Each week, Frontstretch Staff Writer Becca Gladden looks at the prior weekend’s NEXTEL Cup race from a reporter’s point of view, covering the "who, what, when, where, why, and how" of the race, the drivers, the TV coverage and even the commercials. Check back here every Wednesday for Becca’s fun and thought-provoking commentary.
Who "¦ wouldn’t enjoy a full-blown rivalry among two of NASCAR’s top stars to carry us through a long hot summer of racing? Let’s hope that’s the case with the current feud between Tony Stewart and Matt Kenseth, which started at the Daytona 500 and was reignited by a major collision on Saturday. The two are separated by just one point in the standings after 11 races, and will be battling each other to gain ground on Jimmie Johnson, currently ahead of both drivers by over 90 points. After the All-Star wreck, an angry Stewart asserted that Kenseth “screwed up,” stating that if Kenseth blames him for the accident, “he’s screwed up in the head.” Kenseth replied that Stewart, “is always mad at somebody,” adding, “I’m not gonna go out there and do the name calling like he does every week.” Aw, come on, Matt. Where’s the fun in that?
What "¦ do Dale Earnhardt, Jr., James Woods, Ice T, Cheech Marin, Richard Roundtree, Tommy Lee, and Elliott Gould have in common? Answer: They are all scheduled to be part of the voiceover cast for the upcoming video game, “Scarface: The World is Yours,” based on the 1983 movie. No word yet on which character Dale Jr. will play. Did anyone in the original movie speak with a North Carolina drawl?
When "¦ are we going to hear an explanation for Matt Kenseth sitting in his car during the National Anthem, when all the other drivers and crew members are standing aside their cars on pit road? This has been shown on national TV for two weeks in a row. Perhaps there is a perfectly acceptable reason for this, but enquiring minds want to know what it is.
Where "¦ else could the All-Star Challenge be held to provide a more exciting race for the fans? Just about anywhere, according to email I’ve received this week from readers. Perennial tire concerns at Lowe’s and the lack of any real competition for the lead in the closing laps of the race were the two biggest reasons cited for moving the event elsewhere.
Why "¦ does NASCAR stick with this strange inversion gimmick for the All-Star race? Apparently it is meant to add some excitement to the event, but the only real suspense is how many laps it will take for the “big one” to occur after a bunch of slower cars are placed ahead of the fast ones. Saturday’s count? It took just 8 laps for the inversion to create the wreck that took out many of the race’s top contenders.
How "¦ good did Jimmie Johnson make me look, coming back from a drive-through penalty for speeding on pit road – which almost put him a lap down in segement one – to win the All-Star Challenge? Two weeks ago in this column I wrote: “What one quality keeps Jimmie Johnson at or near the top of the point standings every week? Simply his team’s ability to recover from adversity by race’s end.” Though no points were awarded for Saturday’s race, the 48 team’s penchant for being there at the end proved once again to be the deciding factor in their victory.
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