Recent Posts

Sprint Cup Report Cards: Grading the Pack 1/3 Of The Way Through The 2008 Season

In the immortal words of one Ferris Bueller, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in awhile, you might miss it.” The star of the 1980s silver screen was right: life does move fast - and so does NASCAR. With the checkered flag flying on the Coca-Cola 600, we’re exactly a third of the way through the 2008 season, just fourteen races away from the start of the Chase. So it’s as good a time as any to take a look at the hits and misses of the season so far. Who has driven it like they stole it? Who has run ho-hum, and who has flat out sucked? Find out the answers below, as I hand out awards for the first four months of the season to date: *Best Driver – Kyle Busch* Nine wins in 31 races (three Cup, four Nationwide, two Craftsman Truck Series) and eight Top 5 finishes in 12 Cup starts, while impressive, don't even tell the whole story - Busch has been a factor in virtually every race he’s run. Plus, he’s positively reveling in the pantomime villain role.

Read More »

A Stupid Car and Blown Tires: NASCAR Hitting The Wall, Figuratively and Literally

The biggest racing weekend of the year has come and gone and, thankfully, most of us had a day off to digest it all. From Monaco to Mansfield, The Queen City to the Brickyard, after absorbing over 1500 miles of racing, more than a few opinions have been formulated over the last 24 hours about the state of the sport. Although this may call into question my fendered sensibilities, for the first time in a long time the open wheeled programs, both on this side of the pond and abroad, were a better show than the stock car bunch could muster on Memorial Day weekend. There was more focus and excitement surrounding the Indianapolis 500 this year than in recent memory, and not all of it was Danica-related. With the Indy Car Series and Champ Car organizations reuniting and becoming one again, NASCAR suddenly has some competition to challenge as the premier racing series in North America. While NASCAR is undeniably still the 400lb gorilla when it comes to racing in the United States, it has had its pedestal shaken a bit over the last year and a half.

Read More »

Who’s Hot/Who’s Not in Sprint Cup: 2008 Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Edition

In the past, the extra 100 miles that make the Coca-Cola 600 NASCAR’s longest event has proved to add an extra dimension to an already grueling race. This year was no different, as it wasn't how you started but how you finished that made the difference. It seemed that every driver who ran up front ran into problems -- and in the end, Kasey Kahne survived for the victory only after Tony Stewart succumbed to tire problems three laps from the finish. Kahne moves into the Top 12 in points this week with his first win in 52 starts, and appears to be picking up momentum after winning the All-Star race last week. But will his breakthrough win be enough to put him in this week’s “HOT” list? Check out the latest edition of Who’s Hot / Who’s Not in Sprint Cup below to find out.

Read More »

Running Their Mouth: 2008 Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte

_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 Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway:_ “Really, really a special race, special weekend. We were there all night... we put our Budweiser Dodge where it needed to be. Everything was great! We were better on four tires than we were on two or no tires -- but we were still pretty good on those. I was thinking second [and then] I saw Tony slow up. I thought he was out of gas. At that point, I couldn't believe it. From there, I just tried to hit my marks and make sure I brought it home.” _Winner Kasey Kahne_

Read More »

Sitting in NASCAR’s Victory Lane: Who Deserves to Be There?

I suppose the argument could be made that none of the drivers sitting in NASCAR’s Victory Lane this weekend should have been there. Over in the Truck Series, Donny Lia managed to make a name for himself on the national grid by doing what any modified driver does best; he moved the competition over in the last lap of the race. Later on that day, Kyle Busch handily beat out his Nationwide Series competition -- even though most of the NASCAR fan base out there currently believes that's an injustice to the rest of the planet. And to top it all off Sunday night, Kasey Kahne snuck past Tony Stewart in the final laps, as Smoke added some new black stripes to the walls of Lowe's Motor Speedway. This morning, I read several stories that all spoke of one thing -- somebody else belonged in first place at the end of that one. What should have happened, didn't… and wasn't that a shame. Should… should…

Read More »

Matt McLaughlin’s Thinkin’ Out Loud: 2008 Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte

*The Key Moment* – Tony Stewart cut down a tire with three laps to go allowing Kasey Kahne to streak by him for the win. *In a Nutshell* – It might sound like damning it with faint praise but the World 600 was nowhere near as awful as last week’s All Star race hinted it might be. *Dramatic Moment* – Tony Stewart looked to be cruising to the checkers when he began slowing dramatically handing the race to Kahne. With the new car making passing so difficult every restart caused an all out land rush for positions for the first five laps.

Read More »

Frontstretch Breakdown: 2008 Indianapolis 500

*In A Nutshell:* Scott Dixon took the pole for this race, his latest assertion that he is the driver to beat this year; and heading into the Indy 500, he gave no one any reason to think differently. Several drivers took turns at the front of the biggest event in open-wheel racing -- including teammate Dan Wheldon, Tony Kanaan, and Marco Andretti -- but Dixon always lurked right behind them. His No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing crew did their job and put him out in front on the final stop of the day; and while second place Vitor Meira tried to mount a challenge, ultimately the speed Dixon showed all month carried him to the win. Meira held onto second, followed by Marco Andretti, Helio Castroneves, and Ed Carpenter to round out the Top 5. *Who Should Have Won: Scott Dixon.* Did you get the sense that this was Dixon’s game and he just let the others play for awhile?

Read More »

Bad Luck Bug Still Keeping Tony Stewart From Closing The Deal

Come Monday morning, Tony Stewart might well be lobbying NASCAR to change the mileage of the Coca-Cola 600. For if it were the Coca-Cola 595 … Stewart would have won. Up to that point, the veteran of the Joe Gibbs Racing stable had played his poker hand to perfection. Struggling during the first 300 miles, Stewart spent most of the race’s first half mired in 20th place. But as a veteran team and driver know, it’s not how you handle at the start of this 400-lap marathon; it’s how you handle at the finish, once the sun goes down and nighttime shines on the 1.5-mile oval.

Read More »

Ten Points To Ponder… After the 2008 Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte

*1. Rumba, Anyone?* - Two-time Indy 500 winner Helio Castroneves -- better known to the general public as last year's winner of the mega hit TV show "Dancing With The Stars" -- seems to be interested in following such open-wheel standouts as Juan Pablo Montoya, Sam Hornish, Jr., Dario Franchitti, Patrick Carpentier, and A.J. Allmendinger into the NASCAR ranks. However, the Brazilian initially refuted a _Los Angeles Times_ story published last week that reported he was interested in talking to Penske Racing, whom he drives for in the IRL, about a move to their NASCAR operation. "I did not understand much," Castroneves said of the journalist writing the story. "I found my English is apparently getting worse. [They] definitely took it out of context.” Now, is the "hoofer" performing some kind of fancy sidestep, or is that a full-blown tap dancing number?

Read More »

Bubble Breakdown: David Reutimann, Sam Hornish, Jr. Highlight Proud Performances By Struggling Teams

Sunday evening, NASCAR’s top series put out its version of an endurance race with the running of the Coca-Cola 600. The series' longest event, it's a true test of both man and machine, and everyone needs to be on top of their game. But two of Sunday's 43 starters -- one a bubble dweller and one who soon may be -- were already at a serious disadvantage before the marathon even got underway. On Saturday, NASCAR was alerted by a garage informer to take a peek under the rear deck lids of the HAAS Automation Chevy’s driven by *Johnny Sauter* and *Scott Riggs*. Once they did, both cars were hauled out by NASCAR and taken to their Research and Design Center for further inspection -- it appears that the rear wing mounts on both cars were messed with. Despite the infractions, NASCAR did allow the HAAS teams to run backup cars and start at the back of the field; but it was a serious blow to both programs. At least Sauter was already starting at the back in 43rd; Riggs took a huge hit after qualifying in the 13th position.

Read More »