NASCAR Race Weekend Central

Did You Notice? Nice Guys Finish Last, NASCAR’s Diversity Nightmare & Chase Vulnerability

Did You Notice? That one of the compelling themes in NASCAR as of late is proof of the phrase, “Nice guys finish last?” David Reutimann is the latest example; known as a man who won’t bump anyone out of the way in order to get to the front, Reutimann got loose with Clint Bowyer oh-so-close behind him in the final laps of the Nashville race on Saturday night. While Brad Keselowski went on to win, Reutimann – who had been in position to take the checkers before a late-race caution bunched up the field — fell back to a fourth-place finish on older tires.

Sliced Bread: Yep, I’m A Believer…

A rookie phenom’s “potential for success” has an ephemeral quality with a fragile will-o-the-wisp consistency. Yes, it could happen and the budding star might become one of the greatest of them all but those cases are, for obvious reasons, rare. Sometimes it does happen as scripted and a kid comes from nowhere to become first a star, then a legend, and finally an icon. More often than not, early promise burns out – snuffed out by a combination of being pushed too fast too early and unrealistic expectations generated by too much hype. It’s too early to tell on which side of the equation Joey Logano will ultimately fall. But on the ridiculously small sample of one race weekend, you have to like the teenager from Middletown, Conn., who has all the right pieces and parts to make the transition from over-hyped teen to full-fledged NASCAR star.

10 Points to Ponder… After the 2008 Best Buy 400 at Dover

1. Are They Baaack? – Television ratings for NASCAR have seen resurgence this race season after experiencing at least two years of declines. The Memorial Day weekend Coca-Cola 600 tallied a 4% boost over last season’s telecast, and posted the first increase in viewer numbers in three years. But the 4% improvement, though noteworthy, is less than the 5% increase that FOX TV has seen in its race broadcasts for the season to date.

Nationwide Series Breakdown: 2008 Heluva Good! 200 at Dover

I might as well write a template for the Nationwide Series Breakdown. Saturday, Joe Gibbs Racing dominated the NASCAR Nationwide Series X (Heluva Good! 200). Driver X (Denny Hamlin) smoked the field, leading X (131) of X laps (200). Joe Gibbs Racing has now won X (nine) of X (14) races in the Nationwide Series this season.

Mirror Driving: Can Humpy Be Replaced? Gordon, Johnson Off The Pace? & How Will Logano Race?

The Coca-Cola 600 produced long green-flag runs, tire and fuel strategy, and 17 on-track green-flag passes for the lead. Why was it so much better then the rest of the races on the cookie-cutter tracks this year?

10 Points to Ponder… After the 2008 Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte

1. Rumba, Anyone? – Two-time Indy 500 winner Helio Castroneves — better known to the general public as last year’s winner of the mega hit TV show “Dancing With The Stars” — seems to be interested in following such open-wheel standouts as Juan Pablo Montoya, Sam Hornish Jr., Dario Franchitti, Patrick Carpentier, and AJ Allmendinger into the NASCAR ranks. However, the Brazilian initially refuted a Los Angeles Times story published last week that reported he was interested in talking to Penske Racing, whom he drives for in the IRL, about a move to their NASCAR operation. “I did not understand much,” Castroneves said of the journalist writing the story. “I found my English is apparently getting worse. [They] definitely took it out of context.”

Holding a Pretty Wheel: Ken Schrader a Lot Like a Rock

Ken Schrader in a way, WAS Rockingham Speedway on Sunday, or perhaps Rockingham Speedway was Ken Schrader. Coming from a 31st-place starting spot to finish second, Schrader passed cars by using the track to his advantage. It was a brilliant performance by the veteran driver with the reputation of being one who will race anything, anytime. At one point late in the race, Schrader took the lead and proceeded to school Logano in the finer points of holding a lead-switching from the bottom-hugging low line in the turns to the high line, the only place where Logano was really able to make his best moves. It didn’t work forever, but it was great, clean racing, the way Schrader has run for most of his 53 years.

10 Points to Ponder… After the 2008 Crown Royal 400 at Richmond

1. Maybe Some Trash Talkin’? – The National Football League’s record-setting but controversial wide receiver Randy Moss of the New England Patriots has announced that he is forming a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series team. Moss expects his Moss Motorsports operation to enter selected races later this season, then compete in the full schedule of CTS events in 2009.

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