The Frontstretch: Ten Points to Ponder ... After Homestead by Becca Gladden -- Monday November 19, 2007

Go to site navigation Go to article

Ten Points to Ponder ... After Homestead

Becca Gladden · Monday November 19, 2007


1. Matt’s Momentum – Matt Kenseth has had a great second half of the Chase, posting finishes of 5th, 4th, 2nd, 3rd, and 1st in the last five races – an average finish of 3.0. Six races ago, Kenseth was 12th in the points – Sunday, he finished the season in 4th. With all the talk about how critical it is to carry momentum to Daytona, you have to figure Kenseth must be feeling pretty good about the ’08 season ahead.

2. Countdown Clock – If you’re already starting to worry about withdrawal during the offseason, there are places on the ‘net already featuring Daytona 500 Countdown Clocks – it’s just 90 days and counting! And don’t forget that the Bud Shootout is a week earlier this year, running on February 9th, 2008.

3. Proper PropsNASCAR’s eternally unanswered question – how much of a racer’s success is the car and how much is the driver – seems to be affecting the kind of praise that Jimmie Johnson should be getting by now. He has 33 wins and two Nextel Cup titles in just six seasons, but you rarely hear him spoken of as one of the “greats” of the sport. Mark Martin (by way of comparison) has 35 wins and no championships in 23 full-time seasons. Is it because fans give more credit to Johnson’s ride than they do to him?

4. Short-track Shortage – On tonight’s Wind Tunnel program, announcer Mike Joy was asked what concerns him about the current state of motorsports. He replied that he’s worried about the welfare of short tracks around the country, because that’s where the future driving talent comes from. Really? Try telling that to Jacques Villeneuve, Patrick Carpentier, Juan Pablo Montoya, Marcos Ambrose, A.J. Allmendinger, Sam Hornish, Jr. … et al.

5. Kasey’s Conflict – Guess by now you’ve read that Kasey Kahne was allegedly involved in a scuffle with a security guard at Homestead on Friday, resulting in him being briefly handcuffed and detained by police who are still investigating the incident. This comes shortly after Kahne inexplicably dyed his hair black and a week after he said of his run at Phoenix, “I drove like an idiot all day.” Success in NASCAR can be quite fleeting, and the swing from a six-win season in ’06 to a winless season in ’07 seems to be taking a toll on Kasey. But it does put that one Allstate commercial in a whole new light, doesn’t it?

6. SPEED Plea – Dear SPEED TV, I really enjoy your NASCAR RaceDay show – but next year could you please, PLEASE, drop Ricki Rachtman from the act? ‘Nuf said.

7. Speaking of SPEED TV – I have long asserted that Dave Despain does not do a very good job of concealing his dislike for NASCAR and its fans – which makes me wonder why he hosts so much of their NASCAR programming. For a very insightful commentary on the subject, I recommend today’s column at “The Daly Planet” –

8. Hendrick History – Of course, you never know what you’re going to hear on the pre-race programming when ABC/ESPN is in charge, but was it really necessary this morning to mention that Rick Hendrick pled guilty to one count of mail fraud in 1997? Not only is it 10-year-old news, but Hendrick received a full pardon by President Bill Clinton in 2000.

9. Light Pole – With Coors Light being named the Official Beer of NASCAR, the Bud Pole Award becomes the Coors Light Pole Award in 2008. How long do you think it will take before people start referring to the pole sitter as having won the “Light Pole”?

10. Fond Farewells – Here are just a few of the people and things we’re saying goodbye to with the end of the 2007 season: Ricky Rudd and Dale Jarrett as full-time Cup drivers, Robert Yates as a Cup team owner, the names “Nextel Cup Series” and “Busch Series,” the Chevy Monte Carlo, Dale Earnhardt Jr. driving the No. 8 car, Tony Stewart and the other JGR drivers in Chevys, and the current Cup car. Your thoughts?

The Frontstretch Newsletter, back in 2014 gives you more of the daily news, commentary, and racing features from your favorite writers you know and love. Don’t waste another minute – click here to sign up now. We’re here to make sure you stay informed … so make sure you jump on for the ride!

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!

M. B. Voelker
11/19/2007 09:17 AM

Noting that I consider Dale Jr. a man of good character, ponder this:

If Dale Jr. had hated Kyle Busch and had deliberately set up to mess up Kyle’s Chase he could hardly have done more damage on purpose than he did by accident.

11/19/2007 11:11 AM

Becca, shame on you! You are a writer and why would you care if someone reported on Hendrick’s crime? Do you have a vested interest in him or his race teams? A pardon doesn’t change the fact that the man is a convicted felon. All they did was report the truth!! Maybe we should start looking at YOUR reporting a little closer. Maybe you ARE leaving out FACTS that you deem unnecessary!!!Shame Shame!

11/19/2007 04:18 PM

True, the crime is a fact but it is no longer relevant to anything going on in racing. ESPN seems to always look for a negative angle.

11/19/2007 07:39 PM

Hi Becca, explain #5 further please. What Allstate commercial in what light? The ones with the girls? Was he running from them?

And what is with this “incident” involving Kasey and handcuffs. Are we sure it just wasn’t those “girls” caught up with him and wanted to have “fun” with him back at his trailer? Seriously, sounds like we have a case of an overzealous security guard. I mean Kasey’s size and demeanor don’t strike too much fear in anybody do they? I think the track hall monitors need more “professional” training.

#7 I don’t think Despain dislikes NASCAR. Going back to his day’s track announcing at the local motocross tracks, he has a general contempt for all racing series that do shady things or compromise the “purity” or integrity of the race. He truly likes all forms of “racing” but isn’t too serious not to laugh at the some of the silly things the governing bodies do.

11/19/2007 08:30 PM

Kasey Kahne is pretty much a wimp, and I fail to see how he could strike fear into a security guard. Saw the Gillette commercials, didn’t even know that he needed to start shaving.
He’s history, washed up and gone within 2 more years, like Buckshot Jones

11/20/2007 09:11 AM

I 100% agree with “bob” re: Dave Despain!

I right now struggle with Despain, but Bob is correct in that Dave likes PURE & ACTUAL racing, not the NASCAR BS that is staged each and every weekend!

In this case! NASCAR is the problem, NOT Dave Despain! After all he reports on “RACING”, not theatrical events! And I do beleive that he has been chastised many times by his network and NASCAR for “discussing” some of NASCAR’S actions!

Kevin in SoCal
11/20/2007 01:03 PM

What’s wrong with Riki Rachtman? He’s a longtime fan of the sport, so he knows what he’s talking about. His favorite driver is Jeff Burton. Are you just closed-minded because he has a lot of tattoos, is from California, and used to be a heavy-metal rocker?

11/20/2007 02:14 PM

“Are you just closed-minded because he has a lot of tattoos, is from California, and used to be a heavy-metal rocker?”

Ha,ha. If you only knew how wrong you are.

I just don’t think he fits in on RaceDay, and he adds very little to the broadcast. Just my opinion – your mileage may vary.

11/21/2007 11:15 AM

Kevin in SoCal.

It’s whatever floats your boat about Rachtman – but his bio and pattern suggests that he is just a bandwagoneer whose brother and friends get him a gig to do. I personally don’t get the feel that he “truly” understands “racing” and all that it invloves. It appears that he was placed in this position, because he has the tats and metal, to try to tie in to the “X” crowd.

This is the overriding problem that the tried and true fans complain about. Instead of potential fans finding and enjoying NASCAR for what we found so great about it, the “Suits” compromise the racing and coverage ultimately creating a mediocre product.

11/21/2007 08:10 PM

Writing genius and racing insight as always.


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