Race Weekend Central

NASCAR 2014 Season Preview: The Rookie of the Year Battle

New playoff system. New qualifying procedure. New attitude. As NASCAR heads towards Daytona in 2014, all around the sport are focused on the positive, looking for the perfect season to recapture a nation currently preoccupied with other sports, along with the Olympics in Sochi. Can they do it? As Speedweeks dawn, both NASCAR’s Sprint Unlimited …

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NASCAR Announces New Penalty, Appeals System

As NASCAR continues to make sweeping changes to the sport in terms of competition, yet another new round of changes has come about, this time with NASCAR’s penalty process. On Tuesday, NASCAR announced a brand new penalty structure that is intended to be a more “transparent and effective model”, according to NASCAR’s executive vice president …

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NASCAR Mailbox: Harsh Comments and Penalties Galore

It’s an unfortunate thing that NASCAR is so impacted by the weather, but rarely do we sit through two meteorological marathons in one weekend. For Talladega, the Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series were both either pushed back or set on hold for so long because of rain that the impending darkness at the light-less racetrack became more of a hazard than the inevitable “big one”. It got to the point where we were groaning and saying, “Just END it already!”

Side By Side: Should The No. 20 Penalty Be Reduced?

There’s no reason why NASCAR should lessen the penalties leveled against Matt Kenseth and Joe Gibbs Racing following their victory at Kansas last month. The No. 20 Husky Tools Toyota dominated the STP 400, leading 163 of the 267 laps (that’s 61% of the event) before being caught during post-race inspection with an illegal engine. Even though the infraction seemed minor–a connecting rod that was about three grams lighter than allowed by the NASCAR rulebook–penalties assessed to Kenseth and Gibbs were major.

Side by Side

The penalties against Matt Kenseth’s No. 20 should absolutely be rescinded—or at least substantially reduced. While I understand that NASCAR doesn’t have a “gray area” when it comes to rules regarding the connecting rods, these penalties are simply too harsh. First of all, no educated, experienced engineer, crew chief, etc. in the garage area says …

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NASCAR’s Fine Line Between Tragedy And Terrific: Newman’s Nasty Remarks

Talladega Superspeedway is a favorite among NASCAR’s viewers, but it has fewer fans amongst the garage area. For fabricators, it means even longer hours in the shop. For drivers, it means a gamble, roll of the dice chance of winning the race or winding up with a heap of scrap metal to be loaded back onto the hauler.

For Ryan Newman, it’s been more of the latter. Eight DNFs in 28 races — including last Sunday’s unbearably long event — is a good indication as to why.

NASCAR Mailbox: Fans Sound Off On Back-Breaking NASCAR Injuries And Appeals

There is something to be said about brand identity in NASCAR. After all, there are Jeff Gordon fans who still refuse to drink Coke because of his association with Pepsi, and those who hate Jimmie Johnson will shop at Home Depot before stepping foot in a Lowe’s. Similarly, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. fans have somehow developed a sweet tooth for AMP while Carl Edwards fans now use UPS for all their shipping needs.

However, there is always the rather unfortunate sponsor that generates attention simply because of what it represents. Bordreaux’s Butt Paste has sponsored several underfunded teams in the past, and the driver of that car usually received more publicity in the span of one weekend than they would in their whole career. ExtenZe made 2010 one of the funniest Rookie of the Year battles in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series history, even though it was rather uneventful in terms of participants.

Diva Complex 2.0: Why It Won’t Ever Go Away

I wrote a column not too long ago about the “diva complex” NASCAR faces with some of the egos in this sport and how aggravating it is watching millionaire racecar drivers complain about others racing them too hard. Incidentally, many of you agreed with me and are just as aggravated by this phenomenon as I am. Sure, tempers are part of the sport, but temper tantrums over how someone else is racing you? It’s maddening!

We wouldn’t be very smart, though, to not fully expect it at a track like Richmond. After all, a short track Saturday night race is well known for its tendency to get under the skin of even the most patient drivers.

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