NASCAR Race Weekend Central

Doug Turnbull

The Yellow Stripe: Who’s #1? Listing the 10 Best NASCAR Tracks in the Cup Series Today

Thinking about some great racing to come, I sent a quick email to Frontstretch staff last week, asking those who had both the time and inclination to name their five favorite tracks on the circuit. The idea was to use their responses as a straw poll of sorts, proof for a future article on what tracks to watch out for next. But what I didn't expect was the response and genuine excitement I’d get from almost every writer on the site. And so rather than write what, if I’m honest, might well have been a vague, generic column on good tracks for racing, I’ve decided to write up the results of my impromptu survey instead - Frontstretch's view of the best tracks out there on the Sprint Cup schedule today. Admittedly, this is an extremely unscientific approach, and I’m sure with a rigorous methodology attached and a couple dozen focus groups, the results might look a little different. But that’s the beauty of sport – it’s all about opinions, isn’t it?

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Beyond the Cockpit: David Ragan Talks UPS, Getting Aggressive & Roush’s Future

Much is expected of David Ragan in 2009 after having a breakthrough season in Sprint Cup in 2008. Coming within a Richmond wreck of making his first ever Chase for the Championship, the sophomore driver ended up 13th in the final standings, earning him a big-money reward in the form of new, top-tier sponsor UPS backing his No. 6 Ford Fusion. So far, it's been a rough start for the duo, as the third-year driver sits 22nd in the Sprint Cup standings with as many DNFs as top-10 finishes (one). But in sitting down with our own Doug Turnbull at Atlanta, it's obvious the tough luck hasn't been bothering the 23-year-old young talent, who dished out mature, well-thought out opinions on everything from start-and-park teams to whether Roush Fenway Racing will actually follow through and contract from five to four cars in 2010.

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Who’s Hot/Who’s Not in Sprint Cup: 2009 Kobalt Tools 500 at Atlanta Edition

As the 2009 season wears on, some of the teams that have had early success are finding themselves in a point standings freefall. As they disappear from view, the composition of the top 12 is starting to take form, with annual contenders slowly creeping towards and into that coveted threshold. The season may be early and the beginning of the Chase months away, but these men are proving they will be threats nearly every week. At the other end of the points are heavily-funded teams that find themselves one bad race away from beginning Martinsville, the first race that uses 2009 owner points, without the comfort of being locked in via the Top-35 rule. For them, the upcoming week off will be filled with little sleep and lots of worry, their very futures hanging in the balance on the high-banks of Bristol in two weeks.

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Frontstretch NASCAR Power Rankings: Top 15 After the 2009 Shelby 427 at Las Vegas

The Jewel in the Desert offered up some fast and furious competition on Sunday, with the Shelby 427 perhaps taking its place as the most competitive racing yet out in Las Vegas. In the end, the 1.5-mile oval took a rather unexpected toll on some motors, a more expected one on some nerves, and turned the Power Rankings into chaos with a ton of late-race wrecks and pit strategy. Once the smoke cleared and the gambling stopped, our experts had clearly finished major surgery just three weeks into our Power Rankings season. Matt Kenseth's last-place finish was enough to catapult him from the top spot in the poll; but was Kyle Busch’s victory enough to put him number one? Or, did Jeff Gordon’s consistency allow him to swipe the top spot along with the Sprint Cup points lead? Read on to find out these answers and more, as the experts sort out if your driver hit the jackpot or rolled snake eyes in this week’s Top 15 rankings.

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Side by Side: Who’s a Chase Pretender – Bobby Labonte or Michael Waltrip?

Today's Question: Looks like the old guys are making a comeback in NASCAR these days, as two 40-something drivers have cracked the Sprint Cup top 12 three races in. Which one has the best chance of maintaining their solid start - Bobby Labonte or Michael Waltrip?

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Who’s Hot/Who’s Not in Sprint Cup: 2009 Shelby 427 at Las Vegas Edition

The first three races of 2009 have yielded surprising results at the top of the bottom of the points standings. Some drivers, like Mark Martin, are left scratching their head after having fast cars at each race, but no finishes to show for that. Likewise, teams like Michael Waltrip Racing in the top 12 and some of the startup teams near the brink of emergence in the Top 35 are among other early surprises in the points. That being said, here are the best of both this week.

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Frontstretch NASCAR Power Rankings: Top 15 After the 2009 Auto Club 500 at Fontana

After Matt Kenseth and his "Killer Bees," our Frontstretch Power Rankings were as fluid as you might expect for just the second week of the season. The competition may be considered boring at California, but it was anything but when you look at the many changes in our Top 15 this week. Plenty of people moved up, down, and just plain off the list after 500 miles of racing out west. So, read on to see if your driver kept from falling asleep at the wheel, or if he won the Oscar for "Most Precipitous Fall From Grace" in this week’s Power Rankings.

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Beyond the Cockpit: Joey Logano on Patience, Pressure & His Personal Car?

Joey Logano entered Sprint Cup this season as the most talented 18-year-old in the NASCAR record books to date. At Kentucky last June, he set a record as the youngest driver ever to visit Victory Lane in the Nationwide Series, setting the racing community on notice that he was primed for superstardom earlier than anyone might have ever believed. Our own Doug Turnbull sat down with Logano in Atlanta following a difficult Daytona 500 to talk with him about the pressure surrounding the hype of being NASCAR's next big thing, what his support system has been like... and whether he really does enjoy life behind the camera as much as on the racetrack.

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Who’s Hot/Who’s Not in Sprint Cup: 2009 Auto Club 500 at Fontana Edition

Adding to the boredom was the dominance of a select few. Kyle Busch came close to scoring the first “hat trick” in NASCAR history, finishing third in the Cup race while scoring impressive wins in both the Nationwide and Camping World Truck series events. Matt Kenseth followed up with his second consecutive win in the Sprint Cup 500-miler, although Jeff Gordon and Greg Biffle each had cars capable of getting to victory lane. Gordon drove a masterful race, only to come up just short, while a Biffle miscue on pit road and other miscues of his own left him with a surprise appearance on this week's "Hot, Warm, Cold" list. Here's a breakdown of where Kenseth, Gordon, Biffle and some of the series' other top drivers stand heading to Las Vegas next week:

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Who’s Hot/Who’s Not in Sprint Cup: 2009 Daytona 500 Edition

Some teams came out of the block strong following good runs in Sunday’s Daytona 500. Due to the nature of restrictor-plate racing, fate can play a major role in which teams are successful and which head to California hoping to get their season on the right track. And while it's easy to get caught up in the hype of NASCAR's Super Bowl, following intermediate track races at California, Las Vegas and Atlanta will play a much larger role than Daytona in determining which teams and drivers are actually contenders and pretenders for the championship. Here are the Hot, Warm and Cold drivers following the Great American Race.

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