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! Â Check back here every Wednesday for Becca’s fun and thought-provoking commentary.
Who ... gets my shoutout of the race? Boris Said, for scoring his second Top 10 finish in as many weeks, starting from the pole and finishing 4th – but, most importantly, for his overall likability and sense of humor. Asked what he thought of his chances Saturday, Boris remarked, “I know these guys are gonna dropkick me pretty quick,” adding that if he could finish in the Top 15 or 20, “I’ll be doing doughnuts in my head.”
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What ... technique did Tony Stewart use to lay back a little on the last restart, allowing him to pass Boris Said handily and score his second straight Pepsi 400 victory? According to Smoke, the move was an “ancient Chinese secret” – invoking the tag line from a decades-old TV commercial for Calgon Water Softener. No truth to the rumor that while stuck in the mosh pit of fans after the race, Stewart was overhead to say, “Calgon, take me away!”
When ... Jimmie Johnson’s “Shamu” car wrecked on lap 148, I could only imagine the annoyance of the Sea World folks, who paid big bucks for this weekend’s special paint scheme. But Fox commentators added insult to injury when they described Johnson’s collision with Bobby Labonte as a “whale” of a wreck.
Where ... have the conspiracy theorists been this week? Many have been on message boards accusing NASCAR of handing the victory to Tony Stewart. They claim that the late race debris caution for a piece of tire on the track was designed to prevent the two most disliked drivers in the sport today – brothers Kyle and Kurt Busch – from finishing 1st and 2nd in the race. As it turned out, they finished 2nd and 3rd.
Why ... am I going to miss the FOX broadcasts now that NBC/TNT will be covering the rest of the NASCAR season? I know some will disagree, but I like DW. I like, “Boogity, boogity, boogity,” and I like, “Dadgum it,” and all the other DW-ism’s. I respect his accomplishments as a driver, and I appreciate the depth of his knowledge. But most of all, I like the way he enjoys himself in the booth, which makes watching the broadcasts a little more fun.
How ... big is NASCAR and the Pepsi 400? BIG. Not only did Vice President Dick Cheney attend the drivers’ meeting and the race, but after addressing a crowd of more than 140,000 fans at the track, Cheney noted, “That’s the biggest crowd I ever spoke to live.”
Becca Gladden is a freelance writer covering NASCAR’s Nextel Cup series for two of the internet’s most popular racing websites. You can visit Becca’s website at www.RebeccaGladden.com for a complete listing of her articles, polls, unique NASCAR news, and more!
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