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NASCAR Race Weekend Central

Tracking the Trucks: 2008 AAA Insurance 200 at Dover

Scott Speed took the checkered flag 3.379 seconds ahead of Jack Sprague to win the AAA Insurance 200 Friday night at Dover International Raceway. A two-tire pit stop with just 67 laps remaining helped Speed gain valuable track position and, ultimately, the win. Ron Hornaday Jr., Travis Kvapil, and Matt Crafton rounded out the top five.

Fanning the Flames: Fishin’ for Some Answers to Tony Stewart’s Likely Defection

Q: What are the odds that Rick Hendrick is able to put together NASCAR’s version of the “Dream Team” by adding Tony Stewart to his team of Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson? In the big picture, would that team be good or bad for the sport?

Frontstretch NASCAR Power Rankings: Top 15 Drivers Still Winless in NASCAR

With an off week in the schedule, the Frontstretch staffers decided to take a second look at a series of drivers looking for that lucky break. Our writers voted in the top 15 drivers who have never won a Sprint Cup race in their careers; and while these men might have been special in other forms of stock car racing, they were never special enough to make it to Victory Lane at the highest level (at least, not yet).

Who’s Hot/Who’s Not in Sprint Cup: 2008 Goody’s Cool Orange 500 at Martinsville Edition

With back-to-back top-10 finishes, Hamlin claims a spot on this week’s HOT list alongside JGR teammate Tony Stewart; but who else is deserving of the recognition? On the flip side, Michael McDowell had an impressive first two-thirds of the race, but received some criticism after the event for racing the leaders too hard in the closing laps. Where does the rookie fall after his debut start? Was he wrong or right? Check out this week’s edition of Who’s Hot/Who’s Not in Sprint Cup to find out.

Tearing Apart the Trucks: Heading Back East

As the drivers of the Craftsman Truck Series roll into Martinsville, Va., for the fourth race of the season it will mark the first time since the season opener at Daytona International Speedway that the Truck Series will have a full field for Saturday’s Kroger 250. The San Bernardino County 200 at Auto Club Speedway had a field of 35, just one short of a full field, but the American Commercial Lines 200 at Atlanta Motor Speedway saw a field of only 32. Currently, there are 38 drivers entered for a field of 36 at the Virginia short track.

Frontstretch NASCAR Power Rankings: Top 15 Drivers You Aren’t Seeing on Sunday

The first off week of the season allowed our staff to take a look at the other racing series that NASCAR has to offer; as such, they did a little ranking of some other drivers that the fans love to follow. Whether they are seasoned veterans in the waning years of their career, or young drivers who are trying to prove themselves, they were all considered for this poll of the best stock car driver without a full-time ride in the Sprint Cup Series. Check below to see if your budding superstar — or old favorite — made our list!

Tearing Apart the Trucks: 4 Reasons to Watch the Truck Series

Once again, Craftsman Truck Series fans have to wait another week to see anymore on track action when the series returns to the track next weekend at Martinsville Speedway. The ratings for the American Commercial Lines 200 a couple weeks ago in Atlanta showed a 31% jump, netting 753,000 households compared to the 565,000 for the same race in 2007. Despite climbing ratings reports, the truck series remains the least popular of NASCAR’s top three series. Inspired by a column earlier this week by fellow writer Danny Peters, I give you four reasons why you should watch the Truck Series.

Voice of Vito: The Day The Biscuit Wheels Fell Off Toyota’s Gravy Train

Yes, the same company that brought you the Lexus luxury brand was also privy to Kyle Busch’s intermittent steering and Denny Hamlin’s semi-active fuel delivery system last weekend. For during Sunday’s Food City 500 at Bristol, everything that possibly could go wrong did go wrong with a Toyota. Busch encountered yet more misfortune while leading a Cup race for the second time in three weeks. Coming off of turn 2, the steering in his Camry failed to respond. Although he wanted to straighten the wheel, it stayed turned to the left, effectively committing automotive hari kari. The failure was not much different than in 2002 when, while on the parade lap for the fall Talladega race, Mark Martin was busy swerving his car back and forth to warm the tires. As he cut the wheel left, the steering locked, sending him and polesitter Jimmie Johnson into the infield grass.

10 Points to Ponder… After the 2008 Kobalt Tools 500 at Atlanta

1. Where Have They Been? – It appears that some race fans, missing from the television viewing audience the last few years, have decided to give NASCAR Sprint Cup racing another shot. Ratings are up for the four race broadcasts (Bud Shootout, Daytona Qualifying, Daytona 500, Las Vegas 400) televised this season that did not suffer a rescheduling due to weather (California). Overall, the FOX network has seen a 3% increase in its race ratings, with last week’s Las Vegas broadcast increasing by a whopping 13% in comparison to last season’s race.

Bubble Breakdown: On Groundbreaking Weekend, Teams on Top-35 Bubble Attempt Breaking Away From the Pack

The Kobalt Tools 500 at Atlanta may have made history at the front of the field — with Toyota claiming the first victory for a foreign-born manufacturer since 1954 — but it also featured a number of drivers trying to prevent history of a different sort at the rear. With just one race remaining before 2008 owner points are used to “lock in” provisional spots, those on the dreaded bubble were trying hard to avoid any sort of Atlanta pitfall which would leave them on the wrong side of the cutline. With Bristol up ahead, the unpredictability of a half-mile short track makes it the highest-stress event on the circuit for a team that has to snag a good finish; so for most teams Sunday, the goal was to put the bubble out of reach of even the worst Bristol disaster.

Mirror Driving: Tires Making You Pout? Will Carl’s Penalty Have Some Clout? & Mark Martin Spinning Someone Out?

After both California and Las Vegas, it seems that tire issues could be a problem with the new car on intermediate tracks. How can this be remedied before this safety issue gets out of hand?

Bowles-Eye View: AJ Allmendinger Announcement a Bit of a Shock; Now, The Pressure’s On

AJ Allmendinger’s exit from the No. 84 was definitely a bit of a shock. Considering the sophomore was the first car left out at all three races this season, it’s not like he was completely off the mark; in fact, the 93 owner points AJ accumulated leaves Team Red Bull just 119 out of a Top-35 spot, not an unattainable goal by any means. In fact, under the old qualifying rules from a few years back, Allmendinger would have made two of three races; he finished 13th in his Gatorade Duel and qualified 34th at Las Vegas (his team would still have been bitten by the California rainout last week).

Frontstretch