As NASCAR’s top teams began their chase for the cup Sunday at New Hampshire, the bubble teams continued their quest for a Top-35 spot in the owner standings. The numbers of teams fighting to either get into or stay in the Top 35 has been pretty much narrowed down to seven, as just 87 points separated 31st from 37th in the owner standings heading into the Sylvania 300. Read on to see who stepped up and who stumbled Sunday afternoon.
The fifth edition of NASCAR’s Chase has three clear favorites: Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards, and Jimmie Johnson. But in a system where 12 drivers are separated by just 80 points, anyone could come out on top in a playoff race that seldom goes according to plan. With so many drivers and so much at stake, how do you sort out the mess? Well, your Frontstretch favorites have given you a head start. All your favorite experts have submitted their Chase picks, giving you their take on the good, the bad, and the ugly for the next 10 weeks.
Greetings race fans and welcome once again to NASCAR’s Fifth Annual Big Points Giveaway, where we find 11 NASCAR drivers without the points lead and furnish them with a brand-new points total and wipe away those lesser performances! You heard right everyone, every year before the fall race at Loudon, NASCAR celebrates its ongoing Nextel/Sprint sponsorship with our super smash Annual Big Points Giveaway, and 11 lucky drivers are going to be our winners and walk away with hundreds of absolutely, positively free, no-effort-required points, all courtesy of NASCAR! That’s right race fans, your favorite driver might just be a winner after all!
I’d like to call my readers’ attention to a website, Dayton Speedway Lives. This site contains all kinds of stories about a historic Ohio track that’s gone now. As a matter of fact, it’s a landfill. The site is an effort by some old racers and fans to keep the memory alive, and I love it. The Dayton Speedway I remember was a high-banked half-mile, actually over a half, and faster than all getout. I’m sure a lot of other people remember it, too. The stories and photos on the site brought back a lot of memories for me. I flagged a few ARCA races there, and even freelanced a couple for Earl Baltes when he was running the place.
At Bristol, it was a matter of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. We were running seventh and making our way to the front when an accident ahead of us took us out, too. At Gateway, it was another strong run for my Toyota Tundra and I feel I definitely had a top-five truck. Basically, it was just hard racing between myself and Rick Crawford. He had the momentum so he was a little bit ahead of me. Coming off of turn 2, at the last minute he seemed to come off the corner and off the wall, and touched the front of my truck just slightly.
Every once in a while, something is publicized that, when you read it, leaves you scratching you head (or other parts of your anatomy) wondering — just where the heck did that come from? Such is the case with the recent Rolling Stone article featuring Tony Stewart. Normally, I never would have even read the article because, in the grand scheme of things, I really don’t care. However, after hearing other members of the staff here at Frontstretch going on about it around the virtual office’s virtual water cooler, I had to take a look for myself.
Q: Matt, my question last week was about Joey Logano and how you thought he would do in his first race. Well, like you alluded to God and Tropical Storm Hanna prevented that, so I’m going to ask again. The debut will be at New Hampshire instead of Richmond now. How do you think that will be different, and do you still think we can only expect a 20th-place finish?
With his team next year looking fairly settled, can Tony Stewart finally be the first one to take the checkered flag this season? Will Jimmie Johnson continue his run and win three races in a row? Or, can Carl Edwards and Kyle Busch get back up to the front before Johnson runs away with the championship? Have Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s experimental setups broken his momentum too badly to let him make a run at the title? Read on for the answers to these questions, and more, as this week’s Picks ‘N’ Pans focuses on which drivers should be active in your lineup and which ones should be having lobster and chowder.
10. Tony Stewart probably doesn’t even know who Dr. Hook is.
Sunday’s race at Richmond provided some tense moments for Chase contenders and a 10-lap duel to the checkered flag — a brand of racing that has been absent for much of the season. Was this due to the track, the last chance to get bonus points for the Chase, more teams finally getting a handle on the CoT, or something else?