NASCAR Race Weekend Central

5 Points to Ponder: 2009 CARFAX 400 at Michigan

The story of the weekend pertained to the dramatic conclusion of Saturday’s Nationwide race between Brad Keselowski, Brian Vickers and Kyle Busch. Keselowski went on to win, but Busch voiced his displeasure with the way Vickers raced him in the closing laps; and with the flip of a visor, blogs started popping up by the minute.

5 Points to Ponder: 2009 Heluva! Good Sour Cream Dips at the Glen Edition

Like any NASCAR road-course rain delay, fans who actually wanted to see a race on a Sunday immediately called for rain tires and windshield wipers. We’d seen it before in the Nationwide Series in Montreal… and the results were mixed. But this is the way I see it: If you don’t have brake lights or headlights, how can you race in the rain? Would you want to see your favorite driver crash because his windows are fogging up and he can’t see the car in front of him? Looking back at a pretty good race Monday afternoon, I’m glad the series didn’t have rain tires on Sunday.

5 Points to Ponder: 2009 Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Edition

One of the few tracks not owned by SMI or ISC, the Pocono Speedway has hosted NASCAR races since the 1970s and has had its share of wild races and stinkers. It’s no different than any other track in that regard, but the fact that it’s relatively a single-groove track and has its two races just two months apart has had fans calling for a date to be cut. The June race was an absolute clunker… but Monday’s race was pretty darn exciting.

Who’s Hot/Who’s Not in Sprint Cup: 2009 Brickyard 400 Edition

With Doug Turnbull off this week, it’s time for the editing 1-2 punch of our own Tom Bowles and Mike Lovecchio to give you the latest trends in the Cup Series after the Brickyard. We might not have Doug’s usual commentary, but what we do know is which drivers are speeding back to Pocono on the fuel of a red-hot July… and which ones have invited winter into their lives about five months too soon. Read on to see who’s in position to nab a playoff spot or a pink slip heading towards the Dog Days of August in our latest edition of Who’s Hot and Who’s Not in Sprint Cup.

5 Points to Ponder: 2009 Brickyard 400 Edition

On the weekend of one of Sprint Cup’s biggest races, the sport’s other national series’ were at Indianapolis’s other track – the .686-mile short track, O’Reilly Raceway Park. But while the Brickyard 400 is one of NASCAR’s crown jewels, strangely enough I found myself more excited for the other two “companion” races in town. Call me crazy, but we all knew the single-file parade that would take place on Sunday. You know what else I knew? That the races at ORP would be some of the most exciting short-track races we’ve seen this season… regardless of series.

5 Points to Ponder: Inside the Sprint Cup Rumor Mill

With the Cup Series taking a rare weekend off, this week’s Five Points will try and help sort out the rampant rumors you may have seen throughout this year’s Silly Season. When the Frontstretch live blog returns next week at Indianapolis, the column’s regular format will also return.

5 Points to Ponder: 2009 Lifelock 400 at Chicagoland Edition

Roush Fenway must cut one of its teams to reach NASCAR’s new four-team limit in 2010, and the decision may be all about the money. David Ragan sits 30th in points with one top 10 while Jamie McMurray continues to stay just inside the top 20, but it’s Ragan who has the UPS sponsorship and more marketability. Based on performance this season, you may be inclined to say Ragan should be the odd man out, but it’s easy to forget since the No. 6 team has been so dismal as of late that he actually flirted with the Chase for a bit in 2008. It’s a smart business move for Roush Fenway, and I think it’s the best move performance-wise to keep Ragan where he’s been for his NASCAR career… with Jack Roush.

5 Points to Ponder: 2009 Coke Zero 400 at Daytona Edition

Back in February, a number of drivers complained about the abrasive racing surface at Daytona, saying it was triggering unnecessary crashes. I stated that I prefer the aged surface because it gives the track a type of character that you don’t see at a Talladega. After February, I felt I was in the minority with my opinion, but a live poll during the Frontstretch live blog proved me a wrong. A surprising 71% of our viewers said that they do not feel the track should be repaved, and I couldn’t agree more. Save the parade for Talladega and keep Daytona what it is – a demanding track where handling is at a premium.

Questions Again Follow Jeremy Mayfield as Cup Series Returns to Daytona

Note: As the Sprint Cup Series returns to Daytona this week the hottest story in the garage area undoubtedly surrounds Jeremy Mayfield after his indefinite suspension for a failed drug test was lifted by a federal judge Wednesday. Ironically, the last time the series was at the famed 2.5-mile speedway Mayfield was the subject of …

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5 Points to Ponder: 2009 Milwaukee/Infineon Edition

When Kurt Busch got dumped by Jimmie Johnson in the second half of Sunday’s race everybody in the Frontstretch live blog assumed Busch would have a few choice words for the three-time defending champion. That wasn’t the case as Busch offered up a classy post-race interview and even shook hands with the driver who turned him. Hopefully baby brother can take a few pointers from Kurt. He fought back for a top 15 at a time when Kyle may have thrown in the towel. That’s the difference between a champion and a driver with loads of talent, but little respect.

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