WHAT: Pop Secret Popcorn 400 (Race 33 of 36)
WHERE: North Carolina Speedway's 1.017-mile quad-oval with 22-degree banking in Turns 1 and 2; 25-degree banking in Turns 3 and 4; a 1,367-foot frontstretch and a 1,300-foot backstretch; located in Rockingham, N.C.
WHEN: 1 p.m. Sunday
BROADCAST: TelevisionTNT; RadioMotor Racing Network
2000 WINNER: Dale Jarrett, above in the Citgo car
MORRIS NEWS SERVICE'S PICK TO WIN: Bobby Labonte
OTHERS TO WATCH: Mark Martin, Ward Burton, Tony Stewart, Ricky Rudd and Jeff Gordon
NOTES: Posted awards are $3,251,124 ... The North Carolina Speedway presents some unusual challenges. Although it's a mile-long track, it's wide and well-banked, which promotes two- and three-wide racing ... The key to success is tires. The pavement is extremely abrasive, so the driver who can best manage his tires will have a distinct advantage.
In fact, it's more common to make pit stops for tires than gas. In general, it takes two sets of tires to last one tank of gas ... Jeff Gordon's fourth NASCAR Winston Cup Series Championship is on auto pilot. All he has to do is finish no worse than 24th in each of the final four races to clinch the title.
2001 WINSTON CUP SERIES POINT STANDINGS: 1. Jeff Gordon, 4,662; 2. Ricky Rudd, 4,282; 3. Tony Stewart, 4,198; 4. Dale Jarrett, 4,136; 5. Sterling Marlin, 4,101; 6. Rusty Wallace, 4,027; 7. Dale Earnhardt Jr., 3,977; 8. Bobby Labonte, 3,926; 9. Kevin Harvick, 3,918; 10. Jeff Burton, 3,874.
OTHER KEY RACES: SaturdaySam's Club 200 (NASCAR Busch Series) at North Carolina Speedway (1:30 p.m., TNT); Auto Club 200 (NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series) at California Speedway (4:30 p.m., ESPN); SundayThe 500 (CART) at California Speedway (3:30 p.m., ESPN).
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