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Frontstretch Power Rankings: Top 15 Drivers Still Winless in NASCAR

Frontstretch Power Rankings
With an off week in the schedule, the Frontstretch staffers decided to take a second look at a series of drivers looking for that lucky break. Our writers voted in the Top 15 drivers who have never won a Sprint Cup race in their careers; and while these men might have been special in other forms of stock car racing, they were never special enough to make it to Victory Lane at the highest level (at least, not yet). Does your perception match our reality on this controversial topic? Be sure to read below to find out; and once you do, don't be afraid to let us know who else should be on the list!

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Eight Thoughts After Eight Races

Technically speaking, we'll be at the quarter pole mark following the conclusion of the rollercoaster ride at Talladega this Sunday; but, with a brief pause in the relentless slog that is the Sprint Cup schedule, it's a good time to put out eight thoughts and questions with eight races of the 2008 season in the books. *1. We had a 50th Daytona 500 to be proud of…* It is often the case in sport that the “big” occasion doesn't live up to the pre-event propaganda, but the 50th running of the Great American Race was not one of those instances. Now, it's fair to say this finish wasn't an instant classic; but it was far from a damp squib. Yes, the finish, while undeniably exciting, was not as dramatic or spectacular as 2007, nor did it contain cars crossing the finish line upside down and on fire. But as the lap counter ticked down in the 2008 edition, the tension ratcheted up notch-by-notch in the last 25 circuits. With three laps to go, Tony Stewart looked set to break his Daytona 500 0-fer; but in the end, it was Ryan Newman, courtesy of the an answered prayer in the form of a push from teammate and erstwhile “Smoke” nemesis Kurt Busch, who took the honors in the most prestigious of all NASCAR races.

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Mexico City: The Answer To A Question No One Asked

Mexico City. What is the first thing you think of when you envision the second largest populated city on the planet? After you get past pollution, corruption, and drug trafficking, you can chalk up NASCAR racing as well. This past weekend, the Nationwide Series made what has become their annual stop to the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez circuit in Mexico’s capital city. NASCAR has made great strides in recent years to gain favor with the Latin American demographic; races in Southern California, Miami, and the trip south of the border are evidence of this. But to date, Mexico City in particular remains their top initiative to draw Central and South American fans into the sport in droves, adding to a fan base that was once in need of replenishing. But while the concept is nice, and fans were relieved to have _some_ sort of racing to watch on Sunday, it is questionable whether or not the race needed to be taking place over 1,500 miles south of the previous week's locale in Phoenix, Arizona. It is a bit of an understatement to say that the last couple of events have been hard on the Nationwide teams logistically.

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Critiquing NASCAR TV: Who’s Turned Things Around In 2008…And Who Hasn’t

This is my first week writing for this website, and my first time taking over Frontstretch's new television critiquing column in particular from John Potts. But after a challenging week in Mexico City for television -- with the race being in a foreign country and all -- I didn't want to start my writing career here on a negative note. So, let me start with mostly positive television turnarounds from last season (with one glaring exception), now that 2008 is well underway: * As much as ESPN’s NASCAR Now lacked in consistency and substance last year, it has been made up for -- and then some -- in 2008. Last year’s hosts of the show, with the exception of Ryan Burr, really struggled to even pretend to have a clue about anything in the sport; but things have changed over the course of the past few months.

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Who’s Hot/Who’s Not In Sprint Cup: After the 2008 Subway Fresh Fit 500

Talladega Superspeedway is one of the more intimidating tracks on the Sprint Cup schedule. It requires skill; it requires patience; and most often, it requires a certain amount of luck. For a few of the drivers, the 2.66-mile track is a welcomed site; but for most, Talladega is a dreaded wild card event where anything can and will happen. But despite the track's unpredictable nature, some drivers have achieved consistent success down in Alabama. As the Who's Hot / Who's Not column returns from an off week, we take a look at not only the hottest and coldest drivers in the series this year, but how the Top 15 in driver points have fared at Talladega throughout their careers. *Who's Hot* *Jeff Burton:* Points leader extended his Top 10 streak to six races at Phoenix. Burton's worst finish is still a remarkable 13th in what's amounted to the best start of his career to date. *Carl Edwards:* Nearly went four for eight in the win column this year if not for a pit road problem at Phoenix. And if it weren't for a blown engine while leading at Atlanta, Edwards would have just two finishes out of the Top 10 in all of 2008.

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Giving Danica Patrick Her Due…and Nothing More

Congratulations to Danica Patrick for winning her first IRL race! After three years, fifty starts, and three podium finishes prior to Saturday's Twin Ring Motegi 300, her arrival in Victory Lane has long been awaited. Altogether now: three cheers for Danica! There. Are we done patting the little lady on the back? No, don't go getting your knickers all knotted up. Believe me, this accomplishment cannot be dismissed as unimportant. But I don't believe it is truly the hallmark in auto racing that much of the planet wants it to be; and to be honest, I could care less that Danica is one of the fairer sex. She has competed with some of the best drivers in the world and won... Period.

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Running Their Mouth: 2008 Corona Mexico 200

_Each week, we'll go through media reports, interviews, PR, and all our own stuff to find the best quotes from the Sprint 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 Corona 200 at Autodromos Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City:_ "It's a pretty phenomenal day for these Joe Gibbs Racing guys. They did an awesome job once again. We ran up front a good bit of the race; [Pruett] was just blocking a little bit too much, I believe. Now I understand why he got dumped last year. And if it came down to it, he was going to be again. [But he] smoked the tires, and I was able to get by him." _Kyle Busch, Mexico City winner_

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Thinkin’ Out Loud Like Matt McLaughlin: 2008 Mexico City Recap

*The Key Moment:* Scott Pruett got beaten, banged, intimidated, and finally passed with eight laps left -- becoming the latest victim of Kyle Busch's Nationwide Series domination. *In a Nutshell:* Kyle Busch wins again … hurrah? It was a short track slugfest on a road course venue, complete with all the problems that continue to plague this series in 2008. *Dramatic Moment:* Waiting to see when Busch was going to lay the bumper on Pruett was pretty exciting stuff; but a close second was Boris Said nearly throwing the hammer down on Marcos Ambrose after the two tangled with 34 laps to go.

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Two Countries, Two Races, Two Divergent Outcomes On Diversity

It was a tale of two cities, two countries, and two completely different races. But those two checkered flags converged into one defining story, leaving fans both delighted and disappointed by the future of diversity in a sport that's lacked it for far too long. The events were held outside the country, on opposite ends of the world; but considering the morals of the topic at hand, it's ironic they were held so far apart. Danica Patrick emerged from Victory Lane in Japan with a smile so wide, you could almost see the monkey get thrown right off her back. It had been 50 starts for America's most famous woman racer, but 49 empty weekends had also left her fighting for the label of the IRL's most overrated driver in history. But some crafty pit strategy changed all that; Danica stretched every ounce of fuel to the finish, and her first checkered flag led to history in the making. The first woman ever to win a race in a major open wheel series, Danica-mania was verified in one full swoop; Tiger Woods, she's not, but the trophy in her hands proved she's not some flash in the pan, either. On the heels of the Champ Car-IRL merger, her smiling face on top of the leaderboard gave the series instant momentum, as well as racing women like Lynn St. James and Janet Guthrie a reward for their years of sacrifice to blaze a trail to this point.

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