Race Weekend Central

April Fool’s Turned Tragic: Alan Kulwicki’s Death, 20 Years Later

Though it was not all that long ago in the grand scheme of things, the Winston Cup circuit was very different back in the late 1970s and early ’80s. Back then, almost all the star drivers were still Southern-born and bred, most of them having started their careers racing late models on one of those storied old bullrings south of the Mason-Dixon line. A driver who showed promise might hope one day to land a ride with one of the “Good ol’ boy” teams, like Junior Johnson’s, Bud Moore’s, or Richard Childress’. Certainly, if that driver ever expected to have a chance at running for the championship, it was thought he needed to land a ride with an established team.

April Fool’s Folly: The One Where Everybody Loses

As you read this article, half the world is popping up with internet stories that may or may not be true. Your best friend may be pulling a prank, as we speak, moving your car across the street and then waiting for your frantic call, thinking it was stolen (yes, that’s happened to someone I know). All across the country, this day is a time for creating fools.

But Joe Gibbs Racing doesn’t need that type of aggravation today: all across the wires, too many of their people appear as one. The company still reels this Monday, adjusting to life without Denny Hamlin and a series of whoops! announcements from one of the sport’s professional companies that makes you think whether Chuckles the Clown mistakenly jumped in as head of PR.

The Joke’s On Them This April Fool’s: Time For Money To Match These Mouths

We’ve heard this song before. The verses might be a little different, but the refrain is the same. I’ll set it up for you: NASCAR has left one of its historical tracks (we’ll say Track A) and it has been empty for a period of time. Now, someone has come in to revive the track, they’ve brought racing back and NASCAR has watched and listened. We’re here once again with that story, except it’s gotten farther than any previous one. The track in question, Rockingham, has even been thrown a bone, receiving a Camping World Truck Series race last season. That means now is the time where fans can decide its fate, the moment they’ve essentially asked for. If they don’t show up in substantial numbers, supporting it NASCAR will be able to point to the lack of success and use it as evidence that they were correct in leaving the track behind for the riches of bigger television markets.

April Fool’s First Mistake: Waking Up To No NASCAR Race Recap

Let’s be honest. Holidays are great. Most holidays mean time off work, time with family, and the best part – at least for me – good food!

However, for those of us who devote much of our time to racing, it also means there is a slight void. The afternoons we usually devote to watching side-by-side competition are now wide open. This past weekend was especially empty seeing as almost no major racing series was on track for our enjoyment. There’s just … nothing.

It’s especially troubling for the select few, like myself, who don’t have many (ahem … any) interest in sports outside of this one. To me, the “Final Four” is the last four tire pit stop of the day and the only “Shockers” I know of are when Paul Menard gets back to Victory Lane. Also, a “Bracket” reminds me of the days when I had braces and I’d really rather not think about that. I still can’t look at rubber bands the same way…

Turn Back the Clock: 1999 Goody’s Body Pain 500

Hello, race fans, and welcome back to Turning Back the Clock, where I look back at classic races from the track that the Sprint Cup Series will be racing at each week. This week, the Sprint Cup Series is at Martinsville Speedway, the infamous little “paper clip” shaped .526 mile oval and the lone remaining …

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Mark Martin Tabbed As Sub For Denny Hamlin

Joe Gibbs Racing announced on Thursday evening that Mark Martin will pilot the Denny Hamlin’s No. 11 FedEx Toyota while he recovers from an L1 Compression Fracture suffered at Auto Club Speedway last weekend. Martin had originally been scheduled to pilot the Michael Waltrip Racing No. 55 Toyota for four of the next six races; …

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Around The Block: Stewart Called This One Wrong

You saw it with your own eyes on Sunday: the block, the brawl, the bad blood, and the bleeped-out tirade afterward. Now, a few days later, the dust has settled after a wild finish at Fontana—Fontana!—and the heart of the matter becomes clear: it began, on Sunday, with a block.

Really, what went down in California was a perfect storm of two separate incidents at the center of which was one Joey Logano. Logano threw the block in question, and then went on to race Denny Hamlin as hard as two drivers can race for the win-an incident which ended with Hamlin in the hospital with a broken back.

Frontstretch Foto Funnies: Holy $#!&, Slow Down!

_Welcome to the Frontstretch Foto Funnies! Ever see a photo that’s just begging for a caption? We see them all the time! Each week, we’ll pick a few, then let our staff give it their best shot. We’ll post the best ones for you!_

_Want to get in on the fun? Each week, we’ll also designate one of the photos for fan captions. Leave your best ideas in the comments below or on our “Facebook page.”:https://www.facebook.com/Frontstretch We’ll choose our favorite one and reprint the photo next week with its new caption!…_

Kyle Larson Driver Diary: Daytona’s Finish, Busy Schedules And Nationwide Racing

It’s been a fairly busy start to the 2013 racing season for me. As I’m sure you know, I was involved in a pretty exciting and crazy finish to the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Daytona. I was getting pushed from behind to the finish line and when the cars in front of me started wrecking, there wasn’t much I could do. I was in the wrong place at the wrong time and then when I was hit behind the final time, my car went airborne into the fence. It was a scary wreck, primarily because of the debris getting into the stands. We never want to see any of our fans get injured and I’m glad that everyone who was injured seems to be getting better. From my seat in the wreck, it certainly hurt but these cars are so safe and we’re so protected it didn’t hurt near as much as several of my sprint car wrecks. It’s a testament to my Turner Scott Motorsports team for all the hard work they put into these cars to make me safe, and I was able to walk away and live to race another day.

NASCAR Fan Q & A: How Much Does Media Really Influence Viewership?

It seems like only yesterday, we were yearning for the racing season to start again. The offseason had dragged on for a long time and we were ready to hear the roar of the engines once more. Now, we have upon us our first off week. No Trucks. No Nationwide. No Cup. That’s probably a good thing, considering that it gives us all a chance to catch our breaths after Fontana.

Still, though, this break seems a little too soon — and too wide-ranging. Couldn’t we at least get an exhibition race? A Saturday shootout? Something? Anything? Come on, NASCAR, at least give us engines _somewhere_ on Easter weekend!

Takes Stock Of NASCAR’s New Stock Car

_NASCAR’s season is only five races old. The new generation car has had mixed reviews but already provided one of the most exciting races we’ve seen in years. As the season heads into its first off week on the schedule, the annual Easter break, Frontstretch spoke to Kevin “Bono” Manion about the car’s progress and other mechanical storylines for 2013. Manion is the crew chief for Jamie McMurray, a longtime fixture in the garage area who first worked with Martin Truex, Jr. on the Cup level._

_Manion touches on last weekend’s race, the track at Fontana and the new car. He also speaks to the new engine alliance Earnhardt Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates has with Hendrick Motorsports and his plans for the off week._