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NASCAR Race Weekend Central

Up to Speed: Denny Hamlin Gets Another Chance

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(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

This time, Denny Hamlin didn’t blink. Needing to close out a victory late in Sunday’s (Nov. 10) race at ISM Raceway, Hamlin prevailed on a restart with three laps to go, holding off fellow playoff drivers Kyle Busch and Ryan Blaney.  The win allows Hamlin to advance to the final round of the playoffs next …

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Up to Speed: Final Thoughts on the 2019 NASCAR Aero Package

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(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway was the latest chapter in a story that has unfolded all season long.  The 500-mile, day-into-night event was the last big test of NASCAR’s new aero package for stock car racing’s premier series. While there is still one intermediate track race left at Homestead-Miami …

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Up to Speed: No Love Lost Between Denny Hamlin & Joey Logano

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(Photo: Christian Koelle)

Martinsville Speedway’s reputation for producing hot tempers and hurt feelings remain intact.  The fall playoff race, in particular, has featured no shortage of drama between championship contenders. Two years ago, Chase Elliott was upset at Denny Hamlin after being spun out late in the race.  Last year, Martin Truex Jr. was peeved at Joey Logano …

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Up to Speed: Reversal of Fortunes for Team Penske

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(Photo: Zach Catanzareti)

Early in NASCAR’s 2019 season, Team Penske appeared to have two top shelf contenders for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series title.  Brad Keselowski kicked off their effort, rolling to three victories in the first 12 races of the year.  After a disappointing playoff run in 2018, the No. 2 team was looking like a …

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Up to Speed: The Tale of the Talladega Boycott, 50 Years Later

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(Photo: Zach Catanzareti)

Long after a Talladega boycott threatened its existence, Talladega Superspeedway has an identity all its own.  The speedway is celebrating its 50th anniversary this weekend, and those 50 years have produced a record of thrills and spills that few other tracks can match.  There’s a lot to like about Talladega when everything goes right.  Fast-paced, …

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Up to Speed: Richard Childress Racing Starting Over

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(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

Richard Childress Racing is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2019.  Starting out as an owner/driver, Childress built his organization into one of the mightiest teams in NASCAR history.  His achievements with Dale Earnhardt at the wheel of the No. 3 Chevrolet are the stuff of legend. But as great as RCR has been over most …

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Up to Speed: The Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL Delivers, Again

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(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

Two years ago, when Charlotte Motor Speedway announced that its fall race would be held on something called a “ROVAL,” the decision was met with a fair amount of skepticism.  Would big, bulky stock cars put on a good show at an infield road course?  And was it really a good idea to have such …

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Up to Speed: Hendrick Motorsports Teammates in a Tight Spot

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(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

Last weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Alex Bowman and William Byron began their playoff runs with good finishes.  Bowman cruised to a sixth-place result, his best finish since winning at Chicagoland Speedway.  Byron spun out with less than 100 laps to go in the race but fought back to finish ninth.  Combined with Chase …

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Up to Speed: It’s Complicated Between NASCAR & the NFL

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(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

For the second year in a row, the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoffs kicked off at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.  Last year’s race turned out to be a brutal war of attrition run during the heat of the afternoon, with temperatures easily reaching into the triple digits. To make things more comfortable for the …

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Up to Speed: Do Not Feel Bad for Jimmie Johnson

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(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

Ever since the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series began utilizing a postseason format, Jimmie Johnson has been part of the championship fight.  For 15 straight seasons, no matter what guidelines NASCAR instituted for the Chase/playoffs, Johnson was always there. That streak came to an end on Sunday (Sept. 8), when Johnson failed to make the …

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Up to Speed: Remembering Hut Stricklin’s Darlington Near-Miss

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(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

Two weeks later, the memory of Matt DiBenedetto’s strong run at Bristol Motor Speedway is still fresh.  Days after learning he would be replaced at Leavine Family Racing next year, DiBenedetto nearly pulled off a surprising victory in Thunder Valley.  If not for Denny Hamlin’s late charge through the field in the closing laps, DiBenedetto …

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Up to Speed: Has the Tide Turned in the Championship Battle?

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(Photo: Danny Peters)

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers and teams got a rare break this weekend.  The sport’s premier division enjoyed its first off-weekend since mid-June.  At that time, the Cup Series ran 15 races of the 2019 season. The nine races following the June break have produced some exciting finishes, fresh story lines and new faces …

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