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Cup Series

Beyond the Cockpit: Brian Vickers Talks Turnaround, Teamwork, And… Skydiving?

Amy Henderson: *Your team has had a 180 degree turnaround from 2007. What has changed, and what has stayed the same?* Brian Vickers: The biggest thing that’s changed is performance, obviously. We’re running much better. I’m really proud of everybody at Red Bull. I don’t think there’s one thing that you can pinpoint. It’s a lot of little things. There are some new faces who have helped us. Jay Frye has come on board, and I think his leadership is one of the biggest benefits. Kevin Hamlin coming on board the No. 83, there are a lot of new engineers and new staff -- a lot of guys back at the shop who bring a lot of experience we didn’t have last year.

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Fanning the Flames: Busch Brothers Breaking Records, And Other Odds ‘N’ Ends

*Q: My question is why would Martin Truex, Jr. leave DEI to take a seat at Penske Racing’s No. 12 car? That’s a big rumor that I keep hearing, but it doesn’t seem like a step up to me. If a driver is going to switch rides, why wouldn’t he go to a better team? Not a team that has performed about the same as the one he is leaving?* *I like both Newman and Truex and would love to see them both on Tony Stewart’s new team. That would be a great team in terms of talent. But I’d hate to see Truex land in a seat that is practically the same as the one he is in. Thanks!* _— Taylor Alexander_ *A:* Yeah, hard to say whether Truex is the man for Penske or not, Taylor, but a change is sometimes just what it takes to energize an athlete or a team in any sport.

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Journeyman Scott Riggs Long Forgotten In Stewart Shuffle

Tony Stewart, Ryan Newman, Clint Bowyer, Elvis Presley, and Martin Truex, Jr. A flurry of names have been sailing in the rumor clouds as a result of the Tony Stewart-Haas Racing partnership. Ryan Newman and Penske Racing’s announcement that they will part ways after this season adds further strength to the rumors that he will be Stewart’s wingman for the revitalized organization, with primary sponsorship soon to follow his switch from Dodge to Chevrolet. And let's not even start with _that_ list: Office Depot, UPS, Jack Daniel's, and Bass Pro Shops are among several companies rumored to fill the role. The anticipation of such news has many in the sport on the edge of their seats, waiting for the next steps to be made public as soon as Indianapolis in two weeks. One name, though, that has not been mentioned at all in relation to this huge Silly Season domino is the lone full-time driver remaining for the two-car team – Scott Riggs. When you look at the stats, there may well be good reason that the fifth year Cup driver has been forgotten -- because there's nothing to write home about.

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Frontstretch Sprint Cup Power Rankings: Top 15 After the 2008 LifeLock.com 400 at Chicagoland

Frontstretch Power Rankings
The Chicagoland race was held at night for the first time in its eight-year history, but the cool temperatures didn't stop the heated action on the race track during the final few laps of the event. Kyle Busch's stunning pass of Jimmie Johnson was one for the ages, and his seventh win of the season was rewarded in our poll by becoming a unanimous number one pick atop the charts. In the meantime, Tony Stewart and Kevin Harvick posted solid finishes to make large moves up the rankings this week -- while Denny Hamlin and Jeff Burton had precipitous drops after another week of poor showings. But where, exactly, did those drivers land -- and which one dropped out for the first time in several weeks? To find out more about where the dust settled after our writers were finished with their stuffed Chicago-style pizzas, read on for this week’s Top 15 poll and analysis.

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It’s Official: Ryan Newman And Penske Part Ways After 2008. Now What?

One of the hottest rumors in the garage became fact on Monday afternoon, with the announcement by Penske Racing that Ryan Newman will no longer drive for the team after the 2008 season. The dissolution of the Newman / Penske relationship marks the end of a nine-year run between the two, one that produced 21 wins in NASCAR’s top divisions -- including the 2002 All-Star Race and the 2008 Daytona 500. Newman, who was brought up from the USAC ranks to stock cars in the team’s ABC development program, has driven for Roger Penske since 2000 and full-time in the No. 12 Cup car since 2002. After qualifying for the Chase in 2004 and 2005, however, things have gone from feast to famine for Newman in the Cup Series.

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18 Into 12 Just Doesn’t Go: Handicapping The 2008 Chase Down To The Wire

I never was much good at what us Brits call maths. As soon as the numbers started becoming letters or strange mathematical characters and shapes, I pretty much checked out. But with only seven races left before we reach the Chase cutoff, it’s time to dust off my trusty old calculator and take a look at some important NASCAR-related numbers -- and in particular, the current points standings. With 19 races fully accounted for, the end of the regular season is fast approaching, and it’s fair to say we have a good sample size so far to consider Who’s In and Who’s Out of the field of 12 for the 2008 Chase for the Sprint Cup. Let’s start with the racing certainties. Barring a catastrophic reversal of form (or a refusal to run any of the next seven races) Kyle Busch is all but mathematically locked into the Top 12.

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Enjoy It While It Lasts: Kyle Busch’s Dominant Season To Be Derailed By Chase Format

Be forewarned: Yes, this is another Kyle Busch article. Yes, that move on the outside of Jimmie Johnson on the final lap of the LifeLock.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on Saturday night was nothing short of remarkable; and yes, I will be touting how well he has run this year, the dominance which he has displayed, and the fact that he is doing it all behind the wheel of a Toyota. However, what I will also be touching on is the fact that while in the midst of what should be a roadmap of how to win a championship, Busch's points lead will be all but erased in about two months. And that's a shame.

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Talking NASCAR TV: SPEED’s Stewart Announcement Debacle Overshadows TNT Season Finale

NASCAR media outlets had plenty to discuss this week, as Tony Stewart’s future plans came to public fruition piece by piece. Multiple reports surfaced at the beginning of the week stating that the Stewart-Haas deal was done; and the very next day, Joe Gibbs Racing officially announced to the media that they were granting Stewart his release for 2009. Thursday, SPEED carried the official announcement of the partnership by Tony Stewart and Joe Custer of Haas CNC Racing that had been rumored for months. At least, they tried to.

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Running Their Mouth: 2008 LifeLock.com 400 at Chicagoland

_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 LifeLock.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway:_ "I have to thank these guys. I gave up on myself, and didn't think I could do that. This M&M's Toyota team is just phenomenal tonight. I have to thank the good Lord from up above. I don't know where this is coming from, but he's blessing us all at Joe Gibbs Racing this year." _Kyle Busch_

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Matt McLaughlin’s Thinkin’ Out Loud: 2008 LifeLock.com 400 at Chicagoland

*The Key Moment:* Second place Kyle Busch timed the final restart perfectly and ambushed leader Jimmie Johnson with two laps to go. *In a Nutshell:* When watching the sunset is more spectacular than the first three hours of a stock car race, there’s a problem. *Dramatic Moment:* Well, there’s not a lot of question here, is there? That winning pass Busch completed over the last two laps will be shown on highlight reels for a decade. Good stuff. Bad race. *What They’ll Be Talking About Around the Water Cooler This Week* Call me crazy, but *becoming a co-owner and business partner with a team owner sentenced to prison for fraud* might not be the wisest career move Tony Stewart could have made.

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