Race Weekend Central

Did You Notice? DNFs Are A Good Thing, NASCAR Needs A Senior Tour, And Menard’s Mediocrity?

Did You Notice? That the lone manufacturer to avoid mechanical failure through all four races so far this season is Dodge? It’s clear the new R6 engine is pulling those Penske Championship Racing cars down the straightaways, raw power that helped Busch pull out to a lead of as much as 10 seconds during green flag runs at Atlanta. Sure, the No. 2 car lost a cylinder in Las Vegas, but by and large it seems the kinks have been worked out and this bad boy is capable of running the distance.

Mirror Driving: Substitute Drivers, Runaway Tires & are the Busches the Best Siblings Ever?

Both NASCAR and a crewman from the No. 47 team, Jimmy Watts, took a lot of flack for the yellow flag that flew in the midst of a pit cycle as a result of the crewman chasing a tire, causing several good cars to be trapped a lap or more down. But was either one really wrong in their decision?

Who’s Hot/Who’s Not in Sprint Cup: 2009 Kobalt Tools 500 at Atlanta Edition

As the 2009 season wears on, some of the teams that have had early success are finding themselves in a point standings freefall. As they disappear from view, the composition of the top 12 is starting to take form, with annual contenders slowly creeping towards and into that coveted threshold. The season may be early and the beginning of the Chase months away, but these men are proving they will be threats nearly every week. At the other end of the points are heavily-funded teams that find themselves one bad race away from beginning Martinsville, the first race that uses 2009 owner points, without the comfort of being locked in via the Top-35 rule. For them, the upcoming week off will be filled with little sleep and lots of worry, their very futures hanging in the balance on the high-banks of Bristol in two weeks.

Running Their Mouth: 2009 Kobalt Tools 500 at Atlanta

Each week, we’ll go through media reports, interviews, PR and all our own stuff to find the best quotes from the Sprint Cup race, capturing 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 car owners themselves. This week, here’s a sneak peek at what a select few were thinking following the Kobalt Tools 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

5 Points to Ponder: 2009 Kobalt Tools 500 at Atlanta Edition

I’m not sure if Mark Martin haters even exist, but if they did, not even they would have thought Martin would sit 34th in driver points after four races. The popular pick for the 2009 championship is now in danger of falling out of the Top 35 in owner points after Sunday’s tire failure… but don’t expect that worst-case scenario to happen.

Kurt Busch Dominates 2009 Kobalt Tools 500 at Atlanta, Tires Tough on Many

Kurt Busch must have been watching his brother Kyle Busch drive Saturday, because Sunday’s Kobalt Tools 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway resembled the prior day’s Truck race in many ways. Many cars went down a lap early, there was a big wreck, the few competitive cars put on a good show at the end of the race, pit strategy played a role in the finish, and a Busch overcame troubles and stormed to victory. In the Cup race, the older sibling Kurt came out far on top.

Did You Notice? Gray-Haired Success Stories, Some Vigor in Vegas, & Tony & Hendrick Snuggling Up?

Did You Notice? The difference in the atmosphere at Vegas compared to Fontana the week before? If you could notice it that much on TV, just imagine what it was like in person. The last two Sundays, I walked through the Cup garage at the exact same time prior to the driver’s meeting. At Fontana, there were a handful of fans trying their best to sneak a peek at superstars entering the doors from above – there were a few feeble shouts, but certainly nothing too crazy, almost like the atmosphere at a AAA baseball game. At Vegas… it was 10,000 fans doing their best to scale over fences. What a mob scene, as people screamed at the top of their lungs for men like Jeff Gordon, Carl Edwards – heck, even Vegas native Kyle Busch.

Frontstretch NASCAR Power Rankings: Top 15 After the 2009 Shelby 427 at Las Vegas

The Jewel in the Desert offered up some fast and furious competition on Sunday, with the Shelby 427 perhaps taking its place as the most competitive racing yet out in Las Vegas. In the end, the 1.5-mile oval took a rather unexpected toll on some motors, a more expected one on some nerves, and turned the Power Rankings into chaos with a ton of late-race wrecks and pit strategy. Once the smoke cleared and the gambling stopped, our experts had clearly finished major surgery just three weeks into our Power Rankings season. Matt Kenseth’s last-place finish was enough to catapult him from the top spot in the poll; but was Kyle Busch’s victory enough to put him number one? Or, did Jeff Gordon’s consistency allow him to swipe the top spot along with the Sprint Cup points lead? Read on to find out these answers and more, as the experts sort out if your driver hit the jackpot or rolled snake eyes in this week’s Top 15 rankings.

Sign up for the Frontstretch Newsletter

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