There's a certain art to short-track racing that brings most drivers back to their roots.  Similar to Bristol Motor Speedway two weeks ago, Martinsville Speedway in Virginia is more about good, old-fashioned bumping and shoving your way to a win.

At a Cup level that so often rewards the state-of-the-art machines with the best funding, short tracks still put an emphasis on overall driver ability.  I mean, it's certainly not a coincidence that those with the best overall driving ability often end up in the most pristine cars, but this is the kind of track that reminds us what got these drivers to the levels they're at now.



Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Awesome!  I'm excited that "NASCAR" and "names" both begin with the letter "n."  The reoccurance of alliteration (two words that start with the same letter for those that don't remember their middle school grammar classes) is going to be the main focus of this article.

We get a lot of questions from supporters about how to get their kids into auto racing.  My first recommendation: make sure you give them an appropriate name.


Do you remember your first race?  Nevermind...stupid question.

Statistics show that NASCAR fans are 76.8% more likely to recall who won the first race they attended than they are to remember their mother's first name.  If you took my word on that stat, then let me also tell you that research shows 28.7% of people make up percentages on the spot.  (...Wait...is he joking?)

Look, the point is this: nobody forgets their first NASCAR race, and for me that was at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif.


In recent years, there have been four large garages in North Carolina and a bunch of one or two-car teams trying to catch up to those organizations.  In 2011, Hendrick Motorsports, Roush Fenway Racing and Richard Childress Racing all fielded the maximum of four Sprint Cup Series cars, while Joe Gibbs Racing fielded a comparable three.  They accounted for eight Chase spots; in 2010, they accounted for 10.


Ford City 500 Fantasy Preview

Bristol is a great place to watch a race.  It's small 0.533-mile oval with banking of up to 36 degrees makes it a unique experience that puts a true emphasis on continuously holding that steering wheel to the left, while maneuvering between accelerator and brake.

The venue itself projects itself more like the bowl of a football stadium than the open grandstands of a speedway.  There's nowhere for the roar of the engines to go, so it's appropriately earned the nickname "Thunder Valley."


It's race week at Bristol Motor Speedway, a brand new venue and brand new start for the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East.

As usual with this incredibly competitive development series on the NASCAR ladder, there are a lot of offseason story lines and changes within the garage to wrap your head around. Most significantly, perhaps, is the season getting started at a brand new track for the division.

Bristol is something of an anomaly on the Sprint Cup Series side, one of only two half-mile tracks on the schedule each season and one of only three tracks that are less than a mile in length. But while it's not the norm for the Cup circuit, Bristol's half-mile is something K&N Pro Series teams know well.

There's Bowman Gray Stadium, Gresham Motorsports Park and Greenville Pickens Speedway all on the schedule this season. All are Saturday-night short tracks; all are the kind of rough-and-tumble venues where the series and its drivers were first initiated.

Surely, Bristol is a different animal – but a lack of experience on that track shouldn't add up to a bad race on Saturday night under the lights in the Widow Wax 125.

Here's what we're watching:

NEW MAN AT THE TOP: 2011 series champion Max Gresham has graduated to the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series this season, leaving both the season title and his seat at Joe Gibbs Racing vacant.


The Champ is Here!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Subway Fresh Fit 500 in Phoenix was a nice story: a discarded championship crew chief in Darian Grubb helping a disappointed Denny Hamlin find his way back to Victory Lane.  It was an uplifting story of two disregarded Virginians teaming up to move forward from a bitter tasting 2011 season.

For the greater NASCAR community, it symbolized the new year.  The whole offseason, the talk was about Tony Stewart's historic run to the championship, and that dumped right into the Daytona 500 and the media frenzy that surrounded it...which focused heavily on one of Stewart's drivers, Danica Patrick.


Kobalt Tools 400 Fantasy Preview

Social media really put an end to the age-old phrase that what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.  Nowadays, what happens in Vegas will be posted to Facebook and uploaded to YouTube long before anyone begins to piece together a night of debauchery.

Not that it really has anything to do with predicting who will win the race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sunday, but I'm sure I can find a way to make my peeve of the week relevant.


Getting Grubb-y

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The first thing that crossed my mind when Denny Hamlin ran away from the field and left Kevin Harvick's car choking for gas on Sunday was: wow, another win for Darian Grubb!

Grubb has now crew chiefed victories in six of the last 12 Sprint Cup Series races.  That includes five wins during last year's Chase as Tony Stewart's head man and the win at Phoenix this past weekend, as he called the shots for Hamlin.


Subway Fresh Fit 500 Fantasy Preview

Ouch!  Unless you went with the Fords of Kenseth and Biffle, the fantasy team probably didn't fair too well at Daytona.  The race was every bit as unpredictable as expected, right down to Juan Pablo Montoya's night ending after he totaled his car into a jet dryer while under caution.

While some of the 550+ owners in the "Fans of NHMS" group fielded a comparable fantasy team, only 22 of them put up more than 300 points, an approximate cutoff for what would be considered a really good week.  That's not a very high percentage!