Race Weekend Central

Ernie Cope Moved to Crew Chief for AJ Allmendinger

(Photo: Zach Catanzareti)

Veteran NASCAR crew chief Ernie Cope will take over the role for AJ Allmendinger, replacing Randall Burnett beginning this weekend during The Open at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Motorsport.com was first to report the news. Cope has sat atop the pit box 41 times in the Cup Series, including four times this season. All of those have been …

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Erik Jones Paces Monster Energy Open Practice

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade/NKP)

Furniture Row Racing certainly knows how to bring fast cars to Charlotte Motor Speedway. It was rookie Erik Jones who took full advantage Friday in the lone practice session before Saturday’s Monster Energy Open. The freshman headlined testing in the last chance race for drivers to transfer into the headlining All-Star Race later Saturday night. Jones …

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Happiness Is: A Safe, Long, Enjoyable Weekend

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade / NKP)

The NASCAR traveling circus is moving on from the carnival known as Talladega and parking itself in Kansas this weekend.  To some fans, that means a return to what may be considered more traditional racing.   To others? The weekend at Kansas Speedway will represent a return to boring 1.5-mile, cookie-cutter, follow-the-leader lameness that has brought …

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The Underdog House: Small Teams Impress at Talladega

(Photo: John K. Harrelson/NKP)

Think Small This past weekend’s action at Talladega illustrated again what can happen when the racing is more in the hands of the drivers. There were several different names at the top eager to display their talent.  Aric Almirola nearly pulled off the weekend double, and David Ragan overcame crash damage to finish in the …

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Thinkin’ Out Loud: Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Avoids the Big One, Makes Big Last-Lap Pass At Talladega

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade / NKP)

Who’s in the headline Restrictor plate racetracks are always the great equalizer. This weekend, Talladega Superspeedway’s parity roulette wheel landed on the name Ricky Stenhouse Jr. It wasn’t a shock Stenhouse was able to make it to Victory Lane Sunday, in large part because he had the fastest car in qualifying by a substantial amount. But …

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The Big 6: Questions After 2017 GEICO 500

(Photo: John Harrelson / NKP)

Who… gets the shoutout of the race? Jamie McMurray. He’s been known throughout his career as a guy who has a knack for winning the big races and excels on restrictor plate tracks. A Daytona 500 win in 2010 and a July victory at the World Center of Racing in 2007, plus two Talladega Superspeedway wins …

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Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Wins First Career Cup Series Race on Last Lap Pass

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade / NKP)

Beginning from the pole of the Geico 500 at Talladega Superspeedway, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. led the opening 13 laps before getting shuffled out of line. With 29 laps to go, he got into the rear of Ryan Blaney, sending the No. 21 car around. But then he charged to the front. On a green-white-checkered finish …

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The Underdog House: Changes in the NASCAR Ranks

(Photo: Russell LaBounty/NKP)

Think Small The 2017 season is at the quarter mark after nine races, and some trends are taking shape.  Wood Brothers Racing has established itself at the top of the class, which was to be expected after the team increased its alliance with Team Penske this year. Even within the group, the haves and have …

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The Underdog House: The Great Equalizer

(Photo: Matthew T. Thacker/NKP)

Think Small Short tracks are popular with race fans because there is almost always some action somewhere in the field.  Cars are close together, tempers flare and drivers are aggressive.  Another reason to enjoy this type of racing is that short tracks (Bristol and Martinsville more so than Richmond) usually level out the playing field …

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The Underdog House: NASCAR’s Best-Kept Secret

(Photo: Logan Whitton/NKP)

Think Small It feels like NASCAR’s small teams get a bad rap right from the start from some fans and even media.  Too often, they’re lumped into a “backmarkers” category, often mocked for their poor performance compared to rivals.  To hear some people talk, you’d think they went out every week and ran in the 20’s …

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