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NASCAR Race Weekend Central

Holding A Pretty Wheel: It’s That Time Again, NASCAR Fans

2015 Martinsville I CUP pack racing VI credit Amy Henderson

(Photo: Amy Henderson)

It might seem like just yesterday that the checkered flag came out at Homestead, but another NASCAR season is already gearing up this weekend at Daytona International Speedway, where Daytona 500 practice starts Saturday and 25 teams take the track Saturday night for the pre-season Sprint Unlimited. It’s certainly been an eventful offseason, too.  With …

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Holding a Pretty Wheel: Team Alliances a Key to NASCAR Success

Daytona 500 Cup 2.2015 Yvonne Leonard 194 1024x683

(Photo: Yvonne Leonard)

As the 2016 season rolls closer and some form of franchising (NASCAR calls it a charter system, but it’s essentially franchising) seems inevitable, the sport will only get more competitive.  The elite teams will still be the elite, but things will really heat up in the middle of the field.  For teams without charters and …

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Holding a Pretty Wheel: Does the Champion Matter?

2015 Dover II CUP Kevin Harvick car CIA

(Photo: CIA Stock Photo, Inc. ©2015)

Not much is for certain in racing but here’s one thing that is: At the end of the weekend, NASCAR will crown a champion at its highest level. The four drivers still standing consist of the aging hero on his way into the sunset, the reigning champ and resident bad boy, the comeback kid, and …

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Holding a Pretty Wheel: The Name Does Matter

2015 Martinsville Speedway NSCS Joey Logano Brad Keselowski credit NASCAR via Getty Images

(Photo: NASCAR via Getty Images)

During the brouhaha over the Matt Kenseth–Joey Logano dustup two weeks ago at Martinsville Speedway, Kyle Busch said something that was largely overlooked in the aftermath of the incident: That it’s not just about what happened, but whose names were over the doors on the cars involved. And it was easy to push the statement …

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Holding A Pretty Wheel: In the Twilight of His Career, Jeff Gordon Still On Top

2015 Martinsville I CUP Jeff Gordon car credit Amy Henderson

(Photo Credit: Amy Henderson, Frontstretch)

For just a few moments at Martinsville Speedway on Sunday, the years were peeled away. For just a few moments, the driver was young again; everyone in attendance felt it. The spirit was beautiful again, because it was what they all remembered: rife with possibility, a hero’s game, a well-fought battle where the brash young …

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Holding a Pretty Wheel: Races Were All That Mattered

2015 Talladega II CUP fans CIA

(Photo: CIA Stock Photo, Inc. ©2015)

As NASCAR heads to one of the last tracks to survive since the earliest years, there’s so much to think about: the Chase and the drivers in it, the dearth of passing this season, what’s coming next year. Watch a race broadcast and you will see all of these and more throughout the program. In …

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Holding a Pretty Wheel: Leavine Family Racing Rises From Ashes, Looks Ahead

2015 Leavine Family Racin fire damage credit Leavine Family Racing copy

(Photo: Leavine Family Racing)

Racing in NASCAR’s top series is a spectacle of color, sound and excitement. At least, that’s what they tell you on TV. But underneath the excitement, there’s another side to the sport, a reality that many teams face each and every week. For many of the teams running in the Sprint Cup Series, it’s a …

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Holding A Pretty Wheel: Why So Serious?

2015 Darlington CUP Kyle Larson CIA

(Photo: CIA Stock Photo, Inc. ©2015)

As I was reading through the comments on this week’s Frontstretch Five (I like comments a lot, even if I don’t always agree with them), I have to admit that one thought came to mind a few times. The comments were varied, sure, and mostly thoughtfully written, and as I said, I enjoy reading through …

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Holding A Pretty Wheel: Can a Chase Underdog Win It All?

2015 Richmond II CUP Ryan Newman Martin Truex Jr CIA

Martin Truex, Jr. hopes to accomplish what Ryan Newman came one position from doing in 2014. (Photo: CIA Stock Photography)

As NASCAR sits on the brink of the Chase, it’s easy to pick out the favorites. They’re the ones at or near the top of the standings before the reset, the ones who have been consistently excellent all season long. When it comes right down to it, they’re the ones who probably deserve to win …

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Holding A Pretty Wheel: Past and Future Collide at Darlington

2014 Darlington CUP Dale earnhardt Jr Jimmie Johnson Kevin Harvick racing CIA

(Photo: CIA Stock Photo, Inc. ©2014)­­

As Sprint Cup teams prepare to dance with the Lady in Black, NASCAR stands at a critical crossroads. The sport gave a nod to history — and fans — when the Southern 500 returned to its rightful Labor Day weekend date for the first time in more than a decade. Prior to Darlington Raceway losing …

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Holding a Pretty Wheel: Warning System (Almost) Gets It Right

2015 Bristol II CUP Kyle Busch Michael McDowell racing CIA

Photo Credit: CIA Stock Photography

By now, you’ve gotten used to seeing a list of names on Wednesday or Thursday each week. Sometimes it’s a nice short list; others, like this week, it’s a pretty long one. 11 teams made NASCAR’s naughty list this week, receiving written warnings from the sanctioning body for inspection issues ranging from having to pass …

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Holding a Pretty Wheel: When Will the Jimmie Johnson Show Begin?

2015 Pocono CUP Jimmie Johnson CIA

(Photo: CIA Stock Photo, Inc. ©2015)

There are certain things in life that are foregone conclusions. Death. Taxes. Jimmie Johnson. Wait, what? It wouldn’t be going out on much of a limb to say that Johnson will likely be contending for the championship this year, even if recent weeks haven’t had the No. 48 car at the top of the leaderboard. After …

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