The Frontstretch: Becca's Big Six : Watkins Glen Edition by Becca Gladden -- Wednesday August 16, 2006

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Becca's Big Six : Watkins Glen Edition

Becca Gladden · Wednesday August 16, 2006

 

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, even the commercials. Check back every Wednesday for Becca’s fun and thought-provoking commentary.

Who ... gets my shout-out of the race? This week’s award goes to Denny Hamlin, finishing 10th in his first-ever Cup race at Watkins Glen. People like to point out how hard it is for rookies to do well at the road courses, but Hamlin finished 12th at Sonoma in June, and now has a Top 10 in his first race at the Glen. He also won the Busch race at the Mexico City road course earlier this year. This young man has a ton of natural road-racing talent.

What ... does it take to run well at Watkins Glen? Apparently a reputation as a hothead helps. At one point, Kevin Harvick, Tony Stewart, and Robby Gordon were running 1-2-3 in the race, and all three are well-known NASCAR bad boys. Jamie McMurray’s 3rd-place finish was all that prevented a trifecta for the testy trio.

When ... do you know that a season is not going your way? When you lead a statistical category like, “Worst Average Finishing Position.” Currently, that dubious honor goes to Michael Waltrip, with an average finish of 31.3 through 21 races (he DNQ’d at the Brickyard). On the other end of the spectrum, Jimmie Johnson predictably has the best average finish, an impressive 8.3 through 22 races.

Where ... will almost half of the full-time Cup series drivers be this Saturday? Competing in the Busch race at Michigan International Speedway. 21 Cup regulars are on the entry list for the Carfax 250 at MIS, setting a new record for Buschwhackers there. Cup series regulars have won 22 of the 24 Busch races this year and will probably add to that total in Michigan.

Why ... do the Busch brothers seem to be natural magnets for controversy? Through no fault of their own, both Buschs were involved in situations on Sunday that have been hot topics of debate this week and may lead to changes in the NASCAR rulebook. Kurt’s chances to win the race – and possibly to make the Chase – were severely damaged by an untenable pit road penalty, while Kyle was the beneficiary of five straight “Lucky Dog” passes, allowing him to finish the race on the lead lap despite serious mechanical issues that sent him to the garage at one point during the race.

How ... emotional does a crew chief get when his driver is vying for a spot in the Chase, has a shot to win the race, and something suddenly goes wrong? Just ask Todd Berrier and Roy McCauley, crew chiefs for Kevin Harvick and Kurt Busch, respectively. When Harvick’s car started spewing fuel out of the overflow on Lap 61 at the Glen, Berrier jotted on his note pad that he was “about to throw up.” Meanwhile, McCauley, who lost a heated battle with NASCAR officials over Busch’s pit road penalty, radioed Kurt that he was “about in tears.” Guess it’s time to start stocking TUMs and tissues on the pit box, right boys?

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

M. B. Voelker
08/17/2006 07:33 AM
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In role-playing games people like the Busches—especially Kurt—are called “weirdness magnets”. Nothing to do with anyone’s opinon of their personality—just that when anything out of the ordinary that is going to happen it happens to them.

If an escaped circus elephant ever wanders onto the track it will be Kurt’s car that gets stepped on. If the breeding habits of an obscure endangered species disupts someone’s wedding it will be, er actually was, Kurt’s. If an alien spaceship looks in the Nascar garage for expert mechanics to make needed repair Kyle’s lucky sunglasses will be a critical part.

Its part of the fascination of being their fan—you never know what is going to happen next. :-D

Becca
08/17/2006 06:50 PM
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Lol. Weirdness magnets -I like it!

 

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