NASCAR’s Chase format and the underdog

Photo by Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images
Aric Almirola (43) collects damage in a multi-car wreck at Talladega Superspeedway. He and A.J. Allmendinger are the two drivers who scored their first Chase berth in 2014. 

While consistency is being penalized, winning is being rewarded. With the decision to switch to this format came, as always, both resentment and heavy support.


Coming up later this week:

Fans Already Turned Off by New Chase Format,
Q and A with David Starr

Career bests for Circle Sport Racing drivers
Photo by Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images
Landon Cassill (40) runs side-by-side with Clint Bowyer on the final lap at Talladega Superspeedway Sunday. Cassill finished fourth.

“"We wanted to win this race,” Cassill said post-race. “We came here to win it. My team deserves it...


Frank Stoddard to appear on
New Mexico Motorsports Report

Photo by NASCAR via Getty Images
Terry Labonte practices for the Daytona 500. Labonte's owner, Frank Stoddard, will talk Talladega, ownership and 2015 on the show.

“He’s just a unique individual,” Stoddard said of Labonte. “Honestly, probably the most fortunate thing about starting this race team that I’ve gotten out of all this in the last four years is getting to have a great relationship with him and Ken Schrader...


The athleticism of stock car drivers

Photo by NASCAR via Getty Images
Robert Richardson Jr. (23) leads cars during a practice session at Talladega Superspeedway. Richardson Jr. goes into detail of the athleticism and determination of stock car drivers.

You’re constantly breathing in toxic fumes from the exhaust of other vehicles; you sweat out every drop of moisture within your body, and all the while maintaining the focus of a hawk, pushing yourself to the limits. 


Edwards talks Talladega, championship
Photo by Sarah Glenn/Getty Images
Carl Edwards stands by his hauler. Edwards sits fifth in points heading into Talladega.

“If we're out front, we definitely want to stay there,” he said. “If we're in the middle, I don't know how aggressive I would want to be early on...


Paint schemes bringing awareness

Photo by Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images
Cars pit under the first caution at Charlotte Motor Speedway Saturday night. Various paint schemes in the Cup field featured pink in honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

“The whole NASCAR community is really good with breast cancer awareness and bringing awareness to everybody,” ...


Jeff Gordon scores 20th top-ten of season, increases points cushion on Chase cutoff
Photo by Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images
Jeff Gordon talks with teammate Kasey Kahne Friday at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Both drivers are the only Hendrick Motorsports drivers above the Chase cutoff entering Talladega next Sunday.

Gordon’s second place run Saturday night is his third in the last six races and sixth on the season, but with a slender advantage over ninth place, the unpredictability of Talladega Superspeedway looms over the No. 24 team.


Qualifying Stats: Bank of America 500
Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images
Kyle Busch poses for photos at Charlotte Motor Speedway after scoring his third pole of 2014.

Thursday’s qualifying session at Charlotte Motor Speedway featured Kyle Busch earning his third pole of 2014 and second at CMS. Below is a breakdown of other numbers and stats to come out of qualifying.


Does NASCAR need to
consider a floating schedule?

Photo by Sherryl Creekmore/NASCAR Media
Jeff Gordon (24) races side-by-side with Jeremy Mayfield at the final Rockingham Speedway Cup race to date. NASCAR's premiere series hasn't had the speedway on its schedule since 2004.

. Imagine going back to Rockingham, North Carolina. The fan base in North Carolina is NASCAR’s strength. Nine out of NASCAR’s last 11 races were rated highest in the Carolina area.


Kyle Busch: “It’s early, anything can happen”

Photo by Sarah Glenn/Getty Images
Cars pit at Kansas Speedway Sunday. Kyle Busch overcame a speeding penalty to finish third.

Busch led one lap in Sunday’s race, running a majority of the race inside the top-ten. Busch enters next Saturday night’s race at Charlotte Motor Speedway second in points with a 19 point advantage on the cutoff.


Can Johnson rebound from Kansas race?

Photo by Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images
Jimmie Johnson stands by his car at Atlanta Motor Speedway in August. Johnson finished 40th, 87 laps down.

Johnson collected damage on lap 84 when he and Greg Biffle spun, sending his toward the inside wall. He was checked out and released from the infield care center while his team worked on the car in the garage. 


Kyle Busch victorious at Kansas
Photo by Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images
Kyle Busch burns out at Kansas Speedway Saturday.

Busch his second consecutive win in the series and second at the track.

“This 54 Monster Energy Camry was awesome today, the guys did a great job,” Busch said post-race from the media center. 


Harvick scores eighth pole,
sixth track record of 2014

Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images
Kevin Harvick turns laps at Kansas Speedway Friday. Harvick scored his eighth pole of 2014 and 14th of his career.

“I feel like we are doing everything we need to do to be in contention and that’s all you can ask for,” Harvick said. “It’s just a matter of having it all come together for our Budweiser team.”


Finalists announced in fourth annual Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award

Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images
Rookie Alex Bowman addresses the media Friday morning. Bowman was one of five individuals who spoke Friday morning about the 
Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award.

2013 award winner David Post was on hand at the press conference.  Post, an ALS patient, brought tears to people in the room with the mention of his story and charitable work.  


Kansas race weekend News Hub
Photo by Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images


The Racing Experts will be sending two reporters, Dominic Aragon and Kenneth Ferguson, to cover the Kansas NASCAR race weekend.


Preliminary Entry List for the Hollywood Casino 400 @ Kansas

Chase contenders sweep first round

Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images
Brad Keselowski (2) leads Jeff Gordon at Dover International Speedway. Keselowski finished second.

While all three guaranteed their place in the Contender Round, Keselowski, Logano and Gordon are back on the same playing field with the other nine drivers heading into Kansas.


Larson posts third straight top-ten finish

Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images
Kyle Larson turns laps at Dover International Speedway. Larson posted his 14th top-ten finish of 2014.

“Yeah, I'd be really happy about my three races in this round if I was in the Chase,” Larson said post-race Sunday. “But yeah, it was a really good finish for us.”


Challengers to Contenders:
Who moves on to Round 2

Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images
Brad Keselowski leads the field to the green flag at Dover International Speedway in June.

There’s one race that matters; Dover, the final race of the Challenger Round. Nothing else matters right now. 


Almirola doesn’t anticipate
falling “off the wagon”

Photo by Rainier Ehrhardt/Getty Images
Aric Almirola at Dover International Speedway in June. Almirola enters this weekend's race 16th in points.

“I don't see any reason for us to not continue to perform the way we have the last four weeks, really,” Almirola said to The Racing Experts Wednesday. 


Vickers leads laps, posts top-ten
Photo by Jared Wickerham/NASCAR via Getty Images
Brian Vickers turns laps at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Vickers posted his second top-ten finish in seven races.

Vickers started the day 12th, running inside the top-ten for much of the race. Vickers led 15 laps on the day, his first laps led in a Cup race in 14 races.


Truex Jr. battles back for 12th place finish

Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images
Martin Truex Jr. (78) turns laps at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Truex Jr. finished on the lead lap in 12th.

“The guys didn’t quit on me today and I’m driving my heart out,” Truex Jr. said post-race...


Hamlin finds himself in hole entering Dover
Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images
Denny Hamlin stops on pit road Sunday at New Hampshire. Mechanical and on-track problems relegated Hamlin to 37th place.

“We somehow couldn’t get fuel in the car, there was something going on,” Hamlin said to ESPN from the garage. “That pretty much set the tone for the rest of our day.”


Larson “proud” of team’s recent performance
Photo by Sarah Glenn/NASCAR via Getty Images
Kyle Larson addresses the media Friday at New Hampshire. Larson finished second.

Larson expressed his pleasure with his team’s performance Sunday post-race.


Biffle needs results to save team, career
Image by Justin Melillo/
Greg Biffle (16) leads the bottom line at Daytona in July. Biffle hasn’t won since the 2013 Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan in June.

Greg Biffle has never been a “Young Gun” when it comes to his NASCAR career. He got his start in NASCAR later than most, and didn’t get to the Cup level until he was already in his mid-thirties. 


Keselowski clinches Contender Round
berth with win

Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR
Brad Keselowski burns out after his victory at Chicagoland Speedway Sunday.

“I just saw a hole and I went for it,” Keselowski said post-race. “The 4 and the 42 were racing really hard, doing all the things they needed to do.” 


2014 Chase Preview:

Brad Keselowski                Jeff Gordon 


Dale Earnhardt Jr.              Jimmie Johnson


          Joey Logano              Kevin Harvick            


Carl Edwards                    Kyle Busch


 Denny Hamlin                     Kurt Busch


        Kasey Kahne                                                                      Aric Almirola


A.J. Allmendinger          Matt Kenseth   


  Greg Biffle                 Ryan Newman


Consistency pays off for
Kenseth, Newman, and Biffle

Photo by Gregory Shamus/NASCAR via Getty Images
Ryan Newman and Greg Biffle stand on pit road prior to the start of Saturday night's Federated Auto Parts 400.

Despite not visiting victory lane in NASCAR’s regular season, Matt Kenseth, Ryan Newman and Greg Biffle showed their consistency throughout the season’s first 26 races to make the playoffs.


Keselowski wins, eclipses
1,000 laps led on season

Photo by Rainier Ehrhardt/NASCAR via Getty Images
Brad Keselowski celebrates in victory lane after scoring his fourth win of the season at Richmond International Raceway.

“It was just a phenomenal night for our team here and everyone at Team Penske,” Keselowski said post-race. “Car was fast, pit crew was flawless. We put all the pieces together tonight.”


Keselowski, Team Penske dominate qualifying

Photo by Robert Laberge/NASCAR via Getty Images
Brad Keselowski poses with the Coors Light Pole flag Friday at Richmond. Keselowski scored his fourth pole of 2014.

“This is by far the best car I've had [at Richmond],” Keselowski said to the media Friday. “I feel like we have a really strong shot of winning this weekend...


Danica Patrick looking to improve at Richmond

Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images
Danica Patrick's No. 10 car is rolled onto pit road at Kansas Speedway.

“The first thing I think of when going to Richmond is we have sucked there each and every time (laughs), so we are going there with a different approach,” Patrick said.


Is it time for NASCAR to
re-evaluate double-file restarts?

Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images
Kevin Harvick leads the field on a restart at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Previous to Pocono in 2009, the lead lap cars would line up on the outside, and the cars off the lead lap, would line up on the inside of the leaders. With this new rule, all the cars would line up double-file, much like the start of the race, with the leader choosing which line he/she wanted to start in. 


Larson: Kahne’s win
“ends our Chase hopes unless we win”

Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images
Kyle Larson (42) comes to the green flag on a restart at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Larson finished eighth.

Larson, who finished eighth in his first start at Atlanta, sits 24 points behind Greg Biffle, the driver currently in position to earn the final transfer spot to this year’s playoffs.


Beard Motorsports to attempt Richmond

Courtesy Photo
The Beard Motorsports No. 75 Chevrolet SS. The team will attempt to make their debut at Richmond International Raceway Friday.

“[Team owner Mark Beard] always wanted to compete in the Cup Series, and now that he had the time and the resources to do it...” 


Sadler focused on the bigger picture

Image by NASCAR via Getty Images
Elliott Sadler celebrates his only win thus far of 2014 at Talladega Superspeedway in May.

The 39-year-old veteran fell from third to fourth in overall points, losing 26 points to rookie point leader Chase Elliott.

But with this weekend’s race at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Sadler will be playing catch up at a track where he’s only scored one top-five finish.


Robert Richardson Jr. 
joins The Racing Experts

Courtesy Photo
Robert Richardson Jr.'s No. 23 Chevrolet Camaro at Texas Motor Speedway.

Richardson Jr. will be joined by Geoff Bodine as the two newest analysts for TRE.


McMurray shows muscle at Bristol

Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images
Jamie McMurray turns laps at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Electing to pit and take four tires under what would be the final caution period, McMurray restarted fifth on lap 448.


Episode 10 of The Racing Experts Podcast is now up! Check the right side column or the "Podcast" tab at the top!

Harvick to start on pole

Photo by Rainier Ehrhardt/Getty Images
Kevin Harvick poses for a photo with son Keelan and wife DeLana.

“I knew we had a good car in practice, and we’re able to get it good in race trim,” Harvick said. “We were able to put
down two solid laps and wound up with the pole...


Gordon comes up short

Photo by Amy K. Marbach Photography
Jeff Gordon's 2014 primary paint scheme.

Gordon led the second round of qualifying, and told his team over the radio he gave his best effort after he progressed to the top of leaderboard. But Kevin Harvick’s lap was enough to eclipse Gordon’s run. 


Almirola focused on performing in Chase

Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
Aric Almirola (43) collects damage from Sunday's race at Michigan International Speedway.

“We got caught up in the big wreck and had some damage to the front-end we had to fix,” Almirola said to The Racing Experts. “We tried some different strategy to get track position, but the cautions just didn't fall our way.” 


Burton’s day plagued by electrical problems
Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images
Jeff Burton addresses the media Friday. Burton finished 37th, 24 laps down.

“It’s a hard week for everyone, not the way we wanted it to end, but really proud of everybody’s effort here,” Burton said. 


Gordon wins second consecutive pole position

Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images
Jeff Gordon will start first for Sunday's Pure Michigan 400.

Gordon won the pole in Friday’s qualifying session at Michigan International Speedway with a speed of 206.558 miles per hour, a new track record.


Will Danica Continue to Improve?

Photo by Kyle Rivas/NASCAR via Getty Images
Danica Patrick turns laps at Kansas Speedway in May. Patrick finished seventh, her career-best.

Patrick will start 14th for Sunday’s race.




The Racing Experts Podcast!

Episode 10

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