* Around Town: Teams Ready For Military Visits In The Loop: Top Drivers Shine At Dover As was the case last week at New Hampshire, the best shine at Dover -- except in one noticeable instance. Though he started his Dover career with four ...
* Around Town: Teams Ready For Military Visits
In The Loop: Top Drivers Shine At Dover
As was the case last week at New Hampshire, the best shine at Dover -- except in one noticeable instance.
Though he started his Dover career with four consecutive top-five finishes (including a season sweep in 2000) and 11 top 10s in 12 races, Tony Stewart has struggled of late at the one-mile Delaware track. Over the last five races, his average finish is 26.2 (which does include 2006's June Dover race where Ricky Rudd subbed for him after 38 laps and finished 25th).
Over the last five Dover races, he has notched a Driver Rating of 67.1, his lowest of any track on the series. Other Stewart statistics: 23.3 Average Running Position and 34.8% of his laps were in the top 15.
Aside from Stewart, Dover has been a welcome stop for Chase drivers -- the other 11 are all in the top 17 in Driver Rating over the past five races and eight are in the top 11.
The best of the bunch is Matt Kenseth, who has four top 10s in the last five Dover races. He has the second-best Dover Driver Rating at 110.2 (behind teammate Greg Biffle's (No. 16 Nintendo Wii Ford) 112.9), the third-best Average Running Position (7.7), 129 Fastest Laps Run (fourth-most) and has spent 91.1% of his Laps in the Top 15.
But two "dark horse" Chase threats could wind up winning at Dover. Martin Truex Jr. and Clint Bowyer came into the Chase ranked seventh and 12th respectively. Now Bowyer, who won the first Chase race at New Hampshire, is in fourth and Truex sits sixth. Both figure to be strong at Dover.
At Dover in June, Truex picked up his first career win and in three races there has a Driver Rating of 102.0 (fifth-best), an Average Running Position of 12.0 (seventh-best) and 120 Fastest Laps Run (fifth-most). Bowyer has both history and momentum on his side. In three race at Dover, Bowyer ranks prominently, with an eighth-best Driver Rating (98.8), fifth-best Average Running Position (8.7) and 89.3% of his Laps in the Top 15 (fifth-best percentage).
On The Line: Kenseth On Weekly NASCAR Teleconference
Matt Kenseth was the guest on this week's NASCAR teleconference. The 2003 series champion is one of two drivers to compete in the Chase all four seasons.
Some highlights from the teleconference:
On making the Chase four straight years:
"It's not frustrating at all making the Chase four years in a row. Obviously, it's a difficult thing to do, it's difficult to put together a good 26 races to be in the top 10, so I'm real proud of my team for being able to accomplish that."
On who the favorite to win the Chase is:
"I don't think anybody expected Clint to come and win the race and lead all of those laps this weekend. You just never know, I think all 12 teams today have a legitimate shot. I think anybody right now could get on a roll and be a real contender."
On the Chase format:
"I certainly think the Chase format has made it more exciting for the fans. I think it kind of re-energizes everybody once football season starts and we've already been racing for 28 weeks or something like that. I think it gets everybody jacked up about racing again and gives them something to watch and follow and see who the champion is."
Around Town: Wood Brothers/JTG Racing Help Celebrate Air Force Anniversary
Wood Brothers Help Celebrate 60th Anniversary of U.S. Air Force
Tuesday, Sept. 18 marks the 60th anniversary of the United States Air Force, an occasion that will be commemorated by Wood Brothers/JTG Racing and the No. 21 U.S. Air Force Ford. The No. 21, piloted by Ken Schrader will carry the U.S. Air Force colors at Dover, and all team drivers and owners will attend a special reception at Dover Air Force Base on Friday night following qualifying.
"Our relationship with the United States Air Force is not only a blessing, but an honor," said team owner Eddie Wood. "To represent one of the branches of the military certainly means a lot to our organization as a whole and we've enjoyed hosting their personnel at the race tracks as part of their long-standing partnership with the Wood Brothers.
"We're in our seventh consecutive partnership year with the U.S. Air Force and our bond with them continues to grow. We wish them a happy and successful 60th Anniversary."
Mears To Visit Walter Reed
Casey Mears and members of the No. 25 National Guard/GMAC Chevrolet will visit Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. on Thursday afternoon. The group will meet with military service men and women who are currently receiving treatment. The Walter Reed Army Medical Center serves more than 150,000 active and retired personnel from all branches of the military.
"It's not easy to visit soldiers who have been through so much, but it's something I really want to do," Mears said. "It's a great honor to represent the National Guard every weekend, and the men and women who serve put a lot of things in perspective for the rest of us."
Celebrity Chase Tracker Field Set
Defending Chase Tracker champion Mike Hampton (Atlanta Braves pitcher) is one of 35 celebrities competing in the 2007 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Celebrity Chase Tracker. The game is being hosted on NASCAR.COM this year and is open to fans.
All participants -- celebrities and fans -- filled out the Chase Tracker grid with their predictions prior to New Hampshire. Predictions included the Chase standings after each race as well as the race winner.
Celebrities from the sports and entertainment world are participating in this year's challenge. Several entries make natural rivals, including the New England Patriots Offensive Line (who collectively filled out an entry) and Nick Mangold (New York Jets Offensive lineman); Chan Gailey (Georgia Tech head football coach) and Tom O'Brien (N.C. State head football coach) and Larry Fitzgerald (Arizona Cardinals wide receiver) and Steve Smith (Carolina Panthers wide receiver).
Tommy Davidson (STAR Motorsports/ Actor/Comedian) took the early lead after one week. Davidson was the only celebrity to predict Clint Bowyer's New Hampshire victory. He also correctly picked Jimmie Johnson's and Kevin Harvick's (No. 29 Shell-Pennzoil Chevrolet) position in the standings. His seven points leads Tom O'Brien, who has five points.
On Deck: Kansas Marks Third Chase Race
Round Three of the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup takes the series to the "Heartland" of America -- Kansas Speedway.
This will be the seventh time the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series visits Kansas Speedway. Jeff Gordon won the first two events at the track, but there hasn't been a repeat winner since.
Tony Stewart is the defending race winner. Kasey Kahne (No. 9 UAW/Dodge Dealers Dodge) was last year's polesitter.
The Race: Dodge Dealers 400
The Place: Dover International Speedway
The Date: Sunday, Sept. 23
The Time: 1:30 p.m. (ET)
TV: ESPN, 1 p.m. (ET)
The Track: 1-mile concrete oval
The Distance: 400 miles, 400 laps
The Purse: $5,132,767
2006 Winner: Jeff Burton
2006 Pole: Jeff Gordon
Pre-Race Schedule (local/ET time): Friday -- Practice, 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Qualifying, 3:15 p.m. Saturday -- Practice, 11-11:50 a.m. and 1:50-2:50 p.m.