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Track Talk: Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond

Each weekend, our panel on The Podium Finish provide their thoughts on the latest stories in the world of NASCAR. Additionally, we make our predictions on who may win the upcoming Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race, the Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond International Raceway!

This weekend, our panel consisting of Amanda ParmeleeAshley Hobbs, Ashley Hull, Cody ShoppeKathleen CassidyKatie Copple, Kayla SturmKyle Magda, and Stephen Conley analyze Jimmie Johnson’s victory at Bristol, the resurgence of Clint Bowyer, drivers and teams that are making the grade, the on-track product at Richmond, and the impact of Dale Earnhardt Jr’s retirement following this season.

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Question 1
Yes! I finally beat the Legend of Zelda!

Yes! I finally beat the Legend of Zelda! Next is Richmond!

If it seems like a record on repeat, perhaps it is, but Jimmie Johnson found his way back into Bristol’s Victory Lane on Monday afternoon.  In consideration to their on track competition, is it time to be concerned about the once sleeping grizzly bear now on the prowl for wins and this year’s title?

Fesko :  Teams always have to be worried about Johnson, perhaps even more so this year than in years past. With the new playoff system, wins are at a premium. With two wins already, look for Johnson and crew chief Chad Knaus to keep the momentum up and win even more rather than use the rest of the regular season as a test session.

Cassidy :  I think the whole garage knows not to underestimate the No. 48 team. He is a driver that should be on everyone’s radar moving forward just like the rain at Bristol.

Sturm :  I don’t think Johnson could have ever been considered a “once sleeping grizzly bear,” if I’m being honest. He won his seventh championship last year, and while he had a less than average start to the 2017 season, it was only for a few races.

By now, it might be (jokingly) safe to say that this is Johnson’s and Knaus’ ploy. They want to trick NASCAR fans into thinking their career is done. Then bam, here comes JJ. Don’t count him out for the championship. It’s easy to see that the man is chasing eight.

Magda :  Don’t be concerned yet. If the No. 48 wins at Richmond, they’ll emerge as the early title favorite. A spark in this organization is back. Even Kyle Larson’s doing nicely in the Hendrick-powered No. 42 at Ganassi. Going into late April, we’re beginning to learn who the real contenders and pretenders are.

Parmelee :  I’ll be honest. I’m still riding the high that comes from calling Jimmie Johnson’s first win of the season. I think the idea that Johnson was going to spend the entire season racking up disappointing finishes was ridiculous.

Sure, there’s a low that comes with every high — and the No. 48 team went higher than ever before last year. But despite what some thought was a concerning start to this year, I think every driver has had Jimmie Johnson on their mind at some point this season.

The guy didn’t just win a race or two last year. He won the race, taking home his seventh career Cup championship in the process. The time to be concerned about Jimmie Johnson isn’t now that he’s won back-to-back races — it was day one, the minute he stepped foot on the track.

Copple :  Does anyone ever count Jimmie Johnson out of the championship? He’s pretty much a consistent pick for the final four at Homestead. As far as who is the current sleeping grizzly? I honestly have no idea. There isn’t any one driver who has really stood out as a possibility yet this season. That said, there is still a lot of racing season left!

Hull :  It could very possibly be time to be concerned because it looks like they have their act together now. We all know how strong this team can be and they won a championship last year because of their ability to overcome adversity. If we know what they can do with that, they will be dangerous.

Conley :  After picking up their second straight win and doing it on a track that the No. 48 team has admittedly struggled, I’d certainly call it “trouble” for the rest of the field. As long as they don’t beat themselves, it may be pretty tough to beat them moving forward. Chad Knaus and Jimmie Johnson do not like being questioned.

Hobbs :  Was he ever truly sleeping? I do not believe this.  I mean, two races in and the NASCAR media was already talking about the monkey on his back. Now they act as though it was never there. If you ever count out the No. 48 crew this early in the season, I will always laugh. If I was a betting woman, which I am not because I know the stats are not in my favor, I would always bet on Jimmie Johnson to be there when it counts.

Shoppe :  I think this is a new version of Jimmie Johnson domination. In years past when the No. 48 team were winning left and right, they were dominating many races, leading many laps, and winning poles. Now it seems we see them only up front when it counts. Johnson is rarely winning poles and hasn’t won stages like we might have expected. The Lowe’s team is more dangerous then ever as they are closing the deal and minimizing mistakes making them a threat for an eighth title!

Question 2
Rawhide is back.

Rawhide is back.

Clint Bowyer continues to reinvigorate his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series career with a terrific runner-up at Bristol.  How close is the 2012 season runner up from finally winning his first race in nearly four years?

Fesko :  He’s almost there. With Richmond and Talladega coming up, both tracks he has excelled at in the past, it could just be a matter of weeks before Bowyer gets a checkered flag.

Cassidy :  I think this is the best we have seen Bowyer in a long time and NASCAR nation is excited. This personality in the garage is one respected by so many. I think we will see the No. 14 team finishing with two wins this season and being a contender in the playoffs.

Sturm :  I’m not 100 percent sure if Bowyer will have a win. He’s doing significantly better than he has in these past couple of years. I believe that’s due to the fact that he’s in better equipment at SHR.

However, I think there are some drivers out there right now on the field that Bowyer just won’t be able to chase down. I hope he proves me wrong though.

Magda :  The win’s coming and it’s only a matter of time. There’s good tracks for Bowyer coming up like Richmond, Talladega, and his home track in Kansas. The SHR Fords are no slouches this year.

Kevin Harvick led a chunk of laps at Atlanta. Throw all that together with Bowyer running the top-five and Busch’s Daytona 500 win and SHR has started 2017 with a bang.  Bowyer and his team are close to getting into Victory Lane, especially at a slippery short-track like Richmond.

Parmelee :  Clint Bowyer hasn’t won a Cup race since Charlotte in 2012 — his last of three wins that season. Despite solid, yet declining, performances in 2013, 2014, and 2015, it seems as though Bowyer is already off to a better start this season, picking up four top-10 finishes and two top-fives so far this year. If he keeps it up, I expect to see the No. 14 car in Victory Lane this season sooner rather than later.

Copple :  I think his move to Stewart-Haas Racing was one of his best career moves yet. It’s obviously paying off and he is running better than he has in a few years. I could see Bowyer in Victory Lane this season, maybe even multiple times. He and his team are still trying to figure each other out and keep getting better each and every week.

Hull :  I would say that he is getting closer to that first win of the season. He is with a top-notch team and he is hungry for a win, so I think that it’s eminent.

Conley :  Bowyer is having fun and that could be a dangerous proposition for the field. This is a driver that is very streaky. Once he gets on a hot streak, it could be a very good year for Bowyer and the No. 14 team.

Hobbs :  I think Clint Bowyer is knocking on the door. Currently, I am eating my words at placing him as the third best Stewart-Haas driver. I think there is a three-way tie up front as to who is leading that camp right now. Honestly, I would not be surprised to see Bowyer fighting for the win at Richmond; he knows how to do it.

Shoppe :  Clint Bowyer is getting closer and closer to snapping his huge winless streak. I expected him to improve and contend for wins now that he is in SHR equipment, but not this soon. It is just a matter of time before we see Bowyer return to Victory Lane.  Just think of the party that will follow!

Question 3
"Hey boss, how do you suppose we did after the first quarter?"

“Hey boss, how do you suppose we did after the first quarter?”

We’re nearing the end of the first quarter mark of the 2017 season.  In terms of grading the field, which drivers and teams have earned an A grade and which ones are not passing the first tests of the year?

Fesko :  A grades: Kyle Larson and Chase Elliott. Not passing: Joe Gibbs Racing.

Cassidy :  A – Brad Keselowski, Jimmie Johnson, and Kyle Larson – These teams have proven they can be consistent and have a chance to win in the playoffs.

F – Dale Earnhardt Jr, Kyle Busch, and Danica Patrick – All well known names yet you expect more from in terms of finishing races.

Sturm :  Do I even have to say who has earned an A? Kyle Larson. Not only an A, but an A++++. The young gun has huge success coming his way in the sport. He is currently dominating the field this season, leading in points and finishing in the top ten in seven out of the 10 past races.

Ryan Blaney has also earned an A from me. Although he’s had some not so good finishes for issues mainly out of his control, he’s performed well throughout the majority of the races and he definitely has the right attitude to be successful.

Kyle Busch and Daniel Suarez are among some of the few not passing the test. I know, I know. It’s Suarez’s first year. But seeing as how he’s with one of the best teams in NASCAR and looking back at his performance in Xfinity, you’d expect a little bit better from him. However, JGR as a whole has been fairly disappointing this year and hasn’t been making the grade.

Magda :  Here’s my grades.

A:  Kyle Larson has led every race in 2017 so far.  He scored a dominant win at Fontana.  Additionally, they’ve thrived on consistency and we’ve seen less mistakes from the No. 42 team.

Jimmie Johnson is back with consecutive victories at Texas and Bristol. They run well at Richmond and just may end up as the title favorite.

I’ll give a B to Chase Elliott. I know he’s second in points but he has been very quiet so far. That said, he’s getting closer and closer towards putting a full race together to win. Once he does, the 24 team is going to win a lot.

Lastly, I’m giving a C to Joe Gibbs Racing. As a whole, the organization is behind. Yes, they’ve been very close with a few wins with Hamlin contending for a win in the Clash at Daytona and Kyle Busch at Phoenix. Other than that, I haven’t heard a peep out of them. Matt Kenseth was good at Bristol with a fourth. However no JGR driver has made their way to Victory Lane this season.

Parmelee :  I’ve been fairly surprised that we haven’t seen more from Kyle Busch this year. Sure, we saw a third place finish at Phoenix, eighth at Fontana, and a second at Martinsville, but those are evened out by 38th at Daytona, 22nd at Vegas, 15th at Fort Worth, and 35th at Bristol.

The same can be said for Denny Hamlin. I’m also sad to see that Erik Jones and Daniel Suarez aren’t performing better this season. I’m hoping it’s just the adjustment period for the rookies, but it’s not looking great so far.

On the other hand, the same string of drivers continues to impress — Joey Logano, Kyle Larson, Martin Truex, Jr., Brad Keselowski, and Jimmie Johnson are hard to ignore when it comes to weekly race picks. They’re consistently challenging other drivers for the lead, and more often than not, they’re taking home the checkered flag, too.

Despite being the only one without a win to his name this season, Joey Logano has finished in the top-10 in every race but one (thanks to a crash at Phoenix after starting from the pole), with three finishes in the top-five. If there are any drivers who are a statistically good pick, you’re looking at them in this crowd.

Copple :  Kyle Larson and Chase Elliott are really impressing me this season. Both of these young guys are the next generation of our sport and are putting on a great show each weekend. Drivers who are not doing so hot? Easy. Danica Patrick and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Neither one are running well this season and are putting up very unimpressive race results. They really need to step up their game!

Hull :  I think that Kyle Larson is the top of the class this year. He has performed very well so far, and has no signs of slowing down. He ran an amazing race at Bristol this weekend as well. So A+ for him. Also, Martin Truex Jr. is earning his A grade as well.

The drivers that I expected to earn As this year, but aren’t making the grade are the Gibbs boys. They haven’t been performing their best so far. I am unsure if they are just having a bad season, or if Carl Edwards’ departure has an effect, but it’s disheartening to see them perform so poorly after having a great season last year.

Conley :  I’d hand only a couple of A’s out. First, an A would go to Clint Bowyer and his resurgence. He’s been able to jump into a champion’s car and immediately getting back in to a front running form.  The second A goes to Chase Elliott. A strong early part of the season had him leading the way for Hendrick and a certain contender. The final A goes to our points leader. There’s been no one hotter and more deserving than Kyle Larson. As for failing grades, those have to go to BK Racing, Chris Buescher, and Denny Hamlin.

Hobbs :  Oh, this is an easy A for Chase Elliott, Kyle Larson, and Jimmie Johnson. Elliott may not have a victory (yet), but he is the definition of consistent. Larson and Johnson have wins and are consistent every week!

So far, I am shocked as to how well Joey Logano and Kevin Harvick have not made noise. Sure, they are putting together some finishes, but they are doing it quietly. These drivers are not known for being quiet.

Shoppe :  Here’s how I’m grading the major teams thus far.

A: Team Penske: The No. 2 team is the first to win multiple races.  While the No. 22 hasn’t won yet, I still think one of these Fords will win the title by the way they are running now.

Chip Ganassi Racing:  By far, the breakout story of the first quarter is Kyle Larson’s strength! Larson is leading the points and contending for wins each week! It’s a huge improvement over last year and he is a serious title threat! Jamie Mac as well is improving and could easily get a win soon! 
B: Roush Fenway: The improvement shown by RFR is very promising! Ricky Stenhouse and Trevor Bayne are fighting for top-10 finishes and could see themselves in playoff contention come September! While they might not win this year, the step up by this team deserves praise and a solid B grade.
C: Joe Gibbs Racing: With the past domination and expectations, you have to say this has been a poor start for JGR. Winless so far in the year and nowhere near as strong as they were last year, I’ll give them a C in my book. I do expect them to turn it around and contend later on when it counts.
Question 4
Sorry, Jeff.

Sorry, Jeff.

Richmond has been called “The Action Track,” with eventful races taking place in 1986 (the Dale Earnhardt Sr. and Darrell Waltrip tangle), 1997 (Rusty Wallace’s spin and win), 1998 (Rusty Wallace’s tangle with Jeff Gordon), and 2008 (Kyle Busch’s contact with Dale Earnhardt Jr.). Can we expect much of the same this Sunday, especially with this being the final short track race for the first half of 2017?

Fesko :  Eh, maybe. Last year’s race had a great finish, but honestly, even the short track races have grown more tame in the past few years. It’ll be a solid race but likely nothing spectacular.

Cassidy :  Richmond always provides the action for race fans. I think we are going to see some drivers being aggressive who are still looking for a win. Drivers like Kyle Busch and Dale Jr know they need to prove themselves, and after Bristol they need to fight hard for a good finish. With stage points showing their importance I expect to see drivers pushing for those extra positions on track.

Sturm :  Short tracks are always exciting, point blank. NASCAR needs more short tracks. But yes, I believe this weekend’s race at Richmond will carry on the legacy of eventful racing. If you think, we’ve been to two short tracks this year at Martinsville and Bristol. They were both arguably the best two races so far this season. RIR will keep that momentum going for short tracks.

Magda :  It’ll be one of those typical short-track races. Driver will be saving the car for the end, tip-toeing past lapped cars while the track slicks up and a second groove comes in. The smaller tracks provide better racing overall instead of the usual 1.5-miler. Drivers will have to conserve their car through 400 laps.

Parmelee :  I’ll admit that I’m the worst when it comes to enjoying altercations in NASCAR — and by the worst, I mean the phrase “Awww! Did I miss someone getting punched?!” comes out of my mouth more often than I would like. With Richmond being the last short track we’ll see until Bristol again in August, I expect that the drivers who enjoy the style of racing that these tracks provide will put on a good show to hold us over come Sunday afternoon.

Copple :  I think that we can all agree that the on-track results aren’t going to be what they were in the 1980s, 90s or even the early 2000s. That just isn’t a reality any more. The cars and drivers have changed too much since the “golden days” of NASCAR. I hope we get some great on-track racing at Richmond. It’s a great track, but hoping and expecting it to give us the battles and races that we had 20-30 years ago just won’t happen.

Hull :  I think with the great racing we have had this year, it is possible. Last year, we had the final lap tangle between Carl Edwards and Kyle Busch. That was very exciting. I don’t expect anything less this weekend.  Richmond is a very fun short track.

Conley :  I’m not sure if we’re going to see that kind of rivalry or tempers flare. It’s been a while since anything heated has come from Richmond. I do think we’ll see a solid short track race and maybe a surprise winner.

Hobbs :  The short tracks have been nothing but entertainment for the fans and the drivers. I expect nothing less than Richmond to give us a great battle!

Shoppe :  We are sure to see some excitement at the action track this weekend! Richmond is a perfect blend of short track and speedway racing! I hope to see some beating and banging for the win.  There are plenty of teams looking to breakthrough for a win and they could be getting desperate to seal the deal. Be sure to tune in this Sunday for what will be a fantastic short track feature for this season!

Question 5
Thank you, Dale.

Thank you, Dale.

Dale Earnhardt Jr will retire from Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series competition following this season. How impactful is this decision for his team and the sport and what will be his lasting legacy with NASCAR?

Fesko :  Junior’s decision is big for his team but much bigger for the sport. Just hours after the announcement, news outlets that don’t normally cover NASCAR are talking about it. As for his legacy, I think you’ll remember him as the man who, after a trial by fire, came out on top.

He might not be his father or even Jeff Gordon or Jimmie Johnson, but he did things his way. Once he allowed himself to escape the pressure of others expectations, he could be the driver and person he always wanted. I wasn’t always the biggest Junior fan in the early 2000s, but after his turnaround at the new decade, I became a huge supporter. I will miss him immensely.

Cassidy :  From the social media outcry this past week, I think it is save to say that all NASCAR fans respect Dale Earnhardt Jr’s decision. Even if one is not a fan of Earnhardt, he holds a high level of value and respect within the sport. This alone shows his lasting legacy.

Moving forward, I hope fans continue to support the sport. At a time like this where track attendance can not afford to take any more hits, I would encourage Dale Jr fans to find good in another driver. At the very least, continue to love the community that surrounds the sport.  

Sturm :  Oh man, we have to bring this up again? I just finally stopped crying. Here come the waterworks again. I don’t think anyone has to even say how much this is going to impact the sport, everyone just knows.

The majority of NASCAR fans are a part of Junior Nation. I would even go as far to say that some fans only watch NASCAR because of Dale Earnhardt Jr.

When Dale Earnhardt Sr. passed, he left a gaping hole in the hearts of thousands upon thousands of NASCAR fans. That hole was filled by Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Now that he’s retiring, that’s just going to reopen that hole. I hate to say it and I hope to God I’m wrong, but I think NASCAR attendance and even TV viewing is going to drop dramatically after this season. Farewell, Dale Earnhardt Jr. We’ll miss you bud.

Magda :  At this point, I wasn’t surprised that one of NASCAR’s beloved drivers plans to hang it up. Sitting out the races last year made Dale realize other aspects of life. There comes a point when you’re not good at doing something anymore. The hits he took over the years caught up to him and he can’t take the situation lightly. There are a lot of unknowns when it comes to concussions and all as we are still learning the in-and-outs of the subject.

Parmelee :  I can’t be the only one who got ALL the feels following Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s announcement Tuesday afternoon. Though I didn’t grow up with NASCAR like many of Earnhardt’s fans, the appreciation I have for him and the respect for how he approaches everything he does is one of a kind. From a public relations standpoint, the man is everything a team would want in a driver — passionate, thoughtful, respectful, involved, well-spoken, and dedicated.

To be honest, I was surprised when he made the announcement he would return to racing this season. However, the more I think about it, the more sense it seems to make — returning to a career you love, so you can end things on our own terms.

The team will survive, and so will NASCAR. But it won’t be the same. Just like we saw with Jeff Gordon, there are fans who will pack it up and call it quits — only tolerating the changes the sport has made lately because of the joy they felt in watching their favorite driver compete.

The impact Dale Earnhardt Jr. has made on NASCAR isn’t hard to see. What other sport can say their Most Popular athlete sat on the bench for half the previous season and still walked away with the title?

Sure, it’s crazy to think that there are fans who can’t remember watching a race without at least one Dale Earnhardt in it. But at the end of the day, there’s a hell of a lot of respect to be had for seeing Dale Earnhardt Jr. make the decision that his father never got the chance to.

Copple :  His retirement from full-time competition will have a huge impact on this sport. Think about the last race you went to. Whose gear did you see most at the track? Dale Earnhardt Jr. His fan base is massive.

I’m afraid that him stepping away will mean the sport will lose a lot of fans as well that are only coming to the track and watching races because of Junior. He’s won the most popular driver award 14 times for a reason. I think this will be a big blow to the sport.

Now, is that Earnhardt’s fault? No, of course not. He deserves to step away on his own terms. But it is going to hurt the sport.

Hull :  Oh, this is will be a major loss both to Hendrick Motorsports and the NASCAR community. He has been voted the Most Popular Driver for several years for a reason. The fans love him.

His teammates also share the same love for him. Earnhardt will be remembered as being one of the classiest guys (besides Carl Edwards of course) in the garage.  Also, he’ll be remembered as a humble guy and as a talented driver. Best of luck to Junebug!

Conley :  Dale Earnhardt Jr. will leave a legacy off that track that is just as impactful as his success on the track. He didn’t have the success at Hendrick that he had hoped. However, as a two-time Daytona winner, 15-time most popular driver award winner, Earnhardt is a man that will be remembered just as much as his Hall of Fame father. With the likes of Larson, Elliott, Blaney and more, the sport is in good hands and it’s because of guys like Earnhardt, Junior, Gordon, Edwards and company.

Hobbs :  First, it was Jeff Gordon. Next, it was Tony Stewart. Now, it’s Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Yes, Carl Edwards is gone (but not retired). These three gentleman have made impacts beyond words on this sport. We all knew this day would come, and it is here. Those of us who grew up in the era of these drivers being the young guns are all but behind us, and we must now turn our attention to the future stars of the sport.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. is a fan favorite in and out, and his (current) 26 race wins are nothing to laugh at. Is that enough to earn him Hall of Fame status? Probably not; but he will certainly be a first ballot in vote when it comes time.
The sport will change and I pray that it changes in a positive light. Now that the fan favorite is gone, I worry many fans will exit the sport for good. However, I hope they stick around and give these younger drivers their time to shine and see what they can do for the sport.

Shoppe :  It is hard to think of a retirement that has much impact as Dale Earnhardt Jr’s will be following this season. By far the most popular driver, his absence will surely effect the fan engagement in the future. He has done so much for this sport and will be forever remembered as a great racer and great person in this sport!

It’s sad to see him go but I’m happy for him.  I’m lucky to have met him, and I wish him the best with Amy and his family moving forward!

That’s five trips around Richmond in honor of Dale Earnhardt Jr., who famously tested a No. 5 Chevy at Atlanta as his first on-track duties with Hendrick Motorsports!  While there’s plenty of time to reflect on this popular driver’s career , let’s review how we all fared last Monday at Bristol Motor Speedway!
Katie and Kayla enjoyed a fine race at Bristol by selecting Joey Logano...

Katie and Kayla enjoyed a fine race at Bristol by selecting Joey Logano…

...while yours truly is back at the top of the points race!

…while yours truly is back at the top of the points race!

With 400 laps of racing action to be had at The Action Track, let’s reveal our winning picks for Sunday’s Toyota Owners 400!
Which of these eight drivers will be seeing Victory Lane from their eyes?

Which of these eight drivers will be seeing Victory Lane from their eyes?

Tiongson :  Consistent, steady, and hungry, I look for Joey Logano to finally break through to Victory Lane this Sunday at Richmond.

Shoppe :  Going with Joey Logano.

TPF Stats : Going with Joey Logano  – because!

Sturm :  I’m going to go with Kevin Harvick. He’s been fairly close to a win this season and he’s won at Richmond a few times in the past.

Parmelee : My pick for Sunday is Kevin Harvick.

Conley : Rolling out of Richmond controversy free will be Kevin Harvick.

Cassidy : Sunday’s race winner will be Kyle Larson!

Hobbs : Because he is Rowdy, I think it is time for Kyle Busch to make a statement!

Fesko :  I’m picking Jimmie Johnson to win it!

Magda : Clint Bowyer gets the win at Richmond.

Copple :  I’m going to go way out on a limb and choose Kasey Kahne. He is in desperate need of a win and last took the checkered flag at Atlanta in 2014.

Hull : My pick this weekend is Kurt Busch.

That wraps it up, race fans!  Thanks for joining us for another edition of Track Talk! We’re ready for some racing.  How about you? What do you think are the biggest storylines heading into Sunday’s race and who is your favorite to win?  Tweet us now @ThePodiumFinish and tell us now!

Thanks as always to the TPF team!  The opinions and thoughts expressed in Track Talk are solely of the authors. They do not reflect any organizations affiliated with the authors outside of TPF. This weekly feature is strictly for entertainment purposes and are not indicative of TPF, the organization, and its staff.

Rob Tiongson is a sports writer and editor originally from the Boston area and resides in the Austin, Texas, area. Tiongson has covered motorsports series like NASCAR and INDYCAR since 2008 and NHRA since 2013. Most recently, Tiongson is covering professional basketball, mainly the WNBA, and women's college basketball. While writing and editing for The Podium Finish, Tiongson currently seeks for a long-term sportswriting and sports content creating career. Tiongson enjoys editing and writing articles and features, as well as photography. Moreover, he enjoys time with his family and friends, traveling, cooking, working out and being a fun uncle or "funcle" to his nephew, niece and cat. Tiongson is an alum of Southern New Hampshire University with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and St. Bonaventure University's renowned Jandoli School of Communication with a Master of Arts in Digital Journalism.

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