From the roval to a real road course, the Sprint Cup Series heads to Watkins Glen, N.Y. for another dose of turning left and right. Though a completely different animal from the highly technical racetrack out in Sonoma, the Glen is still a difficult road course, one that will show a high level of stratification between those who can and those who can’t handle one of stock car racing’s more under-appreciated disciplines. It’s also a difficult weekend for fantasy owners, faced with the choice of adding specialized experts or going with weekly contenders who haven’t exactly learned the best way of maneuvering around things like an “S” curve or an inner loop. But while their battle to make the Chase is heating up faster than the summer itself, feel free to be the one kicking back with chips and dip on Sunday, as the Frontstretch Fantasy Insider will have all your teams running cool.
Each week, we’ll go through media reports, interviews, PR and all of 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 peek at what the drivers were thinking following the rain delayed Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway.
It appeared to be opposite day on Monday for the rookies who were racing in the Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500, and Scott Speed could not be happier to see a reversal of his ill fortunes of late. For the past several races, whenever there would be a spinning car, a blown tire, or debris scattered across the racetrack, Speed would somehow find himself caught up in the mess. On this Monday afternoon, however, this rookie managed to race in a gaggle of cars battling three- and even four-wide for position, and somehow, some way, he managed to emerge virtually unscathed.
After a three-hour snoozer at Indianapolis, the tricky triangle that is Pocono Raceway isn’t exactly the best follow-up venue; however, like it or not, we’re racing there Sunday and so is your fantasy team. The race for the Chase is heating up, and with the Cup Series returning to Pocono for the second time this year, look for some familiar faces… and some new ones who are now getting the hang of things at the front. Who will those faces be, and which of those darkhorses can you add to the roster to give them a much-needed second half jolt? Read on and save your fantasy lives with the Frontstretch Fantasy Insider.
Despite the fact that he has never driven on this track before, Joey Logano and his Home Depot team appeared to hit the setup right from the start, as opposed to halfway through the event… which has been the case in most of his races so far in 2009. They picked a fine time to get it correct from the beginning, though, as a slow start from the end of the field translates into a very long day. This team has itself poised for a strong second-half run.
Last year’s “race” at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway was one of the sorriest excuses for a sporting event NASCAR has ever sanctioned, but none of that takes away from the fact the Sprint Cup Series is heading to one of motorsports’ most hallowed venues in Indianapolis. Regardless of what type of racing this year’s 400 will bring, have no doubt that all 43 teams on the track this weekend will be bringing a little something extra as they attempt to etch their name permanently on Gasoline Alley. And just as Goodyear has (reportedly) resolved their tire issues, leave it to the Frontstretch Fantasy Insider to resolve any issues your roster may have heading into the Indianapolis weekend.
We’re one race past the statistical halfway point of the 2009 season and as we gear up for the stretch run of 17 Sprint Cup races in 18 weeks, the much maligned (and in equal parts ballyhooed) “Chase for the Sprint Cup” is just seven races away. So before we get down to the serious business of the sharp end of the season, we’ve graded each of the top 40 drivers – based on the points standings as we run headed to the Brickyard. We’ve divided our review into two halves; today, we focus on the top 20 drivers while tomorrow we’ll look at the wheelmen running in positions 21 through 40. Some of these grades will seem just right to you, others a country mile off. But no matter what you think, let us know what you agree with, what you don’t, and why below…
Leading off, it’s “owner/driver” Tony Stewart, a moniker he’s taken well to, it seems.
The Sprint Cup Series marked the season’s halfway point with an “off week” shortly thereafter, which gives Professor Lumbis a chance to take a breath and evaluate this year’s crop of rookies. It certainly has been an odd season for the 2009 freshman class, as we’ve seen wins, DNQs, “bubble trouble,” and even outside Chase …
Despite finishing fourth, Tony Stewart’s impenetrable hold on the top spot actually slipped; but who is it that made a dent in his armor? Meanwhile, Martin’s assault on the AARP recordbook in NASCAR gave him a boost in this week’s poll… but just how high did he rise? Check this week’s rankings from our experts to find out which drivers escaped the melees to gain ground, along with which ones were blown right out of the Power Rankings by their struggles in the Windy City.
The twosome of NASCAR races at Chicagoland Speedway this weekend seemed to be shaping up in the same, slow way that we have come to grow used to at Joliet, Illinois’s cookie-cutter track. On Friday, the Nationwide Series race was nothing more than a parade of small floats attempting to give chase to the behemoth balloon that is the Joe Gibbs Racing’s Toyota-powered team. Saturday’s Cup race wasn’t much better, as the nose of Mark Martin’s Kellogg’s Chevy inhaled clean air and simply dominated, surrendering the point only to Hendrick teammate Jimmie Johnson at times. Then, all of a sudden, came those last 50 laps….