A little more to chew on while waiting for the green flag at historic Darlington Raceway, where the Dodge Challenger 500 is scheduled to get rolling a little after 7:30 p.m. on Fox:
Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch led the way in Friday's final Sprint Cup Series practice session. Strangely enough, right behind Busch was Dale Earnhardt Jr. Busch and Earnhardt Jr. ended up in a late-race wreck last weekend at Richmond, Va. Kasey Kahne was fourth fastest and Jeff Gordon fifth.
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DAVID POOLE:Greg Biffle tested tires twice here and he's also got a very good record at Darlington. Tonight's race will be different, but Biffle is still the man to beat. Winner: Greg Biffle
JIM UTTER:Ryan Newman has never won at Darlington, but continues to rank it as his favorite track. In 10 races, he has three second-place finishes, including both the 2005 and 2006 races. As one of the three drivers to participate in the Goodyear tire test after the repaving, he is in prime position to capitalize. Winner: Ryan Newman
Easy come, easy go for Johnson
Jimmie Johnson and his crew chief, Chad Knaus, worked hard Thursday to come up with some improvements for their car. For two laps during Friday's practice, Johnson had one of the fastest cars. One lap later, however, his No. 48 Chevrolet hit hard into the Turn 1 wall, forcing his team to go to a backup car before qualifying."We're still very optimistic about the gains we've made and I'm still trying to understand why we lost it," Johnson said. "I lost it early on the straightaway before the corner, so something happened on the straightaway."
The problems weren't over for Johnson, however. In the final practice session, he spun and snagged the inside wall, knocking the front splitter off the car.
Paul Menard, Robby Gordon and Reed Sorenson also did significant damage to their cars in the final practice session. -- JIM UTTER
`Kurt Busch Superdrome' to open Tuesday
A grand opening is scheduled Tuesday afternoon at the Victory Junction Gang Camp for the new "Kurt Busch Superdrome," a 28,000 square-foot facility that will provide indoor sporting opportunities for camp members in a climate-controlled environment.
Busch announced a $1 million donation in May 2006 toward the project.
"It'll be like seeing a dream come true to finally get the doors open and see the kids all enjoying themselves," Busch said. "It's been a labor of love for all the people involved." -- J.U.
Postseason award show pushed back a week
NASCAR made a slight change to its postseason awards shows, pushing the Sprint Cup banquet back a week this year.The postseason awards show for NASCAR's biggest series is now slated for Friday, Dec. 5 at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York.
The Truck series banquet is Nov. 17 at the Seminole Hard Rock in Hollywood, Fla., and the Nationwide Series banquet is Nov. 22 at the Portofino Bay Hotel in Orlando, Fla. -- J.U.
More testing at Charlotte
Nationwide Series teams will test at Lowe's Motor Speedway from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday and Tuesday in preparation for the May 24 Carquest 300.
During both days of testing, the speedway's frontstretch grandstand will be open. Testing is free and fans can enter through Gate 5A.
WHAT: Dodge Challenger 500.
WHERE: Darlington (S.C.) Raceway.
TRACK TYPE: 1.366-mile high banked, paved, egg-shaped oval.
RACE DISTANCE: 367 laps or 501.3 miles.
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Saturday.
WEATHER: Partly cloudy with high in the mid-80s.
RADIO: Motor Racing Network.
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