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NASCAR Race Weekend Central

NASCAR Stat Sheet: Breaking on Through to the Other Side (Finally)

Three-wide NASCAR racing action in the 2021 Daytona 500 Photo: NKP

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

Last week, I discussed the biggest and most imposing winless streaks in the Daytona 500, past and present alike. Given what transpired in Sunday’s (and partially Monday morning’s) 2021 edition of the Great American Race, it seems somewhat fitting that a winless streak of a different variety was broken. Michael McDowell is the eighth man …

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Turn Back The Clock: 2001 NASCAR Season, Dark Times

Dale Jr Harvick Rudd

(Photo Credit: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

NASCAR history can be measured in several ways, whether it be decades, the presence of certain drivers or various championship point formats. For myself and many others in the NASCAR industry, there is the way things were before 2001 and the way things were after it. It’s debatable, but I’d argue that no full season …

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Voice of Vito: Censorship Be Damned, Access to Drivers is NASCAR’s Greatest Asset

The age old question of whether or not drivers should be interviewed after an on-track incident was raised again last weekend, after Earnhardt Ganassi Racing teammates Jamie McMurray and Juan Pablo Montoya were involved in an accident on lap 94. Upon exiting the infield care center and examining the crumpled lump that a few minutes …

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Driven to the Past: Some Thoughts Before Going Into Hibernation…

Since I voiced the opinion a couple of weeks back that NASCAR should consider going back to stock-bodied cars, I think it behooves me to comment on the introduction of the new Nationwide Series car. They’ve definitely taken a step in the right direction. The cars they tested look much more like those you see …

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Did You Notice? Big Brother Gets to Keselowski, Marlin’s “Sterling” Career & No Championship Talk (Promise!)

Did You Notice? That with only one week left to go in the season, there’s plenty more to focus on than just the championship. Continuing the theme I had last week, let’s look at some small knickknacks people might have forgotten about with Jimmie Johnson mania on overload. That’s right, it’s time to actually adhere …

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Bubble Breakdown: Battered John Andretti Somehow Comes Out Swinging in Bubble Battle

NASCAR returned to its short-track roots last Sunday with the running of the TUMS Fast Relief 500 in Martinsville, Va. The return to the sport’s oldest speedway was good news for some veteran drivers like Bobby Labonte, who posted a top-20 finish in this latest go-round at the paperclip. But it was bad news for …

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Frontstretch Fantasy Insider: Taming the Lady in Black

There aren’t many places where every driver, not just the rookies, is told “race the track, not the pack.” But that’s the only means of survival at Darlington Raceway, a unique combination of rim-riding and abrasive asphalt that’s among the most grueling 500-milers on the Sprint Cup circuit. The track itself may be Too Tough To Tame, but fantasy racing this egg-shaped circuit is no problem for the Frontstretch Fantasy Insiders. Read on to find out which drivers have the inside track to surviving the difficult track conditions they’ll face on Saturday night.

Fan’s View: The Joys of Watching NASCAR’s Wayback Machine

On Saturday night, Bristol Motor Speedway held a little extra something for race fans across the nation. The Scotts Saturday Night Special entry list read like a NASCAR history book: Junior Johnson, Cale Yarborough and Harry Gant were only three of the drivers that brought us all back to better days. For the first time in an eternity, these legends got behind the wheel of a stock car and made some noise in Thunder Valley.

2008 Driver Review: Sterling Marlin

Following the lead of other aging veterans, Sterling Marlin chose to cut back to a part-time schedule in 2008, signing up to drive for one of the most powerful independent owners in the Cup business these days – James Finch. But while the ride has produced such magic as a top-five finish for Mike Wallace in the 2007 Daytona 500, it did no such thing for the back-to-back champ of the Great American Race in 1994 and 1995. Instead, Marlin failed to qualify after a poor performance in the Duels, and things never improved from there. No top-20 finishes in 10 attempts wasn’t exactly what the semi-retirement doctor ordered, and probably has this veteran wishing he could have quit cold turkey.

Bowles-Eye View: Out with the Old, In with the Who?

For so many millions of us, favorite athletes become so much more. Role models for our kids, our communities, ourselves; they’re put on a pedestal of success we can only wish to achieve. Through them, we choose to live our wildest dreams, placed in a fantasy world in which a larger-than-life persona can show us the joys of perfection. Every once in a while, we get lucky in love, and the dream never dies. Our idols leave the sport we love at the top of their game, and we’re allowed to remember the end just the way we want it – like a fairy tale. But more often, the bubble bursts and we find out the truth – that these drivers we worship are human, too, unable to fend off the inevitability of age and time. And that makes it so much harder when you see their careers come crashing down.

The Yellow Stripe: Drought Busters – Who’s Gone the Longest Without a Trip to Victory Lane?

Over the last couple of years Dale Earnhardt Jr. suffered his own version of an epic drought, as NASCAR’s most famous son hadn’t won a race for more than two whole seasons. While Earnhardt finally got his win — a fuel-mileage triumph at Michigan on June 15th — the streak lasted for a stretch of some 76 races, or 404 days for those so mathematically inclined. It’s fair to say the “Dale Jr. Drought” did not have the financial and societal effects of the Dust Bowl, but for those caught up in both — the workers so graphically depicted in Steinbeck’s tome and Junior Nation — it must have felt, for a while at least, as if it was never going to end. But end both did; and surprisingly enough, in each case the world continued to revolve safely on its axis.

Frontstretch