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NASCAR Race Weekend Central

Matt McLaughlin’s Driver Handicaps: 2007 Charlotte Fall Race Edition

Jeff Gordon – Gordon has won here four times, including the 1994 World 600 to score his first ever Cup series victory. (Has it really been 13 years? Wow). But he’s in a pronounced slump at LMS right now, having failed to finish the last five points races here.

Jimmie Johnson – Johnson refers to Charlotte as “My House,” and not without reason. In 12 starts here, he’s won five times, finished in the top three three additional times and has top-10 finishes in 11 of those starts. Thus, his average finish here is sixth.

Clint Bowyer – Bowyer is averaging a 24th-place finish here after three starts, with each of his finishes progressively worse than the previous one. For him to keep pace with those above him, that streak can’t continue.

Tony Stewart – Stewart won this race in 2003, and has top-10 results in 10 of his 17 Cup points starts held at Charlotte; however, he has just one top 10 in the last five Cup races here.

Kevin Harvick – Harvick won this year’s Winston (or whatever they call it now), but his track record in points races here is less than stellar. After finishing second as a rookie here in 2001, he hasn’t had a single top five and only two additional top 10s since. His average finish here in points races is 20th.

Carl Edwards – Edwards had top-10 results in his first four Charlotte points races, but finished 15th here in May.

Kurt Busch – Busch finished second in this race in 2005, but he has six finishes of 30th or worse in just 14 starts. He’s finished 30th or worse in the last three points races run here to boot – although he led 107 laps in May before crashing out.

Kyle Busch – Busch finished sixth in this race last year, but his other six Charlotte points-eligible starts have yielded finishes of 25th or worse, sometimes much worse.

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Denny Hamlin – Hamlin has top-10 finishes in three of the four points races he’s competed in at Charlotte.

Martin Truex Jr. – Truex is averaging a 19th-place finish in his four Charlotte regular season starts.

Matt Kenseth – Kenseth won his first ever career Cup race at Charlotte in 2000, battling no less a duo than both Earnhardts for the win. But his results here have been a mixed bag since then. Kenseth has seven top 10s in 16 career starts, but just one top 10 in the last six points races. Not everything is doom and gloom for him, though; the No. 17 car did lead 50 laps here in May.

Jeff Burton – Burton won points races here in 1999 and 2001. Overall, he’s averaging a 16th-place finish here after 27 regular season starts at the track.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. – Junior has yet to win a Cup points race at Charlotte (he has won the Winston), but he does have top-10 finishes in eight of his 16 Cup career regular season starts here. Earnhardt has top-10 results in the last two Charlotte Cup races.

Ryan Newman – Newman won the pole here in May, but finished 39th in the actual race. While he finished second here in 2003, he hasn’t finished better than 27th in the last three Charlotte Cup events.

Casey Mears – Mears broke through with the first victory of his Cup career at Charlotte in May. That’s somewhat surprising, because after nine Cup starts, even with the win, his average finish here is still 20th.

Greg Biffle – Biffle has top-10 finishes in three of his nine starts here, offset by three finishes of 30th or worse. He finished 43rd here in May, and has failed to complete the last two Charlotte Cup points races.

Jamie McMurray – McMurray pretty much stood the stock car racing world on its ear when he won here in 2002 in what was only his second career Cup race. He continued to run well at Charlotte early in his Cup career, but has appeared to drop off a bit as of late. In fact, McMurray has just one top-10 result in the last five points races held here.

Bobby Labonte – Labonte scored his first ever Cup career win at Charlotte in 1995 and won here again in 2000. He’s also finished second here six times and scored a fifth-place finish in this race last year. After 29 Charlotte regular-season starts, Labonte is averaging a 13th-place finish.

JJ Yeley – Yeley finished second here in May to score his best career finish on a fuel-mileage gamble.

Juan Pablo Montoya – Montoya finished 28th here in May to go along with 40th in that weekend’s Busch Series event. However, he has run well at similar tracks (see: Atlanta this spring), so you can never count him out.

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