The Frontstretch: Becca's Big Six: Bristol Edition by Becca Gladden -- Sunday March 25, 2007

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Becca's Big Six: Bristol Edition

Becca Gladden · Sunday March 25, 2007

 

Who … gets my shout-out of the race?

My original choice was Greg Biffle and the No. 16 team for their fifth place finish in the inaugural Car of Tomorrow race. It was not only Biffle’s first Top 5, but in fact his first Top 10 of the year, after finishes of 25th, 15th, 16th and 41st in the first four races. More importantly, Greg was the biggest mover in points this week, vaulting 11 spots from 27th to 16th and giving Biffle, who said he had a “great, great race car,” a much-needed boost in confidence. Unfortunately, Biffle’s car was too low in post-race tech, and fines are likely forthcoming later this week. Runner-Up: Jeff Green (see below).

What … was ABC thinking when they cut off Saturday’s Busch series coverage before the winner even pulled into Victory Lane?

One of the main reasons NASCAR fans watch races to the end is to see and hear from the competitors as they climb out of their cars…especially from the race winner, but also from drivers who may have had conflicts during the day. This was especially true in the case of Saturday’s Busch race, since most fans enjoy Carl Edwards’ trademark victory backflip. But ABC, which just started broadcasting NASCAR again this year, was in an extreme hurry to wrap up coverage, so they interviewed Edwards while still in the car and terminated the program as he was unbuckling his straps. Why the rush? In my market it was for an (ugh!) infomercial. Really, ABC, was another minute or two of post-race coverage too much to ask?

Where … are the seven Toyota drivers in the standings after Bristol?

Certainly not where they or their fans want them to be. Despite all the dire warnings about Toyota coming to the Cup series and tossing money around like it was penny candy, the highest ranking Toyota driver in the unofficial post-race standings is Dave Blaney at 36th, followed by Dale Jarrett (37th), Brian Vickers (38th), David Reutimann (45th), Jeremy Mayfield (50th), AJ Allmendinger (52nd), and Michael Waltrip (54th). No Toyota driver has claimed a spot in the Top 35 in owner points for a guaranteed starting spot in Martinsville, and Jarrett only has two past champion provisionals left to fall back on. Today’s lone Toyota bright spot: Brian Vickers’ 15th-place finish.

When … was the last time Jeff Green finished a Cup race higher than sixth in the No. 66 car?

Never! Green’s previous high finish in this ride was a seventh at Talladega last fall, but his sixth place run is even more important considering his average finish in the first four races was 31.5. “This is a momentum builder and a pride builder for sure,” said Green. “Harold (Holly) and those guys did a great job and I’m not going to give up on them, and I know they’re not going to give up on me.” No reason to now.

Why … did Kyle Busch find it necessary to make a rude comment in Victory Lane?

Here’s what I hear from readers all the time: “I try to like Kyle Busch. I really do. But there’s just something about him …” Mike Wallace called Busch “completely arrogant” after the two traded paint in Saturday’s Busch race, while 21-year old Busch called 48-year-old Wallace’s driving “pathetic” and “absolutely outrageously stupid.” After winning Sunday’s Cup race, TV announcers were enthusiastically lauding the importance of Busch’s victory: First-ever Car of Tomorrow win, 200th win for Hendrick Motor Sports, 600th win for manufacturer Chevy, and the first in the ’07 Impala, among other things. But Busch? “I can’t stand to drive them,” he complained in a live Victory Lane interview regarding the CoT. “They suck.” Is he right? Maybe. Was there a better time and place and way to say it? Definitely.
How … much more do we know about the Car of Tomorrow after its first race?

Not much. The real test will come in the near future when the cars head to a track where aero matters more. “You can forget the bodies – we all have the same bodies at Bristol,” explained Kyle Petty before the race. “I think the place where the bodies will catch up with us is Phoenix. I really look at Phoenix as being the first true test of the Car of Tomorrow because aerodynamics does play a part there.” Still, questions linger about the splitter’s affect on tires and the durability of the rear wing. So stay tuned, race fans — one short-track race does not a successful experiment make.

Your thoughts?

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