July 1, 2015

Daytona: Three To Watch

Coke Zero 400 Race Preview


Dale Earnhardt Jr. already has one restrictor plate race
win this season, having won at Talladega in May. (Getty)
Kyle Busch's win at Sonoma Raceway throws an interesting wrench into the Race for the Chase.  Despite not having started every race due to injury, NASCAR has provided Busch an exemption to make it into the Chase if he's eligible, which would require a win and a standing of 30th or better.  He currently sits 37th.  If he can climb to 30th or above, he'll knock out someone that hasn't won a race, which means it's time for the drivers on the bubble to take a checkered flag.

Daytona is an opportunity for any team, but also a scary proposition for the bubble drivers.  It's anybody's race, and it's possible that a less successful driver could steal this race and earn a Chase spot, only making the bubble more likely to burst.

Here are three drivers to watch at Daytona:

Green Flag: Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Junior is a rare breed in that he seems to have an affinity for the unpredictable restrictor plate races (most drivers don't like them).  He has had more success at Talladega, where he picked up his sixth win earlier this year, but still has a solid track record at Daytona.  In fact, his 13.1 career average finish at that track tops the list of active drivers.

June 30, 2015

Magic Mile Power Rankings: Sonoma



Next Up: Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway

Getty Images
For the second straight race it was a Busch celebrating in victory lane, as Kyle picked up his first win of the season (he missed the first 11 races recovering from a broken leg) and is now officially in the hunt to make this year's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Chase for the Championship.

It's going to take a a great effort from Rowdy, though, as he will need to average a finish of 14.1 in the last 10 races. His average finish this season, including the win Sunday at Sonoma Raceway, is 20.0.

Kyle has done the tough part - and that's win a race. Now he needs to stay hot and start checking off top-10 finishes from here on out. And while Kyle failed to make the Magic Mile Power Rankings this week, was his brother able to find a way past Martin Truex Jr. for the top spot? 

MMPR format:
Win: 10 points
Top-5: 5 points
Top-10: 3 points
Most Laps Led: 2 points
Pole: 1 point
21-30: Minus-1
31-40: Minus-3
41-43: Minus-5
*The most recent five races are counted.
(Last five weeks' point total in parentheses)

Here's a look at the MMPR heading into the 17th race of the season at Daytona International Speedway on Sunday, July 5 in Daytona Beach, Fla.:



June 15, 2015

Magic Mile Power Rankings: Michigan



Next Up In Two Weeks:
Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway

It wasn't exactly the kind of win that Kurt Busch will remember for the rest of his career. It won't be a victory lane celebration that he touts as the most joyous. But at the end of the day, more importantly at the end of the race, Busch's No. 41 Haas Automotive Chevrolet was the one leading the pack during the rain-shortened Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway.

It was the second victory of the season for Busch, who has done an incredible job putting the three-race suspension to open the season behind him. With seven top 10s, including five top fives, Busch has not only climbed the Magic Mile Power Rankings, but he currently sits 11th in the overall standings. That's an incredible achievement. And given his points per race average of 38.7, he'd sit third behind teammate Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr. for the overall points lead.

Busch has assured himself a spot in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship with his latest win, but was his victory on Sunday at Michigan International Speedway enough to push him up to the top spot in the Magic Mile Power Rankings? 

MMPR format:
Win: 10 points
Top-5: 5 points
Top-10: 3 points
Most Laps Led: 2 points
Pole: 1 point
21-30: Minus-1
31-40: Minus-3
41-43: Minus-5
*The most recent five races are counted.
(Last five weeks' point total in parentheses)

Here's a look at the MMPR (in exactly 10 words) heading into the 16th race of the season at Sonoma Raceway on Sunday, June 28 in Brooklyn, Mich.:

June 11, 2015

Michigan: Three To Watch

Quicken Loans 400 Race Preview


Martin Truex Jr. is a force to be reckoned with right now. (Getty)
This weekend, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads to Michigan International Speedway, one of the biggest and fastest non-restrictor plate tracks on the schedule.  Like many of the cars built in the state's biggest city, this track is made for horsepower and speed.  Unlike some tracks more tailored toward the driver, this track is all about rolling off with the fastest car and taking it to victory lane.

Here are three drivers to keep an eye on this Sunday:

Green Flag: Martin Truex Jr.

You can pretty much throw out the past performance statistics on Truex right now.  That's what happens when a driver finishes with 13 top-10s in 14 races.  He's led 454 laps across the last four races, earning two points for most laps led in all four events.  There's no reason he can't keep up the performance this week at Michigan.

June 8, 2015

Magic Mile Power Rankings: Pocono


Next Up: Quicken Loans 400
at Michigan International Speedway

It's been a couple weeks since the last Magic Mile Power Rankings report, but what a week to come back. Martin Truex Jr. has finally found victory lane, and has officially stamped himself into a position to compete for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship title this season.

Truex has been a dominating force of late, leading tons of laps and putting his name in a elite company for the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship.

With 13 top 10s in 14 starts this season, Truex is certainly among this year's serious title contenders. But was his win on Sunday at Pocono Raceway enough to vault him into the top spot in the Magic Mile Power Rankings or is Jimmie Johnson still occupying No. 1? 

MMPR format:
Win: 10 points
Top-5: 5 points
Top-10: 3 points
Most Laps Led: 2 points
Pole: 1 point
21-30: Minus-1
31-40: Minus-3
41-43: Minus-5
*The most recent five races are counted.
(Last five weeks' point total in parentheses)

Here's a look at the MMPR heading into the 15th race of the season at Michigan International Speedway on Sunday, June 14 in Brooklyn, Mich.: