Race Weekend Central

Talking NASCAR TV: Strong Pre-Race Show at Bristol, But In-Race Improvements Needed for ESPN

Hello, race viewers. The infamous Bristol night races have historically featured close racing, wrecking and tempers. However, the wrecking and tempers have decreased significantly since the track was reconfigured in 2007, creating “graduated banking.” As a result, the races this past week lived up to the old ideals of Bristol, but with more competitive racing …

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Kyle Busch Helps His Chase Chances by Winning 2009 Sharpie 500 at Bristol

For teams that are outside the top 12, time is running out to force their way into the Chase. In order to get into the Championship chase, one of those contenders has to make some kind of a big splash. Kyle Busch chose Saturday night to make his splash. Kyle Busch ran up in the …

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Talking NASCAR TV: Backseat Drivers Bring Different Feel to ESPN’s Booth at Michigan

Hello, race fans. This past weekend, we had two races end with slightly unexpected outcomes at Michigan International Speedway. The Nationwide Series event ended with Brad Keselowski winning after Brian Vickers forced Kyle Busch down to the apron at the white-flag lap, hurting both cars’ momentum enough for his No. 88 to pull alongside. Meanwhile, …

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Marcos Ambrose’s Pit Strategy Doomed His Chances at Watkins Glen

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. – Marcos Ambrose came into Watkins Glen International for Monday’s Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at the Glen (Aug. 3) as a legitimate favorite to win the event. His No. 47 had been the quickest in both practice sessions on Saturday, and he had a lot of confidence coming into the race. …

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Tony Stewart Records Record-Breaking 5th Win in 2009 Heluva Good! at the Glen

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. – Tony Stewart had an OK qualifying effort on Friday afternoon, placing his No. 14 Old Spice Chevrolet Impala SS 13th on the grid. Before the race was postponed on Sunday, Stewart said that he would like the weather to warm up, allowing the track to get slippery. He got his wish. On …

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Beyond the Cockpit: Andy Lally on Making His Cup Debut

Andy Lally is one of the best drivers the Grand Am series has to offer. The three-time champion already has two wins this season, continuing to add to a record number of top-three and top-five finishes in the series. With two 24 Hours of Daytona victories under his belt, it would seem the 34-year-old has …

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Marcos Ambrose Successfully Defends His Crystal in the 2009 Zippo 200 at Watkins Glen

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. – Marcos Ambrose is a forgetful person, apparently. As part of his prize last year for winning at Watkins Glen, he was presented with a golden lighter, courtesy of Zippo. He then proceeded to lose the lighter. It eventually popped up randomly a few months later. Now, he’s got a second one …

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Jimmie Johnson Claims 2009 Coors Light Pole at Watkins Glen

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. – In the pre-qualifying press conferences at Watkins Glen, a recurring theme in some of the questioning was the idea that Jimmie Johnson needs to win on a road course in order for him to be considered “complete” as a Sprint Cup legend. On Friday afternoon, Jimmie put himself in position to …

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Talking NASCAR TV: Lack of Focus Hurts ESPN Broadcasts

Hello, race fans. First off, I’m sorry that it’s Thursday and you’re just getting the chance to read this critique. The rainout on Sunday (Aug. 2) has played havoc with our typical weekly schedule here at Frontstretch, with articles having their days switched up and some pieces being swapped between the website and the newsletter …

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Talking NASCAR TV: ORP Good, IMS Bad as ESPN Jumps Back Into Double-Duty

I know that the beginning of this week’s title sounds like something out of the 2001 movie Zoolander, starring Ben Stiller (Martial Arts good; Prime Minister bad), but it essentially drives home my point in this critique. Indianapolis is likely the biggest race weekend for NASCAR in the second half of the season. As a …

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