The second half of NASCAR's regular season kicks off Sunday in the Pocono mountains with one of the most unique tracks on the circuit. Nicknamed the Tricky Triangle, 2.5-mile Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa., has a unique style where all three of its turns have different bankings and lengths. The transitions are so different drivers sometimes feel like it's a mini road course.
For years, Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races at Talladega Superspeedway (2019 GEICO 500, Sunday, April 28 at 2 p.m. ET on FOX) have been the most unpredictable on the circuit. First-time winners have mixed with unimaginable wrecks, snarling packs separated by inches at the finish line. Talladega Nights was based in part on the outright insanity this type of racing produces on an annual basis.
The 2019 Food City 500 has given NASCAR some food for thought on their future. The news cycle at Bristol Motor Speedway was hijacked this week by the man who once won every Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race there for three-and-a-half years straight. Darrell Waltrip chose his Tennessee sanctuary, Thunder Valley, to announce his retirement from the FOX broadcasting booth.
Ryan Blaney and Chase Elliott are both good friends, the sons of famous former drivers and the faces of NASCAR’s next generation. Come Sunday, they’ll also be who the field starts chasing, on the front row for Sunday’s TicketGuardian 500 at ISM Raceway (Phoenix).
Can both men turn around a sluggish start to 2019?
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series travels to ISM Raceway for week two of their West Coast Swing. The 312-lap race will feature higher horsepower than Atlanta and Las Vegas, in addition to higher downforce. That will equal higher speeds; qualifying produced the quickest times we've seen at this one-mile track in three years.
Typically, NASCAR’s Daytona 500 is the most unpredictable race of the season. Restrictor plate racing provides parity, giving hope any of the field’s 40 cars has a chance to win. The second race of the season, Sunday’s Folds of Honor QuickTrip 500, in Atlanta is supposed to be a return to normalcy. Only a handful of favorites are supposed to forge to the front as the sport’s 2019 championship picture takes shape.
Fifteen seasons ago, Jack Roush was in the middle of what would be back-to-back championships for his teams at the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series level. In 2010 and 2011, Roush Fenway Racing placed two cars in the top 5 of the final point standings and earned nine total wins. Ever since, though, the team has been on a slide to mid-pack mediocrity. The team winning percentage since 2012 is .017, a 60 percent drop from the win rate in the seven seasons prior (.043).
The 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoffs wind down Sunday, Nov. 18, at Homestead-Miami Speedway with the Ford EcoBoost 400. But after nine races, surprise winners and even a cheating scandal, the usual suspects are the ones competing for the series title.
Talladega Superspeedway is known for the Big One. But as the track prepares for the final restrictor plate race in its 30-year history it feels like the equivalent of a NASCAR earthquake has already happened.