The Frontstretch: Ten Points to Ponder ... After Bristol by Becca Gladden -- Sunday August 26, 2007

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Ten Points to Ponder ... After Bristol

Becca Gladden · Sunday August 26, 2007

 

1. B-O-R-I-N-G – Drivers were effusive in their praise of Bristol’s new surface and banking, and even the Car of Tomorrow and Goodyear’s hard tire seemed to get a pass (no pun intended). But if NASCAR wants to know why TV ratings are so low, Saturday night’s race provided the answer. A hot, humid summer night race at Bristol used to exemplify the track’s slogan, “Racing the way it oughta be.” But even the broadcasters’ repeated promises that “it’s gonna get interesting soon” couldn’t pump any excitement into this total snoozer.

2. Prerace Priorities – Even if you enjoyed the racing (and I know some of you did), ESPN’s coverage of the opening ceremonies was a train wreck. The kids from Motor Racing Outreach singing the National Anthem is traditionally a fan favorite moment, but part of that enjoyment comes from actually seeing the kids. ESPN showed them for a scant few seconds, focusing instead on the big “sign trick” in the stands, and then missed the flyover altogether – unless you count that quick parting shot of the jets as they flew away.

3. No Fence Straddling – I really want to hear what you guys thought of the race. Two drivers, Kasey Kahne and Carl Edwards combined to lead all but 13 of 500 laps, and while there was some two and three-wide racing, it wasn’t for the lead, and there wasn’t any of the beatin’ and bangin’ that used to be Bristol’s trademark. Which side of the fence are you on – and why?

4. Hendrick HamperedHMS drivers ruled the first half of the season, winning 10 of 14 races and five straight COT events. But they certainly didn’t dominate at Bristol Saturday, with Kyle Busch the only Hendrick driver in the top 10, finishing 9th. Jeff Gordon was 19th, Jimmie Johnson 21st, and Casey Mears 22nd.

5. Manufacturers Mix – There was a nice variety of car makers in the Top 10 – two Fords, four Dodges, and four Chevys. Michael Waltrip had the highest finishing Toyota in 23rd, while Edwards’ win was the first for Ford since Jamie McMurray won at Daytona in early July.

6. Through the Field – A few drivers deserve extra credit for working their way from the back of the pack for good finishes, including Greg Biffle from 34rd to 10th, J.J. Yeley from 40th to 13th, and David Stremme from 36th to 14th. Kasey Kahne’s second-place finish was his first Top 5 of the year, and Bobby Labonte scored his second Top 10 in as many weeks.

7. Blown CallNASCAR admitted that they made a big mistake in Friday’s Busch race, when a pit road commitment cone ruling sent Kyle Busch from second to 28th place, costing him a chance at the win. Though NASCAR realized their mistake within minutes, nothing was done to rectify the situation. In this case, the stakes weren’t that high, as Kyle is not running for a Busch Series title. But what, if anything, do you think NASCAR should do if this happens again?

Kasey Kahne’s season appears headed for a turnaround after his second Busch Series win of the season at Bristol Friday night.

8. Two to Go – It seems hard to believe that just two races remain (California and Richmond) before the start of the Chase, and it appears the Top 12 are pretty well set. With Dale Earnhardt, Jr. in 13th, now 158 points behind Kurt Busch in 12th, it’s unlikely that Junior will make it in. Looks like the 100-point penalty and four engine failures (someone told me DEI now stands for Dead Engine Inside) that the No. 8 had this season will be enough to sink the No. 8 team’s Chase chances.

9. Kahne is Able – It’s been a depressing year for Kasey Kahne, currently 23rd in points, especially on the heels of his series-leading six-win season last year. But Kasey and his fans have reason for optimism. He has qualified in the Top 5 for four out of the last five races, including the pole at Bristol. Then, he backed those speeds up by winning the Busch Series race on Friday, then finished second in the Cup race after leading the most laps. It was Kasey’s first Top 5 finish this year, as well as a career high for laps led in a single Cup race. Said Kahne, “You go into a season and you think you’re going to run well (but) you don’t, and then to get a great weekend here like we did this weekend feels good. We are just going to try and carry it on.”

10. Stinky Salutations – Hey, I know all you Tony Stewart fans won’t want to miss your opportunity to send an Old Spice e-card to your pals featuring a message on Tony Stewart’s armpits. Just go to www.TonyStewartsArmpits.com and greet your friends with one of several available sentiments like this one in Tony’s armpits (I am not making this up): “Do I smell monkey, or do you need Old Spice?” You can also create your own message…and people say NASCAR’s not a sophisticated sport.

Hey, wait a minute! Before you take off for the day, don’t forget to vote in the weekly Frontstretch poll by letting us know who you think will be the highest finishing rookie at California! Get busy outsmarting our very own Tony Lumbis in the process by letting him know who YOU think will rule the roost out West.

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Championship Caliber? What Does That Even Mean?
Mirror Driving: Winning Vs. Points, Needing a Boost, and The Lady’s Last Dance?
Nuts for Nationwide: The Curious Case of Elliott Sadler
Happiness Is…Arrogance, Less, Next, and the Outdoors
Frontstretch Foto Funnies: It’s Not Gonna Fit…
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©2000 - 2008 Becca Gladden and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!

Paul
08/27/2007 12:22 AM
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Sure, those 100 points would help Junior, but Kurt also got hit with the same penalty, so they basically cancel each other out

SallyB
08/27/2007 05:53 AM
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I’ve been to the night races at Bristol for the past 7 years. I can’t blame the lack of excitement on the new track, since last years race was just about as exciting as this years. It doesn’t need to be a wreck fest (all those yellow flag laps aren’t thrilling), but there doe need to be intensity and agression. That’s what was lacking. In my opinion, it’s the ‘chase’ that has diluted the action there. Too many teams with too much to lose and nothing to gain with 2 aces (instead of 12) to go in the rest of the season. As the race went on Saturday night, more fans spent time looking at their watches, calculating what time they could be heading home, rather than watching the race. It was very strange to be at Bristol, feeling the ‘thrill’ being drained out of the air as the race went on.

Steve M.
08/27/2007 06:34 AM
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SallyB, I wish I could have been there to watch the race. Still haven’t been able to get tickets to Bristol. Anyway, it could have been worse. You could have been anywhere else, watching it on tv, and been really disappointed. There was more “commercial” coverage on ESPN than there was “race” coverage. I’m glad there are only two more ESPN races to suffer through.

Gary
08/27/2007 06:49 AM
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Racing skills were there, but it wasn’t as much fun

Ed
08/27/2007 07:23 AM
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I agree. For Bristol it was boring. It seems that there is always someone wanting to make a change in a track or a rule to make things “better.” If this is the way Bristol is going to be in the future, I may drop it from my ever shortening list of races to watch, and that doesn’t leave much. Rusty’s constant babble about how “this is going to get tense” got tiring after awhile, when nothing notable happened.

As for the “chase,” I don’t even pay attention to that stuff, because it means little. The back markers in the last positions of the “chase” aren’t going to win the championship anyway, so it all means little. It’s all NASCAR hype with little substance. They didn’t count on their “stars” not making it each year. What will NASCAR do next year to try to get Jr. in?

Golf has copied NASCAR, but they remove back markers each week until they are down to the best of the best. Now that would be interesting. Ten or twenty cars competing at a good short track for something really important could get interesting…then again, with today’s money interests they might just drive around and look at each other because they afraid to mess up their cars.

nancy
08/27/2007 08:39 AM
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After a lot of years of camping out all week and spending time and money—the honeymoon is over—we decided after this one—no more—Nascar has taken one liberty too many —Bristol is no more-and ESPN should stay with stick- and ball sports -where are our FOX guys? Jr. needs to just concentrate on a win and “let it go”

Steve M.
08/27/2007 09:53 AM
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Hey Becca, you’re the reporter…Can you find out about how much of the race was actually shown on tv compared to all the commercials? I’d be interested if someone in your camp could find out this information.

Annie Mack
08/27/2007 10:01 AM
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# Commercial breakdown Sharpie 500:
Total number of commercials: 123
Total number of companies or entities advertised: 79
Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast:
14
Start time to record race/commercial periods 08/25/07: 8:00 PM
End time to record race/commercial periods 08/25/07: 11:19 PM
Total minutes: 199
Minutes of race broadcast: 146
Minutes of commercials: 53
Number of debris cautions with no debris identified: 1
Number of missed restarts: 1
Total race brdcst time: 146 Total comm. brdcst time: 53
See the full report at CawsnJaws.com.(8-26-2007)

Steve M.
08/27/2007 10:42 AM
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Wow Annie….thank you…

chris
08/27/2007 11:41 AM
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I really enjoyed watching the race on TV…not necessarily the broadcast or the broadcasters…but the race. It was good (imo) to not see a caution-filled wreckfest. Lots of side by side racing. Most of the drivers, in post-race, seemed to indicate that a super-rock-hard tire did not allow drivers to “run agressive”…I’ll be interested to see if the racing is more agressive on the next Bristol race, if Goodyear brings a softer tire.

Dot Jones
08/27/2007 03:02 PM
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Re: Kyle Busch’s penalty
The same thing happened to Ted Musgrave in a Truck race. They made him come back to the pits for a loose lugnut. Funny thing, it wasn’t loose. He didn’t get his spot back. NASCAR never even apologized either.

Don
08/27/2007 03:33 PM
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It seems tome that a lot of you would like to see a bunch of Juan Montoyas out there instead of talented drivers doing there thing.

Marc
08/27/2007 05:24 PM
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All they did was to make another cookie cutter track out of Bristol, albeit a short one. Shame Shame Shame.
Also, I think Bristol should be one of the final 12 races, it is a very important and prestigious race to win.

But the true fact is, that race was B_O_R_I_N_G.

JC
08/27/2007 07:28 PM
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Sat. night’s race was one of the best at Bristol and one of the best of the season. I typically dread Bristol (I’d go watch a demolition derby if that is what I wanted to see). Sat was FANTASTIC. Three wide racing on a half mile! It couldn’t get any better than that!

If you want to see wrecks, go to the county fair and watch the derby….

 

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