Doug "Fireball" Turnbull's Race Blog 

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Memories of Captain Herb highlight final Labor Day race weekend at AMS

  • 9:16 am Thursday, April 12th, 2018 by Doug "Fireball" Turnbull

This is a re-post of my blog post just after the Atlanta Motor Speedway Labor Day weekend race in 2014, the first after the passing of Captain Herb Emory. Four years to the day after his passing, please enjoy the memories and thank you for Remembering Captain Herb. 

A banner at the United Against Mouth and Throat Cancer tent, an organization that provides free screenings in the Atlanta Motor Speedway Fan Zone outside the Hampton, Georgia track, had a banner that read “Remembering Capt. Herb Emory.” That was a theme for the entire NASCAR race weekend at AMS.

Conyers driver Chris Cockrum [More]

AMS throws a cold glass of water on the youth movement

  • 11:21 pm Sunday, February 25th, 2018 by Doug "Fireball" Turnbull

Atlanta Motor Speedway is almost every driver’s favorite track. You hear that everytime NASCAR’s circus pitches tents in Hampton, Georgia. Drivers love the 21-year old surface at the legendary 58-year old track, because it causes tire wear and forces drivers to search all over for grip. Old pavement puts the race back in the drivers’ hands and every driver I spoke to – from young William Byron to Sunday’s race-winner and longest-tenured Cup driver Kevin Harvick – say it’s fun.

But since drivers matter so much, NASCAR’s youth movement had to sit on the carpet and hear from the teachers [More]

AMS Friday notes: Busch up front, Truex in the back, and an interesting proposition from Dylan Lupton

  • 7:16 pm Friday, February 23rd, 2018 by Doug "Fireball" Turnbull

Busch takes MENCS pole, Truex Jr.’s team in hot water

Kyle Busch claimed his first-ever Atlanta Motor Speedway pole in Friday qualifying. Busch actually was fastest at AMS in 2016, but NASCAR disqualified his time. His 184.652 mph lap in Round 3 this year put the No 18 Snickers Toyota on the front row for the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500, alongside seven-time AMS pole winner Ryan Newman.

Kevin Harvick, who dominated last year’s race, was fastest in Round 2 and starts 3rd. Brad Keselowski, who won this race a year ago, was another fast Ford, but could only muster 5th [More]

Elliott says Earnhardt Jr. played big role in reviving the 9 car

  • 10:00 am Wednesday, February 14th, 2018 by Doug "Fireball" Turnbull

22-year-old Chase Elliott is driving the No. 9 car in 2018 and the retiring Dale Earnhardt Jr. had a lot to do with it.

Elliott’s arrival full-time in NASCAR came on the wings of Earnhardt Jr., in the form of the 2014 NASCAR Xfinity Series schedule in the No. 9 NAPA Chevy for JR Motorsports. One championship and two seasons later, Elliott found himself replacing the retiring Jeff Gordon in the legendary Hendrick Motorsports No. 24, as a teammate to Earnhardt Jr. Now entering his third season in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, Elliott remains with his same race [More]

2017 Georgia NASCAR drivers review and 2018 preview

  • 11:42 am Thursday, February 1st, 2018 by Doug "Fireball" Turnbull

The 2018 season was one of almost utter exuberance and certain, sighing heartbreak for the Georgia drivers gang – and several drivers struggling with middle or back marker teams. Here’s a quick breakdown of how each driver in NASCAR’s top series fared and what they look forward to this quickly approaching season.

Chase Elliott:

Wins: 0, Top 5s: 12, Top10s: 21, Poles: 1, Rank: 5, Avg. fin.: 12.0, DNFs: 4, LLFs: 27

That goose egg in the win column should not be of worry; Elliott notched five runner-up finishes (four in the Playoffs), out performed all of his teammates (including seven-time [More]

NASCAR rookies testing more than just the track at Atlanta

  • 9:40 am Tuesday, January 30th, 2018 by Doug "Fireball" Turnbull

On a sunny, windy Monday, Atlanta Motor Speedway went green with even greener drivers making their first 2018 laps. Xfinity Series rookies Christopher Bell and Tyler Reddick and Camping World Truck Series yellow-striper Dalton Sargeant had more on the line than just learning a new track with new vehicles. They began the synergy with their new teams and in different ways.

They began the two-day test the way most of many testing days unfold – waiting. The rains from Sunday kept the track damp all Monday morning, thanks to weepers in the 21-year-old surface. But rubber hit the road in [More]

So many storylines cap the 2017 NASCAR season

  • 8:53 pm Monday, November 20th, 2017 by Doug "Fireball" Turnbull

November 19, 2017 is the culmination of a year of domination, penalties, sentimentality, pessimism, optimism, the past, and the future. The nine month NASCAR grind exhaled fireworks, champagne, and confetti this Ford Championship Weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Martin Truex Jr.’s championship coronation is compelling enough, after a dominating season with Denver-based Furniture Row Racing. And Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s exit from NASCAR as a driver is a perfect story to dominate the human interest thirst outside of the championship. But several other stories make processing NASCAR’s final weekend more complicated.

Matt Kenseth announced two weeks ago his intent to step away [More]

Kenseth quitting racing just as he raced – low key

  • 8:25 am Monday, November 6th, 2017 by Doug "Fireball" Turnbull

The inevitable is in the light. The light is at the end of the tunnel and it’s getting bigger. As long as Matt Kenseth didn’t actually say he was stepping away from racing, there was a chance that a ride and a sponsor would appear. But barring something unforeseen, which technically could happen, 45-year-old Matt Kenseth’s last race as a full-time driver will be the November 19th season-ending race at Homestead-Miami Speedway. While one of his peers gets crowned a champion, Kenseth will fade into the sunset. The 2003 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champ will walk away in the [More]

Melancholy and the infinite gratefulness

  • 10:40 am Monday, September 25th, 2017 by Doug "Fireball" Turnbull

This weekend marked the final September NASCAR races for both New Hampshire Motor Speedway and Kentucky Speedway. Speedway Motorsports Inc. (the parent company of those tracks and several others…and Performance Racing Network, of course) got a big break in gaining the financial support of the city of Las Vegas to move the events to a second NASCAR date in 2018. The news is even bigger for Las Vegas Motor Speedway, because that weekend opens the 2018 NASCAR playoffs for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.

But there’s a twinge of sadness and a sea of gratitude for me. When NASCAR [More]

Electricity lacking in NASCAR TV coverage

  • 11:35 pm Sunday, June 18th, 2017 by Doug "Fireball" Turnbull

Being a keyboard naysayer is not hard – it’s what a large part of the internet is. In 2008, my first regular internet writing gig was as a racing coverage critic for Frontstretch.com and I was an audacious 22-year-old. I’m embarrassed to go back and read some of the frank dictums I published about veteran racing reporters and anchors. I would parse my words and write more empathetically and tactically had I been a 31-years-old columnist. I state all of that to say this: something has to change in NASCAR’s television race coverage.

The networks do admirably with the studio [More]

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