Race Weekend Central

‘Dinger and Jimmie and Right Turns-Oh My! Mulling NASCAR’s Past and Possibilities

It’s certainly been a busy week on the NASCAR front. Between AJ Allmendinger, Dodge, Mother Nature and a did-he-or-didn’t he between Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon at Pocono, there has been plenty of fuel for the fire for NASCAR aficionados to mull over. So, being a muller by nature, I’ve had plenty to keep me busy!

First off, check out Mirror Driving…did we call it or did we call it on the Parker Kligerman situation? It wasn’t hard to put two and two together and figure that once Roger Penske replaced Kligerman with Ryan Blaney as Brad Keselowski’s fill-in in the No. 22 Nationwide car that it would only be a matter of time until Blaney would land a more permanent role.

Blackhawk Down: NASCAR Conspiracy Theorists Run Amok

After Sunday’s race, as I sat down to write my recap I was on edge because I was already hearing rumors some fans had been struck by lightning and some of those individuals were badly hurt. (Tragically, we know now that Brian Zimmerman, a 41-year-old married father of three lost his life.) I immediately focused on that story and began calling friends I knew had been in the grandstands to ensure they were safe. But elsewhere on the Internet and in Twitterville (which I am rapidly learning is a lot less friendly place than Who-ville or Margaritaville), a cauldron was boiling over as more fuel was added to the fire by people hiding behind funny screen names. (I’ve been asked, so my Twitter handle mcmatt76 was chosen because “Matt McLaughlin” and “Mcmatt” were already in use. The “McMatt” part should be obvious. The 76 was added because a picture of my 1976 Trans-Am hangs over my desk.)

Did You Notice? … AJ’s Sigh Of Relief?, No Dodging This Bullet And Kyle’s Crisis

*Did You Notice?…* Dodge’s departure from the sport dashes expansion dreams? In the past few months, the manufacturer has been linked with Furniture Row Racing, looking to add a a second car with driver Kurt Busch; Andretti Autosport, exploring the option of debuting a team in 2013; and Richard Petty Motorsports, whose funding from Dodge could have spearheaded co-owner Andy Murstein’s desire to build from two cars to three. It’s clear, despite the loss of Penske Racing that Dodge had options; they just clearly didn’t like any of them. Why?

“Really this issue started many, many years ago as we consolidated down to one team,” explained SRT’s Ralph Gilles, President Of Racing and Technology. “We had a very, I would say, an elegant situation with the Penske group, having a one-stop shop, an engine, everything, a very high quality team to work with.”

Making Sense of Kligerman / Brad Keselowski Racing Breakup

Do you follow Parker Kligerman on Twitter? Well, if you’re one of over 15,000 that can say yes to that question, it’s a possibility you saw a cryptic post-Pocono tweet from the former ARCA standout.

“Great Recovery by whole Of BKR. I’ve enjoyed the last year and a half,” he tweeted Saturday. “Things you’ll see soon, r 4 the better 4 everyone! #excited4future”

Two days later, Kligerman was no longer the driver of the No. 29 Dodge RAM for Brad Keselowski Racing in the Camping World Truck Series. The change comes as Kligerman sits sixth in championship points through 11 races, with two top 5s and seven top-10 finishes. His lone finish below 11th? A 19th at Kentucky.

Full Throttle – Mopar Bails Again

For fans of cars and going fast, there are a few names that come to mind no matter what your allegiance. Corvette has been around for some 60 years and, for most of those years, has been the symbol of speed and horsepower for General Motors. Ford has had the GT40 and Mustang GTs, as …

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Nationwide Series Breakdown: U.S. Cellular 250

Oh, what a difference a week can make.

Following a late-race (and hotly-debated) black flag while leading at last weekend’s Indiana 250 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway that relegated the championship points leader to 15th and a mere one-point standings lead over Austin Dillon, Elliott Sadler took to Iowa Speedway Saturday, August 4, with a vengeance. After starting from the pole, Sadler took the race lead from Justin Allgaier late in the going, leading 60 laps en route to his third win of the 2012 season.

“They are not taking the championship from us!” cried Sadler after crossing the line by about a second over Allgaier. He should have plenty to cheer about — following his race win and a disappointing showing from Dillon, the Richard Childress Racing driver gave himself some much-needed breathing room in the points standings, increasing his lead to 18.

The Insignificance of Dodge’s Absence from 2013’s First Test

There’s nothing surprising behind the announcement that Dodge won’t be taking part in the first test for the Cup Series’ 2013 race cars at Martinsville next week. Penske Racing’s on the way out of the Dodge camp after this season, a swirling rumor about the Andrettis coming from IndyCar to NASCAR proved fruitless, and there’s hardly a rosy relationship between the manufacturer and journeyman Robby Gordon. The same Robby Gordon that made the Daytona 500 as an underdog Dodge entry, and got no subsequent engine help despite making all but a plea for a Penske motor in his post-Duel press conference.

Fact of the matter is, there’s no sign whatsoever that Dodge has made any progress on finding a new flagship Cup team since Penske announced their defection back to Ford. The chances of Dodge being unrepresented in the 2013 Daytona 500 are not miniscule.

Tweet ‘n’ Greet – 8/1/2012

@jim_utter: NEWS: AJ Allmendinger had been indefinitely suspended by #NASCAR after his B sample failed random drug test @DNewtonESPN (David Newton): #NASCAR @AJDinger now has two basic options, enter Road to Recovery program or fight in court @ESPNMcGee: #NASCAR doesn’t say what he tested positive for. That’s not a surprise. @queers4gears: As sad as I …

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Did You Notice? … Silly Season Swung Wide Open By One Bad NASCAR Drug Test

*Did You Notice?…* That in life, all it takes is one fleeting moment, one spoken word to turn our lives from successful to shattered?

In this case, it was as simple and tasteless as peeing into a cup. A.J. Allmendinger’s life changed forever Tuesday, suspended indefinitely by NASCAR for violating the sport’s drug policy in a decision that plunges his career into chaos. The driver’s “B” sample, tested weeks after the “A” showed no change in result, an unknown substance (rumored to be everything from methamphetamine to a rare stimulant found in an energy drink A.J. was endorsing) the root cause of what has kept him on the sidelines since hours before the July 7th Cup Series race at Daytona.

Tweet ‘n’ Greet – 7-25-2012

@TimothyPeters17: Waiting in the lobby before @SaraPeters17 and I are called to the back to find out if it’s a boy or girl! #exciting #nervous @DeLanaHarvick: There is nothing better than snuggling keelan and looking into his eyes… ❤❤❤ @Patricia_AFF (Patricia Driscoll): #kurtBusch deep sea fishing in Sitka Alaska http://instagram.com/p/NOknvupTCx/ @JeffGordonWeb: Amazing day in Rwanda …

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