NASCAR

Backseat Drivers Fan Council

Confusion in Richmond, Debris Cautions, Changes at Bristol and Pastrana’s Impact
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<p> The Backseat Drivers Fan Council weighs in on the confusiong finish at Richmond, debris cautions, changes at Bristol and Travis Pastrana's impact on NASCAR.</p>
2012

Confusion in Richmond, Changes at Bristol and Pastrana’s Impact


NASCAR officiating, Bristol’s changes and the debut of Travis Pastrana. It was quite a week for the sport and created a lot of topics for members of the Backseat Drivers Fan Council to debate.

With so much to discuss, no need to delay things. Here’s a look at how NASCAR fans saw these issues:

Hendrick Motorsports Still Searching for Elusive 200th Cup Win

The Long and Short of It
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<p> Following Kyle Busch's win at Richmond International Raceway, Athlon Sports contributor Dustin Long takes a spin around the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.</p>
2012

The Long and Short of It

What was supposed to be a celebration has become a burden for Hendrick Motorsports. Mired in a 15-race winless drought, its longest since 2002-03, the organization remains at 199 Cup victories as the series heads to Talladega.

Whenever the team scores its 200th victory — a significant number in a sport that reveres Richard Petty’s 200 career victories as a driver — it will be more relief than triumph.

Kyle Busch Wins In Richmond

Busch earns fourth consecutive spring win at RIR
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<p> Kyle Busch won the Capital City 400 at Richmond International Raceway.</p>
2012

Saturday evening’s Capital City 400 at Richmond International Raceway was not unlike many of the NASCAR Sprint Cup events over the past month. A dearth of cautions — only five, the second-least at RIR in 14 years — pockmarked the 300-mile event.

However, Richmond provided an exciting, and controversial, finish that produced an all-too-familiar victor in Kyle Busch.

The Best NASCAR has to Offer

Richmond, Talladega, Darlington and Charlotte stretch unequalled on schedule
<p> Athlon Sports contributor Vito Pugliese notes that NASCAR's month of May — with races at Richmond, Talladega, Darlington and Charlotte — is the best of the season.</p>
2012

Richmond, Talladega, Darlington and Charlotte stretch unequalled on Cup schedule

Much was made of the first five races of the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup schedule being run on diametrically diverse tracks. From the season opening restrictor plate Daytona 500, to the bumper-car bonanza that made up the closing laps at Martinsville, and the intermediate downforce contests in Las Vegas and Fontana.

Backseat Drivers Fan Council

What makes for good racing ... and would "phantom" cautions help NASCAR?
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<p> The Backseat Drivers Fan Council debates whether NASCAR should throw cautions to spice up the racing and grade the STP 400 from Kansas Speedway.</p>
2012

What makes for good racing ... and would "phantom" cautions help NASCAR?

Ask a NASCAR fan a question about the sport and you’ll likely get a strong opinion. Ask the Backseat Drivers Fan Council about the sport and you get many strong opinions — especially when the questions focus on the racing.

Denny's Win, Bruton's Bristol Plan and Junior's Genealogy

The Long and Short of It
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<p> Following Denny Hamlin's win at Kansas Speedway, Athlon Sports contributor Dustin Long takes a spin around the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.</p>
2012

If Denny Hamlin can win races now, it makes one wonder what he’ll do later this season as the communication with new crew chief Darian Grubb improves and Grubb puts more of his stamp on the team’s cars being built.

Hamlin is one of only two drivers with multiple wins this season after eight races (Tony Stewart is the other) and Hamlin could be the first driver to win three races this season with the series heading to Richmond this weekend. He has won two of the last five races at his hometown track.

Denny Hamlin Wins STP 400 in Kansas

Hamlin holds off Martin Truex Jr. to notch second Sprint Cup victory of 2012
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<p> Denny Hamlin passed Martin Truex Jr. with 30 laps remaining to win the STP 400 at Kansas Speedway.</p>
2012

It seemed a formality that once Martin Truex Jr. had fended off a vicious challenge from Jimmie Johnson that Michael Waltrip Racing would score its first Sprint Cup Series win since 2010.

Michael Waltrip Racing Hitting NASCAR Stride

MWR's Three-Car Team Leading the Toyota Charge in 2012
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<p> Michael Waltrip Racing's three-car team is putting up impressive numbers early in the 2012 NASCAR season.</p>
2012

In its sixth full season of Sprint Cup competition, Michael Waltrip Racing is making a push at becoming a powerhouse on NASCAR’s premier circuit.

MWR’s three-team operation has combined for five top 5s and 12 top 10s thus far in 2012. Spearheaded by Martin Truex Jr. and the No. 56 NAPA team, MWR finds its two full-time drivers — Truex and Clint Bowyer — in the top 10 in the point standings.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series’ Longest Winless Skids

Earnhardt, Burton, Labonte highlight droughts that never seem to end
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<p> Athlon Sports contrtibutor Tom Bowles highlights the current longest winless skids in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.</p>
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2012

Last year, one of the biggest stories surrounding the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series was the prevalence of first-time winners. From the start of the season, when Trevor Bayne surprised everyone in the Daytona 500 to David Ragan’s July triumph five months later, new faces in unfamiliar places were popping up virtually everywhere. By the end of the season, the series witnessed five first-time winners — Bayne, Ragan, Marcos Ambrose, Paul Menard and Regan Smith — and the parity within the sport was on in full force.

Mark Martin is Back, Advice for Danica and Purse Payouts

The Long and Short of It
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<p> Following Greg Biffle's win at Texas Motor Speedway, Athlon Sports contributor Dustin Long takes a spin around the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.</p>
2012

This is what retirement is supposed to be like.

“This is so much fun,’’ Mark Martin said after his third-place finish last weekend at Texas Motor Speedway.

Well, the 53-year-old Martin never said he was retiring, just that he wouldn’t race a full schedule years ago when he first cut back.

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