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Tuesday, February 26, 2008
UAW-Dodge 400 Preview

By Mark Garrow
Jayski.com

Each Tuesday, Mark Garrow sets the stage for the upcoming Sprint Cup Series race. This week, it's the UAW-Dodge 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Background

• This is the third race of 36 for the Sprint Cup Series in 2008.

• This is the first of 17 intermediate track races this season.

• This will be the 11th Cup series race in Las Vegas. The first was in 1998.

• There are 48 drivers on the pre-entry list competing for 43 starting slots in Sunday's 267-lap, 400-mile race. Of those 48, 13 must get into the field based on qualifying times: David Reutimann, Ken Schrader, Burney Lamar, Kurt Busch, Patrick Carpentier, John Andretti, Bill Elliott, Mike Skinner, Dale Jarrett, Michael Waltrip, Joe Nemechek, Brian Vickers and A.J. Allmendinger.

• Of those 13, Busch, Jarrett and Elliott are eligible for past champion provisionals. Busch is not guaranteed a starting spot in the field for the first five races of the season after team owner Roger Penske transferred the 2007 points from Busch's car to rookie teammate Sam Hornish Jr.

• If qualifying were to be canceled, the drivers making the show would be: Busch, Jarrett, Elliott, Vickers, Reutimann, Waltrip, Nemechek and Andretti.

• Three drivers have won consecutive races here: Jeff Burton (1999-2000), Matt Kenseth (2003-04) and Jimmie Johnson (2005-07).

• Of the 10 previous Cup races here, Roush Fenway Racing and Hendrick Motorsports have won nine of them. Sterling Marlin won in 2002 for Chip Ganassi Racing.

• Johnson is the only driver to have won a Cup race in both the current and the former track configurations.

• Burton is the only driver to sweep the Nationwide and Cup series events at LVMS, doing so in 2000. He has three Nationwide Series wins here.

Travis Kvapil has never won a Cup race, but he did win last year's Truck series race at Las Vegas.

• Of the 45 drivers entered in Saturday's Nationwide Series race at LVMS, 14 are Sprint Cup Series regulars: Kyle Busch, Tony Stewart, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Carl Edwards, Jeff Burton, Kevin Harvick, David Reutimann, David Ragan, Clint Bowyer, Brian Vickers, Bobby Labonte, Elliott Sadler, Sam Hornish Jr. and Greg Biffle.

Previous winners at Las Vegas
Driver Las Vegas wins
Jimmie Johnson 3 (2005, 2006, 2007)
Jeff Burton 2 (1999, 2000)
Matt Kenseth 2 (2003, 2004)
Sterling Marlin 1 (2002)
Jeff Gordon 1 (2001)
Mark Martin 1 (1998)

Last four races at Las Vegas
Pos. 2007 2006 2005 2004
1 Jimmie Johnson Jimmie Johnson Jimmie Johnson Matt Kenseth
2 Jeff Gordon Matt Kenseth Kyle Busch Kasey Kahne
3 Denny Hamlin Kyle Busch Kurt Busch Tony Stewart
4 Matt Kenseth Kasey Kahne Jeff Gordon Jamie McMurray
5 Mark Martin Jeff Gordon Kevin Harvick Mark Martin
6 Carl Edwards Mark Martin Greg Biffle Elliott Sadler
7 Tony Stewart Jeff Burton Casey Mears Casey Mears
8 Ryan Newman Greg Biffle Matt Kenseth Bobby Labonte
9 Kyle Busch Casey Mears Ryan Newman Kurt Busch
10 Jamie McMurray Denny Hamlin Tony Stewart Rusty Wallace
11 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Kevin Harvick Bobby Hamilton Jr. Dale Jarrett
12 Martin Truex Jr. Robby Gordon Rusty Wallace Kyle Petty
13 Bobby Labonte Joe Nemechek Dave Blaney Jeff Burton
14 Elliott Sadler Elliott Sadler Carl Edwards Jeremy Mayfield
15 Jeff Burton Clint Bowyer Jamie McMurray Jeff Gordon
16 Greg Biffle Kurt Busch Mike Bliss Jimmie Johnson
17 Robby Gordon J.J. Yeley Jeff Burton Terry Labonte
18 J.J. Yeley Jeff Green Dale Jarrett Sterling Marlin
19 Tony Raines Dale Jarrett Joe Nemechek Joe Nemechek
20 David Stremme Martin Truex Jr. Jeremy Mayfield Bill Elliott
21 David Gilliland Tony Stewart Michael Waltrip Kevin Harvick
22 Juan Pablo Montoya Brian Vickers Jason Leffler Brendan Gaughan
23 Scott Riggs Jamie McMurray Jeff Green Brian Vickers
24 Kenny Wallace Terry Labonte Mike Wallace Johnny Sauter
25 Jeff Green Jeremy Mayfield Kyle Petty Ricky Craven

2008 Sprint Cup Series top 10

  1. Kyle Busch (335) finished fourth at Fontana and moved up three spots overall to take the points lead. Busch has two top-5s, three top-10s and an average finish of 13.8 in four Las Vegas starts.
  2. Ryan Newman (-6) dropped to second overall in the points standings after finishing 10th at Fontana. In seven starts here, Newman has a top-5, four top-10s and an average finish of 18.7.
  3. Tony Stewart (-19) was seventh at California and remains third in the points standings. In nine starts at LVMS, Stewart has four top-5s, six top-10s and an average finish of 11.2.
  4. Kurt Busch (-36) fell two spots in the Cup standings after a 13th-place finish at Fontana. Busch has a top-5, two top-10s and an average finish of 17.6 in seven starts here.
  5. Carl Edwards (-39) moved up 13 spots in the points standings thanks to his victory at the Auto Club 500. Edwards has three starts at LVMS, with a top-10 and an average finish of 15.3.
  6. Kasey Kahne (-41) was ninth at Fontana, but remained sixth in the overall standings. Kahne has four starts here with two top-5s and an average finish of 19.8.
  7. Kevin Harvick (-67) finished eighth at Fontana and moved up six spots in the Cup standings. Harvick has a top-5, two top-10s and an average finish of 15.7 in seven Las Vegas starts.
  8. Jimmie Johnson (-68) leaped 16 spots in the standings after his runner-up finish at Fontana. Johnson has three wins, four top-10s and an average finish of 6.0 in six Las Vegas starts.
  9. Greg Biffle (-73) is still ninth in the points standings after a 15th-place finish at Fontana. In four starts at LVMS, Biffle has two top-10s and an average finish of 17.5.
  10. Jeff Burton (-74) was 12th at California and moved up one spot in the standings. Burton has 10 starts here, with a win, three top-5s, six top-10s and an average finish of 11.0.

Mark Garrow covers fantasy racing for ESPN.com.