Race Weekend Central

Did You Notice? … Toyota Trouble, Limping Into Action And Testing The Waters

Did You Notice?… We’re four races in and Toyota hasn’t made it to Victory Lane? Their 0-for-4 performances, thus far highlight some weaknesses at both Joe Gibbs and Michael Waltrip Racing. Combined, Toyotas have just one top-5 finish out of 20 recorded thus far in 2014; only two drivers (Denny Hamlin and Matt Kenseth) sit inside …

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Did You Notice? … The Details Behind Busch Double-Duty And NASCAR Teams/Series Needing A Boost

Credit: CIA Stock Photography

Did You Notice?… Kurt Busch could be the fourth person in history to do theNASCAR/Indy “double,” running 1,100 miles in the same day? OK, you probably do because Busch was everywhere with a camera, a microphone, and a satellite signal Tuesday. Between the national rounds, from ESPN to NBC along with aKurtBuschDouble.com website rollout it’s clear this Memorial Day Weekend decision …

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Did You Notice? … NASCAR’s Daunting Reality Ahead, Precedents And Race Dates

Did You Notice?… Most people, be it fans, drivers, Twitterbots, whomever seem to agree Sunday’s 500 was one of the best in years. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. is on cloud nine, running on no sleep, acting 20 years old again and willing to talk to anyone within earshot – even your dog. NASCAR executives couldn’t have …

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Did You Notice? … A Daytona Darkhorse, Power Split And NASCAR Quick Hits

Did You Notice?… One of the more underreported stories of Speedweeks, thus far is not who’s sitting in the front row but who just missed out. Greg Biffle and Carl Edwards, third and fourth-best in Sunday’s qualifying for the 56th Daytona 500 look to have the speed to contend for Victory Lane. Quietly, Roush Fenway …

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Did You Notice?… Penske’s Appeal Resolution Still Comes With Unanswered Questions

It turns out that, in the end maybe there was a bit more playing around with the “rear skew,” trying to innovate in a way where the cars will handle better than NASCAR liked. Perhaps one of the most notable comments, Tuesday came from Penske himself who admitted that, had the suspensions been reduced in the initial appeals process he would not have taken the matter further up the chain. To me, that’s an admission of guilt, considering the 25 points lost by Joey Logano may very well keep that car out of the Chase. It’s a potential loss of millions of dollars in marketing, angering your primary sponsor in the process and you’re not going to “keep going” to restore his points? Sounds like a team that knew they were using a gray crayon.

Did You Notice? … Silly Season Checkup And NASCAR’s Youth Problem

*Did You Notice?…* How already, nine races in, we can make some judgments on NASCAR’s Silly Season moves? In an unusual 2012, there were only three deals in which drivers moved into different major rides: Matt Kenseth, to the No. 20 of Joe Gibbs Racing; Joey Logano, to the No. 22 of Penske Racing; and Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. to the No. 17 of Roush Fenway Racing.

Let’s tackle each one at a time. Kenseth’s move to Joe Gibbs Racing was dictated, for him, by sponsorship security: Home Depot and Dollar General will provide the funding for the No. 20 to race for years to come. In contrast, he was dealing with piecemeal backing at his longtime ride, the No. 17, and had changed crew chiefs several times since Robbie Reiser was promoted at the end of 2007. The loyalty, despite a strong relationship with the last of those replacements (Jimmy Fennig) just wasn’t the same.

Did You Notice? … “Cheating” Equals Credibility Crisis, Who NASCAR’s Chasing And Dodging Brands

*Did You Notice?…* One of the biggest statements from Kansas has been swept under the radar… until now? Richard Petty, when interviewed matter-of-factly Friday suggested that someone had to snitch on Penske Racing in order for them to be facing the 500-foot pool of water they’re drowning in now. It was more than a coincidence, said the King for NASCAR to pick apart their cars, pre-race inspection all of a sudden and then throw the hammer down in terms of suspending everyone but the waterboy in that organization for six weeks.

“They passed two or three inspections and hadn’t been caught,” he said of the Texas incident, going on to say that based on past experience, it’s clear as day someone “must” have alerted authorities about suspect rear end housings.

Did You Notice? … NASCAR Penalties: The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

*Did You Notice?…* On some things, despite mounting criticism NASCAR has the ability to stay consistent. In the wake of penalties issued Wednesday, the one that stands out the most here is *Martin Truex, Jr.’s* penalty for being too low in post-race inspection. That six-point deduction – equivalent to about 25 in the old system – along with a $25,000 fine for crew chief Chad Johnston keeps along with the same type of infraction reaching all the way back into the previous decade.

Why I find that important is, for the first time if you asked 50 of the top media members and garage insiders what Truex’s penalty would be, I’m confident all 50 would have said what actually happened. For once, a rulebook deadpanned as written in dry erase marker has a sense of permanence when it comes to a penalty for a _specific_ violation.

Did You Notice? … Key Moments For Roush, Junior, Short Tracks

*Did You Notice?…* Roush Fenway Racing is at a crossroads? Heading to Texas, where they’ve won the last two spring races, they’re still waiting for last year’s winner Greg Biffle to break through. Without a top-5 finish yet this season, he’s sixth in points but has been nearly invisible up front as Ford’s once unquestioned top organization has taken a back seat to newcomer Penske Racing.

They’ve also lost their most successful star. Gone is Matt Kenseth, moving to Joe Gibbs Racing, where he’s been immediately successful, winning once and contending in several other races. While RFR was struggling Sunday, at a short track that’s long been one of their weakest tracks, Kenseth was busy trying to lap them, a contender to win from the drop of the green until a late-race fade to 14th. After a 2012 rift some still struggle to explain, he’s run circles around his former organization right off the bat.

Did You Notice? … Five Teams Looking To Save Their Season Five Races In

*Did You Notice?…* For every team in contention for this year’s Chase, there’s another dangerously close to early elimination? You’d think, five races in, that wouldn’t be the case, considering debates surrounding whether Denny Hamlin can miss that period of time and still charge back into the playoffs.

But, by and large, as has been widely reported in recent years, strong starts in the point standings, even this early, typically hold up come September. Here’s a quick look at how many drivers eligible for the Chase, five races in went on to earn a bid once the regular season was complete…

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