NASCAR Race Weekend Central

NASCAR, Daytona Know How Close They Came

2014 Daytona II CUP Lap 98 big one CIA

(Photo Credit: CIA Stock Photography)

About every month, in my inbox I’ve gotten an update on the Daytona Rising project, detailing the renovations at Daytona International Speedway. By all accounts, what President Joie Chitwood III and the Speedway have done to modernize Big Bill France’s 2.5-mile creation has been nothing short of spectacular. Every day this week, I’ve walked through …

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Chitwood, Daytona Beach Promise New SAFER Barriers

2014 Talladega II CUP Michael McDowell crash CIA

(Credit: CIA Stock Photography)

Hours after Kyle Busch suffered a leg injury at Daytona, hitting the inside wall at a place where the 2.5-mile superspeedway had no protective SAFER Barrier the Track President promised immediate changes. Joie Chitwood III, in a hastily arranged press conference, announced in a stern voice the track would spend the money needed to add …

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Danica, Denny And Desperation

2014 Phoenix II CUP Tony Stewart Danica Patrick CIA

(Credit: CIA Stock Photo, Inc. ©2014)

Only one word describes Danica Patrick during a Daytona Speedweeks that’s been borderline disastrous: stressed. Two years removed from the 500 pole, she’s gone from media darling to having to give the same less-than-darling answers to the media 20 times a day. “Yes, I’m in the final year of my contract.” “Yes, I feel confident I’ll …

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Kurt Busch Comes To A Head: How Much Longer Can NASCAR Delay The Inevitable?

2014 Loudon II CUP Kurt Busch helmet CIA

(Credit: CIA Stock Photography)

Editor’s Note: Tom Bowles’ writing for Frontstretch moves to Tuesday and Wednesdays this season. Check out Did You Notice? tomorrow and every Wednesday along with his Monday column for Athlon Sports. When processing the latest twist in the Kurt Busch case, a Delaware judge’s decision released Monday afternoon, I couldn’t help but think about Busch’s teammate …

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NASCAR 2015: A Glass Half-Empty Or Half-Full?

2014 Daytona II CUP Ricky Stenhouse Jr Jimmie Johnson Davod Ragan racing CIA

(Credit: CIA Stock Photography)

Editor’s Note: Beginning this week, Tom Bowles’ long-standing Monday column moves to Tuesdays. He’ll write weekly here along with Did You Notice? every Wednesday. The world in 2015 is a strange place, one we still struggle to understand even in the happiest of times. Something as small as a tweet of 140 characters can be …

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NASCAR’s Gordon Avoids the “R” Word: Revolution?

2014 Michigan II CUP Jeff Gordon Rick Hendrick victory lane CIA

(Courtesy: CIA Stock Photography)

I was 11 years old in 1992 when Jeff Gordon made his Sprint Cup debut. It happened during one of the most infamous races in NASCAR’s modern era, a season-ending Hooters 500 where no Chase was needed to create a high-drama, white-knuckle battle for the championship. Six drivers entered the Atlanta race title-eligible, three failed to finish (Davey …

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NASCAR’s Big Gamble… And Its Lucky Roll

2014 Homestead CUP Kevin Harvick burnout CIA

NASCAR’s new Chase format entered the weekend with four possible championship outcomes. Two of them, regardless of fan loyalty, would have caused a major, Grand Canyon-sized rift in NASCAR history. Ryan Newman, who wound up one spot short of a title, would have had the fewest top-5 finishes for any champion since 1949. Denny Hamlin, …

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Gordon’s Great Debate

2014 Martinsville II CUP Jeff Gordon car CIA

(Credit: CIA Stock Photography)

Thirteen years ago this month, with the sport still reeling from the loss of its Intimidator, a Rainbow Warrior cut through battle to earn NASCAR Cup title number four. Just 30 years old, Jeff Gordon was no Dale Earnhardt, Sr., either in personality or presence, but the stat sheet told us a different story. With …

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The Brawl That Brings Brian’s Chase To A Crossroads

2014 Texas II CUP Brad Keselowski Kevin Harvick racing CIA

Brad Keselowski's 2014 tale proved that winning isn't everything, but it still matters in the end. (Photo: CIA Stock Photography)

“Did you see the Texas fight? In NASCAR?” Amongst coffee stops, or milling about on the train, or in offices Monday morning, millions of people in America will take a break, get bored at work and start asking that question. Some of them will be lifelong NASCAR fans, still absorbing the ramifications of a bar-like brawl that …

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NASCAR’s Most Popular Reminder: Wins Over Chase

2014 Martinsville II CUP Dale Earnhardt Jr helmet CIA

(Credit: CIA Stock Photography)

For Dale Earnhardt, Jr., 2014 was supposed to be “the year.” It’s his final go-round with crew chief Steve Letarte, seventh season with powerhouse Hendrick Motorsports and last season with major sponsor National Guard. This year’s Daytona 500 winner, he was the first man to clinch a Chase bid and, entering Sunday had totaled three …

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