Dover is the next stop on the NASCAR Schedule
The teams have met their first challenge in the Race for the Chase at New Hampshire International Speedway. The next stop is the Dover International Speedway. Not only will the NASCAR drivers have to take on the Monster Mile, they will have to do it while staring down all of Hulkamania! That's right, Hulk Hogan is serving as grand marshal next weekend in what promises to be the most electrifying “Gentleman, Start your engines" you have ever heard.
While I'm pumped up over the combination of my two favorite sports, wrestling and NASCAR, I'm sure the drivers will be focused on the challenges the Monster Mile pose. Of all the drivers in the Chase for the Championship, only Kyle Busch has a top ten average finish at Dover.
Think the current championship standings are crazy? I can only imagine what they'll be like after next Sunday's Dover 400.
Expect both Kyle Busch and Jimmie Johnson to take advantage of their successful record at Dover as they try to rebound from their poor finishes at New Hampshire. Also expect the following drivers to do well next week:
Tony Stewart - Average Finish 8th
Ryan Newman - Average Finish 8th
Denny Hamlin - Average Finish 11th
Jeff Gordon - Average Finish 13th
Next Week's Schedule:
NASCAR Nextel Cup: @ Dover International Speedway
9/22/06 - 03:10pm NASCAR Nextel Cup Dover 400 Qualifying
9/23/06 - 10:35am NASCAR Nextel Cup Dover 400 Practice
9/24/06 - 01:10pm NASCAR Nextel Cup Dover 400
NASCAR Busch Series: @ Dover International Speedway
9/22/06 - 11:40am NASCAR Busch Series Dover 200 Qualifying
9/22/06 - 01:20pm NASCAR Busch Series Dover 200 Practice
9/23/06 - 03:05pm NASCAR Busch Series Dover 200
NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series: @ Las Vegas Motor Speedway
9/23/06 - 10:30am NASCAR Busch Series Smith's Las Vegas 350 Practice
9/23/06 - 03:10pm NASCAR Busch Series Smith's Las Vegas 350 Qualifying
9/23/06 - 03:05pm NASCAR Busch Series Smith's Las Vegas 350
Kevin Harvick Dominates New Hampshire!
Kevin Harvick is smoking hot and burning everyone in his wake. The #29 Reese's car was a ball of flame barreling around New Hampshire, and was too hot for anyone to touch!
Kevin's hot streak didn't start at New Hampshire. Instead it has been growing over the past 11 races. During that time his average finish has been 5th. On top of that, Kevin has won 3 of the last 6 races, and has won the last two consecutive races.
What we saw Sunday in the SYLVANIA 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway was a driver on a mission. Early on in the race, Harvick pressed two other championship contenders, Jeff Burton and Denny Hamlin, into a 3 wide situation going through turns 1 & 2 on lap 37 for the lead. The gutsy move could have had a disastrous outcome for all 3 drivers. However, after a little beating and banging reminiscent of the man who formally drove Harvick's car, Harvick came out in front with the lead.
When asked about the early incident, Harvick responded, ‘At this point, it's all about the championship and going for it and throwing caution to the wind’. . . 'if you look back on it, I probably wouldn't do that again. '
I seriously doubt in the remaining 9 races to decide the championship that Kevin Harvick will tone down his aggressive driving. Throwing caution to the wind is what fans love most about Kevin Harvick!
Singing the Jimmie Johnson Blues
Have you ever heard of the term “seasonal affected disorder", or SAD for short? SAD refers to people who go into a form of depression with the onset of winter. It's a disorder that affects nearly 20% of the population. My grandmother suffered from SAD and it seems to be ailing Jimmie Johnson as well.
Jimmie's variety seems to come about early on in the final 10 races of the season, however. It's the only obvious explanation I can give to Jimmie's all but guaranteed collapse come every September.
Since Jimmie Johnson has come to NASCAR, he has always been a championship contender. Typically, Jimmie lays the foundation for a strong season early on in the year and maintains it through the middle stretch. However, starting in September, the rock solid Lowe's #48 team will start to falter.
Let's rewind and look at Jimmie's 2006 season. Johnson started off with one of the strongest starts in NASCAR history by winning two of the first 3 races. His average finish over the first 10 races was 7th. He maintained his lead in the points by averaging a 9th place finish over the next 10 races. That average began to fall at Watkins Glen where since, he has posted an average finish of 19th.
Jimmie Johnson's 39th place finish yesterday in the Sylvania 300 has all but killed his hopes of winning a championship; a championship that would have capped off a near perfect season. Or I should say a near perfect 2/3 season. Shop for Jimmie Johnson merchandise
Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway Recap
Kevin Harvick left his mark on New Hampshire International Speedway in yesterday's Slyvania 300. Harvick started in the pole position and led 196 of 300 laps at the 1-mile low-banked track.
Harvick was on a clear-cut mission to win a race in which he had one of the top, but not necessarily the most dominant cars in the field. Nobody bothered to tell him that though. On just lap 37, Harvick barreled his way between championship contenders Jeff Burton and Denny Hamlin. The move nearly cost all three drivers a severe setback in the chase for the championship. However, miraculously Harvick emerged with the lead.
Other championship contenders fared as follows:
2. (-35 points) Denny Hamlin had a strong car for much of the day, and even led the race at one point. He finished in 4th place.
3. (-41 points) Matt Kenseth and the #17 DeWalt team started their weekend off on a bad note with the culprit being bad brakes. However, a team known for its resiliency came through. They finished in 10th place and led the race to capture 5 bonus points.
4. (-50 points) Jeff Gordon had one of the top cars all weekend. He finished in 4th place and led the race to capture 5 bonus points. Time will tell if the #24 Dupont team can maintain championship form and help Jeff capture a record 5th championship.
5. (-64 points) Jeff Burton's hopes for a championship were nearly dashed early with a risky 3-wide pass by teammate Harvick. The driver who is credited with revamping Richard Childress Racing is sitting pretty after a 7th place finish in the Sylvania 300.
6. (-75 points) Mark Martin stayed out of the spotlight, as usual, for much of the day. The seasoned driver posted a solid 11th place finish to lock him in 6th place for the championship.
7. (-81 points) Dale Earnhardt Jr was visibly disappointed with his 13th place finish in the Sylvania 300. Jr, who feels people perceive him as a carefree driver living a celebrity lifestyle, wants people to understand that he only has eyes for the championship.
8. (-110 points) Kasey Kahne gained two spots in the points on the misfortune of championship contenders Kyle Busch and Jimmie Johnson. Kasey's 16th place finish wasn't great, but it sure beats a 39th place finish.
9. (-139 points) Jimmie Johnson is pulling, what's become known in the NASCAR world, a Johnson. His late season collapse started yesterday with a 39th place finish. The finish dropped him 7 positions in points.
10. (-146 points) NASCAR's sexiest bachelor, Kyle Busch, uglied up his place in the championship with a 38th place finish.
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