Tag Archives: Matt Kenseth

Frontstretch Power Rankings: Top 15 After the 2008 Checker Auto Parts 500 at Phoenix

The Desert Southwest held a couple of different surprises for the racers this weekend. Rain and gale force winds threw a lot at the teams; but when all was said and done, it was status quo for the No. 48. Jimmie Johnson led the most laps and won the race handily, all but securing this year's title heading to Homestead. That dominance was also enough to put almost all of our panel votes behind the point leader, putting him securely in the top spot again this week. But with one week to go, there was quite a bit of movement behind him. Read on to see if your driver was cool and collected or caught in the cactus on rattlesnake hill in this week’s Top 15 rankings.

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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 five 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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Jimmie Johnson Wins Again at Phoenix, Positions Himself to Win 2008 Cup Title at Homestead

Jimmie Johnson decided to channel his inner LeBron James on Sunday. Much like how James absolutely took over a playoff game (Game 5, 2007 Eastern Conference Finals) versus the Detroit Pistons on May 31, 2007 that helped launch the Cavaliers to their first NBA Finals appearance, Johnson took over Sunday’s race to stake his claim on the Sprint Cup championship. Johnson started from the pole, but did not take the lead until he passed Kurt Busch on lap 81. From there, Johnson led a race-high 217 laps on the way to his seventh victory of the season (third in the Chase).

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The Big 6: 2008 Checker O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Phoenix

He made a last turn, last-ditch effort for the win, getting his car sideways in turn 4, but in the end Kurt Busch couldn’t quite grab a win at Phoenix. Still, Busch had a great run in the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge. Penske Racing hasn’t been competitive this year, but Busch showed that he still has plenty of talent. His younger brother may have grabbed the lion’s share of headlines this year, but Kurt Busch drove the wheels off it this week.

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Frontstretch Power Rankings: Top 15 After the 2008 Dickies 500 at Texas

History repeated itself for the third time in a row, as the winner at Atlanta in the fall headed to Texas the following week and won again. That victory this week by Carl Edwards stole a couple of first-place votes away from Jimmie Johnson, but didn’t move him out of the top spot just yet. Meanwhile, Jeff Burton’s drive to the championship is done -- that is, if you believe the voters in this week’s poll. But just how far did Burton fall? And what Roush Fenway driver made an appearance in our top 12 for the first time? Read on for the answers in this week's version of the Top 15 rankings.

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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.

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Fantasy Picks ‘N’ Pans: Which Drivers To Turn Loose In Texas

Jimmie Johnson and Carl Edwards are, for all intents and purposes, the last two standing in the fight for the title this year, and again, it really isn’t much of a fight at this point. Aside from the two of them, everyone else is racing just for pride and money, and that could lead to some additional risk taking this coming weekend. Don’t underestimate the lesser known teams who have run well on 1.5-milers this weekend. There has not been a non-Chase winner this year yet and there has been one every year since the Chase was put into place. Read this week’s Picks ‘N’ Pans to see which drivers will most likely be wearing the goofy hat at the end of the weekend.

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Frontstretch Power Rankings: Top 15 After the 2008 Pep Boys Auto 500 at Atlanta

Carl Edwards made good on the promise that he showed at the beginning of the spring Atlanta race by taking the win this past weekend. Overshadowed by that performance, however, was a banzai run by Jimmie Johnson from 11th to second in the last eight laps of the race. That strength solidified the point leader's place at the top of the Power Rankings, where he swept all of the first-place votes again this week. Behind him, positions continue to swap like hotcakes as drivers scrape and claw for every spot they can get on the racetrack. Read this week’s rankings to see if our writers thought your driver has had that extra incentive to wheel it to the front with only three races left -- or if he's been slip-sliding his way right out of our top 15.

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