Recent Posts

Fanning the Flames: Talkin’ Safety, Driver Shuffles, And Engine Troubles

*Q: Hi Matt. I seem to remember that some drivers were hesitant to the idea of NASCAR mandating that they wear a HANS device in the wake of Dale Earnhardt's death. Since then, the drivers seem to have become more accepting of it, as I can't remember the last time I heard a complaint (via the media of course). Has the HANS device simply become an accepted part of the safety innovations of the last few years to the point that the drivers view it as just "part of the uniform?" And can you tell me exactly how it works? Thanks.* _— Patty Bouvier_ *A:* First off, few were adamantly opposed to the device after the loss of Dale Earnhardt. Yes, some complained, but quickly got over it once NASCAR dropped the hammer and said, "Wear it or else." And you won't hear anyone complaining after watching Jeff Gordon walk away from a nasty spill in Turn 1 at Pocono last season, or Brad Keselowski's Busch Series crash at California this September. In fact, the HANS device has become a standard piece of safety equipment in most forms of motorsports throughout the world.

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Matt McLaughlin’s Driver Handicaps : Pep Boys Auto 500

*Atlanta "2" Driver Handicaps* *Jeff Gordon* - In 30 Cup starts at Atlanta, the points leader has posted four victories and 18 Top 10 finishes. However, he finished 12th in the race this Spring. *Jimmie Johnson* - Johnson won here in March to post his second Atlanta Cup victory. After twelve starts here, Johnson has eight Top 10 results and an average finishing position of tenth. *Clint Bowyer* - While Bowyer struggled here last year, the Chase Cinderella did manage a sixth place finish here this Spring. *Tony Stewart* - Stewart won this race last year and finished second this Spring. The win was Stewart's second Cup victory at Atlanta; he's averaging a twelfth place finish in his 17 career starts here, and he has Top 10 finishes in eleven of the last twelve Atlanta Cup races.

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Fantasy Picks ‘N’ Pans : Atlanta Edition

Unless your fantasy league is similar to the current Nextel Cup standings, there are still more than a few good reasons to keep reworking your driver lineup with time running out on 2007. The final four race dash to glory starts this weekend at Atlanta, one of the fastest tracks on the circuit, and any little tweak could make the difference in a tight-knit league. Obviously, Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon will be garnering plenty of attention this week as they continue their battle for the title. But while they both have impressive records at Atlanta, it's the hidden gems and the not so obvious picks that could help take your team to the next level this late in the season and help separate you from the rest of the pack. So, which drivers will give you a run for glory at NASCAR's Georgia gem, and which ones will leave you stuck smack in the middle of the drought instead? Read this week's Picks 'N' Pans to find out who to start and who to sit this weekend...

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Mechanix Wear Donates Gloves to Soldiers’ Angels

High-Performance Work Gloves Donated to Soldiers’ Angels for Distribution to U.S. Servicemen and Women VALENCIA, Calif. (October 24, 2006) – Mechanix Wear, the first company to develop and introduce high-performance work gloves, announced today it has donated more than 10,000 pairs of performance work gloves to Soldiers’ Angels. The military …

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Dale Earnhardt, Jr. And DEI: Just Going Through The Motions

This Monday at Atlanta, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. will officially test a No. 88 Chevrolet with Hendrick Motorsports for the first time. That in-season move is just the latest in a transition that appears to be accelerating a bit faster than initially anticipated. Out of the Chase and out of the running for anything higher than 13th in the final point standings, it's clear that Junior's focus is quickly turning ahead towards 2008. There's just one problem with that: he still has a job to do for the rest of 2007 - and so does DEI. What has transpired since the start of the 10-race Chase for the Nextel Cup by the No. 8 Budweiser team is nothing short of a half-hearted commitment to performance. And no, this is not all about the string of engine failures, common knowledge as to what's supposed to be their continual Achilles Heel. Instead, this is about a team that has packed it in, content to collect sponsorship fees, paychecks, and simply move forward to make preparations for next season - with little to no regard for what happens now.

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Top Ten Possible Reasons For A Family Switch At the Helm of NASCAR

10. There IS a God after all! 9. God lost a bet to Dale Earnhardt, Sr. in a Heavenly Poker game. 8. The request for the switch was found in the very last paragraph of Bill France, Jr.'s will. 7. The Grand-Am Series is suddenly in need of "over 75 million fans."

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Getting Their Just Desserts – NASCAR Driver Earnings Finally Matching Those Of Other Major Athletes

Ernest Hemingway once said that, "Auto racing, bull fighting, and mountain climbing are the only real sports ... all others are games." All decade long, we've heard such age-old discussion of how NASCAR drivers stack up to the athletic performances of the stick 'n' ball sports: Major League Baseball, the NFL, the NHL, and the NBA. You can go back and forth on that question for ages; but in the end, you'll never be able to test athletes on the same athletic skill that makes them so great. However, there's another area where direct comparison _is_ readily available; it's a mode of financial number crunching that goes far beyond physical talent laid out on a track, a football field, or a baseball diamond, one that gives you an idea of just how much one man measures up against another. It's the checkbook.

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Mirror Driving : Hating A Johnson-Gordon Chase, Why Carl Edwards’ Behavior Was Off Base, And Grading The CoT

*Statistically, Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson have combined to win 41 races over the last four seasons - making them the two best drivers on the circuit in that category. Just 53 points separate them with four races left, setting up what should be a dramatic finish to the title - but fan reaction has ranged from plain disinterest to downright detesting this battle. Why?* Amy: Because they aren't named "Dale Earnhardt, Jr." Mike: It is just not interesting when it is two drivers from the same organization. Now if they piss each other off and legitimately start hating on each other, then you'll have interest. Tony: It's also between two drivers who have traditionally been disliked. If it was between Edwards and say, Jeff Burton, things are different.

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Did You Notice? Where Are The Sponsors? Martinsville Madness … And Beyond

*Did You Notice?* … That Carl Edwards' much-publicized incident with Matt Kenseth occurred _after_ the guy had spent hours in a steaming car with all the fans off? At a track where carbon monoxide poisoning can be severe, Edwards was suffering from alternator problems which forced him to cut electrical power in order to survive the race. "The thing was overheating and I didn't have my fan on in there," said Edwards. "I was getting a little hot … we're auctioning off this City of Hope suit and helmet and it's going to be the sweatiest auction item in the history of the world."

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Mayfield’s Final Shot Could Be Green’s Last Hurrah

One week ago, it looked like Jeremy Mayfield's Nextel Cup career was nearing a difficult, painful ending. But just when you thought the two-time Chaser was down and out for good ... he's been given one final chance. It was announced on Monday that Mayfield is going to drive the No. 66 car for Haas CNC Racing for the rest of this season and all of 2008. That ride was occupied, until this week, by Jeff Green, who has now been unceremoniously shoved to the unemployment line. While the seat is not the A-level ride Mayfield's desired since announcing he'd leave Bill Davis Racing at the end of 2007, it still represents an opportunity, one more chance to prove he can still make a living driving in the Cup series. After a series of tough endings with top teams, he needs to make the most of this one. Mayfield has been around the Cup series for a long time. He made his Cup debut in 1993 driving a car for the Sadler Brothers; after a short stint with them and a similar underfunded team owned by T.W. Taylor the following year, he began driving for Cale Yarborough. Mayfield had an unspectacular run with Yarborough, compiling just two Top 5s and three Top 10s in two years with the team before moving elsewhere. Mayfield was then hired by Michael Kranefuss and drove the 1997 season for him, accumulating three Top 5s and eight Top 10 finishes. A breakout year for what was then a single car program, Mayfield's flashes of brilliance that season proved a sign of things to come.

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