NASCAR Race Weekend Central

Sprint Cup Rookie Report: Rookies Find Checkers, Not Wreckers at ‘Dega with Keselowski, Speed, Logano Mastering Draft

Brad Keselowski raced the Aaron’s 499 in the same manner as one would want to play a game of poker. After starting in the top 10, Keselowski spent much of the afternoon darting to the front of the pack, only to fall off the pace soon thereafter – leaving his competitors scratching their heads as to exactly what was under the hood of his Miccosukee Chevy. In fact, the Michigan native almost unknowingly twice caused an accident – once on lap 82 when the No. 88 of Dale Earnhardt Jr. quickly came up on the back of the No. 09, forcing Keselowski below the yellow line; and then again with 55 circuits remaining, when he pushed Elliott Sadler to the front, only to lose momentum and create a logjam behind him.

Sprint Cup Rookie Report: Doomsday Looms Large Leaving Texas as Rookies Face Uncertain Futures

They say that everything is bigger in Texas; and in the case for most of the rookies and almost rookies, it was bad news that loomed large this past weekend. Brad Keselowski offered the lone bright spot as he once again shined in his Hendrick ride, finishing in the top 25 for the second consecutive race at the track. Marcos Ambrose may have also offered some good news if it weren’t for a faulty engine. I mentioned earlier this season that the No. 47 team may have an outside shot at the Chase, but they are quickly seeing those chances disappear as their engine department has not been able to keep pace with the rest of the team.

The Yellow Stripe: Catch 21 – Thoughts, Questions & Observations 3 Races Into 2009

21, as many of you will know, is a lucky number in Las Vegas. So, here are exactly that many questions, observations, and thoughts – in no particular order – on the season so far as the series leaves Sin City to head back east.

Sprint Cup Rookie Report: Cup Rookies Avoid That Vegas Gambling Temptation… & Survive

Plenty of people were wondering when we would see this new, bright young star named Joey Logano live up to the hype. Well, we started to get a glimpse of his talent today – but it wasn’t because of where he finished but rather, how he got there that showed it. In an afternoon full of carnage and failing equipment, Logano displayed the poise and maturity of a 10-year veteran, avoiding problems and ensuring that he stuck around until the end.

Sprint Cup Rookie Report: 2009 Season Preview

After one of the most economically brutal NASCAR offseasons in recent history, it’s finally time to start focusing on performances on the stopwatch instead of on the balance sheet. This also spells good news for Professor Lumbis as I get to preview and critique this season’s rookies once again. The 2008 season was not kind to rookie drivers as only one, Sam Hornish Jr., still has a full-time ride in 2009. That success rate, or lack thereof, may have owners changing the way they think about who will give them the best chance of success behind the wheel. Instead of reaching out to the open-wheel talents of other series, general managers are instead opting for stock car veterans to pilot their machines. The result is a much smaller rookie class this season, as only two drivers will compete full time for the Rookie of the Year Award while a handful of others will make spot starts throughout the next several months.

Tracking the Trucks: 2008 Chevy Silverado 350K at Texas

Ron Hornaday Jr. took the checkered flag 0.958 seconds ahead of Kyle Busch to win the Chevy Silverado 350K Friday night at Texas Motor Speedway. Hornaday earned his way back onto the lead lap, took the top spot on lap 108 and never looked back. Johnny Benson, Todd Bodine and rookie Colin Braun rounded out the top five.

Did You Notice? 2 Juniors Speak Out, We’re Chasing the Old System & Max Papis?

Did You Notice? That under the old points system, the championship battle would be far from over? With three races left, Jimmie Johnson would lead Carl Edwards by just 98, with Kyle Busch hanging on by a thread at 203 points out. Jeff Burton and Greg Biffle would round out the top five, but neither would have a shot at the title. Should the 1-2 finish for Johnson and Edwards hold, it would be the second time in the last three years the old system would have “been better.” In 2006, Johnson won his first title over Matt Kenseth by 56 points in the Chase; but in the regular season, that margin would have been just four – the closest championship battle in NASCAR history.

Running Their Mouth: 2008 Centurion Boats at the Glen

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 Centurion Boats at the Glen at Watkins Glen International.

Bubble Breakdown: It’s All Good for AJ Allmendinger After Securing Slot in Top 35

After rain washed out Friday’s qualifying, this weekend’s road race at Watkins Glen was set by owner points – a decision that turned out to be a double-edged sword for our faithful set of bubble dwellers. On the plus side, all 43 full-time teams qualified without the risk of being knocked off by road-course ringers Boris Said and Brian Simo. But making the field was no consolation when each of these teams were forced to start 31st or worse in a race where track position proves key. Despite that disadvantage, there were not one but two drivers outside the Top 35 who shocked many by finishing inside the top 11. Which teams were they, and who was hurt the most by a devastating nine-car crash that decimated several cars in the race’s final laps? To find out, read on for this week’s edition of the Bubble Breakdown.

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