Doug "Fireball" Turnbull's Race Blog 

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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]

Blaney’s win another step in the rebirth of driver personality and changing of the guard

  • 9:46 am Monday, June 12th, 2017 by Doug "Fireball" Turnbull

Ryan Blaney’s masterful wresting of the trophy in Sunday’s Axalta 400 at Pocono Raceway Sunday is arguably the most popular moment of the 2017 NASCAR season. Blaney joins Ricky Stenhouse Jr. at Talladega and Austin Dillon at Charlotte to get his first-ever Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series win in the last five weeks. Blaney’s famous No. 21 Wood Brothers Ford drew raucous cheering and a windfall of congratulations from both the at-track crowd and the millions watching from afar. And while Stenhouse Jr.’s and Dillon’s victories were both popular and long coming, Blaney’s had a different feel.

Stenhouse Jr.’s win [More]

Halfway to the playoffs – a look at the standings

  • 12:41 pm Monday, June 5th, 2017 by Doug "Fireball" Turnbull

Just. Like. That. February has become June and the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series is over a third of the way done. The summer stretch is underway, so the sample size of racing is big enough to show trends. Which drivers and teams are really that good and which are in real trouble? Laser-focusing on each race can distract one from these trends, so we are taking a look.

Martin Truex Jr. and Kyle Larson are in a class of their own – Truex Jr. and Larson should each have more wins, but their teams are for real this [More]

The yin and yang of Austin Dillon’s big Coke 600 win

  • 11:47 am Wednesday, May 31st, 2017 by Doug "Fireball" Turnbull

Now that the fizz from that refreshing big drink of Coca-Cola has settled, what does Austin Dillon’s maiden Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series win mean? Is it the turning point or floodgate opening for becoming a weekly contender? Or was the fuel mileage gamble that saw Dillon milk his No. 3 Chevy to the finish line, as Jimmie Johnson ran out of fuel a fluke? Either way, Dillon’s first victory and at his Charlotte Motor Speedway hometrack no less makes for two Richard Childress Racing entries in the 16-team 2017 playoff.

Dillon showed in 2016 that he could drive into [More]

Saturday’s Kansas NASCAR race had everything, comes just ahead of critical summer stretch

  • 10:06 am Monday, May 15th, 2017 by Doug "Fireball" Turnbull

NASCAR is in a really good stretch of races right now. Saturday night’s Go Bowling 400 was thrilling from flag to flag (with 15 flags in between), with a balanced mixture of lead changes, side-by-side racing in the pack, contact, and confrontation. All of this transpired on a 1.5-mile track, the oft-maligned type of racing venue that receives the brunt of the blame for why the numbers for NASCAR are down. The 267-lap race had much of what fans clamor for (aside from the horrific Aric Almirola wreck – we are praying for his recovery), but did it resonate?

Early [More]

Race Capsule: Stenhouse Jr. brings down the big house at Talladega

  • 11:47 am Monday, May 8th, 2017 by Doug "Fireball" Turnbull

Talladega Superspeedway always has a wildcard lurking in its shadows. The track lends itself to surprise winners, big crashes, close finishes, and the bizarre. Sunday’s GEICO 500 had all of that – an extremely competitive and dramatic overtime affair that awarded pole-sitter Ricky Stenhouse Jr. his long-awaited first-career win. On a weekend where the crowd begged for soon-to-be retired Dale Earnhardt Jr. grab his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series-leading seventh ‘Dega win, the track had plans to coronate a new victor.

Flag-to-flag: Stenhouse Jr. first spoiled Junior Nation’s weekend fairytale by knocking Dale Earnhardt Jr. (finished 22nd) from the pole [More]

Who replaces Dale Jr. as both the driver of the 88 and the face of NASCAR?

  • 2:15 pm Tuesday, April 25th, 2017 by Doug "Fireball" Turnbull

Anyone interested in the topic of NASCAR and Dale Earnhardt Jr. heard the news about 9 a.m. today – Dale Earnhardt Jr. is retiring at the end of this season. This announcement comes on the heels of his missing the final 18 races of last season with debilitating concussion-like symptoms and in annual succession of the retirements of Jeff Gordon (before 2016) and Tony Stewart (2017) – arguably NASCAR’s two most popular drivers behind Earnhardt Jr. The reasons Earnhardt Jr. has to retire – though he will articulate them later today – are obvious: after multiple concussions, he wants [More]

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