Race Weekend Central

Bowyer Wins on Fuel Mileage; Gordon Claims Final Chase Berth

By Jeff Wolfe The saying goes that a little rain never hurt anybody. But a few drops at around 12:30 a.m. Sunday in Richmond, Va., just may have saved Jeff Gordon’s season. Gordon made an unlikely comeback to finish second in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Richmond International Raceway Saturday night/Sunday morning to become …

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Dakoda Armstrong Driver Diary: Tough Breaks, Iowa’s Excellence And NFL 2012

I didn’t think we were going to be too bad in Atlanta when we unloaded, but the track just got slowed with the more rubber that got put down. Everyone was fighting the same thing with being a little free. We never really got it perfect and we definitely didn’t have the speed we needed for qualifying, either, and that hurt us. When we got in the race, I was off a little bit and there was so much green flag racing that there wasn’t a lot of an opportunity to pit and make adjustments. It was just a night where we never really hit it off and we struggled a little bit. We were definitely looking for a good run. After Michigan (finished third), we had bad luck at Bristol and then didn’t have great luck at Atlanta, either. It’s disappointing for sure.

Beyond The Cockpit: Engine Guru Doug Yates On NASCAR Past, Present & Future

_Doug Yates has been around racing his entire life. He’s the son of a legendary engine builder and has made a career out of making horsepower. He now heads up the operations at Roush Yates, a collaborative effort established in 2004 between two former engine building rivals who decided to team up and share their expertise._

_The result was an instant success, as Kurt Busch claimed the Cup Series title in the first year of the collaboration. The company has been expanding their reach beyond the upper levels of NASCAR and is now serving a broad variety of racing endeavors around the globe. Frontstretch sat down with Yates before the ADVOCARE 500 in Atlanta to talk about growing up in the sport, learning about business from a legendary father, and hopes for the future._

Potts’ Shots: Rainy Days in ASA, Kenny’s Cussing, and Butch’s Bad Break

With a phone call this week, somebody wanted to know what was the longest distance I ever drove only to be rained out.

That would have to be one of the ASA races we ran in Atlanta. Woke up Sunday morning with the pouring rain like it was coming out of a bucket, and it stayed that way until we pulled out at 3:00 p.m. Rex Robbins asked if I was giving up on it clearing up. I said I wasn’t so much worried about that as the track filling up with water. This was back when Atlanta was a “pure” oval and a bit bowl-shaped like Dover. I loved it that way. We don’t have enough tracks like that nowadays…

NASCAR Sprint Cup Power Rankings: Top 15 After Atlanta II

We’re getting close! The 10 race stretch to the champinonship known as “the Chase” is now only a week away, and Atlanta still left many more questions raised than answered. Hamlin’s back-to-back wins were almost a forethought to the wild card spot that were occupying headlines. However, Hamlin was indeed the driver in Victory Lane and is making some noise of his own heading to his home track in Richmond.

ESPN Puts Themselves (Unintentionally) in a Dark Place at Atlanta

Hello, race fans. Welcome back to Couch Potato Tuesday, where race broadcast criticism is the name of the game. This past week, the Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series were each at Atlanta Motor Speedway for 1,000 miles of racing and wearing tires down to the cords. Speaking of wearing down to the cords, I’m pretty sure that Trevor Bayne did quite a bit of that on Sunday night if his practice laps Saturday were any indication. His car seemed to be more at home at Lebanon Valley than Atlanta.

Also of note, we’re getting into college football season again. Countdown prior to both the Nationwide and Sprint Cup races was affected by games running long. I have no idea why ESPN thinks that it is a good idea to allot three hours per game. They have to run exceptionally fast in order to finish in that amount of time. At this point, ESPN literally has the power to dictate terms to schools about when they start games (the Tuesday night MAC and Sun Belt Conference events are just one example of this.) I’d suggest moving the start times up, but I guess they’d probably wait until next year to execute any changes.

Is Denny Hamlin a Serious Title Contender? We’re About to Find Out

Color me impressed. Seven months ago at the start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup series season, if someone would have told me that Denny Hamlin would be the winningest driver on the season going into the final regular season race at Richmond, I would have laughed at them. I, along with many others in the NASCAR community, had written Denny Hamlin off as a serious title contender heading into 2012.

After all, it was Hamlin who entered this year reeling from a miserably disappointing 2011 season that saw the Virginian driver finish an unimpressive ninth in the standings with only five top-5 finishes on the year. 2011 (and the end of 2010 as well, of course) was so bad for Denny that he had to go see a sports psychologist to help reclaim all of his lost confidence. Not exactly the mindset known to be possessed by champions, to say the least.

But here we are, almost a full year later, and Denny Hamlin is on top of the NASCAR world once again.

Hamlin’s crew comes through for a second straight victory

By Jeff Wolfe There’s a lot that goes into winning a NASCAR Sprint Cup race. And what sometimes looks like a sure victory, can disappear in an instant. Denny Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr. each experienced that first hand Sunday night at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Hamlin won his second straight Sprint Cup race and his …

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Top News: Hamlin hoping for slightly better luck with Sports Clips in Atlanta

Sports Clips returns to sponsor Hamlin in Atlanta Denny Hamlin’s No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota will once again feature Sports Clips as the primary sponsor. Earlier this year, Hamlin posted a runner-up finish at Darlington with the company’s colors on his car in retro scheme honoring Cale Yarborough’s NASCAR Hall of Fame induction. Hamlin …

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Potts’ Shots: Agreeing To Disagree – To A Degree

First off, a comment from *Steven Sturm* says I goofed on SCCA flag procedures last week, saying,

One mistake: with yellow flags, there is no passing until you pass the
incident, not the next flag station.

OK, Steven, I guess you’re speaking from experience and have some knowledge of the subject. However, I wasn’t sure about that when I wrote it, and I got my information from a video on one of the SCCA regions’ website. Maybe it differs by region. I ended that column with the note that we had a lot of fun in those days.

NASCAR Sprint Cup Power Rankings: Top 15 After Bristol-2

Was that “Old Bristol”? Or “New Old” Bristol? Or Old New…?

Does it matter? It was awesome! Helmet throws, finger wags, and everything in between were the staples of the night, and somehow Denny Hamlin found his way through all of it into Victory Lane. Saturday night short track racing at its finest.

How did Hamlin fair in our rankings? And did Tony Stewart’s helmet throw earn him any brownie points with our writers? Continue reading to find out…

Couch Potato Tuesday: ESPN Fails to Carry Excitement to Cup Telecast

Hello, race fans. Welcome back to Couch Potato Tuesday, where race telecast critiquing is the name of the game. This past weekend, the Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series were all in action back at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Also of note, we’ve breached the 250 critique mark here at Frontstretch (combined between the regular Tuesday critiques and the ones in the Annex). I thank my readers for hanging in there over the past three plus seasons.