Ryan Newman

NASCAR Chase Report: Previewing race No. 7 in Martinsville

Pretenders, contenders and potential winners as NASCAR's Chase hits Martinsville
Pretenders, contenders and potential winners as NASCAR's Chase hits Martinsville

The one thing the 2.66-mile behemoth that is Talladega Superspeedway and the half-mile paperclip that is Martinsville Speedway have in common is the reversal of fortunes each potentially delivers. After raising the ire of fans and the garage (Matt Kenseth, in particular) alike two weeks ago in Charlotte, Brad Keselowski faced virtually no other option but to pull a Jake Taylor in Major League and win the whole f___in’ thing at Talladega. Keselowski did just that — which was no small task — in rather dramatic fashion.

Penske teamwork results in clutch win for Keselowski at Talladega

Through the Gears: The four things we learned at Talladega
Post-race reaction from Brad Keselowski's win in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series' Geico 500 at Talladega Superspeedway.

Multi-car teams working together: it’s a modern NASCAR philosophy that began in the 1980s, failed miserably, and was redefined during the 1990s by Hendrick Motorsports. Built with Jeff Gordon, massaged by Terry Labonte and perfected by Jimmie Johnson, the organization has won 11 championships based on multiple cars sharing information, turning from rivals on the racetrack into individuals openly helping one another.

NASCAR Chase Report: Previewing race No. 6 at Talladega

Pretenders, contenders and potential winners as NASCAR's Chase moves south to Talladega
Contenders, pretenders and predicted winners for the sixth race of NASCAR's Chase for the Sprint Cup, the GEICO 500 from Talladega Superspeedway.

With the WWE Attitude-Era finale to last weekend’s Bank of America 500 in Charlotte, you’d be hard pressed to remember how the first 25 laps were obscured by either a college football game or (of all things) a preseason NBA game. No chance of that happening this weekend, as the NASCAR Sprint Cup race runs on Sunday — and, of course, it’s Talladega.

NASCAR Rookie Report: An Austin Dillon "upset" at Talladega not implausible

RCR, Dillon bring plate-racing chops to Talladega Superspeedway
Rookie Austin Dillon stands a good chance of winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway.

Welcome to the Athlon Rookie Report, where each week David Smith will evaluate the deepest crop of new NASCAR Sprint Cup Series talent since 2006. The Report will include twice-monthly rankings, in-depth analysis, Q&A sessions with the drivers and more.

 

Today, David gives special attention to a rookie primed for an “upset win” this weekend at Talladega.

 

 

NASCAR's Chase is dramatic — but is it working?

Geoffrey Miller's five things to watch at Charlotte Motor Speedway
Geoffrey Miller highlights the five things to watch as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase rolls on to Charlotte Motor Speedway.

The Chase is dramatic — but is it working?

Taylor Swift has one of the hottest tunes on pop radio right with a message for all of her, um, haters. 

 

'Cause the players gonna play, play, play, play, play

And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate

Baby, I'm just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake

I shake it off, I shake it off

 

Will conservative race strategy pay off for NASCAR's Chasers in Dover?

Geoffrey Miller's five things to watch at Dover International Speedway
Each week, Geoffrey Miller's "Five Things to Watch" will help you catch up on the biggest stories on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series' upcoming race weekend. This week, the 10-race Chase for the Sprint Cup hits its first elimination race at Dover International Speedway. Jimmie Johnson's chance to shine, conservative race strategy, Joey Logano's contract extension and Kasey Kahne's season on a brink highlight the storylines heading into the AAA 500.

Each week, Geoffrey Miller's "Five Things to Watch" will help you catch up on the biggest stories on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series' upcoming race weekend. This week, the 10-race Chase for the Sprint Cup hits its first elimination race at Dover International Speedway. Jimmie Johnson's chance to shine, conservative race strategy, Joey Logano's contract extension and Kasey Kahne's season on a brink highlight the storylines heading into the AAA 500.

 

 

Dover will welcome Jimmie Johnson to the Chase spotlight

NASCAR Chase Report: Previewing Race No. 3 in Dover

Pretenders, contenders and potential winners as NASCAR's Chase moves to the high banks of Dover
Contenders, pretenders and predicted winners for the third race of NASCAR's Chase for the Sprint Cup, the AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway.

Ted Nugent likely would refer to the third track of the 2014 Chase for the Sprint Cup as “the concrete jungle hell-zone.” And honestly, that’s exactly what Dover is — an oversized Bristol with corners akin to the white cliffs of the same name that fall away into the abyss, only to shoot cars up onto a straightaway with what feels like an off-camber turn.

NASCAR Chase Race No. 2: The four things we learned in New Hampshire

Through the Gears: Balance of power clearly in Team Penske's court
Post-race reaction from New Hampshire Motor Speedway, where Joey Logano won the Sylvania 300, the second race of NASCAR's Chase for the Sprint Cup.

A debris field of Chase contenders at Loudon, with several drivers nursing home wrecked race cars and mulling potential elimination, was caused by none other than … debris itself. That’s right; an exciting end to the second race of NASCAR’s playoffs may never have happened had officials not called a debris caution on Lap 171, “cleaning up” the track while bunching up the field after a long, sprawling green-flag run.

Chicagoland winner Keselowski prepares for reset as NASCAR Chase marches on

Brad Keselowski, No. 2 team overcome adversity, win Chase opener
Brad Keselowski makes statement with win at Chicagoland Speedway. NASCAR pushes on to second Chase for Sprint Cup event.

Qualifying has never been so important in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series — just ask the six drivers with the best qualifying average on the circuit. Each has scored multiple wins in 2014.

 

Brad Keselowski is amongst that group. In fact, he leads it. Keselowski’s five wins are a series best, as is his 7.2-place average starting position.

 

That’s what made Sunday’s Chase kickoff race at Chicagoland Speedway unusual.

 

NASCAR Chase Race No. 1: The four things we learned at Chicagoland Speedway

Through the Gears: Keselowski wins first Chase race; Larson on verge of breaking through
Post-race reaction from Chicagoland Speedway, where Brad Keselowski won his fifth race of the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup season and earned a pass into Round 2 of the Chase for the Sprint Cup.

Wait a second. Are you telling me there was a pass for the lead in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series’ visit to Chicagoland Speedway within the last 20 laps of the race? Not just one, or two, or three … but four passes? 

 

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