Recent Posts

If NASCAR Drivers Were Movie Stars, Who Would Be On The A-List?

With the sultry heat of the summer melting the tarmac of the New York City sidewalks, the ads promoting new movies are out in force. Whether they come from the sides of city buses, giant store display windows that burst out of the glass, or a plethora of ads on any channel you care to watch, the message is hard to miss — summer is the season of the movie blockbuster. I’m not talking nourishing cinematic fare here, either, with exquisitely scripted prose and Oscar potential. I’m talking about the empty-calorie laden goodness of a full-on action movie. You know, the sort of flick where the hero defeats the bad guy, saves the world against innumerable odds, gets the hot girl, and still has time for a ton of pithy quips — all in a nice hour and a half package. For those sorts of summer hits, it’s all about the final box office numbers and that critical opening weekend. And to be the next summertime hit, nothing brings the dollars pouring into the movie house coffers like a top notch A-list star. The bigger the actor or actress, the more popular the movie is likely to be; and the more top names you can put on the poster or in your trailer, the better off you'll be.

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Talking NASCAR TV: SPEED Satellite Failure Not The Only Weekend Problem Over The Airwaves

The most interesting part of Sunday’s activities at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, at least up until the final two caution flags of the race, may have not even been during the race itself. Early in the broadcast of NASCAR Race Day on the Speed Channel, the satellite feed for the show stopped working. Although the network was able to fill in the down time with a phone message from show host John Roberts and with Dale Jr.’s “Back in the Day”, the very obvious technical failure during SPEED’s biggest show must have been an embarrassment to the network. But this is not the first big failure of this kind this year. TNT’s audio feed during the Pocono race stopped working for several minutes, and there were several technical glitches during the Sonoma and Michigan races on their broadcasts over the past few weeks.

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Who’s Hot / Who’s Not in Sprint Cup: LENOX Industrial Tools 301 Edition

Rain just laps from the finish at Loudon was a blessing for a number of teams, who were able to use pit strategy to finish much higher than where they'd run all day. But for as many teams as the rain helped, it hurt plenty of others. Tony Stewart had arguably the best car all day -- leading a race high 132 laps -- but fell to 13th place, while a number of hot streaks came to an end -- including Carl Edwards' string of seven consecutive races with a Top 10 finish. But one streak that will continue on to Daytona this weekend is Jeff Burton's impressive 17-race, Top 15 performance. Burton is among those in this week's "HOT" column; read below to see who else joins him in this week's edition of Who's Hot / Who's Not in Sprint Cup after New Hampshire. *HOT* *Tony Stewart:* If it weren’t for bad luck, Stewart wouldn’t have any luck at all lately. This is the stretch of the season where the former champion traditionally starts to hit his stride, but good finishes that could have been better have held the No. 20 team back just a little. Two weeks ago, he was forced to recover from a late-race spin to finish 10th; this week, it was rain and pit strategy that relegated the race’s lap leader to finish 13th. Stewart did seem emotionally drained in his post-race interview, and many will argue it’s partially due to him exploring his options for next season. But those who think this will be a repeat of Dale Earnhardt, Jr.’s misfortunes upon deciding to leave the No. 8 last season may need to think again...

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Running Their Mouth : LENOX Industrial Tools 301

_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 LENOX Industrial Tools 301 at New Hampshire International Speedway:_ "It was a good weekend for us. Pit strategy worked out perfect. It's all credit to Pat Tryson; you've got to have strategy. You have to have a fast car. Where we are in points, we've got our backs up against the wall. So we gambled a little bit and it paid off. I felt like my fire and desire was going to overcome anything today to get into Victory Lane. This is what you live for, this is what you race for, and that is to go to Victory Lane. 'I'm happy to bring it home for Miller Lite and Dodge today." _Kurt Busch_

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Matt McLaughlin’s Thinkin’ Out Loud: LENOX Industrial Tools 301

*The Key Moment:* A Biblical downpour bought the sedate proceedings at New Hampshire to a mercifully quick ending, with Kurt Busch emerging as the winner in a high paying game of musical chairs. *In a Nutshell:* A wholly unsatisfying ending to a wholly unsatisfying race. *Dramatic Moment:* There was a brief period of racing between Tony Stewart and Jimmie Johnson for the lead as threatening weather moved in. Other than that, the race was a total and complete farce. *What They’ll Be Talking About Around the Water Cooler This Week* When defending their home track, native *New Englanders have always been able to cite a series of sellouts for the Cup races,* dating back to the track's debut in the series. Well, that argument is off the table now. Despite the track's announced sellout, there were vast sections of vacant seats in the stands. So, let me ask again: why did we give up North Wilkesboro for this mess?

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Ten Points To Ponder … After New Hampshire

*1. What Could Possibly Go Wrong?* - Hendrick Motorsports made it official last Friday that Casey Mears -- who joined HMS in 2007 to replace Brian Vickers -- would be released from his No. 5 Chevy ride at season’s end. Said team owner Rick Hendrick at the time of Mears’ signing, “Casey is a talented driver and a high-character person who is going to be a great fit with our organization." Hendrick went on to say, "He has the ability to win races and ultimately contend for championships, so we're thrilled to welcome him to Hendrick Motorsports." After just 52 points races... Next! *2. Do The Math* - Sunday’s Lenox Industrial Tools 301 from the 1.058-mile New Hampshire Motor Speedway was altered by the race sponsor in a promotion that had the race length extended an extra lap this year. The toolmaker said the extra mile was added in honor of Lenox customers – users and suppliers of industrial tools – who perform physically demanding jobs yet receive little recognition.

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Mears Almost Had It All … But Almost Doesn’t Cut It

One third of the way through Sunday’s race, it looked like a little luck was shining Casey Mears’ way. Just days removed from a crushing blow to his career, he looked to follow up his pending release from Hendrick Motorsports with an upset trip to Victory Lane. He almost had it, too … with the keyword being almost. After a crucial decision by crew chief Alan Gustafson to gain track position by staying out during a lap 87 caution, Mears assumed the lead and wound up pacing the field for a total of 53 laps – 52 more than he’d led the entire 2008 season to date. As the laps clicked off and the No. 5 car held firm, it looked for an instant that Mears would pull the shock of the year.

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Sprint Cup Rookie Report: Almirola Ascends To The Top At New Hampshire

*Rookies in the Starting Lineup:* Patrick Carpentier (1st), Dario Franchitti (7th), Sam Hornish, Jr. (20th), Regan Smith (25th), Michael McDowell (38th), Aric Almirola (39th) *Unofficial Finishing Positions:* Aric Almirola (23rd), Regan Smith (27th), Patrick Carpentier (31st), Dario Franchitti (38th), Sam Hornish, Jr. (39th), Michael McDowell (42nd) *Rookie of the Race: Aric Almirola.* It was a dismal start to the weekend for Almirola -- making his second consecutive start in the U.S. Army Chevy -- as the rookie could do no better than 39th in qualifying on Friday. Two days later, it looked like the struggles would continue throughout the race at New Hampshire.

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Top 35 Breakdown: Rain Shines Down On Several “Bubble” Teams

The teams on the edges of the Top 35 -- or simply forced to qualify on speed -- ruled the roost in Friday’s qualifying session. After a rain delay cooled the track, bubble dwellers swept five of the top ten spots, including rookie Patrick Carpentier taking the pole to become the first top qualifier not born in the U.S. since 1953. That led to heightened expectations for this crowd on the weekend; and with Mother Nature playing a major role, those lofty goals were granted by the end of the day. With rain calling off the race with 17 laps to go, the sudden ending allowed bubble teams to take three of the top six spots after some solid pit strategy. So, who stayed out on the track to hog the glory, and who ended up stuck in the pits? Read on in this week's Bubble Breakdown of the LENOX Industrial Tools 301.

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Nationwide Series Breakdown: Camping World RV Sales 200

*In a Nutshell:* The first companion race for the Nationwide Series since Dover was a trip back to reality for Nationwide Series fans, as Cup regulars ran roughshod over the field. Cup drivers scored the first seven finishing positions and eight of the Top 10 spots Saturday, with Tony Stewart scoring a relatively easy win at New Hampshire. Stewart took the lead for good on Lap 136 after Clint Bowyer, Kyle Busch, and Carl Edwards had shared the top spot for much of the early part of the race. In the end, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyotas wound up the class of the field, with Stewart and Kyle Busch (who finished third) combining to lead 138 of 200 laps. Behind them, Greg Biffle wrecked late in the event after starting from the pole but losing the handle on his car in the second half of the race. Mike Bliss was the top finisher of the Nationwide Series regulars, joined only by Brad Keselowski in the Top 10. Between them, Clint Bowyer fell back late and finished ninth, maintaining the series points lead over David Reutimann. Reutimann moved into second, 182 points back, with Brad Keselowski dropping to fourth in the championship standings; however, Keselowski remains the lead Nationwide Series regular in the title chase.

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