NASCAR Race Weekend Central

The Yellow Stripe: Kevin Harvick, Your 2008 Sprint Cup Champ? Here’s 5 Reasons Why It Could Happen

Kevin Harvick has long conquered the difficulty of replacing a legend to become a star in his own right. After five races of 2008, he’s sitting pretty in third in the standings, just 33 back from leader Kyle Busch while making a push to be a major title contender. It may be ridiculously early to start thinking about who could be the champ – a fact not lost on someone like Jeff Gordon, for whom a 400-point lead and an average finishing position of 5.2 in the Chase last year was not good enough – but if you’re looking for drivers who might pick up the biggest crown in NASCAR, you could do a lot worse than considering the driver of the No. 29 Chevy. So, why might 2008 be Harvick’s year? Here are five reasons why…

The Yellow Stripe: Like it or Not… Toyota’s Here to Stay

After what can most politely be termed as a “learning experience for Toyota” in year one, there was little doubt in the media, in the garage, or amongst the fans that 2008 would be a completely different story. After Joe Gibbs Racing was safely ensconced in the fold, along with the expertise of renowned engine builder Mark Cronquist, the only real question was “when” and not “if” they would win a Sprint Cup race. On Sunday, after 500 tough miles at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Kyle “Rowdy” Busch achieved the milestone win for the Japanese manufacturer in his own inimitable fashion; Busch, being a man for whom the term “drive it like you stole it” was invented.

The Yellow Stripe: Managing Expectations & Fending Off Disappointment

Trying to predict how the 2008 NASCAR season will finish after just three races — and with less than 10% of the full schedule accounted for — is just short of madness. But NASCAR is nothing if not a brutally honest sport. Yes, you can be the victim of bad racing luck; witness Casey Mears at Fontana hitting a weeper and somehow missing absolutely everyone else except his teammate. Yet for the most part, the standings don’t lie; and after three races of this nascent season, we have a large enough sample size to start analyzing trends.

The Yellow Stripe: From Snake Eyes To Box Cars, Sizing Up NASCAR Odds In Vegas

With the old adage that the “bookies never lose” notwithstanding, and NASCAR’s annual date with Sin City just a couple days away, now seems as good a time as ever to put up some odds you might (or might not) see throughout the 2008 NASCAR season…

The Yellow Stripe: The Perfect Day

The idea to go to the 50th running of the Daytona 500 was born in Italy last summer. During a lazy afternoon by the pool, a couple of days before I was married, I was explaining to my best man how much I loved NASCAR when he admitted that he had been watching some highlights of the races on late-night British TV. So, we made a snap decision to go to the big race; all that was left was the question of logistics.

The Yellow Stripe: The Most Unlikely NASCAR Fan Ever

In September 2005, my life changed forever when I started a job with Nextel’s ad agency in the heart of Manhattan. It took until 10:30 a.m. on day one to realize that stock car knowledge had become a necessity; working with the company’s racing division, I discovered that unless I went on a crash course (no pun intended) I was going to be in deep, deep trouble. In need of answers, I opted for full scale NASCAR immersion ASAP. I devoured every piece of material the agency had since they began sponsoring the sport in early 2004. I studied numerous racing sites (imagine my delight at finding the comprehensive Jayski), and thumbed back issues of NASCAR Scene and NASCAR Illustrated. I read NASCAR for Dummies cover-to-cover, and played hours of NASCAR 06 Total Team Control — which later became a useful tool when I didn’t know an upcoming track. I discovered the Speed Channel, becoming enthralled by Beyond the Wheel while bemused by Inside Nextel Cup in the process. By the time I settled down to watch my first race, the Sony HD 500 at California, I had what I thought was a rudimentary knowledge of the sport.

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