NASCAR Race Weekend Central

10 Points to Ponder… After the 2008 Bank of America 500 at Charlotte

10. Under The Radar – Running amongst the leaders from the drop of the green, Jeff Burton, the veteran Richard Childress Racing racer, won the Bank of America 500 to score his second win of the season. A “splash-and-go” pit stop put Burton in the lead that he never relinquished, even after a dicey battle with points leader Jimmie Johnson. Burton has now moved into second in the Chase for the Sprint Cup standings and only 69 points out of first with five races remaining. Could it be that after all the hoopla, the 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion might be a guy that virtually no one bet on, has not had a physical altercation with anyone this year, is universally respected by fans and peers, rarely criticizes other drivers…and is never jeered by race fans?

Bubble Breakdown: Scott Riggs, Michael Waltrip Securing Spots for Their Teams in Top 35

Lowe’s Motor Speedway was the venue Saturday night in Charlotte, North Carolina, for the running of the Bank of America 500. With just six races remaining in the ’08 season, the bubble teams should now look at each race as a qualifying attempt for next year’s Daytona 500. Struggling teams have trouble finding funding, and without a locked-in spot for the 2009 Daytona 500, or the next four races after it for that matter, attracting good sponsorship in a slow economy can be next to impossible. But don’t take my word for it; just give a call to the guys at Morgan-McClure Motorsports and ask them.

Happy Hour: Goodyear Mounting an Increasingly Poor Reputation

After the tire explosions at Talladega and with the Cup Series coming to Charlotte, a track that has had its own share of tire problems, it’s an opportunity to expound on what has become an all too well known problem with NASCAR races: inadequate tires. this was before the new car design, which suggests that NASCAR and Goodyear have had increasing tire problems—long before mandating a car with a higher center of gravity, making it much harder on outside tires. The time to say “never again” about a disastrous race happened long before it was obvious that not every issue about the new car was addressed. I won’t argue the point if you disagree, but Charlotte in October 2005 was the worst race I had ever witnessed, not this year’s Brickyard mess.

Driven to the Past: Sometimes the Guy That Crosses the Line 1st…

All the uproar over the Talledega finish got me to thinking about the past again. As for the finish itself, we’ve been all over that in back-and-forth e-mails between Frontstretch contributors, and I don’t think this is the place for my personal opinion since it isn’t supposed to be editorial commentary. The idea is to be entertaining and informing. However… the “past” it made me think of came in the 1970s at Salem, Indiana.

Voices from the Heartland: Regan Smith vs. Tony Stewart Takes the Heat Off Cousin Carl

I am not a journalist. I am a columnist. As such, I can report or write about the facts as I interpret them. Let’s face it, it’s one of the reasons y’all love me so much… or vice versa. Having said that, I will tell you now it’s the reason I have Regan Smith’s name first in the title of this article. Simply put, I will give him first billing even if NASCAR will not. I firmly believe that Smith was forced below the yellow line, and no matter how many times I watch the video, I will not be convinced otherwise.

Fanning the Flames: Ford Engines, Regular Season Strokin’ & Of Course, Talladega

In case you didn’t hear, we had a little controversy at Talladega this weekend and the second Dr. Jerry Punch exclaimed, “They are saying Tony Stewart has won the race. Tony is the official winner here at Talladega!” I knew I had to be on my game. Well, not one hour later the first email arrived. I’m not publishing all of the letters, because they all said virtually the same thing, that being: “Regan Smith got jobbed.” Instead, I’ve responded to the pair that best represent what I heard all week.

Fantasy Picks ‘N’ Pans: Picking the Best of Some Lowe’s Home Cookin’

Jimmie Johnson started off last week running like he was towing a bass boat behind his car; can he own Lowe’s Motor Speedway like he has in the past? Will the Roush brigade continue to flex their muscle on the intermediate tracks? And can Tony Stewart continue his strong push back towards the top of the standings and make up for losing the race in May that he was leading at the very end? Read this week’s Picks ‘N’ Pans to see which drivers should be running for your team and which ones should be sitting at home on their couch in Mooresville.

Thompson in Turn 5: Robby Gordon Continuing to Defy Conventional Wisdom

Not since the days of independent driver Dave Marcis, who through sheer determination managed to earn a living as a Cup driver and team owner, has any owner/driver showed more grit and fortitude than Robby Gordon. The proprietor of Robby Gordon Motorsports continues, though just barely, to defy the odds that overwhelmingly should have seen his team sitting on the sidelines. Instead, bolstered by his eighth-place finish Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway, the multi-talented driver continues to remain within the Top 35 in owner points. As such, he is guaranteed a spot in the Sprint Cup field for Saturday night’s Bank of America 500.

Mirror Driving: Kicking Talladega Out of the Chase, How Regan Lost the Race & Do DNFs Matter?

This week’s race at Talladega ended in controversy when NASCAR disallowed Regan Smith’s last-lap pass on Tony Stewart, saying Smith made the pass illegally while below the yellow line. So, who really won the race?

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