Race Weekend Central

The Big 6: Questions Answered After the 2011 Lenox Industrial Tools 301 at Loudon

*Who…gets my shoutout of the race?*

It was a particularly tough choice this week as drivers battled back from spins and mechanical issues to pull down top finishes, but one driver avoided the drama altogether to simply be there at the end. As he has done so often in his career, *Bobby Labonte* used patience, skill, and experience, to finish seventh, his second top 10 of the year and first since finishing fourth in the Daytona 500. Today’s run was vintage Labonte as the driver flew under the radar to steal a top spot when it counted.

The Big 6: Questions Answered After the 2011 Sprint Showdown at Charlotte

If there had been a few more laps, Brad Keselowski might have watched the All-Star Race on TV, because Marcos Ambrose was driving it like he stole it in the closing laps, gaining like a freight train overtaking a tortoise. He ran out of time, finishing third, but Ambrose showed that once again, his Richard Petty Motorsports team could indeed be there at the end. Teammate AJ Allmendinger finished fourth to cap off a great night for the organization.

The Big 6: Questions Answered After the 2011 Jeff Byrd 500 at Bristol

It’s kind of weird to give a shoutout to the same guy who wound up this race’s villain, but you can’t really vote against Paul Menard here. Menard raced near the top of the pack all day long, leading early and finishing a respectable fifth, the best in the Richard Childress stable. Whether the success he’s had early this year will be long-term remains to be seen; Menard has shown flashes of brilliance before but not a lot of staying power in the long-term talent department. Still, other than tangling with one of NASCAR’s most respected veterans, he ran a great race at Bristol.

The Big 6: Questions Answered After the 2011 Daytona 500

When he caused the first wreck, a one-car deal with only Kyle Busch suffering the consequences, Michael Waltrip actually might have been loved for spinning out NASCAR’s bad boy. But for his encore, Waltrip ran over his own driver, David Reutimann, and the aftermath involved several teams who, unlike Waltrip’s, are actual championship contenders and will now be behind for weeks as a result. Perhaps staying retired would have been a wise chose for the former two-time Daytona 500 winner; the race could have been a feel-good story for Waltrip, who won this race 10 years ago, but he left half the field not feeling too good at all.

Fan’s View: When NASCAR Is in Your Blood, or Just Putting Food on the Table

“I dunno, can you give me a good enough reason to race?” The only thing I could think of when this question popped up over my headset at Loudon was, “What?” I mean, if you’re at the track and you want to know if you should race the answer would undeniably be, “Yes!” Wouldn’t it? …

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Who’s Hot/Who’s Not in NASCAR: 2010 Richmond-New Hampshire Edition

In the words of Jim Mora: “Playoffs! You want to talk about playoffs? You kidding me?” That’s the reaction of the majority of the NASCAR fanbase nowadays, but like it or not, the seventh edition of the postseason format is finally upon us. Has it really been that long since Matt Kenseth lulled us to …

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Bubble Breakdown: Front Row Version 2.0 Making a Move at Atlanta

Less than a week after Kevin Conway and sponsor ExtenZe left Front Row Motorsports’ No. 34 team, drivers Travis Kvapil, David Gilliland and Tony Raines quietly salvaged finishes inside the top 30 at Bristol to move all three of their teams more than 20 points away from the bubble. Sliding closer to trouble was none …

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Grading the 2010 NASCAR Pack, Part III: Drivers Brad Keselowski – Brian Vickers

With the NASCAR season two-thirds of the way gone and the final off week now out of our way, we’re taking a brief moment of respite, grading all the drivers and teams once again on their performance so far in 2010. Tuesday, we covered an owner-by-owner breakdown of season results so far… all of which you …

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