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NASCAR Race Weekend Central

Up to Speed: An Actual NASCAR Playoff Bubble Battle? Yes, Indeed

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(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

The completion of this weekend’s doubleheader races at Dover International Speedway was an important milestone for NASCAR.  The Cup Series is now caught up with its original 2020 schedule.  All of the races with revised dates due to COVID-19 are finished, leaving one race remaining in the regular season before the ten-race NASCAR playoff begins. …

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Up to Speed: Three Major Mental Challenges Before NASCAR’s 2020 Playoffs

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(Photo: NASCAR Media)

NASCAR’s weekend of racing at Daytona International Speedway’s road course (Aug. 15-16) figured to include a lot of new experiences.  All three national touring divisions tackled their first races using the infield layout without any prior practice or qualifying.  For the men and women who raced around the new course at a familiar venue, there …

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Up to Speed: Matt Kenseth, Erik Jones & the Cost of Driver Development

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(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

Back in the summer of 2017, change was afoot at Joe Gibbs Racing.  During Kentucky Speedway’s race weekend, Matt Kenseth publicly announced that he would not be returning to the No. 20 Toyota in 2018.  Several days later, JGR confirmed that Erik Jones would move over from Furniture Row Racing to replace him. The impending …

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Up to Speed: What is William Byron’s NASCAR Ceiling?

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(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

William Byron is back in familiar territory.  One year ago, 20 races into the regular season, he was 12th in overall points and fighting to solidify a spot in the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs.  Holding a 61-point advantage over the cutline leaving New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Byron continued his rebound from a rough start to …

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Up to Speed: Maurice Petty Brought Out the Best in Petty Enterprises

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(Photo: ISC Images & Archives via Getty Images)

NASCAR often likes to describe itself as a team sport and a family sport.  Both points are true.  It’s easy to get caught up in the romanticism of the solitary racing driver braving high speeds and high danger to capture the checkered flag.  But every great racer needs a quality team of experts who are …

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Up to Speed: Time for Jimmie Johnson to Step Up

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(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

Jimmie Johnson wound up with another rough race in the O’Reilly Auto Parts 500, the latest blow in what’s been a difficult 2020 NASCAR Cup Series season.  Initially, a return to Texas Motor Speedway seemed to offer some hope of a good performance for the No. 48 team.  With seven career wins at TMS, all …

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Up to Speed: Does a Great Finish Save a Bad Race?

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(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

For the second season in a row, Kentucky Speedway produced a thrilling finish to its annual Cup Series race.  Last year was the battle of the Busch brothers, a side by side battle between Kurt and Kyle that went all the way to the checkered flag before Kurt emerged victorious.  This year’s finish included a …

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Up to Speed: Did NASCAR & INDYCAR Start A New Indy Doubleheader Tradition?

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(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

This past weekend, 2020 motorsports around the world slowly moved toward some type of normalcy. NASCAR’s contribution was its first companion event with the NTT IndyCar Series at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway.  INDYCAR and the NASCAR Xfinity Series used its infield road course for Independence Day events, a first-time Indy doubleheader. Then, the Cup …

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Up to Speed: Can Kevin Harvick Win at Every Track?

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(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

It took Kevin Harvick 39 tries, but he finally won at Pocono Raceway.  Harvick held off a late charge by Denny Hamlin to win the first of two Cup Series races at the triangular track in the Pennsylvania mountains this past weekend.  As a three-time winner in the 2020 season, Harvick continues to build a …

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Up to Speed: Can NASCAR Run a Complete Season With COVID-19?

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(Photo: NASCAR Media/Getty Images)

As spring turns into summer, NASCAR has done an admirable job of weathering the COVID-19 storm.  Last month, stock car racing became the first major American sport to return to regular competition.  Aside from weather delays, most races have gone off without a hitch.  Midweek competition has been a worthy experiment that the sanctioning body …

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Up to Speed: Is the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series Playoff Field Already Set?

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(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

Given how the 2020 NASCAR season has played out so far, the Cup Series playoff has felt like almost an afterthought.  Nevertheless, the Cup Series regular season is almost halfway complete.  Sunday’s race at Homestead-Miami Speedway was the 12th event of the revised Cup schedule in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Only 14 races …

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Up to Speed: No Wins, No Concern for Martin Truex Jr. in 2020

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

Martin Truex Jr. had one of his best NASCAR Cup Series runs this season at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Sunday afternoon (June 7).  Unfortunately for Truex, it did not result in a victory, but the third-place run was his first top five of 2020.  Through the first 10 races, he remains winless, a surprising statistic …

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