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NASCAR Race Weekend Central

5 Points to Ponder: 2021 NASCAR Manufacturer Parity Among Ford, Chevy & Toyota

All three NASCAR manufacturers (Ford, Chevrolet, Toyota) battle at Kansas Speedway. (Photo: NKP) Ryan Blaney, Martin Truex Jr, Chase Elliott

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

1: NASCAR manufacturer parity … At the top 12 races into the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season, it’s clear three organizations have separated from the rest of the pack. Joe Gibbs Racing (with Darlington Raceway winner Martin Truex Jr.), Team Penske and Hendrick Motorsports are the sport’s new Big 3, sweeping 10 of the top …

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5 Points to Ponder: Milestone Moments

Matt DiBenedetto raceswith Austin Dillon in the Buschy McBusch Race 400 at Kansas Speedway, May 2021. Photo: NKP

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

1. Next Gen We’ll get our first “official” look at the Next Gen car this Wednesday as all three OEMs, Chevrolet, Ford and Toyota, reveal their own unique looks for the 2022 Cup season. The Gen-7 car project, delayed by a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, is designed primarily to lower costs for teams …

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5 Points to Ponder: Spoiler SZN, Pushing It & The Path to 16+ Winners

2021 Talladega I Cup Denny Hamlin Martin Truex Jr Kaz Grala racing NKP

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

1: Spoilers vs. drivers Talladega Superspeedway rightfully gets attention for its tendency to cause the Big One. But this particular trip to Alabama the weekend of April 24-25 managed to avoid the kind of multi-car mayhem that knocks a third of the field out in one fell swoop — in both the NASCAR Xfinity and …

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5 Points to Ponder: Hendrick Snaps Richmond Drought

2021 Cup Richmond Pack Racing (Credit: NKP)

Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography

1. Alex Bowman Breaks Through at Hendrick On The Doors’ 1967 debut album, the band led off with “Break On Through (To the Other Side)” as the first track. Jim Morrison howls the titular lyric over and over. Nine times, to be exact. A full 54 years later, at Richmond Raceway on April 18, Alex …

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5 Points to Ponder: Chasing the W

Denny Hamlin prepares to climb into his NASCAR racecar at Homestead-Miami Speedway in 2021. Photo: NKP

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

1. Chasing the W In the end, after leading a race-best 276 laps, Denny Hamlin had to settle for another third place finish — his fourth of the year — at Martinsville this past weekend. The result was Hamlin’s seventh top five in eight attempts, with his other finish still being an 11th-place run that …

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5 Points to Ponder: Dirt & Road Courses Forever?

2021 Bristol dirt trucks track overhead Jared C Tilton Getty Images via NASCAR

(Photo: Jared C Tilton/Getty Images via NASCAR Media)

1: Bristol Dirt Experiment a Win (For Now) First it took decades for the NASCAR Cup Series to return to a dirt track, albeit one that isn’t generally a dirt track but rather Bristol Motor Speedway covered with dirt. Then it took an extra day for the race to actually be run, since apparently Mother …

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5 Points to Ponder: Time to Play in the Dirt

Kyle Larson and Ryan Blaney lead the NASCAR Cup Series action at Atlanta Motor Speedway, March 2021. Photo: NKP

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

1. Time to Play in the Dirt I cannot wait for this weekend. Cannot. Wait. I’m endlessly fascinated to see what will happen in both races on the Bristol Motor Speedway dirt. Fair to say I’ve not anticipated regular season races quite like these two for some time — a decade or more at least. …

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5 Points to Ponder: Cream Rises, Ford Flounders?

2021 Phoenix I Cup Martin Truex Jr NKP

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

ONE: Truex Restores Natural Cup Series Order Just as we were about to hit the point of the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season where Bill Murray’s “Dogs and cats living together! Mass hysteria!” line from Ghostbusters would have applied because none of the races were being won by the drivers you’d expect, Martin Truex Jr. …

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5 Points to Ponder: NASCAR Chemistry Matters, Stewart-Haas Racing Slump Deepens & More

Kevin Harvick and Cole Custer race at Daytona International Speedway February 2021 Photo: NKP

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

ONE: Stewart-Haas Racing Slump Gets Deeper Kevin Harvick sat on the pole for Sunday’s (March 7) Pennzoil 400 driving his No. 4 Ford for Stewart-Haas Racing. It was a great position to assert himself up front at a Las Vegas Motor Speedway track he led 92 laps at last March. Instead? Harvick never led a …

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5 Points to Ponder: Myatt Snider’s NASCAR Moment

Myatt Snider celebrates winning at Homestead Miami Speedway February 2021 (Credit: NKP)

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

ONE: It Gets Late Early Out Here The great Hall of Fame Yankee catcher and 13-time World Series Champion Yogi Berra once quipped “it gets late early out here,” and it’s a Yogi-ism (as his many impromptu lines were known) that fits well with the current playoff picture. It would be fair to say there …

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5 Points to Ponder: Double Your Pleasure at Daytona

Ty Gibbs at Gateway Photo: NKP

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

ONE: Daytona Road Course Needs to Stay Among the many, many questions that can likely never be answered to the satisfaction of NASCAR fans everywhere is how many road course races on the Cup Series schedule is the right number. The general consensus, as much as there is one, is that the two that were …

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5 Points to Ponder: Lady Luck Deals NASCAR Bad Hand in 2021 Debut

Austin Cindric crashes on the final lap of the 2021 Daytona 500.

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

ONE: Lady Luck Big Player in Disjointed Daytona 500 There were a lot of Valentine’s Day dinners ruined Sunday night (Feb. 14) by the Daytona 500 turned 24 Hours of Daytona Lite. A six-hour rain delay felt entirely preventable, the fourth time in the last 10 NASCAR season openers there’s been a rain delay. At what point …

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