Race Weekend Central

Beside the Rising Tide: Only On a Need to Know Basis


(Photo: Zach Catanzareti)

There are some statistics and numbers NASCAR types prefer to keep to themselves. Starting in 2014, NASCAR information services stopped giving out attendance figures for the races. Suspiciously, those numbers had been declining at an alarming rate in the seasons leading up to the decision to withhold the information. The attendance numbers that used to …

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Thinkin’ Out Loud: 2020 Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500 at Martinsville

Nascar Cup Series

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

Editors Note: What in blazes am I doing here? Yeah, Matt, what’s up? You write on Tuesdays, having given this column up years ago. Yep. You recall correctly. Bryan Keith, who took over this column when Mike Neff stopped doing it, has been doing a fine job with the race recaps under whatever title he’s …

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Beside the Rising Tide: 3rd-Rate Rendezvous


(Photo: NASCAR Media/Getty Images)

Well campers, what should we talk about this week? I mean there’s nothing going in our insular little racing world across these vast United States of America, is there? Well quite obviously there is, of course, as all of us find a way to cope with an ongoing pandemic that has made a quick trip to …

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Beside the Rising Tide: If They Ain’t Cheering They Better Be Booing

2018 Kyle Busch Richmond Cup Monster Energy Nascar Cup Series

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

Hey Boy Blue, can’t you hear all the noise? It’s for you, all the town’s waiting there. – Jeff Lynne It seems like ancient history now, but last week at Charlotte, Chase Elliott finally broke through with his first Cup win of 2020, shortly after edging out Kyle Busch for the Truck Series win at the same …

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Beside the Rising Tide: Disqualified, The 6-Ton Elephant in the Room and Other Observations 

2019 Mencs Sonoma Nascar Official

Photo: Danny Peters

Early in my career Ben Blake, one of the great all-time writers in NASCAR history, taught me that the only thing worse than rain at a racetrack is rain at a racetrack with lights. I’d later add my own corollary that the only thing worse than rain at a racetrack with lights is rain at …

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Beside the Rising Tide: Matt McLaughlin Thinks Out Loud After Darlington 2020, Round 1


(Photo: Getty Images/NASCAR Media)

In a Nutshell: For years I wrote on a Sunday night deadline (that sometimes stretched to the point my alarm clock was going off while I was still trying to clean up the punctuation) for at least a half-dozen websites in various forms and under various titles. At Frontstretch, that column continues on in an updated …

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Beside the Rising Tide: Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing, Baby

Monster Energy Nascar Cup Series Bojangles' Southern 500 Darlington Raceway, Darlington, Sc Usa Sunday 3 September 2017 Austin Dillon, Richard Childress Racing, American Ethanol Chevrolet Ss Joey Logano, Team Penske, Shell Pennzoil Ford Fusion World Copyright: Matthew T. Thacker Nkp

(Photo: Matthew T. Thacker/NKP)

Back in the late 1960s Marvin Gaye, backed by Tammi Terrell, scored an AM radio hit with a song entitled, Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing, Baby. In the same era, one of the big cola companies had a marketing campaign using the same tag line.  Say what you will about this invitational NASCAR iRacing …

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Beside the Rising Tide: Beware the Ides of March

2015 Darlington Cup Tires Cia

(Photo: CIA Stock Photo, Inc. ©2015)

It’s been an interesting week both inside and outside the insular little media niche focused on NASCAR racing. A tempest in a teapot unexpectedly broke out over the lowly lug nut. We learned that Daytona Speedweeks is a thing of the past, at least in the plural sense of “weeks.” We’re four danged weeks into …

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Beside the Rising Tide: Fire on Gander Mountain


(Photo: Randy Lanning)

NASCAR’s third level touring division, a.k.a. the Truck Series, came into being in 1995. It was a kinder, gentler era for the sanctioning body, when it seemed that they could do no wrong. It seemed if NASCAR had sanctioned a series for fat kids racing Marx Big Wheels around suburban supermarket parking lots, tickets to …

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Beside the Rising Tide: Counting on a Miracle

Olympus Digital Camera

(Photo: Rick Lunkenheimer)

For a sport based on high speed and non-stop action, NASCAR racing can be incredibly frustrating sometimes. It is positively soul-sapping to watch two lines of race cars sitting tucked away under their covers in a heavy downpour, especially when it occurs just before the long-delayed start of our sport’s equivalent to the Super Bowl. …

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Beside The Rising Tide: 2020 NASCAR Changes in Latitude

2019 Martinsville Mencs Martin Truex, Jr. Victory Celebration Cck

(Photo: Christian Koelle)

For the last couple weeks, we’ve been discussing changes that lay ahead in NASCAR in this space. In most cases, those modifications won’t take place until 2021. (The new cars, the new tires, the new schedule, etc.). But there, in fact, are some notable adjustments to this year’s 2020 schedule, including at least one high-profile …

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Beside the Rising Tide: Fixing a Hole in the Ocean 

Tires. Pit Road. 2018 Mencs Cup Series, Sonoma

Photo: Danny Peters

Quite a few fans seem to have been perplexed this weekend as their attention returned to NASCAR racing. They’d apparently heard that there were big changes in store for the NASCAR touring series this year. What they saw on Saturday and Sunday looked awfully familiar, other than the wrecking on restarts stuff.  It was a …

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