Jimmie Johnson was the winner the last time the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series came to Charlotte Motor Speedway. But lately things haven't been going exactly the way he would like to see.

Johnson is a six-time NASCAR national champion. He is in contention for his seventh title this year as one of the 12 drivers who has been able to advance to NASCAR's Contender Round. But Johnson and the No. 48 team are experiencing some bad luck of late. Johnson is 12th in the Chase point standings after posting a 40th place finish last week at Kansas Speedway.

This week Johnson suffered a relatively poor qualifying run Thursday night and will start 21st in tonight's race. Johnson's tough luck seem to continue on Friday when the defending Cup champion hit the wall during the final practice session. Fortunately, damage was minor and Johnson feels it won't affect his chances of running well and winning the race.

Kyle Busch and Jeff Gordon are on the front row of the starting grid for tonight's race. Denny Hamlin, Tony Stewart and Ryan Newman will start third through fifth. Here is the complete lineup. Prior to the race tonight there will be a big Dale Jr. pit party (he turned 40 on Friday) and country music jam featuring Jimmy Wayne, Parmalee and the Band Perry.

In local racing, many drivers from the Capital Region headed to the New York State Fairgrounds mile this week for Super Dirt Week. Albany-Saratoga Speedway and Lebanon Valley Speedway modified champion Brett Hearn qualified second fastest behind Matt Shepherd to start on the front row for tomorrow's Syracuse 200.