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Bristol Motor Speedway reconfigures banking

For years the toughest ticket in NASCAR was the circuit’s twice a season visit to Bristol Motor Speedway. They sold out 55 straight cup races.  The streak came to an end with the spring race in 2010.  They haven’t had a sellout since.

Following the March 2012 Food City 500, Speedway Motorsports Chairman and CEO Bruton Smith responded to the increasing fan expression of opinions regarding the style of racing at Bristol Motor Speedway. The main focus of the reaction concentrated specifically on the races since the track resurfacing project in 2007.

Read more: Bristol Motor Speedway reconfigures banking

Wild finish at Watkins Glen shakes up point standings

Richard Petty Motorsports driver Marcus Ambrose made it two in a row at Watkins Glen last Sunday in a wild finish when oil all over the track sent cars spinning in all directions. Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Gordon, who were both headed for top ten finishes, spun out in separate incidents and both finished well down in the standings. NASCAR did not throw a caution flag as the mayhem unfolded, but let the drivers beat and bang to the finish line. At the end it was the road racing specialist from Australia, Marcos Ambrose, who came out on top. 

Read more: Wild finish at Watkins Glen shakes up point standings

Career numbers propel Earnhardt to No. 1 ranking

Two challenges met. One remains. Dale Earnhardt Jr., who snapped a lengthy victory drought in June, has completed the long, nearly nine-year road back to the top of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points standings.

Junior and his No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet team truly can focus on the biggest prize, their first championship. And it’s certainly not a stretch to mention Earnhardt and championship in the same sentence.

“Give me a reason why not,” said crew chief Steve Letarte when asked for reasons why his driver could win the 2012 title.

Read more: Career numbers propel Earnhardt to No. 1 ranking

Indianapolis winner: The thoroughbreds of NASCAR

Judging the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s degree of difficulty requires only a reading of past winners of the Crown Royal Presents The Curtiss Shaver 400 at the Brickyard. 

Fourteen of 18 races were won by past or future NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champions. Fitting, perhaps, that drivers with a combined 11 championships – Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt–won the Speedway’s first two races.  Earnhardt was enshrined with the first class of the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
  Gordon, whose 85 victories rank highest among active drivers and third all-time, surely will follow along with several additional Brickyard winners. 

Read more: Indianapolis winner: The thoroughbreds of NASCAR

NASCAR racing returns to the Brickyard

Paul Menard hopes lightning can strike twice. Last year, his fifth season of running the Cup circuit full time without a win, Menard shocked the NASCAR Sprint Cup world with his victory at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where 14 of 17 previous winners were champions Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt, Jimmie Johnson, Tony Stewart, Dale Jarrett, Bobby Labonte and Bill Elliott.
The Brickyard 400 victory turned out to be the season’s high point for Menard, who finished 17th in the championship standings. It was his last of four top-five finishes and also Menard’s most recent. He returns for the July 29 race ranked 15th in points – and still in the running for a Chase “Wild Card” berth.

Read more: NASCAR racing returns to the Brickyard

Summertime’s the right time for ‘Smoke’

Summer, Heat, Steamy Humidity, Slick Asphalt.   It’s Tony Stewart time.

That’s one way to explain why the three-time and defending NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion won his fourth Coke Zero 400 powered by Coca-Cola on July 7. Or that 24 of Smoke’s 47 career wins have come between June 1 and the close of NASCAR’s regular season in early September at Richmond International Raceway.

His third win of the 2012 season would give him the No. 1 seed were the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup to start this week. The win total matches that of Brad Keselowski, giving each nine Chase bonus points,  although Stewart has the tiebreaker on second-place finishes

New Hampshire Motor Speedway is normally a welcome stop on the tour for Stewart and teammate Ryan Newman.  Last Season Stewart-Haas Racing finished one, two in the July Race.  Newman won the Coors Light Pole for the LENOX Tools 301 then finished where he started with Stewart’s No. 14 Chevrolet running second. He won the pole again – his most recent, No. 49 – when the series returned in September for race No. 2 of the Chase. Newman looks to become the ninth driver to 50 career poles.

Read more: Summertime’s the right time for ‘Smoke’

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