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NASCAR Race Weekend Central

Sprint Cup Rookie Report: Sam Hornish Jr. Carries Banner for Penske Racing

Hornish’s day did not start well at all at Phoenix. After being openly disappointed with his 31st-place qualifying run, the open-wheel convert slipped to as far back as 40th in the open portions of the race, and became a moving roadblock on the inside line for more than one restart. However, Hornish and his team worked hard on adjusting to the track’s transition from day to night, preventing the car from becoming too tight as the track cooled off.

Nuts for Nationwide: Field-Filling Rearing Its Ugly Head Again

Perhaps one of the best barometers to gauge the health of a racing series is to look at the weekly entry list. A once over of the Nationwide Series entry lists so far this season might not seem concerning. Sans the season’s second race at Fontana, every race has drawn at least 43 teams to the track, with full fields taking the green flag at six of the series’ first seven races. What these lists don’t show, however, is that field-filler teams are running rampant in the series, at a level unseen in NASCAR’s top tier series since Joe Ruttman took the green flag at Rockingham without a pit crew during a Sprint Cup race in 2004.

Frontstretch NASCAR Power Rankings: Top 15 After the 2008 Samsung 500 at Texas

The Texas Motor Speedway was a fickle lady this past weekend. Past champions couldn’t keep their car on the lead lap, the polesitter lost the handle late in the race, and three drivers who were rookies just last season finished in the top 20. The people who vote in the Frontstretch poll have spoken following the madness… and the movement in the poll may surprise you. Read on to see this week’s changes below, and see if you agree with our staff’s opinions… or if you think they’ve completely spun out of control.

Nationwide Series Breakdown: 2008 O’Reilly 300 at Texas

Again, Kyle Busch dominated the Nationwide Series field; but this time, there were no mid-race mishaps. Busch took the lead for the fourth and final time on lap 158, and was never seriously challenged down the stretch as he scored his first series win of the season at the Texas Motor Speedway.

Frontstretch NASCAR Power Rankings: Top 15 After the 2008 Goody’s Cool Orange 500 at Martinsville

After another session of good ol’ rubbin’ and racin’, the votes are in on where the Frontstretch staffers feel the drivers fall in the hierarchy of the current power rankings. The results may surprise you: Dale Earnhardt Jr. has scaled the mountain even though he hasn’t won a race yet, while teammates Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson are inching back up the list. On the flip side, Ryan Newman continues to slide down after continuing to fail to back up his Daytona 500 victory. Want to know where, exactly, he stacks up? Read the rankings below and see if you agree with our staff’s opinions.

Mirror Driving: Roush’s Posturing, Lapped Cars Jostling & Big-Name Pending Free Agents

Jack Roush announced he would not seek legal action against Michael Waltrip Racing after MWR admitted it was the team that had been in possession of a “proprietary part,” which happened to be a sway bar, belonging to Roush Fenway Racing. Was there ever merit to his claims, or was it just Roush taking another jab at his new nemesis, Toyota?

Frontstretch NASCAR Power Rankings: Top 15 Drivers You Aren’t Seeing on Sunday

The first off week of the season allowed our staff to take a look at the other racing series that NASCAR has to offer; as such, they did a little ranking of some other drivers that the fans love to follow. Whether they are seasoned veterans in the waning years of their career, or young drivers who are trying to prove themselves, they were all considered for this poll of the best stock car driver without a full-time ride in the Sprint Cup Series. Check below to see if your budding superstar — or old favorite — made our list!

Nationwide Series Breakdown: 2008 Pepsi 300 at Nashville

The last 60 laps then saw Scott Wimmer slowly run down Clint Bowyer, finally making the pass for the lead with 21 laps to go. Wimmer, along with the rest of the race leaders, drove “with an egg under the throttle,” saving fuel to the finish to lock up the win for the No. 29 Chevrolet. Wimmer’s victory was the first for a Nationwide Series regular this season. It was also the Wisconsin driver’s first triumph since July of 2003 at Pikes Peak, as well as his first since aligning with Richard Childress Racing following the 2006 season.

Mirror Driving: Bristol Part II, Top-35 Taboos & RCR Who?

Despite the rain washing the track clean on Saturday, Sunday’s race — the second on Bristol’s new surface — seemed more competitive than the fall race last year. Is Bristol back after a brief hiatus? Or do teams just have a better handle on the new car?