While attempting to make the pass on Junior for the lead, Brian Vickers bumped Jimmie Johnson from behind a little too hard and in the wrong place, clipping the No. 48 car in the right-rear corner and sending Johnson straight into the No. 8 Chevrolet. Both cars spun out of harm’s way down the back straightaway into turn 3 while Vickers streaked by to take the checkered flag at Talladega, his first Cup win in 107 career starts.
Talladega was sporting a brand new racing surface Sunday as the Cup circuit returned to the longest track on the schedule. The new and improved asphalt track was smoother and faster than it had ever been, but the dangerous pitfalls of the sport’s longest, fastest superspeedway still remained for those battling within the Top 35 …
Juan Pablo Montoya is going to run a full Cup schedule next year for Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. In an unprecedented step, Montoya agreed to come back to the United States and run a full-bodied stock car, after having competed for several years on the F1 circuit. The announcement of his return sent shockwaves through the sport. Was NASCAR now being authenticated as a true, world-class racing series, or was Montoya simply washed up and looking for anyone who would put him in a car?
The UAW-Ford 500 is the 30th race on the 36-race NASCAR Nextel Cup Series schedule. The Cup Series visits the 2.66-mile Talladega Superspeedway twice in 2006 – Jimmie Johnson won here in May. The first Nextel Cup winner at Talladega was Richard Brickhouse, and the record for most wins (10) is held by Dale Earnhardt. Dale Earnhardt Jr. leads active drivers with five wins.
This Week’s Question: Tony Stewart’s Home Depot team won this week thanks to some gambling that probably wouldn’t have happened if he was racing for the championship. Is this kind of racing actually better for the sponsors than the Chase teams playing it safe?
The only track of similar size and shape to Kansas that I like better is Charlotte, and Kansas has supplanted Atlanta as No. 2 on my list. I think they do a great job there and the races are spectacular. This may have been the most exciting finish to a NASCAR race since Carl Edwards won in Atlanta. I agreed with the decision not to send the Hall of Fame to Kansas City, but it would be a criminal shame if this track is ever removed from the Chase lineup. Fortunately, I don’t think that will happen.
The Cup Series heads to Alabama this Sunday for a run on the newly paved 2.66-mile tri-oval that is Talladega Superspeedway. With new asphalt and restrictor plate engines, every team is going to be holding their breath for 500 miles, hoping they can be in the right place at the right time and avoid the Big One. Simply put, this is the week where it is better to be lucky than good.
10. Battling with Nick Lachey and Stacy Keibler over who will be the point guard for the Hollywood Fame ABA team that all three partially own.
Was this week’s race at Kansas just an aberration, or are we finally beginning to see one of the “cookie-cutter” tracks come into its own and provide good racing?
This week, I had to laugh when the TV broadcast flashed the “Team Chevy Winning Moment” banner across the bottom of the screen. The accompanying picture was not a burnout or a victory lap, but simply the No. 20 car being pushed to pit road by the No. 11. Stewart won at Kansas fair and square, but it was rather anti-climactic heading to the checkered flag, as both the first- and second-place finishers coasted across the finish line out of gas.
Growth is the primary goal for any American enterprise, and NASCAR is the epitome of an American business. So it comes as a bit of a surprise that, when you look at this year’s TV ratings, NASCAR’s popularity has not grown one bit… if anything, it’s actually declined. Ratings are down in all but two races this season, and it appears fans are looking for some new energy to rejeuvenate their interest in the sport.
Jimmie Johnson was blowing by the competition and looked to be heading for a win that could have got him back in the title hunt, but Tony Stewart calmly came in and stole the Banquet 400 win away with a little extra fuel. The late-race fuel-mileage gamble left plenty of other Chasers looking for gas – and answers – at the end of the day, in the midst of several other spinouts and mechanical issues that threatened to doom their title hopes.