Race Weekend Central

NASCAR 101: Who Didn’t Return to NASCAR in 2021?

Jimmie Johnson at Detroit 2021 IndyCar

(Photo: Chris Owens/INDYCAR Media)

A smaller crop of drivers who raced on the national NASCAR stage in 2020, largely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, equals an altogether more diminutive list of racers who didn’t return to a NASCAR national series in 2021. And of those who didn’t return, some were, as always, expected. Jimmie Johnson, Clint Bowyer, Matt Kenseth …

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Fire on Fridays: Driver Improvements in 2021 You Might Have Missed

Ryan Blaney talking with crew chief Todd Gordon at Circuit of The Americas 2021, NKP

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

Year-over-year improvement is not a given in any sport, NASCAR included. It’s expected out of some, granted, especially drivers entering their sophomore season or someone in better equipment than before. But it doesn’t always happen. Hell, sometimes performance actually suffers on a grand scale. You never know. Certain examples of upward mobility were not only …

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Austin Hill Moving to Xfinity With RCR in 2022

(Photo: James Gilbert/Getty Images)

Austin Hill will move to the NASCAR Xfinity Series for Richard Childress Racing in 2022, RCR announced Oct. 29. Hill will run full time alongside fellow RCR newcomer and soon-to-be-former Camping World Truck Series competitor Sheldon Creed, who was announced earlier this fall to drive RCR’s No. 2. Hill’s car number was not announced at …

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Fire on Fridays: Are We Watching the Last (Cup) Races of Ryan Newman?

#6: Ryan Newman, Roush Fenway Racing, Ford Mustang Kohler Generators

Plenty of Silly Season dominoes remain to fall before the 2022 NASCAR season begins, and perhaps the most high profile of those is the status of Ryan Newman. I mean, who else comes close? Technically Christopher Bell‘s 2022 plans haven’t been announced, but no one seems to be expecting anything but an extension for the …

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Fire on Fridays: Michael Annett? Not Half Bad

Michael Annett celebrates his win on the side of his car at 2019 Daytona NASCAR Xfinity race, NKP

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

The conversation around pay drivers in NASCAR has not gone away in recent years. In fact, it’s probably gotten louder. And it’s mostly negative when brought up. While a driver like Josh Berry has found success in 2021 on driver talent alone thanks to JR Motorsports being able to piece together a partial season in …

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Fire on Fridays: Lower-Series Drivers Who Deserve Late-Season Call-Ups

Ty Gibbs smiling at 2021 Michigan NASCAR Xfinity race, holding a Monster drink, Photo NKP

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

This would’ve been easier before 2020. Back in the days of qualifying before every NASCAR race (remember those?), anyone approved by NASCAR could show up to a track on the national series schedule and try to put their car in the show. Whether they should’ve been there was of little importance; as long as they …

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Ty Gibbs Starting From Pole at ARCA Milwaukee Race

#81: Ty Gibbs, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Supra Monster Energy

Ty Gibbs is back on the pole for an ARCA Menards Series race yet again, starting from first for today’s (Aug. 29) Sprecher 150 at the Milwaukee Mile. Gibbs qualified first for the combination race with the ARCA Menards Series East with a lap of 122.641 mph. He leads Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Sammy Smith, …

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Fire on Fridays: Who’s Actually Got a Shot at the Cup Playoffs?

Matt DiBenedetto Tyler Reddick talk Watkins Glen

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

It’s somewhat fitting that this weekend’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Daytona International Speedway has an elimination factor. After all, that’s usually the case at the season-opening Daytona 500, when the pre-race Duels set the lineup and a certain number of cars (four in 2021) are left on the sidelines come the big race on …

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Jesse Iwuji, NFL Legend Emmitt Smith Starting Xfinity Team

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

Emmitt Smith is planning to move into the world of NASCAR ownership. Smith will partner with NASCAR driver Jesse Iwuji on a NASCAR Xfinity Series team in 2022, NBC Sports reports. Jesse Iwuji Motorsports will feature Iwuji in the driver’s seat. Iwuji has five Xfinity starts, one coming in 2021, with a best finish of …

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