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5 Points To Ponder

Five Points to Ponder: Damaging Debris, Double Duty Disasters, And Hendrick’s New Connection

*ONE: Turner Motorsports' New Prospect Is...a Hendrick Retread?*Filling out Turner Motorsports' No. 32 truck this year is going to be... Blake Feese? Fans should be forgiven if they've forgotten that name; Feese drove one race for Billy Ballew's Truck team in 2009, but he's better known for being part of a tandem of drivers, along with Boston Reid that took over Kyle Busch's No. 5 Nationwide ride in 2005 for Hendrick Motorsports. By springtime of that year, he was ousted after two months of wrecks and mediocre results.So how in the world did Feese, who between ARCA and the Truck Series has run only five races in the last five years, somehow get the call to fill a driver development seat with a team that's far from slouch?

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Five Points to Ponder: Multiple Yellow Issues, Fan Woes, And ARCA Goes Old School

*ONE: NASCAR Threw Saturday's Yellow Way Too Early*There's no denying that Mike Wallace's flip to end Saturday's Aaron's 312 was both a crushing disappointment for Nationwide Series regular fans and a scary moment all wrapped into one. But for NASCAR to end that race nearly half a lap short of the finish as a result, with the field having already passed the wreck in turn 3 was both a disservice to the fans and competitors... and completely unnecessary.

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5 Points to Ponder: Which RCR Will Show Up?, Cole Whitt’s Coming, And Do Or Die For…

*ONE: Richard Childress Racing This Weekend's Biggest Question Mark*Fresh off a second-place finish that moved him back into the top 12 in points and saw the No. 33 car one misjudged pass on the frontstretch away from a likely win at Texas, Clint Bowyer has managed to right a ship that appeared sunk the first few races of the season. In fact, his recovery could apply to all of Richard Childress Racing. You couple that with Paul Menard's top-5 showing, Jeff Burton actually finishing a race without damage, plus Kevin Harvick winning the two races prior to Texas and RCR has been looking far more like their 2010 selves for the better part of the last month. Surprisingly, though, the same Talladega oval that the organization has long enjoyed success on, both before and after Dale Earnhardt, may prove to be a bump in the road of that recovery.

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Five Points to Ponder: Rowdy’s Coup, A Dying Cup Team And Why Norm Benning Made The News

*ONE: Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s Runner-Up Result Has No Negative*Dale Jr. came oh so close to ending the longest losing streak of his career at Martinsville this past Sunday, falling only a few laps short to a red hot Kevin Harvick. And for as stellar a result as it was for the No. 88 team, any observer of Jr. and his post-race reactions would be very correct in expressing concern over his emotional state of mind following the event. Despite his remarks, Jr. thought that Martinsville was going to be the place the losing stopped. He was convinced, after bumping Kyle Busch from the lead, that he had this race won. Speaking fast, Earnhardt was doing everything he could to hold back his emotions.

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5 Pts to Ponder: Edwards the Wise, Roush the Shorthanded & Dollars For Dillons

*ONE: Edwards Wise to Hold Out on Contract Talks*When asked about renegotiating with Roush Fenway Racing, where he's been the full-time driver of the No. 99 car since midway through the 2004 season, Carl Edwards played his cool. “We'll just see how it plays out,” he said, noting that he didn't want talk of contracts and the business side of the sport distracting him from a stellar 2011 campaign that has his Ford team sitting atop the Sprint Cup point standings.

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Five Points to Ponder: Empty Seats And No Bump & Run? Are We In Bristol Anymore?

*ONE: Bristol Goes From Coliseum to Cavern*Estimates that 120,000 fans were in the stands at Bristol Motor Speedway this past Sunday were gross exaggerations. Maybe, between the Nationwide and Cup races combined, there were 120,000-130,000. But any talk of six digit attendance figures for this event are figments of someone's imagination... that, or the usual deliberate attempt to conceal just how many people stayed home.The downturn from just a year ago is shocking. Taking a conservative estimate of 125,000 for last year's spring race, and comparing it to the 80,000 or so that I believed were present on Sunday... that's a one-year decline of 36%. It was depressing to witness in person, especially considering the history of this track, whose waiting list for suites and tickets just a few seasons ago rivaled even the Washington Redskins' season ticket list in their heyday.

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5 Points to Ponder Special: Jennifer Jo Cobb & The Nationwide Race

*1: The Jennifer Jo Cobb situation* To say that Rick Russell and the 2nd Chance Motorsports operation exrienced nothing short of an all-out mutiny at Bristol Saturday is an understatement. To explain the whole messy situation, Cobb was pulled out of the car at Fontana and ten minutes before race-time for Saturday's Scotts E-Z Seed 300, she was told she would be parking the car. This, according to Cobb, breached her contract with the team and she immediately walked away from the team. Not only did Cobb walk away, but her crew, her crew chief, and her PR representative all left the team as well. With no crew, 2nd Chance Motorsports was originally not allowed to run on the track. But after they procured the services of Chris Lawson and a crew that was basically patched together at the last moment, they parked the car after four laps.

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5 Points to Ponder: Underdog Encores For Brian & Kenny? And Why Bristol Holds The Key To 2011

*ONE: Will Brian Keselowski Make Another Cup Race?*This sport has a way of humbling even its greatest stories in a big-time hurry. While Trevor Bayne made headlines in Phoenix by wrecking in Cup practice, suffering a hard crash in Nationwide competition courtesy of a blown tire and then wrecking his Cup car early on Sunday the week after winning the Daytona 500, Speedweeks' other big story was nowhere to be seen... except on the trailer headed home. Brian Keselowski, the Cinderella story of the Gatorade Duels, was the slowest of 44 cars; the lone man to DNQ repeated the feat a week later in Las Vegas, turning a promising rookie start into an ugly dose of underdog reality on the Cup circuit.

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Five Points to Ponder SPECIAL EDITION: Too Tough To Tame 200

*ONE: Old-School Track Exposes New-Fangled Rules Flaws*For no other feasible reason than to ensure that a doubleheader of 125-mile Truck and ARCA races at Pocono could fit into a compressed window for the SPEED channel or doubting the attention span of the average hardcore race fan that actually watches qualifying is capable of handling only one truck being on track at a time on the tricky triangle, NASCAR decided last year to compress qualifying for the trucks, having more than one on track at a given time.

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Five Points to Ponder: Keselowski Crawling, Rising Ratings, And Judging Martin’s Win Total

*ONE: Monetary Woes Are Getting to Robby Gordon*Though the No. 7 car has been painted for each of the first three races of the 2011 season, and Gordon has been reported to have sponsorship through the early spring for his Cup entries, any doubt that finances were very much an issue for the Robby Gordon Motorsports operation were laid to rest this past weekend in Las Vegas, both on the track and off. For the third weekend in a row, the No. 7 car was involved in an on-track incident...and for the second straight time, it was a spin on his own. For all of his aggression, Gordon's car control has never been questioned. But both at Phoenix and now Vegas, Gordon has been involved in spins that seem almost as if the driver is distracted behind the wheel, having a difficult time getting into a groove in the afternoon's event.

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