The Frontstretch: Ten Points to Ponder ... After Daytona (Pepsi 400) by Becca Gladden -- Sunday July 8, 2007

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Ten Points to Ponder ... After Daytona (Pepsi 400)

Becca Gladden · Sunday July 8, 2007


1. Cup Confusion – So, it’s official. The NASCAR Nextel Cup Series becomes the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starting in 2008 – the third different series sponsor in five years, which makes things pretty confusing! Case in point – when Tony Stewart won the title in 2002, we said he won the Winston Cup. In 2005, we called it the Nextel Cup. If Stewart wins the title next year, it will be the Sprint Cup. Would it make too much sense to simply give the trophy a permanent name, like the NASCAR Cup, instead of renaming it every time the sponsor changes? Or maybe in honor of Bill France, Jr., it could be named the France Cup by _____ (insert sponsor here).

2. Sprint to a new wireless provider – The same week that Sprint announced its new NASCAR sponsorship – amid great fanfare and flourish – I read an article entitled, “Sprint Dumps Problem Customers.” The “problem?” Apparently, some Sprint customers have been calling Sprint Customer Service too often. The offenders will receive a Dear John letter from Sprint stating in part, “The number of inquiries you have made to us during this time has led us to determine that we are unable to meet your current wireless needs.” Maybe Sprint should take the million dollars they’re planning to give away in the “SprintSpeed Million” sweepstakes and invest in some customer service reps.

3. They say there are no coincidences – Earlier this week, long before the Pepsi 400 qualifying controversy, I penned a column at Insider Racing News entitled, An Open Letter to NASCAR Officials About the Top-35 Qualifying Rule.
I called on NASCAR to either change or eliminate the objectionable policy. Now, a report is circulating that NASCAR might do just that, changing the number of locked-in teams to 30 or even 25 (I suggested 21). Nice to know someone out there is listening!

4. “Just show me the beer, the bathrooms and the race cars” – That is roughly what a fan in Daytona told a FOX News reporter who asked about his interest in presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani’s visit to the racetrack. With astute political opinions like that, is it any wonder that politicians are stumping at NASCAR races, courting what the FOX reporter termed the all-important “conservative NASCAR types?”

5. Tony Irony – You can’t help but chuckle at Tony Stewart, who hit teammate Denny Hamlin from behind going into turn four on Lap 15, wrecking both cars, and then said of Hamlin, “I don’t know if he knows the definition of ‘team’ right now.” I think that’s what they call in psychological circles “projecting.”

6. Gracious Gordon – One thing I’ve noticed about Jeff Gordon – he is quick to compliment a competitor for a job well done, something very few other drivers do on a consistent basis. It was Gordon who congratulated McMurray and team on their victory during his first post-race interview, which he was under no obligation to do. It’s not a big a deal; I just think it shows a certain level of class.

7. Petty Insensitivity – Am I the only person who found it a little callous that so much was made about this being the first Daytona race since 1965 without a Petty in it – even asking Kyle Petty about it right before the race? The fact is, if not for the tragic loss of Adam Petty – son of Kyle, grandson of Richard – in a racing accident in 2000, there likely would be a Petty in this race and in many races to come. I think Kyle showed tremendous restraint in not pointing that out.

8. Holdin’ it Wide Open – What did you think of TNT’s experimental “Wide Open” coverage? So far, I’ve heard mixed reviews. While everyone likes the concept of not missing the race for those long, tedious commercial breaks, the actual execution left something to be desired. So did the commercials themselves, although I found the Miller Lite ad making fun of debris cautions kind of amusing. Let me know what you thought of TNT’s broadcast.

9. Kyle versus Kenseth? – While the majority of post-race coverage about Kyle Busch was about his claim that his Hendrick teammates hung him out to dry at the end of the race, did anyone notice the ugly battle between the 5 and the 17 during much of the event? Don’t be surprised if somewhere down the road Matt lets Kyle know he was unhappy with the way Busch raced him. Remember, you heard it here first.

10. Boy, oh Bowyer – Richard Childress driver Clint Bowyer led a race-high 55 laps, finishing 7th. By way of contrast, winner Jamie McMurray led all of 3 laps. Why the disappointing finish for Bowyer? The No. 07 fell back after an ignition box failure while leading and never fully recovered. Asked what real-life event he could compare the problem to if it happened while driving on the freeway, Bowyer semi-joked, “Well, throwing up.” Hey, I’ve had kids do that! It’s not a good thing.

Remember, this commentary isn’t the only column Becca Gladden does; make sure to catch her Big Six in the Monday edition of The Frontstretch Newsletter. If you’re not getting the newsletter, you’re missing out on all the latest news, information, and commentary from some of your favorite Frontstretch writers. How could you NOT sign up for something that’s FREE! Gravitate here to add your name to the list today.

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Today on the Frontstretch:
Did You Notice? … Breaking Down A Sprint Cup Season Eight Races In
Beyond the Cockpit: Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. on Growing Up Racing and Owner Loyalties
The Frontstretch Five: Flaws Exposed In the New Chase So Far
NASCAR Writer Power Rankings: Top 15 After Darlington
NASCAR Mailbox: Past Winners Aren’t Winning …. Yet
Open Wheel Wednesday: How Can IndyCar Stand Out?


©2000 - 2008 Becca Gladden and Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!

07/09/2007 05:47 AM

Is anyone else as sick and tired as I am about Tony Stewart bad mouthing each and every driver on the track when something happens to him? The comments he made about Denny Hamlin were well above anything he’s said in the past about any other competitor. Tony commenting on anyone else’s knowledge of the word “teamwork” is almost laughable. I personally wonder if Tony has ever sat back after being interviewed and listened to himself? I give kudos to a young driver like Denny Hamlin for being mature enough to handle Tony’s reaction as well as he did. That shows a heck of a lot more class from a rookie driver than Tony has ever shown in his career. Who knows, maybe there’s a bit of jealousy from the Smoke knowing that the kid is kicking his a** this year.

07/09/2007 06:51 AM

I know this has been addressed before, but in regards to #6, I actually thought it was pretty dastardly how Gordon specifically mentioned Johnson and Mears while failing to mention the teammate who almost won the race. It seemed more like a sneaky way to take a shot at KyBusch rather than genuine affection for Johnson/Mears.

As far as #8 is concerned… this was one of the first races I’ve watched where I had my Sirius radio up in the home for the driver feeds (man, Jeff Burton really was unhappy with his car), so I’m not sure I can give a rounded appraisal as the TV was muted most of the night. It seemed fine for me though, a LOT better than I expected it to be, but I can’t imagine it would be very good for people with 25” 4:3 standard-def TV sets. The main thing that irritated me was that TNT seemed too full of themselves with their ‘revolutionary new coverage’, but it was certainly better than the other races they have done this year.

Sally B
07/09/2007 10:35 AM

The only way to keep suspended crew members from communicating with teams in this day and age is to make them come to the track and spend their time in the Nascar hauler, with no access to computers or wireless phones. The ‘new’ rule is all horn and no driveshaft.

It took the wireless compnay 18 months and countless surveys to determine that they should use the new company name on one of their biggest expenses? I could have told them that much cheaper. My question is, will they now get sued by USAC for using the Sprint label?

John Harlan
07/09/2007 12:23 PM

“Sprint Cup” — does that mean the cars will be renamed “Sprint Cars”?

Tony Stewart, at least you don’t have to wonder about how he really feels. Personally, I prefer his unscripted statements to the canned, emotionless, PC answers you see from some of the other drivers (didn’t stop me from looking at my wife and saying “what an A.H.” when he said it, though)

I enjoyed the wide open coverage and hope they keep it up. It seemed like they did a good job of saving the old fashioned ads for cautions and keeping the racing going with the new commercials under green. On a side note, I’ve now seen so many “Saving Grace” commercials during races that I’m sick of the show before the first episode.

07/09/2007 01:09 PM

#4, well it was a race, not a political rally #5, the best thing about it was it was his cry babby team mate he took out #6 Gordon is always Gracious, one of the nicest drivers in Cup #8 I liked the wide open coverage, but then again I have a LARGE TV

Mary D
07/09/2007 01:11 PM

I actually ‘watched’ a whole lot more of the race with the ‘wide open coverage’, because it really kept my interest the whole time. When they usually are cutting away for SO MANY commercials, I’ll leave the room to do other things, and just not make it back for a while!

As for the Tony incident… do you remember Daytona Feb of 2006, when in either a practice or twin 125 race Kevin Harvick was just CRUCIFIED for getting into the back of Johnson & wrecking him… I thought his treatment was very unfair, since it was the same type of thing that happened… Johnson slowed down without warning.., Harvick got the blame. So I guess I can see where Tony would be upset, but where I think he’s wrong is to act as if Hamlin did this on purpose to him, especially with them being teammates! I do agree with a previous poster, Tony’s interviews are much more entertaining than most anyone else’s!!!

Race Fan
07/09/2007 03:20 PM

The wide open coverage kept me more interested in the race. The amount of commercial breaks that are normally present are very distracting.

07/09/2007 03:46 PM

What exactly was Tony Stewart trying to insinaute that Denny’s intentions were during the incident, with his “definition of team” comments? I haven’t figured that out

07/09/2007 05:30 PM

Thanks everyone for your comments. They are very entertaining and informative. Keep ‘em coming!

07/09/2007 07:04 PM

I really have to wonder if Tony is turning another corner. Maybe he needs to go back to anger management and maybe a class on how to say, ‘I’m sorry.’ What a jerk he’s turning out to be.

07/09/2007 07:16 PM

I would change only one thing about the TNT wide open coverage. Please lower the car sounds. I had a problem hearing the comentary.

07/09/2007 10:14 PM

I am just really disappointed that my fave driver, Michael Waltrip, FINALLY qualified in the top five and then had to go home because the qualifying got rained out. That really REALLY sucked. I had no interest in the race after hearing that. I felt bad for the other top qualifiers who got sent home, too.

07/09/2007 11:33 PM

I love Tony and he speaks his mind!!!! some may not agree but I stand behind him!!!!!


Becca Gladden is no longer a contributor to the Frontstretch, but you can see all her past articles on herbiography and archive page.