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Talking NASCAR TV: Grading FOX’s 2009 Season, And… What’s Stopping The Scrolls?

Greetings, readers. The three races held at Dover International Speedway were quite interesting in their own ways. I enjoyed the races, especially that race to the finish between Jimmie Johnson and Tony Stewart on Sunday. Sunday also marked the 13th and final points race on FOX’s schedule for the season. This might be a relief to many of you out there. Since Sunday was FOX’s last NASCAR go-around for the season, I’d figure that I would give them a grade for the season after I finish the Sprint Cup race telecast critique. Now, as many of you have come accustomed to since I took over this critique full time from Doug Turnbull at the beginning of the season, I like to keep the critique in chronological order. I just find it easier that way. This would have meant that the Camping World Truck Series race would be first. However, since the truck race was postponed to Saturday evening due to rain, it will come after the Nationwide race critique.

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Who’s Hot/Who’s Not in Sprint Cup: 2009 Autism Speaks 400 at Dover Edition

Race number 13 in the 2009 season was an unlucky one for Goodyear, as periodic rains in Dover washed the track of rubber after both the Friday race sessions and the Saturday races. With entries in both the Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series having right front tire issues, Sprint Cup teams knew that tire conservation during Sunday’s race would be the only way to increase the chance of avoiding the damning blown tire punctures. Despite a competition caution and other precautions, several teams suffered tire failures and many others’ days were ruined by a caution that came out during a green flag pit sequence that John Andretti’s blown right front and subsequent brushing with the wall brought out. These factors combined with a barn-burner finish, determined this week’s *HOT*, *WARM*, and *COLD* drivers for the week.

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Running Their Mouth: 2009 Autism Speaks 400 at Dover

_Each week, we’ll go through media reports, interviews, PR, and all of 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 car owners themselves. This week, here’s a peek at what the drivers were thinking following the Autism Speaks 400 in Dover, Delaware Sunday:_ "That was a great race. We obviously had a great race car all day long, and I've got to thank Chad (Knaus, crew chief) for giving me such a great Kobalt Tools Impala. My hats off to Tony Stewart. That was one heck of a race. I had to drive so far over my head to get by him. Just very proud of this effort and what we did out there on the race track today." _Jimmie Johnson_

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Numbers Game: 2009 Autism Speaks 400 at Dover

2 Cars moved to the rear of the field at the start of the Autism Speaks 400. (No. 24, Jeff Gordon — backup car; No. 34, John Andretti — transmission change) 3 hour, 28 minutes, 16 seconds Time it took to complete the Autism Speaks 400. 4 Drivers failed to …

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All But Forgotten, NASCAR’s Mr. Boring Remains The Team To Beat In This Soap Opera

It’s hard to believe a sport’s most successful athlete can go through a season all but forgotten. But it’s a feeling Jimmie Johnson knows all too well at this point. Heading into Dover this weekend, Johnson didn’t find himself buried amongst the NASCAR news as of late... he hasn’t even made it to the back pages. In fact, it had gotten to the point where the three-time defending series champ – let’s just pause for dramatic effect here -- wasn’t even in the top 5 biggest stories within Hendrick’s rapidly expanding umbrella. As the engines fired at Dover on Sunday, those could be listed as...

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Five Points to Ponder: 2009 Autism Speaks 400 at Dover Edition

*Scott impresses* Jimmie Johnson’s win in this week’s Cup Series event at Dover may not have been a surprise... but the results across the two other national series at the one-mile oval certainly were. Brad Keselowski was in the right spot at the right time in Saturday’s Nationwide race when Joey Logano got into Kyle Busch, who was restarting from the lead with just a handful of laps to go. It was only career win No. 3 for Keselowski in the series, who is expected to make the full-time jump to Sprint Cup in 2010.

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Joey Logano’s Improvement Continues with Help from Miles the Monster

*Joey Logano:* *Start: 21st; Finish: 15th* *Summary:* After struggling throughout much of practice, Joey Logano was able to qualify his Home Depot Toyota in the middle of the pack for the Autism Speaks 400. As it turned out, his starting spot was actually quite good considering how tight the car was. Logano struggled mightily with the handling of his CoT, falling back to 29th before the competition caution waved on lap 30 -- which proved to be a savior for this struggling team. Still, Greg Zipadelli could not loosen the car up enough for his young rookie driver, who soon fell a lap down to the leader. Then, the entire complexion of the race changed on lap 117 once the third yellow flag of the day was thrown for debris.

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Bubble Breakdown: Two-Tire Pit Stop Has Sam Hornish, Jr. Driving Away From Top 35

News from the bubble this week primarily dealt with Robby Gordon’s rear end and whether NASCAR’s method of handing out penalties is fair or not. Gordon was docked 50 owner and driver points and crew chief Kirk Almquist was fined $50,000 this week after post-race inspection at Lowe's found their rear axle housing exceeded the maximum specified toe of plus or minus one degree. Neither the driver nor crew chief was suspended as a result of the inspection, however, while in the previous week, driver Carl Long was given a 12-race suspension, got docked 200 owner/driver points, and his crew chief was fined $200,000 for an engine at a non-points race that exceeded NASCAR’s 358-cubic inch requirement by just .17 inches. Seems to me one guy got off a little easy while another one got bent right over the woodpile... To see if Robby could make up the penalty at Dover or if the drivers outside the top 35 would make up some ground on him, read on in this week’s edition of the Bubble Breakdown.

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