Unless your fantasy league is similar to the current Nextel Cup standings, there are still more than a few good reasons to keep reworking your driver lineup with time running out on 2007. The final four race dash to glory starts this weekend at Atlanta, one of the fastest tracks on the circuit, and any little tweak could make the difference in a tight-knit league. Obviously, Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon will be garnering plenty of attention this week as they continue their battle for the title. But while they both have impressive records at Atlanta, it’s the hidden gems and the not so obvious picks that could help take your team to the next level this late in the season and help separate you from the rest of the pack.
Each week, we’ll go through media reports, interviews, PR, and all our own stuff to find the best quotes from the Nextel 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 the car owners themselves. This week, here’s a sneak peek at what a select few were thinking following the Subway 500 at Martinsville Speedway.
Which drivers kept their hot streaks intact, and which ones found themselves skidding to a halt on the hard concrete surface of a paperclip slugfest turned Demolition Derby? Read on to find out who’s heating up and cooling down among the non-Chase drivers heading to Atlanta this weekend…
Ryan Newman appeared ready to get around Jimmie Johnson; however, he had to back down when David Ragan’s last-lap spin caused the race to end under caution.
1. Safety, Schmafety – The next time anyone from NASCAR tries to say that safety is their first priority, I want to have a tape of today’s finish on hand, showing David Ragan’s car sitting sideways in the middle of the track coming off turn 1 and the leaders heading towards him full steam ahead. Rusty Wallace, a seven-time winner here who was calling the race, was incredulous: “The [No.] 6 car is sitting sideways in the middle of the track! They’re wide open!” he yelled before the caution came out. What’s worse was the No. 6 car was stopped perpendicular to the wall, with the driver’s side door in the direct path of oncoming traffic.
Count me as being of the opinion that Tony Stewart’s Chase hopes are officially dashed. Yes, I know Stewart is arguably the most talented driver on tour (case in point: wheeling that aero-deficient car with Band Aids on the nose to a seventh at LMS) and that Jimmie Johnson overcame a 146-point deficit after Charlotte last season to win it all. However, I just don’t see it being in the cards for Smoke this year.
Jeff Gordon – In the last nine Cup races at Martinsville, Gordon has won four times, finished second twice, and never finished outside the top 10. In 29 Martinsville career starts, Gordon has won seven times, and is averaging a seventh-place finish.
Each week, we’ll go through media reports, interviews, PR, and all our own stuff to find the best quotes from the Nextel 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 the car owners themselves. This week, here’s a sneak peek at what a select few were thinking following the Bank of America 500 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.
1. Lucky at Lowe’s – Jeff Gordon is a great racecar driver, but even the best sometimes need a bit of luck, as Gordon acknowledged in his post-race comments from Victory Lane: “I can’t tell you how many times we tried to give this one away. I was having trouble with the [fuel] pickup on the banking. Even on the last [restart], the tires spun so bad, Clint Bowyer could have gone right by me.” Gordon pulled out the win despite two cautions and a red flag in the last 16 laps of the race, a green-white-checkered finish, an almost-empty gas tank, and a group of talented hard chargers right behind him, including Kyle Busch, Bowyer, Ryan Newman, and Carl Edwards.
Ryan Newman outdueled Chasers Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, and Kurt Busch among others to win the right to start up front for the Bank of America 500 Saturday night. Johnson proved the biggest nemesis for Newman; but while the No. 48 car has made Victory Lane his second home at the track, Newman is the king of Nextel Cup qualifying among active drivers at the 1.5-mile oval in Concord, N.C.