The Frontstretch: Ten Points to Ponder ... After Atlanta II by Becca Gladden -- Monday October 29, 2007

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Ten Points to Ponder ... After Atlanta II

Becca Gladden · Monday October 29, 2007


1. Hendrick’s Half – If you add up all the races that Hendrick Motorsports drivers have won this year – Jimmie Johnson’s eight, Jeff Gordon’s six, and one each for Kyle Busch and Casey Mears – you’ll see that Hendrick drivers have won 16 of 33 races – just under half of the all the races this season.

2. Who Knew? – Dale Earnhardt Jr., that's who. Junior knew that he had a loose wheel well before the green-white-checkered finish, telling his team on lap 324, “That d*mn wheel is loose as hell!” He asked for another driver to look and see if something was broken on the car’s rear end, but Reed Sorenson relayed the message that everything looked okay. “Are you kidding?” shouted Junior. “It’s driving itself like a forklift here! Do you see the car weaving? That’s not me! It may be okay at speed. We’ll find out in a second.” And find out they did as he slammed the wall incredibly hard after the tire fell off. I don’t think you can hang this one on DEI.

_Editor’s Note : Looking for more on Junior and his fresh start with Hendrick Motorsports? Mike Neff has a full report from Monday’s test you can read by clicking here

3. Drummed-up Drama – With little else to talk about on today’s pre-race show, it was kind of pathetic listening to the broadcasters trying to create drama where there was none, repeatedly asking which of the top teams would make a mistake today. This is one of the unfortunate consequences of the Chase itself, in which the artificially-tight points race means one mistake can ruin a contender’s chances.

4. Questionable Question – Mark Martin’s hard impact after David Gilliland’s lap 65 spin wasn’t funny, but his response to pit road reporter Mike Massaro’s question sure was. Massaro posed a somewhat convoluted query about how hard the hit was and how Martin’s body diffused the impact, to which Mark replied, “Well, I don’t know. What kind of question is that?” Perhaps in the future a simple, “Are you okay?” would suffice.

5. Never Mind – It was very early on when pole sitter Greg Biffle started describing a severe vibration and was convinced that the engine was blowing up. “We’re done,” he radioed to his crew chief. Or not. Biffle completed the race, finishing 22nd. But late word is that his engine, along with those of Dave Blaney and Denny Hamlin, may have somehow had water mixed with the fuel. NASCAR is investigating.

6. Hamlin Haters – Denny Hamlin and his team took a lot of heat for causing a late-race melee when the No. 11 car wouldn’t accelerate on the restart with three laps to go. It was reported at the time that he was simply out of gas, but as mentioned above it seems other factors may have been at play. So the Hamlin haters among you should hold your tickets until the result of the investigation regarding this strange report of water being mixed into the fuel of at least three cars.

7. An Afterthought – That’s the way ESPN treated Saturday’s Busch race, sandwiching it between college football games and once again treating race fans like second-class citizens. The game prior to the race went to double overtime, completely eliminating the pre-race show, unless you were lucky enough to have ESPN Classic or And while it’s true that the race ran long due to the excessive number of cautions, there was not a single post-race interview – not even one with first-time Busch winner David Reutimann.

8. Crazy Cautions – Both the Busch and Cup races saw a record number of cautions this weekend – 25 in the Busch race and 14 in Cup, though the etiology of those cautions was quite different. With the Busch race taking place at Memphis and the Cup race in Atlanta, there were very few Buschwhackers, leaving the field open to a large number of young rookies whose inexperience showed throughout the day – while the leading cause of cautions in the Cup race was cut tires, accounting for at least half the day’s yellows. Here’s an amazing stat: At one point in the Busch race, there had been more laps run under caution (68) than under green (66).

9. Silly Slogan – Isn’t it ironic that NASCAR runs a series of commercials featuring the Chase slogan, “Miss a Lap, Miss a Lot” – when the airing of the commercial itself causes viewers to miss laps?

10. Anthem Applause – I hereby nominate John Schneider as the official NASCAR singer of the National Anthem. Not only did he provide a stirring, in-tune rendition, but he preceded it with this invitation to fans: “This song belongs to all of us. Let’s sing it, shall we?” Maybe if he says that often enough, people will start joining in instead of just listening – which is as it should be.

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Today on the Frontstretch:
NASCAR Easter Eggs: A Few Off-Week Nuggets to Chew On
Five Points To Ponder: NASCAR’s Take-A-Breath Moment
Truckin’ Thursdays: Top Five All-Time Truck Series Drivers
Going By the Numbers: A Week Without Racing Can Bring Relief But Kill Momentum


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

10/29/2007 08:15 PM

RE: #4, Way to go Mark! That almost would have been worth watching the “race” for. Another class act soon to be missing from NA$CAR.

Robert Eastman
10/30/2007 11:48 AM

Does anyone know the “scoop” on the lost wheel incident on Jr’s car? If he had a 2 tire change on the last pit stop, I would assume that the 2 right side tires were changed since everyone seemed to be “wearing-out” the right sides. The wheel that came off was the left rear. Did something break, or did the lug nuts come loose, or what? Every article that I have seen simply says that Jr. made a 2 tire stop and then lost a wheel. Thanks in advance for any feed back!

jimmy capps
10/30/2007 06:05 PM

is it me or the questions asked by the pit reporters dumb or what.


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