Wednesday , October 22 2014
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Danny Peters

Fan’s View: Mark Martin: Last Chance Saloon for a Championship Challenge

Saturday night was, to put it kindly, a bad night for Mark Martin. After running upfront for much of the race, Martin misjudged a pass, clipped another car and slid hard into the inside wall. The damage saw Martin finish a lowly 38th, some 137 laps down to race winner Brad Keselowski. The poor finish saw the driver of the Hendrick Motorsports No. 5 Chevrolet slip a further three points in the standings to 19th, some 77 points out of ... Read More »

Nine Drivers (Who Don’t Race for Hendrick) To Watch In 2010

Nine Drivers (Who Don’t Race for Hendrick) To Watch In 2010

I want to start out in this, the final Yellow Stripe of 2009, by recognizing the efforts of Jimmie Johnson. Even if your personal flavor preference is not vanilla, any true fan of our great sport should recognize the level of achievement for the entire No. 48 team: a worthy champion, no question. All told, it was a tremendous season for Hendrick Motorsports and its JV partner Stewart Haas Racing, so as thoughts slowly start to turn to 2010, I’m going to take a look at ten non-Hendrick drivers to watch next year. And being a foreigner, it seems only appropriate that I start with the two full-time Sprint Cup drivers born overseas. Read More »

Is Jeff Gordon’s Drive For Five Permanently Stalled?

Is Jeff Gordon’s Drive For Five Permanently Stalled?

The whimsical 1986 movie "Short Circuit," starring those giants of the big screen, Ally Sheedy and Steve Guttenberg, is a story about the mad cap adventures of an artificially intelligent robot named “Number Five.” The premise of the tale sees the U.S. Military designed and owned robot brought to “life” by a freak power surge. It’s a heartwarming, if somewhat flippant tale, and those fans of the movie will certainly remember the robot at one point screaming to Ally Sheedy’s character that “Number Five is Alive!” Relating this back to NASCAR and yeah, I bet you were wondering if I was actually going to get there, in the case of one Jeffrey Michael Gordon from Vallejo, CA, number five is _not_ very much alive. Read More »

Can Mark Martin Do The Unthinkable And Prevent The 4-Peat?

Can Mark Martin Do The Unthinkable And Prevent The 4-Peat?

It was over. Done and dusted. The fat lady was halfway through her last aria; the trophy had been all but etched and the historians were in the process of re-writing the NASCAR history books. Fans were switching off in droves and thoughts, for many, were turning to Daytona in February 2010. Exiting Talladega, Jimmie Johnson the 3-time champ had a prohibitive 184-point lead after a hugely fortuitous 6th place finish with just three races left to go in the 2009 Chase for the Sprint Cup. Read More »

Reasons To Keep Watching NASCAR In 2009 (No Really, There Are…I Think)

Reasons To Keep Watching NASCAR In 2009 (No Really, There Are…I Think)

As we look toward the denouement of a season that has staggered from one crisis to the next, it’s hard to be anything but scared for the future of our sport as the powers that be methodically and systematically run it into the ground. As a writer, though, I like a challenge and my challenge this week is to come up with reasons to keep watching over the final three races. Cue the tumbleweed and the awkward silence…..thinking…thinking….okay here we go... Read More »

What Might Have Been For Hamlin, What Never Was For Mears, And What Will Never Be For Johnson

What Might Have Been For Hamlin, What Never Was For Mears, And What Will Never Be For Johnson

The last time we raced at Martinsville, it was the sixth race of a then nascent 2009 season. Hope still sprung eternal back then: Four-time champion Jeff Gordon led the points by some 89 markers; Stewart-Haas Racing was still a fledgling operation of which not much was expected, and Mark Martin had just recorded back-to-back top 10s after two 40th place runs and another 31st place effort in the first five races, whereas Kevin Harvick -- who has suffered through the sort of year not even his worst enemy would wish on him -- was in 10th place in the standings. But fast forward some seven months to last Sunday’s return to the track in the shadow of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and there’s really three words that sum up where we are right now: Jimmie flipping Johnson. Read More »

Edwards Eyes Next Season After Disappointing Year

Edwards Eyes Next Season After Disappointing Year

While it’s not yet a mathematical impossibility, at 192 points back of prohibitive favorite Jimmie Johnson with just six races to go, for all intents and purposes Carl Edwards’ quest for his first Sprint Cup crown is over. Surprise, surprise... Given the optimism swirling around the No. 99 team headed into Daytona back in February on the back of a second-place, series-leading 9-win, 27 top-10 season, there were many pundits and fans who expected 2009 to be the year Edwards went from potential to presumptive champion. Yet so far, that’s definitely not been the case in what's been a disappointing year to put it mildly. Read More »

Earnhardt, Busch Among Ten Drivers Who Can’t Wait for ’10

Earnhardt, Busch Among Ten Drivers Who Can’t Wait for ’10

The setting of the Chase field post Richmond marks a clear delineation in the season between the haves and the have not’s. And judging by the fevered TV coverage of the top 12 drivers you’d have been forgiven if you wondered if the other 31 drivers were even in the race. So, with that in mind, and two months and eight races still to go, here are ten drivers who can’t wait to see the back of 2009 already. *Dale Earnhardt Jr.* Hands up those who predicted Junior’s season would be quite this bad? Not so many of you, huh? It’s true that anybody can have a bad season, heck the Cubbies have had a hundred of them, but the futility felt by the denizens of Wrigley Field must compare, in part, to that felt by Junior Nation. To say this year has been horrible for Junior barely does justice to the hot mess his season has become. Just two top 5s, three further top 10s, four DNFs and an average finish of 21.8 is not what was expected – not even by those who don’t rate NASCAR’s favorite driver. The simple truth is that the season can’t end soon enough for the wheelman of the No. 88 Chevy. Read More »

Montoya Shows 2010 Championship Credentials in 100th Start

Montoya Shows 2010 Championship Credentials in 100th Start

All told, it was a damn fine weekend for Juan Pablo Montoya. Not only did he sit on the pole – smashing the previous track record – he was on top of the speed charts at every practice, led the most laps (105, 37 more than the next-highest total) and finished third on the day, pipped on the final corner for second place by a hard-charging Denny Hamlin. Given that the irascible Colombian had nary a top 10 in his five previous visits to Loudon (19th, 23rd, 32nd, 17th, and a high water mark of 12th back in late June) such effort was all the more impressive. Read More »

Harvick, RCR Headed For Happier Future After Great Weekend

Harvick, RCR Headed For Happier Future After Great Weekend

The difference between champagne-soaked success and bitter, incongruous crumpled sheet-metal defeat in NASCAR is razor thin. And it’s a fact the good folks at Richard Childress Racing know all too well this season. Put simply, it’s been a disastrous year for the organization and the poster child for RCR’s seeming ineptitude has been Kevin Harvick. After two years of placing all three cars in the elite Chase field; the addition of Casey Mears in a fourth car was meant to be the tipping point that took the organization from Chasers to Champion. A quick glance at the standings shows that this definitively has not been the case, with the quartet of RCR drivers all mathematically locked out of the Chase field and nary a win to speak of between them all season long. Read More »