Race Weekend Central

NASCAR’s Lesson In Overcoming Adversity The Right Way

They say the true mark of a man is how he handles adversity, the benchmark through which we separate the average and exceptional athletes. Yet for every Jamie McMurray, whose career nearly derailed for good before bouncing back into Daytona 500 victory lane last year, there’s a thousand men we’ll never know, drivers whose talent level could never triumph over their inward emotional combustion. Sport is a mental game, even more so when breaking to pieces just moments from reaching the top of your profession; it’s why people like Jean Van de Velde (golf’s British Open), Bill Buckner (baseball’s World Series) and perhaps even J.R. Hildebrand (Indy 500 – to be determined) go from promising futures to comprising an entire season of episodes for Dr. Phil.

Using Yellows The Right Way: NASCAR Officials Take Big Step At Infineon

Road course racing is a different animal from oval track racing, and the use of caution flags couldn’t be any different between the two configurations. While NASCAR runs a multitude of races on ovals every year, they only run a handful of road course races. And, while they’ve been doing them for several decades, the last few years it has seemed as though they’ve forgotten the proper use of the local caution. Fortunately for the competitors and the fans this weekend at Infineon, it appeared as though the folks in the flag stand and in race control remembered that a car off track or spun and stopped is not an imminent threat to the entire race and, given the chance, is often able to get back into the event without having to stop the entire race.

“Red” Alert: The Death Of NASCAR’s Middle Class

Behind closed doors, one can only imagine what Jay Frye must be feeling. The Vice President / General Manager of Red Bull Racing has spent over a dozen years as the benchmark of NASCAR’s middle class; building winning organizations from scratch, he’s living proof of how to succeed with half the resources and double the challenges. Riding the crest of a wave that peaked a few years back, his former team, Ginn Racing, once shocked the world by leading the points four races into the 2007 season with driver Mark Martin; in the process, they led the Daytona 500 until the final turn. No doubt, he’s capable of building a team that challenges for Victory Lane.

It’s just a matter of if he’ll have anything left to build.

Opportunity Gained, Opportunity Lost: A Pocono Rollercoaster For Two

The latest 500-mile marathon at Pocono turned into a numbers game, a NASCAR story of two men, two racers striving to be the best when only one could stand on top. The first is a future Hall of Famer; the second man aspires to be. On their own, they hold separate levels of accomplishments within this sport but until Sunday were connected by only one: the number four.

That’s the number of victories both Jeff Gordon and Denny Hamlin owned on this 2.5-mile triangle, tops amongst drivers who qualified for the 50 (err… 5) –Hour Energy 500. They actually started side-by-side, occupying the second row but both men, runner-up to Jimmie Johnson during his five-year reign are well acquainted with how second equals the first loser. Instead, their agendas centered around a fifth career victory here, coming up to speed knowing just the slightest hint of desperation revolved around their short-term futures.

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