Tag Archives: Paul Menard

Nextel Cup Rookie Report: Texas Terrible Track For Juan Pablo Montoya, Other Freshmen

Montoya has enjoyed a good amount of his non-road course success on quad ovals this year, and at one point in time, it appeared this weekend's race at Texas would be no different. The Colombian started the event from the inside of row 2 and by lap 7, he had his Texaco/Havoline Dodge comfortably in the lead. Although the top spot was relinquished to Jeff Gordon during pit stops on lap 16, the rookie would still make his presence felt in the top 10 for the majority of the race's first quarter. A loose condition would start to plague the No. 42 Charger after that, leaving Montoya sliding backwards but still in contention for a good finish with the right adjustments. However, an ill-handling car would turn out to be the least of this team's problems; their engine dropped a cylinder just before the lap 200 mark, and a cracked valve head left Montoya simply trying to limp the car home in one piece.

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Nextel Cup Rookie Report: David Ragan Rocks At Richmond

By the end of Saturday night's event, many spectators were looking at the No. 6 car and saying, "Where did that guy come from?" It was a very similar to his "stealthy" performance last week at Fontana, where hardly anyone noticed David Ragan as he quietly battled to a top-15 finish. A late season surge from this team should not surprise anyone; in fact, this is the type of performance I expect from this team as they revisit many of these Nextel Cup venues for the second time. Ragan is starting to look more and more like his Roush Fenway teammate Matt Kenseth each week, staying out of trouble while dialing in his race car for the end of the event. Clearly, he's becoming a force to be reckoned with.

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Bubble Breakdown: Petty Enterprises Coming Dangerously Close To Top 35 Cliff

The two-car battle for the 35th and final position in owner points is close to becoming a three-team race - and that new third team is a team that's slumping rather than one stepping up as the season nears its stretch run. While its sister car streaked to a second straight top 10 finish at Bristol, the No. 45 from Petty Enterprises seems to have been left behind. The Dodge continues to struggle each and every week, whether it's Kyle Petty, Chad McCumbee, or Kenny Wallace behind the wheel - a 32nd-place run for Wallace at Bristol is the team's best finish in five weeks, with results of 41st, 42nd, 33rd and 41st coming in the previous four races. That has left the team dangerously on the edge of falling into the grasp of teams below them.

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Who’s Hot/Who’s Not In Nextel Cup: 2007 Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Edition

Unless you're a glutton for punishment, Kurt Busch, or one of Kurt Busch's fans (yes - he actually does have some), then you probably found Sunday's Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono a real snoozefest. Busch started from second position, alongside Dale Earnhardt Jr., but didn't stay there long; he made a mockery out of the race, leading 175 laps en route to his first win of the year and a spot inside the top 12 in points. Unlike recent weeks, there weren't any potential Chasers that ran into major trouble on Sunday; the 14 main contenders all finished in the top 17 positions, making the race for the Chase more competitive than ever with just five races remaining.

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Who’s Hot/Who’s Not in Nextel Cup: 2007 USG Sheetrock 400 at Chicagoland

Chicago is known for football, deep dish pizza, shopping, and the Sears Tower; sadly, it's not yet known for great racing. However, there was at least one driver who didn't sleep through the Chicagoland snoozefest; that would be Tony Stewart, who celebrated the end of his 20-race winless drought with another climb up the fence. Smoke was left awake and alert after a weekend where he got a lecture from the coach about playing nice with others, and he turned that motivation into victory celebration come Sunday night.

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Running Their Mouth: 2007 USG Sheetrock 400 at Chicagoland

Each week, we'll go through all the media reports, interviews, PR, and our own stuff to find the best quotes from the Nextel Cup race to capture 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 some select few were thinking after the USG Sheetrock 400 at Chicagoland Speedway.

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Rating The Nextel Cup Rookies: 2007 USG Sheetrock 400 at Chicagoland Edition

After starting 30th for Sunday's USG Sheetrock 400, Montoya used the first 60 green-flag laps to guide his Wrigley's Big Red Dodge into the top 20. Crew chief Donnie Wingo and the team did not appear to figure out the setup needed to run with the leaders, though, as Montoya would eventually lose a lap during the race's second green-flag stretch. However, Robby Gordon's bad luck turned out to be the lucky break Montoya needed. Despite this bout of good fortune, though, Montoya was never able to break into the top 10, settling instead for a 15th-place finish at the checkered flag.

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Rating the Nextel Cup Rookies: 2007 Midterm Report Card

Now that the Pepsi 400 is in the record books, the 2007 Nextel Cup Series officially enters the second half of its racing season. While that means much welcomed visits to familiar tracks for this year's rookie class, there's still one major obstacle they have yet to endure before moving forward - Professor Lumbis' dreaded midterm grades. My evaluation isn't exactly on the top of their list of concerns; however, it would not be a bad idea for each of these drivers to analyze the first half of their season, learning whatever lessons they can to help make the remaining months as successful as humanly possible.

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Mirror Driving: Is Crocker’s Career Cracked to Pieces? Does Montoya Take The Pressure Off Everyone Else?

It was officially announced this week that Erin Crocker is scaling back her schedule to run only 12 ARCA races and four Busch Series races this year. Is this the begininng of the end, or can she make it back and become a success after all that happened this year?

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