NASCAR Race Weekend Central

2009 Driver Report Cards, Part II: Grading Dale Jr. & The Rest

Continuing on from yesterday’s review, it’s time for Professors Danny and Tom to grade those drivers sitting at the back of the class. Whether it’s some bad racing luck, poor chemistry with a crew chief, or just plain awful driving, most of these guys from 21st on back have endured a season they’d like to forget. As the upcoming summer stretch heats up, those unlucky enough to be a part of this list won’t be fighting to make the Chase; instead, they’ll be working to save their jobs, explaining to unhappy sponsors and owners how things didn’t go as planned. But in the midst of this group are a handful of diamonds in the rough, wheelmen overachieving with single-car teams overmatched from the start against the multi-car powerhouses. Just which of these underdogs stood out above the rest? Read below to find out as our two-part midseason report card series comes to a close.

Bubble Driver Review: David Ragan Biggest Disappointment Amongst This Group in 2009

Well, it’s that time of year where we look back at the first half of 2009 and grade our bubble teams. Keep in mind this report card is aimed at a specific subset inside the Cup garage – those in and around the cutoff for the 35 “locked-in” spots the series gives out each week – and not the entire 43-car field. With that in mind, read on to see which of these struggling teams are actually overachieving with limited resources, as well as which ones are falling short of expectations as we take a closer look at the cars on the bubble 19 races into the season.

Mirror Driving: Double-File Disaster?, Ford’s Floundering Season & Gibbs Dominance… In Nationwide

After several late incidents at Chicagoland Speedway, several drivers blamed the double-file restarts for the problem. Was it the rule or the drivers themselves at the root of the problems on Saturday night?

Bubble Breakdown: Late-Race Trouble Negates Good Efforts from Paul Menard & Brad Keselowski

News from the bubble this past week was dominated by the announcement from Michael Waltrip Racing, who not only re-signed primary sponsor NAPA to a multi-year deal but also upgraded the cockpit of the car by signing two-time Busch Series champion and one-time Chase participant Martin Truex Jr. for 2010. Waltrip will drive up to …

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Who’s Hot/Who’s Not in Sprint Cup: 2009 Daytona Summer Speedweeks Edition

The July 4th bash at Daytona International Speedway literally ended with a bang, as Kyle Busch’s attempt at blocking Tony Stewart from taking the race win sent him bouncing off the frontstretch wall. While the finish stole the headlines, the plights of Chase-contending drivers permeated other post-race storylines. Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya, Kasey Kahne, Mark …

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Did You Notice? Ganassi Kept the Wrong Guy, Logano’s a Little Too Shy & Money Talks

Did You Notice? That for all the Joey Logano hype, not everyone is jumping on the bandwagon quite yet? Certainly, Sunday’s race was a bonified step in the right direction for establishing the 19-year-old as a national superstar. But while Logano shattered the record for being the youngest race winner in NASCAR history, what we’ve …

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Who’s Hot/Who’s Not in Sprint Cup: 2009 Lenox Industrial Tools 301 at Loudon Edition

Joey Logano stole some history at New Hampshire on Sunday, becoming the youngest driver to win a Sprint Cup race by not pitting his No. 20 Home Depot Toyota during the last round of pit stops, taking a gamble and hoping for rain at his home track. Crew chief Greg Zipadelli’s decision quickly made up for Logano’s run-in with Ryan Newman, as well as the resulting flat tire and spin that resulted from it midway through the race. But while Logano’s upset victory continues to be the big story, there were a few other upstart runs, as well, considering that rained-out qualifying placed the top points contenders in the top-starting positions.

Bubble Breakdown: Brad Keselowski Posts Top-10 Run… But It’s John Andretti Who Widens Top-35 Gap

Several bubble teams made a little news this week, most notably Michael Waltrip Racing, who has scheduled a news conference for July 7th – where it is expected that Martin Truex Jr. will be announced as the team’s new driver for 2010. Also in the news was Robby Gordon, who continues to ride precariously close …

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Who’s Hot/Who’s Not in Sprint Cup: 2009 Lifelock 400 at Michigan Edition

“Give me fuel, give me fire, give me that which I desire,” may very well have been the lyrics Jimmie Johnson was banging his head to as his dominant No. 48 Chevy sputtered to the finish of Sunday’s LifeLock 400. The three-time champ absolutely dominated at Michigan, only surrendering the lead after the final pit …

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Bubble Breakdown: Fuel Mileage Plays Into the Hands of a Trio of Bubble Teams

Fuel mileage was again the name of the game for the second week in a row this past Sunday at Michigan International Speedway. As some of the top-15 teams dried up late and faded, three of our bubble teams were able to surge ahead as they went into conservation mode soon enough to stretch their gas tanks to the checkered flag. Which trio was able to ride it out to the finish? Read on to find out in this week’s edition of the Bubble Breakdown.

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