Race Weekend Central

5 Points to Ponder: Hamlin On-Track, Sadler Off-Track? and a Big Homecoming for Kurt Busch

Two races into the season is hardly enough time to make a lasting prediction for the remainder of a long regular season that will stretch till September. But no matter how early in the season, Sunday was a very big day for the No. 11 team and driver Denny Hamlin. Two races in, Hamlin sits atop the point standings; in six previous full-time seasons, he’s averaged 20th in points by now. It was a second straight convincing showing that had the No. 11 among the class of the field, demonstrating that the learning curve between driver and new crew chief Darian Grubb may well be a short one.

Tracking the Chasers: Matt Kenseth Takes Checkers at Charlotte to Jump Into Thick of Title Chase

There are those days when you bust your hump all day and feel like you didn’t accomplish anything. Well, Carl Edwards started the Bank of America in third position, raced all 500 miles and drove under the checkered flag in third place. He certainly did quite a bit of work during the 334 laps it …

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Fan’s View: Everybody Loves a Mystery – Who is Going to Win NASCAR’s Sprint Cup in 2011?

This is gonna be fun. For the first time since the inception of the Chase format, I am actually looking forward to the final 10 races of the season. Why, you ask? Well, can you tell me who is gonna win the whole shebang? No? Neither can I, and that is a beautiful thing. Despite …

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Bowles Thinks Out Loud For Matt: 2011 Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol

Brad Keselowski beat Jeff Gordon off pit road during the race’s final caution, blew by two-tire Martin Truex, Jr. on the final restart and made the rest of the Bristol field look like they were the ones driving drunkenly impaired on Miller Lite. Gordon tried to catch him, but alas, Bristol is the new half-mile Fontana: fresher tires made little difference while aero and track position took center stage – even at 15 seconds a lap.

The Big 6: Questions Answered After the 2011 Irwin Tools Night Race From Bristol

There are two sides to every story, and this week’s “huh?” actually goes to both sides of the same issue: pit road timing. After Jeff Gordon was beaten off pit road by Brad Keselowski on the final stop, he complained that Keselowski had taken advantage of a somewhat antiquated system of timing the cars’ average time between marked segments on pit road rather than by actual speed at any given point.

Thinkin’ Out Loud: 2011 Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan

Kyle Busch chose the outside lane on a green-white-checkered restart to keep Jimmie Johnson at bay. He cleared him within the first 10 seconds under green and… that was it. The outside line is now the preferred line on speedways, just so long as the car in the right lane clears the inside one before he gets sucked around. Add in a little aero push for Johnson, some horsepower under the hood for Busch and the No. 18 cruised to Victory Lane.

What’s Vexing Vito? NASCAR “Mortal Combat” at Watkins Glen

What is it about Watkins Glen that brings out the complete inability in men to engage in mortal combat? First it was Juan Pablo Montoya and Kevin Harvick holding hands at Watkins Glen a couple of years ago, now it’s Greg Biffle throwing “baby punches” and Boris Said trying to go Waterboy around 10 crew …

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