Recent Posts

Bubble Breakdown : Elliott Takes Advantage of Blaney’s Misfortune, Helps Wood Brothers With Top 35

There may have been little change in the Top 35 picture this week as far as positions go - but just 40 laps into the race at Atlanta, the gap between 35th and 36th narrowed substantially. With an eventual "locked in" spot for the first five races of 2008 on the line, engine problems struck Dave Blaney's No. 22 on lap 39, bringing out the race's second caution and moving Bill Elliott and the No. 21 team 56 points closer to the coveted bubble position. To see how close the No. 21 team is to Blaney, check out this week's edition of the Bubble Breakdown: *Engine woes narrow gap* What was once a single-digit margin week-in and week-out between the No. 21 and No. 22 teams a little over one month ago widened to 142 points last week when *Elliott* crashed at Martinsville. But the 1988 Cup Series champ cut back into that margin this week when *Blaney* lost power on a lap 39 restart and had to go to the garage. The No. 22 car did return to the race but finished 38th, 66 laps down, making them vulnerable to losing their locked in spot.

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Nextel Cup Rookie Report: Allmendinger is Awesome at Atlanta

*Rookies in the Starting Lineup:* Juan Pablo Montoya (21st), A.J. Allmendinger (31st), Paul Menard (36th), David Ragan (37th) *Unofficial Finishing Positions:* A.J. Allmendinger (16th), Paul Menard (27th), David Ragan (33rd), Juan Pablo Montoya (34th) *Rookie of the Race: A.J. Allmendinger.* Qualifying for their third race in a row, Allmendinger's Red Bull team rolled off the grid in 31st position and struggled for most of the first half of the race, falling down a lap early. However, the No. 84 Camry would regain that lap as the "Lucky Dog" later in the day when David Stremme spun down the front straightaway, giving the team another chance at a solid finish. With the car still not handling to his liking, however, Allmendinger would once again lose a lap, not even emerging from the Top 30 until lap 160. But as fate would have it, it was Stremme's ill fortune once again that granted the rookie his second "Lucky Dog" of the day, when the event's ninth caution was waved after the No. 40 car backed into the wall. This time, the team would capitalize on their gift - Allmendinger steadily worked his way into the Top 25, and then took advantage of a strong car and late race chaos among the leaders to bring home a career second best finish of 16th. It was the Californian's second top rookie finish of the year and second in the past three weeks.

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Busch Breakdown : Sam’s Town 250

*In a Nutshell* - The Busch Series race at Memphis was more like a Friday Night Demolition Derby than an event that originated from the number two stock car series in America. On a day when almost half of the race was run under the yellow flag, a total of 25 caution flags for 117 laps dominated the headlines, coming up one short of the all-time record for the series. The longest green flag run of the entire race was 20 laps, from lap 20 through lap 40; the wreckfest made the race horrific to watch and caused several teams to use pit strategy to get to the front, as several teams found their fuel windows extended due to the slower average speed. In fact, all of the fits and starts allowed teams to run over half of the race on their final pit stops. But up front, it didn't matter. When there _was_ racing, it was *David Reutimann* who proved the class of the field, leading 192 of 250 laps to take his first career victory in the Busch Series.

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Tracking the Trucks : Easy Care Vehicle Service Contracts 200

*In a Nutshell:* Kyle Busch took the lead with eight laps remaining to win the Easy Care Vehicle Service Contracts 200 over Ron Hornaday, Jr. Johnny Benson, Mark Martin and Mike Skinner rounded out the Top 5. Busch took the checkered flag 0.971 seconds ahead of his competition to become the first repeat Truck series winner at Atlanta Motor Speedway; he also won in 2005. Meanwhile, Hornaday's second place finish allowed him to retake the point lead over Skinner by just four points with three races left. *Who Should Have Won: Busch*. Busch led the first practice Friday afternoon and ran only four laps in the final practice session because he was so happy with the truck. The Nextel Cup regular took his No. 51 Red Top Auto Action Chevrolet to a third place starting position in his eighth race this season. That allowed Busch to jump out front early, but he was black flagged during the race because his window net was unhooked. However, just as he was getting ready to pull down pit road to get the net rehooked, the caution came out, allowing him to get his window net fixed without losing a lap and remain in contention for the win. He took the lead back with just eight laps remaining and led a race-high 65 laps overall. "It was vibrating off every lap and I was putting it back on every straightaway. That was an experience," Busch said of his window net, grinning. "I've never done that before."

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Edwards Struggling to Busch Series Finish Line

More than likely, Carl Edwards will clinch his first ever Busch Series championship this Saturday at Memphis. An eighth place finish is all that's needed to secure the trophy with three races left, no matter what second-place point man David Reutimann does on the race track. It's a significant achievement for a man who's never won a title in any of the top three series, validation of a sparkling season in which the No. 60 has won four times, collected 19 Top 10 finishes, and leads his closest pursuer by 638 points. Yet even with all those scintillating stats, there appears to be a slight tinge of wonder, a feeling that even things could have gone so much better. Why? Because they should have.

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Polishing NASCAR’s Bad Penny: It’s Time to Fix the Chase

Like a bad penny, we're stuck with it. But even a bad penny can be polished, and that what it's time for NASCAR to do with the Chase for the Nextel Cup-polish that bad penny until it's shiny. It might still be bad at heart, but at least the outward show might be bearable. When the Chase started, fans were promised tweaks and changes as it went along, to "improve" the playoff system that we never needed in the first place. So far all we have seen is adding more teams to an already over-diluted mix and a convoluted point system that was designed to reward winning, but goes so far as to possibly take the point lead away from the point leader when the playoffs start. As added (non)bonus, it stops once the Chase starts, so winning during the playoffs is actually less important than during the regular season, when the opposite should be true. Can a penny this bad really be polished?

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One Fast Cat in a Bad Hot Rod: Rusty Wallace

Rusty Wallace came of age during the late 70's and early 1980's running USAC and ASA with such short truck luminaries as Larry Phillips and Dick Trickle. He also was competing with fellow future NASCAR stars Alan Kulwicki and Mark Martin, often driving tte fastidious Martin crazy by showing up late to practice because he had to wait for his crewman and yougest brother Kenny to get out of school before they could leave for the track. In those days, Rusty sported what he referred to as his "nuclear hair do", a massive poofy Afro that resembled something rising into the atmosphere over Yucca Flats or Bikini Atoll.

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Time Will Tell If Cousin Carl Lets Me Down

A couple of weeks ago, after my personal favorite Dale Jarrett announced he would be retiring from Cup competition following the Spring Bristol race in 2008, I transitioned into fan mode and penned a column explaining just why DJ was my favorite all these years - thanking him for being an all-around classy guy. Also in that column, I mentioned that a few years ago I had selected another driver to step up as a new favorite when DJ hung up his racing helmet. That man is Carl Edwards. My selection of Carl was never based on anything he had done, at least to that point, in Cup competition, but rather the way he raced and conducted himself when he was still in the Craftsman Truck Series. I saw then that he was a great young racer with many successful years ahead of him; I have often said since, in print and in person, that time would prove Carl to be just as classy a guy as Dale Jarrett. Up until last Sunday, I've never had any real reason to doubt that.

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I’m Just Sayin’ … NASCAR Stuff We Can’t Make Up

Instead of her usual weekly racing review, Senior Staff Writer Becca Gladden has scoured the NASCAR front to bring you the week's curious, offbeat, and just plain wacky news from the intriguing world of big-time stock car racing. Trust us, these stories are all true - we just couldn't make this stuff up! *Racing On Heels*: What will the well-dressed fashion maven be wearing at the track this year? A pair of NASCAR ladies' pumps, of course! As described at the NASCAR.com Superstore, "The black and white checkered pony hair pumps are made of imported Italian metallic patent leather, and feature signature tire tread flexible molded soles with the 4 color NASCAR logo. The pumps have a 3" heel with racing flags and soft padding for long-lasting comfort." Price? Just $99.99 a pair plus shipping. *Mystery Solved*: Who commissioned a small airplane to tow a banner over Lowe's Motor Speedway prior to the October 13th Charlotte Cup race - a banner which read, "How Much Does Bobby Ginn Owe You?" According to authorities, it was three DEI workers, upset that the former owner of Ginn Racing - which merged with DEI earlier this season - allegedly owes back pay to past employees. Unfortunately, the three are now out of a job at DEI as well after being fired for the airplane stunt.

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