NASCAR

Backseat Drivers Fan Council

Handicapping the Chase and the year's biggest surprises
<p> Dustin Long's Backseat Drivers Fan Council talks about Chase favorites, the racing at Richmond, the season's biggest surprises and discuss whether NASCAR drivers "give it their all" each and every race.</p>
2012

NASCAR’s Chase for the Championship is here and with it comes the question of who will win it. Members of the Backseat Drivers Fan Council tackle that question and more, including what is the biggest surprise this year and if they think drivers give their best effort every race. Here’s what the Backseat Drivers Fan Council had to say about those issues and more.


Who will win the Chase?

Rankings NASCAR's Chase for the Championship Performances

The Best and Worst of the Chase
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<p> Athlon Sports contributor Vito Pugliese ranks NASCAR's eight Chase for the Championship playoff performances. From the unbelievable to the forgettable, they're all here.</p>
2012

In 2003, Matt Kenseth became the final Winston Cup Champion in less-than-dazzling fashion. He won all of one of 36 races while posting 24 top 10s for an average finishing position of 10.2. He clinched the title by merely starting the second to last race of the year at Rockingham. After promptly blowing an engine and finishing dead last, he ended the year 90 points ahead of Jimmie Johnson, and 207 ahead of Dale Earnhardt Jr.

NASCAR News & Notes of the Week

Michael Waltrip Racing renaissance continues
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<p> Athlon Sports contributor Dustin Long takes a spin around the NASCAR Sprint Cup circuit with Michael Waltrip Racing's Clint Bowyer and Martin Truex Jr.</p>
2012

The race shop was once a movie theatre. The team’s finances proved as stable as a house of cards. No surprise that one of NASCAR’s biggest dreamers was the owner.

Five years later, Michael Waltrip’s team is in NASCAR’s Chase for the Sprint Cup for the first time. Michael Waltrip Racing brings an intriguing mix with drivers Clint Bowyer and Martin Truex Jr., who both have shown the ability to string several strong races together this season.

NASCAR Horsepower Rankings

Hamlin, Johnson, Keselowski lead field into Chase
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<p> As NASCAR's regular season comes to a close, Denny Hamlin edges by Jimmie Johnson to take the top spot in Athlon Sports' weekly Horsepower Rankings.</p>
2012

1. Denny Hamlin   Hamlin slips ahead of Jimmie Johnson thanks to having the strongest car for a third consecutive week (despite the fact he didn’t win). He also gets a hat tip for those four regular season victories. Last week: 2

Backseat Drivers Fan Council

NASCAR's cautions, Hamlin's title hopes and Stewart's revenge
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<p> Dustin Long's Backseat Drivers Fan Council talks about NASCAR debris cautions, Denny Hamlin's Chase expectations, the Tony Stewart/Matt Kenseth beef and racing in Atlanta.</p>
2012

Trust and belief are core issues the Backseat Drivers Fan Council delves into this week. Members state how much they trust NASCAR in regards to debris cautions. Belief centers on what Fan Council members think about the title chances of Denny Hamlin, who has a series-high four wins, including the last two races. Belief also centers on what they think of Tony Stewart’s various comments last week toward Matt Kenseth and if Stewart will seek revenge. Here’s what members of the Backseat Drivers Fan Council had to say on those topics and more.

NASCAR Horsepower Rankings

Hamlin, Johnson, Keselowski separate from the pack
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<p> Denny Hamlin and Brad Keselowski challenge Jimmie Johnson for the top spot in Athlon Sports' weekly Horsepower Rankings.</p>
2012

1. Jimmie Johnson  Denny Hamlin may be the hottest driver on the Cup circuit at the moment, but Johnson’s team will still be the one everyone keeps an eye on going into the Chase.

2. Denny Hamlin  Became the first driver since Tony Stewart in last season’s playoffs to score consecutive wins on the Cup circuit, with victories at Bristol and Atlanta. This is not the Denny Hamlin of 2011, folks.

Backseat Drivers Fan Council

Fan reaction from a wild weekend in Bristol
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<p> Dustin Long's Backseat Drivers Fan Council talks all-things Bristol and weighs in on which wild card drives will make the NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase for the Championship.</p>
2012

The changes to Bristol may not have worked quite how track officials imagined, but most members of the Backseat Drivers Fan Council liked what they saw there last weekend. Is it enough to get them back to the track? You might find those responses interesting. Also, Fan Council members updated their selection on who they think will get the wild card spots in the final two races before the Chase.


Grade Saturday’s Cup race at Bristol

NASCAR News & Notes of the Week

Biffle, Earnhardt, Stewart and Truex making Cup Series news
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<p> Athlon Sports contributor Dustin Long takes a spin around the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series this week with Greg Biffle, Dale Earnahrdt Jr., Tony Stewart and Martin Truex Jr.</p>
2012

Greg Biffle credits an aggressive approach with his team’s return to the points lead and says once NASCAR’s Chase for the Sprint Cup starts, there won’t be any backing down.

Biffle regained the points lead after his victory at Michigan and held it despite finishing 19th last weekend at Bristol. That finish was good enough to clinch a Chase spot and return him to NASCAR’s playoffs after missing it last year.

Denny Hamlin Wins Bristol

Fireworks fly in a wild Bristol Night Race
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<p> Denny Hamlin won a wild NASCAR event on Saturday, taking checkers in the Bristol Night Race.</p>
2012

Few topics in NASCAR have been as polarizing as track owner Bruton Smith’s decision to “narrow up” the historic half-mile Bristol Motor Speedway.

10 Great NASCAR Moments at Bristol Motor Speedway

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