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NASCAR Race Weekend Central

10 Points to Ponder… After the 2007 Dickies 500 at Texas

1. Your Year – How many times did Rusty Wallace say at the end of today’s race, “When it’s your year, it’s your year” in reference to Jimmie Johnson? The irony is that up until a few weeks ago, that phrase had been used almost exclusively to describe Jeff Gordon‘s 2007 season. The No. 48 team has certainly been strong in the Chase, winning three straight races now and taking a 30-point lead heading to Phoenix. But let’s not forget that under the old points system (irrelevant, but still) Gordon would have a 400-plus point lead over Johnson with two races to go. Maybe it’s a little premature to put the crown on Johnson just yet…

2. Aardvark Alarm – If you missed Saturday’s “NASCAR Performance” on SPEED with Bootie Barker, Chad Knaus and Larry McReynolds, you missed Bootie’s hilarious recap of the Atlanta race. It was Bootie’s driver Johnny Sauter who blew a tire on lap 318 in Atlanta, setting up the two-tire call by Knaus that put Johnson in position for the win. Said the crew chief, “In my headset, [Chad] has a special channel he goes on, and he whispers the code name ‘aardvark.’ When I hear ‘aardvark,’ I know to tell Johnny to run it into the wall, because that will give Chad time to take two or four and manipulate the situation like he did to win the race, I did it for [Chad]. Aardvark’s the code. The millions of dollars and all the work we’ve spent at Haas Motorsports – it’s all for the Chad.”

3. Tiresome Terms – Let’s start a list of words and phrases we would like to see eliminated from the lexicon of TV broadcasters for the rest of the season. Here are a few to get you started: 1) The “Cinderella Season” of Clint Bowyer. 2) 40 laps into a 334-lap race: “If the race ended now, Johnson would be your new points leader.” 3) Rusty Wallace: “David Gillian.” And yours?

4. Carl Control – Shame on ESPN for turning Saturday’s Busch Series race into the Carl Edwards Show. It’s hard to believe that they actually spent the entire race discussing the “pressure” on Carl to try to win his first Busch Series title. Pressure? For Pete’s sake, the guy had a 531-point lead heading into Texas and just had to start the last three races to take the title. They even interviewed Carl’s mom, who said she hoped her son could win the title at Texas so he could get a good night’s sleep. Now, that’s drama!

NEFF: BUSCH SERIES BREAKDOWN AFTER TEXAS

5. Busch Banter – By the way, did anyone notice that Kevin Harvick‘s win was his sixth Busch win of the season (Edwards has four), and moved Harvick to second on the all-time Busch Series win list? And unfortunately, ESPN once again failed to broadcast the entire pre-race show due to a college football game.

6. Rumors I – Thought you would find this bit of news intriguing: “Multiple sources are saying that NASCAR’s parent company, International Speedway Corporation, is studying the sale of the world’s largest stock car auto racing sanctioning body due to financial troubles. Two sources say that an investment bank, most likely New York-based Lehman Brothers, has completed a study that placed a value on NASCAR, and that a prospectus has been prepared.”

7. Rumors II – And here’s another one: “A private-equity buyout group that features some prominent ex-Nextel executives considered a takeover of Sprint Nextel last year, through the Carlyle Group. That particular deal never got anywhere, in part because of the amount of money involved, around $100 billion to buy the whole operation. But there is still a lot of curious talk about Sprint Nextel, following the recent ouster of boss Gary Forsee. What it all might mean for NASCAR’s Nextel Cup soon-to-be-titled Sprint Cup series is unclear: The Carlyle Cup?”

8. Venue Miscue – Did you notice that when ESPN did a side-by-side of the race during their first (annoying) “SportsCenter Minute” the caption under the race picture read, “Live: NNCS at Phoenix.” Um, sorry guys – Phoenix is next week.

9. Champions’ Chat – Did you know that UPS and Daytona International Speedway are sponsoring a series of live online chats with past Daytona 500 champions? These chat sessions are part of the celebration leading up to the 50th running of the 500 in February, 2008. Next on the schedule is Dale Jarrett, who will chat live with fans on November 14th.

10. Goody’s Giggle – 2007 hasn’t been Tony Stewart‘s year, but it’s nice to know the mercurial driver hasn’t lost his sense of humor. Discussing the effectiveness of Goody’s Headache Powder Cool Orange, a sponsor of his Busch car, Tony joked, “Well, I get a lot of headaches. And I give a lot of headaches.”

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