Auto Racing Destination

Nascar / Indy Racing League / Formula One / Champ Car

October 17, 2005|By PETER BLAIR



Subway 500

Site -- Martinsville, Va.

When, TV -- Sunday, 12:30 p.m., Ch. 11

Track -- Martinsville Speedway (0.526-mile oval)

Distance -- 500 laps, 263 miles

Last year -- Jimmie Johnson used a restart with seven laps to go to pull away from Rusty Wallace and pole-sitter Ryan Newman and win for the second week in a row by 1.225 seconds. Johnson moved from eighth to fourth in the standings. Eventual series champion Kurt Busch led a race-high 120 laps on his way to finishing fifth and retaining the points lead.

Drivers to watch -- With five races remaining, Johnson and Tony Stewart are tied atop the standings, but five other drivers are within 92 points of the lead. Among them, Mark Martin, who is in fifth and 51 points behind, has finished in the top seven in four of the past five races - but the lone exception was a 41st-place finish at Talladega. Martin finished third in the April race at Martinsville. Busch finished second Saturday night, but he still is 10th in the standings and has a long way to go toward defending his championship. Jeff Gordon, who is out of the Chase, won the April race at the track.

Quotable -- "Last year, everybody felt that the champion was going to be a team that made it clean through the final 10 [races]. This year, I think the teams are a little bit smarter and everybody has realized that last year everybody had a problem. So I don't see the intensity level as high as the first few races. Now as we get toward the halfway point in the Chase, the intensity level is going to ramp up and catch up for everybody." - Johnson, on reaching the midpoint of the 10-race playoff.



Season over



Lexmark Indy 300

Site -- Surfers Paradise, Australia

When, TV -- Saturday, 11:25 p.m., SPEED (tape delay, Sunday, 4:30 p.m.)

Track -- Gold Coast Circuit (2.795-mile temporary street circuit)

Distance -- 57 laps, 159.3 miles

Last year -- Bruno Junqueira beat defending series champion Sebastien Bourdais by 1.2 seconds to win his second straight event.

Drivers to watch -- Bourdais holds a 67-point lead over Oriol Servia in the season standings with two races remaining. Bourdais' win three weeks ago at Las Vegas was the 15th of his career. Paul Tracy, third in the standings, had the fastest qualifying lap in 2004.



Season over

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