Today’s Season Preview Topic: Toyota made a major effort to upgrade their teams in the offseason, making a blockbuster deal with Joe Gibbs Racing. But how much will the other teams in the Toyota fold benefit? Simply put, can anyone else other than JGR win a race this season in a Camry; and for that matter, can that three-car juggernaut compete for the championship themselves in only their first season following a major manufacturer switch?
Today’s Season Preview Topic: As Hendrick Motorsports comes off another year of dominance, the big question will be how much better they are now that Dale Earnhardt Jr. has entered the fold. Emerging from the shadow of DEI, will NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver succeed in his first year with the new team – or will the pressure of high expectations set him up for failure?
if you’re reading this now, your team is likely among the Johnsons and Gordons of the world, racing into the weekend with a chance at championship glory. This is your last opportunity to put your best foot forward; are you ready to take home the league trophy? You will be – after reading the expert advice contained in this week’s edition of Picks ‘N’ Pans.
As the song by Herman’s Hermits says, “second verse, same as the first.” Well, in this case, the third and fourth verse are the same, too. Jimmie Johnson continued to make the Chase a bore by scoring his fourth straight win in Sunday’s Checker Auto Parts 500K, extending his lead to 86 over Jeff Gordon with just one race remaining on the schedule. While all eyes will firmly be on Johnson and Gordon, there are other drivers in the Chase peaking late in the season who are looking to end the year with a win.
NASCAR heads to the Desert Southwest for their second trip to Phoenix International Raceway this weekend, as the Chase for the Nextel Cup has winnowed down to merely a two-horse race. While six drivers are still mathematically alive, just Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon remain with a realistic chance to take home the trophy come November 18th. Hopefully, your team’s in the same boat as those two, battling hard for a title after 34 races filled with your fair share of ups and downs.
They say everything is bigger and better in Texas, and that adage certainly proved true for Jimmie Johnson, as he continued his quest for back-to-back Nextel Cup championships. Once again, Johnson and the No. 48 team found themselves at the front of the field when it came down to money time, as he ran down Matt Kenseth in the closing laps to score his ninth win of the season and third in a row. Not even his teammate/co-owner/mentor Jeff Gordon can seem to tame the No. 48 juggernaut; with just two races remaining on the schedule, he’s fallen behind his streaky teammate.
With just three races left, the chance to move up is fading fast; just like in the real Chase, the contenders have emerged from the pretenders in most leagues. Now, the circuit heads to the self-proclaimed Great American Racetrack this weekend, traveling down to Texas for 500 miles of jockeying on SMI’s mile-and-a-half facility. With its aged asphalt surface and multiple grooves, the racing should be full of twists and turns, increasing the importance for you to pick wisely at a time where any bad break could cost you the chance to win your league.
No matter what you think of the ending, once the smoke cleared there was certainly no surprise up front; the Gordon/Johnson juggernaut had tightened its grip on the competition. It was Johnson who fared the better of the two, scoring his series-leading eighth win of the year to narrow the deficit to just nine points behind Jeff Gordon as the series heads to Texas. But could that monopoly on Victory Lane end this weekend, as the Nextel Cup boys head to a track where neither Jimmie Johnson or Gordon have won? Cinderella Clint Bowyer is hoping for just that, perhaps the only other driver within striking distance as the championship prepares to enter its final set of turns.
Unless your fantasy league is similar to the current Nextel Cup standings, there are still more than a few good reasons to keep reworking your driver lineup with time running out on 2007. The final four race dash to glory starts this weekend at Atlanta, one of the fastest tracks on the circuit, and any little tweak could make the difference in a tight-knit league. Obviously, Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon will be garnering plenty of attention this week as they continue their battle for the title. But while they both have impressive records at Atlanta, it’s the hidden gems and the not so obvious picks that could help take your team to the next level this late in the season and help separate you from the rest of the pack.
Lowe’s Motor Speedway is a 1.5-mile oval that has a reputation for going fast and wrecking hard; Saturday night’s race proved no exception to that rule. As such, it’s time to take a look at how a myriad of non-Chasers performed under the lights in NASCAR’s hometown of Charlotte, N.C. Let’s take a look at Who’s Hot, and Who’s Not, non-Chase style…