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Top Ten Ways You Know You Just Spent a Week At Bristol

*10.* At least one of the nights, you passed out in one place and woke up somewhere completely different -- with no recollection of how you did that. *9.* You spent at least one day vowing to "never do THAT again," and spent a lot of time in the port-a-john. *8.* You wondered who everyone was talking about as they told stories of "last night," but were afraid to ask.

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Frontstretch Sprint Cup Power Rankings : Top 15 After Bristol

Frontstretch Power Rankings
Bristol's new, variable banking has given drivers the option to pass without having to wreck a guy on the race track. But as Carl Edwards showed us Saturday night, the bump and run can still be the only option if the car in front is just good enough to keep you behind. Ensuring that move remains alive and well, Edwards' shove of Kyle Busch was enough to move him into the top spot on our power rankings this week, displacing Kyle Busch for the first time since Richmond in May. But while Edwards was singing Bristol's praises, other drivers were riding their own bumps and bruises all the way down the list. This week, we saw two drivers fell out while two more slipped in -- with one Chase hopeful working his way back to the Top 10 for the first time in weeks. Who is he? You'll have to read below to find out in this week's edition of our Top 15.

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Mirror Driving : Bristol Bust? Are Owners Impatient? And Was Patience Needed For Logano?

*The Sharpie 500 featured by far the fewest number of leaders (three) since the introduction of the CoT. Passing for the lead can be difficult with the new car on bigger tracks, but was that the case at Bristol… or was it just that uncompetitive at the front?* Amy: I think... it was just that uncompetitive. It was good at the back... but at the front, it was the worst Bristol race I've ever seen. Tony: Busch had them pretty much covered up front, coupled with the fact that it seemed like the top was the better groove -- making it harder to pass.

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Joey Logano – Racing’s Next Best Thing and Worst Kept Secret

With Monday’s announcement that Joey Logano will replace Tony Stewart in the No. 20 Home Depot Toyotas fielded by Joe Gibbs Racing, the biggest piece of the silly-season puzzle was put into place. Although the announcement was an all but foregone conclusion after Tony Stewart’s plans were confirmed a few weeks ago, it does give rise to some questions. After all, Logano is replacing a two-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion; a driver many would argue is this generation’s A.J. Foyt. Stewart is also one of the more popular and controversial figures to boot--not an easy driver to replace on many different levels. Selecting Logano as his replacement was a natural, if not logical, choice; he stands to accomplish as much, if not more, in this car than Tony Stewart has. At just 18 years of age and with limited experience, Logano is still head and shoulders above just about every driver that was still available to fill the seat, seasoned veterans included, which is why Gibbs signed him to a five-year agreement.

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Grading The Pack Two Thirds Of The Way Through

Sixty-six drivers have started their engines at Sprint Cup level this season. From the high banks of Daytona to the high banks of Thunder Valley the Sprint Cup season has been in part thrilling, part farcical but for the most part, despite all the flaws (yes, even the really obvious ones), still utterly compelling. With 24 down and 12 to go, we’re exactly two thirds of the way through the season and just two races from the start of the 2008 Chase. So for no better reason than a statistical milepost, it’s time to take a look at who’s leadings all the laps and who’s struggling to keep up with the back markers as I grade the pack after two trimesters. *Best Driver – Kyle Busch* Concrete Carl might have won two in a row, but I’m still giving this award to the dastardly pantomime villain from Las Vegas. His little temper tantrum at Bristol this past weekend was priceless and Edwards’ reaction even more so. Still, despite all the silliness, KB is still the driver to beat this year.

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Who’s Hot / Who’s Not in Sprint Cup: Sharpie 500 Edition

Boy is this shaping to be one heck of a Chase. The media has been trying to generate some sort of rivalry between Carl Edwards and Kyle Busch for weeks, but this week that media-generated rivalry finally came to fruition. Neither driver backed up on post-race opinions of how clean Edwards' pass of Busch was for the win, and it appears that the feud could carry over to California this week. While Edwards and Busch seem to be the two dominant teams this season, there are other teams fighting to make the Chase and the Top 35. To see who is on the verge of breaking into the win column and who could simply go for a solid finish, check out this week's edition of Who's Hot / Who's Not in Sprint Cup.

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Running Their Mouth : Sharpie 500 presented by Pennzoil Platinum

_Each week, we’ll go through media reports, interviews, PR, and all our own stuff to find the best quotes from the Sprint Cup race, capturing the story of how the weekend unfolded. It’s the most original commentary you’ll ever find: the truth, coming straight out of the mouths of the drivers, crew members, and the car owners themselves. This week, here’s a sneak peek at what a select few were thinking following the Sharpie 500 presented by Pennzoil Platinum at Bristol Motor Speedway:_ "That’s one of those deals where I couldn’t get by him and I couldn’t get by him and I just had to ask myself, ‘Would he do that to me?’ And he has before, so that’s the way it goes. It’s just racing. I have a lot of respect for the guy and he was real fast, but we can’t give up points when they’re right there for us to take. I’m just really proud of my guys. That was exciting. They keep talking about rivalries, we might have one now." _Carl Edwards_

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Talking NASCAR TV : ESPN Shines Under The Bristol Lights

The script for excitement during Saturday night’s race at Bristol Motor Speedway practically wrote itself. The sports two hottest drivers, Kyle Busch and Carl Edwards, occupied the top two spots in the pack for most of the race. Edwards tagged Busch’s back bumper ever-so-slightly, clawing his way into the lead, and yanking victory away from the unflappable Busch. A frustrated Busch scraped against the driver’s side of Edwards’ car after crossing the finish line, which prompted Edwards to go into Cole Trickle-mode, spinning Rowdy out on the cool down lap. The post-race quotes from each driver were captivating, with Edwards admitting to knocking Busch out of the way to take the lead and Busch likening Edwards to Mr. Ed…yes, _that_ Mr. Ed. Midway through the race, a large crash included Chase contenders Kasey Kahne and Clint Bowyer, causing Kahne to retire from the event. Bowyer drove an ill-handling car to a Top 10 finish, renewing his Chase hopes as he crept back into the Top 12. David Ragan backed up a career-best third place finish at Michigan with a 10th place in Thunder Valley, moving him within several points of Chase contention.

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The Busch – Edwards Rivalry Gains Steam; But Do The Fans Love It?

There were differing opinions on the quality of racing Saturday night; but if we learned anything from the new Bristol that everyone can agree on, it’s that the Kyle Busch – Carl Edwards battle is officially the sport’s newest rivalry. With one angry swipe on the cooldown lap – and one angry slam hit in retaliation – NASCAR’s two most successful drivers of 2008 also decided that they didn’t like each other all that much. But what the sport has yet to understand – and what they’ll be watching – is whether this is the battle fans in the stands are looking to see.

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Matt McLaughlin’s Thinkin’ Out Loud: Sharpie 500

*The Key Moment:* On lap 469, Carl Edwards used his bumper to nudge the 18 car aside and do something nobody else had done all night, pass Kyle Busch. *In a Nutshell:* Kyle and Carl put on another clinic with Busch dominating, but the race is not always to the swift…. *Dramatic Moment:* Edwards “bump and run” on Busch was surgical but the two drivers saved the fireworks for the ironically named cool down lap. It wasn’t until then the massive Bristol crowd finally really got into the game. *What They’ll Be Talking About Around the Water Cooler This Week* *Was Edwards brushing Busch aside fair?* Hey, if they ban that sort of move they might as well stop the sport of stock car racing. Compared to the revered Dale Earnhardt’s pass of Terry Labonte late in the 1998 race, that was a church square dance. Were Busch’s post-race antics understandable? Hell, yeah! You lead 415 laps and get brushed aside late in the race and its natural to be angry. Edwards had no choice but to retaliate to let Busch know he wasn’t going to be pushed around especially with the duo heading into the Chase as the favorites. The altercation took place at slow speed and involved two drivers belted safely in their race cars, not on pit road with innocents at risk. If either driver is fined or penalized, I might just quit the sport. We need more of this, not less. In fact I wish the two drivers had continued knocking into each other until their cars wouldn’t move anymore and then gotten out and brawled to settle things. Even if the post-race antics were subdued by the standards of the ’79 Daytona 500, the best part is the “To Be Continued” comments expressed by both combatants post-race.

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