NASCAR Race Weekend Central

10 Points to Ponder… After the 2008 Amp Energy 500 at Talladega

1. Change In Direction – Joey Logano, heir to the No. 20 Toyota presently driven by Sunday’s race winner Tony Stewart, will not compete in any further races this season in the No. 96 Hall of Fame Toyota. The 18-year-old Joe Gibbs Racing phenom had been scheduled to fill the driver’s seat in the HoF ride for three of the final six races of the Sprint Cup Season. “We talked to Gibbs and both decided that, for [Logano’s] development and for our team, this the best thing for all of us. The best thing for all of us is for them to focus on Joey’s development, and for us to focus on our team,” said the co-owner of HoF, Tom Garfinkel. Is that kind of like being fired?

Thompson in Turn 5: Paul Menard’s Departure to Yates Leaves DEI in Need of Help

News that driver Paul Menard and his father’s sponsor dollars will soon part ways with Dale Earnhardt Inc. seems to lend credence to the prediction by many that the company’s demise was inevitable. Old prophecies spurred by DEI owner Teresa Earnhardt’s failure to come to contract terms with her stepson have returned, with observers saying the worst is still to come for an organization which they claim forced the sport’s most popular and bankable personality to leave them behind.

10 Points to Ponder… After the 2008 Centurion Boats at the Glen

1. Artifacts – Dale Earnhardt Inc.’s driver of the No. 1 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet, Martin Truex Jr., has agreed to contract terms with his current employer that will keep him with the organization and his team at least through 2009. Last week, rumors had Truex Jr. agreeing in principal to resigning with DEI, leading to a vehement denial from Truex Jr. himself and a reported heated discussion with DEI’s President of Global Operations Max Siegel, who was accused of leaking the story to media outlets. But Friday, it was Truex who was singing a far different tune.

Mirror Driving: No More Green-White-Yellow?, Truex’s Face Turns Green & Red-Flagging NASCAR Scoring

Did NASCAR make the right call by throwing the yellow flag and stopping the race with Carl Edwards and Kyle Busch running side-by-side on the last lap?

Did You Notice? Family Favoritism, Biting the Hand That Feeds You & Statistical Silliness?

Did You Notice? That halfway through the regular season, not a single person in the top 12 in points is a first-time Chase participant? We can expand that out to individual teams, too, as each of their car owners has been Chase bound as recently as 2006.

Fantasy Picks ‘N’ Pans: Can Dale Earnhardt Jr. Give the National Guard Back-to-Back Memorial Day Wins?

The Sprint Cup Series went from the gritty Darlington Raceway to the glitzy All-Star Race in the last two weeks; but now, it’s time to get down to business in the longest race of the year, the Coca-Cola 600. Sunday’s event will be a test of endurance for the drivers and crews, as they fight the change from racing in the daylight to finishing under the lights. But how will your fantasy team hold up during the year’s longest marathon? More than any other race, you need to build around not drivers who that not only finish first, but specialize in being around at the finish: consistency and durability in your lineup are the keys to coming out on top. So, which drivers will help you go the distance and have your team outlasting the competition, and which ones will fizzle out before the end? Read this week’s Picks ‘N’ Pans to find out.

Bubble Breakdown: Top-35 Surprises, Disappointments & Concerns In 2008

Welcome one and all to this week’s edition of the Bubble Breakdown. With no Sprint Cup Series race last weekend to speak of, we’re going to take advantage of the break to look back at the first eight races of the season and analyze the biggest surprises and disappointments so far. So without further ado, here’s a recap of this year’s bubble drivers.

Fantasy Picks ‘N’ Pans: 2008 Samsung 500 at Texas Edition

After two weeks of short-track racing, the Sprint Cup Series heads to the wide open spaces of Texas Motor Speedway for this weekend’s Samsung 500. They say things are often bigger and better in Texas; but that does that equate for success for your fantasy team? Read what our fantasy experts have to say in this week’s edition of Fantasy Picks ‘N’ Pans.

The 2007 Sprint Cup Rookies: What Are They Up To Now?

As most of the Sprint Cup drivers took a week off from racing multi-colored cars in favor of cracking vibrant eggs, the rookie column was left on a little bit of an Easter Egg hunt of its own… trying to figure out how to fill this space for the week! Considering we’re only five races into the season, it’s a little too early to start grading the progress of the 2008 freshmen; considering their woeful start, this is probably a good thing. I’ll save that for the halfway point of the season; in the meantime, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at how the 2007 Rookie of the Year candidates have started out their second seasons in Cup. With a year under their belt, expectations are riding high for these five drivers, so let’s see if they have been stepping up to the plate or succumbing to the dreaded “sophomore slump.”

Bubble Breakdown: Previewing the 2008 Battle for the Top 35, Part II

Last week in this column, I talked about the teams on the outside of the Top 35 looking in. This week, I’m going to touch on some of the teams that wound up just inside the Top 35 last year. If past performance is any indication, they’re the ones most in jeopardy of being on the bubble this season; and with the competition closer than ever, I’ll rate the chances I think they’ll have at still being locked in by race six — or if they’re headed towards some frantic Friday afternoons instead.

Sign up for the Frontstretch Newsletter

A daily email update (Monday through Friday) providing racing news, commentary, features, and information from Frontstretch.com

Frontstretch