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Matt McLaughlin’s Thinkin’ Out Loud: Chevy Rock & Roll 400

*The Key Moment:* Tony Stewart ran down Jimmie Johnson with 10 laps to go, but Johnson found enough speed in the upper groove to prevail over the No. 20 car in a battle of the home improvement centers. *In a Nutshell:* Against all odds, on a nearly perfect day at a nearly perfect race track, the Cup series put on a nearly perfect race. *Dramatic Moment:* There were nearly 400 laps worth of them, with two and even occasional three-wide racing for the lead to go along with side by side racing throughout the pack. There’s no doubt that the most popular moment of the race for the fans on hand was watching Junior send Kyle Busch spinning. Junior clearly slammed on the brakes to stay off the No. 18 car but from the cheap(er) seats, it must have looked like a little payback for the Richmond Spring race. *What They’ll Be Talking About Around the Water Cooler This Week* OK, so Johnson made his point Sunday. It’s *no longer a two man race* for this year’s title. Carl Edwards and Kyle Busch are going to have to contend with Johnson as well. Oh, I know someone will say it was contractual, but it’s hard to understand why *ABC covered the IRL season finale,* bumping the delayed NASCAR race over to the ESPN outlet. Yeah, there was a good title fight in the IRL, but ratings numbers suggest the Mother Ship should have gone with the bigger event. Still, combined with an exciting F1 race Sunday morning and a thriller at Chicago with the IRL, this was a stellar -- if long -- day to be a race fan.

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Sprint Cup Rookie Report: McDowell Has Magnificent Return With Career Best Finish

*Rocky Rookie Performance / Rookie Wreck of the Race: Sam Hornish, Jr.* While Roger Penske’s current Indy Car driver, Helio Castroneves, was enjoying the fine taste of victory in Chicagoland, his former open wheeler and current stock car prospect Sam Hornish, Jr. was dealing with the bitterness of defeat. Hornish had such an awful day that I felt the need to devote both negative categories of this piece to him. The No. 77 went down a lap early, and only the competition yellow would give him a second chance to salvage a decent race. It would never happen, though, as Hornish would continue to struggle in the back of the pack -- falling a lap down again all before the 100 lap mark. On lap 201, Hornish’s day would get worse when he and the No. 1 of Martin Truex, Jr. made contact and spun coming out of Turn 4. Hornish would continue, but probably wishes he didn’t have to as the team could only muster a 38th place finish -- two laps off the pace.

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Ten Points To Ponder…After Richmond

*8. Busch Whacking...Junior Style* - Stock car racing's most popular driver, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. spun out the sport's most booed driver, Kyle Busch, on lap 211 while battling for the lead Sunday afternoon at Richmond. Earnhardt, Jr., who led the race five times before settling for a fourth place finish, accepted blame for the incident and explained that he drove in too deep and made contact with the 23-year-old Sprint Cup point leader. “Not on purpose, as much as I would like to take credit for it,” said Junior. When a usually amiable and mild-mannered fellow like Earnhardt, Jr. starts taking jabs at you... don’t you think you might have a problem?

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Bubble Breakdown: McDowell Into Top 35; Blaney Into Bud Shootout

Forget the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship -- the drivers in our bubble breakdown are chasing a few goals of their own. With 10 races to go in the 2008 NASCAR season, the battle to be locked in the field for 2009 has become a dogfight for five spots between seven teams separated by a total of 79 points. Also on the line for several Toyota cars is a berth in next year's new-format Bud Shootout, in which the season's top six performing Camrys will be selected to do battle in Daytona. With so much at stake, how did our combatants position themselves for the final ten weeks at Richmond? Read on to find out in this edition of the Bubble Breakdown...

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And Then There Were 12: Richmond Unkind to Ragan and Kahne

After 26 races, over 7,000 laps and waiting out a Tropical Storm; Sunday's Chevy Rock & Roll 400 was the final chance for seven drivers to take their best shot at claiming one of the five remaing positions left in the 2008 Chase for the Championship. In the end, twelve drivers and teams can celebrate for an evening before the big test of battling for the Championship starts; while two drivers and their teams are left thinking about what might have been. In a race previously known as the Pontiac Excitement 400, the second go around at Richmond provided just that...excitement. At the drop of the green flag, Greg Biffle and Kevin Harvick solidified their positions in the Top 12 but there were still plenty of storylines that were left to be played out. Tony Stewart, Matt Kenseth, Jeff Gordon, Denny Hamlin, Clint Bowyer, David Ragan, and Kasey Kahne all had mathematical possibilities of getting into or falling out of the Chase.

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Nationwide Series Breakdown: Emerson Radio 250

*In a Nutshell:* The Nationwide Series took to a short track for the second time in three weeks and, also for the second time in three weeks, Clint Bowyer dominated the race. And nonetheless, for the second time in three weeks, Bowyer failed to score the win. Despite leading 195 of the 250 laps run, Clint Bowyer’s car went to the loose side late in the running, allowing fellow title contender Carl Edwards to sneak by late and score his fourth Nationwide victory of the season. Bowyer finished third, after he was passed by Scott Wimmer with less than 15 laps to go.

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Tracking the Trucks : Camping World 200 presented by Honda Power Equipment

*In a Nutshell:* Ron Hornaday, Jr. took the checkered flag 0.646 seconds ahead of Dennis Setzer to win the Camping World 200 presented by Honda Power Equipment Saturday afternoon at Gateway International Raceway. The driver of the No. 33 Camping World Chevrolet took the lead for the final time on lap 130 and led the final 30 laps to score his fourth win this season. Johnny Benson, Todd Bodine and Jack Sprague rounded out the Top 5.

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2009 Chase Challenge Confirmation

Thank you for your trade. We will confirm the availability of the driver you selected. As long as you don’t hear from us… all is well! Remember you are allowed only one trade – so make it count! Good luck and thanks for playing! If you have any questions, feel …

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NEWS from Stewart-Haas Racing: Transcript of Press Conference to Announce Darian Grubb as Crew Chief for Tony Stewart

SEPTEMBER 5, 2008 TONY STEWART: Two-Time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion DARIAN GRUBB: Hendrick Motorsports’ Engineering Manager for the Nos. 5 and 88 Sprint Cup Teams MIKE ARNING: Moderator, Vice President of True Speed Communication MIKE ARNING: “Want to thank you for joining us this morning. It’s pretty cut and …

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Travis Kittleson Makes White Mountain PASS North Plans

CONCORD, NC (September 5, 2008) – North and South will come together in the quest to win in Super Late Model racing as Floridian Travis Kittleson joins up with the #29 Cushman Competition team out of Maine for the September 13th PASS North event at White Mountain Motorsports Park (NH). …

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