The Frontstretch: Ten Points to Ponder ... After Lowe's by Becca Gladden -- Sunday October 14, 2007

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Ten Points to Ponder ... After Lowe's

Becca Gladden · Sunday October 14, 2007


1. Lucky at Lowe’s – Jeff Gordon is a great race car driver, but even the best sometimes need a bit of luck, as Gordon acknowledged in his post-race comments from Victory Lane: “I can’t tell you how many times we tried to give this one away. I was having trouble with the (fuel) pickup on the banking. Even on the last (restart), the tires spun so bad, Clint Bowyer could have gone right by me.” Gordon pulled out the win despite two cautions and a red flag in the last 16 laps of the race, a green-white-checkered finish, an almost-empty gas tank, and a group of talented hard chargers right behind him, including Kyle Busch, Clint Bowyer, Ryan Newman, and Carl Edwards.

2. Translation, please? – There was some serious fender rubbing going on partway through the race between future teammates Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. After Jeff got into Dale, an angry Junior warned, “Tell him I ain’t gonna forget that!” But I’m really curious about what Gordon meant when he said a short time later, “I really don’t want to race him tonight,” referring to none other than his future teammate. What’s your interpretation?

3. Kenseth’s Calamity – It’s not often that Matt Kenseth has the kind of dismal night he had at Charlotte, bouncing both off the wall and other cars several times. Said a dejected Kenseth after the race, “I have absolutely no excuse. I really feel like an idiot out here tonight.”

4. Almost Alltel – With the race winding down, Ryan Newman made a sweet move on a lap 329 restart as the No. 24’s engine sputtered, allowing him to sweep past the three frontrunners and take the lead. True to his nickname, Newman took off like a rocket in clean air, but blew a tire just two laps later, slamming the wall and finishing 28th. Curiously, both Rusty Wallace – who was calling the race live – and subsequent reports from Goodyear engineers hold that all four tires were up when Newman arrived back in the garage…even though Newman was adamant that he felt the tire pop.

5. CBD – I got a kick out of Speed TV’s new acronym for the No. 07 team’s improbable Chase run this season: CBD, which stands for Clint Bowyer Denial. But there’s no denying the fact that this guy is for real. Bowyer is now just 10 points behind reigning Nextel Cup champ Jimmie Johnson, and he’s the only driver besides Johnson still within a one-race points margin of Jeff Gordon. Bowyer’s worst finish in the Chase (if you want to call it that) has been 12th, but he’s also had two seconds and a first, giving him an average finish in the Chase of 5.6. Johnson’s average finish in the Chase? 9.8.

6. Broadcast Blunders – I checked in at a number of fan message boards during the race, and you know what the number one topic of discussion was on all of them? Hint: It wasn’t the racing, the drivers, the Chase, or even college football scores, which apparently ESPN thinks race fans can’t live without. The big topic yesterday, as it has been for the past several weeks, was the TV broadcast itself. I can tell you this much: NASCAR is not doing itself any favors with the way ABC / ESPN currently covers the races. And WHY doesn’t that network understand that after sitting through a 500-mile race, fans want to see more than one (sorry, two) post-race interviews?

7. You Might Be a Redneck – If government officials are afraid to visit you without first updating their immunizations. Many fans were outraged after hearing the news that some Homeland Security staffers were advised to get a series of inoculations before attending the Talladega race to study public health issues. My feeling is that all you can really do is laugh at such ignorance. As Kyle Petty put it, “That’s our government at work.”

8. Shave and a Haircut – Dale Earnhardt, Jr. encouraged a little friendly razzing over the weekend after his cousin and crew chief Tony Eury Jr. started work at Hendrick Motorsports. According to Earnhardt, Tony Jr. was told to get a haircut, tuck in his shirt, and report to work at the break of dawn. Hey, don’t laugh too hard, Junior – your turn is coming soon.

9. Over it? – Speaking of Dale Jr., did you hear that he left both Friday practice sessions early, stating that the car was so good there was nothing else they needed to do to it? This seems quite odd considering how poorly he ran, starting 22nd, finishing 19th, and not leading a single lap. Is it possible that Junior is mentally and emotionally done with this season, just going through the motions at this point? Sure looks like it to me.

10. Castroneves Can-Can – Okay, it’s not a NASCAR story, but Indy Car driver Helio Castroneves has proven that not all of a driver’s moves take place on the race track. The quote of the week, however, goes to Sam Hornish, Jr., who was asked to comment about the colorful sequined costumes that Helio and other competitors wear on Dancing with the Stars. “I haven’t seen him wear anything that he didn’t already have in his wardrobe,” he joked.

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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…


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

J. Furjanic
10/15/2007 06:07 AM

In no particular order, here are my pondering points:
1) Jr. was running 14th, yet he got more camera time at one point than the front runners. “Look out Jr’s coming” as he was getting passed by at least 2 cars.
2) The Democrats may have wanted the vaccinations in case some patriotism accidently rubbed off on their staffers.
3) Will someone PLEASE tell Rusty to get back in a car or go work on building his race team. I respect the man’s talent and knowlege, but he’s on my nerves as a color man.
4) Between the old car’s aero push, and the NA$CAR Touring Car (AKA COT), let’s go back to factory sheet metal on a COT like chassis.

10/15/2007 06:54 AM

ESPN’s broadcast has gotten worse over the last few races. They should absolutely get rid of Rusty Wallace. His past affiliations with penske are clearly evident as he constantly brags about the Penske dodges. There are other 41 cars on the track. And then comes Dale Jr’s turn. It doesn’t matter where he is running, he is always the focal point. There was so much racing going on in the mid pack but ESPN just wanted to show Jimmie Johson running single file in front.

I feel bad for Newman as he clearly would have won the race if not for blowing his tire or slipping on the oil leaked by Green’s car. What I don’t understand is why some of these drivers don’t go on the apron after blowing up. They insist on running on the track. Looks like this chase will turn out into a bigger snoozer with Jeff Gordon holding a big lead on majority of the field. At this point 4 place onwards need to go for broke and hope that the front 3 will stumble at some point.

L. L.
10/15/2007 08:33 AM

I think the bump of Jr. is being totally blown out of proportion. Rusty Wallace’s sickening 30 minute diatribe didn’t help. Jr. had been running the high line the whole race, JG the low. Jr.‘s car did not work as well on the the low, Jeff had momentum and bumped him. He didn’t wreck him, he didn’t punt him, be barely wobbled him. Could Jeff gotten off the gas quicker, I have no idea since I wasn’t in the car. I think JGs comment about not wanting to race all day with Jr. was based on, on the start of a run Jr.‘s car was better but Jeff’s car would come in then he would spend quite a bit of time trying to get around Jr. losing the leaders. I also wanted to add how quick the media was to fan the flames playing selected in car communications, failing to play Jeff apologizing on the radio.

I guess that wouldn’t have gotten the reaction the media wanted would it?

10/15/2007 09:44 AM

ABC/ESPN’s coverage is awful. But the bright spot is Andy Petree. He is very good and has good insight. And while Rusty was a great driver, he is a terrible analyzer. He states the obvious and doesn’t offer any real insight into the driving.

10/15/2007 09:46 AM

I’m guessing by saying “I really don’t want to race him tonight.” that Jeff was saying didn’t want to be around Jr, could be because of all the bad luck Jr has had or could be Jeff just didn’t want to deal with him. I don’t see a problem with it, Stewart says stuff like that all the time. Only reason people are reacting is that it’s Jeff and Jr.

And when Jr said he wouldn’t forget the bump hopefully that means the next he’ll move his slower car out of the way ;)

10/15/2007 11:02 AM

L.L. for prez!!!
I could not agree more. The whole damn thing was so overblown I wanted to puke.

Karen T.
10/15/2007 01:43 PM

ABC/ESPN’s coverage is bad…. I can say that because I’ve worked in control rooms….whoever is directing this show is not fast enough to call the right shots and half the time the cameras don’t even have the shots…Then they go to commercial and come back and the race is already started…. Also,
all they had was a wide shot of pit road and never showed them coming out – just the wide shot…i would have been fired for work like that…!!!!

10/15/2007 05:48 PM

You are so right, Rusty is so Jealous of Jeff, he just can’t seem to get over it

Mike C
10/15/2007 06:26 PM

The fact is that tv broadcasting of stock car
racing is unwatchable on ANY network . Fox, ABC,ESPN , are all terrible . Someone is going to have to develop a whole new way to cover the sport instead of just switching networks and talking heads .

gary s
10/15/2007 06:27 PM

ABC’s ESPN coverage is pathetic. The comments about Jr going after Gordon, the complete lack of interviews after, and the race coverage itself, are a testament to how well Fox does it!

10/15/2007 07:18 PM

I’ll tell you one thing, if you don’t like the broadcast which totally stinks you all need to turn on your local MRN radio broadcast. It’s far superior to the joke of the coverage from Rusty, Brent, Suzy, and Brad have been giving us. Get Dale Jarrett in the both as soon as possible! Some of the coverage he did earlier in the year was excellent. I really enjoyed the race where his father, Ned, was a special guest in the booth doing some of the announcing. This brought back some of my fond memories of when he was with TNN doing the Busch series. Heck, bring Ned back into the booth for some of the races too! It showed us how spoiled we all were when we had Benny and Ned in the booth. Someone needs to put a petition together to get DJ and Ned back into the booth. I have to say I like Kyle Petty’s annoucing as well. I enjoyed his special interview’s with his father “The King”. He’s smart and articulate even if he can’t drive and is always a lap or more down!


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