How fitting is it that Jeff Gordon’s 47-race winless streak comes to an end at a track where he’s been winless for his entire career? Gordon was strong for much of the race, but it was a combination of a good pit stop by the No. 24 bunch and yet another poor stop by the No. 99 team that led to the coveted clean air needed for Gordon to pull away for the victory. The win may have been a long time coming, but it certainly wasn’t a surprise with the way the No. 24 team has been running this season.
Everything’s bigger in Texas, they say, and the Texas Motor Speedway certainly is considerably larger than the short tracks the Cup circuit has tackled these last few weeks. With the pending return to an intermediate oval, expect speeds to go up and the margin for error in race setups to go down. But with the help of Frontstretch’s Fantasy Insiders, you’ll adjust in time to be firing the six-shooters in your fantasy leagues come Sunday.
With their bumping and banging for the lead on Sunday, Denny Hamlin and Jimmie Johnson were able to make big gains up the Power Rankings ladder. But were they enough to push Jeff Gordon off the top spot? Meanwhile, Matt Kenseth and Jeff Burton were among those who took it on the chin at this short track. Read on to see how far they slid – and which new drivers drove their way up the list – in this week’s edition of the Frontstretch Power Rankings.
The fastest half-mile in the world at Bristol battered many of Cup’s top contenders and spit them out. Bad luck struck more than one competitor, most notably Greg Biffle, causing mechanical problems which dropped him out of the top 15 in our Power Rankings. So, which one of the three men above continues to remain on top of our rankings: Busch, Gordon or Johnson? Read on to find out, and see if your driver rode the new high groove to move up in the standings – or spun out off someone’s back bumper to move down in this week’s Power Rankings post-Bristol.
A weekend in noisy Thunder Valley following a quiet week of rest last week provides a jarring wakeup call to drivers, crews, and fans alike. But while Sunday’s Bristol race itself did not spark the normal beating and banging fest people are used to seeing, it did help bring to light what this season’s short-track races may bring for some teams. While the Food City 500 proved its top finishers are going to be threats next week at Martinsville, at Richmond and the fall version of all three of these races, it also proved that others have some major strides to make if they want to contend on the type of track that makes up roughly 15% of the schedule. Here are the best and the worst of the litter as the Sprint Cup Series leaves Bristol and makes its way to Martinsville.
The Sprint Cup Series returns to its roots this weekend with the first short-track race of the 2009 season. Since it was resurfaced, Bristol Motor Speedway has gone from a one lane bullring to a multi-groove, high-banked, high-speed oval unlike any other track on the Sprint Cup circuit. Even with the new surface, Bristol is still home to a lot of beating and banging, and the Frontstretch Fantasy Insiders are going to make sure your fantasy shelves are stocked with talent for this weekend’s Food City 500.
Four weeks into the season, the top of the Sprint Cup standings are still a long way from getting sorted out. But after everyone got a chance to take a deep breath this past weekend, it’s easy to notice a few trends starting to take shape. Once again, the multi-car giants of Roush, Hendrick and Gibbs sit atop the standings, preparing to be the heavyweights ready to duel once more for the Sprint Cup title. But the drivers leading the charge from each organization aren’t necessarily the ones you would have expected a month ago. Jeff Gordon looks like the Wonderboy of old, Matt Kenseth has the magic of Blickensderfer, while Kyle Busch is getting a push… from his brother? Such has been the rather strange beginning to the 2009 Cup season. To see where your driver sits on the Power Rankings ladder, read on as our experts try and sort out the contenders from the pretenders.
I hear you, guys… I hear you loud and clear. No matter what problems we face in the sport these days, the ½-mile track in Thunder Valley is still looked at as one where lightning strikes twice on the Sprint Cup circuit each year. While a repave has changed the type of racing we’ve seen over the past few seasons, Bristol still provides at least a threat of the type of action that’s attracted millions to sit down and get addicted to cars driving “round in circles.” It’s classic, old-school NASCAR at its best, where side-by-side racing comes with donuts plastered on the side of the car, and slowpokes learn their lesson in the form of a slam on their rear bumper – one that may or may not turn them into the inside wall. The close competition is usually reflected in the attendance at this racetrack, with each date earning a sellout every year since 1983.
Following Kurt Busch’s dominating Atlanta win, he celebrated by driving his car in reverse around the track in a new kind of victory lap. Later, he said that the idea came from a Miller Lite drinking session with his buddies. So, I thought we’d speculate on some of the other ideas that might have emerged from that brainstorm in a special edition of the Top 10….
Q: Hey Matt. My friend and I were talking after the race and I noticed on the internet that Ryan Newman was awarded the WIX Filters Lap Leader of the Race [at Atlanta]. We talked about it, and I did some looking and couldn’t figure out why. We were both always of the understanding that the driver that leads the most laps should win it. What’s the story?