NASCAR Race Weekend Central

Mirror Driving: Can Stewart Save Haas, Fans Save Milwaukee & NASCAR Stop Toyota’s Dominance?

Did changing from day to night do anything to improve the competition at Chicagoland last weekend? Eight years after debuting at the 1.5-mile track, are there enough grooves to make NASCAR racing more exciting there?

Journeyman Scott Riggs Long Forgotten in Stewart Shuffle

Tony Stewart, Ryan Newman, Clint Bowyer, Elvis Presley, and Martin Truex Jr. A flurry of names have been sailing in the rumor clouds as a result of the Stewart-Haas Racing partnership. Newman and Penske Racing’s announcement that they will part ways after this season adds further strength to the rumors that he will be Stewart’s wingman for the revitalized organization, with primary sponsorship soon to follow his switch from Dodge to Chevrolet. One name that has not been mentioned at all in relation to this huge Silly Season domino is the lone full-time driver remaining for the two-car team – Scott Riggs.

Talking NASCAR TV: SPEED’s Stewart Announcement Debacle Overshadows TNT Season Finale

NASCAR media outlets had plenty to discuss this week, as Tony Stewart’s future plans came to public fruition piece by piece. Multiple reports surfaced at the beginning of the week stating that the Stewart-Haas deal was done; and the very next day, Joe Gibbs Racing officially announced to the media that they were granting Stewart his release for 2009. Thursday, SPEED carried the official announcement of the partnership of Stewart and Joe Custer of Haas CNC Racing that had been rumored for months. At least, they tried to.

10 Points to Ponder… After the 2008 400 at Chicagoland

1. Difficulties With Rejection? – New York City and the Waldorf Astoria Hotel’s Grand Ballroom have once again been selected as the site for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Awards Ceremony, to be held December 5th, 2008. Guys… isn’t this the same place that has time and time again rejected your attempts to bring Sprint Cup racing into their backyard? Don’t you know when you are not wanted?

Bubble Breakdown: Michael Waltrip, Michael McDowell in a Bind After Tough Go at Chicago

NASCAR began a short Midwest swing this weekend in Chicagoland with the running of the 400. Mother Nature decided to play a big role in the proceedings early on, as the rains moved in and washed out NASCAR’s qualifying session. But the washout actually gave our Sprint Cup bubble teams a sigh of relief; with just 43 full-time entries remaining on the circuit, the field was set by owner points, allowing each of them to secure a spot in the starting lineup without so much as lifting a finger. Even the No. 70 Haas Automation Chevrolet — despite being 44th in the overall standings — made the cut in 43rd due to the shutdown of the No. 40 Chip Ganassi car. But once the race began, the era of good feeling left over from qualifying quickly faded away into frustration and disgust for these organizations.

Sprint Cup Rookie Report: Rough Ride for NASCAR Freshmen at Chicagoland

As the title of the article says, the rookies just simply did not show up in Chicagoland Saturday night. Last week, every rookie finished on the lead lap; but this week, they struggled to simply stay in touch with the rest of the field. Patrick Carpentier wound up being the highest-finishing freshman of a mediocre bunch, coming home the first driver one lap down in 30th place. That marked his second straight high-rookie finish of the season; but unlike at Daytona, where the No. 10 car came home 14th, Carpentier was never a factor at any point throughout the night.

Happy Hour: The End of a Classic NASCAR Era

It all seems like it just flew by at this point, but 10 years is a long time. More specifically, 338 races—356 by season’s end—is a lot of races. We’ve gotten used to seeing the orange No. 20 car slicing its way through the field, its fiery and extraordinarily skilled pilot guiding it rapidly to the front, going three-wide, occasionally pushing someone out of the way if need be. Now people who both love or despise but sorta respect Tony Stewart suddenly have half a season to get used to a great NASCAR era being over.

Fantasy Picks ‘N’ Pans: Making Your Team Work in the Windy City

The Sprint Cup Series heads to the Windy City this weekend for another intermediate racetrack. For the first time, the race will be held under that lights at Chicagoland Speedway, leaving many fantasy gamers a little nervous. With recently announced driver changes and NASCAR penalties, who knows what also might be playing with the psyche of combatants this weekend. Read on to see which drivers our experts feel are driving on a full tank of gas with half a pack of cigarettes wearing sunglasses in this week’s Picks ‘N’ Pans.

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