Recent Posts

Driver Review : Bill Elliott

*2008 Ride:* No. 21 Wood Brothers Ford *2008 Sponsors:* Motorcraft, Little Debbie, U.S. Air Force *2008 Owner:* Glen Wood *2008 Crew Chief:* Gene Nead (Feb. - March) Mike Smith (March - July) David Hyder (August - November) *Stats:* 20 Races, 0 Wins, 0 Top 5s, 0 Top 10s, 39th in points. *Best Finish:* 12th -- Homestead-Miami. *High Point:* Elliott achieved two high points in 2008. The first was his 16th place finish in the October Martinsville race. Despite finishing a lap down, a Top 20 during the Chase is hardly a bad achievement for a part-time driver on a struggling single-car team. Making Elliott's finish even more impressive was the fact that he started 43rd, shotgun on the field at a track that's incredibly difficult to pass on.

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Driver Review : Dario Franchitti

*2008 Ride:* No. 40 Chip Ganassi Racing Dodge *2008 Primary Sponsors:* Target, Fastenal, The Hartford, Kennametal, Wrigley's, Dodge *2008 Owners:* Chip Ganassi and Felix Sabates *2008 Crew Chief:* Steven Lane *Stats:* 10 races, 0 Win, 0 Top 5s, 0 Top 10s, 0 Pole, 2 DNQs, 49th in points. *Best Finish:* 22nd -- Martinsville, Spring. *High Point:* It’s tough to say, really, with NASCAR already in the rear-view mirror for the debonair Scot with the stunning movie star wife, Ashley Judd. The honest truth is that there simply wasn’t a high point in his brief foray into stock car racing.

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Driver Review : David Gilliland

*2008 Ride:* No. 38 Yates Racing Ford *2008 Primary Sponsor:* FreeCreditReport.com, Ford Drive One, CitiFinancial, FCC, AFLAC Cancer Center, Dish Network *2008 Owner:* Doug Yates / Max Jones *2008 Crew Chief*: Cully Barraclough *Stats*: 36 Races, 0 Wins, 1 Top 5, 2 Top 10s, 0 Poles, 9 DNFs, 27th in points. *Best Finish:* 2nd -- Infineon. *High Point:* Obviously, the second place finish on the northern California road course in Sonoma, when Gilliland was 1.716 seconds behind Kyle Busch at the checkered flag for a career-best performance.

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Driver Review : Kurt Busch

*2008 Ride:* No. 2 Penske Racing Dodge *2008 Primary Sponsor:* Miller Lite *2008 Owner:* Roger Penske *2008 Crew Chief:* Pat Tryson *Stats:* 36 Races, 1 Win, 5 Top 5s, 10 Top 10s, 0 Poles, 18th in points. *Best Finish:* 1st -- New Hampshire, June. *High Point:* In the season opener, Kurt Busch helped push teammate Ryan Newman to victory and the first 1-2 sweep by Dodge in the Daytona 500. The victory earned Newman a $1 million bonus from Dodge, and started their Penske organization off on the right foot.

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Driver Review : Patrick Carpentier

*2008 Ride:* No. 10 Gillett Evernham Motorsports Dodge *2008 Primary Sponsors:* Valvoline, LifeLock, Charter Communications, Auto Value / Bumper-to-Bumper, Cintas, Berlin City, Sears, Tow Truck in a Box *2008 Owner:* George N. Gillett, Jr. and Ray Evernham *2008 Crew Chief:* Mike Shiplett *Stats:* 24 Races, 0 Wins, 0 Top 5s, 0 Top 10s, 1 Pole, 5 DNQs, 38th in points. *Best Finish:* 14th -- Daytona, Coke Zero 400. *High Point:* Sporting the locally recognized sponsor "Berlin City Auto Group," the native Canadian earned the pole at New Hampshire Motor Speedway for the Lenox Tools 301 in June before a crowd that heralds the beginning of each race with a rousing rendition of "O, Canada!"

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Mirror Driving : Mourning The Pettys, Moving The Banquet, And Putting Off The Nationwide CoT

*Petty Enterprises will reportedly merge with Gillett-Evernham Motorsports by the end of the year, effectively ending their run in NASCAR. Meanwhile, the Wood Brothers are dropping to a 12-race schedule in 2009. What does losing these teams mean to the sport -or is it an inevitable part of its continued evolution?* Amy: I think it's really, really sad to see the last of the sport's heritage go away. Mike: Having the Wood Brothers go back to a part-time schedule is more of a throwback to the old days. They didn't used to run full schedules. On the other hand, losing Petty is enormous. I realize they have sucked in the last decade, but they are an institution and losing them is big.

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Driver Review : Dave Blaney

*2008 Ride:* No. 22 Bill Davis Racing Toyota *2008 Primary Sponsor:* Caterpillar / Bad Boy Mowers *2008 Owner:* Bill Davis *2008 Crew Chief:* Tommy Baldwin *Stats:* 35 Races, 0 Wins, 0 Top 5s, 2 Top 10s, 7 DNFs, 30th in points. *Best Finish:* 9th -- Darlington, Dover (June). *High Point:* Dave Blaney's run at Darlington was impressive. He started the race in the 13th position and kept his car in the Top 15 all night long. With great pit work by the No. 22 crew, Blaney brought home BDR's first Top 10 of the season. His ninth place finish propelled the team back into the Top 35 and a guaranteed starting spot in the prestigious Coca-Cola 600.

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Driver Review : Marcos Ambrose

*2008 Rides:* No. 21 Wood Brothers Ford (5 starts) No. 47 JTG Racing Ford (2 starts) No. 47 Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota (4 starts) *2008 Primary Sponsor:* Little Debbie *2008 Owners:* Wood Brothers, Tad Geschickter, Michael Waltrip *2008 Crew Chiefs:* David Hyder, Frank Kerr, Peter Sospenzo *Stats:* 11 Races, 0 Wins, 1 Top 5, 1 Top 10, 0 Poles, 45th in Points. *High Point:* Marcos Ambrose made quite an impression in only his third Sprint Cup Series start. Granted, the Australian road racer was expected to do well at Watkins Glen, but it’s probably safe to say he exceeded expectations -- especially considering the weekend didn’t start out at all like the team had hoped. After rainy weather washed out qualifying, the No. 21 car had to start a disappointing 43rd when the field was lined up by owner points. Usually, starting in the back is too much to overcome on a road course where passing can be difficult, but Ambrose didn’t let the poor starting position stop him.

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Driver Review : A.J. Allmendinger

*Stats*: 32 Races, 0 Wins, 0 Top 5s, 2 Top 10s, 0 Poles, 36th in points. *Best Finish*: 9th -- Kansas. *High Point:* In a roller coaster season for A.J. Allmendinger, one could make an argument for several different highs. There was the tenth place finish at the Brickyard in July -- but that race will be forever remembered as the Goodyear tire debacle that no one is really proud of or wants to remember. Then, there was his career best finish of ninth at Kansas; but that was bittersweet, as it was his final race for Team Red Bull after being released in favor of Scott Speed.

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Driver Review : Aric Almirola

*2008 Ride:* No. 8 Dale Earnhardt, Inc. Chevrolet *2008 Sponsor:* U.S. Army *2008 Owner:* Teresa Earnhardt *2008 Crew Chief:* Tony Gibson *Stats:* 12 Races, 0 Wins, 0 Top 5s, 1 Top 10, 42nd in points. *Best Finish:* 8th -- Bristol (March). *High Point:* Splitting time with veteran driver Mark Martin helped provide Aric Almirola with _the_ tutor of tutors, and accelerated his learning curve exponentially. Having made five starts in 2007 in the Ginn Racing / DEI No. 01 Chevrolet, his best Cup run heading into the season was a 26th at Phoenix. But in 2008, Almirola got out of the gates fast this Spring, posting a career best eighth-place run at Bristol in his first race with the No. 8.

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