The Frontstretch: Matt McLaughlin's Driver Handicaps: Charlotte by Matt McLaughlin -- Wednesday May 23, 2007

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Matt McLaughlin's Driver Handicaps: Charlotte

Matt McLaughlin · Wednesday May 23, 2007


2007 Charlotte “1” Driver Handicaps

Jeff Gordon – Gordon scored his first ever Cup victory at Charlotte back in 1994 and has won three additional points races and three All-Star events here. In 28 career points paying starts, Gordon has fifteen Top 10 finishes. The last four races here haven't been kind to Gordon, though; he has failed to finish all of them and hasn't been credited with better than a 24th place finish.

Jimmie Johnson – Johnson's record of late at Charlotte is nothing less than stellar. Johnson has won five of the last eight points races here and hasn't finished lower than third in any of them. In fact, he's only missed the Top 10 once here in 11 starts.

Matt Kenseth – Kenseth scored his first career Cup victory here (2000) and is always a contender at Charlotte. For whatever reason, though, Kenseth seems to always run better here in May than in the Fall. In the last five World 600s, he has four Top 5 finishes, including a pair of second place results. Since the CoT is on the backburner this week, there's no reason a Ford shouldn't run well.

Denny Hamlin – Hamlin has Top 10 finishes in two of his three points-paying starts here.

Jeff Burton – Burton has two career Cup victories at Charlotte, but had fallen on hard times at this track late in his tenure with Jack Roush. Business is picking up once again for Burton, though, with Top 10 finishes in three of the last five points races he’s run here.

Tony Stewart – Stewart won here in 2003 and has Top 10 finishes in nine of his sixteen points starts here; thus, it's somewhat troubling he hasn't managed a single Top 10 in the last four of those. Last May was particularly troublesome for Stewart: he crashed out of the Busch race, All-Star event, and the World 600, leaving him with a 42nd place finish in the Big Show.

Kurt Busch – Busch finished second here in 2005 but has just one additional Top 10 finish here in thirteen Cup starts. The last four of those races have been cruel to Busch, who hasn't managed to finish better than 32nd in three of them. (Oddly enough, he finished second in that fourth race).

Kevin Harvick – Harvick finished second here as a rookie in his first Charlotte Cup start, but hasn't managed a Top 5 finish here in the eleven points races run since. His average finish in those twelve races is twentieth.

Clint Bowyer – Bowyer averaged a 21st place finish in the two Cup races he ran here last year.

Carl Edwards – Edwards has Top 10 finishes in all four of his Charlotte points starts, with a best result of third (twice).

Kyle Busch – Busch finished sixth here last fall, but that was the first time he'd finished better than 25th in six Charlotte Cup starts. His average finish in those six races remains a sobering 29th.

Jamie McMurray – McMurray stunned the racing world here in 2002, winning the Fall race in what was then just his second career Winston Cup start. Overall, he has Top 10 finishes in five of nine points races run at the track.

Ryan Newman – Newman has done well here in qualifying. He's taken the pole for five of the twelve Cup races he's competed in at Charlotte and has started inside the Top 5 in ten of those races. He hasn't done as well once the green flag drops, though, with a twentieth place average finish despite five Top 10 runs in twelve starts.

Dale Earnhardt, Jr. – While he won the Winston here as a rookie, Earnhardt has never won a points race at Charlotte. In fact, he's averaged a seventeenth place finish here in fifteen Cup starts, and has just one Top 10 result in the last four points races held here.

Mark Martin – Martin has scored four points victories here in 44 starts, but just one of those wins came in the World 600, and the most recent of them was in 2002. In the nine races since that last win, Martin has just two Top 10 finishes. Still, 21 Top 10 finishes in 44 starts isn't too shabby. Martin has also won six Busch Series events here.

Greg Biffle – Biffle had scored three consecutive Top 10 finishes at Charlotte prior to losing an engine here last fall. He's also won two Busch Series races at the track.

Elliott Sadler – This track hasn't been kind to Sadler, who has just two Top 10 finishes here in seventeen starts. His average finish here is a lowly 25th.

Martin Truex, Jr. – Truex claimed a Top 10 finish in his first Cup start here back in 2005, but failed to do so in both of last year's Charlotte Cup events.

Bobby Labonte – Labonte is yet another driver who scored his first ever Cup victory at Charlotte (1995). Overall, Labonte has done a nice job here with two wins, six runner-up finishes, and a total of seventeen Top 10 finishes in 28 starts. His average Cup finish here is thirteenth.

J.J. Yeley – Yeley finished twentieth in last year's 600 but crashed out of last Fall's Cup race here.

Others To Watch

Kasey Kahne – Kahne won both of the Cup races at Charlotte last year.

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