Chip Ganassi's IndyCar and Sprint Cup Series drivers are pretty good at sports car racing.

The No. 02 team of IndyCar drivers Scott Dixon and Tony Kanaan and Sprint Cup Series drivers Kyle Larson and Jamie McMurray won the Rolex 24 sports car race at Daytona Sunday afternoon, beating the No. 5 Action Express team which was driven by IndyCar driver Sebastian Bourdais at the finish.

The main competition for the No. 02, which was piloted by Dixon for the final three-plus hours, was the No. 10 of Wayne Taylor Racing. But WTR made a critical miscalculation late in the race and essentially handed the win over to the No. 02.

The No. 02 was leading with the caution came out for a crash with approximately 15 minutes to go. Presumably, the ensuing restart was going to give the No. 10, driven by Jordan Taylor, a chance to go after Dixon for one more shot at the win. However, Taylor was called to the pits during the caution and told he had to get out of the car.

Drivers in the Rolex 24 can drive four hours in a six-hour period and 14 hours overall. Taylor had driven the third-to-last stint for the No. 10 and Max Angelelli was apparently not in the car long enough in the second-to-last driver segment to satisfy the buffer requirement for Taylor. Had he driven the car to the finish, he would have gone over the limit and WTR realized it too late to fit it into their race strategy.

The No. 10 ended up third as Ricky Taylor drove it to the finish. The team has finished second, second and third in the past three Rolex 24s.

The Rolex 24 win is the sixth for Chip Ganassi Racing, which last won in 2013. The team was almost flawless throughout the entire event, as all four drivers posted stellar lap times and the car never fell lower than fourth as the race churned on throughout the night. The team pitted a race-high 34 times and thanks to the team's strategy and car's speed, it wasn't a detriment.

McMurray also became the third driver to win both the Daytona 500 and Rolex 24, joining A.J. Foyt and Mario Andretti. Not terrible company.

"It's about Scott Dixon for me today," McMurray said. "He got in with three-and-a-half hours to go and just really did an amazing job. I'm so proud of him. Scott's become a good friend of mine and I'm honored to call him a friend."

The No. 3 Corvette, piloted by IndyCar Series driver Ryan Briscoe, former F1 driver Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia, won the GT Le Mans Class. The No. 93 Dodge Viper won in GT Daytona and the No. 52 won in PC. The No. 54 dominated the PC class for the entirety of the race, however it was the cause of the final caution flag.

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Nick Bromberg is the editor of From The Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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Author: Nick Bromberg
Posted: January 25, 2015, 7:24 pm

Opossums are active at night. A significant portion of the Rolex 24 sports car race is run when the sun is down. After reading the headline and the previous two sentences, you know where we're going with this post.

Andy Lally tweeted Sunday morning that he reported hitting debris around 5 a.m. The team never found what Lally hit until the team made the following discovery a few hours later. Yes, the picture is of a dead animal, so if you don't want to look, you're warned to stop scrolling now.

In an interview with Fox Sports 1, Lally noted that his team's Porsche has a rear engine and that the opossum went through the front of the car and made it through to the trunk. He hit it after the car in front him swerved and clipped it.

This broke through the splitter & tub and then into the front of the car.. By the way we are out of the race pic.twitter.com/2b6UpcUdyC

— Andy Lally (@AndyLally) January 25, 2015

Crew is fixing the car. They've posthumously named the opossum "Ballast". Sad but I think we should put him back in to take the checker.

— Andy Lally (@AndyLally) January 25, 2015

The opossum wasn't the sole ruinition of the Magnus Racing No. 44's race, however. The team had gearbox issues and was running a bunch of laps down when Lally had his wildlife encounter.

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Nick Bromberg is the editor of From The Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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Author: Nick Bromberg
Posted: January 25, 2015, 2:40 pm

Jeff Gordon said he made the decision to make 2015 his last season driving full-time in the Sprint Cup Series midway through the 2014 season.

He was leaning in the direction of stepping away at the beginning of the season and said as the season progressed, his inclinations were confirmed. Back pain has been an issue for Gordon in recent years and he had a bout with it at Charlotte in the 2014 season, though he didn't miss a race because of it. He won four races in 2014.

"I really was leaning towards this at the beginning of [2014], but it didn't get serious until midway of [2014]," Gordon said. "It was a combination of things. It wasn't just one thing. Yeah, the back thing played a role. I think that really more just confirmed things for me rather than anything else. Even the great stretch and the run that we had and how good we were last year confirmed things even more for me."

"I was like, you know what? This is all I could ask for is to be at this point in my career, 20-plus years into my career and be that competitive week-in and week-out, I was almost ready to walk away right then. But I wanted to give one more year to my team, to Rick, to the sponsors, to the fans, my family and myself. It just seemed like the timing was right to do those things and start that next chapter."

Jeff Gordon announced he will retire at the end of the 2015 season. (AP)While Gordon, winner of 92 Sprint Cup Series races, hasn't used the "retirement" word in any of his comments about his decision to stop running full-time and doesn't rule out running races in the future, he said the final race of the 2015 season will likely be his last Cup race.

"Well, the way I see myself in the world is that retirement means you go off to a beach somewhere and sit in a rocking chair on the front porch and drink your coffee and pet your dog," Gordon said. "That's not me. I plan on working. I'm going to be working -- I'm actually going to have to get a real job now. So when I think of retirement, I just don't think that that's what I'm doing.

"I want to leave myself open, as well, to be able to get in a car ... I don't plan on doing any racing, but I know I'm not going to be retiring because I have a lot on my plate already that we have plans for, and we'll be talking about in the future. And I'm excited about that. I really am."

The timing of the decision means that Gordon knew of his future plans when he skirmished with Brad Keselowski at Texas after the two made contact racing for the lead. Gordon told the Associated Press that it played a factor into his decision to confront Keselowski after the race. Gordon ended up sixth in the points standings and is announcing his decision while he's still at the top of the Sprint Cup Series heap.

He said Thursday that he'll be at the track plenty in 2016 and doesn't want to turn 2015 into a victory tour of sorts with honors at every track that hosts Sprint Cup Series races.

"One of the things that we are planning on doing and one of my big focuses with [crew chief Alan Gustafson] on this decision was I want my focus to be on driving that race car to the best of my ability, and I don't think that you can do that and try to have this retirement or sign off type of festivities every weekend," Gordon said.

"So my plan is that I'll be back at the track in 2016 doing all kinds of things with the fans. I'm certainly going to be there at Hendrick Motorsports and the team. I'll be a major fixture at the track quite a bit in 2016, and I look forward to really getting interaction to those fans that have been so loyal to me over the years. I think they want me to be competitive out there when I'm on the track. That means a lot to me"

Hendrick was asked about the possibility of Chase Elliott, the 2014 Xfinity Series champion, moving up to Gordon's seat in 2016. Hendrick deferred to the future on the announcement. Elliott, 19, is seen as Gordon's likely successor. He has a developmental contract with Hendrick and won three races in his first Xfinity Series season. Elliott is considered by many to be one of the future stars of NASCAR.

"Oh, we're just kind of looking at what's down the road a little bit later," Hendrick said. "We're going to kind of focus on Jeff and what he's accomplished, and then at a later time we'll kind of focus on who is going to be in the car."

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Nick Bromberg is the editor of From The Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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Author: Nick Bromberg
Posted: January 22, 2015, 10:18 pm

When Jeff Gordon announced he'll drive one more full-time season on Thursday, we immediately started thinking.

Yes, that's dangerous. But we wondered what the top 10 moments of Gordon's career were. And damn, it was tough. There are so many things to choose from. That's what happens when you have 92 wins and countless other memorable moments.

Here's our best shot.

10. Gordon's first Sprint Cup Series race: Did anyone realize at the time just how big the symbolism of Gordon's first race would be? Gordon made his Cup Series debut in 1992 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. It was the final race of seven-time champion Richard Petty's career. Both had inauspicious races. Petty only completed 95 laps while Gordon crashed out. But as the book of Petty's driving career closed, another novel-sized book about Gordon's was being opened.

9. Beating Rusty Wallace for Cup win No. 22: What's so special about this race? It's a perfect example of the Bristol bump and run. It looked like Gordon wasn't going to catch Wallace until Wallace ran into traffic on the last lap. Gordon got to his bumper on the backstretch and sent Wallace up the hill entering turn three. There was nothing Wallace could do to prevent the pass.

8. Fighting at Texas. Twice: We'll start with what happened in 2010. After tangling with Jeff Burton after the caution lights came on, Gordon got out of his car and went after Burton following a long walk towards Burton's car and the ambulance.

The tussle would be the defining Texas skirmish of Gordon's career until he and Brad Keselowski made contact late in the 2014 race. And then, as you know, this happened:

Remember how we told you finding 10 things was tough? Honorable mention goes to the craziness with Clint Bowyer at Phoenix in 2012. It fits in with the theme of this entry, so that's why it's getting mentioned here.

7. Passing Dale Earnhardt's win mark: A week earlier, Jeff Gordon held off Tony Stewart for his first Phoenix win and the 76th win of his career, tying Dale Earnhardt for No. 6 on NASCAR's all-time wins list. Then, fittingly, Gordon broke it at Talladega, the site of Earnhardt's last win. In 2000, Earnhardt dashed from mid-pack to first in the final few laps. In 2007, Gordon won via late-race restarts.

6. Five Brickyard 400 wins: Gordon won the first Brickyard 400 in 1994 for his second career Sprint Cup win. In 2014, he won his fifth, becoming the first driver to win five Cup races at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Gordon's fourth win came in 2004 and since then, teammate Jimmie Johnson had won four times at the Brickyard. But in 2014, Gordon had a great restart to hold off Kasey Kahne for No. 5.

5. Winning the 1997 Daytona 500: Gordon won the race at age 25 and became the youngest winner of the Daytona 500. To do so, he survived a crazy last part of the race that included a multi-car crash involving perennial Daytona contenders Dale Jarrett and Dale Earnhardt.

4. Winston Million: The same year he won the 500, Gordon became the second driver to win the Winston Million. The four-race program was held within a Cup season and if a driver won three of the four designated races (Daytona, Talladega, Charlotte and Darlington), he won $1 million. Gordon missed out at Talladega but won at Charlotte to go to the Labor Day weekend race at Darlington with a shot at the money. He got it by holding off Burton and Jarrett.

3. 2001 All-Star Race: As soon as NASCAR threw the green flag for its all-star race in 2001, it started to rain. Rain and slick tires don't mix and many drivers, including Gordon, crashed as the field hurtled into turn one.

NASCAR allowed all of the teams that had crashed cars to go to backup cars and Gordon went on to win the race. It was his third All-Star win, which tied him with Earnhardt (at the time) for the most wins in the race. In 2013, Jimmie Johnson won his fourth, breaking the mark he shared with Gordon and Earnhardt.

2. T-Rex: The car that Gordon drove in the 1997 Winston was fast. Real fast. It's become a bit of a mythic figure nearly 20 years later after NASCAR countered the car's arrival with new rules after the race.

The car was never deemed illegal. But it left many other teams unhappy.

"The rear suspension was different on the car, the way all the bracing was done and whatnot," Gordon's then-crew chief Ray Evernham said in a 2007 ESPN feature. "That car had what we called raised door bars and raised front struts."The chassis itself was built differently than our other stuff. But it wasn't cheating. There were no rules against it."

It's called T-Rex not only because it devoured every other car in its path in the race's final segment but because it was sponsored by the Jurassic Park Ride and had a dinosaur on the hood. It was a perfect sponsor arrangement.

Plus, the non-points race set the stage for the points dominance Gordon would show throughout the next two seasons. After winning the 1997 title with 10 wins and 23 top-10 finishes, Gordon was even better in 1998.

1. An incredible seven-race stretch: How good was Gordon in 1998? Well, there were 33 races in the season. Five times he finished outside the top 10. Yes, outside the top 10. Four of those finishes came in the first seven races of the year and the fifth was in race 13, meaning Gordon won his third Cup title with 20 straight top-10s to finish the year.

But he wasn't simply just accumulating top 10s. Gordon won 13 races that season, including six wins in a seven race stretch from Pocono to Darlington. In addition to wins at those two tracks, he won at Indianapolis, Watkins Glen, Michigan and New Hampshire. The only place he didn't win at was Bristol, and there he finished fifth.

And if you'd like, you can even say Gordon won seven of nine races as he won two weeks before Pocono at Sonoma. And after Darlington, Gordon had three straight second-place finishes.

It's a stretch – and a season – we're likely never to see again from anyone in NASCAR.

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Nick Bromberg is the editor of From The Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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Author: Nick Bromberg
Posted: January 22, 2015, 7:19 pm

After Jeff Gordon surprised many with his announcement that 2015 would be his final Sprint Cup Series season, many in NASCAR took to Twitter to express their appreciation for the four-time champion's career and impact on the sport.

Here's a sampling of what some drivers said about the man who ranks third on NASCAR's all-time win list.

Clint Bowyer referenced the run-in he and Gordon had at Phoenix in 2012.

I've had a lot of good times with @JeffGordonWeb and one 💩 one. Weird to think just like all the other greats, that soon he won't be there!

— Clint Bowyer (@ClintBowyer) January 22, 2015

Junior was perfectly Junior.

Hard to imagine this is @JeffGordonWeb last full season. Tons of respect for him and what he's accomplished thus far. A total professional.

— Dale Earnhardt Jr. (@DaleJr) January 22, 2015

AJ Allmendinger and Joey Logano referenced growing up watching Gordon.

I feel so lucky to say I have raced against my idol and favorite driver growing up @JeffGordonWeb... ready for one more year against you.

— AJ Allmendinger (@AJDinger) January 22, 2015

Grew up a @JeffGordonWeb and @markmartin fan. Been awesome to race both of them for wins. Look forward to one more year in 2015.

— Joey Logano (@joeylogano) January 22, 2015

And Jimmie Johnson used a word a lot of us thought when we first saw the news.

Crazy... You're the man! “@JeffGordonWeb: Letting team know this will be my final year competing for a championship. pic.twitter.com/arqgDMfTni

— Jimmie Johnson (@JimmieJohnson) January 22, 2015

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Nick Bromberg is the editor of From The Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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Author: Nick Bromberg
Posted: January 22, 2015, 5:32 pm

Jeff Gordon has one more shot for a fifth Sprint Cup Series championship.

The four-time Sprint Cup Series champion announced Thursday that 2015 will be his final full-time season in the Cup Series.

“As a race car driver, much of what I’ve done throughout my life has been based on following my instincts and trying to make good decisions,” Gordon said in a team statement. “I thought long and hard about my future this past year and during the offseason, and I’ve decided 2015 will be the last time I compete for a championship. I won’t use the ‘R-word’ because I plan to stay extremely busy in the years ahead, and there’s always the possibility I’ll compete in selected events, although I currently have no plans to do that.

“I don’t foresee a day when I’ll ever step away from racing. I’m a fan of all forms of motor sports, but particularly NASCAR. We have a tremendous product, and I’m passionate about the business and its future success. As an equity owner in Hendrick Motorsports, I’m a partner with Rick (Hendrick) and will remain heavily involved with the company for many years to come. It means so much to have the chance to continue working with the owner who took a chance on me and the incredible team that’s stood behind me every step of the way."

Letting team know this will be my final year competing for a championship. pic.twitter.com/s7aH8OpGQZ

— Jeff Gordon (@JeffGordonWeb) January 22, 2015

Gordon, 43, won NASCAR titles in 1995, 1997, 1998 and 2001. He has 92 career Sprint Cup Series wins, good for third all-time behind Richard Petty and David Pearson. His best season was that 1998 campaign, when he won 13 races and had a crazy 28 top-10 finishes in 33 races. For good measure, he won the final race of that season and finished with a 364-point lead on second place Mark Martin.

“Jeff Gordon transcends NASCAR and will be celebrated as one of the greatest drivers to ever race," NASCAR CEO Brian France said in a statement. "We have all enjoyed watching his legend grow for more than two decades, and will continue to do so during his final full-time season. His prolonged excellence and unmatched class continue to earn him the admiration of fans across the globe. Today’s announcement is a bittersweet one. I’ll miss his competitive fire on a weekly basis, but I am also happy for Jeff and his family as they start a new chapter. On behalf of the entire NASCAR family, I thank Jeff for his years of dedication and genuine love for this sport, and wish him the very best in his final season.”

Gordon finished sixth in the 2014 standings after missing out on the final race at Homestead by a single point. He crashed after contact with Brad Keselowski at Texas (leading to a scuffle replayed more times than you can count) and then failed to advance to the championship race after Ryan Newman knocked Kyle Larson out of the way at Phoenix, sliding into the fourth spot ahead of Gordon. He won four races last season, including the Brickyard 400.

To say that Gordon was a revolutionary driver in the Cup Series isn't an understatement. He entered the series full-time in 1993 and quickly became an adversary to Dale Earnhardt, who he eventually formed a good friendship with. He was the perfect anti-Earnhardt. While the veteran had his black No. 3 and legion of fans, Gordon represented the "new" NASCAR of sorts as a young kid from California with a rainbow-colored car.

Coincidentally, his first race in 1992 was the last race of Petty's career.

He helped NASCAR become mainstream too, immediately becoming one of the most recognizable figures in sports. When he made his Cup debut, the thought of a NASCAR driver married to a Belgian supermodel would have made many an observer pass out from disbelief.

“There’s simply no way to quantify Jeff’s impact,” Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick said. “He’s one of the biggest sports stars of a generation, and his contributions to the success and growth of NASCAR are unsurpassed. There’s been no better ambassador for stock car racing and no greater representation of what a champion should be. I will never be able to properly express the respect and admiration I have for Jeff and how meaningful our relationship is to me. I’m so grateful for everything he’s done for our company and my family, and I look forward to many more years together as friends and business partners.”

The team said plans for Gordon's car in 2016 will be announced at a later date but the odds-on favorite is Chase Elliott, the 2014 Xfinity Series champion. Elliott, 19, is considered one of NASCAR's next big stars and has a developmental contract with Hendrick Motorsports.

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Nick Bromberg is the editor of From The Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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Author: Nick Bromberg
Posted: January 22, 2015, 3:20 pm

Brian Vickers' absence from the Sprint Cup Series in 2015 doesn't look like it'll be too lengthy.

Michael Waltrip Racing announced Wednesday that Vickers has been cleared to return at Las Vegas for the race on March 8. It's the third race of the season, meaning Vickers will miss the Daytona 500 and the second race of the season at Atlanta.

Waltrip will fill in for Vickers at the 500 and a replacement for the second race of the season is yet to be announced.

The doctors gave me a clean bill of health and said I will be better than before,” Vickers said in a statement. “The advancements in modern medicine and surgical procedures are amazing and I have to thank my doctors at the Sanger Heart & Vascular Institute and Carolinas Medical Center for their extraordinary care. I have literally put my life in their hands twice and I cannot begin to express my level of gratitude."

The team announced Vickers would miss the beginning of the season after a complication from a 2010 heart procedure. A patch inserted into his heart in was being rejected by his body. He had surgery in December to fix the issue.

The hole in Vickers' heart was discovered in 2010 when he was sidelined for 25 races by blood clots. He was also forced to sit out in 2013 when more clot issues arose.

NASCAR said Vickers will receive a medical exemption to be eligible for the Chase if he qualifies with a win in 2015 or via points. Denny Hamlin was given an exemption after missing last year's race at Auto Club Speedway with an eye issue and Tony Stewart was given an exemption when he missed races in August after he struck and killed Kevin Ward at a dirt track.

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Nick Bromberg is the editor of From The Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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Author: Nick Bromberg
Posted: January 21, 2015, 10:30 pm

A new team to the Sprint Cup Series has a familiar driver.

The Motorsports Group announced Wednesday that Ron Hornaday would drive the No. 30 in the Cup Series in 2015. TMG is moving up to planned full-time Cup competition after running in the Xfinity Series.

“I am happy to be signing on with Curtis Key and the entire TMG organization for the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Season,” Hornaday said in a team statement. “This team has been working really hard during the offseason to get cars ready for Daytona and the rest of the season. I’m hoping to bring some guidance and racing knowledge to this startup Cup team.”

Hornaday, 56, is a four-time Camping World Truck Series champion who last ran in the Sprint Cup Series in 2003. He only raced 16 races last year in the Truck Series because of the downfall of Turner Scott Motorsports. He was without a ride after the first 13 races of the season and then drove for three races with NTS Motorsports.

TMG survived without sponsorship in NASCAR's No. 2 series by running a hybrid two-car team of sorts in 2014. The team's primary car, the No. 40, attempted to race the full distance while the No. 46 was primarily a start-and-park car. And the team obviously found it a better move to go to the Cup Series than keep hanging on in the Xfinity Series.

Team owner Curtis Key has run 439 Xfinity Series races with one top five. It came in the team's first race in 1993 with Tommy Ellis behind the wheel. The team had three lead lap finishes in 2014.

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Author: Nick Bromberg
Posted: January 21, 2015, 9:34 pm

The pit crew swap that Stewart-Haas Racing made for the 2014 Chase will continue into 2015.

Tony Stewart said Tuesday that Kevin Harvick would keep the pit crew that started 2014 as Stewart's crew and Stewart would keep the pit crew he ended the season with. Before the Chase began, SHR moved Harvick's crew to Stewart's team and Stewart's crew to Harvick's team.

It helped pay off with a Sprint Cup Series championship for Harvick.

"The pit crew I had that pitted Kevin's car at the end of the year, we kept that switch permanent for this year," Stewart told NASCAR.com.

"There really wasn't that much difference in terms of their times on paper, it was within a tenth of a second. We just felt like that chemistry worked really well.

"I really liked my guys at the end of the year, and I'll miss having my full-time guys with me, but I think we're all comfortable with the change and look at it as we all work under the same roof and we're all one team."

The switch was made because Stewart was out of the Chase and Harvick had some pit road issues earlier in the year that cost him better finishes. Before the Chase began, Harvick said the team needed to fix pit road before it was able to contend for a championship. We're pretty confident that happened.

It was the first of two major trades for Stewart-Haas at the end of the 2014 season. With three races to go, the organization swapped the No. 10 team of Danica Patrick and the No. 41 team of Kurt Busch, meaning the drivers worked with different crew chiefs and crews.

Daniel Knost, who started the season as Busch's crew chief and finished the season as Patrick's, will continue as her crew chief in 2015. Tony Gibson signed an extension with Stewart-Haas in 2014 and he'll continue to be Kurt Busch's crew chief in 2015. In their three races together in 2014, Busch qualified for each race in the top 10 and finished each race in the top 11.

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Nick Bromberg is the editor of From The Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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Author: Nick Bromberg
Posted: January 21, 2015, 2:28 pm

Formula 1 will start five races an hour earlier after the horrific crash Jules Bianchi had at the Japanese Grand Prix in 2014.

The races at Australia, Malaysia, China, Japan and Russia are affected. The season-opener is at Australia and will start at 4 p.m. local time. The move is to prevent races from being run as daylight starts to fade away.

From Eurosport:

The governing International Automobile Federation (FIA) set up an accident panel to investigate the crash and one of its recommendations, in a report published last month, was for earlier starts.

"It is proposed that a regulation or guideline be established such that the start time of an event shall not be less than four hours before either sunset or dusk, except in the case of night races," it said.

Formula One has floodlit races in Singapore, Abu Dhabi and Bahrain and the trend has been for later starts in Asia to boost television viewing figures in Europe.

Bianchi's crash happened as the race at Suzuka was being held in the beginnings of a typhoon. As the bad weather approached the country, race organizers and Formula 1 didn't move up the start time of the race to attempt to get it in before the weather turned for the worse. As the race was stopped and started because of heavy rain, Bianchi's car skidded off the track during a local yellow period as it was raining.

The local yellow was for Adrian Sutil's car, which was being retrieved by a crane at the time Bianchi's car skidded off course. Bianchi's car slammed into the crane and he sustained a severe head injury. He is still in a hospital in France.

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Nick Bromberg is the editor of From The Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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Author: Nick Bromberg
Posted: January 20, 2015, 3:15 pm

Jimmie Johnson is a favorite for the 2015 Sprint Cup Series trophy. We'll wait to continue this post until you pick yourself up off the floor after being utterly flabbergasted.

According to the Bovada sportsbook, Johnson is a 5/1 favorite for the title. He's slightly better than teammate Jeff Gordon and 2014 champion Kevin Harvick, who are both listed at 6/1.

Brad Keselowski, last year's leader in race wins with six, is at 7/1 and his teammate Joey Logano is at 8/1. Dale Earnhardt Jr., who won three times in 2014, is at 10/1 along with Matt Kenseth.

Here's the complete list of Bovada's odds:

• Jimmie Johnson: 5/1
• Jeff Gordon: 6/1
• Kevin Harvick: 6/1
• Brad Keselowski: 7/1
• Joey Logano: 8/1
• Dale Earnhardt Jr.: 10/1
• Matt Kenseth: 10/1
• Kyle Busch: 12/1
• Carl Edwards: 12/1
• Denny Hamlin: 14/1
• Kyle Larson: 18/1
• Tony Stewart: 22/1
• Kurt Busch: 25/1
• Kasey Kahne: 25/1
• Ryan Newman: 33/1
• Greg Biffle: 40/1
• Clint Bowyer: 40/1
• Jamie McMurray: 40/1
• Austin Dillon: 50/1
• Brian Vickers: 100/1
• A.J. Allmendinger: 200/1

What stands out to you? Denny Hamlin is the lowest member of Joe Gibbs Racing at 14/1, which is good for 10th in the rankings. Yes, all four JGR drivers are in the top 10, which further solidifies the belief that the team has the best four-driver lineup in the Cup Series. And we think you could order the JGR drivers from 1-4 in any order and make a solid case for your argument.

• Kyle Larson looks a little high to us at 18/1. Yes, his performance and potential is a big part of that, but we're not sure he's necessarily a stronger threat to the title than Tony Stewart, Kurt Busch and others. He will definitely be in a couple of years, however.

• Ryan Newman at 33/1 seems right, though we're positive that someone will repeat what he did in 2014 and get deep into the Chase.

• Aric Almirola is the only Chase driver from 2014 not on the list and the top Roush driver at 40/1 is a sign of just how far Roush has fallen. The days of having half of the Chase field seem like a distant memory.

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Nick Bromberg is the editor of From The Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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Author: Nick Bromberg
Posted: January 20, 2015, 1:57 pm

After doing exit interviews for Sprint Cup Series drivers in 2013, we're turning the tables. We want the drivers to sell themselves. So here are the resumés for all full-time Sprint Cup Series drivers in 2014. Then, at the end, we'll provide a summation of the driver's season in 150 words or less.

Name: Kevin Harvick

NASCAR Experience: Essentially 14 full seasons in the Sprint Cup Series. 28 wins. Champion.

Most recent team: Stewart-Haas Racing

Most recent season finish: 1st

2014 accomplishments: Five wins, 14 top-five finishes, 20 top 10s and eight poles.

Most memorable moment: Pretty obvious, isn't it?

Outside of the title, it's the second race of the season. Everyone got a look at the speed they'd see throughout the season.

Strengths: Jumped into a new team and was successful right away. Always one of the fastest drivers near the end of a Sprint Cup Series race.

2015 goals: Double it up.

FTM's Take: While a title by Ryan Newman or Denny Hamlin could have been considered fluky, the fastest car throughout the 2014 season won the title. And in the new format, that's about all we can ask for right?

And it's also imperative to cherish the battle that Harvick had with his three competitors during that Homestead race. We may never see an incredible scenario like that again, as counting on all four title-eligible drivers to run nose-to-tail at times is a foolish game.

It's also a worthy achievement for Harvick, who has been one of the best drivers in the Cup Series since he stepped in after Dale Earnhardt's death in 2001. Outside of down years in 2002 and 2009, he's finished in the top 15 of the standings in each season. And in the years after each of those seasons, he's finished in the top five.

Will he stay at the top of the heap in 2015? Probably, though a bigger achievement may be having the fastest car of the season for a second straight year. If Harvick and crew chief Rodney Childers have a formula that no one else does, watch out.

Previous reviews: No. 3 Denny Hamlin, No. 4 Joey Logano, No. 5 Brad Keselowski, No. 6 Jeff Gordon, No. 7 Matt Kenseth, No. 8 Dale Earnhardt Jr., No. 9 Carl Edwards, No. 10 Kyle Busch, No. 11 Jimmie Johnson, No. 12 Kurt Busch, No. 13 AJ Allmendinger, No. 14 Greg Biffle, No. 15 Kasey Kahne, No. 16 Aric Almirola, No. 17 Kyle Larson, No. 18, Jamie McMurray, No. 19 Clint Bowyer, No. 20, Austin Dillon, No. 21 Paul Menard, No. 22 Brian Vickers, No. 23 Marcos Ambrose, No. 24 Martin Truex Jr., No. 25 Tony Stewart, No. 26 Casey Mears, No. 27 Ricky Stenhouse Jr., No. 28, Danica Patrick, No. 29, Justin Allgaier, No. 30, David Gilliland, No. 31 Cole Whitt, No. 32 David Ragan, No. 33 Michael Annett, No. 34 Reed Sorenson, No. 35 Alex Bowman

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Nick Bromberg is the editor of From The Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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Author: Nick Bromberg
Posted: January 18, 2015, 2:42 pm

The biggest midget car race of the year was Saturday night and Rico Abreu won it for the first time.

Abreu passed Bryan Clauson at about the halfway point of the race and absolutely checked out in the second half, surviving a number of restarts for the win.

After the last restart, Abreu wasn't even challenged. He had a lead of almost a straightaway just a few laps after the yellow flag.

Crowd chanting RICO RICO RICO pic.twitter.com/G8lEbMJHv9

— Chili Bowl Nationals (@cbnationals) January 18, 2015

Standing 4-4 and 95 pounds, Abreu, 22, drives with blocks to build up the pedals in his car. He said he'd capitalize on the chance to drive stock cars. 2014's USAC Midget series champion ran over 100 races last year. According to USA Today he's had preliminary discussions about late models and the K&N East Series.

"If I got a chance to drive stock cars, I would," Abreu said via USA Today. "I'm not sure what's going on there now, but I've got a lot going with sprints and midgets this year."

The Chili Bowl is held indoors in Tulsa, Okla.

There were many familiar faces at the Chili Bowl, both in the A-Main and either participating in the entire week or spectating. Or, in Tony Stewart's case, helping groom the racing surface. Kurt Busch was there (and didn't comment on his legal drama with his ex-girlfriend), while Kyle Larson raced in the A-Main. Ricky Stenhouse participated too, and Danica Patrick was there to watch him.

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Author: Nick Bromberg
Posted: January 18, 2015, 2:22 pm

After doing exit interviews for Sprint Cup Series drivers in 2013, we're turning the tables. We want the drivers to sell themselves. So here are the resumés for all full-time Sprint Cup Series drivers in 2014. Then, at the end, we'll provide a summation of the driver's season in 150 words or less.

Name: Ryan Newman

NASCAR Experience: 13 full seasons in the Cup Series. 17 wins, 51 poles.

Most recent team: Richard Childress Racing

Most recent season finish: 2nd

2014 accomplishments: Five top fives and 16 top 10s. Master of working the Chase system to the maximum advantage.

Most memorable moment: Well, unfortunately there was no trip to victory lane, but this move guaranteed a title shot.

Strengths: Consistency. Does that even need to be stated?

2015 goals: Win a race to quiet the discussion about being a potential champion without a win.

FTM's Take: Yes, Newman didn't win a race in 2014 and had just five top 10s, but he improved his performance in the Chase. That's how he got to the title race and finished second.

Through the first 26 races of the season, Newman's average finish was 13.2. In the Chase, Newman's average finish was 9.0. While you can say that Newman did what he had done all year in the Chase, you can't argue that he didn't do it at an elevated level. And it worked out.

And besides, it's not Newman's fault that his season resulted in success in the standings that may not be indicative of his overall performance. He's example 1-10 of how bad finishes are much, much more impactful than top finishes are, no matter what "winning is everything" would like you to believe.

If Newman can carry the consistency over to 2015, he's going to be in the thick of it again. And if he can't, another driver will likely do so. One season isn't much of a sample size, but we're going to guess that Newman's performance is the start of a trend rather than an outlier unless the points system is revamped.

Previous reviews: No. 3 Denny Hamlin, No. 4 Joey Logano, No. 5 Brad Keselowski, No. 6 Jeff Gordon, No. 7 Matt Kenseth, No. 8 Dale Earnhardt Jr., No. 9 Carl Edwards, No. 10 Kyle Busch, No. 11 Jimmie Johnson, No. 12 Kurt Busch, No. 13 AJ Allmendinger, No. 14 Greg Biffle, No. 15 Kasey Kahne, No. 16 Aric Almirola, No. 17 Kyle Larson, No. 18, Jamie McMurray, No. 19 Clint Bowyer, No. 20, Austin Dillon, No. 21 Paul Menard, No. 22 Brian Vickers, No. 23 Marcos Ambrose, No. 24 Martin Truex Jr., No. 25 Tony Stewart, No. 26 Casey Mears, No. 27 Ricky Stenhouse Jr., No. 28, Danica Patrick, No. 29, Justin Allgaier, No. 30, David Gilliland, No. 31 Cole Whitt, No. 32 David Ragan, No. 33 Michael Annett, No. 34 Reed Sorenson, No. 35 Alex Bowman

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Nick Bromberg is the editor of From The Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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Author: Nick Bromberg
Posted: January 16, 2015, 4:42 pm

Front Row Motorsports announced Friday that Cole Whitt would drive the No. 35 car in the Sprint Cup Series in 2015.

Whitt will have sponsorship from Speed Stick in 10 races but will run the full season. He drove in 2014 for BK Racing and Swan Racing.

"This is an exciting time for Front Row Motorsports," FRM owner Bob Jenkins said in a statement. "Adding Cole Whitt to our program, along with the support of the Speed Stick team, is another big step in our growth as a young team. We're going to have a diverse mix of experience with our drivers, which, I think, is going to be a big benefit for everyone."

Last season, Front Row fielded two full-time cars for David Ragan (No. 34) and David Gilliland (No. 38). No word if Whitt will change his name to David Cole Whitt to fit in, but our guess is that he won't.

Whitt's arrival at Front Row was teased in November by BK Racing co-owner Anthony Marlowe, who wished Whitt well in his move to FRM. Marlowe apologized for saying Whitt would drive the No. 34 car, which would mean that Ragan would be either out of a ride or in a new number. 

Whitt was 31st in the standings in 2014 and had a best finish of 18th (twice, at Auto Club and Martinsville). Front Row won at Talladega in 2013 when Gilliland pushed Ragan to the win in the spring race.

Gilliland was 30th in the 2014 points while Ragan was 32nd.

Whitt moved to BK Racing after Swan Racing ceased operations in the spring. His crew chief will be Randy Cox, who crew chiefed for him in 2014.

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Author: Nick Bromberg
Posted: January 16, 2015, 3:25 pm

After doing exit interviews for Sprint Cup Series drivers in 2013, we're turning the tables. We want the drivers to sell themselves. So here are the resumés for all full-time Sprint Cup Series drivers in 2014. Then, at the end, we'll provide a summation of the driver's season in 150 words or less.

Name: Denny Hamlin

NASCAR Experience: Nine full seasons in the Sprint Cup Series. 24 wins.

Most recent team: Joe Gibbs Racing

Most recent season finish: 3rd

2014 accomplishments: One win, seven top fives and 18-top 10s. Made the final four of the Chase with an average finish of 12.4 through the first nine races of the season.

Most memorable moment: Talladega in the spring, win No. 24 and points-paying restrictor plate win No. 1.

Strengths: Has now won on every type of track save a road course. Has learned from previous championship nervousness.

2015 goals: Win the title and hope that there's no dropoff at JGR as the team expands to four cars.

FTM's Take: Hamlin was the perfect example of a driver peaking at the right time in 2014. The first driver to get an exemption from NASCAR to make the Chase despite missing a race, Hamlin was much faster at the end of the year than he was at the beginning, even though his win came in May.

And now he'll be chasing after a championship with his third crew chief. Darian Grubb is moving to Carl Edwards and Hamlin will work with Dave Rogers, who was Kyle Busch's crew chief.

Hamlin had five wins in his first season with Grubb. We can't rule that out with Rogers this year, especially if the Toyotas have the speed they didn't have last year. Hamlin will once again make the Chase and we're going to go out on a limb and say that if he makes the Homestead race again in 2015, he'll do so with a different strategy than simply surviving and advancing.

Previous reviews: No. 4 Joey Logano, No. 5 Brad Keselowski, No. 6 Jeff Gordon, No. 7 Matt Kenseth, No. 8 Dale Earnhardt Jr., No. 9 Carl Edwards, No. 10 Kyle Busch, No. 11 Jimmie Johnson, No. 12 Kurt Busch, No. 13 AJ Allmendinger, No. 14 Greg Biffle, No. 15 Kasey Kahne, No. 16 Aric Almirola, No. 17 Kyle Larson, No. 18, Jamie McMurray, No. 19 Clint Bowyer, No. 20, Austin Dillon, No. 21 Paul Menard, No. 22 Brian Vickers, No. 23 Marcos Ambrose, No. 24 Martin Truex Jr., No. 25 Tony Stewart, No. 26 Casey Mears, No. 27 Ricky Stenhouse Jr., No. 28, Danica Patrick, No. 29, Justin Allgaier, No. 30, David Gilliland, No. 31 Cole Whitt, No. 32 David Ragan, No. 33 Michael Annett, No. 34 Reed Sorenson, No. 35 Alex Bowman

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Nick Bromberg is the editor of From The Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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Author: Nick Bromberg
Posted: January 15, 2015, 2:22 pm

Let's just cut right to it: This is straight out of a soap opera.

After Kurt Busch testified Tuesday that his ex-girlfriend, Patricia Driscoll, told him that she was a trained assassin, Driscoll issued a statement Wednesday saying that Busch has issues separating fact from fiction.

Busch's testimony was part of a hearing for a request for protection order Driscoll is seeking against him. She claims that Busch assaulted her in his motorhome in September at Dover. Busch denies the allegations.

Late Tuesday, Driscoll told the AP that Busch's testimony was because he was confused about a movie script she's been working on. The statement expounds on Driscoll's reasoning:

Over the past 7 years I have worked on a movie script with producers about a female CIA operative and her work on classified missions for the U.S.  The script was bought by a couple different production companies. Over the years many people have heard the many variations the script has taken each time it was purchased by another studio. Mr Busch has seen and given commentary to me on the latest script because some of the stories he told on the stand are straight from the script. Mr. Busch's statements in court serve to confirm my belief that he needs professional counseling to deal with his alcoholism and issues of depression. Since day one I have stood by my statements that my motive was not greed but in fact concern for the man I loved. I have previously shared my concerns for Mr Busch's mental state since the onset of this case only to be dismissed by his legal team. Perhaps now his family and those around him recognize his fragile state and will provide him the mental health care and support he needs. He clearly believes fiction is reality and that's all the more reason he needs help.

In her comments to the AP late Tuesday, Driscoll said she'd been working on the movie script for eight years.

While Driscoll may in fact be working on a movie, she has crafted a highly-militarized public persona even in addition to her work with Frontline Defense Systems, a defense contracting company, and the Armed Forces Foundation, a charity that says it helps U.S. military personnel

Below is a video that, per TMZ, was for a reality show pitch. (Video is NSFW for language and something that's quite Talladega infield.)

A decision in the case is expected in the coming weeks.

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Author: Nick Bromberg
Posted: January 14, 2015, 7:01 pm

Brandon Hopkins, a former tire changer for Michael Waltrip Racing, is suing the team because he says MWR prevented him from finding work with other teams.

Hopkins said he hurt his shoulder in 2013 while changing tires for Clint Bowyer's No. 15 car. After rehabilitation didn't help the pain from the injury, he says he asked for a workman's compensation claim. He got a cortisone shot and an MRI showed he had a torn labrum.

He then said the symptoms of his injury worsened and in April the team asked him to wait on possible surgery until it knew it made the Chase or the end of the season. He said he was fired on Aug. 6, a day before he had surgery for the shoulder injury.

From the Charlotte Observer:

He contends team officials “blacklisted” him after his surgery by falsely accusing him of stealing a pit gun used to remove lug nuts.

As a result, he lost an unpaid internship with another NASCAR Sprint Cup team and paid work with a NASCAR Truck Series team, Hopkins says in the lawsuit filed Tuesday by Charlotte employment law lawyer Joshua Van Kampen in Mecklenburg County Superior Court.

Hopkins, 28, is suing for damages, citing breach of contract, defamation, intentional interference with a contract and violation of the N.C. blacklisting statute, according to his lawsuit.

“It’s not about the money,” Hopkins told the Observer. “It’s about doing what’s right and what’s wrong and making sure this doesn’t happen to anybody else.”

He said he had mistakenly taken a team pit gun home before his surgery, believing it was his personal one.

MWR didn't comment for the story because it said it doesn't comment on pending litigation.

Bowyer missed the Chase in 2014 and finished 19th in the standings.

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Author: Nick Bromberg
Posted: January 14, 2015, 3:52 pm

After doing exit interviews for Sprint Cup Series drivers in 2013, we're turning the tables. We want the drivers to sell themselves. So here are the resumés for all full-time Sprint Cup Series drivers in 2014. Then, at the end, we'll provide a summation of the driver's season in 150 words or less.

Name: Joey Logano

NASCAR Experience: Six full seasons in the Cup Series. Eight wins and 82 top-10 finishes.

Most recent team: Team Penske

Most recent season finish: 4th

2014 accomplishments: Five wins, 20 top-10 finishes. One of only four drivers all year to average a top-10 starting position.

Most memorable moment: Aside from the moment that title hopes disappeared at Homestead in the pits, it's the four-wide battle for the lead and eventual win at Richmond.

Fine, fine, fine. Here's the pit mistake too.

Strengths: Has wins on short, intermediate and 2.5 mile tracks. Fulfilling the potential that everyone saw a few years ago. And when you consider the next big things that haven't made it in NASCAR, that's a strength.

2015 goals: Yes, a championship is a goal, but it's imperative to show that 2014 is part of an upwards trajectory and not a temporary spike.

FTM's Take: The championship format runs the risk of making us only remember the most recent happening for the three drivers who missed out on the title at Homestead. And while Homestead was a positive outlier relative to season performance for Ryan Newman and Denny Hamlin, only remembering the jack mishap is unfair to Logano.

Five of his eight career wins came in 2014. Over the past two seasons, he's accrued half of his career top-10 finishes. And 60 percent of his career laps led happened over the previous season too.

Yes, it was a giant leap for Logano, and there's no reason to think that it won't continue. However, given the crowded nature of the top of the Cup heap and the random nature of the Chase format, a second-straight appearance in the final four is far from a guarantee; there's got to be a Hendrick car in the final four in 2015, right?

Logano's going to be in the Chase in 2015 and should be one of the best performers in the Cup Series again. It's just that getting back to the last race may have more to do with luck than season performance.

Previous reviews: No. 5 Brad Keselowski, No. 6 Jeff Gordon, No. 7 Matt Kenseth, No. 8 Dale Earnhardt Jr., No. 9 Carl Edwards, No. 10 Kyle Busch, No. 11 Jimmie Johnson, No. 12 Kurt Busch, No. 13 AJ Allmendinger, No. 14 Greg Biffle, No. 15 Kasey Kahne, No. 16 Aric Almirola, No. 17 Kyle Larson, No. 18, Jamie McMurray, No. 19 Clint Bowyer, No. 20, Austin Dillon, No. 21 Paul Menard, No. 22 Brian Vickers, No. 23 Marcos Ambrose, No. 24 Martin Truex Jr., No. 25 Tony Stewart, No. 26 Casey Mears, No. 27 Ricky Stenhouse Jr., No. 28, Danica Patrick, No. 29, Justin Allgaier, No. 30, David Gilliland, No. 31 Cole Whitt, No. 32 David Ragan, No. 33 Michael Annett, No. 34 Reed Sorenson, No. 35 Alex Bowman

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Nick Bromberg is the editor of From The Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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Author: Nick Bromberg
Posted: January 14, 2015, 2:30 pm

Jeff Gordon was at the Washington Wizards game on Tuesday night and competed in a tricycle race with a fan.

Gordon is apparently very good at trike racing.

Gordon got a good start (what do you know?) and smoked the fan, who wasn't even in the camera frame by the time the video ends.

You can tell there's carryover from Gordon's day job.

Gordon then had some fun with his NASCAR race restart issues after the trike race on Twitter.

@NASCAR: First win of the season? SMOKED this @WashWizards fan. https://t.co/9KQSoA7SVw Who says I need to work on restarts?

— Jeff Gordon (@JeffGordonWeb) January 14, 2015

Well done, Jeff. If the Daytona 500 comes down to a green-white-checker finish with a bicycle pedal start, our money is on you.

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Nick Bromberg is the editor of From The Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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Author: Nick Bromberg
Posted: January 14, 2015, 2:06 am

Kurt Busch testified Tuesday that Patricia Driscoll, his ex-girlfriend, was a trained assassin.

Busch was on the stand once again as part of his testimony in a four-day hearing surrounding a no-contact order that Driscoll is seeking against Busch.

After the relationship between the two ended, Driscoll came to Busch's motorhome at Dover in September. There, she says Busch assaulted her and slammed her head against the wall of the motorhome. Busch refutes the allegations.

Busch previously testified that he told her to leave repeatedly on that Friday night.

From the AP:

''Everybody on the outside can tell me I'm crazy, but I lived on the inside and saw it firsthand,'' Kurt Busch said when his attorney, Rusty Hardin, questioned why he still believed Patricia Driscoll is a hired killer.

Busch, the 2004 Sprint Cup Series champion, said Driscoll asserted many times that she was a trained assassin and per the AP, she hasn't disagreed with the statements in her testimony. A decision from the hearing, which concluded on Tuesday, is expected in the coming weeks.

Busch said Driscoll repeatedly asserted her assassin status and claimed the work took her on missions across Central and South America and Africa. He recounted one time when the couple was in El Paso, Texas. He said Driscoll left in camouflage gear only to return later wearing a trench coat over an evening gown covered with blood.

A day earlier, Busch said his ex-girlfriend told him she was a mercenary who killed people for a living and had shown him pictures of bodies with gunshot wounds.

In December testimony from the hearing, a personal assistant to the two said Driscoll said in September she was picked up and slammed to the ground while on the Mexican border.

In an interview with the AP late Tuesday, Driscoll denounced the allegations.

"These statements made about being a trained assassin, hired killer, are ludicrous and without basis and are an attempt to destroy my credibility," Driscoll said. "Not even Rusty Hardin believes this."

"I find it interesting that some of the outlandish claims come straight from a fictional movie script I've been working on for eight years," Driscoll added.

Driscoll runs the Armed Forces Foundation, which is set up to benefit United States soldiers. She's also involved with Frontline Defense Systems, which is a defense contracting company.

According to Give.org, the Armed Forces Foundation does not meet its charity standards.

Busch aso said that Driscoll was monopolizing his life. AFF held events at NASCAR tracks and Driscoll played a significant role in Busch's double-race Memorial Day weekend when he ran the Indianapolis 500 and Coca-Cola 600.

Busch moved to Stewart-Haas Racing in 2014 after spending a year with Furniture Row Racing. He made the Chase after winning at Martinsville in the spring.

Stewart-Haas was his third team in three years after parting ways with Team Penske following a tumultuous 2011 season. In 2012, he was suspended for a race for threatening a reporter.

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Author: Nick Bromberg
Posted: January 14, 2015, 1:17 am

After doing exit interviews for Sprint Cup Series drivers in 2013, we're turning the tables. We want the drivers to sell themselves. So here are the resumés for all full-time Sprint Cup Series drivers in 2014. Then, at the end, we'll provide a summation of the driver's season in 150 words or less.

Name: Brad Keselowski

NASCAR Experience: Five full seasons in the Cup Series. 16 wins. 2012 Cup title.

Most recent team: Team Penske

Most recent season finish: 5th

2014 accomplishments: A series-leading six wins, 17 top-five finishes and 23 top 10s. Plus five pole positions, good for second in the series.

Most memorable moment: It's Talladega, which conjured up discussions of clutch racing performances. Because if clutch exists, the Talladega fall race epitomizes it.

Yes, there's Texas too. But you'll see that enough on replays for the next 10 years.

Strengths: Possibly the best driver-crew chief communication in the garage and used the motivation to prove that 2012 wasn't a fluke in a positive way. That's a huge asset.

2015 goals: Much like everyone else in this stratosphere, win the championship.

FTM's Take: Remember the talk about how important fifth-place in the final standings was because of the new Chase format? How many people outside of Keselowski fans are able to remember who the fifth-place driver was? (Before reading this, of course)

Keselowski's season is going to be remembered for his dustups with Matt Kenseth and Denny Hamlin and the Texas tussle with Jeff Gordon and his crew, but the sheer speed that Keselowski and his team had shouldn't be forgotten. He had the most top fives in the Cup Series.

Yes, you can argue about Keselowski's opinions or his likeability, but you can't dispute his talent or that he's one of the best drivers in the series. With three top-five seasons in the past four, it's looking like 2013 was an outlier. We have confidence that Keselowski will make it four in five in 2015 and potentially grab title No. 2.

Previous reviews: No. 6 Jeff Gordon, No. 7 Matt Kenseth, No. 8 Dale Earnhardt Jr., No. 9 Carl Edwards, No. 10 Kyle Busch, No. 11 Jimmie Johnson, No. 12 Kurt Busch, No. 13 AJ Allmendinger, No. 14 Greg Biffle, No. 15 Kasey Kahne, No. 16 Aric Almirola, No. 17 Kyle Larson, No. 18, Jamie McMurray, No. 19 Clint Bowyer, No. 20, Austin Dillon, No. 21 Paul Menard, No. 22 Brian Vickers, No. 23 Marcos Ambrose, No. 24 Martin Truex Jr., No. 25 Tony Stewart, No. 26 Casey Mears, No. 27 Ricky Stenhouse Jr., No. 28, Danica Patrick, No. 29, Justin Allgaier, No. 30, David Gilliland, No. 31 Cole Whitt, No. 32 David Ragan, No. 33 Michael Annett, No. 34 Reed Sorenson, No. 35 Alex Bowman

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Author: Nick Bromberg
Posted: January 13, 2015, 7:08 pm

After doing exit interviews for Sprint Cup Series drivers in 2013, we're turning the tables. We want the drivers to sell themselves. So here are the resumés for all full-time Sprint Cup Series drivers in 2014. Then, at the end, we'll provide a summation of the driver's season in 150 words or less.

Name: Jeff Gordon

NASCAR Experience: 22 full seasons in the Sprint Cup Series. 92 wins.

Most recent team: Hendrick Motorsports

Most recent season finish: 6th

2014 accomplishments: Four wins, 14 top fives (the most since 2009) and 23 top 10s (the most since 2009, too).

Most memorable moment: Well, in the postive category, we'll go with the win at Indianapolis.

And do you really need to see what happened at Texas again?

Strengths: Not restarts.

2015 goals: Title No. 5 and see if 100 wins is a realistic achievement in 2016.

FTM's Take: The ubiquity of the fight at Texas and what it resulted from overshadows just how good Gordon's 2014 was. Though if you're a Gordon fan, we know you've cursed the Chase many a time already with the realization that Gordon would have won a season-long title.

But Gordon was good damn near every week in 2014. He'll never approach what he did in the latter half of the 1990s, but can anyone at this point? In 1998, Gordon won 13 races. In Jimmie Johnson's career-best season for wins, he won 10.

But with the exception of the occasional Gordon-restart, Gordon is near the top of the heap in the Cup Series and it's hard to see him disappearing from it unless he disappears from the Series entirely. And while it's painful to realize that the slow pit stop after the cut tire at Texas cost him a shot at the championship at Homestead, we don't think it was Gordon's last chance at a championship.

Previous reviews: No. 7 Matt Kenseth, No. 8 Dale Earnhardt Jr., No. 9 Carl Edwards, No. 10 Kyle Busch, No. 11 Jimmie Johnson, No. 12 Kurt Busch, No. 13 AJ Allmendinger, No. 14 Greg Biffle, No. 15 Kasey Kahne, No. 16 Aric Almirola, No. 17 Kyle Larson, No. 18, Jamie McMurray, No. 19 Clint Bowyer, No. 20, Austin Dillon, No. 21 Paul Menard, No. 22 Brian Vickers, No. 23 Marcos Ambrose, No. 24 Martin Truex Jr., No. 25 Tony Stewart, No. 26 Casey Mears, No. 27 Ricky Stenhouse Jr., No. 28, Danica Patrick, No. 29, Justin Allgaier, No. 30, David Gilliland, No. 31 Cole Whitt, No. 32 David Ragan, No. 33 Michael Annett, No. 34 Reed Sorenson, No. 35 Alex Bowman

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Nick Bromberg is the editor of From The Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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Author: Nick Bromberg
Posted: January 8, 2015, 8:36 pm

It's really cold across most of the country (Newsflash, I know). So it's understandable if you're not ready for racing season to begin.

But if you're looking for a live racing fix and can't wait until the Rolex 24 at Daytona (which is just over two weeks away), there is racing on Friday.

It's the Red Bull Frozen Rush, which is a race between trucks down a snowy mountain that is laid out similar to a ski course. This year's event is set up similar to an NHRA event as drivers will compete head-to-head racing down a mountain at the Sunday River Ski Resort in Newry, Maine, bracket-style to crown a champion.

The defending champion is Ricky Johnson, who has driven motorcycles, supertrucks, and even in the Camping World Truck Series. The trucks are all-wheel-drive trucks fitted with special tires that have half-inch spikes all over the tread to combat the ice patches that are littered throughout the snow.

"What the ice spikes are for when we hit a hard patch of ice," Johnson told Yahoo Sports. "The traction ... it's like a radial tire on asphalt. It gets such good traction it's amazing. It sets you back in your seat way more than dirt, way more than – almost like sticky mud – what it's like when it gets that really tacky dirt."

"It's like when sprint cars want to wheelie off the corner, that's what hard ice feels like. And then when we get in the powder snow it's more like riding in the sand; when the ground is moving constantly when you're driving and it's being manipulated the whole time."

Because of the different characteristics of the surfaces, Johnson said drivers drive heavily with the throttle, instead of being able to mash the gas and slam the brakes in and out of the corners. Oh, and visibility is key too. Because of the snow, there's spray off the rear tires like a Formula 1 race in the rain. Except it's snow.

"Some of the guys have dual pedals," Johnson said. "I do. I have a pedal that's like an emergency brake, or a Jake brake, where it's just my rears. So I'll come in and I'll use that to set the car up and then drive it off with the steering. And with the all-wheel drive if you do get into a push scenario, you can turn it to help drive yourself out of it. But yes, you drive with the throttle quite a bit."

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Author: Nick Bromberg
Posted: January 8, 2015, 3:57 pm

After doing exit interviews for Sprint Cup Series drivers in 2013, we're turning the tables. We want the drivers to sell themselves. So here are the resumés for all full-time Sprint Cup Series drivers in 2014. Then, at the end, we'll provide a summation of the driver's season in 150 words or less.

Name: Matt Kenseth

NASCAR Experience: 15 full seasons in the Sprint Cup Series. 31 wins.

Most recent team: Joe Gibbs Racing

Most recent season finish: 7th

2014 accomplishments: 13 top-five finishes, tied for second-most in career history. 22 top 10 finishes, tied for second-most in career history.

Most memorable moment: Well, uh, this was pretty fun to watch for fans, even though this ended up as a fifth-place finish.

Strengths: Consistency, though you can't seem to say that without visions of 2003 dancing through your head. Has won on every type of track sans-road course in the Sprint Cup Series.

2015 goals: Notice what's missing from the accomplishments category? Fill that in. Make the Chase again and go for title No. 2.

FTM's Take: The thing missing from Kenseth's accomplishments is a win. A year after winning seven races, Kenseth was winless, the fourth time in 15 seasons he's been winless in the Cup Series. But you can see Kenseth's evolution as a driver in those four winless seasons. In the first two he was 13th and 11th. In the last two he's been fifth and seventh.

If Kenseth had won three or four races in 2013, the disappointment lens available for 2014 is simply not as magnified. Hell, he actually had more top-five and top-10 finishes than he did in 2013. Kenseth was still damn good, he just didn't have winning speed.

Kenseth and crew chief Jason Ratcliff are the only intact duo entering 2015 for Joe Gibbs Racing. They weren't broken up likely because of the chemistry between the two and simply because there wasn't as much decline from 2013 as it looks. Kenseth will be back in victory lane in 2015. The question is just how soon it will happen.

Previous reviews: No. 8 Dale Earnhardt Jr., No. 9 Carl Edwards, No. 10 Kyle Busch, No. 11 Jimmie Johnson, No. 12 Kurt Busch, No. 13 AJ Allmendinger, No. 14 Greg Biffle, No. 15 Kasey Kahne, No. 16 Aric Almirola, No. 17 Kyle Larson, No. 18, Jamie McMurray, No. 19 Clint Bowyer, No. 20, Austin Dillon, No. 21 Paul Menard, No. 22 Brian Vickers, No. 23 Marcos Ambrose, No. 24 Martin Truex Jr., No. 25 Tony Stewart, No. 26 Casey Mears, No. 27 Ricky Stenhouse Jr., No. 28, Danica Patrick, No. 29, Justin Allgaier, No. 30, David Gilliland, No. 31 Cole Whitt, No. 32 David Ragan, No. 33 Michael Annett, No. 34 Reed Sorenson, No. 35 Alex Bowman

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Nick Bromberg is the editor of From The Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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Author: Nick Bromberg
Posted: January 8, 2015, 2:18 pm

After doing exit interviews for Sprint Cup Series drivers in 2013, we're turning the tables. We want the drivers to sell themselves. So here are the resumés for all full-time Sprint Cup Series drivers in 2014. Then, at the end, we'll provide a summation of the driver's season in 150 words or less.

Name: Dale Earnhardt Jr.

NASCAR Experience: 15 full seasons in the Sprint Cup Series. 23 wins. 1998 and 1999 Xfinity Series champion.

Most recent team: Hendrick Motorsports

Most recent season finish: 8th

2014 accomplishments: Four wins, the most in any season since 2004. 12 top fives, the most in any season since 2004 and 20 top 10s.

Most memorable moment: Joining Twitter. OK, kidding. Winning the Daytona 500 is pretty unforgettable. And if you're looking for a way to kill time at work, here's a condensed version of the race, which definitely lasted more than 51 minutes.

Though sweeping Pocono is pretty good too.

Strengths: Well, being the most popular driver in the Cup Series is a strength, right? And winning races again is a strength too.

2015 goals: Make sure that 2015 doesn't have a dropoff from Steve Letarte to Greg Ives. And get past the second round of the Chase.

FTM's Take: About the Twitter thing at the top: Perhaps Junior's most memorable off-track moment for the public is Twitter. Because he and Brad Keselowski are must-follows as they have unfiltered accounts with unique insights. For as much as was touted of the early adoption to Twitter for many in NASCAR, it can be hard to find engaging Twitter follows at times.

Yes, it's going to be easy to fret about the loss of Letarte in 2015, but what if Junior's success with Letarte was helped by their ability to let loose and have fun? There can be valuable carryover in that for Junior, who seems to be enjoying everything about life.

There may be an adjustment period with Ives, but we're going to go out on a limb and say we won't be worrying about the partnership come June and July. Junior's still in a great situation to contend for a championship if he can avoid the fate that befell him in the second round in 2014.

Previous reviews: No. 9 Carl Edwards, No. 10 Kyle Busch, No. 11 Jimmie Johnson, No. 12 Kurt Busch, No. 13 AJ Allmendinger, No. 14 Greg Biffle, No. 15 Kasey Kahne, No. 16 Aric Almirola, No. 17 Kyle Larson, No. 18, Jamie McMurray, No. 19 Clint Bowyer, No. 20, Austin Dillon, No. 21 Paul Menard, No. 22 Brian Vickers, No. 23 Marcos Ambrose, No. 24 Martin Truex Jr., No. 25 Tony Stewart, No. 26 Casey Mears, No. 27 Ricky Stenhouse Jr., No. 28, Danica Patrick, No. 29, Justin Allgaier, No. 30, David Gilliland, No. 31 Cole Whitt, No. 32 David Ragan, No. 33 Michael Annett, No. 34 Reed Sorenson, No. 35 Alex Bowman

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Nick Bromberg is the editor of From The Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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Author: Nick Bromberg
Posted: January 7, 2015, 8:59 pm

After doing exit interviews for Sprint Cup Series drivers in 2013, we're turning the tables. We want the drivers to sell themselves. So here are the resumés for all full-time Sprint Cup Series drivers in 2014. Then, at the end, we'll provide a summation of the driver's season in 150 words or less.

Name: Carl Edwards

NASCAR Experience: 10 full seasons in the Sprint Cup Series. 23 wins.

Most recent team: Roush Fenway Racing

Most recent season finish: 9th

2014 accomplishments: Two wins, seven top fives, 14 top 10s. Only had four finishes of 30th or worse all season. Scored four-straight top 10s from Phoenix to Auto Club at the beginning of the season.

Most memorable moment: Rain was a good thing at Bristol after the caution lights came on accidentally after a button got hit.

Strengths: One of the most marketable drivers in the Cup Series. Has finished second in the standings with nine wins in a season and second in the standings with one win in a season.

2015 goals: The championship. Or, more realistically, do what Matt Kenseth did in 2013 at Joe Gibbs Racing.

FTM's Take: Edwards felt he needed a change of scenery and who are we to disagree with him? Despite wins at Bristol and Sonoma, it's evident the speed isn't there at Roush Fenway to contend for a title in 2015 barring a ridiculous turnaround.

And so he's now at JGR, where the four-driver lineup competes with any other team in the Cup Series. Kenseth truly is the benchmark here, because when he arrived at JGR, he was immediately fast. Even if it's a lofty goal, it's a realistic one.

But like Kenseth, it's probably too much to expect a title in Edwards' first year at Gibbs. Is it possible? Absolutely. But especially given the nature of the format, it's not a good bet. However, we're going to guess that Edwards has a win or two in the first 10 races of the year.

Previous reviews: No. 10 Kyle Busch, No. 11 Jimmie Johnson, No. 12 Kurt Busch, No. 13 AJ Allmendinger, No. 14 Greg Biffle, No. 15 Kasey Kahne, No. 16 Aric Almirola, No. 17 Kyle Larson, No. 18, Jamie McMurray, No. 19 Clint Bowyer, No. 20, Austin Dillon, No. 21 Paul Menard, No. 22 Brian Vickers, No. 23 Marcos Ambrose, No. 24 Martin Truex Jr., No. 25 Tony Stewart, No. 26 Casey Mears, No. 27 Ricky Stenhouse Jr., No. 28, Danica Patrick, No. 29, Justin Allgaier, No. 30, David Gilliland, No. 31 Cole Whitt, No. 32 David Ragan, No. 33 Michael Annett, No. 34 Reed Sorenson, No. 35 Alex Bowman

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Nick Bromberg is the editor of From The Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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Author: Nick Bromberg
Posted: January 7, 2015, 2:20 pm

After doing exit interviews for Sprint Cup Series drivers in 2013, we're turning the tables. We want the drivers to sell themselves. So here are the resumés for all full-time Sprint Cup Series drivers in 2014. Then, at the end, we'll provide a summation of the driver's season in 150 words or less.

Name: Kyle Busch

NASCAR Experience: 10 full seasons in the Sprint Cup Series. 141 wins across NASCAR's three national series.

Most recent team: Joe Gibbs Racing

Most recent season finish: 10th

2014 accomplishments: One win, nine top fives, 15 top 10s. 12 Seven Nationwide Series wins in 26 races and seven truck series races in 10 races.

Most memorable moment: The win at Auto Club Speedway in the Cup Series, was an appropriate bit of dejå vu, though it wasn't as dramatic as the win in 2013.

Strengths: Arguably the most adaptable driver in the Sprint Cup Series.

2015 goals: See Chase success. Sure, a title needs to happen sooner rather than later, but a third top-five finish in the standings is a good and realistic goal.

FTM's Take: Talladega can be so cruel. Busch had top 10 finishes in the first five races of the Chase yet was eliminated at Talladega because he crashed and finished 40th. (Yes, another lesson about how avoiding bad finishes is imperative to Cup Series success.)

The wheels fell off over the last two races of the season and instead of vying for fifth in the final standings Busch ended up in 10th.

Thanks to a summer swoon, the Chase actually inflated Busch's season standing. After back-to-back second place finishes at New Hampshire and Indy, Busch finished 36th or below in four consecutive weeks and dropped to 17th in the standings.

Barring something incredibly unforeseen, Busch will win a race or three in 2015 and make the Chase. Then we'll all wonder how Busch's title hopes will turn out once again. Just remember that he was title-worthy for the first half of the playoffs in 2014.

Previous reviews: No. 11 Jimmie Johnson, No. 12 Kurt Busch, No. 13 AJ Allmendinger, No. 14 Greg Biffle, No. 15 Kasey Kahne, No. 16 Aric Almirola, No. 17 Kyle Larson, No. 18, Jamie McMurray, No. 19 Clint Bowyer, No. 20, Austin Dillon, No. 21 Paul Menard, No. 22 Brian Vickers, No. 23 Marcos Ambrose, No. 24 Martin Truex Jr., No. 25 Tony Stewart, No. 26 Casey Mears, No. 27 Ricky Stenhouse Jr., No. 28, Danica Patrick, No. 29, Justin Allgaier, No. 30, David Gilliland, No. 31 Cole Whitt, No. 32 David Ragan, No. 33 Michael Annett, No. 34 Reed Sorenson, No. 35 Alex Bowman

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Nick Bromberg is the editor of From The Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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Author: Nick Bromberg
Posted: January 6, 2015, 8:36 pm

The city of Charlotte has made a request to banks to write off a significant portion of construction loans for the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

The city, according to the Charlotte Observer, wants to make a $5 million payment to Bank of America and Wells Fargo as part of a proposal to take care of debt from the Hall of Fame. In turn, the banks would then write off the rest of the loans, which tally $17.6 million after principal and interest.

From the Observer:

The proposal is part of a city plan to get out of about $22.8 million of NASCAR hall obligations. If the deal is approved, the hall would also be given a break from future payments owed to NASCAR.

“The whole goal is to bring the hall into a break-even position,” said Deputy City Manager Ron Kimble.

The City Council, which heard the proposal Monday, will vote on the loan modifications next week. But even if the agreement is approved, the hall is still estimated to lose between $200,000 and $500,000 a year in the future.

In the proposal, NASCAR would also waive royalties that it was supposed to receive from the Hall of Fame. The two loans were part of funding for the museum that also included a hotel and motel tax. One of the loans was backed by the sale of commemorative bricks and sponsorships.

The NASCAR Hall of Fame lost $1.4 million in the previous fiscal year, down from $1.6 million the year before. So the quoted estimates are significantly below those numbers. However, lofty and unachievable goals have been touted for the Hall of Fame before. The original attendance goals for the museum were 850,000 people a year. From June 2013-2014, the Hall of Fame had approximately 170,000 paid admissions.

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Nick Bromberg is the editor of From The Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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Author: Nick Bromberg
Posted: January 6, 2015, 5:07 pm

Trevor Bayne will have a crew chief familiar to many NASCAR fans atop his pit box in 2015.

Roush Fenway Racing announced Tuesday that Bob Osborne would serve as Bayne's crew chief. Osborne was Carl Edwards' long-time crew chief and was the crew chief when Edwards finished second in the Sprint Cup standings to Tony Stewart in 2011. In mid-2012, he stepped down because of medical reasons. Until stepping down, Osborne had served as Edwards' crew chief for all but 27 races of Edwards' career.

Bayne, the 2011 Daytona 500 winner, will drive full-time in the Sprint Cup Series in 2015. He has driven a part-time schedule in the Cup Series over the past four seasons for the Wood Brothers.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. will also have a new crew chief. Mike Kelley served as Stenhouse's crew chief in 2013 after the two won Xfinity Series titles together in 2011 and 2012. Kelley will continue with the team as Stenhouse's car chief but Nick Sandler, the head engineer for Edwards in 2014, will be Stenhouse's crew chief.

Greg Biffle will continue to work with crew chief Matt Puccia. With the addition of Bayne to the No. 6 car, Roush Fenway is staying at three cars in 2015 after Edwards left to join Joe Gibbs Racing.

Jimmy Fennig, Edwards' crew chief for the past two seasons, is now Roush's R&D coordinator.

Phil Gould will crew chief for Elliott Sadler in the Xfinity Series. Gould moves over from Richard Childress Racing to join Sadler, who joins Roush from Joe Gibbs Racing. Darrell Wallace, who will also drive for Roush in 2015 after leaving Joe Gibbs Racing, will have Chad Norris as his crew chief. Norris was named Edwards' crew chief in 2012 after Osborne's departure and served as Bayne's Xfinity Series crew chief in 2014.

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Nick Bromberg is the editor of From The Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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Author: Nick Bromberg
Posted: January 6, 2015, 4:36 pm

After doing exit interviews for Sprint Cup Series drivers in 2013, we're turning the tables. We want the drivers to sell themselves. So here are the resumés for all full-time Sprint Cup Series drivers in 2014. Then, at the end, we'll provide a summation of the driver's season in 150 words or less.

Name: Jimmie Johnson

NASCAR Experience: Six Sprint Cup titles. Speaks for itself, doesn't it?

Most recent team: Hendrick Motorsports

Most recent season finish: 11th

2014 accomplishments: Four wins, 11 top fives, 20 top 10 finishes and a Chase berth. And was the defending 2013 champion.

Most memorable moment: Because six titles overwhelms everything else, there will be a positive and a negative category. In the positive, it's the win at Michigan, which was a third win in four races and the first career win there.

In the negative, it's what happened at Kansas Speedway in the fall.

Strengths: Everything

2015 goals: Tie Richard Petty

FTM's Take: Even more than a month after the fact, it's jarring to see Jimmie Johnson this low in the standings, isn't it? Entering 2014, Johnson's lowest finish in the Cup standings had been sixth. Sixth!

But don't start with the "Jimmie-proofing" stuff when it comes to this Chase. Johnson's Chase was abysmal under any circumstances and he would have been near the bottom of a 10-race cumulative Chase. After finishing 40th at Kansas (and basically ending his Chase), he was 24th at Talladega two weeks later and then 32nd at Martinsville. He was 39th at Phoenix, too. Under the old Chase format Johnson would have finished 11th as well.

Are Johnson and the No. 48 team mortal? Of course they are. But we knew that, right? To borrow from the other sport in our coverage realm, there are a lot of similarities between Johnson and Florida State. Sometimes when the bad luck happens, it happens all at once and you can't do much to stop the slide.

Previous reviews: No. 12 Kurt Busch, No. 13 AJ Allmendinger, No. 14 Greg Biffle, No. 15 Kasey Kahne, No. 16 Aric Almirola, No. 17 Kyle Larson, No. 18, Jamie McMurray, No. 19 Clint Bowyer, No. 20, Austin Dillon, No. 21 Paul Menard, No. 22 Brian Vickers, No. 23 Marcos Ambrose, No. 24 Martin Truex Jr., No. 25 Tony Stewart, No. 26 Casey Mears, No. 27 Ricky Stenhouse Jr., No. 28, Danica Patrick, No. 29, Justin Allgaier, No. 30, David Gilliland, No. 31 Cole Whitt, No. 32 David Ragan, No. 33 Michael Annett, No. 34 Reed Sorenson, No. 35 Alex Bowman

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Nick Bromberg is the editor of From The Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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Author: Nick Bromberg
Posted: January 6, 2015, 2:41 pm

After doing exit interviews for Sprint Cup Series drivers in 2013, we're turning the tables. We want the drivers to sell themselves. So here are the resumés for all full-time Sprint Cup Series drivers in 2014. Then, at the end, we'll provide a summation of the driver's season in 150 words or less.

Name: Kurt Busch

NASCAR Experience: 14 full seasons in the Sprint Cup Series. 2004 champion. 25 wins.

Most recent team: Stewart-Haas Racing

Most recent season finish: 12th

2014 accomplishments: A win, six top fives and 11 top 10s. After changing crew chiefs at the end of the year with Danica Patrick, had arguably best three-race stretch of the season with finishes of eighth, seventh and 11th.

Most memorable moment: The win at Martinsville to make the Chase. Not only was it a win

But it had this:

 

Strengths: Remember that former Cup champion thing? Has won at every type of track in the Cup Series save a restrictor plate track. But we know that's roulette, and that's only counting points races anyway.

2015 goals: Carry over the speed found at the end of the year with Tony Gibson. Establish a modicum of consistency.

FTM's Take: While Ryan Newman clearly benefitted from the new Chase system, you can make the argument that the biggest beneficiary was Busch. Simply put, the Chase berth from the win at Martinsville was the golden polish on a season that would be downright disappointing in any other Chase format.

Was the polish exceptionally pretty? No. But it was still polish. Much like last season at Furniture Row, Busch's speed couldn't be meshed with the avoidance of disaster on a consistent basis. How so? Well, his six top-five finishes were countered by six finishes of 36th or worse.

That's not acceptable. Busch has the talent to win another Cup title and given who won in 2014, he clearly has the equipment too. If a title is the best case, a repeat of 2014 should be the worst case.

Previous reviews: No. 13 AJ Allmendinger, No. 14 Greg Biffle, No. 15 Kasey Kahne, No. 16 Aric Almirola, No. 17 Kyle Larson, No. 18, Jamie McMurray, No. 19 Clint Bowyer, No. 20, Austin Dillon, No. 21 Paul Menard, No. 22 Brian Vickers, No. 23 Marcos Ambrose, No. 24 Martin Truex Jr., No. 25 Tony Stewart, No. 26 Casey Mears, No. 27 Ricky Stenhouse Jr., No. 28, Danica Patrick, No. 29, Justin Allgaier, No. 30, David Gilliland, No. 31 Cole Whitt, No. 32 David Ragan, No. 33 Michael Annett, No. 34 Reed Sorenson, No. 35 Alex Bowman

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Nick Bromberg is the editor of From The Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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Author: Nick Bromberg
Posted: January 6, 2015, 1:51 pm

After doing exit interviews for Sprint Cup Series drivers in 2013, we're turning the tables. We want the drivers to sell themselves. So here are the resumés for all full-time Sprint Cup Series drivers in 2014. Then, at the end, we'll provide a summation of the driver's season in 150 words or less.

Name: Greg Biffle

NASCAR Experience: 13 seasons in the Sprint Cup Series. 19 wins and a second-place finish in the 2005 standings.

Most recent team: Roush Fenway Racing

Most recent season finish: 14th

2014 accomplishments: Three top fives and 11 top 10s.

Most memorable moment: Well, uh, there was a second-place finish at Talladega? And there was a run of five-straight top 10s from Pocono to Atlanta.

Strengths: Can be extremely competitive in strong equipment. And showed in 2014 that consistency can equal strength. It just won't set any world records.

2015 goals: Show some speed. And then win a race and make the Chase that way.

FTM's Take: Goodness, that wasn't very enthralling, was it? Biffle's 2014 was just downright average. While Ricky Stenhouse Jr. struggled and Carl Edwards was able to win two races, Biffle slogged his way to top 10s and top 15s to make the Chase as he only had one DNF.

That's not a bad way to make a living in the Cup Series, but for a guy like Biffle who is used to winning races, it's not acceptable. Just two years ago, he led 721 laps. In 2013 he led 124 and in 2014 he led 110, a number that was his fewest laps led since 2007. But even in 2007 he won a race.

Biffle signed a three-year extension at Roush and it could be the last contract of his career. He's still talented enough to win races and make the Chase, he just needs the equipment to do so. Biffle proved in 2014 that he can make the Chase with cars that aren't close to the top of the Sprint Cup heap. But that's not good enough.

Previous reviews: No. 15, Kasey Kahne, No. 16 Aric Almirola, No. 17 Kyle Larson, No. 18, Jamie McMurray, No. 19 Clint Bowyer, No. 20, Austin Dillon, No. 21 Paul Menard, No. 22 Brian Vickers, No. 23 Marcos Ambrose, No. 24 Martin Truex Jr., No. 25 Tony Stewart, No. 26 Casey Mears, No. 27 Ricky Stenhouse Jr., No. 28, Danica Patrick, No. 29, Justin Allgaier, No. 30, David Gilliland, No. 31 Cole Whitt, No. 32 David Ragan, No. 33 Michael Annett, No. 34 Reed Sorenson, No. 35 Alex Bowman

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Nick Bromberg is the editor of From The Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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Author: Nick Bromberg
Posted: January 2, 2015, 5:28 pm

After doing exit interviews for Sprint Cup Series drivers in 2013, we're turning the tables. We want the drivers to sell themselves. So here are the resumés for all full-time Sprint Cup Series drivers in 2014. Then, at the end, we'll provide a summation of the driver's season in 150 words or less.

Name: Kasey Kahne

NASCAR Experience: 11 years in the Cup Series and 17 wins. 11 years!

Most recent team: Hendrick Motorsports

Most recent season finish: 15th

2014 accomplishments: A win at Atlanta, a third at Kansas and a fifth at Michigan.

Most memorable moment: Winning at Atlanta counts, right? Or do you want transparency? Because Jeff Gordon's Brickyard restart would count.

Strengths: Has won at every type of track in the Cup Series outside of Daytona and Talladega.

2015 goals: Not be the fourth car at Hendrick Motorsports and the seventh car out of eight overall in the Hendrick/Stewart-Haas organization.

FTM's Take: Kahne's entry is pretty short this year because it was a very nondescript season, especially when it came to his three other Hendrick teammates. He made the Chase via the Atlanta win, but if he hadn't won there, there would have been no complaints about Kahne potentially missing the Chase. Three top fives and seven top 10s aren't exactly world-beating statistics.

Will the return of Keith Rodden help in 2015? Rodden spent the season as Jamie McMurray's crew chief after being an engineer on Kahne's team. He's now going to be Kahne's crew chief. If Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon hold on to the form they displayed in 2014, Kahne is going to have to make a massive leap to me in their stratosphere next season.

Previous reviews: No. 16 Aric Almirola, No. 17 Kyle Larson, No. 18, Jamie McMurray, No. 19 Clint Bowyer, No. 20, Austin Dillon, No. 21 Paul Menard, No. 22 Brian Vickers, No. 23 Marcos Ambrose, No. 24 Martin Truex Jr., No. 25 Tony Stewart, No. 26 Casey Mears, No. 27 Ricky Stenhouse Jr., No. 28, Danica Patrick, No. 29, Justin Allgaier, No. 30, David Gilliland, No. 31 Cole Whitt, No. 32 David Ragan, No. 33 Michael Annett, No. 34 Reed Sorenson, No. 35 Alex Bowman

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Nick Bromberg is the editor of From The Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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Author: Nick Bromberg
Posted: December 30, 2014, 11:15 pm

After doing exit interviews for Sprint Cup Series drivers in 2013, we're turning the tables. We want the drivers to sell themselves. So here are the resumés for all full-time Sprint Cup Series drivers in 2014. Then, at the end, we'll provide a summation of the driver's season in 150 words or less.

Name: Aric Almirola

NASCAR Experience: Parts of seven seasons in the Sprint Cup Series, including three full-time.

Most recent team: Richard Petty Motorsports

Most recent season finish: 16th

2014 accomplishments: Making the Chase! Though we won't talk about what happened when the Chase began. Also finished third at Bristol during caution-light-rain-gate.

Most memorable moment: Winning at Daytona in July, duh. Though what can a guy do to win a race that's driven the full distance? Both NASCAR wins aren't, uh, complete.

Strengths: Has shown speed on 1.5-mile tracks and three of five career top-five finishes have come at short tracks.

2015 goals: Make the Chase again to prove that the 2014 win and subsequent Chase appearance wasn't a fluke.

FTM's Take: We hesitate to use the f word that was just used above again, but Almirola's win in 2015 seems closer to that than it does to the start of a trend.

No, it's not a slam against the No. 43 team, either. It's just that we've seen how the roulette wheel spins at restrictor plate tracks, and Almirola wasn't consistently competitive at the other types of tracks in 2014. He led a total of 23 laps and 19 of them were at Daytona in either February or July.

A win in 2015 isn't impossible by any means. But for it to happen outside of a fuel strategy game or at a restrictor plate track again, RPM is going to need some significant speed improvements.

Previous reviews: No. 17 Kyle Larson, No. 18, Jamie McMurray, No. 19 Clint Bowyer, No. 20, Austin Dillon, No. 21 Paul Menard, No. 22 Brian Vickers, No. 23 Marcos Ambrose, No. 24 Martin Truex Jr., No. 25 Tony Stewart, No. 26 Casey Mears, No. 27 Ricky Stenhouse Jr., No. 28, Danica Patrick, No. 29, Justin Allgaier, No. 30, David Gilliland, No. 31 Cole Whitt, No. 32 David Ragan, No. 33 Michael Annett, No. 34 Reed Sorenson, No. 35 Alex Bowman

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Nick Bromberg is the editor of From The Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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Author: Nick Bromberg
Posted: December 30, 2014, 2:45 pm

After doing exit interviews for Sprint Cup Series drivers in 2013, we're turning the tables. We want the drivers to sell themselves. So here are the resumés for all full-time Sprint Cup Series drivers in 2014. Then, at the end, we'll provide a summation of the driver's season in 150 words or less.

Name: Kyle Larson

NASCAR Experience: Just a solitary season in the Sprint Cup Series and almost two seasons in the Nationwide Series. Plus a Camping World Truck Series win at Rockingham.

Most recent team: Chip Ganassi Racing

Most recent season finish: 17th

2014 accomplishments: Eight top five finishes including second place finishes at Auto Club, Loudon and Kansas. Until finishing 17th at Talladega, had finished in the top six in the first five Chase races.

Most memorable moment: The burnout without a steering wheel at Auto Club after the Nationwide race celebrating Nationwide Series win No. 1.

Strengths: Considered the driver with the most potential in the Sprint Cup Series. Combined with eight top fives in a rookie season...

2015 goals: The same as Jamie McMurray's. WIn a race, make the Chase and avoid any of that sophomore slump talk.

FTM's Take: While still a relative unknown to a lot of NASCAR fans, Larson entered the Cup Series as a well-known commodity in the garage because of his driving talent. And now most NASCAR fans know who he is.

It's dangerous attaching a "next big thing" label to a driver given the cluster at the top of the Cup Series. Good drivers with good teams implant themselves near the top of the standings. Climbing to the top is less like taking someone's place and more like elbowing your way into a crowded party. Larson can do it, but it'd be wise to be patient with him. Just look at Joey Logano.

Previous reviews: No. 18, Jamie McMurray, No. 19 Clint Bowyer, No. 20, Austin Dillon, No. 21 Paul Menard, No. 22 Brian Vickers, No. 23 Marcos Ambrose, No. 24 Martin Truex Jr., No. 25 Tony Stewart, No. 26 Casey Mears, No. 27 Ricky Stenhouse Jr., No. 28, Danica Patrick, No. 29, Justin Allgaier, No. 30, David Gilliland, No. 31 Cole Whitt, No. 32 David Ragan, No. 33 Michael Annett, No. 34 Reed Sorenson, No. 35 Alex Bowman

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Nick Bromberg is the editor of From The Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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Author: Nick Bromberg
Posted: December 29, 2014, 3:48 pm

After doing exit interviews for Sprint Cup Series drivers in 2013, we're turning the tables. We want the drivers to sell themselves. So here are the resumés for all full-time Sprint Cup Series drivers in 2014. Then, at the end, we'll provide a summation of the driver's season in 150 words or less.

Name: Jamie McMurray

NASCAR Experience: 12+ seasons in the Sprint Cup Series. Seven wins. Eight wins in the Nationwide Series too.

Most recent team: Chip Ganassi Racing

Most recent season finish: 18th

2014 accomplishments: Seven top five finishes and two pole positions. Started first at at Sonoma and Martinsville. Finished third at Charlotte in the fall and fourth at Sonoma, Richmond and New Hampshire.

Most memorable moment: Won a race. Yeah, screw you and your technicalities that it wasn't a points race and wasn't worth anything for the Chase. It paid $1 million REAL DOLLARS. And caused real tears.

Strengths: Potentially the fastest driver week-to-week in the high groove at a track. Showed speed at all types of tracks in 2014.

2015 goals: Win a race that pays real dollars and real points to make the Chase.

FTM's Take: You can make the argument that this was McMurray's second-best Cup season. Yeah, he didn't win a points-paying race, but he led 368 laps, a career high. Yes, that's 22 more laps than he led in 2010, when he won the Daytona 500, Brickyard 400 and at Charlotte.

And if there was no Chase, McMurray would have been 14th, tied for his fourth-best points finish. Instead, he had to settle for the second-best driver who didn't make the Chase. McMurray and Kyle Larson should make a formidable tandem at CGR for the foreseeable future. They just have to win races to get into the Chase.

Previous reviews: No. 19 Clint Bowyer, No. 20, Austin Dillon, No. 21 Paul Menard, No. 22 Brian Vickers, No. 23 Marcos Ambrose, No. 24 Martin Truex Jr., No. 25 Tony Stewart, No. 26 Casey Mears, No. 27 Ricky Stenhouse Jr., No. 28, Danica Patrick, No. 29, Justin Allgaier, No. 30, David Gilliland, No. 31 Cole Whitt, No. 32 David Ragan, No. 33 Michael Annett, No. 34 Reed Sorenson, No. 35 Alex Bowman

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Nick Bromberg is the editor of From The Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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Author: Nick Bromberg
Posted: December 23, 2014, 10:44 pm

2014 marked another change in Chase formats for NASCAR, and our top story of 2014 involves part of the craziness that developed throughout the 10-race run to the championship.

Here's From the Marbles' 20 most-popular posts of 2014:

1. Jeff Gordon goes after Brad Keselowski following on-track contact at Texas (Nov. 2): Keselowski's three-wide move for the lead that cut Gordon's tire down was our most popular story of the year. It's a move still debated among NASCAR fans, as it severely hurt Gordon's chances at advancing to the final round of the Chase at Homestead.

2. Tony Stewart will not race at Watkins Glen; Regan Smith to drive the No. 14 (Aug. 10): This story dominates the rest of our top 10. After striking and killing Kevin Ward Jr. on Aug. 9 at Canandaigua Motorsports Park, Tony Stewart sat out the Sprint Cup Series race at Watkins Glen the following day. Regan Smith subbed for him and ended up caught up in a crash.

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Other popular posts in the Yahoo Sports Blog family
Ball Don't Lie (NBA) • Big League Stew (MLB) • Cagewriter (MMA) • The Dagger (NCAAB) • Devil Ball Golf • Dr. Saturday (NCAAF) • Fourth Place Medal (Olympics) • From The Marbles (NASCAR) • Puck Daddy (NHL) • Shutdown Corner (NFL)

* * *

3. Aunt of Kevin Ward Jr. issues open letter (Sept. 28): The aunt of Ward raised questions of the findings released by an Ontario County (N.Y.) prosecutor during the investigation of the incident between Stewart and Ward. Toxicology reports showed Ward was under the influence of marijuana.

4. Tony Stewart struck and killed driver at New York dirt track (Aug. 9): The story from the night of August 9, when reports emerged that Stewart had hit a driver who had gotten out of his car and confronted him.

5. Kevin Ward Jr. deserves to be known as more than victim in Tony Stewart wreck (Aug. 10): Ward, 20, deserved to be remembered as someone who was chasing his dreams.

6. Kevin Ward Sr: Apparently, Tony Stewart was the only one driving out there who didn't see him (Aug. 13): Less than a week after the accident, Ward Sr. said Stewart put his son into the wall and didn't see his son, who had gotten out of his car.

7. Tony Stewart not charged by grand jury in death of Kevin Ward Jr. (Sept. 24): Stewart did not face charges after Ward's death. An Ontario County (N.Y.) prosecutor said that there was no evidence of aberrational driving from Stewart before he made contact with Ward.

8. Kevin Ward Jr.'s family issues statement saying the matter is not at rest (Sept. 24): Shortly after the decision to not charge Stewart, Ward's family strongly hinted that future civil action was possible in a statement.

9. Contact with Danica Patrick sends Brad Keselowski spinning into the infield (May 4): Patrick and Keselowski made contact at Talladega, and Keselowski spun out. It was one of 'dem restrictor plate racin' deals.

10. Insane fan climbs to top of catch fence during NASCAR race (Sept. 6): During the race at Richmond, the final race before the Chase, a drunk fan climbed atop the fence in turn four. NASCAR had to throw a caution to make sure he got down safely and nothing happened. The question still remains: how the heck did track security not notice him climbing up the fence?

NEXT 10

11. Jimmie Johnson tried to put a vise grip on his shifter while driving (Aug. 17)
12. Talladega qualifying was, to put it delicately, a total freaking mess (Oct. 18)
13. Dale Earnhardt Jr. gets his fourth win of the season at Martinsville (Oct. 26)
14. Tony Stewart delivers emotional three-minute statement about Aug. 9 accident (Aug. 29)
15. Carl Edwards' front-tire changer shows us the aftermath of taking a lugnut to the face (April 26)
16. NASCAR bans drivers from confronting cars in the aftermath of Stewart/Ward incident (Aug. 15)
17. Kyle Larson did a burnout without a steering wheel after winning his first Nationwide race (March 22)
18. Tony Stewart case going to a grand jury (Sept. 16)
19. Tony Stewart offers first public thoughts after Kevin Ward Jr. tragedy (Aug. 29)
20. Tony Stewart withdraws from dirt track race planned for this weekend (Aug. 11)

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Nick Bromberg is the editor of From The Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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Author: Nick Bromberg
Posted: December 23, 2014, 4:00 pm

After doing exit interviews for Sprint Cup Series drivers in 2013, we're turning the tables. We want the drivers to sell themselves. So here are the resumés for all full-time Sprint Cup Series drivers in 2014. Then, at the end, we'll provide a summation of the driver's season in 150 words or less.

Name: Clint Bowyer

NASCAR Experience: Nine full seasons in the Sprint Cup Series including eight wins. 2008 Nationwide Series champion.

Most recent team: Michael Waltrip Racing

Most recent season finish: 19th

2014 accomplishments: Three was the luckiest number ... three times. Twice it happened at Talladega, where third place finishes were accomplished in the spring and the fall. The other was at Richmond in September, where 2013 was exorcised. Right? Right?

Most memorable moment: It didn't count for anything in the standings, but this flip at the Budweiser Duels before the Daytona 500. And during the Daytona 500, the engine in the car went to crap not long after the race resumed after a lengthy rain delay.

Strengths: Has wins at all types of tracks: short tracks, road courses, intermediate tracks and superspeedways. Proven championship contender.

2015 goals: Win a stinking race for the first time since 2012 and make the Chase. Continue to find new ways to utilize flamethrower.

FTM's Take: If you believe in the curse of finishing in second place in the Cup standings, you can excuse away Bowyer's 2013 as a cursed season. However, that doesn't explain 2014, though it's not too hard to figure out the simple explanation for his woes over the past year. As MWR went down to two cars, the organization wasn't as fast as it was in 2013 and 2012.

Bowyer needs the team to figure it out – if there was a better data-sharing agreement between MWR and Joe Gibbs Racing, he may be the biggest beneficiary. He's one of the better all-around drivers in the Cup Series and there's nothing wrong from a NASCAR PR standpoint of more Bowyer TV time. Dude's one of the most colorful drivers around.

Previous reviews: No. 20, Austin Dillon, No. 21 Paul Menard, No. 22 Brian Vickers, No. 23 Marcos Ambrose, No. 24 Martin Truex Jr., No. 25 Tony Stewart, No. 26 Casey Mears, No. 27 Ricky Stenhouse Jr., No. 28, Danica Patrick, No. 29, Justin Allgaier, No. 30, David Gilliland, No. 31 Cole Whitt, No. 32 David Ragan, No. 33 Michael Annett, No. 34 Reed Sorenson, No. 35 Alex Bowman

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Nick Bromberg is the editor of From The Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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Author: Nick Bromberg
Posted: December 22, 2014, 3:06 pm

After doing exit interviews for Sprint Cup Series drivers in 2013, we're turning the tables. We want the drivers to sell themselves. So here are the resumés for all full-time Sprint Cup Series drivers in 2014. Then, at the end, we'll provide a summation of the driver's season in 150 words or less.

Name: Austin Dillon

NASCAR Experience: 2011 Camping World Truck Series champion. 2013 Nationwide Series champion. 2015 Sprint Cup Series champion?

Most recent team: Richard Childress Racing

Most recent season finish: 20th

2014 accomplishments: Completed more laps than any other driver in the Cup Series not named Jeff Gordon. Finished fifth at Daytona in July.

Most memorable moment: Winning the pole for the Daytona 500. You can't forget that the No. 3 was back, could you? And please promise to not tell Ryan Newman about the 500. He's still happy about finishing second and we don't want to rehash that.

Strengths: Only Greg Biffle has a shot at a three-peat.

2015 goals: A championship, duh. Look at the pattern. Though a Chase berth would be nice.

FTM's Take: For the flurry of attention that winning the pole at Daytona received, Dillon settled into relative NASCAR anonymity. And while it was because he didn't have many super-strong runs, it's because he was like his teammates. There were few brutally bad ones either. Maybe there's something in the water at RCR? We should have Carrie Underwood investigate.

No, it's not realistic that Dillon will win the 2015 title, but if the consistency carries over, there's no reason for Chase hopes to not exist into August. We've seen how avoiding bad finishes can pay off in the Cup Series, and if it's a skill, Dillon's showing that he has it.

Previous reviews: No. 21 Paul Menard, No. 22 Brian Vickers, No. 23 Marcos Ambrose, No. 24 Martin Truex Jr., No. 25 Tony Stewart, No. 26 Casey Mears, No. 27 Ricky Stenhouse Jr., No. 28, Danica Patrick, No. 29, Justin Allgaier, No. 30, David Gilliland, No. 31 Cole Whitt, No. 32 David Ragan, No. 33 Michael Annett, No. 34 Reed Sorenson, No. 35 Alex Bowman

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Nick Bromberg is the editor of From The Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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Author: Nick Bromberg
Posted: December 18, 2014, 8:57 pm

Roush Fenway Racing has found a fourth Xfinity Series driver for 2015.

The team announced Thursday that Darrell Wallace would drive the No. 6 car in the former Nationwide Series in 2015. Wallace, 21, won four Camping World Truck Series races in 2014 while driving for Kyle Busch Motorsports. When he won at Martinsville in 2013, he became the first black driver to win a NASCAR national series race since 1963.

“We are very excited to bring Bubba Wallace into the Roush Fenway fold,” said team president Steve Newmark. “He is viewed in industry circles as one of the brightest young drivers and I feel that we are very fortunate to be able to bring him on board.  He has a charismatic personality and at the same time has exhibited the ability to win on the race track.  We are looking forward to getting him in our race cars next season.”

Though he drove for KBM in 2014, Wallace was previously under contract with Joe Gibbs Racing as a developmental driver. At the conclusion of the 2014 season, JGR hadn't announced anything concrete for Wallace other than references to a partial season in the Xfinity Series. Earlier in December, Wallace was granted his release from the team.

WIth Roush, Wallace will drive with Elliott Sadler, Chris Buescher and Ryan Reed. No sponsorship was revealed with the announcement.

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Nick Bromberg is the editor of From The Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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Author: Nick Bromberg
Posted: December 18, 2014, 7:43 pm

After doing exit interviews for Sprint Cup Series drivers in 2013, we're turning the tables. We want the drivers to sell themselves. So here are the resumés for all full-time Sprint Cup Series drivers in 2014. Then, at the end, we'll provide a summation of the driver's season in 150 words or less.

Name: Paul Menard

NASCAR Experience: Parts of 12 seasons in the Sprint Cup Series including eight full-time seasons. Brickyard 400 winner.

Most recent team: Richard Childress Racing

Most recent season finish: 21st

2014 accomplishments: Paul Menard doesn't like talking about Paul Menard and talks about Paul Menard in the third person. Brevity is big. Five top fives. Third at Las Vegas. 2011 Brickyard 400 winner.

Most memorable moment: 2011 Brickyard 400 winner. Was twice in the top 10 in points in 2014. Why do you want all this information?

Strengths: 2011 Brickyard 400 winner. Last name.

2015 goals: Attempt to go the entire season without an interview, which may be impossible if the Chase is made. This is a tough potential dilemma.

FTM's Take: The quietest driver in the Cup Series garage, Menard is not one for many public words. He's got the gig that many of us would love to have. He's self-funded, drives for a good team in the series and stays out of the spotlight. Of course, that's easy to do when you run mid-pack, but there's a lot of something to be said for never making headlines on the down side of the spectrum.

However, as mentioned in the 2015 goals section of this entry, Menard would have to put himself in the spotlight if he made the Chase. And given the expanded Chase field, it's not a crazy thought. He was 14th in points after Atlanta, but was the fourth driver out on points after Richmond and ended up 22nd. If he stays consistent and more drivers ahead of him win (and maybe even Menard himself wins), who knows?

Previous reviews: No. 22 Brian Vickers, No. 23 Marcos Ambrose, No. 24 Martin Truex Jr., No. 25 Tony Stewart, No. 26 Casey Mears, No. 27 Ricky Stenhouse Jr., No. 28, Danica Patrick, No. 29, Justin Allgaier, No. 30, David Gilliland, No. 31 Cole Whitt, No. 32 David Ragan, No. 33 Michael Annett, No. 34 Reed Sorenson, No. 35 Alex Bowman

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Nick Bromberg is the editor of From The Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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Author: Nick Bromberg
Posted: December 18, 2014, 2:41 pm

In his time on the stand Wednesday, Kurt Busch said he told his ex-girlfriend Patricia Driscoll multiple times to leave his motorhome on the night of September 26.

Busch testified as part of hearing for a request for protection order Driscoll placed in the wake of her domestic assault allegations against Busch on the Friday night of Dover race weekend. Driscoll alleges that Busch slammed her head into the wall of his motorhome multiple times.

Busch said those allegations are false.

From the Wilmington News-Journal via USA Today:

Busch testified that he had been sleeping the night of Sept. 26 when Driscoll arrived at his motorhome with her then-nine-year-old son, Houston. He says he told her repeatedly to leave, but she kept bringing her son in from another room, saying that Busch needed to tell the boy that the relationship between Busch and Driscoll was over.

Busch says Driscoll came to his motorhome uninvited and unannounced.

Busch says while the two were in his bedroom, he again asked her to leave, for what he said was the fifth time. He says he cupped her cheeks in his hands, looked her in the eye and said, "you need to leave." He says he was defusing the situation.

On Tuesday, Driscoll testified that Busch was struggling with alcoholism and depression and corroborated her claims made in a report to Dover police in November. The allegations are still being investigated.

Busch, the 2004 Sprint Cup Series champion, finished 12th in the 2014 standings.

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Nick Bromberg is the editor of From The Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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Author: Nick Bromberg
Posted: December 17, 2014, 10:49 pm

After doing exit interviews for Sprint Cup Series drivers in 2013, we're turning the tables. We want the drivers to sell themselves. So here are the resumés for all full-time Sprint Cup Series drivers in 2014. Then, at the end, we'll provide a summation of the driver's season in 150 words or less.

Name: Brian Vickers

NASCAR Experience: Seven full-time seasons in the Cup Series, 12 overall. Yes, just turned 31 years old in October. Three wins and the 2003 Nationwide Series title.

Most recent team: Michael Waltrip Racing

Most recent season finish: 22nd.

2014 accomplishments: Second at Daytona in the summer after rain cut short the race and gave Aric Almirola the win and a Chase berth. Finished fourth at Texas and Talladega in the spring.

Most memorable moment: It's not pretty, but it's the lap two crash at Michigan in June after qualifying 10th.

Strengths: Three wins have come on a diverse array of tracks (restrictor plate, two-mile track and one-mile track.)

2015 goals: Recover quickly and get back to the Sprint Cup Series fully healthy.

FTM's Take: After winning a race while driving part-time for MWR in 2013, Vickers is rewarded with a full-time ride in 2014. And after finishing 22nd, he's now going to miss the beginning of 2015 because of complications from a 2010 heart procedure. That's tough.

Last year, MWR took a step back when dropping down to two full-time cars. Vickers has shown he can be competitive in the right situation. If MWR and Joe Gibbs Racing can figure out their information sharing, Vickers can be a threat at times when he gets back in the driver's seat.

Previous reviews: No. 23 Marcos Ambrose, No. 24 Martin Truex Jr., No. 25 Tony Stewart, No. 26 Casey Mears, No. 27 Ricky Stenhouse Jr., No. 28, Danica Patrick, No. 29, Justin Allgaier, No. 30, David Gilliland, No. 31 Cole Whitt, No. 32 David Ragan, No. 33 Michael Annett, No. 34 Reed Sorenson, No. 35 Alex Bowman

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Nick Bromberg is the editor of From The Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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Author: Nick Bromberg
Posted: December 17, 2014, 1:26 pm

Patricia Driscoll, the ex-girlfriend of Kurt Busch, testified Tuesday at a hearing regarding her filing of a protection order against the driver.

In a claim of domestic assault filed in November, Driscoll alleged that Busch grabbed her head and smashed it three times against the wall of his motorhome on September 26. On Tuesday, Driscoll said that Busch had issues with alcoholism and depression while Busch's attorneys refuted everything she said.

Just take a look at the first three paragraphs from the Delaware News-Journal's recap of the hearing:

NASCAR driver Kurt Busch was described by his ex-girlfriend, Patricia Driscoll, as someone struggling with alcoholism and depression the night he erupted into a rage and smashed her face into the bedroom wall of his motorhome.

Attorneys for Busch described Driscoll as a mercenary who was an unbelievable storyteller, and a public relations professional who was bent on trying to destroy the driver's career.

"Why don't you just call a press conference and say every bad thing you can about him," said Rusty Hardin, Busch's attorney.

Driscoll leads the Armed Forces Foundation, a foundation that Busch supported throughout their relationship.

Attorneys for both parties declined comment after the hearing, according to the News-Journal. In her testimony, Driscoll said that Busch didn't want to extend his two-year contract with Stewart-Haas Racing, the team he joined in 2014. He made the Chase in 2014 but was eliminated after the first round, which ended at Dover.

Driscoll also said that Busch "was angry that Tony Stewart had killed that kid and ruined his entire career" in reference to the incident at Canandaigua Motorsports Park on August 9 when Stewart struck and killed Kevin Ward.

The hearing is set to continue Wednesday morning. In November at Homestead, NASCAR CEO Brian France said that the sport would let the legal process take place before deeming if disciplinary action would be necessary against Busch.

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Nick Bromberg is the editor of From The Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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Author: Nick Bromberg
Posted: December 17, 2014, 1:25 am

Sprint will not return as the primary sponsor of NASCAR's top series upon the conclusion of its current contract at the end of the 2016 season.

"We are proud of our association with NASCAR's top series but have made the decision not to extend our sponsorship beyond the next two years," Sprint vice president of marketing Steve Gaffney said in a statement. "As we look to the future, Sprint is focused on investing in maintaining a competitive edge and providing consumers with the best value in wireless."

The company's name had been on NASCAR's Cup Series since 2008 when Sprint and Nextel merged. Nextel took over from Winston as the tobacco company left after the 2003 season. When Nextel entered the series, NASCAR instituted the 10-race Chase format for the championship after crowning the season winner over a full season previously. Given the switch to the winner-take-all final race of the season in the 2014 Chase, it seems unlikely that a new sponsor would also mean a different title format. However, the Chase has been tweaked four times in 11 seasons.

“NASCAR and Sprint have enjoyed a long and productive partnership that has returned significant value to both parties," NASCAR chief communications officer Brett Jewkes said in a statement. "We understand significant changes within Sprint and the highly competitive business environment it is in has led to a decision not to extend its Cup Series entitlement position following the 2016 season. The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is a very unique, premium sports marketing platform with strong momentum, so we are very confident of moving forward in 2017 with an outstanding new partner. In the meantime, we look forward to Sprint’s partnership on the best racing series in the world for the next two seasons.”

NASCAR's original contract with Nextel was for 10 years and $700 million. Sprint then extended the contract for three more seasons.

NASCAR recently found a new sponsor for the Nationwide Series in Comcast. The No. 2 series will be known as the Xfinity Series starting in 2015. Camping World took over the title sponsorship of the Truck Series in 2009.

In addition to the change in sponsorship, NASCAR has also seen a shift in its television coverage recently. ESPN and TNT concluded their agreements to broadcast Sprint Cup Series races at the end of 2014. For the next 10 years, Sprint Cup and Xfinity Series races will be split between Fox and NBC properties.

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Nick Bromberg is the editor of From The Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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Author: Nick Bromberg
Posted: December 16, 2014, 6:52 pm

After doing exit interviews for Sprint Cup Series drivers in 2013, we're turning the tables. We want the drivers to sell themselves. So here are the resumés for all full-time Sprint Cup Series drivers in 2014. Then, at the end, we'll provide a summation of the driver's season in 150 words or less.

Name: Marcos Ambrose

NASCAR Experience: Six full seasons in the Sprint Cup Series and two consecutive wins at Watkins Glen in 2011 and 2012.

Most recent team: Richard Petty Motorsports.

Most recent season finish: 23rd.

2014 accomplishments: Top fives at Bristol and Martinsville to start the season, and eighth at Sonoma and a second at Watkins Glen.

Most memorable moment: The battle with AJ Allmendinger to try to secure a berth in the Chase. Watch it again, will you?

Oh, and this, which gave us a teaser of what was to come in the Chase.

Strengths: This doesn't need to be explained, does it?

2015 goals: Kick some ass in V8 Supercars.

FTM's Take: One of the road course drivers in recent memory will be especially missed when the Cup Series heads to Sonoma and Watkins Glen. We'll remember the two wins at Watkins Glen, and we'll remember his misses of other wins too There was the time he stalled the car going uphill at Sonoma. The way his dominance in 2013 was snatched away. The duel with Allmendinger at the end of this year's race.

But let's flash back to 2012, shall we? What a freaking final lap. This is going to be our favorite memory of Ambrose in the Cup Series.

Previous reviews: No. 24 Martin Truex Jr., No. 25 Tony Stewart, No. 26 Casey Mears, No. 27 Ricky Stenhouse Jr., No. 28, Danica Patrick, No. 29, Justin Allgaier, No. 30, David Gilliland, No. 31 Cole Whitt, No. 32 David Ragan, No. 33 Michael Annett, No. 34 Reed Sorenson, No. 35 Alex Bowman

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Nick Bromberg is the editor of From The Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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Author: Nick Bromberg
Posted: December 16, 2014, 5:37 pm

After doing exit interviews for Sprint Cup Series drivers in 2013, we're turning the tables. We want the drivers to sell themselves. So here are the resumés for all full-time Sprint Cup Series drivers in 2014. Then, at the end, we'll provide a summation of the driver's season in 150 words or less.

Name: Martin Truex Jr.

NASCAR Experience: Nine full Sprint Cup Series seasons and two wins. The 2004 and 2005 NASCAR Busch (Nationwide) [Xfinity] Series champion.

Most recent team: Furniture Row Racing

Most recent season finish: 24th

2014 accomplishments: Finished fourth at Kansas in the fall and led a lap at Talladega in the fall. Didn't get hit by a meteor at the beginning of the season when on-track performance started out poorly.

Most memorable moment: Simply having a full-time ride after NAPA left Michael Waltrip Racing following the race manipulation thing at Richmond last year. Unrelated to performance on the track, it's having longtime girlfriend Sherry Pollex back at the track following her August cancer diagnosis.

Strengths: Won on a road course and a one-mile track and has shown strength at intermediate tracks.

2015 goals: Try to replicate Furniture Row's 2013 when it made the Chase with Kurt Busch. Get win No. 3.

FTM's Take: While Furniture Row and Truex were meant for each other for 2014 given their situations entering the season, the results weren't what anyone was expecting. And we don't mean that in a good way. It's crazy to think that Truex led just a single lap and had one top-five finish. Of his nine full-time Sprint Cup seasons, 2014 had his fewest top 10s, laps led and his lowest finish in the standings. But all of that was second to Pollex's cancer diagnosis.

Simply put, it was a rough season for Truex. With a crowded field ahead, moving up is easier said than done. But Truex should contend for the top 20 next year.

Previous reviews: No. 25 Tony Stewart, No. 26 Casey Mears, No. 27 Ricky Stenhouse Jr., No. 28, Danica Patrick, No. 29, Justin Allgaier, No. 30, David Gilliland, No. 31 Cole Whitt, No. 32 David Ragan, No. 33 Michael Annett, No. 34 Reed Sorenson, No. 35 Alex Bowman

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Nick Bromberg is the editor of From The Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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Author: Nick Bromberg
Posted: December 16, 2014, 3:04 pm

Pardon us if you've heard this one before: The eligibility criteria for the Sprint Unlimited is changing.

Here's how the field will be composed for the Feb. 14, 2015 race:

• All drivers who made the 2014 Chase are in. There's 16.

• All drivers who won a pole in 2014 who weren't in the Chase. That gives us seven more drivers.

• All drivers who competed full-time in 2014 who have previously won a Daytona 500 pole. This fills the field out to 25 with the addition of Danica Patrick and Martin Truex, Jr.

However, Brian Vickers, a 2014 pole winner, is expected to miss the race because of complications from a 2010 heart procedure. The NASCAR release says a "minimum of 25 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers are eligible to participate in the Sprint Unlimited at DIS" and that "any remaining spots will be filled by drivers highest in 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver championship points who are not already eligible."

If the race expands to 25 to meet the minimum because of Vickers missing the race, his teammate Clint Bowyer would get in. Bowyer is neither a former race winner of the Unlimited or Daytona 500 pole winner and was 19th in the 2014 points standings. Drivers Nos. 1-18 all are eligible for the race.

Here is the original field of 25 drivers based off the bullet points above.

• Kyle Busch
• Austin Dillon
• Jeff Gordon
• David Gilliland
• Denny Hamlin
• Kevin Harvick
• Jimmie Johnson
• Matt Kenseth
• Brad Keselowski
• Kyle Larson
• Joey Logano
• Jamie McMurray
• Brian Scott
• Tony Stewart
• Brian Vickers
• Kurt Busch
• Dale Earnhardt Jr.
• Carl Edwards
• Danica Patrick
• Greg Biffle
• Martin Truex Jr.
• Ryan Newman
• AJ Allmendinger
• Kasey Kahne
• Aric Almirola

The race will once again be 75 laps. No format for the 75 laps was announced.

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Nick Bromberg is the editor of From The Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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Author: Nick Bromberg
Posted: December 15, 2014, 11:44 pm

Michael Waltrip Racing announced that Brian Vickers will miss what it termed the "early part" of the 2015 season after complications from a 2010 procedure.

In 2010, Vickers missed 25 races because of blood clots in his leg and lungs. While undergoing testing for the issues with the clots, doctors found a hole in Vickers' heart. Vickers said in a statement that his body is rejecting the patch that was inserted for the hole in his heart.

“First, I want to thank everyone for their sincere support," Vickers said. "I have faced obstacles before and it has made victory that much sweeter and I know that will be the case again."

“My previous experiences have given me a very keen understanding of my body. Late last week I knew something wasn’t right, so I went to the hospital to be checked out. Following several tests, it was discovered that my body was rejecting an artificial patch that was inserted in 2010 to fix a hole in my heart. Saturday, I had to have corrective surgery to repair the hole and now I am beginning the recovery process. I will need plenty of time, rest and rehab but this temporary setback will not stop me from pursuing my dream of becoming a NASCAR Sprint Cup champion.”

No timetable was given by the team for Vickers' return, nor were any possible replacement plans revealed on Monday.

“Brian has been a part of the MWR family since 2012 and our thoughts today are with Brian, his wife Sarah and the Vickers family,” MWR co-owner Rob Kauffman said. “As a race team, MWR has plenty to consider and we will confer with our partners, including Aaron’s and Toyota. As this is fresh news, we will adjust our future plans as more information becomes available.”

Team owner Michael Waltrip could be a candidate to drive for Vickers at Daytona given his relationship with Aaron's and his part-time plans since retiring as a full-time driver at the conclusion of the 2009 season. Since then, Waltrip, a two-time Daytona 500 champion, has raced in 19 races and all but two have been at Daytona and Talladega.

After Red Bull Racing folded at the end of the 2011 season, Vickers joined MWR and drove on a part-time basis for the team in 2012 and 2013 and won at New Hampshire in 2013. He moved into a full-time role as the driver of the No. 55 for 2014 and finished 22nd in the Sprint Cup standings.

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Nick Bromberg is the editor of From The Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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Author: Nick Bromberg
Posted: December 15, 2014, 8:57 pm

After doing exit interviews for Sprint Cup Series drivers in 2013, we're turning the tables. We want the drivers to sell themselves. So here are the resumés for all full-time Sprint Cup Series drivers in 2014. Then, at the end, we'll provide a summation of the driver's season in 150 words or less.

Name: Tony Stewart

NASCAR Experience: Three Sprint Cup Series titles, most recently in 2011. The only driver to win a championship in both the full-season and Chase format. 48 Sprint Cup Series wins.

Most recent team: Stewart-Haas Racing

Most recent season finish: 25th

2014 accomplishments: Finished fourth in the Bristol spring race, fourth at Martinsville in the fall and fifth at Auto Club Speedway. Yeah, this really doesn't jive with the stats listed above. Can we call this an outlier season for a myriad of reasons?

Most memorable moment: Smiling at Martinsville after that fourth-place finish. A late gamble to not pit meant a chance for the win, but as Dale Earnhardt Jr. took fresh tires and sliced through the field, he couldn't be stopped.

Strengths: A lot of things. You remember the 48 wins, right?

2015 goals: Win races Nos. 49 and 50. Qualify for the Chase. You know, return back to normal, or establish a new normal.

FTM's Take: A Stewart resumé about 2014 is brief for obvious reasons. When you add in the recovery from the broken leg he suffered in 2013 and then what happened at Canandaigua Motorsports Park in August 2014 when he struck and killed Kevin Ward, there aren't many fitting adjectives to use to describe Stewart's season. It's fair to question whether or not Stewart, 44 in May, will ever return to the form he's shown throughout his career, especially after a less-than-stellar 2013 before his sprint car accident. And those questions are likely why Stewart was forthright about his 2014 and adamant about his future at the end of the season. 2015 may be Stewart's most vital season yet. But we've learned to never bet against him.

Previous reviews: No. 26 Casey Mears, No. 27 Ricky Stenhouse Jr., No. 28, Danica Patrick, No. 29, Justin Allgaier, No. 30, David Gilliland, No. 31 Cole Whitt, No. 32 David Ragan, No. 33 Michael Annett, No. 34 Reed Sorenson, No. 35 Alex Bowman

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Nick Bromberg is the editor of From The Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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Author: Nick Bromberg
Posted: December 12, 2014, 5:54 pm

After doing exit interviews for Sprint Cup Series drivers in 2013, we're turning the tables. We want the drivers to sell themselves. So here are the resumés for all full-time Sprint Cup Series drivers in 2014. Then, at the end, we'll provide a summation of the driver's season in 150 words or less.

Name: Casey Mears

NASCAR Experience: Over 400 starts in 12 Sprint Cup Series seasons. Once won at Charlotte Motor Speedway in 2007. Bet you can't name who finished second in that race. Or third. Or fourth. It may be the best top-five of any Sprint Cup Series race over the last 10 years.

Most recent team: Germain Racing

Most recent season finish: 26th

2014 accomplishments: Scored a fourth-place finish at Daytona in July. Finished 10th in the Daytona 500 and 10th at Talladega in the fall. Highest non-restrictor plate finish was a 12th-place finish at Pocono in August.

Most memorable moment: Martinsville. But it's because the race ruined a streak dating back to Talladega in the fall of 2013 without a DNF. A crash at Martinsville meant a 37th-place finish.

This was a not-getting-punched category, right?

Strengths: Restrictor plate racing and the ability keep a car in once piece.

2015 goals: Continue to utilize the alliance with Richard Childress Racing and beat Furniture Row Racing and JTG-Daugherty Racing in the standings.

FTM's Take: Mears has settled in to a nice place in the Cup Series. Granted, he won't ever fulfilly the star potential that some might have seen when he was at Hendrick Motorsports, but a solid ride with a funded team that has an alliance isn't terrible, right? We know how finicky restrictor plate luck can be, so after finishing no lower than 14th last year at a plate race Mears could easily finish below 30th in every race in 2015. But if it's a skill, that lottery ticket could turn into a win.

Previous reviews: No. 27 Ricky Stenhouse Jr., No. 28, Danica Patrick, No. 29, Justin Allgaier, No. 30, David Gilliland, No. 31 Cole Whitt, No. 32 David Ragan, No. 33 Michael Annett, No. 34 Reed Sorenson, No. 35 Alex Bowman

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Nick Bromberg is the editor of From The Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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Author: Nick Bromberg
Posted: December 11, 2014, 7:40 pm

The man who caused a caution flag during the September race at Richmond by climbing onto the catchfence in turn four was sentenced to a year in jail on Thursday with 11 months suspended.

From NBC 12:

A judge found James Dennis guilty on Thursday of being drunk in public and disorderly conduct and sentenced him to a year in jail with all but one month suspended. He was also ordered to pay a $100 fine on each of the counts.

Dennis, 53, was shirtless and climbed up on the fence, apparently avoiding all track security in the process. NASCAR was forced to put out the yellow flag and Dennis was apprehended when he climbed down from the fence.

"It was one of those crazy spur of the moment things I should have never did and more or less ashamed of myself for doing," Dennis had said in September.

According to NBC 12, Dennis said after he was arrested that he was trying to get a picture of Kevin Harvick, his favorite driver. Maybe it's of small consolation to him that Harvick won the 2014 championship, though we imagine there aren't too many people who would trade up to year of jail time for a title for their favorite driver.

And while his move was one of the most memorable events of the 2014 season, it's because it was incredibly insane and unsafe. Hopefully the sentence serves as a nice deterrent for anyone crazy (and liquid-couraged) enough to repeat what Dennis did.

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Nick Bromberg is the editor of From The Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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Author: Nick Bromberg
Posted: December 11, 2014, 5:54 pm

After doing exit interviews for Sprint Cup Series drivers in 2013, we're turning the tables. We want the drivers to sell themselves. So here are the resumés for all full-time Sprint Cup Series drivers in 2014. Then, at the end, we'll provide a summation of the driver's season in 150 words or less.

Name: Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

NASCAR Experience: Two full seasons in the Sprint Cup Series and two championships in the Nationwide Series.

Most recent team: Roush Fenway Racing

Most recent season finish: 27th

2014 accomplishments: Finished second at Bristol in the spring and if it wasn't for the rain, it might have been a win off a green-white-checker restart. Followed that spring race finish up with a sixth-place finish at the August race. Scored in-home bragging rights by a position in the season standings and grew a great mustache.

Most memorable moment: After winning the race at Texas in November, Jimmie Johnson's crew chief Chad Knaus had this to say.

"From my standpoint, watching these guys off of turn four, pit stall 43, man, that was exciting.  There were so many cars coming off there sideways.  I'll tell you what, Ricky Stenhouse can really drive a racecar.  That car was sideways coming off that corner."

Strengths: Proven winner in the Nationwide Series and even with not-top-notch equipment, has shown the ability to be competitive on short tracks.

2015 goals: Figure out what's going on with the team and finish inside the top-20. Fastenal isn't paying to finish 27th in 2015.

FTM's Take: Stenhouse won eight races while winning two championships in the Nationwide Series. He's just had the unfortunate luck of rising to the Cup Series as Roush has trended downwards relative to the rest of the Sprint Cup Series field. However, it's fair to ask how long the car vs. driver argument can be made. If Roush's equipment takes a step forward, Stenhouse should be around the top 20 in the standings.

Previous reviews: No. 28, Danica Patrick, No. 29, Justin Allgaier, No. 30, David Gilliland, No. 31 Cole Whitt, No. 32 David Ragan, No. 33 Michael Annett, No. 34 Reed Sorenson, No. 35 Alex Bowman

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Nick Bromberg is the editor of From The Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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Author: Nick Bromberg
Posted: December 11, 2014, 2:10 pm

After doing exit interviews for Sprint Cup Series drivers in 2013, we're turning the tables. We want the drivers to sell themselves. So here are the resumés for all full-time Sprint Cup Series drivers in 2014. Then, at the end, we'll provide a summation of the driver's season in 150 words or less.

Name: Danica Patrick

NASCAR Experience: Two full seasons in the Sprint Cup Series, a full season in the Nationwide Series and an IndyCar Series win.

Most recent team: Stewart-Haas Racing

Most recent season finish: 28th

2014 accomplishments: Scored three top 10 finishes, including two at 1.5-mile tracks. The third was at Daytona in the summer. Highest-finishing driver in the standings that didn't have a top-five finish. Qualified in the top 10 in three consecutive races in May.

Most memorable moment: In the midst of that three-race top-10 qualifying streak was a seventh-place finish at Kansas, the first top-10 of the season. Was one of the best cars all evening and raced with teammates and other Hendrick cars throughout the night. 

Strengths: Sponsor exposure and ubiquity. Even though the finishes may not be there to show it, restrictor plate racing has become an asset.

2015 goals: No longer is a top-10 good enough. Rather, a top-five or two needs to happen. And, in the right circumstances, a win shouldn't be out of the question either.

FTM's Take: Depending on the week, Patrick looked like she was either improving or had absolutely no chance. Look, we all know that Patrick hasn't shown that she should be competing for top-10 finishes on a weekly basis. But the alternating battle of keeping up with the rest of the Stewart-Haas gang and being three laps down needs to even out considerably. And preferably for Patrick, it's on the higer side of that roller coaster.

Previous reviews: No. 29, Justin Allgaier, No. 30, David Gilliland, No. 31 Cole Whitt, No. 32 David Ragan, No. 33 Michael Annett, No. 34 Reed Sorenson, No. 35 Alex Bowman

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Nick Bromberg is the editor of From The Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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Author: Nick Bromberg
Posted: December 10, 2014, 3:03 pm

After doing exit interviews for Sprint Cup Series drivers in 2013, we're turning the tables. We want the drivers to sell themselves. So here are the resumés for all full-time Sprint Cup Series drivers in 2014. Then, at the end, we'll provide a summation of the driver's season in 150 words or less.

Name: Justin Allgaier

NASCAR Experience: Just completed first full season in the Sprint Cup Series after five-plus seasons in the Nationwide Series.

Most recent team: HScott Motorsports

Most recent season finish: 29th

2014 accomplishments: Improved significantly towards the end of the season. Finished inside the top-20 nine times and seven of those finishes happened in the final 16 races of the season. And four came in the last five (participated in) races of the season.

Most memorable moment: Unfortunately, this explains the parenthetical above. Did not qualify at Talladega because of the craziness that also enveloped Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

Strengths: Short tracks and road courses. Won at Montreal in 2013 in the Nationwide Series and finished 17th at Watkins Glen in 2014.

2015 goals: Take the improvement from the end of 2014 and translate it to 2015. With Hendrick equipment and a full year of understanding the relationship, a top-20 season should be the goal.

FTM's Take: Is Allgaier's improvement real? Given the Chase, his steps forward were greatly overshadowed but he was clearly much better with experience. If that does carry over to 2015, he may not be a threat for the Chase, but he may not be the lowest-ranked Hendrick powered-and-supplied car either.

Previous reviews: No. 30, David Gilliland, No. 31 Cole Whitt, No. 32 David Ragan, No. 33 Michael Annett, No. 34 Reed Sorenson, No. 35 Alex Bowman

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Nick Bromberg is the editor of From The Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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Author: Nick Bromberg
Posted: December 9, 2014, 6:40 pm

After doing exit interviews for Sprint Cup Series drivers in 2013, we're turning the tables. We want the drivers to sell themselves. So here are the resumés for all full-time Sprint Cup Series drivers in 2014. Then, at the end, we'll provide a summation of the driver's season in 150 words or less.

Name: David Gilliland

NASCAR Experience: Nine seasons in the Sprint Cup Series, including seven full-time stints. Responsible for the greatest Nationwide Series upset in recent history.

Most recent team: Front Row Motorsports

Most recent season finish: 30th

2014 accomplishments: Scored a pole at Daytona in July. So what if rain canceled the final two rounds of the qualifying session? It's still a pole. Let's not talk about the result of the race, however. Only top 20 of the season came at Pocono. Had a lot of other near-misses outside of the top 20 though.

Most memorable moment: This still counts even if it's referenced above, right?

Strengths: Road courses and restrictor plates. All four career top-five finishes in the Cup Series have come at Sonoma, Talladega and Daytona.

2015 goals: Make start No. 300 and run another full season in the Sprint Cup Series. And grab another top-five finish at a plate track or road course.

FTM's Take: With the rumors of Cole Whitt to Front Row Motorsports, is there room for both Gilliland and Ragan at the team? Gilliland has done an exceptional job of staying in the Cup Series after that 2006 Nationwide win got him a shot in Cup that didn't exactly work out for the best. If he's around in 2015, expect some more of the same.

Previous reviews: No. 31 Cole Whitt, No. 32 David Ragan, No. 33 Michael Annett, No. 34 Reed Sorenson, No. 35 Alex Bowman

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Nick Bromberg is the editor of From The Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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Author: Nick Bromberg
Posted: December 9, 2014, 5:55 pm

Darrell Wallace will have a new team in 2015 after he was granted his release by Joe Gibbs Racing.

Per the Sporting News, Roush Fenway Racing is the leading suitor for Wallace. While Joe Gibbs Racing officials had said that Wallace would be in the team's fold for 2015 and his schedule would likely include Xfinity Series races, no official plans for Wallace's future with the team had been announced.

Wallace won four races in the Camping World Truck Series in 2014 and became the first black driver to win a NASCAR national series race since Wendell Scott in 1963 when he won at Martinsville in October of 2013.

One of his four 2014 wins was again at Martinsville in driving a Wendell Scott tribute truck. The truck was painted to honor Scott, who was recently inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame and Wallace's number in the race was 34 for Scott instead of his usual 54.

Wallace drove for Kyle Busch Motorsports in the Truck Series but with sponsorship struggles and Busch's three trucks filled for 2015, a part-time schedule in NASCAR's second-tier series was looking likely. Now, if he moves on to another team like Roush, he'll probably have a full-time ride.

"In this day and age it's so hard to get the right sponsorship and to get full‑time stuff, Wallace said after winning at Homeastead in the final race of the truck series season. "Racers – as racer, we just want to race, no matter what it is, if it's boxcars or in the Sprint Cup Series.  We want to race, and I'll take what I can get.  I can only go out there and continue to run up front, lead laps, and win races.  If something doesn't come out of that, then dad has got to come up and fill out an application for him."

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Nick Bromberg is the editor of From The Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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Author: Nick Bromberg
Posted: December 8, 2014, 5:50 pm

Miss Kevin Harvick's speech from the Sprint Cup Series banquet? We understand if you did. His speech was televised late on Friday night and you might have had other plans.

So we've got you covered right here. Here's Harvick from the stage in Las Vegas, where he was celebrating his 2014 Sprint Cup Series title.

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Nick Bromberg is the editor of From The Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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Author: Nick Bromberg
Posted: December 6, 2014, 6:41 pm

Three of Joe Gibbs Racing's four Sprint Cup Series teams in 2015 will have new crew chief-driver pairings.

As the team expands to four cars next year, changes were expected with the addition of Carl Edwards to the JGR driver lineup. And Edwards' crew chief will be Darian Grubb, who served as the crew chief for Denny Hamlin from 2012-2014.

Denny Hamlin's new crew chief will be Dave Rogers, who has been Kyle Busch's crew chief since the final three races of the 2009 season. Busch's new crew chief is Adam Stevens, who previously served as the crew chief on JGR's No. 54 Nationwide Series team. Busch drove a majority of Nationwide races in the No. 54.

The pairing of Jason Ratcliff and Matt Kenseth is the only crew chief-driver combination that's unchanged. Kenseth and Ratcliff have been together since the 2003 champion arrived at JGR before the 2013 season.

“With the expansion of our NASCAR Sprint Cup Series operations to four teams next year with the addition of Carl Edwards, we have been able to take a step back and evaluate each of our teams and make decisions that we feel are best for our organization long term,” JGR president J.D. Gibbs said in a team statement.

“Like Jason and Dave previously, Adam has clearly proven that he is ready to move into the Cup Series and we feel that his familiarity with Kyle provides the opportunity for us to make that move now. We think pairing Dave with Denny and Darian with Carl will also make each team stronger heading into next season. Jason and Matt came together quickly and we felt it was in the best interest of the 20 team to keep it as is."

Busch and Rogers won 13 races together and finished 10th in the 2014 standings. Grubb and Hamlin won seven races in three years and finished third in the 2014 points after a seventh-place finish at Homestead.

After winning seven races a year ago and finishing second to Jimmie Johnson in the standings, Kenseth was winless and finished seventh.

Because of Stevens' move to the Cup Series, the new crew chief on the No. 54 in what's now the Xfinity Series is Chris Gayle. Eric Phillips will crew chief Daniel Suarez's No. 18 Xfinity Series entry and Mike Wheeler replaces Kevin Kidd atop the pit box of the Xfinity Series No. 20 car. Kidd moved over to Roush Fenway Racing for the 2014 season to be the team manager.

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Nick Bromberg is the editor of From The Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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Author: Nick Bromberg
Posted: December 4, 2014, 5:49 pm

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