TOP STORY NO. 2: JEREMY MAYFIELD’S METHY SITUATION

Some really smart person once said, “The key to good writing is brevity.” This person never had to write about NASCAR and Jeremy Mayfield, our No. 2 story of 2009. What happened?Where in the blue hell do I begin? Mayfield started his own team and actually qualified for the Daytona 500. In early May, NASCAR officials claimed Mayfield tested positive for a banned substance and suspended him indefinitely.At first, NASCAR wouldn’t say what the banned substance was. Eventually, t ...

//more

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 ...

//more

TOP STORY NO. 4: THE ECONOMY STINKS

The only thing that had a worse 2009 than Tiger Woods was the global economy. I don’t want to bore you with the details of why things tanked, but I do want to explain how the economy turned motorsports upside down in 2009, enough to be our No. 4 story of the year. What happened?Many race teams felt like the dude from Monopoly after landing on Boardwalk with a hotel. For the sake of making this column shorter than Avatar, here’s a synopsis: Robert Yates Racing started with three te ...

//more

TOP STORY NO. 5: NASCAR RATINGS DOWN

 I never thought I would compare Brian France to old women, but one of the most important commercials of all time is a pretty good comparison to a reality that faces race fans, sponsors and participants. When it comes to NASCAR, where's the beef? What happened?NASCAR ratings took another hit in 2009. According to Jayski's analysis, the hits were across the board. FOX lost 1.5 million viewers from 2008 to 2009, a 15 percent hit. TNT, ESPN and ABC each lost about 400,000 viewers, about an ...

//more

TOP STORY NO. 6: TALLADEGA TURNS INTO THE BERMUDA TRIANGLE

Growing up, I was horrified by the Bermuda Triangle, to the point where I didn’t want to travel there for fear of getting swallowed by some sea monster. The myth of the Bermuda Triangle might be diminished, but it appears to have a wicked step-cousin that is growing out of control. Racing fans call this evil Talladega, our No. 6 top story of 2009. What happened?Both races at the track were a mess. I’ll let the video speak for Brad Keselowski’s first win at the expense of Car ...

//more

TOP STORY NO. 8: TONY STEWART HAS A WHOPPER OF A SEASON

Tony Stewart threw down some whoppers this year, literally and figuratively. Not only was Stewart involved in the single best promotion of the year - the Burger King lie detector and promotional school campaign - but he also stunned the NASCAR world with his work on the track. As a result, Whopper Man is the No. 8 story of 2009. What happened?Stewart left the stability of Joe Gibbs Racing and a Home Depot sponsorship to become a driver/owner at Stewart-Haas Racing. Before Stewart arrived, Haa ...

//more

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 ...

//more

TOP STORY NO. 11: KYLE BUSCH SUCKS, ROCKS

 There are many words that can be used to describe Kyle Busch. Most can’t be published on this site, and we publish all sorts of crazy @#%. But regardless of what you think of Kurt’s little brother, one thing is clear. He generates interest. Enough to be our No. 11 top story of 2009.  What happened?What didn’t happen? In the Nationwide Series, he won the points title, winning nine races during the season. One of those wins was in Nashville, where he took a Les Paul ...

//more

TOP STORY NO. 12: NASCAR HALL OF FAME

Every sport has its Mount Rushmore. Every sport has a place to show off its greatest, except NASCAR. That reality is changing by the day, and then some, through the NASCAR Hall of Fame, which announced its first class in October. What happened?NASCAR unveiled its first Hall of Fame Class. Only five men would make the first cut; so, we knew the list would be legendary. Still, it strikes a little bit of awe to type Dale Earnhardt, Bill France, Bill France Jr., Junior Johnson and Richard Petty i ...

//more

TOP STORY NO. 13: DAVID POOLE’S DEATH

Baseball has Peter Gammons. Football has Peter King. NASCAR had David Poole, until April 28, 2009.  WHAT HAPPENED?A heart attack took the life of Poole, who spent 13 years covering the sport for the Charlotte Observer. Poole also hosted a radio show on Sirius/XM. While there are dozens of writers who pull double duty, few if any earn comments like this one from an athlete as accomplished as Jimmie Johnson. Per Lars Anderson at SI.com:"David was the one writer who I felt I had to actual ...

//more