After more than sixteen years at About.com sharing my passion for NASCAR my time is now up.
I would like to thank you all for your emails and blog comments through the years. Whether you agreed or disagreed with me it was my interaction with NASCAR fans like you that made this job so much fun. NASCAR fans are some of the nicest people on the planet.
Denny Hamlin was diagnosed with a compression fracture to the L1 vertebrae in his lower back after contact with Joey Logano on the final lap of the Auto Club 400. Hamlin appeared to be in position to win the race when Logano got into him and wrecked both cars.
Hamlin was airlifted to a hospital near Auto Club Speedway and kept overnight. He was expected to be released on Monday and allowed to return home.
His status for the Martinsville race in two weeks is still unclear. I am not a doctor but given the extended recovery times that other drivers have required before being able to race again it seems likely that Hamlin will miss a few races.
NASCAR fans got their money's worth at Auto Club Speedway today. A series of late race cautions set up a thrilling finish as Joey Logano wrecked leader Denny Hamlin on the final lap allowing Kyle Busch to charge past from third to claim the win.
While this was thrilling for race fans unfortunately Denny Hamlin left the scene in the ambulance. Logano's thoughts on the wreck? "That's what he gets."
Logano had other problems as punches were thrown in his pits after the race when Tony Stewart took issue with Logano's driving on the final restart.
This was quite a show for NASCAR fans.
Brad Keselowski brings the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point lead and a four-race streak of top five finishes into Auto Club Speedway this weekend for the 2013 Auto Club 400. Keselowski has started the season on a tear with twice as many top fives as any other Sprint Cup driver.
He will have to set a new personal best at Auto Club Speedway if he is going to post another top five. Brad Keselowski's average career Auto Club Speedway finish is 22.8 with a career best of 18th which he posted in this race last year.
Can Brad Keselowski keep his streak alive and maintain his point lead?
A.J. Allmendinger got himself into trouble last year with NASCAR after failing a drug test. Allmendinger was suspended while he completed the "Road to Recovery" program. He lost his ride with Penske Racing while suspended but picked up a few late season starts with James Finch's Phoenix Racing with limited success.
This year Allmendinger's racing career is on the mend. He has a pair of Sprint Cup starts for Phoenix Racing which lead to a pair of lead lap finishes. Allmendinger has started half of the four races held in 2013 but he is ahead of five other full-time Sprint Cup drivers in the points.
In addition Allmendinger recently announced that he will return to Penske Racing for a couple of starts this season. Not in NASCAR but in IndyCar where he will compete in the 2013 Indianapolis 500 for the legendary open wheel car owner.
Kasey Kahne took advantage of Brad Keselowski's bobble on a late race restart to pick up the win in the 2013 Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. Keselowski spun the tires on the restart allowing Kahne to get past for the lead. Kahne was tough to pass and held on for the Bristol win.
Brad Keselowski held on to finish third which was his fourth top five finish of the 2013 season. He took over the point lead from Jimmie Johnson who hit the wall late in the race and fell back. Keselowski now leads the points by 9 over Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Last spring Brad Keselowski ruled the day in Bristol. Keselowski lead 232 laps on his way to the convincing win in the 2012 Food City 500. This was the first of five wins for Brad in 2012 as he was gaining momentum towards a Championship.
In 2013 Keselowski is the only driver to post top five finishes in all three points races held so far this season. Will Brad Keselowski move to the head of the class once again in the 2013 Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway? Check out my preview and predictions here to see if he makes my top picks.
Every time NASCAR changes the car there is a genuine concern that one manufacturer might come away with an advantage over the others. So far the Gen 6 car has delivered all the parity that the manufacturers, teams and fans could ever want.
In the three Sprint Cup points races held so far in 2013 the three manufacturers have one win each.
In addition, both Phoenix and Las Vegas saw each of the three manufacturers represented among the top three finishers. The Gen 6 car has its share of detractors but no one can complain about parity.
Matt Kenseth used pit strategy to gain track position and then held off a hard-charging Kasey Kahne in the closing laps to pick up the win in the 2013 Kobalt Tools 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
This win was extra-special as it came on Kenseth's 41st birthday.
Was Kenseth simply talented enough to hold off the faster Kahne or was this another example of the Gen 6 car making track position more important than speed? I think it was a little bit of both but overall the racing was a little bit better this week.
NASCAR announced today that driver Denny Hamlin was fined $25,000 for comments he made after last week's race in Phoenix.
Hamlin stated his honest opinion that it was hard to pass in the Gen 6 car and, in effect, the racing hasn't been very good so far this year. After the fine was announced Denny said he feels "disrespected" by NASCAR, he refuses to pay and will appeal the fine.
I am with Hamlin on this one. Anyone can clearly see that it is very difficult to pass, especially the leader. I still have high hopes for the Gen 6 car but it obviously needs some tweaks. NASCAR isn't doing itself any favors by censoring a driver for an honest, accurate opinion.