Race Weekend Central

The Big 6: Questions Answered After the 2011 Coke Zero 400 at Daytona

While David Ragan was collecting his first win (anyone else see that coming after his near-miss in the Daytona 500?), a longtime friend and competitor of Ragan’s was racing amid a swirl of rumors about his future and came up big this weekend. Joey Logano showed that his win on Friday in the Nationwide Series was no accident, finishing third on Saturday night for the weekend’s best average. Logano and Ragan grew up racing together, starting in Legends cars, and both find themselves at a career crossroads, subjects of intense speculation about their futures in the series. Both delivered at a critical point this week.

The Big 6: Questions Answered After the 2011 Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma

Employing strategy similar to the Penske Racing cars, David Gilliland had to scratch and claw for his 12th-place result at Infineon. Gilliland ran in the top 10 much of the afternoon and held off stiff challenges from Juan Pablo Montoya and others to score a commendable top-15 effort. This track has been good to Gilliland in the past, with a second-place finish back in 2008. With a solid effort today, he gives his Front Row Motorsports team a bit of breathing room in the Top-35 owner points battle.

Thinkin’ Out Loud: 2011 FedEx 400 at Dover

Matt Kenseth took two tires and Mark Martin stayed out while leaders Jimmie Johnson, Carl Edwards and Clint Bowyer all took four during pit stops under caution on lap 364 after Juan Pablo Montoya backed into the turn 4 wall. Hey, being on probation and unable to hit other drivers, he needed to hit something.

The Big 6: Questions Answered After the 2011 FedEx 400 Benefiting Autism Speaks at Dover

Nothing about racing is easy, but Dover can really throw teams and drivers for a loop. Toss into that mix one of the most difficult pit-road entrances on the circuit and it makes for an interesting day. Both David Ragan and Andy Lally had trouble navigating the sharp turn off turn 3, spinning out right at the top of pit road. Ragan didn’t hit anything, but was lucky he wasn’t hit by Jamie McMurray as McMurray made his own approach to pit road during a round of green-flag stops. They don’t call it “The Monster Mile” for nothing.

Running Their Mouth: 2011 Budweiser Shootout at Daytona

It’s the most original commentary you’ll ever find: the truth, coming straight out of the mouths of the drivers, crew members and car owners themselves. This week, here’s a sneak peek at what they all were thinking following the Budweiser Shootout at Daytona International Speedway.

*Best Quote*

_”This is an unbelievable way to experience Victory Lane at Daytona, and this is a great way to start the new season. It was really about the teammate of the day — Jamie McMurray. I can’t thank him enough [for the push]. All the credit goes to him. At the end, I wanted to give those guys [Newman and Hamlin] a hard push, as I figured Hamlin would split with Newman.”_
– _Kurt Busch, race winner_

Frontstretch NASCAR Power Rankings: Top 15 after the 2010 Ford 400 at Homestead

With 36 points races and 41 weeks on the calendar, the extensive NASCAR Cup season finally came to its long-awaited conclusion at Homestead, Fla. Denny Hamlin had the championship in hand; all he needed to do was finish ahead of Jimmie Johnson and the Sprint Cup trophy was finally his for the taking. But that …

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No Bull: 3 Rivalries That NASCAR Needs in 2011

Outside of the Chase for the Championship drama, the end of the 2010 NASCAR season was pretty entertaining. Drivers certainly ‘had at it’ (isn’t that the most overplayed quote of the year), but now have more than 80 days to cool off before the unofficial start of the 2011 season. Here’s some rivalries that need …

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