Race Weekend Central

Sprint Cup Daytona Week 1 Recap

Harvick Holds Pack Off to Win Sprint Unlimited Coming into the Sprint Unlimited on Saturday night, no one really knew what to expect. Every time a group of drivers had gotten on track together to practice drafting, a wreck brought the festivities to a halt. With spare parts and equipment at a premium, Saturday night’s …

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Daytona Brought To You By The Letter “L:” Lame Duck, Lucky Lady, Lots To Prove

Kevin Harvick spent Saturday night “Happy” in Victory Lane, and why not? He’d won the first Cup race of 2013, established himself as a contender to win a second Daytona 500 and injected a much-needed boost of energy into struggling Richard Childress Racing. But the second he stepped out of that zone, into his media presser that merriness got entangled with a different type of off-track mission – one that involved holding up the middle finger.

“I missed all you guys,” said the winner, a sarcastic joke tinged with reality after walking in. “Because you were all busy being TMZ the other day. So now you all have to talk to me and I can be a complete prick.”

Wild Card No More: Why NASCAR Will Never Win at Restrictor Plate Races

“If you ain’t first, you’re last.” We hear it several times a weekend, a statement most drivers believe to its core. Winning is everything, simple as that, and you will never hear drivers, fans, or media say otherwise. It’s what these teams live for.

But NASCAR? Well … they can’t seem to win for losing, especially when it comes to these restrictor plate races. Just think back to last season, when Tony Stewart flipped over during the green-white-checkered finish in last Fall’s wild Talladega ending. Even though Stewart walked away from the wreck completely unharmed thanks, in part, to NASCAR’s safety innovations, there were still fans screaming for the heads of those who thought this type of format was a good idea. It’s unsafe, they said, and we shouldn’t be risking the lives of drivers for entertainment.

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Lucas Oil 200 presented by MAVTV American Real

John Wes Townley has been the brunt of many a joke in racing during his career. However, the joke on Saturday at Daytona International Speedway was on the rest of the competitors in the Lucas Oil 200 at Daytona presented by MavTV American Real. Townley sat on the pole, had a good pit stop when …

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2013 NASCAR Season Preview

A nail-biting finish at this year’s Daytona 500? That’s what NASCAR hopes for with the introduction of its new Gen-6 race car. *NASCAR: 2013* *Your one-stop shopping for all the NASCAR news, commentary, and info leading up to the season!* *SPRINT CUP: STAFF SEASON PREVIEW* “PART I: IS THE GEN-6 NASCAR’s FIX-ALL”:https://frontstretch.com/tbowles/42266/ “PART II: WHAT …

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Michael Waltrip, NASCAR, Swan Racing Come Together For Sandy Hook

An exciting partnership will have a fund designed to help Sandy Hook Elementary School front and center for this year’s Daytona 500. It’s not often these days that a two-time Daytona 500 winner, a NASCAR CEO, an underdog team looking to stake its place in the sport and a small suburban town all have something …

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From Tragedy To Triumph? Everyone Wins With A Moving NASCAR Newtown Tribute

When it comes to Valentine’s Day, I’m conflicted. Like many typical males, there’s a part of me that thinks the whole holiday is silly. If it’s the only day you ever feel compelled to get your lover flowers, should you really be with them? Shouldn’t the ways in which we all come together, for one moment in time to remind people how much we care, be something we do consistently, all 365 days a year? Believe it or not, I have many of the same feelings when it comes to something so mundane as NASCAR Media Day. In the past four weeks, we’ve had Daytona testing, the Media Tour, Acceleration Weekend and countless press conferences and public announcements. The diehard fan has been following every move; the casual one won’t pay attention to anything until Saturday night. Why, in this day and age of 24/7 social media do we need this over-the-top event down in Daytona to remind ourselves of stories that, by and large, have not changed since the last time they were reported?

Four Burning Questions: Will the Gen-6 Cars Live Up To The Hype In The Unlimited?

It seems like just yesterday Brad Keselowski was hoisting the Sprint Cup championship trophy in honor of his grand performance in the 2012 Chase. But alas, it’s been almost three months now since NASCAR last took to the track, and this Saturday night the stars of the sport will make their glorious return to start 2013, competing in the newly rebranded Sprint Unlimited race (formerly known as the Bud Shootout). There will be a mind-boggling array of changes on display in this event, such as (another) new style of drafting, new rules, new jet dryers, and of course the much-ballyhooed Gen-6 race cars.

It goes without saying that we have lots to cover this week, so let’s get started, shall we?

Voices From the Cheap Seats: NASCAR Thoughts Of Optimism and Pessimism

As I start my 10th year of writing about NASCAR for Frontstretch.com, I find it even harder than in years past to get “really excited” about it just yet. Once the last race is run in November, I tend to totally shut out, or try to, anyway. That’s hard to do when your significant other is a racing nut! But I do, avoiding all things that have anything to do with NASCAR until I actually see the pretty-colored cars going around in circles again the week before the Daytona 500. Unfortunately for me, my editors seem to think I should get excited a whole week earlier than that so in order to keep them happy, here goes…

I recently read about a child who, having been told to drink his milk, said something to the effect that an “optimist saw the glass as half empty.” When his father corrected him that it was actually a pessimist, the kid replied… “Not when the glass is full of something you don’t like!”

The Sport’s History Can Fuel Passion In Its Fans Today

With the many annual events in the NASCAR community, there are many opportunities to connect with the sport today, from televised pre-race shows to the awards banquet, Sprint Media Tour and the annual preview event held in Charlotte. Fans can see the new race cars, meet their favorite drivers, or see an in-depth story on just about anything. The NASCAR world is at our fingertips.

But what about ways to connect today’s fans to the sport’s storied past? There aren’t that many. Save the odd feature on the pre-race show, they aren’t given many glimpses into what the sport once was. The lone annual exception is the Hall of Fame induction ceremony, just concluded for 2013. At that event, the sport’s history is revered and glorified – as it should be. Those in attendance or watching at home can hear the stories from the people who lived them, or, if they aren’t with us anymore, the people who knew them best.

Nuts For Nationwide: 2013 Season Preview, Part One

The NASCAR Nationwide Series might just have its best year in awhile in 2013. After years of Sprint Cup domination, whether in single races, series championships or both, the division is beginning to take on an identity of its own, solidifying itself beyond just a playground for the sport’s elite on Saturdays.

In preparation for the NASCAR premiere race next weekend, down at Daytona, let’s take a look at some of the top stories and drivers coming into 2013 in the form of preseason awards. These are the drivers, teams and tracks I expect to be considered the best at the end of the year, starting with smaller distinctions and moving towards the eventual champion. As the season hasn’t even kicked off yet, this is pure speculation… but I feel good about my choices.

For part two of the preview, check back next Friday.