Doug "Fireball" Turnbull's Race Blog 

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]

Did the Bristol of old return Monday?

  • 8:46 pm Monday, April 24th, 2017 by Doug "Fireball" Turnbull

NASCAR’s off week stretched one extra day…kind of. Rain postponed the annual Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway to Monday at 1 p.m. and raised even more questions about how the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series cars would take to the track. Track officials took to adding an adhesive substance again and again in a fine mist the bottom groove of the track. This is the latest attempt by BMS officials to drive racing back to the one-groove, bump-and-run, confrontational cadence that turned Thunder Valley’s half-mile track into a coliseum.

The track has tried for years to regain the [More]

Scanner Chatter: Helio Castroneves ready to win again

  • 10:22 am Friday, April 21st, 2017 by Doug "Fireball" Turnbull

Three-time Indianapolis 500 champ Helio Castroneves swung by WSB Thursday to promote this weekend’s Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama (Sunday, 3:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN) at Barber Motorsports Park outside of Birmingham, Alabama.

The jovial “Dancing With the Stars” victor and 23-time IndyCar race-winner opens up about his almost-three-year winless streak and chasing his elusive first championship. The 41-year-old also shares his ties to Atlanta and how long he figures he can keep wheeling the No. 3 Team Penske Chevy.

Castroneves also discusses the Verizon IndyCar Series’ short schedule and dual-race weekends and if NASCAR should go that direction.

Listen here.

Race Capsule: Newman strategizes to victory at Phoenix, win slips away from Busch

  • 9:10 am Monday, March 20th, 2017 by Doug "Fireball" Turnbull

Ryan Newman was not anybody’s pre-race pick entering the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Camping World 500 at Phoenix Raceway. In fact, Newman wasn’t in the mix for the lead any of the race, until crew chief Luke Lambert’s call not to pit on the final stop gave the No. 31 car the lead with six laps to go. Newman held back the thundering herd and scored his 18th-career win, his first win in 129 races, and RCR’s first since 2013.

Flag to flag: Joey Logano (finished 31st), co-subject of the fight talk all week, started on the pole and [More]