NASCAR Race Weekend Central

10 Points to Ponder: After the 2008 Daytona 500

1. Well, Isn’t That Just Super? – The Daytona 500 is often referred to as NASCAR’s equivalent of the NFL’s Super Bowl. Well, the Patriots – Giants game, held two weeks ago, was an exciting and well-played contest in its own right; and, with a Cinderella finish to boot. I just thought it was appropriate to mention here, because while I like the New York Giants, Ryan Newman and the Penske Dodges were just as big of an underdog, overcoming the odds for a surprise victory in Sprint Cup. It’s clear that in terms of entertainment value, both the NFL and NASCAR appear to have delivered in the past month or so.

Bubble Breakdown: Brian Vickers Shines While Digging Out of Top-35 Hole… Wood Brothers Dig Themselves in Deeper

Early results are in, and there are some “locked-in” teams that will find themselves digging out of a hole in the next four races to work on keeping their status. Not only that, but teams outside the Top 35 started working hard to change that disadvantage for race six of this season — when the current owner points for 2008 will be used and allow them to sneak back into the race lineup. So, without further ado let’s check out our Top 35 results for this week — we’ll start with some of those cars “locked-in” but a little nervous about how it’s going to go this next month or two.

Happy Hour: Call it the Kyle Busch Rule

In an article at That’s Racin’ some time ago, Kyle was quoted as saying that “I think a lot of this might have to do with just the off-track stuff, the way – I don’t know if I brought it on, which is going to be the Kyle Busch rule again for others again, I’m sorry.” Most of us know what he means. Certainly his name enters the minds of many fans when NASCAR talks about ensuring that drivers reach a certain level of maturity before racing at the Cup level. Not because Kyle is immature necessarily, but that is the public perception of him.

Beyond the Cockpit: David Ragan on his Sophomore Season

This year, things are different, and Ragan has his sights set on bringing the No. 6 back to Victory Lane. Preparing for his second Daytona 500, the 22-year-old hopes to build upon his fifth-place run in the 2007 edition of the Great American Race. While in Daytona, Ragan took the time out to sit down with Frontstretch’s Mike Lovecchio at NASCAR Media Day to discuss what the impact Robby Gordon leaving Ford for Dodge will have on the Roush program, and what he has done in the offseason to have a more successful 2008.

Voices from the Heartland: Hope Springs Eternal For This “Casual Fan”

For the last couple of years, I, like so many others that have taken the time to comment on the fine articles here on Frontstretch, have lost a certain zeal for the sport we so dearly loved. We became the “casual fan” that Brian France so dearly coveted. Granted, we weren’t the casual fan Brian had in mind… but that is what we had become. To be brutally honest — something that I am apt to do after a few beverages — I was actually dreading the start of the racing season this year. Once again, I would be facing weekly deadlines, screaming editors, and all the apathy that comes with such things. Now, however, I find myself in a state of excitement that I can honestly say I haven’t felt for quite some time.

Fanning the Flames: Yo, NASCAR! This is a No Spin Zone!

Q: Matt, I have been trying to figure this out. Kurt Busch deliberately hit Tony Stewart’s car three times coming off the track. Even if Tony blocked Busch from exiting pit road, he wasn’t using his car as a battering ram… and yet, they both receive the same punishment??? I can only hope that I am never assaulted, and that NASCAR doesn’t sit in judgment — because I would go to prison with my assailant.

Fantasy Picks ‘N’ Pans: 2008 Daytona 500 Edition

The long, cold, winter that was the NASCAR offseason has finally come to an end… which means it’s time to turn the key on another season of fantasy racing. Whether your team was the cream of the crop or a basement dweller in 2007, the new season gives all fantasy players a renewed hope that they can dominate their leagues, emerging victorious at the end of their Chase for the Championship. But with a new car on the track and new faces in new places, there are a lot of big decisions to be weighed by the minds of fantasy team owners this year. So, with so many questions, where do you turn for the answers? It’s simple; kick off your season in the right direction by reading this week’s version of Fantasy Picks ‘N’ Pans.

Mirror Driving: A Slap on the Wrist for Stewart & Busch? Junior Go Whoosh & Waltrip’s 2008 Push

Friday night’s Budweiser Shootout final practice was filled with torn-up cars and aggressive moves. For the second time in a year, Kurt Busch took his frustration with Tony Stewart out on pit road. Busch was penalized with a point deduction and fine last year; but this time, NASCAR went for probation. Was this enough?

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