Articles

Bubble Breakdown: AJ Allmendinger Sticks the Landing While Joey Logano Sticks It in the Wall

The 2009 Sprint Cup season officially kicked off Sunday afternoon with the running of the Daytona 500; and with that, the battle for the Top 35 is on. For those of you new to the sport, the Top 35 teams in owner points are locked into the starting grid each week. For the first five races of the season, NASCAR uses the owner standings from the previous year, then reverts to the current season’s standings from there on out. So while the Top 35 are locked in for the first few races, the jockeying for position has begun with the bubble teams in an effort to transfer into a locked in spot when the series visits Martinsville in a month and a half. Read on to see who improved their position and who is already behind the eight-ball in this week's edition of the Bubble Breakdown.

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Beyond the Cockpit: Colin Braun on Truck Racing, Year 2

In his rookie season last year in the Camping World truck series, Colin Braun amassed eight top 10s in 25 starts and finished 13th in points, claiming Rookie of the Year honors. His 2009 campaign got off to a good start, grabbing the pole for the season opening NextEra Energy Resources 250 and finishing ninth. Frontstretch caught up with the 20-year-old driver prior to his impressive Daytona run at the NASCAR Media Day to discuss is confidence level heading into 2009 and whether or not he would consider going back to sports car racing.

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Thompson in Turn 5: For Michael Waltrip, Due Respect

NASCAR’s resident funny-man, corporate promoter extraordinaire and one of three owner/drivers in the Sprint Cup Series is geared-up and offering his opinions on most anything NASCAR, although that is not so unusual. Topping the list of issues that the 45-year old Waltrip, now in his third season as a team owner, expounded upon this week was the current ban on testing at NASCAR sanctioned tracks for competitors in its top five divisions. The testing prohibition, in place for the time being at least through the 2009 season, is in Michael Waltrip’s estimation “...a colossal waste of time and money.”

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Nationwide Rookie Michael Annett Eyes Another Daytona Victory

Racing has been in Michael Annett’s blood since birth. The 22-year-old Nationwide Series rookie’s first racing experience literally came days after his birthday when he attended the Knoxville Nationals less than one week after being born. Since that day in Knoxville, Iowa, Annett found success one ice where he was once a highly-touted hockey star and most recently back on the track where he will compete for Nationwide Series Rookie of the Year honors for Germain Racing.

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Happy Hour: NASCAR’s Biggest Problem – Jimmie Johnson

Few drivers in NASCAR history are as calm and measured when the cameras are on as Jimmie Johnson is. So Lowe’s, of course, couldn’t be happier with him, and you can’t blame them, especially given the headaches their biggest competitor had with their outspoken driver once. But Jimmie's demeanor may also be part of NASCAR’s ratings problem.

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Rick Crawford Hopes to End Winless Drought Tonight in Daytona

You can’t fault Rick Crawford for being anxious to start tonight’s NextEra Energy Resources 250. After all, Crawford hasn’t won a Camping World Truck Series race in over two years, has only been behind the wheel for two practice sessions since the 2008 season finale at Homestead and is at the track where he has accumulated the most points of any driver over the past six seasons. While most fans associate Crawford with Daytona for his three-wide win in 2003, he has consistently been one of the series’ strongest drivers at the 2.5-mile track, scoring six top 10s in nine starts.

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Driven To The Past: Knock The Fence Down, Pops

I had occasion to meet ol’ Pops (and if he didn’t know your name, he’d call you that, as well as expect you to call him by the same handle) in the late 1960s when he ran a couple of ARCA races when I was flagging. As I recall, both of them were 500-lappers; the first at the old Dayton Speedway. Curtis couldn’t be there on Saturday to qualify, and somebody else qualified the car for him. When it came to a big-name driver whose name had been used heavily in pre-race advertising, John Marcum didn’t stand on ceremony. I suspect that there were parts of the ARCA rulebook back in those days that were deliberately vague to give John some wiggle room.

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Jeff Gordon, Kyle Busch Win 2009 Gatorade Duels at Daytona

If Thursday's Duel 150 qualifying races are any indication, Jeff Gordon is set to put a winless 2008 behind him. Gordon went toe-to-toe with former series champion Tony Stewart for the final five laps before holding off the No. 14 car, as well as teammate Jimmie Johnson, for the victory in the first Gatorade Duel qualifying race.

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Voices From the Heartland: Time For the “Old Men” To Show “The Boys” A Thing Or Two At Daytona!

I still think that "whooshing" sound is pretty cool -- but after many of the practice sessions we've had thus far at Daytona, I find that I am a bit more excited about the race than usual. The source of this excitement is simple: the "old guys!" Guys like Bill Elliott, Bobby Labonte, Mark Martin... and yes, I will even throw Jeff Gordon in there. To a lesser extent there is Terry Labonte, Jeff Burton, and maybe even Tony Stewart. Each of these drivers, in their own way, has me cautiously surfing a small swell of enthusiasm as we head into the first race of the new year.

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