Race Weekend Central

Holding a Pretty Wheel: Tragedy Only Fueled Hendrick’s Triumph in Their Darkest Hour

It was the first time Brian Vickers smiled all weekend. That was my first thought one Sunday afternoon, a scant four years ago when the dust had settled after the 2004 Bass Pro Shops 500. The second was that it took extraordinary courage and poise for the winning team to be there at all. Racing …

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Holding a Pretty Wheel: Lean Times or Cash Cow, NASCAR Meets the Economy

There has certainly been much written lately about the state of the economy and how it effects NASCAR. Sponsors pulling out; teams, especially in the series below Sprint Cup, cutting schedules or folding altogether (remember just a year ago when four or more teams went home each week? Now it’s more often two, maybe three); …

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Holding a Pretty Wheel: A Tale of 2 Drivers, Will the Real Carl Edwards Please Stand Up?

On one side of the garage, there’s a driver who is thrilled when he wins and gracious when he’s not. He owns up when he causes something on track. He’s kind and funny with the fans, and has worked his butt off to get to the top level of the sport. He contends for championships …

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Holding a Pretty Wheel: Some Guys Have It, Some Guys Don’t – The Intangible That Makes NASCAR Champions

It takes fast cars and skill beyond skill to be a NASCAR Sprint Cup champion. It also takes a great crew both at the shop and in the pits, along with a sponsor to pony up the huge sum necessary to compete in today’s Cup series. It takes an owner willing to put it all …

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Holding a Pretty Wheel: 8 Great NASCAR Books You Probably Haven’t Read

With these cooler fall days and nights, sometimes curling up with a good book is just the ticket to a good time. Whether you’re a newer fan or a veteran, there are many great racing-themed books to choose from. With the possible exception of those by Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Tony Stewart, you might have …

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Holding a Pretty Wheel: When Is a Fight Not a Fight? Only When It’s Between NASCAR Cup Drivers

Fight! There’s one word that’s sure to send people flocking to a scene, and last Saturday, they flocked to pit road at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, specifically to the immediate vicinity of David Starr’s truck. There were several reasons for the sudden congregation. Todd Bodine’s team hurried to the scene to… well, start the fight. …

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Holding a Pretty Wheel: NASCAR Chase “Excitement” Nothing but Smoke & Mirrors

I have to laugh. Well, either that or cry, and laughing isn’t as messy. In 2004, NASCAR attempted to become the NFL, the NBA, Major League Baseball and the NHL all in one. Well, maybe not the NHL. There’s no ice, and fighting is still banned, but NASCAR added a playoff system to make the …

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Holding a Pretty Wheel: In David Stremme, Penske Gets Marketability – But What About Driving Ability?

It’d be kind of ironic – given that I wrote a column on driver marketability a few weeks ago – if the topic had been shot to the forefront of the sport, wrapped around what is probably close to the last of the major teams’ driver signings. Yet, that’s exactly what happened when Penske Racing …

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Holding a Pretty Wheel: New Bud Shootout More Like Shooting Yourself in the Foot

Note to self: never, ever wonder if it could get worse. When I wrote earlier this year that the Budweiser Shootout had outlived its purpose, it was because the segment lengths made it boring – and with Budweiser giving way to Coors Light as the pole sponsor, it seemed as good a time as any to …

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Holding a Pretty Wheel: It’s a Mix of Cheers & Boos for NASCAR’s 2009 Schedules

NASCAR released the 2009 schedules for the Sprint Cup, Nationwide and truck series this week, and there were a few changes for each circuit as the sport moves forward. On the truck calendar, NASCAR hit a home run, and the Nationwide circuit was a stand-up double. The Sprint Cup schedule, however, was more of a …

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