Race Weekend Central

Best NASCAR Driver Of The Modern Era? Building A Case, Brick By Brick(yard)

They say he’s too politically correct. They say his team has more money and, therefore, better equipment than anyone else inside the 43-car field. They say his crew chief is a cheater, someone who should have been suspended from NASCAR as recently as this February’s Daytona 500. Heck, this man’s mere presence behind the wheel is blamed for the self-destruction of stock car racing’s popularity.

But as Sunday wrapped up, as a group of grown men in Lowe’s firesuits were getting busy kissing bricks on pillows (we’ll skip that for now), it was hard for the critics to argue this point: Jimmie Johnson has prepped a resume that will make him the best driver of NASCAR’s modern era. After putting up the latest bullet point, a fourth Brickyard 400 victory in his last seven starts at Indianapolis, even rivals could do nothing but stand up in awe.

Life After Loudon: A Sunday That Revealed NASCAR’s Playoff Parity To Come?

Denny Hamlin gave 110 percent and, on an otherwise snooze-inducing Sunday, NASCAR took notice. In the end, the day’s dominant driver at Loudon came up short, but with 150 laps led, the driver of the Joe Gibbs Toyota made his presence felt amidst a sea of Hendrick Chevrolets attempting to seize control. Second place, in this case, may have been the first loser – Hamlin came up five car lengths short to Kasey Kahne after poor pit strategy left him back in the pack – yet the effort showcased excellence from a driver fully recovered post-2011 Chase hangover. With this year’s playoff looming less than two months away, the second track on the postseason schedule will now have Hamlin listed as a heavy favorite this Fall.