Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Busch wins in Atlanta; NASCAR Chase race tightens

Through the Gears: Four things we learned in the AdvoCare 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway
Post-race reaction from Kyle Busch's win in the AdvoCare 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

So much happened at Atlanta Motor Speedway this past weekend that the winner was, in some ways, irrelevant. Kyle Busch’s fourth NASCAR Sprint Cup victory clinched his spot in the Chase, but it was one the driver had on lockdown for weeks. The No. 18 Toyota, comfortably within the top 10 in points, has been overshadowed amongst potential title contenders by Jimmie Johnson’s strength-turned-slump and Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Matt Kenseth’s five wins.

Kahne takes a pass; Kenseth wins NASCAR night race at Bristol

Through the Gears: Four things we learned in the Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol.
Post-race reaction from Matt Kenseth's win in the Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Kasey Kahne, by his own admission, is NASCAR’s version of “Mr. Clean.” What else can you say after Bristol’s big fireworks show that never exploded? He had several prized opportunities Saturday to turn Matt Kenseth’s Dollar General Toyota and skate by for the win and a season sweep at the half-mile track. No one would have blamed him, either. All season, the No. 5 car has been swung into SAFER Barriers like clockwork by Kenseth and his teammates; they’ve made the old Allstate cougar accidents seem minor by comparison.

Joey Logano claws way back into NASCAR Chase contention with Michigan win

Through the Gears: Four things we learned in the Pure Michigan 400
Post-race reaction from Joey Logano's win in NASCAR's Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway.

Sheryl Crow once sang “A Change Will Do You Good.” She’s a perfect example of how it doesn’t always work out that way (see: dating Lance Armstrong). But sometimes, the sporting universe aligns itself exactly right, rotating beautifully where it works for all parties involved.

Drivers look to secure NASCAR Chase bids in Michigan

Geoffrey Miller's Five Things to Watch at Michigan International Speedway
Geoffrey Miller's five things to watch as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series hits Michigan International Speedway for the Pure Michigan 400.

Winning still not everything for nearly locked-in Chase drivers  Jimmie Johnson
Sunday’s green flag at Michigan International Speedway will leave just three left before NASCAR’s field for the Chase for the Sprint Cup is set. Series points leader Jimmie Johnson is the only one of the 43 drivers who will start the race who knows he’s completely and totally locked in the championship field.

NASCAR Numbers Game: 6 Amazing Stats for Michigan International Speedway

David Smith crunches the numbers to reveal some telling stats for the Pure Michigan 400
David Smith crunches the numbers to reveal some revealing NASCAR stats for the Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway.

Let’s be clear: Joey Logano making the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Chase in 2013 should be considered a coup, not an expectation.

At 23 years old, Logano has underachieved in the eyes of many, but not under the watchful eye of Penske Racing, his new home at which he is blossoming this year. He’d be more firmly in Chase contention if not for the 25-point penalty incurred earlier this season, but 16th with a bullet probably also suffices for developing ahead of schedule.

Fantasy NASCAR Picks for Michigan International Speedway

Geoffrey Miller breaks down the best fantasy options for the Pure Michigan 400.
Jimmie Johnson and Greg Biffle top the list of fantasy picks for NASCAR's trip to Michigan International Speedway for the Pure Michigan 400.

To help guide you through the 2013 Fantasy NASCAR season, Athlon Sports contributor Geoffrey Miller will be offering his best predictions for each race. And because Yahoo's Fantasy Auto Racing game is arguably the most popular, he’ll break down the picks according to its NASCAR driver classes — A-List, B-List, C-List. The main picks are designed to make optimal use of Yahoo!’s 9-start maximum rule over the course of the season. The “also consider” section ranks unmentioned drivers strictly by expected result without consideration of start limitations.

Kyle Busch climbs back into NASCAR contention with Watkins Glen win

Through the Gears: Four things we learned at Watkins Glen
Reaction from Watkins Glen, where Kyle Busch beat Brad Keselowski in NASCAR's Cheez-It 355 at The Glen.

Second place really is the first loser. We hear that cliché overused in sports, and the last two weeks in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series have taught us the consequences of settling for runner-up. Last week there Jeff Gordon, seemingly in control of his Chase destiny until a late-race Pocono caution set up a green-white-checker finish with Kasey Kahne. The No. 5 car got the jump entering Turn 1, cleared his teammate through the Tunnel Turn and — voila! — Gordon’s victory vanished.

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Hendrick Motorsports continues NASCAR domination at Pocono

Through the Gears: Four things we learned in Pocono
Reaction from Pocono Raceway, where Kasey Kahne beat Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jeff Gordon in NASCAR's GoBowling.com 400.

Jimmie Johnson isn’t the only driver this season that’s made a specialty of serving up wins for someone else. For Kasey Kahne, this year has been a long line of should-have-beens, as top 5s were the result in a car capable of outright domination out front. One of the best cars on intermediates this season, he’s instead on the Chase bubble through no fault of his own. Three restrictor plate wrecks — none of them completely of his making — combined with a wreck at Darlington while leading had him searching for a summer of redemption.

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