Kurt Busch

Pennell’s Picks: Fantasy NASCAR Trends at Talladega

Jay Pennell looks at favorites and darkhorses for Sunday's race in Talladega
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<p> Athlon Sports contributor Jay Pennell looks at favorites and darkhorses for Sunday's Aaron's 499 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway.</p>
2012

Nine races in the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup season and each team in approaching Sunday's Aaron's 499 with varying goals in mind. Often viewed as a “wild card” race, teams will be working on different agendas as the field jockeys for position inches away from each other — and the “Big One” — lap after lap.

The entire course of a race, not to mention fantasy weekend, can change in one instant, so choose carefully and look for those drivers that are good at avoiding trouble.

Pennell’s Picks: Fantasy NASCAR Trends at Talladega

Jay Pennell looks at favorites and darkhorses for Sunday's race in Talladega
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<p> Athlon Sports contributor Jay Pennell looks at favorites and darkhorses for Sunday's Aaron's 499 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway.</p>
2012

Nine races in the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup season and each team in approaching Sunday's Aaron's 499 with varying goals in mind. Often viewed as a “wild card” race, teams will be working on different agendas as the field jockeys for position inches away from each other — and the “Big One” — lap after lap.

The entire course of a race, not to mention fantasy weekend, can change in one instant, so choose carefully and look for those drivers that are good at avoiding trouble.

Waiting on Bruton's Bristol Plan and a Return to "The Rock"

The Long and Short of It
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<p> Following a rare off week, Athlon Sports contributor Dustin Long takes a spin around the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.</p>
2012

THE LONG AND SHORT OF IT

by Dustin Long

Everybody is waiting.

Pennell’s Picks: Fantasy NASCAR Trends at Bristol

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

by Jay Pennell

It's Bristol, baby!

This weekend the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads to the hills of East Tennessee for the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. NASCAR’s modern day Colosseum has been home to some of the most dramatic moments in the sport’s history, and always produces great racing.

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<p> Fantasy NASCAR predictions for the Food City 500 from Bristol Motor Speedway.</p>

This week’s darkhorse pick goes to Martin Truex Jr. out of the Michael Waltrip Racing stable.

The driver of the No. 56 NAPA Toyota is in a “put up or shut up” season, with contract negotiations on the books for later in the year. To say the New Jersey native has underperformed over the past few seasons is a bit of an understatement. Many expected big things from the two-time Nationwide Series champion, but with only one Sprint Cup Series victory in 228 starts, time is running out.

Yet, Truex entered the season optimistic about the newly remodeled and upgraded MWR. The addition of teammates Clint Bowyer, Mark Martin and competition director Scott Miller has Truex pleased with fast race cars and the opportunity to run up front.

And run up front is exactly what Truex did in this race last season. Leading a total of 63 laps, it looked as if the No. 56 was set for a solid day until the handling went away and Truex faded late in the race. Learning from their mistakes, the team showed up prepared to finish the job in August, scoring a second-place finish behind race winner Brad Keselowski.

With Truex looking to quell the contract talk and get back to Victory Lane, Bristol might just be the place to make a statement. If he and crew chief Chad Johnston can avoid trouble and keep up with the changing racetrack throughout, I expect a solid day out of him.

Three Darkhorse Picks: Martin Truex Jr., Paul Menard, Jamie McMurray

Best of luck to all the fantasy NASCAR participants out there, and most importantly, don't forget to set your lineups!

Average Bristol Finish, Last Six Races (Wins)
1. Kyle Busch — 4.5 (4)
2. Ryan Newman — 8.8 (0)
3. Jimmie Johnson — 9.0 (1)
4. Kurt Busch — 9.0 (0)
5. Carl Edwards — 10.0 (0)
6. Matt Kenseth — 11.3 (0)
7. Jeff Gordon — 11.5 (0)
8. Dale Earnhardt Jr. — 11.7 (0)
9. Brad Keselowski — 12.8 (1)*
10. Jamie McMurray — 14.2 (0)
* Four starts

Follow Jay on Twitter: @JayWPennell
 

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2012 NASCAR Preview

The Daytona 500 cranks up the Sprint Cup season on Sunday.
<p> 2012 NASCAR Preview</p>
2012

by Matt Taliaferro

The Daytona 500 will kick off another exciting NASCAR season on Sunday, as Tony Stewart tries to defend his Sprint Cup title against many worthy adversaries. The Budweiser Shootout was exciting last weekend with Kyle Busch winning in thrilling fashion, and Carl Edwards will start on the pole for the Great American Race. From the pages of Athlon Sports Monthly, here’s our 2012 NASCAR preview.

10 Tough NASCAR Questions: Part 3

Part 3 in a five-part series addressing issues facing NASCAR in 2012

Was the nail-biting finish to the 2011 Chase a result of the new points system, a one-year anomaly … or a sign of things to come?

At some point, NASCAR’s tinkering, toying and manipulation of the point system had to produce the desired effect, right?

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<p> As the 2012 NASCAR season approaches, Athlon Sports examines 10 controversial issues alive within the sport in the annual five-part, 10 Tough Questions feature, running each day throughout the week.</p>

Kurt Busch vs. Roger Penske: What is Kurt’s future in the sport?

Racing’s old dog learned a new trick last offseason on the national power of YouTube. Kurt Busch’s verbal deconstruction of Jerry Punch, a two-minute temper tantrum captured on a camera phone, had well over 600,000 views by the time sponsor Shell Pennzoil forced its business partner, Roger Penske, to pull the trigger on some amateur negative branding. So yes, in that sense it was the only choice for a man in his 70s whose inability to stop this monster showcased his age and waning power. Honestly? It’s shameful for Penske that it took a fan sneaking around with a smart phone to force a firing of a driver whose vicious attitude and verbal assaults were all too well known to those in the garage.

At this point for Penske, it’s worth the short-term fallback in performance the No. 22 team may experience — and at least AJ Allmendinger will actually want to come to work every Sunday. As for Kurt, he claimed in an awkward YouTube video of his own that a sports psychologist combined with a fresh start will “make racing fun again.”

That’s hard to believe, but history isn’t: There’s never been a former champion who’s won at least one race every year for a decade straight sitting on the sidelines without a top-tier ride at Daytona. But talent trumps all, and Busch will man the No. 51 Phoenix Racing Chevy this season for James Finch, who has vowed not to put up with the petulant antics Busch has displayed in the past. Not that it matters, really. Busch’s deal is for one-year, and by the time that year is up, it’s our prediction that he and Finch will have had about enough of each other.


Visit AthlonSports.com each day throughout the month of February for exclusive preseason coverage of the 2012 NASCAR season. 

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2006's 13 Tough Questions and Their Politically Incorrect Answers

You want sanitized answers to racing's burning questions? Look elsewhere.
<p> You want sanitized answers to racing's burning questions? Look elsewhere.</p>
2006

In celebration of Athlon Sports' upcoming 10th annual Racing magazine, we've dug into the archives to uncover some of the most memorable features, profiles and Q&As that have graced our pages. Visit the site daily for more retrospective looks at NASCAR throughout the decade.

Article originally published in 2006 Athlon Sports Racing annual

1. What was the reasoning behind the crew and car swap at DEI?

2004's 13 Tough Questions and Their Politically Incorrect Answers

Athlon asks the questions that are on everyone's mind, even if they may not like the answers
<p> Athlon asks the questions that are on everyone's mind, even if they may not like the answers</p>
2004

In celebration of Athlon Sports' upcoming 10th annual Racing magazine, we've dug into the archives to uncover some of the most memorable features, profiles and Q&As that have graced our pages. Visit the site daily for more retrospective looks at NASCAR throughout the decade.

The following "13 Tough Questions" feature was originally published in the 2004 Athlon Sports Racing annual:

1. Can the ALLTEL car win the Nextel Cup?

NASCAR’s Iron Fist

Drivers behaving badly or borderline censorship? Athlon takes a look at some punishments NASCAR has handed down and the reasons behind them
<p> Drivers behaving badly or borderline censorship? Athlon takes a look at some punishments NASCAR has handed down and the reasons behind them</p>
2004

In celebration of Athlon Sports' upcoming 10th annual Racing magazine, we've dug into the archives to uncover some of the most memorable features, profiles and Q&As that have graced our pages. Visit the site daily for more retrospective looks at NASCAR throughout the decade.

The following feature was originally published in the 2004 Athlon Sports Racing annual:

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