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NASCAR Race Weekend Central

Who’s Hot/Who’s Not In Nextel Cup: 2007 Auto Club 500 at Fontana Edition

The only smoke at the track wasn’t from the leftover Victory Lane celebration; plenty of teams saw their chances for victory go up in flames as the final 50 laps of the race were filled with wrecks, busted sheet metal, and broken spirits. So who left Daytona in a blaze of glory, and who left putting out the flames of rage and disappointment? Read this week’s Who’s Hot and Who’s Not to find out.

Bubble Breakdown: Top-35 Vague After Daytona

Now that the 2007 Nextel Cup season is finally underway, the battle for the Top 35 in car owner points is on. The Top 35 from last season remain locked in for four remaining races, but several teams that aren’t already find themselves behind the eight-ball. Both Red Bull Racing entries are forced to look toward California after failing to make the Great American Race, while Michael Waltrip finished 30th on Sunday, only to find himself 27 points in the hole after a post-qualifying penalty cost him both 100 driver and car owner points.

Becca’s Big 6: Questions Answered After the 2007 Daytona 500

Congratulations to rookie David Ragan, who finished fifth from a 35th-place starting spot in Mark Martin’s old No. 6 ride and just his third Cup start ever. Ragan is under a lot of pressure to perform, and he did so admirably today. After the race, David vowed to run well in California and prove that today’s finish was “not a fluke.”

Start Your Engines, Already!

At 3:15 p.m. on Sunday, it’ll all be behind us. Manifolds, illegal substances, aerodynamic enhancements, failed shock mounts; the fines, suspensions, and point-dockings. Then, once we get past FOX’s frenzied, frivolous and flighty pre-race show, one that will once again highlight all the craziness of this past week, the main event will finally, finally take place. 3:15 p.m. ET, the 49th Great American Race will find itself underway down in Daytona Beach.

Who Wins, Who Gets Fired & Who’s The Best Rookie? Frontstretch 2007 Staff Predictions

Now that another new season is officially upon us, the time is here for our Frontstretch staff to look like geniuses… or, more likely, make fools of ourselves with our season picks for who takes this year’s title.

Scanner Static: Is There a Crew Chief in the House?

Happy Speedweeks, folks! It’s been a wild one so far and they haven’t even dropped the green on the Gatorade Duels. Manifolds, wheel well vents, suspensions, and revitalization have been the stories of the week; with so much going on, allow me to indulge myself for a bit before we get to your questions.

Voices from the Heartland: Press Corps Drenched During France’s “State of the Sport” Address? (Part I)

OK, I must admit that the headline is a bit misleading. The members of the press that covered Brian France’s state of the sport address didn’t really get wet, but they were showered with something… and I’m sure France would tell them it was rain if he were asked. If you still don’t get what I mean, let me explain it this way… it’s not something you would ever want to be drenched with.

Nuts ‘N’ Bolts: Hey Baby, It’s NASCAR!

Remember the TV commercial last season for the NASCAR.com Superstore — the one where all the gifts at a young bride’s wedding shower were NASCAR items?

If the Madison Avenue types decide to follow up this season with a baby shower ad, I have discovered the perfect gift for the expectant mother to unwrap: Team Baby Entertainment’s “NASCAR BABY” DVD.

Mirror Driving: Does Daytona 500 Qualifying Mean ANYTHING?

The top five qualifiers for this year’s Daytona 500 had a whopping zero top-10 finishes in 2006. Is the strength of teams like Robert Yates Racing and Chip Ganassi a good sign for the upcoming season, or are these qualifying times simply a flash in the pan? Can any one of these guys be contenders on Sunday?

Daytona Speedweeks: The End of Winter

Daytona Speedweeks arrives every year with a roar. Unlike the beginning of any other pro sports, NASCAR does not start a season at a slow, deliberate pace and gradually build up to a climatic, frenzied season-ending crescendo. Instead, it slaps you right in the face to announce its arrival. Last Saturday night’s Budweiser Shootout marked, for all intents and purposes, the end of winter for race fans. And for most… it was about time!