Race Weekend Central

The Yellow Stripe: 9 Drivers (Who Don’t Race for Hendrick) to Watch in 2010

I want to start out in this, the final Yellow Stripe of 2009, by recognizing the efforts of Jimmie Johnson. Even if your personal flavor preference is not vanilla, any true fan of our great sport should recognize the level of achievement for the entire No. 48 team: a worthy champion, no question. All told, …

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Fantasy Insider: How to Hit a Home Run at Homestead to Win It All

At long last, the final race of the season is here. And while, thanks to NASCAR’s Chase, we’ve got a snoozer of a points race headed into Sunday, there’s still a lot to look forward to on-track at Homestead. Be it drivers bidding farewell to their old teams or getting a head start with new …

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Running Their Mouth: 2009 Checker O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Phoenix

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 sneak peek at what they all were thinking following the Checker O’Reilly Auto Parts 500K at Phoenix International Raceway.

Big 6: 2009 Checker O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 Presented by Pennzoil at Phoenix

Sure, I called him to win this week, but hey, I was close! Jeff Burton finished a solid and hard-raced second at Phoenix, his best run of the year. Burton has suffered through the mysterious malady that has plagued all four Richard Childress Racing teams this year, but Phoenix is Burton’s third top-10 finish in the last three races – a sign that things are turning around?

Did You Notice? Busch Brothers Burn Crew Chiefs Out, Officiating Mistakes & NASCAR on WWE?

Did You Notice? Both Busch brothers caused their crew chiefs to burn out at the same time? It’s ironic that NASCAR’s moodiest siblings are transitioning to new head wrenches after a similar time span: about two years. That’s how long Steve Addington worked with Kyle Busch, taking him to 12 wins and one Chase appearance, …

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Who’s Hot/Who’s Not in Sprint Cup: 2009 Pepsi 500 at Fontana Edition

As Yogi Berra once said: “It’s déjà vu all over again.” Another fall race in Fontana is complete, and for the third straight year another victory (and in this case, the point lead along with it) went to Jimmie Johnson, Chad Knaus, and company. Any fan who has followed NASCAR even remotely over the past …

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The Yellow Stripe: Earnhardt, Kyle Busch Among 10 Drivers Who Can’t Wait for ’10

The setting of the Chase field post-Richmond marks a clear delineation in the season between the haves and the have nots. And judging by the fevered TV coverage of the top-12 drivers, you’d have been forgiven if you wondered if the other 31 were even competing. But as a long list of DNFs and poor-handling …

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The Big 6: Questions Answered After the 2009 Pep Boys Auto 500 at Atlanta

Despite leading the most laps of any driver, Martin Truex Jr. faded badly late and ended up finishing 26th, a lap down to race winner Kasey Kahne. Truex, who will leave the No. 1 ride after the season, dominated early, looking like the car to beat, but got too loose as the track changed to keep it up.

2009 Driver Report Cards, Part II: Grading Dale Jr. & The Rest

Continuing on from yesterday’s review, it’s time for Professors Danny and Tom to grade those drivers sitting at the back of the class. Whether it’s some bad racing luck, poor chemistry with a crew chief, or just plain awful driving, most of these guys from 21st on back have endured a season they’d like to forget. As the upcoming summer stretch heats up, those unlucky enough to be a part of this list won’t be fighting to make the Chase; instead, they’ll be working to save their jobs, explaining to unhappy sponsors and owners how things didn’t go as planned. But in the midst of this group are a handful of diamonds in the rough, wheelmen overachieving with single-car teams overmatched from the start against the multi-car powerhouses. Just which of these underdogs stood out above the rest? Read below to find out as our two-part midseason report card series comes to a close.

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