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NASCAR Race Weekend Central

Up to Speed: Not the Last of Matt DiBenedetto

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(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

Matt DiBenedetto had every right to be upset Saturday night. Days earlier, he and the rest of the NASCAR world found out he is not returning to Leavine Family Racing in 2020. Then, in his very next race, DiBenedetto came agonizingly close to scoring his first Monster Energy NASCAR  Cup Series victory.  It was the …

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Up to Speed: Long Runs or Restarts?

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(Photo: NASCAR via Getty Images)

NASCAR competition at Michigan International Speedway revolves around two elements: long runs and restarts. Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race was no exception.  Long green-flag runs at the beginning and end of the race shuffled positions at a racetrack where passing has been notoriously difficult.  The middle offered a series of short runs broken …

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Up to Speed: Road Course Racing on the Rise

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(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

NASCAR often seems to be in a constant state of change. Many of those changes have been hotly debated among fans, especially when it comes to the future of the sport.  But there is one change in the last decade that often gets overlooked and may well impact NASCAR’s direction into the 2020s.  Road course …

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Up to Speed: Denny Hamlin Seals the Deal

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(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

This time, Denny Hamlin didn’t let the win slip away. One week after failing to get by Kevin Harvick in a last lap battle at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Hamlin captured the checkered flag at Pocono Raceway.  In a race where fuel mileage and a few late-race restarts made the outcome a guessing game, Hamlin …

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Up to Speed: Erik Jones Survives Chaotic New Hampshire Race

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(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

Erik Jones ran one of his best races of the season on Sunday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.  The final results will show that Jones started fourth, placed second in the first stage and came home third, equaling his best finish of 2019. But really, that’s only the tip of the iceberg. Jones had to …

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Up to Speed: Redemption in the Bluegrass State

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(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

Saturday night’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Kentucky Speedway produced the best finish of the 2019 season.  Kurt Busch emerged victorious after a two-lap scramble for the lead with younger brother Kyle and several other drivers.  Kurt’s charge to the lead following an overtime restart capped off a night of redemption for the …

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Up to Speed: The Altar of Entertainment

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(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

For the last 60 years, NASCAR has celebrated Independence Day in Daytona Beach.  Sadly, that tradition will come to an end next year.  The 400-mile Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Daytona International Speedway will shift to late August come 2020. The race will serve as the final event of the regular season.  Indianapolis …

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Up to Speed: Who’s on the Hot Seat at Stewart-Haas Racing?

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(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

Saturday’s Xfinity Series race at Chicagoland Speedway ended with a familiar face in victory lane.  Cole Custer rolled to his fourth win in the first 15 races of 2019.  Along with Christopher Bell and Tyler Reddick, Custer has dominated the Xfinity Series this season and is one of the championship favorites.  And, just like Bell …

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Up to Speed: Strong Finish Slips Away from William Byron

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(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

William Byron’s 19th-place result at Sonoma Raceway does not tell the full story of his race.  The No. 24 team experienced an up and down day in the California wine country. Just like several other races this season, Byron started off very well.  He even looked like one of the drivers to beat.  But in …

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Up to Speed: The Playoff Point Divide

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(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

With 11 races to go until the playoffs begin for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, several drivers have emerged as strong championship contenders.  Kyle Busch, Brad Keselowski, Martin Truex Jr., Joey Logano and Denny Hamlin have each won multiple races in 2019.  They also occupy five of the top seven positions in the standings. But …

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Up to Speed: Matt DiBenedetto Faces Uncertain Future

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(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

Matt DiBenedetto and Leavine Family Racing started their season off with a bang.  In his first race piloting the No. 95, DiBenedetto emerged as a surprise contender in the Daytona 500.  Unfortunately, he got wiped out in a crash on lap 191 that collected half the field. Nearly four months have passed since the Great …

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Up to Speed: What to do About Pocono?

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(Photo: Zach Catanzareti)

So much for positive momentum. After a month’s worth of races that produced more action than expected, the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series rolled into Pocono Raceway.  This time, the race did not offer much action and will likely spark further condemnation of NASCAR’s current aero package. The most common complaint about the high-downforce package …

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