Race Weekend Central

Beside the Rising Tide: A Formula for Success?

2017 Indianapolis CUP Jimmie Johnson pack racing Russell LaBounty NKP

(Photo: Russell LaBounty/NKP)

Ask the average American what the most popular sort of auto racing is worldwide and most of them will respond it has to be the NASCAR Cup Series. The trick word in the question is “worldwide,” though, and on the global stage, Formula One crushes NASCAR in terms of viewership. Some will already be rolling …

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Beside the Rising Tide: The Butterfly Effect

2017 Richmond II NXS sunset Nigel Kinrade NKP

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade/NKP)

In a NASCAR season full of bizarre incidents and happenstance, the incident at the entrance to pit road on lap 258 Saturday night at Richmond Raceway might have been the most unlikely. Even as race control opened pit road for a crucial series of stops, a wayward ambulance pulled to a stop, almost completely blocking …

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Beside The Rising Tide: With Autumn Closing In

Darlington Cup 2017 Aric Almirola 2 Throwback Mike Neff

(Photo: Mike Neff)

Ain’t it funny how the night moves? When you just don’t seem to have as much to lose, Ain’t it funny how the night moves? With autumn closing in…. -Bob Seger While it hasn’t quite reached the level of the Memorial Day weekend yet, Labor Day weekend offered race fans a full slate of action …

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Beside the Rising Tide: Darlington 1979

2016 darlington cup zach catanzareti

(Photo: Zach Catanzareti)

Could it really have been 38 years already? The memory plays tricks when it comes to time but the lines I see on my face in the mirror say perhaps it really has been that long. Blame it on too many late afternoons squinting into a setting sun aboard the Harley but back in 1979 I …

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Beside the Rising Tide: Will Race For Food

2017 Las Vegas CUP Dale Earnhardt Jr NIgel Kinrade NKP

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade/NKP)

Every once in a while, NASCAR fans get a glimpse behind the curtain into a decidedly wizard-free zone as of late at how things really work. No less an authority than Dale Earnhardt Jr., retiring as a driver after this season to start a career as a sports journalist, said in the brave new world …

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Beside The Rising Tide: Enough Is Enough

4-6 August, 2016, Watkins Glen, New York USA Jimmie Johnson ©2016, Barry Cantrell / NKP

(Photo: Barry Cantrell/NKP)

Road racing in the Cup Series had always been a decided break from the ups and downs of normal oval track competition. Earlier in the sport’s history, NASCAR’s top touring divisions had hit a variety of them, including Watkins Glen, what’s now Mid-Ohio, a few airports and the renowned Daytona Beach road course. Once the sport entered …

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Beside the Rising Tide: The Grand Illusion

2016 Charlotte All Star CUP Martin Truex Jr Denny Hamlin racing Nigel Kinrade NKP

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade / NKP)

Once upon a time, not all that long ago in the grand scheme of things, everything was going splendidly in the world of NASCAR. The sport was doing what it was intended to do: making already wealthy people wealthier. Being a team owner was a pretty sweet gig. It was like having money trees growing …

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Beside The Rising Tide: 1313 Turkey Court

2014 Atlanta NNS fans II CIA

(Credit: CIA Stock Photography, Inc. ©2014)

Editor’s Note: Matt McLaughlin’s off this week. Enjoy one of his classic columns on the eve of another Pocono Cup Series race. While I enjoy stock car racing at Pocono, race weekends at the track are also tinged with a bit of melancholy. For more years than I care to recall, all my best buddies and …

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Beside the Rising Tide: Halfway There

2017 Fontana CUP MAtt Kenseth Barry Cantrell NKP

(Photo: Barry Cantrell / NKP)

Kentucky might not have been the most exciting Cup race (to be fair it was dreadful), but the sport reached a crucial milestone during the weekend in Sparta. The 2017 Cup season is now halfway over. Like every other NASCAR season, this one has had some high points and low points. Everyone likes a first …

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Beside the Rising Tide: Right Down the Line

2017 Daytona II CUP sunset blur NigelKinrade NKP

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade/NKP)

During the Friday evening/Saturday matinee undercard race for the NASCAR XFINITY Series, NXS might have stood for “Naturally eXtremely Suspicious.” Once again, NASCAR and network pinheads got yet another lesson in Florida meteorology. Due to the humidity and high temperatures of the day, the air becomes saturated. When things cool off in the evening, that air …

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Beside the Rising Tide: The Business Of NASCAR Television

2015 Eldora CWTS pack racing credit NASCAR via Getty Images

(Photo: NASCAR via Getty Images)

If nothing else, the Eldora truck series race is unique. It’s the only event in NASCAR’s top three touring divisions run on a dirt track. It’s the only NASCAR event to have heat races and a last chance qualifier to set the field. And unlike any of the Cup races, the Eldora race is run …

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Beside the Rising Tide: The Wheel

2017 Kansas I CUP Ryan Blaney Kyle Busch Kyle Larson racing Nigel Kinrade NKP

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade / NKP)

The wheel is turning and you can’t slow down You can’t let go and you can’t hold on You can’t go back and you can’t stand still If the thunder don’t get you then the lightning will -Jerry Garcia- Sometimes, I find my opinions in direct conflict with other NASCAR fans and even scribes. It’s …

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