Race Weekend Central

Midweek Mud Slinging Proves Best Ideas Come From Outside The Box

Ryan Blaney 2013 Eldora Speedway Camping World Truck Series Mike Neff

(Credit: Mike Neff)

On Monday this week, Brian France voiced his opinion on the newly formed Race Team Alliance, the consortium of the nine largest teams in the sport, who have banded together to help speak with one voice with – although sometime presumably against – NASCAR and their decision making processes. Appearing on Sirius XM’s Sirius Speedway …

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Vexing Vito: Dale Earnhardt, Jr.’s Championship-Caliber Sacrifice

With Dale Earnhardt, Jr.’s 26th-place finish at Talladega Sunday, many of his fans (OK, let’s be honest — his Dad’s fans…) have taken to railing against his decision to call no-joy, doubling back to the rear in the closing laps instead of going all-out for the win. However, while it wasn’t exactly reminiscent of his …

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Vexing Vito: Three Drivers In Need of a Role Reversal

At Bristol Motor Speedway In Bristol, Tennessee On March 16, 2014.

Carl Edwards win at Bristol has him in The Chase, but Roush Fenway’s speedway sluggishness could conspire to make him irrelevant — and a potential first-round exit.

Yes, this Thursday perhaps no driver needs good luck more than Parker Kligerman,out of a ride for now as Swan Racing restructured in a way that keeps him off the track. The rookie’s bad luck continues, a rough start that’s left him 38th in driver points and wondering if a mid-level ride in the Nationwide Series …

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What’s Vexing Vito — Charting The Suspendables and Expendables

When it was made known that Penske Racing and Joe Gibbs Racing were going to appeal their respective penalties, many were skeptical of the outcome. After all, Middlebrook has connections to GM! He’s friends with Rick Hendrick! Penske fields Fords! Gibbs is nearly guilty of treason running Toyotas! In actuality what happened was after failing …

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What’s Vexing Vito – Penske Penalty, Gibbs Glib, and Hope for Hamlin

Penske Racing lost its appeal on Wednesday to drop or at least reduce the penalty assessed to the No. 2 and 22 teams, following unproved rear end housings discovered in pre-race inspection at Texas Motor Speedway. Following the decision today, they are appealing to John Middlebrook, chief appellate office of NASCAR. The final appeal will …

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What’s Vexing Vito: Joey Logano At A Crossroad

Much has been made of Joey Logano’s actions at Auto Club Speedway this past Sunday. From his “take no prisoners” dive into Turn Three on the final lap, to going Ivan Drago with his “that’s what he gets” blast after Denny Hamlin went careening into the inside wall – and out of the Series for the next six weeks, Sliced Bread has sliced right into the center of NASCAR attention. Granted, Logano didn’t know the extent of Hamlin’s injuries. However, as of Wednesday afternoon he had yet to reach out to Hamlin to discuss the incident – or wish him well. That changed Wednesday afternoon, finally although Hamlin said that while Logano had reached out to him, and they had exchanged texts, things “didn’t go well. It was unproductive.”

Guns, Retirees Up Front And Faulty Restarts: What's Wrong With This Picture?

So Jimmie Johnson is still miffed two days after getting smoked on a restart by Carl Edwards. I think JJ’s reaction reeks of sour grapes, considering that the No. 48 has had its share of questionable calls in the inspection area during the past 11 seasons and five championships. That being said, I’ve never really understood the restart rules anyway. Lines on wall, cones jammed in a fence, a restart area, a start/finish line, can’t pass a guy unless it’s on the right before the start/finish line, leader has to get to the line first, but what if he’s slow or spins his tires….enough already. You have a guy with a green flag, standing in a thing called THE STARTER’S STAND. Have him wave the flag and the race starts. If that doesn’t work, use the caution lights. When they go out, it’s go time – just like in Formula One. Last I checked, they don’t seem to have an issue at their races with knowing when to accelerate. — Much was made in NASCAR circles of Mark Martin winning the pole at 54 years of age at Phoenix last weekend. <div style=\"float:right; width:320px; margin: 20px; border: black solid 1px; padding: 3px;\"><img src=\"http://www.frontstretch.com/images/15507.jpg\" width=\"320\" height=\"200\"/><p style=\"margin: 3px; text-align: left; font-weight:bold;\">Chances at some point Martin's holding that Coors Light Award and it says 2020? Umm… would you bet against it at this point?</p></div> Typically, something like that would be front page news and something that captures the public’s attention to rally around. However, considering the fact that Martin has been doing it with regularity, ever since breaking decade number five, it’s become kind of expected. Check back in six years or so after he wins the Coca-Cola 600 at 60; by then, he should become a national phenomenon. Also, just throwing it out here – don’t be shocked if he wins the pole or the race at Las Vegas. In fact, I’d put money on one or the other. Or both. — Perhaps the first casualties of the re-branding of SPEED to FOX Sports 1, will be the loss of Sunday night staples Wind Tunnel and SPEED Center. As much as we are a NASCAR-centric site, nation, and fans, I have always looked forward and enjoyed the comprehensive motorsports coverage afforded by both of these programs. Yes, I am one of those degenerates who get up at 5:00am on a Sunday to watch Formula One – or stays up until 3:00am to watch the races from Asia and Australia. You won’t see World Superbike highlights on Sports Center, and good luck getting any in-depth post-race analysis on IndyCar or NHRA in a timely fashion. Whatever the outcome, please, for the love of God and all that is holy: No more Unique Whips. No more Pinks. No more Pass Time. Enough. — Social media was all atwitter Tuesday, when it was revealed that the National Rifle Association will be the title sponsor of the Sprint Cup race there on April, 13th. How could NASCAR do this?! I mean, the controversy of such a group, whose membership helps to promote firearms education, safety, and uh, protect the amendment that was deemed important enough to be ranked No. 2 when the country was founded, and…hmm…I guess that’s it. Again, it was a pretty transparent attempt by certain media outlets and their members to make a stink over something that is essentially a non-issue. Call it a slow news day, deflection attention from the sequester, or trying to gin up support for something that the majority of Americans oppose, it’s a question nobody asked, and even fewer truly care about. The argument against it is silly to begin with. I mean, it’s at Texas Motor Speedway, where you get a shotgun for winning the pole, and a pair of single-action .45 Long Colt revolvers to fire blanks into the air. Petitions were gaining momentum a couple of months back to secede, and Texas typically does the opposite of what the rest of the country does – and is probably why it’s one of the few financially stable states in the union. On the flip side of the coin, would these same critics be up in arms of Planned Parenthood was sponsoring a race? Or GLAD? FBI statistics show there were nearly 20 million background checks in 2012 – that’s a rather large audience of potential new members, many of whom may not be very familiar with the safe handling of firearms. The NRA has seen record spikes in membership – up over 300,000 since the first of the year. If they have the ability to sponsor a race and help promote the sport (those purses don’t come out of thin air – or Federal funding), as well as their cause, so be it. Besides, let’s be honest: the few who threaten to not attend or not watch weren’t going to anyway. <div style=\"float:right; width:360px; margin: 20px; border: black solid 1px; padding: 3px;\"><img src=\"http://www.frontstretch.com/images/15508.jpg\" width=\"320\" height=\"236\"/><p style=\"margin: 3px; text-align: left; font-weight:bold;\">What do you mean the NRA is sponsoring a NASCAR race?! How could we ever break such a redneck southern stereotype?!!</p></div> Some think it does nothing but reinforce the stereotype of NASCAR fans as a bunch of rednecks, with gun racks and pickup trucks. This has been the same battle we’ve been fighting since Donnie, Cale, and Bobby were mud wrestling at Daytona in 1979 in front of the entire snowbound East Coast. As much as NASCAR has tried to lure the casual fan in with doing whatever it can to disguise it to look like the NFL with headers the last decade, there is a core group that has kept things afloat, and the reason why it’s still relevant. The same ones who stand for the National Anthem, salute the military and law enforcement, go nuts for the fly-by, and represent the core of American values. As far as I can tell, it’s about as perfect of a sponsor as we’re ever going to have in the sport. Except of course maybe Anheuser-Busch, Miller, Coors, and RJ Reynolds, and Winston. Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms; who would’ve imagined such diverse items would ever be so irrevocably linked in our time… *Connect with Vito!* <a href=\"http://www.twitter.com/VitoPugliese\"><img src=\"http://www.frontstretch.com/images/6502.jpg\"></a><br> \"Contact Vito Pugliese\":http://www.frontstretch.com/contact/14359/

What’s Vexing Vito: 2013 Daytona Speedweeks Kickoff a Mix of Old & New

As we approach Daytona Speedweeks’ 2013 kickoff this weekend, with Media Day well underway as you read this article, there is as much talk about looking to the past as there is heading towards the future. The Gen-6 car will make its debut in competition for the first time Saturday night in the Sprint Unlimited …

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What’s Vexing Vito: NASCAR Turns Wrestling at Phoenix

It used to be the greatest indictment of NASCAR after a controversial event was that it was “becoming just like big-time wrestling.” Which after this weekend’s fracas at Phoenix International Raceway I say, “FINALLY.” Let’s be honest. Wrestling is awesome. Back in the late 1990s when NASCAR was in its heyday and being thrust into …

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