NASCAR Race Weekend Central

Beyond the Cockpit: David Ragan on his Sophomore Season

This year, things are different, and Ragan has his sights set on bringing the No. 6 back to Victory Lane. Preparing for his second Daytona 500, the 22-year-old hopes to build upon his fifth-place run in the 2007 edition of the Great American Race. While in Daytona, Ragan took the time out to sit down with Frontstretch’s Mike Lovecchio at NASCAR Media Day to discuss what the impact Robby Gordon leaving Ford for Dodge will have on the Roush program, and what he has done in the offseason to have a more successful 2008.

Voices from the Heartland: Hope Springs Eternal For This “Casual Fan”

For the last couple of years, I, like so many others that have taken the time to comment on the fine articles here on Frontstretch, have lost a certain zeal for the sport we so dearly loved. We became the “casual fan” that Brian France so dearly coveted. Granted, we weren’t the casual fan Brian had in mind… but that is what we had become. To be brutally honest — something that I am apt to do after a few beverages — I was actually dreading the start of the racing season this year. Once again, I would be facing weekly deadlines, screaming editors, and all the apathy that comes with such things. Now, however, I find myself in a state of excitement that I can honestly say I haven’t felt for quite some time.

Fanning the Flames: Yo, NASCAR! This is a No Spin Zone!

Q: Matt, I have been trying to figure this out. Kurt Busch deliberately hit Tony Stewart’s car three times coming off the track. Even if Tony blocked Busch from exiting pit road, he wasn’t using his car as a battering ram… and yet, they both receive the same punishment??? I can only hope that I am never assaulted, and that NASCAR doesn’t sit in judgment — because I would go to prison with my assailant.

Fantasy Picks ‘N’ Pans: 2008 Daytona 500 Edition

The long, cold, winter that was the NASCAR offseason has finally come to an end… which means it’s time to turn the key on another season of fantasy racing. Whether your team was the cream of the crop or a basement dweller in 2007, the new season gives all fantasy players a renewed hope that they can dominate their leagues, emerging victorious at the end of their Chase for the Championship. But with a new car on the track and new faces in new places, there are a lot of big decisions to be weighed by the minds of fantasy team owners this year. So, with so many questions, where do you turn for the answers? It’s simple; kick off your season in the right direction by reading this week’s version of Fantasy Picks ‘N’ Pans.

Mirror Driving: A Slap on the Wrist for Stewart & Busch? Junior Go Whoosh & Waltrip’s 2008 Push

Friday night’s Budweiser Shootout final practice was filled with torn-up cars and aggressive moves. For the second time in a year, Kurt Busch took his frustration with Tony Stewart out on pit road. Busch was penalized with a point deduction and fine last year; but this time, NASCAR went for probation. Was this enough?

Thompson in Turn 5: With Help From Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Has Arrived

What a difference a year makes! Last Sunday’s qualifying efforts saw six of the fastest 16 attempts for this year’s race turned in by the revamped Toyotas. And for a genuine “from goat to hero” story, Waltrip, last year’s disgraced car owner, ran a blistering lap in his No. 55 NAPA Toyota to assure himself of an outside pole for the 50th running of the Daytona 500.

Side-By-Side: Whose Fault Was It – Tony Stewart or Kurt Busch?

Today’s Question: Tony Stewart and Kurt Busch tangled Friday in Bud Shootout practice, destroying Busch’s No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge. It’s a wreck Busch responded to by using his damaged racecar to beat and bang Stewart’s vehicle all the way down pit road, the second such time he’s done so in the past year (see Dover, June 2007). With that in mind, the question is… did Busch overreact and wreck a perfectly good racecar in the No. 20? Or, did Stewart go too far by reportedly throwing a punch at Busch in the NASCAR hauler?

Who’s Hot/Who’s Not in Sprint Cup: 2008 Preview Edition

The last time we were in Florida for a race, Jimmie Johnson and the No. 48 team were basking in a sea of confetti after winning their second consecutive Sprint Cup title at Homestead-Miami Speedway. A lot has changed since that historic day in November; there’s been a powerful addition to the Toyota camp, and the sport’s most popular driver debuted with Johnson’s organization in convincing fashion during Saturday’s Budweiser Shootout. Those are just two of a number of storylines and questions heading into 2008 — some will have to wait to be answered, while some may be answered here.

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