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Five Points To Ponder

Five Points To Ponder: 17 Weeks And NASCAR’s Eldora “Take II”

Five Points To Ponder: 17 Weeks And NASCAR’s Eldora “Take II”

ONE: 17 WEEKS IN A ROW After a weekend to rest up and recuperate for the Sprint Cup circus, it’s time for 17 consecutive weeks of top echelon racing until we crown the 2014 champion at Homestead-Miami Raceway on Nov. 16. With the race to the Chase over the next seven weeks – paired with all the drama, entertainment and pressure that will inevitably bring – then the new playoff format, we have plenty to look forward to after a ... Read More »

Five Points to Ponder: A Week Off, the Lost Shepherd and Burton’s (Possibly) Final Run

Five Points to Ponder: A Week Off, the Lost Shepherd and Burton’s (Possibly) Final Run

ONE: A MUCH DESERVED WEEK OFF It’s a temporary respite this weekend for the Sprint Cup circus as NASCAR’s top series goes dark for one final time before the stretch run to the finish in November. For the drivers, crews and teams it’s a chance to catch their collective breath ahead of a grueling 17 straight weeks of racing before we crown a champion at the one-and-a-half-mile Homestead-Miami Speedway on Nov. 16. Expect, then, over the next few days a ... Read More »

Five Points to Ponder: Race Team Alliance, TNT’s Final Race & the Importance of Points

Five Points to Ponder: Race Team Alliance, TNT’s Final Race & the Importance of Points

ONE: THE RACE TEAM ALLIANCE Across the course of a regular NASCAR seasons, there are approximately a billion stories seemingly every day. Some are humdrum, mundane; some are frivolous; some very worthy of consideration. And then some you don’t really know just how big they are until way after the fact — and I can’t help but feel that yesterday’s announcement of a Race Team Alliance (RTA) might just be in that category. The specifics are these: a group of ... Read More »

Five Points: Halfway Home, Rocket Man & Sliced Bread

Five Points: Halfway Home, Rocket Man & Sliced Bread

ONE: HALFWAY HOME Saturday evening’s race under the lights on the high banks of Daytona International Speedway will mark the 18th race of the season and thus the halfway mark on the 2014 Sprint Cup schedule. Given the sheer length of the season the point at which we have more races in the books than less always comes as something of a surprise. You get so used, I suppose, to the cadence of the calendar that there comes a point ... Read More »

Five Points To Ponder: 10 To Go, 10 Winners And Home Dep-Off

Five Points To Ponder: 10 To Go, 10 Winners And Home Dep-Off

ONE: 10 TIL THE CHASE Just 10 races remain before the 2014 Chase begins and it’s an eclectic mix of tracks that make up the pre-big dance schedule. First up (and more on this one below) is a Saturday night trip to Kentucky Speedway. Then we head down to Daytona for a second straight night event on the high banks of arguably the sport’s most iconic track. Following the fireworks in Florida we head into a stretch of three flat ... Read More »

Five Points to Ponder: Wine Country, Kasey Kahne’s Breakthrough & the World Cup

Five Points to Ponder: Wine Country, Kasey Kahne’s Breakthrough & the World Cup

ONE: Wine Country After the Irish Hills of Michigan, next up on the Sprint Cup Series slate is a trip out west to beautiful Sonoma and wine country. One of the two road courses on the schedule — the other being Watkins Glen — the chance to turn left as well as right brings up a whole slew of new challenges. For me, this is an extra special race because this is now my home track as after 13 years ... Read More »

Five Points to Ponder: Tick Tock, Comes NASCAR’s Final Four And… Trash?

Five Points to Ponder: Tick Tock, Comes NASCAR’s Final Four And… Trash?

ONE: The Final Four Following Dale Earnhardt, Jr.’s second win of the season at Pocono Raceway, we now have four drivers properly and officially locked into the Chase. Earnhardt, as mentioned, is one, with Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano and Jimmie Johnson the other three drivers with a pair of victories to date. Now, I know all year we’ve heard about “win and you’re in,” but given we still have 12 races and already 10 race winners, it’s very possible we ... Read More »

Five Points to Ponder: Saturday Night Lights, New Arrivals and Triple Centuries

Five Points to Ponder: Saturday Night Lights, New Arrivals and Triple Centuries

ONE: Triple Century for Hamlin Denny Hamlin joined an exclusive club of drivers this past Sunday, not just for his first win on the high banks of Talladega Superspeedway but also by becoming only the fifth driver to win his 300th start at the Cup level – his 24th overall victory. The previous four were an impressive lot, both past champions and Hall of Famers. You had Ned Jarrett and Rusty Wallace along with two contemporaries of Hamlin: Kyle Busch ... Read More »

Five Points to Ponder: Surprising Names Off To Solid NASCAR Starts

Five Points to Ponder: Surprising Names Off To Solid NASCAR Starts

ONE: What a Season So Far In the seven years I’ve been a weekly NASCAR columnist it is fair to say that there have been many more reasons to be critical than to be effusive. Sinking TV ratings, the car of sorrow, empty stands, mind-numbing races, Jimmie Johnson winning everything — you name it, and folks, to slightly paraphrase the industry parlance, have had at it. But this year feels altogether different. Perhaps it’s the changes in this year’s car, the tires ... Read More »

Five Points To Ponder: NASCAR’s Take-A-Breath Moment

Five Points To Ponder: NASCAR’s Take-A-Breath Moment

Time For a Breather: After a frenetic first eight weeks of the mammoth ten-month NASCAR season we get our first moment to breathe this weekend as the engines go silent in honor of Easter. And so far, even the strongest and most vociferous of critics would have trouble denying it’s been anything other than a fantastic start to the 2014 campaign. We’ve had seven winners in eight races, eight different pole sitters, three or four genuinely terrific races and only one real ... Read More »