Race Weekend Central

Grading the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Pack: Part 2

NASCAR’s longest and most grueling race, the Coca-Cola 600, represents a significant milestone in the 2009 season. It’s not quite the halfway point to the Chase (that comes the following week after Dover), but once the checkers fly late Sunday evening we’re exactly one-third of the way through the 36-race schedule. With that in mind, …

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Thompson in Turn 5: The Jury Is Still out on Scott Speed, AJ Allmendinger Swap

When in the fall of last season it was announced by Red Bull Racing that it had relieved AJ Allmendinger of his duties behind the wheel of the Red Bull No. 84, the news was met with a considerable amount of skepticism within the NASCAR community. It made little sense to many to replace Allmendinger, …

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Did You Notice? Restrictor Plate 1-Hit Wonders & the New Precedent of “Probation”

Did You Notice? Just probation for Casey Mears and Dale Earnhardt Jr.? Did you really expect the sanctioning body to do anything more after their little post-race altercation at Phoenix? We already have the U.S. Army spread out in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere across the globe… there’s no need to dispatch an additional battalion to …

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5 Points to Ponder: 2009 Subway Fresh 500 at Phoenix Edition

Good finish For all the talk of anti-climactic races this season, NASCAR was fortunate to have an exciting finish this weekend at Phoenix. Sure, there were long green-flag runs throughout the race, and clean air provided such an advantage that Dale Earnhardt Jr. couldn’t compete without it – but there were several moments that made …

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Frontstretch Fantasy Insider: Keeping Your Team Hot in Phoenix’s Dry Heat

After a week off to regenerate the batteries and fatten up on Peeps and chocolate, the series is heading to the desert Southwest. The quirky 1-mile oval outside of Phoenix tests the drivers and the teams to come up with a setup that can handle the tight turns 1 and 2 as well as the …

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Holding a Pretty Wheel: Are NASCAR’s Cost Cuts Helping or Just Another Smokescreen?

NASCAR recently announced that the sanctioning body would now conduct postrace engine teardowns at their Concord facility, the latest in a series of measures designed to cut costs. I’m not really sure how this one saves teams any money, unless NASCAR is planning on delivering the inspected engines to the teams they were taken from. …

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5 Points to Ponder: 2009 Samsung 500 at Texas Edition

The streak is over How fitting is it that Jeff Gordon’s 47-race winless streak comes to an end at a track where he’s been winless for his entire career? Gordon was strong for much of the race, but it was a combination of a good pit stop by the No. 24 bunch and yet another …

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The Big 6: Questions Answered After the 2009 Samsung 500 at Texas

Who… gets my shoutout of the race? I never thought it would be this good, this fast. But Tony Stewart has made the turnaround at Stewart-Haas Racing so fast it makes your head spin. While Ryan Newman needs a little more help to get up to speed, Stewart has shown his true mettle as a …

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Frontstretch Fantasy Insider: 5 Bars for Fantasy Teams in Texas

Everything’s bigger in Texas, they say, and the Texas Motor Speedway certainly is considerably larger than the short tracks the Cup circuit has tackled these last few weeks. With the pending return to an intermediate oval, expect speeds to go up and the margin for error in race setups to go down. But with the …

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Voice of Vito: The Season Ahead – Martinsville Serves as NASCAR’s True Test of Legitimacy

I have always maintained that Martinsville is the true litmus test for the opening months of the NASCAR season. Daytona is the Super Bowl of motorsports, and it is easy to get caught up in the hype of the grandest race on the schedule. A win can make a season or define a career (just …

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Did You Notice? What Jimmie Johnson’s Hiding, Why Patience for NASCAR Owners Pays Off & Driver Depression

Did You Notice? During a garage walkthrough on Friday, the newest edition to Jimmie Johnson’s No. 48 cloak of secrecy? It was a dark-blue drape placed over his stall inside the garage area, meaning no one walking by could see what they were doing to set up the car. In the team’s defense, the forecast …

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Mirror Driving: Killing the Competition Caution?, Brainstorming New Sponsors & Jimmie Johnson vs. Denny Hamlin… NOT!

Welcome to Mirror Driving. Every week, your favorite columnists sit down and give their opinion about the latest NASCAR news and rumors. Love us or hate us, make a comment below and tell us how you feel about what we’ve said! This Week’s Participants: Tom Bowles (Editor-In-Chief; Mondays/Bowles-Eye View & Wednesdays/Did You Notice?) Beth Lunkenheimer (Tuesdays/Running Your …

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