NASCAR Race Weekend Central

Bowles-Eye View: NASCAR’s Roots Disappear; Its Future Busy Awaiting Where They Land

The lesson I’m sending this message is simple: there’s a reason we’re often told to respect our elders. And as the sunset dawned on the 2007 season Sunday night at Homestead, to me that’s the story of the sport right now; far beyond that of Jimmie Johnson’s respected yet expected second straight title. It’s a tale of abandoned tradition, of people, places, and things aging to the point they’re no longer a part of the fabric of a sport they love; an older generation of racing fans and personnel faced with a number of changes that they simply don’t agree with.

That’s History Profile: Ricky Rudd

Ricky Rudd began his racing career the same way as many of today’s drivers; behind the wheel of something other than a fendered stock car. Ricky got his start in go-karts at the tender age of nine, at the same time running motocross, and didn’t get into stock car racing until he was 17 years old. He made his first NASCAR start in 1975 at the Carolina 500 at the North Carolina Motor Speedway, in the sand hills of Rockingham, N.C. “The Rock” had always been a test of man and machine, but even more so back then.

Mirror Driving: Jeff Gordon No Longer Number 1? Is Parity in NASCAR Done? & Truck Series Fun…

Jimmie Johnson’s remarkable achievement of four wins in a row gave him double-digit victories for the first time since 1998, when teammate Jeff Gordon dominated the sport. Should Johnson continue on and win his second straight title, is it fair to say the No. 1 driver in the Hendrick stable is now him – not Gordon?

Who’s Hot/Who’s Not: Outside the Chase after the 2007 Dickies 500 at Texas

The Lone Star State proved a lonely place for drivers out of the playoffs Sunday, as nine Chase drivers finished the race in the top 11. One by one, some of the best hopes to sneak an upset win at Texas crashed themselves out of contention, showing instead why this wasn’t the year they proved capable of challenging for that championship trophy. But amidst the smoke of an ugly day for this large group of underdogs, some longtime veterans kept up steady streaks that left them leaving with a Texas-sized smile.

Did You Notice? Where are the Sponsors? 2007 Subway 500 at Martinsville Madness & Beyond

Did You Notice? That even with all the driver changes in motion for next year, there has been just one primary sponsor announced for 2008 that’s new to the sport? Sure, a few old faithfuls are moving on up from the Busch Series; 3M is increasing its involvement to sponsor the No. 16 Cup car next year, for example. But most of the sponsorship movement has been in the form of recycled material.

Fantasy Picks ‘N’ Pans: 2007 Subway 500 at Martinsville Edition

First up in the final five-race dogfight to the finish is actually the most challenging circuit remaining. This week, the series visits Martinsville, Va., both the oldest and shortest track on the schedule. The paper-clip oval looks tame, but don’t be fooled by the slower speeds; this race poses just as many pitfalls as Talladega when it comes to a driver being caught up in someone else’s mess. As a result, expect to see some bumping and banging that can ultimately cost a driver his shot at victory – and perhaps your fantasy title dreams – come Sunday.

I’m Just Sayin’… Ricky Rudd Needs to Run Martinsville Once More

The day was September 27th, 1998, and Rudd had just put a silver lining on a dismal season by coming out of nowhere to take the checkered flag in his home state of Virginia. How he even got to the finish was the bigger surprise, though; after a cooling device in his helmet malfunctioned early in the race, Rudd was subjected to blistering heat that turned his body into a pile of burned-up mush. But NASCAR’s Iron Man wouldn’t even think of getting out of that racecar. With a chance to extend a special streak – Rudd had gone 15 straight years with at least one Cup victory – he knew this was his last best chance to sneak away with one, in a year in which his little independent team was overwhelmed by the resources of superteams like Hendrick and Roush.

Running Their Mouth: 2007 Bank of America 500 at Charlotte

Each week, we’ll go through media reports, interviews, PR, and all our own stuff to find the best quotes from the Nextel 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 Bank of America 500 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.

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