due to a crash in final practice. The 2008 race set a record with 23 drivers starting the race, the largest field ever in the event. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. won his first NASCAR race with his new team Hendrick Motorsports and his first Sprint Cup Series win since May 2006 at Richmond, leading a record 47 of the 70 laps.

Qualifying for the 2008 Daytona 500 in Daytona Beach, Florida at Daytona International Speedway took place on February 10 of that year. Jimmie Johnson won the pole with Michael Waltrip starting second who had been the center of controversy during a cheating scandal in last year's race.

The Gatorade Duels were held on February 14, 2008, which established the starting order for the 2008 Daytona 500. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. won the first race which was wreck free, while the second race was won by Denny Hamlin driving a Toyota. This was the first win for Toyota in the Sprint Cup Series, and the first win by a foreign make since 1954. Bill Elliott driving the #21 Ford for Wood Brothers Racing failed to race his way in during the first duel, this will be the first time the Wood Brothers team has not competed in NASCAR's signature event in 46 years. A wreck in the second race on Lap 17 took out Jacques Villeneuve, Stanton Barrett, Dario Franchitti, and Jamie McMurray after Villeneuve got loose in Turn 3.

Also qualifying for Daytona 500: Brian Vickers (#83 Team Red Bull Toyota).

NOTE: Race Two finish was extended four laps due to green-white-checker finish rule.

The 50th annual running of the Daytona 500 was held on February 17, 2008, marking the 50th anniversary since the inaugural running in 1959. Ryan Newman won the race with teammate Kurt Busch finishing second, it marked team owner Roger Penske's first win on a restrictor-plate track. The win also ended Ryan Newman's 81 race winless drought in Sprint Cup Series racing. Jeff Burton led during the last restart with 3 laps left and immediately lost the lead. Tony Stewart led during the last lap but it was the Penske Racing teammates of Ryan Newman and Kurt Busch who denied Stewart the win as he tried for the 10th time to win the race.

NOTE: Robby Gordon, owner/driver of the #7 Dodge, was penalized both 100 championship driver and owner points after NASCAR officials confiscated an unapproved Dodge Charger nose piece on his Car of Tomorrow during opening day inspection for the Daytona 500 on February 8. Gordon's crew chief Frank Kerr was fined $100,000 and suspended for the next six Sprint Cup Series events until April 9. The points penalty dropped him to 40th place after finishing 8th in the season opener. However, on March 5, an appeals committee overturned the point penalty and suspension, but increased the fine to $150,000. Gordon's infraction occurred because of a nose that Gillett Evernham Motorsports had given the team was not yet approved. The team had switched to Dodge from Ford after Daytona testing and has assistance from Gillett Evernham Motorsports, which gave the nose in question.

The 2008 Auto Club 500 was run on February 24 and February 25 due to rain at the newly renamed Auto Club Speedway of Southern California (previously California Speedway) in Fontana, California. Qualifying was canceled for the Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Craftsman Truck Series after periods of rain showers fell for most of the day on Friday. As a result, the race lineup was determined by the NASCAR rule book. The race began on late Sunday afternoon but was red flagged and eventually postponed until Monday morning. Veteran NASCAR driver Mark Martin made his 700th Sprint Cup Series start. The first caution of the race was brought out when Denny Hamlin lost control in Turn 3 after running over some water that had seeped up through cracks in the track surface. The next caution involved a large wreck when Casey Mears spun out in Turn 2 after also running over water. The wreck collected Casey's teammate Dale Earnhardt, Jr..

Reed Sorenson and Sam Hornish, Jr. were also involved. Hornish hit Sorenson's car causing his car's hood to come up and hit his windshield obscuring his vision leading him to rear end the back of Casey Mears' car causing Mears' car to tumble onto its side. The race was red flagged as track workers cleaned up and tried to repair the water problem by cutting into the track. Drivers who were involved in early wrecks notably Earnhardt, Jr. and Mears complained that NASCAR should not have started the race with water still seeping onto the track. Eventually a seventh caution for rain put the race on hold, at 11:00 PM PT (2:00 AM ET), NASCAR decided to postpone the remaining race laps until Monday morning at 10:00 AM PT (1:00 PM ET) due to seeping water on the track. When the race resumed, it was Hendrick Motorsports teammates Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson leading the race until Carl Edwards took the lead from Johnson to win his first race at Auto Club Speedway. The Nationwide Series race was run one hour after the conclusion of the Sprint Cup race.

The UAW-Dodge 400 was run on March 2 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Kyle Busch, a Las Vegas native won the pole and led 56 laps in the race before slipping to 11th. Matt Kenseth also ran strong during the race leading 70 laps and was running third with five laps to go when he was spun by Jeff Gordon. Gordon's car hit hard against the inside retaining wall head on at 180 miles per hour, and the wall did not have a SAFER barrier, this caused his car's radiator to fly out from the chassis into the path of oncoming traffic. Kenseth was able to recover from the spin without hitting anything. The wreck brought a red flag on lap 264 as track workers cleaned up, Jeff Gordon walked away sore from the wreck and made the point that SAFER barriers should be installed to the inside walls. Carl Edwards went on to win his second race in a row and the ninth of his career.

Following the race it was announced that the #99 car driven by Edwards had failed post-race inspection. On March 5, Edwards was docked 100 championship points with team owner Jack Roush also docked 100 owner points. Carl Edwards' crew chief Bob Osbourne was fined $100,000 and suspended for six races until April 30. As the 99 team qualified for the Chase for the Sprint Cup, the team did not receive 10 bonus points for the UAW-Dodge 400 victory used for determining the Chase seeding order.

NOTE: Burney Lamar (#08) withdrew prior to qualifying.

The Kobalt Tools 500 was held on March 9 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Jeff Gordon won the pole. Carl Edwards had the car to beat along with Kyle Busch, although Edwards' engine expired late in the race. Busch would go on to lead 173 laps and win the race giving Toyota its first Sprint Cup Series victory. The win also marked the first win by a foreign make since 1954.

The Food City 500 was held on March 16 at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. Qualifying was canceled due to a day-long rain on March 14, and as a result, the field was set by NASCAR's rulebook, giving Jimmie Johnson the 2007 series champion, the pole position. Jeff Burton won the race after it was extended six laps due to the green-white-checker finish rule when Denny Hamlin had fuel pump problems on the final restart.

NOTE: Race extended six laps due to green-white-checker finish.

Failed to make race as qualifying was canceled due to rain: Patrick Carpentier (#10), Jeff Green (#21), John Andretti (#34).

As a result of the standings after this race, two teams that were not in the Top-35 in owners points, the #83 Red Bull Toyota Camry of Brian Vickers and the #2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger of Kurt Busch (owners points were given to the #77) will be locked into the Top 35 after the first five races.

The Goody's Cool Orange 500 was held on March 30 at Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, Virginia. Jeff Gordon won the pole. Kyle Petty failed to make the race after Dario Franchitti tied with his qualifying time, due to the fact that Franchitti was 38th in owners points and Petty was 40th, marking the first time since 2004 that he failed to make a race. Denny Hamlin won this race, the second for Toyota in Sprint Cup history. The race was notable for having 20 caution periods, the second most cautions during a NASCAR Sprint Cup race; only the 22 cautions at the 2005 Coca Cola 600 holds that record.

The Samsung 500 was held on April 6 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. won the pole. The race was won by Carl Edwards who started 2nd and led 123 laps. The major story of the race weekend was Michael McDowell's near head on crash during qualifying after he lost control heading into Turn 1 on his second lap. McDowell's car slammed into the Turn 1 SAFER barrier and spun upside down for several hundred yards before the car began a series of at least eight barrel rolls, coming to rest at the bottom of the race track near the infield. McDowell exited the car and was ok. Qualifying was delayed 1 hour and 12 minutes as NASCAR officials assessed and repaired damage to the SAFER barrier.

NOTES: 1. Race extended five laps due to a green-white-checker finish. 2. During post race inspection Ryan Newman's #12 car was found to be one-eighth of an inch higher beyond the allotted half-inch tolerance. As a result, Newman and car owner Roger Penske were penalized 25 championship driver and 25 championship owner points, respectively. Crew chief Roy McCauley was fined $25,000 and placed on probation until December 31.

The Subway Fresh Fit 500 was held on April 12 at Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale, Arizona. Ryan Newman won the pole. Coverage of the pre-race was interrupted when FOX switched over to cover the remaining Yankees-Red Sox baseball game. Jimmie Johnson won the race by not pitting for fuel during the last laps. The win marked Hendrick Motorsports' first win of the 2008 season.

The Aaron's 499 was held April 27 at Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Alabama. The race marked the one-quarter mark of the season. Joe Nemechek won the pole. David Stremme substituted for Dario Franchitti, who fractured his left ankle in a hard crash during the Nationwide Series Aaron's 312 race. Kyle Busch won the race after leading only 12 laps. The race featured only eight cautions. Most of those cautions were results of one or two car incidents. However, the last caution was a result of the "Big One" that occurred in the final moments of the race. Because the crash occurred after the white flag had been waved, the race was allowed to finish under caution.

The Crown Royal Presents The Dan Lowry 400 was held on May 3 at Richmond International Raceway in Richmond, Virginia. Denny Hamlin won the pole and went on to lead 381 of the 400 laps. However, a leaking right-front tire caused him to fall back with 18 laps left. It then appeared that Dale Earnhardt, Jr. whose last Sprint Cup win came at this race two years ago would be able to win the race and end his winless streak, but was spun out by Kyle Busch with Three laps to go. The race was won by Clint Bowyer who was running third at the time of Earnhardt's spin.

NOTE: Race was extended by eight laps due to green-white-checker finish.

The Dodge Challenger 500 was run May 10 at the newly repaved Darlington Raceway in Darlington, South Carolina. Greg Biffle won the pole, breaking Ward Burton's long standing pole speed by 5.6 mph (9.0 km/h), mostly due to the repaved surface on the track. Kyle Busch was the winner of the race. this would be the last race under the "Dodge Challenger 500" name; next year the race will return to the original name of the Southern 500.

Sprint All-Star Race XXIV and the Sprint Showdown were both held on May 17 at Lowe's Motor Speedway in the Charlotte, North Carolina suburb of Concord. This non-points race involved winners of the 2007 and 2008 season, along with past Sprint Cup champions and All-Star Race winners from the past decade (1998 through 2007) plus the top two finishing drivers of the Sprint Showdown and a driver voted in by fans from the Showdown who's car had to be raceable. On the line was $1,000,000 in prize money for the winner. Kasey Kahne finished fifth in the Showdown and was voted into the All-Star event and went onto capture the victory, becoming the third driver to qualify from the preliminary race and win the main event and the first chosen by the fan vote to do the same. The only cautions the race had was after all 4 segments ended which was 4 cautions.

NASCAR's longest race in terms of distance, the Coca-Cola 600 was run on May 25 at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina, a suburb of Charlotte. Kyle Busch won the pole. Tony Stewart led the race in the final laps after making a pit stop for fuel only, but with three laps remaining Stewart blew a tire giving the lead to Kasey Kahne who was running five seconds behind. Kahne and Greg Biffle finished first and second respectively for the second week in a row. Kahne became the first driver to win the Coca-Cola 600 and the All-Star Race in the same year since Jimmie Johnson in 2003, and the sixth overall.

The Best Buy 400 was held on June 1 at Dover International Speedway in Dover, Delaware. Greg Biffle won the pole. A wreck on Lap 17 ruined the day for championship contenders Tony Stewart, Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Clint Bowyer, and Kasey Kahne. The wreck occurred when Elliott Sadler made slight contact with David Gilliland, Sadler's car spun out and blocked traffic down the narrow backstretch. Polesitter Greg Biffle dominated the early laps leading 164 of them. Although an alternator problem on Lap 170 forced Biffle to relinquish his lead to teammate Carl Edwards. Biffle switched batteries and kept going, although he was forced to leave the cooling fans off inside his car. In the final 153 Laps there were no cautions allowing Kyle Busch to build a lead over 8 seconds to second place runner Carl Edwards. Busch took the lead from Edwards during green-flag pit stops that ended on Lap 237. Only the top six cars managed to stay on the lead lap.

The Pocono 500 was held on June 8 at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. Kasey Kahne won the pole, he went on to win the race. Starting with Pocono TNT started its' six race broadcast schedule. Kyle Busch qualified tenth but in the second practice hit the wall and started from the back. He finished dead last after a crash with Jamie McMurray, but had a big enough cushion in the standings to remain in first place over Jeff Burton by 21 points.

NOTE: Tony Raines (#34) withdrew before the qualifying session.

The LifeLock 400 was held on June 15 at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan. Qualifying was cancelled because of rain after twelve drivers took times, and the field was set by the NASCAR rulebook. With a green-white-checker finish extending the race, and fuel economy usage, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. won his first points paying race in 76 attempts in the first win by a driver from North Carolina in a NASCAR Sprint Cup race since October 2006 at Talladega when Brian Vickers won; ironically, Vickers won for Earnhardt's new team, Hendrick Motorsports. It also marked the first time a Chevrolet has gone to victory lane in the last 14 Sprint Cup races there.

Failed to make race as qualifying was cancelled due to rain: Jason Leffler (#70), Tony Raines (#34). NOTES: 1. Race extended three laps due to green-white-checker finish. 2. The #87 Denver Mattress car driven by Kenny Wallace as well as the #08 car without a driver were withdrawn earlier in the week.

The first of two road course races on the schedule, the Toyota/Save Mart 350, was raced at Infineon Raceway at Sears Point in Sonoma, California on Sunday, June 22. Kasey Kahne won the pole, but Kyle Busch dominated the field again starting from the 30th position and winning.

Failed to Qualify: J.J. Yeley (#96), Scott Riggs (#70), Dario Franchitti (#40), Brandon Ash (#02) NOTE: Race was extended by two laps due to green-white-checker finish.

The Lenox Industrial Tools 301 was raced on Sunday, June 29 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire. The big surprise was sprung in qualifying when following a rain delay of nearly two hours, Québécois Patrick Carpentier won the pole position over Bobby Labonte. Another big surprise was when Kurt Busch won the race, curtailed 17 laps shy of the scheduled distance as severe thunderstorms hit the area under the seventh and final caution.

NOTE: Race was cut short to 283 laps due to rain.

The Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola was held on July 5 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. Martin Truex, Jr.'s car was seized by NASCAR, after the roof template would not fit during opening day technical inspection. Penalties of 150 owner and driver points penalties and a $100,000 fine along with his crew chief and his assistant (car chief) were both suspensded for six races being announced on July 8. Paul Menard won the pole, the first of his Sprint Cup career. Tony Stewart became extremely ill on lap 73 and was replaced by former teammate J. J. Yeley. Kyle Busch won his sixth race of the season and the tenth of his career.

NOTE: Race was extended two laps under a green-white-checker finish.

The second half of the season began with the LifeLock.com 400, held under the lights for the first time on July 11 at Chicagoland Speedway in in the Chicago, Illinois suburb of Joilet. It also served as the conclusion of TNT's Summer Series schedule. Qualifying was cancelled due to rain, so the field was set by NASCAR's rulebook. Points leader Kyle Busch won his seventh race of the season.

Failed to make race as qualifying was cancelled due to rain: Johnny Sauter (#08) and Tony Raines (#34).

The Allstate 400 at The Brickyard, kicking off ESPN and ABC's portion of the schedule, was run on July 27 at the legendary Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the Indianapolis suburb of Speedway, Indiana. Jimmie Johnson won the pole and then the race, which was slowed by nine out of eleven competition cautions because of extreme tire wear.

The Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 was held on August 3 of this year at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. For the second straight week, Jimmie Johnson won the pole, but this time, it was Carl Edwards getting the win.

Failed to qualify: Chad Chaffin (#34).

The Centurion Boats at the Glen, the second and final road course race of the season, was held on August 10 at Watkins Glen International in the New York village of said racetrack. Qualifying was canceled due to rain, and the field was set by the rulebook. Kyle Busch swept both road races with his eighth Cup win and sixteenth overall in all three major series, and clinched the top position in the Chase for the Cup.

Failed to make race as qualifying was cancelled due to rain: Boris Said (#60) and Brian Simo (#34).

The 3M Performance 400 was held August 17 at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan. Team Red Bull's first pole position was earned by Brian Vickers in qualifying. A varitable parade of Roush Fenway Racing was led by race winner Carl Edwards, as four of the top five were all from the RFR stable and all five made the top ten.

Failed to Qualify: Johnny Sauter (#08).

The Sharpie 500 was held August 23 at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. Carl Edwards, the defending race champion, would start on the pole and in the process, wrapped up a position in the Chase for the Sprint Cup. He then would go on to win the race, but on-track fireworks ensued afterwards when runner up Kyle Busch, whom Edwards would pass with 30 laps to go on a bump and run, turned Edwards' #99 Office Depot Ford sideways on the cooldown lap.

Failed to qualify: Jeff Green (#34), Johnny Sauter (#08), Patrick Carpentier (#10), Stanton Barrett (#50).

The Pepsi 500 was held on August 31 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. As part of the 2009 NASCAR realignment, this became the final race to be held here on Labor Day weekend. In 2009, this race becomes part of the 2009 Chase for the Sprint Cup, taking over the spot occupied for the fall race at Talladega Superspeedway, and was to have concluded ESPN's portion of the television schedule. Jimmie Johnson took the pole position, and dominated the race to win.

Failed to qualify: Tony Raines (#70).

The final "regular season" race, the Chevy Rock and Roll 400, was scheduled to have been held on Saturday, September 6 at Richmond International Raceway in Henrico County, Virginia. However, Tropical Storm Hanna forced a postponement to Sunday, September 7 in the afternoon and television was moved from ABC to ESPN due to prior commitments to carry an WNBA game and an IndyCar Series race from Chicago, Illinois. This race set the field for the 2008 Chase for the Sprint Cup with the top 12 drivers becoming eligible, and having their points reset to 5,000 with a ten-point bonus for each win they earned in the first 26 races of the season. As Hanna canceled qualifying for the race, the field was set by rulebook.

Failed to make race as qualifying was canceled due to rain: Joey Logano (#02), Sterling Marlin (#09), Tony Raines (#34).

Drivers in green made Chase for Sprint Cup.

The first race of the 2008 Chase, and the 27th race of the season, the Sylvania 300, was run September 14 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire. Qualifying was canceled due to rain, so for the second week in a row, NASCAR's rulebook set the field. When Kyle Busch suffered mechanical problems with a bad sway bar, Greg Biffle won his first race since last October.

Failed to make race as qualifying was canceled due to rain: Tony Raines (#34) and Carl Long (#46). NOTE: The #02 car, which was to have been driven by Joey Logano was withdrawn as he was entered in the #96 ride.

The Camping World RV 400, the second race in the 2008 Chase and the 28th race overall, was run September 21 at Dover International Speedway in Dover, Delaware. Jeff Gordon won his third pole of the season, but it was Greg Biffle winning his second straight race.

Failed to qualify: Chad Chaffin (#34), Johnny Sauter (#08), Stanton Barrett (#50).

The Camping World RV 400 presented by Coleman, the third race in the Chase and the 29th overall this season, is scheduled for September 28 at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Kansas. Juan Pablo Montoya won his first NSCS pole for this race, however, he was disqualified and placed in the back of the field because of illegal shock absorbers that exceeded the maximum allowed by NASCAR, and Jimmie Johnson, who was second, was awarded the pole and went on to win the race.

Failed to qualify: Michael McDowell (#00), Johnny Sauter (#08).

The AMP Energy 500, the fourth race in the 2008 Chase and the 30th overall in the season, was held on October 5 at Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Alabama. Tony Stewart won the race, his first victory of the 2008 season, ending a winless streak of 43 races. Travis Kvapil pulled off a "Talladega Surprise" and won the pole position. In a race that saw a record 64 lead changes among 28 drivers, Regan Smith crossed the finish line in first place. However, he was dropped to 18th place (the last position on the lead lap) for illegally passing eventual winner Stewart in the tri-oval by driving below the yellow line on the inside of the track, which is prohibited at restrictor plate tracks. This race will be moved to November 1, 2009 as part of the 2009 NASCAR Schedule Realignment and the Pepsi 500 at Auto Club Speedway will be run in this spot next season.

Failed to qualify: Patrick Carpentier (#10) Sam Hornish, Jr. (#77). NOTES: 1. The #08 car, which was to have been driven by Boris Said, was withdrawn earlier in the week. 2. Race extended two laps due to green-white-checker finish rule.

The Bank of America 500, the sole night race on the Chase schedule which marks its' halfway point and the 31st overall race of the season, was held Saturday night, October 11 at Lowe's Motor Speedway in the Charlotte, North Carolina suburb of Concord. Qualifying was cancelled due to rain and the field was set by the rulebook for the eighth time this season. Jimmie Johnson was the polesitter, while Jeff Burton won the race and became a contender in the 2008 Chase once again.

Failed to make race as qualifying was cancelled due to rain: Brad Keselowski (#25), Bryan Clauson (#40), Derrike Cope (#75), Scott Speed (#82).

The TUMS QuikPak 500, race number six in the Chase for the Sprint Cup and the 32nd overall race of the season, was held on October 19 at Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, Virginia. Qualifying was cancelled due to rain, and the field was set by the rulebook for the ninth time this season. Jimmie Johnson was the winner.

NOTE: Race extended four laps due to green-white-checker finish rule.

Failed to make race as qualifying was cancelled due to rain: Sterling Marlin (#09), Derrike Cope (#75).

Following the race at NASCAR's Research and Development Center, an inspection found that Team Red Bull's #83 Toyota, driven by Brian Vickers, had sheet metal that was thinner than required. As a result, crew chief Kevin Hamlin and car chief Craig Smokstad were suspended indefinitely, Hamlin was fined $100,000 and the team lost 150 owner and driver points.

The Pep Boys Auto 500, the seventh race in the Chase and the 33nd overall event this season, was scheduled to be raced on Sunday, October 26th at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. As part of the 2009 schedule realignment, the race will be run in 2009 on Labor Day weekend and be replaced in the Chase schedule by the Pepsi 500 in Fontana, California while the date for this race will be used to run the AMP Energy 500 in Talladega, Alabama. For the third consecutive race and 10th overall this season, qualifying was cancelled because of rain, which meant Jimmie Johnson would be on the pole. Carl Edwards won his 7th race of the season.

Failed to make race as qualifying was cancelled due to rain: Joey Logano (#02), Bryan Clauson (#40). NOTE: The #08 car, which was to have been driven by Johnny Sauter, was withdrawn earlier in the week.

The Dickies 500, the third-to-last race in the Chase and the season (race eight in the Chase and race 34 in the overall season) was held on November 2 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas. Jeff Gordon won his fourth pole of the year and his first at the track. Carl Edwards won his second consecutive race at the track making it his eighth win of the season.

Failed to qualify: Johnny Sauter (#08), Max Papis (#13), Bryan Clauson (#40), Chad McCumbee (#45), Tony Raines (#70).

The Checker O'Reilly Auto Parts 500, serving as the penultimate Chase (ninth) and season (35th) race, was held on Sunday, November 9 at Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale, Arizona. Jimmie Johnson increase his Championship lead by winning the race and leading the majority of it. The race was delayed for just over an hour due to a light rain shower at Lap 44, and a 9 car pileup on lap 273.

NOTE: Race extended one lap due to green-white-checker finish rule.

The 2008 season and Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship ended at Homestead, Florida's Homestead-Miami Speedway with the final race of the season, the Ford 400 on November 16th, 2008. Carl Edwards won his ninth race of the season.

Failed to Qualify: Max Papis (#13) Sam Hornish, Jr. (#77), Ken Schrader (#96).

Robby Gordon was originally docked 100 points following the Daytona 500 for use of an illegal nose on his car; however, on March 5, the points were given back to his drivers and owners points total, but the team was fined $150,000 instead of $100,000 for said infraction.

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Source : Wikipedia