Erik Jones win was the only fitting ending for such a crazy NASCAR Playoffs opener

The sixteen drivers and teams that make it to the NASCAR Playoffs are the best in the sport, right? The top-16 finishers in a NASCAR Playoffs race should be loaded with the names of drivers who are, in fact, in the running for the championship, right? The Cook Out Southern 500 held on Sunday night at the Darlington Raceway, however, did not live up to expectations for anyone who might have thought the opening round of the Playoffs would be dominated by title contenders. Instead, one championship hopeful after another suffered significant issues which either took them out of contention…

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Of course something crazy is going to happen in the NASCAR Playoffs

The easy thing to do going into the first round NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs would be to pick four drivers near the back of the standings and predict that those drivers will be the ones to be eliminated after the first three races. However, the 2022 season has shown itself to be one in which the easy thing to predict doesn’t actually come to fruition very often. So Austin Dillon, Alex Bowman, Austin Cindric and Daniel Suarez will be eliminated from championship contention following the first cutoff race at the Bristol Motor Speedway, right? Instead, however, the virtual certainty based…

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Turn 2 Blog: Daytona delivered & Who won’t survive the first cut?

*Turn 2 Blog is a regular feature on InsideCircleTrack.com. Here, site operators Michael Moats and Richard Allen take turns offering their thoughts on the NASCAR and pavement short track racing topics of the day. Weather aside, Daytona did exactly what it was supposed to do as the site of the regular season finale, didn’t it? Richard: The Daytona International Speedway had its summer date moved from the July 4th weekend to its current spot on the racing calendar for one reason- to provide drama and to have the NASCAR Playoffs cutoff remain in doubt until the waving of the checkered…

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Some have much more to lose than others at Daytona

The recent announcement by 23XI Racing that Kurt Busch would be surrendering his spot in the NASCAR Playoffs may have reduced some of the anxiety for drivers Ryan Blaney and Martin Truex Jr. going into Saturday’s Coke Zero Sugar 400 at the Daytona International Speedway but it didn’t remove all reason for worry. Those two drivers are the highest ranked in the NASCAR Cup Series standings who do not have a win to date. With only one spot remaining among the sixteen who will vie for the championship one of those two could be be eliminated from contention following that…

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Might short tracks go back to being short tracks after Martinsville test?

Several NASCAR Cup Series teams made their way to the Martinsville Speedway during the early part of this week to engage in a test session on that historic half-mile track. And based on some of the more recent races held there and on other short tracks, the hope has to be that plenty of answers came from that two-day trial rather than more questions. Teams were there to try out different tire compounds and gear ratios prior to the beginning of the NASCAR Playoffs which will begin after this weekend’s final regular season contest at the Daytona International Speedway. But…

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Turn 2 Blog: Teammate friction going into the NASCAR Playoffs and Daytona desperation

*Turn 2 Blog is a regular feature on InsideCircleTrack.com. Here, site operators Michael Moats and Richard Allen take turns offering their thoughts on the NASCAR and pavement short track racing topics of the day. This is not the the best time for friction between teammates, is it? Richard: While the words spoken by Chase Elliott following Hendrick Motorsports teammate Kyle Larson’s bump-and-run on the final restart on Sunday at Watkins Glen were congratulatory, the tone and facial expression did indicate that he was not happy with how things had transpired. But from the perspective of a fan, it made for…

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Stewart-Haas looking to maintain momentum with Playoffs approaching

In the space of two weeks, Kevin Harvick and his Stewart-Haas Racing team went from seemingly being dead in the water to now being thought of as a possible favorite in the upcoming NASCAR Playoffs. With wins at the Michigan International Speedway and the Richmond Raceway, the No. 4 Ford crew is locked into the championship hunt and hoping to carry their recent momentum to a title. Considering the organization’s recent performance, there was little reason for optimism with their 46-year-old star driver in the midst of a losing streak that spanned all the way back to September of 2020…

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Better Story: Domination or Parity?

The NASCAR Cup Series season in 2022 is very much different from that of 2021. This season is one of great parity among the teams as 15 different drivers have won with those pilots representing seven different organizations. Chase Elliott’s four victories leads the series with no other driver achieving more than two wins after 24 of the 36 races have been contested. In 2021, it was a very different story when Kyle Larson dominated the Cup Series by scoring ten victories on the way to his first career championship. There were fifteen different winners over the course of the…

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Do unto to others before they do unto you

There has been much talk throughout the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season regarding the aggression exhibited by the sport’s drivers. Numerous incidents have occurred on all types of tracks and among, in one way or another, virtually every competitor in the series. Driver aggression has largely become the method of operation during races, particularly as the checkered flag approaches. Many believe the seeming increase in aggressive behavior on the race track is related to the introduction of the NextGen race car. With its handling capabilities, the toughness of the car, and the sense of security the new machine gives its…

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Turn 2 Blog: Are you rooting for Playoff chaos?

*Turn 2 Blog is a regular feature on InsideCircleTrack.com. Here, site operators Michael Moats and Richard Allen take turns offering their thoughts on the NASCAR and pavement short track racing topics of the day. How do you feel about late afternoon starts? Richard: I don’t think it matters how any of us feel about waiting until 3:30 in the afternoon to start NASCAR races unless we happen to be decision makers for NASCAR and its television partners. But to answer the question, I hate them. Especially in the heat of summer it’s almost as if they want to be stuck…

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