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Johnson 3-Peats in Vegas! SCI March 12th Issue


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Next stop on the Nextel Cup Schedule is Atlanta Motor Speedway

Next week NASCAR heads to the fastest track on the NASCAR Nextel Cup circuit, Atlanta Motor Speedway, for the Kobalt Tools 500. The 2007 races at Atlanta will a new change to contend with compared to 2006 races held there. NASCAR has mandated an 18 gallon fuel cell instead of the standard 22 1/2 gallon cell typically used.

What effect will a smaller fuel cell have? For starters, it will require more pit stops to cover the 500 mile race. More stops on NASCAR's fastest track means that the pit crews and the driver's ability to have a clean pit stop will become even more critical. Have a bad stop, and a team could find themselves a lap down in a heartbeat.

Of the current drivers who have raced more than 2 races at Atlanta, Dale Jarrett has had the most success. In 20 starts, Jarrett has an average finish of 10th place. Of course, Dale's success at Atlanta came during his years at Yates Racing. Let's see if he can maintain his dominance with his new team, Michael Waltrip Racing.

Other drivers to note:

Carl Edwards - Average finish of 11th
Jimmie Johnson - Average finish of 11th
Dale Earnhardt Jr - Average finish of 11th
Greg Biffle - Average finish of 12th

Next Week's Schedule:

Nextel Cup: @ Atlanta Motor Speedway (all times EST)
03/16/07 - 06:40pm NASCAR Nextel Cup Kobalt Tools 500 Qualifying
03/17/07 - 01:20pm NASCAR Nextel Cup Kobalt Tools 500 Practice
03/18/07 - 02:00pm NASCAR Nextel Cup Kobalt Tools 500

Busch Series: @ Atlanta Motor Speedway
03/16/07 - 02:15pm NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Nicorette 300 Practice
03/17/07 - 11:05am NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Nicorette 300 Qualifying
03/17/07 - 03:00pm NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Nicorette 300

Craftsman Truck Series: @ Atlanta Motor Speedway
03/16/07 - 05:15pm NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series American Commercial Lines 200 Qualifying
03/16/07 - 09:00pm NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series American Commercial Lines 200

Johnson Captures First Win of 2007!

Jimmie Johnson learned last year that the best way to win a championship is to come out early swinging. In the 2006 season, Johnson started by winning the Daytona 500, finishing 2nd at California, and by winning Las Vegas.

With the exception of Daytona, Johnson's results in 2007 are eerily similar to 2006. A 3rd place finish at California last week followed by a win in Vegas this week, the 150th for the Hendrick Motor Sports organization. What's next? A 6th place finish next week at Atlanta?

While Johnson's poor finish this year at Daytona left fans guessing if he could repeat, there is no doubt now that the #48 Lowe's teams is still the force to be reckoned with in NASCAR!

Las Vegas Not Impressive in Bid to Get 2nd NASCAR Race

Las Vegas Motor Speedway desperately wants a 2nd race Nextel Cup race. The track wants it so bad that it was willing to spend millions to raise the 11 yr old turns an additional 8 degrees to bring faster paced action for the fans. It is also in the planning phases of building trackside luxury condos like never seen before at a race track.

So what's the problem you ask? The problem is not necessarily the track's fault. The recent restructuring of the track, a new track surface, and the promise of increased speeds made Goodyear play a conservative hand in the tires they formulated for UAW Daimler Chrysler 400. The left side Goodyear tires were very hard and capable of withstanding higher pressures than typical tires. Along with the modified left side tire, the air pressures in the right side tires were regulated and teams were not allowed to adjust as needed during the race.

The end result was the race had a higher number of captions than any other Vegas race. Most drivers complained of icy conditions on a slick track that claimed numerous cars. For NASCAR to award a 2nd race to Las Vegas, both the track and Goodyear will need to get on the same page and provide a track along with a suitable set of tires that produces some serious racing!

UAW-Daimler Chrysler 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway Recap

The newly revamped Las Vegas Motor Speedway made for dicey racing conditions on Sunday in the UAW-Daimler Chrysler 400. As Tony Stewart predicted after Saturday nights Busch race, the Sam's Town 300, the UAW-Daimler Chrysler 400 would claim many cars by race end.

During the off-season, Speedway Motor sports Inc, owners of Vegas, spent millions of dollars raising the banking in the turns from 12 degrees to 20 and resurfaced the entire track. Always one to make the safe bet, Goodyear specified a harder left side compound to guard against tire failure. Ask any driver, and they will tell you that a harder left side tire on a newly paved track is extremely slick!

And slick it was yesterday. In the first 40 laps, there were 4 cautions that claimed numerous cars. One team, Hendrick Motor sports, was seemingly immune to the track conditions. Two of their drivers, Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon finished 1 & 2 respectively while Kyle Busch finished in 9th. The win was the 150th in Hendrick Motor sports history!

For Jimmie Johnson, the win at Vegas was his 3rd consecutive victory at the same track, and bolstered him to 4th in the standings. Johnson's win didn't come easy though. Jimmy had to overcome a pit road penalty and a small scrape with the wall. The reigning champion bounced back by leading 89 laps and winning the race.

Jeff Gordon, meanwhile, bumped up to 2nd in the standings still trailing the leader Mark Martin. The 4-time champion led 111 laps in the race only to falter after a late race tire problem. Gordon still trails Dale Earnhardt by one win in NASCAR all time victories.

Jeff Burton seemed poised to make a sweep of Las Vegas after winning the Busch race on Saturday. The South Boston, VA native lead late in the race before engine trouble doomed his chances of a sweep. Burton finished 15th.

Other top drivers faired as follows:

Tony Stewart followed up his 8th place finish at California with a 7th in Vegas. The former champion now sits in 13th place.

The darling of NASCAR, Kasey Kahne, was involved in a late race wreck and finished 35th. The 35th place dropped Kahne to 36th in points. It seems the #9 Dodge team is still reeling from the suspensions handed out at Daytona.

Carl Edwards had a strong 7th place finish to help correct a 2007 season that has completely started off on the wrong foot. The finish boosted Edwards to 17th in the standings.

Juan Montoya is learning his way around the oval tracks. The former F1 star finished the race in 22nd.

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