NASCAR Race Weekend Central

Doug Turnbull

Frontstretch NASCAR Power Rankings: Top 15 Heading Into the 2009 Coca-Cola 600

The All-Star Race is supposed to feature the cream of the crop, a chance for Sprint Cup's top tier to go head-to-head in a battle royale with nothing but money and pride on the line. And after a tame beginning, this race featuring a Who's Who of stock car stardom refused to disappoint, with drivers continuing to beat and bang throughout the last 10 laps of the 25th annual shootout. When the Smoke cleared, it was Smoke himself taking his first trophy as an owner/driver in the series, a move which easily solidified his hold atop our weekly list. But while Tony Stewart leads the pack, how did the rest of your favorite stars fare heading into the Coca-Cola 600? Read on to see if your driver made the most of his All-Star appearance Saturday night to move up our Power Rankings ladder.

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Who’s Hot/Who’s Not in Sprint Cup: 2009 All-Star Race at Charlotte Edition

Tony Stewart took Lowe’s Motor Speedway by storm Saturday night, as the driver of the No. 14 Office Depot/Old Spice Chevy smelled victory and found it in the 25th annual All-Star Race. Stewart’s first win as a driver/owner and first All-Star win came in a race that saw tepid-at-best racing …

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Q&A with Miss Sprint Cup: Anne-Marie Rhodes

You see her in victory lane after every race and sometimes you see double. Both Anne- Marie Rhodes and Monica Palumbo have been the faces of the reincarnation of Miss Winston, playing a similar role for mobile giant Nextel and then Sprint after Sprint bought out the company and assumed the title sponsorship of the Cup Series. Rhodes sat down with Frontstretch’s Doug Turnbull at Talladega Superspeedway back in April to discuss the coming All-Star weekend, how she got the Miss Sprint Cup job, if she ever wants to get behind the wheel of a racecar, and the wildest things she has seen in victory lane.

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Frontstretch NASCAR Power Rankings: Top 15 After the 2009 Southern 500

The Track Too Tough to Tame may have a new surface, but she’s that same old fickle girl. The rankings may not have taken a DNF at Darlington, but they certainly earned their stripe with the list all scrambled after 500 miles there Saturday night. Former champions are hogging the top of the charts, but as you'll see this week, our experts didn't ignore a promising rookie who survived the Lady in Black. Read on to see if your driver stayed off of the wall or ended up in the minnow pond this weekend during the Southern 500.

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Who’s Hot/Who’s Hot in Sprint Cup: 2009 Southern 500 Edition

If you are a sheetmetal supplier and you live in or near the Charlotte, N.C. area, congratulations – you are about to be very rich. The first ever springtime version of the Southern 500 may have been a potent mixture of high speeds on newer pavement – but it also …

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Who’s Hot/Who’s Not in Sprint Cup: 2009 Crown Royal 400 at Richmond Edition

Watching the running order during Saturday’s Richmond race was similar to watching a yoyo go up and down. Pit strategy, brake wear, copious amounts of cautions, timely adjustments, and good ol’ fashioned hard-nosed racing worked in harmony to jostle both the running positions and the points standings all throughout Saturday night’s event. In comparison to the race a week and a half ago at Talladega, there may not have been an underdog winner or a series of spectacular crashes, but the numerous swaps for the lead and the constant side-by-side racing back through the pack kept its flame of excitement alive.

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Who’s Hot/Who’s Not in Sprint Cup: 2009 Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Edition

At first, it seemed after a series of Big Ones it was the usual suspects who would rise to the front at the end. Ryan Newman and Dale Earnhardt Jr. almost fulfilled that prophecy, creating their two-car breakaway during the final restart of the Aaron’s 499. But just when you thought they had it won… something unexpected actually happened in the Sprint Cup Series, as the two-car tandem of Carl Edwards and Brad Keselowski blew by them on the white-flag lap. And after using some brilliant strategy, it was none other than Keselowski who scored his first Cup win, handed owner James Finch his first, and assisted in one of the wildest, scariest crashes ever.

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Frontstretch NASCAR Power Rankings: Top 15 After the 2009 Subway Fresh 500 at Phoenix

Phoenix's Saturday night showdown may have been Mark Martin's time to shine... but it didn't mean much for the rest of the Sprint Cup competition. Most of the racing behind him was tame at best, with few top drivers encountering problems that left them dropping off our Power Rankings list. Just how far did Martin's win make him rise? Read on to find out in this week's edition of our Power Rankings.

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Who’s Hot/Who’s Not in Sprint Cup: 2009 Subway Fresh 500 at Phoenix Edition

Another one bit the dust in the sands out west at Phoenix Saturday night. But as the smoke cleared from the Cup Series' eighth race of the season, we're left with plenty of storylines from a weekend's worth of action at PIR. Mark Martin became one of the oldest drivers ever to win a NASCAR race, scoring his first victory in nearly four years, while points leader Jeff Gordon surrendered nearly half his lead because of a late-race pit-road miscue - garnering him his first finish outside the top 15 all year. Jimmie Johnson, Kurt Busch and Tony Stewart’s solid finishes will keep Gordon honest atop the standings heading into this weekend's restrictor-plate showdown at Talladega.

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Beyond the Cockpit: Scott Lagasse Jr. on 2009 at CJM Racing

Left unemployed in the middle of last season, a few chance meetings with some friends of friends landed Scott Lagasse Jr. in his current ride in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, the No. 11 CJM Racing Toyota. And after a rough start - he wrecked twice in seven starts to finish off the end of 2008 - this season has seen him finally have a chance to get comfortable behind the wheel. Lagasse currently sits 13th in points with two top-10 finishes, proving a strong competitor in an exciting Rookie of the Year battle with Brendan Gaughan and Justin Allgaier. Frontstretch’s Doug Turnbull had a chance to speak with Lagasse about his journey to get to this point, his future racing plans, how he feels about Cup drivers racing in the Nationwide Series, and his stance on start-and-park teams.

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