Using both pedals a lot more than normal this weekend could mean different things for different drivers. Will Kyle Busch back up his Sonoma win? Does Jeff Gordon finally take the checkers first this weekend? Can Tony Stewart finally get into his usual summer mode? Only in this week’s Picks ‘N’ Pans will you find who you should have on your roster and who should stay in the RV lot.
What does this weekend in the Poconos hold for the Sprint Cup Series – and for your team? Was Kasey Kahne’s win earlier this year a fluke? Can Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon continue their strength from Indianapolis? Will Carl Edwards regain his past glory on the big triangle? More dependable than a Goodyear tire on a diamond ground race surface, this week’s Picks ‘N’ Pans will tell you which ones you should have on your roster – and who needs to stay in the chalet enjoying wine and cheese.
1. Still Able To Get ‘Er Done – 1995 Busch (Nationwide) Series Champion and 1996 Winston (Sprint) Cup Rookie of the Year Johnny Benson won for the third consecutive time at the Milwaukee Mile in the Camping World RV 200 Craftsman Truck Series race Friday evening. With the win, Benson maintains his CTS points lead in the drivers standings by 50-points over Todd Bodine. Benson has 10 wins in since moving to the CTS in 2005 after not being able to any longer secure a competitive Cup ride. Is the Craftsman Truck Series where Cup veterans are sent to die… or do they sometimes get another chance?
The Irish Hills of Michigan once again produced a fuel mileage finish that will have people buzzing for weeks. Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s strategic win — one that came packaged with a little luck — was enough to move him up the rankings. But did he knock off rival Kyle Busch? We’ll tell you this much; for the first time in months, Busch is not alone atop the charts. Who were those surprises, and which Penske Racing driver is just barely receiving votes these days? Read on to see if you agree or disagree with the latest choices by the Frontstretch writers.
The Monster Mile wasn’t as much of a monster as it’s been in the past — that is, after an early race melee involved six of the top 12 drivers in the point standings. But while the rest of the day may have put you to sleep, it did allow for some decisive moves in the rankings this week. The Roush Fenway brigade all climbed up in the order except for David Ragan, while Kasey Kahne, Tony Stewart, and Clint Bowyer were among those who took big hits in the poll this week. Behind them, what underdog driver received enough love to move back into the top 15 — kicking out someone who’s spent nearly all year cruising along in the top 12 in points? Read on to find out, and see if you agree or disagree with the latest choices by our Frontstretch writers.
1. Are They Baaack? – Television ratings for NASCAR have seen resurgence this race season after experiencing at least two years of declines. The Memorial Day weekend Coca-Cola 600 tallied a 4% boost over last season’s telecast, and posted the first increase in viewer numbers in three years. But the 4% improvement, though noteworthy, is less than the 5% increase that FOX TV has seen in its race broadcasts for the season to date.
Darlington Raceway may have had a facelift, but no matter what you do to the old girl, she’s still the track too tough to tame. A ton of grip and a hard tire meant that the cars went faster than ever before, but they also hit the wall harder and more often than ever before. The track claimed several victims during the night, and had some surprise top-10 finishers. Read on to see if you agree or disagree with the latest choices by the Frontstretch writers.
Despite a different track surface, it was the same ol’ Darlington Saturday night, with the Lady in Black’s walls jumping out and biting drivers on several occasions… including race winner Kyle Busch. But while there were some adjustments made to the track, adjustments made to this week’s “HOT” list are minimal. Busch continues to dominate. while Junior Nation continues to enjoy the success of the No. 88 team with another top five. Still, two new drivers are featured in this week’s “WARM” and “COLD” lists heading into All-Star weekend. To see who those teams are, check out this week’s edition of Who’s Hot/Who’s Not in Sprint Cup.
On lap 285, Kyle Busch blew by Jeff Gordon and drove off into the night with the afterburners lit.
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 Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway.