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Shakedown Session:  Fast Times At Texas Motor Speedway

Shakedown Session: Fast Times At Texas Motor Speedway

There is an old saying that goes along the lines of "Everything is bigger in Texas." Such phrasing can be applied to Texas Motor Speedway, located on the northern outskirts of Fort Worth. A 1.5-mile, intermediate oval, it looks innocent enough, like another NASCAR cookie cutter until you stop and take a look at the speed chart - it's currently the fastest unrestricted track on the Sprint Cup schedule, even faster than Atlanta Motor Speedway. Over the course of its 14-year history on the NASCAR circuit, drivers and fans have given it mixed reviews. It's basically a carbon copy of two other Speedway Motorsports, Inc. tracks in Charlotte and Atlanta, but generally, the racing at Texas has been rather exciting and the speeds are consistently fast. Plus, having the modern era’s version of the great Humpy Wheeler in Eddie Gossage’s unique and innovative fan-friendly promotions and management has helped the track’s credibility by leaps and bounds. This edition of the “Shakedown Session” will uncover some little known facts about the Texas Motor Speedway and analyze the good, the bad, and the ugly about the facility. Read More »

Shakedown Session: Can Cousin Carl Keep His Mojo Working?

Shakedown Session: Can Cousin Carl Keep His Mojo Working?

The old Jerry Reed song “When You’re Hot, You’re Hot” most certainly applies, not just as of late, but throughout the Sprint Cup career of Carl Edwards. When he’s been winning, he’s been one of the more dominant drivers in the series. But when he’s in a drought, it has taken him time to get back on track. At the moment? Carl Edwards is the talk of the circuit right now with his runner-up finish to Trevor Bayne at Daytona, ... Read More »

Five Most Exciting Daytona 500s

This year’s Daytona 500 is a couple of days away and some are already hyping it to be potentially the best ever. The new pavement is the biggest reason, as handling will not be a factor and it will be all about drafting. After Saturday night's Bud Shootout that saw a record 28 lead changes, but also the disappearance of the 30 car pack that was replaced with two car drafts, it seems many are split on what to expect Sunday. For the record, I really enjoyed the two car breakaways. I don’t want it to permanently replace the tight packs we are used to seeing at the restrictor plate tracks, but it was nice to see something different. It eliminated the chance of the “big one” drivers hate to see (that Edwards-Earnhardt wreck last Saturday was not a “big one”) but it also allowed the drivers to pass at will. Read More »

Who’s In, Who Isn’t: Daytona 500

Who’s In, Who Isn’t: Daytona 500

Greetings race fans, happy Friday to everyone. The Bud Shootout is less than 48 hours away, and qualifying for the Daytona 500 begins on Sunday. Even though it only locks in the front row, I have always thought it is the most dramatic qualifying session we have all year. It gives us the starting line up for the Gatorade Duels and it also gives three teams outside the top-35 cutoff a chance to secure a starting spot in the Great American Race. Earlier this week I wrote in the "Bubble Breakdown":http://www.frontstretch.com/ghorton/32582/ about some of the teams that went through some sort of points exchange in the offseason. In somewhat of a sequel to that, here is a look at the teams that finished 26th or worse in owner points last year – and who will get to race and who will have to race their way in. Read More »

Final Day News and Notes – NASCAR Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway

*NASCAR.com* The fourth and final day of the annual Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway kicked off with an announcement from NASCAR.com. The 24/7/365 NASCAR portal is going to enhance their portfolio of fan friendly offerings in 2011 with an improved Race Buddy and a new Live fantasy program which will offer even broader and more detailed data for fans updated continuously during races. Every Camping World Truck race will have a Race Buddy associated with it during ... Read More »

NASCAR Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway – News and Notes

*Furniture Row* Furniture Row Motorsports is a fully funded single car team but is actively searching for sponsorship to expand to two cars. They operate their operation on Eastern Time so that they’re working on the same schedules as the teams that are located in the Charlotte area. Regan Smith is surprisingly a very excitable driver who tends to get upset in the car when things go wrong, but has learned to cool down quickly. He feels NASCAR is a ... Read More »

SPEED to honor the 10th anniversary of Dale Earnhardt’s death with one hour special

February 18, 2001 is a day that will live in infamy for millions of NASCAR fans. On that day a true legend of the sport, Dale Earnhardt, lost his life in turn four on the final lap of the Daytona 500. In honor of that tragic event SPEED is going to air a one hour special that examines the day from sunrise to sunset, focusing on the events and emotions of everyone involved and how that horrific moment changed the sport forever. The special is entitled “The Day: Remembering Dale Earnhardt”. Read More »

NASCAR Media Tour – Crew chief thoughts

Heading into the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup season there are several aspects of the racing that are going to be different for the teams. One of the big changes facing crews and especially crew chiefs is the loss of an over-the-wall crew member. With the addition of the self venting dump can there will no longer be a catch can man servicing the cars so the teams will be limited to six crew members over the wall. Since the catch can man was generally used to make the chassis adjustments during the pit stops in years past the teams are faced with the dilemma of who will now perform those functions and it appears as though that strategy is going to be a very fluid situation, at least as the season begins in Daytona. Read More »

New Cars, New Asphalt: Testing Comes Back To Daytona

New Cars, New Asphalt: Testing Comes Back To Daytona

Sprint Cup drivers got a first (for some second) taste of Daytona’s new pavement Thursday that not only showcased the speedway’s new look, but also the new, improved car. Though this isn’t the first time the new pavement has been tested (there was a tire test done last month), this week's test session, also known as Preseason Thunder, are already providing a clearer picture of what to expect for next month's Daytona 500. A total of 36 teams showed up for the test, which consisted of single car mock qualifying runs in the morning and an afternoon drafting session. In years past, preseason testing for the season’s biggest race was more about the fans getting to see cars back on the track and for everyone to get an early idea who the favorite would be to win the pole. This year, it's more than that. Read More »

Keep Your Hands to Yourself! NASCAR Struggling to Let Championship Weekend Unfold in Homestead

Keep Your Hands to Yourself! NASCAR Struggling to Let Championship Weekend Unfold in Homestead

NASCAR, or any professional sport for that matter, couldn't ask for better storylines to close their season with. With the ultimate race of the season less than 48 hours away, three drivers stand within striking distance of the Cup championship in one of the closest points battles seen at any level of racing in recent memory. Coupled with a Chase that has seen events at Martinsville and Texas go down as two of the best races seen anywhere in 2010, the season on paper seems to have the momentum of a freight train running away from Denzel Washington. Still, no one seems to care. TV ratings are down a double digit average for all nine Chase races run this far. Attendance has down, reaching even woeful levels at Dover and Phoenix. And it's clear from this writer's dealings, both in and out of the sport, that non-Chase features have easily outstripped the readership of the 500 million Hamlin vs. Harvick vs. Johnson features bogging down the airwaves the last week. Accurate or not, whatever side one takes on the Chase, this year's points race is being perceived as contrived, turning race fans off to this title hunt, no matter how close it may be. Read More »