Race Weekend Central

2019 NASCAR Driver Reviews: Denny Hamlin

(Photo: Phil Allaway)

Moments before what turned out to be the final restart of the 2019 Daytona 500, Fox Sports’ Regan Smith snagged a quick interview with Denny Hamlin’s rookie crew chief, Chris Gabehart. And it was fascinating insight into all that was to come in 2019 for the driver of the No. 11 FedEx Camry. Smith reminded …

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5 Points to Ponder: A Worthy Champion

ONE: A Worthy Champion In the last 10 years, no one has won more Cup races than Kyle Busch, so it seems apt that he finish up the decade with a second title, four years after he secured his first. Busch’s undoubted driving prowess has always suggested multiple titles, but as the years passed since …

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5 Points to Ponder: The Fantastic Four

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

ONE: The Championship Four All week long, conventional wisdom suggested that Kyle Busch (+22 points up on fifth place) and Joey Logano (+20 on fifth) would secure their berths alongside Martin Truex Jr. and Kevin Harvick in the final four for the second straight season. While each of the four drivers below the cut line …

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5 Points to Ponder: Penske’s Power Move

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

ONE: Penske’s Power Move I think it’s fair to say that no-one — outside those directly involved — had any sense that we were going to have such a seismic announcement on the future of open wheel racing in the United States yesterday. The news, in case you missed it, was that after 74 years …

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5 Points to Ponder: And Then There Were 8

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

ONE: And Then There Were 8 I’m going to boldly predict that not many prognosticators had Kyle Larson, Ryan Blaney and Denny Hamlin winning the three second stage playoff races, so I’m not going to be foolish enough to make any wild picks for the third round. Given that winning at either Martinsville Speedway, Texas …

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5 Points To Ponder: What Might Have Been Without a NASCAR Playoff

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

ONE: What Might Have Been Next to the actual Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series points standings on that little gem of a site, www.racing-reference.info, are the non-playoff standings. They show how the 2019 Cup season would be playing out under the original “most points over 36 races” format. And with six races to go, under …

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5 Points to Ponder: Expect the Unexpected

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

ONE: The Roval Unlike every other circuit on the Monster Energy Cup Series slate, and especially the other nine tracks that make up NASCAR’s postseason, we know next to nothing about the Charlotte Motor Speedway road course better known, of course, as the Roval. Following an eventful debut in the 2018 playoffs, a race won …

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5 Points to Ponder: Impending Fireworks

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

ONE: Impending Fireworks Like the format or not — and I realize plenty who will read this column absolutely and definitively do not — one thing is for sure: the tension ratchets up incrementally as soon the playoffs get underway. Each minor on-track mistake, each pit-road miscue, each missed shift or poorly executed strategy is …

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5 Points to Ponder: Is Joey Logano This Year’s Joey Logano?

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

ONE: Is Joey Logano This Year’s Joey Logano? In 2018, we spent a lot of time debating which of the “Big Three” who had dominated the regular season — Kevin Harvick, Martin Truex Jr. and Kyle Busch — would race off with the title once the playoffs got underway. As it turned out, all three …

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5 Points to Ponder: Playoff Points Payoff

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

Bonus Points Heading into the 2018 iteration of the playoffs, Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick had a whopping 50 bonus points apiece while Martin Truex Jr. had a healthy 35 points in third place. Brad Keselowski was a distant fourth (19 points), with Clint Bowyer (15), Kurt Busch (14) and Joey Logano (14) further back. …

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