Race Weekend Central

Talking NASCAR TV: Race Coverage at Fontana Improves… But Digger Still Lurks in the Shadows

Before we begin, as you may remember I was quite critical of FOX’s broadcast of the Daytona 500 – most notably the lack of any mention of rain up until seemingly lap 85 or so. Well, I’ve had an email exchange with Mike Joy since then, and Joy’s take on the issue was that they didn’t want to jump to conclusions too quickly. In Joy’s own words, he said that the announcing booth “…weren’t trying to jinx ourselves with ‘what-ifs.’ [as to what might happen if the rain would shorten the race].” While not all fans might agree with that take, it’s definitely a plausible explanation that makes sense. Also, Joy reassured me there was no gag order on the weather information imposed by anybody – a fact always notable for those NASCAR fans insistent on conspiracy theories to understand.

10 Points to Ponder: 2009 Auto Club 500 at Fontana Edition

Several fans had a bitter taste in their mouth about the ending of the Daytona 500 last week – and rightfully so. When you have a driver who hasn’t won a race in over a year and he suddenly wins the sport’s most prestigious race after taking the lead one lap before it rains, fans have a right to hesitate when giving credit to the winner. But what most people don’t realize is that Matt Kenseth put himself in position for that Daytona victory whether it rained or not; and this week, he proved the win was no fluke. The Wisconsin native is the first driver to win the first two races of the season since Jeff Gordon over 10 years ago; and don’t look now, but Kenseth has two wins and averaged a ninth-place finish in nine races at Las Vegas, as well.

Nationwide Series Breakdown: 2009 Stater Brothers 300 at Fontana

As if following up Daytona with Fontana wasn’t enough of a letdown, Kyle Busch made sure that there would be no last lap fireworks this time around. Leading over 140 of the 150 laps run Saturday night, Busch followed up his Truck win earlier in the day with a dominant performance that saw the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 18 team lay waste to the Nationwide Series field. The win was the first for the No. 18 team with Jason Ratcliffe on the pit box since his suspension at Michigan last August for tampering with a NASCAR chassis dyno. Busch also became the first driver in NASCAR history to win two national touring division races on the same day.

Mirror Driving: Daytona Disappointment, Yellow Line Disgust, & is Kenseth a Hall of Famer?

The Daytona 500 had several controversial moments, but the biggest was the race being shortened by over 100 miles due to rain. Did NASCAR do the right thing by starting at the scheduled time, or should the green flag have been moved up so that the entire race could be run?

Talking NASCAR TV: SPEEDing Through 2009 Daytona 500 Week in 3,000 Words or Less

Now that Speedweeks at Daytona are over, it is time to look back and reflect upon what we have seen, and what we have been provided for our viewing pleasure by NASCAR’s media partners for Speedweeks (FOX, SPEED and ESPN2). Before I begin, I should state this. Speedweeks is supposed to be the most important time of the year in NASCAR, at least for the television partners. This is because the races at Daytona during Speedweeks are the biggest events of the year for each series that races. This includes the ARCA Re/Max Series that had their season opener back on February 7, in addition to NASCAR’s three national series. As a result, telecasts of said races should be held to a greater standard. It is to this standard that I have to critique the broadcasts.

7 Points to Ponder: 2009 Daytona 500 Edition

While there was plenty of talk this month about Mark Martin’s winless streak in the Daytona 500, the guy he used to drive for had quite a winless streak of his own. Jack Roush has competed in the Daytona 500 every year since 1988, and has had a multi-car operation since 1992 without ever winning the Great American Race. Ironically, after waiting 21 years, the crew chief that got Roush and Kenseth to Victory Lane, Drew Blickensderfer, was calling his first Cup race atop the pit box.

Nationwide Series Breakdown: 2009 Camping World 300 at Daytona

It only took three races for Tony Stewart to put a Chevrolet back in victory lane. After posting runner-up finishes in both the Budweiser Shootout and Gatorade Duels, Stewart’s first ride with Hendrick Motorsports landed Smoke back in the winner’s circle, collecting the eighth Nationwide Series victory of his career and his fourth in the …

Read more

Nationwide Rookie Michael Annett Eyes Another Daytona Victory

Racing has been in Michael Annett’s blood since birth. The 22-year-old Nationwide Series rookie’s first racing experience literally came days after his birthday when he attended the Knoxville Nationals less than one week after being born. Since that day in Knoxville, Iowa, Annett found success on ice where he was once a highly-touted hockey star …

Read more

Kenny Wallace Driver Diary: Down & Dirty in the Offseason

This was definitely the strangest offseason for me and a lot of my racecar driver friends. I’ve talked to a lot of great racecar drivers – I’ve talked to Jeff Burton, I’ve talked to Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. – and we all agree that this was the strangest offseason we’ve ever had. Usually by …

Read more

Why Brad Keselowski Can Win the 2009 Nationwide Series Title

The first NASCAR preview magazine that came to the local newsstand was that of The Sporting News. As I read through it, I flipped to the publication’s Nationwide Series preview. Predictably, the lead feature was on the “Sprint Cup Showdown” between Kyle Busch and Carl Edwards that is already being framed as the extent of …

Read more

Sign up for the Frontstretch Newsletter

A daily email update (Monday through Friday) providing racing news, commentary, features, and information from Frontstretch.com