Race Blog

November 19, 2017 is the culmination of a year of domination, penalties, sentimentality, pessimism, optimism, the past, and the future. The nine month NASCAR grind exhaled fireworks, champagne, and confetti this Ford Championship Weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Martin Truex Jr.'s championship coronation is compelling enough, after a dominating season with Denver-based Furniture Row Racing. And Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s exit from NASCAR as a driver is a perfect story to dominate the human interest thirst outside of the championship. But several other stories make processing NASCAR's final weekend more complicated.

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Posted by Doug Turnbull

This weekend marked the final September NASCAR races for both New Hampshire Motor Speedway and Kentucky Speedway. Speedway Motorsports Inc. (the parent company of those tracks and several others...and Performance Racing Network, of course) got a big break in gaining the financial support of the city of Las Vegas to move the events to a second NASCAR date in 2018. The news is even bigger for Las Vegas Motor Speedway, because that weekend opens the 2018 NASCAR playoffs for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.

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Posted by Doug Turnbull

You surely have seen the news by now that Hendrick Motorsports has anointed young Alex Bowman as the heir to Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s throne in the No. 88. Earnhardt Jr.'s sudden retirement announcement in May opened a premier ride and, thus, set fire to NASCAR's silly season. But with several big name drivers potentially on the market - the biggest of which being Matt Kenseth - Bowman's name stayed at the top of the list. His career arc has achieved an almost impossible feat in today's NASCAR. A driver from a small team broke the glass ceiling to land a ride with a super team. 

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Posted by Doug Turnbull

Ryan Blaney's masterful wrestling of the trophy in Sunday's Axalta 400 at Pocono Raceway is arguably the most popular moment of the 2017 NASCAR season. Blaney joins Ricky Stenhouse Jr. at Talladega and Austin Dillon at Charlotte to get his first-ever Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series win in the last five weeks. Blaney's famous No. 21 Wood Brothers Ford drew raucous cheering and a windfall of congratulations from both the at-track crowd and the millions watching from afar. And while Stenhouse Jr.'s and Dillon's victories were both popular and long coming, Blaney's had a different feel.

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Posted by Doug Turnbull

Now that the fizz from that refreshing big drink of Coca-Cola has settled, what does Austin Dillon's maiden Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series win mean? Is it the turning point or floodgate opening for becoming a weekly contender? Or was the fuel mileage gamble that saw Dillon milk his No. 3 Chevy to the finish line, as Jimmie Johnson ran out of fuel a fluke? Either way, Dillon's first victory and at his Charlotte Motor Speedway home track no less makes for two Richard Childress Racing entries in the 16-team 2017 playoff.

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Posted by Doug Turnbull

NASCAR is in a really good stretch of races right now. Saturday night's Go Bowling 400 was thrilling from flag to flag (with 15 flags in between), with a balanced mixture of lead changes, side-by-side racing in the pack, contact, and confrontation. All of this transpired on a 1.5-mile track, the oft-maligned type of racing venue that receives the brunt of the blame for why the numbers for NASCAR are down. The 267-lap race had much of what fans clamor for (aside from the horrific Aric Almirola wreck - we are praying for his recovery), but did it resonate?

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Posted by Doug Turnbull

Talladega Superspeedway always has a wildcard lurking in its shadows. The track lends itself to surprise winners, big crashes, close finishes, and the bizarre. Sunday's GEICO 500 had all of that - an extremely competitive and dramatic overtime affair that awarded pole-sitter Ricky Stenhouse Jr. his long-awaited first-career win. On a weekend where the crowd begged for soon-to-be retired Dale Earnhardt Jr. grab his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series-leading seventh 'Dega win, the track had plans to coronate a new victor.

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Posted by Doug Turnbull

Anyone interested in the topic of NASCAR and Dale Earnhardt Jr. heard the news about 9 a.m. today - Dale Earnhardt Jr. is retiring at the end of this season. This announcement comes on the heels of his missing the final 18 races of last season with debilitating concussion-like symptoms and in annual succession of the retirements of Jeff Gordon (before 2016) and Tony Stewart (2017) - arguably NASCAR's two most popular drivers behind Earnhardt Jr. The reasons Earnhardt Jr. has to retire - though he will articulate them later today - are obvious: after multiple concussions, he wants to live the rest of his life healthy and he turns 43 in October, so he can leave the sport on his own accord.

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Posted by Doug Turnbull

NASCAR's off week stretched one extra day...kind of. Rain postponed the annual Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway to Monday at 1 p.m. and raised even more questions about how the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series cars would take to the track. Track officials took to adding an adhesive substance again and again in a fine mist the bottom groove of the track. This is the latest attempt by BMS officials to drive racing back to the one-groove, bump-and-run, confrontational cadence that turned Thunder Valley's half-mile track into a coliseum.

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Posted by Doug Turnbull

Ryan Newman was not anybody's pre-race pick entering the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Camping World 500 at Phoenix Raceway. In fact, Newman wasn't in the mix for the lead any of the race, until crew chief Luke Lambert's call not to pit on the final stop gave the No. 31 car the lead with six laps to go. Newman held back the thundering herd and scored his 18th-career win, his first win in 129 races, and RCR's first since 2013.

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Posted by Doug Turnbull