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NASCAR Mailbox: Fans Sound Off On Back-Breaking NASCAR Injuries And Appeals

NASCAR Mailbox: Fans Sound Off On Back-Breaking NASCAR Injuries And Appeals

There is something to be said about brand identity in NASCAR. After all, there are Jeff Gordon fans who still refuse to drink Coke because of his association with Pepsi, and those who hate Jimmie Johnson will shop at Home Depot before stepping foot in a Lowe’s. Similarly, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. fans have somehow developed a sweet tooth for AMP while Carl Edwards fans now use UPS for all their shipping needs. However, there is always the rather unfortunate sponsor that generates attention simply because of what it represents. Bordreaux’s Butt Paste has sponsored several underfunded teams in the past, and the driver of that car usually received more publicity in the span of one weekend than they would in their whole career. ExtenZe made 2010 one of the funniest Rookie of the Year battles in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series history, even though it was rather uneventful in terms of participants. Read More »

Truckin’ Thursdays: Matt Crafton On ThorSport’s Recent Success

Truckin’ Thursdays: Matt Crafton On ThorSport’s Recent Success

Just four races into the 2013 season, ThorSport Racing has visited Victory Lane in three of four events, while drivers Matt Crafton and Johnny Sauter sit one-two in the Camping World Truck Series championship standings. Despite a lackluster year last season, both Crafton and Sauter have finished in the top 10 in points for six and four consecutive year, respectively, making their organization the closest thing to "dynasty" you can get in one of NASCAR's lower divisions. So what is the key to their success and longevity in the sport? I sat down with Crafton at Kansas Speedway almost two weeks ago, after the Truck Series' final practice session, to talk a little about just that. Read More »

Mirror Driving: Where Do Penske, Piquet, Scott, And Hamlin Go From Here?

Mirror Driving: Where Do Penske, Piquet, Scott, And Hamlin Go From Here?

*Shocker! (sarcasm) A NASCAR-appointed appeals board has unanimously upheld the penalties against Penske Racing from pre-race inspection at Texas Motor Speedway. As a result, Penske Racing will appeal to Chief Appellate Officer John Middlebrook on May 7th. Did NASCAR get one this right… or is Penske right to continue fighting?* Summer: I think the penalties were too severe, so yes, I think they should keep fighting. That doesn't mean I think it will do a damn bit of good. Phil: I'd argue that the point penalties might not be worth appealing further at this point. I don't even think Penske cares about them. It's those suspensions that get you. That's why he's still going on, because I don't think they needed to suspend that many people. Read More »

Happiness Is… NASCAR’s Newest Brand Of Racing Analysis

Happiness Is… NASCAR’s Newest Brand Of Racing Analysis

So Brad Keselowski ended Kyle Busch’s streak and Kevin Harvick stole one. That sums up the action from Richmond this past weekend, right? Whatever. That’s like saying that _The Sound and the Fury_ was a book about a family in the South. Here’s a look at something other than the winners from this past weekend. *Happiness Is...Carl Edwards* Edwards joined the broadcast team of ESPN in covering the Nationwide race this past Friday. In seasons past, he had come across as stilted and offered little in the way of commentary that was insightful or impactful. It had seemed that he was playing up to some kind of construct of what he thought an announcer should be, rather than being himself. Of course, who knows what the producer might be babbling in his ear during a race as well, but wooden and laconic are typically not attributes one aspires to in sports broadcasting. Read More »

What’s Vexing Vito – Penske Penalty, Gibbs Glib, and Hope for Hamlin

What’s Vexing Vito – Penske Penalty, Gibbs Glib, and Hope for Hamlin

Penske Racing lost its appeal on Wednesday to drop or at least reduce the penalty assessed to the No. 2 and 22 teams, following unproved rear end housings discovered in pre-race inspection at Texas Motor Speedway. Following the decision today, they are appealing to John Middlebrook, chief appellate office of NASCAR. The final appeal will be made on May 7th, so the Penske teams will remain intact through Talladega this weekend. “I can’t make any comments, it’s clear we have ... Read More »

Did You Notice? … Silly Season Checkup And NASCAR’s Youth Problem

Did You Notice? … Silly Season Checkup And NASCAR’s Youth Problem

*Did You Notice?...* How already, nine races in, we can make some judgments on NASCAR’s Silly Season moves? In an unusual 2012, there were only three deals in which drivers moved into different major rides: Matt Kenseth, to the No. 20 of Joe Gibbs Racing; Joey Logano, to the No. 22 of Penske Racing; and Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. to the No. 17 of Roush Fenway Racing. Let’s tackle each one at a time. Kenseth’s move to Joe Gibbs Racing was dictated, for him, by sponsorship security: Home Depot and Dollar General will provide the funding for the No. 20 to race for years to come. In contrast, he was dealing with piecemeal backing at his longtime ride, the No. 17, and had changed crew chiefs several times since Robbie Reiser was promoted at the end of 2007. The loyalty, despite a strong relationship with the last of those replacements (Jimmy Fennig) just wasn’t the same. Read More »

Side By Side: Can A Single-Car Team Find A NASCAR Winner’s Circle?

Side By Side: Can A Single-Car Team Find A NASCAR Winner’s Circle?

*This Week's Question: It's been nearly two seasons since a single-car team was able to break into Victory Lane at NASCAR's highest level, though a few have flirted with a win. Could we see a single-car team get back there this year?* Amy Henderson, Managing Editor: You Could See It This Week in Talladega, As a Matter of Fact While several of NASCAR's smaller teams got off to a fast start in 2013, wins by those organizations are few and far between. It isn't a lack of talent or ambition that keeps them out of Victory Lane; it's one thing and one thing only: money, or the lack thereof. Read More »

Open Wheel Wednesday: Score One For The Little Guys … Or Two Or Three

Open Wheel Wednesday: Score One For The Little Guys … Or Two Or Three

Takuma Sato's win last week in Long Beach was a real feel good story for the 2013 IZOD IndyCar Series. A.J. Foyt's long-struggling team hadn't won a race since July of 2002, when the team went to Victory Lane with Brazilian driver Airton Dare at Kansas Speedway. For the last road / street course victory for the operation, you have to go all the way back to October of 1978, when Foyt himself won at Silverstone in England. It was also the first IndyCar Series win ever for a Japanese driver. Before I go any further, those are all wonderful things and I don't mean to decrease the significance of any of them in the least. It really was a win that was a long time coming, for both team and driver and it was great to see. (Although I really wish A.J. had been present for the moment; instead, he was at home preparing for back surgery.) It was a David slew Goliath kind of day. Read More »

NASCAR Writer Power Rankings: Top 15 After Richmond I

NASCAR Writer Power Rankings: Top 15 After Richmond I

Frontstretch Power Rankings Kevin Harvick proved once again why he’s called “Mr. Where Did He Come From!?” and “The Closer.” Harvick took four tires during the final caution, charging from seventh place on the green-white-checkered restart to take the lead. That divebomb move gave him his first race of the 2013 season and 20th victory of his Cup Series career. Behind them, Kurt Busch and Tony Stewart took part in some post-race extracurricular activities after a bump-and-run during the two-lap shootout shook up the finishing order. But perhaps the biggest side story was Juan Pablo Montoya, who led 67 laps and finished fourth, his first top 5 in a points-paying race since a fourth-place result at Martinsville in April 2011. Jeff Burton also ran well, finishing fifth, his first top-5 result of the season. Read More »