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NASCAR Race Weekend Central

10 Points to Ponder… After the 2007 Sharp Aquos 500 at Fontana

1. Lowe’s High – For weeks now I’ve been wondering why everyone was depicting the Chase as a duel between Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart. “Wait!” – I shouted, what about Jimmie Johnson? Heading into Fontana, Johnson was tied with Gordon for bonus points, 10 ahead of Stewart when the Chase starts, and tonight’s win moves him ahead of both Gordon and Stewart with 50 bonus points. Johnson’s team typically slumps in the summer but they turn it on when it counts. Don’t hand that Nextel Cup trophy to anyone else just yet. It’s also worth noting that Johnson and Matt Kenseth are now the only drivers to make the Chase all four seasons since its inception in 2004.

Tracking the Trucks: 2007 Missouri/Illinois Dodge Dealers Ram Tough 200 at Gateway

Johnny Benson took the checkered flag ahead of Ron Hornaday Jr. under caution for his second consecutive win during the Missouri/Illinois Dodge Dealers Ram Tough 200 Saturday night at Gateway International Raceway. Midway through the race, Benson found himself in 20th after running near the front most of the race, but a strong truck allowed him to race through the field for the win. Defending race winner, Ted Musgrave finished third. Todd Bodine and Regan Smith rounded out the top five.

Tracking the Trucks: 2007 O’Reilly 200 at Bristol

Johnny Benson scored his first career win at Bristol Motor Speedway Wednesday night, taking the checkered flag 0.790 seconds ahead of the newly married Brendan Gaughan. Benson benefited from a two-car crash on lap 180, when Travis Kvapil and Kyle Busch made contact and spun while battling for the lead. As the smoke cleared coming out of turn 4, it was Benson who found his way back out front, and he held off all challengers over the final 21 laps to take the victory.

Mirror Driving: We Need a Week Off, A Lack of Talent in the Busch Pool & Feeding Off The Craftsman Truck Series

The possibility of a race between the July off-week and the Chase being rained out is very real. Changing the Chase to accommodate that race is an expensive process, and very costly to both NASCAR and Homestead-Miami Speedway-is that just part of the game, or does NASCAR need to revise the schedule or the rulebook to accommodate this possibility?

Tearing Apart the Trucks: Toyota Looking for Back-to-Back Championships

In 2000, Toyota ventured into the big sea of NASCAR racing; first dipping their toes in the water in the Goody’s Dash Series. Robert Huffman delivered their first win the following year, and scored their first championship in 2003. The manufacturer entered the Craftsman Truck Series beginning with the 2004 season. Just two years later, Todd Bodine drove Toyota to their first truck series championship in 2006. Now, with just 10 races remaining in the 2007 season, Toyota is looking at the very strong possibility of back-to-back championships.

Tracking the Trucks: 2007 Toyota Tundra 200 at Nashville

Travis Kvapil led 47 of the last 48 laps on his way to the checkered flag in the Toyota Tundra 200 at Nashville Superspeedway. Kvapil finished 2.403 seconds ahead of the only Chevrolet to break into the top 10, Ron Hornaday Jr. Points leader Mike Skinner finished third with David Starr and Todd Bodine rounding out the top five.

Tracking the Trucks: 2007 Power Stroke Diesel 200 at IRP

Ron Hornaday Jr. held off a strong charge by Johnny Benson to win the rain-delayed Power Stroke Diesel 200 at O’Reilly Raceway Park. Hornaday’s final margin of victory was 0.350 seconds after passing Benson, then Travis Kvapil with 30 laps to go to take the Friday night short track shootout. Kvapil faded to third at the finish, with Rick Crawford and Ken Schrader rounding out the top five behind him. Todd Bodine, after trouble early in the race, battled back to finish sixth, ahead of Erik Darnell; Regan Smith, Jack Sprague, and Brendan Gaughan rounded out the top 10 finishers.

Tearing Apart the Trucks: 2007 Midseason Review

The Craftsman Truck Series is going into their 12th off-weekend of the season, and beside Travis Kvapil and Mike Beam getting penalized for infractions at Kentucky, not much is going on. But the Truck Series has passed an important milestone. Saturday night’s race at Kentucky was race number 13 in the 25-race season. We have officially made it past the halfway point of the season. So how is everything going with the Truck Series?

Mirror Driving: Kasey Kahne Drinking Bud? Chicagoland a Dud? & Ginn Hits The Ground With a Thud

It’s now been six years since Chicagoland hosted its first Nextel Cup race. Are you disappointed in the progress being made as the track has aged, and should improvements be made a la Homestead and Las Vegas to make the facility more competitive?