NASCAR News & Notes

NASCAR at Darlington: Hamlin seeks rebound, Larson outperfoming Montoya

Geoffrey Miller's five things to watch at Darlington 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 possible Denny Hamlin rebound, a surging rookie, a less-than-traditional race date and Goodyear tires are just a few of the major topics leading us into Sunday’s 500-mile race at venerable Darlington 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 possible Denny Hamlin rebound, a surging rookie, a less-than-traditional race date and Goodyear tires are just a few of the major topics leading us into Sunday’s 500-mile race at venerable Darlington Raceway.

Joey Logano coming into his own at Team Penske

Six years into NASCAR Cup career, Logano finding success with Team Penske
Texas race-winner Joey Logano has found success at Team Penske in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup weekend in Fort Worth, Texas, started wet, got wild, settled down, then ended with a bang. Through it all, 23-year-old Joey Logano was in the thick of the action.

 

Logano led a race-high 108 of 340 laps in the Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway en route to  collecting his first win of the season and second under the watchful eye of motorsports icon Roger Penske.

 

Joey Logano, Team Penske surge over a wet NASCAR weekend in Texas

Through the Gears: Four things we learned at Texas Motor Speedway
Joey Logano outduels Jeff Gordon and wins a wild NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway.

Joey Logano won the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway, but it’s his team at Penske smiling like it won the war. After all, it was one year ago in this very event where its dreams of two straight championships came crashing down. Severe penalties — only partially reduced on appeal — led to hefty fines and suspensions for both Logano’s crew chief, Todd Gordon, and Paul Wolfe, head wrench for Brad Keselowski.

NASCAR, NCAA Final Four share weekend in Texas

Geoffrey Miller's five things to watch at Texas Motor Speedway
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, NASCAR sharing a weekend in Texas with the Final Four,’Goodyear tire questions and a possible seventh race winner highlight the major topics leading us into Sunday’s Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway.

1. NASCAR shifts schedule for Final Four
Since Texas Motor Speedway added on a second NASCAR Sprint Cup Series date in 2005, a majority of its spring races have been run in the daytime. But the schedule shifted in 2011 to move the April date from Sunday afternoon to Saturday night.

For this year — and this year only, presumably — the race returns to its traditional Sunday afternoon time slot. The change was made to accommodate another event in the Dallas/Fort Worth area you may have heard about: the NCAA Final Four.

Keselowski feuds with race-winner Kurt Busch at Martinsville

Through the Gears: Four things we learned at Martinsville Speedway
NASCAR drivers Brad Keselowski and eventual race-winner Kurt Busch feuded in a physical STP 400 at Martinsville Speedway.

Four years ago, Brad Keselowski was young and unproven, a newbie on the NASCAR Sprint Cup circuit trying to build a winning reputation at Team Penske. Kurt Busch served as incumbent, wheeling the No. 2 Miller Lite car Keselowski would one day inherit, paired with the cache of a series title and one of the few drivers to openly joust with Jimmie Johnson. The two — Keselowski and Busch — formed a bond as teammates built on mutual respect for their independent styles that lasted even after Busch was canned in late 2011.

Goodyear tires, Hamlin health issues in Auto Club 400 spotlight

Through the Gears: Four things we learned at Auto Club Speedway
Tire troubles, Denny Hamlin's health issue, a promising performance from Kyle Larson, Hendrick Motorsports' disappointing day and Aric Almirola vs. Brian Scott highlight an active NASCAR weekend at Auto Club Speedway.

Six years ago, I sat through a Fontana raceday in what’s been termed the never-ending rain delay. After constant mist all weekend caused water to seep out of the asphalt, wrecking Dale Earnhardt Jr., among others, the race was mercifully stopped but never called. Hour after hour, water pelted what is now Auto Club Speedway, the stands empty while NASCAR bungled the weather forecast. By the time it was pushed back to the following day it was the following day — well, after 2:00 am EST on Monday morning.

Edwards endures rain-soaked Sunday in Bristol

Through the Gears: Four things we learned in Bristol
Carl Edwards wins a rain-soaked Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway.

March Madness is supposed to apply to this week’s NCAA Basketball Tournament, not NASCAR, which endured an eight-hour, marathon of a race for the second time in less than a month Sunday. Mother Nature wreaked havoc at Bristol Motor Speedway, causing two rain delays and finally ending the event prematurely when caution lights malfunctioned for inexplicable reasons.  Bristol Motor Speedway

NASCAR in Bristol: Will aggression spike at the half-mile bullring?

Geoffrey Miller's five things to watch at Bristol Motor Speedway
NASCAR's new qualifying tweak, increased aggression, and Kasey Kahne's and Tony Stewart's opposite run of results in Bristol highlight Geoffrey Miller's "Five Things to Watch" as the Sprint Cup Series heads to East Tennessee for the Food City 500.

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, Kasey Kahne’s and Tony Stewart’s opposite run of results at Bristol, the effect NASCAR’s revamped title format will have on the amount of in-race aggression at the bullring and an overdue qualifying tweak are just a few of the major topics leading us into Sunday’s 500-lap race at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Keselowski, Earnhardt surge, but NASCAR's season long and unpredictable

Through the Gears: Four things we learned in Las Vegas
Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Brad Keselowski flex muscles in NASCAR's weekend in Las Vegas for the Kobalt Tools 400.

Brad Keselowski and Dale Earnhardt Jr. ran 1-2 Sunday in the Kobalt Tools 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. But those results are part of a larger, 1-2 knockout punch they’ve been aiming at the rest of their Sprint Cup competition. Earnhardt hasn’t run worse than second in three starts this season, while Keselowski is just a step behind (third, third, first). They’re the only drivers to start this season with three top-5 finishes.

Strategy Play: Keselowski outduels Earnhardt in Las Vegas

Don't call it a gamble; smart gameplans produce fuel-mileage finish
Brad Keselowski beats Dale Earnhardt Jr. in a fuel mileage finish in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series' visit to Las Vegas in the Kobalt Tools 400.

The Kobalt Tools 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway came down to a calculated risk between two of the hottest teams early in NASCAR’s 2014 season.

The No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports bunch and driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. had finishes of first and second entering the event. Brad Keselowski’s No. 2 Team Penske crew weren’t far behind, with consecutive third-place runs to open the year.

Fittingly, the strategy that came into play focused on these Chevrolet and Ford flagbearers.

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