Race Weekend Central

Up to Speed: NASCAR Playoff Points of the Past Revisited

NASCAR Playoff drivers Chase Elliott and Martin Truex Jr. lead the field at Phoenix Raceway. (Photo: NKP)

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

Earlier this year, I explored how NASCAR playoff points earned during the regular season impacted drivers’ performances in the playoffs themselves.  The goal of that study was to determine if a driver’s playoff point total could predict when they would be eliminated from title contention.  I also wanted to see if there were any notable …

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Up to Speed: Denny Hamlin Needs to Let it Go

Denny Hamlin scratches his head on pit road at Charlotte Motor Speedway. (Photo: NKP)

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

Denny Hamlin doesn’t have to be happy.  He doesn’t have to like getting spun by Alex Bowman in the closing laps at Martinsville Speedway.  He doesn’t have to celebrate missing out on a potential win during a 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season where he has enjoyed plenty of strong runs, but few victories. No, Hamlin …

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Up to Speed: A Good Bad Day for Kyle Busch at Kansas

Kyle Busch at 2021 NASCAR Cup Series race on Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course, NKP

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

Kyle Busch’s rocky path through the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs took another unexpected turn at Kansas Speedway. Entering Sunday’s (Oct. 24) race, Busch was on the playoff bubble, just eight points above the cut line. It was a slim margin, but not necessarily a reason to panic. Once among his worst tracks, Busch had finished …

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Up to Speed: Can Joey Logano & Martin Truex Jr. Recover?

Joey Logano focuses before the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series race at Circuit of the Americas in Austin. (Photo: NKP)

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

On a day at Texas Motor Speedway when most NASCAR playoff drivers avoided serious trouble, Joey Logano and Martin Truex Jr. were not so lucky.  Both drivers looked to be on their way to top-10 finishes but dropped out of the race in the last 50 miles.  Logano’s engine failed on lap 300, relegating him …

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Up to Speed: Mind Games for Chase Elliott & Kevin Harvick at the ROVAL

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

It is no surprise to see Charlotte Motor Speedway’s ROVAL dish out a healthy dose of chaos.  But for the 2021 playoff race, a day at the ROVAL came with more mind games than usual.  The feud between Chase Elliott and Kevin Harvick that began at Bristol Motor Speedway flared up once again, with Harvick …

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Up to Speed: Brad Keselowski is Just Who Roush Fenway Racing Needs

Brad Keselowski poses with Jack Roush as the duo announce their partnership beginning with the 2022 Cup Series season. (Photo: Action Sports Photography)

(Photo: Action Sports Photography)

Talladega Superspeedway is the site of Brad Keselowski’s first and most recent wins in the NASCAR Cup Series.  Returning to the track for the first time since his April triumph, he’s right in the thick of the championship battle.  Only four points above the cutline before the second race of the Round of 12, Keselowski …

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Up to Speed: Kyle Busch Beyond 600 Starts

2021 Charlotte Cup Kyle Busch NKP

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

Suffice it to say Kyle Busch’s playoffs got off to a rough start.  A crash at Darlington Raceway erased his cushion over the first round cutline.  Busch responded with a top 10 the following week at Richmond Raceway, but a late speeding penalty cost the No. 18 team a shot at victory. The Round of …

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Up to Speed: Concrete Bristol Needs 2 Cup Dates

Kevin Harvick fights with Chase Elliott at Bristol Motor Speedway. (Photo: NKP)

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

Bristol Motor Speedway rarely disappoints. NASCAR’s top three touring series took on the high banks of Thunder Valley this weekend, where fans were treated to three fantastic races. Thursday night’s (Sept. 16) Camping World Truck Series event may have been plagued by a lot of yellow flags, but the competition was close and the action …

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Up to Speed: The Hendrick Motorsports Playoff Battle Begins Early

Hendrick Motorsports battles for position at Homestead-Miami Speedway. (Photo: NKP)

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

Earlier in the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season, Hendrick Motorsports looked like the team to beat as all four of its drivers had won a race by Memorial Day.  Kyle Larson was particularly impressive, winning three races in a row plus the non-points All-Star race.  But William Byron, Alex Bowman and Chase Elliott all had their …

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