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NASCAR Race Weekend Central

NASCAR Stat Sheet: Kyle Busch Takes the Cake on His Birthday

Kurt Busch, Ryan Newman and Kevin Harvick get ready for the Buschy McBusch Race 400 at Kansas Speedway, May 2021. Photo: NKP

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

In 2009, Kyle Busch became the first driver since Cale Yarborough in 1977 to win a Cup race on his birthday. However, after winning this weekend at Kansas Speedway, Busch is the only driver in series history who is undefeated on his special day. Since Busch joined the Cup tour in 2005, a race has …

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NASCAR Stat Sheet: Keselowski Leaves Talladega With a 6 Pack

#2: Brad Keselowski, Team Penske, Ford Mustang MoneyLion, #37: Ryan Preece, JTG Daugherty Racing, Chevrolet Camaro Kroger/Reese’s, #4: Kevin Harvick, Stewart-Haas Racing, Ford Mustang Busch Dog Brew, #10: Aric Almirola, Stewart-Haas Racing, Ford Mustang Smithfield, #23: Bubba Wallace, 23XI Racing, Toyota Camry DoorDash

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

Talladega Superspeedway has always been a unique challenge, dating back to the first ever visit that NASCAR made to the 2.66-mile behemoth. The reasons that make it so have changed over the 52 years it’s been part of the sport’s racing schedule, but the hurdles between each competitor and victory still loom just as large. …

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NASCAR Stat Sheet: The No. 48 Is Back

2021 Cup Richmond Alex Bowman, No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, Trophy (Credit: NKP)

Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography

Alex Bowman may not be the next seven-time champion, but Sunday (April 18) he was able to post a NASCAR stat that Jimmie Johnson couldn’t during his final three years in the NASCAR Cup Series: put the No. 48 in the winner’s circle. It also marked the first win for Bowman since Auto Club Speedway …

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NASCAR Stat Sheet: Martin Truex Jr. Under Par With His Short (Track) Game

Martin Truex Jr. enjoys his win at Martinsville Speedway April 2021. Photo: NKP

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

If the stats tell the story, then it seems that Martin Truex Jr. has suddenly turned into short-track ace. In his first 80 Cup races on tracks under a mile in length, Truex won exactly zero. None. Then, after finally breaking through at Richmond in 2019, he’s taken home the trophy in five of his …

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NASCAR Stat Sheet: Is Ryan Blaney the New Rooster?

Ryan Blaney celebrates his win in the NASCAR Cup Series at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Photo: NKP

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

Every driver has a unique situation and skill level that makes comparing racers from different eras wildly speculative and a little unfair. But for me, the career trajectory of this week’s winner Ryan Blaney is beginning to mirror that of Ricky Rudd. Think about it: Solid equipment but not universally viewed as elite. He doesn’t …

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NASCAR Stat Sheet: Martin Truex Jr. Finds His Oasis in the Desert

Martin Truex Jr. prepares for a NASCAR Cup Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway March 2021 Photo: NKP

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

Fans who have been around for more than a decade can likely recall a time when Martin Truex Jr. victories came about as often as February 29 does. Now it’s nearly as surprising when he goes almost a year without a win. Fortunately for his Joe Gibbs Racing team, that clock was reset on Sunday …

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NASCAR Stat Sheet: Larson Lights Up the Stage in His Second Act

Kyle Larson celebrates his win in the 2021 Pennzoil 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway Photo: NKP

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

Who doesn’t love a good redemption story? Just under a year ago, Kyle Larson became the poster boy for thoughtless expression, firing off without taking into account what his words might mean to someone else. But we all do stupid things. It’s how you use the experience to better yourself that defines you. While the …

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NASCAR Stat Sheet: Trackhouse Racing Taking NASCAR by Storm

William Byron and the No. 24 team celebrate winning at Homestead-Miami Speedway, February 2021 Photo: NKP

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

Any interesting story isn’t complete without a good surprise or two. The NASCAR Cup Series has been racing in Florida for better than three weeks, and I don’t think it’s possible for the three trophies to be going back to North Carolina with a more unexpected trio of drivers. But the statistics would support the …

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NASCAR Stat Sheet: Feels Like the First Time

Christopher Bell celebrates after winning the 2021 O'Reilly Auto Parts 253 Photo:NKP

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

Here’s an interesting tidbit: For the first time since 1950, the first two races of the Cup Series schedule have been won by first-time visitors to victory lane. It’s almost happened a couple times before. In 2001, Michael Waltrip picked up his first win at Daytona International Speedway, but Rockingham Speedway winner Steve Park had …

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NASCAR Stat Sheet: Breaking on Through to the Other Side (Finally)

Three-wide NASCAR racing action in the 2021 Daytona 500 Photo: NKP

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

Last week, I discussed the biggest and most imposing winless streaks in the Daytona 500, past and present alike. Given what transpired in Sunday’s (and partially Monday morning’s) 2021 edition of the Great American Race, it seems somewhat fitting that a winless streak of a different variety was broken. Michael McDowell is the eighth man …

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Friday Faceoff: Should Any Driver Be Locked Into the Daytona 500?

Joe Gibs Racing teammates Bell Kyle Busch Truex Hamlin at Daytona Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

Who is more likely to end their Daytona 500 drought first: Kyle Busch or Brad Keselowski? Luken Glover: This is a tough one because neither driver has really established themselves as a favorite at the end. Trouble seems to find both of these champions at the worst times. However, I have to go with Kyle …

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NASCAR Stat Sheet: The Biggest 0-for Streaks in the Sport’s Biggest Race

Jeff Gordon Leda Terry Labonte Daytona 1994 Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade/Nigel Kinrade Photography)

In every form of sports, there is a foremost prize to be had, and the collection of triumphs becomes the most significant measure by which the best are compared. Obviously, the Daytona 500 is the biggest single event in NASCAR, and it seems impossible for successful drivers to reach top tier status without a 500 …

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