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The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is most definitely putting the "wild" in Wild Card.

During last week's race at Bristol, the Performance Racing Network read through the long list of drivers that were more or less a win away from racing their way into the Chase.  Afterward, they mused whether NASCAR could have envisioned there would be so much drama when it created the sytem.

I would say, absolutely, yes!

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AdvoCare 500 Fantasy Preview

Most of NASCAR's fans might have a three-day weekend, but there's no rest for drivers on the track.  Bristol did very little to decide much of anything other than that Tony Stewart can throw a good fastball; so, it's on to Atlanta to try to determine who's going to be dancing and who's going to be watching when the NASCAR Chase starts in two weeks.

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Each Monday we take a look back at the best performances from the week that was from around the region.

The week got an early start with the Modified madness that was Bristol Motor Speedway, continued with the ACT Late Model Tour championship chase heating up in Quebec, and then continued on the weekly short tracks all across the northeast.

Without further ado, let's find out who made The Podium this week...

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FANTASY: The Night Race

Thursday, August 23, 2012

IRWIN Tools Night Race Fantasy Preview

When you ask people around NASCAR the race they'd most like to attend, most experienced fans pass on the Daytona 500 in favor of the night race at Bristol Motor Speedway.  That's nothing against the experience of the speedweeks and the "Great American Race" in Florida, it's just that the race under the lights of the 0.533-mile oval has a certain mythical aura to it.

Nothing speaks to the race's status in NASCAR more than its name.  Whereas most every other NASCAR race is tagged with a number, this race is simply the "Night Race."  Like a husband or wife that emerges from a long line of relationships, it's not the only one, but it is the one.  Other tracks hold races under the lights, but only Bristol holds the distinction of hosting NASCAR's "Night Race."

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It's Thursday again. Time to roll the ol' Mini Stock out of the garage and dust it off for a test spin around the cul-de-sac at the end of the street...

WE'VE NOW HAD a few installments of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour at Bristol Motor Speedway to look at, and we have to wonder if fans are getting what they hoped they would when it was first announced that the Tour would be heading to Bristol for an annual combination race with the Whelen Southern Modified Tour.

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Like virtually every short-track racer across New England, Eddie MacDonald started his racing career with one simple dream.

“I remember driving through the infield tunnel for the first time,” MacDonald said of his initial trip to New Hampshire Motor Speedway, in the late 1980s, as the track was being constructed. “The tunnel then was just two flaps of corrugated metal blowing in the wind. Really, the place was just a mess at that time.

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It's Wednesday again. Time to take the ol' Mini Stock out of the garage and dust it off for a test spin around the cul-de-sac at the end of the street...

AS GOOD AS the ACT Late Model Tour championship battle has promised to be over the second half of the season with four drivers involved in the dogfight, one has to wonder if Wayne Helliwell Jr. has any interest in a slugfest.

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Pure Michigan 400 Fantasy Preview

Last week turned out to be a far tougher week than expected.  Usually road courses are rather predictable and I even went as far in last week's preview to say that only bad luck would create unexpected fantasy results.

Jinx!

The only reason I wasn't totally distraught was that I know many people suffered the same bad luck I did.  Why not start the pole-sitter in Montoya?  Or, the part-time, C-List ace in Vickers?  Or, five-time Watkins Glen winner Stewart?  As I said, bad luck happens.; that's racing.

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Each Monday we take a look back at the week that was from around the region.

Unfortunately, rain claimed a number of race programs around the northeast, but those who raced both ahead of and behind the weather that impacted a number of places turned in some impressive performances. From the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour to the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series, there were plenty of standout performances.

Without further ado, let's look at who made The Podium this week...

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Finger Lakes 355 at the Glen Fantasy Preview

I know our fans from upstate New YOrk can agree with me that when it comes to traveling from NHMS to that area, it's like accessing most parts of Maine: "ya' cayn't get the'ya from hey'a."

You end up on a windy road through Vermont, climbing the Green Mountains behind some truck that can't get it above 34 mph, watching the minutes roll by faster than the miles.  Yep...I did that trip as recently as late June when I went to a Brad Paisley concert in Saratoga Springs.  It...took...for-ever!

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Each Monday we take a look back at the top performers from the week that was.

As the summer starts to take a turn into the stretch drive, it seems everybody is stepping up their collective game. From Connecticut to Iowa, the racing was outstanding, and a few drivers and their teams were in championship form.

Without further ado, let's find out who made The Podium this week:

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NEWTON, Iowa – The only thing that was going to beat Corey LaJoie Friday night were the voices inside his own head.

Under a red flag with just 16 laps remaining at Iowa Speedway, LaJoie sat as the leader on the track's frontstretch and imagined all sorts of things about to go wrong. A wheel vibration. A balky ignition switch. A flat tire. Something.

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Pennsylvania 400 Fantasy Preview

I took a vacation to Martha's Vineyard this past weekend.  Only, after falling off my bicycle and fracturing the radial head in my left arm, it turned out to be far from a relaxing vacation.

As I lay on a couch watching Olympic coverage of stuff like women's boxing and men's ping-pong, I gained a new respect for a driver like Brad Keselowski.  A year ago, he busted up his ankle in a test session at Road Atlanta and went out and won a race that weekend.

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It's Thursday again. Time to take the ol' Mini Stock out of the garage and dust her off for a test spin around the cul-de-sac at the end of the street...

PRIOR TO THE ACT Late Model Tour return to the points-racing portion of their schedule, eight-time champion Brian Hoar found himself in an unusual position.

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