Greg Biffle

NASCAR Horsepower Rankings

Stewart tops the list ... because, after all, wins count
Two Right Sidebar Images
<p> A red hot Tony Stewart tops Athlon Sports' weekly Horsepower Rankings.</p>

by Matt Taliaferro

1. Tony Stewart  Stewart and crew chief Steve Addington already have scored two wins this season — and in only five races. Hey, wins count above all else here.

2. Greg Biffle  The points leader’s only misstep — and it was a only a small hiccup at that — was a 13th at Bristol. He’s been sixth or better in the other four events.

The Long and Short of It: Keselowski sees benefit in running Nationwide Series

Dustin Long Takes a Spin Around the NASCAR Circuit

by Dustin Long

What some fans say is wrong with NASCAR is what Brad Keselowski says was right for him. Keselowski credits running against Cup drivers in what was then called the Busch Series for his current success and helping him win on a variety of Cup tracks.

Exclude From Games: 
0
Two Right Sidebar Images
<p> Following another highly entertaining Bristol weekend, Athlon Sports contributor Dustin Long takes a spin around the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.</p>

READY TO GO Although points leader Greg Biffle saw his string of third-place finishes end at Bristol (he finished 13th), it doesn’t dampen his excitement heading to Auto Club Speedway this weekend.

“I am really excited about Fontana,’’ Biffle said. “We have a brand new car that has really good wind tunnel numbers and are really happy with the car. We feel it’s our best car in our fleet so far to date. I am really pumped up about going to California and seeing how this car drives. With the new fuel injection and all the data we will be able to keep a better eye on not burning our engine up, which is what we did there that one time. California is going to be a good race track for us. We will run very well there.”

CHANGE OF PLANS Travis Pastrana announced this past weekend at Bristol that he’s altering his plans to run the full NASCAR K&N Pro Series East schedule.

Pastrana is adding the Global RallyCross series to his schedule. Three of the series’ six events will conflict with K&N races for Pastrana.

“NASCAR's where I want to go, but unfortunately, or fortunately, my background in Rally, the sponsors know that I can do well,’’ Pastrana said. “I've had a proven record in Rally.

“We're funding a lot of the NASCAR races through the Global RallyCross and, I tell you what, that's a fun series. The problem was GRC actually just announced their schedule as of a couple of weeks ago, so it changed. Unfortunately, I won't be able to make three of the K&N races and the initial plan was to do the entire K&N championship, so that was very disappointing.’’

PIT STOPS All four manufacturers have won a race after four events in the Cup season. Ford won at Daytona with Matt Kenseth. Toyota won at Phoenix with Denny Hamlin. Chevrolet won at Las Vegas with Tony Stewart. Dodge won at Bristol with Brad Keselowski. It wasn’t until race 13 last year that each make had at least one Cup win. ... In 17 career starts at Auto Club Speedway, Jimmie Johnson has five wins and 12 top-five finishes. His average finish at the track is 5.1.

Follow Dustin on Twitter: @DustinLong
 

0
2012
1

The New King of the Mountains

Brad Keselowski outlasts Matt Kenseth for second straight Bristol win

by Matt Taliaferro

There’s something about the half-mile Bristol bullring in East Tennessee that lends itself to certain drivers.

NASCAR Hall of Famers Cale Yarborough (nine wins), Darrell Waltrip (12) and Dale Earnhardt (nine) each went on dominant runs at Bristol in the 1970s and ’80s. Rusty Wallace won nine of his own from 1986-2000. Jeff Gordon won five events from 1995-2002, while the Busch brothers, Kurt and Kyle, also have five wins each.

Exclude From Games: 
0
Two Right Sidebar Images
<p> Brad Keselowski wins the Food City 500 from Bristol Motor Speedway.</p>
0
2012
1

NASCAR Horsepower Rankings

Greg Biffle rides consistency to top

by Matt Taliaferro

1. Greg Biffle  Biffle’s team was the one under the Roush Fenway banner that laid low during the offseason. The result has been third-place finishes across the board. Bristol is usually good to them, too.

Exclude From Games: 
0
Two Right Sidebar Images
<p> Greg Biffle tops Athlon Sports' weekly Horsepower Rankings.</p>

9. Dale Earnhardt Jr.  The dominating run in the first half of the Vegas race was encouraging, but fading to 10th was all-too-familiar. Bristol should be another top-10 performance, though.

10. Kyle Busch  “Rowdy” is ranked here more on 2012 potential than 2012 accomplishment. Bristol may change that.

11. Joey Logano  So far, so good for the new Logano/Jason Ratcliff pairing. Wonder if he’ll be looking for the 24 this weekend?

12. Brad Keselowski  A fifth is sandwiched between two 32nd-place finishes. Again, potential/accomplishment. And again, that could change this weekend.

13. Paul Menard  Has quietly enjoyed two top-7 runs at Daytona and Vegas. He was fifth in last year’s spring Bristol race.

14. Martin Truex Jr.  If this team ever learns how to finish a race, it’ll be dangerous.

15. Marcos Ambrose  An excellent Bristol darkhorse, Ambrose has three top 10s in six Cup Series starts.

Just off the lead pack: Clint Bowyer, Jeff Burton, Jeff Gordon, Kasey Kahne, Ryan Newman

Follow Matt on Twitter: @MattTaliaferro
 

0
2012
1

Pennell’s Picks: Fantasy NASCAR Trends at Las Vegas

Jay Pennell looks at favorites and darkhorses for Sunday's race in Las Vegas

by Jay Pennell

While our 2012 fantasy season got off to a great start in Daytona, last weekend's race at Phoenix International Raceway proved even the hands-down favorite — in this case Kasey Kahne — can find trouble and ruin a fantasy day.

Anything can, and will, happen throughout the course of a race, making NASCAR one of the toughest fantasy sports to predict.

Exclude From Games: 
0
Two Right Sidebar Images
<p> Fantasy NASCAR predictions for the Kobalt Tools 400 from Las Vegas Motor Speedway.</p>

 

Another driver I have my eye on this weekend is five-time Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson.

Like Stewart, the 2012 season has not gotten off to the kind of start Johnson or his Hendrick Motorsports team expected. Issues during the initial inspection at Daytona cost the No. 48 team 25 driver and owner points, a hefty fine, and the loss of crew chief Chad Knaus and car chief Ron Malec for six races (pending appeal).

Once in the race, a wreck on Lap 2 resulted in a 42nd-place — and his sixth straight finish of 27th or worse in the Daytona 500. The subsequent penalty from the failed inspection left Johnson heading to Phoenix with negative points in the championship standings.

While Knaus and Malec have been able to remain at the track as NASCAR and HMS work through the appeal process, the No. 48 team is in a huge hole. That said, the team was able to recover nicely in Phoenix, scoring a fourth-place finish on Sunday, but Johnson is currently 38th in the standings, 71 points out of the lead.

Sitting so deep in the standings, Johnson has set his focus on making the Chase — one way or another. Well out of contention for the points lead, the former champion understands that at this point, his best bet to make the Chase could be through one of the two Wild Card spots. That means the No. 48 team will be looking to win races early and often.

And if that’s the objective, Vegas is a good track for Johnson to meet the goal. His 48 team has four wins, four top 5s and five top 10s in 10 LVMS starts. With that track record and Knaus and Malec still at the track, I expect the 48 to be among the front-runners throughout Sunday’s race, leading to a strong day on the fantasy side of things.

For this weekend’s darkhorse pick, I’m looking towards Richard Petty Motorsports’ Marcos Ambrose. Although the driver of the No. 9 Ford has only three starts at the 1.5-mile Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Ambrose lists the track among his favorite on the circuit. During last year's event, Ambrose started from the outside pole and finished the day in fourth after showings of 14th in 2010 and 20th in ’09.

Already in 2012, Ambrose and the team have shown they are capable of running up front and contending for wins. After a strong run throughout the afternoon in Phoenix, engine issues late in the race ruined what looked to be an assured top-10 run. If Ambrose and his Todd Parrott-led team can avoid mistakes and engine issues, I expect a solid fantasy day from the No. 9 group.

Throughout the weekend, keep a close eye on practices and qualifying, as track position will be key in Sunday's race. Clean air and pit strategy will be paramount in determining the winner at the end of 400 miles in Vegas.

Follow Jay on Twitter: @JayWPennell

0
2012
1

NASCAR Horsepower Rankings

Denny Hamlin, Darian Grubb come out swinging.

by Matt Taliaferro

Like every other NASCAR landing page on the web, Athlon Sports has a little fun each week ranking the drivers and teams of the Sprint Cup circuit. Our rankings go beyond how each finished the weekend prior and/or where they sit in the official championship standings.

Exclude From Games: 
0
Two Right Sidebar Images
<p> Denny Hamlin leads the Sprint Cup Series pack with a strong run out of the gate to begin the 2012 NASCAR&nbsp;season.</p>

11. Tony Stewart  Stewart got off to a slow start last year too, and look how that worked out.

12. Dale Earnhardt Jr.  Being happy with a top 15 in Phoenix isn’t exactly what you want to hear out of the team. Unfortunately, it looked like a lot of the same ’ol, same ’ol from the 88.

13. Jeff Burton  A good run went bad when the engine went up in smoke late. Otherwise, the 31 team has had a promising start.

14. Jeff Gordon  Made the most of a mediocre day at PIR with a solid eighth-place finish, which is what Jeff Gordon does best.

15. Marcos Ambrose  The results may not show it, but Ambrose and his RPM bunch have been pretty racy so far. They may not be flashy, but don’t be surprised if the top 10s start to pile up as we go forward.

Just off the lead pack: Clint Bowyer, Kasey Kahne, Bobby Labonte, Paul Menard, Martin Truex Jr.

Check back each Tuesday for Athlon Sports’ revised rankings, and follow Matt on Twitter: @MattTaliaferro

0
2013
1

Desert Redemption: Denny Hamlin wins in Phoenix

Hamlin holds off Kevin Harvick in Subway Fresh Fit 500

by Matt Taliaferro

The second race of the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup season — the Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix International Raceway — served as a weekend of redemption for Denny Hamlin.

Exclude From Games: 
0
Two Right Sidebar Images
<p> Denny Hamlin and new crew chief Darian Grubb win the Subway Fresh Fit 500 from Phoenix International Raceway.</p>

0
2012
1

Primetime Thriller: Kenseth Wins Wild Daytona 500

Matt Kenseth edges Dale Earnhardt Jr., Greg Biffle in Great American Race

by Matt Taliaferro

The 1979 Daytona 500 is considered by many to be the most noteworthy in the event’s 54-year history. A snowstorm blanketed much of the East Coast, providing a captivated audience; a last-lap battle for the win, ending in a wreck and a surprise winner; and of course, an infamous post-race fight in the infield between Cale Yarborough and brothers Bobby and Donnie Allison.

Exclude From Games: 
0
Two Right Sidebar Images
<p> Matt Kenseth wins the first weeknight Daytona 500 run in prime time.</p>

0
2012
1

The Long and Short of It: Stewart's Frustrations, Danica's Hit

Dustin Long's take on all things NASCAR

by Dustin Long

For whatever reason, Daytona International Speedway enjoys playing with some of NASCAR’s most successful drivers, making them endure years of anguish before winning the 500. Darrell Waltrip waited 17 years, Dale Earnhardt 20. Tony Stewart is at 13 and counting.

Exclude From Games: 
0
Two Right Sidebar Images
<p> Athlon Sports contributor talks all things NASCAR as Speedweeks in Daytona reach a fever pitch.</p>

ROUSH RESURGENCE Even after watching Matt Kenseth win the second qualifying race on Thursday, car owner Jack Roush admitted to being embarrassed by it.

Why?

It was the first time in 25 years a Roush car had won a qualifying race at Daytona.

Kenseth’s victory means that three of the top four starting spots in Sunday’s race will be Roush Fenway Racing entries. Carl Edwards won the pole with teammate Greg Biffle second. Kenseth will start fourth.

The resurgence goes back to last season. Hendrick Motorsports swept the pole for all four restrictor-plate races but the Wood Brothers, who are aligned with Roush, had success. Eventually that information transferred to the Roush cars and they began to qualify better at those races as the year progressed. That trend has continued.

The key now is to continue Ford’s success at Daytona. Ford won both Cup races there last year with Bayne winning the 500 and Roush’s David Ragan winning the July race.

PIT STOPS A number of drivers complained about overheating issues in the Gatorade Duel. With temperatures expected to be much cooler for Sunday’s race, it might not be as big a problem in the 500. ... Danica Patrick on her impact at the end of the first qualifying race: “You just have to brace yourself,’’ she said. “I just have to be glad that I’m a small driver and that I’ve got room.” ... Regan Smith finished second to Matt Kenseth in the second qualifying race. It marked the second year in a row Smith finished second in a Daytona qualifying race. ... Jimmie Johnson wasn’t thrilled with some cars not on the lead lap racing with the leaders on the last lap: “It was unfortunate there at the end that there were some lapped cars that were kind of mixed in with the leaders. It would have been nice if they would have let us race there; at least from the white flag on. I understand trying to get a lap back, but when the white (flag) came out I wish they would have gotten out of there and I would have had a shot at winning that thing.”

Get Dustin's thoughts weekly throughout the 2012 NASCAR season at AthlonSports.com. Follow Dustin on Twitter: @DustinLong

0
2012
1

Stewart, Kenseth win Gatorade Duel at Daytona

Tony Stewart and Matt Kenseth victorious on Thursday.

by Matt Taliaferro

As is usually the case, there was one wild and crazy Gatorade Duel race at Daytona International Speedway, and one much more staid. Such was the case on Thursday, when the field was set for the 54th annual Daytona 500.

Exclude From Games: 
0
<p> Tony Stewart and Matt Kenseth won Thursday's Gatorade Duel at Daytona.</p>

0
1

Pages