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NASCAR Race Weekend Central

Frontstretch NASCAR Power Rankings: Top 15 NASCAR Drivers NOT in Sprint Cup

With the off week in full swing, it presented an opportunity for the Frontstretch experts to do something a little different. Instead of grading the Cup guys, we took a look at those drivers who often get shunned from the spotlight these days… the drivers exclusive to the Nationwide and Camping World Truck series desperate to make a name for themselves. These divisions are filled with established veterans and young guns mixed together to provide a cornucopia of driving talent. And since you never know when a Cup ride will become available… we thought it’s high time to figure out who’s proved himself most worthy of filling the spot as of late. Read on to see if your favorite non-Cup driver made the list in this special edition of the Power Rankings.

Tearing Apart the Trucks: More Stops, Less Crew Members

Just three races into the season, the Camping World Truck Series is already on an extended break. The series will return to action on March 28th at Martinsville Speedway. So now is a good time to look at the rule changes NASCAR implemented during the offseason. In an effort to help the teams save a large amount of money each week as they travel, NASCAR implemented rule changes that allow a team only a limited number of crew members traveling to the races. In addition, only five crew members are allowed over the wall at any given time on a pit stop, and teams are not able to take tires and fuel during the same stop.

Tearing Apart the Trucks: Let’s Go Racing Boys!

As is the case with most NASCAR winter breaks, this one was filled with news of rule changes, teams closing their doors and driver shuffling. In an effort to help teams save money, NASCAR changed the number of crew members allowed over the wall during a pit stop. Only five crew members will be allowed over the wall, and teams are not permitted to get fuel and tires on the same stop. In addition, the crew chief must choose only 12 active crew members to travel with the team. Defending series champion Johnny Benson is one of the many drivers that find themselves with new teams. Prior to being crowned the 2008 champion, Benson announced he would be leaving Bill Davis Racing and might possibly retire from racing full time following the final race of the season. As it turned out, Benson got out at just the right time.

2008 Driver Review: Mike Skinner

Mike Skinner served as a fill-in driver for three different teams this season. After making two attempts to qualify and only one start in the No. 27 Bill Davis Racing Toyota – replacing Jacques Villeneuve – the Ontario, Calif. native stepped into the No. 84 Red Bull Toyota to give young driver AJ Allmendinger some pointers from early March to mid-April. While becoming a mentor in advancing the open-wheel convert’s transition to stock cars, Skinner’s strong qualifying runs kept the team in position to eventually come back and make a run at the Top 35 in owner points.

Tearing Apart the Trucks: New Faces in the Field at Martinsville

As the Craftsman Truck Series rolls into Martinsville Speedway for the final short-track race of the season, there are some new faces on the entry list. Mike Skinner’s son Dustin Skinner is just one of those drivers; he’ll follow in the footsteps of his father and his older brother, Jamie Skinner, who also made their debuts at the Virginia short track.

Running Their Mouth: 2008 Bank of America 500 at Charlotte

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 Bank of America 500 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.

Bubble Breakdown: Scott Riggs, Michael Waltrip Securing Spots for Their Teams in Top 35

Lowe’s Motor Speedway was the venue Saturday night in Charlotte, North Carolina, for the running of the Bank of America 500. With just six races remaining in the ’08 season, the bubble teams should now look at each race as a qualifying attempt for next year’s Daytona 500. Struggling teams have trouble finding funding, and without a locked-in spot for the 2009 Daytona 500, or the next four races after it for that matter, attracting good sponsorship in a slow economy can be next to impossible. But don’t take my word for it; just give a call to the guys at Morgan-McClure Motorsports and ask them.

Running Their Mouth: 2008 Amp Energy 500 at Talladega

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 Amp Energy 500 at Talladega Superspeedway.

Tracking the Trucks: 2008 Qwik Liner Las Vegas 350

Mike Skinner took the checkered flag 0.020 seconds ahead of Erik Darnell to win the Qwik Liner Las Vegas 350 Saturday night. Several cautions set up the green-white-checkered finish that allowed Skinner to pull past Darnell at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Matt Crafton, John Andretti and Ron Hornaday Jr. rounded out the top five.

Tracking the Trucks: 2008 Camping World RV Sales 200 at Loudon

Ron Hornaday Jr. took the checkered flag 0.960 seconds ahead of Johnny Benson to win the Camping World RV Sales 200 Saturday afternoon at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. The driver of the No. 33 Camping World Chevrolet held off a hard-charging Benson in a three-lap shootout to win his second consecutive race. Travis Kvapil, Erik Darnell, and Rick Crawford rounded out the top five finishers.

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