NASCAR Race Weekend Central

The Big 6: Questions Answered After the 2012 Budweiser Shootout at Daytona

*Who… gets my shoutout of the race?*

Talk about being there at the end. We barely heard a whimper from *Denny Hamlin* all night long, but when it counted, there he was, finishing fifth. The run is made all the more impressive by the fact Hamlin lost two laps early on, involved in a Lap 10 wreck only to stay patient, work with a damaged engine and draft to perfection after earning Lucky Dogs to get those laps back. Now, it’s too early to say if new (and defending Cup champion) crew chief Darian Grubb is having that big of an impact or if Hamlin will regain the form that nearly carried him to the 2010 title himself. But if the 31-year-old can run like he did Saturday night – quietly staying out of trouble only to make some noise at the end – Hamlin could well roar back into championship contention this year. Sometimes. you don’t have to be overtly spectacular to turn heads; you just have to get it done right.

Bowles Thinks Out Loud For Matt: 2011 Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol

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Brad Keselowski beat Jeff Gordon off pit road during the race’s final caution, blew by two-tire Martin Truex, Jr. on the final restart and made the rest of the Bristol field look like they were the ones driving drunkenly impaired on Miller Lite. Gordon tried to catch him, but alas, Bristol is the new half-mile Fontana: fresher tires made little difference while aero and track position took center stage – even at 15 seconds a lap.

Fanning the Flames: Kyle Busch’s Pink Car, Tony Stewart’s Momentum & Jeff Gordon’s Mustache

I get the impression that there aren’t a lot of Kyle Busch fans out there. Oh, I know he has his little sect of followers, but it’s safe to say he’s more heel than hero. Yet while he’s such a polarizing figure, I think the one thing we all agree on concerning Kyle is the …

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Beyond the Cockpit: Diversity Pioneer Lyn St. James

To some racing fans, particularly those of the stock car persuasion, Lyn St. James is not a household name. This notion is somewhat understandable, as the Willoughby, Ohio native never raced nationally in stock cars and did not even make her Indy 500 debut until 1992 – at the age of 47. But James’s ephemeral …

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