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Fantasy Picks ‘N’ Pans: 2006 UAW-Ford 500 at Talladega Edition

The Cup series heads to Alabama this Sunday for a run on the newly paved 2.66 mile tri-oval that is Talladega Superspeedway. And so begins the game of Fantasy Russian Roulette: spin the chamber, make your picks, and hope the bullet misses you. Simply put, this is the week where it is better to be lucky than good.

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Mirror Driving: Did Jimmie Johnson Get Screwed?

*Was this week's race at Kansas just an aberration, or are we finally beginning to see one of the "cookie-cutter" tracks come into its own and provide good racing?* %{color:purple}Toni:% I thought it was a pretty good race. But yeah, there is that whole "for a cookie-cutter track" thing involved in that assessment. %{color:red}Tom:% For whatever reason, I've always thought Kansas was the better track when compared to its "sister," Chicagoland. But Sunday's race might have been one of the best ones at a new track in the past decade.

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Diversity: The Road To NASCAR’s Future Growth

Growth is the primary goal for any American enterprise, and NASCAR is the epitome of an American business. So it comes as a bit of a surprise that, when you look at this year's TV Ratings, NASCAR's popularity has not grown one bit...if anything, it's actually declined. Ratings are down in all but two races this season, and it appears fans are looking for some new energy to rejeuvenate their interest in the sport.

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Five Years To One Blaise…and Gone

History is many things - interesting, amusing, informative. It can also be tragic. Time, the mechanism through which history is made, can be a healer in its quest to make bad memories fade...but it can also serve as a cruel reminder of events not easily remembered. It's that dark side of history that can make moments personal on so many levels, long after they first reached your head and touched your heart. I can't believe it's been five years this week.

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Who’s Hot/Who’s Not in the Chase: 2006 Banquet 400 at Kansas Edition

The Midwest is known for vast temperature changes and powerful storms, followed by days of calm. The Banquet 400 at Kansas Speedway seemed to follow that theme this weekend. Late race fuel mileage gambles left plenty of Chasers looking for gas - and answers - at the end of the day, in the midst of several other spinouts and mechanical issues that threatened to doom their title hopes. So, which drivers stayed hot during a fall trip through the Heartland, and which drivers felt a cool wind blow their Championship hopes further away? Read this week's Who's Hot/Who's Not in the Chase to find out.

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Fuel Tank Read Empty For Gordon, But Racing At Kansas Was Full Steam Ahead

*Pace Laps* The track was so slick on Sunday, rumor had it the pace car was considering pulling off the track for the restart entering turn 3...no need to wreck a nice new sports car. Jackie Joyner-Kersee...and _George Lopez_ for Kansas Speedway grand marshals? Didn't realize NASCAR was looking to expand its fan base by drudging up D-list celebrities...

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Numbers Game: 2006 Banquet 400 at Kansas

*0* Cars dropped to the back of the field at the start of the Nextel Cup race at Kansas Speedway. *3* Victories in 2006 for Tony Stewart after Sunday's Kansas win. He also won at Martinsville in April and Daytona in July.

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Pessimistic Mark Martin Still Hanging Around

With Jeff Burton finally ending a 175-race winless streak at Dover last weekend, he became the ninth of ten Chase drivers fighting for this year's title to visit Victory Lane this season. The monkey finally off his back, the victory left only one man with a goose egg in the win column beside his name entering Kansas. Is it a surprise to anyone that man was Mark Martin?

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