5 DRIVERS I’M WATCHING IN 2011

There’s a reason everyone loves a new year. For those who experienced adversity or failure in the year prior, they get fresh start; a clean slate fresh for writing a new chapter to the story. For the young, it’s an opportunity to further build on the foundation that’s been set; perhaps a rite of passage to maturity is in store.NASCAR drivers are no different. For Jimmie Johnson, 2010 further built his legacy. For Denny Hamlin, it was a breakout year. Jamie McMurray experienced ...

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NASCAR NEEDS A MAN OF THE PEOPLE

If you’re much over the age of 25, you’ll recall baseball’s lost season of 1994, when player and owners reached an impasse. Some called the battle of “the millionaires versus the billionaires,” but fans felt they came out the real losers. When play resumed in 1995, the fans let the sport hear about it with attendance off by some 20 percent, and those showing up being none to quiet about their disdain for what baseball had become. Not missing a game in near ...

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‘HAVE AT IT’ BUSTS ‘PLASTIC DRIVER’ MYTH

Atlanta, March, 2010 - A brewing feud between Carl Edwards and Brad Keselowski boils over when contact from the Ford of Edwards sends the Dodge of Keselowski airborne at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Long Pond, June, 2010 - In the season’s first race at Pocono, Joey Logano wrecks after contact with Kevin Harvick. The 20-year-old Logano warns he’s going to “(freakin’) kill” Harvick for the incident, and the young driver’s father enters the fray. Ironically, this ...

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JEFF BURTON IS NASCAR’S SECRET BAD BOY

 Jeff Burton has spent years building a reputation as a class act, he's widely respected by his peers and is famous for his kind demeanor (and guest star appearances on soap operas).  After mixing it up with Jeff Gordon at Texas, Kevin Harvick at Martinsville and Kyle Busch at Charlotte, NASCAR's best kept secret is out -- Jeff Burton is NASCAR's Bad Boy. The ultimate bad boy move isn't to smash guitars and fly the bird at NASCAR officials. A real badass would make everyone think ...

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HAMLIN WINS CRAZY DAY IN TEXAS

Entering the day with the top three in the Chase standings separated by only 38 points, Sunday’s 500-mile race at the Texas Motor Speedway was crazier than anyone could imagine. Throughout the entire Chase, Denny Hamlin’s game plan was to be patient and conservative until making it through Talladega, then let loose. One race after closing the championship gap with Jimmie Johnson, Hamlin stayed true to his word, scoring the win in Texas and taking the points lead with only two race ...

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WHO SAID IT WAS OVER?

MARTINSVILLE, Va._ After scoring his seventh victory of the season and first of the Chase, Denny Hamlin walked into the Martinsville Speedway media center pointing at reporters, asking, “Who said it was over? Told you it wasn’t over.”Coming into the weekend 41 points behind Jimmie Johnson in the Chase, Hamlin knew this weekend’s race in Martinsville was his best chance to close the gap before heading to the ‘wild card’ race at Talladega Superspeedway. Sitting ...

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WHO WOULD YOU RATHER BE: JAMIE MCMURRAY OR JEFF GORDON?

For just about anyone else, sitting 13th in points as the season winds down would be a disappointment. Unlike Jeff Gordon, there’s no question Jamie McMurray has no shot at a championship; that was settled before the Chase began. Yet, in spite of this, I submit it’s better to be Jamie McMurray in 2010 than it is to be Jeff Gordon.All Jamie Mac has done is win three big races on three big stages. In just one season, he’s won the “Great Am ...

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MCMURRAY WINS, TITLE CONTENDERS NARROW

CONCORD, N.C._ Think it bothers Jamie McMurray that he did not make this year’s Chase for the Sprint Cup? Not when you consider he won the season-opening Daytona 500, the mid-season Brickyard 400 and had seven top-3 finishes. Winning two of the pinnacle races on the NASCAR schedule, McMurray has stepped up when it mattered most and Saturday night's Bank of America 500 was no different.While Kyle Busch and Jimmie Johnson battled for the top-spot late in the race, McMurray methodically close ...

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WHO IS TO BLAME FOR NASCAR’S DECLINE?

CONCORD, N.C. _ These days it seems everyone in NASCAR is trying to figure out the reasoning for a decline in attendance and major drop television ratings. Empty seats and poor ratings have dominated the conversation as of late, instead of one of the most competitive Chases. Most agree the economy has played a major role, some blame the Chase for the Sprint Cup, many argue it is ESPN and others point to the dominance of Jimmie Johnson.  In the last week alone, television ratings dropped 30% ...

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FOUR DRIVERS REMAIN IN CHASE TITLE FIGHT

At Sunday’s race in Fontana, would-be championship contenders went down faster than Michael Spinks at the hands of Mike Tyson. Just about everybody south of Tony Stewart is either throwing in the towel, or down for the count.Tony Stewart got bum-rushed at New Hampshire and fell to the canvas at Dover, before taking a mandatory eight count and gathering his wits at Kansas. The win at Fontana provided a good whiff of smelling salts, offering Smoke more than just a puncher ...

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