The Kobalt Tools 500 marked the fourth race in the 2009 season, meaning there is just one more event to get into the Top 35 in owner points before NASCAR shifts to this year’s standings to determine who is or isn’t locked into the starting grid each week. This made the race at Atlanta critical for many, as no one wants to have to go to Bristol under pressure to post a stellar finish – the race in Thunder Valley is one of the more unpredictable races on the circuit. To see which big name teams fell short at AMS and will head to Tennessee a nervous wreck – as well as which smaller teams have surprised everyone by driving safely into the Top 35 – read on in this week’s edition of the Bubble Breakdown.
With three races in the books already in 2009, the battle for the Top 35 locked-in spots is heating up, as there are only two races remaining to secure one of those Top-35 guaranteed starting positions. And when you looked at the starting lineup for the Shelby 427 at Las Vegas Speedway, you saw the names Todd Bodine, Brad Keselowski and Max Papis as new names on the grid. This means several full-time teams didn’t make the field this past weekend, thus digging themselves a deep hole. To see which cars and drivers took a big hit in the standings this past weekend, read on in this week’s edition of the Bubble Breakdown…
NASCAR’s top series headed out west to start a two-race stint on the left coast beginning with the first stop of the year at the Auto Club Speedway in California. With this just the second race of the season, the race to get into the Top 35 is a complete mess, with teams jumping way up and falling way down in the standings on a week-to-week basis. And while Matt Kenseth has opened the year with two victories, a pair of teams with guaranteed starting spots has opened up with two finishes outside the Top 35. Read on to see which teams rebounded and which team dug a deeper hole heading to Las Vegas.
The 2009 Sprint Cup season officially kicked off Sunday afternoon with the running of the Daytona 500; and with that, the battle for the Top 35 is on. For those of you new to the sport, the Top 35 teams in owner points are locked into the starting grid each week. For the first five races of the season, NASCAR uses the owner standings from the previous year, then reverts to the current season’s standings from there on out. So while the Top 35 are locked in for the first few races, the jockeying for position has begun with the bubble teams in an effort to transfer into a locked in spot when the series visits Martinsville in a month and a half. Read on to see who improved their position and who is already behind the 8-ball in this week’s edition of the Bubble Breakdown.
You’d think that over the offseason, it’d be hard for the Top-35 situation to change as no one would be accumulating any more points. But in an offseason filled with teams folding, merging, and selling off their “locked-in” places on the starting grid, the landscape of Who’s In and Who’s Out looks completely different than it did when I left you back in November. Several teams that were out of the Top 35 after Miami have gained access to automatic spots, while others have seen their points go to different cars within their own teams. It’s all enough to leave you more than a little confused. So, without further adieu, let’s clear the air and preview the Top 35 for 2009.
Today’s Season Preview Topic: Jimmie Johnson is attempting to do something that’s never been done in the history of NASCAR: four straight championships. What will they need to do to get over the hump – and is it possible?
Today’s Season Preview Topic: Last season, the 12 drivers that made the Chase were from just four teams (Hendrick, Gibbs, Childress and Roush). What other team has the best chance to break through and stop their Chase dominance, or are the advantages of the Big Four just too much?
Today’s Season Preview Topic: At 50 years old, Mark Martin is attempting the unthinkable: a return to full-time racing in the Cup Series. With good equipment underneath him (Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolets), is he capable of putting together a run at the Chase (and if he gets there, the championship)? Or is it too little, too late for this sport’s version of Dan Marino?
Today’s Season Preview Topic: After an up-and-down first full season with the Car of Tomorrow, NASCAR implemented no changes to the design over the offseason. Will that result in better racing in 2009 as teams get a handle on the new car, or will no testing lead to necessary midseason changes to increase the quality of racing?
Today’s Season Preview Topic: Some observers have already anointed 18-year-old Joey Logano as the next great driver on the NASCAR circuit. But last season, he struggled mightily in a handful of Cup starts for Hall of Fame Racing. Is this kid capable of taking the No. 20 Home Depot Toyota back to the front… or is he the second coming of Casey Atwood?