ADVERTISING FINE DINING, BUT SERVING UP FAST FOOD

Can I make a confession? I watched about 40 laps of the race, and packed it in for a nap and the NFL. I know this is journalistic sacrilege, but remember, in this role, I am a commentator and not a reporter. If you ask me, what I learned from that mid-race stretch told me all I needed to know about Sunday’s race at New Hampshire anyway. You’d think a fierce battle featuring a five-time champion and a couple of young upstarts would be enough to keep a person glued to the screen, ...

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A NEW CHAPTER BEGINS IN A.J. ALLMENDINGER’S STORY

Those of you who who have read these pages regularly know that yours truly has been following the story of A.J. Allmendinger closely. It’s hard to explain why. Perhaps spiritual beliefs fuel an interest in redemption stories, maybe it’s because in my own way, I was A.J. Allmendinger once. Whatever the case, a new chapter is about to unfold in his story. Many have written off the young racer’s career. Even before his positive tested for a banned substance (Allmendinger says ...

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TEN WEEKS OF INTRIGUE

 A lot can happen in ten weeks. Does the name Tony Stewart ring a bell? With no clear front runner the 2012 run to the championship is ripe for another Stewart to come along and seize the day. Think about it, a wild card could win this season’s championship. Look at Jeff Gordon; the idea of him reeling off a run during the Chase isn’t as far fetched as you might think. Climb a mountain? Wonder Boy had to scale Mt. Everest just to make the top 12. Sure, he enters with a 12 p ...

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GRUBB THE GAME CHANGER

 How much does a crew chief matter? Ask Denny Hamlin and the number 11 team over at Joe Gibbs Racing. On the heels of back-to-back victories at Bristol and Atlanta, the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series leader in victories has all the makings of a championship winner with one race to go before the 10-race chase. Crew chief Darian Grubb- who helped guide Tony Stewart to the 2011 championship- has made a difference. After a couple of slower pit stops early on in Sunday night’s Ad ...

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BRIAN VICKERS IS MAKING A CASE FOR A FULLTIME CUP RIDE

Six races. Three Top Tens. Three Tops Fives. Put another way, the story of Brian Vickers’ 2012 season may be entitled “Making The Most of Limited Opportunities.” He almost pulled it off at Bristol. It would do a great deal to ease the pain of the past couple of seasons. Can you imagine being in his shoes? After scratching and clawing to help get Red Bull Racing on the map, there seemed to be a payoff for “The Sheriff” when he pulled into victory lane for the ...

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ANTICIPATION, EXPECTATIONS SURROUND BRISTOL

The title may belong to the Daytona 500, but for many fans, there was a time when the second race at Bristol was the “Great American Race.” Is there anything more American than a short track race on a Saturday night? Better yet, folks who don’t have satellite or cable TV get to see the race, as it will be broadcast on ABC. After years of hearing the numerous complaints concerning the multi-groove racing at Bristol, track owner Bruton Smith has repaved the track to the deli ...

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ONE CONTENDER HAS THE TOTAL PACKAGE

 It’s shaping up to be a handicapper’s headache: 2012 is one of those wide open years where no one driver dominates. It sets the stage for a driver to catch fire a la Tony Stewart in 2011 and sweep in for the vaunted Cup from amidst the cast of seeming thousands. In reality, there seems to be three kinds of contenders running at the front of the pack. First of all, you have the drivers who have the wins. Stewart shocked the NASCAR Nation by reeling off some early seasons. B ...

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A ROAD COURSE FIGURES INTO THE CHASE RACE

 More than once you will hear a NASCAR fan opine that there should be a road course included in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase schedule. You can count yours truly among that number. This Sunday’s Finger Lakes 355 at The Glen may not be on the NASCAR’s “playoff” schedule, but rest assured, it may very well affect who gets there Jeff Gordon vaulted himself into relevancy with his win at Pocono, now holding one of the wild card spots. There must be a bit of a smile on ...

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IS ALLMENDINGER FINISHED? MAYBE NOT

If you ask most fans talking heads, A.J. Allmendinger is toast at Penske Racing, and has probably kissed good-bye his one shot at a quality Sprint Cup ride. Drugs in NASCAR? Until now, at least as drivers go, it’s pretty sure ticket to obscurity. Is it this time? Admittedly, it won’t be any fun to be A.J. Allmendinger having a “Come to Jesus” talk with The Captain. Roger Penske commands respect, and if his track record with former drivers- Kurt Busch comes to mind- i ...

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MYTHBUSTING: NASCAR IS A REDNECK SPORT

 If you talk to some uppity sports fans, they think a typical NASCAR fan’s Sunday follows a predictable routine. They stagger out of bed with a pounding head sometime around 9 a.m. and throw on a pair of shorts that should have been thrown out five years ago, and their cleanest dirty sleeveless flannel shirt. After a pot of coffee as thick as roofing tar and a breakfast of Jimmy Dean sausage, eggs over easy and biscuits ‘n’ gravy, they hop in the ‘72 Ford pick- ...

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