NASCAR Race Weekend Central

Up to Speed: Hendrick Motorsports Teammates in a Tight Spot

2019 Atlanta CUP William Byron Alex Bowman NKP

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

Last weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Alex Bowman and William Byron began their playoff runs with good finishes.  Bowman cruised to a sixth-place result, his best finish since winning at Chicagoland Speedway.  Byron spun out with less than 100 laps to go in the race but fought back to finish ninth.  Combined with Chase …

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Up to Speed: It’s Complicated Between NASCAR & the NFL

2019MonsterEnergyNASCARCupSeriesPlayoffsFieldOf16NKP

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

For the second year in a row, the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoffs kicked off at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.  Last year’s race turned out to be a brutal war of attrition run during the heat of the afternoon, with temperatures easily reaching into the triple digits. To make things more comfortable for the …

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Up to Speed: Do Not Feel Bad for Jimmie Johnson

Johnson Watkins Glen

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

Ever since the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series began utilizing a postseason format, Jimmie Johnson has been part of the championship fight.  For 15 straight seasons, no matter what guidelines NASCAR instituted for the Chase/playoffs, Johnson was always there. That streak came to an end on Sunday (Sept. 8), when Johnson failed to make the …

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Up to Speed: Remembering Hut Stricklin’s Darlington Near-Miss

Darlington Raceway Sunset

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

Two weeks later, the memory of Matt DiBenedetto’s strong run at Bristol Motor Speedway is still fresh.  Days after learning he would be replaced at Leavine Family Racing next year, DiBenedetto nearly pulled off a surprising victory in Thunder Valley.  If not for Denny Hamlin’s late charge through the field in the closing laps, DiBenedetto …

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Up to Speed: Has the Tide Turned in the Championship Battle?

IMG 5964

(Photo: Danny Peters)

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers and teams got a rare break this weekend.  The sport’s premier division enjoyed its first off-weekend since mid-June.  At that time, the Cup Series ran 15 races of the 2019 season. The nine races following the June break have produced some exciting finishes, fresh story lines and new faces …

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Up to Speed: Not the Last of Matt DiBenedetto

2019MENCSBristolMattDiBenedettoFaceNKP

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

Matt DiBenedetto had every right to be upset Saturday night. Days earlier, he and the rest of the NASCAR world found out he is not returning to Leavine Family Racing in 2020. Then, in his very next race, DiBenedetto came agonizingly close to scoring his first Monster Energy NASCAR  Cup Series victory.  It was the …

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Up to Speed: Long Runs or Restarts?

mencs mis2 start 081119

(Photo: NASCAR via Getty Images)

NASCAR competition at Michigan International Speedway revolves around two elements: long runs and restarts. Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race was no exception.  Long green-flag runs at the beginning and end of the race shuffled positions at a racetrack where passing has been notoriously difficult.  The middle offered a series of short runs broken …

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Up to Speed: Road Course Racing on the Rise

2019WatkinsGlenMENCSBradKeselowskiCarNKP

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

NASCAR often seems to be in a constant state of change. Many of those changes have been hotly debated among fans, especially when it comes to the future of the sport.  But there is one change in the last decade that often gets overlooked and may well impact NASCAR’s direction into the 2020s.  Road course …

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Up to Speed: Denny Hamlin Seals the Deal

2019PoconoMENCSDennyHamlinCarNKP

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

This time, Denny Hamlin didn’t let the win slip away. One week after failing to get by Kevin Harvick in a last lap battle at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Hamlin captured the checkered flag at Pocono Raceway.  In a race where fuel mileage and a few late-race restarts made the outcome a guessing game, Hamlin …

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Up to Speed: Erik Jones Survives Chaotic New Hampshire Race

2019LoudonMENCSErikJonesCarNKP 1

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

Erik Jones ran one of his best races of the season on Sunday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.  The final results will show that Jones started fourth, placed second in the first stage and came home third, equaling his best finish of 2019. But really, that’s only the tip of the iceberg. Jones had to …

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