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Running Their Mouth: 2008 Crown Royal Presents the Dan Lowry 400

_Each week, we’ll go through media reports, interviews, PR, and all our own stuff to find the best quotes from the Sprint Cup race, capturing the story of how the weekend unfolded. It’s the most original commentary you’ll ever find: the truth, coming straight out of the mouths of the drivers, crew members, and the car owners themselves. This week, here’s a sneak peek at what a select few were thinking following the Dan Lowry 400 presented by Crown Royal at Richmond International Raceway:_ "They [Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Kyle Busch] were just racing so hard there and you knew it was going to happen. I just took advantage of a misfortune right there. This is just awesome, I just love this place. I really messed up in qualifying for these guys. We just dug deep and worked hard, and things worked out. I just want to thank everybody. This is awesome." _Clint Bowyer, finished 1st_

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Who’s Hot/Who’s Not in Sprint Cup: 2008 Crown Royal Presents The Dan Lowry 400 Edition

Under the lights on a wild Saturday night, sparks flew and fans booed. A controversial accident between Kyle Busch and Dale Earnhardt Jr. made headlines, but it was Clint Bowyer who left Richmond with a victory. It was Bowyer's second career win, but Junior's winless streak extended another week. All four contenders this weekend made this week's "HOT" list, but who could go for a good run at Darlington? One thing's for sure, two defending champions are having unexpectedly difficult seasons. *HOT* *Kyle Busch:* Busch was already disliked by several NASCAR fans, but by taking out Dale Earnhardt Jr. while going for the lead this weekend at Richmond, the aggressive driver enraged the core of fans in Junior Nation. Let’s get this straight – the wreck was not intentional. It was simply a matter of Busch being too aggressive and it unfortunately took a win away from NASCAR’s most popular driver. Finishing second, Busch moves back atop the points standings with his fourth straight Top 2 finish after winning last week at Talladega.

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Matt McLaughlin’s Thinkin’ Out Loud: 2008 Crown Royal 400 at Richmond Edition

*The Key Moment:* Second place Kyle Busch spun Dale Earnhardt, Jr. out of the lead, but it was Clint Bowyer who drove through the carnage to eventually assume the win as the yellow flag flew. *In a Nutshell:* It ain’t over until it’s over -- and sometimes it isn’t over even when it _is_ over. *Dramatic Moment:* When Denny Hamlin’s tire started deflating, it set off a dizzying chain of events over the final twenty laps. *What They’ll Be Talking About Around the Water Cooler This Week* *Kyle Busch had a pretty clever plan* for winning the race. I hope he had an equally clever plan to get out of Richmond alive. But before you toss stones (or beer bottles), ask yourself this question: if Dale Jr. had wrecked the No. 18 car with the exact same move, would you have thought it was dirty pool, or just good hard racing with three laps to go on a short track?

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Sprint Cup Rookie Report: Regan Runs Well at Rowdy Richmond

*Rookies in the Starting Lineup:* Patrick Carpentier (4th), Regan Smith (26th), Michael McDowell (29th), Sam Hornish, Jr. (35th) *Unofficial Finishing Positions:* Regan Smith (21st), Sam Hornish, Jr. (23rd), Michael McDowell (40th), Patrick Carpentier (43rd) *Rookie of the Race: Regan Smith.* The most notable part of Smith’s night wasn’t so much his leading rookie finish of 21st, but rather how he got to that point. Soon after the drop of the green flag, the Steak-Umm Burgers Chevrolet backpedaled from its 26th place starting spot, eventually dropping a lap to leader Denny Hamlin by lap 53.

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The Good Guy Lost: Why Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Could Pay A Long Term Price For His Win Gone Sour

ArticlTwo years. 731 days. 17,500 hours. And counting. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. stood despondent by his car Saturday night, watching in vain as another car, another driver pushed its way to Victory Lane. After weeks of coming oh-so-close, the newest member of the Hendrick Motorsports stable found himself four laps from returning to the very same spot in which he’d celebrated career win No. 17: Richmond International Raceway’s Victory Lane. The rubber stamp performance was within reach; the checkered flag that would quiet the critics, stop the clock, and throw the monkey off his back, all in one full swoop.e to be posted shortly ...

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Top 35 Bubble Breakdown: Go Or Go Homers Get Roughed Up At Richmond

As the NASCAR season rolls on, a familiar pattern unfolds around its qualifying bubble; the number of "locked in" teams in jeopardy of falling below the cutline grows smaller each week. The lower half of those 35 guaranteed a starting spot continue to distance themselves -- permanently putting aside worries of the dreaded DNQ -- and Richmond was no exception to their slow but steady pull from the pack. It didn't help the cause of their challengers that this weekend was an impound race; with no changes allowed after qualifying, those outside the bubble started with setups designed to make the field on a two-lap run -- not a 400-mile marathon. That meant when the dust settled from the Saturday night short track brawl, the results were a knockout punch to teams trying to climb their way back up the ladder. Four of the six teams ranked 30th to 35th in the owner standings posted finishes of 23rd or better; in comparison, the eight drivers from 36th to 43rd had just one finish better than 27th.

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Matt McLaughlin Mouths Off: Bread and Circuses

Friends, Romans, and countrymen, lend me your ears. It’s time to put an end to this restrictor plate madness at last, before some other driver pays the ultimate price. It has been nearly two decades since NASCAR implemented the plate rules as a “temporary fix” at Talladega and Daytona. Tuesday would have been Dale Earnhardt’s 57th birthday were it not for the last lap tragedy at Daytona in 2001; let's ensure that we learn something from that death, and those of many others.

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Fantasy Picks ‘N’ Pans: 2008 Crown Royal 400

If you’re like many fantasy owners, last weekend’s race at Talladega left your team looking like it had seen better days. But as you try to regroup, beware; seeing Richmond on the schedule this week may not give you a warm and fuzzy feeling. Saturday night’s Crown Royal 400 offers both the excitement and headaches of short track racing, with the capacity to bump and bang mixed in with the multi-groove feeling of an intermediate track. But even though there are plenty of opportunities to pass there, know that qualifying well is the key to success when it comes to finding your way to Victory Lane. In the last ten Richmond races, the winner has started within the Top 10; so, pay special attention to qualifying if you have the opportunity to build your team on Saturday. With that in mind, which drivers will help you get over the fantasy hangover from Talladega, and which ones will leave you reaching for more aspirin? Read this week’s Picks 'N' Pans to find out how you should put the Band Aids together to allow the restrictor plate wounds sufficient time -- and points -- to heal.

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Frontstretch Power Rankings: Top 15 After the 2008 Aaron’s 499

Frontstretch Power Rankings

Talladega was clearly not the parade that everyone saw last Fall when the new car design hit the superspeedway for the very first time. There were 52 lead changes recorded at the start/finish line Sunday, and a multitude more on the track as the Car of Tomorrow seemed to come into its own. As usual, large wrecks did play a role in who finished and who didn’t, while the art of the draft was key to drivers maintaining success up front. But when push does come to shove, a lot of how Talladega turns out is pretty much a crapshoot more than anything else. So, while putting together the Top 15 this week, some staff voters gave drivers credit for their efforts on the plate track... while others seemed to discount the luck involved in finishing up front.

Read on to see if you agree or disagree with their latest choices in the Frontstretch Power Rankings below.

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Who’s Hot/Who’s Not In Sprint Cup: 2008 Aaron’s 499 Edition

Anything can – and as we saw Sunday – will happen at Talladega. The new car provided exciting racing for the fans and good runs for some drivers, but headaches for others. Drivers like Juan Pablo Montoya and Travis Kvapil had surprisingly strong finishes while Matt Kenseth and Carl Edwards’ days ended early with tire problems, more evidence that the superspeedway is a crapshoot. With a wildcard like Talladega, it’s hard for some of the hotter drivers to stay out of trouble at risk of the “Big One.” Come in and see who survived and stayed on this week’s HOT list and who could really go for a good run at Richmond. *HOT* *Kyle Busch:* The younger Busch is beginning to look like he did at the start of the season. After finishes of 17th and 38th at the short tracks, Busch has three consecutive top 10s including a win this weekend at Talladega that almost got away. A near crash that displayed his amazing car control skills, a controversial pass below the yellow line and a last lap caution all went Kyle’s way in this week’s victory.

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