NASCAR Race Weekend Central

Matt McLaughlin’s Driver Handicaps: 2007 Ford 400 at Homestead

Jimmie Johnson – Johnson has top-10 finishes in four of his six starts at Homestead, including a second-place result scored here in 2004. For those looking for a little drama, Johnson did crash out here in 2005 en route to 40th place.

Matt McLaughlin’s Driver Handicaps: 2007 Phoenix Fall Race Edition

Jimmie Johnson – Johnson came home second in this race last year, and has four straight top-10 finishes at Phoenix. He also finished second here in 2003.

Fantasy Picks ‘N’ Pans: 2007 Checker Auto Parts 500k at Phoenix Edition

NASCAR heads to the Desert Southwest for their second trip to Phoenix International Raceway this weekend, as the Chase for the Nextel Cup has winnowed down to merely a two-horse race. While six drivers are still mathematically alive, just Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon remain with a realistic chance to take home the trophy come November 18th. Hopefully, your team’s in the same boat as those two, battling hard for a title after 34 races filled with your fair share of ups and downs.

Matt McLaughlin’s Driver Handicaps: 2007 Texas Fall Race Edition

Jeff Gordon – Quick; Gordon hasn’t won at which two tracks currently on the Cup schedule? That’s right… Homestead and Texas. Gordon did finish second at TMS in 2002 and has top-10 finishes in six of his 13 Cup starts here; however, his average finish in Fort Worth remains a paltry 16th.

Matt McLaughlin’s Driver Handicaps: 2007 Atlanta Fall Race Edition

Jeff Gordon – In 30 Cup starts at Atlanta, the points leader has posted four victories and 18 top-10 finishes. However, he finished 12th in the race this spring.

Matt McLaughlin’s Driver Handicaps: 2007 Martinsville Fall Race Edition

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.

Fantasy Picks ‘N’ Pans: 2007 Subway 500 at Martinsville Edition

First up in the final five-race dogfight to the finish is actually the most challenging circuit remaining. This week, the series visits Martinsville, Va., both the oldest and shortest track on the schedule. The paper-clip oval looks tame, but don’t be fooled by the slower speeds; this race poses just as many pitfalls as Talladega when it comes to a driver being caught up in someone else’s mess. As a result, expect to see some bumping and banging that can ultimately cost a driver his shot at victory – and perhaps your fantasy title dreams – come Sunday.

Running Their Mouth: 2007 Bank of America 500 at Charlotte

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.

Matt McLaughlin’s Driver Handicaps: 2007 Charlotte Fall Race Edition

Jeff Gordon – Gordon has won here four times, including the 1994 World 600 to score his first ever Cup series victory. (Has it really been 13 years? Wow). But he’s in a pronounced slump at LMS right now, having failed to finish the last five points races here.

Who’s Hot/Who’s Not: Outside the Chase After the 2007 UAW-Ford 500 at Talladega

With the spotlight on the top 12 drivers in the standings, it’s sometimes easy to forget that 31 others take to the track each weekend in pursuit of a long-sought after victory… but that’s what the purpose of this column is for. With another Chase race under our belts, it’s time to take a look at how some of the non-Chasers performed in Talladega this Sunday. The first Car of Tomorrow race at the superspeedway produced its share of opportunities for drivers looking to make a name for themselves; in the first three-quarters of the event, championship contenders steered themselves out of harm’s way, leaving their non-Chase brethren busy setting the pace up front. As the laps wound down, that pace picked up… but that doesn’t mean every man from the lead pack was forced to relinquish their spot to a driver fighting for a title. With that in mind, let’s take a look at Who’s Hot, and Who’s Not, Non-Chase style following the UAW-Ford 500…

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