Race Weekend Central

Some of the old Bristol returns to produce a new winner

By Jeff Wolfe The new Bristol is now the old Bristol. And with it came some of the same antics Saturday night that made the .533-mile track one of the most entertaining on the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Track owner Bruton Smith had the famed-oval put back to its old style after the Spring race by …

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Regan Smith Driver Diary: Unhappy with Ambrose and the Berrier Impact

As drivers, there is always something to do in between races and this week was no different. On Tuesday, we were at Pikes Peak for testing. Overall, I thought things went pretty well. Some stuff worked, some didn’t. Any time we get to test, it serves as a good opportunity to gather information that we can apply anywhere. If I had to pick a specific track where I expect what we learned to especially benefit us, I would say Richmond more than anywhere else; Pikes Peak is just a little bit rougher. We’re also hoping some of the things we found could work at Bristol.

We used to get to Pikes Peak a lot but this is actually the first time since the end of last year that we were able to test there. I enjoy going there and if they got rid of some of the bumps, I think you would see a lot more teams crossing the country to test there. From a short track perspective, I think it’s one of the best venues in the nation to collect data and knowledge at. I think it’s a great facility and I have a lot of fond memories from when we used to race there.

RPM makes crew switches for Ambrose, Almirola

RPM Makes Pit Crew Switches for Ambrose, Almirola According a report from FoxSports.com’s Lee Spencer (http://msn.foxsports.com/nascar/story/Richard-Petty-Motorsports-shifts-parts-of-NASCAR-Sprint-Cup-pit-crews-082212), Richard Petty Motorsports announced they’re changing up the pit crews for Marcos Ambrose’s No. 9 team and Aric Almirola’s No. 43 in hopes of helping performance for both drivers. “We’re trying to move things around to improve the performance …

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Potts’ Shots: How To Flag On A Road Course

An old friend from the Indianapolis area, Carl Jackson, wants to know why NASCAR seems reluctant to use “local” yellow flags on road courses.

There have been many people commenting on the issue, post-Montreal so I figured maybe I’d toss in my two cents.

Working with SCCA and other road racing bodies in my fifteen years at Indianapolis Raceway Park, I got fairly familiar with their procedures. I made an effort to learn as much as I could about it, especially because we had open test dates prior to their road race weekends. I served as either race control or chief starter on those dates, and felt I should know what the participants were expecting. I found out it was usually quite different from an oval racing outlook.

Beyond the Cockpit: Patrick Long On NASCAR, Road America Testing & More

_Recently, Patrick Long made his Sprint Cup debut in the No. 30 Toyota for Inception Motorsports at Watkins Glen. Unfortunately, it didn’t last very long — the team was out of commission well before the halfway point — but that was just one more series in a long list that he has competed in over the last decade or so._

_In addition to Sprint Cup, Long has competed in the Nationwide Series, ARCA and the K&N Pro Series. That speaks nothing of his volumes of experience in sports cars, having served as a Porsche factory driver since 2004. Long recently took a break from his very busy testing schedule in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin to talk to our own Phil Allaway._

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

Heartbreak may not even begin to describe what Jimmie Johnson felt after losing just one lap to go thanks to a blown engine. One man’s loss was another man’s gain, however, and Greg Biffle returned to Victory Lane for the second time this year. Meanwhile, Brad Keselowski’s strong run also brought him to the forefront of everyone’s minds as we head to the Chase for the Sprint Cup.

How did these three fair in our rankings? Did Biffle’s win vault him to the top? Keep reading to find out:

SPEED’s Action is Tops, While ESPN Needs to Expand Coverage

Hello, race fans. Welcome back to Couch Potato Tuesday, where race telecast criticism is the main topic of discussion. I’m back from a one-week hiatus imposed because I was in Watkins Glen for the Sprint Cup weekend there, representing Frontstretch. While I was there, I had originally planned to gather information in order to completely update/replace the article I wrote back in 2009 that goes behind the scenes of ESPN’s telecasts. The idea was that since technology modernizes at a substantial rate these days, ESPN would have had to modernize their own setup as well. However, ESPN refused to allow me access to the TV Compound, or to interview anyone associated with the network’s NASCAR telecasts.

Johnson’s bad luck leaves Biffle with Michigan win

By Jeff Wolfe Greg Biffle thinks he would have had something for Jimmie Johnson. But in the end, he didn’t need anything for the five-time NASCAR champion on the way to winning Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Michigan. Johnson, who was looking for his first victory at the track, appeared to be in prime …

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Kenny Wallace Driver Diary: Taking Care of Business On and Off-Track

We just got dirt racing this year. The DIRTCar Summer Nationals for the modifieds (is a series of races where the points are for) your ten best races. We had run nine races. I really like the Summer Nationals because they race a lot during the summer-28 races in 32 days. I wasn’t thinking about the championship, but we just got to racing and all of a sudden we started winning. We won like three out of five and all of a sudden I looked and I was only 39 points out of the lead. Well, my competitors had all already run ten or more. So I decided to go for the championship.

It was a crazy story because on Saturday, I had to be at a one hour Speed TV production meeting at Loudon. So, I came to the meeting and the stars aligned perfectly: Tony Stewart was flying to Eldora and the plane was literally going right over Toledo. So Tony just let me ride in his airplane, he didn’t even ask for any money, and they landed and dropped me off. Now, my guys were in Indiana. I told them to turn around, and they turned around and drove five hours the other way. We showed up, ran second in our heat. It was a 25-lap feature and we led like 18 or 19 laps and then my car picked up a big push—I guess we had it adjusted wrong—and we finished sixth and pulled it off.

Potts’ Shots: Bobbling Busch, Last Lap Push, and Hello — Where’s The Yellow?!

Lots of questions this week, most of them in personal questions and phone calls from long-time acquaintances, regarding NASCAR’s handling of the final laps at Watkins Glen.

First, the question of whether it’s safe to continue racing on a road course has to be left up to race control, and they have to depend on their observers and course marshals. In my own experience, on a short track, and even up to a 1.5-mile if you’re in a good enough position in the flagstand to see the whole course, the flagman can make that call.

NASCAR Sprint Cup Power Rankings: Top 15 After Watkins Glen

The caution never flew, but the oil did, and it made for one hell of a race. Whether or not Kyle Busch “deserved” that race doesn’t matter, because Marcos Ambrose was able to last through the chaos and make it to Victory Lane for the second time in his career. Meanwhile, the rest of us were left blue in the face after having held our breath the entire last lap. Oh, but it was so worth it!

So what about our Power Rankings? Did Ambrose’s victory move him up our rankings or did the voters have another driver in mind? Continue reading to find out…