NASCAR Race Weekend Central

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5 Points to Ponder… After the 2007 3M Performance 400 at Michigan

1. Weather Woes - What if it rains again Tuesday and the race can't be held? NASCAR says that the Michigan race would tentatively move to the end of the schedule and would be held on Thanksgiving weekend, making it the final race of the year. The New Hampshire race on September 16th would become the final "regular season" race, and the first Chase race would be Dover on September 23rd. There is still an outside chance that NASCAR could try to run the race on Wednesday, however.

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Mirror Driving: We Need a Week Off, A Lack of Talent in the Busch Pool & Feeding Off The Craftsman Truck Series

The possibility of a race between the July off-week and the Chase being rained out is very real. Changing the Chase to accommodate that race is an expensive process, and very costly to both NASCAR and Homestead-Miami Speedway-is that just part of the game, or does NASCAR need to revise the schedule or the rulebook to accommodate this possibility?

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Running Their Mouth: 2007 3M Performance 400 at Michigan Rain Delay

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 to capture 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 during the rain delays for the 3M Performance 400 at Michigan International Speedway.

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Full Throttle: Junior’s Stepmother & the State of the Sport Spoils the Happy Ending For the No. 8

It was announced this week that the No. 8 will be staying at DEI for the foreseeable future, and therefore will not be on the side or roof of Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s car next year when he begins driving for Hendrick Motorsports. Much to the disappointment of Riki Rachtman and the majority of Junior's legion of fans, an agreement could not be reached between DEI and Hendrick Motorsports that would allow the number to be transferred over to Hendrick so that Junior might be able to continue driving with the number for at least the next five years of his career. According to Junior, the stumbling block in the entire process was his stepmother, Teresa Earnhardt. Try as he might, it appears that Junior is going to be haunted by his stepmother for at least the rest of this season.

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Matt McLaughlin Thinks Out Loud: Is It the Rider or His Horse?

In horse racing, they say it is the jockey that matters but even the best can't win on a pack mule. As it becomes more and more likely that the Joe Gibbs Racing teams will switch to Toyota Camrys next year, you have to wonder just how many millions of dollars are being thrown around behind the scenes for Gibbs even to consider such a radical move. Gibbs latest acquisition, Kyle Busch, has complained out loud that he is unpopular with many fans because they aren't giving him a fair break. (That's a valid argument to a point, but in fact, it is Busch's antics on and off the track that have caused many folks to write him off as a horse's ass.) My guess is driving a Toyota isn't going to endear him to even the most open minded fans. Of course, maybe Busch will be the first to win a race in a Camry and he'll say afterwards, "These cars still suck". I'd buy him a beer if he does.

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Busch Series Breakdown: 2007 CARFAX 250 at Michigan

With overnight temperatures in the 40s and the race time temperature in the mid 60s, Saturday's weather wasn't anything like what the teams had encountered in practice or qualifying. That left crew chiefs up and down pit road scrambling, looking for the proper setup to handle the new conditions. At the drop of the green, Greg Biffle led the pack into turn one, but Brian Vickers had the lead by the time the field got back around to the start/finish line. Matt Kenseth started 12th and was in the top five within five laps of the start of the race. Denny Hamlin moved to the front quickly, followed by Kenseth. They traded the lead of the race in the middle stages of the race, but after the final pit stop it was all Hamlin. Hamlin marched away from the field over the closing laps and had a nearly five-second lead by the time the checkered flag fell.

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Holding a Pretty Wheel: Breaking the Rules Just Ain’t What It Used To Be

Following an on-track incident at the Busch Series race in Montreal last week, NASCAR placed Robby Gordon on probation. In itself, the action was both warranted and consistent with past incidents. However, what followed was not. In their press release, NASCAR noted that should Gordon partake in any other rules infraction "that is deemed by NASCAR officials as detrimental to stock car racing or to NASCAR, or is disruptive to the orderly conduct of an event, he will be suspended indefinitely from NASCAR." I mistakenly took that to mean that a driver in violation of a NASCAR-imposed probation would receive heavy punishment. Obviously, I was wrong.

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Rick Crawford Driver Diary: Still Good on Dirt

We've run two more races since the last diary, and these were pretty good races for our Power Stroke Diesel Team. We had a top-five finish at ORP, in the Power Stroke Diesel 200, and we just got finished with a top-10 run, a sixth-place finish at Nashville Superspeedway. We had a good run for Circle Bar Racing, David Starr and myself, with the International Maxx Force Diesel by International and the Power Stroke Diesel by International both in the top 10. The No. 10 and the No. 14 truck have been competitive, and we've had a good couple of weeks.

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Tearing Apart the Trucks: Toyota Looking for Back-to-Back Championships

In 2000, Toyota ventured into the big sea of NASCAR racing; first dipping their toes in the water in the Goody's Dash Series. Robert Huffman delivered their first win the following year, and scored their first championship in 2003. The manufacturer entered the Craftsman Truck Series beginning with the 2004 season. Just two years later, Todd Bodine drove Toyota to their first truck series championship in 2006. Now, with just 10 races remaining in the 2007 season, Toyota is looking at the very strong possibility of back-to-back championships.

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That’s History Profile: Benny Parsons

Benny Parsons was born in Ellerbe, N.C., on July 12th, 1941 - a small town just north of Rockingham. After growing up in the South throughout his childhood, Parsons actually made his first career choice around a profession that had nothing to do with racing - but driving an automobile nonetheless. Making a move up north to Detroit in 1960, Parsons relocated to where his father ran a taxi cab garage. That's where the youngster spent the remainder of his young adult years... learning how to drive not through the local dirt track, but by dropping passenger after passenger off at their destination as a cab driver.

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