Has Stewart-Haas really declined that much?

There is little question that Hendrick Motorsports has been the top team in the NASCAR Cup Series over the last several weeks. At the same time, Joe Gibbs Racing and Team Penske have proven to be respectable adversaries when the entire season is taken into consideration. But one organization that is notably missing from list of worthy contenders at the top level of the sport is that of Stewart-Haas Racing. It seems as if there has been a significant drop off for the team owned by former NASCAR champion Tony Stewart and businessman and Formula 1 team owner Gene Haas….

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Road courses offer playoff outsiders a puncher’s chance

A hard punching boxer can sometimes get completely outclassed by a quicker and more nimble opponent for round after round of a match. The ringside judges may have the more adept fighter well ahead on their scorecards as the fight nears its conclusion. But then, the puncher who has trailed all throughout the bout may connect with his opponent’s jaw after throwing a wild right hook and send his seemingly more skilled rival to the canvas. The most skilled of the two fighters does not always win as one well placed punch can change the entire outcome of a match….

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Slower traffic increases passing opportunities with the 550 package

Looking back at the Coca-Cola 600 this past weekend, it seems like there wasn’t a lot of on-track passing that occurred during the course of the race. The 550 horsepower/high downforce package used in the NASCAR Cup Series at tracks such as the Charlotte Motor Speedway and those with similar layouts lends itself to great action in the first couple of laps following a restart but then causes cars to be locked into position once things sort out. Unless the driver ahead has a significant bobble or the handling of a leading car goes away, it doesn’t seem as if…

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NASCAR holding practice and qualifying just feels right

Former NBA star Allen Iverson once went on a rather long rant during a press conference in which he admonished the assembled media for “talking about practice”. But the fact of the matter is that in sports practice is a very important aspect in a team or individual’s performance at game time. As a former high school basketball and cross country coach, I can also attest that practice can be somewhat tedious and monotonous. While practice is in fact important in all forms of sports, perhaps no other form of competition pays as much attention to it as auto racing…

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Should this race remain at its 600 mile distance?

The topic of race distances on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule is one that comes up from time to time in the media and just in general conversations. One thing that is often asked is whether or not the races are too long. And those are meaningful conversations for the current status and the future of this sport. Many of the race distances were established years or even decades ago during the early history of auto racing. Perhaps because of the Indianapolis 500, many North American events employed the number 500 whether it be for NASCAR or other sanctioning bodies….

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Racing in the Rain: Let’s not do that again

I have never understood why, since the time NASCAR first threw out the possibility that its top-three series would employ windshield wipers and rain tires on road courses, so many have openly rooted for a NASCAR Cup Series event to be contested in wet conditions. Seemingly some members of the media have been the leaders in the desire to see the top stars in the sport slip and slide in bad weather. The attraction has supposedly been because doing so would be different and more interesting. NASCAR itself has helped to promote the hype by even going so far as…

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“Low Downforce” is on the wrong end of the car if more passing is to occur

There have been examples over the past couple of weeks of “experts” telling us that those who didn’t like the NASCAR Cup Series races at Darlington and Dover just don’t understand true racing. Despite the fact that both of those races featured one driver getting out front and staying there most of the way due to the fact that passing the leader has become more than a little challenging at the sport’s top level. Those two races exemplified an issue that is proving to be all too frequent. In both cases, the package that allows for cars to have 750…

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Pump the brakes on the NextGen car

NASCAR unveiled the much-anticipated NextGen car Wednesday afternoon. The new generation of Cup car is set to replace the current generation in 2022. Most of the comments have been positive following the unveiling of the new car. But before fans and media members shower tons of praise on the new car, the bottom line is whether the NextGen car is a good race car. Meaning, will the car produce competitive racing once it takes the track? In the looks department, the Chevrolet Camaro, Ford Mustang, and Toyota Camry editions of the NextGen cars are the closest thing a Cup car…

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NASCAR’s delayed caution call in Kansas opens door for criticism

No professional sporting organization wants to be seen as manipulating the outcome of its events. And typically, the harshest of penalties are often doled out by the various leagues when it is believed that anyone has acted in a way that will bring about an artificial result. Recall, for example, the instance in which Michael Waltrip Racing had one of its drivers intentionally spin to bring out a caution so that another of its drivers could make the NASCAR Playoffs(Chase). One of MWR’s cars was ultimately barred from the Chase and huge fine was handed down to the company as…

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Talladega has the potential to further cloud the NASCAR Playoffs picture

Anyone who has watched NASCAR Cup Series racing for very long knows that some of the most unpredictable races on the entire schedule are those contested at the Talladega Super Speedway. The threat of the “Big One” that could, on any lap, eliminate or damage half the field in an instant can take favorites out of the race and place unexpected drivers at the front of the field. And more, the draft can favor or discard a driver who looks like a sure winner just yards from the checkered flag. As a result, there is always the potential for a…

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