Denny Hamlin

Winning vs. Consistency: Surprise! NASCAR, Brian France change tune

Geoffrey Miller's five things to watch at Homestead-Miami Speedway
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, Geoffrey is at Homestead-Miami Speedway, where a batch of storylines lead the series up to the season finale Ford 400. Among them: NASCAR CEO Brian France amending the sport’s domestic violence policy, NASCAR’s changing tune (again) on winning versus consistency, Kevin Harvick’s championship mind games and Carl Edwards’ last ride with Roush Fenway Racing.

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, Geoffrey is at Homestead-Miami Speedway, where a batch of storylines lead the series up to the season finale Ford 400. Among them: NASCAR CEO Brian France amending the sport’s domestic violence policy, NASCAR’s changing tune (again) on winning versus consistency, Kevin Harvick’s championship mind games and Carl Edwards’ last ride with Roush Fenway Racing.

 

NASCAR Chase Report: Previewing the finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway

Pretenders, contenders and potential championship winners as the Chase concludes in South Florida
Pretenders, contenders and potential championship winners as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase concludes at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

It’s hard to believe the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup season is about to come to a close, and the first champion to be crowned under the new bracket-style Chase elimination format will happen this Sunday at Homestead Miami Speedway. With the fourth different championship format in 11 years, many were skeptical of how this would play out; after all the 2013 season came a close with NASCAR tossing out drivers who made it (Martin Truex Jr.) and arbitrarily placing drivers into contention (Jeff Gordon, Ryan Newman) two days after the final race at Richmond.

Hamlin, Harvick, Logano and Newman to settle NASCAR Chase in Homestead

Through the Gears: The four things we learned in Phoenix
Post-race reaction from the NASCAR SPrint CUp race in Phoenix, where Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin, Ryan Newman and Joey Logano will advance for next week's final showdown.

Twenty-four hours after NASCAR’s Phoenix finish, the landscape within the sport is buzzing with more diverse opinions than we’ve heard in any recent election. On one side sits a growing chorus of voices claiming this new format is the best decision CEO Brian France ever made, a life-saving choice for stock car racing that turns the tide for NASCAR after years of steady decline.

Celebrating Athlon's NASCAR Rookie of the Year: Kyle Larson

Larson's first-year stats on par with great rookies of the past
Celebrating a spectacular rookie season in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series by Kyle Larson.

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 celebrates the 2014 Athlon Sports NASCAR Rookie of the Year, Kyle Larson.

 

 

NASCAR Chase Report: Previewing race No. 9 in Phoenix

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

For the last few years, NASCAR fans have bemoaned the 1.5-mile “cookie-cutter” tri-oval tracks for dominating the Chase for the Sprint Cup’s 10-race docket. “It favors the No. 48 team,” they say. “The tracks looks the same, things are boring, NASCAR needs a road course (it does), add another short track, revive North Wilkesboro, race at Eldora, blah, blah, blah …” 

 

Which races have provided the best action in the 2014 Chase? 

 

Potential trouble again looming for NASCAR's Kurt Busch

Geoffrey Miller's five things to watch at Phoenix International 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, NASCAR rolls west to Phoenix International Raceway where the final four drivers will be set for a one-race, winner-take-all showdown in the Chase for the Sprint Cup.

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, NASCAR rolls west to Phoenix International Raceway where the final four drivers will be set for a one-race, winner-take-all showdown in the Chase for the Sprint Cup. 

 

 

1. Kurt Busch investigated after domestic assault claim

Potential trouble is looming once again for NASCAR’s 2004 champion.

 

Earnhardt, Hendrick score emotional win at Martinsville

Through the Gears: The four things we learned in Martinsville
Post-race reaction from NASCAR's Chase race at Martinsville Speedway.

Ten years. That’s how long since the Hendrick Motorsports plane crash, near Martinsville, which took the lives of 10 innocent victims. Among them were owner Rick Hendrick’s son, Ricky, and brother John; nieces Kimberly and Jennifer, engine builder Randy Dorton, Hendrick GM Jeff Turner, a DuPont executive and three pilots, two of which were at the controls. It was a tragedy that devastated the four-car organization, whose driver Jimmie Johnson won the race without knowing the darkness that unfolded in the hills behind the racetrack. 

 

Jeff Gordon looks for pass into Chase's final round at Martinsville

Geoffrey Miller's five things to watch at Martinsville Speedway
Athlon Sports contributor Geoffrey Miller explores the five things to watch as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series' Chase heads to Martinsville Speedway.

Martinsville is Jeff Gordon’s ticket to Homestead

Jeff Gordon is driving a brand new Hendrick Motorsports chassis this weekend at Martinsville, but his old fortune at the track may be his best weapon in advancing to the Chase for the Sprint Cup’s final round.

 

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.

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