Race Weekend Central

Up to Speed: The Playoff Point Divide

Monster Energy Nascar Cup Series

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

With 11 races to go until the playoffs begin for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, several drivers have emerged as strong championship contenders.  Kyle Busch, Brad Keselowski, Martin Truex Jr., Joey Logano and Denny Hamlin have each won multiple races in 2019.  They also occupy five of the top seven positions in the standings. But …

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Up to Speed: Matt DiBenedetto Faces Uncertain Future

Monster Energy Nascar Cup Series

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

Matt DiBenedetto and Leavine Family Racing started their season off with a bang.  In his first race piloting the No. 95, DiBenedetto emerged as a surprise contender in the Daytona 500.  Unfortunately, he got wiped out in a crash on lap 191 that collected half the field. Nearly four months have passed since the Great …

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Up to Speed: What to do About Pocono?

2018 Cup Pocono Zach Catanzareti Kyle Busch

(Photo: Zach Catanzareti)

So much for positive momentum. After a month’s worth of races that produced more action than expected, the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series rolled into Pocono Raceway.  This time, the race did not offer much action and will likely spark further condemnation of NASCAR’s current aero package. The most common complaint about the high-downforce package …

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Friday Faceoff: Which Track Is Best Suited to Host a NASCAR/ IndyCar Doubleheader?

Field Enters Turn Three After Final Restart of Iowa 250 pres. by Enogen

(Photo: Christian Koelle)

Once again, three drivers have combined to win all but three races this season in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. Can they continue their dominance into the summer? Mark Kristl: While Martin Truex Jr., Kyle Busch and Brad Keselowski are talented enough to continue their dominance, it won’t last. Stewart-Haas Racing is too good not …

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Up to Speed: When Richard Howard Saved Charlotte Motor Speedway

2017 Coca-Cola 600 wide view Nigel Kinrade/NKP

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade /NKP)

Charlotte Motor Speedway hosted the 60th running of its 600-mile race on Sunday. Whether you know it as the World 600 or the Coca-Cola 600, the event is one of NASCAR’s long-standing crown jewel races. More recently, CMS became the centerpiece of Bruton Smith’s track ownership corporation, Speedway Motorsports Inc. As NASCAR’s popularity spread across …

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Friday Faceoff: Team Bowyer or Team Newman?

2019 Atlanta Cup Ryan Newman Nkp

(Photo:Nigel Kinrade Photography)

Much has been made of the situation involving Ryan Newman and Clint Bowyer following the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series’ All-Star Race. Who was in the right? Mark Kristl: Both drivers were at fault. Ryan Newman was at fault for hitting Clint Bowyer‘s car after the race. Clint Bowyer was at fault for losing control, hitting …

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Up to Speed: The Monster Energy Open Steals the Show

Monster Energy Nascar Cup Series

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

The Monster Energy All-Star Race weekend should be about showcasing the best and brightest talents in the sport.  But in this year’s running, the best overall race was the preliminary event. The Monster Energy Open was a thrilling race from start to finish.  The three mini-races spread over a total of 62 laps had a …

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Up to Speed: A Lesson in Experience for Alex Bowman and Erik Jones

Monster Energy Nascar Cup Series

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

After an intense night of racing at Kansas Speedway, Alex Bowman and Erik Jones will have to take the bad with the good.  Both drivers were impressive on Saturday night, especially in the late stages of the race.  However, neither was able to beat Brad Keselowski with a race win on the line. Keselowski’s victory …

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Up to Speed: A Steep Learning Curve for Cup Series Rookies

Monster Energy Nascar Cup Series

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

For two Rookie of the Year Contenders in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, last week’s race at Talladega Superspeedway was a long-awaited bright spot.  Both Ryan Preece and Daniel Hemric walked away with top-five finishes. Preece’s third-place result is a career-best finish, improving on his eighth place earlier this year in the Daytona 500.  …

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Up to Speed: Missed Talladega Opportunities for Joey Logano

2019 Phoenix I Cup Joey Logano Nkp

(Photo: NKP)

Late last season, nobody made the most of a few good opportunities better than Joey Logano. A victory at Martinsville Speedway carried him to the season finale as a championship contender. Three weeks later, Logano found himself with the best short-run car at Homestead-Miami Speedway. When presented with a short green flag run to the …

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Up to Speed: Kyle Busch, 2019 Versus Jeff Gordon, 1998

Gatorade Duel 150's

(Photo: NASCAR via Getty Images)

Kyle Busch’s fast start to the 2019 NASCAR season has been well-documented.  Through the first nine races in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, he has earned three wins, six top fives and nine top 10s.  He has also led 599 laps and posted an average finish of 3.9.  As great as Busch’s 2018 season …

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Up to Speed: Jimmie Johnson & Chad Knaus, Post-Breakup

#48: Jimmie Johnson, Hendrick Motorsports, Chevrolet Camaro Ally And Kevin Meendering

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

During Friday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Richmond Raceway, Chad Knaus observed the action from a different vantage point.  Instead of being a crew chief, Knaus tried his hand at broadcasting.  It wasn’t the first time that he had helped to call a race from the booth, and he did a solid job explaining teams’ …

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