NASCAR Race Weekend Central

Fantasy Picks ‘N’ Pans: Avoiding the Talladega Big One That Destroys Your Team

With so many unknowns at Talladega, where do you turn? Of course, the Chase favorites have to be considered for your team, but which ones? Points leader Jimmie Johnson is peaking earlier in the playoffs than usual; but can he avoid causing the Big One this weekend and get a win? Or will it be second-place Carl Edwards overcoming the dark history of Roush at Talladega and actually running well on a plate track? And of course, there’s the Kyle Busch enigma; will he finally get the black cloud removed from over his head and back up his Talladega win from earlier this year? Read this week’s Picks ‘N’ Pans to find out, discovering what drivers should be running for you on Sunday – and which ones you should avoid at all costs.

Thompson in Turn 5: Paul Menard’s Departure to Yates Leaves DEI in Need of Help

News that driver Paul Menard and his father’s sponsor dollars will soon part ways with Dale Earnhardt Inc. seems to lend credence to the prediction by many that the company’s demise was inevitable. Old prophecies spurred by DEI owner Teresa Earnhardt’s failure to come to contract terms with her stepson have returned, with observers saying the worst is still to come for an organization which they claim forced the sport’s most popular and bankable personality to leave them behind.

Frontstretch NASCAR Power Rankings: Top 15 After the 2008 Camping World RV 400 at Kansas

As the 2008 postseason rolls on to Talladega, Jimmie Johnson continues to make the playoffs his own private playground. The all-time winningest driver in Chase history scored another one this past weekend at Kansas, and it was enough to propel him into first in our weekly rankings. Matt Kenseth, Jeff Gordon, Clint Bowyer, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Denny Hamlin all moved up along with him this week, but none have the head of steam Johnson’s run towards a third straight title is picking up. Not surprisingly, teams falling down the ladder included a three-car tumble over at Joe Gibbs Racing. Tony Stewart and Kyle Busch were the week’s biggest losers – but just how far did they fall? And which “lame duck” driver worked his way into our poll this week… in what will likely be his final appearance of the season? To see if your driver reaped what he sowed or if his crop was plagued by locusts at Kansas, check out the results of our latest Power Rankings.

Who’s Hot/Who’s Not In Sprint Cup: 2008 Camping World RV 400 at Kansas Edition

It was another week, another mechanical problem for Kyle Busch this weekend at Kansas. Busch is going through one of the most surprising slumps in recent history, dropping from the points lead to 12th in a manner of three weeks. But while Busch continues to struggle, Jimmie Johnson, Carl Edwards and Greg Biffle continue to fight for the title. The big three all finished in the top three this weekend, but it was a Johnson win that gave the No. 48 team the points lead heading to Talladega next weekend. To see who has the best chance of catching the two-time defending champ, check out this week’s edition of Who’s Hot/Who’s Not in Sprint Cup.

Running Their Mouth: 2008 Camping World RV 400 at Kansas

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 the car owners themselves. This week, here’s a sneak peek at what a select few were thinking following the Camping World RV 400 presented by Coleman at Kansas Speedway.

“The No. 99 [Carl Edwards] was probably better on the long runs at the end of the race, and we did a great job of closing the gap. That pit stop from those guys really made the difference. This Impala has been awesome and [so has] all the hard work at Hendrick Motorsports. We’re doing all the right things. We’re just plugging along on our stuff.” _Jimmie Johnson_

Matt McLaughlin’s Thinkin’ Out Loud: 2008 Kansas Race Recap

Carl Edwards sailed his Ford into the final corner in a kamikaze attempt to pass Jimmie Johnson. Edwards did get by the No. 48 car, but momentum carried him into the wall — allowing Johnson to retake the lead.

Holding a Pretty Wheel: 8 Great NASCAR Books You Probably Haven’t Read

With these cooler fall days and nights, sometimes curling up with a good book is just the ticket to a good time. Whether you’re a newer fan or a veteran, there are many great racing-themed books to choose from. With the possible exception of those by Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Tony Stewart, you might have missed these titles. Some racing books are better then others, and some are must-reads. Here’s my list of NASCAR books you must read, the best of the best the library has to offer.

Did You Notice? McMurray Got Screwed, Screwy Rookie Scheduling & NASCAR’s Fake Title Contenders

Did You Notice? Jamie McMurray’s crash at Dover was not just caused by Robby Gordon’s recklessness… but by missing the playoffs? Let me explain. After the regular season finale at Richmond, Roush Fenway Racing GM Robbie Reiser made a number of pit crew switches to benefit the RFR teams set to contend for the championship. “There were some members on the No. 26 car that were proven veterans,” explained Greg Biffle’s crew chief Greg Erwin at Loudon. “And both our team and the No. 99 has had some issues with one guy in particular on each squad. Reiser stepped up to the plate and decided, ‘Look, this is our best foot forward. These are what we think are our most experienced, under-the-gun-type players,’ and made the decision and allowed each of our teams to get some guys from the No. 26 car – and it’s helped. Without a doubt it’s helped.”

Thompson in Turn 5: The Critics Have Been Silent… At Least, Until Kansas

As an unabashed supporter of NASCAR’s decision to implement a playoff format that determines the Sprint Cup champion — along with its equally controversial and much-maligned implementation of the racecar formerly known as the Car of Tomorrow — I am feeling at least partially vindicated for my opinion following the last three weeks of racing. Granted, no one has approached me to concede that maybe NASCAR isn’t as bad at running a racing series as they, and many racing columnists, had been saying… and I haven’t yet gotten a call to be told that maybe the CoT isn’t the ruination of the most popular motorsports series in America.

Frontstretch NASCAR Power Rankings: Top 15 After the 2008 Camping World RV 400 at Dover

The Chase may only be 20% done, but so far, it’s been the Greg Biffle show 100% of the time. Two races and two wins have the six-year veteran on the verge of the championship lead, gunning hard to become the first driver to win the title in all three national touring series. But could the Biff’s recent streak in Victory Lane be enough to put him on the top of our Power Rankings – or would his Roush Fenway teammate Carl Edwards be the one to take control? On the flip side, Kyle Busch tumbled down the charts with his second straight mechanical problem… but which one of his Joe Gibbs Racing teammates found himself slipping even further? For the answers to these questions and more, read below to find out just how much the Monster Mile made our writers change the course of our Power Rankings.

Sign up for the Frontstretch Newsletter

A daily email update (Monday through Friday) providing racing news, commentary, features, and information from