NASCAR

Backseat Drivers Fan Council

NASCAR's new start times, title favorites and grading Martinsville
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<p> Dustin Long's Backseat Drivers Fan Council discuss new start times in the Chase, who the chmapionship favorite is with three races remaining in the season and the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Martinsville.</p>
2012

Times are a-changin’ in NASCAR but will fans see a change in who has been the champion most often in recent years? With starting times for the remaining races pushed back, members of the Backseat Drivers Fan Council were asked if they liked the move, along with who now is their pick to win the title with three races left and what they thought of the Martinsville race. Here’s what they had to say about those issues and more:

NASCAR News & Notes of the Week

Against odds, Keselowski hanging with Johnson in Chase battle
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<p> Athlon Sports contributor Dustin Long takes a spin around the NASCAR Sprint Cup circuit with Brad Keselowski's title fight with Jimmie Johnson, a crew chief shuffle, Michael Waltrip Racing's performance and Kyle Busch's hot streak.</p>
2012

Brad Keselowski is not supposed to be challenging for a NASCAR Sprint Cup title. At least this year’s title. Many expect him to be a championship contender for years to come but the prevailing thought entering the Chase was that this wouldn’t be his year.

The reasons varied:

• Dodge, the team’s manufacturer, is leaving NASCAR after this season.

NASCAR's 10 Greatest Bodystyles

Backseat Drivers Fan Council

Racing NASCAR's Trucks at Eldora and surprises in Kansas
<p> Dustin Long's Backseat Drivers Fan Council voice their opinions on what a NASCAR Truck Series race at Eldora would be like and talk about Sunday's race at Kansas Speedway.</p>
2012

Is it time for NASCAR to look in a different direction to run a race? Maybe something old school. You know, some place dirt-y? Of all that happened last weekend in Sunday’s Cup race at Kansas, what was the most impressive feat? Members of the Backseat Drivers Fan Council debated those and other questions this week. Here’s what they said:

Dale Earnhardt Jr. cleared to race

Earnhardt to make NASCAR Sprint Cup return in Martinsville
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<p> Dale Earnhardt Jr. will make his return to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series this weekend at the Tums Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway.</p>
2012

Dale Earnhardt Jr. has been medically cleared to race this weekend at Martinsville Speedway, Hendrick Motorsports announced Tuesday.

Earnhardt missed the past two races after suffering a concussion Oct. 7 in a last-lap crash at Talladega Superspeedway. It was his second concussion within six weeks. He suffered a concussion in a crash during an Aug. 29 tire test at Kansas Speedway.

Matt Kenseth Wins Kansas

Kenseth survives, notches third Sprint Cup win of 2012
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<p> Matt Kenseth won the Hollywood Casino 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Kansas Speedway.</p>
2012

There is typically one race in NASCAR’s Chase for the Championship that throws the Sprint Cup field the proverbial curveball.

NASCAR’s Cookie Cutter Crisis

Denny Hamlin wreck a rough reminder of racetracks in crisis
<p> Athlon Sports contributor Tom Bowles examines the proliferation of "cookie cutter" tracks on NASCAR's Sprint Cup circuit.</p>
2012

Denny Hamlin began Thursday playing the role of NASCAR Chase contender. How’d he end it?

Trying to avoid the label of tragic footnote.

Smashing his car into the Turn 1 wall at a reported 202 mph, a test at the repaved Kansas Speedway turned into a headache—literally—as Hamlin fought dizziness to the point he made a second trip to the infield care center for further evaluation.

Backseat Drivers Fan Council

On the tricky topic of concussions in NASCAR
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<p> This week, Dustin Long and the Backseat Drivers Fan Council discuss the tricky topic of concussions and whether Dale Earnhardt Jr. made the right decision to step out of his car. Fan Council members also voice their opininons on what NASCAR should do about drivers that suffer from concussions and grade the Bank of America 500 from Charlotte Motor Speedway.</p>
2012

With Dale Earnhardt Jr. missing last weekend’s race at Charlotte Motor Speedway because of a concussion, members of the Backseat Drivers Fan Council had much to discuss from what should NASCAR do about concussions to if Fan Council members would still watch a race if their favorite driver was injured and not competing. Here’s what members of the Backseat Drivers Fan Council said:

NASCAR News & Notes of the Week

Rule Changes, Bowyer's Big Win and Earnhardt's Absence
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<p> Athlon Sports contributor Dustin Long has a lot of NASCAR ground to cover this week. From Clint Bowyer's big win and Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s absence to AJ Allmendinger's return and new rules procedures, it's all in Athlon's NASCAR News &amp; Notes of the Week.</p>
2012

Don’t be fooled by the court jester routine Clint Bowyer seems to play in press conferences. For all the joking he does, he’s serious about winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup championship.

With five races left in the Chase, Bowyer is fourth in the standings for car owner Michael Waltrip’s team, 28 points behind series leader Brad Keselowski.

Clint Bowyer Wins Charlotte

Bowyer back in title talk with win in Bank of America 500
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<p> Clint Bowyer worked his way back into title talk with his win in NASCAR's Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.</p>
2012

After four races, Brad Keselowski, Jimmie Johnson and Denny Hamlin had seemingly separated themselves in NASCAR’s Chase for the Sprint Cup.

Not so fast, says Clint Bowyer.

As the sport’s version of a playoff completed the “first half” in its 10-race run, Bowyer and his No. 15 Michael Waltrip Racing team used strategy to outsmart the trio of favorites, winning the Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway with superior fuel mileage.

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