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NASCAR Race Weekend Central

Up to Speed: Inconsistent Calls Embarrass NASCAR in Kansas

Chris Buescher races in the 2021 Buschy McBusch Race 400 at Kansas Speedway, May 2021. Photo: NKP

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

If Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Kansas Speedway was too orderly for the first 200 laps, the ending was full of surprises. A flurry of cautions in the closing laps kept the field bunched together. While the drivers up front were running into each other for the lead, those further back in the pack …

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Up to Speed: Remembering Bobby Hamilton’s 2001 Talladega Triumph

2001 NASCAR Winston Cup Series, Daytona Bobby Hamilton car NKP

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade NKP)

Most weekends when NASCAR comes to town, Talladega Superspeedway is an agent of chaos.  The success, or failure, of many a driver hinges on what happens whenever the Big One breaks out.  Talladega’s races often come down to who can avoid the seemingly inevitable carnage and survive to race for the win in the closing …

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Up to Speed: Alex Bowman Overcomes Setbacks for Richmond Win

Alex Bowman fixes his shoes at Phoenix Raceway. Photo: NKP

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

On the day (April 18) when Jimmie Johnson ran his first IndyCar race, it was only fitting that Alex Bowman brought the No. 48 car back to victory lane.  Bowman emerged as a surprise winner at Richmond Raceway, a track where he had never had a top-five finish.  His 2021 win was the first for …

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Up to Speed: A Rare Bad Day at Martinsville for Brad Keselowski

Brad Keselowski Autotrader No. 2 Penske car at Martinsville spring Cup race

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

As usual, Martinsville Speedway dished out a healthy dose of chaos for the NASCAR Cup Series.  A wet Saturday night delayed all but the opening laps of the race until Sunday afternoon.  But while the skies had cleared by Sunday, a storm brewed on the track. Fifteen cautions took their toll on the field, including …

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Up to Speed: Why Kyle Busch Was Best With Adam Stevens

Kyle Busch standing on pit road at Daytona. Photo NKP

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

An old adage in professional sports is if you’re not constantly looking for ways to improve your performance, you’re probably falling behind.  Teams, plans and partnerships that worked well at one time do not always stay elite.  In order to keep up with the competition, a change in personnel can help to right the ship …

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Up to Speed: NASCAR Bristol Dirt Blends the Old & New

Harvick, Keselowski, Hamlin practicing on Bristol Dirt Photo NKP

Was racing in the dirt at Bristol worth it? (Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

It is a real shame that NASCAR’s weekend of racing at the dirt-covered Bristol Motor Speedway did not run as planned.  After days of torrential rains and serious flooding in northeast Tennessee, NASCAR will attempt to run the Cup and Camping World Truck series events on Monday (March 29).  The NASCAR Bristol dirt debut will …

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Up to Speed: Ryan Blaney Adds to His History of NASCAR Clutch Wins at Atlanta

Ryan Blaney gives the checkered flag to a fan at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Photo NKP

Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography

Check off another unique winner for the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season.  Ryan Blaney emerged as a surprise victor at Atlanta Motor Speedway, capturing the fifth win of his career in dramatic fashion.  Despite a dominating performance from Kyle Larson, who led 269 of 325 laps, Blaney was the one who took the trophy and …

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Up to Speed: Kevin Harvick Still Searching for 2020 Form

Kevin Harvick stands next to car at 2021 Daytona 500 Cup race Photo NKP

#4: Kevin Harvick, Stewart-Haas Racing, Ford Mustang Busch Light #TheCrew

Sunday’s (March 14) NASCAR Cup Series race was a fairly typical event at Phoenix Raceway.  Perhaps the most surprising aspect of the Instacart 500 was how little the FOX broadcast team called Kevin Harvick’s name.  It wasn’t long ago that Harvick completely dominated the desert mile.  Prior to Sunday, Harvick compiled nine wins, 18 top …

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Up to Speed: A New Attitude of NASCAR Equality at Hendrick Motorsports

2019TalladegaMENCSWilliamByronCarNKP

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

Just four races into the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season, Hendrick Motorsports has already won twice.  Last week at Homestead-Miami Speedway, William Byron drove off to a convincing win, the second of his Cup Series career.  This past Sunday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, it was Kyle Larson’s turn to capture the checkered flag.  Larson, …

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Up to Speed: Evening Races Perfect Fit for Homestead-Miami Speedway

2021 Homestead Cup William Byron Justin Haley Four Wide Racing NKP

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

During the first few weeks of the 2021 NASCAR season, start times of races have become a point of debate.  This weekend’s slate of races at Homestead-Miami Speedway featured the same later-than-usual green flag times as the first two races weekends.  Saturday’s Xfinity Series race took the green flag around 4:45 p.m. local time.  The …

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Up to Speed: The Pressure to Win in NASCAR 2021 is Already On

2021 Daytona I Cup Matt DiBenedetto NKP

#21: Matt DiBenedetto, Wood Brothers Racing, Ford Mustang Motorcraft/Quick Lane

Raise your hand if you thought that, two races into the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season, the two race winners would be Michael McDowell and Christopher Bell.  If you made that prediction a few weeks ago, a fellow race fan might have assumed that you’d spent too much time around the gasoline fumes on pit …

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Up to Speed: Can Denny Hamlin Finally Win a Championship in 2021?

Denny Hamlin car on track (Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

Denny Hamlin set out to do something nobody else has done before: win three consecutive Daytona 500s. Despite leading six times for a race-high 98 laps, the three-peat was denied with a fifth-place finish. But the story of Hamlin’s 2021 season goes far beyond the Great American Race. He will get to experience the highs …

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