Upcoming Events in the World of NASCAR.Next week, the NASCAR Nextel Cup teams head will bring their tornado like speeds to the windy city of Chicago. Chicagoland Speedway is a young NASCAR track still coming into it's own. NASCAR has been hosting Nextel Cup races at Chicagoland since 2001 with the hopes of capitalizing on the die-hard auto racing fans of the midwest in the 3rd largest media market in the US. So far, the initial gamble has paid of.
Of all current drivers with 4 or more career starts at Chicagoland, Jimmie Johnson (average finish of 3rd) leads the pack.Also expect the following drivers to do well next week:.Other drivers to note:.Tony Stewart - Average Finish 8th
Matt Kenseth - Average Finish 9th
Kevin Harvick - Average Finish 10th.Next Week's Schedule:.Nextel Cup: @ Chicagoland Speedway
7/08/06 - 10:35pm NASCAR Nextel Cup USG SHEETROCK« 400 Practice
7/07/06 - 04:35pm NASCAR Nextel Cup USG SHEETROCK« 400 Qualifying
7/09/06 - 02:35pm NASCAR Nextel USG SHEETROCK« 400.
Busch Series: @ Chicagoland Speedway Speedway
7/07/06 - 05:10pm NASCAR Busch Series USG DUROCK« 300 Practice
7/08/06 - 11:40pm NASCAR Busch Series USG DUROCK« 300 Qualifying
7/08/06 - 03:05pm NASCAR Busch Series USG DUROCK« 300.Craftsman Truck Series: @ Kentucky Speedway
7/07/06 - TBA NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Built Ford Tough 225 Presented by The Greater Cincinnati Ford Dealers Practice.7/08/06 - 04:30pm NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Built Ford Tough 225 Presented by The Greater Cincinnati Ford Dealers Qualifying.7/08/06 - 08:00pm NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Built Ford Tough 225 Presented by The Greater Cincinnati Ford Dealers.Who's Hot?.
Who's Hot? Obviously, we could dedicate this whole section to Tony Stewart who, if you recall, made our Who's Not section last week. However, there were other drivers at Daytona who also turned our heads. Ever hear of Boris Said?.For those of you faithful fans who leave the TV on during a road course race, I'm sure you've known about Boris for several years. He is a road course gun slinging ace who's always for hire anytime a road course race comes to town. This year, however, he's no longer for hire.
Through a deal Boris worked out with Roush Racing, he can field his own team using Roush equipment and technical assistance in exchange for training drivers like Carl Edwards, Matt Kenseth, and Greg Biffle on the finer points of road racing.In a car that Greg Biffle raced in this year's Budweiser Shootout, Boris not only qualified for the race, but he took the pole! This is simply, jaw-droppingly amazing considering Boris has never sat behind the wheel of a restrictor plate car. What's even more amazing is that by using the same go for broke attitude that he's always used at road courses, Boris found himself out front followed by Tony with only a few laps to remaining in the Pepsi 400. That's when NASCAR's very own testosterone fueled version of General Hospital started to play out.As you remember during last week's Dodge/SaveMart 350, a small attraction formed between Boris Said and Tony Stewart.
Excuse me for understating the love between these two drivers. NASCAR drivers express their love in oh so many ways. Watching Boris and Tony's mating dance is kind of like watching tigers mate in the jungle. There's a whole lot of beating, banging, swearing, and finger waving.
In the end, Boris succumbed to Tony's advance with only a few laps remaining, and finished 4th. I'm sure Boris, and the other 7 employees at his No Fear sponsored race team, will take 4th anytime! Fans get ready. The more success Boris has, the more you're going to see him.Who's Not?.
This week's Who's Not is once again dedicated to Jeff Gordon. After an unfortunate wreck in the Pepsi 400 with 14 laps to go that was by no means his fault, Jeff Gordon found himself out of the race and, once again, out of the top ten in driver's points. In the 3 restrictor plate races thus far of the 2006 Nextel Cup season, Gordon has yet to finish in the top ten.
Such is the luck of successful super speedway drivers. Both Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr have had immense success at Daytona and Talladega. The main side effect of success at restrictor plate races is that no one wants to team up with you on the race track.
As a result, for Gordon to win or even be competitive, he has to have the best car on the track come race day.Needless to say, Gordon had a top 5 car, but definitely not the best car this past Saturday night. With driver positions 8-12 separated only by 61 points, it's anyone's guess as to who will be in the top when the field for the Chase for the Championship is set. However, if Gordon can duplicate his win at Infineon in the upcoming race at Watkins Glen, he may distance himself enough from the competition to qualify for the Chase.Last Week's Headlines.
Let me paint you a picture Thomas Jefferson would even be proud of. Hot summer night, July 4th holiday weekend, fireworks in the air, and 43 thundering machines rumbling around America's beloved 2 1/2 mile speedway near the beaches of Daytona. What a way to celebrate the birth and progress of our great nation!.
Saturday night's race was void of the "big one" that typically dooms many drivers at restrictor plate races. However, that does not mean the race was void of excitement! There were numerous lead changes with drivers cycling through the complete field. In the end, unfamiliar faces like Boris Said's were at the front mixing up the normal restrictor plate shuffle.
Some of the biggest movers in the race were Kyle Busch (who jumped 4 spots to enter the top 10 in the eight position), Dale Earnhardt Jr (who leap-frogged Kasey Kahne to take over 3rd), and Tony Stewart (who ended his multi-week slide down the top 10).Perhaps the most important outcome of the Pepsi 400 is that Matt Kenseth is now only 8 points behind the ever dominant Jimmie Johnson. Johnson's crash into Bobby Labonte with 12 laps remaining end his day and left him out of the race in 32nd position. Matt Kenseth, on the other hand, had a strong top 5 finish at a track where Roush drivers are typically happy to walk away with a top 15 finish.Both Jeff Gordon and Greg Biffle dropped out of the top 10 in points when both were involved in a wreck with 6 laps to go. Gordon finished the day in 40th and Biffle in 31st.
Neither driver can now afford to have similar outcomes in the remaining 8 races if they hope to qualify for the Chase for the Championship.Both Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin benefited from Jeff Gordon and Greg Biffle's misfortunes. Kyle jumped 4 spots in points to the 8th position while Hamlin moved up 1 spot to the 10th position.
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By: Jon Vandergrift