Race Weekend Central

The Underdog House: Small NASCAR Teams Thrive At Short Tracks

2017 NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series, New Hampshire

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade/ NKP)

Cup Series racing at Martinsville is about survival and persistence. The on-track action always ruffles some feathers, best evidenced by the late-race incident between alpha dogs Denny Hamlin and Chase Elliott. What was happening between Kevin Harvick and Ryan Blaney served as the consolation sideshow. PETERS: What Happens Now For Hamlin & Elliott? But at Underdog …

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NASCAR Mailbox: Will Matt DiBenedetto Ever Get a Shot With a Big Cup Team?

2016 Kansas I CUP Matt DiBenedetto Brett Moist NKP

(Photo: Brett Moist / NKP)

The seemingly impossible task of building up a top-tier NASCAR team in the sport’s premier division is exactly what it is — virtually impossible. When new owners arise, their expectations are high. Their resources, however, are limited and usually by their bank accounts. In modern-day NASCAR, when everything is determined by a checkbook and engineering …

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The Underdog House: Where was the Outrage… For Corey Lajoie?

2017 Kansas II CUP Corey LaJoie Barry Cantrell NKP

(Photo: Barry Cantrell/NKP)

Think Small Checking out social media on Monday, there were a lot of posts expressing outrage at Matt Kenseth being parked Sunday at Kansas for having too many crewmen working on his car after damage put him on the five-minute clock.  Kenseth’s disqualification took him out of the playoffs in what may be his last …

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The Underdog House: Surviving NASCAR Talladega… Sort Of

2017 Talladega II CUP Michael McDowell Brad Keselowski racing Matthew T Thacker NKP

(Photo: Matthew T. Thacker/NKP)

Think Small One thing that struck me when I first started in NASCAR was that if you spent enough time looking, you could see fans at a race who supported every driver in the field.  T-shirts, hats, and bumper stickers were among the ways they proclaimed their loyalty. Fast forward a couple of decades, and …

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Matt DiBenedetto Attempting to Bring More Personality to NASCAR

2017 cup charlotte media tour zach catanzareti matt dibenedetto

(Photo: Zach Catanzareti)

Matt DiBenedetto is known as one of NASCAR’s top characters in the garage area. It’s all fun and games for “Guido” until he straps into his No. 32 Ford.  DiBenedetto, 26, is having a career-year in the sport’s premier division. Competing with the underfunded Go Fas Racing, he has a pair of top 10s on …

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The Underdog House: NASCAR Must ‘Cope’ With Slow Cars On Track

2017 Las Vegas CUP Landon Cassill Nigel Kinrade NKP

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade / NKP)

Think Small After last weekend’s race at Richmond Raceway, where Derrike Cope brought out a late caution while racing several laps down, fans and some media suggested Cope should have been removed from the track by NASCAR long before the incident. That group, which included regular season champion Martin Truex Jr., claimed Cope was so far in …

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The Underdog House: The Invisible NASCAR Season

2017 Richmond II CUP Corey Lajoie pack Racing John K Harrelson Harrelson photography Inc

(Photo: John K. Harrelson/Harrelson Photography Inc.)

Think Small Ah, fall.  Race fans can welcome cooler temperatures, cheer for their favorites in the playoffs…and kiss the chance of seeing the smaller teams mentioned during the broadcast goodbye. With the exception of Ryan Blaney, who made the postseason, all other underdogs will fade into the background of championship talk. That goes for any …

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Did You Notice?: The Fine Line Of NASCAR Drivers’ Personal Lives & Where It All Went Wrong

Jeremy Mayfield Credit LAT PHOTOGRAPHIC

Credit: LAT PHOTOGRAPHIC

Did You Notice? … The taboo subject of an athlete’s personal life? The topic came up Sunday night after Cody Ware went off on Twitter following a wreck involving fellow Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series underdog Matt DiBenedetto. The point here isn’t to delve into what was said or whether it was even true. It’s if that …

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Who’s Hot & Who’s Not In NASCAR: Lessons From The Dirt Edition

2017 MicRhigan II CUP Kyle Larson woohoo Rusty Jarrett NKP

(Photo: Rusty Jarrett/NKP)

Michigan International Speedway lived up to its reputation as a fast track and the fast restart by Kyle Larson made the finish worth the wait on Sunday. The rest of the day wasn’t super exciting as the problem of passing the leader seems to persist, no matter what size or what speed a track may …

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Matt DiBenedetto Signs Extension with Go Fas Racing

2017 cup charlotte media tour zach catanzareti matt dibenedetto

(Photo: Zach Catanzareti)

“The most improved team in the garage,” as Go Fas Racing general manager Mason St. Hilaire deemed his race team, has signed an extension with driver Matt DiBenedetto. In the Deadline Room of the Media Center at Michigan International Speedway on Saturday morning (Aug. 12), Dibenedetto and St. Hilaire announced the extension through the 2018 …

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The Underdog House: Curbing Spending Would Be Good For NASCAR

2017 Watkins Glen CUP Michael McDowell Aric Almirola racing John K Harrelson NKP

(Photo: John K. Harrelson/NKP)

Think Small Dale Earnhardt Jr. was addressing the media at Watkins Glen last weekend when the subject turned to driver contracts and salaries.  The NASCAR economic climate, as everyone knows has changed drastically in recent years.  When the NASCAR fad was at its height almost 20 years ago, corporate interest and driver income skyrocketed. For a while, that …

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Gray Gaulding, BK Racing Deal Up in Smoke: How Their Futures Impact NASCAR

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Go Bowling 400 Kansas Speedway, Kansas City, KS USA Saturday 13 May 2017 Gray Gaulding, BK Racing, Dr Pepper Toyota Camry World Copyright: Nigel Kinrade NKP

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade NKP)

On paper, BK Racing is a small, underfunded Toyota team, and Gray Gaulding is a teenager many NASCAR fans had never heard of before this season. But in their quest for survival, a closer look at their deal turned sour opens a Pandora’s Box of financial questions for modern-day stock car racing. It’s a different type of …

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