NASCAR Race Weekend Central

Bubble Breakdown: Scott Riggs Races His Way In While Michael Waltrip Wrecks His Way Out

The competition to stay in the Top 35 in owner points has dissolved into a dogfight, with many more teams falling back towards the bubble as opposed to moving away from it. While a few select cars — such as Bill Davis’ No. 22 Caterpillar entry and Michael Waltrip Racing’s No. 44 UPS Toyota — have been able to develop some semblance of consistency, many others have simply not developed any at all… or have just been consistently bad. And while those two teams have distanced themselves from the bubble fray, others — like Chip Ganassi’s No. 41 Target Dodge and Robby Gordon’s No. 7 — have struggled enough to come back towards the cut line. As it stands now, there’s less than 100 points separating 30th from 36th in owner points — a number that has plenty of organizations just a little nervous. At least there’s just one spot they’ve got to worry about, for now; a healthy gap of 128 points currently separates the 36th-place team from 37th.

Bubble Breakdown: Penalties Have Crippled Haas CNC… While Saving Michael Waltrip Racing

The big story from the bubble this week has been the heavy penalties handed down by NASCAR to the Haas CNC Racing teams. Both cars were hit with 150-point owner and driver standings deductions, as well as various team fines and six-week suspensions of the car chief and crew chief for each vehicle. As a result, the No. 66 car went from solidly in the field to right on the bubble, while the No. 70 has been put in a hole from which it may never recover.

Bubble Breakdown: David Reutimann, Sam Hornish Jr. Highlight Proud Performances By Struggling Teams

Sunday evening, NASCAR’s top series put out its version of an endurance race with the running of the Coca-Cola 600. The series’ longest event, it’s a true test of both man and machine, and everyone needs to be on top of their game. But two of Sunday’s 43 starters — one a bubble dweller and one who soon may be — were already at a serious disadvantage before the marathon even got underway.

Bubble Breakdown: Dave Blaney Rides Momentum into the Top 35

NASCAR’s Sprint Cup teams raced under the lights Saturday night at one of the crown jewel of the series: Darlington Raceway. The track labeled as “Too Tough to Tame” looked quite timid during qualifying for several of the bubble teams as five drivers managed to qualify their cars in the top 18 during Friday evening’s qualifying session. But Saturday night, the Lady in Black showed her true self, as only two of those bubble teams were able to manage top-20 finishes, and left us wondering why the others even bothered to paint the right sides of their cars. As the checkered flag waved, one team raced its way into the Top 35, one wrecked its way out, and the rest were just happy to get out in one piece. With that, here’s your break down of the bubble teams this week for the Dodge Challenger 500.

Bubble Breakdown: Go or Go Homers Get Roughed Up at Richmond

That meant when the dust settled from the Saturday night short track brawl, the results were a knockout punch to teams trying to climb their way back up the ladder. Four of the six teams ranked 30th to 35th in the owner standings posted finishes of 23rd or better; in comparison, the eight drivers from 36th to 43rd had just one finish better than 27th. And as if the “safe” teams needed any more help, for the second straight week the car 36th in owner points missed the race; as a result, the distance between the Top 35 and the first car “on the outside looking in” expanded to 71 points. That’s quite a jump, especially considering that just two races ago, the margin had shrunk to only three.

Bubble Breakdown: If Only It Was The Aaron’s 498

As the NASCAR traveling circus made its way to Alabama last weekend for the running of the Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway, it was expected that the bubble drivers would do well entering Saturday’s qualifying session. After all, the top eight spots for the fall race were taken up by teams outside the Top 35; in that event, their qualifying setups easily outpaced those “safely” in the field, who were more focused on a winning combination for Sunday.

Bubble Breakdown: Top-35 Surprises, Disappointments & Concerns In 2008

Welcome one and all to this week’s edition of the Bubble Breakdown. With no Sprint Cup Series race last weekend to speak of, we’re going to take advantage of the break to look back at the first eight races of the season and analyze the biggest surprises and disappointments so far. So without further ado, here’s a recap of this year’s bubble drivers.

Bubble Breakdown: David Reutimann Muscles His Way Into The Top 35… Again

The big news for the week from bubble land involved the No. 70 Haas Automation Chevrolet previously driven by Jeremy Mayfield. On Monday, Haas CNC Racing announced that the team and Mayfield agreed to part ways after the No. 70 car fell out of the Top 35 in owner points. According to team General Manager Joe Custer, “Jeremy stepped into the seat and did everything we asked him to… and more. Ultimately, we were unable to provide him with the right balance, handling, and speed he needed to be successful.”

Bubble Breakdown: Jeremy Mayfield Out, Sam Hornish Jr. Back Inside Top-35 Safety Net

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series made its annual spring journey to the Lone Star State for the running of the Samsung 500 at Texas Motor Speedway this past weekend. They tell me that everything is bigger in Texas; and apparently, this adage can be applied to the problems of some bubble teams. There’s bickering at Petty Enterprises, sponsor issues at Michael Waltrip Racing, and Chip Ganassi seems to be of the belief that there needs to be some personnel changes on his No. 40 team currently driven by former open wheeler Dario Franchitti. All of this only seven races into the year; who says Silly Season in NASCAR ever stops?

Bubble Breakdown: Mad Martinsville Scramble Leaves Jamie McMurray, Regan Smith Back in Top 35

For those who haven’t heard, this week NASCAR denied Michael Waltrip Racing’s request to swap owner points between the No. 00 and the No. 44. This means that after 41 races, David Reutimann finally got himself solidly up in owner points, only to have his team owner drop him back to 34th. John Darby, Sprint Cup series director stated that, “Point swaps are typically granted only when there’s a change in business function, or when an owner is trying to reorganize during the offseason. This was never meant to be used to give a driver the best position he can get.” With this ruling, let’s take a look at who this week’s Winners and Losers are after the Goody’s Cool Orange 500.

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