NASCAR Race Weekend Central

Four Burning Questions: Wild Cards and Rivalries

*Is it realistic to think that a wild card hopeful will beat a championship contender this week in Atlanta?*

Just look at the variety of drivers who could potentially snag a wild card spot with a win this weekend. While it wouldn’t necessarily be a lock, Atlanta will almost serve as a last ditch effort for drivers like Jeff Gordon and Carl Edwards. Sure Richmond is always there, but if Atlanta slips through their hands, a win at Richmond might not even be an option.

In actuality, Edwards and Gordon are probably thrilled that they’re racing in Atlanta this weekend judging by their statistics. With three wins for Edwards and five for Gordon in 14 and 38 races, respectively, it’s not at all unlikely that either of these drivers could find a victory and maybe get inside the Chase.

Voices From The Cheapseats: Fans Prove Bruton Smith Wrong

As the fog that usually lingers a few days after a successful four-day camping trip to Bristol Motor Speedway continues to loosen its grip on my brain, I’d like to share a few thoughts on the “new” …or is it the supposedly “old” … aw, hell maybe even the “new old” track.

In my opinion, and you all know what that is worth, I do believe that it was a good race and the changes that Smith made were probably beneficial. As I have said previously, the supposed shaving of the track to create two racing grooves instead of three was a compromise that I could live with.

The Critic’s Annex 96- GoPro Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma

Hello, race fans. Welcome back to the Critic’s Annex, where we take an additional look at motorsports-related programming. On Sunday afternoon, once the craziness at Bristol Motor Speedway had wrapped up for the weekend (but apparently, not the traffic jams), the Izod IndyCar Series came back out to play at Sonoma Raceway in California. As …

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Formula 1 Friday: Celebrating Britishness!

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It was just the other day I was talking to a friend about the negativity surrounding our forthcoming Olympic Games in London and we fell to conversation about how we Brits are so categorically miserable when it comes to celebrating our nation. One of the things I greatly admire about you American ladies and gents is your unashamed joy in the positive things about your country. We could learn a lesson or two when it comes to melting away some of that British cynicism._

_So, with you having celebrated Independence Day recently, I thought I’d celebrate one thing we’re really rather good at – Formula One World Champions. In fact, so overcome with patriotism that, barring significant incident at this weekend’s German Grand Prix, I’ll be splitting this column across the next two Friday’s to make sure it’s being given the requisite attention by me. Currently Britain has produced 10 Driver’s Championship winners – with Brazil and Finland trailing far behind in second place with three each. So please excuse an unlikely bout of patriotic fervor as I unfurl the bunting and present you with the 10 Brits who have done us proud in the sport by carrying home the ultimate trophy…_

Tony Gibson: Rolling the Center on the Cup Circuit’s Flat Tracks

_The Cup Series heads to Loudon, New Hampshire for the first time this season this coming weekend. Last year the Stewart-Haas Racing team owned the track, with Ryan Newman winning the pole position for both races along with winning one of the two while his boss and teammate, Tony Stewart, took the trophy in the other. Newman’s crew chief Tony Gibson is our guest for this week’s edition of Tech Talk and talks about the importance of aerodynamics, mechanical grip and rolling the center of the corners._

Eric McClure Seeks Return to Normalcy After Trying Start to 2012

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Sitting down to do my first interview with Eric McClure in nearly a year, there was no avoiding an elephant in the room; namely, the harrowing wreck that McClure endured at Talladega the end of April, one that sidelined the Virginia-native until just a few weekends ago at Road America.

“I thought this was it” said McClure when asked if he had time to even think before his Camry nearly knocked down the interior retaining wall on Talladega’s backstretch, hitting headfirst at 185 mph. Asked whether his long-time family background in racing was of any benefit in dealing with arguably the scariest crash the Nationwide Series has seen in the COT era, the answer was blunt: “You think you’re prepared for something like that and you’re not. No one is. Anyone that says they are is lying.”

Crew Chief Shane Wilson on Keeping Cool in the Daytona Heat

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_The series is heading to Daytona where the car is the vast majority of the reason for the success. Richard Childress Racing has been a dominant team on plate tracks for many years so Tech Talk caught up with Shane Wilson to get his take on heading to the World Center of Speed for the second time this season, when handling is going to start being a factor again at plate tracks and how to keep these cars cool enough to make plate racing exciting again._

Dylan Smith Diary #2

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Dylan Smith is running for the Big Money 100. Photo by Yvonne Leonard The second installment of Dylan Smith’s Summer Shootout diary looks at what it is going to take to make things better. He also talks about potential rides, helping Rev Racing any way he can and working with the Green family. With two …

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Potts’ Shots: DJ, ARCA, and XYZ

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Don Wolf e-mails this week to ask,

_Just wondering what has happened to Dale Jarrett. Since he left the booth I have not seen or heard anything about him. Is he OK?”_

The source I check with on all questions like this says he is sure DJ is only gone for three or four more weeks until ESPN takes over the Sprint Cup Series telecasts, starting with the Brickyard 400. Dale is just taking a little time off before he goes into 17 consecutive race weeks.

Fantasy Friday: Junior is going to win, it’s just a matter of when

There’s really only one question to be asked this week. OK, well, there’s more than one, but the main one that many are talking about: Can Dale Earnhardt, Jr. win at Michigan on Father’s Day? The reason it’s such a big deal is that the last time Junior won it was at Michigan … on …

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