NASCAR Race Weekend Central

Up to Speed: 2020 Is Another Black Mark Against The NASCAR Playoffs

2020 Bristol NCS Kevin Harvick Victory Celebration NKP1

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

As usual, Martinsville Speedway provided no shortage of entertainment.  Sunday’s race, the penultimate event of the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series season, offered up plenty of close quarters short track racing.  It also featured a tighter battle among the playoff drivers than most fans would have foreseen, given the points among the drivers.  But the biggest …

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Up to Speed: How Will 23XI Racing Perform in 2021?

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

As NASCAR’s 2021 Cup Series lineup slowly comes into focus, the new team owned by Michael Jordan and Denny Hamlin is beginning to take shape. Several weeks ago, Jordan and Hamlin announced their organization would debut next season with driver Bubba Wallace. We also learned last week that the team, as previously speculated, will be …

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Up to Speed: Chip Ganassi Racing Wastes Its 2020 Potential

2020 Kansas II Cup Matt Kenseth Matt DiBenedetto racing NKP

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

Back in the spring of 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic began to heat up, Chip Ganassi Racing had a mess on its hands.  While participating in an iRacing event on Easter Sunday, Kyle Larson uttered a racial slur over what he thought was a private communication line.  Unfortunately for him, the line wasn’t private.  Within …

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Up to Speed: Alex Bowman’s Title Hopes Saved Again by the ROVAL

2020 Charlotte Road Cup Alex Bowman NKP

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

For the first time in his NASCAR career, Alex Bowman has made it to the Round of 8 in the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs.  Entering Sunday’s race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL, Bowman was seventh in points, holding a 22-point advantage over the cutline.  Like most of the playoff contenders, he fought through an …

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Up to Speed: Time to Eliminate the Double Yellow Line Rule

2020 Talladega II CUP Denny Hamlin pack racing finish NKP

Sunday’s (Oct. 4) NASCAR Cup Series playoff race was a typical Talladega Superspeedway thriller.  But once the dust had settled on its photo finish, the YellaWood 500 looked more like the yellow line 500. Following a chaotic last-lap ending, Denny Hamlin walked away with the checkered flag.  Behind him, drivers who appeared to score top-10 …

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Up to Speed: The Parallel Careers of Jimmie Johnson & Matt Kenseth

2020 Bristol NCS Jimmie Johnson Racing NKP

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

With the 2020 season entering its final stage, NASCAR is beginning to look toward next year.  This last week in September brought considerable news regarding driver lineups for 2021.  There have also been rumors that major changes could be in store for the Cup Series schedule.  But even as more news trickles out about the …

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Up to Speed: Tough Decisions Ahead for Ford’s NASCAR Teams

2020 Bristol NCS Ford Nose NKP1

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

The more things change for Matt DiBenedetto, the more they stay the same.  Returning to Bristol Motor Speedway for the 2020 Bass Pro Shops/NRA Night Race, he was in need of an outstanding performance.  For the first time, DiBenedetto came to Thunder Valley as a NASCAR playoff driver.  But a pair of lackluster results in …

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Up to Speed: Is Austin Dillon’s Playoff Run for Real?

2020 Richmond NCS Austin Dillon Car Nigel Kinrade Photography1

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

For the first time in his NASCAR Cup Series career, Austin Dillon has scored back-to-back top-five finishes.  Last week at Darlington Raceway, Dillon pulled off a surprising second-place result.  He followed that performance up with an even stronger run at Richmond Raceway Saturday night (Sept. 12).  Although Dillon finished fourth, he led 55 laps and …

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Up to Speed: The Petty Family Versus the Lady in Black

2017DarlingtonMENCSRichardPettyCarNKP

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

The list of drivers who have dominated at Darlington Raceway reads like a NASCAR honor roll.  David Pearson holds the record for most wins in NASCAR’s top division there with 10 victories.  After Pearson’s run ended, Dale Earnhardt took over and nearly equaled the Silver Fox’s feat by claiming nine wins.  Other NASCAR Hall of …

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Up to Speed: Kyle Busch Will Miss Having Playoff Points in 2020

2020DaytonaNCSKyleBuschFaceNKP

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

Kyle Busch experienced another frustrating finish to a promising race on Saturday night.  At Daytona International Speedway, in the last race of the regular season, Busch led for a total of 31 laps.  He was near the front of the pack late in the race and had a good shot at scoring a win.  But …

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