NASCAR Race Weekend Central

Who’s Hot/Who’s Not in Sprint Cup: 2009 Lenox Industrial Tools 301 at Loudon Edition

Joey Logano stole some history at New Hampshire on Sunday, becoming the youngest driver to win a Sprint Cup race by not pitting his No. 20 Home Depot Toyota during the last round of pit stops, taking a gamble and hoping for rain at his home track. Crew chief Greg Zipadelli’s decision quickly made up for Logano’s run-in with Ryan Newman, as well as the resulting flat tire and spin that resulted from it midway through the race. But while Logano’s upset victory continues to be the big story, there were a few other upstart runs, as well, considering that rained-out qualifying placed the top points contenders in the top-starting positions.

Who’s Hot/Who’s Not in Sprint Cup: 2009 Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Edition

The Cup Series’ trip to wine country in Sonoma, Calif. sure seemed to be worth the extra gas bill. The inevitable fuel-strategy gambles and unpredictable mishaps that Infineon Raceway commonly produces shuffled up the running order many times during Sunday’s race. The racing action through the pack was tight and fender-banging, especially in the closing laps, helping to cure the spacious, snooze-worthy action of the past couple of weeks in Michigan and Pocono. Despite the race boiling down to fuel strategy, the best driver and car combination won the event. Kasey Kahne survived several restarts and held off an almost equal car and superior driver in Tony Stewart. Not every team was as lucky, as some Chase hopefuls took hits in the points and others that have struggled all year continued that trend. Here are this week’s HOT, WARM and COLD drivers.

Who’s Hot/Who’s Not in Sprint Cup: 2009 Lifelock 400 at Michigan Edition

“Give me fuel, give me fire, give me that which I desire,” may very well have been the lyrics Jimmie Johnson was banging his head to as his dominant No. 48 Chevy sputtered to the finish of Sunday’s LifeLock 400. The three-time champ absolutely dominated at Michigan, only surrendering the lead after the final pit …

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

Sunday was a long day in Long Pond, Pa., as only a few teams really had their cars hooked up to handle the tricky triangle that is Pocono Raceway. While positive storylines like the implementation of double-file restarts and Tony Stewart’s march from the back of the pack to win his first race as an owner permeated the day, the same old song of single-file racing at the front of the pack was set to loop. The only chance for some teams to find success at Pocono was by gambling on fuel mileage, which garnered top-10 finishes for Marcos Ambrose and Juan Pablo Montoya. Unfortunately, teams high in the points that are not worried about falling out of Chase contention, like Stewart’s, Carl Edwards’s and Jeff Gordon’s also tried the same strategy and came out on top. Here are the HOT, WARM and COLD teams after the conclusion of the Pocono 500.

Who’s Hot/Who’s Not in Sprint Cup: 2009 Autism Speaks 400 at Dover Edition

Race number 13 in the 2009 season was an unlucky one for Goodyear, as periodic rains in Dover washed the track of rubber after both the Friday race sessions and the Saturday races. With entries in both the Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series having right front tire issues, Sprint Cup teams knew that tire conservation during Sunday’s race would be the only way to increase the chance of avoiding the damning blown tire punctures. Despite a competition caution and other precautions, several teams suffered tire failures and many others’ days were ruined by a caution that came out during a green flag pit sequence that John Andretti’s blown right front and subsequent brushing with the wall brought out. These factors combined with a barn-burner finish, determined this week’s *HOT*, *WARM*, and *COLD* drivers for the week.

Who’s Hot/Who’s Not in Sprint Cup Heading To Dover After the 2009 Coca-Cola 600

The conclusion of the Anti-Climatic 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway Monday leaves the NASCAR fanbase wondering exactly which driver should have won. Since the race began in the middle of the day on Monday instead of early in the evening on Sunday, drivers did not have to encounter as many changes in track conditions as expected, throwing possible contenders a curve some never recovered from. As the race wore on, Kyle Busch, Kasey Kahne and Brian Vickers proved to have the fastest cars – but would all three of these drivers have remained the ones to beat had the race gone the distance? Since the rainy conditions and subsequent pit strategies shuffled up the entire running order and many teams mid-pack were likely biding their time before making a run for the front, this week is yet another tough time to determine the current HOT, WARM and COLD drivers. Nevertheless, here they are as we prepare to head to Delaware for racing at the Monster Mile….

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 in the first three segments …

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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 led to the same danger …

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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.

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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