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.
June 27, 2013
THIS WEEK'S RACE Quaker State 400 Kentucky Speedway Sparta, Ky. When: Saturday, 7:30 p.m. TV/Radio: TNT/WNPV (1440-AM) Course: 1.5-mile oval Distance: 267 laps/400 miles Forecast: Chance of scattered thunderstorms, low 70s Last year's winner: Brad Keselowski Last year's pole: Jimmie Johnson, 181.818 mph (track qualifying record) Track facts: Last year, Keselowski led three times for 68 laps, including the final 56. Kasey Kahne was second; Denny Hamlin third...
June 20, 2013 |
GREG BIFFLE picked the perfect time to win his first Sprint Cup race of the year. Biffle's first-place finish Sunday at Michigan was Ford's 1,000th victory in NASCAR's top three series. "It's really exciting to see all that racing heritage, and to be able to be a part of that with the 1,000th win," said Biffle, a former Nationwide and trucks series champion. "I think I contributed over 50 of those, which is a small number compared to 1,000, but I'm still sure excited to be the number 1,000.
June 7, 2013 |
Brad Keselowski had hardly won the 2012 Sprint Cup Series championship when he started putting together a plan to win in 2013. With a giant celebratory beer in hand, Keselowski announced on ESPN's SportsCenter that he'd have the outline ready for team owner Roger Penske by Christmas. In an appearance Thursday, Keselowski said that agenda has steadily grown since the start of the 2013 season, perhaps more than he'd like. Keselowski's team hasn't been able to get out of its own way. Last weekend at Dover, Keselowski finally seemed ready to move on from the suspension of his crew chief and a damaging 25-point penalty.
June 5, 2013
Defending Sprint Cup champion Brad Keselowski and the No. 2 Penske Racing team are now perilously close to falling out of the Chase after being docked six points by NASCAR Tuesday. The No. 2 car will drop from eighth to 10th in the points standings after its front end did not pass inspection following Sunday's FedEx 400 at Dover. The front of his Ford was too low, giving NASCAR cause to fine crew chief Paul Wolfe $25,000 and leave Keselowski just eight points ahead of 11th-place Jeff Gordon for the final Chase spot.