The Frontstretch: Ten Points to Ponder ... After Kansas by Becca Gladden -- Monday October 1, 2007

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Ten Points to Ponder ... After Kansas

Becca Gladden · Monday October 1, 2007

 

1. Goody’s, anyone? – Somehow, I think all the NASCAR bigwigs were ready to share a round of Goody’s headache powder by the end of today’s race. Officials were called upon to make numerous critical and highly controversial calls this weekend, culminating in the Cup race itself. Should the starting time have been moved up with thunderstorms in the forecast? Should the race have been called after the first red flag for rain? Should there have been a green-white-checkered finish after Juan Pablo Montoya hit the wall with four laps to go? Should Greg Biffle have been credited with the win after coasting across the start/finish line under caution? I know you guys have some strong opinions on these issues, so let’s hear from you!

2. Tony’s Tongue – On the question of whether Tony Stewart should have to be fined for saying the f-word during a practice session at Kansas, I’m giving Stewart the benefit of the doubt this time. The truth is that in a garage full of grown men, swear words are common; and Stewart, addressing an ESPN cameraman, was apparently unaware that the microphone was live.

3. Busch in Busch – Kyle Busch won the Busch race Saturday, narrowly beating Matt Kenseth, who had dominated most of the day. But Busch’s car, specifically the intake manifold, failed post-race inspection, leading to the question of whether Alan Gustafson, his crew chief in both series, could miss some Nextel Cup races if he is suspended over the Busch Series infraction.

4. Hero to Zero – Meanwhile, Tony Stewart’s crew chief Greg Zipadelli could have come away from Kansas looking like a genius after keeping Stewart out while others pitted just before the second rain delay. Instead, after the race went green, Stewart was involved in a wreck that crumpled his left front fender and Zippy gambled, leaving Stewart out until the tire eventually got cut. When it did, Stewart got ploughed from behind by Kurt Busch and his day was over. Tough call either way, but it looked to me even before the tire went down like they should’ve pitted.

5. ESPN Exasperates – Yet again! Hey, there are three cars battling for the lead with Jeff Gordon, Matt Kenseth, and Kurt Busch all “nose to tail,” in the words of the announcer. What better time for a long commercial break?

6. Bushy Brows – Jimmie Johnson showed why he’s the reigning Nextel Cup champion on Sunday, coming from 43rd place in a backup car to finish third and take over the points lead. But Johnson had the quote of the day in the pre-race show when asked which actor he thought could play him in a movie: “Colin Farrell and I have this eyebrow thing where they’re on different planes, so it would work well.”

7. CoT Trouble – If you thought today was interesting, wait until next week when the Cup series heads to Talladega for the premiere of the CoT on a restrictor plate track. Drivers complained bitterly in testing a few weeks ago that they were unable to see hand signals inside the car in front of them due to the big wing and Gurney lip on the CoT. At a track like Talladega, not being able to see hand signals is guaranteed to spell big trouble.

8. Junior’s Joke – I laughed out loud when a race reporter asked Dale Earnhardt, Jr. whether he thought NASCAR should restart the race after the first rain delay. Said Junior, “I really ain’t get nothin’ better to do.” Ah, such enthusiasm! Unfortunately, Kyle Busch probably wasn’t amused when Dale put him in the wall coming off turn two. Junior took responsibility for the wreck but that didn’t assuage Busch, who fell two spots in the standings to sixth.

9. Little Lite Lie – Am I the only one who notices these things? One of the beer companies – I think it was Miller Lite – said in a commercial today that they ran a taste test in which they offered a sample of Miller Lite to people who normally drink another brand of lite beer. The result? More than one third of the taste testers preferred Miller Lite over their old beer! Um, doesn’t that mean that two thirds of them liked their current brand better?

10. Monsoon Madness – Note to today’s race reporters: I don’t think they call thunderstorms “monsoons” in Kansas.

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Today on the Frontstretch:
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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Chris
10/01/2007 06:43 AM
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Good questions… I’m just gonna comment on #1.
As far as moving the starting time of the race up, you just can’t do that (well no more than the “hurry up” process NASCAR does from time to time. But that don’t gain them but about 10 minutes. As far as moving it up any “significant” amount of time I assume we all know its set to go off at a ‘set’ time, and too much logistics are involved to do much any different.
I DON’T think the race should of been called after the first red flag. It’s nascars job to give the fan it’s monies worth on race day,.. and to screw the fan just because they got the show to 1/2 way, then pack up and call it a day would of been wrong. IMO all the question have come up just because of all the trouble that arose afterwards. If it had gone off relatively trouble free, it would be a non-issue.
Far as the G/W/C. I have mixed feelings on that. I KNOW first hand how the camera makes it look SO much more light than it actually is. I’ve been at some races, recorded it, and then watched it and was SO surprised how much lighter it was when I saw it on TV. The cameras can do majical tricks. Many of the drivers had to say they could hardly see,.. plus it’s not a matter of what YOU AND I can see,.. it’s what THEY can see and judge just inches apart at 200 mph. That makes a huge difference.
Finally as far as Biffle coasting across the S/F line. I have mixed feelings on this. But when I think about it. NASCAR has “special” rules for the final lap of the race. During the race you CAN be pushed into the pits if you run out of gas. ON the last lap, you must get there on your own.
ALso during a yellow you must keep up to pace speed. I’m not so sure that is the case when coming to the checkers (remember you are coming to the checkers)
One thing is for sure Biffle didn’t break any rules, and he DID get to the checkers on his own. Again,.. I think it’s only an “issue” because it was for the win. If this had been some driver back in 15th.. and he coasted in, it would be a non-issue

Steve M.
10/01/2007 08:30 AM
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OK, I just have to say it. How many more times is NASCAR going to bow to Tony Stewart? Becca, yes, you are right that there is a LOT of questionable language in the garage and that all these men are adults and have every right to drop the F bomb whenever they want. But to excuse Tony for saying it when there was a camera pointed at him is, well, unexcusable. The man (and I’m having a very difficult time even calling him that) has been around long enough to know that when a camera is anywhere near, you don’t pick your nose, you don’t pull your underwear out of your butt crack and you certainly don’t go around saying f***. But it’s Tony Stewart and he got away with yet another infraction! I’m just curious, what exactly will he have to do before the powers-that-be actually do something to him for his antics? He’s a pathetic individual who for some unknown reason has NASCAR by the short-hairs. The best part of the entire race yesterday was when he went into the wall!

Shanna
10/01/2007 09:40 AM
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On #3 while Gustafson makes the calls on the cars in the busch race he is not offically listed as the crew chief of that team. The actual listed crew chief is named Mike Bumgarner. He is the man that is said to set the car up for the races. This team has been fined in the past using this same duo all year long and the crew chief that was fined was Bumgarner and not Gustafson. If NASCAR fines them like they have most of this year Bumgarner is likely the one in trouble again. So Kyle probably won’t loss Gustafson for any races because he is not listed as the offical crew chief for the busch races.

Mike
10/01/2007 10:39 AM
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Yes Steve we get it . You don’t like Tony Stewart . But “the best part of the race was when he went into the wall “ ? I got news for you . Any driver going into the wall for any reason could hardly rank as the best part of a race .

Diane
10/01/2007 10:45 AM
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To Steve M.

If NASCAR is bowing to Tony Stewart all the time, why did they restart the race on Sunday. If what you say is true, they would have called the race when it rained and Tony would have been the winner. Right?

james
10/01/2007 11:13 AM
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Ahhh but didn’t they bow to Tony after the red flag Diane? I mean Waltrip was being push started on pit road when the field came back around. Isn’t that a safety issue? Let’s not forget NASCAR never opens pit lane before a lap has even been completed. Tony was given another gift for running low on fuel. All I can say about NASCAR is they are the most consistant governing body in sports in being inconsistant on it’s calls. It’s thier ball the make the rules up as they go. Or in the case of the winner this week they change rules to meet thier wishes.

Michael
10/01/2007 11:44 AM
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Waltrip being push started on pit road does not qualify as a safety issue where nascar is concerned . And yes nascar can and does open pit road before completing a lap if they throw a red flag. Red flag means the race cars are to stop , not go around for one more lap .

Steve M.
10/01/2007 12:21 PM
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I figured I’d get some slack for my Tony comments…which is good…I like hearing other peoples’ opinions. Mike, you’re right, anyone going into the wall is never good; regardless of how much body fat a person has to protect himself or the unimaginable number of foot long Subway subs that he has in his car to help soften the blow :-) And Diane, I’m sure one of the main reasons that NASCAR didn’t end the race because of rain was because they didn’t want another Michigan episode (see MIS August race – rain Sunday and Monday, race held on Tuesday). Don’t get me wrong everyone, I do respect the BIG orange pumpkin as a great race car driver. There are few out there better than him. I just have a BIG problem with his attitude and the fact that all he ever does is blame others for things that he himself either does or causes. For such a BIG man he certainly can’t take responsibilities for his own wrong-doings. And the fact that NASCAR keeps looking the other way is getting really, really old. I’m mean really, how many cheeks can NASCAR turn when it comes to this man?

ezrider714
10/01/2007 05:58 PM
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No Michigan repeat the race would have been over

Robert Eastman
10/02/2007 07:30 AM
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As emotionally charged as racing is, has always been, and always will be (and should be), why does anyone believe that a racer can always control his outbursts. (In fact, most complaints about NASCAR’s current drivers is that they are “too vanilla, boring and politically correct!”) Why aren’t the tv producers held accountable for not using the 7 second delay and then bleeping out any words that are unacceptable. This has been used in radio broadcasting for many years and seems to work just fine.
I think the producers want to “push the limits” as much as they can get away with, and do so as much as possible.
Even though I think that Tony is a cry baby, and many times an idiot and a big jerk, he is an extremely talented racer whose immense passion and drive is the key to his success.
If you take away “the fire in the belly” that most great drivers have, racing will be as exciting as a rush hour traffic jam.

The television producers and directors are 100% responsible for what they broadcast. They are totally to blame when “bad content” is allowed. NASCAR, the FCC, and the public need to focus their displeasure and anger toward the real culprits! Forget about penalizing the drivers, owners and crews, penalize ESPN!

 

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