After a grueling 400 laps at Dover, which Chase contenders are still hot on the trail of the championship and which ones are chilling out in the back? Read this week’s Who’s Hot/Who’s Not to find out.
The Chase is on and what a better way to honor it then with some useless facts? That’s right, race fans, I said useless. But useless is as useless does, and like the Chase these facts are certainly useless, entertaining maybe, but totally unnecessary. Sometimes, like these tidbits, unnecessary is fun. So without further ado, here are some fun facts about this year’s Chasers. Did you know…?
Despite not having that many passes for the lead, this was an exciting race. The multi-groove thing finally came into play late in the race, setting up a classic Dover dash for the lead with Matt Kenseth up high and Jeff Burton down low! Now, if we could just get TNT to take those commercial breaks earlier instead of ruining the flow in the last 150 laps every race!
6 – points that Jeff Burton leads Jeff Gordon by in the driver standings.
As Jeff Burton pulled into Victory Lane on Sunday, winless monkey off his back and championship trophy suddenly within reach, it was hard to ignore the irony surrounding the end of his 175-race winless streak.
The Monster Mile in Dover, Delaware lived up to its billing this weekend, as the self-cleaning concrete speedway took a toll on both Chasers and Top 35 contestants alike. Three Chase contenders finished 30th or worse, but buried beneath that hoopla was that the remainder of the tail-end finishers, with the exclusion of Tony Stewart, were teams battling for the Top 35 in owner points.
For the first time since November 2001, Jeff Burton took the checkered flag in a Nextel Cup race, scoring the win in Sunday’s Dover 400 to put RCR on top for the third straight week. Winning for the first time in his last 175 tries at the Cup level, Burton’s quest for the checkered flag wasn’t easy – he fell back early in the race with a poor-handling racecar, then had to play it safe after watching teammates Kevin Harvick and Clint Bowyer have their engines sour over the final 50 miles.
Passing leader Matt Kenseth on lap 179, Clint Bowyer held on over the final 25 laps to take his first win of 2006 in overtime at Dover. Bowyer sailed out to a safe lead after getting by Kenseth, but for a while it looked like he might come up short again when he got tied up in lapped traffic, allowing Kenseth to climb right back up on his back bumper. It was actually a late caution for Martin Truex Jr. with four laps remaining to set up the green-white-checkered finish that actually worked to Bowyer’s advantage and sealed the win for him. With nothing but clean racetrack in front of him on the restart, Bowyer was once again able to dash off from Kenseth and take the win. Teammate Kevin Harvick finished third, followed by Jamie McMurray and Jason Leffler to round out the top five.
After a season of frustration, Mike Skinner finally broke through to score his first win of 2006 Saturday night in the Smith’s Las Vegas 350. Taking the lead on the final restart on lap 126, Skinner held off Ted Musgrave by .309 seconds to score his first career victory at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Mike Bliss, Johnny Benson, and Ron Hornaday rounded out the top five.
Rusty Wallace’s unofficial pet project has come to fruition, as this past weekend marked the official opening of Iowa Speedway. Rusty helped design the track, and was instrumental in securing the financing necessary to make the track a reality.