NASCAR Race Weekend Central

Thompson in Turn 5

Thompson in Turn 5: Jeff Gordon A Legend Amongst Us

With the Samsung 500 victory at Texas, Gordon has now posted 82 career Cup Series wins. By comparison Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jimmie Johnson, his closest rival in the career win category of drivers competing fulltime in NASCAR’s top series, has exactly half or 41 victories to his credit. Even though Johnson has performed at a prolific pace during his relatively short 262 starts at the Cup level-- having yet to experience a significant and seemingly unavoidable win-drought in his career--he does not enjoy any significant win percentage advantage over Gordon. With 16-years and 554 starts in NASCAR Cup competition under his belt, Gordon has a winning percentage of 14.86%, a sum just under Johnson’s winning rate of 15.65% amassed since he began campaigning in the Cup circuit fulltime in 2002.

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Thompson in Turn 5: Old Controversies, The No. 8 and Aric Almirola Are Shelved

On Wednesday, it was reported that the No. 8 Chevrolet team of Earnhardt Ganassi Racing will be scuttled immediately, removing themselves off the entry list for the Subway Fresh Fit 500k at Phoenix International Raceway next Saturday night. And with the news everyone has expected for days now becoming official, two separate issues that had been “hot button topics” over the last two seasons have converged and been simultaneously resolved in a most unceremonious manner.

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Thompson in Turn 5: Potential Loss Of GM And Dodge Will Force NASCAR To Make Difficult Decisions

The drumbeat to the demise of American automakers General Motors and Chrysler is becoming increasingly louder in recent days, as both manufacturers appear certain to either cease to exist or file for bankruptcy to seek temporary protection through the courts as they attempt to reorganize their failing businesses. Curiously, NASCAR remains silent as to what their contingency plans are as the industry they have been intertwined with for decades continues to crumble around them.

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Thompson in Turn 5: Clint Bowyer Still Flying Under The Radar

Clint Bowyer, the pride of Emporia, Kans., was on virtually nobody’s preseason list of "drivers most likely to win the 2009 Sprint Cup championship." But five weeks into the season, the top-performing driver with RCR -- on its newest team, no less -- finds himself as one of the top contenders in this year's points Chase. And why wouldn't he be? After all, Bowyer has finished in the top five in points each of the previous two years on the circuit.

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Thompson in Turn 5: You Can Bet On Bristol Being As Good As Ever

Though it is fair to debate whether or not it is wise for the NASCAR Sprint Cup schedule to have a bye week only four weeks into the schedule, few would disagree that scheduling a race at Bristol Motor Speedway after an off-week is a great way to restart what is sure to be a long, grueling season for fans and competitors alike. Seems that if there is one thing that the diverse fans of the sport can agree on is that Bristol Rocks!

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Thompson in Turn 5: Bruton Smith Dissin’ On South Florida, Homestead-Miami Speedway, and President Obama

Speedway Motorsports Inc. President and CEO Bruton Smith seems to have adopted the “best defense is a good offense” philosophy last Friday while entertaining reporters at his Atlanta Motor Speedway. Smith, undoubtedly aware that the upcoming Sprint Cup race at the Hampton, Ga. 1.5-mile motorsports facility would be embarrassingly under-attended, instead took shots at southern Floridians, Homestead-Miami Speedway, and the President of the United States.

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Thompson in Turn 5: No Need For Jeff Gordon To Toot His Own Horn

Last Sunday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, fans witnessed one of the city’s "favorite sons," Kyle Busch, charge from the (almost) rear of the field to dominate the final laps of the Shelby 427. In the process, Busch improved his ranking in the Sprint Cup driver standings 12 positions, putting himself right back into contention for the season-long title. The 23-year-old Busch now heads into next week's showdown at the super-fast Atlanta Motor Speedway sixth in points, trailing new leader Jeff Gordon by just 59.

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Thompson in Turn 5: Kevin Harvick Came Close To Catching “The Turtle” — And Should Be Commended For It

Kevin Harvick and the No. 29 Shell-Pennzoil team's record-setting streak of 81 races without a DNF ended in Fontana, California last Sunday. It was a tough pill to swallow for Harvick and his Richard Childress Racing crew, who had finished every Sprint Cup event since Dover in September of 2006. After an engine failure got the better of them at the Monster Mile, their streak of running at the finish lasted through the rest of 2006, the entire 2007 and 2008 seasons, and into the second race of the 2009 Cup schedule. That's an impressive feat that Harvick and his crew should be immensely proud of.

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Thompson in Turn 5: Fontana Lacks One Thing That Darlington Has

When NASCAR resumed racing in southern California in 1997 after previous failed attempts at gaining a foothold for the sport at Riverside and Ontario, the decision seemed at best ill-advised and at worst foolhardy to a large number of longtime and loyal NASCAR fans. However, when in 2004 a second date was awarded to the 2-mile race facility at the expense of Darlington Raceway and its Labor Day weekend tradition, the Southern 500, many felt that the sanctioning body had in effect committed a treasonous act against those that had supported it for years. These events have been a chronic black eye to the Fontana, Calif. racing facility... and one that has yet to heal nearly four years after NASCAR made its move.

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Thompson in Turn 5: For Michael Waltrip, Due Respect

NASCAR’s resident funny-man, corporate promoter extraordinaire and one of three owner/drivers in the Sprint Cup Series is geared-up and offering his opinions on most anything NASCAR, although that is not so unusual. Topping the list of issues that the 45-year old Waltrip, now in his third season as a team owner, expounded upon this week was the current ban on testing at NASCAR sanctioned tracks for competitors in its top five divisions. The testing prohibition, in place for the time being at least through the 2009 season, is in Michael Waltrip’s estimation “...a colossal waste of time and money.”

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