PLATINUM PAINT MARKS 20TH: To commemorate Hendrick Motorsports' 20th anniversary, each of the organization's five NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series entries will feature a platinum paint scheme this week at Lowe's Motor Speedway.
HENDRICK DRIVERS INVADE LMS: For the first time this season, each Hendrick Motorsports driver will be on-hand for a race weekend. Kyle Busch, Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Terry Labonte and Brian Vickers will all participate in Saturday's NEXTEL Cup event. On Friday, Busch, Johnson, Blake Feese and Boston Reid will see NASCAR Busch Series action. Kyle Krisiloff will compete in Thursday's American Speed Association event, while freshly signed Chase Austin will be at Lowe's Motor Speedway as a spectator all week.
BUSCH MAKING FIFTH CUP START: Busch, driver of the No. 84 CARQUEST Chevrolets, will attempt to qualify for his fifth career NEXTEL Cup event Thursday at Lowe's Motor Speedway. The Las Vegas native has made four starts on the circuit -- Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Lowe's Motor Speedway (May), California Speedway and last weekend at Kansas Speedway. CARQUEST Racing will visit Atlanta Motor Speedway this month for the team's last scheduled race of 2004.
LABONTE 'SHIFTING GEARS': Labonte will extend his storied stock-car career for an additional two years, this week announcing his intentions to drive a partial NEXTEL Cup schedule with Hendrick Motorsports beginning next season. The two-time champion will embark on a 20-race campaign -- split evenly between 2005 and 2006 -- in Chevrolets sponsored by Kellogg's and branded with the No. 44, Labonte's car number during his first title season of 1984.
A YEAR UNDER HIS BELT: Vickers, driver of the No. 25 GMAC Financial Services Chevrolets, made his Cup Series debut at Lowe's Motor Speedway on Oct. 11, 2003, starting 20th and finishing 33rd in his first-ever race on the circuit. During the season's first trip to Lowe's Motor Speedway, Vickers qualified fifth and finished 15th.
REID TO MAKE SECOND START: Making his second career Busch Series start, Reid, 21, will drive the No. 87 ditech.com Chevrolet this weekend at Lowe's Motor Speedway. The Logansport, Ind., native entered his first Busch Series event at Richmond, Va., on Sept. 10, starting 24th and finishing 37th. A Hendrick Motorsports developmental driver, Reid has also made four ARCA Series starts this year, earning three top-10 results.
'DOUBLE-DOUBLE' FOR CARQUEST RACING: After starting last Sunday's event at Kansas, Busch and CARQUEST Racing will, on Saturday, complete the back end of their first and only pair of consecutive NEXTEL Cup races on consecutive weekends this season.
RUNNING TO THE FINISH: By running to the finish of the Oct. 10 Banquet 400, Labonte has run eight consecutive races without a DNF, his 2004 season high.
TOP-20 FOR '25': Sunday's 19th-place result was the first top-20 effort for the GMAC Racing team in five races, dating back to the Sept. 5 California Speedway event.
LABONTE PILING UP LAPS: With 30 races completed, Labonte has run more laps than any other Hendrick Motorsports driver in 2004, logging 8,201 circuits in his No. 5 Kellogg's Chevrolets. Gordon is second among the Hendrick contingent with 8,034 laps finished.
'25' CHASSIS INFO: Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 2547 will serve as the primary car for the No. 25 GMAC team at Lowe's Motor Speedway. In four previous races this season -- Pocono Raceway, June; Chicagoland Speedway, July; Pocono, August; and Michigan International Speedway, August -- the team has posted three top-15 finishes and three top-six starting positions.
TWICE IS NICE: Busch will attempt to pull double duty this weekend, racing his No. 5 Chevrolet in NASCAR Busch Series competition on Friday night before looking toward Saturday evening's NEXTEL Cup contest. The 19-year-old driver is currently second in the Busch Series championship standings, 149 points out of the lead.
PROVISIONALLY SPEAKING: Labonte has now gone 45 consecutive races without the use of a car owner's provisional to access the starting field. The last time he failed to qualify for a race based on speed was the 2003 Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis. Labonte is one of only six full-time drivers who have made the field based on their qualifying speeds in every race since last year's Brickyard 400 -- the others being Johnson, Kevin Harvick, Jamie McMurray, Ryan Newman and Tony Stewart.
TWO FOR THE CREW: Busch won't be the only one pulling double duty for CARQUEST Racing on Saturday night, as the No. 84 pit crew will be the same group that services his No. 5 Busch Series ride.
'5' CHASSIS INFO: The chassis that will be run this weekend by Kellogg's Racing has been raced six times previously in 2004, with a top finish of seventh place May 2 at California Speedway.
DYNAMIC DUO: Crew chief Gary DeHart, who won a Cup Series championship with Terry Labonte in 1996, will be at the helm of the No. 84 Chevrolets. Lance McGrew, Busch's crew chief in the Busch Series, also will be available to consult the CARQUEST crew throughout the weekend. McGrew led Brian Vickers to the Busch Series championship in 2003.
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TERRY LABONTE, DRIVER OF THE NO. 5 KELLOGG'S CHEVROLETS: (ON FINALLY ANNOUNCING HIS PLANS FOR 2005-06.) "I feel like a huge weight has been lifted from my shoulders. There's been so much speculation and guesswork about what's going on that it's a big relief to finally get the news out. Our focus now is to put together six strong finishes to close the season. That would give me some momentum going into next year and help lay a strong foundation for Kyle (Busch) to step into the (No.) 5 Cup team."
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BRIAN VICKERS, DRIVER OF THE NO. 25 GMAC FINANCIAL SERVICES CHEVROLETS: (YOU MADE YOUR CUP SERIES DEBUT AT LOWE'S MOTOR SPEEDWAY ONE YEAR AGO. HAS TIME GONE BY QUICKLY FOR YOU?) "Things have absolutely flown by. It seems like it's only been six months since my first Cup start -- much less a year. It's crazy to think what's taken place since the Charlotte race last year. Crazy, fun, exciting and educational are the best ways to describe the last 12 months."
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GARY DEHART, CREW CHIEF OF THE NO. 84 CARQUEST CHEVROLETS: "We didn't test for this race, but our teammates did. We've gotten some great information from Jeff Gordon's team, and we'll probably use his setup as a starting point. The car has a brand new body that had some nice results when we took it to the wind tunnel on Monday, so we're confident that it'll be good for Kyle this weekend."