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Stewart storms to Martinsville win on way to Cup

Tony Stewart has traditionally been a slow starter each season.  This season he really outdid himself.  Coming into the Chase for the Sprint Cup this season “Smoke” had yet to win a race. During the media tour the Chase drivers went on prior to the first Chase race at Chicago, Stewart rather bluntly said, “He was just taking up a meaningless spot in the Chase and had no shot at winning the title.”

Seven races and three wins later Tony Stewart heads to Texas just 8 points behind series points leader Carl Edwards. He moved into second place in dramatic fashion, with a daring outside pass of race leader Jimmie Johnson just two laps from the end of the race. In victory lane Stewart threw down the gauntlet to Edwards saying it was going to be a

Read more: Stewart storms to Martinsville win on way to Cup

Weekend at Talladega continues to shake up the Chase

It’s not for nothing that they called last Sunday’s Good Sam 500 at Talladega the wild card race in the Chase for the Sprint Cup. Thanks to the fifth worst finish of his Chase career at Charlotte, Jimmie Johnson went in to last weekend 35 points behind the leader Carl Edwards. With any other driver that would register a minor blip on the news radar; bad finishes happen. Sometimes it’s just not your day. But with five-time champion Johnson this is the proverbial bombshell that gives hope to fans who are asking, “Is he finally done?”

Points leader Carl Edwards played it safe by hanging out at the back of the pack all afternoon. Teammate Greg Biffle was his drafting partner all day. In the final laps Biffle pushed Edwards to a safe but solid 11th place finish. The big losers were Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch. Both caught up in crashes. Harvick dropped from

Read more: Weekend at Talladega continues to shake up the Chase

Johnson victim of Sports Illustrated cover jinx?

Through the years being on the cover of the popular magazine has become the “kiss of death”

On the basis of Jimmie Johnson’s impressive win at Kansas Speedway, this past week’s issue of Sports Illustrated featured the five-time and defending Sprint Cup Champion’s photograph on the cover of the magazine.  The Kansas win vaulted Johnson from the depths of this year’s Chase field into a very respectable and competitive 3rd place in the standings.

A dubious distinction at best. Through the years being on the cover of the popular magazine has become the “kiss of death” to innumerable teams or athletes.  It didn’t take long for reporters to ask Johnson for his take on the dreaded Sports Illustrated jinx. “I was made aware of that jinx last Tuesday,” Johnson said prior to last weekend’s activities in Charlotte.  “I’ll tell you how out of

Read more: Johnson victim of Sports Illustrated cover jinx?

After nine races‘Bad’ Brad Keselowski is anything but...

In only nine races, Brad Keselowski has moved from 23rd in points to his current position of third. Since he broke his ankle, a span of nine races ago, he has scored more points than any other driver, by a lot. Over the last eight races, Keselowski has scored 332 points. Second during that span is Jeff Gordon, with 304.

The numbers over the past nine races look like this: two wins, six top fives, eight top

Read more: After nine races‘Bad’ Brad Keselowski is anything but...

Smoke, Junior go from cellar dwellers to contenders

Two of NASCAR’s most talked about drivers, Tony Stewart and Dale Earnhardt Jr., entered the Chase for the Sprint Cup with little discussion and mostly after thoughts. They were the only two Chase drivers without a win and were seeded ninth and 10th in the 12 driver Chase. Per this season’s Chase rules the 11th and 12th seeds went to the two wild card entries.

Despite a top-10 regular season finish, there were stretches where both Stewart (a

Read more: Smoke, Junior go from cellar dwellers to contenders

This year’s Chase for the Cup is off to a soggy start

Two words describe the upcoming 10 races, in both driving style and championship handicapping: Wide open.

A 26-race regular season that brought us 15 different winners and five first-time victors, now offers up 12 championship contenders. These 12 — the best of the best — will compete in the next 10 races, at 10 different tracks, in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint

Read more: This year’s Chase for the Cup is off to a soggy start

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