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Holding A Pretty Wheel

Holding A Pretty Wheel: Allmendinger All the Way

Holding A Pretty Wheel: Allmendinger All the Way

As teams were gearing up for the Chase in August 2013, AJ Allmendinger was looking for a future in NASCAR — any future. He’d been running part time in the Sprint Cup Series for midpack JTG-Daugherty Racing; a couple of Nationwide Series starts with Team Penske, the team that had released him from a full-time Sprint Cup ride in 2012 after a failed NASCAR drug test; some IndyCar races with Penske as well. He’d had some success — but for ... Read More »

Holding A Pretty Wheel: May the Best Man Have a Chance to Win

Holding A Pretty Wheel: May the Best Man Have a Chance to Win

My, how things have changed. For most of the NASCAR season, a few names stood out as title favorites: Jeff Gordon, who led the standings for much of the year; 2012 champ Brad Keselowski, who was a contender everywhere almost from day one; Dale Earnhardt, Jr., whose three wins were a statement that he was hungry to prove himself; and six-time champion Jimmie Johnson, because, well, you don’t ever count him out. And through the first three races of the ... Read More »

Holding a Pretty Wheel: Chase Format Left NASCAR Schedule Behind

Holding a Pretty Wheel: Chase Format Left NASCAR Schedule Behind

Change. It’s a word that many NASCAR fans loathe. After all, it’s been in the name of change that fans have endured racecars that don’t handle when they race, limited innovation, beloved short tracks replaced by cookie-cutters and a championship system that poll after poll has shown they don’t want. A lot of the changes that have come to the sport in recent years have not been well-received, and many for good reason. The Chase for the Sprint Cup has ... Read More »

Holding A Pretty Wheel: The Grand Jury Got it Right, But Now It’s Time to Heal

Holding A Pretty Wheel: The Grand Jury Got it Right, But Now It’s Time to Heal

After weeks of speculation, the first questions have been answered in the Tony Stewart-Kevin Ward, Jr. tragedy. In case you somehow missed it, Stewart hit and killed Kevin Ward, Jr. during a sprint car race in New York State on Aug. 9 of this year. Ward, apparently angered at Stewart for spinning his car out, got out of his vehicle and approached Stewart, who was circling the track under caution in his own machine. Ward was struck by the right ... Read More »

Holding A Pretty Wheel: The Magic Number Is… Not Four

Holding A Pretty Wheel: The Magic Number Is… Not Four

And the number shall be three. Maybe Monty Python was onto something when it came to counting. Three might have been the magic number on which to release the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch, but it also seems to be the magic number for race teams. You’d think that a successful three-car organization could easily become a successful four-car organization if the sponsorship and talent were in place, but it doesn’t often work that way. Even the powerhouse teams like ... Read More »

Holding A Pretty Wheel: The Man Nobody Remembers

Holding A Pretty Wheel: The Man Nobody Remembers

One more night and it’s over. NASCAR’s so-called regular season will be on the books, the Chase field set, and the two-and-a-half dozen-or-so teams who don’t make it will be virtually forgotten for the rest of the year. In the final 10 races, it will be all Chase all the time, as teams vie for NASCAR’s highest honor, the Sprint Cup championship. For a few minutes after the race, one man will stand alone on top of the points. Either ... Read More »

Rising Smoke: Stewart’s Return From Tragedy

Rising Smoke: Stewart’s Return From Tragedy

If it were possible to turn back the clock, a tragedy could be avoided. A young man, hot under the collar, would stay in his car; a wily veteran who used to be that kid would be looking for an angry driver. If it were possible to turn back the clock, the young man might still be alive and looking forward to racing this weekend on a late summer evening. The veteran might not be left to forever second-guess his ... Read More »

Holding A Pretty Wheel: Bringing the Lady Back Home

Holding A Pretty Wheel: Bringing the Lady Back Home

According to SIRIUS XM Jim Noble’s report, NASCAR will take a small step back in time next year, moving Darlington Raceway’s lone Sprint Cup race to Labor Day weekend, the date of what was once the sport’s oldest race. The Southern 500 predated the Daytona 500 and along with the Great American race was one trophy that racers coveted most. More prestigious than even Indianapolis and Charlotte’s Coca-Cola 600, the Southern 500 was known as a test of man and ... Read More »

Holding A Pretty Wheel: Canandaigua Death a Reminder of Racing’s Human Cost

Holding A Pretty Wheel: Canandaigua Death a Reminder of Racing’s Human Cost

Sunday morning at Watkins Glen dawned sunny and warm, the perfect summer day for racing. Indeed, the Sprint Cup Series was in town, prepping to run under that blue New York sky. AJ Allmendinger won the race, the first victory of his career, earning a long-awaited redemption and cementing his postseason hopes. But racing was the furthest thing from anyone’s mind, even as the color and sound of race day hung thick in the air. Racing was the furthest thing ... Read More »

Holding A Pretty Wheel: Sponsors Finding Value in NASCAR’s Small Teams

Holding A Pretty Wheel: Sponsors Finding Value in NASCAR’s Small Teams

This week’s big announcement came from National Guard, and as most fans are aware by now, it wasn’t what they wanted to hear, as the Guard has decided to leave motorsports sponsorship after deciding that advertising on racecars in both NASCAR and IndyCar didn’t result in enough recruits to justify the cost. As sponsorship get harder to find for many teams, even among the sport’s elite, it seems like the news hasn’t been good in recent years. But it’s not ... Read More »