Race Weekend Central

Friday Faceoff: How Much Is Left in Jimmie Johnson’s Tank?

(Photo: Logan Whitton/NKP)

19-year-old William Byron was named to replace Kasey Kahne at Hendrick Motorsports in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series in 2018. Are teams rushing youngsters through the ranks too fast in an effort not to lose them to another team, or are drivers more prepared at a younger age than in the past? Bryan Gable: William …

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Up to Speed: Watkins Glen’s Tale of Two Seasons

(Photo: Russell LaBounty/ NKP)

Once again, the lasting memory from Sunday’s race at Watkins Glen International will be the final lap. As the front-runners battled each other and agonized over their depleted fuel tanks, Matt Kenseth kept edging closer to Martin Truex Jr.  Kenseth’s charge proved to be too little, too late, though it resulted in a close finish …

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Friday Faceoff: Beating Around the Busch

(Photo: Zach Catanzareti)

NASCAR announced further restrictions on full-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers running in the XFINITY and Camping World Truck series in 2018.  Was this the right move for the sport, or is there a better alternative? Samarth Kanal: That’s the right move. It’d be nice to restrict Cup drivers’ appearances in the XFINITY and …

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Up to Speed: Pointing Toward the NASCAR Playoffs

(Photo: Zach Catanzareti)

The second half of July has shaken up the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoff field.  Going into New Hampshire Motor Speedway, the 16-driver grid consisted of 10 postseason-eligible winners.  That left six spots open for drivers to get in on points. Two of those racers, Chase Elliott and Jamie McMurray, stood 89 and 74 points …

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Up to Speed: The Changing of the Hendrick Motorsports Guard

(Photo: Zach Catanzareti)

Hendrick Motorsports was riding high in 2014. Jimmie Johnson just came off winning a sixth championship.  Jeff Gordon was having his best season in years and had reemerged as a top title contender.  Dale Earnhardt Jr. scored his second Daytona 500 victory and snapped a winless streak that had carried on for over a year.  Kasey …

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Up to Speed: Denny Hamlin’s Stability Turning the Tide for Joe Gibbs Racing

(Photo: Matthew T. Thacker/ NKP)

If there was a low point for Joe Gibbs Racing this season, and particularly Denny Hamlin, it had to have been at Texas Motor Speedway back in April.  While Kyle Busch looked competitive at times, Hamlin, Matt Kenseth and Daniel Suarez each struggled to run in the top 20 for no apparent reason.  Hamlin wound up getting the …

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Friday Faceoff: Where Will Matt Kenseth Land?

(Photo: Russell LaBounty/NKP)

Matt Kenseth is officially a free agent after the 2017 season.  Can Kenseth, age 45, still land a top-level ride?  Should he accept a mid-tier offer if the power teams don’t come calling? Bryan Gable:  Absolutely.  Just because Kenseth is not in his prime anymore does not mean he has no value to NASCAR’s best …

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Up to Speed: The Source of Brad Keselowski’s Frustration

(Photo: Matthew T. Thacker / NKP)

Brad Keselowski had a rough night at Kentucky Speedway.  The No. 2 team, understandably, went to the Bluegrass State with high expectations, having won three of the six Cup Series events held at the 1.5-mile track.  While Keselowski ran just outside the top 10 through much of the first stage, he clearly did not have …

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Up to Speed: What Daytona Performance Reveals for Playoff Hopefuls

(Photo: Matthew T. Thacker / NKP)

It is not unusual to see underdogs perform well in restrictor plate races.  However, Saturday’s Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway produced a few more surprises than usual. Winner Ricky Stenhouse Jr. was the only driver to start and finish inside the top 10.  Additionally, no driver who entered the race in the top …

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Friday Faceoff: Can An Underfunded Team Be a Contender?

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade NKP)

Martin Truex, Jr. has had a hot start to 2017, with a total of 11 stage wins and two race wins, but he’s also had some missed opportunities due to things outside the driver’s control.  Is the No. 78 team ready to win a title this year, or will the little things add up? Dustin …

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