Race Weekend Central

Voice of Vito: The Southern 500 & Darlington – Same As It Ever Was, Only Different

Darlington, South Carolina. You’d be hard pressed to find it on a map; but say the name, and instantly a flurry of iconic imagery comes flooding forward; Cale Yarborough sailing out of the track over the guardrail; Richard Petty hanging halfway out of the window of his battered Plymouth as it tumbles down the frontstretch; …

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Frontstretch NASCAR Power Rankings: Top 15 After the 2009 Southern 500

The Track Too Tough to Tame may have a new surface, but she’s that same old fickle girl. The rankings may not have taken a DNF at Darlington, but they certainly earned their stripe with the list all scrambled after 500 miles there Saturday night. Former champions are hogging the top of the charts, but as you’ll see this week, our experts didn’t ignore a promising rookie who survived the Lady in Black. Read on to see if your driver stayed off of the wall or ended up in the minnow pond this weekend during the Southern 500.

Who’s Hot/Who’s Hot in Sprint Cup: 2009 Southern 500 Edition

If you are a sheetmetal supplier and you live in or near the Charlotte, N.C. area, congratulations – you are about to be very rich. The first ever springtime version of the Southern 500 may have been a potent mixture of high speeds on newer pavement – but it also led to the same danger …

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Frontstretch NASCAR Power Rankings: Top 15 After the 2009 Crown Royal 400 at Richmond

Some retro short-track racing in Virginia provided a lot of high-powered action Saturday night, with the end result a record 15 caution flags and a late-race pit strategy that left the standings jumbled all the way up until the checkered flag. That unpredictability factored right into our own Power Rankings this week, as 14 out …

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Frontstretch Fantasy Insider: Beating and Banging in the Capital of the South

With Talladega in the rear-view mirror, the Sprint Cup Series turns to the cozier confines of Richmond International Raceway and good ol’ fashioned short tracking this week. But while the Series’ last downforce race at Phoenix offered a glimpse of who you’d expect to contend in Virginia’s capital, don’t discount what happened last Sunday. With more than half of the top 12 in the standings involved in wrecks, the wild-card race at Talladega certainly managed to throw a wrench into the momentum of some contenders. The “Big One” doesn’t discriminate whenever it chooses its victims … and the hangover from those nasty crashes can last a couple of weeks if teams aren’t careful. With that in mind, who’s ready to vault towards fantasy perfection at the track many call perfect for racing? Short-tracking on a Saturday night is always cause to put a smile on race fans’ faces… and with the help of the Frontstretch Insiders, this weekend will be all the more enjoyable for you and your fantasy lineup.

Frontstretch NASCAR Power Rankings: Top 15 After the 2009 Aaron’s 499 at Talladega

The wild card that is restrictor-plate racing at Talladega certainly mixed up our rankings as much as it mixed up the standings. The Big Ones led to big changes for our experts, as multiple drivers received first-place votes and just two of 15 stayed in the same position that they occupied last week. The race ended with a first-time winner in victory lane this weekend… and when the dust settled on this week’s poll, there was a first-time member on our list, too. Read on to see if your driver survived Sunday’s roller coaster ride, landing firmly in this week’s edition of the Frontstretch Power Rankings.

Frontstretch NASCAR Power Rankings: Top 15 After the 2009 Subway Fresh 500 at Phoenix

Phoenix’s Saturday night showdown may have been Mark Martin’s time to shine… but it didn’t mean much for the rest of the Sprint Cup competition. Most of the racing behind him was tame at best, with few top drivers encountering problems that left them dropping off our Power Rankings list. Just how far did Martin’s win make him rise? Read on to find out in this week’s edition of our Power Rankings.

Mirror Driving: NASCAR Safety Gone Overboard, Catching Hendrick & Steve Wallace… Cup Driver?

Saturday’s Nationwide Series race saw Joey Logano grab just his second career victory in the series. Is this the confidence builder he needs to get his Cup career on track, or was it simply further proof this series is where he should have been all along?

Frontstretch NASCAR Power Rankings: Top 15 After the 2009 Samsung 500 at Texas

Things at Texas happen fast these days, leaving the margin of error slim to none on what’s become the sport’s speediest track. From Kyle Busch cutting a tire to Carl Edwards having trouble on pit road, too many of the sport’s biggest superstars discovered that answer too little, too late. The end result was a major shakeup in our poll this week, with our experts dropping no less than three drivers right out of the rankings. Luckily for Jeff Gordon, he already knew the dangers – 0-for-16 for his career in the Lone Star State entering Sunday – and was finally able to put the bad karma behind him in streaking to his first victory of 2009.

Voice of Vito: The Season Ahead – Martinsville Serves as NASCAR’s True Test of Legitimacy

I have always maintained that Martinsville is the true litmus test for the opening months of the NASCAR season. Daytona is the Super Bowl of motorsports, and it is easy to get caught up in the hype of the grandest race on the schedule. A win can make a season or define a career (just ask Derrike Cope), but how many first-race finishes have we seen be a little more than a flash in the pan or a fluke of restrictor-plate luck? Just because you catch a pocket of air or get ran into from behind hard enough does not a season make. By the time the series rolls around to the oldest track on the circuit, the .526-mile paperclip in Virginia situated by some railroad tracks and stacked to the rafters with pink nitride-cicles served under the guise of edibility known as a “hot dog,” the contenders and the pretenders are usually exposed for what they truly are.

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