The Frontstretch: Becca's Big Six : Michigan Edition by Becca Gladden -- Tuesday August 22, 2006

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Becca's Big Six : Michigan Edition

Becca Gladden · Tuesday August 22, 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?  A high five this week to rookie Reed Sorenson and the entire No. 41 Ganassi Racing team. Sorenson moved through the field to finish 8th after a 28th-place starting spot, scoring his third Top 10 in the past 10 races. It was Reed’s fifth Rookie of the Race award this season, and his second straight at MIS, where he now has two Top 10 finishes in his first two starts at the track.
What ... was the most “ridiculous item of the day” (with apologies to Bill O’Reilly)? How about TNT announcers telling viewers where the drivers were in the point standings after the first four laps of the race? Four laps! Jimmie Johnson had a flat two laps in and, at that moment, Kenseth had passed him in the points. But given the 48 team’s knack for recovering from such setbacks, the standings after four laps of a 200-lap race were meaningless. As usual, Johnson came back for a 13th place finish, maintaining his first-place standing in the points.

When ... do you know that a driver has been having a really bad couple of weeks? Consider the postrace comments of Kasey Kahne, who finished fourth at MIS after an average finish of 25th in the prior seven races. “I’m real happy,” said Kahne. “It’s nice that I won’t have to watch TV this week and watch myself screw up on the final lap.” Ouch.

Where ...  were the TV cameras when it came to the prerace flyover, usually a favorite moment for the fans watching at home? You could hear the roar of the jets as they passed overhead – apparently from the 107th Fighter Squadron of the 127th Wing of the Michigan Air National Guard. But instead of showing the formation, viewers were treated to scenes of the drivers and their wives/girlfriends looking up at the sky. Nice work, TNT.

Why ... was Tony Stewart able to finish third from a 33rd-place starting spot? Pit reporter Marty Snider asked Stewart after the race, “How’d you work your way through all that traffic, Tony?” An always-direct Stewart had a simple answer: “I did my job.” And there you have it.

How ... does a crew chief know whether a car needs a small adjustment or a big one? According to Robbie Reiser, Crew Chief for Michigan race winner Matt Kenseth, it’s easy: “Usually, I regulate it by the octave of his voice.” Ah, the tricks of the trade.

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Today on the Frontstretch:
Did You Notice? … A Return To Richmond, Post-Spingate And Quick Hits
NASCAR Mailbox: A ‘Normal’ Saturday And A Valuable Lesson
Beyond the Cockpit: Tony ‘The Sarge’ Schumacher
Open Wheel Wednesday: Controversial Moves, Long Beach Crowds, and Being a Fuddy Duddy
The Frontstretch Five: Pleasant Surprises of 2014 So Far
IndyCar Driver Profile: Takuma Sato
Beyond the Cockpit: Tommy Baldwin on Owning His Team, Hall of Fame and the Number Seven


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