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NASCAR Race Weekend Central

Bowles-Eye View: As The Cookie Cutter Crumbles – NASCAR’s Intermediate Track Boom Turned Bust

So many are disgusted with the racing that went on Saturday night at Chicagoland. But to understand the present, we need to take a look at the past, reminding ourselves of the story how tracks like the much-maligned 1.5-mile oval ever came to be in the first place. It was the mid-1990s, and NASCAR couldn’t …

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Bowles-Eye View: 2 Scary Wrecks, 1 Busch-League Maneuver… & A Lesson in Handling Adversity

Two restrictor-plate races, two last-lap finishes and two frightening crashes. We’ve seen the good, the bad and the ugly the last time out at both Daytona and Talladega, with battles for the win turned battles for survival in little more than the blink of an eye. The way these wrecks unfolded were eerily similar, the …

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Bowles-Eye View: All But Forgotten, NASCAR’s Mr. Boring Remains the Team to Beat in This Soap Opera

It’s hard to believe a sport’s most successful athlete can go through a season all but forgotten. But it’s a feeling Jimmie Johnson knows all too well at this point. Heading into Dover this weekend, Johnson didn’t find himself buried amongst the NASCAR news as of late… he hasn’t even made it to the back …

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Bowles-Eye View: Patience Equals Power for Tony Stewart as Both Owner & Driver

For over a decade, Tony Stewart was never confused with being a patient man. After all, the driver nicknamed Smoke for his infamous temper tantrums on and off the track won his first Cup title while under probation for punching a track photographer after a bad day. Those types of incidents throughout his career left more than a few skeptics on the fence this season as Stewart made his debut as an owner/driver in NASCAR. For them, it wasn’t a matter of if he could keep his frustrations from boiling over into an ugly mess… but when. Turns out somewhere during these last three months, Stewart found a way to turn down the heat on that stove.

Bowles-Eye View: The Dangers of Taking a Hendrick Dynasty to the Next Level

Dynasty (n.): A group that maintains power for a significant period of time. In America’s major sports, that word used to cause a sellout automatically – just mention it and a certain team in the same sentence. The Yankees, Red Wings, Packers and Celtics have given their stick ‘n’ ball brethren records that may never …

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Bowles-Eye View: Roush’s, Ford’s Rough Start Peaks During Short-Track Slump

There were three big reasons for three of NASCAR’s “Big Four” owners to smile on Saturday night. Joe Gibbs was busy congratulating Kyle Busch in victory lane, his young prodigy scoring a season-leading third win while jumping to fifth in points. Behind him, Hendrick “B” team Stewart-Haas Racing had their owner/driver knocking on the door, …

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Bowles-Eye View: NASCAR’s Dream Turned Nightmare Wrapped Into 1

One of the biggest struggles we have in life is to try and figure out whether our glass is half-empty or half-full. While contemplating Talladega, I think it’s appropriate to look at both. I’m an optimist at heart, so it’s impossible for me to not appreciate the positive of what transpired Sunday afternoon. Before we even get into the race itself, let’s throw out a list of stats that describe the significance of Brad Keselowski’s win on Sunday.

Bowles-Eye View: Mark Martin’s Rise Leaves Dale Earnhardt Jr. Flat On His Face

This is a story about two men’s historic rise and fall from grace. As Mark Martin took the checkered flag Saturday night, the desert night lit up with thousands of smiling faces. Sentimentality was in the air again at Phoenix International Raceway, a mere two minutes after a 50-year-old won his first race since ‘05 and two years after Jeff Gordon tied the late, great Earnhardt name with his 76th career win. History has been no stranger to the desert as of late; but this time around, the fans stood respectful of Martin’s seniority rather than rueful for Gordon’s claim to historic fame.

Bowles-Eye View: Sliced Bread Keeps the Nationwide Series Stale Without His Presence

As Joey Logano entered victory lane Saturday in Nashville, he flashed a smile the likes of which hasn’t been seen in months. Seven weeks after struggling through a nightmare of a rookie season in Cup, 300 miles in the Nationwide Series reminded us there’s still potential there for young Joey to pair with that hype. It’s the type of experience that you’d hope would make the teen sensation feel right at home in stock cars. Too bad he doesn’t get the chance to feel it often enough.

Bowles-Eye View: Jeff Gordon, NASCAR’s Elder Statesman?

Fast forward to 2009. 16 starts and several ugly DNFs later, Jeff Gordon finally took a Texas-sized monkey and threw it off his back, charging from third to first on his final pit stop and holding off now three-time championship teammate Jimmie Johnson for his first career victory at the track. In the process, Gordon ended a 47-race winless streak – but cemented his hold atop the Sprint Cup standings in what’s become a 162-point runaway after just six events. The crowd cheered.

Bowles-Eye View: Travis Kvapil Did Everything Right, But Today’s NASCAR Left Him All Wronged

As too many of you know firsthand, this recession has no filter in taking the innocent and making them innocent victims before they even know what hit them. Men and women who were the stars of their respective companies have gone from Employee of the Month to Employee Out The Door with nothing more than a bright little pink slip, earning 15 minutes to collect their belongings after 15 years or more worth of effort. Fairness has been replaced with frugal, success with survival in a world where nothing is guaranteed. This Monday morning, Travis Kvapil knows that pain all too well.