NASCAR Race Weekend Central

Talking NASCAR TV: ESPN Needs to Learn From Mistakes to Improve 2008 NASCAR Coverage

The third network to cover the Sprint Cup Series takes their turn at glory this week, as ESPN/ABC begins their NASCAR coverage at the historic Brickyard on Sunday, July 27th. The final 17-week stretch to finish off the year follows a 21-race schedule that was covered by both FOX and TNT. Those networks had their ups and downs over the course of their second season under NASCAR’s current TV contract; but overall, they delivered the results that people expect from networks that have plenty of experience covering the sport. However, both FOX and TNT did have some major flaws that ESPN can learn from — and not repeat.

Who’s Hot/Who’s Not in Sprint Cup: 2008 Pre-Brickyard 400 Edition

As teams approach one of the most prestigious races in the Sprint Cup Series and fans and drivers are refreshed following a rare off weekend, it’s a perfect opportunity to recognize some of the streakiest drivers heading into this year’s Brickyard 400. Of course, one man has been in a league of his own all season – but another driver has surprised in mirroring Kyle Busch’s points total over the past nine races. Who is that famous wheelman giving Busch a run for his money? And who’s season is suddenly running on life support after a strong early start? See who are some of the worst drivers in the series as of late, and who has an opportunity to kiss the bricks on Sunday by checking out this week’s edition of Who’s Hot/Who’s Not in Sprint Cup.

Fan’s View: When the Lights Went Out on NASCAR

Like many of you, I am not fortunate enough to be able to attend each race. My weekly dose of high-octane excitement comes to me through the wonders of satellite TV. And this has worked for over the last decade. Yeah… a whole 10 years. Did you know your neighbors’ trees can grow an awful lot in 10 years? Well, it appears that those lovely maples have managed to block my signal… MY signal. That’s right; it’s the one that brings Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr. straight to my La-Z-Boy. This is not fair and extremely stressful.

10 Points to Ponder… After The Off Week

1. Belt Tightening – It is a safe bet that not all the economic dominoes have fallen for the NASCAR community quite yet, as financially slumping General Motors attempts to identify cost-cutting measures while seeking to generate $15 billion in savings through 2009. This past week, the automaker has informed both Bristol Motor Speedway and New Hampshire International Speedway that they will not renew promotional agreements with them for 2009 and beyond, and rumors persist further cuts will be forthcoming within their motorsports program. Oh, well… before you get all upset, remember it isn’t just NASCAR “fat cats” feeling the GM pinch.

Happy Hour: What is Ryan (or Roger) Thinking?

It’s fair to suggest that Ryan Newman and the Penske No. 12 Alltel Dodge aren’t where they could or should be. After narrowly defeating Jimmie Johnson for the Rookie of the Year in 2002 and an amazing eight wins in 2003, the No. 12 team has been unable to sustain that level of performance. After 11 wins in 2002-04, Newman has visited victory lane just four times in 2005-2008. Newman had 42 top fives in his first three seasons; he has had only 19 in the three and a half years since.

Rick Crawford Driver Diary: So You Want to Be a Promoter?

The last time I stopped by, we were on our way to Texas with the point lead. That didn’t last very long. We had a great truck at Texas and I was trying to take the win back to Ozona, Texas, for Tom Mitchell, the owner of the team, and to the Ford people because the F-150 is the number one selling truck in Texas. It ran good, but we just had a tire get cut down. We still finished on the lead lap and I think we were 20th or 21st, somewhere along in there, but we had a great truck and the win just slipped away from us.

David Starr Driver Diary: Looking for Improvement on the Mile-and-a-Halfs

After being off for a couple of weeks, we are finally back to racing again. As always, I’ve kept busy. David Starr Racing, my show car simulator company, has taken up a lot of my time, and we went testing for two days at Darlington a couple of weeks ago, so that was pretty cool. I was also able to enjoy the 4th of July with my family at the lake, and that was a lot of fun. While I have enjoyed my time off, I am definitely looking forward to getting back to what I love to do, which is racing.

Fanning the Flames: Busch Brothers Breaking Records & Other Odds ‘N’ Ends

Q: My question is why would Martin Truex Jr. leave DEI to take a seat at Penske Racing’s No. 12 car? That’s a big rumor that I keep hearing, but it doesn’t seem like a step up to me. If a driver is going to switch rides, why wouldn’t he go to a better team? Not a team that has performed about the same as the one he is leaving?

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