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NASCAR Race Weekend Central

Up to Speed: Will a Teammate Battle Decide the 2021 NASCAR Championship?

2021 Martinsville I Cup Alex Bowman kyle Larson NKP

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

Teammates in NASCAR often have to walk a fine line.  Drivers who compete for the same multi-car organization usually show a certain level of on-track courtesy to each other.  However, racing in NASCAR does not have the same level of comprehensive cooperation among teammates that you sometimes see in other motorsports.  Racers are expected, and …

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Up to Speed: Has the Tide Turned for Ross Chastain?

Ross Chastain at COTA

Ross Chastain on track at COTA (Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

NASCAR’s inaugural weekend at Circuit of the Americas (COTA) in Austin, Texas featured plenty of surprises.  But one positive outcome that most fans might not have anticipated was a great run for Ross Chastain. Chastain is in the midst of his first full-time NASCAR Cup Series season with Chip Ganassi Racing.  Prior to 2021, he …

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Up to Speed: Who’s the Biggest Championship Threat at Hendrick Motorsports?

Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports, chats with Kyle Larson at Atlanta Motor Speedway (March 2021). (Photo: NKP)

#5: Kyle Larson, Hendrick Motorsports, Chevrolet Camaro HendrickCars.com, Rick Hendrick

Rick Hendrick will not forget Sunday’s (May 16) race at Dover International Speedway anytime soon.  His quartet of Cup Series drivers conquered Miles the Monster, earning the first 1-2-3-4 finish for the team in its 37-year history.  The sight of the No. 48 Chevrolet rolling into victory lane was certainly a familiar one, but this …

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Up to Speed: Don’t Count Richard Childress Racing Out of the Playoff Picture

Richard Childress and Austin Dillon together during a NASCAR Xfinity Series race in New Hampshire (Photo: Zach Catanzareti)

(Photo: Zach Catanzareti)

In the spirit of NASCAR’s throwback weekend at Darlington Raceway, think back to the 2017 season. It’s the last time Richard Childress Racing put multiple cars in the Cup Series playoffs. Can they do it again in 2021? Back then, both drivers punched their tickets to the postseason with victories.  Veteran Ryan Newman stole a …

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Up to Speed: Inconsistent Calls Embarrass NASCAR in Kansas

Chris Buescher races in the 2021 Buschy McBusch Race 400 at Kansas Speedway, May 2021. Photo: NKP

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

If Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Kansas Speedway was too orderly for the first 200 laps, the ending was full of surprises. A flurry of cautions in the closing laps kept the field bunched together. While the drivers up front were running into each other for the lead, those further back in the pack …

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Up to Speed: Remembering Bobby Hamilton’s 2001 Talladega Triumph

2001 NASCAR Winston Cup Series, Daytona Bobby Hamilton car NKP

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade NKP)

Most weekends when NASCAR comes to town, Talladega Superspeedway is an agent of chaos.  The success, or failure, of many a driver hinges on what happens whenever the Big One breaks out.  Talladega’s races often come down to who can avoid the seemingly inevitable carnage and survive to race for the win in the closing …

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Up to Speed: Alex Bowman Overcomes Setbacks for Richmond Win

Alex Bowman fixes his shoes at Phoenix Raceway. Photo: NKP

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

On the day (April 18) when Jimmie Johnson ran his first IndyCar race, it was only fitting that Alex Bowman brought the No. 48 car back to victory lane.  Bowman emerged as a surprise winner at Richmond Raceway, a track where he had never had a top-five finish.  His 2021 win was the first for …

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Up to Speed: A Rare Bad Day at Martinsville for Brad Keselowski

Brad Keselowski Autotrader No. 2 Penske car at Martinsville spring Cup race

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

As usual, Martinsville Speedway dished out a healthy dose of chaos for the NASCAR Cup Series.  A wet Saturday night delayed all but the opening laps of the race until Sunday afternoon.  But while the skies had cleared by Sunday, a storm brewed on the track. Fifteen cautions took their toll on the field, including …

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Up to Speed: Why Kyle Busch Was Best With Adam Stevens

Kyle Busch standing on pit road at Daytona. Photo NKP

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

An old adage in professional sports is if you’re not constantly looking for ways to improve your performance, you’re probably falling behind.  Teams, plans and partnerships that worked well at one time do not always stay elite.  In order to keep up with the competition, a change in personnel can help to right the ship …

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Up to Speed: NASCAR Bristol Dirt Blends the Old & New

Harvick, Keselowski, Hamlin practicing on Bristol Dirt Photo NKP

Was racing in the dirt at Bristol worth it? (Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

It is a real shame that NASCAR’s weekend of racing at the dirt-covered Bristol Motor Speedway did not run as planned.  After days of torrential rains and serious flooding in northeast Tennessee, NASCAR will attempt to run the Cup and Camping World Truck series events on Monday (March 29).  The NASCAR Bristol dirt debut will …

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Up to Speed: Ryan Blaney Adds to His History of NASCAR Clutch Wins at Atlanta

Ryan Blaney gives the checkered flag to a fan at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Photo NKP

Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography

Check off another unique winner for the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season.  Ryan Blaney emerged as a surprise victor at Atlanta Motor Speedway, capturing the fifth win of his career in dramatic fashion.  Despite a dominating performance from Kyle Larson, who led 269 of 325 laps, Blaney was the one who took the trophy and …

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