NASCAR Race Weekend Central

Tag Archives: Dale Earnhardt

Matt McLaughlin Mouths Off: The Intimidator Versus the Irritator

Something remarkable happened Saturday night in Milwaukee. The Nationwide Series race featured a lot of side by side racing not only for the lead, but for positions in the top 5 and top 10 and throughout the field. With the majority of the Cup regulars, save Carl Edwards and Kyle Busch, a half continent away, some of the Nationwide regulars and part timers finally got to strut their stuff a little. While not unprecedented, it was pretty remarkable how quickly Edwards and Busch were able to move from the back of the field to the top 10 in so few laps. Yeah, they’ve got the best equipment, but both drivers displayed a lot of talent in their charge to the front as well. It was even less remarkable that Busch was able to finally take the lead of the race and that he stayed there for such a long time. Busch has, after all, led more than 50 laps in 11 of the 15 Nationwide races he’s run this season and he’s led more than 100 laps in eight of those events. He’s won four of those 15 events and in major league racing--that’s a pretty remarkable average. That’s why he’s leading the points in that series.

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Carl Edwards Wasn’t Quite Right

Sprint Cup Series Director John Darby announced this week that there won’t be any changes in the plate racing, espousing the excitement of Daytona and Talladega just days after two drivers had near-death experiences. Too many writers agree. Quite a few have said that Talladega was a great race and NASCAR shouldn’t do a thing to change it. Some have said that all of the safety precautions worked. Not quite. Seven fans were injured. If that isn’t a wake up call, it damn well oughta be. If a car goes into the grandstand and kills 50 fans, NASCAR is over, my friends. There will not be another race. Believe it. Darby also said, presumably with a straight face, that people play up the danger of wrecks at plate tracks as opposed to wrecks at Atlanta or Charlotte. So Daytona and Talladega are two of the most exciting tracks on the circuit because of the danger, but they aren’t any more dangerous than Atlanta or Charlotte. I’ll figure that one out and get back to you.

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Talladega Flights: Massive Crash Highlights Superspeedway’s Continued Conflicts

As you may have noticed, much of the action that many have become accustomed to in NASCAR has been absent over the last few weeks. Matt Kenseth winning back-to-back races was nice, and it surely did many good to see Mark Martin back in Victory Lane. For the most part, however, this has been a lackluster season, with little to rally around or get up in arms about. Enter Talladega.

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Bowles-Eye View: Beating And Banging At Its Best – NASCAR’s 5 Greatest Bristol Finishes

I hear you, guys… I hear you loud and clear. No matter what problems we face in the sport these days, the ½-mile track in Thunder Valley is still looked at as one where lightning strikes twice on the Sprint Cup circuit each year. While a repave has changed the type of racing we’ve seen over the past few seasons, Bristol still provides at least a threat of the type of action that’s attracted millions to sit down and get addicted to cars driving "round in circles." It’s classic, old-school NASCAR at its best, where side-by-side racing comes with donuts plastered on the side of the car, and slowpokes learn their lesson in the form of a slam on their rear bumper – one that may or may not turn them into the inside wall. The close competition is usually reflected in the attendance at this race track, with each date earning a sellout every year since 1983.

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Happy Hour: 8 Years Ago In Atlanta

To say that Dale Earnhardt’s untimely death struck the motorsports world like a sledgehammer blow to the head would be an understatement. NASCAR Nation was badly shaken in the wake of the Intimidator’s passing. Despite Dale’s departure from this Earth in a way that one could have seen happening—the proverbial “he died doing what he loved”—it still put us all into a state of incredulous shock. It seemed so wrong. Earnhardt was happier than he had ever been, looking forward to another season of racing. He was supposed to retire comfortably, run his new team until reaching a ripe old age, and see his son follow in his footsteps. It wasn’t supposed to be over so suddenly before his 50th birthday.

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Full Throttle: It Ain’t Braggin’ If You Can Back It Up

Kyle Busch is not the most popular driver in the sport. There are people who would say he’s not the most popular driver in his family. But, whether you like him or dislike him as a person, one thing is undeniable: Kyle Busch is one of the best raw talents to come along in this sport in years. He set the record last year for the most combined wins in the top three touring series in the sport, and this year became the first driver to win two touring series races on the same day. He also holds the record as the youngest driver to ever win a NASCAR Cup race. All of those firsts and records could make a person cocky, but in Busch’s case, he can back it up.

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Matt McLaughlin Mouths Off: Welcome to My Nightmare

I’ve long been ridiculed as a prophet of doom. Since Brian France took over as CEO of NASCAR, I've been saying that this sport’s best days are behind it and the end is nigh. I’ve also put forth the proposition that the “realignment” of the schedule, the Chase, and the Car of Tomorrow have been the three heralds of NASCAR’s impending apocalypse.

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Happy Hour: The New Man In Black – Jeff Gordon

When people hear “The Man In Black” they think of one or both of two men—Johnny Cash, iconic country singer and wearer of ubiquitous black leather outfits, or Dale Earnhardt, iconic driver of the black racecar with the trademark white number 3 on the side. Both are no longer with us and the world is lesser for it. Cash and Earnhardt both relished the “man in black” role. Dark clothing or a dark car. Black like the night. In Johnny Cash’s case, black like much of his life, even if much of the blackness was self-inflicted by his own admission. In Earnhardt’s case, black like Darth Vader—and to be feared just as much on the racetrack.

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Happy Hour: Please NASCAR, Not Martinsville Too

Like Fenway Park, one doesn’t go to Martinsville Speedway expecting the comforts and “amenities” of modern-day event facilities. Racing fans in southwest Virginia don’t go to races to sip lattes and possibly meet celebrities. No one goes to the paper clip to play roulette and maybe catch a few laps of a NASCAR event. The town of Martinsville isn’t built to host an event that may, and usually does, draw as many as 65,000 people. Parking is difficult to find and hotels are not abundant enough. There aren’t any major U.S. routes or interstates going through town. And you aren’t going to roll out of your hotel bed at 9 a.m. if you want to beat Martinsville race traffic. None of that matters. Martinsville Speedway need not offer individual seats, crab cakes, or slot machines. It doesn’t even really need the hot dogs. Martinsville offers the only thing NASCAR’s best and most dedicated fans ask for—hard-nosed, close quarters, blood-on-the-floor and busted fenders automobile racing.

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