Race Weekend Central

Overhyping and Individual Coverage Mars ESPN at Brickyard

Hello, race fans. Welcome back to Couch Potato Tuesday, the weekly piece here at Frontstretch where TV coverage is placed front and center. This past weekend, we had “mini-Speedweeks” out in Indianapolis. The Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series were at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, along with Grand-Am’s two series. Meanwhile, the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards raced Friday night at nearby Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis with USAC’s three big divisions (Midgets, Wingless Sprints and Silver Crown) as support.

Beyond the Cockpit: How NASCAR Helps Jeremy Burnett Promote Millbridge Speedway

_Promoting a local short track is no easy feat in today’s tough economic times. Add in the challenge of trying to grow a form of racing that is popular elsewhere but in its infancy in the region where the track is located, and the difficulties multiply. Jeremy Burnett promotes Millbridge Speedway with his wife Ashly and help from anyone who is willing to pitch in and try and make the 1/6th mile dirt track between Mooresville and Salisbury North Carolina a success. This is the second season under the Burnetts’ leadership and the track has undergone some improvements, with more planned in the future. New lights, a new retaining wall and new dirt recently added to the surface are all helping to entice more competitors and fans to visit the bullring every other Wednesday throughout most of the year._

Chicagoland Coverage Decent, but Networks Keep Viewers Guessing

=Hello, race fans. Welcome back to Couch Potato Tuesday, where critiquing of race broadcasts is the name of the game. The Sprint Cup Series took their final weekend off of the year, but unlike the last time, there was plenty of action to make up for it. Both the Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series were each in action at Chicagoland Speedway. The ARCA Racing Series also raced Saturday as the tertiary show.

*Before we start,* ESPN stuck a little nugget into their “press release”:http://espnmediazone.com/us/press-releases/2012/07/nascar-sprint-cup-racing-coming-to-espn-for-second-half-of-season/ about their upcoming Sprint Cup coverage. Tucked in there nice and tight is the news that Marty Reid will be returning to the broadcast booth to do play-by-play for the remaining Nationwide Series races. This will allow Allen Bestwick to focus on the Sprint Cup races.

Regan Smith Driver Diary: Changing One’s Own Luck

I would like to thank everyone for your words of support for the firefighters and those impacted by the fires out here in Colorado. Fortunately, they’ve got all of them taken care of finally and we got some rain. It’s still a severe drought but at least it’s not the timber box that is used to be. The firefighters did a great job containing the fires so I hope we don’t have to worry about it the rest of this year. The closest one to us was probably the Boulder fire about 15 to 20 miles away so it was far enough where it didn’t have us too worried but close enough to keep an eye on it. We feel very fortunate.

The drug screening process in NASCAR has come back into the spotlight of late and a lot of people have shared their opinions on the system. I think as with any process, there are always ways that you can refine it.

Potts’ Shots: Bluegrass Boondoggle And How To Put The “Sprint” In Cup

A little background here, folks…

FMS was built on the Kentucky State Fairgrounds property in 1961 with a ten-year lease, which was renewed once. In 1980, the state fair board decided that auto racing wasn’t a part of their future plans and didn’t renew again. At the time, they said they wanted to build horse barns on that property. As of right now, it’s still a parking lot.

Beyond the Cockpit: Brad Keselowski on Racing Cars, Reputation…and Fireworks

_If it’s true that a real racer eats, sleeps and breathes racing, then Brad Keselowski is as real as it gets. The 28-year-old Michigan native is a second-generation racer along with his brother Brian. Their father, Bob, is a winner in NASCAR’s Camping World Truck Series (ironically, the only national touring series that Brad has yet to win in) and uncle Ron raced in what is now the Sprint Cup Series. Brad Keselowski has been racing since the age of 14 and his passion for the sport is evident—Keselowski races several Nationwide Series races a year and owns a Truck Series team. His three Sprint Cup wins this year is tied with Tony Stewart for best in the series. With a reputation for being aggressive on the track and brutally honest off it, his star in the sport is clearly on the rise. Keselowski sat down with Frontstretch.com Senior Writer Amy Henderson at Loudon to talk about his Penske Racing team and crew chief Paul Wolfe, his aspirations as an owner, and his favorite things to do away from the track (hint: even then he’s thinking about racing…online). Unless he’s busy blowing things up…_

NASCAR Sprint Cup Power Rankings: Top 15 After Loudon

BREAKING: Wins really do matter! Kasey Kahne’s victory in New Hampshire practically signed, sealed, and delivered a wild card spot to the Hendrick Motorsports driver. It came at the expense, however, of dominant driver of the day Denny Hamlin, whose four tire mix up with crew chief Darian Grubb cost them a near sure trip to Victory Lane. I guess there is always September!

Did Kasey Kahne’s “stolen” victory bump him up in our rankings? Did Hamlin and Grubb’s flub knock them down? Continue reading to find out:

Kahne Avoids Pit Road Pitfalls for Win at New Hampshire

By Jeff Wolfe Kasey Kahne didn’t have to do anything spectacular on the way to victory at New Hampshire Motor Speedway Sunday. He and his team just didn’t make any big mistakes. And while he admitted he wasn’t the fastest car on the day, the No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports car was the winning one. Kahne …

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Is Second Place Already the First Loser in the Truck, Nationwide Series?

Ironically (or perhaps not surprisingly), it’s the two NASCAR national touring series that don’t have a Chase system that are currently enjoying tight races atop the standings as the 2012 season hits the summer stretch. The Nationwide ranks is playing host to Sadler vs. Stenouse Redux, featuring Austin Dillon, while the Truck ranks see four regulars all within nine markers of each other heading into Iowa.

The commonalities between the two are numerous. Richard Childress Racing has a presence in both. Both feature a Dillon brother. And both now have a second-place driver facing the first major uncertainties of their respective seasons. When Austin Dillon takes to the track this Saturday at Loudon, it will be without crew chief Danny Stockman, who has been suspended after his No. 3 team was penalized for rules violations each of the last two race weekends. And when Justin Lofton leaves Iowa, the No. 6 team faces an uncertain sponsorship situation, following the announcement this week that backer CollegeComplete.com was departing.

Kenny Wallace Driver Diary: Bad Luck, Good Racing…and the Wizard

Michigan was really disappointing. We qualified 10th and had a really good car. It gave us no warning whatsoever; I guess the motor broke right as we were coming to get the green flag. As we were coming to the green flag, I went to take off and the motor blew up right then. That’s the second time that’s ever happened in my career. It happened at Phoenix back in like 1993, where my motor blew up on the very first lap. I guess if you race enough like me, those things will happen. So that was a bummer. It was just that quick at Michigan: we qualified 10th, it blew up coming to take the green flag and that’s it, we were out of the race.

Potts’ Shots: How Much To Run It, The Bluebird Walls It, And A Name Game

I got quite a few e-mails last week about my comments regarding Linda Vaughn.

One guy, calling himself simply “Old Timer” says,

_I have a picture of me getting a nice, big hug from Linda in the garage in Daytona in 1972 after the Firecracker 400, when I was 12 years old! Yep, one never forgets a hug from Linda Vaughn! Especially when you are eyeball-level with her…neck._

I don’t think there is anything I can add to that.