NASCAR Race Weekend Central

Happy Hour: Nationwide Whackers are Hurting the Sprint Cup Series

On several occasions during the Martinsville race this past Sunday, the announcers in the FOX booth analyzed “short term gain” vs. “long term loss.” The comparison was made whenever a driver skipped a pit or took two tires for track position, meaning that they may gain track position in the short run, but the older tires may mean a net loss in the long run. The short-term gain vs. long-term loss is a debate that could, and should, be taking place regarding Cup drivers in the Nationwide Series, and nowhere was this more evident than at Martinsville last Sunday.

Mirror Driving: Roush’s Posturing, Lapped Cars Jostling & Big-Name Pending Free Agents

Jack Roush announced he would not seek legal action against Michael Waltrip Racing after MWR admitted it was the team that had been in possession of a “proprietary part,” which happened to be a sway bar, belonging to Roush Fenway Racing. Was there ever merit to his claims, or was it just Roush taking another jab at his new nemesis, Toyota?

Who’s Hot/Who’s Not in Sprint Cup: 2008 Goody’s Cool Orange 500 at Martinsville Edition

With back-to-back top-10 finishes, Hamlin claims a spot on this week’s HOT list alongside JGR teammate Tony Stewart; but who else is deserving of the recognition? On the flip side, Michael McDowell had an impressive first two-thirds of the race, but received some criticism after the event for racing the leaders too hard in the closing laps. Where does the rookie fall after his debut start? Was he wrong or right? Check out this week’s edition of Who’s Hot/Who’s Not in Sprint Cup to find out.

Running Their Mouth: 2008 Goody’s Cool Orange 500 at Martinsville

Each week, we’ll go through media reports, interviews, PR, and all our own stuff to find the best quotes from the Sprint Cup race, capturing the story of how the weekend unfolded. It’s the most original commentary you’ll ever find: the truth, coming straight out of the mouths of the drivers, crew members, and the car owners themselves. This week, here’s a sneak peek at what a select few were thinking following the Goody’s Cool Orange 500 at Martinsville Speedway.

Sprint Cup Rookie Report: Regan Smith Finally Gains Momentum in Martinsville

It may be virtually impossible to have an uneventful day at the Martinsville Speedway, which often looks like a moving junkyard by the end of 500 laps. However, Regan Smith may have come close. Perhaps the rookie got all the “close calls” out of the way on Friday when he barely snuck the Principal Financial Chevy into the field, slipping in at 33rd, the fifth of the seven “go or go home” teams that made the race. However, unlike in other events so far this season, the No. 01 Impala moved forward from the start, working his way into the top 25 by the lap 75 mark. It was there that the team struggled with poor track position for a bit; stabilizing at or about that point in the field, he eventually lost a lap.

Sprint Cup Rookie Report: Aric Almirola Breezes Through Bristol

Mark Martin was not piloting the No. 8 Chevy for the first time in 2008 this past weekend, but one would never know it judging by the performance Aric Almirola turned in on Sunday. Making just his seventh Sprint Cup start, Martin’s protege began the day from the 16th position, but once the green flag dropped, he never fell much lower than that on the scoring pylon. The young rookie, who just turned 24 last Friday, managed to avoid all of Bristol’s multiple incidents while displaying the driving skill of a veteran.

Bubble Breakdown: Brian Vickers Digs Out of a Hole, While Jamie McMurray Digs Himself 1

Five teams and drivers worked their way into the Top 35 after the first five races of 2008 to displace those struggling organizations. Who were they, and which cars are now on the outside looking in? Let’s take a look as we switch from the 2007 to 2008 owner points while looking back on Bristol.

Nextel Cup Rookie Report: 2008 Preview, Part I

Speedweeks at Daytona starts up this week, which can only mean one thing – a new NASCAR season is finally upon us after some much-needed time off. The 2008 season will once again feature a talented group of rookies who look to hit the pavement for their first full (or almost full) season of competition; and as was the case in 2007, I’ll once again be providing you with an in depth analysis of each driver as they go through the motions of their respective freshman years through the weekly version of Frontstretch’s Rookie Report. Together, we’ll chronicle the ups and down of each driver’s success – or failure – as they adjust to life in the Cup Series.

Beyond the Cockpit: Michael McDowell Prepares for Rolex 24 Before Beginning His Cup Career

This month, Michael McDowell returns to the series where he competed in 2005 and 2006, participating in the Rolex 24 at Daytona for the No. 09 Spirit of Daytona Racing Porsche FABCAR. As he prepares for his fourth grueling 24-hour event and his upcoming rookie season for MWR, McDowell took some time out at the Spirit of Daytona race shop to talk with Frontstretch, discussing why he made the transition from sports cars to stock cars and what his goals are for 2008.

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