Race Weekend Central

Who’s Hot/Who’s Not in Sprint Cup: 2009 Shelby 427 at Las Vegas Edition

The first three races of 2009 have yielded surprising results at the top of the bottom of the points standings. Some drivers, like Mark Martin, are left scratching their head after having fast cars at each race, but no finishes to show for that. Likewise, teams like Michael Waltrip Racing in the top 12 and some of the startup teams near the brink of emergence in the Top 35 are among other early surprises in the points. That being said, here are the best of both this week.

Running Their Mouth: 2009 Shelby 427 at Las Vegas

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 Shelby 427 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

10 Points to Ponder: 2009 Shelby 427 at Las Vegas

Daytona was just a minor hiccup: the No. 18 team is back with a vengeance in 2009. Las Vegas native Kyle Busch won the pole this weekend, only to have to start at the back after an engine change. Nonetheless, Busch methodically made his way back to the front to score his first career win at his hometown track, a win that he likened to being as big to him as the Daytona 500.

Did You Notice? The Start & Park Scam, NASCAR is a Team Sport & RCR Comes Up Short

Did You Notice? The latest way in which NASCAR’s “locked-in” qualifying rule has spiraled out of control? For the past year plus, MSRP Motorsports has existed in the Nationwide Series for seemingly one goal – to make money. Each week, the team owned by Phil Parsons’s wife, Marcia, and Randy Humphrey trots out two unsponsored Chevrolets, hoping to simply qualify within the field of 43. It’s their only big hurdle to clear each weekend – not so they can compete, but so they can gain the opportunity to park their cars before they’d need to make an actual pit stop. Doing that pockets them as much cash as possible while avoiding costs like a real pit crew, extra sets of tires, etc. In 63 career starts in the series, the team’s No. 90 and No. 91 cars have been running at the finish a total of zero times. That’s right… zero.

Frontstretch NASCAR Power Rankings: Top 15 After the 2009 Auto Club 500 at Fontana

After Matt Kenseth and his “Killer Bees,” our Frontstretch Power Rankings were as fluid as you might expect for just the second week of the season. The competition may be considered boring at California, but it was anything but when you look at the many changes in our Top 15 this week. Plenty of people moved up, down, and just plain off the list after 500 miles of racing out west. So, read on to see if your driver kept from falling asleep at the wheel, or if he won the Oscar for “Most Precipitous Fall From Grace” in this week’s Power Rankings.

Frontstretch NASCAR Power Rankings: Top 15 After the 2009 Daytona 500

Like it or not, after just 380 miles the first race of the 2009 Sprint Cup season is officially in the books. Matt Kenseth was crowned the winner of just the fourth rain-shortened Daytona 500 in history, taking the lead one lap before the weather with a generous push from runner-up Kevin Harvick. But was that last-lap pass enough to leave Kenseth number one in the eyes of our staff this week? After all, Kyle Busch dominated the race, only to become an innocent victim of the day’s big wreck on lap 125. And where did AJ Allmendinger land after starting the year with a career-best third – driving for a team that doesn’t even know if it’ll exist two months from now? Find these answers, and more, by examining our first Top-15 Power Rankings poll of the year.

Running Their Mouth: 2009 Daytona 500 Edition

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 Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway.

Closing NASCAR’s 7th Decade: The Top-12 Drivers – Including the Champ Who’ll Lead Us Into 2010

2009 closes out the first decade of the 21st century for NASCAR, and what a long, strange trip it’s been. Who would have thought back in 2000 Petty Enterprises would cease to exist nine years later – along with no Adam Petty to lead NASCAR’s first family into the next generation? Or that Dale Earnhardt …

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Mirror Driving: Auctioning Off Daytona, Bud Shootout Blues & Playing Cupid with Crew Chiefs

Welcome to Mirror Driving. Every week, your favorite columnists sit down and give their opinion about the latest NASCAR news and rumors. Love us or hate us, make a comment below and tell us how you feel about what we’ve said! This Week’s Participants: Vito Pugliese (Wednesdays/Voice of Vito) Beth Lunkenheimer (Tuesdays/Running Your Mouth & Various/Frontstretch Truck …

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