By the numbers: The 2013 Chasers at Charlotte

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NASCAR is heading “home sweet home” this weekend, as the 2013 Chase for the Sprint Cup visits the 1.5-mile high banks of Charlotte Motor Speedway – site of the fifth race in the 2013 Chase, the Bank of America 500.

Kevin Harvick was victorious last Sunday at Kansas Speedway, pulling himself up to third in the championship (25 points behind leader Matt Kenseth). And after claiming the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte back in May, another move toward the top may be in the cards for him.

Strategy played a key role in Harvick’s triumph in May. Kasey Kahne was leading when the caution came out with 14 laps left, but opted to stay out while Harvick and the leaders pitted. When the race went back to green a few laps later, Harvick – who took two tires on his final stop – quickly got by Kahne and went on to the win.

We may also want to keep an eye out on another Chase contender Kurt Busch, who was in position to win in May until a late battery failure knocked him from the lead and forced him to battle for a third-place result.

Your two current Chase leaders, Kenseth and Jimmie Johnson (second, 3 points behind Kenseth) also ran into problems in the same race. On Lap 333, Johnson spun out, collecting both Kenseth and Juan Pablo Montoya in the process. Kenseth would continue on for a 15th place finish, while Johnson ended up 22nd.

As provided by NASCAR, here’s a look at how all 13 Chase contenders have done at Charlotte in their careers going into Saturday night’s pivotal race:

MATT KENSETH (Leader, 2,183 points)
Two wins, seven Top-5s, 14 Top-10s
Average Finish: 14.2 in 28 races
Average Running Position: 14.3, sixth-best

JIMMIE JOHNSON (Second, -3 points)
Six wins, 11 Top-5s, 15 Top-10s
Average Finish: 11.9 in 24 races
Series-best Average Running Position: 8.1

KEVIN HARVICK (Third, -25 points)
Two wins, three Top-5s, eight Top-10s
Average Finish: 17.3 in 25 races
Average Running Position: 18.3, 19th-best

JEFF GORDON (Fourth, -32 points)
Five wins, 16 Top-5s, 21 Top-10s
Average Finish: 16.2 in 41 races
Average Running Position: 15.7, 10th-best

KYLE BUSCH (Fifth, -35 points)
Eight Top-5s, 11 Top-10s
Average Finish: 16.5 in 19 races
Average Running Position: 9.9, second-best

GREG BIFFLE (Sixth, -44 points)
Five Top-5s, eight Top-10s
Average Finish: 17.1 in 21 races
Average Running Position: 14.6, eighth-best

KURT BUSCH (Seventh, -47 points)
One win, six Top-5s, seven Top-10s
Average Finish: 19.1 in 26 races
Average Running Position: 17.3, 17th-best

DALE EARNHARDT JR. (Eighth, -54 points)
Five Top-5s, 11 Top-10s
Average Finish: 19.6 in 27 races
Average Running Position: 20.3, 24th-best

CLINT BOWYER (Ninth, -55 points)
One win, two Top-5s, five Top-10s
Average Finish: 15.8 in 15 races
Average Running Position: 17.1, 15th-best

JOEY LOGANO (10th, -59 points)
Three Top-5s, six Top-10s
Average Finish: 9.6 in nine races
Average Running Position: 14.3, seventh-best

CARL EDWARDS (11th, -60 points)
Five Top-5s, 10 Top-10s
Average Finish: 11.9 in 17 races
Average Running Position: 15.0, ninth-best

RYAN NEWMAN (12th, -73 points)
Four Top-5s, nine Top-10s
Average Finish: 19.6 in 25 races
Average Running Position: 18.1, 18th-best

KASEY KAHNE (13th, -83 points)
Four wins, eight Top-5s, 11 Top-10s
Average Finish: 11.9 in 19 races
Average Running Position: 11.8, third-best

Michael Andretti looking forward to new Australian Supercars venture

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If it seems like Michael Andretti is out to conquer the world, he is – kind of.

The former IndyCar star turned prolific team owner has won three of the last four Indianapolis 500s and five overall, second only to Roger Penske’s 16 Indy 500 triumphs.

Along the way, in addition to expanding his own IndyCar and Indy Lights operation, the son of Mario Andretti and the primary shareholder of Andretti Autosport has also branched out into Global RallyCross and Formula E racing in recent years.

And now, Andretti has further expanded his brand internationally, following Penske to the world down under — as in the world of Australian V8 Supercars.

Andretti has teamed with Supercars team owner Ryan Walkinshaw, along with veteran motorsports marketer and executive director of McLaren Technology Group and United Autosports owner and chairman, Zak Brown.

Together, the three have formed Walkinshaw Andretti United, based in suburban Melbourne, Australia. The new team kicks off the new season with the Adelaide 500 from March 1-4.

“It’s just extending our brand and putting it out there,” Andretti told NBC Sports. “The Supercars are such a great series.

“It all started with Zach Brown calling me and said ‘You have to talk to Ryan Walkinshaw. He’s got something interesting to talk to you about.’

“We talked and literally in like a half-hour, we said, ‘Let’s figure out how we’re going to make this work.’ And then Zack was like, ‘Hey, what about me?’ And then Zack came in as a partner and it’s cool now that we have the Walkinshaw Andretti United team.

“I’m really excited about that program, the guys at the shop are excited about it, we’ve been doing a lot of things to try and help it because it’s such a cool series and the cars are so cool.

“I went down there to Bathurst, which was to me one of the coolest tracks in the world. I wish I could have driven it, I really do. It looks like a blast.

“It’s amazing how big that series is when you go down there. It’s one of the biggest sports in Australia. It was just a great opportunity for us to extend our portfolio.”

Admittedly, Andretti had some extra incentive to want to get involved in the Supercars world: Penske joined forces with legendary Dick Johnson Racing in September 2014.

The organization came together quickly and the rebranded DJR Team Penske went on to win the 2017 V8 Supercars championship.

“Roger was down there the last few years,” Andretti said, adding that fact as incentive to get his own organization into the series. “So it’s cool to go race head-to-head with Roger. That was also in the back of our minds.”

This is no start-up venture for Andretti. The roots of the new venture began in 1990 as the Holden Racing Team, which went on to become one of the most successful organizations in Australian V8 Supercar racing, having won the drivers’ championship six times and the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship’s top race, the Bathurst 1000 (essentially Australia’s version of the Indy 500), seven times.

Last season, Holden Racing team morphed into Triple Eight Race Engineering and was renamed Mobil 1 HSV Racing.

And now the company has been renamed once again for the 2018 campaign under the Walkinshaw Andretti United banner.

The team will be composed of two Holden ZB Commodores with drivers James Courtney and Scott Pye, as well as a Porsche 911 GT3-R in the Australian GT championship.

What’s next for Andretti’s motorsports portfolio? Right now, it’s pretty full, but you can bet running for championships from Australia (Supercars) to globally (GRC) to Indianapolis (Indy 500) to the U.S. (Verizon IndyCar Series) are at the top of this year’s list.