Race Weekend Central

The Yellow Stripe: Catch 21 – Thoughts, Questions & Observations 3 Races Into 2009

21, as many of you will know, is a lucky number in Las Vegas. So, here are exactly that many questions, observations, and thoughts – in no particular order – on the season so far as the series leaves Sin City to head back east.

Sprint Cup Rookie Report: Cup Rookies Avoid That Vegas Gambling Temptation… & Survive

Plenty of people were wondering when we would see this new, bright young star named Joey Logano live up to the hype. Well, we started to get a glimpse of his talent today – but it wasn’t because of where he finished but rather, how he got there that showed it. In an afternoon full of carnage and failing equipment, Logano displayed the poise and maturity of a 10-year veteran, avoiding problems and ensuring that he stuck around until the end.

Frontstretch NASCAR Fantasy Insider: Loading the Dice for a Sin City Payoff

The Sprint Cup Series concludes its two-week, West Coast tour with a stop at Las Vegas Motor Speedway Sunday. It’s the first race of the season on a 1.5-mile oval, the most common distance for a NASCAR track in this division. Since being reconfigured with higher banking in the corners, LVMS has become an entirely different animal, going from “cookie cutter” to highly competitive throughout its 427-mile main event. With its asphalt ever aging, expect the racing to evolve even further this coming weekend. But when push comes to shove, LVMS is another intermediate oval, after all – which means it’s more than likely that come race’s end, the usual suspects from the sport’s biggest teams will be running up front. In 11 total races at this track, a car from Roush or Hendrick has stood in victory lane all but once, when Sterling Marlin pulled the upset for Chip Ganassi Racing in 2002.

Nationwide Series Breakdown: 2009 Stater Brothers 300 at Fontana

As if following up Daytona with Fontana wasn’t enough of a letdown, Kyle Busch made sure that there would be no last lap fireworks this time around. Leading over 140 of the 150 laps run Saturday night, Busch followed up his Truck win earlier in the day with a dominant performance that saw the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 18 team lay waste to the Nationwide Series field. The win was the first for the No. 18 team with Jason Ratcliffe on the pit box since his suspension at Michigan last August for tampering with a NASCAR chassis dyno. Busch also became the first driver in NASCAR history to win two national touring division races on the same day.

Sprint Cup Rookie Report: Freshmen Cannot Dodge Wrecks at Daytona

This week’s Rookie Report is based on the results of a rain-shortened Daytona 500. What is important to note is the race would’ve finished all 500 miles – if the green flag didn’t fall at the ridiculous start time of 3:40 p.m. ET. When are the networks going to realize that fans want racing, not marathon pre-race shows?

Nationwide Series Breakdown: 2009 Camping World 300 at Daytona

It only took three races for Tony Stewart to put a Chevrolet back in victory lane. After posting runner-up finishes in both the Budweiser Shootout and Gatorade Duels, Stewart’s first ride with Hendrick Motorsports landed Smoke back in the winner’s circle, collecting the eighth Nationwide Series victory of his career and his fourth in the last five years at Daytona. Unlike last year, though, which saw Stewart’s No. 20 Toyota all but untouchable, this one was far from a sure-fire thing. Though Stewart was a mainstay in the top 10 all day, it was not until late in the running that he got his No. 80 up front.

Why Brad Keselowski Can Win the 2009 Nationwide Series Title

The first NASCAR preview magazine that came to the local newsstand was that of The Sporting News. As I read through it, I flipped to the publication’s Nationwide Series preview. Predictably, the lead feature was on the “Sprint Cup Showdown” between Kyle Busch and Carl Edwards that is already being framed as the extent of …

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Sprint Cup Rookie Report: 2009 NASCAR Season Preview

After one of the most economically brutal NASCAR offseasons in recent history, it’s finally time to start focusing on performances on the stopwatch instead of on the balance sheet. This also spells good news for Professor Lumbis as I get to preview and critique this season’s rookies once again. The 2008 season was not kind …

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Mirror Driving: Ownership Smoke & Mirrors, Smoke’s Fiery New Team & Logano’s No Smoke… Yet

Welcome to Mirror Driving. Every week, your favorite columnists sit down and give their opinion about the latest NASCAR news and rumors. Love us or hate us, make a comment below and tell us how you feel about what we’ve said! This Week’s Participants: Tom Bowles (Editor-In-Chief; Mondays/Bowles-Eye View & Wednesdays/Did You Notice?) Doug Turnbull (Tuesdays/Who’s Hot …

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2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup Rookie Report Cards: Economic Woes & Poor Performances Leave Their Mark

Looking back on the 2008 NASCAR season, many fans will notice a lot of similarities between this year and 2007. The most obvious comparison, for example, involves the complete dominance by three-time defending champion Jimmie Johnson during both Chases. But the 2007 season also saw the emergence of a new trend in NASCAR, involving the …

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