Race Weekend Central

5 Points to Ponder: A Worthy Champion

2019homesteadmencskylebuschpolishvictorylanecck

ONE: A Worthy Champion In the last 10 years, no one has won more Cup races than Kyle Busch, so it seems apt that he finish up the decade with a second title, four years after he secured his first. Busch’s undoubted driving prowess has always suggested multiple titles, but as the years passed since …

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5 Points to Ponder: The Fantastic Four

2019 Phoenix Mencs Denny Hamlin Victory Lane Nkp

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

ONE: The Championship Four All week long, conventional wisdom suggested that Kyle Busch (+22 points up on fifth place) and Joey Logano (+20 on fifth) would secure their berths alongside Martin Truex Jr. and Kevin Harvick in the final four for the second straight season. While each of the four drivers below the cut line …

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5 Points to Ponder: Penske’s Power Move

2016 Daytona Ii Cup Roger Penske Champagne Logan Whitton Nkp

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

ONE: Penske’s Power Move I think it’s fair to say that no-one — outside those directly involved — had any sense that we were going to have such a seismic announcement on the future of open wheel racing in the United States yesterday. The news, in case you missed it, was that after 74 years …

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5 Points to Ponder: And Then There Were 8

2019 Kansas Mencs Denny Hamlin Trophy Nkp

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

ONE: And Then There Were 8 I’m going to boldly predict that not many prognosticators had Kyle Larson, Ryan Blaney and Denny Hamlin winning the three second stage playoff races, so I’m not going to be foolish enough to make any wild picks for the third round. Given that winning at either Martinsville Speedway, Texas …

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5 Points To Ponder: What Might Have Been Without a NASCAR Playoff

Monster Energy Nascar Cup Series

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

ONE: What Might Have Been Next to the actual Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series points standings on that little gem of a site, www.racing-reference.info, are the non-playoff standings. They show how the 2019 Cup season would be playing out under the original “most points over 36 races” format. And with six races to go, under …

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5 Points to Ponder: Expect the Unexpected

2019 Richmond Mencs Ryan Newman Racing Nkp

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

ONE: The Roval Unlike every other circuit on the Monster Energy Cup Series slate, and especially the other nine tracks that make up NASCAR’s postseason, we know next to nothing about the Charlotte Motor Speedway road course better known, of course, as the Roval. Following an eventful debut in the 2018 playoffs, a race won …

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5 Points to Ponder: Impending Fireworks

2019 Las Vegas Mencs Alex Bowman Racing Nkp

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

ONE: Impending Fireworks Like the format or not — and I realize plenty who will read this column absolutely and definitively do not — one thing is for sure: the tension ratchets up incrementally as soon the playoffs get underway. Each minor on-track mistake, each pit-road miscue, each missed shift or poorly executed strategy is …

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5 Points to Ponder: Is Joey Logano This Year’s Joey Logano?

2019 Monster Energy Nascar Cup Series Playoffs Toyota Nkp

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

ONE: Is Joey Logano This Year’s Joey Logano? In 2018, we spent a lot of time debating which of the “Big Three” who had dominated the regular season — Kevin Harvick, Martin Truex Jr. and Kyle Busch — would race off with the title once the playoffs got underway. As it turned out, all three …

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5 Points to Ponder: Playoff Points Payoff

2019 Darlington Mencs Kyle Busch Car Nkp

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

Bonus Points Heading into the 2018 iteration of the playoffs, Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick had a whopping 50 bonus points apiece while Martin Truex Jr. had a healthy 35 points in third place. Brad Keselowski was a distant fourth (19 points), with Clint Bowyer (15), Kurt Busch (14) and Joey Logano (14) further back. …

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5 Points to Ponder: A True Hero

2019 Mencs Sonoma Allyn Pierce

(Photo: Danny Peters)

A Hero, Defined To many people, race car drivers are heroes, and it’s a thought echoed in the famous old Ernest Hemingway quote: “There are only three sports: bullfighting, motor racing, and mountaineering; all the rest are merely games.” And yes, on some levels, what drivers do could be considered heroic. Only a minute few …

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5 Points to Ponder: WANTED: Young Guns Victories

2019 Bristol Zach Catanzareti Cup Ryan Blaney

(Photo: Zach Catanzareti)

The Young Guns Need Some Wins After a day that started from the pole, 38 laps led and a good deal of optimism, Sunday’s Bristol race saw Chase Elliott finish 11th after some crash damage. Ryan Blaney, meanwhile, led 158 laps and finished a creditable fourth — no one, by the way, has led more …

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