NASCAR Race Weekend Central

Up to Speed: The Pressure to Win in NASCAR 2021 is Already On

2021 Daytona I Cup Matt DiBenedetto NKP

#21: Matt DiBenedetto, Wood Brothers Racing, Ford Mustang Motorcraft/Quick Lane

Raise your hand if you thought that, two races into the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season, the two race winners would be Michael McDowell and Christopher Bell.  If you made that prediction a few weeks ago, a fellow race fan might have assumed that you’d spent too much time around the gasoline fumes on pit …

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5 Points to Ponder: Lady Luck Deals NASCAR Bad Hand in 2021 Debut

Austin Cindric crashes on the final lap of the 2021 Daytona 500.

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

ONE: Lady Luck Big Player in Disjointed Daytona 500 There were a lot of Valentine’s Day dinners ruined Sunday night (Feb. 14) by the Daytona 500 turned 24 Hours of Daytona Lite. A six-hour rain delay felt entirely preventable, the fourth time in the last 10 NASCAR season openers there’s been a rain delay. At what point …

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Massive Crash, Lightning Delay Mar Early Laps of 2021 Daytona 500

2020DaytonaNCSRyanNewmanFaceNKP

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

It didn’t take long for both the racing and weather Sunday (Feb. 14) to escalate in the 2021 Daytona 500. On lap 14, contact between Christopher Bell and Aric Almirola sent the latter sideways, crashing into Alex Bowman and taking nearly half the field with him. The massive pileup was followed by a lightning delay …

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Thinkin’ Out Loud: 2021 Bluegreen Vacations Duel at Daytona

2021 Daytona I Duel II Dillon winner NKP

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

What happened? Aric Almirola won the first Bluegreen Vacations Duel at Daytona International Speedway on Thursday (Feb. 11), while Austin Dillon won the second. Christopher Bell, Ryan Newman, Joey Logano and Ryan Preece rounded out the top five in the first race. Bubba Wallace, Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch and Chase Elliott finished top five in …

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Aric Almirola Wins First Duel, Austin Cindric Makes Daytona 500

Aric Almirola won the first qualifying race for the 2021 Daytona 500 Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

Aric Almirola used a shove from Christopher Bell to snag the victory in the Bluegreen Vacations Duel No. 1 at Daytona International Speedway. Almirola will start the 2021 Daytona 500 in third, seeking his first Daytona 500 victory and his second NASCAR Cup Series win at Daytona. “All these guys on this team built me …

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2021 NASCAR Preseason Power Rankings No. 12: Aric Almirola

2020DaytonaNCSAricAlmirolaFaceNKP

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

In three seasons at Stewart-Haas Racing in the NASCAR Cup Series, Aric Almirola has proven his ability to be a contender for the playoffs.  He has also shown an affinity for strong runs, including wins, at restrictor plate tracks. Almirola’s performances have earned him the loyalty of primary sponsor Smithfield.  But the 2021 season could …

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2020 NASCAR Team Reviews: Stewart-Haas Racing

2021Preview SHR

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

The 2020 season saw Stewart-Haas Racing being pulled in multiple directions in the NASCAR Cup Series. Kevin Harvick was trying to capitalize on his prime to score his second championship.  Cole Custer was coming into his rookie season in Cup and wanted to do the best he could.  Clint Bowyer and Aric Almirola were both in …

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Reel Racing: The Best (& Worst) Movie Paint Schemes of the 2010s, Pt. 1

Martinsville Cup 2019 Mike Neff Aric Almirola

In June, I undertook a project to dig up every single movie-themed paint scheme that ever ran across NASCAR’s three touring series and, eventually, rank them. The weeks-long search yielded that exactly 100 films have been represented on stock cars throughout the years, ranging from The Wizard of Oz to Shazam. Unfortunately, 2020 became the …

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Power Rankings: Chase Went to Chase Edition

2020 Phoenix NCS Chase Elliott Victory Celebration NKP3

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

Oftentimes, NASCAR gets the short end of the deal — faces a lot of criticism, but they deserve a tip of the old Frontstretch hat for managing to get a full season in during trying times. No other major American sport was able to accomplish this feat. There is no hiding the fact that I’m …

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Daily Fantasy NASCAR FanDuel Forecast: 2020 Season Finale 500

2020 CharlotteROVAL NCS Kevin Harvick Face NKP

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

It’s the final stop on a chaotic and bizarre NASCAR Cup Series season, as 40 drivers head to Phoenix Raceway for one last race. This race will decide a championship. The top finishing driver between Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano, Chase Elliott and Denny Hamlin will win the Bill France Cup. I have my own pick …

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