NASCAR Race Weekend Central

Who’s Hot/Who’s Not in Sprint Cup Heading To Dover After the 2009 Coca-Cola 600

The conclusion of the Anti-Climatic 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway Monday leaves the NASCAR fanbase wondering exactly which driver should have won. Since the race began in the middle of the day on Monday instead of early in the evening on Sunday, drivers did not have to encounter as many changes in track conditions as expected, throwing possible contenders a curve some never recovered from. As the race wore on, Kyle Busch, Kasey Kahne and Brian Vickers proved to have the fastest cars – but would all three of these drivers have remained the ones to beat had the race gone the distance? Since the rainy conditions and subsequent pit strategies shuffled up the entire running order and many teams mid-pack were likely biding their time before making a run for the front, this week is yet another tough time to determine the current HOT, WARM and COLD drivers. Nevertheless, here they are as we prepare to head to Delaware for racing at the Monster Mile….

Bubble Breakdown: Rain Plays Into the Hands of Robby Gordon While Scott Riggs Rains on Baldwin’s Parade

Well the 24 Hours of Charlotte finally came to an end late Monday afternoon and the 50th running of the Coca-Cola 600 was dominated by Kyle Busch and the weather. The race never went green on Sunday and suffered rain delays again on Monday before finally being called and producing a surprise winner. So to see which bubble teams gambled on the weather and won, and which wound up all wet, read this week’s edition of the Bubble Breakdown.

Who’s Hot/Who’s Not in Sprint Cup: 2009 Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Edition

At first, it seemed after a series of Big Ones it was the usual suspects who would rise to the front at the end. Ryan Newman and Dale Earnhardt Jr. almost fulfilled that prophecy, creating their two-car breakaway during the final restart of the Aaron’s 499. But just when you thought they had it won… something unexpected actually happened in the Sprint Cup Series, as the two-car tandem of Carl Edwards and Brad Keselowski blew by them on the white-flag lap. And after using some brilliant strategy, it was none other than Keselowski who scored his first Cup win, handed owner James Finch his first, and assisted in one of the wildest, scariest crashes ever.

Bubble Breakdown: David Gilliland Drives TRG’s No. 71 Right Into Top 35

If you remember back to 2008, Jamie McMurray – a good driver on one of the super teams, Roush Fenway Racing – was not only sitting on the bubble heading to Bristol, but on the wrong side of it when he left there. It was proof even the best organizations could fall victim to having to qualify on speed. One year later, Ryan Newman and Mark Martin felt that same pressure, needing strong performances from their top-tier organizations to avoid what happened to McMurray last year. So, did Martin and Newman avoid being the big-name drivers on the outside looking in? And what underdog defied the odds to sneak into the Top 35? Read on to find out as we break down the bubble for the Food City 500 from Bristol Motor Speedway.

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.

Frontstretch Fantasy Insider: Surviving (& Staying Awake) at Fontana

With the glitz and glamour of Daytona now behind us, the focus of the Sprint Cup Series turns west to Fontana and the 2-mile oval that marks the real beginning of the 2009 season. Though unique thanks to its empty grandstands and exceptionally boring races, the Auto Club Speedway is the first of many intermediate ovals that make up the meat and potatoes of the Cup schedule. And with the ban on testing, it seems to be a safe assumption that the same teams which were good on these tracks in 2008 will be the ones to beat on Sunday – and the drivers you should be picking for this weekend’s fantasy lineup.

Jeff Gordon, Kyle Busch Win 2009 Gatorade Duels at Daytona

If Thursday’s Duel 150 qualifying races are any indication, Jeff Gordon is set to put a winless 2008 behind him. Gordon went toe-to-toe with former series champion Tony Stewart for the final five laps before holding off the No. 14 car, as well as teammate Jimmie Johnson, for the victory in the first Gatorade Duel qualifying race.

Bubble Breakdown: Sorting Through Who’s Locked In & Locked Out at Daytona

You’d think that over the offseason, it’d be hard for the Top-35 situation to change as no one would be accumulating any more points. But in an offseason filled with teams folding, merging, and selling off their “locked-in” places on the starting grid, the landscape of Who’s In and Who’s Out looks completely different than it did when I left you back in November. Several teams that were out of the Top 35 after Miami have gained access to automatic spots, while others have seen their points go to different cars within their own teams. It’s all enough to leave you more than a little confused. So, without further adieu, let’s clear the air and preview the Top 35 for 2009.

Who’s Hot/Who’s Not: 2009 Budweiser Shootout at Daytona Edition

Following Saturday’s Bud Shootout and Sunday’s qualifying session, some drivers and teams have already begun to stand out as possible contenders and definite holders of momentum – while others already have chinks in their armor before they can even get a donut on the driver’s side door. Here is this week’s list of Hot, Warm and Cold drivers:

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