Race Weekend Central

Keepin’ it Short – Short Tracks Taking to the Big Track

Not quite one year ago, NASCAR announced a new addition to Speedweeks at Daytona for 2013. The UNOH Battle at the Beach would provide action on the historically dark days of Monday and Tuesday of Speedweeks. The best Modified, Late Model and K&N drivers would be joined by anyone who wanted to take a chance …

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Speeding Through Summer: Weekly NASCAR Fan Q&A Includes MWR, J.J., More

Finally, we are here. Gone is the hype and hoopla of the Super Bowl. Now, we’re staring face first into the motorsports giant and that Great American Race – the Daytona 500. But first, we have this week’s “preseason” warmup: the Sprint Unlimited, formerly known as the Budweiser Shootout. After an offseason filled mostly with stories about drivers’ (ahem … Danica) personal lives and some random bits about the Gen-6 cars, it’s been a mostly uneventful one compared to years past.

We’re back, however, and just as ready to hear those engines roar as the rest of you. New cars, new drivers in new places, and, as an added bonus, new rain delay technology! Mother Nature vs. Air Titan, Round 1. I can’t wait!

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Max Papis To Drive Three Nationwide Races For RCR

One of the sport’s road course ringers will get a chance to showcase his skills once again in 2013. Max Papis, the former open-wheel star who’s run in stock car competition the last several years, announced Tuesday he’ll drive a limited schedule for Richard Childress Racing in the Nationwide Series. The 43-year-old Italian will man …

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Turn One Racing Turning Back To The Truck Series

Stacy Compton’s team is going back into full-time Truck Series competition. The No. 60 Chevrolet organization announced Dakoda Armstrong Tuesday as the driver for what they hope to be a full, 22-race schedule. They’ll get support from RCR as the Truck Series sophomore hopes to pick up where he left off in 2012; a ride …

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Tuesday Means Track Drying: Details Of NASCAR System Introduced

Recovering from rain delays is about to get a whole lot easier for NASCAR in 2013. The sanctioning body on Tuesday unveiled details of its new, track-drying system called the “Air Titan” which experts claim is so effective, Daytona can be dried in as little as 30 minutes following a rainstorm. The new technology, facets …

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Side By Side: Does A Pair Of Drivers Dating Matter?

_Welcome back to Side By Side. There are always two sides to every story, and we’re going to bring them both, right here, every week. Two of our staff writers will face off on an important racing question… feel free to tell us what you think in the weekly poll and also in the comments section below!_

*This Week’s Question: Does a pair of drivers dating one another actually matter?*
_Who’s right? You decide!_

Marc Lemay, Frontstretch Webmaster: When It’s Danica, It Matters

It’s bigger than just “dating a fellow driver” when it comes to Danica Patrick. Yes, I am going to make an example of Danica, simply because she is, for better or worse, the torchbearer for future women coming into NASCAR.

Tech Talk: Tony Gibson Dishes on Preparing for Gen-6 at Daytona

_Tony Gibson has been around the sport of stock car racing for a long time. He’s seen three or four generations of the race cars in the Cup Series and now, he prepares to climb aboard the pit box for one of the most well-known female drivers in the history of the sport, Danica Patrick. As he takes on that new role, he also has to take on the task of learning how the latest iteration of the Cup car will react to the subtle nuances that crew chiefs throw at it in an attempt to make it faster. Gibson took a break from all that complexity, plus preparing his team to head to Daytona to speak with Mike Neff about the challenges that teams are facing as they head to the World Center of Speed in this season’s first installment of Tech Talk._

Mike Neff: *You went down to Daytona last month for the big test with the new car. How much did you learn and when you unloaded down there, were you in a 500 setup or were you testing specific things with the car?*

Tony Gibson: We were pretty much in race mode. I know it sounds strange to say single-car runs, but we weren’t in any kind of qualifying mode.

Beyond the Cockpit: Dion von Moltke on Audi, Team Dedication and Fitness

_For 22-year old Dion von Moltke, 2013 is a crossroads year. He spent last season developing the new Audi R8 Grand-Am with APR Motorsport. The car was a work in progress for much of the season before coming into its own late in the year. Now, the Audi is ready for primetime, but von Möltke is without a full-time ride._

_For the Rolex 24 at Daytona, von Möltke signed on as the fourth driver for Alex Job Racing’s Audi R8 Grand-Am, joining DTM racers Filipe Albuquerque and Edoardo Mortara, along with Oliver Jarvis. After final practice, von Möltke took some time out of his day to sit down with our own Phil Allaway._

Phil Allaway, Frontstretch.com: *This is the first time that Alex Job Racing has raced an Audi. Is this an absolutely new chassis, or a leased car?*

Dion von Moltke: Yes, it’s a brand new car. It was really kind of a last-minute effort. It’s been an amazing job by Audi Sport Customer Racing as well as WeatherTech Racing and Alex Job just to get everything organized in time.

Did You Notice? … Young Guns, V-Day Heartbreakers And NASCAR Quick Hits

*Did You Notice?…* The influx of young talent entering prime rides in 2013? The Frontstretch Staff “discussed this one”:https://frontstretch.com/tbowles/42294/ in the sixth and final part of our season preview but, instead of answering there I wanted to expand on the topic elsewhere. For me, it’s a copout because I have a hard time cutting down the drivers I’m watching to just one or two…

So, without further ado, here’s who you should put on the radar screen…

Daytona Duels Get Added Adrenaline With Qualifying Change

_Editor’s Note: Have you not signed up “for your FREE Frontstretch Newsletter”:https://frontstretch.com/notice/9557/ in 2013? If you haven’t heard, it’s a daily edition we put out Monday through Friday with NASCAR news, commentary, interviews, and information you can’t find anywhere else on the site. Every Wednesday, we’ll have a little commentary like this one exclusive to the Newsletter; like what you read from Kevin? Then be sure to sign up with the link at the bottom of this column…_

Let’s be real — the allure of the pre-Daytona 500 Duels has been, for a few years now, fairly understated. Rather than a high-drama, high-stakes double shot of restrictor plate goodness prior to the big show, with a myriad of drivers racing for their spot on the starting grid, the top-35 rule of recent years eliminated a lot of no-holds-barred competition down the stretch.

Top Ten Rejected Fan Votes For The Sprint Unlimited

*10.* The Encore:* Choose what Juan Pablo Montoya will blow up THIS year!

*9.* New windshield name decals replaced with Twitter handles. The driver with the most new followers gets the victory.

*8.* Dunk the Dodo: Fans select one lucky driver to sit in a dunk tank during driver intros, while the rest take their best shot at him as they walk across the stage.

Fool’s Gold? Foolish Decision? Gambles Of NASCAR Superstar 2nd Chances

In the 1996 NBA draft, the Portland Trail Blazers took a chance on a 6-foot-11 center straight out of high school named Jermaine O’Neal. Although young and raw, O’Neal showed enormous potential, enough so that Portland rewarded the bench player with an absurd four-year, $24 million contract.

It was the finest money ever thrown towards a trash can, O’Neal acting like a first-class bust from the start instead of a first-ballot Hall of Famer. Heavily criticized for gameplay that at times wouldn’t hold up in your gym, once the contract expired, the Trail Blazers gladly waved the white flag. Determined to cut their losses, they landed a deal with Indiana for former All-Star (and aging) center Dale Davis.