Race Weekend Central

Pace Laps: Second’s The First Loser, Defining Dominance And A Champion’s Challenge

_Did you miss an event during this busy week in racing? How about a late-night press release, an important sponsorship rumor, or a juicy piece of news? If you did, you’ve come to the right place! Each week, The Frontstretch will break down the racing, series by series, to bring you the biggest stories that you need to watch going forward for the week ahead. Let our experts help you get up to speed, no matter what series you might have missed, all in this edition of Pace Laps!_

*Sprint Cup: Truex’s Tough Out* Saturday’s Texas triumph, with Kyle Busch shooting towards the skies left Martin Truex, Jr. in the shadows, deep in thought over another lost trip to Victory Lane. This moment was supposed to be his; after 142 laps led, the Toyota driver seemed poised for an easy victory until a late caution opened the door for his competition. Onto pit road, the race cars went and when it was over? Truex was in second place.

Nationwide Breakdown: O’Reilly Auto Parts 300

In a period of five races spanning from April 2008 to April 2010, Kyle Busch was unbeatable in the Nationwide Series at Texas Motor Speedway. In April 2013, the trend potentially began again.

Busch led 91 laps Friday night (April 12) on the way to victory in the O’Reilly Auto Parts 300. It was his sixth Nationwide victory at the track, the most of any driver in the series, and his third straight win in 2013.

The Las Vegas native continues to impress in his return to Joe Gibbs Racing for his Nationwide entries in 2013, after competing for a year in his own equipment. Busch now has four wins in six races this season, inciting restlessness for fans who have already grown tired of the Cup regular racing and winning in the Nationwide Series.

Four Burning Questions: The Gen-6’s Fontana Follow-Up, Vickers’ Texas Debut, More

Texas Motor Speedway is the site for round seven of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. After Jimmie Johnson thoroughly whipped the field Sunday in Martinsville, it’s starting to become abundantly clear who the championship hopefuls will be heading into the meat of the regular season. Sure, Five-Time is sitting on top but Hendrick Motorsports in general, along with Joe Gibbs Racing have firmly established themselves as the two teams with the best grasp on Gen-6 race cars. As we head to one of the most aero-reliant tracks on the schedule, their advantage should shine through even more so than Martinsville, a track where they combined to lead 498 of 500 laps.

NASCAR A Winner At Shrinking Its “Carbon Footprint”

This week on Voices, it’s all about “the news.” Three releases in particular have caught my eye over the last couple of weeks concerning NASCAR’s efforts to “Go Green.” Well, two actually; the third is just proof that the sanctioning body is super serious in its efforts. Yet another press release has been in front of me, over and over, week after week since the 2013 season began and it too can be tied, or at least should be, to “NASCAR’s Race to Green” as it is officially called.

Here is the first…

Formula 1 Fridays: Return Of The Mac?

When having a ponder over what to write (this happens most weeks, I promise) a little while back, I thought that I’d put together some kind of opinion as to why McLaren has struggled recently, a column which would likely have been relatively scathing. The fact of the matter is that for such a well-resourced team over the past few years, they’ve handicapped themselves both early in the seasons (through overambitious and poor car designs) and continue that deficit right on through via questionable strategy choices and sloppy pit work.

Frontstretch Foto Funnies: Get Your Own Freaking Onion

_Welcome to the Frontstretch Foto Funnies! Ever see a photo that’s just begging for a caption? We see them all the time! Each week, we’ll pick a few, then let our staff give it their best shot. We’ll post the best ones for you!_

_Want to get in on the fun? Each week, we’ll also designate one of the photos for fan captions. Leave your best ideas in the comments below or on our “Facebook page.”:https://www.facebook.com/Frontstretch We’ll choose our favorite one and reprint the photo next week with its new caption!…_

One Step At A Time: Three Small Teams Who Have Made One Giant Step Forward in 2013

They include a two-time champion car owner, and drivers who have won some of the most prestigious races NASCAR has to offer. One driver is a former Sprint Cup Rookie of the Year, another has that honor in the Nationwide Series. They have seen what the view from the top looks like.

And now they’re trying to get back there the hard way.

NASCAR isn’t a sport where past accomplishments are a guarantee of future success. It is a sport where the haves and have nots are obvious to fans, just from the way they run week to week.

Nuts for Nationwide: Texas Brings End Of Break, But Not Cup Dominance

The Nationwide Series returns to activity this weekend in Texas after a two-week break, with the full-time teams itching to get back racing. But when it comes to coming out on top Friday night? Don’t be expecting much other than yet another victory by a Cup regular.

That’s been the story of the 2013 Nationwide season so far: five races, four victories by full-time Cup competitors. Kyle Busch, driving for Joe Gibbs Racing in his No. 54, has already scored three wins after going 0-for in the series in 2012. Tony Stewart added yet another Daytona victory at the beginning of the season. Behind him, Sam Hornish, Jr. remains the only Nationwide points contender with a win, taking a popular first-place finish at Las Vegas.

Keepin it Short – Just looking for exposure

Denny Hamlin came from the Late Model Stock Car ranks in North Carolina. He was running races at Southside Speedway and within one year was driving a car in the Sprint Cup series. While Hamlin left the short tracks for the Cup series, he did not forget his roots. Hamlin has put on the Denny …

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Side By Side: Should The NRA Sponsor Texas?

_Welcome back to a special edition of Side By Side. There are always two sides to every story, and we’re going to bring them both to you, right here, every week. For the first time ever, we’re running a special edition of this column based on one that’s already been run in the Newsletter. Feedback off Ellen Richardson’s NRA commentary, reprinted here was so overwhelming it was a no-brainer to ensure all fans got a chance to read it. It also stirred such passion amongst several members of our staff that a rebuttal is also written against it. Feel free to tell us what you think in the comments section below!_

*This Week’s Question: Should the NRA be sponsoring Saturday night’s Sprint Cup race at Texas? Or is it inappropriate?*

NASCAR Fanmail Frenzy: Hall of Fame Nominee Reaction

Who says NASCAR isn’t filled with good ol; boys anymore? Look, I’m not big on things like fishing, hunting, or anything involving the term “mudding.” I enjoy country music and NASCAR, but that’s about as far as my southern blood runs. Having been born and raised in the Midwest, I’m a tad less inclined to peel the dead, festering skin from the body of an animal I’ve just eviscerated with an AK-47 … or whatever. I don’t know anything about that kind of thing. I also don’t find holding a slimy, scaly sorry excuse for a living animal known as a fish for “sport.” (Shivers) If I’m going to be on the lake, it’s going to be on a Sea-Doo or tubing behind a boat. You know … something _fun._