Tag Archives: Dario Franchitti

Nationwide Series Breakdown: 2008 Dollar General 300 at Chicagoland

It seems the rest of the manufacturers have yet to find themselves a solution that'll allow them to remain competitive. JGR dominated a very uneventful race once again Friday night, with Kyle Busch leading 101 laps and scoring an easy fifth win of the season in his No. 18 Camry. But JGR didn't just lay waste to the field Friday night... Toyota did. Sure, JGR ran strong, but so did Michael Waltrip Racing and Braun Racing. In all, five Toyota Cup drivers scored top-10 finishes, including four of the top five spots in the final running order.

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Mirror Driving: No More Green-White-Yellow?, Truex’s Face Turns Green, And Red Flagging NASCAR Scoring

Did NASCAR make the right call by throwing the yellow flag and stopping the race with Carl Edwards and Kyle Busch running side-by-side on the last lap?

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The Yellow Stripe: 18 Storylines After 18 Races – The Cup Series At Halfway

With the conclusion of the high-banked 200 mph, 400-mile dramafest at Daytona, we're at the halfway point of the 2008 season. And while each week usually unfolds into its own unique episode in the 10-month epic of a soap opera NASCAR has become, there are always certain storylines that resonate across each season, from track to track and month to month. So here, in no particular order, are my 18 top storylines to date as we head into Sprint Cup's second half.

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10 Points To Ponder… After The 2008 Coke Zero 400 at Daytona

1. The Other Big Three - American automakers GM, Ford, and Chrysler have just about reached the panic stage, as their financial well-being becomes a critical concern. GM stock has lost approximately 75% of its value over the last year, Ford Motor Company has seen a 50% decline of stock value in the last three months, and Chrysler is expected to either file bankruptcy or sell off what profitable segments of the company they can. NASCAR's Chairman and CEO Brian France, speaking on whether there'll be continued support from the "Big Three" in the sport considering their financial crunch, summed up the situation by saying, “...we’ll just have to see.”

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Bubble Breakdown: Last-Lap Restrictor-Plate Mayhem Ruins Night For Several Bubble Teams

As NASCAR made its first return trip to a racetrack in 2008, several bubble teams once again showed signs of life during Friday’s qualifying session. Joe Nemechek, Johnny Sauter, and Regan Smith turned laps that qualified them in the fourth, fifth, and eighth starting positions respectively, serving notice they planned to be a force during the race at Daytona the following day. On the flip side of that, JJ Yeley’s No. 96 Toyota and Scott Riggs’ No. 66 Hunt Brothers Pizza Chevrolet -- teams who sat 36th and 37th respectively in owner points -- both failed to qualify, giving somewhat of a break to those teams already (un)comfortably within the Top 35 in the owner standings. Let’s break down this week's bubble from the Daytona International Speedway:

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Sprint Cup Rookie Report: Patrick Carpentier Captures Top Honors at Daytona

Patrick Carpentier followed up his first career pole at New Hampshire last week with another strong top-10 qualifying effort for the Coke Zero 400. However, the rookie’s 10th-quickest time on Friday did not come without the aide of an aggressive qualifying setup by his team, which sits outside of the Top 35 in owner points. For that reason, the Auto Value/Bumper-to-Bumper Dodge would drop from the top 25 almost immediately following the green flag, and would not return to that section of the scoring pylon until the very end of the night.

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Nationwide Series Breakdown: 2008 Winn-Dixie 250 at Daytona

Friday night’s race at Daytona was a true barnburner, slowed by only three cautions and run at a near-record pace. Unfortunately, Friday’s race was also as predictable as a TV movie -- with Joe Gibbs Racing Toyotas dominating the field. Once the checkered flag flew, it was Denny Hamlin scoring the win, his third in the Nationwide Series for 2008. Hamlin’s victory also marked the ninth of the season for JGR’s No. 20 team, and the 12th win in 18 races for JGR this season in this division.

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Who’s Hot/Who’s Not in Sprint Cup: 2008 LENOX Industrial Tools 301 at Loudon Edition

Tony Stewart had arguably the best car all day -- leading a race high 132 laps -- but fell to 13th place, while a number of hot streaks came to an end -- including Carl Edwards' string of seven consecutive races with a top-10 finish. But one streak that will continue on to Daytona this weekend is Jeff Burton's impressive 17-race, top 15 performance. Burton is among those in this week's "HOT" column; read below to see who else joins him in this week's edition of Who's Hot/Who's Not in Sprint Cup after New Hampshire.

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Sprint Cup Teams Need Consistency in Their Drivers

As the Sprint Cup Series tackled the Infineon Raceway last weekend, four full-time teams pulled their regular drivers, installing substitutes that they felt would post a better result and score valuable points in the race to stay in the Top 35. DEI pulled Regan Smith for Ron Fellows, Chip Ganassi Racing pulled Reed Sorenson for Scott Pruett, and Haas CNC Racing moved Scott Riggs into the No. 70 while putting Max Papis in the No. 66. As the race started, the No. 66 and the No. 70 found themselves outside the Top 35, while the No. 01 was 30th in owner points and the No. 41 was 32nd. And, despite the efforts of these road ringers, the No. 66 and No. 70 left Sonoma outside the Top 35, while the No. 01 fell to 31st and the No. 41 to a precarious 35th. While the struggles of these four teams speak volumes as to how antiquated the practice of entering road course specialists in Cup races has become, it speaks to a larger issue, and that is the need of Sprint Cup teams to be consistent with the drivers they put behind the wheel. There are numerous Cup teams this season that have attempted to improve their performance with substitute drivers and driver by committee, yet none of them have managed to find improved performance as a result.

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