This year, things are different, and Ragan has his sights set on bringing the No. 6 back to Victory Lane. Preparing for his second Daytona 500, the 22-year-old hopes to build upon his fifth-place run in the 2007 edition of the Great American Race. While in Daytona, Ragan took the time out to sit down with Frontstretch’s Mike Lovecchio at NASCAR Media Day to discuss what the impact Robby Gordon leaving Ford for Dodge will have on the Roush program, and what he has done in the offseason to have a more successful 2008.
The last time we were in Florida for a race, Jimmie Johnson and the No. 48 team were basking in a sea of confetti after winning their second consecutive Sprint Cup title at Homestead-Miami Speedway. A lot has changed since that historic day in November; there’s been a powerful addition to the Toyota camp, and the sport’s most popular driver debuted with Johnson’s organization in convincing fashion during Saturday’s Budweiser Shootout. Those are just two of a number of storylines and questions heading into 2008 — some will have to wait to be answered, while some may be answered here.
Now that another new season is officially upon us, the time is here for our Frontstretch Staff to look like geniuses… or fools with our picks for who makes the Chase — and most importantly, who takes this year’s title. So, read on to find out who your favorite expert picked to bring home the hardware this season, along with who’s ready to cash their first unemployment check. And while Rookie of the Year might not count for much this year… we made a selection there, too.
Today’s Season Preview Topic: After a year of declining TV ratings and empty seats in the stands, NASCAR is going to work hard this season to win back the fans. What’s the most important thing they need to do in order to stop the bleeding?
Today’s Season Preview Topic: Which driver is going to be the biggest surprise in the Chase this season?
Today’s Season Preview Topic: As always, 2008 will be a year when several driver contracts are on the verge of expiring. So, which driver starts the season on the “hottest seat,” and why?
Today’s Season Preview Topic: After the success of Juan Pablo Montoya last season, the floodgates opened for a number of open-wheel stars to transition into the NASCAR ranks. But after a win and a top-25 points finish for Montoya in his rookie season, can any open-wheeler in the rookie class of 2008 duplicate that success – especially considering most of them have even less preparation time and stock car experience under their belts?
Today’s Season Preview Topic: Toyota made a major effort to upgrade their teams in the offseason, making a blockbuster deal with Joe Gibbs Racing. But how much will the other teams in the Toyota fold benefit? Simply put, can anyone else other than JGR win a race this season in a Camry; and for that matter, can that three-car juggernaut compete for the championship themselves in only their first season following a major manufacturer switch?
Today’s Season Preview Topic: As Hendrick Motorsports comes off another year of dominance, the big question will be how much better they are now that Dale Earnhardt Jr. has entered the fold. Emerging from the shadow of DEI, will NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver succeed in his first year with the new team – or will the pressure of high expectations set him up for failure?
This month, Michael McDowell returns to the series where he competed in 2005 and 2006, participating in the Rolex 24 at Daytona for the No. 09 Spirit of Daytona Racing Porsche FABCAR. As he prepares for his fourth grueling 24-hour event and his upcoming rookie season for MWR, McDowell took some time out at the Spirit of Daytona race shop to talk with Frontstretch, discussing why he made the transition from sports cars to stock cars and what his goals are for 2008.