October 31, 2009

Yahoo! Qualification Story – Talladega

Rain canceled qualification on Saturday and set the lineup by points. Jimmie Johnson will the first six rows of Chase contenders to the green for the Amp Energy 500.

Our View There was not a lot to say about qualification, but you will find our insight in this week's Yahoo! story.

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October 30, 2009

Crash-prone Edwards, Hornish already sustain damage at 'Dega

Barely eight minutes into practice, Sam Hornish Jr. and Carl Edwards slammed into one another in an accordion-style accident that was apparently started when Jeff Gordon was forced out of his drafting line.

Our View If you were listening to this morning's fantasy segment on SiriusXM radio, you would have head me predict that Sam Hornish Jr. and Carl Edwards would crash in the Amp Energy 500. It's not race time yet, but both drivers sustained crash damage in less than 10 laps.

Clint Bowyer was also spun off the track in the aftermath.

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Top-10 Avg. Running Position: Talladega #NASCAR

Average Running Position
Sum of driver position on each lap - divided by the laps run in the race.
Number of Races: 9
AMP Energy 500 Pre-Race
For point-paying races in current and past four years, at this track.
Talladega Superspeedway

RankDriverAverage FinishAverage Place
1Joey Logano9.012.9
2Tony Stewart14.013.3
3Denny Hamlin18.913.6
4Juan Montoya18.613.6
5Kurt Busch11.214.7
6Dale Earnhardt Jr.21.815.2
7Matt Kenseth16.415.6
8Brian Vickers16.815.8
9David Ragan14.016.0
10Elliott Sadler20.216.1

McGrew to crew Earnhardt

The "interim" has been removed from Lance McGrew's title. According to Hendrick Motorsports PR, he has been named crew chief for Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Our View Earnhardt believes he needs someone with a heavy hand to keep him in control; so far, McGrew has not been that personality but he knows where to work.

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Top-10 Driver Ratings: Talladega

Driver Rating
Formula combining the following categories: Wins, Finishes, Top-15 Finishes, Average Running Position While on Lead Lap, Average Speed Under Green, Fastest Lap, Led Most Laps, Lead-Lap Finish. Maximum: 150 points per race.
Number of Races: 9
AMP Energy 500 Pre-Race
For point-paying races in current and past four years, at this track.
Talladega Superspeedway

Rk.DriverAvg. FinBest RatingAvg.
1Brad Keselowski198.998.9
2Denny Hamlin18.912594.8
3Tony Stewart14117.292.4
4David Ragan14121.592.3
5Dale Earnhardt Jr.21.811990.1
6Brian Vickers16.8107.690.1
7Joey Logano988.888.8
8Kurt Busch11.2107.387.7
9Matt Kenseth16.4120.186
10Jeff Gordon20.6135.585.9

Percentage Laps in top-10 and -5 at Talladega

The fewer drivers there are in front of your driver, the fewer there are to make a mistake.

Here is a list of the drivers who have spent the most time at the front of the pack:

DriverTop-10 Laps%Top-5%Possible Laps
Dale Earnhardt Jr58562%39942%946
Denny Hamlin56760%37339%946
Tony Stewart46950%34837%946
Kyle Busch41844%27829%946
Juan Montoya41143%20522%946
David Ragan39842%17218%946
Brian Vickers30540%15220%754
Joey Logano7640%3519%188
Elliott Sadler37940%16317%946
Kurt Busch35838%17518%946
Jimmie Johnson33736%19421%946
Jeff Gordon32234%21122%946
Martin Truex Jr30933%15917%946
Matt Kenseth29231%11913%946
Ryan Newman28430%14215%946
David Stremme22430%9312%756
Brad Keselowski5328%126%188
Reed Sorenson26428%748%946
Jeff Burton26027%13114%946
Paul Menard24326%12713%946
David Reutimann23825%9710%946
Casey Mears23325%899%946
Kasey Kahne19621%839%946
Jamie McMurray18820%10711%946
Michael Waltrip14920%507%754
Kevin Harvick15616%616%946
Marcos Ambrose2915%53%188
Greg Biffle12914%778%946
Sam Hornish Jr4913%175%376
Clint Bowyer12213%323%946
Joe Nemechek11712%435%946
Bobby Labonte11312%435%946
Tony Raines6011%285%570
Regan Smith7710%193%758
Carl Edwards849%243%946
Dave Blaney298%113%378
Scott Speed116%63%188
Michael McDowell116%00%188
John Andretti113%41%376
Mark Martin53%32%188
Robby Gordon192%61%946
A J Allmendinger10%10%376
Max Papis00%00%188

October 29, 2009

BAM Racing due to return?

Beth Ann Morganthal Racing is developing a relationship with Warner Music Nashville that may allow them to return to the track competitively, according to their Web site. No details were given at this time.

Our View In this age of start and park operations, any attempt to be competitive is rewarded with consistent results in the 30s. Just look at John Andretti's effort this season.

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Allmendinger charged with DWI

A.J. Allmendinger failed a field sobriety test, according to ESPN.com, after blew a .08 on a Breathalyzer test. He immediately apologized for the incident and is taking full responsibility for it.

Our View According to unconfirmed sources, Richard Petty Motorsports expects to allow him to race this weekend at Talladega, where he finished 35th this spring.

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October 27, 2009

Yahoo! Talladega Preview

Go find your lucky quarter and prepare for this week's Amp Energy 500 at Talladega SuperSpeedway. Oh yeah, and read this preview that I wrote for Yahoo! Games (.pdf).

October 25, 2009

Martinsville Inspection Cleared

According to @dustinlong: Post-race inspection is done. All clear. Engines to R&D Center: Denny Hamlin, Jimmie Johnson and Kurt Busch; Cars to R&D center: Denny Hamlin, Kurt Busch, Jimmie Johnson and Mark Martin.

Hamlin wins in front of hometown crowd

Denny Hamlin held off Jimmie Johnson and Juan Montoya during a green-white-checkered finish to win his second race at Martinsville.

Our View Hamlin and Johnson have combined to win the last seven races and this spring they battled first and second with Johnson taking the victory.

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October 23, 2009

Yahoo! Qualification Story – Martinsville

Track position is critical on a short, flat track like Martinsville. Get our take on the top qualifiers in this week's Yahoo! qualification story (.pdf).

Hendrick Motorsports dominates Martinsville practice 1

Thee Hendrick Motorsports drivers sat atop the speed chart in practice for the Tums Fast Relief 500. Mark Martin posted a lap of 96.156, Jeff Gordon went 96.122 mph and Dale Earnhardt Jr. went 96.015 mph.

Our View Martin and Gordon come as no surprise—and if you read this week's Yahoo! fantasy preview, Earnhardt would not have been either.

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Hornish crashes in Martinsville practice 1

Sam Hornish Jr. crashed barely 15 minutes into the first practice session for the Tums Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway after apparently experiencing brake issues.

Our View With a best Martinsville finish of 28th at this track, Hornish wasn't on many fantasy owners radar screen to begin with.

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October 22, 2009

Waltrip involved in traffic accident

Michael Waltrip was involved in a traffic accident and cited for failure to yield the right of way to a motorcycle, according to WCNC.com. He was given and passed a field sobriety test.

Our View He blew a .06 on the breathalyzer, which was below the state limit of .08, but this unfortunately brings a 2007 incident back to mind in which he crashed his car and fled the scene of the accident. Charges for reckless driving and leaving the scene of an accident were brought against him for that incident, but those charges were later dropped.

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October 20, 2009

Three teams test at "Little Rock"

Three teams spent a day testing on the Martinsville-style short track at Rockingham Speedway. They included Sterling Marlin, John Andretti—and believe it or not—Jimmie Johnson.

Our View With five victories in the last six Martinsville races, you wouldn't think Johnson needed practice. Then again, this is one way he's kept his advantage.

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Yahoo! Martinsville Preview

Things are about to get interesting as NASCAR heads into back-to-back wild card weekends. Don't expect the Chasers to dominate this week like they did early in the playoffs, but for a list of strong dark horses check out this week's Yahoo! Preview (.pdf) to find out.

October 19, 2009

Inspection cleared part two

According to @bobpockrass: NASCAR engines of Jimmie Johnson, Greg Biffle, Matt Kenseth from last weekend have all passed inspection with no issues.

Inspection cleared part one

According to @bobpockrass: NASCAR tech center evaluation of cars is done. Jimmie Johnson, Mark Martin and Greg Biffle cars all passed with no issues.

October 17, 2009

Can't stop this: Johnson wins NASCAR Banking 500

Jimmie Johnson won his third race during the 2009 Chase and his 17th Chase race of his career in the NASCAR Banking 500 to pad his points' lead.

Our View It's too soon to give the championship to Johnson, but in order to beat him, it's becoming apparent that the other Chasers are going to have to win.

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Lowe's Pit stall selections

Jayski has posted the pit stall selections for the NASCAR Banking 500 at Lowe's Motor Speedway and, as expected pole sitter Jimmie Johnson has the last box exiting pit road.

Our View Mark Martin, Kasey Kahne and Matt Kenseth are the other drivers with an opening in front of them. Tony Stewart, Ryan Newman, Jeff Gordon and Mike Bliss in the No. 71 this week have openings behind them.

As well as he qualified and as strong as he ran in the Nationwide race, Bliss should try to run the distance. If he "starts and parks," however, Bobby Labonte inherits an opening as he is immediately ahead.

Complete List

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Top-10 Quality Passers: Lowe's #NASCAR

Passing a car running in the Top 15 while under a green flag.
Number of Races: 9
NASCAR Banking 500 Pre-Race
For point-paying races in current and past four years, at this track.
Lowe's Motor Speedway

RankDriverAvg. FinAvg. Quality PassesTotal
1Jimmie Johnson9.850.7456
2Kyle Busch17.146.7420
3Kasey Kahne10.239.6356
4Mark Martin15.035.9323
5Jeff Burton11.735.1316
6Joey Logano9.034.034
7Carl Edwards10.033.0297
8Brian Vickers20.032.9263
9Denny Hamlin15.632.5260
10Greg Biffle16.930.8277

Top-10 Avg. Running Position: Lowe's

Average Running Position
Sum of driver position on each lap - divided by the laps run in the race.
Number of Races: 9
NASCAR Banking 500 Pre-Race
For point-paying races in current and past four years, at this track.
Lowe's Motor Speedway

RankDriverAvg. FinRunning Position
1Joey Logano9.06.9
2Jimmie Johnson9.87.0
3Kyle Busch17.111.0
4Kasey Kahne10.212.0
5Mark Martin15.012.1
6Jeff Burton11.714.8
7Denny Hamlin15.615.4
8Carl Edwards10.015.8
9Brian Vickers20.016.0
10Greg Biffle16.916.5

Top-10 Driver Ratings: Lowe's

Formula combining the following categories: Wins, Finishes, Top-15 Finishes, Average Running Position While on Lead Lap, Average Speed Under Green, Fastest Lap, Led Most Laps, Lead-Lap Finish. Maximum: 150 points per race.
Number of Races: 9
NASCAR Banking 500 Pre-Race
For point-paying races in current and past four years, at this track.Lowe's Motor Speedway

RankDriverAvg. FinBest RatingAvg.
1Jimmie Johnson9.8128.8116.6
2Joey Logano9.0106.0106.0
3Kyle Busch17.1139.4104.7
4Kasey Kahne10.2143.699.5
5Mark Martin15.0114.091.7
6Brian Vickers20.0121.691.7
7Carl Edwards10.0104.090.7
8Greg Biffle16.9116.588.8
9Jeff Burton11.7127.788.4
10Jeff Gordon21.8128.285.6

October 16, 2009

Ky Busch wins Lowe's Nationwide race

Despite battling the remnants of the flu, Kyle Busch dominated the Dollar General 300 and won.

Our View Busch was quickest in Happy Hour (in terms of average laps) and this will give him some momentum entering Saturday night's NASCAR Banking 500. It's still hard to see him finishing in the top-five, however. But a top-10 might be in the cards.

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Ky Busch "wins" Lowe's Happy Hour

Kyle Busch "won" Happy Hour by posting the quickest average speed of the session. His time was 181.211 mph during 45 laps.

Our View Busch reports that he is still not 100 percent, but last week he proved that even at 50 percent he could lead laps and pass cars in the Nationwide and Cup series before seeking relief from the flu.

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Johnson, Martin still one-two

Jimmie Johnson and Mark Martin will lead the field to green from the front row. On Friday, they proved their qualification speed was no fluke by posting the first- and second-fastest laps in both sessions. To keep the symmetry, Johnson bettered Martin in both practices.

Our View If they keep this up during race—and it appears they will—it's going to be hard for the competition to make up any ground in the points.

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Montoya "wins" Lowe's practice 2

Juan Montoya won the second practice session with the quickest average speed at 182.509 during 17 laps.

Our View Montoya will have to come from the middle of the pack, but he has plenty of time to get it done. While the No. 42 did not run very many laps, the driver was happy with the car and that is what's most important.

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Johnson fastest in Lowe's practice 2

Jimmie Johnson posted the fastest single lap of practice on Friday afternoon with a speed of 187.162 mph. Mark Martin was second fastest at 185.790 mph and those are the two drivers who will lead the field to green Saturday night.

Our View So far, Johnson has been fastest in every session with the fastest lap in Thursday's 45-minute practice and earning the pole. He is primed to dominate the NASCAR Banking 500.

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October 15, 2009

Yahoo! Qualification Story – Lowe's

Rain delayed practice and qualification, but NASCAR got the upper hand over Mother Nature. It really didn't make much difference, since the point leader and the driver chasing him will line up on the front row. There were plenty of surprises, however, so check out this week's Yahoo! qualification story (.pdf).

Johnson wins NASCAR Banking 500 pole

Jimmie Johnson backed up his fastest lap in practice with the fastest lap in time trials. His speed of 192.376 mph is the fastest this new body style has ever qualified for a race.

Our View When Johnson starts up front at Lowe's, he tends to finish there. He was the latest driver to win from the pole in the 2004 Coke 600 and that should make him a favorite.

Unfortunately, his "cookie-cutter" record this year is less than impressive, so fantasy owners will have to hold their collective breaths.

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Johnson fastest in Lowe's practice 1

Jimmie Johnson continues to do his best to intimidate the competition. In the brief 45-minute practice run Thursday evening, he posted the fastest lap of the field at 192.486 mph.

Our View Mark Martin wasn't too cowed, however. Second in the points, he posted the second fastest lap. Unfortunately, it was more than one mile per hour slower than his teammate at 191.401 mph.

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Burton believes Harvick is leaving

With more than a year remaining on his schedule, Kevin Harvick is already a lame duck. Teammate Jeff Burton expects that Harvick already has plans to leave at the end of the 2010 season, according to SceneDaily.com.

Our View It's hard to imagine this team can stay focused with this distraction, but Harvick has been running well lately. The imminent split between Kurt Busch and crew chief Pat Tryson also suggests Harvick and team can stay near the top of their game.

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Trucks: Piquet, Meira test went well

Monday's Craftsman Truck Series test for Nelson Piquet Jr. and Vitor Meira was delayed until Tuesday, but once on track both drivers performed well, according to team owner Tom DeLoach (at the Official Fan Club Nelson Piquet Web site).

Our View "I was really impressed with both drivers," DeLoach said. I anticipated that it would take a lot longer for them to get accustomed to the trucks once they started."

"We made some changes to the trucks in hopes to give each driver certain feelings in the truck, and they both explained exactly what feedback we were expecting. Both drivers have very impressive skill sets, and they really exceeded my expectations for the first time in a Camping World Truck Series Tundra."

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Gunselman team withdraws from Lowe's

The Larry Gunselman owned team that was to be piloted by Mike Wallace has withdrawn their entry from the NASCAR Banking 500 lineup, according to Jayski.com.

Our View That leaves 47 cars on the entry list to challenge for 43 slots. Past champions Terry Labonte and Bill Elliott are among the entrants, which makes if even tougher for independents to make the show this week. Stick with marquee starts.

Complete Entry List

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October 14, 2009

Pepsi 500 Inspection cleared

According to @NASCARSays: Post race engine inspection from the Pepsi 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event Oct. 11 at Auto Club is concluded and all is clear.

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October 13, 2009

Yahoo! Lowe's Preview

Momentum will be the name of the game this week as NASCAR stages their third consecutive race on one of the similarly-configured, 1.5- and two-mile tracks. Who has it? Check out this week's Yahoo! Preview (.pdf) to find out.

October 11, 2009

Busch still ill

According to @bobpockrass: Kyle Busch likelly won't last whole race today. He is too sick. #NASCAR

Auto Club Pit Stalls

Jayski has posted the pit stall selections, and as expected pole sitter Denny Hamlin has the first piece of real estate leaving pit road.

Our View Greg Biffle and Juan Montoya are the only other drivers with an opening in front of them, but the pits at Auto Club are wide enough so that there should not be any issues.

Notably, immediately in front of Biffle is Joey Logano. Those two drivers exchanged paint during the Nationwide race in a move that appeared to be a deliberate attempt to cripple Logano's car. The teenage sensation came back to win the race, while Biffle ultimately suffered more damage in a second tangle with Logano's teammate Denny Hamlin.

In addition to Logano, other drivers with openings behind them are Mark Martin and Jeff Gordon.

Since David Reutimann's speed was disallowed in qualification for illegal shocks, he lost the right to pick a stall early and finds himself in one of the center pits.

Complete Pit Stall Selection

October 10, 2009

N'Wide Inspection Cleared

According to @bobpockrass: NASCAR Nationwide inspection is done and there were no issues.

N'Wide: Logano stages comeback to win

After Greg Biffle pinched Joey Logano into the wall early in the Copart 300 it appeared one of the dominant cars was out of contention. Joe Gibbs Racing worked on the No. 20 during the next several cautions and got it back up to speed, however. With fresh tires, Logano took the lead late in the going to win his second consecutive race and the sixth of his career.

Our View Logano taking the lead was only one of several great stories at the end. Denny Hamlin and Biffle crashed at the end of the race and a wild restart with a green-white-checkered finish made sure that fantasy owners stayed on the edge of their seat until the checkers waved.

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IRL: Franchitti wins Homestead and championship

Dario Franchitti beat Ryan Briscoe to the line at Homestead in the season finale. As good as that is, the news gets even better since he also won the championship.

Our View He took the top spot on the strength of five wins and 13 top-fives, which made him a great value in the Indy fantasy game.

Complete Results

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Montoya "wins" Auto Club Happy Hour

Juan Montoya posted the quickest average time in Happy Hour with a speed of 175.151 mph during 18 laps. His fastest single lap of 178.390 mph was sixth on that chart.

Our View We can't call Montoya a dark horse any longer because he's favored for a top-five finish every week until his momentum starts to cool.

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Official tweets from the track

Martin fastest in Auto Club Happy Hour

Mark Martin continues to dominate the NASCAR series with the fastest single lap of speed in Happy Hour for the Pepsi 500. His top speed was 180.293 mph.

Our View His average speed of 174.036 was eighth best on that chart, but fantasy owners should expect a top-five finish from the veteran once he adjusts on the car during the race.

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Harvick "wins" Auto Club Sat a.m. practice

With an abbreviated practice of only 20 minutes, the average speeds in the morning session are somewhat meaningless. However, Kevin Harvick was quickest with a speed of 177.559 mph during nine laps.

Our View If this were one of the usual frontrunners, it wouldn't be noteworthy, but with the struggles in the No. 29 camp, it's nice to have any sign of good news.

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Official tweets from the track

Johnson fastest in Auto Club Sat. a.m. practice

Jimmie Johnson posted the fastest single lap of practice in the shortened Saturday morning session with a lap of 180.655 mph.

Our View So few laps were run that the average speeds are not very meaningful, but he was also third quickest on that chart.

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N'Wide: Logano on Copart 300 pole

Joey Logano and Kyle Busch make an all Gibbs front row for the Copart 300. Logano clocked in with a lap of 181.164 mph; Busch went 180.827.

Our View Those were the only two cars above 180 miles per hour, so fantasy players can expect those cars to dominate again this week like they did at Kansas.

Busch is feeling ill, however, so don't be surprised if he turns the No. 18 over to Denny Hamlin for relief.

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Reutimann's time disallowed

David Reutimann's second-place run was disallowed because he had too much gas in his rear shocks, according to NASCAR PR. As a result, he will have to drop from second to 42nd to start the Pepsi 500.

Our View Reutimann was considered a strong dark horse in pre-race coverage and his qualification speed underscored that. We suspect he can still claw his way into the top 10 before the end of the day.

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Official tweets from the track

October 9, 2009

Edwards off crutches

Carl Edwards is off his crutches—at least for the moment—according to multiple tweets from the track (see @BobPockrass and @DustinLong).

Our View This comes at a great time since Edwards is typically one of the favorites on either two-mile track. A victory might still be a little stretch, but a solid finish on either side of fifth will make him great value at Auto Club Speedway.

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Danica Rumor Retracted

As quickly as they spread the rumor, ESPN Insider (via Jayski.com) retracted the story saying that the real number per race is likely closer to $50,000 or $100,000.

Our View That would certainly make her more appealing to a sponsor.

One thing the rumor underscores, however, is that even false reports about this superstar will get a lot of media coverage.

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Yahoo! Qualification Story – Auto Club

Grip was at a premium this week in Fontana, Calif. and if some of the Chasers don't find it on Saturday, the Pepsi 500 is going to seem like a 1,000-mile event. Several top contenders are going to come from deep in the pack, but Matt Kenseth has proved that it can be done. For a list of potential comers and goers, check out this week's Yahoo! qualification story .pdf story.

Hamlin wins Auto Club pole

Denny Hamlin posted a lap of 183.870 mph and will lead the field to green in the Pepsi 500. David Reutimann was the only other driver to break the 183 mark with a lap of 183.108.

Our View Hamlin is a flat track master and while this course is steeper than Pocono, New Hampshire and Phoenix, it fits well into his portfolio.

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Montoya fastest in Auto Club practice 1

Juan Montoya topped the speed chart in Friday's practice, with a lap of 183.556 mph.

Our View Montoya continues to be the biggest surprise of the Chase and he is one of the best values in most games.

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Busch blows engine in Auto Club practice 1

Kyle Busch woke up Friday morning with a touch of the flu, but his day got even worse during practice. The No. 18 blew an engine after the driver missed a shift in the first session and the team will be forced to change it.

Our View No matter where he qualifies, Busch will now have to start at the back of the grid. He had a strong run at Auto Club Speedway in the spring, but it appears unlikely he will be able to back that up this week.

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Danica wants $8 Mil for Nationwide Deal?

According to ESPN Insider, Danica Patrick is asking for eight million dollars to run eight Nationwide races in 2010, which would make her one of the most expensive part timers of all time.

Our View She would certainly bring a lot of attention to the series, but it's hard to imagine someone stepping up to the plate for that amount of cash in today's economy.

Wonder how much she wants for the ARCA races...

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IRL: Homestead Avg. Fin

If you were thinking about Dan Wheldon this week – we highly agree.

DriverAvg Finish20082007200620052004
Dan Wheldon1.8031113
Sam Hornish Jr2.25
Helio Castroneves 4.4049252
Scott Dixon8.401251618
Tony Kanaan7.00851138
Ryan Hunter-Reay7.007

Patrick Carpentier7.00

Felipe Giaffone 8.00


Vitor Meira8.50104164
Tomas Scheckter 8.25
Eddie Cheever Jr10.00


Scott Sharp 10.25
Darren Manning9.501313
Dario Franchitti12.50
Sarah Fisher11.00

Kosuke Matsuura11.25
P J Chesson12.00


Anthony Foyt IV12.75918
Oriol Servia12.0012

Ed Carpenter12.2056201812
Marco Andretti12.3322015

Danica Patrick13.006141715
Alex Barron14.33
Bryan Herta13.33

Buddy Lazier 14.00


Franck Perera14.0014

Buddy Rice13.00111018197
Paul Dana14.50

Justin Wilson15.0015

Mario Moraes16.0016

E J Viso17.0017

Roger Yasukawa17.00

Jeff Simmons17.00

Enrique Bernoldi18.0018

Marty Roth18.002115

Ryan Briscoe19.5019

Milka Duno20.0020

Tomas Enge21.00

Jay Howard22.0022

Bruno Junqueira23.0023

Hideki Mutoh24.0024

Will Power25.0025

Trulli NASCAR?

Add Jarno Trulli to the list of potential Formula 1/NASCAR crossovers. He will reportedly test a Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota at Lakeland this winter along side Mika Salo.

Our View Trulli could potentially join Nelson Piquet Jr. and IndyCar stars Vitor Meira and Danica Patrick in part= or full-time schedules in 2010. If these stars are capable of bringing any kind of sponsorship to the table, the field is wide open for them with up to 14 percent of the field being taken by "start and park" teams this year.

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October 6, 2009

Yahoo! Auto Club Preview

If you liked the results last week, stand pat because Auto Club will be more of the same. Nearly all of the Chasers finished 12th or better in the spring Auto Club 500. Check out this week's Yahoo! Preview (.pdf).

Stewart 7th, Newman 22nd at Knoxville Nationals

After winning the Price Chopper 400 by Kraft Foods Tony Stewart and Ryan Newman hoped on a plane for Iowa to compete in the Knoxville Nationals. Tony Stewart finished seventh and Ryan Newman was 22nd in a battle won by Scott Bloomquist.

Our View Maybe that was why Stewart was so cranky in the media center following the race; he wanted to make sue to get to Knoxville.

Stewart, Newman and all of the other drivers in the garage that support grassroots racing have to be applauded.

Complete Results

October 4, 2009

Patrick Still in the Rumor Mill

Danica Patrick is still in the rumor mill as a potential NASCAR driver in 2010. SportsIllustrated.com is reporting that Rick Hendrick has confirmed JR Motorsports is in discussion with her to run a handful of Nationwide and ARCA races next year.

Our View With sponsor GoDaddy.com in the mix, this sounds like the most likely rumor we've heard so far. This would allow her to develop before getting tossed into the highly competitive Cup series.

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Stewart Smokes Kansas

Tony Stewart held off a late-race charge by Jeff Gordon and won his second race at Kansas Speedway.

Our View In the end, it was a battle between two tires (Stewart) and four (Gordon) and the winning decision was less than a second on the track. At the start of the week, we predicted the race would be won in the pits.

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Piquet Jr. coming to NASCAR?

With the success that Juan Montoya has finally achieved this year, another former F1 driver is eyeing a career in NASCAR. Nelson Piquet Jr. is scheduled to test a Red Horse Racing truck at Rockingham (N.C. that is – not England, y'all) on October 12th, according to SPEEDTv.com.

Our View Earlier in the week, it was announced Mika Salo would test a MWR Toyota this winter.

Diversity is great for the sport, so long as NASCAR doesn't also lose its connection to their roots. Piquet is young enough to be able to make the transition to the heavier stock cars—if he is actually talented enough to control it.

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October 3, 2009

Kansas pit stall selections

Jayski.com has posted the pit stall selections, and as expected pole sitter Mark Martin took the final box at the exit of the pits.

Our View Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jamie McMurray, Kasey Kahne and Brad Keselowski also have openings in front of them and will be able to pull straight out. Tony Stewart, Clint Bowyer, Scott Speed, Brian Vickers and Jeff Gordon have openings behind them and can pit shallowly to give themselves a little more room.

Kansas has a wide, long pit road, however, and no one should have too much trouble.

Complete List

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Official tweets from the track

Stewart's issue is ignition #NASCAR

For most of the morning practice session, Tony Stewart thought he had an engine going sour, which caused him to turn only eight laps. Between sessions, the team changed an ignition box and the miss seems to have gone away.

Our View Stewart will get to keep his fifth-place grid position and his fans hope the issue is truly resolved. Gremlins can be hard to find, however.

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Ky Busch continues to unravel in Happy Hour practice

Kyle Busch is showing signs of wear and tear after swerving at David Reutimann in Happy Hour for the Price Chopper 400 by Kraft Foods. His frustration in practice comes on the heels of a poor qualification effort.

Our View There is no doubt that the Young Gun has speed on his side, but until he develops some maturity, he is a risky proposition.

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N'Wide: Logano wins Kansas

Kyle Busch dominated the race, but youth was served with three laps to go. Joey Logano used the high groove to pass his teammate and pulled away from the field—just like he did at Chicagoland this summer.

Our View One week after his terrible tumble at Dover, this is the best confidence booster a teenager could have.

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Montoya wins Kansas Happy Hour

Juan Montoya posted the quickest average speed in Happy Hour for the Price Chopper 400 with a speed of 168.214 mph during 23 laps. His fastest lap of 172.018 was fourth-best on that chart.

Our View Montoya didn't post too many laps in either session, but that means he didn't need the extra track time. At his level, Montoya provides the best bang for the buck.

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Johnson fastest in Kansas Happy Hour

Jimmie Johnson posted the fastest single lap in both the morning and Happy Hour sessions, which continues to make him a favorite to win Sunday's Price Chopper 400.

Our View The best way to silence his critics is to dominate. Fantasy players need to put personal feelings aside and ride this pony until he goes lame.

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Stewart has possible engine problem

Tony Stewart heard something he didn't like in his engine during morning practice and spent most of the session looking for the gremlin. The team will need to decide whether to change powerplants in between the morning and Happy Hour sessions.

Our View if he changes engines, he will have to give up his fifth-place qualification effort. The Price Chopper 400 by Kraft Foods can be won from the back, but that will still be a seriously blow to his chances for a first-place finish.

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Johnson wins Kansas Sat. a.m. practice

Jimmie Johnson posted both the quickest single lap of 173.388 mph during the morning practice session and the quickest average speed of 168.765 during 23 laps.

Our View That gives him a great balance of speed and durability. He was one of our favorites at the start of the week and he remains a favorite.

Actually, Tony Stewart posted quicker average speeds, but he was battling an engine problem and made less than a handful of very short runs.

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Biffle spins in Kansas Sat. a.m. practice

Greg Biffle spun off the track in the Saturday morning session at Kansas Speedway. He did not do any apparent damage.

Our View His confidence has to be shaken, however. This is his second spin of the day after previously crashing in Nationwide qualification. It's hard to recommend him for the Price Chopper 400 unless he shows a ton of speed later in the day.

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N'Wide: Kligerman steals Kansas pole

Parker Kligerman will make his Nationwide debut in style. He stole the pole for the Kansas Lottery 150 over Kyle Busch and a long list of Cup veterans.

Our View Now that is impressive, but his youth will almost certainly get the best of him during race conditions.

Be patient; there will be plenty of opportunities to start this kid in the future.

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October 2, 2009

Yahoo! Qualification Story – Kansas

Qualification matters little at Kansas, but Mark Martin and Dale Earnhardt Jr. will take consolation in knowing they will start up front. Brad Keselowski was the surprise dark horse of the afternoon, however, and this week's Yahoo! qualification story (.pdf) tells of just how fast Hendrick Motorsports was.

N'Wide: Bowyer crashes in Kansas practice

Clint Bowyer slammed the wall hard in practice for the Nationwide Series Kansas Lottery 150 and will have to roll out a backup car.

Our View The good news is that Bowyer was third on the speed chart at the time and his RCR-prepared No. 29 is liable to have a goo backup.

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Kansas qualification order

Jayski.com has posted the qualification order for the Price Chopper 400 by Kraft Foods.

Our View It shouldn't matter who goes out when at Kansas because the biggest contributing factor will be the unpredictable wind, but for the record, Tony Stewart rolls off the grid first.

Complete Lineup

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Newman fastest in Kansas Practice 1

Ryan Newman posted the fastest single lap in the first practice session for the Price Chopper 400 by Kraft Foods with a speed of 173.745 mph.

Our View If he wants to reclaim the title "Rocketman," Newman is going to have to start winning poles again. So far in 2009, his only top start came at Lowe's for the Coke 341—er… that is, the Coke 600.

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McDowell, K Hamlin and Gilliland in jeopardy

Michael McDowell (in the No. 36 this week), Kevin Hamlin (37) and David Gilliland (04) were the three slowest drivers among the go or go homers and as such are in the greatest jeopardy of going home.

Our View Each of these drivers are most likely start and park drivers, so fantasy owners will be unaffected if they fail to make the Price Chopper 400 by Kraft Foods.

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Salo coming to NASCAR?

According to Autosport.com, Mika Salo will test a Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota this November. "It will be great to get to test a NASCAR at last," Salo told AUTOSPORT magazine, "After two years of trying, I finally met the person who could make it happen. Racing sportscars in the US has definitely helped.

"My hope next year is that I can do some races in Nationwide, maybe even a full season - but I understand that I may have to raise some money to make it happen."

Our View This time is right to try and make a move with Juan Montoya currently running so well. This has to increase recognition for former F1 drivers.

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Wind may be an issue at Kansas

Chicago is supposed to be the windy city, but nestled on the plains outside of Kansas City, wind may play a huge role in practice, qualification and the race at Kansas Speedway.

Our View It's going to be hard to dial the cars in under these conditions. Kansas is traditionally kind to dark horses, and this uncertainty will contribute to some comers and goers at the top of the grid.

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Kansas using Auto Club tires

Goodyear has brought the same tire to Kansas Speedway they used at Auto Club Speedway earlier this year.

Our View That might favor drivers who were fast there: Matt Kenseth and Jeff Gordon were the class of the field in the Auto Club 500. The California track is slightly longer at two miles in length, but it bears a lot of similarities in shape to the 1.5-miler in Kansas.

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Patrick mum on 2010 plans

Last week it was reported that Danica Patrick had signed a three-year deal with Andretti-Green Racing. Not so fast, it seems; Patrick has been mum on the subject.

Our View According to the Associated Press, "Patrick refused Wednesday to confirm widespread reports that she's agreed to a three-year extension of her IndyCar contract with Andretti Green Racing. Asked specifically about the extension, Patrick simply shook her head, not saying a word."

Come on over, girl – diversity needs to be served.

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N'Wide: Cobb to attempt Kansas

Kansas City native Jennifer Jo Cobb will attempt to make the Nationwide Series Kansas Lottery 150 this week. if she is successful, it will be her fourth start.

Our View It wild be great to see a female driver in the field, but in two of her three previous starts, Cobb crashed and finished last. Last year, however, she finished 30th in this race.

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Johnson, Martin "too close" to tolerance from Dover

According to FoxSports.com, Jimmie Johnson and Mark Martin's cars were "too close" to tolerance on fitting the templates at NASCAR's R&D center. Martin was barely under; Johnson was barely over. No penalties are forthcoming, but they were told not to bring the cars back to the track.

Our View As the story developed into Friday morning, however, John Darby reported neither car was illegal (according to a trackside Tweet from @BobPockrass). The teams that win are going to get as close to the line as possible, so Johnson and Martin are still favorites for the Price Chopper 400 by Kraft Foods.

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October 1, 2009

Gilliland in second Robby Gordon car at Kansas

David Gilliland will pilot a second Robby Gordon Motorsports car at Kansas this weekend.

Our View This keeps Gilliland in the field while Bobby Labonte takes over the Racers Group ride. Keep an eye out for a sponsor on the quarter panels of the No. 04, because this car has been known to start and park in previous events.

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