Kyle Larson

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.

Dale Earnhardt Jr., No. 88 team, hitting on all cylinders following Pocono sweep

Through the Gears: Four things we learned at Pocono Raceway
Post-race reaction from Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s win in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series' GoBowling.com 400 at Pocono Raceway.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. ran into the media center, jumping up to the podium like a four-year-old kid in a candy store. “I’m not gonna run,” quipped crew chief Steve Letarte, but the driver ignored him, jumping up center stage to sit at the same podium where victory tasted so sweet two months earlier.

NASCAR's Top 5 Faces of Tomorrow and their contemporary counterparts

NASCAR Rookie Report: The "Second Visit" Fallacy

Analyzing the seven-driver crop of rookies in the Sprint Cup Series
David Smith analyzes the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series rookie crop.

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 challenges the theory that all rookies get better in a second visit to a racetrack.

 

 

Gordon, Hendrick remain atop NASCAR charts with Brickyard win

Through the Gears: Four things we learned at Indianapolis
Post-race reaction from Jeff Gordon's win in NASCAR's Brickyard 400 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Speeding past the sport’s best drivers 20  years ago, Jeff Gordon won the inaugural Brickyard 400 en route to starting his own legacy. Much has been made of the win’s impact — his second of 90 Cup victories, — even though it was hardly surprising at the time. After all, Gordon was blooming in his second season and the Indiana native was expected to morph into one of the sport’s all-time best.

NASCAR Rookie Report: Potential growth of the 2014 Sprint Cup newbies

Analyzing the seven-driver crop of rookies in the Sprint Cup Series
David Smith analyzes the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series rookie crop.

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 ponders how each rookie’s growth pattern might play out in future Cup Series seasons.

 

 

NASCAR Rookie Report: How glaring weaknesses can be remedied

Ranking the seven-driver crop of rookies in the Sprint Cup Series
Ranking the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series' Rookie of the Year contenders

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 attempts to isolate each rookie from his team and equipment and properly rank the driving chops of each member of this year’s rookie class.

 

 

NASCAR Chase deserves better kick-off than stops in Chicago-Loudon-Dover

Through the Gears: Four things we learned in New Hampshire
Post-race reaction after Brad Keselowski won NASCAR's Camping World RV Sales 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

On paper, New Hampshire Motor Speedway should be one of the most exciting racetracks in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Just one mile in length, it’s the shortest oval NASCAR races on between the second week of June and Bristol in late August, part of a summer doldrums stretch that typically produces the lowest ratings of the year. Its second event, held in September, is also in the Chase midway through the first round of eliminations that will cut the field down from 16 drivers to 12 drivers.

NASCAR Rookie Report: Are Cup newbies making a "passing" grade?

Analyzing the seven-driver crop of rookies in the Sprint Cup Series
David Smith analyzes the first- and second-quarter passing splits of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series rookies from the 2014 season.

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 analyzes the first- and second-quarter passing splits of rookies from the 2014 season.

 

 

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.

 

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