Homestead didn’t only mark the final race for the Chase to the Cup, it also was the final race for teams to work their way into the coveted the Top 35. With four drivers mathematically eligible to end up a dreaded 36th place in owner points, there was almost as much trepidation at the end of the Cup garage as there was at the front. Sterling Marlin’s engine failure kept the suspense from carrying all of the way to the finish of the race, but until then… it was anybody’s race.
This weekend at Homestead, the NASCAR Cup season comes to an end. After 36 races during a 10-month long season, a champion will be crowned… and most likely, that champion will be Jimmie Johnson. Barring a catastrophic failure, Johnson will hold onto his 63-point lead entering Homestead, taking the ultimate victory lap Sunday evening. With the title all but assured, it’s logical to move on to what happens next: how will Johnson be received as a Cup champion?
Taking a look at things from that perspective this week, the field you can choose from is a little more open than just those teams battling for the title. The top 10 in points is filled with most of the best teams in the series, and they are going to be trying for the best finish possible regardless of their title chances because of the money on the line for every spot they gain in points. Keep the Chasers high on your list of potential drivers to use… but don’t be afraid to take chances, either, if you’re in a spot where you need a big day to bring home your own title trophy.
After a long season of battling both up front and in the back of the pack, just one race, Homestead, remains to determine who is guaranteed a starting spot in the first five races of next season. While we have concentrated all year on the teams from 26th to 45th, the battle is now much more confined; 32 teams have now “locked in” to the Daytona 500 and beyond in 2007, from the championship-leading No. 48 Chevy of Jimmie Johnson to the No. 21 Wood Brothers of Ken Schrader.
NASCAR was under a lot of scrutiny a couple of weeks ago after rollbarpaddinggate. People were venting about debris cautions and the fact that many times there are debris cautions with no video evidence of anything on the track. This week, for whatever reason, there hasn’t been the uproar. NASCAR was given a pass and it was rather surprising considering the events that unfolded at Texas.
While no one is technically eliminated from the Nextel Cup title chase, there are realistically only five drivers with a shot to take home the hardware in Homestead. This week, they come to Phoenix for the Checker Auto Parts 500.
This week’s results in the Top 35 did everything they could to deliver those fans as much excitement as possible, with a final results sheet that looked almost as jumbled as the Chase itself.
28 years ago, a future star of NASCAR took the green flag in his first Cup race. Driving a Billy Hagan Chevrolet, a 21-year-old Terry Labonte began a long and successful career as a stock car racer. As that career comes to an end this weekend in Texas, race fans everywhere should take the time to take a look back and appreciate the accomplishments of this quiet, unassuming man who is one of the top 50 drivers of all time in NASCAR Cup racing.
The Chase is winding down with only three weeks left until the end of the NASCAR Nextel Cup season now that Atlanta is behind us. The series now heads to Texas Motor Speedway, and of course, everything is bigger in Texas, or so they say, and events at TMS are no exception. Eddie Gossage was …
I decided to do something different and give all of you a firsthand glimpse into what a typical race week at Charlotte can be like. While fellow Frontstretchers Toni Heffelfinger and Tom Bowles covered the race at the track, I covered the week from a fan’s perspective and can offer you a great view of what went on.
The usual Saturday night showdown at Charlotte ended up with more twists and turns than your typical road course. Although the moon wasn’t full, you couldn’t tell from the activity on the track. The first lap featured a huge melee that included 14 cars, the second caution included a green flag thrown with safety vehicles …
Last Sunday at Talladega, Dale Earnhardt Jr. pushed Jeff Gordon to the lead in the UAW-Ford 500. That wasn’t the first time Earnhardt has helped Gordon get to the front, but it very well may be his last. After Gordon was taken out of the race by someone else’s mistake in the race’s semi-annual Big …