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Event: Mountain Dew 500.

Site: Darlington, S.C.

Schedule: Friday, qualifying (Speed Channel, 3 p.m.); Sunday, race (Ch. 2, 1:30 p.m.).

Track: Darlington Raceway (egg-shaped oval, 1.366 miles, 25 degrees banking in turns 1-2, 23 degrees in turns 3-4).

Race distance: 500 miles, 367 laps.

Last race: Dale Earnhardt Jr. moved back into the championship chase by winning the Checker Auto Parts 500 at Phoenix International Raceway. He jumped from fifth to third in the standings and moved within 47 points of series leader Kurt Busch, who finished 10th.

Fast facts: Jimmie Johnson won the Carolina Dodge Dealers 400 at Darlington on March 21. No driver has swept both races at the track since Jeff Burton in 1999. . . . Jeff Gordon has six career wins at Darlington, including three straight from 1995-96. But he has finished 32nd or worse in the last three events at the track. . . . The 48 points separating the top four drivers in the standings is the closest with two races remaining since four were separated by 113 points in 1992.

Next race: Ford 400, Nov. 21, Homestead, Fla.

On the Net:

Event: BI-LO 200.

Site: Darlington, S.C.

Schedule: Friday, qualifying (Speed Channel, 1:30 p.m.); Saturday, race (TNT, 1 p.m.).

Track: Darlington Raceway.

Race distance: 200 miles, 147 laps.

Last race: Jamie McMurray and Kyle Busch swapped the lead twice in the final 27 laps, but McMurray used a surprising outside pass on a restart 10 laps from the finish en route to winning the Bashas' Supermarket 200 at Phoenix International Raceway.

Fast facts: Busch, second in each of the last two races, is within 161 points of leader Martin Truex Jr. with two races remaining. . . . Truex needs to add 30 points to his lead to clinch the championship.

Next race: Ford 300, Nov. 20, Homestead, Fla.

On the Net:

Event: Darlington 200.

Site: Darlington, S.C.

Schedule: Thursday, qualifying, 3:30 p.m.; Friday, race (Speed Channel, 8 p.m.).

Track: Darlington Raceway.

Race distance: 200 miles, 147 laps.

Last race: David Starr won the Chevy Silverado 150 at Phoenix International Raceway after dominant Ted Musgrave fell out of contention with a flat tire.

Fast facts: Dennis Setzer is seven points ahead of Bobby Hamilton in the standings, making it the closest race with two races remaining in series history. The previous closest was in 1999, when eventual champion Jack Sprague led Greg Biffle by 24 points. . . . The first two years of the event, it was held in March.

Next race: Ford 200, Nov. 19, Homestead, Fla.

On the Net:

Event: Automobile Club Finals.

Site: Pomona, Calif.

Schedule: Thursday, qualifying, 5 p.m.; Friday, qualifying, 5 p.m.; Saturday, qualifying, 2 p.m. (ESPN2, 10 p.m., tape); Sunday, eliminations, 2 p.m. (ESPN2, 6 p.m., tape).

Track: Pomona Raceway.

Last event: Greg Anderson set the season record for wins with his 14th Pro Stock victory at the ACDelco Las Vegas Nationals. Doug Kalitta, Gary Scelzi and Chip Ellis also won.

Last year: Three-time Top Fuel champion Shirley Muldowney ended her 30-year racing career with a second-round loss at the season-ending Auto Club NHRA Finals. Kenny Bernstein earned his 69th career Top Fuel victory while Del Worsham (Funny Car), Anderson and Craig Treble (Pro Stock Bike) also won.

Fast facts: This is the final event of the season. . . . Pro Stock Bike racer Andrew Hines, 21, only needs to qualify to become the youngest champion in series history. . . . John Force clinched his 10th consecutive Funny Car title and 12th overall at the 2002 event.

On the Net: