Race Weekend Central

Bubble Breakdown: Toyota Bubble Teams Struggle Mightily at Martinsville While Menard Sneaks In

The last remnants of the 2008 season have finally been cast by the wayside, as NASCAR now uses this year’s owner points in determining who has a guaranteed starting spot and who has to qualify on time. But as the drivers now outside of the Top 35 readied themselves to give it all they had at Martinsville in order to qualify for the race on Friday – it rained. So, the field was set according to the owner standings, sending the last four cars back to their shops while the top 43 lined up Sunday afternoon. Of the ones that remained, which drivers were able to race their way up into the Top 35 for the first time under the 2009 points standings? Read on in this week’s edition of the Bubble Breakdown to see who moved up and who dropped out.

Bubble Breakdown: David Gilliland Drives TRG’s No. 71 Right Into Top 35

If you remember back to 2008, Jamie McMurray – a good driver on one of the super teams, Roush Fenway Racing – was not only sitting on the bubble heading to Bristol, but on the wrong side of it when he left there. It was proof even the best organizations could fall victim to having to qualify on speed. One year later, Ryan Newman and Mark Martin felt that same pressure, needing strong performances from their top-tier organizations to avoid what happened to McMurray last year. So, did Martin and Newman avoid being the big-name drivers on the outside looking in? And what underdog defied the odds to sneak into the Top 35? Read on to find out as we break down the bubble for the Food City 500 from Bristol Motor Speedway.

Bubble Breakdown: TRG Making Miracles with David Gilliland While Mark Martin Just Hanging On

The Kobalt Tools 500 marked the fourth race in the 2009 season, meaning there is just one more event to get into the Top 35 in owner points before NASCAR shifts to this year’s standings to determine who is or isn’t locked into the starting grid each week. This made the race at Atlanta critical for many, as no one wants to have to go to Bristol under pressure to post a stellar finish – the race in Thunder Valley is one of the more unpredictable races on the circuit. To see which big name teams fell short at AMS and will head to Tennessee a nervous wreck – as well as which smaller teams have surprised everyone by driving safely into the Top 35 – read on in this week’s edition of the Bubble Breakdown.

Bubble Breakdown: Heavy-Duty Wreck Leaves High Drama for Top 35 Heading to Homestead

Editor’s Note: We’re happy to report Mike Ravesi was unable to do this column for the best possible reason – he and his wife are having their first child! All of us at Frontstretch couldn’t be happier for the Ravesis and their new addition to the family. While Mike is out, Managing Editor Tom Bowles …

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Bubble Breakdown: NASCAR Teams Miss Opportunity to Lock Down Top 35 for ’09

There’s an old saying that Hell hath no fury like that of a ‘Dinger scorned; or something to that effect, anyways. For the second straight week, AJ Allmendinger drove like a man on a mission right from the drop of the checkered flag. And “man on a mission” is exactly the mindset Allmendinger needs to …

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Bubble Breakdown: Scott Riggs, Robby Gordon Post Top-10 Triumphs at ‘Dega

Not only is Talladega Superspeedway the wildcard in the Chase for the Cup, it’s also the wildcard in the Chase for the Top 35. ‘Dega has been defined by the big wreck that everyone knows is coming at some point, and a bubble team can make up an enormous amount of points by missing the …

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Bubble Breakdown: Michael Waltrip Gives Himself Top-35 Breathing Room with 2nd Top-10 Finish of 2008

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series made their second appearance at Dover International Speedway Sunday amidst rumors of bubble drivers wrecking each other in order to stay in the Top 35, and there is some evidence to back that up. With crashes involving Michael McDowell and AJ Allmendinger on several different occasions, the Chase for a …

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