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Thinkin’ Out Loud

Matt McLaughlin’s Thinkin’ Out Loud: Loudon-1 Race Recap

*The Key Moment* – Ryan Newman managed to clear Clint Bowyer on fresher tires immediately following a lap 229 restart and never looked back, scoring his third career victory at New Hampshire Motor Speedway with ease.*In a Nutshell* – Sprint Cup racing, thy name is track position.*Dramatic Moment* – Tony Stewart did everything in his power to tear back through the field and add some tension to his teammate's parade up front, but ended up a few laps short of being able to seriously threaten the No. 39 for the victory. Though Kurt Busch did give him a fight with around 50 to go.

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Matt McLaughlin’s Thinkin’ Out Loud: Kentucky Cup Race Debacle Recap

*The Key Moment* – Kyle Busch aced the final restart, then had time to relax and watch the mayhem behind him in the rear-view mirror while cruising to victory.*In a Nutshell* – Busch let loose on the field most of the night with an old-fashioned butt-whoopin’.*Dramatic Moment* – Well, there sure weren’t a lot of them to select from, were there? I’d say the last two laps were the only part of the race that got my pulse rate up.

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Matt McLaughlin’s Thinkin’ Out Loud: Firecracker 400 Race Recap

*The Key Moment* – David Ragan, with an essential assist from teammate Matt Kenseth, got some sweet redemption after his miscue shifting lanes prior to a restart at the Daytona 500.*In a Nutshell* –There they went marching in their packs of two, Professional drivers reduced to playing Jabbering monkeys and jackasses To be part of Noah France’s plate track seaside zoo.*Dramatic Moment* – Well the last five laps of the race were pretty unpredictable and equally violent. I guess some people like that.

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Matt McLaughlin’s Thinkin’ Out Loud: Sonoma Race Recap

*The Key Moment* – Kurt Busch started Sunday's race in the 11th position. By lap 13, the elder Busch dove under Denny Hamlin in turn 7 and took the lead. Short of pit stops cycling through, the lead was not a position Busch relinquished for long.*In a Nutshell* – The No. 22 team woke up and realized that Kurt Busch still hasn't won a points-paying plate race in a decade of Cup competition; so, they figured they'd grab a win before heading to Daytona. And no one saw fit to really challenge them for it.

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Matt McLaughlin’s Thinkin’ Out Loud: Michigan-1 Race Recap

*The Key Moment* – Denny Hamlin emerged first from the pits on the final caution and held off a determined Matt Kenseth for the final five laps.*In a Nutshell* – It was a long wait for a brief payoff there at the end.*Dramatic Moment* – Those final five laps the drivers finally seemed to disengage cruise control and get up on the wheel.*What They’ll Be Talking About Around the Water Cooler This Week*First off, *thanks to Junior* for sparing us yet another fuel mileage finish.

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Matt McLaughlin’s Thinkin’ Out Loud: 2011 Kansas 1st Race Recap

*The Key Moment* – Brad Keselowski milked 57 laps out of a tank of fuel to win the Kansas race on fuel mileage.*In a Nutshell* – Just an ordinary race. That happens sometimes.*Dramatic Moment* – Once again waiting to see who was going to run out of gas on the final lap. Remember when this sport was about MPH, not MPG?

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Matt McLaughlin’s Thinkin’ Out Loud: 2011 World 600 Race Recap

*The Key Moment* – Dale Earnhardt Junior ran out of gas exiting the fourth corner on the final lap allowing Kevin Harvick to streak by and claim his third win of the season.*In a Nutshell* – I don’t think Moe, Larry and Curly could have done a worse job of officiating a race than NASCAR did tonight. But then NASCAR has a lot more than three stooges.*Dramatic Moment* – Waiting to see who was going to run out of gas on those final two laps.

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Matt McLaughlin’s Thinkin’ Out Loud: 2011 All-Star Race Recap

*The Key Moment* – Carl Edwards' crew got him off pit road first after the final mandatory four-tire stop with ten to go. The No. 99 cruised to an All-Star Race victory from there.*In a Nutshell* – For all the pre-race hype concerning bad tempers, revenge, no remorse, paybacks and the gloves being off it was a pretty sedate date at Charlotte Saturday night.*Dramatic Moment* – This event was devoid of drama… utterly soulless without a hint of excitement.

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Matt McLaughlin’s Thinkin’ Out Loud: Dover Spring Race Recap

_Editor's Note: Matt is off this week, attending his niece's graduation ceremonies. He'll be back for the All-Star Race; for this edition, our Bryan Keith fills in._*The Key Moment* – Matt Kenseth took two tires and Mark Martin stayed out while leaders Jimmie Johnson, Carl Edwards and Clint Bowyer all took four during pit stops under caution on lap 364 after Juan Pablo Montoya backed into the turn 4 wall. Hey, being on probation and unable to hit other drivers, he needed to hit something.*In a Nutshell* – Mr. Five-Time and Concrete Carl traded the lead back and forth for much of the afternoon and were clearly the class of the field, but a late-race caution, everlasting tires and the importance of clean air won this race for those that opted to take two or no tires during the final cycle of pit stops.*Dramatic Moment* – Nothing that could compare to the fireworks and near firefight that broke out at Darlington last weekend... though seeing apprentice Matt Kenseth past grandmaster Mark Martin for the eventual win had to be refreshing for those two fan bases.

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