NASCAR Race Weekend Central

Bubble Breakdown: Several Teams Miss Opportunity to Lock Down Top 35 For ’09

There’s an old saying that Hell hath no fury like that of a ‘Dinger scorned, or something to that affect anyways. And for the second straight week AJ Allmendinger drove like a man on a mission right from the drop of the checkered flag. A mission is what he needs to be on if he wants to drive Gillett Evernham’s No. 10 Dodge into the Top 35 before the checkered flag flies over Homestead in a month’s time. For the second week in a row, AJ drove his Dodge from the back to the front and posted another top-15 run. But did he make any measurable gains in his quest for a Top-35 locked-in spot? Read on to find out in this week’s edition of the Bubble Breakdown.

Bubble Breakdown: Michael Waltrip & Scott Riggs Continue Push Into Top 35

Martinsville, Virginia played host to NASCAR’s field of 43 this past Sunday for the running of the Tums QuikPak 500. The half-mile paperclip-shaped oval makes for some exciting beating and banging throughout the event. If you ever questioned how tough this track was, NASCAR veteran Kurt Busch came on his radio three quarters of the way through the event, crying that he wanted to park his car and go home because he was afraid he may get hurt. Now if a veteran struggles like that, just imagine how tough it was for a rookie like Scott Speed, making his NASCAR debut!

Bubble Breakdown: Scott Riggs, Michael Waltrip Securing Spots for Their Teams in Top 35

Lowe’s Motor Speedway was the venue Saturday night in Charlotte, North Carolina, for the running of the Bank of America 500. With just six races remaining in the ’08 season, the bubble teams should now look at each race as a qualifying attempt for next year’s Daytona 500. Struggling teams have trouble finding funding, and without a locked-in spot for the 2009 Daytona 500, or the next four races after it for that matter, attracting good sponsorship in a slow economy can be next to impossible. But don’t take my word for it; just give a call to the guys at Morgan-McClure Motorsports and ask them.

Bubble Breakdown: Scott Riggs, Robby Gordon Post Top-10 Triumphs at ‘Dega

Not only is Talladega Superspeedway the “wild card” in the Chase for the Cup, it’s also the wildcard in the Chase for the Top 35. ‘Dega has been defined by the big wreck that everyone knows is coming at some point, and a bubble team can make up an enormous amount of points by missing the Big One that eats up a large number of their competitors. Add in the fact that this is an impound race, and it makes for a sleepless weekend for a team’s crew chief. Teams outside the Top 35 set their cars up to qualify, not race, resulting in many bubble teams starting up front. That does not, however, mean they’re gonna finish there. To see which teams were able to translate good starting positions into top finishes, read on for this week’s edition of the Bubble Breakdown:

Bubble Breakdown: AJ Allmendinger Shines in Possible Team Red Bull Finale

As NASCAR headed to Kansas this past Sunday, the big news from the bubble teams left many scratching their heads, as Team Red Bull is about to let AJ Allmendinger go. According to the driver himself, he’s “almost 100% sure he’ll be out of the car after Kansas” after turning down a one-year deal to remain with the team in 2009. Yet even in the midst of such a tough situation, Allmendinger still found time to leave his team a parting gift. What was it, exactly, and how did the other fellow bubble dwellers fare in the Midwest? Read on to find out in this week’s edition of the Bubble Breakdown.

Bubble Breakdown: Michael McDowell, AJ Allmendinger Tangle Costly in Top-35 Race

As NASCAR’s top teams began their chase for the cup Sunday at New Hampshire, the bubble teams continued their quest for a Top-35 spot in the owner standings. The numbers of teams fighting to either get into or stay in the Top 35 has been pretty much narrowed down to seven, as just 87 points separated 31st from 37th in the owner standings heading into the Sylvania 300. Read on to see who stepped up and who stumbled Sunday afternoon.

Bubble Breakdown: AJ Allmendinger Races Way Into Top 35 & the Bud Shootout

On Tuesday, NASCAR announced a new format to the season-opening Budweiser Shootout, and in doing so, gave several bubble teams something new to focus on. The new format now takes the top six cars in owner points from each manufacturer. With the new format, the sixth Toyota to make the show is going to be a team now around the 35th place in the owner standings. Heading to California, the No. 55 NAPA Toyota, No. 22 Caterpillar Toyota and the No. 84 team Red Bull Toyota were separated by only 52 points. So with the proverbial carrot dangling in front of them, were any of these teams able to step up and make a run at being the final Toyota in the Budweiser Shootout? To find out, read on in this week’s Bubble Breakdown.

Bubble Breakdown: Regan Smith Builds Cushion With 14th-Place Run

Once again, the half-mile bullring that is Bristol Motor Speedway proved to be too much for the teams sitting around the bubble. Only one driver ranked between 29th and 37th finished in the top 25; and for that same group of nine drivers, the average starting position was 29th and the finishing position 31st. To add insult to injury, six of those nine cars were also involved in wrecks. With that list of poor performers, which lone driver was able to stand out and take advantage of the others’ misfortunes? Read on to find out in this week’s edition of the Bubble Breakdown.

Bubble Breakdown: AJ Allmendinger’s Stay in Top 35 Was a Short One

After plenty of speculation, Ryan Newman was formally introduced as the driver of what will be the No. 4 Chevy for Stewart-Haas Racing in 2009. This now officially makes Newman the biggest fan of current Haas CNC Racing driver Scott Riggs, as he fights to get the No. 66 Chevrolet back into the Top 35 in the owner standings — thus eliminating the need for Newman to qualify on time next year. On Sunday, Riggs didn’t disappoint his new fan, posting a strong 15th-place finish at Michigan. But was it enough to get the No. 66 Chevy back into the Top 35? To find out, read on in this week’s edition of the Bubble Breakdown.

Bubble Breakdown: It’s All Good for AJ Allmendinger After Securing Slot in Top 35

After rain washed out Friday’s qualifying, this weekend’s road race at Watkins Glen was set by owner points – a decision that turned out to be a double-edged sword for our faithful set of bubble dwellers. On the plus side, all 43 full-time teams qualified without the risk of being knocked off by road-course ringers Boris Said and Brian Simo. But making the field was no consolation when each of these teams were forced to start 31st or worse in a race where track position proves key. Despite that disadvantage, there were not one but two drivers outside the Top 35 who shocked many by finishing inside the top 11. Which teams were they, and who was hurt the most by a devastating nine-car crash that decimated several cars in the race’s final laps? To find out, read on for this week’s edition of the Bubble Breakdown.

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