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Taking It To The Next Level: Which of These Ten Drivers Will Win a Sprint Cup Championship?

Taking It To The Next Level: Which of These Ten Drivers Will Win a Sprint Cup Championship?

The label of future Sprint Cup champion is liberally dispensed -- but rarely achieved. In the 60 years of NASCAR competition, only 28 drivers have attained the hallowed crown -- and it’s a pretty exclusive club. Twelve drivers have won a solitary championship, while another eight have won two titles. Five men – Jimmie Johnson, Cale Yarborough, Darrell Waltrip, David Pearson, and Lee Petty – have won three; Jeff Gordon owns four, while both The King and The Intimidator won a record seven apiece. So, it’s fair to say the odds of becoming a Sprint Cup Champion are extremely slim (think, paper thin) and with the Chase format and the increasing number of competitive teams, it’s arguable that it’s harder than ever to win the lot. With that level of complexity in mind, I’m going to pick a number of current drivers and analyze their chances of winning a Sprint Cup Championship at some point in the near (or far) future. Read More »

Who’s #1? Listing The Ten Best NASCAR Tracks In The Cup Series Today

Who’s #1? Listing The Ten Best NASCAR Tracks In The Cup Series Today

After a momentary pause for breath this past weekend, NASCAR plows right into some of the best venues listed on their schedule. In the next two months, the Sprint Cup Series visits eight terrific tracks: Bristol, Martinsville, Texas, Phoenix, Talladega, Richmond, Darlington, and Lowe’s Motor Speedway -- places that hope to get a fan's mind off a rather rough start to 2009. Thinking about some great racing to come, I sent a quick email to the Frontstretch staff last week, asking those who had both the time and inclination to name their five favorite tracks on the circuit. The idea was to use their responses as a straw poll of sorts, proof for a future article on what tracks to watch out for next. But what I didn't expect was the response and genuine excitement I’d get from almost every writer on the site. And so rather than write what, if I’m honest, might well have been a vague, generic column on good tracks for racing, I’ve decided to write up the results of my impromptu survey instead -- Frontstretch's view of the best tracks out there on the Sprint Cup schedule today. Read More »

Catch 21: Thoughts, Questions, and Observations Three Races Into 2009

Catch 21: Thoughts, Questions, and Observations Three Races Into 2009

21, as many of you will know, is a lucky number in Las Vegas. So, here are exactly that many questions, observations, and thoughts - in no particular order - on the season so far as the series leaves Sin City to head back East: *Nothing changes for Casey.* New team, new number, new sponsor, new crew chief, new cool colors – same awful results. Casey Mears’ finishing positions so far this year have been 15th, 24th, and 30th in his No. 07 Jack Daniel's Chevy, good enough for just 27th in Sprint Cup points. In a result-driven business, luck and running well are niceties. Results are what count... and midpack efforts just ain’t going to get it done. Read More »

The Track Too Tough To Watch: How To Change The Boredom At California With One Simple Fix

The Track Too Tough To Watch: How To Change The Boredom At California With One Simple Fix

As you've likely read plenty of places over the past 48 hours, the Auto Club Speedway is a much maligned venue - arguably the least popular of the twenty-two tracks on the Sprint Cup circuit. Interest is sparse, attendance is -- to put it politely -- “not the best,” and in general fans breathe a sigh of relief when the haulers pull out of the West Coast circuit and head for the dubious delights of Sin City. There are many miles to be run and many races to scratch off the slate (thankfully) before we return to Fontana; but like it or not, the Auto Club Speedway is going to matter much more than ever before in 2009. Read More »

2009: A Dream Season … How It Might Happen

2009: A Dream Season … How It Might Happen

*February:* Jeff Gordon puts his 0-for-41 winless streak firmly in the rear-view mirror with a win at the Daytona 500 – his fourth in the biggest race of all. He’s so overcome with emotion that, for the first time in living memory, he screws up the sponsor roll call in Victory Lane. However, Gordon makes up for it by mentioning the omitted sponsor with cheerful relentlessness on the post-race media tour. Smoke finishes a creditable third in his first ride for his new team, while last year’s champion Ryan Newman finishes dead last -- wrecking on just the tenth lap. Read More »

Best Of Danny Peters : From Sandstone To Sterling: The Top 10 Trophies In NASCAR

Best Of Danny Peters : From Sandstone To Sterling: The Top 10 Trophies In NASCAR

*The Monster Trophy* I remember when I first saw the Monster trophy, awarded to the winners at Dover International Speedway. It was perhaps the second day I worked in NASCAR, and my immediate thought was that it was some kind of joke-publicity stunt. It couldn’t be a real trophy, could it? Oh, right … it is. Wow. The trophy itself is about 20 inches tall, made of sandstone and it’s, well, an ugly, blocky monster that somehow seems to represent the track just perfectly. One question, though: Does anyone think that the track organizers really have all 43 diecast cars available to slot into the Monster’s hand in Victory Lane? Read More »

Best Of Danny Peters : Why I Don’t Hate The Chase — And You Shouldn’t, Either

Best Of Danny Peters : Why I Don’t Hate The Chase — And You Shouldn’t, Either

Soccer's English Premier League (EPL) runs from mid-August to mid-May. It’s a relentless 38-game, nine month slog with the 20 best teams in the land, in a country that lives, eats, sleeps, and breathes the beautiful game. Each team plays each other once at home and once on the road, with three points earned for each victory, one point for a draw (tie), and nothing for a defeat. With that easy scoring system, the league title is calculated just as simply: the team at the top of the pile -- with the most points after 38 games -- wins it all. Now, there isn’t much English football fans agree on, but one of the most commonly accepted tenets is that, come the end of the season, the league table doesn’t lie. The team that finishes on the top of the pile deserves the accolade, even if they’ve spent the previous 37 games in second place or below. You may not like the way it happens (especially if your team leads all the way and loses it on the last day) but when the final whistle blows on the season the best team always, always wins. Read More »

18 Into 12 Just Doesn’t Go: Handicapping The 2008 Chase Down To The Wire

18 Into 12 Just Doesn’t Go: Handicapping The 2008 Chase Down To The Wire

I never was much good at what us Brits call maths. As soon as the numbers started becoming letters or strange mathematical characters and shapes, I pretty much checked out. But with only seven races left before we reach the Chase cutoff, it’s time to dust off my trusty old calculator and take a look at some important NASCAR-related numbers -- and in particular, the current points standings. With 19 races fully accounted for, the end of the regular season is fast approaching, and it’s fair to say we have a good sample size so far to consider Who’s In and Who’s Out of the field of 12 for the 2008 Chase for the Sprint Cup. Let’s start with the racing certainties. Barring a catastrophic reversal of form (or a refusal to run any of the next seven races) Kyle Busch is all but mathematically locked into the Top 12. Read More »

If NASCAR Drivers Were Movie Stars, Who Would Be On The A-List?

If NASCAR Drivers Were Movie Stars, Who Would Be On The A-List?

With the sultry heat of the summer melting the tarmac of the New York City sidewalks, the ads promoting new movies are out in force. Whether they come from the sides of city buses, giant store display windows that burst out of the glass, or a plethora of ads on any channel you care to watch, the message is hard to miss — summer is the season of the movie blockbuster. I’m not talking nourishing cinematic fare here, either, with exquisitely scripted prose and Oscar potential. I’m talking about the empty-calorie laden goodness of a full-on action movie. You know, the sort of flick where the hero defeats the bad guy, saves the world against innumerable odds, gets the hot girl, and still has time for a ton of pithy quips — all in a nice hour and a half package. For those sorts of summer hits, it’s all about the final box office numbers and that critical opening weekend. And to be the next summertime hit, nothing brings the dollars pouring into the movie house coffers like a top notch A-list star. The bigger the actor or actress, the more popular the movie is likely to be; and the more top names you can put on the poster or in your trailer, the better off you'll be. Read More »