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The Monster Mile, one of the most dreaded obstacles on the NASCAR circuit, has been little more than a personal playground for Tony Stewart.

In just three career starts at Dover Downs International Speedway, he has finished fourth, second and first. So Stewart, winless in his last eight races, couldn't be in a better place to get going again.

He sees the 400 at the high-banked concrete oval as an opportunity to make a move up in the Winston Cup standings. After finishing a rookie-record fourth last year, Stewart is now seventh.

"It's definitely important for us," said Stewart, who won the MBNA Platinum 400 at Dover in June. "We need to take every one of the tracks where we feel we're strong, and we need to be able to capitalize on those days and gain as many points as possible."

Earning a good qualifying position this afternoon and a good finish Sunday could move him to fifth. He's just 15 points behind Rusty Wallace and Ricky Rudd, who between them have won seven times at Dover.

"There are some tracks where I struggle," said Stewart, a three-time winner this year. "So, we need to take advantage of tracks like Dover, where this team does run well."

Stewart, trying to become the seventh driver in history to sweep the Dover races, got the most recent of his six career victories in July at New Hampshire International Speedway. He finished 23rd there last Sunday.

Busch wins truck pole, then crashes

DOVER, Del. -- Kurt Busch went from first to last Thursday at Dover Downs International Speedway, wrecking his truck during a practice session less than two hours after winning the pole.

The accident, blamed on a cut right front tire, occurred with less than a minute left in final practice for this afternoon's MBNA E-Commerce 200 NASCAR Craftsman Truck race. The 22-year-old driver slammed into the outside wall but was uninjured.

"Racing is a huge roller coaster," said Busch, who qualified his Roush Racing Ford at 151.764 mph, but will have to start his backup truck from the rear of the 34-car field. "One minute you're winning the pole and the next they're bringing out the backup truck."

Last lap for TNN

PHILADELPHIA -- Buddy Baker, Eli Gold and the TNN staff that telecasts NASCAR races can empathize with how people at CBS Sports felt when it aired its last Winston Cup race from Daytona in July.

TNN is in the homestretch of its contract with NASCAR. Next year, Fox and NBC will replace TNN and ESPN as the television homes of Winston Cup racing.

Last Sunday was TNN's farewell visit to New Hampshire International Speedway. This weekend is TNN's final appearance at Dover Downs International Speedway.

TNN will telecast Saturday's Busch Grand National race (1 p.m.) and Sunday's Winston Cup race (12:30 p.m.). TNN, incidentally, has changed its name from The Nashville Network to The National Network. TNN plans to air more general entertainment programming.

"We're learning to say goodbye gracefully," Baker said Wednesday from his Charlotte, N.C., home. "Dover is a special feeling. The first broadcast I did for TNN was at Dover."

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