Sports

Focus on: Auto racing this week

Focus on: Auto racing this week

NASCAR SPRINT CUP

Checker O'Reilly Auto Parts 500

Where: Avondale, Ariz.

When: Friday, qualifying (ESPN2, 5:30 p.m.); Sunday, race (ABC-36, 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 year: Jimmie Johnson took command of the 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: Johnson won the Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix on April 12. ... 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.

NASCAR NATIONWIDE

Hefty Odor Block 200

Where: Avondale, Ariz.

When: 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 year: Kyle 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 his career at Hendrick Motorsports.

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 this series and Cup.

NASCAR CRAFTSMAN TRUCKS

Lucas Oil 150

Where: Avondale, Ariz.

When: 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 year: Kyle Busch led the final 42 laps to win. Championship contender Ron Hornaday Jr. 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 Johnny Benson finishing 2-3 at Texas, Toyota clinched its third consecutive manufacturing championship in the Truck Series. Since joining the series in 2004, Toyota has won 50 races and captured 59 poles in 123 races. ... Hornaday has won six races, and Benson has won five.

NHRA

Next event: Automobile Club of Southern California Finals, Pomona, Calif., Nov. 16.

Associated Press

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