NASCAR Race Weekend Central

Fantasy Picks ‘N’ Pans: Chasing Down Your Best Bets For Richmond

Will this weekend cause a repeat of the Dale Earnhardt Jr. vs. Kyle Busch confrontation from this spring? Will the Joe Gibbs cars in general be strong at Richmond again? Can Carl Edwards knock another 10 points off Busch’s bonus point lead for the Chase? Can Jimmie Johnson continue his strong push to the postseason? And which of these men will drive a bid into the fantasy racing playoffs of your own? Read on for this week’s Picks ‘N’ Pans to see which drivers should be on your roster and which ones should be at Home Depot shopping for generators and plywood.

Mirror Driving: California Snoozin’ While Jimmie Johnson’s Cruisin’

Once again, Auto Club Speedway produced a less-than-stellar race for the sparsely-attended Pepsi 500. What makes the track race so different than its multi-groove twin, Michigan International Speedway and was this week’s race simply the product of the CoT and one team stinking up the proverbial show?

Thompson in Turn 5: Richmond a “Must-See” Event

Expecting fans to sit through all 36 scheduled point races and the two exhibition races in a 52-week year is asking way too much and generally won’t happen. Unlike journalists, whose editors expect them to sit up and pay attention for every lap of every race, the average fan at some point will exercise their right to take a breather from NASCAR’s action and drama. Maybe spend some time matching names to faces of their family members or propping up the porch with some new 4x4s before it collapses. However, this coming Saturday evening is not the time to mend family relationships or be concerned with the fact that the house is close to being condemned by the city. Fans’ full attention should be on the Chevy Rock & Roll 400 at Richmond International Raceway.

Top 10 Things Auto Club Speedway Could Do to Fill the Stands

In the spirit of diversity, and seeing as how some things never change, especially when dealing with a NASCAR race in Fontana, today’s Top 10 may look a bit different, but yet slightly familiar. Familiar in the sense that it is a slightly modified version of the one that was published last year about this time! Translation was provided by, so don’t yell at me if it’s not quite right. In the spirit of “Press 1 for English”… simply scroll down!

Fan’s View: Because I Just Can’t Take California Racing Too Seriously

I knew it! I just knew it! Like something from an episode of The X-Files, it sat in the middle of the track, looking vaguely like an indeterminate piece of technology. It was big, clearly made of metal and entirely out of place. Awkward shadows hid its true purpose in life. But there was no denying it, there had to be a debris caution.

Who’s Hot/Who’s Not in Sprint Cup: 2008 Pepsi 500 at Fontana Edition

With his win Sunday night, Jimmie Johnson proved he belongs in the same breath as Carl Edwards and Kyle Busch as championship contenders, but if you want a sleeper for the title, look no further than another driver from Johnson’s home state of California. To find out who, check out this week’s edition of Who’s Hot/Who’s Not in Sprint Cup.

Talking NASCAR TV: ESPN is the Mark of Inconsistency for Sunday’s California Race

After last week’s exciting duel between NASCAR’s two hottest drivers at Bristol, the sport had a tough act to follow in Fontana. To say that the racing action fell far from the high standard set at Bristol is an accurate observation, but there still was good racing, at times, throughout the field of cars. Unfortunately, ESPN’s booth crew, particularly Dr. Jerry Punch, failed to deliver a full capsule of the day’s action. To keep viewers watching, the booth batch of Punch, Andy Petree, and Dale Jarrett must convince the audience that the event is exciting, a task not fulfilled during Sunday night’s Pepsi 500.

Fontana Win Just More Proof That Jimmie Johnson & Chad Knaus are the Definition of “Clutch”

Jimmie Johnson has run under the radar for most of the season. His usual mid-summer swoon that sees him squander a meaningless points lead as he approaches the Chase did not occur. Instead, the No. 48 team slumped from the beginning of 2008. Sans an early win at Phoenix, the two-time defending Sprint Cup champion and his cohorts at Hendrick Motorsports did not have nearly the edge over other powerhouses, like Roush Fenway Racing and Joe Gibbs Racing, that they did in 2007. Kiss goodbye any chance of Johnson becoming the first three-time champion since Cale Yarborough, right? Hold your horses.

10 Points to Ponder… After the 2008 Pepsi 500 at Fontana

1. Thanks For The Memories – Felix Sabates, co-owner of Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, never one to mince words, took a potshot at sponsor of the No. 42 Texaco Dodge driven by Juan Pablo Montoya. Texaco, after 20 years of sponsoring a NASCAR Cup team, has announced that they have made a business decision to allocate their advertising dollars elsewhere and will no longer sponsor a Sprint Cup team. “They (Texaco) have focused on other things. We really didn’t get that much support from them. The money wasn’t all that great, for us, it was a blessing that we can go out and find somebody who can pay us some real money,” said Sabates. Oh Felix… Texaco says thank you, too.

Bubble Breakdown: AJ Allmendinger Races Way Into Top 35 & the Bud Shootout

On Tuesday, NASCAR announced a new format to the season-opening Budweiser Shootout, and in doing so, gave several bubble teams something new to focus on. The new format now takes the top six cars in owner points from each manufacturer. With the new format, the sixth Toyota to make the show is going to be a team now around the 35th place in the owner standings. Heading to California, the No. 55 NAPA Toyota, No. 22 Caterpillar Toyota and the No. 84 team Red Bull Toyota were separated by only 52 points. So with the proverbial carrot dangling in front of them, were any of these teams able to step up and make a run at being the final Toyota in the Budweiser Shootout? To find out, read on in this week’s Bubble Breakdown.

Sign up for the Frontstretch Newsletter

A daily email update (Monday through Friday) providing racing news, commentary, features, and information from