Jimmie Johnson

Hamlin gets NASCAR season on track with win at Talladega

Through the Gears: Four things we learned at Talladega
Denny Hamlin got his season on track with a win in NASCAR's Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway.

As an unproven rookie in 2006, restrictor plate racing put Denny Hamlin on the map. A victory in the Bud Shootout, NASCAR’s exhibition to open the season, proved the catalyst for a freshman phenom who wound up third in the final point standings. It was the start of seven straight Chase appearances, annual flirtations with the series championship and a seemingly lifetime contract to sit inside the No. 11 FedEx Toyota.  Denny Hamlin

NASCAR wild card win possible, not likely, at Talladega

Geoffrey Miller's five things to watch at Talladega Superspeedway
Five things to watch as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series visits Talladega Superspeedway's 2.66-mile tri-oval.

1. Chase wild card available at Talladega, but still unlikely  David Ragan
No one logically would have put David Ragan and his Front Row Motorsports team as a lock to qualify for last season’s Chase for the Sprint Cup. But under NASCAR’s new points structure, that’s exactly where Ragan would have been thanks to his shocking win a year ago at Talladega Superspeedway.

Exclusive Q&A with NASCAR Rookie Alex Bowman

NASCAR Rookie Report: Bowman talks goals, hurdles and lessons
An exclusive Q&A with NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Rookie of the Year contender Alex Bowman.

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.

Prior to this weekend’s race at Talladega Superspeedway, rookie Alex Bowman, driver of the No. 23 Dr. Pepper Toyota Camry for BK Racing, sat down with David for an exclusive, extended interview. What follows is an edited transcript of their chat.

NASCAR at Richmond: Sprint Cup Series returns to scene of 2013 drama

Geoffrey Miller's five things to watch at Richmond 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, a return to 2013 "scene of the crime," winless drivers Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth and Kasey Kahne, the downfall of Swan Racing and the return of The King highlight Saturday's Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond 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, a return to 2013 "scene of the crime," winless drivers Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth and Kasey Kahne, the downfall of Swan Racing and the return of The King highlight Saturday's Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond International Raceway.

 

 

Kevin Harvick secures NASCAR career Grand Slam with win at Darlington

Through the Gears: Four things we learned in Darlington
Kevin Harvick and Rodney Childers are proving to be NASCAR's most dynamic duo of 2014 after their second win of the season in the Bojangles' Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway.

Here’s a question for you: What does Kevin Harvick have that fellow modern-era drivers, both NASCAR Hall of Famers in Rusty Wallace and Dale Jarrett, do not?  Kevin Harvick

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.

NASCAR's Bonehead Moves of the Chase Era

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.

Martinsville's Magic: Why it remains NASCAR's best track

Historic speedway continues to capture the excitement of racing in a way no other NASCAR track can
Martinsville Speedway's STP 500 provided NASCAR fans with the best flag-to-flag action since the season-opening Daytona 500.

NASCAR's short tracks often bring out the best and worst of the sport. The best being the tight, aggressive nature of the racing — a style rarely seen on the giant intermediate palaces of speed whose aero-dependent layouts dominate the circuit.

 

The same aggressive nature that so entertains fans can bring out the worst in the very competitors that wheel their 3,300-pound vehicles around the tracks for hours on end. But of course, that's part of the reason the fans show up in the first place.

 

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.

Pages