Race Weekend Central

Up to Speed: Keep Throwing it Back at Darlington

Darlington Cup 2017 Aric Almirola 2 Throwback Mike Neff

(Photo: Mike Neff)

Sunday marked the third edition of Darlington Raceway’s Bojangles Southern 500 since the fabled race returned to its traditional Labor Day weekend date.  The race weekend is also in the third year of its throwback theme.  Familiar paint schemes from years gone by adorn most of the cars.  NBC Sports used  some old-school graphics, while Ken …

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Up to Speed: Rumors Fly for Richard Petty Motorsports

In the midst of a silly season that has been particularly silly, a series of reports popped up this week about the future of Richard Petty Motorsports.  The King’s team potentially has a lot on its plate in the next few months.  At the moment, there is no guarantee that Aric Almirola will return to …

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Friday Faceoff: Are Today’s NASCAR Drivers Relatable?

2017 Bristol II CUP Dale Earnhardt Jr Nigel Kinrad NKP

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade/NKP)

NASCAR is reportedly considering a cone rule, which would allow drivers to choose a restart lane as they exit the pits under caution.  It’s a rule used at short tracks with success, but is it a viable way for NASCAR to spice up restarts and stop teams from hitting the brakes on pit road to …

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Up to Speed: The Best (Or Worst?) of Kyle Busch at Bristol

Kyle Busch Bristol Celebration

(Photo: John K Harrelson / NKP)

Kyle Busch’s performance at Bristol Motor Speedway over the last week brought to mind a certain episode of Seinfeld in which Jerry’s girlfriend paints a portrait of Kramer. After the painting is complete, an elderly couple becomes transfixed with Kramer’s portrait, concluding that its subject must be some kind of miscreant. Most famously, the old …

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Up to Speed: The Driver Makes the Difference at Michigan

2017 Michigan II CUP Kyle Larson celebrates Logan Whitton NKP

(Photo: Logan Whitton / NKP)

In the days leading up to Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Michigan International Speedway, there was plenty of chatter about cars, with Chevrolet unveiled its 2018 Camaro, which will compete in the Cup Series beginning next season. Old rivals Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch also engaged in a war of words over the …

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Friday Faceoff: How Much Is Left in Jimmie Johnson’s Tank?

2017 Dover I CUP Jimmie Johnson Rick Hendrick Logan Whitton NKP

(Photo: Logan Whitton/NKP)

19-year-old William Byron was named to replace Kasey Kahne at Hendrick Motorsports in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series in 2018. Are teams rushing youngsters through the ranks too fast in an effort not to lose them to another team, or are drivers more prepared at a younger age than in the past? Bryan Gable: William …

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Up to Speed: Watkins Glen’s Tale of Two Seasons

matt kenseth wgi

(Photo: Russell LaBounty/ NKP)

Once again, the lasting memory from Sunday’s race at Watkins Glen International will be the final lap. As the front-runners battled each other and agonized over their depleted fuel tanks, Matt Kenseth kept edging closer to Martin Truex Jr.  Kenseth’s charge proved to be too little, too late, though it resulted in a close finish …

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Friday Faceoff: Beating Around the Busch

2017 dover cup zach catanzareti kurt busch

(Photo: Zach Catanzareti)

NASCAR announced further restrictions on full-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers running in the XFINITY and Camping World Truck series in 2018.  Was this the right move for the sport, or is there a better alternative? Samarth Kanal: That’s the right move. It’d be nice to restrict Cup drivers’ appearances in the XFINITY and …

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Up to Speed: Pointing Toward the NASCAR Playoffs

2017 cup pocono zach catanzareti joey logano

(Photo: Zach Catanzareti)

The second half of July has shaken up the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoff field.  Going into New Hampshire Motor Speedway, the 16-driver grid consisted of 10 postseason-eligible winners.  That left six spots open for drivers to get in on points. Two of those racers, Chase Elliott and Jamie McMurray, stood 89 and 74 points …

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Up to Speed: The Changing of the Hendrick Motorsports Guard

2016 Pocono Cup Jimmie Johnson Kasey Kahne Hendrick Motorsports Zch Catanzareti

(Photo: Zach Catanzareti)

Hendrick Motorsports was riding high in 2014. Jimmie Johnson just came off winning a sixth championship.  Jeff Gordon was having his best season in years and had reemerged as a top title contender.  Dale Earnhardt Jr. scored his second Daytona 500 victory and snapped a winless streak that had carried on for over a year.  Kasey …

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Up to Speed: Denny Hamlin’s Stability Turning the Tide for Joe Gibbs Racing

jgr nhms

(Photo: Matthew T. Thacker/ NKP)

If there was a low point for Joe Gibbs Racing this season, and particularly Denny Hamlin, it had to have been at Texas Motor Speedway back in April.  While Kyle Busch looked competitive at times, Hamlin, Matt Kenseth and Daniel Suarez each struggled to run in the top 20 for no apparent reason.  Hamlin wound up getting the …

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Friday Faceoff: Where Will Matt Kenseth Land?

2017 Las Vegas CUP Matt Kenseth Ruddell LaBounty NKP

(Photo: Russell LaBounty/NKP)

Matt Kenseth is officially a free agent after the 2017 season.  Can Kenseth, age 45, still land a top-level ride?  Should he accept a mid-tier offer if the power teams don’t come calling? Bryan Gable:  Absolutely.  Just because Kenseth is not in his prime anymore does not mean he has no value to NASCAR’s best …

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