KAHNE GOES FROM THE KING TO THE EMPEROR

On a day in which Kelly Bires’ release from JR Motorsports dominated the morning Twitter feeds of those in the NASCAR circle, the tone of the conversation took a dramatic turn with the news that Kasey Kahne had signed a multi-year deal with Hendrick Motorsports. The most lucrative free agent on the NASCAR market, it was no surprise Kahne would be leaving Richard Petty Motorsports at the end of the 2010 season. What surprised almost everyone in NASCAR was that the 30-year-old signed the dea ...

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NASCAR PROP BETS, VERSION TWO

Denny Hamlin. Oh how you scorn me.I wrote a column putting money on him to win at Martinsville before the odds came out. Upon seeing those odds and hating them, I went in the other direction. Now Captain ACL has me down $200 in fake currency instead of being down less than $100 in fake moolah had I stuck with my original hunch. In an unrelated note, I hate this column and can’t be happy enough for an off week so I can present some random prop bets to drown my sorrow for a bit. Odds Kyle ...

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TOP STORY NO. 3: RICK HENDRICK IS THE GODFATHER

  I never thought I would compare Rick Hendrick to a Marlon Brando character or the WWE legend who coined the phrase "Pimpin' ain't easy." But great googly moogly, has Hendrick evolved into the type of guy who has his hands in every element of the sport. To boot, everything he touches not named Dale Earnhardt Jr. seems to turn to gold.That’s why Rick Hendrick is our No. 3 story of 2009. What happened?Hendrick won his ninth title. Four with Jeff Gordon. Now four with ...

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TOP STORY NO. 10: RETURN OF MARK MARTIN

Everybody loves a good comeback. And boy-oh-boy did Mark Martin get all Lisa Kudrow (Phoebe from “Friends") on 2009, enough to merit the No. 10 top story of  the year. What happend?Martin, who is 50 for those wondering, kicked ass. After racing a part-time schedule in 2007 and 2008, Martin signed with Hendrick Motorsports to drive the red-headed stepchild car. Martin turned that stepchild into a Brock Lesnar man-beast. He won five times and had 21 single-digit finishes. Martin ...

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JIMMIE JOHNSON WON’T WIN THE CHASE

 Jimmie Johnson won't win the Chase. There. I typed it. When I read (thanks to Jay W. Pennell) that Mark Martin has gained 109 points on Jimmie Johnson nine times in his career I thought, "There has to be a way for Martin to do that on Sunday at Homestead." For everyone rooting for Martin, here is a list of those ways:  Tires The relatively new surface at Homestead cut or blistered several tires in last year’s race. Jimmie Johnson the driver might not screw ...

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IT’S A LONG SHOT, BUT MARTIN CAN STILL WIN THE CHAMPIONSHIP

Jimmie Johnson’s win last weekend in Phoenix seemed to put the final touches on his fourth straight championship run. With just one race standing between him and a record-breaking fourth straight Sprint Cup trophy, all Johnson will have to do next weekend at the Ford 400 at Homestead is finish 25th or better to earn the title. Me? I don’t hear the fat lady singing just yet. (And yes I am looking in your direction, Eddie Gossage.) Hendrick Motorsports teammate Mark Martin still ...

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MARTIN HAS ‘LUCKY’ FEELING ABOUT TALLADEGA

For championship contender Mark Martin, Talladega Superspeedway has been a thorn in his side for years. Although he scored two victories at the 2.66-mile speedway in the mid-1990s, Martin has been knocked around enough to dread the track he calls “the lottery.”Since 2002, Martin has just two top-10 finishes, an average finish of 27th, three DNFs and eight finishes of 20th or worse. During his partial retirement, Martin skipped Talladega, but returned earlier this year and was caught ...

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MARK MARTIN LOVES HIM SOME GANGSTER RAP

The oldest contender in the Sprint Cup is old school in more ways than one. Mark Martin was recently asked about his favorite musical artist of the moment. His answer was Gucci Mane. That’s right. Mark Martin loves gangster rap.Said Martin, "I wear it like a badge of honor now." Martin said he first became a fan of rap when Run DMC and Aerosmith remade "Walk This Way." More than two decades later, Martin has evolved with the times."I really, really, really like ...

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MARTIN WINS SYLVANIA 300

This is why you should be nice to everyone. With three laps to go, Mark Martin and Juan Pablo Montoya raced each other hard for the lead in the Sylvania 300. Montoya could have bumped or wrecked Martin, but he didn't. Why? Because Martin is the closest thing the former Formula 1 driver has to a mentor and crossing that line is something even a hothead like Montoya knows he can't do. One race down. Nine to go. And Mark Martin is your Chase leader. Martin extends points lead with win (AP) ...

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DOUBLE-FILE RESTARTS MADE CHICAGO FUN

It has been a common occurrence recently. Green flag waves. Fast car takes the lead. Fast car sets sail. Other cars get close after restart. Fast car sets sail again. Checkered flag waves. It could have been that kind of race in Chicago.At the end of the day the fastest car, which was driven by Mark Martin, won the race. I submit that justice was served. Thanks to the double-file restart, at least things were interesting. The second-fastest car of the night, Jimmie Jo ...

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