Race Weekend Central

Pace Laps: The Latest On Hamlin’s Health, Sizzling Starts And New TV Deals

*Sprint Cup: The Latest On Hamlin’s Health* The week off for NASCAR’s top series couldn’t have come at a better time for Denny Hamlin. Hospitalized after his last-lap wreck with Joey Logano, Hamlin will stay there through at least Monday morning as a precaution. While no specific injuries have been announced, his back – which he’s had problems with in the past – remains a primary concern after head-on contact with the inside wall off Turn 4.

It should be noted that area, before the start of pit road is not equipped with a SAFER Barrier. That left Hamlin susceptible at a track whose speeds reach upwards of 205 miles an hour on the straightaways — roughly 5-10 MPH faster than you’d see at Daytona and Talladega. NASCAR requires that every Sprint Cup oval has some degree of those barriers installed, on the outside walls but has no such requirements for other areas within the track.

Quotes: Auto Club 400

“Yeah, that was pretty wild. We had a good car and came real close to winning there but then everybody started taking tires and tires were really big at the end because the place is really slick and worn out. We were lucky there at the end and came in and got some fresh tires …

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Sidebar Stories: Auto Club 400

Denny Hamlin Reportedly Being Kept Overnight After being transported by helicopter from Auto Club Speedway following a last lap crash with former teammate Joey Logano, USA Today’s Jeff Gluck is reporting that Hamlin will be kept overnight at a local hospital in Fontana, California. Hamlin was racing Logano for the lead when Logano slid up …

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Never Fear, the Underdogs are Here: Fontana Edition

Never Fear, the Underdogs are Here: Fontana Edition by Amy Henderson Editor’s Note: This year, we’re going to switch things up a little bit. Instead of just focusing upon one underdog (or underreported) car in the Secret Star section, we will point out three smaller teams that put up good finishes each week. Underdog Selection …

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Five NASCAR Truths We Already Know For 2013

The 2013 season is just four races old, and already we’ve seen some things to think about as the year rolls forward. From who’s at the top of the standings to who’s closer to the bottom, what the Gen-6 can—and can’t—do, and attendance falling as TV ratings rise, the last month has been full of surprises. While it’s definitely too early to accurately answer a lot of the questions that this season has already posed, we do know some things…and are still completely in the dark on others.

So, while we don’t know which teams are going to get ahead with the Gen-6 cars and therefore be the biggest title threats, how that car will perform say, 20 weeks from now, or whether the ratings will continue after the early-season hype wears off, there are some truths that you can just about take to the bank as the season progresses.

Four Burning Questions in Fontana: Feuds, Cautions, and Single File Parades

Auto Club Speedway, located in the not-so-picturesque Inland Empire town of Fontana, CA, is the site of Round 5 of the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Season. Infamous for being a popular symbol of NASCAR’s plight of the mid-2000s post-boom era, the track once known for it’s boring on-track product has come to life a bit in recent years due to an aging surface pavement that will give drivers and teams fits all weekend long. But lets not get ahead of ourselves here, a good race at Auto Club is still tantamount to an average race anywhere else. Nonetheless, the big teams have usually thrived here, so one of the main questions heading into the weekend will certainly be whether or not the powerhouse squads will blow away the field like they have in the past at Auto Club. Meanwhile, in the garage area, we have a Twitter rivalry brewing, a points leader putting up insane numbers, and all sorts of craziness after a barnburner of a race at Bristol. There’s an awful lot to cover this week, so without further ado, let’s get started!

IndyCar In-Depth: Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg

*What’s News*

The 2013 season is finally getting underway! What more news do you need? Actually, as is usually the case after the offseason, there are plenty of changes to get used to. First, there are some new rules designed to make strategy more of a player on the road/street courses and to take mileage racing off the table. Race distances for some events, including this weekend at St. Petersburg, have been changed to discourage fuel mileage racing. This week’s event will be ten laps longer.

Frontstretch Foto Funnies: That Isn’t Technically Illegal…

_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! Then, at the end of each month, we’ll randomly choose one winner from the four winning captions, and that person will receive a free weekend rental from our friends at FanVision during any Sprint Cup race weekend in 2013! What could be better than that? In order to be eligible, comments must include a valid email (nobody can see it but us, and we promise we’ll only use it for notification purposes!) Note while you can post as many captions as you like, you aren’t eligible for the monthly prize if you’ve won a contest from us in the last 90 days._

Nuts for Nationwide: A NASCAR Journeyman’s (Comparably) Hot Start

If you’re looking for a feel-good story four races into the Nationwide Series season, look no further than Mike Harmon.

Harmon, a longtime journeyman contender in multiple NASCAR series and ARCA, published an article with Catchfence last October decrying the change from 43- to 40-car Nationwide fields, writing that he “just [didn’t] think NASCAR has really thought this thing out” and that he was “just about finished with NASCAR.”

Formula 1 Fridays: The Iceman Cometh And Other Reflections…

There are few things in the world of Formula One more likely to leave you with egg on your face than the pre-season preview predictions. However, like a siren’s song it becomes hard to resist not to draw a few conclusions following on from the first race of the season. And so the shell is cracked and the stove lit in preparation as we ponder a few of these lessons prior to this weekend and the oppressive heat of Malaysia…

*Red Bull not so dominant?*

There was a shudder of fear after Friday’s two practice sessions prior to Australia as Red Bull stopped sand-bagging and showed their true pace. This was compounded after qualifying on Saturday as the team secured a dominant front-row lock out of the grid.

Categories F1

Voices From the Cheap Seats: BSNews? No, Unfortunately It’s Real

Here are a few items that, had anyone even had any interest in caring about, you may have missed recently. All are worthy of my just now made up, imaginary award I’m suddenly going to call the ‘Jeff Meyer side to side bobble head WTF!’ award. (Picture me shaking my head in disgust and disbelief and you get the idea. Hey, this could be big! I can see me on dashboards nationwide…)

Nudge to the bobble head to set it a’goin number one…

Keepin’ it Short – Racing in History

There are many historic race tracks around the country and most every short track fan will have their own favorite. In the Southeast there are quite a few small race tracks that are well known just by their affiliation with the early days of NASCAR. This weekend, there will be two big races taking place …

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