NASCAR Race Weekend Central

WTF Wednesday

WTF Wednesday Denny Hamlin’s Rush To Return To Racing Could Spell Trouble By: Ellen Richardson Denny Hamlin has high hopes to make his return to racing at his home track in Richmond this weekend. According to the Associated Press, Denny Hamlin could hop back into the No. 11 FedEx Toyota, for the Toyota Owners 400, …

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Keeping Priorities Straight

NASCAR drivers – like any other kind of professional athlete – do not owe their fans either time or attention during race weekends. The argument has always been that without the fans, there’d be no NASCAR, but that’s not really the case. Sure, there was a time during the sport’s infancy when fans needed to …

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What To Watch In NASCAR: Tuesday 4/23/13

– As usual, it’s penalty day in NASCAR and the biggest bulls-eye lies on the No. 98 Truck driven by Johnny Sauter. The current series point leader, Sauter’s fuel cell was confiscated following pre-race inspection in Kansas, a move that’s led to fines, penalties, and crew chief suspensions in the past. Sauter is currently 12 …

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Five Points To Ponder: Stenhouse Amongst Sprint Cup Trio Hitting The Ground Running

Much of the talk in the early part of this week has been of the seamless transition of Matt Kenseth to Joe Gibbs Racing following his ruthlessly dominant second win of the fledgling season – and rightly so. Kenseth has looked mighty impressive showing the form you would expect from a champion driver of his caliber, leading multiple laps at six of the eight circuits we’ve visited to date.

However, lost just a little in all the hype for the driver of the No. 20 car is another great third-place finish for old “Five Time” Jimmie Johnson, who now leads the standings by 37 – nearly a full race’s worth of points. In addition, Double J has finishes of first (Martinsville), second (Phoenix) and sixth (Texas) at the three other Chase tracks we’ve run at thus far. Johnson’s two solitary finishes outside the top six came at Fontana (12th) and at Bristol (22nd), where he blew a tire. Those are tracks that won’t matter in the long run, though.

It’s April, But Everyone’s Asking: Is Jimmie Johnson Running Away With It?

Exiting Kansas, one thing is for sure: Jimmie Johnson is going to be a force to be reckoned with in 2013.

Not that he isn’t usually a factor. His five straight Sprint Cup titles, from 2006-’10 aside, Johnson has finished in the top five in points during a full season in the series every year but one, when he managed _only_ sixth in 2011.

He was in the fight to the end with Brad Keselowski last season, but the driver of the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet was edged out after finishes of 32nd and 36th to end the year. For 2013, Johnson appears to be taking no prisoners in his quest for a sixth championship. Of course, once one makes the Chase, the field is equaled a bit, so even if he accumulates a, say, 100-point lead over second, much of that vanishes after race 26.

Seems like there’s always a lot of discontent around NASCAR when Jimmie Johnson is merely winning, let alone leading the points.

Who’s Hot / Who’s Not In Sprint Cup: Kansas-Richmond Edition

The map continues to be drawn for the performance capabilities of the Generation-6 models, and the STP 400 at Kansas Speedway helped to silence critics after spread out racing showed its prevalence in Fort Worth. Drivers battled an extremely slick, fast track that left teams constantly reeling to find the perfect setup. Matt Kenseth wasn’t fazed by a plethora of cautions brought about by those who struggled to get a handle on their cars; restarts alone left the racing more competitive than what we saw down in Texas last Saturday night.

So who should we be championing this Tuesday, after a second straight intermediate? This edition of Who’s Hot and Who’s Not shows that while Kenseth was among those who overcame cautions by using good strategy, some others, who needed a decent finish after getting off on the wrong foot, left Kansas City disgruntled.

50 Shades of a Sprint Cup Crew Chief: Risk vs. Reward

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I haven’t had a chance to dig into E.L. James’ novel “Fifty Shades of Grey,” but I assume it’s about the life of a crew chief in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. After all, who spends more time in the gray area than NASCAR’s most creative minds?

The gray area has developed a mysterious reputation, though like the Bermuda Triangle or Area 51. NASCAR fans don’t really know what’s going on in any of those places; they just know if you end up there, you could be in serious trouble.

According to series officials, defending champion crew chief Paul Wolfe may have spent a little too much time in the gray. He’ll most likely be taking a six-week vacation, but there is little doubt that Wolfe will end up there again at some point.

New NASCAR Sprint Cup Road-Course Qualifying Procedure Announced

New Group-Based Format To Bolster Excitement For Sonoma, Watkins Glen DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Apr. 22, 2013) – NASCAR announced today that the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will implement the group-based road course qualifying procedure used in NASCAR Nationwide and NASCAR Touring Series competition during its road-course events at Sonoma Raceway and Watkins Glen International. Under …

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Numbers Game: STP 400

Numbers Game: STP 400 by Tom Bowles 0 Times Matt Kenseth was passed for the lead on Sunday at Kansas. Kenseth went on to lead 163 of 267 laps, only losing first place through pit strategy. 1 On-track pass for the lead under green at Kansas. Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. passed teammate Carl Edwards for the …

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