Penske team faces top 35 challenge at Bristol

March 17, 2010

Bristol's Food City 500 is the last time this season that last season's top 35 results are locked into a race.

Starting next week, the cutoff will be based on this year's standings and there's potential danger for two Penske teams.

Kurt Busch is the only Penske driver who is safe in points standings at 10th. Brad Keselowski's No. 12 Dodge is in 33rd place and Sam Hornish Jr.'s No. 77 Dodge is in 31st place. Both cars fell after last week's race - Keselowski because Carl Edwards wrecked him for revenge.

If Hornish and Keselowski have poor showings and drop out of the top 35, that will drag down the whole team.

It happened to Chip Ganassi Racing two years ago when the team struggled every week to keep Dario Franchitti in races.

Instead of focusing on speed for the actual races, the team will have to spend extra effort on qualifying to avoid the disaster of missing races.

Revealing thoughts: It always was hoped one day fans could take in the random thoughts that pop into Darrell Waltrip's head.

God bless Twitter.

Waltrip Tweets (@allwaltrip) about everything from his meals to his pets to the time he thought Tim Tebow drove off with his car.

He tells us what he thinks about the Keselowski-Edwards fight, payback and probation.

Oh, and there's also Kentucky basketball. He has taken to it even faster than his brother Michael did.

10 things we learned

this week:

1. Keselowski has told multiple media outlets he has no intention of changing his driving style.

2. Various drivers think Keselowski should rethink that.

3. Keselowski, Edwards and their team owners will meet with NASCAR this weekend in Bristol. Wouldn't you want to a be a fly on the wall?

4. Scott's, one of Edwards' sponsors, released a statement disagreeing with his actions at Atlanta. It probably had to do it, but their driver won some fans with his actions.

5. Keselowski, meanwhile, won fans with his words.

6. Jeff Gordon's second child will be a boy.

7. Get ready for even faster racing at Talladega Superspeedway. The spoiler tests there showed that.

8. JR Motorsports plans to run the No. 7 Nationwide car all year. It has come a long way since January when Kelley Earnhardt said finding sponsorship for the No. 88 was stressing her out. Scott Wimmer will run the No. 7 at Bristol.

9. Richard Childress Racing enters Bristol even happier than the team normally does. RCR has nine victories there and Kevin Harvick enters this year's race as the points leader.

10. Jimmie Johnson still is around. He has disliked Bristol for years but began figuring it out last season. Danger lurks for everyone else if he finishes in the top five like he did in 2009.

- Tania Ganguli

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