The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series moves to Lowe's Motor Speedway for the 31st race of the 2008 season, the Bank of America 500. Race Preview looks at past performances, practice sessions, and season trends to shed a light on how the field should finish on Saturday night.
When: Saturday, October 11 2008; 7:37 p.m./et
Weather: A few showers with a high around 82; wind out of the ENE at 5 mph Chance of precipitation 30%.
The Track: Lowe's Motor Speedway
LMS is a 1.5 mile quad-oval. It has 24 degree banking in the turns and five degree banking on the straight-aways.
Key to Race: THE TRACK THAT JOHNSON OWNS
Not only is Lowe's on the front of Jimmie Johnson's car, but it is the name of the track that he dominates. Johnson has finished in the top two in 10 of the last 13 races (including All-Star Challenges) at the track. Even though he blew an engine during the May race at LMS it is tough to pick against J.J. in the Bank of America 500.
47 cars will attempt to qualify for 43 spots. Cars not in the top 35 in the 2008 point standings will have to qualify based on speed. Starting positions 1-43 will be determined by two lap qualifying runs that will be done on Thursday, October 9 at 7:10 pm/et.
Fantasy Cheat Sheet:
No. 48 Jimmie Johnson: Johnson has dominated Lowe's Motor Speedway in his career. He is a MUST use this week.
No. 9 Kasey Kahne: Kahne one the All Star Challenge and the Coca-Cola 600 at LMS in May. If Jimmie Johnson doesn't win we expect Kahne will.
No. 18 Kyle Busch: Rowdy was great at LMS in May and should be strong once again this weekend.
No. 99 Carl Edwards: Edwards has finished in the top 15 in all seven of his career starts at LMS. We like his chances on Saturday.
No. 24 Jeff Gordon: Gordon won the October race at LMS in 2007 for his fifth career win at the track. His past success at the track makes him a great option Saturday.
6 to 10
No. 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Junior has finished in the top 11 in seven of his last eight starts at LMS. He arguably had the top car during May's race and should be strong again this weekend.
No. 16 Greg Biffle: Biffle had a great car during in both the All Star Challenge and the Coca-Cola 600 at LMS this year. We like his chances on Saturday.
No. 20 Tony Stewart: Smoke hasn't won at LMS since 2003. He has always been a streaky driver during his career and with his win last week we like his chances on Saturday.
No. 17 Matt Kenseth: Kenseth led 83 laps at LMS in the past three full-length races at the track. He should return to the top 10 again on Saturday.
No. 31 Jeff Burton: Burton has won two races at LMS so he knows his way around the track. We like his chances to crack the top 15 on Saturday.
11 to 20
No. 8 Mark Martin: Martin has 17 top five finishes during his career at LMS. He is a great low-risk pick on Saturday.
No. 29 Kevin Harvick: Harvick won the All-Star Challenge at LMS last season, but he hasn't finished better than 13th in any full-length race at LMS since 2001.
No. 07 Clint Bowyer: Bowyer has brought just one good car to LMS in five career starts. He is more of a top 15 driver this weekend than a top 10 driver.
No. 2 Kurt Busch: Busch led 64 laps in May's race, but fell off the pace late for a disappointing 16th place finish. 16th is about where we see him finishing on Saturday.
No. 5 Casey Mears: Mears won the 2007 Coca-Cola 600, but that was more a fluke than a solid driving effort. He should crack the top 20, but he isn't worth using as much more than a fifth driver in fantasy leagues.
No. 11 Denny Hamlin: Hamlin, who suffered a scary crash at Talladega, hopes to race this weekend. We have to believe he will be bothered at least a little from the concussion and as a result we can't recommend him on Saturday.
No. 12 Ryan Newman: Newman has seven poles in 15 career starts at LMS, but he has weak finishes in the past five full-length races at the track. He should qualify strong and fail to crack the top 15 on Saturday.
No. 6 David Ragan: Ragan has finished 12th, 37th and 40th at LMS during his career. We expect he will finish much closer to 12th than 37th this weekend.
No. 43 Bobby Labonte: Labonte has been terrific at LMS during his career. If you are ever going to have the No. 43 car on your team this is the weekend.
No. 1 Martin Truex Jr.: Truex has just one top 10 finish in six career starts at LMS. He will be doing well to crack the top 15 on Saturday.
21 to 30
No. 28 Travis Kvapil: Kvapil's best finish in five career starts at LMS is 20th. That is about where we expect him to finish on Saturday.
No. 83 Brian Vickers: Vickers has been averaged a 28th place finish during his career at LMS. He will finish much better this weekend.
No. 44 David Reutimann: Reutimann should finish right around the top 20 once again this weekend.
No. 26 Jamie McMurray: McMurray was one of the fastest cars during testing at LMS this year, but that didn't translate to a strong finish at the track in May. He isn't worth using as anything but a fourth or fifth diver in fantasy leagues.
No. 77 Sam Hornish Jr.: Hornish Jr. ran very well at LMS earlier this year. He could have his best finish of the year on Saturday.
No. 15 Paul Menard: Menard continues to be very inconsistent. He isn't worth using this weekend.
No. 42 Juan Pablo Montoya: Montoya will finish in the middle of the pack on Saturday. There are far better fantasy options.
No. 19 Elliott Sadler: Sadler has been horrible five of the last six races at LMS. He is a risky pick this weekend.
No. 22 Dave Blaney: Blaney has been very decent at LMS lately. He is worth taking a chance on for those of you in very deep leagues.
No. 01 Regan Smith: Smith will do well to crack the top 25 on Saturday.
31 to 35
No. 66 Scott Riggs: Riggs has had some decent success at LMS during his career. He is a bit of a sleeper option on Saturday.
No. 41 Reed Sorenson: Sorenson won't come close to matching the fourth place finish he had during the 2007 Coca-Cola 600.
No. 7 Robby Gordon: Gordon has had issues and failed to crack the top 25 in the past four races at LMS.
No. 38 David Gilliland: Gilliland will once again struggle to crack the top 30 at LMS on Saturday.
No. 25 Brad Keselowski: We like Keselowski this weekend in the No. 25 car. He is worth taking a chance on in very, very, very deep leagues.
No. 40 Bryan Clauson
No. 70 Tony Raines
No. 96 Ken Schrader
No. 78 Joe Nemechek
No. 55 Michael Waltrip
No. 00 A.J. Allmendinger
No. 84 Mike Skinner
No. 45 Chad McCumbee
No. 10 Mike Wallace
No. 21 Bill Elliott
No. 75 Derrike Cope
No. 82 Scott Speed