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Tag Archives: Matt Kenseth

Who’s Hot/Who’s Not in Sprint Cup: 2008 Amp Energy 500 at Talladega Edition

*Talladega.* It was the Chase wildcard; everybody knew it. *The Big One.* Who would be in it? Everybody tried to avoid it ... but you knew not everyone could. In the end, after a number of Chasers raced conservatively for three quarters of the race in anticipation of the big wreck, it was ironically one Chaser tangling with another that triggered a multi-car pileup that included several of those in the Top 12. No. 2 in points, Carl Edwards, ran over teammate and No. 3 man Greg Biffle to start a chain reaction that claimed 11 cars. One of the few Chasers surviving the race was point leader Jimmie Johnson, who opened up a sizable 72-point lead in the standings as a result. Johnson remains on the *HOT* list this week, but a surprising driver joins him, becoming a surprise player in this year's championship battle. To see who it is, and whose Chase hopes went up in smoke, check out this week's edition of Who's Hot / Who's Not in Sprint Cup: Chase Edition.

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Matt McLaughlin’s Thinkin’ Out Loud: 2008 Amp Energy 500 at Talladega

*The Key Moment:* The race was decided in NASCAR’s control room almost a minute after the event itself ended. *In a Nutshell:* Yogi Berra once said, “It ain’t over until it’s over.” Apparently sometimes it’s not over even when it is over. *Dramatic Moment:* With fifteen laps to go Carl Edwards got Greg Biffle’s car sideways and set off a field decimating wreck that may have doomed a lot of contenders’ chances at a championship. *What They’ll Be Talking About Around the Water Cooler This Week* Yes, there’s a rule that states *a driver may not advance his position* at the plate tracks by passing under the yellow line. There’s also a rule that states a driver may not force another driver “out of bounds.” And more than once NASCAR has stated a de facto “anything goes” policy on the last lap of the plate races. Should Stewart have been penalized? Should Smith have been given the win? If Smith had lifted out of the gas to let Stewart back by and drifted back up on the track it might have set off another huge wreck and likely we’d have seen only one car, the 20, finish the race. After the Daytona truck series race, a NASCAR spokesperson defended Johnny Benson’s “below the line” pass to take second by saying, ’ if you can see the checkered flag on the last lap, anything goes.” Anything but passing the driver of the “Official Home Improvement Center of NASCAR” it would seem.

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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 3 all finished in the Top 3 this weekend, but it was a Johnson win that gave the No. 48 team the point 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.

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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_

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

If you rewind three weeks with me, you'll notice the Chase for the Sprint Cup title had a discernably different look to it. After Richmond, Kyle Busch led the point standings heading into the Chase, holding a 30-point lead after flat out dominating the first 26 races. Far down the list, Greg Biffle sat ninth, 80 points back, along with four other drivers who failed to earn a win in the regular season. Now, just two races later -- and thanks to reversed fortunes -- Biffle is 2-for-2, with wins in each of the first two Chase events. That's jumped him up to third in points, while Busch sits 12th, 210 points back from Carl Edwards, after mechanical problems in the first two races. Biffle is the hottest driver in the Chase so far, Busch is the coldest, and Edwards continues to lead the points. But how about the other nine drivers? Who still has a chance to contend for the title, and who, like Busch, is all but eliminated from the championship picture? Check out this week's Who's Hot / Who's Not in Sprint Cup: Chase Edition to find out.

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Team Orders, Be Damned

So much bad press has come out this year surrounding the consolidation of power within Sprint Cup. The Big Four of Jack Roush, Richard Childress, Joe Gibbs, and Rick Hendrick own three cars apiece in this year’s Chase, the only ones capable of making noise at the top during a year in which the focus was supposed to be on leveling the playing field. Instead, the chances of two cars within the same organization battling tooth and nail for the title – ala Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon from ’07 – are higher than they’ve ever been. You don’t need me to list the concerns that type of scenario brings up; after all, we’ve been through it within the last 12 months. But on this fateful Sunday at Dover, it was nice to be reminded that no matter how much teamwork is preached off the race track, you still can’t stop a racer’s mentality on it heading to the checkered flag.

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Matt McLaughlin Mouths Off: Predicting 12 Drivers’ Chances With Nine Left To Go In The Chase

For better or worse, the Chase is now one week old, meaning one of 12 drivers will be anointed Cup champion in just nine weeks' time. So, let's put aside for a moment the continuing debate surrounding the validity of the format, and take a look at what each contender brings to the table -- along with what liabilities dog him as we begin this unholy pilgrimage towards Homestead... *Kyle Busch* *Pros* -- OK, he’s not going to win the Most Popular Driver award this year or anytime in the foreseeable future. Busch is young, he’s brash, and he looks like Ichabod Crane -- but never mind that. This young man has proven he can win on any sort of track the schedule throws at him in any sort of vehicle he drives.

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Mirror Driving: Biffle Breaks Out, Is Busch A Bust?, And The Trucks Brawl

*Sunday's New Hampshire race featured a variety of incidents that relegated Chase contenders to poor finishes. Can Kyle Busch and Matt Kenseth overcome their lackluster showings and contend -- or are they NHMS' annual victims who will never recover?* Amy: Busch will recover. Kenseth… I just don't see him as a serious contender this year. Tom: I think those predicting Kyle Busch's demise need to calm the heck down. He's only 74 points out. As for Kenseth ... he's done. But he never put himself in position to have a chance anyways, so I doubt he's bummed about it. Bryan: A poor finish at Loudon hurts Kenseth way more than Busch. Kyle and his team have proven capable of going on a tear and winning multiple races -- Kenseth has not. Plus, Loudon was going to be among Kenseth's stronger tracks in the Chase.

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Who’s Hot/Who’s Not in Sprint Cup: 2008 Sylvania 300 at Loudon Edition

*HOT* *Jimmie Johnson:* With a third consecutive win in sight, Johnson was passed in the closing laps by a hard charging Greg Biffle -- the eventual race winner. But while Johnson didn’t make it to Victory Lane, he and the No. 48 team seem poised to start the Chase exactly the way the regular season ended -- on top. With Busch's disappointing 34th place run, both Johnson and Carl Edwards were pushed to a tie at the top of the standings. But with three Top 2 finishes in his last three starts, the momentum may still clearly be in favor of the two-time defending champ.

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Chase “Excitement” Nothing But Smoke and Mirrors

In 2004, NASCAR attempted to become the NFL, the NBA, Major League Baseball, and the NHL all in one. Well, maybe not the NHL. There’s no ice, and fighting is still banned, but NASCAR added a playoff system to make the sport “more exciting” after a lackluster 2003 points race that featured Matt Kenseth running away with the last Winston Cup trophy on the strength of one win and a nauseatingly consistent season. Brian France was trying to make a name for himself (He’s now made several, none of them flattering.) and so the Chase was born. NASCAR flaunted its new playoff system despite the obvious flaws. (NASCAR is not the NFL, NBA, or any other sport that needs single-elimination games or series to decide a champion, in case nobody noticed.) It would make the racing closer, NASCAR said. Fans would like it better, NASCAR said, continuing their belief that they can, in fact, read the minds of the faithful. What happened instead was anything but exciting.

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