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Thinkin’ Out Loud

Matt McLaughlin’s Thinkin’ Out Loud: Martinsville-1 Race Recap

Matt McLaughlin’s Thinkin’ Out Loud: Martinsville-1 Race Recap

*The Key Moment* – On the first green-white-checkered restart, Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson led the field to the green, both on worn tires as competitors behind them on fresh ones licked their chops. Clint Bowyer, propelled by a solid shot to his rear bumper from Ryan Newman, took the Hendrick duo three-wide towards the first turn and it didn’t work out too well for any of the three of them. Meanwhile, Newman snaked his way into the lead and, ultimately, the win. Read More »

Matt McLaughlin’s Thinkin’ Out Loud: Fontana Race Recap

Matt McLaughlin’s Thinkin’ Out Loud: Fontana Race Recap

*The Key Moment* – Tony Stewart took the lead from Kyle Busch on Lap 85 and appeared to be in a class of his own. The rain just sealed the deal. *In a Nutshell* – Well, it wasn’t very good but at least it was over quickly. (And what guy doesn’t want to hear that?) *Dramatic Moment* – The race itself was almost totally and completely devoid of drama, so I guess I’d have to say the real drama was waiting to see when the rain would start falling. Prior to that, it was just another single file processional parade at Fontana. Read More »

Matt McLaughlin’s Thinkin’ Out Loud: Bristol Race Recap

Matt McLaughlin’s Thinkin’ Out Loud: Bristol Race Recap

*The Key Moment* – Brad Keselowski prevailed on the final restart to keep Matt Kenseth behind him. Kenseth drove for all he was worth as the duo battled through lapped traffic, to no avail; he lost the race by seven-tenths of a second. *In a Nutshell* – A classic battle of skill, stealth and strategy. *Dramatic Moment* – Keselowski and Kenseth had what appeared to be equally fast cars for the second half of the race, so it came down to which driver wanted it most and dealt with lapped traffic better. It was a whale of a show for the fans. Read More »

Matt McLaughlin’s Thinkin’ Out Loud: Las Vegas Race Recap

Matt McLaughlin’s Thinkin’ Out Loud: Las Vegas Race Recap

*Dramatic Moment* – In the midst of a race that dragged on at times, Matt Kenseth and Jimmie Johnson put on a whale of a show, racing side-by-side, lap after lap. *What They’ll Be Talking About Around the Water Cooler This Week* More than likely, they’ll be talking about *college basketball* like everyone else. It’s tough when even NASCAR’s network partners seemed obsessed with roundball for the entire month of March. ESPN shoehorned the Nationwide race in between two basketball games almost as an afterthought. Wow, *typically Tony Stewart (and Denny Hamlin) don’t really hit their stride until summer* but both have already won a race. The other teams need to be concerned about the Nos. 14 and 11 cars this year. For those keeping score, that’s *Steve Addington - 1, Darian Grubb - 1*. Read More »

Matt McLaughlin’s Thinkin’ Out Loud: Phoenix-1 Race Recap

Matt McLaughlin’s Thinkin’ Out Loud: Phoenix-1 Race Recap

*In a Nutshell* – Denny Hamlin and Darian Grubb got served up a huge helping of redemption after their humiliations last season. *Dramatic Moment* – Anytime Harvick and Kyle Bush are running in close quarters, fans are going to be on the edges of their seats given the duo’s checkered (and wreckered) history. When the pair were battling for the lead, there was no quarter given and none asked. *What They’ll Be Talking About Around the Water Cooler This Week* Well at least *it didn’t rain*, right? While I prefer the new track design to the old configuration at Phoenix, this oval is *one of those tracks I still don’t think deserves two race dates*. Rockingham and Darlington used to be the second and third races on the schedule, and it was a whole lot easier on the teams than two treks out west. Oh, and they featured a heck of a lot better racing as well... Read More »

Matt McLaughlin’s Thinkin’ Out Loud: Daytona 500 Race Recap

Matt McLaughlin’s Thinkin’ Out Loud: Daytona 500 Race Recap

*The Key Moment* – Matt Kenseth drifted high on the final restart to pick up teammate Greg Biffle, who never made a move on his teammate down the stretch. While Biffle and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. battled for second, Kenseth drove to his second Daytona 500 victory in four years. *In a Nutshell* – And the hits just keep on coming… Read More »

Matt McLaughlin’s Thinkin’ Out Loud: 2012 Twin 150s Race Recaps

Matt McLaughlin’s Thinkin’ Out Loud: 2012 Twin 150s Race Recaps

*The Key Moment –* *Race One -* A caution froze the field on the final lap of the race as Dale Earnhardt, Jr. was trying to mount a challenge on Tony Stewart for the win. *Race Two -* Greg Biffle dominated the race but swept up on the final lap thinking he’d hook up with teammate Matt Kenseth to seal the deal. Instead, Kenseth dove down into the lower lane Biffle had opened for him, towhttp://www.frontstretch.com/textpattern/index.php?event=article&step=edit&ID=37278ing Jimmie Johnson in his wake to take the lead and the win. Read More »

Matt McLaughlin’s Thinkin’ Out Loud: 2012 Bud Shootout Recap

Matt McLaughlin’s Thinkin’ Out Loud: 2012 Bud Shootout Recap

*The Key Moment* – Kyle Busch used a David Pearson, patent perfect slingshot pass to get around Tony Stewart coming to the line. *In a Nutshell* – A whole lot more wrecking than racing. At times, I was wondering if anyone was going to finish the Shootout. *Dramatic Moment* – Jeff Gordon decided he was going to get around Kyle Busch even if he had to wreck him. Ironically, in attempting to avoid that crash that never happened, Gordon found himself on his roof and out of the race. Read More »

Matt McLaughlin’s Thinkin’ Out Loud: Homestead Race Recap

Matt McLaughlin’s Thinkin’ Out Loud: Homestead Race Recap

*The Key Moment* – With 33 laps left to go, Carl Edwards moved into second behind Tony Stewart. For those 33 laps, Edwards gave it his all but he came up a little over a second short. *In a Nutshell* – Stewart won five of the ten Chase races. You’re not going to beat that just by being consistent. *Dramatic Moment* – Both championship contenders knew in those final 33 laps whoever won the race got the big prize. It was about as intense a race as I’ve seen in a decade. Read More »

Matt McLaughlin’s Thinkin’ Out Loud: Phoenix Fall Race Recap

Matt McLaughlin’s Thinkin’ Out Loud: Phoenix Fall Race Recap

*The Key Moment* – Kasey Kahne elected to pit early for his final stop. Meanwhile, Carl Edwards was leading the race but ran up on his old buddy Brad Keselowski, who was trying not to get lapped (and perhaps sending some subtle payback Edwards' way.) By the time the No. 99 abandoned the effort to pass the No. 2, Edwards had given up too much time to Kahne. *In a Nutshell* – At least the race wasn’t the wreckfest we all feared. Edwards and Stewart kept their respective fans on their feet most of the afternoon. Read More »