The Frontstretch: Ten Points to Ponder ... After Indianapolis by Becca Gladden -- Sunday July 29, 2007

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Ten Points to Ponder ... After Indianapolis

Becca Gladden · Sunday July 29, 2007


1. Stewart Storylines – As expected, Stewart has hit his midsummer stride, winning two straight Cup races and his second Brickyard 400. Stewart-related questions: Will Tony be punished for saying “bullsh*t” in his post-race interview? Just what bullsh*t was he referring to that he thinks his fans have to put up with? Will he continue the trend of six of the past nine Brickyard winners taking the title? And how much will an autographed sweat-soaked Tony Stewart towel go for at auction to benefit his charity foundation?

2. Unhappy Harvick – Kevin Harvick was miffed when Tony Stewart bumped him passing for the lead in the closing laps. Harvick claimed the post-race doughnut he gave Stewart was congratulatory, not retaliatory. Still, Harvick said this: “He’s always the first one to whine about people not giving him enough room. I gave him plenty of room all day to race, and he winds up knocking the left front fender off, and we wound up finishing seventh. It is what it is. Just race them how they race you.” The two drivers are close friends off the track, but will Harvick stand by his veiled threat to move Tony the next time they are battling for a win?

3. 48 Falling – Jimmie Johnson made a quick exit from his burning race car Sunday, suffering singed hairs on his face after cutting a tire and slamming the wall on Lap 62. Johnson finished 39th and fell two more spots in the points to ninth, having been as high as second earlier this season. Although he won four of the year’s first ten races, Johnson has just one Top 5 finish in the past nine events to go along with six finishes of 15th or worse. Are NASCAR’s new, stricter rules regarding the comportment of suspended crew chiefs taking a toll on the No. 48 team?

4. The Angry Minute – Did you see the new feature on the SPEED Report called “The Angry Minute,” featuring a mock-serious debate between NASCAR crew chief Bootie Barker and open wheel analyst Robin Miller? It was very funny! Miller complained that NASCAR’s races should be longer, since he starts watching them at breakfast, and they end by supper instead of a few hours later. Bootie countered that he would like to be an open wheel crew chief, since he’d only be at the track for a few hours a week. This was just one of several issues they traded barbs on. Make sure to catch it next time – you’ll laugh out loud!

5. Kyle’s Milestone – It was a little bit lost in the typical Brickyard overhype, but Sunday marked Kyle Petty’s 800th start in a Cup race. His first start came back in the 1979 Talladega 500, where he finished ninth; in case you’re wondering, dad Richard Petty finished fourth while Darrell Waltrip won the race. Kyle wasn’t as strong this Sunday; he finished 32nd after getting caught up in a multi-car wreck and remains 36th in points. but that didn’t taint a historic day for the Pettys. The milestone puts Kyle sixth on the all-time starts list, behind his dad (1184), Ricky Rudd (895), Dave Marcis (883), Terry Labonte (849), and D.W. (809).

6. Comical Commercials – I got a chuckle out of the new “Stop Team Tylenol” ad, in which several drivers try to figure out what makes the Team Tylenol race cars go so fast. Elliott Sadler holds up a picture of a running jackrabbit and says he thinks the secret is “Rabbit Release,” but he is quickly told that the correct Tylenol phrase is “Rapid Release.” Meanwhile, Michael Waltrip’s new NAPA TV ad has him poking fun at his own misery, reading mail from fans who offer helpful advice like, “Turn 3 is not a school zone.”

7. Battle at the Bottom – Three drivers at or near the 12th-place Chase cutoff struggled at Indy: Dale Earnhardt, Jr. finished 34th, Ryan Newman 42nd, and Jamie McMurray 33rd. Two others in the fray had better outcomes – Kurt Busch, who came in 11th and Greg Biffle, who finished 15th. Junior is currently the final driver above the cutoff, while Busch and Newman swapped spots for 13th and 14th, respectively. Of note: one race ago, the gap between 12th and 16th was 185 points. Now, it is just 128 points.

8. Evaluating ESPN – Would love to hear what you guys thought of ESPN’s broadcast. I am hearing mixed reviews so far – a lot of fans felt that the guys in the booth talked too much and that the cameras did not always show the most important action. Your thoughts?

9. Toyota on Top – It’s worth a mention that Toyota notched its first ever Busch victory on Saturday at ORP, with Jason Leffler behind the wheel beating out Greg Biffle on 50-lap older tires. Toyota also scored a top-10 at the Brickyard Sunday, thanks to Dave Blaney, who finished ninth.

10. TMI – Lastly, a few things under the heading of Too Much Information: Old Spice is not only auctioning off the used Tony Stewart towel, but is also running a tongue-in-cheek commercial about exploring a new media opportunity – posting advertisements on “Tony Stewart’s armpits.” Meanwhile, we learned in the pre-race show that Kevin Harvick’s favorite karaoke song is Madonna’s “Material Girl”. By the way, whatever happened to Kevin Harvick’s “Wax Smoke” campaign?

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Today on the Frontstretch:
Beyond the Cockpit: Alexis DeJoria On The 300 mph Women of the NHRA
A Swan’s Broken Wings Equal NASCAR’s Next Concern?
Thinkin’ Out Loud – The Off Week Season Review
Pace Laps: Swan Racing’s Future, Fast Females and Dropping Out
Sprint Cup Series Facilities Can Build Upon Fan Experience by Looking to Their Roots


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

Sally B
07/30/2007 04:31 AM

This was a fairly typical telecast of ‘racing’. Too much time spent with neophyte ‘hosts’ adding nothing of value to the information, new gimmicks (draft tracks) that add less and take time away from race coverage. A lot of babble from the booth that is more distraction than information…and too little coverage of any but the top 10 drivers. All the networks seem more concerned about inventing ‘drama and excitement’ by talking, instead of just covering the racing. Not much different than any of the other networks. And we still see only one car cross the finish line.

07/30/2007 06:50 AM

ESPN coverage sucked!

1. Commentators that know nothing about racing!

2. Suits & ties?? Give me a break!

3. Quote from ESPN: “not a seat to be had”! “complete sellout”!!

They must have been in the restroom when they said that! Along the backstretch were thousands upon thousands of empty seats. Also along the frontstretch, which is usually all sold out, MANY empty seats, row, after row, after row!

4. “Move of the race”??

Montoya? All he did was move over a lane to miss some water coming out of the 8 car! WOW!! WHAT A MOVE!!!

5. “DIRTY AIR” and their graphics trying to depict this? How BAD was that? And the graphics were actually wrong!

Also, to make the ‘graphics” sound important, over, and over, and over they kept saying “he is just in the dirty air so his car is not handling”!!! How many times do we need to hear that?

Never mind in most cases they were completely wrong! In several instances a car that was some 20 car lengths or more behind another, the commentators said “see how the dirty air affects the handling of that car”?? HUH!

6. The IDIOT trying to explain Jr.‘s “blown engine”!! What a fiasco that was! He had the rod bolts breaking, sending pistons, rods, valve train parts, and everything else flying out! This simply did not happen and was not the case!

7. They actually missed the best “move of the race”!! It was the 8 car after the engine problem, getting the car off the track, into pit lane, and keeping his car to the right (yes, causing some congestion), but not blocking anyone’s pit stall! A great move TOTALLY missed by the announcers!

Actually they missed calling out NASCAR for allowing the pits to be open at that point!

8. Hey ESPN! there were actually 43 cars in the race! Not the three (3) you covered!

9. Way too many flashbacks! Missed most of the race because you were always someplace else at another time!

10. Overall??


07/30/2007 11:40 AM

My apologies for the previous posting of mine!

It was not that way when it left my computer!

Will try to find out why!

Kinda hard to follow this way!

So sorry!

Not a problem Douglas, Not your fault. That Textile, the markup used on the Frontstretch, took all of us a while to figure out. --Ren

07/30/2007 12:00 PM

The coverage was kinda hit or miss to me. I thought Dr. Jerry Punch did well but I thought Rusty Wallace was a complete train wreck.

Did you know that Jeff Gordon was 40th in the points in practice?

Even when the others correcteed him he continued to say it and anytime that they asked him to explain something as far as driving the car he came across as being utterly clueless.

Draft Tracker was a complete waste because 1. it really doesn’t show you anything you didn’t already know.

2. Rusty couldn’t explain his way out of a wet paper bag even if there was some value to it.

07/30/2007 12:33 PM

Tony should have the same fine and points taken away that Junior did when he said sh*t. I assume the BS his fans have had to put up with is him.

John Harlan
07/30/2007 02:02 PM

Compared to TNT, ESPN was a relief. Covering 43 guys doing their own thing at over 180 mph means you’re going to miss something, but I thought they were an improvement on the “follow the leader” technique of TNT.

I appreciated the high tech room of race car cutaways and parts, but they should have waited until they knew what went wrong with Jr’s engine rather than waste everybody’s time speculating. I would’ve liked to see the graphic of the pulley coming off and how it affected his engine once we knew that was what took him out of the race.

I didn’t know where they were going when they played up the Ganassi / Montoya interview comparing them to oil and water. I was expecting some kind of Bill Parcels / Terell Owens spectacle, and there was Chip getting all misty about “stars and planets lining up” and getting a big hug from JPM.

I had a good time watching the race, and hopefully they’ll learn from their mistakes and keep improving the coverage.

07/30/2007 03:32 PM

ESPN is as bad or worse than the other networks, except for their announcers and commentators. In that category they’re much, much worse.

Wendy In UK
07/30/2007 03:34 PM

Althopugh I have folowed NASCAR ofr some years now, I rarely get to see any racing, as they dont show it over here. I know some of the terminology used in racing, and underdstand some, but I dont always know what everything is. So for viewers like me (if I could have seen it) something like the draft tracks would have helped me understande a little more.

Tony is behaving himself most of the time now. but I think its good that he still has enough fire left in hiom to express how he feels.

07/30/2007 09:27 PM

ESPN was okay, I’d say close to par compared to the other networks. They did miss some of the wrecks but it is Indy and it’s hard to cover the whole track well. The spotters can’t even see the whole place. It was good to hear Jerry Punch again! I’d agree that Rusty was a little rusty “cough”, I would have rather they had Randy LaJoie who was really good during the Busch race the night before.

07/31/2007 07:51 AM

I can’t get real excited about the recent coverage by ESPN. Perhaps I was expecting better, but it seemed like everything was a half a beat off.

We saw Jimmie’s tire shred on live TV and the talking heads didn’t even notice it until the replay.
And they explained how the fire was caused by knocking the fuel pump off even though the engine had a manual pump.

They kept interviewing a driver while cars were crashing out on the track.

But forget all that!
You should check us out in the FRONTSTRETCH FORUMS.
If y’all can’t get NASCAR on TV, get your fill of talking NASCAR with us.
I think you’d add a lot to the conversations we have.

Just click on the red
FRONTSTRETCH FORUMS at the top of the home page.
So easy, even a caveman can do it.
We’ll leave the light on for you.


07/31/2007 03:08 PM

1. The “Draft Tracker” was a complete joke! I was not able to learn anything from this.

2. I agree with Douglas about their “Move of the Race.” Wow, Montoya moved to the left to avoid Jr. What a great driver! Forget about all of the much better moves during the race.

3. I did like the tech center. It made it handy being able to learn more about some of the things that occurred. I agree with someone, though, that they should have waited until they knew what happened to Jr’s car before showing us all of the things that might have happened.


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