Race Weekend Central

Thinkin’ Out Loud: 2012 Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas

Matt Kenseth slapped on two fresh tires, came out the leader with 49 laps left and became the de facto winner in an event where there were exactly two on-track, green-flag passes for the lead over the course of 400 miles – lap 1 and during a mid-race wreck.

What’s Vexing Vito: Knee-Jerk Wigouts, Stewart Spinouts & Potential Rainouts

So we’re five days following Bristol and everybody is still atwitter about Tony Stewart going hammer-throw with his helmet at Matt Kenseth. While it was a throwback to the old days when things made sense in Thunder Valley, it was actually one of those watershed moments that helped attract and interest new fans to the …

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Thinkin’ Out Loud: 2012 Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol

The latest “new” Bristol is still not the Bristol of old. But between the buzz, the wrecks and a decent crowd, the August night race resembled its former self for the first time since the pre-Chase era.

The Big 6: Questions Answered After the 2012 Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte

One thing about the Coca-Cola 600 is that either the cream rises to the top and the top finishers are exactly who you’d expect them to be, or it comes down to fuel strategy and there are some unexpected numbers on the pylon. Sunday’s race was one of the former, and the nine drivers who finished on the lead lap were no surprise. But one driver and his team tried a strategy play, staying out on the final caution of the night. If there had been one more yellow flag in the race, it would have netted Landon Cassill a top-10 finish. For Cassill, who has struggled with newcomer BK Racing to earn a Top-35 points position, a top 10 would have been huge.

Matt McLaughlin’s Thinkin’ Out Loud: 2012 Darlington Parade Recap

All the ingredients were there: a green-white-checkered finish at Darlington, questions about who had the gas to go the extra laps, some drivers who had gambled on fresh rubber late in the top 10, and a notoriously slick racetrack, but the finish was a bit of an anticlimax.

What’s Vexing Vito?: Danica Patrick’s Hollow Darlington Start

On Wednesday, a Forsyth County judge ordered Jeremy Mayfield to pay $1 million to a Catawba, N.C. postal worker who was attacked by his five pit bulls. To quote the admiral from Top Gun during the climatic final dogfighting (get it?!!) scene, “…There’s five?!!” First off, good luck getting that money. He’s been out of …

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The Big 6: Questions Answered After the 2012 Aaron’s 499 at Talladega

One sure way to make people mad at you at a restrictor-plate race is to throw an ill-timed block. It’s by no means a dirty move; it’s instinctually trying to protect position. But the danger lies in the act that there’s a split-second window in which to make the move work. This week, AJ Allmendinger tried to throw a block at Denny Hamlin after that window had already closed. The ensuing multi-car crash ended the hopes of a dozen other teams. It wasn’t the only wreck of the day, but it was the most preventable.

The Big 6: Questions Answered After the 2012 STP 400 at Kansas

It will be one of the biggest surprises of 2012 if AJ Allmendinger doesn’t win a race in his new Penske Racing ride. Early on, it looked like this could be the week for the Los Gatos, Calif., native as Allmendinger beat the field in qualifying to take the pole for the STP 400, and led handily in the early going. But an engine problem reared its ugly head at Allmendinger’s team as the race approached the 100-lap mark. Allmendinger would stay on track after a lengthy pit stop to address the issue, but it cost four laps and relegated Allmendinger to a finish of just 32nd after starting at the front.

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