Race Weekend Central

Fire on Fridays: We See a Lot of Matt DiBenedetto in Ourselves

2019 Mencs Bristol Matt Dibenedetto Face Nkp

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

Denny Hamlin snatched the trophy and checkered flag on Saturday night at Bristol Motor Speedway in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, but there’s no debating that Matt DiBenedetto snatched our hearts. It’s almost too Hollywood for the 28-year-old journeyman (what an oxymoron that is, by the way) to win his first career Cup race while …

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Fire on Fridays: David Ragan’s Retirement Marks End of Era

Auto Club 500 Practice

(Photo: NASCAR via Getty Images)

It’s fitting that David Ragan announced the end to his full-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series career at the site of his last Xfinity Series triumph. Way back when, in 2009, Ragan was attempting to prove he deserved to stay with Roush Fenway Racing. Two years prior, he was tapped as Mark Martin’s replacement in …

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Fire on Fridays: It’s Time to Shrink the NASCAR Playoff Field

2018 Homestead Cup Zach Catanzareti Joey Logano

(Photo: Zach Catanzareti)

When NASCAR opted to go to a playoff system following Matt Kenseth’s 2003 title-winning season, there was mixed reaction. His one-win season, dubbed by some as “The Matt Kenseth Rule,” is a far cry from the win-and-you’re-in format we’ve had for the past few seasons. The current format is the fifth iteration of the playoff …

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Fire on Fridays: Christopher Bell Shouldn’t Replace Erik Jones or Matt DiBenedetto

2019 Chicagoland Nxs Christopher Bell Face Nigel Kinrade Photography

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

Don’t let the lack of facial hair trick you. Christopher Bell is indeed one of the most versatile drivers in the history of the NASCAR Xfinity Series. He’s not spoiled. He’s not mean. He’s certainly not someone who will make you look bad. Bell, 24, is dominating week in and week out, already winning five …

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Fire on Fridays: Can Derek Kraus Make NASCAR History?

#19: Derek Kraus, Bill Mcanally Racing, Toyota Tundra Eneos/napa Filters Nascar Gander Outdoors Truck Series

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

The talk surrounding 2019 K&N Pro Series season has been largely dominated by Hailie Deegan. And for good reason. She’s young, she’s got a vibrant, no BS personality, has a large social media following–and by the way, can drive the wheels off a racecar. She kicked off the season out West with a last-lap pass …

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Fire on Fridays: Kurt Busch Needs to Keep Racing

2019 Michigan I Cup Kurt Busch Nkp

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

Only Kurt Busch could do the unthinkable. Time and time again, the 2004 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion has lifted a struggling team to become triumphant. Chip Ganassi Racing is just the latest in Busch’s quest for another championship ring, and thus far, he’s on pace to potentially have his best season in NASCAR’s premier …

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Fire on Fridays: Was Justin Haley’s Daytona Win the Biggest Upset in NASCAR History?

Justin Haley poses with his trophy after winning the summer NASCAR Cup Series race at Daytona, July 2019. Photo: NKP

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

I’m willing to bet zero people on the face of planet earth woke up Sunday morning thinking Justin Haley would wind up a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series winner by the end of the day. But as a wise man once said, to finish first, you first must finish. But WAIT that doesn’t even apply …

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Fire on Fridays: NASCAR Needs Jimmie Johnson, Hendrick Motorsports to Succeed

2019 Bristol Zach Catanzareti Jimmie Johnson

(Photo: Zach Catanzareti)

NASCAR without a championship-caliber Hendrick Motorsports is like the New England Patriots failing to make it deep into the NFL playoffs. The four-car Chevrolet team has been among NASCAR’s best since its founding in 1984. Throughout the decades, the organization only became better, leading the sport in innovation, drama and, of course, incredible paint schemes. …

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Fire on Fridays: Don’t Underestimate Ross Chastain

2019 Gateway Ngots Trucks Ross Chastain Nigel Kinrade Photography

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

Call him Ross the Boss Watermelon Man Chastain, because this dude deserves to be called two different nicknames. He’s that good, this story is that cool and the fact that this watermelon farmer keeps on trucking (pun intended) needs to be appreciated. A borderline journeyman who’s paid his dues and then some, Ross Chastain‘s win …

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Fire on Fridays: Show Respect to Darrell Waltrip

1997 Darlington Cup Darrell Waltrip Jeff Hammond Nigel Kinrade Nkp

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade/NKP)

Untraditional. Unfiltered. Unapologetic. Unique. Darrell Waltrip is different. He’s exactly what NASCAR needed at a time of transition at the start of the 21st century. But come the end of this weekend, race fans will no longer hear the famous words that have made waves throughout the nation: “Boogity, boogity, boogity: let’s go racing boys!” …

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Fire on Fridays: What’s Next for Kurt Busch?

2019 Michigan I Cup Kurt Busch Nkp

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

If you didn’t know he was 40 years old, the numbers tell you Kurt Busch may be near the top of his game. Sure, he’s in his first season with Chip Ganassi Racing in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, still working out the kinks that come along with joining a new organization and new …

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Fire on Fridays: Pocono Needs to Use Its Road Course

2019 Cup Pocono Zach Catanzareti William Byron

(Photo: Zach Catanzareti)

The Tricky Triangle just isn’t tricky enough anymore. I’ve been going to Pocono Raceway for the last 15 years, and these days, the racing is way too hit or miss. Some events at the track are stellar, like the first NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series race in 2010, which featuring plenty of passing, wrecks and …

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