Recent Posts

Elliott Gets Wood Brothers Back in Top 35; Blaney, Toyota Fall Out

Hot temperatures and consistently high RPM's took its toll on a number of engines Sunday night in California. The heat's biggest victim came when Dave Blaney's motor expired on lap 201 allowing the No. 21 Wood Brothers team the opportunity to jump back into the Top 35. This secured Bill Elliott a spot in the field next week in Richmond. The two teams have shuffled back and forth numerous times in the past month, with neither team capitalizing on the benefit of a guaranteed spot.The race for the final bubble position grew to four teams last weekend with Johnny Sauter and Kyle Petty falling into the clutches of 35th. See just how much breathing room these teams have, as well how close the No. 22 is to the No. 21 in this week's edition of the Bubble Breakdown...

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Numbers Game : Sharp Aquos 500

*1.868* Jimmie Johnson's margin of victory over Carl Edwards Sunday night. (in seconds)*2nd* Career Cup victory and sixth Top 10 finish at California Speedway for Sharp Aquos 500 winner Jimmie Johnson.*3* Cars dropped to the rear of the field prior to the start of Sunday's race. (No. 01 - Aric Almirola and No. 42 - Juan Pablo Montoya for engine changes; No. 96 - Tony Raines for a transmission change)

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Thinkin’ Out Loud: Sharp Aquos 500

*The Key Moment* - With 100 laps remaining Jimmie Johnson's crew chief, Chad Knaus, guaranteed a victory and Johnson pulled through in fine fashion, picking up his fifth win of the season.*In a Nutshell* - As the sun went down, the No. 48 car pulled away from the field, propelling Johnson to a victory at his home track.*Dramatic Moment* - Dale Earnhardt. Jr. drove like a man on a mission and went toe-to-toe with Kyle Busch and Jimmie Johnson for the lead several times on the night.*What They'll Be Talking About Around the Water Cooler This Week:**It's Labor Day weekend. Where's Darlington?*

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Rating the Nextel Cup Rookies: California Edition

*Rookies in the Starting Lineup:* A.J.Allmendinger (18th), Paul Menard (20th), David Reutimann (28th), David Ragan (33rd), Aric Almirola (40th), Juan Pablo Montoya (42nd)*Unofficial Finishing Positions:* David Ragan (12th), A.J.Allmendinger (18th), Paul Menard (24th), Aric Almirola (31st), David Reutimann (32nd) Juan Pablo Montoya (33rd)*Rookie of the Race: David Ragan.* After starting a dismal 33rd, David Ragan slowly made his way into the Top 10 by Lap 104. The AAA team would experience a "yo-yo" type of night for the rest of the race, dropping as low as 36th after a pit road speeding penalty, before coming home in 12th position. Saturday night's finish marked Ragan's sixth Top 15 finish of 2007 and his tenth top rookie finish of the season.

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“Dale”; A Film For Fans And Non-Fans Alike

My girlfriend loves me. I'm not sure why; I'm not that great looking, I'm moody, I probably don't buy her gifts often enough — wait, strike the "probably" part — and I don't particularly care to share one of her favorite pastimes: Going to the movies. I can't pinpoint the reason(s) I fail to appreciate two-hours in the theatre, but I think it has something to do with having to plan ahead, blocking off a portion of my not-very-busy schedule and sitting still for an extended period of time.Problem is, Kristin loves them. If it were up to her we would spend every Saturday afternoon at the matinee seeing something along the lines of _The Nanny Diaries_ (which by the way, isn't half bad). So it was a masterful stroke on her part three months ago when she bought tickets to the movie _Dale_. I mean, what better way to combine her passion with mine?

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Tracking the Trucks : Missouri/Illinois Dodge Dealers Ram Tough 200

*In a Nutshell:* Johnny Benson took the checkered flag ahead of Ron Hornaday, Jr. under caution for his second consecutive win during the Missouri / Illinois Dodge Dealers Ram Tough 200 Saturday night at Gateway International Raceway. Midway through the race, Benson found himself in 20th after running near the front most of the race, but a strong truck allowed him to race through the field for the win. Defending race winner, Ted Musgrave finished 3rd. Todd Bodine and Regan Smith rounded out the Top 5.*Who Should Have Won:* Benson. At one point, Benson pretty much could have counted himself out of the race. A lug nut came loose when his crew was changing left side tires, dropping Benson from running near the front to 20th. Benson passed Hornaday, Jr. on lap 147 and had a near-perfect truck for the rest of the race.

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Kyle Petty Races Hard, Fundraises Harder

As a third generation stock car racer, 47-year-old Kyle Petty has been around the sport literally all of his life. As a driver, Petty has competed in over 800 Cup races dating back to 1979.Despite the passage of time, he still strives to be successful in the series - and gets frustrated when he isn't.Currently 38th in points, Petty let anger get the better of him a few weeks ago after a blown transmission and subsequent wreck at Watkins Glen. "I'm not going to disclose all the information," said Petty's son Austin a few days after the race, "but there was an incident between his fist and a wall and a broken bone."

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David Starr Driver Diary: Safe Racing and SafeLight

A couple of weeks ago we made some changes on our International MaxxForce Diesel team, including a new truck chief, Troy "TK" Kelly. We had a meeting at the shop about what we could do to work a little better as a team and man, what a difference. We unloaded with a great Ford F150 and for the first time, my truck and Rick Crawford's No. 14 Ford Power Stroke Diesel by International truck were identical and it really worked out good. Our No. 10 International MaxxForce Diesel Ford F150 was pretty competitive the whole race and I actually thought we might have a shot at winning. In the end, it was a great call for my crew chief Dennis Connor to go with only right side tires. The chassis adjustment at the end helped me run the fastest laps of the weekend in the last 20 laps of the race. It was just good to be competitive and running back into the Top 5 where we should be. I know I finished fourth, but it felt like a win for us. I think we've got a lot of momentum going now at Circle Bar Racing and we're pretty excited about it. NASCAR racing is all about the chemistry and getting the right people. With our new truck chief Troy, it seems to be working in the shop and reflecting on the race track.

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NASCAR Simply Heading In the Wrong Direction This Weekend

NASCAR is heading in the wrong direction. No (for once) I don't mean in general, I mean that literally. As the Busch and Nextel Cup Series both head for California Speedway this weekend they're going the wrong way. They're heading west when they should be heading south.I touched on NASCAR's abandonment of its history in my column last week. The subject should be of much greater concern than NASCAR seems to want to admit. Labor Day weekend was, until 2004, the weekend of the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway. It's not just that Darlington is the oldest superspeedway in the United States; it's that the Southern 500 was once the oldest race in NASCAR; older than the Daytona 500. In fact, NASCAR once had a bonus program for any driver who could win three of its four most coveted races-the Daytona 500 (the most prestigious race), the Coca-Cola 600 (the longest race), the summer race at Talladega (the fastest race) and the Southern 500 (the oldest race). The feat was only accomplished twice in over ten years on the books-once by Bill Elliott and once by Jeff Gordon. Both accomplished it at Darlington.

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Racing’s All in the Family at Gateway

When the Craftsman Truck Series takes the green flag Saturday evening at Gateway International Raceway, Kenny Wallace will make his return to the series after an 11 year absence. Wallace, set to run the No. 51 Flanders Provisions Co. Chevrolet for Billy Ballew, is the youngest of the Wallace brothers; one of just four families in series history to have three brothers compete. The Wallaces, the Greens, the Sauters and the Bodines have all left their mark on the series over time.

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