NASCAR Race Weekend Central

Fanning the Flames: Palm Sweat, Vegas Blackjack & Taking Your Chances with the NSCRC

Q: Hi, Matt. When a team goes before the National Stock Car Racing Commission for an appeal to a penalty (levied by NASCAR), who is it that makes up the commission? Also, how can I contact them? I just know that they will not overturn Robby Gordon’s penalty, and I want to give them a piece of my mind when that happens.

Fantasy Picks ‘N’ Pans: 2008 Kobalt Tools 500 at Atlanta

Now, the circuit heads back east; but don’t expect the change of scenery to stop this roller-coaster season just yet. The high speeds of Atlanta Motor Speedway, combined with the new car configuration, could present some challenges for more than a few teams — letting other surprises shine through the cracks in the process. So, which drivers will come out of the woodwork to help you keep the heat on your competition, and who’s on their way to crashing and burning once again? Read this week’s Fantasy Picks ‘N’ Pans to find out.

Mirror Driving: Tires Making You Pout? Will Carl’s Penalty Have Some Clout? & Mark Martin Spinning Someone Out?

After both California and Las Vegas, it seems that tire issues could be a problem with the new car on intermediate tracks. How can this be remedied before this safety issue gets out of hand?

Top 10 Victory Celebrations Other Drivers Can Do

Since Carl Edwards has already won two races this year, NASCAR fans have been treated to his celebratory backflip twice. While Carl’s backflip is arguably the most entertaining victory celebration in motorsports, other drivers have been looking for a post-victory schtick of their own. With this week’s top 10 list, Kurt Smith is here to help.

Thompson in Turn 5: Carl Edwards’s Penalty – The Decision Should Be Simple

In a departure from NASCAR’s standard operating procedure, fines and penalties for rule infractions committed at Las Vegas were not announced on the Tuesday following a Sunday race. Of primary interest to stock car fans and Carl Edwards’ No. 99 Roush Fenway camp is what the repercussions will be for a rule violation detected in post-race inspection following Edwards’ UAW-Dodge 400 victory. The oil reservoir tank lid was not securely fastened as required by NASCAR; it’s a gaffe which could possibly have given the No. 99 a small aerodynamic advantage. Edwards said this week on SPEED TV that a bolt backed out of the cover, but that he believed that he would be penalized. I would hope that’s correct, and that NASCAR follows its newfound consistency in dishing out sizable fines and penalties.

Who’s Hot/Who’s Not in Nextel Cup: 2008 UAW-Dodge 400 at Las Vegas Edition

In what was a much smoother race weekend than the on again/off again rain debacle last weekend in California, the story in Vegas wound up with a similar ending, with Carl Edwards cementing his status as the hottest driver in the Cup Series right out of the box. But who else left Vegas with a boatload of cash and momentum? And on the flip side, who’s currently in gambling purgatory — needing good runs in the next two weeks to steer clear of the dreaded Top-35 bubble position in car owner points? To see the latest trends in Sprint Cup, as well as what to expect next Sunday in Atlanta, check out this week’s edition of Who’s Hot/Who’s Not.

10 Points to Ponder After the 2008 UAW-Dodge 400 at Las Vegas

1. No Way, Daddy-0h! – The legendary Wood Brothers No. 21 Ford did not qualify for the UAW-Dodge 400 on speed last Friday. Instead, their chances hit a wall — literally — when Johnny Sauter wrecked the car coming out of turn 2. The single-car team, outside the Top 35 in owner points, has now failed to make the starting lineup for two of the first three NASCAR Sprint Cup races. Jon Wood, who is the grandson of legendary Wood Brothers Racing founder Glen Wood and the son of Wood Brothers Racing co-Owner Eddie Wood, had been scheduled to take the wheel at Las Vegas, but backed out at the last minute, stating that he “wasn’t ready.”

Bubble Breakdown: Blown Tires Lead to Blown Opportunities for Several on the Top-35 Bubble at Las Vegas

Right-front tires and unstable grip were the talk of the town Sunday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, variables which led to increasing instability as the Top-35 standings continue to fluctuate early in 2008. The mix of a new track configuration, a new car, and wind gusts up to 40 mph all led to an unpredictable race Sunday. But the mystery reached a whole new level when Goodyears started popping like popcorn — right-front tires blowing out and questionable tire grip accounted for the elimination of several drivers.

Happy Hour: Fontana Won’t Be The Last

It’s fairly easy and sometimes fun to fire both literary barrels at the governing body of NASCAR. Heaven knows they make easy targets of themselves. The brass makes weighty decisions that are often detrimental to the sport (although they are never penalized for it under 12-4-Q or whatever), and their “innovations” don’t often endear them to fans. I’ve been known to say more than once that I’d be willing to pay more for a race ticket to send Brian France on a permanent vacation to Bermuda or somewhere.

Sign up for the Frontstretch Newsletter

A daily email update (Monday through Friday) providing racing news, commentary, features, and information from