NASCAR Race Weekend Central

Fantasy Picks ‘N’ Pans: 2007 Sharp Aquos 500 at Fontana Edition

After the bullring that was Bristol, the series heads out to the west coast for another race on the wide open California Speedway. Your fantasy team could be taxed, as the race to the Chase winds down to its inevitable conclusion. No question about it, the pressure’s on. Drivers on the bubble will be running conservatively but intelligently, while the drivers on the outside looking in will simply be going for broke. Then, there’s that strange category of drivers already locked in – they’ll be going for the win to try and garner those extra bonus points for the Chase. As the racing community heads straight for the desert heat, can Kurt Busch and Carl Edwards continue their own current hot streaks? Will Kevin Harvick be able to finish solidly enough to ensure a place in the Chase? This week’s edition of Picks ‘n’ Pans offers our insights into which drivers offer the best and worst for your fantasy team this weekend.

Full Throttle: Sponsor Dollars Buying More Than Hood Space On Cars? Jack Roush Says So

Sponsors spend a ton of money getting their name and logos painted onto cars in the Nextel Cup series. Some of them pay more than $30 million, in fact, just to spend a full season on the hood of a top-flight team. However, it appears as though some people in the garage area feel as though that large amount of cash is purchasing more than paint on a car, or perhaps a simple sponsor appearance at a national office. No, that type of money appears to take a team one step further – to the point of purchasing favoritism from the ones who make the calls in NASCAR each weekend. Sound a little crazy to you? It doesn’t to Jack Roush, the legendary NASCAR car owner who had no problem raising such concerns on live television last weekend.

Who’s Hot/Who’s Not in Nextel Cup: 2007 Sharpie 500 at Bristol Edition

For some, the racing at Bristol Saturday night was the best it has been in years. For others, it was a Bristol race in name only, with no fireworks and little excitement. But no matter which side of the fence you are on, there were plenty of winners and losers coming out of the annual madhouse that is Thunder Valley in late summer. Carl Edwards added another 10 bonus points to his Chase count, and should get extra points for sticking the backflip on Bristol’s high banks after his second win of the season. On the flip side, Denny Hamlin’s fried engine left him with just his second career DNF. In between, what could have been a big night for a points shakeup amongst the Chasers instead never materialized, with no driver falling out of, or moving into, the playoffs.

Running Their Mouth: 2007 Sharpie 500 at Bristol

Each week, we’ll go through all the media reports, interviews, PR, and all our own stuff to find the best quotes from the Nextel Cup race and capture 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 Sharpie 500 on the newly repaved Bristol Motor Speedway.

Bowles-Eye View: Race to the Chase Lacking True Drama

I don’t know about you, but whenever I watch The Godfather, Part II – one of my favorite movies – you always watch certain things and hope for the ending to be different. Fredo can be a very likable character at times, and you can slip and find yourself thinking that maybe he won’t make the same mistakes this time around. No matter what, though, any hope you have that things will change always falls by the wayside. There will be no movie remake – and you already know what the ending will be, no matter how much you try and convince yourself otherwise. That’s where we are in NASCAR’s 2007 Race to the Chase. We all know the answers – but there’s too much hope for a different ending to allow ourselves to admit the truth.

NASCAR’s Busch Series: Fix the Points System, Please!

If I were to ask if the NASCAR Busch Series were in need of some sort of a points system change, the answers I would get would probably range from ‘hell no!’ to ‘well duh!’ Kevin Harvick clinched the 2006 championship with a ninth-place finish in the Dollar General 300 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, four weeks prior to the Ford Championship Weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway, and Carl Edwards is well on his way to doing the same with the 2007 championship. There has got to be something NASCAR can do to make these points races a little less boring.

Matt McLaughlin’s Driver Handicaps: 2007 Bristol Night Race Edition

Jeff Gordon – Gordon has won five Cup races at Bristol, but only one of those wins was in the August Night Race. Still, with 18 top-10 finishes in 29 starts here, Gordon figures to be a factor Saturday night.

5 Points to Ponder… After the 2007 3M Performance 400 at Michigan

1. Weather Woes – What if it rains again Tuesday and the race can’t be held? NASCAR says that the Michigan race would tentatively move to the end of the schedule and would be held on Thanksgiving weekend, making it the final race of the year. The New Hampshire race on September 16th would become the final “regular season” race, and the first Chase race would be Dover on September 23rd. There is still an outside chance that NASCAR could try to run the race on Wednesday, however.

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