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Posts Tagged ‘NASCAR’

Ashley Judd, NASCAR Hardly Knew Ye

Posted by Matt on July 2, 2008

Nearly nine months to the day we welcomed Ashley Judd to NASCAR as her husband Dario Franchitti inked a deal with Chip Ganassi Racing in the fall of last year to drive the #40 Dodge in the 2008 Sprint Cup Series.

And now, just as soon as she came (that’s what she said), we must say goodbye to Ashley Judd as team owner Chip Ganassi announced Tuesday he will be canning Dario’s ride due to lack of funds and a full-time sponsor.

Now allow me to be side tracked for a moment. I have to question the quality of the corporate sales representatives of Chip Ganassi Racing if they are unable to sell ample sponsorship on a car that drives in a racing series that is the most watched weekly American sporting event, like, ever.

Sure, Franchitti and the #40 team struggled to find success this year but it was not for a lack of a big-name owner or talent on Dario’s part. In fact, after being part of the winning team in the Rolex 24 at Daytona this year, Franchitti became only the third driver ever to win the Indianapolis 500, the IndyCar Championship, the 12 Hours of Sebring, and the Rolex 24 in a career behind racing greats Mario Andretti and A.J. Foyt — pretty solid company, if you ask me.

What is next for the open wheel senstation-turned-NASCAR failure, you might ask? My assumption is that he will shop around for another Sprint Cup or even Nationwide Series ride for the remainder of the 2008 season with a return to the now-unified IRL as a contingency plan for 2009 if needed.

Unfortunately for all of us this news means we won’t be seeing much of Ashley Judd in NASCAR anymore, at least for the time being, so we will just have to be content with all of the other drivers’ hot wives.

And look on the bright side, now we won’t be forced to listen to NASCAR broadcaster Larry McReynolds call Dario Franchitti, “Dario Francheatie.”

Now for gratuitous Ashely Judd pictures:

Linkage: NASCAR.com

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Posted in General Sports | Tagged: , , | 4 Comments »

Food City 500 Preview

Posted by Matt on March 16, 2008

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We haven’t had some NASCAR talk in a few weeks so dare I say why not? 

The Food City 500 is race #5 of 36 for the 2008 SCS campaign and is race that is a favorite among many NASCAR die hards.  Bristol Motor Speedway is known for its excitement but with the way Goodyear’s tires are performing, it could be another long day for the drivers.  Yes, Tony Stewart is the outspoken one but even Junior seems to think the complaints after last week’s race have fallen on deaf ears.

The Busch brothers tend to do very well at BMS with Kyle winning the first Car of Tomorrow race ever right here at the Food City 500 last year.  Of course the Hendrick boys also run well and with qualifying rained out, Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon start 1st/2nd, respectively, thanks to point totals from last year.  This also means Kurt Busch starts deep in the field and is one Tony Stewart punch-to-the-face away from being lapped early on.

The starting grid can be found here:  Food City 500 Starting Grid

Predictions:

Winner:

Kasey Kahne – #9 Budweiser Dodge – Gillett Evernham Motorsports

Remaining Top 5 (no particular order):

Kyle Busch – #18 M&M’s Toyota – Joe Gibbs Racing

Dale Earnhardt, Junior – #88 National Guard Chevrolet – Hendrick Motorsports

Jeff Gordon – #24 DuPont Chevrolet – Hendrick Motorsports 

Kevin Harvick – #29 Shell/Penzoil Chevrolet – Richard Childress Racing 

Posted in General Sports | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

Auto Club 500 Preview – 2008

Posted by Matt on February 24, 2008

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California golden boys Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon start 1/2 in today’s Auto Club 500 by virtue of point totals from last season after qualifying was rained out. I don’t know that there is any other way but you would much rather qualify than line the cars up based on points from last season and I am not a big fan of the process; the rich get richer.

Along with Jimmie and Jeff, Matt Kenseth is a strong runner at Fontana and he starts 4th and will be in contention at the end as long as he can stay out of trouble, that I can almost guarantee.

The starting grid can be found here: Auto Club 500 Starting Grid

Predictions

Winner: Jeff Gordon – #24 DuPont Chevrolet – Hendrick Motorsports

Most Laps Lead: Matt Kenseth – #17 DeWalt Ford – Roush Racing

Dario Franchitti Watch: Dario starts 26th today and with the restrictor plates off, we’ll see if Franchitti fairs better than he did at the Daytona 500, a restrictor plate race.

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Daytona 500 Preview – 2008

Posted by Matt on February 17, 2008

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I don’t know if we have too many NASCAR fans around here but I absolutely love the sport more and more each season.  I have always been a huge Dale Earnhardt, Junior fan and that won’t change this season despite his move to the ‘Evil Empire’ of NASCAR.  I am also adding Dario Franchitti to my stable of drivers —  I am a big open wheel fan and the rookie makes his move to stock car racing after winning the Indy 500 last year and I am also a big fan of, and fellow UK alum with, his wife Ashley Judd.

The Daytona 500 is my second favorite race of the year with the Indianapolis 500 being my personal #1.  With the week he has had — biases aside even — I don’t think anyone is stopping Junior.  He’s one of the best restrictor plate race car drivers in the world and has pretty much dominated Speed Week.

I am taking Dale Junior to win, Jimmie Johnson to lead the most laps, and my man Dario to finish in the Top 20.

Predictions

Winner: Dale Earnhardt, Junior – #88 National Guard/Amp Chevrolet – Hendrick Motorsports

Most Laps Lead: Jimmie Johnson – #48 Lowe’s Chevrolet – Hendrick Motorsports

Dario Franchitti Watch: Top 20 finish.

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Nextel Cup To Be Renamed ‘Hendrick Motorsports Cup’

Posted by Matt on November 5, 2007

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Well, probably not…but it should be.

You see, Jimmie Johnson went on to win yesterday’s Dickies 500 at Texas Motor Speedway to record his third consecutive victory, taking a 30 point lead on teammate Jeff Gordon in “The Chase for the Nextel Cup.”

But the ridiculousness of it all doesn’t stop there. Johnson and Gordon have combined for victories in each of the last five races as well as seven total victories in the last 10 races.

The hated dynamic duo boasts victories in 15 of the 34 races to go along with 13 combined Poles, 39 combined Top 5 finishes, 50 combined Top 10 finishes, and 2532 combined laps lead. All the while, Johnson and Gordon have expanded their lead in “The Chase” to 181 points and 151 points, respectively, over third place Clint Bowyer setting up a two-car sprint to the finish in the last two races of the NASCAR Nextel Cup season.

The success of Johnson and Gordon can not be denied and I can only congratulate them on two impressive seasons yet again as NASCAR has likely never seen the two-man domination that we’re witnessing this season. However, in a sport that boasts upwards of 50 different drivers trying to qualify each week, a two-man competition is bad for the sport – especially when, on top of it all, it is from the two most globally disliked drivers on the circuit – as fans are growing tired of seeing the same two Californian faces in Winner’s Circle each week.

H.M.S. is clearly on top of it’s sport but hopefully the “Car of Tomorrow” increases competitive balance – as it has been advertised to do – when it is put in to use full time next season for the inaugural “Chase for the Sprint Cup” because I don’t know how much longer I can go on being an active fan when Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson (a.k.a. The Gordon Brothers) are effectively embarrassing the rest of the field on a weekly basis.

Posted in General Sports | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

Subway 500 Preview

Posted by Matt on October 21, 2007

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The Chase for the Nextel Cup brings the boys back to Martinsville Speedway for the Subway 500, a track that saw Jimmie Johnson win in April after trading paint late with teammate Jeff Gordon, who just so happens to start on the Pole for today’s race.  These two Hendrick Motorsports drivers have also won the last four Subway 500s here at Martinsville.

Starting Grid: Subway 500 Starting Grid

Predictions:

Winner:

Jeff Gordon – #24 DuPont Chevrolet – Hendrick Motorsports

  1. Starts on the Pole for today’s race.

  2. Comes in to today with two consecutive victories.

  3. Came in a close second to teammate Jimmie Johnson in the Spring race here at Martinsville Speedway in April.

  4. Won this Fall race at Martinsville Speedway in 2003 AND 2005.

Others To Watch For:

Jimmie Johnson – #48 Lowes Chevrolet – Hendrick Motorsports

  1. Starts in the Top 5 today in the 4th position.

  2. Needs a quality finish to keep pace with Jeff Gordon, the hottest driver on the circuit right now.

  3. Won here at Martinsville Speedway in the Spring race in April, edging out the aforementioned Jeff Gordon.

  4. Won this Fall race in 2004 AND just last year in 2006, giving Johnson the last two victories at this track.

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UAW-Ford 500 Preview

Posted by Matt on October 7, 2007

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Did Toyota finally get it right at Talladega Superspeedway?  A struggling Michael Waltrip sits atop the Pole with the Top 3 cars all being Toyotas along with seven of the Top 10.  With returning champion Brian Vickers sitting in the 3rd position it looks as if today can be the day Toyota puts it all together across the board.

Starting Grid: UAW-Ford 500 Starting Grid

Predictions:

Winner:

Brian Vickers – #83 Red Bull Toyota – Team Red Bull

  1. Won this race at Talladega in 2006.

  2. Starts from the 3rd position for today’s race.

  3. With 1 Top 5 and 4 Top 10s, Brian is stronger in the larger, faster tracks such as Talladega Superspeedway

Read the rest of this entry »

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We Welcome Ashley Judd To NASCAR

Posted by Matt on October 3, 2007

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Mr. Ashley Judd has inked a deal with Chip Ganassi Racing to drive the #40 Dodge in the Nextel Cup next season and Dario Franchitti will start his preparation in an ARCA race at Talladega this weekend.

Being known best for being Mr. Ashley Judd as opposed to being an open-wheel driver with 17 career victories and 18 career poles must suck ass — oh wait, it would be sweet as all hell.

The deal for 34-year-old Franchitti marks the first time a European driver has been on the NASCAR circuit.

But who really cares about that? Nobody.

Now for more Ashley Judd, University of Kentucky’s favorite daughter:

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Posted in General Sports | Tagged: , | 11 Comments »

LIFELOCK 400 Preview

Posted by Matt on September 30, 2007

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With just seven races to go in the Chase for the Nextel Cup, four drivers are within just 20 points of Chase leader Jeff Gordon.  It will no doubt be a shootout amongst the Top 5, but drivers towards the bottom of the standings may be starting to look towards making a move as the Chase nears a finish.

Starting Grid: LIFELOCK 400 Starting Grid

Predictions:

Winner:

Matt Kenseth – #17 DeWalt Tools Ford – Roush Racing

  1. Is 10th in the standings at 116 points behind the leader and will be looking for a strong finish to boost his ranking.

  2. Finished a frustrating, yet strong, 2nd in last night’s Busch Series race at Kansas Speedway

  3. Starts 2nd in today’s Nextel Cup race

Read the rest of this entry »

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Dodge Dealers 400 Preview

Posted by Matt on September 23, 2007

Today’s Dodge Dealers 400 is at Dover Internation Speedway, a track more affectionately known as “The Monster Mile.”  Jimmie Johnson leads the pack from the Pole while the remainder of the starting grid can be found here: Dodge Dealers 400 Starting Grid.

Predictions:

Winner:

Jimmie Johnson – #48 Lowe’s Chevrolet – Hendrick Motorsports

  1. Starts from the Pole today.

  2. Won here in 2002 AND 2005.

  3. Hendrick Motorsports has effectively owned the Car of Tomorrow races and Clint Bowyer proved a wire-to-wire victory to be possible last week in  Car of Tomorrow with late-lap passing is somewhat difficult.

Others To Watch For:

Read the rest of this entry »

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Time To Add Another ‘8’ To My Tattoo

Posted by Matt on September 19, 2007

When Dale Earnhardt, Junior announced he would leave his late-father, and redneck deity, Dale Earnhardt, Senior’s garage for the 2008 edition of the NASCAR Nextel Cup series, a million rednecks suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced.

But Republicans around the Nation shouldn’t fear because Junior’s new sponsors are the next best thing to Budweieser:  Mountain Dew and the National Guard (I guess it could be better if it were RC Cola and Moonpie, but you get the point).  Junior also maintains his trademark number 8 by merely adding another 8 to it.  This will be the biggest non-issue as by the time the race started, most Junior fans were so wasted that they saw two 8s anyways…and if this was the plan the entire time:

Touche, Dale.

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Author’s note:  before you go filling up my inbox or the comments thread, I am a Junior fan, and I am a NASCAR fan, and drink Budweiser and Mountain Dew, so there was no harm meant.

Posted in General Sports | Tagged: , | 3 Comments »

Sylvania 300 Preview

Posted by Matt on September 16, 2007

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The “Chase” is upon us and Jimmie Johnson leads the cast of NASCAR in to New Hampshire International Speedway today at 1:00PM EST for the Sylvania 300.  The Busch Series was off yesterday so there is no “tune up” race to speak of so we’ll take a look at the qualifying grid and past results and break this one down.

Starting grid: Sylvania 300 Starting Grid

Predictions:

Winner:

Kevin Harvick – #29 Shell/Penzoil Chevrolet – Richard Childress Racing

  1. Starts 8th today.

  2. Won here last year.

  3. Can breath a sigh of relief after making the “Chase.”

Others To Watch For:

Read the rest of this entry »

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Presenting Your Chase Contestants

Posted by Ryne E. Hancock on September 11, 2007

Beginning next weekend as the Nextel Cup heads to Loudon for the Sylvania 300, 12 drivers will have a shot at winning 2007 Nextel Cup championship.

And after a wild finish in determining the 11th and 12th spot in the Chase, the postseason for the most part, should also have no shortage of high drama as we begin the “second season”.

1. Jimmie Johnson #48 Lowe’s Chevrolet

  • 6 wins in 2007, including a sweep in both Richmond races.
  • 96.6 percent of laps ran in 2007
  • Past Chase race wins: Dover & Charlotte in 2005

2. Jeff Gordon #24 DuPont Chevrolet

  • 4 wins in 2007, including wins at Talledga and Phoenix
  • 95.0 percent of laps ran
  • Past Chase race wins: 2004 Sylvania 300, 2006 Dover 400, 2006 Checker 500

3. Tony Stewart #20 Home Depot Chevrolet

  • 3 wins in 2007, including wins in the Brickyard 400 and the Centurion Boats at the Glen
  • 97.5 percent of laps ran in 2007
  • Past Chase race wins: None

4. Carl Edwards #99 Office Depot Ford

  • 2 wins in 2007, including the Sharpie 500 on August 25th
  • 94.8 percent of laps ran in 2007
  • Past Chase race wins: 2005 Bass Pro Shops 500, 2005 Dickies 500

5. Kurt Busch #2 Miller Lite Dodge

  • 2 wins in 2007, including the fall race at Michigan
  • 96.1 percent of laps ran
  • Past Chase race wins: 2004 Sylvania 300

Read the rest of this entry »

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Chevy Rock & Roll 400 Preview

Posted by Matt on September 8, 2007

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The NASCAR Nextel Cup series heads back to Richmond International Raceway for a night race this time and we all know what Richmond means:  Car of Tomorrow.  Furthermore, we all know what a Car of Tomorrow race means:

  • Chevrolet Domination – 8 of 10 Car of Tomorrow race victories
  • Hendrick Motorsports Command – 5 of 10 Car of Tomorrow race victories

Hendrick Motorsports also finished first, second, and fourth (Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Busch, and Jeff Gordon, respectively) during the spring race here at Richmond International Speedway and start first, second, and third today (Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, and Kyle Busch, respectively).  The combination of Richmond and Car of Tomorrow has Hendricks Motorsports poised for another dominating weekend, especially with Kyle Busch already notching a victory in last night’s Busch Series race at this very track.

If you’re looking for the starting grid, look here: Chevy Rock & Roll 400 Starting Grid (ESPN.com)

 Predictions:

Winner:

Jeff Gordon – #24 DuPont Chevrolet – Hendrick Motorsports

  1. Finished 4th here in the spring race after starting from the Pole.

  2. Starts today from the 2nd position.

  3. Hasn’t won a race since the Pocono race on June 10th meaning that by Jeff Gordon standards, HE IS DUE.

Others To Watch For:

Kyle Busch – #5 Kellogg’s Chevrolet – Hendrick Motorsports

  1. Chevrolets and Hendricks’ boys have owned the Car of Tomorrow races this season and luckily for Kyle, that is just the category he falls under.

  2. Won last night’s Busch Series race at this track.

  3. Finished and impressive 2nd in the spring race at this track after starting 34th.

  4. Starts MUCH higher this week in the 3rd position.

  5. Won the very first Car of Tomorrow race ever at Bristol Motor Speedway.

 Jimmie Johnson – #48 Lowe’s Chevrolet – Hendrick Motorsports

  1. Won last week in California and is riding that hot streak in to Richmond.

  2. Finished 1st in the spring race at this track after starting 4th.

  3. Starts from the Pole position in today’s race.

  4. Has experience winning Car of Tomorrow races this season, along with the rest of the Hendricks Motorsport ‘Power Trio,’ after winning the Richmond AND Martinsville races this season.

Posted in General Sports | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

Sharp AQUOS 500 Preview

Posted by Matt on September 2, 2007

Discuss these predictions and more at: “The Nasty Boys’ Sports Bar!”

Official discussion thread for predictions: Sharp AQUOS 500 Preview (TNBSB) or feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments thread here! 

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The ‘Boys of Summer’ hit California Speedway, one of my favorite tracks, for the second night-race in as many weeks, the Sharp AQUOS 500.  Tensions will be as high as the track temperatures in steamy Fontana, California with on two races left for drivers to make their move and ultimately make “The Chase for the Cup.”

NASCAR’s hottest driver, and “Chase” bubble resident, Kurt Busch rides from the Pole position tonight meaning Dale Earnhardt, Junior and Ryan Newman will need nearly a miracle at this point, but stranger things have happened.

In the end, I am predicting a “Battle of the Busch Brothers” today with Kurt on the Pole and Kyle starting in the 5th position.  The rest of the starting grid can be found here: Sharp AQUOS 500 Starting Grid (ESPN.com).

Predictions:

Winner:

Kyle Busch – #5 Kellogg’s Chevrolet – Hendrick Motorsports

  1. Finished 2nd to Jeff Burton in last night’s Busch Series race at California Speedway where they are today
  2. Finished 9th last weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway
  3. Won this race in 2005
  4. Starts within the Top 5 today in the 5th position

Others To Watch For:

Kurt Busch – #2 Miller Lite Dodge – Penske Racing

  1. One of the hottest drivers right now in NASCAR after a win two weeks ago at Michigan International Speedway as well as finishing 6th last weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway
  2. Starts from the Pole today and needs a strong performance to lock himself in to “The Chase for the Cup” for good

Kasey Kahne – #9 Dodge Dealers Dodge – Ray Evernham Racing:

  1. Finished 2nd to Carl Edwards last weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway after starting from the Pole
  2. Won last weekend’s Busch Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway
  3. Finished 6th in last night’s Busch Series race at California Speedway where they are today
  4. Starts up front in the 3rd position and may have a better chance than last week considering he doesn’t start the race from the Pole with a target on his back

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Sharpie 500 Preview

Posted by Matt on August 25, 2007

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Ahh, the ‘Bristol night race,’ a race a lot of people consider their outright favorite of the year; especially to watch in person.  There will be a lot of wrecks, as always at Bristol Motor Speedway and it will be interesting to see how the “Boys of Summer” like the Car of Tomorrow on the smooth, new concrete surface under the lights at Bristol.

A few story lines to watch for tonight’s race:

  • A Chevrolet has won 8-of-9 CoT races so far this season, the only non-Chevrolet was Juan Pablo Montoya at Infineon Raceway – a road course.

  • A Hendricks Motorsports driver has won 5-of-9 CoT races thus far; however it was the first five races and the Hendricks garage hasn’t seen Winner’s Circle at a CoT race since Jeff Gordon won the Darlington race on May 12, 2007.

  • Kyle Busch, a Chevrolet AND a Hendricks driver won the first CoT race ever which just so happened to be the day race at Bristol Motor Speedway – the very track they’re at tonight.

  • Matt Kenseth, a Ford driver, is working on back-to-back victories in the Bristol night race in 2005 and 2006; Kenseth starts 12th.

  • For the first time in what I am sure is a long time at most tracks, the Starting Grid doesn’t see a Chevrolet until the 9th position; which is filled by Jimmie Johnson another Chevy/Hendricks man.  The rest of the starting grid can be found here: Sharpie 500 Starting Grid

  • Kasey Kahne, a Dodge driver, has the Pole for tonight’s race; last night’s Busch Series race at Bristol was won by none other than Kasey.

There are a lot of tie-ins to the race tonight and the beast that is Bristol never disappoints.  On to the predictions…

The predictions below are almost completely interchangeable.  I am going to give you one Ford, one Chevy, and one Dodge and I really feel like there is a good chance it could be any one of these guys.  The problem for me is that I had a hard time deciding and the problem with Bristol Motor Speedway is you have to avoid trouble at all costs.  This only benefits the guys up front, the ones ahead of most of the traffic until cars start getting lapped.

(The NASCAR predictions will look different for the rest of the season to help clean up their appearance.)

Predictions:

Winner:

Kasey Kahne – #9 Dodge Dealers Dodge – Ray Evernham Racing:

  1. Kasey starts on the Pole tonight and was nearly a half of a mile per hour faster than J.P. Montoya in the 2nd position and on a track like this, that is huge.

  2. Kasey won last night’s Busch Series Bristol race with impressive late-race driving and looks to repeat that performance tonight.

  3. It seems cliche to pick the Pole position to win, but Kasey will be out of trouble early and we will see how he fairs when it gets tricky as he approaches lapped traffic.

  4. Barring trouble, Kahne may be the one to beat tonight as Kasey is likely too far out of the Chase to have a chance so he has the luxury of driving with little to lose.

Others To Watch For:

Matt Kenseth – #17 DeWalt Ford – Roush Racing

  1. Kenseth has won the last two races here at the night race at Bristol Motor Speedway and notching three in a row is going to be tough, but Kenseth has the talent to do it as he already has one win this season. 

  2. Matt always has the fastest Pit Crew in NASCAR and that will only help on a track like this to pick up positions during caution-lap pit stops.

  3. Look for Matt to be at or near the top all day as he starts 12th and has a great chance to win tonight.

Kyle Busch – #5 Kellogg’s Chevrolet – Hendrick Motorsports

  1. Chevrolets and Hendricks’ boys have owned the Car of Tomorrow races this season and luckily for Kyle, that is just the category he falls under.

  2. Busch won the very first Car of Tomorrow race ever which was the day race at this very track, Bristol Motor Speedway; needless to say Kyle knows how to get it done here.

  3. Busch finished an impressive 4th in last night’s Busch Series “tune up” race at Bristol and could easily win it from the 20th position tonight. Believe it – he started in the exact same position when he won the first Bristol race in the spring.

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3M Performance 400 Preview

Posted by Matt on August 19, 2007

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The NASCAR Nextel Cup series heads to Michigan International Speedway today for the 3M Performance 400.  The chance for rain today in the Brooklyn, Michigan area is between 70%-100% all day so it is somewhat likely that this race will not be ran until tomorrow.  Despite that, let us take a look at how things shake down.

Check the weather report at the 3M 400 here: Brooklyn, Michigan (Weather.com).

Michigan International is an interesting race in the sense that there has been six different winners in the past six years and despite several Nextel Cup regulars running the in Busch Series race at M.I.S. yesterday that Denny Hamlin won, the winner doesn’t usually replicate their Saturday success on Sunday.  This if a very tough race to call as not one driver has seemed to dominate yearly and it is a race track that Hendrick Motorsports AND Chevrolet HAS NOT seen much success at meaning that Hell must have frozen over (Chevy hasn’t won in last 12 races here, the longest streak for Chevy at any track).

The points situation really heats up as their are just four races left before “The Chase For The Cup” begins.  Kurt Busch finds himself on the bubble in 12th position with Ryan Newman in 13th, just 96 points behind Busch, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. in 14th, 100 points behind Busch, and Greg Biffle in 15th, 212 points behind Busch which will be extremely hard for Biffle to make up and he’ll need an outstanding run today.

The starting grid sees Jeff Gordon on the Pole AGAIN, his Series-leading ninth Pole of the year.  The rest of the starting grid can be found here: 3M 400 Starting Grid (ESPN.com).

Predictions: 

Winner: 

Greg Biffle – #16 Ameriquest Ford – Roush Racing (Biffle needs a strong finish today to have a glimmer of hope of making “The Chase” and starts in the 2nd position behind Jeff Gordon; Biffle finished 5th in yesterdays Busch Series race at the same track and won this race in 2004 so he knows how to get it done at M.I.S.) 

Others To Watch For:

Jeff Gordon – #24 DuPont Chevrolet (Gordon starts on the Pole and would’ve won last week at Watkins Glen if it weren’t for a brain-fart on the last lap while he was leading;  Crew Chief Steve Letarte is back after his six-race suspension for using illegal parts and having Letarte back will ONLY help Jeff Gordon; Gordon is in contention for every race, look for today to be no different)

Matt Kenseth – #17 DeWalt Tools Ford – Roush Racing (Kenseth starts in the 21st position today but finished a strong 2nd in yesterday’s Busch Series race here and won this race outright last year in 2006; Kenseth is one of the few non-Hendrick Motorsports drivers not named Tony Stewart to notch a win this season so look for good things from Matt in this race)

Denny Hamlin – #11 FedEx Express Chevrolet – Joe Gibbs Racing (Despite the Busch Series winner not having the same success on Sundays at M.I.S., you cannot deny the fact that Hamlin learned a lot in his dominating performance yesterday that saw the closest competitor a distance seven seconds behind when the Checkered Flag fell; Hamlin starts up in the Top 10 in the 8th position and looks to build on a strong season of 1 win, 9 Top 5s and 13 Top 10s and sees Hamlin in second in the points)

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Centurion Boats At The Glen Preview

Posted by Matt on August 12, 2007

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Road races seem to be more predictable, at times, and it looks as if the Watkins Glen race of 2007 will be no different as rain washed out qualifying making the current points standings the starting grid for today’s race.  This means that all of NASCAR’s big guns start at the top, including road-race aficionados Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart.

Starting Grid (ESPN.com)

What to watch for:

  • The battle between the “bubble teams” for the “Chase for the Cup” in Dale Earnhardt, Junior (13th – one spot out) and Kurt Busch (12th – last in).  Junior is just seven points out of “The Chase.”
  • Robby Gordon starts 29th in today’s road race after the now-infamous incident at the Busch Series road race last week in Canada where he seeminlgy wrecked Marcos Ambrose that earned Gordon a fine of $35,000, a suspension from last week’s race at Pocono, and a probation that warned Robby any other malicious on-track behavior will earn him an indefinite suspension.

Predictions: 

Winner: 

Tony Stewart – #20 Home Depot Chevrolet – Joe Gibbs Racing (Stewart starts 5th after finishing 6th at the road race at Sonoma earlier this season; Tony has three of the last five wins here at Watkins Glen and has quite a large amount of road race experience; Stewart comes in very strong with two wins in the last three races) 

Others To Watch For:

Jeff Gordon – #24 DuPont Chevrolet (Gordon starts on the Pole and finished a stunning 7th after starting 41st at the Sonoma race; Gordon also has had a very strong season and is in contention for every race)

Juan Pablo Montoya – #42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge – Chip Ganassi Racing (J.P. won the road race in Sonoma this year from the 32nd position and starts much closer to the top in the 18th position for today’s race; Montoya is a road race expert and should be in contention throughout the day)

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Pennsylvania 500 Preview

Posted by Matt on August 5, 2007

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Back to Pocono Raceway we go for the second race at the triangular track this season.  My man Dale Earnhardt, Junior will ride from the pole and is looking for his first win of the season.  With just six races left to earn a coveted spot in “The Chase For The Cup,” let the bubble-bouncing and intense racing begin!

The full started grid can be found here: ESPN.com

A few story lines to look for during today’s race:

  • Robby Gordon will be suspended for today’s Nextel Cup offering for allegedly intentionally starting a caution in yesterday’s Busch Series race.  He probably would not have been a factor today, however.

  • Dale Earnhardt, Junior hasn’t seen Winner’s Circle in 15 months.  Can he get back on track today?  Only bad luck will stop him but he’s had more than his fair share of that.

  • The weather at race time will be 77 degrees and sunny with just a 20% chance of precipitation; should be great weather for racing

Predictions:

Winner: 

Ryan Newman – #12 alltel Dodge – Penske Racing (won this race in 2003 and starts 4th today, Newman finished 2nd from the Pole position in the June race here at Pocono, was running strong last week from the 3rd position at Indianapolis Motor Speedway before trouble knocked him out of contention; Dodges have ran well at Pocono in recent history and Newman is just 59 points out of “The Chase” right now so he desperately needs to continue his improving ways with just six races left to earn a spot)

Most Laps Lead:

Dale Earnhardt, Junior – #8 Budweiser Chevrolet – Dale Earnhardt Incorporated

Others To Watch For:

Kurt Busch – #2 Miller Lite Dodge – Penske Racing (starts 2nd today and finished 2nd to Denny Hamlin in this race last year as well as finished 2nd in last years June race at Pocono, winning it outright in 2005; he went from 27th to 16th in the June race at Pocono and had a Top 15 finish last week after starting 6th; at just 13 points out of the last spot for “The Chase” there is no doubt in my mind that Kurt will be driving the wheels off of this Dodge to try and make NASCAR’s version of the playoffs with only six races left to do so)

Denny Hamlin –  #11 FedEx Express Chevrolet – Joe Gibbs Racing (Is two-wins for three-starts at Pocono Raceway and started 2nd in the June race only to see himself fall to 6th by the race’s end, which is ironically where he starts from in today’s race; Denny swept Pocono last season and was in contention here in June after leading 49 laps, the most of any driver in that race)

Dale Earnhardt, Junior – #8 Budweiser Chevrolet – Dale Earnhardt, Incorporated (starts on the Pole today and has improved over the past month or so and needs to maintain that as he holds the coveted 12th and final spot in the “Chase For The Cup”; Junior started 4th last week and lead 33 laps before a bad luck blown engine parked him in the latter stages of the race)

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5 More Defining Moments In NASCAR History

Posted by Bob Swerski on August 1, 2007

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5 more defining moments in NASCAR which were not featured during Sports Center’s “100 Defining Moments in Nascar History.”

1770 – Bourbon first distilled by settlers in Kentucky.  And the birth of hillbilly’s moonshinin’ begins.

September 20, 1991  Birth of Jerry Springer show.  Brought red necks everywhere at the fore front of American pop culture with their Skynryd shirts and their incestual relationships

June 27, 1990  Tom Cruise stars as Cole Trickle in “Days of Thunder.”  Making it the first and last good NASCAR movie before “Talladega Nights.”

Post WW2 – Tennessee Valley Authority instituted by FDR attempts to give “ridge runners” legal employment (attempt fails).

January 2000  Blue Collar Comedy Tour begins with “comedians” like Jeff Foxworthy and Larry the Cable Guy.”  Apparently repeating “You might be a redneck if…” and “Git-er-done” over and over is entertaining to people.  Probably the same people who find cars going past them over and over to be entertaining. 

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Allstate 400 At The Brickyard Preview

Posted by Matt on July 29, 2007

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Ah, The Brickyard, the Mecca of motorsports.  I would have to say that my favorite race of the year in all facets of motorsports is the Indianapolis 500.  In NASCAR specifically, I like the two Daytona International Speedway races (day/night) as well as the Coca~Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.  But somewhere in there, and possibly at the top, is what used to just be known as the Brickyard 400 (damn commercialization).  Despite the advertisment revenue from the new name, the prestige is all the same and allow us to get right to business:

One of the trickier tracks on the Nextel Cup circuit sees some relatively new faces at the top of the starting grid with Reed Sorenson on the Pole and Juan Pablo Montoya starting in the #2 position.  But with big names in Dale Earnhardt, Junior and Kasey Kahne waiting in the wings in the 4th and 5th positions, respectively, don’t expect a wire-to-wire for either of the two new guys up front.

The entire starting grid can be found here.

 A few stories to watch for in today’s race:

  • A Chevrolet has won five of the last six races here at Indianapolis Motor Speedway

  • Hendrick Motorsports has won three of the last six races here at Indianapolis Motor Speedway (including 10-of-19 races this season alone)

  • The Dale Earnhardt, Incorporated – Ginn Racing merger combines the forces of “Little E.” and uber-veteran Mark Martin

The weather when the White Flag drops looks to be mostly sunny and 82-degrees with only a 10% chance of precipitation; looking at this weather report it is shaping up to be a great race so, as Darryl Waltrip would say, “let’s go racing, boys!”

Predictions:

Winner: 

Dale Earnhardt, Junior – #8 Budweiser Chevrolet – Dale Earnhardt, Incorporated (two Top 10s in seven starts at Indianapolis Motor Speeway, finished 6th here last year and starts 4th this year with newest teammate Mark Martin behind him in 13th and looking to help)

Others To Watch For:

Tony Stewart – #20 Home Depot Chevrolet – Joe Gibbs Racing (won impressively at Chicagoland Speedway two weeks ago and will benefit greatly from the week off; starts inside the Top 15 in the 14th position) 

Hendrick Motorports – (a bit of a cop-out, I understand, however, with 3 of the last 6 victories here and 10 of 19 victories in races this year, you just can’t count them out; Mears starts 9th, Ky. Bush starts 18th, Johnson starts 19th, and Gordon starts 21st, putting the power three for Hendrick together in the middle of the pack, looking to move on up)

Jimmie Johnson – #48 Lowe’s Chevrolet (starts 19th and is the reigning champion here at the Brickyard to go along with four victories thus far this season; is looking to fix a recent skid by his standards that hasn’t seen a win since May 5th in Richmond)

Jeff Gordon – #24 DuPont Chevrolet (starts 21st and, let’s see, has more wins at Indy than any other driver with four; has finished in the Top 4 seven times, which is more than half of the races he’s ran here (13); has four wins this season with his last victory coming at Pocono on June 10th,;has help right in front of him with Johnson, the list just goes on and on; 12 Top 5s and 17 Top 10s in 19 races this year; the guy is unbelievably good)

Sleepers:

Ryan Newman – #12 alltel Dodge – Penske Racing (starts third and is looking for his first win of the season; sits 13th in the “Chase,” only 30 points behind the last spot (12th) to make the “Chase” in Dale, Junior so a good run puts him in the playoffs for the time being)

Mark Martin – #01 U.S. Army Chevrolet – MB2 Motorsports (Martin starts 13th and always shows up for big races with his 2nd place finish and near victory at the Daytona 500 this year to kick off the 2007 campaign; now, he has the power and resources of D.E.I. and the help of Dale, Junior up front after the recent team-merger that makes the young-gun and the living-legend new found teammates)

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USG Sheetrock 400 Preview

Posted by Matt on July 15, 2007

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The boys of summer speed in to Joliet, Illinois at Chicagoland Speedway today for the USG Sheetrock 400.  A relatively new race (with the first one coming in 2001), it tends to be one of the more exciting races of the season with the track being comparatively shorter than some at 1.5-miles long.

Last year’s winner is, without surprise, Jeff Gordon and the Hendrick Motorsports crew has fared well, as they tend to usually do:

  • Casey Mears has the pole for today’s race (#25 National Guard Chevrolet – Hendrick Motorsports)

  • Jeff Gordon (#24 DuPont Chevrolet – Hendrick Motorsports) and Jimmie Johnson (#48 Lowes Chevrolet – Hendrick Motorsports) both have four Top-5 finishes, the most of any active drivers (along with Tony Stewart #20 Home Depot Chevrolet – Joe Gibbs Racing)

  • Jimmie Johnson has an average finish of 3.6 at Chicagoland Speedway and is alone at the top with that statistic

Along with Mears on the pole, Johnson starts 8th and Gordon starts 11th, with shunned Hendrick drive Kyle Busch starting higher than both in the 6th position.  It remains to be seen if the other three Hendrick drivers in the front 11 can work together with Busch but it is no doubt that they will be able to see each other in the mirrors.

The weather is shaping up for a perfect day of racing with a sunny temperature of 80-degrees when the Green Flag drops with only a 10% chance of rain.

The rest of the weather report can be found here: Joliet, IL

The full starting grid can be found here: USG Sheetrock 400

The race is at 4:00PM EST on the TNT network.

Predictions:

Winner: Kevin Harvick – #29 Shell/Penzoil Chevrolet – Richard Childress Racing (won the Daytona 500 and looks for his second win of the season; has three Top-10s in the last five races with one Top-5 – – a second place finish at Sonoma; also won the Busch Series race at Chicagoland Speedway last night; Harvick starts 14th)

Others To Watch For:

Jeff Gordon – #24 DuPont Chevrolet – Hendrick Motorsports (Three Top-5s in the last five races, including a win at Pocono and a runner-up at New Hampshire; runs well at Chicagoland Speedway and won last year’s race here; Gordon starts 11th)

Jimmie Johnson – #48 Lowes Chevrolet – Hendrick Motorsports (highest average finishing position of all active drivers here at Chicagoland Speedway at 3.6; has two Top-10s with one Top-5 in the last five races and seems to be due for a win; Johnson starts 8th)

Most Laps Lead: Casey Mears -#25 National Guard Chevrolet – Hendrick Motorsports (starts on the Pole and has two Top-5s in the last five places with 4th-place finishes at both Pocono and Michigan)

Sleeper: Casey Mears -#25 National Guard Chevrolet – Hendrick Motorsports (I don’t know if someone on the Pole and predicted to lead the most laps can be considered a sleep, however, Mears has only recorded one win in five seasons in the Nextel Cup (a win this year at Charlotte) but starts on the Pole for today’s race at a place where Hendrick’s power runs well (where doesn’t it these days?); Mears has a tendency to be inconsistent but is due for a solid finish today with three finishes of 19th, or higher, in the last three races after back-to-back 4th-place finishes before that)

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Pepsi 400 Preview

Posted by Matt on July 7, 2007

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The boys of summer roll in to Daytona Beach, Florida to Daytona International Speedway for the Pepsi 400, the second race of the year at the venue and one that drives in to the night.  The Daytona night race is one of the best races of the year along with the Bristol night race, the Daytona 500, and the Brickyard 400.

Every Daytona race is ran by the drivers like it is the last race of their career so it really becomes a tough one to judge.  The February race was won by Kevin Harvick this year while two Hendrick Motorsports boys, Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon, have won the last two going back before Harvick.  The Summer race (today’s race) has bee dominated by “Smoke” the last two years with Tony Stewart notching back-to-back victories and Jeff Gordon winning the year before that.

Unfortunately, with the winner coming from the front row in the last three Pepsi 400s it is going to be tough to bet against Jeff Gordon (the man on the Pole) this weekend and since he hasn’t won since June 10th, 2007, with the rate he is going this season I guess you can say that he is “due.”

Gordon starts on the pole, the 62nd of his career with Johnson starting 4th, Stewart starting 6th, and Harvick starting 8th.  Here is the rest of the starting grid: Pepsi 400 Starting Grid

The weather forecast for the Green Flag in Daytona Beach, Florida is mid-80s with the temperature dropping to the mid-to-high-70s by the end of the race.  Unfortunately there is 90% chance of rain at race time, and a 50% throughout the race, so it remains to be seen if they will get this one in under the lights or not.  The Green Flag drops at 8:00PM EST.

Predictions:

Winner: Jeff Gordon – #24 DuPont Chevrolet – Hendrick Motorsports (has won once in the past three years at both the Daytona 500 and the Pepsi 400 and the Hendrick garage tends to run well at Daytona International Speedway — actually, they run well everywhere)

Others To Watch For:

Tony Stewart – #20 Home Depot Chevrolet – Joe Gibbs Racing (has won the last two Pepsi 400s and starts in just the 6th position this week after finish 12th last week in New Hampshire) 

Kevin Harvick – #29 Shell/Penzoil Chevrolet – Richard Childress Racing (won the Daytona 500 and is one of only seven drivers NOT in the Hendrick garage to win this season in 17 races and finished second in this morning’s Busch race, Harvick starts 8th tonight)

Jimmie Johnson – #48 Lowes Chevrolet – Hendrick Motorsports (won the Daytona 500 here in 2006 and is a Hendrick product starting upfront in the 4th position)

Dale Earnhardt, Junior -#8 Budweiser Chevrolet – Dale Earnhardt Incorporated (won the Pepsi 400 in 2001 and the Daytona 500 in 2004 and has run real well as of late nearly getting the victory last week in New Hampshire finishint 4th)

Most Laps Lead: Tony Stewart – #20 Home Depot Chevrolet – Joe Gibbs Racing (having won the last two Pepsi 400s, he starts near the top today in the 6th position and has lead at least one lap in the past seven races at Daytona)

Sleeper: Greg Biffle – #16 Ameriquest Ford – Roush Racing (won the Pepsi 400 in 2003 and starts within striking distance in the 18th position as long as he can stay out of early trouble and avoid “the big one”)

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Lenox Tools 300 Preview

Posted by Matt on July 1, 2007

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The NASCAR series rolls in to New Hampshire International Speedway for the Lenox Tools 300, a “Car Of Tomorrow” race.  This is a tough race to dissect as there really aren’t many trends or any one, or two, drivers who have dominated historically.  Kurt Busch in 2004 and Jimmie Johnson in 2003 are the only two drivers to win both races at New Hampshire in a single season and the other Busch, Kyle, won this race last year.

Jeff Gordon has three victories here at New Hampshire, second all-time to Jeff Burton who has four, and starts in the 8th position, however, the majority of races run here at N.H.I.S are won from outside of the Top 10, including three of the last six.  I feel, however, that this might be a race won within the Top 10 as Kevin Harvick won last nights Busch Series race at New Hampshire, while looking strong in doing so, and starts in the 7th position.

The starting grid is an odd one with numerous strangers at the top and Dave Blaney on the Pole, the first Toyota Pole in the history of NASCAR but don’t expect Blaney to hold the lead for long.

Hendrick Motorsports has won five of seven “Car of Tomorrow” races with Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson each notching two wins and Kyle Busch with one.  Martin Truex, Jr. and Juan Pablo Montoya have the other two wins combined.

Predictions:

Winner: Kevin Harvick – #29 Shell/Penzoil Chevrolet – Richard Childress Racing (won the Daytona 500 and is one of only six drivers NOT in the Hendrick garage to win this season in 16 races, also won last nights Busch Series race at the same track, starts 7th)

Others To Watch For:

Jeff Gordon – #24 DuPont Chevrolet – Hendrick Motorsports (starts 8th and has three career wins at New Hampshire, has ran well in “CoT” races)

Kurt Busch – #2 Miller Lite Dodge – Penske Racing (starts 2nd and dominated here in 2004)

Denny Hamlin – #11 FedEx Express Chevrolet – Joe Gibbs Racing (starts 11th and would continue the trend of winners coming from outside the Top 10, also finished 2nd in last nights Busch Race at New Hampshire, also has ran well in “CoT” races)

Most Laps Lead: Kurt Busch – #2 Miller Lite Dodge – Penske Racing (starts 2nd and dominated here in 2004)

Makes 200th Career Start: Jimmie Johnson – #48 Lowes Chevrolet – Hendrick Motorsports

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Toyota/Save Mart 350 Preview

Posted by Matt on June 24, 2007

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The Toyota/Save Mart 350 is at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, California this evening at 5:00PM EST. I will only do a short preview on the race as I am not a huge fan of the road courses as I find them slightly less exciting and several no-name drivers race only the Sonoma and Watkins Glen races and I find that odd.

At any rate, the two names to watch for for today’s race are Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon. The duo has combined for the last three victories here and for four wins in the last seven races; needless to say, they own the road courses.

Here are even a few more statistics just to show you how well these two do on this style of race course:

At Watkins Glen International, or “The Glen,” this duo has seven of the last ten victories, with Stewart registering three and Gordon registering four. Gordon’s four wins there also includes a string of three straight from 1997-1999.

For today, the only issue with Jeffie is that his car failed the pre-race inspections so he will be forced to start at the back of the pack and is in the 41st position out of 43. Tony Stewart, however, starts from the 5th position and is the 2005 champion of this race.

I refuse to buck tradition as it seems with the road courses in the Nextel Cup, past race history is an accurate determinate of future results. I am calling a clean sweep for Tony Stewart, the man they call “Smoke.”

Here is the starting grid: Toyota/Save Mart 350

Predictions:

Winner: Tony Stewart – #20 Home Depot Chevrolet – Joe Gibbs Racing

Others To Watch For:

Jeff Gordon – #24 DuPont Chevrolet – Hendrick Motor Sports (owns road courses and the Hendrick garage has won five of the six ‘Car of Tomorrow’ races thus far this season, he will register a Top 10 by avoiding trouble and collecting some solid pit stops)

Robbie Gordon – #7 Jim Beam Ford – Robby Gordon Motorsports (starts second and has won a race at each of the road courses once in the past four years)

Most Laps Lead: Tony Stewart – #20 Home Depot Chevrolet – Joe Gibbs Racing

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