Which one of the non-Chasers is in the best position to spoil the championship party at Dover? Read on to find out who in this week’s edition of Who’s Hot/Who’s Not, outside the Chase. One note before we begin, unlike our regular edition, we only highlight six drivers in this edition of Who’s Hot/Who’s Not, which means to make the list, you need to really be on fire (or ice cold, for that matter).
It’s been an interesting summer for a race fan. The world tilted on its axis when Dale Earnhardt Jr. announced he was leaving Dale Earnhardt Incorporated and practically jumped out of orbit and headed for the Sun when he announced he was going to Hendrick Motorsports; a decision that for many fans was akin to Luke Skywalker saying, “Sure, Darth-I mean Dad, I’ll join the dark side. The good guys aren’t really much fun.” In some respects the point standings look like they did 10 years ago, with Jeff Gordon running away with the lead. The cast of characters in the rest of the top 10 has changed significantly-only Jeff Burton was even in the Nextel Cup Series then.
While Tony Stewart was kissing the bricks at Indianapolis for the second time in three years, some drivers almost kissed their Chase hopes goodbye in the wreckfest that was the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard on Sunday. In the first 60 laps of the race, a total of 18 drivers had been involved in at least one accident, with defending race winner Jimmie Johnson making the most spectacular exit from Indy. As Johnson ran for cover from his burning car, several other key Chase contenders were in the garage area; namely Ryan Newman and Jamie McMurray, who were involved in earlier incidents. But what could have been a terrible day for those drivers turned out to be nothing more than a tiny bump in the road when current Chase bubble driver, Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s engine went up in a plume of smoke.
Saturday was supposed to be the luckiest day of the year – July 7th, 2007 (7/7/07). On that fateful night, some of NASCAR’s greatest drivers were lucky, indeed, finding no problem pulling the lever and hitting that jackpot on the slot machine of restrictor-plate racing known as Daytona International Speedway. While Jamie McMurray snagged the …
This week both the Nextel Cup drivers and I are back to work after that early vacation, with the bright lights of Las Vegas looming over the horizon.
When Dale Jarrett made the decision to join the MWR/Toyota team, he not only brought with him years of experience, as well as the lucrative UPS sponsorship, but he came with a golden ticket that all would benefit from, the past champion’s provisional.
While Sunday’s race provided a wild, exciting finish, the Daytona 500 wasn’t too kind to many people playing fantasy racing. With pre-race favorites like Dale Earnhardt Jr., Tony Stewart, Jimmie Johnson and Kurt Busch all finishing 30th or worse, you clearly weren’t alone if you found your team struggling to earn points in week 1. …
Jimmie Johnson: Johnson won last year’s Daytona 500, and his 32nd-place result in last year’s Firecracker 400 ended a streak of five finishes of sixth or better in Daytona points races. On the plate tracks lately, the Hendrick cars always seem to be contenders.
Dale Earnhardt must have felt his blood pressure rise whenever he recalled the Daytona 500 of 1990, and who can blame him? For another driver, though, it was the high point of his career altogether.
This Week’s Question: This year, 36 of the 43 spots in the Daytona 500 will be already “locked-in” due to owner points and the past champion’s provisional held by Dale Jarrett. Is it fair that so many cars are guaranteed spots in the field, or should the vast majority of drivers and teams have to qualify their way into the Great American Race?