Michael McDowell

Weekend of triumph and tragedy in the world of motorsports

Through the Gears: Four things we learned at Watkins Glen
Reaction from the NASCAR weekend, including the tragedy in New York involving Tony Stewart and AJ Allmendinger's win in the Sprint Cup Series' race at Watkins Glen.

So often when people look at tragedy they forget its human cost. Rarely are incidents involving death clear-cut — a battle of good versus evil like we read about as children. No one, with any shred of conscience, deserves to bear the guilt of killing a man, a catastrophe they carry the rest of their lives regardless of accident or intention. It’s a punishment worse than any court can impose, a daily nightmare where one can never hit the “Stop” button. Most importantly, there’s the victim, through which the word “recovery” is impossible.

Petty's No. 43 returns to Daytona Victory Lane with Aric Almirola

Through the Gears: Four things we learned in the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona
Post-race reaction from Aric Almirola's upset win in NASCAR's Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway.

For years, Aric Almirola’s name in the record books has come with a weird asterisk. In 2007 at Milwaukee, he was just a part-time Nationwide (then Busch) Series driver for Joe Gibbs Racing trying to make a name for himself. Pegged as a backup for Denny Hamlin, Almirola was pressed into a start when the Cup driver’s helicopter ran late. Although running from the pole and dominating early, JGR chose to replace Almirola once Hamlin arrived. Hamlin slid in and rode on to an easy victory.

 

Tunnel Turn, Johnson's roll, NASCAR on TNT on tap at Pocono

Geoffrey Miller's five things to watch at Pocono Raceway
Each week, Geoffrey Miller’s “Five Things to Watch” will help you catch up on the biggest stories of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series’ upcoming race weekend. This week, a new feature in Pocono’s “Tunnel Turn,” ARCA action, Jimmie Johnson’s win streak, a winless Matt Kenseth and TNT’s return highlight the storylines leading up to the Pocono 400.

Each week, Geoffrey Miller’s “Five Things to Watch” will help you catch up on the biggest stories of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series’ upcoming race weekend. This week, a new feature in Pocono’s “Tunnel Turn,” ARCA action, Jimmie Johnson’s win streak, a winless Matt Kenseth and TNT’s return highlight the storylines leading up to the Pocono 400.

NASCAR Rookie Report: 2014's first-year counterparts

The 2014 Cup Series rookies draw parallels to first-year drivers of the past
This season's NASCAR Rookie of the Year drivers draw parallels to rookie drivers of the last 20 years.

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 compares the drivers in this year’s rookie class to the rookie seasons of active NASCAR competitors.

10 Unforgettable NASCAR Moments at Texas Motor Speedway