Race Weekend Central

Four Burning Questions In Kansas: Judging Fast Speeds And Penalty Appeals

Kansas Speedway is the site of Round 8 of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, but before I get into this weekend’s preview, I feel I would be remiss if I did not express my most profound condolences to all those affected by both the Boston Marathon bombings and the West Texas Fertilizer Plant Disaster. There are no words to express the pain I felt upon hearing of these horrible tragedies, and my heart and all of my thoughts and prayers go out to all of the innocent families that these tragedies struck. Alas, in times like these, the best thing we can do as humans is pull ourselves back up by the bootstraps and get back to doing what we do best. That is exactly what the men and women of NASCAR will be doing this weekend, in the wake of these disasters as we as a nation forge past the atrocities of the past week.

The Critic’s Annex 113- Christmas Time

Hello, race fans. Welcome back to the Critic’s Annex, where we take an additional look at motorsports-related programming available on television. Earlier this week, I promised you a look at the V8 Supercars’ Microsoft Office 365, held on April 6-7 from Symmonds Plains Raceway in Tasmania. However, things can change from time to time. On …

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Busy Penalty Wednesday In NASCAR

On Tuesday’s edition of NASCAR RaceHub on SPEED, it was reported that they did not know the extent of the penalties that would be levied against Penske Racing after their rear-end housings were confiscated prior to the NRA 500. However, they did report that the penalties would be “severe.” They were not wrong. On Wednesday, …

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Did You Notice? … NASCAR Penalties: The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

*Did You Notice?…* On some things, despite mounting criticism NASCAR has the ability to stay consistent. In the wake of penalties issued Wednesday, the one that stands out the most here is *Martin Truex, Jr.’s* penalty for being too low in post-race inspection. That six-point deduction – equivalent to about 25 in the old system – along with a $25,000 fine for crew chief Chad Johnston keeps along with the same type of infraction reaching all the way back into the previous decade.

Why I find that important is, for the first time if you asked 50 of the top media members and garage insiders what Truex’s penalty would be, I’m confident all 50 would have said what actually happened. For once, a rulebook deadpanned as written in dry erase marker has a sense of permanence when it comes to a penalty for a _specific_ violation.

Fantasy Insider: Good Picks, Bad Picks And Sleepers, Oh My!

We are nearing the quarter-pole of the season with race No. 8 at Kansas this Sunday. That means by now we’ve seen drivers at enough tracks to pretty much know who’s going to contend most weeks and who is not. Even if your favorite driver has been disappointing, he or she can still be your favorite driver — but in terms of picking them regularly in your fantasy lineup, it may be time to look in another direction.

Kansas also brings us another intermediate track, and tracks like these 1.5-milers are what the new Gen 6 car was supposedly built for. That’s because with the old Car of Tomorrow, we had way too many snooze fests at these types of tracks.

NASCAR Mailbox: Security Measures, Christmas, And Tattling

It’s not hard to rile up NASCAR fans. Just drop the words, “Brian France”, “Chase”, “Jimmie Johnson”, or any other buzzword and they’re off to the races (so to speak).

However, I found out over that weekend that this is simply child’s play in comparison to the potential for controversy when it comes to the wings of the political parties. I had somehow underestimated the impact that, “NRA” sponsoring the race would have on how quickly everyone on both sides of the aisle would completely lose their minds. Liberals were losing their minds because, oh my gosh, why would a company want to appeal to their base?

Oh and apparently the NRA kills people…

Truckin’ Thursdays: Kansas Kind To First-Time Victors

This weekend, the Camping World Truck Series heads off to Kansas Speedway for a little Saturday afternoon action at the 1.5-mile oval. In 12 previous visits to the facility, no driver has even been a repeat winner — yet. But perhaps what’s more interesting is that of those 12 different victors, four happened to notch their first career trip to victory lane at the speedway. With an entry list 37 strong and only four previous winners at Kansas entered (Johnny Sauter, Ron Hornaday, Jr., Todd Bodine and James Buescher), the likelihood of adding a 13th different winner is pretty high.

But until the checkered flag flies on Saturday afternoon, I’d like to take a look at the drivers who did score their first wins at the track and where they are now.

Penske Penalities – Passive Pusnishment for Past Sins?

Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano, and the entire Penske organization have had a tumultuous last few weeks. First, the dust up at Fontana with Denny Hamlin and Tony Stewart for Logano, Saturday night’s exercise in stress management with getting the cars yanked out of inspection and on the grid as everybody else was getting ready to …

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Side By Side: Will Junior Retire As A Champion Or An Also-Ran?

_Welcome back to Side By Side. There are always two sides to every story, and we’re going to bring them both, right here, every week. Two of our staff writers will face off on an important racing question … feel free to tell us what you think in the weekly poll and also in the comments section below!_

*This Week’s Question:Will Dale Earnhardt, Jr. win a Sprint Cup championship before he retires?*

Kevin Rutherford, Senior Writer: Earnhardt, Jr. Will Win the Ultimate Prize

OK, I get it. Despite being NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver for a decade and having one of the most famous last names in all of auto racing, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. hasn’t exactly lived up to the throngs of cheers he’s received on race day.

Life At the 55: Jackman Tony Cardamone on Work-Life Balance, Rivalries and Injuries

_Frontstretch Readers – We know that you love our driver diary series, which gives you an inside look at the lives of NASCAR’s stars. Now, we are taking it to a whole new level! Fans love stock car racing for many reasons, one of which is that it is the ultimate team sport. While the driver ultimately hoists the trophy in Victory Lane, it is the blood, sweet and tears of men and women behind the scenes that ultimately drive the success of the team._

_New for 2013, Frontstretch is proud to introduce the “55 Team Diary” which will provide insights from different people who contribute to the accomplishments of Michael Waltrip Racing’s No. 55 Toyota. Kicking off this series is Tony Cardamone, who serves as the jackman and mechanic on the Aaron’s Dream Machine and has become an integral part of the weekend road crew that travels to each event. We hope you enjoy this first installment of the 55 Team Diary, where Cardamone shares his thoughts on work/life balance and the latest headlines in NASCAR today, as told to our Tony Lumbis._

The Legendary Long Beach Grand Prix and How It Became a Signature Event

The Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach is a strange creature, indeed. It’s been a marquee event on three different racing series; was twice essentially saved by Mario Andretti, who was merely doing what Mario Andretti did best; features a winner’s list that looks like a Who’s Who of Motorsports for the past 40 years; has a title sponsor that is an auto manufacturer who isn’t even involved in the racing; and was the swan song of the series that called it home for the longest time in one of the strangest twists of all.

This Sunday will be the 39th running of the event that was the brainchild of a local travel agent and race fan, Chris Pook. That makes it the longest running major street race held in North America. Pook initially tried the concept in 1975, as a Formula 5000 race and when that went well, attracting some 46,000 fans, he followed up six months later with a Formula One race that also was a moderate success.