NASCAR’s Most Iconic Tracks

With NASCAR season in full swing, the various tracks around the country are seeing a lot of racing action. These races are run on privately owned racetracks, all of which are constructed with either asphalt or concrete. Here are seven of the most famous NASCAR tracks:

INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY: Although this track may be most known for the racing of the Indianapolis 500, this venerable venue also hosts a variety of big NASCAR events including being an official site of the popular Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. Boasting a total capacity of up to 400,000 spectators, it is the highest capacity sports venue on the planet.

CHARLOTTE MOTOR SPEEDWAY: This motorsports complex located in Concord, North Carolina, hosts a myriad of famous events including the Coca-Cola 600 on Memorial Day Weekend and the NASCAR All-Star Race. The complex features 2,000 acres of track and facilities designed to impress even the most discerning NASCAR fans and drivers.

ATLANTA MOTOR SPEEDWAY: This 1.5-mile oval racetrack in Hampton, Georgia takes center stage on Labor Day Weekend as it hosts NASCAR’s premier holiday race.

MARTINSVILLE SPEEDWAY: Located in Henry County, Virginia, the Martinsville Speedway is the oldest track in NASCAR. The storied history is felt at every turn, making it a haven for drivers wanting to be part of the tradition of the sport.

BRISTOL MOTOR SPEEDWAY: Also known as “Thunder Valley”, Bristol Motor Speedway carries the distinction of being one of NASCAR’s shortest tracks. Located in Bristol, Tennessee, the track also is known for its steep banking and all concrete surface area. Racing enthusiasts delight in how loud the venue becomes during the biggest races on the circuit.

TALLADEGA SUPERSPEEDWAY: Formerly named Alabama International Motor Speedway (AIMS), Talladega is known for its reputation of being the longest and fastest track in the sport. Located in Talladega, Alabama, drivers race hard but take special care to avoid what is dubbed as the possible “Big One” multi-car accident.

DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY: The granddaddy of them all, this track hosts the most prestigious race in the sport, The Daytona 500. Located in beautiful Daytona Beach, Florida, this 2.5-mile speedway is one of the most famous venues in all of sports.

The Best NASCAR Drivers On the Circuit Today

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Many fans and sports writers debate every week about who is currently the best NASCAR driver on the circuit. Every fan has their own preference on who they think is the best NASCAR driver. However, some drivers are consistently mentioned as the best because they are successful. Here is a look at today’s current crop of NASCAR drivers who stand out from their peers.

Kevin Harvick

Harvick drives the number 4 Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing. Harvick won The 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Harvick holds the all time record for Cup Series wins at Phoenix International Raceway with 9 wins. Harvick was the 2001 NASCAR Rookie Of The Year. Harvick is a 3 time Coca-Cola 600 winner, as well as a former winner of The Daytona 500 and Brickyard 400.

Kyle Busch

Kyle Busch drives the number 18 Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing. Busch is the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion. Busch became NASCAR’s youngest ever pole winner in a cup series by starting a race at the front at the California Speedway when he was just 19 years old. Busch was also the first driver to win 4 consecutive spring races at Richmond International Raceway. Busch was The 2005 NASCAR Rookie of The Year.

Matt Kenseth

Matt Kenseth drives the number 6 Ford Fusion for Roush Fenway Racing. Kenseth was The NASCAR Rookie of The Year in 2000. Kenseth won The NASCAR Winston Cup Series Championship in 2003. Kenseth is a two time winner of The Daytona 500. Kenseth is also a two time winner of The Budweiser Duel.

Martin Truex Jr

Martin Truex Jr drives the number 78 Toyota Camry for Furniture Row Racing. Truex Jr won The 2017 NASCAR Cup Series Championship. Truex Jr won The 2016 Coca-Cola 600 and Southern 500. Truex Jr is a two time winner of The NASCAR All Star Race. Truex Jr recently won The 2018 ESPY Award for Best Driver.

Jimmie Johnson

Jimmie Johnson drives the number 48 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 for Hendrick Motorsports. Johnson was won 7 NASCAR Cup Series Championships. Johnson is a 4 time winner of The NASCAR All Star Race. Johnson is a 2 time winner of The Daytona 500 and a 4 time winner of The Coca Cola 600. Johnson has over 200 top 5 finishes in his career.

Toyota Owners 400

Toyota_Owners_400_logoKurt Busch has taken home the Toyota Owners 400 in Richmond, Virginia this past weekend in an emotional win that is sure to give him great confidence moving forward in the racing season. After sitting out three races earlier this year from legal troubles, Kurt has returned to the drivers seat with a chip on his shoulder. Despite his absence, Busch has done well enough to likely earn himself a place at the Chase Cup table, pending he can remain in the top 30 for the remainder of the year.

Since a new crew chief has taken to his right hand, Busch has been able to be a major player in every race he starts. Tony Gibson as his chief helped Kurt to tie NASCAR Hall of Famer Fred Lorenzen with 26 wins in Cup Races.

Leading 294 laps of 400 is about as dominant a performance you can ask for from anyone taking the checkered flag. TAn emotional Busch was able to battle with troubles in his personal life, only to overcome them and find himself in the winners circle. Gibson places the credit solely on Kurt’s shoulders as the crew chief praised him for his attention to detail in car setup. Admitting that his car was “a fifth place car at best”, Gibson pointed out that Kurt has the eye of the tiger when it came to driving a sound, mistake free race.

Busch, ever humble, puts the win on his crack team of engineers Gibson who helped make overnight changes to the car in order to give him the best chances of winning. A total team effort is what it takes to win any Cup Race, and that is exactly what the Number 41 car had this past weekend.

Finishing the race in a one-two punch for Stewart-Haas Racing was Busch (1), Kevin Harvick (2), followed by Jimmie Johnson (3) and Jamie McMurray (4).

NASCAR Hall of Fame Inductees

Last month NASCAR issued in a new class of Hall-of-Famers, among them were 5 members who well deserve their place among racing’s greats. Bill Elliott, Wendell Scott, Fred Lorenzen, Joe Weatherly and Rex White all were honored in late January for their contributions to the sport where competition passion reigns.logo

Headlining the event was Elliott, who raced with a family team and little funding during his beginning years. he went on to race for 37 years, winning the Cup in 1988 while winning 44 races total. Bill was known as ‘Awesome Bill From Dawsonville’, a nickname that contributed to him winning 16 Most Popular Driver Awards.

Wendell Scott was a pioneer, being the first and only African-American to win a Cup race. He collected the checkered flag in 1963 at Speedway Park in Jacksonville, Florida. His career lasted 13 years while battling the prejudice, and low funding. On the Virginia short track he tallied more than 100 wins.

Weatherly won the ‘62 and ‘63 titles in NASCAR’s top stock division while compiling 101 wins along with a modified championship. Weatherly finished top five in almost half of his 233 races, a feat that can be credited to his absolute knowledge of the car he was in.

All racers inducted speak of their hardwork and determination, how that is the key factor to the success they saw and their subsequent induction into the Hall of Fame. Without the appreciation of elbow grease and the joy of competition, they would most likely not have seen the inside of this storied Hall.

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NASCAR Watch-list 2015

It is a new year, and that means we have much to think about for the coming 12 months, one thought being who will be the breakout drivers in NASCAR during the 2015 season. Last season’s dramatic end left many of us wanting more, not being able to sit still until the drop of the next starting flag. If you are wondering who will be making a splash in the leaderboards this year, here are some drivers on my NASCAR watchlist.Racing JOhn Jellinek

Carl Edwards
This past year Carl won two races, finished in the top five, seven times and finished 9th overall after making it to the third round of the Chase. With this disappointing finish to the year, he still remains chasing the success he had in 2011 when he lost in a tiebreaker for the championship to Tony Stewart. Look for Edwards to be driving with a fire in his foot this coming season to make up for a down year.

Tony Stewart
A tumultuous season last year regarding a driver on the raceway and Stewarts car, left Tony shaken. To see if Stewart can rebound and regain his place at the top of the racing world will be very interesting this coming year. Keep in mind this man has already won three Cup championships.

Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Dale Jr. has been named the sport’s most popular driver a dozen times in a row. This 40 year old has racing in his genes and had his best finish to a season since 2004. He won four races, making the Cup Chase but being eliminated in the second round. Recently his crew chief who has served him so well over the years has departed Hendrick Motorsports and is replaced by Greg Ives, a former engineer. To watch these two attempt a championship run this season will be fun to watch.

Kurt Busch
Kurt won a race, made the chase, but had an overall disappointing year as his numbers were sub-impressive. The experienced crew chief who took over the microphone late last season, Tony Gibson, will be an asset to Kurt who looks to be more consistent in 2015 on and off the track.

Kevin Harvick
The champ will return to the drivers seat to protect his crown, but can he live up to the pressures of a repeat? A back to back title run has not been completed since Jeff Gordon in ‘97-’98 and with the new playoff set up, it may be close to impossible to do so. It will be interesting to see what trick Harvick has up his sleeve to retain the title.

 

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Sprint Cup Conclusion

Champions weeks begins this December in Las Vegas, Nevada which will include the ever famous NASCAR Sprint Cup banquet. What is up to bat for the banquet that willUnknown-1 highlight the insanity that came with this years season? After Kevin Harvick jostled in front of Ryan Newman to win the Sprint Cup there are some things to be expected.

We will most likely see Kevin and Delana Harvick, Rodney Childers, Tony Stewart, and Gene Haas sitting at the honored head table which is reserved for the winner and the winning team. e can expect to see speeches from the top ten driver finishers who will thank their loved ones and others for their opportunity to race and do so very well. Seven time Grammy winner, Lady Antebellum will perform to keep the audience enthused and excited. Lady Antebellum are the performers of Need You Now and Downtown. The banquet has done an excellent job over the years attracting great musical groups to the stage and drawing attention outside of the immediate NASCAR community to watch the event.

The banquet will hosted by Jay Mohr for the second consecutive year. Mohr formerly showed his talents on programs such as Saturday Night Live as well as being a part of the film Jerry Maguire.

The conclusion of the racing season was a climactic thrill ride filled with drama and excitement. The banquet hopes to provide fans with a chance to see the drivers outside of their cars and hold their racing appetites over until the onset of next season. The Wynn Las Vegas will be the site of the ceremony and it will be held this Friday, December 5th. Until next season myself, along with the rest of the NASCAR enthusiasts will need to review the highlight and track the offseason of our favorite drivers to keep our minds occupied!

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The Sprint Cup Heats Up

The Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship has heated up in early November, tensions were flying as those still in the Chase jockeyed for position in points. A spoiler emerged from the field of cars to take the checkered flag from these contenders on November 2, 2014. Jimmie Johnson, already out of the Chase for the Cup, led 191 laps of 334 at Texas Motor Speedway on his way to earning his 4th win of the year and 70th in his career.John Jellinek

Jimmie Johnson has won the Sprint cup six times but this year will not mark his seventh. Johnson lost his Chase eligibility in the second round, followed a 40th place finish at Kansas and a 17th place finish at Charlotte.  His elimination although, has not deterred his competitive nature. Johnson cites his yearning to win from his wanting to end the racing year on a high, fun note. Frustration with the results from this year could be felt prior to elimination, as neither Johnson or crew chief, Chad Knaus were satisfied with the way the races were playing out fueling the need for a win to lighten the bitter taste in the team’s mouth.

The current point standings in the Chase are as follows: Joey Logano and Denny Hamlin share the lead, tied, Ryan Newman is in third place while Jeff Gordon is in fourth. Pending a Cup contender does not win at Phoenix next weekend, the top four in points will advance to the Championship. The bottom four in contention is made up by Matt Kenseth, Carl Edwards, Brad Keselowski, and Kevin Harvick. As it has been throughout the eliminations, if one of the remaining eight contenders wins this coming weekend they will automatically advance to the Championship.

To read the original article that John Jellinek cited from, click here.

Elimination At Dover

Jeff Gordon cruised through the pressure of a Chase elimination race on his way to a victory at Dover last Thursday. This season NASCAR will be using a 10-race format to eliminate drivers from every third race in the Chase. This year, Dover was marked as an elimination race.John Jellinek

With the next round looming, three separate winners were automatically qualified by taking checkered flags. Jeff Gordon, Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano all earned berths in the next round with their wins. While Kurt Busch, AJ Allmendinger, Greg Biffle, and Aric Almirola were eliminated from contention for the championship.

Gordon posted his fourth win of the season at Dover while collecting his 92nd checkered flag overall in his career. Along with Gordon from Hendrick Motorsports, Kasey Kahne also qualified for the next round by grabbing the 12th and final spot in the elimination cutoff. Kahne was forced to battle the entire race in order to finish 20th overall and lock in his position in the next round of the Chase.

The Chase for the Cup Rankings, are below:

1. Brad Keselowski

2. Joey Logano

3. Kevin Harvick

4. Jimmie Johnson

5. Jeff Gordon

6. Kyle Busch

7. Dale Earnhardt Jr.

8. Matt Kenseth

9. Ryan Newman

10. Carl Edwards

11. Denny Hamlin

12. Kasey Kahne

The next three-race elimination round begins on October 19th at Kansas Speedway. This round will be hosted by Kansas, Charlotte, and Talladega. Nerves are at ease for the time being until the next round begins, and with a quarter of the drivers in the current field set to be eliminated, competition will be ramped up the next time the engines are started.

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Atlanta Motor Speedway and Kasey Kahne

According to a recent article: Kasey Kahne was able to pull out a dramatic win at Atlanta Motor Speedway Sunday night on the way to his first checkered flag of the year, 17th of his career. Kahne is no stranger to being under pressure late in the year when the chance for the playoff chase is hanging in the balance. He made the most of his opportunity though on Sunday edging out Matt Kenseth who was also winless on the year.

In a night full of wrecks and cautions there was much excitement building up to the dramatic finish. With Kahne’s victory he rounds out the Hendricks Racing team to be qualified for the Chase, all four are now in the running.John Jellinek

The Chase consists of 16 possible spots available to be able to dance for the Cup. With the results on Sunday, Kahne fills the 13th spot, and Kenseth, with his second place finish, grabs the 14th spot on points.

Harvick led almost 200 of the 335 laps during the race, losing the lead during each of his pitts. With the pitts not serving him well, it seems to be a rolling trend for him this year as his car has been fast, but pitts been slow.

Restarts were what served Kahne well that night as he took advantage of race stoppage to make up lost ground and recompose himself.Apart from the drama in the ending of the race, another type of excitement found its way onto the track at Atlanta Motor Speedway. A squirrel scurried onto the track during the first half of the race causing the then leader Harvick to almost flatten him around Turn 3 and 4.

In the bigger picture of the point rankings, Jeff Gordon leads all drivers, 21 points ahead of second place Dale Jr. Gordon blew a tire out on lap 78 and was forced to rally to finish 17th overall.

Retired NASCAR Driver to Start Concussion Fund

Everyone knows that football players have concussion issues because they are usually knocking heads with each other every play throughout a game. NASCAR drivers are less known for having concussion issues because the spectator cannot see what goes on inside the cab during a crash. Violent is the best word to describe it. While motor sport safety has improved tremendously over the years, since the famous Dale Earnhardt crash at the Daytona Raceway in 2001, the risk of prolonged issues from frequent concussions has Geoff Bodine concerned.images

Bodine raced NASCAR for around 30 years, he is a Daytona 500 winner (1986), and is concerned for the safety of those still racing. After retiring at the age of 63, he told The New York Times he couldn’t remember how many times he was knocked out during a crash.  He recalls hitting the outside wall, getting knocked out, hitting the inside wall and getting woken back up form the second impact.

Most recently in NASCAR news Dale Earnhardt Jr. was sidelined from a concussion for two races in 2012. Being one of the sports most well known drivers it shows the severity of the injury and the health concerns that Dale Jr. had.

There is no union in racing so drivers are generally alone when it comes to medical care from injuries. With this being an occupational hazard that Bodine is familiar with first hand, he has been approaching sponsors, teams, anyone concerned with the drivers health, for help. Bodine is adamant that this will be for the betterment of everyone in the sport.

While the much-publicized NFL lawsuit was a hot button issue two years ago in 2012, Bodine is not looking for something of that severity. He merely wants to raise money to help those in need. After seeing so many competitors suffer from head injuries he is feeling morally obligated to do something to help those who are in a position to be helped.

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