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Rookie Report: Joey Logano, Marcos Ambrose Bruised In Battle But Win the War in Richmond

*Joey Logano:* *Start: 13th; Finish: 19th* *Summary:* Joey Logano rolled off the grid in the 13th position for the Crown Royal presents the Russ Friedman 400, his third best start of the 2009 season. But unlike his previous two top 13 qualifying efforts (9th at Daytona and 10th at Texas), the rookie was able to hang with the lead pack for virtually the entire night. In fact, the neon orange and white Home Depot Camry rarely fell out of the top 20. Logano’s Sprint Cup Richmond debut was not incident-free, however, as is typically the case with short track events.

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Bubble Breakdown: Hornish’s Two Top 10s Make Qualifying On Speed A Distant Memory

What a strange weekend for our beloved bubble dwellers it was at Richmond. At Friday’s qualifying session, Mike Bliss put the No. 09 Dodge in the sixth starting position with what seemed to be a car running with the momentum from last week’s upset win at Talladega. Scott Speed also looked like his team was harnessing their momentum from the previous weekend with an eighth place qualifying run. In contrast, Robby Gordon, whose career starting average at Richmond is 30th, looked to be struggling with a 36th place qualifying effort, while Sam Hornish, Jr. looked to be back to normal with a lackluster 28th place starting spot. But as you know, strange things happen under the lights at Richmond... so to see if our bubble teams flipped their weekends around, read on in this week’s edition of the Bubble Breakdown.

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Nationwide Series Breakdown: 2009 Lipton Tea 250 at Richmond

It was business as usual at Richmond Friday night, as Kyle Busch in his No. 18 ran up front all night, led the most laps, and won the race. Busch, who led four times for 115 laps, had little trouble holding off Carl Edwards following a late restart in notching his third victory of the 2009 campaign. But, much like last season’s race at O’Reilly Raceway Park that saw Busch do the same thing on a short track, there was plenty of racing throughout the pack to make Friday night an enjoyable show.

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Birthday Boy Kyle Busch Brings Home the Hardware at Richmond

Previous to Saturday night, Cale Yarborough was the only driver in the history of the Cup Series to win a race on his birthday (he pulled off the feat twice, at two different race tracks, North Wilkesboro and Bristol). Well, after Saturday night, Cale has some company. Kyle Busch started …

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Carl Edwards Wasn’t Quite Right

Sprint Cup Series Director John Darby announced this week that there won’t be any changes in the plate racing, espousing the excitement of Daytona and Talladega just days after two drivers had near-death experiences. Too many writers agree. Quite a few have said that Talladega was a great race and NASCAR shouldn’t do a thing to change it. Some have said that all of the safety precautions worked. Not quite. Seven fans were injured. If that isn’t a wake up call, it damn well oughta be. If a car goes into the grandstand and kills 50 fans, NASCAR is over, my friends. There will not be another race. Believe it. Darby also said, presumably with a straight face, that people play up the danger of wrecks at plate tracks as opposed to wrecks at Atlanta or Charlotte. So Daytona and Talladega are two of the most exciting tracks on the circuit because of the danger, but they aren’t any more dangerous than Atlanta or Charlotte. I’ll figure that one out and get back to you.

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Second and Third Fiddle Sharing One Bow Is A Sour Note

I think it’s one of Murphy’s Laws (Murphy, I never knew you, but you were one hell of a pessimist, huh?) that just when you think things couldn’t get any worse, someone surprises you. Of course, this is NASCAR we’re talking about, the sanctioning body that has come up with so ways to fix something that wasn’t broken that it will hurt your brain trying to remember them all. But still, the latest missive from The Powers That Be might just be the worst. Well, okay, not the worst, because the worst was the top 35 rule. But pretty darn close. In a time when NASCAR ought to be marketing the hell out of the Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series, NASCAR’s latest decision instead sends teams in those series, their sponsors, and their fans the message that nobody gives a damn about them.

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Driven To The Past: The Day I Lost It…

Somebody asked me last week if I ever “lost” a car while I was in the flagstand. Well, I have to admit I did. Twice in about 30 years. First time was in an ARCA race at Campbellsville, Ky., a dirt (red clay, actually) high-banked quarter-mile, in the late 1960s. They had a corrugated metal fence about 30 feet off the top rim of the banking in the first and second turns, and about halfway through the 100-lap race this huge hole appeared right in the middle of the turn--just about big enough for a stock car.

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Scott Speed Driver Diary: Momentum From Talladega and Beluga Whales!

It’s finally May and it’s getting warmer out so there is a lot to get excited about. I have to tell you though that April was definitely the tale of two months for me. It certainly didn’t start out well when we missed the show at Texas. I’m not sure what happened, but our car definitely wasn’t right. You only get one practice to dial the car in and we were just really off for some reason and we still aren’t sure what exactly went wrong. Qualifying is definitely my best attribute for sure so it’s difficult when you go to a racetrack and things aren’t right. It’s a huge challenge to get the setup right in such a short period of time. I stayed at the track though for the entire weekend, hung out with my friends and used it as an opportunity to learn more. It sucked being on the sidelines but it sure beats sitting at home on a Sunday afternoon.

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Nuts for Nationwide: The Heroes of Tomorrow Really Are Racing Today

In an interview I did with Mike Bliss at Charlotte last year, the Nationwide Series veteran gave me one quote that I have never forgotten during my time covering the Nationwide Series. _“Sponsors want that brand name, [a] Carl Edwards, to do all the shows. Well, you can find another driver and build another hero.”_ This past Sunday, the stock car racing community was reminded of this in spectacular fashion, as a Nationwide Series regular gave a new definition to Cupwhacker: He whacked the Cup Series field, scoring a dramatic win at Talladega that saw him overpower three of the sport’s most talented stars in Dale Earnhardt Jr., Carl Edwards and Ryan Newman.

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