Race Weekend Central

Fanning the Flames: TV Coverage, Team Orders & Tapping the Roof

Q: Hello Matt. When Tony Stewart had radio problems at Bristol, one of the ESPN announcers referenced tapping on the roof and tapping on the door of the car to signal if it was loose or tight. I’ve heard of this, but it’s been years. Which means loose and which means tight and where did that originate?

Frontstretch NASCAR Power Rankings: Top 15 After the 2009 Sharpie 500 at Bristol

The new banking at Bristol, along with the new car, has bred a new form of racing at the old bullring. Single-file bump-and-runs have been replaced by side-by-side competition, with wrecks at the finish line replaced by the type of winning maneuvers you’d be more likely to see at a track like Atlanta or even …

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Fanning the Flames: Numbers Show 2009 Season Most Competitive of Chase Era

A quick observation that somehow waded into my head amidst the congestion and cloudiness of a mid-August head cold: For as much as we, as fans and media, like to complain about the slanted nature of the sport circa 2009, notice that with Red Bull Racing’s win at Michigan, we’ve now had four first-time team …

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Frontstretch NASCAR Power Rankings: Top 15 After the 2009 CARFAX 400 at Michigan

A fuel-mileage race at Michigan? Who would have guessed it? Seriously, as expected Sunday’s 400-mile affair in the Irish Hills left us counting drops of Sunoco gasoline to see who was going to make it to the finish line first. And just like any stock car event decided by fuel strategy, those final few laps …

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Fanning the Flames: Penalties & Robby Gordon… A NASCAR Tradition Since 1991!

Q: Matt, I noticed something during the Pocono race [last] Monday. While the two bad boys [Gordon and Stremme] were having their little five-lap timeout in the naughty chair, they were working on their cars. I know you can’t work on them during a red-flag condition, but I was unaware it was OK to turn a wrench when you’re in the penalty box. Has that always been the case?

Frontstretch NASCAR Power Rankings: Top 15 After the 2009 Heluva! Good Sour Cream Dips at the Glen

Turning right and turning left was good for some at Watkins Glen, but turned others into a knot they never wriggled out of. After his record-breaking fifth victory at the track, Tony Stewart was able to once again garner all of the first-place votes for this week, but the remainder of the spots in our poll were up for grabs. In all, 13 of the top-15 positions changed hands as a second straight rain delay threw a wrench into more than a few teams’ summer momentum. Read this week’s Power Rankings to find out which drivers avoided the gravel trap and head to the Irish Hills as the favorites.

Fanning the Flames: No to the Camaro, Stremme v. Gordon & ESPN’s Twittergate

Q: I read about the Nationwide Series needing an “identity” every week. It’s a common theme on this site and others. My question is how can that series do so if guys like Mike Bliss, a Nationwide-only driver, gets canned in favor of Cup regulars? And how can the cars on track have their own identity if they are the same as the Cup cars? At least we thought we would get different models with the Nationwide CoT, but now Chevy doesn’t even want to use the Camaro. How can this series survive with decisions like these?

Frontstretch NASCAR Power Rankings: Top 15 After the 2009 Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono

NASCAR went back to the tricky triangle in the Pocono mountains just six weeks after its last race there; and at first glance, it looked like not all that much had changed. Just like in June, Tony Stewart crashed in practice and started at the rear of the field in a backup car. Once again, …

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Fanning the Flames: Montoya’s Tach, Elliott’s Oil & The Revenge of the Pony Cars

With apologies to my colleagues here on Frontstretch, the column everyone should be reading this week (actually, every week) is by Dr. Diandra Leslie-Pelecky at StockCarScience.com. It shines light on many of the reasons it’s easy to speed on pit road, what role rpms, gears and the transmission play, and why simply installing a speedometer …

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Frontstretch NASCAR Power Rankings: Top 15 After the 2009 Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis

Racing at the Brickyard is not always the most exciting, but the history and tradition of the place always seem to shine through when people start to have doubts. Most of our Power Rankings leaders used the big stage of Indianapolis to come up with strong finishes; but for those who fell short, their problems …

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