Race Weekend Central

Seventh-Place Finish at COTA ‘Bittersweet’ for Michael McDowell

Michael McDowell during the EchoPark Texas Grand Prix at Circuit of the Americas, 5/23/2021 (Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

Before Sunday, the 2021 NASCAR Cup season was already solidified as the best of Michael McDowell‘s career to date. That happens when you start it by claiming your first career Cup win in the Daytona 500. But 14 races into the season, McDowell hasn’t disappeared. In fact, he’s continued to put together the best campaign …

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‘We Get Paid To Adapt’: NASCAR Crew Chiefs Prep for Unknowns of COTA

Daniel Hemric at COTA

Via Speedway Motorsports and HHP/Harold Hinson)

One word you don’t hear thrown around often in NASCAR is “potpourri.” But NASCAR has also never competed at the Circuit of the Americas before. That changes this weekend as all three of its national series will race on the 20-turn, 3.41-mile road course for the first time. And it has Cup Series crew chief …

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Dropping the Hammer: We’re Talking About Practice, Man

Kyle Busch at COTA

(Photo: Speedway Motorsports)

Brace yourself. For a limited summer engagement, things are going back to “normal” in NASCAR land. In a confluence of events — the rapid lifting of COVID-19 attendance restrictions and how NASCAR’s 2021 schedule is laid out — four of the next six points paying NASCAR Cup race weekends will feel like they’re happening in …

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Dropping the Hammer: Consistency About to Get Harder for Denny Hamlin

Denny Hamlin at Darlington

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

For all intents and purposes, Denny Hamlin had a quiet Sunday (May 9) at Darlington Raceway. But it wasn’t a bad day, at least from an outsider’s perspective. After starting fourth, Hamlin and the No. 11 team placed second in stage one and fourth in stage two before finishing fifth. Hamlin left South Carolina with …

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Dropping the Hammer: William Byron Racing for Mother After Her Brain Tumor Diagnosis

William Byron

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

At first, William Byron wasn’t sure if he would even share the news with his race team, let alone the rest of the world. But on Tuesday (May 4), the Hendrick Motorsports driver informed the public about what his family has been dealing with for the last month. His mother, Dana, has been diagnosed with …

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Dropping the Hammer: NASCAR Says ‘No’ to Being Part of Voting Rights Debate

Daniel McFadin Dropping the Hammer

Graphic by James Crow

On June 7, 2020 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, NASCAR President Steve Phelps made one of the most important public statements ever made by a NASCAR official, especially for one not named France. With a field of cars sitting in front of empty grandstands due to an international pandemic and some 13 days after George Floyd …

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NASCAR President Steve Phelps on Jennifer Jo Cobb, COVID-19 Vaccines & State Voting Laws

(Photo: Zach Catanzareti)

Just a few hours before the NASCAR Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway Sunday (April 25), NASCAR President Steve Phelps addressed the media as part of an announcement regarding NASCAR’s new national partnership with the Boys and Girls Clubs of America. After that news, Phelps took a few questions on high-profile topics related to the …

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Ryan Blaney and the Keys to Success at Talladega

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

.007 seconds. It’s not much, but that’s all Ryan Blaney has needed to win at Talladega Superspeedway. And not just once. Both of his NASCAR Cup Series victories on the 2.66-mile track  – in October 2019 and June 2020 – had the same margin of victory. Blaney and the Cup Series return to Talladega this …

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Dropping the Hammer: Chevrolet Seeing Benefits of GM Overhaul

Alex Bowman and Austin Dillon at Richmond

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

Dr. Eric Warren, the director of NASCAR programs at General Motors, had plenty of reasons to be happy on Monday (April 19). The previous day, Alex Bowman and his No. 48 Chevrolet capitalized on a late caution to swoop in and capture the win in the NASCAR Cup Series race at Richmond Raceway. Hendrick Motorsports …

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Alex Bowman’s Richmond Win Caps Off Big Day for Drivers of No. 48

Alex Bowman talks with Jimmie Johnson before 2019 Indianapolis Cup race Photo NKP

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

Jeff Andrews was like many of us Sunday afternoon. Even though the NASCAR Cup Series race at Richmond Raceway was well underway, Hendrick Motorsports’ general manager couldn’t help himself. He had to see Jimmie Johnson’s maiden voyage in an open-wheel car. “I won’t lie, I clicked over to IndyCar there a couple of times during …

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