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Bowles-Eye View

NASCAR’s Biggest Nightmare: Predictable

NASCAR’s Biggest Nightmare: Predictable

It was supposed to be a history-making moment. NASCAR’s first ever “Chase elimination” race, the lynchpin of its new format was supposed to make Dover a “Game 7” atmosphere, knocking potential title contenders out of the prizefight early. After Loudon, where top drivers got knocked around like pinballs, the bar was set for aggression, strategy, even panic as so many hovered around the “cutline,” whittling an expanded postseason field from 16 to a far more manageable 12. Dover’s Monster Mile, ... Read More »

Throwing A One-Two Punch

Throwing A One-Two Punch

In a season marked by changes – new Chase format, new rules, and over a half-dozen rookies – NASCAR’s Sprint Cup title contenders have remained crystal clear. From Memorial Day Weekend on, Penske Racing and Hendrick Motorsports have remained a step ahead of the pack, inching by a faster-but-flawed Kevin Harvick and a lack of horsepower at Joe Gibbs Racing. They went six for six on making the new, expanded 16-driver postseason field; in the last sixteen races, prior to ... Read More »

Petty’s Rough Ride

Petty’s Rough Ride

Aric Almirola is driving like a man with nothing to lose. King Richard Petty, in a year filled with sadness sees light at the end of the tunnel, in the best position to win with his cars since handing the keys to investors several years back. Crew chief Trent Owens, in his first year on the Sprint Cup level, is quietly becoming a mechanical mastermind. The pieces, if put together right were there for David to rise up and challenge ... Read More »

No Contact Zone

No Contact Zone

Let me set the stage for you. It’s NASCAR’s final regular season race, the eve of its much-hyped Chase format and for several drivers, the mission is simple: “Win or you miss the playoffs, along with the millions in endorsements and exposure that comes with it.” The pressure to perform, in theory should be immense, like an NFL team with a “do or die” playoff bid on the line. Among those needing a Herculean effort to make the field included ... Read More »

Kasey At The Bat

Kasey At The Bat

Kasey Kahne has built his Sprint Cup career on intermediates. While Richmond sits just a week away, the site of his first career win, it’s also the only track where he has won less than a mile in length. That made Sunday night’s mission clear, the second Kahne worked his way into contention in Atlanta: win or go home. Take control, in the backyard of young Chase Elliott’s hometown no less – a driver who one day may be replacing Kahne in ... Read More »

NASCAR’s Cream “Thunders” to the Top

NASCAR’s Cream “Thunders” to the Top

Sweat pouring down his brow, fresh off of 500 laps at Bristol runner-up finisher Brad Keselowski was careful with his words. After all, just two years ago Penske’s now-championship driver came out of nowhere to snag a title right from under Jimmie Johnson’s nose. “I wouldn’t say it’s Hendrick and Penske yet,” he said, being asked if Saturdays 1-2 finish between he and teammate Joey Logano was a counterpunch to NASCAR’s most dominant team this season. “To date in the ... Read More »

Tony Stewart: Waiting Is The Hardest Part

Tony Stewart: Waiting Is The Hardest Part

It’s unfortunate that as NASCAR heads to Thunder Valley this weekend, site of races marked by Demolition Derby-type fireworks, tempers, and verbal jabs the one sound haunting the sport these days is marked by exactly the opposite. That’s the modus operandi for Tony Stewart, missing in action since a brief official statement Sunday, August 9th expressing remorse for the death of Kevin Ward, Jr. It was a tragedy caused officially by blunt force trauma, coming straight from the right rear ... Read More »

The Hendrick Hierarchy Reestablished

The Hendrick Hierarchy Reestablished

Time flies, doesn’t it? Seems like just yesterday, Jeff Gordon was the upstart 24-year-old, turning heads while holding the torch for NASCAR’s next generation. Longtime fans remember that battle, a changing of the guard where Dale Earnhardt, Sr. fought hard but ultimately lost a War with Father Time, inevitably handing the mantle of multiple championships to the man with the pink car labeled “Rainbow Warrior.” Gordon, by age 30, already owned four titles and had reached the top of his ... Read More »

Tony Stewart And NASCAR’s Tragic Monday Morning Reality

Tony Stewart And NASCAR’s Tragic Monday Morning Reality

You never get a second chance to make a first impression. It’s an ugly truth, one often buried in a modern reality where political correctness takes center stage. Every mistake can’t be fixed by sensitivity training or an on-screen apology. Sure, people forgive your past but they also never, ever forget when it comes back to haunt you. It’s a damning truth, one Tony Stewart grapples with Monday morning as he spends the next weeks, months, maybe years of his ... Read More »

Earnhardt Conquering Old Demons – And Closing the Deal

Earnhardt Conquering Old Demons – And Closing the Deal

Last year alone, during a winless campaign Dale Earnhardt, Jr. finished second five times. If Kevin Harvick is NASCAR’s “Closer,” then Earnhardt knew how to close the door in 2013 with a museum full of missed opportunities that lingered during his climb back to respectability at Hendrick Motorsports. A driver with a career spanning more than a decade, and aligning himself with the sport’s most successful team, had skipped class on racing’s most basic philosophy: How to Win. But in the ... Read More »