NASCAR Race Weekend Central

Fantasy Picks ‘N’ Pans: How to Get the Extra Mile From Your Team at Loudon

After a weekend filled with wine and cheese, the drivers are headed to the Northeast for lobsters, beer, and a return to the guts and glory of oval track racing. New Hampshire is a tricky little track with variable banking that makes multiple racing lines available to the drivers — they can run high, low, and in-between. The CoT remains a mystery not everyone has figured out. Some teams who were dominant last year are struggling; and if they’re still on your roster, chances are you’re part of a program that’s simply trying to get up to speed. To make the best choices for your team, read on to see who the experts chose this week in Picks ‘N’ Pans.

Thompson in Turn 5: Jeff Burton Flying Under The Radar

For those that haven’t noticed, Jeff Burton is presently second in the NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers’ championship. It sounds like a fact that’s hard to miss; but really, it’s easy to overlook a man sandwiched in the standings between media darlings Kyle Busch — leading the points race due to his phenomenal on-track performances — and the sport’s Most Popular Driver, Dale Earnhardt Jr. But the reality is it’s Burton who trails Busch by just 103 points, while remaining ahead of Earnhardt Jr. by 49. He continues to be a genuine contender for the 2008 Cup title, even though his workmanlike approach continually fails to capture the headlines.

Mirror Driving: Mark Martin’s Big Move, Kevin Harvick’s Big Mistake & NASCAR’s Big Attendance Problem

Kevin Harvick’s bonzai move at the end of the race at Infineon could be the difference between both he and Tony Stewart making the Chase three months from now. Was that move over the line, and does it paint the No. 29 team in the most trouble of all 17 Chase contenders?

Talking NASCAR TV: Noticeable Glitches Undermine Solid TNT Effort at Sonoma

When TNT debuted its 2008 NASCAR coverage two weeks ago at Pocono, a major audio foible took away from what was an impressive performance for the network. Two weeks later, Sunday’s presentation of the Toyota/Save Mart 350 still had its own share of avoidable mistakes, making a professional, lucrative television operation look like anything but.

Who’s Hot/Who’s Not in Sprint Cup: 2008 Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Edition

While drivers like Marcos Ambrose and Ron Fellows appeared to have cars capable of top-10 finishes, it was the usual frontrunners near the top of the leaderboard by the time the day was over — including race winner Kyle Busch. Who else stayed “HOT” this week? And what teams near the bottom of the Top 35 appeared to have a shot this weekend at a road course, but still struggled? Check out this week’s edition of Who’s Hot/Who’s Not in Sprint Cup to find out.

Thinkin’ Out Loud: 2008 Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma

Robby Gordon’s spin into Kurt Busch that not only left contenders, like Carl Edwards, trapped on the track, while Kyle Busch, David Gilliland and others pitted, but also caused Gordon to run out of fuel and never regain position.

10 Points to Ponder… After the 2008 Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma

1. Still Able To Get ‘Er Done – 1995 Busch (Nationwide) Series Champion and 1996 Winston (Sprint) Cup Rookie of the Year Johnny Benson won for the third consecutive time at the Milwaukee Mile in the Camping World RV 200 Craftsman Truck Series race Friday evening. With the win, Benson maintains his CTS points lead in the drivers standings by 50-points over Todd Bodine. Benson has 10 wins in since moving to the CTS in 2005 after not being able to any longer secure a competitive Cup ride. Is the Craftsman Truck Series where Cup veterans are sent to die… or do they sometimes get another chance?

Happy Hour: NASCAR & the Drivers – Who Needs Who More?

When NASCAR holds a special closed-door drivers’ meeting, you can bet it’s because they are not happy about one or more participants being critical, and it usually entails Mike Helton reminding the drivers that they should consider themselves lucky to be there. The irony of NASCAR’s sanctioning body not considering their own monumental luck in possessing considerable riches for doing virtually nothing—in the rare moments when they are smart enough to do nothing—is of course lost on them.

David Starr Driver Diary: Milestones & Making Memories

Since my last diary four weeks ago, my Red Horse Racing team and I have had our ups and downs. The race at Mansfield was a great race for our No. 11 Toyota Tundra, and while we thought we were going to win the race, we were very fortunate that we finished second. It was pure racer’s luck. With four laps to go, while we were leading, the right front tire began going flat. A lot of people didn’t see that on TV, but with four laps to go I could feel the right front tire getting soft, and getting worse lap after lap. When I went into turn 1 after taking the white flag, the truck wouldn’t turn because by then the tire was completely flat. When eventual race winner Donny Lia got into me, I was already way up the racetrack in the center of the corner, where I shouldn’t have been, but the truck wouldn’t turn.

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