Recent Posts

Fantasy Picks ‘N’ Pans : Kansas Edition

Week three of the Chase finds the traveling road show in the Heartland of America at Kansas Speedway, the newest of the "Cookie Cutter" tracks that have come to dominate the schedule in recent years. The first of five intermediate events on the rest of this year's schedule, the race should give fantasy team owners a very good look into what drivers will excel down the stretch. With your own season in hyperdrive, it's important to watch qualifying carefully, making sure to spend this weekend loading up on drivers that have already been successful on 1.5-milers earlier in the season. This race is also the first of a final five-race stretch for the "old" NASCAR stock car, which will become obsolete after Homestead in favor of the Car of Tomorrow. As a result, teams will be bringing the best horses out of their arsenal - for whatever's left in the stable, the future is now. When it comes to intermediates, there's one other thing to be aware of; they're usually the type of race track where history repeats itself. Because of that, we've gone back through the history books, ready to drop some knowledge from the past to help your future for this week's edition of Fantasy Picks 'N' Pans:

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2007: The Worst NASCAR Season Ever

I may be in the minority here (my heritage notwithstanding), but for many reasons, to me this season has been one of the worst in recent memory for NASCAR. Perhaps ever. To look back on it that way is quite disappointing - especially since 2007 started out with so much promise. There was the addition of a new manufacturer in Toyota, a new face in the form of a former Formula One superstar, and the network that started the ball of unencumbered growth rolling in the mid 1980's was about to take over NASCAR coverage again. _And_, if all that wasn't enough, for the first time since 1981, a new breed of car was about to hit the track. Then the season actually started.

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The Key (or lack thereof) To Winning The Chase: “Big Picture” This!

I have always been an unabashed advocate of the Chase to the Nextel Cup Championship format since it began back in 2004. There's a number of reasons for that. I believed at the time - as I do now - that when the pros and cons are objectively considered, tracking the ten-race playoff is considerably more entertaining (yes, auto racing is entertainment) than watching Jeff Gordon go through the motions for the last fifteen races of the season, waiting to pick up his Nextel Cup Championship hardware already engraved. That said, I understood the angst of racing "traditionalists" that could not accept such a radical change in how NASCAR Cup titles were going to be determined in future years... but still felt a new system would eventually take hold over time. However, a part of my rationale for supporting the Chase concept was a genuine belief that it would intensify the racing, at least amongst the ten (now twelve) championship-eligible participants. But after watching the playoffs unfold these last few years, it's an assumption that now seems, on my end, to have not been completely accurate. Instead, it appears that some drivers and / or team owners believe that championships can be won by playing it safe. Whoops. Perhaps I am missing something here, but isn't the guy that wins the race awarded the most points for that event? And isn't the driver with the most points at season's end going to be crowned the Nextel Cup Champion?

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Top Ten Things Overheard During the Kyle Petty / Denny Hamlin Exchange

10. "Look at that! Kyle's glasses are all steamed over. Ya think he's upset about something?" -Anonymous Hamlin Crew Member 9. "Listen here, you little puke! Don't you know who I am!? I'm the Prince of NASCAR! My daddy is the King!" - Kyle Petty 8. "I am sooooo mad right now! Why, I oughta poke you in the eye with this little finger brace thingy I'm wearing!" - Kyle Petty 7. "Just cause you got a handicap plate on your car don't mean you gotta drive like one, old man!" - Denny Hamlin

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Fix ‘Er Up! Weekly Nextel Cup Power Rankings

*Fix 'Er Up - Frontstretch Editor Nextel Cup Power Rankings* _As Of September 26th_ 1) Tony Stewart (4 First Place Votes) (Last Week : 1) - Home Depot wants us to smell the Smoke. Bet they won't put THAT slogan in Tony's armpits! 2) Carl Edwards (1 First Place Vote) (Last Week : 8) Uh-oh...Roush found out all of the dirty CoT secrets Hendrick had! And it's not too late for them to join the party at the top with Cousin Carl...even if it cost them 25 points in the process. 3) Jeff Gordon (2 First Place Votes) (Last Week : 4) Would have expected a better showing from the point leader in DuPont's neck of the woods (Delaware).

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Mirror Driving : A Hamlin-Petty Brawl, Are Dover Pits Too Small? And Team Orders Leave Us Appalled

*Kyle Petty and Denny Hamlin got into it at Dover recently, after Petty confronted Hamlin in his car following a nasty incident that sent both drivers to the garage for repairs. Who should be apologizing to who -if anyone - and should NASCAR take action for this incident?* Vito: Denny Hamlin has joined Kevin Harvick in the Jerkoff Hall of Fame. Amy: And Kyle WILL be apologizing to NASCAR after he gets fined. The crash was all Denny, though. Matt T.: Huh? I say _no and no_ to those questions, Amy. The term "just one of those racin' deals" gets used too much, but in this case it fits. Mike: Right. Nobody should be apologizing to anyone…it was a racing deal.

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Running Their Mouth : Dodge Dealers 400

_Each week, we'll go through all the media reports, interviews, PR, and all our own stuff to find the best quotes from the Nextel Cup race, capturing the story of how the weekend unfolded. It's the most original commentary you'll ever find; the truth, coming straight out of the mouths of the drivers, crew members, and the car owners themselves. This week, here's a sneak peek at what a select few were thinking following the Dodge Dealers 400 at Dover International Speedway._ "We unloaded on Friday, the Office Depot Ford Fusion was fast. I wish we could've started the race right then, it was so good. We just fought back and had a great battle with Matt (Kenseth). Hated to see him lose an engine. He easily would've been first or second today, and then there at the end battling with Mark. Those restarts were a real stresser, but kind of just decided to have fun with it. And Greg was pretty fast at the end, had tires; I did not need another restart, I was pretty excited that it went green." _Carl Edwards_

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Roush Fenway Done Playing Catch Up With The CoT

Roush Fenway Racing just spent the better part of a year falling behind on their Car of Tomorrow program. Looks like they're still "behind" now, but in a different sense. As in, everyone else is racing for position _behind_ them. This weekend, Roush Fenway Racing took the top two positions at Dover for just their third Cup Series victory of the year. That follows an unprecedented performnace last weekend at New Hampshire; back then, four of the team's five drivers finished in the Top 13, the best run the team has had in any Car of Tomorrow race to date. After months of searching the writing finally appears to be on the wall; after a sluggish start, Roush Fenway Racing has turned the corner and is now running quite strong with the new car configuration. It almost appears as though Roush Fenway is intentionally hitting its peak... at exactly the right time.

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Who’s Hot / Who’s Not in the Chase : Dover Edition

When looking at the schedule of the ten races in the Chase, most people would have pointed to Talladega as the track where wrecks and bad luck could turn the tide in the Championship. But in Dover on Sunday, the Monster Mile played tough and took a swing at some of the biggest names in the sport. By the end of the day, 13 caution flags had waved and four Chasers found themselves finishing 20th or lower. As is always the case when some people find misfortune, others reap the benefits. That was certainly the case for a few of the Chase drivers who left Dover with finishes a few places higher than where they had been running most of the day. So, which drivers left Dover feeling fortunate for surviving the monster, and which drivers felt like they had gone 12 rounds with the heavyweight champ? Read this week's Who's Hot and Who's Not in the Chase to find out.

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Who’s Hot / Who’s Not : Outside the Chase

*Hot* In a year that has included only three Top 5s, a crew chief change, and sponsorship uncertainty, a season-high second place finish at Dover is definitely something that *Greg Biffle* and his entire No. 16 team can get excited about. That's now six Top 20 finishes in seven races for The Biff, who showed flashes of his old self as he came charging through the field in the last laps of Sunday's race, taking advantage of fresh rubber to come home a few car lengths behind winner and teammate Carl Edwards. Of course, one good finish doesn't equate to the multiple victories of the last two seasons, including 2005's runner up finish in points. Biffle in particular made the intermediate tracks his personal playground back then, taking home a career high six trophies that year while coming into his own as a Cup driver. That confidence provided by past history should prove a good thing for this team, as five of the remaining eight Chase events will be held at tracks that are a mile and a half in length. And if all else fails, there's always Homestead, a track where Biffle has won the past three consecutive races. If he can continue to gel with crew chief Greg Erwin, look for Biffle to easily play the role of Chase spoiler for the remainder of the season.

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