NASCAR Race Weekend Central

The Yellow Stripe: Crucial Weeks Approach for Chase Hopeful Juan Pablo Montoya

Lost in the pack, behind the failed fuel gambles of Jimmie Johnson and Greg Biffle and a series-equaling best third win for NASCAR’s very own Peter Pan, Mark Martin, was the sixth-place finish for the No. 42 car of Juan Pablo Montoya this week at Michigan. But for a man who’d never been better than …

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The Yellow Stripe: Will Denny Hamlin’s Supposed “Bad Luck” Derail a Promising Career?

There is a tendency in sport, from the highest echelon to the lowest, most grassroots level, to accentuate the short term, focusing on what just happened or what is happening rather than looking at the bigger picture. A driver guiltier of that than most is the wheelman of the No. 11 FedEx Camry – Denny Hamlin – but after a pair of shocking races, short and term are two words the Virginia native would do well not to let pass his lips in the near future. Two more he should also avoid are “bad” and “luck,” because it seems in the last couple of years we’ve heard those two small words escape Hamlin’s lips a few too many times for his liking.

The Yellow Stripe: Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day – A Solid Start to Life After Tony Eury for Dale Jr. & Co.

When Neil Armstrong became the first man to set foot on the Moon on July 21, 1969 he uttered the now famous phrase: “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” Now, it’s a quote that can easily be applied to Dale Earnhardt Jr. following Sunday’s Autism Speaks 400 at the Monster …

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The Yellow Stripe: So Near & Yet So Far – The Story of RCR’s Struggles in 2009

The trouble with great expectations is that when you fall even just a little short, the disappointment is exponentially greater. In the case of Richard Childress Racing, falling short is very much the story of its season so far. And nowhere was that more evident than at Lowe’s Motor Speedway this past weekend where the …

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Grading the 2009 Sprint Cup Pack: Part 2

NASCAR’s longest and most grueling race, the Coca-Cola 600, represents a significant milestone in the 2009 season. It’s not quite the halfway point to the Chase (that comes the following week after Dover), but once the checkers fly late Sunday evening, we’re exactly one-third of the way through the 36-race schedule.

With that in mind, it’s a good time to take a step back and look at how the Sprint Cup contenders (and pretenders) have performed thus far. As you might expect here at Frontstretch, we’re going to conduct a proper two-part analysis of the season to date. Yesterday’s installment gave out some superlative awards; today, Tom Bowles and I team up to grade each team on their overall performance through the first three months of ’09. Feel free to not only read, but comment below and let us know how you feel your favorite teams and drivers have done!

Grading the 2009 Sprint Cup Pack: Part 1

NASCAR’s longest and most grueling race, the Coca-Cola 600, represents a significant milestone in the 2009 season. It’s not quite the halfway point to the Chase (that comes the following week after Dover), but once the checkers fly late Sunday evening, we’re exactly one-third of the way through the 36-race schedule. With that in mind, it’s a good time to take a step back and look at how the Sprint Cup contenders (and pretenders) have performed thus far.

The Yellow Stripe: This Bud’s Not For Kasey – After Killer Start, the Only Way for Kahne to Go is Up

As the curtain closed on another Southern 500 Saturday night, the Lady In Black shined brightly on three of the four cars at Richard Petty Motorsports. Elliott Sadler, AJ Allmendinger and Reed Sorenson persevered to hard-fought top-20 finishes, battling back from miserable starts as they looked to turn their seasons around. As for their teammate Kasey …

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The Yellow Stripe: Race for the Chase Far From Over for Those on the Outside Looking In

“There are three kinds of lies: lies, damn lies and statistics.” So reportedly said Benjamin Disraeli, prime minister of Great Britain from 1874 to 1880. It’s a well-known quote that is attributed to other writers as well, including Mark Twain; but regardless of its exact point of origin, it’s a citation the drivers placed outside …

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The Yellow Stripe: Why I Don’t Love Plate Racing Anymore & Up Next, the Best Month of the Season

Even by Talladega’s “biggest, baddest” standards, that was quite the race weekend in Alabama, wasn’t it, dear readers? Matt Kenseth’s crash in the Nationwide race was violent and scary looking, but it pales into almost insignificance when compared to the carnage the airborne No. 99 Ford Fusion caused on the final lap – not to mention the double helping of the Big One that bookended the 188 laps of mayhem and general disaster.

The Yellow Stripe: 50 is the New 20 for Mark Martin

When I took a job at Nextel’s advertising agency back in September 2005, working on their NASCAR sponsorship team, the first advertising campaign I worked on was a series of tribute ads to the two retiring drivers – Rusty Wallace and the inimitable Mark Martin. That was four years ago, and while Rusty is happy to fulfill his broadcasting role and shepherd the progress of his son, it’s not been quite the same for the veteran driver from Batesville, Ark. Tempted out of retirement to wheel the No. 6 car for Jack Roush for one final year in 2006, Martin parlayed his delayed retirement into a partial schedule in 2007 (for Bobby Ginn) and then 2008 (Dale Earnhardt Inc.) in the No. 8 car vacated by Dale Earnhardt Jr. Then, midway through last season the announcement came that Martin was to replace Casey Mears and pilot the No. 5 of Hendrick Motorsports and take one last, glorious crack at the full schedule.

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