It was Kyle Busch who reestablished himself firmly atop the rankings this week, coming off his series high fifth victory of the season. Behind him, main rival Dale Earnhardt Jr. slipped from first to third after failing to execute a successful fuel mileage strategy two weeks in a row. Around them, it was pure mayhem as several drivers moved up and down on the basis of their road-course expertise. On the other end of the spectrum, Kevin Harvick’s bonsai dive into the hairpin that ended the victory chances of Tony Stewart and Jamie McMurray cost him his spot in the Chase; but did it cost him a spot in our Top 15? Read on to find the answers and see if you agree with how the Frontstretch writers voted this week.
While drivers like Marcos Ambrose and Ron Fellows appeared to have cars capable of top-10 finishes, it was the usual frontrunners near the top of the leaderboard by the time the day was over — including race winner Kyle Busch. Who else stayed “HOT” this week? And what teams near the bottom of the Top 35 appeared to have a shot this weekend at a road course, but still struggled? Check out this week’s edition of Who’s Hot/Who’s Not in Sprint Cup to find out.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. snapped a 76-race losing streak at Michigan on Sunday with a fuel mileage win; but should NASCAR have allowed Junior, who passed the pace car on more than one occasion in an effort to conserve fuel, to retain the top spot?
Did You Notice? And I know it’s been mentioned countless times already, but three days later I still can’t get over the irony of Dale Earnhardt Jr. winning his first race for Rick Hendrick on Father’s Day. The bond these two share has been well-documented, and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize what was on both of their minds during that special day. I mean, just think about what Junior said in Victory Circle; the first points-paying win in two years, to the point where a monkey was clearly lifted off his back, and he referenced Happy Father’s Day about three times.
Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s first win in over two years could not have come at a better time for the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing. The sanctioning body desperately needed something positive to transpire for the sport after a week in which it found itself in the forefront of the national news — and not for anything race related on the track. Instead, they were being sued by a former employee, Mauricia Grant, a NASCAR Busch [Nationwide] Series official who alleges that she had been subjected to racial and sexual discrimination, sexual harassment, and wrongful termination.
The Irish Hills of Michigan once again produced a fuel mileage finish that will have people buzzing for weeks. Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s strategic win — one that came packaged with a little luck — was enough to move him up the rankings. But did he knock off rival Kyle Busch? We’ll tell you this much; for the first time in months, Busch is not alone atop the charts. Who were those surprises, and which Penske Racing driver is just barely receiving votes these days? Read on to see if you agree or disagree with the latest choices by the Frontstretch writers.
The long-awaited first Hendrick-Earnhardt victory finally came this week at Michigan, but it didn’t come without controversy. Winning on fuel mileage, the No. 88 team worked some pit strategy to make it to Victory Lane; however, Matt Kenseth and Brian Vickers have criticized Dale Earnhardt Jr. and NASCAR for allowing the eventual winner to pass the pace car under caution. And Earnhardt wasn’t the only one who enjoyed success at the 2-mile oval; the Red Bull and Roush Fenway teams also had strong runs. Will this hot topic land all three teams on the HOT list this week? Check out this week’s edition of Who’s Hot/Who’s Not in Sprint Cup for the answer.
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 LifeLock 400 at Michigan International Speedway.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. had a lot of reasons to win Sunday’s Lifelock 400 at Michigan International Speedway, not the least of which was the strong reader response to my being critical of Junior for lethargic television interviews in last week’s column. The results were varied, but most sided with Junior, saying that he does enough media appearances to suffice the wants and demands of the networks and that he deserves some lenience about his interviews, considering he does them after racing in extreme heat for several hours. I’m sure Junior read the column for inspiration, and that led him to Victory Lane on Sunday – I’m positive.
Patrick Carpentier’s last lap spin and the resultant caution sealed the win for Dale Earnhardt Jr. and the No. 88 bunch.