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Tag Archives: Matt Kenseth

Mirror Driving: Matt Kenseth’s Punt, Merger Meltdown, And NASCAR’s TV Tragedy

*After 4 1/2 hours and two delays, ABC made the decision to switch coverage of the race to ESPN2 so they could show America's Funniest Home Videos. Was that a serious blow to the sport, or an unavoidable move due to race length? And if Jimmie Johnson wasn't winning the race handily, would the network have made the same move?* Beth: America's Funniest Home Videos could have waited -- and it probably would have if Jimmie had been running the way he was last week at Texas. Bryan: Regardless of whether or not it was contractual, it certainly didn't help the sport to get moved for an overplayed TV crap-pot. Amy: It wasn't anything major. The announcers said it was a contractual obligation; as in, a legally binding document that dictated the programming. The contract was likely written months, if not years ago – meaning NASCAR should have looked at the fine print.

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Who’s Hot / Who’s Not in Sprint Cup: 2008 Checker O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Phoenix

Very rarely do you see a former champion show so much admiration for another. But when Kurt Busch finished runner-up to points leader Jimmie Johnson this weekend at Phoenix, he admitted that the No. 48 team was "something special," and told fans to tune in or come to watch NASCAR's next big dynasty. It's true that nobody has been able to touch Johnson, Chad Knaus, and Co. in the Chase, and this week's race was no different. Carl Edwards finished in the Top 5 yet again, but lost points to the two-time defending champion, who won his seventh race of the year and increased his point lead to a nearly-insurmountable 141. Johnson and Edwards have certainly been in a league of their own these last few weeks, but who else has been *HOT* as the season winds down? Check out this week's edition of Who's Hot / Who's Not in Sprint Cup: Chase Edition to find out.

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Matt McLaughlin’s Thinkin’ Out Loud: 2008 Checker O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Phoenix

*The Key Moment:* Jimmie Johnson held off a hungry Kurt Busch four times on restarts in the final 25 laps. *In a Nutshell:* Johnson put on a clinic, showing the rest of the garage area who is going to be this year’s champion - and why. *Dramatic Moment:* There was some good racing back in the pack. At the front? Not so much. *What They’ll Be Talking About Around the Water Cooler This Week* *Johnny Benson leads Ron Hornaday by three points* going into next week’s Truck Series finale, and Clint Bowyer leads Carl Edwards by 56 points going into next weekend’s Nationwide finale. Here’s what’s odd about that: both of those series use the “classic” points system. So, a suggestion for NASCAR’s senior brass: check Brian into rehab and announce the death of the Chase format at this year’s NYC banquet. Some would argue that the Chase is working just fine - it’s keeping everyone’s focus off of how the Car of Sorrow is ruining the racing in the Cup Series. You know what they say... a camel is a horse designed by committee.

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Who’s Hot/Who’s Not in Sprint Cup: 2008 Dickies 500 at Texas Edition

Last week I said in this column that Jimmie Johnson all but had his third consecutive title locked up; Don't tell Carl Edwards, who is trying his best to make sure that doesn't happen. Chasing down the series leaders in both Nationwide and Sprint Cup, Edwards is riding back-to-back victories on the Cup side in an effort that has closed the deficit between he and Johnson to 106 points. Still, it appears Edwards needs Johnson to hiccup in one of the final two races to have a shot at the championship. With just two races remaining, the 1-2 drivers at the top of the standings are clearly among the hottest drivers in the series. But who else is on a roll? Who needs a good run this weekend at Phoenix? Check out this week's edition of Who's Hot / Who's Not in Sprint Cup: Chase Edition to find out.

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Running Their Mouth: 2008 Dickies 500 at Texas

_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 car owners themselves. This week, here’s a sneak peek at what a select few were thinking following the Dickies 500 at Texas Motor Speedway:_ "First of all, I can't thank Office Depot enough--Aflac, Ford--fuel mileage was big, and my Ford Fusion gets great fuel mileage. I can tell you that. This is a fun place. I don't know what to say. My guys did a great job. We probably made the wrong call to take four tires, but Bob [Osborne, crew chief] came up with a way to win that thing anyway; that was great."_Carl Edwards_

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Who’s Hot/Who’s Not in Sprint Cup: 2008 Pep Boys Auto 500 at Atlanta Edition

Carl Edwards returned to Victory Lane this weekend at Atlanta and is now one win behind Kyle Busch for the series lead, but Jimmie Johnson utilized late-race pit strategy for an impressive runner-up finish. The second place run improves the No. 48 team's stranglehold on the rest of the Chase field to 183 points, increasing the likelihood of what would be a third consecutive championship. Johnson has garnered the most headlines since the Chase began seven races ago, but it's one of his teammates who has quietly been one of the most consistent drivers right along with him. To see who that is and who else has been strong as of late, check out this week's version of Who's Hot / Who's Not in Sprint Cup: Chase Edition.

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Running Their Mouth: 2008 Pep Boys Auto 500 at Atlanta

_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 Pep Boys Auto 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway:_ "First of all, I’ve got to thank Office Depot, Aflac, Ford, Sprint and also these fans for coming out here. This race track is a blast. I hope they never repave it or mess with it. It’s really fun to drive on. I went to the Aflac Cancer Hospital and met this kid, Dalton. He gave me this necklace. It’s his courage necklace. He was a really cool kid and this is really awesome. He said this would bring me luck, so it was an awesome weekend for us. I can’t believe how great this weekend is.” _Carl Edwards_

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Fantasy Picks ‘N’ Pans: Will Jimmie Johnson’s Chase March Yield Your Team Atlanta Gold?

The intermediate track-heavy run to the finish is underway this week, and the heavy reliance on downforce and the resultant "aero push" that comes from being in traffic will be prominent this weekend. Now that the race for the title is pretty much a three man battle -- with Carl Edwards barely within shouting distance -- the majority of playoff contenders are going to be pushing for wins the rest of the year. The Top 10 drivers in average finish at Atlanta are loaded with Chasers, which means that the potential for a non-Chase race winner is once again rather limited. There are some diamonds in the rough that aren’t too far back, though, so making the right midpack choices for your fantasy roster can pay off handsomely for gamers this weekend. In the meantime, Jimmie Johnson has been handed the trophy by almost every pundit on the planet who follows NASCAR. Can he live up to the expectations, or will a mistake drag him kicking and screaming back to the pack? And which teams are in the best position to become true fantasy gems up front? Read this week’s Picks ‘N’ Pans to see which drivers are the Peppiest of Boys for Atlanta this weekend.

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Who’s Hot/Who’s Not in Sprint Cup: 2008 TUMS QuikPak 500 at Martinsville

It was the same track, same story for Jimmie Johnson and the No. 48 team, who extended their Top 10 streak at Martinsville to 13 races with a win this weekend. Not only did Johnson extend his Top 10 streak at the paper clip half-mile, but he also extended his Top 10 streak overall to eight races on the season. With Jeff Burton struggling this weekend, Johnson is now the lone driver on this week's *HOT* list. While Johnson is clearly the series' hottest driver and appears to be headed toward a third consecutive championship, a handful of drivers make the *WARM* list this week. To see if your favorite driver makes the cut, or if they need nothing more than a solid run at Atlanta, check out the latest edition of Who's Hot / Who's Not in Sprint Cup: Chase Edition.

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