Denny Hamlin

Harvick wins a wild one in Phoenix

Gordon/Bowyer melee mars AdvoCar500; Keselowski turns tables on Johnson in points battle
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<p> Kevin Harvick won a wild AdvoCare 500 at Phoenix International Raceway. Meanwhile, Brad Keselowski overtook the points lead over Jimmie Johnson while Jeff Gordon and Clint Bowyer engaged in an on- and off-track melee.</p>
2012

Once the smoke cleared, the cars (or what was left of them) were loaded and the Sunday sun set over Phoenix International Raceway, a new championship landscape had emerged in NASCAR. But tempers as hot and raw as the surrounding Sonora Desert shifted the focus of the Sprint Cup Series’ AdvoCare 500 from said title battle—and the race’s previously-MIA winner—to wrecked racecars, fist fights and talk of on-track payback.

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:

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.

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.

Backseat Drivers Fan Council

Crew chiefs, Chase races and grading Dover
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<p> Dustin Long's Backseat Drivers Fan Council shares its thoughts on the best crew chiefs, whether the Chase length is too long or just right and grades the racing at Dover.</p>
2012

Members of the Backseat Drivers Fan Council take a wider look at the sport this week, judging who they think the best crew chief in the Chase is and if the length of the Chase should remain 10 races. Here’s a look at what they had to say:

Who is the best crew chief in the Chase?

Keselowski wins in Dover

Fuel mileage, strategy, pay off for Keselowski, Penske Racing
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<p> Brad Keselowski used fuel strategy to beat Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin and Jimmie Johnson in NASCAR's AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway.</p>
2012

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is only three races into its 10-race Chase for the Championship playoff stint. And thus far, three drivers seem to have separated themselves from the field.

One made a major statement in the AAA 400 from Dover International Speedway — a statement even bolder than Denny Hamlin’s perceived “called shot” and win a week earlier in New Hampshire.

Backseat Drivers Fan Council

NASCAR vs. NFL, Hamlin's win total and grading Loudon
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<p> Athlon Sports contributor Dustin Long's Backseat Drivers Fan Council discusses NASCAR vs. NFL, Denny Hamlin's winning ways and the Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.</p>
2012

Even with replacement referees, the NFL is drawing large TV audiences. With NASCAR’s title Chase under way, members of the Backseat Drivers Fan Council were asked what they’re watching more of — NASCAR or NFL. The answer, from a group of NASCAR fans, might surprise you. That’s just among the questions Fan Council members debated this week.


Which did you watch more of Sunday — NASCAR or NFL?

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