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Wins take center stage with Chase seedings at stake

The 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series campaign reached its halfway mark with Saturday’s Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola. Points are good but wins are better.

A single victory can be the difference between winning and losing a championship. Had Edwards won more than once in the regular season, he would have captured last year’s title by three points instead of losing it to Stewart on a most-victories tiebreaker. In fact, wins are best. Matt Kenseth leads Dale Earnhardt Jr. by 25 points with nine races remaining before the top 10 in the standings, plus two “Wild Card” qualifiers are seeded into the Chase for the  Sprint Cup.

Read more: Wins take center stage with Chase seedings at stake

Silly Season begins early with Kenseth announcement

At first blush last week’s announcement that 2004 Sprint Cup Champion Matt Kenseth would be leaving Roush Fenway Racing at the end of the year came as a real shock.  

A rookie on the “Cup” circuit in 2000, the little known 28 year-old  short-track driver from Wisconsin was signed by Jack Roush to drive on the biggest stage in stock car racing.  Kenseth joined already established  Roush drivers Mark Martin, Jeff Burton, Chad Little, and Kevin Lepage.  

Read more: Silly Season begins early with Kenseth announcement

Standing battle doesn’t get much better than this

Sonoma has a habit of anointing first-time NASCAR Sprint Cup road race winners – Sunday’s win by Clint Bowyer was the sixth straight time the race was the first road course win for a cup driver.

Bowyer has proved to be a fast learner. 

Heading into Sunday’s race, in six starts at Sonoma, the Kansan had yet to finish off the lead lap. He’s notched fourth-place finishes three times, most recently in 2011. Bowyer had a series-high 455 green flag passes on the 1.99-mile layout since the inception of the Loop Data statistic in 2005.

Signing Bowyer away from Richard Childress Racing prior to the beginning of his season didn’t take long to pay off for Michael Waltrip Racing. Sunday’s race was Bowyer’s sixth career Cup win. Once upon a time, Jeff Gordon owned Sonoma’s road course, winning five times, including three victories in a row between 1998 and 2000.

Read more: Standing battle doesn’t get much better than this

Dale Jr. ends winless streak with Michigan win

Lost in the conversation of Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s weekly quest to break a 143-race winless streak that would have reached its fourth anniversary this past Sunday at Michigan was one simple fact: Junior was on pace to have a career-topping season.  

With his 11th top-10 finish of the 2012 season  at Pocono Raceway, Earnhardt was within one top 10 of matching his total output for  all of last year. He’s on track, should the consistency continue, to record 28 top 10s by season’s end. His previous best, in both 2003 and 2004, is 21.

Sunday at the same venue that produced his last NASCAR Sprint Cup victory, four years and two days removed from his most recent visit to Victory Lane, Dale Earnhardt Jr. broke the most talked-about, most frustrating streak in motor sports. Pulling away from defending series champion Tony Stewart at the end of the final 60-lap green-flag run, Earnhardt won Sunday’s Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway by a dominating 5.393 seconds.

“I know you guys have been waiting on that one,” Earnhardt radioed to his crew after crossing the finish line. “I know I have.” As Earnhardt performed a celebratory burnout on the front stretch, fans and crew members crowded around Victory Lane as the crowd in the grandstands stood and cheered.

Read more: Dale Jr. ends winless streak with Michigan win

Thoughts on the passing of an auto racing legend

I was pleased that the Hall of fame nominating committee chose four of the early pioneers of the sport for the upcoming class to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. The early stars of the sport were of the World War II generation. A lot of them have already passed from the scene. 

This year the committee chose drivers Herb Thomas and Buck Baker, Crew Chief Leonard Wood, and team owner Cotton Owens who were at their peak during the sport’s early years.

Rusty Wallace was the lone representative from the so-called modern era. Baker and Thomas will be inducted posthumously, as both passed several years ago. Sadly, Cotton Owens also did not live to enjoy his enshrinement in the Hall of Fame. He passed away last Thursday.

Read more: Thoughts on the passing of an auto racing legend

The prelude to the dream is “One Perfect Night”

And it’s tonight June 6th, live, from Eldora Speedway in Rossburg Ohio.  You can catch a great evening of racing tonight on HBO Pay Per View.  Some of the biggest stars of Motorsports will be participating, and the proceeds go to support  “Feed the Children.”

Stars representing NASCAR, NHRA, INDYCAR, and the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series align in a big way with the Prelude To The Dream as Eldora Speedway once again plays host to the All-Star Dirt Late Model Race, featuring more than 25 world-renowned drivers as they  battle for dirt supremacy on the half mile clay oval presented live in high definition. 

 Net proceeds from the telecast will support “Feed the Children”, a United States based charity that has helped more than 36,500 families since 2009 through its Americans Feeding Americans Caravan.

Read more: The prelude to the dream is “One Perfect Night”

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