Race Weekend Central

Bubble Breakdown: Michael McDowell Into Top 35; Dave Blaney Into Bud Shootout

Forget the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship – the drivers in our Bubble Breakdown are chasing a few goals of their own. With 10 races to go in the 2008 NASCAR season, the battle to be locked in the field for 2009 has become a dogfight for five spots between seven teams separated by …

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Bubble Breakdown: AJ Allmendinger Races Way Into Top 35 & the Bud Shootout

On Tuesday, NASCAR announced a new format to the season-opening Budweiser Shootout, and in doing so, gave several bubble teams something new to focus on. The new format now takes the top-six cars in owner points from each manufacturer. With the new format, the sixth Toyota to make the show is going to be a …

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Bubble Breakdown: Regan Smith Builds Cushion With 14th-Place Run

Once again, the half-mile bullring that is Bristol Motor Speedway proved to be too much for the teams sitting around the bubble. Only one driver ranked between 29th and 37th finished in the top 25; and for that same group of nine drivers, the average starting position was 29th and the finishing position 31st. To …

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Bubble Breakdown: AJ Allmendinger’s Stay in Top 35 Was a Short One

Not a lot of news coming from the bubble teams this week – but the one story that did grab some headlines came from what is currently Haas CNC Racing. After plenty of speculation, Ryan Newman was formally introduced as the driver of what will be the No. 4 Chevy for Stewart-Haas Racing in 2009. …

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Bubble Breakdown: It’s All Good for AJ Allmendinger After Securing Slot in Top 35

After rain washed out Friday’s qualifying, this weekend’s road race at Watkins Glen was set by owner points – a decision that turned out to be a double-edged sword for our faithful set of bubble dwellers. On the plus side, all 43 full-time teams qualified without the risk of being knocked off by road-course ringers …

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Bubble Breakdown: AJ Allmendinger Creeps Closer to 1st-Ever Trip Inside Top 35

Set up in the mountains of eastern Pennsylvania is NASCAR’s tricky triangle known as Pocono Raceway. Like Indy, it’s a track that can be a nightmare to set up the car, as it has three straightaways all of different lengths, as well as three completely different types of turns. To make matters worse for teams …

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Bubble Breakdown: Hidden Within Indy Madness, Scott Riggs, No. 66 Team Sneak Back Into Top 35

As difficult as Indianapolis Motor Speedway can be for drivers and crew chiefs alike, it proved to be even more difficult for Goodyear engineers on Sunday. With the company’s few racing tires lasting only a handful of laps before showing excessive wear, NASCAR, in the name of safety, was forced to throw competition cautions every …

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Bubble Breakdown: Michael Waltrip, Michael McDowell in a Bind After Tough Go at Chicago

NASCAR began a short Midwest swing this weekend in Chicagoland with the running of the LifeLock.com 400. Mother Nature decided to play a big role in the proceedings early on, as the rains moved in and washed out NASCAR’s qualifying session. But the washout actually gave our Sprint Cup bubble teams a sigh of relief; …

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Bubble Breakdown: Last-Lap Restrictor-Plate Mayhem Ruins Daytona for Several Bubble Teams

As NASCAR made its first return trip to a racetrack in 2008, several bubble teams once again showed signs of life during Friday’s qualifying session. Joe Nemechek, Johnny Sauter and Regan Smith turned laps that qualified them in the fourth, fifth and eighth starting positions respectively, serving notice they planned to be a force during the …

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Bubble Breakdown: Rain Shines Down on Several NASCAR Bubble Teams

The teams on the edges of NASCAR’s Top 35 – or simply forced to qualify on speed – ruled the roost in Friday’s qualifying session. After a rain delay cooled the track, bubble dwellers swept five of the top-10 spots, including rookie Patrick Carpentier taking the pole to become the first top qualifier not born …

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Bubble Breakdown: Michael Waltrip Racing Shines While Road-Course Ringers Struggle at Sonoma

Road-course races can always have a long-term effect on the points standings since teams that ordinarily might not run all that well can get good finishes, either by using substitute drivers or their normal drivers having significant skills on road courses. This set the stage for Sunday’s Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma. …

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Bubble Breakdown: Michael Waltrip Wrecks, But It’s Haas CNC Crashing Out of Top 35

Rain on Friday afternoon washed out NASCAR qualifying at Michigan International Raceway, meaning the starting grid was set by owner points – leaving the No. 70 Haas Automation Chevrolet and the No. 34 Front Row Motorsports Chevy as the odd teams out. But while the teams on the bubble breathed a sigh of relief, their …

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