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Checker O'Reilly Auto Parts 500
Site: Avondale, Ariz.
Schedule: Friday, qualifying (ESPN2, 5:30 p.m.); Sunday, race (ABC, 3:45 p.m.).
Track: Phoenix International Raceway (tri-oval, 1 mile, 11 degrees banking in turns 1-2, 9 degrees banking in turns 3-4).
Race distance: 312 miles, 312 laps.
Last race: Carl Edwards won for the second straight week, squeezing a victory out of his last tank of gas. The combination of Edwards' win and Jimmie Johnson's 15th-place finish in the Dickies 500 at Texas Motor Speedway moved the race winner within 106 points of NASCAR Sprint Cup points leader Johnson with two races remaining.
Last year: Johnson took command of the Nextel Cup championship by winning at Phoenix International Raceway to open a daunting lead over teammate Jeff Gordon in the race to the title. Johnson, the defending champion, headed into the season finale with a comfortable 86-point lead over Gordon.
Fast facts: Jimmie Johnson won the Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix Raceway on April 12. ... In 1964, when Phoenix International Raceway was built, it was intended to be a new jewel in the crown of American open-wheel racing. ... With two races remaining, three points separate the top three in the Manufacturer's Championship standings. All three have 10 victories. Chevrolet has 204 points, Ford 202 and Toyota 201.
Next race: Ford 400, Homestead, Fla., Nov. 16.
On the Net:
Hefty Odor Block 200
Site: Avondale, Ariz.
Schedule: Saturday, qualifying (Speed Channel, Noon), race (ESPN2 4:30 p.m.).
Track: Phoenix International Raceway (tri-oval, 1 mile, 11 degrees banking in turns 1-2, 9 degrees banking in turns 3-4).
Race distance: 200 miles, 200 laps.
Last race: Kyle Busch overpowered the field in the race at Texas Motor Speedway, winning in the second-tier series for a record-tying 10th time this season. Busch, whose first victory of the season came on the same 1.5-mile oval in April, matched Sam Ard's season record set in 1983. He held off Carl Edwards' charge in the final laps of the O'Reilly Challenge.
Last year: Busch followed his truck series win the previous day with a victory in the Busch event at Phoenix. It was the final Busch Series race of Busch's career at Hendrick.
Fast facts: Clint Bowyer's sixth-place finish allowed Carl Edwards to move within 91 points of his lead with two races remaining. ... Edwards, who won the Nationwide title a year ago, is second in both this series and Cup. ... Kyle Busch won the Bashas' Supermarkets 200 in Avondale on April 11. ... Busch committed $100,000 to the Sam Ard Fund moments after winning the O'Reilly Challenge. The 69-year-old Ard, who has mounting medical bills, suffers from both Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases.
Next race: Ford 300, Homestead, Fla., Nov. 15.
On the Net:
Lucas Oil 150
Site: Avondale, Ariz.
Schedule: Friday, qualifying (Speed Channel, 4:30 p.m.), race (Speed Channel, 8 p.m.).
Track: Phoenix International Raceway (tri-oval, 1 mile, 11 degrees banking in turns 1-2, 9 degrees banking in turns 3-4).
Race distance: 150 miles, 150 laps.
Last race: Ron Hornaday Jr. won at Texas again, coming from a lap down early for a dominating victory over Kyle Busch. The win put Hornaday within six points of series leader Johnny Benson with two races to go. Benson finished third, nearly 9 seconds behind. But by passing two trucks in the final five laps to get that close, Benson retained the points lead in the close championship race - though his margin was trimmed from 31.
Last year: Busch lead the final 42 laps to win at Phoenix International Raceway. Championship contender Ron Hornaday finished second, and series points leader Mike Skinner was eighth. Skinner started the race with a 57-point lead over Hornaday, but the margin was trimmed to 29 heading into the season finale.
Fast facts: With Busch and Benson finishing 2-3 at Texas, Toyota clinched its third consecutive manufacturing championship in the Truck Series. Since joining the NCTS in 2004, Toyota has won 50 races and captured 59 poles in 123 races. ... Ron Hornaday Jr. has won six races and Johnny Benson has won five.
Next race: Ford 200, Homestead, Fla., Nov. 14.
On the Net:
Last race: Lewis Hamilton of McLaren became Formula One's youngest champion, making a pass on the final turn of the last lap to finish fifth in the Brazilian Grand Prix and win the title by one point over Felipe Massa. Ferrari's Massa won the race in front of his home crowd, but it wasn't enough to erase the seven-point lead Hamilton held entering the season-ending race. Just one year after Hamilton lost the title by one point after entering the final race with a seven-point lead, the 23-year-old Briton passed Toyota's Timo Glock on the last lap to win the championship. Fernando Alonso was 24 when he won the title in 2005 for Renault.
Next race: ING Australian Grand Prix, Melbourne, March 29, 2009.
On the Net:
Last race: Ryan Briscoe won the Indy 300 at Surfers Paradise, Australia, taking the lead when fellow Australian and pole sitter Will Power crashed out on the 17th lap of the non-points race. Team Penske's Briscoe finished the 60-lap race on the 2.8-mile, 14-turn temporary street circuit .5019 seconds ahead of Indy 500 winner Scott Dixon of New Zealand. American Ryan Hunter-Reay was third.
Next race: Grand Prix of St. Petersburg (Fla.), April 5, 2009.
On the Net:
Last event: Cruz Pedregon moved into first place in the 2008 Funny Car series standings after winning the ACDelco Las Vegas NHRA Nationals. Pedregon, who has a 12-point lead over Tim Wilkerson in the series, eliminated Robert Hight in the final round. In Pro Stock, Jeg Coughlin remained on top of the series standings, winning the final round over Greg Anderson. Coughlin, who has a 12-1 career record against Anderson, has a 123-point advantage on the second-place Anderson. In Top Fuel, Tony Schumacher added to his 2008 points title by winning over Rod Fuller. Schumacher became the season's Top Fuel champion for his sixth time just by qualifying. He has won 15 event titles (in 23 attempts) in 2008. In Pro Stock Motorcycle, Chris Rivas moved up in the series standings by claiming a finals win over Eddie Krawiec. Season points leader Matt Smith lost valuable points in qualifying that allowed second-place Krawiec to cut the gap to 19 points and permitted Rivas to move into third place, just 39 points behind Smith.
Next event: Automobile Club of Southern California Finals, Pomona, Calif., Nov. 16.
On the Net:

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