Recent Posts

Nationwide Series Breakdown: 2009 Scotts Turf Builder 300 at Bristol

NASCAR fan or not, every sports fan in America has had at least one eye drawn on the NCAA basketball tournament this weekend. There are few sporting events anywhere in the world that can match the excitement, passion, and competition evoked by the weekend’s first two rounds. And, just like it does every year, the tournament provides countless examples of how teamwork is the most important element of any sport. Just as my beloved Wake Forest Demon Deacons got reminded of this truth the hard way in getting routed by Cleveland State, the weekend’s race at Bristol Motor Speedway gave Kyle Busch a refresher that racing is a team sport, as well.

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Bubble Breakdown: David Gilliland Drives TRG’s No. 71 Right Into Top 35

If you remember back to 2008, *Jamie McMurray* -- a good driver on one of the super teams, Roush Fenway Racing -- was not only sitting on the bubble heading to Bristol, but on the wrong side of it when he left there. It was proof even the best organizations could fall victim to having to qualify on speed. One year later, *Ryan Newman* and *Mark Martin* felt that same pressure, needing strong performances from their top-tier organizations to avoid what happened to McMurray last year. Bristol marked the final race using 2008 owner points in determining who has a guaranteed starting spot, as NASCAR’s top series now uses the 2009 owner standings for the remainder of the season. So, did Martin and Newman avoid being the big name drivers on the outside looking in? And what underdog defied the odds to sneak into the top 35? Read on to find out as we break down the bubble for the Food City 500 from Bristol Motor Speedway.

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Five Points to Ponder: 2009 Food City 500 at Bristol Edition

*The Busch Series* If you’re not a Busch, you haven’t been in a Sprint Cup Victory Lane in over a month. Kyle Busch made it three wins in a row for the Vegas brothers, leading 378 of 503 laps at Bristol this weekend en route to his second win of the season. The last three Sprint Cup races have been won by either Kyle Busch or his older brother Kurt, whose win two weeks ago in Atlanta followed Kyle’s at Las Vegas. Lil’ Busch is having a similar season to that of his 2008 campaign, but it’s been Kurt Busch who’s been the surprise, finishing 11th this weekend despite starting 32nd and suffering an early run-in with Kevin Harvick.

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Kyle Busch Dominates at Bristol Once Again, Wins 2009 Food City 500

Once again, the Busch family has staked their claim to Victory Lane, reducing the act of winning a Sprint Cup race to a simple activity where the brothers take turns, like the game of Memory. At Las Vegas, Kyle Busch claimed the victory. Two weeks ago at Atlanta, older brother …

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Big Six: 2009 Food City 500 at Bristol

Who… gets my shoutout of the race? For a driver who has never had Bristol figured out in the past, Jimmie Johnson looked like he hit on something this time around. Johnson led 88 laps and looked comfortable with the Bristol confines even though a late race pit miscue cost …

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TIREd… Of Goodyear’s Excuses

There’s procrastinating, and then there’s procrastinating. Your average everyday procrastinating is generally no big deal. So you take out the trash tomorrow and wash the car next week (don’t do that if you run over a possum, by the way; it’s hard to get the blood off. Yes, I did learn that the hard way.). Most of the time, unless there’s an angry boss involved, a little procrastinating never really hurts anyone. But this is nuts. When NASCAR developed the new car, it was designed to handle differently-to be harder to drive, and to be able to pass. It was designed to race on a big, wide tire so that it would grip the track better in the turns, which would provide more exciting racing by allowing cars to race side-by-side in those turns. NASCAR even upped the timetable for the new car by a few months. The car is here. The problem is, the tire isn’t. In fact, it’s not even close.

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Solving NASCAR’s Racetrack Problem, Part 2 – Happy Hour Motor Speedway I – A New Short Track

In last week’s Happy Hour, I discussed baseball’s ballpark boom and how the place responsible for it all, Oriole Park at Camden Yards, changed the formula for modern ballparks—from antiseptic concrete bowls to eye-catching and distinctive structures with natural grass. I suggested that NASCAR could learn from this, with most of the NASCAR schedule littered with tracks that are all too similar to one another. My idea was that the architects of the next speedway could try the same tactic, and use elements of several classic speedways in its design, while at the same time incorporating the modern amenities that the newer tracks brag about. And the next time NASCAR moves to a new track, it has a place to go to with better racing and a memorable fan experience. And new tracks in the future will have a standard. With that in mind, here is what defines Happy Hour Motor Speedway I. Feel free to chew me out if something doesn’t work, or add any ideas of your own.

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Driven to the Past: A Selective Rain Shower and a Flight That Didn’t Work Out Well…

Back when I was a newspaper editor in Salem, Ind., I had a lawyer friend named Delson Cox who happened to be a race fan and who was also a pretty good pilot. He owned a Mooney, which was a pretty fast single-engine aircraft, and we took a lot of rides together. One day he called me and asked if I was working the ARCA race at Talladega that weekend. I told him I wasn’t, but I was game to make the trip if he wanted to go. So, Sunday morning we load up the Mooney and head for ‘Dega.

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Nuts for Nationwide: 5 Fearless Forecasts for Thunder Valley

The Sam’s Town 300 at Las Vegas saw four of the five full-time Nationwide Series rookie candidate score top 10 finishes. That won’t happen this weekend, but don’t look for this rookie class to end up a blended mess like so many before it have at this treacherous short track. Brendan Gaughan, who’s currently fourth in series points, averaged a top 15 finish in five Truck Series starts at Bristol, including a runner-up performance in August of 2007. And Justin Allgaier is coming off of an ARCA campaign that saw him score top 5 finishes in all seven of the series’ short track events, including three wins.

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In Case You Missed It: Friday, March 20, 2009

Goodyear Planning Tests At Indy, Atlanta Following many driver complaints after the spring 2008 Atlanta Cup race and the subsequent multiple cautions at Indianapolis, Goodyear has announced that they will do further testing at both speedways. The company has already conducted two tests at Indianapolis since last year’s race. “We …

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