September 12, 2014 |
SINCE THE CHASE was launched in 2004, only four drivers have won championships: Jimmie Johnson, six; Tony Stewart, two; Kurt Busch and Brad Keselowski, one each. I'm sensing there will be a new champion this year: how's that for a tease? No peeking toward the end for my choice. If this year's first 26 pre-Chase races mean anything, the Chase winner will be one of the four Hendrick Motorsports drivers or one of Penske Racing's duo. Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jimmie Johnson and Kasey Kahne carry the Hendrick banner; Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano power Penske.
June 10, 2014 |
LONG POND, Pa. - Brad Keselowski led the most laps by far in yesterday's Pocono 400. Then, with five laps remaining in the 160-lap NASCAR Sprint Cup race, Keselowski suddenly backed off the pace between Turns 1 and 2, allowing Dale Earnhardt Jr. to lead. Keselowski was hoping to clear the paper off the grill of his red No. 2 Ford by drafting Earnhardt, then surge back in front. It didn't happen. Earnhardt kept his No. 88 Chevrolet ahead of Keselowski and gained his first Pocono Raceway victory in 29 starts.
April 11, 2014 |
FOR THOSE of us eagerly awaiting an influx of young racing talent in NASCAR to stimulate interest, it appears our wish is coming true. Thank you, Kyle Larson, Austin Dillon, Chase Elliott and others. Larson, 21, finished second in the California Sprint Cup race March 23 after winning the Nationwide Series race the day before. He finished fifth at Texas in Monday's rain-delayed Cup race. Dillon, 23, is 12th in points with an average finish of 15.2 in the season's first seven races.
March 28, 2014 |
FIVE RACES into the new NASCAR Sprint Cup season and, to use a popular term, here's what is trending: For openers, there are five different race winners: Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski, Carl Edwards and Kyle Busch. That's good for the series. Last year, five different drivers also won the first five races: Jimmie Johnson, Edwards, Matt Kenseth, Kasey Kahne and Kyle Busch. In the 10-year history of the Chase, there have not been six different winners beginning a season.
February 21, 2014
A NEW YEAR means fresh story lines for NASCAR. This racing series has more story lines than "Downton Abbey," except these drivers don't wear tuxedos to dinner. They probably wear firesuits decorated with sponsors' logos. Here are a few major themes: * Jimmie Johnson is seeking his record-tying seventh Sprint Cup series championships. After winning a record five consecutive titles from 2006 through '10, Johnson yielded the throne to Tony Stewart in 2011 and Brad Keselowski in 2012.
November 15, 2013
BRACE YOURSELVES, racin' fans, for another Jimmie Johnson reign. Johnson carries a substantial, 28-point lead over Matt Kenseth into the Sprint Cup season finale Sunday in Homestead, Fla. All Johnson has to do to gain his sixth title is finish 23rd or better. He should be able to do that while sipping an energy drink and driving with one hand on the steering wheel. Another championship is a nightmare for those in the Anybody But Jimmie Johnson Club. It's understandable why some fans dislike Johnson as a racer: He wins too often.
October 11, 2013 |
FOUR RACES into the Chase is enough time to get a sense of which drivers are title contenders and which are not. Put the 10th through 13th place drivers in the fuhgeddaboudit file: Joey Logano, Carl Edwards, Ryan Newman and Kasey Kahne. Longshots (sixth through ninth) are Greg Biffle, Kurt Busch, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Clint Bowyer. Which leaves the top five. Matt Kenseth's lead has been shaved from 14 points, after two races, to only three ahead of Jimmie Johnson. Johnson, the five-time Cup titlist, hasn't won the Chase the past 2 years.
September 13, 2013
WITH the turmoil of the Richmond race presumably in our rearview mirrors, it's time to focus on the 10th Chase that begins Sunday at Chicagoland Speedway. This Chase features major turnover: Five drivers weren't in last year's Chase: Kyle and Kurt Busch, Carl Edwards, Joey Logano and Ryan Newman. They replace champion Brad Keselowski, Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon, Denny Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr. Keselowski's missing the Chase will make many question whether he's a 1-year wonder as a champion.
July 19, 2013
NO SPRINT CUP RACE THIS WEEK Nationwide Series' STP 300 When: 3 p.m. Sunday Where: Chicagoland Speedway, Joliet, Ill. TV/Radio: ESPN/WNPV (1440-AM) Forecast: partly cloudy, high 70s Track facts: Only seven points separate Kasey Kahne, in 10th place in the Cup standings, and Kurt Busch in 14th. The two drivers between 11th and 20th with the most wins will earn Chase wild cards . . . Regan Smith leads Sam Hornish Jr. by five points in the Nationwide Series; Austin Dillon is third, 12 points off Smith's pace . . . Kyle Busch has the most Nationwide wins (seven)
July 14, 2013
Bruins center Patrice Bergeron signed an eight-year extension through the 2021-22 season. The contract worth $52 million begins after next season, the last of Bergeron's current three-year deal with Boston. The signing of their alternate captain on Friday comes two days after the Bruins signed goalie Tuukka Rask to an eight-year, $56 million deal. Rask had been a restricted free agent. Bergeron tied for the team lead with nine postseason goals. He played the last game of the Stanley Cup Finals with a broken rib and separated shoulder.