NASCAR Race Weekend Central

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.

10 Points to Ponder… After the 2007 Sharpie 500 at Bristol

1. B-O-R-I-N-G – Drivers were effusive in their praise of Bristol’s new surface and banking, and even the Car of Tomorrow and Goodyear’s hard tire seemed to get a pass (no pun intended). But if NASCAR wants to know why TV ratings are so low, Saturday night’s race provided the answer. A hot, humid summer night race at Bristol used to exemplify the track’s slogan, “Racing the way it oughta be.” But even the broadcasters’ repeated promises that “it’s gonna get interesting soon” couldn’t pump any excitement into this total snoozer.

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.

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.

Fantasy Picks ‘N’ Pans: 2007 Sharpie 500 at Bristol Edition

After a marathon weekend at Michigan, it’s time for a sprint-like turnaround and a trip to everyone’s favorite bullring, Bristol Motor Speedway. Michigan had its share of surprises for fantasy teams, with drivers like Dave Blaney, Bobby Labonte and Brian Vickers making appearances in the top 10. But not to be outdone, old reliables like Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth, and Carl Edwards were there, too, continuing to cruise along towards the Chase – and hopefully helping the chances for a season-ending trophy of your own. But this weekend at Bristol, no pick is truly a “safe bet;” you can expect both anything and everything to happen. Just one nudge on the bumper and your team’s best driver could be spinning down the standings… taking your team with him. Still, there are certainly drivers you want to make sure to have in your arsenal, along with ones to avoid.

Running Their Mouth: 2007 3M Performance 400 at Michigan Rain Delay

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 to 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 during the rain delays for the 3M Performance 400 at Michigan International Speedway.

Full Throttle: Junior’s Stepmother & the State of the Sport Spoils the Happy Ending For the No. 8

It was announced this week that the No. 8 will be staying at DEI for the foreseeable future, and therefore will not be on the side or roof of Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s car next year when he begins driving for Hendrick Motorsports. Much to the disappointment of Riki Rachtman and the majority of Junior’s legion of fans, an agreement could not be reached between DEI and Hendrick Motorsports that would allow the number to be transferred over to Hendrick so that Junior might be able to continue driving with the number for at least the next five years of his career. According to Junior, the stumbling block in the entire process was his stepmother, Teresa Earnhardt. Try as he might, it appears that Junior is going to be haunted by his stepmother for at least the rest of this season.

Matt McLaughlin Thinks Out Loud: Is It the Rider or His Horse?

In horse racing, they say it is the jockey that matters but even the best can’t win on a pack mule. As it becomes more and more likely that the Joe Gibbs Racing teams will switch to Toyota Camrys next year, you have to wonder just how many millions of dollars are being thrown around behind the scenes for Gibbs even to consider such a radical move. Gibbs latest acquisition, Kyle Busch, has complained out loud that he is unpopular with many fans because they aren’t giving him a fair break. (That’s a valid argument to a point, but in fact, it is Busch’s antics on and off the track that have caused many folks to write him off as a horse’s ass.) My guess is driving a Toyota isn’t going to endear him to even the most open minded fans. Of course, maybe Busch will be the first to win a race in a Camry and he’ll say afterwards, “These cars still suck”. I’d buy him a beer if he does.

Matt McLaughlin’s Driver Handicaps: 2007 Michigan Summer Race Edition

Jeff Gordon – Gordon has two wins at Michigan, with the most recent triumph coming in 2001. Overall, he has 20 top-10 finishes in 29 Cup starts in the Irish Hills, with an average finish of 10th… not too shabby.

Sign up for the Frontstretch Newsletter

A daily email update (Monday through Friday) providing racing news, commentary, features, and information from Frontstretch.com

Frontstretch