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Matt McLaughlin’s Thinkin’ Out Loud: New Hampshire Edition

*The Key Moment* - This one was pretty well decided when the green flag flew. After resuming the lead on lap 185 Clint Bowyer drove away at will. *In a Nutshell* - Three hours of terrible tedium. *Dramatic Moment* - 300 laps at NHIS were almost completely devoid of drama...at least it was over quickly. *What They'll Be Talking About Around the Water Cooler This Week* *We gave up a race at North Wilkesboro for this mess?* NASCAR needs to move this race date to Darlington or Rockingham. *So much for the CoT ending the "dreaded aero push" issue.* If anything, it looks like passing is harder in the new cars than it was in the old one. And I couldn't help but notice the track's street sweeper looked prettier and more aerodynamic than the new McCars in the event.

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The Chase Is Here – But The Top 35 Battle Is Closer Than Ever For Wood Brothers, BDR

The Chase may have just begun this week in New Hampshire, but the race for the 35th position in owner points has been in full swing all season long...and the gap is getting narrower. The difference between 34th and 36th now stands at just 82 points - and while the Top 35 battle does not garner as much coverage as the Top 12, with a potential spot in the 2008 Daytona 500 at stake, it certainly deserves it. Once again, the No. 21 team emerged as the victor again this week, holding onto the final spot with its original driver; but one mistake next week could mean having to qualify for the next race on time, a difficult scenario no one wants to face. Who are the other teams fighting to stay in contention for the 35th and final spot? Check out this week's new look edition of the Bubble Breakdown: *Race Down to Three Cars* With *Johnny Sauter's* No. 70 team now 132 points ahead of *Kyle Petty's* No. 45, the race for the final locked in position is between Petty, *Ken Schrader,* and *Dave Blaney* in the No. 22 car.

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Nextel Cup Rookie Report: Regan’s Rocky Road At New Hampshire

*Rookies in the Starting Lineup*: Regan Smith (16th), Paul Menard (17th), David Reutimann (20th), Juan Pablo Montoya (31st), David Ragan (38th), A.J. Allmendinger (39th) *Unofficial Finishing Positions*: David Ragan (19th), Juan Pablo Montoya (23rd), Paul Menard (24th), David Reutimann (26th), A.J. Allmendinger (33rd), Regan Smith (36th) *Rookie of the Race: David Ragan*. For much of Sunday's race, it looked like it would be a long day for Ragan and his AAA crew. After starting in the 38th position, it took the No. 6 car nearly half the race to work its way out of the lower third of the field. However, slow and steady proved to be what won the race for Ragan on this day; never faltering, adjustments from crew chief Jimmy Fennig continually kept making the car slightly better each run, pushing it to the point where his driver could finally pop his head inside the Top 20 in the race's waning laps.

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Tracking the Trucks : New Hampshire 200

*In a Nutshell:* Ron Hornaday, Jr. became the first repeat winner Saturday when he took the checkered flag over Erik Darnell, who charged past Mike Skinner and Todd Bodine in the final 30 laps. The New Hampshire 200 had just four cautions, allowing Hornaday, Jr. to open up a lead that, at times, was more than six seconds. He finished 4.211 seconds ahead of Darnell. Mike Bliss rounded out the Top 5. *Who Should Have Won:* Hornaday, Jr. After rain cancelled qualifying, Hornaday, Jr. started on the pole according to NASCAR rules. The driver of the No. 33 Camping World Chevy clearly had the dominant truck all day. Erik Darnell looked to have a shot to catch and challenge Hornaday, Jr. but he ran out of laps before he had the chance.

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Fantasy Result Test

Team Name Dover Pts Kansas Total BigSky Racin' Carl Edwards 190 Clint Bowyer 246 Chris' All Stars Carl Edwards 190 Tony Stewart 305 Team Snobird Carl Edwards 190 Tony Stewart 300 Canada North Carl Edwards 190 Tony Stewart 313 Tony/Bobby Pals Carl Edwards 190 Jeff Gordon 300 Nascarchampions Inc. Carl …

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Who Wins The Chase In ’07 – Your Favorite Frontstretch Writers Tell All

Come Sunday, it's playoff time in the world of NASCAR...and what would playoffs be without predictions? All of us here at the Frontstretch got together this week, stared into the crystal ball, and each came up with our own special theory as to how this year's Chase For The Championship is going to play out. Each writer has picked the finishing order of 1st through 12th, their "Darkhorse" championship pick, and the best driver not in the Chase who's threatening to spoil the party altogether - diverting the most attention away from the battle for this year's title. Of course, with so many predictions to choose from, how do you know which one to trust? Well, we've given you some stats to give you the inside track on just which members of our staff have hit the jackpot so far this season. In case you've forgotten, each one of us picked Chase participants back in February...and underneath each writer is a listing of just how good they were in prognosticating this year's field.

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Rick Crawford Driver Diary: Drag Racing, Sweet Trucks, and Toyota’s Secret

I've gotten to be pretty good friends with John Force and his team. We're all part of the Ford camp. They race the Ford Mustangs in the NHRA Funny Car ranks while we race the Ford F-150s, the F-series pickups, in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. We had an event where we were trying out some new 2008 vehicles in Dearborn at the Ford test facility and I was able to give Ashley Force a ride in a new Edge on the road course. I think she enjoyed it, especially letting a round track guy do the driving. John told her before we went out, "Honey, you've got to let these round track guys give you a ride on this road course because they like turning left and right." John was pretty animated about that and it was a lot of fun and I think they really enjoyed it.

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It’s Better To Be Marketable Than Good

Remember, not to long ago when NASCAR was a well-mixed blend of veterans and younger guys? Me too. And it occurred to me how much that's changed recently with the influx of corporate sponsors who want more bang for their buck. Very young drivers were once a minority-it was not unusual for a driver to begin a career in the top series at age 30 or older. But not any more. It's a rather disturbing trend that has veteran drivers being shoved aside for youngsters who have yet to prove they have the talent to belong at NASCAR's upper echelon. They certainly don't have the experience. Even if they have raced from the time they were five years old, the upper levels of NASCAR are not the place to learn the sport. But the sponsors don't seem to care.

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Blaze of Glory: Fireball Roberts

He is one of the greatest drivers in history to not have won a NASCAR Championship. Winner of the 1958 and 1963 Southern 500 and 1962 Daytona 500. In only 206 starts he won 32 poles and 33 races , with 22 runner-up finishes. His tragic death in 1964, the result of suffering severe burns in a wreck in the World 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte, was the catalyst for the development and implementation of fuel cells, driver safety products, and fire retardant uniforms. "Fireball" Roberts helped usher in a new era of racing, one with high-banked, high-speed ovals that were paved, not made of dirt or clay.

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