Race Weekend Central

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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Up to Speed: The Source of Brad Keselowski’s Frustration

2017 Dover I Cup Paul Wolfe Brad Keselowski Matthew T Thacker Nkp

(Photo: Matthew T. Thacker / NKP)

Brad Keselowski had a rough night at Kentucky Speedway.  The No. 2 team, understandably, went to the Bluegrass State with high expectations, having won three of the six Cup Series events held at the 1.5-mile track.  While Keselowski ran just outside the top 10 through much of the first stage, he clearly did not have …

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Up to Speed: What Daytona Performance Reveals for Playoff Hopefuls

Bubba Wallace Ryan Blaney Daytona

(Photo: Matthew T. Thacker / NKP)

It is not unusual to see underdogs perform well in restrictor plate races.  However, Saturday’s Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway produced a few more surprises than usual. Winner Ricky Stenhouse Jr. was the only driver to start and finish inside the top 10.  Additionally, no driver who entered the race in the top …

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Friday Faceoff: Can An Underfunded Team Be a Contender?

2017 Daytona I Cwts John Hunter Nemechek Nigel Kinrade Nkp

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade NKP)

Martin Truex, Jr. has had a hot start to 2017, with a total of 11 stage wins and two race wins, but he’s also had some missed opportunities due to things outside the driver’s control.  Is the No. 78 team ready to win a title this year, or will the little things add up? Dustin …

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Up to Speed: No More Road Course Favorites

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(Photo: Matthew Thacker/ NKP)

Kevin Harvick is no stranger to Victory Lane. He was a fixture there this weekend at Sonoma Raceway, winning both the K&N Pro Series West race on Saturday and the Monster Energy Series race on Sunday.  Yet the Cup victory was Harvick’s first ever at Sonoma in NASCAR’s top series, and it came 11 years after …

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Up to Speed: Pit Strategies Shake Up Michigan Race

Kyle Larson Chase Elliott Michigan

(Photo: Matthew T. Thacker / NKP)

Race strategy could be more important in 2017 than it has ever been in NASCAR.  The implementation of stage racing has created opportunities for crew chiefs to get creative with pit stop decisions and overall plans for each race. Up to this point, the significance of strategy has been most apparent in the early stages …

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Friday Faceoff: Will Young Guns Bring Young Fans to NASCAR?

2016 Kentucky Kyle Busch Fans Zach Catanzareti

(Photo: Zach Catanzareti)

Ryan Blaney was the latest young gun to win a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race this past weekend.  As the guard changes in the sport to the younger generation of drivers, will the new faces bring new fans? Bryan Gable: I’m cautiously optimistic with the next generation of drivers.  It’s good that some of …

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Up to Speed: Ryan Blaney Wins the Hard Way

2017 Dover Cup Zach Catanzareti Ryan Blaney

(Photo: Zach Catanzareti)

Winning does not come easily in NASCAR. It did not for Ryan Blaney at Pocono Raceway on Sunday.  It has not come easily for Wood Brothers Racing over the last decade or two.  Yet the newest winner in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series delivered NASCAR’s oldest team to Victory Lane one more time. Blaney’s victory …

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Friday Faceoff: What to Do with the Overtime Line?

2017 Dover I Cup Jimmie Johnson Leads Matthew T Thacker Nkp

(Photo: Matthew T. Thacker/NKP)

1. The teams of both Kyle Busch and Chase Briscoe received heavy penalties after Dover International Speedway, including suspensions of crew chiefs, tire carriers and tire changers after each had a wheel fall off in completion.  Did NASCAR make the right call? Amy Henderson: Yes. The rulebook is pretty specific in this area, and NASCAR was …

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Up to Speed: How Much Will Kyle Larson’s Near-Misses Matter?

2017 Dover I Cup Pack Racing Nigel Kinrade Nkp

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade / NKP)

Sunday’s AAA 400 Drive for Autism at Dover International Speedway ended with a familiar sight: Jimmie Johnson in Victory Lane.  In addition, the race offered another common result during the 2017 season: Kyle Larson finished second. Larson is in the midst of a career year.  Through the first 13 races, he has one win, six top …

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Friday Faceoff: Are Kasey Kahne’s Cup Days Numbered?

2017 Kansas I Cup Kasey Kahne Nigel Kinrade Nkp

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade / NKP)

After the Coca-Cola 600, should NASCAR consider adding an extra stage or otherwise giving more points for a few select races, such as the Daytona 500 and Southern 500, to make the sport’s most prestigious races its most important? Michael Massie: I would love stage racing to death if the breaks between stages were not …

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