1 For the first time since Oct. 2, 1994, Dale Jarrett (right) failed to qualify for a Cup race, snapping a consecutive-starts streak of 424 when he didn't make the grid in Richmond. The 50-year-old Jarrett has become increasingly frustrated with the poor performance of his number 44 Toyota. (Crew chief Matt Borland quit last week.) Within two years the 1999 Cup champion is likely to be in the TV booth full time for ESPN, following in the footsteps of his father, Ned.
2 In Cup racing, sophomore slumps are as common as loose lug nuts. But reigning Rookie of the Year Denny Hamlin is bucking the trend. On Sunday he finished third at Richmond and moved up to fourth in the standings. Two factors in the 26-year-old Hamlin's success: His Joe Gibbs Racing team is running a close second to Hendrick Motorsports in the Car of Tomorrow (CoT) races, and he has quickly developed chemistry with his crew chief, Mike Ford.
3 The driver who has made the most improvement in the CoT over the last month is Kurt Busch. After finishing 29th, 12th and 18th in the first three CoT races, Busch came in fifth on Sunday. Now ninth in the standings, Busch is the only Dodge driver in the top 12—though his Penske Racing South teammate, Ryan Newman, has climbed to 19th on the strength of two straight top-10 finishes.