NASCAR Nextel Cup
Last race: Dale Earnhardt Jr. moved back into the thick of the championship
chase by winning the Checker Auto Parts 500 at Phoenix
International Raceway. He jumped from fifth to third in the
standings and moved within 47 points of series leader Kurt Busch,
who finished 10th.
Last year: Terry Labonte ended a 156-race winless streak with a
victory in the Southern 500 at Darlington.
Fast facts: Jimmie Johnson won the Carolina Dodge Dealers 400 at
Darlington on March 21. No driver has swept both races at the track
since Jeff Burton in 1999. ... Jeff Gordon has six career wins at
Darlington, including three straight from 1995-96. But he has
finished 32nd or worse in the last three events at the track,
including two DNFs. ... The 48 points separating the top four
drivers in the standings is the closest with two races remaining
since four were separated by 113 points in 1992.
Next race: Ford 400, Nov. 21, Homestead, Fla.
NASCAR Busch Series
Last race: Jamie McMurray and Kyle Busch swapped the lead twice
in the final 27 laps, but McMurray used a surprising outside pass
on a restart 10 laps from the finish en route to winning the
Bashas' Supermarket 200 at Phoenix International Raceway.
Last year: Teenage teammates Brian Vickers and Busch finished
1-2 in the Winn-Dixie 200 at Darlington Raceway. Vickers crossed
the line 1.977-seconds -- about 10 car-lengths -- ahead of Busch.
Fast facts: Busch, second in each of the last two races, is
within 161 points of leader Martin Truex Jr. with two races
remaining. ... Truex needs to add 30 points to his lead to clinch
Next race: Ford 300, Nov. 20, Homestead, Fla.
NASCAR Craftsman Trucks
Last race: David Starr won the Chevy Silverado 150 at Phoenix
International Raceway after dominant Ted Musgrave fell out of
contention with a flat tire.
Last year: Bobby Hamilton outlasted Musgrave to win the
Craftsman 200 at Darlington, giving him both victories in the
event's two-year history.
Fast facts: Dennis Setzer is seven points ahead of Hamilton in
the standings, making it the closest race with two races remaining
in series history. The previous closest was in 1999, when eventual
champion Jack Sprague led Greg Biffle by 24 points. ... The first
two years of the event were held in March.
Next race: Ford 200, Nov. 19, Homestead, Fla.
Last event: Greg Anderson set the season record for wins with
his 14th Pro Stock victory at the ACDelco Las Vegas Nationals. Doug
Kalitta, Gary Scelzi and Chip Ellis also won.
Last year: Three-time Top Fuel champion Shirley Muldowney ended
her 30-year racing career with a second-round loss at the
season-ending Auto Club NHRA Finals. Kenny Bernstein earned his
69th career Top Fuel victory while Del Worsham (Funny Car),
Anderson and Craig Treble (Pro Stock Bike) also won.
Fast facts: This is the final event of the season. ... Pro Stock
Bike racer Andrew Hines, 21, only needs to qualify to become the
youngest champion in series history. His brother, Matt, was 25 when
he claimed the bike championship in 1997. ... John Force clinched
his 10th consecutive Funny Car title and 12th overall at the 2002
Champ Car World Series
Last race: Sebastien Bourdais overcame a spin and a sticky
gearbox to win his first Champ Car title, beating teammate Bruno
Junqueira with a flag-to-flag victory in the Mexican Grand Prix.
Last race: Juan Pablo Montoya won in his final race for
Williams-BMW, beating future McLaren teammate Kimi Raikkonen in the season-ending
Brazilian Grand Prix.
Indy Racing League
Last race: Helio Castroneves picked up his first win in 19 races by taking the season-ending Chevy 500 at Texas Motor Speedway.
Series champion Tony Kanaan finished second and became the first
driver in any major American series to complete every lap of a season.