NASCAR Race Weekend Central

Bubble Breakdown: Paul Menard, Mark Martin Among Those in Early Top-35 Trouble

With three races in the books already in 2009, the battle for the Top 35 locked-in spots is heating up, as there are only two races remaining to secure one of those Top-35 guaranteed starting positions. And when you looked at the starting lineup for the Shelby 427 at Las Vegas Speedway, you saw the names Todd Bodine, Brad Keselowski and Max Papis as new names on the grid. This means several full-time teams didn’t make the field this past weekend, thus digging themselves a deep hole. To see which cars and drivers took a big hit in the standings this past weekend, read on in this week’s edition of the Bubble Breakdown…

The Big 6: Questions Answered After the 2009 Shelby 427 at Las Vegas

After being relegated to the back of the field after an engine change, Kyle Busch found victory lane anyway. Busch had a fast car and ran a smart, clean race until he shoved Clint Bowyer out of the way to take the lead with 17 laps to go. It was a perfectly executed bump-and-run that would have been textbook perfect on the last lap, but was unnecessary when Busch clearly had a faster car and plenty of time to pass Bowyer cleanly. He got great restarts when it counted to take the checkers.

Who’s Hot/Who’s Not in Sprint Cup: 2009 Auto Club 500 at Fontana Edition

Adding to the boredom was the dominance of a select few. Kyle Busch came close to scoring the first “hat trick” in NASCAR history, finishing third in the Cup race while scoring impressive wins in both the Nationwide and Camping World Truck series events. Matt Kenseth followed up with his second consecutive win in the Sprint Cup 500-miler, although Jeff Gordon and Greg Biffle each had cars capable of getting to victory lane. Gordon drove a masterful race, only to come up just short, while a Biffle miscue on pit road and other miscues of his own left him with a surprise appearance on this week’s “Hot, Warm, Cold” list. Here’s a breakdown of where Kenseth, Gordon, Biffle and some of the series’ other top drivers stand heading to Las Vegas next week:

Bubble Breakdown: Team Penske Rebounds from Poor Daytona 500 Performances

NASCAR’s top series headed out west to start a two-race stint on the left coast beginning with the first stop of the year at the Auto Club Speedway in California. With this just the second race of the season, the race to get into the Top 35 is a complete mess, with teams jumping way up and falling way down in the standings on a week-to-week basis. And while Matt Kenseth has opened the year with two victories, a pair of teams with guaranteed starting spots has opened up with two finishes outside the Top 35. Read on to see which teams rebounded and which team dug a deeper hole heading to Las Vegas.

Bubble Breakdown: AJ Allmendinger Sticks the Landing While Joey Logano Sticks It in the Wall

The 2009 Sprint Cup season officially kicked off Sunday afternoon with the running of the Daytona 500; and with that, the battle for the Top 35 is on. For those of you new to the sport, the Top 35 teams in owner points are locked into the starting grid each week. For the first five races of the season, NASCAR uses the owner standings from the previous year, then reverts to the current season’s standings from there on out. So while the Top 35 are locked in for the first few races, the jockeying for position has begun with the bubble teams in an effort to transfer into a locked in spot when the series visits Martinsville in a month and a half. Read on to see who improved their position and who is already behind the 8-ball in this week’s edition of the Bubble Breakdown.

The Big 6: Questions Answered After the 2009 Budweiser Shootout at Daytona

Paul Menard wound up causing the wreck that took out Bobby Labonte and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Not exactly the best way to start off with your new team. When all was said and done, the No. 98 of Menard ended up 11th in his debut with Yates Racing – and wrecked his car twice in less than 36 hours.

Bubble Breakdown Review: Yates Racing Biggest Surprise in Avoiding Top-35 Trouble

The 2008 Sprint Cup tour is now officially in the books. And as with all sports, there were many surprises as well as disappointment throughout the year. So, as the holiday season descends upon us and the thundering of NASCAR’s engines fades away for another offseason, let’s take a moment and look back upon the past 10 months of racing, seeing who among the sport’s middle and bottom-tier teams exceeded everyone’s expectations – and who didn’t quite live up to them.

Who’s Hot/Who’s Not in Sprint Cup: 2008 Season Breakdown

The checkered flag has flown over the field at Homestead marking the end of a historic 2008 season. We saw controversial and exciting finishes, scary crashes and a historic third consecutive championship for the dynasty that is Jimmie Johnson, Chad Knaus and the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports team. The season also featured three consistently dominant teams who took the Sprint Cup Series by storm. Johnson was obviously one of the three, but who were the two others? We have all that, including the three COLDEST teams of 2008, covered in this week’s edition of edition of Who’s Hot/Who’s Not in Sprint Cup.

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.

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