The Frontstretch: Five Points to Ponder: All About Logano, Delana and Jessica Simpson, and Bigger is Better by Bryan Davis Keith -- Tuesday June 8, 2010

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ONE: Kentucky Speedway Already Has a Cup Race

It just happens to be a Nationwide Series race. But as this weekend’s 300-miler at Nashville Superspeedway shows, even when there’s only a handful of Cup regulars instead of 12-15, they’re still going to dominate the event. Just look at this weekend; Brad Keselowski, Carl Edwards, and Paul Menard were 1-2-3. Now, all three of them will be back in the field this Saturday night… plus Joey Logano in one of JGR’s vaunted Toyotas.

If the weekend’s race at Kentucky plays out anywhere remotely close to the one on Saturday night did, it will be all Brad Keselowski, Carl Edwards, and Logano at the front. Joe Gibbs Racing’s crew chiefs will get their standing 10-minute appointment on screen, but don’t forget those drivers, too! The commentators will gush praise on how hard it is for these guys to jump on corporate jets, land on private airstrips, and be escorted over to the racetrack, where they get to race a car that another driver put the time in to practice and set up. What a hard-knock life they’re leading.

What’s proving hard-knock for NASCAR, though, is selling this type of racing to fans; only 17,500 of them showed up in Nashville to see Keselowski and Edwards throttle the field. Anyone else find it funny how the Cup regulars that are there to save the series are failing to do it?

So Bruton, take your time with the infrastructure improvements and trying to get a Cup race. You’ve already got one.

TWO: Speaking of Joey Logano, Sliced Bread Grows Up

Logano’s “no apologies” accepted display of temper on Sunday showed all of NASCAR this youngster is no longer a kid.

The incident that brought it out of him was far from malicious, and his father stole an inordinate share of the limelight. But Joey Logano proved himself to be a Joe Gibbs Racing driver after the conclusion of Sunday’s race, which saw him verbally abuse Kevin Harvick, physically struggle with his crews to get after the driver of the No. 29, and emerge from his hauler nearly half-an-hour later still ready to go after Happy. Frontstretch writers at the track said that “they’d never seen Logano more angry in his entire career combined.”

It’s about freaking time. For all his talent, for all his potential, Logano has been getting pushed around on the track; see Harvick punting him at Bristol. And even though his reaction after Sunday’s race was nothing more than a verbal tirade and finger pointing a la Jeff Burton, it was the first time in his career that Logano’s competitive side got out and went crazy. This is a violent, rough and tumble sport, and talent will only take you so far. The other part of the Logano equation emerged this weekend, and that’s bad news for the competition. Look for the young driver to have a fire lit under his No. 20 for weeks to come after this episode… and for those around him to think twice before putting a bumper to the Home Depot ride again.

THREE: Speaking of Joey Again, His Comments on Delana’s Firesuit are Spot On

While Logano’s willingness to stand up for himself has been applauded for the most part, a lot of writers and fans alike have commented that Logano’s willingness – especially as a single guy with a dad who still accompanies him to the racetrack – to bring Delana Harvick and her dress attire into the mix in Sunday’s post-race fallout was inappropriate.

Well, anyone saying the comments were inappropriate is flat wrong. Frankly, Logano deserves a pat on the back for having the guts to say something that has been on a lot of fans’ and writers’ minds for a long time… just how much power does Delana weld? And why the hell does she wear that firesuit?

Delana’s got every right to wear a firesuit and support her husband from the pit box on race day. But as both an owner and an active participant on the No. 29 team, she’s a public figure and open to scrutiny just as any other team member is; and a lot of folks, this writer included, do find her Sunday costume to be, well, a bit comical. I mean come on, it’s a costume! Can you imagine if Jessica Simpson showed up to watch Tony Romo wearing shoulder pads? She’d be more of a laughingstock than she was for wearing that pink jersey while her-then lover botched yet another playoff game.

Fact is, Logano came up with the zinger of the year so far, and he was spot on. He called out the one woman on pit road that shows up looking like a cheerleader, much like Ms. Sprint Cup and ESPN’s pit reporters. Only difference is, those women are paid to look like cheerleaders.

FOUR: Bigger is Better

One of the unexpected announcements following Pocono came with regard to the other 2.5-mile oval on the NASCAR circuit… the hallowed ground that is the Daytona International Speedway. Even after increasing the size of the restrictor plates for the season-opening Daytona 500, NASCAR announced Monday that upon returning to Daytona in July, the Cup cars will go from a 63/64-inch plate to 66/64-inch plates, a last hurrah of sorts as this summer’s 400-miler will mark the final NASCAR event run on Daytona’s legendary old surface before repaving commences.

Not much needs to be said here…it’s a great change. The bigger plates earlier this season made a noticeable difference in the quality of racing seen in the 500… take away the damned pothole, and we had a classic on our hands. More throttle response is never a bad thing either. Bigger plates, Greg Sacks, Steve Park…we’re in for an old-school kind of weekend in Daytona come July, and this writer for one can’t wait.

FIVE: Robby Gordon Motorsports Obituary Released Saturday

This past Friday, when Ted Musgrave pushed up the track in turn 3 on his qualifying attempt wheeling the No. 7 Toyota, Robby Gordon Motorsports missed their first race since the team’s owner/driver failed to qualify seven times in his debut season with his own operation back in 2005. Following this misfortune, Gordon issued a statement while he was busy racing off-road in Baja, thanking Musgrave for his efforts as well as reaffirming his team’s commitment to all of their motorsports ventures.

In short, this is the farewell tour, Robby fans.

The last five years have seen the ever fiery Gordon trump the odds as perhaps the most successful owner/driver in a single car since Alan Kulwicki and Bill Elliott. He’s never obtained their level of success, yet still proved competitive in the face of opponents with ten times the money and resources. But between aligning his RGM operation with a BAM Racing team that hadn’t even seen the track since 2008, running cars with blank quarterpanels and, on Saturday, feeling the need to issue a statement to confirm his team’s commitment to its efforts is about as proof positive as it comes that all is not well in that camp.

Between the economy and the dominance of the superteams, these are perilous times for single-car teams not just in Cup, but anywhere in big time stock car racing. With Gordon nonetheless pursuing off-road racing while his Cup program is faced with a go-or-go-home situation, it does a lot more than suggest that maybe even the tireless Gordon has had enough time playing NASCAR’s game.

Just like James Finch, the Mullet brothers at CJM Racing, and so many others that have tried to succeed on their own in NASCAR, Gordon may well be on the way out for good soon enough.

It’s just sad to see it happen at Pocono. Back in 2005, Gordon’s team entered their races here with a roar, with the driver using Menard engines that used high gears for Pocono and even had Gordon shifting on the track’s long straightaways when no other driver in the field was doing so. It didn’t prove to mechanically work, but Gordon defiantly stuck with those Menard engines for a good while.

Instead of defiance, however, RGM appears to be headed out with a whimper. Here’s hoping he finds some fireworks at Sonoma before it’s over for good.

Contact Bryan Davis Keith

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wcfan
06/08/2010 06:03 AM
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Can you not find your OWN headline Picture? At first I believed Matt’s column was still featured.

I for one would much rather see 10-12 Cup drivers in the Busch series then only 2 or 3. Not saying they are good for the series, just saying 10+ can at least make it exciting.

Joey’s fire was good too see, just to bad HE DID NOT WATCH replay and see he that HE HELPED cause the wreck.

Are you going to start making fun of the TITLE SPONSERS spokeswoman for wearing her FIRESUIT in victory lane?
I believe Delana’s family are racers/owners maybe when she first started getting into the pits she had to wear a firesuit and now she just feels comfortable in it.

Hopefully nascar hits Front Row motorsports with MAJOR penalty for having bleeders on the 38 tires and this helps Robby. But with nascar hatred of Robby I could see Front Row getting only a warning.

DansMom
06/08/2010 07:11 AM
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Here we go – get your replies ready!

I would like to speak out in favor of the top 35 rule:

1) NASCAR doesn’t make their rulings or mold their rulebook around Robby Gordon as some think. In fact, as non-competative as RGM is, I’m pretty sure they don’t give a crap about “actions detrimental to Robby Gordon”

2) There are 4-5 competative owners that cover the top 20 competative teams. Outside of these teams, NO ONE has a shot at winning. Why shouldn’t those teams be guarenteed to make the race each week? Do we need more S&P cars in the race?

3) We had S&P cars before the top 35 rule.

4) Successfully owning and driving for your team is a ridiculous amount of work. See History minus Tony Stewart. That’s not the fault of the top 35 rule.

Last) Single Car teams haven’t been relevant in NASCAR for 15 years now. The top 35 rule is newer than that.

So, it takes some drama out of qualifying. If you don’t get your kicks from driving or watching cars run as fast as possible around a track, ALL OUT for two laps, you shouldn’t be watching racing.

wcfan
06/08/2010 07:29 AM
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Dansmom

You are as revelant to this web site as you believe Robby Gordan is to nascar.

RandyGoldman
06/08/2010 08:05 AM
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BURN!

Oh wait, that statement didnt make any sense wcfan. Nevermind, I take my BURN back.

Johnboy60
06/08/2010 08:15 AM
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Nothing wrong with Dansmom that a brain transplant wouldn’t cure!!

DansMom
06/08/2010 08:27 AM
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Hey WC, how was Joey supposed to watch the replay in his car during the race? I know Toyota has some state of the art technology in their street cars, but I don’t think the #20 is equiped with a TV and DVR to check out repays of the race he was currently running.

wcfan
06/08/2010 09:10 AM
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After talking to Coach Gibbs and nascar, Joey should have seen AT LEAST ONE replay( I understand that with TNT’s poor coverage this may have been tough) showing that it took two drivers to cause this wreck.

RandyGoldman
06/08/2010 09:27 AM
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Joey is too good of a driver to live in the past!

“Gotta go back in time”

Mark
06/08/2010 09:50 AM
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So Mrs. Harvicks’ attire has been on the minds of writers huh Bryan . If thats true , i’d have to wonder about you . Men who obsess over womens clothes are in fashion design . You might be in the wrong business .
And by the way , refering to yourself as a writer is insulting to writers . You’re a blogger , nothing more .

Bdeholl
06/08/2010 11:44 AM
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Wilbur is only at the track to keep Mr. Ed’s stall clean after he throws his temper tantrums…

Kevin in SoCal
06/08/2010 12:39 PM
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I dont have a problem with Mrs. Harvick wearing a firesuit while she’s in the pit area. For one, its a uniform as well as a safety item, so she’s showing her commitment to the team by wearing their colors. Two, she’s a lot safer wearing a firesuit than she is wearing street clothes. Why do you think the pit reporters are wearing firesuits, too?

RamblinWreck
06/08/2010 12:39 PM
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Bryan-

Just how much power does DeLana w[i]eld? I’m not sure why you think that’s a valid or important question…

As she’s running the business end of KHI, I think it’s safe to say that she’s the most successful female owner in NASCAR since Teresa Earnhardt.

And since she’s already selling “I wear the firesuit in the family” T-shirts, I’d say she got a kick out of this.

KenKars
06/08/2010 01:12 PM
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Just last week one of your fellow writers blasted Ashley Judd for wearing street clothes in the pits at Indy! Pit reporters wear firesuits, pit crews wear firesuits – and having at one time been up close – I think Delana looks damn fine in her firesuit!

by the way, if Joey Logano wants to be taken seriously as a NASCAR driver – maybe he should change his name to Joe !!
(Mikey whoever, the ARCA driver might also consider a name change!)

DansMom
06/08/2010 01:44 PM
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I was sad to read this morning that Robby Gordon died.

I also thought it would have been bigger news. Haven’t seen it on other sites.

29racefan
06/08/2010 02:18 PM
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Comparing Delana Harvick to Jessica Simpson is laughable. Simpson is/was a trophy girlfriend. Delana is wife/business partner with a savvy business sense (see her new T-shirt line). She apparently takes her racing seriously. It is her job. Secondly, Joey did not grow up. His father urged him on. Daddy must wear the firesuit in that family. Maybe Joey would have garnered more respect if he quit while he was ahead. The stupid interview after he had time to review the replays was childish.

MR.ED
06/08/2010 02:54 PM
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Yes delana should take off the firesuit but she wears to keep that smoking hot body covered up it’s just not right

midasmicah
06/08/2010 03:57 PM
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At Pocono, seven start and parkers told the story. When I see Bobby Labonte starting and parking something is very wrong. If this continues, they need to change the number of cars in field from 43 to 36. And after Jeff Burton retire I will have to root for a young driver. It’s Joey Logano. He’ll toughen up more as time passes. I love the fire he showed at Pocono. One thing people have to understand is that Harvick thrives on the bully reputation he’s achieved. He lokks to get inside other driver’s heads and is successfull at doing so. As far as him and
Delana go, they’re pretty successfull at their joint racing team.

ricardo
06/08/2010 04:18 PM
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It is not too late for Smoke to invite Delana to race in the “Prelude To The Dream.” She already has the firesuit and she can take her turn at putting Joey into the fence

Adam
06/08/2010 04:29 PM
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Wow Bryan, your comment about Delana Harvick couldn’t have been more foolish? Your comparison to Jessica Simpson wearing shoulder pads makes no sense. Now it would if, Delana wore a fire suit, gloves, Hans device and a helmet. But she doesn’t she wears a fire suit. Nothing different really then someone wearing a Romo jersey or fans with there drivers pit jacket and sweatpants with there drivers # on it and a hat with there drivers colors on it? (Oh I’ve seen it). I guess you want to see women in stylish fashion, bet you could not have been more excited about “Sex in the City 2” coming out!!!

And your observation that Lagano having the finest “Zinger” of the year so far. As I said yesterday, the delivery was horrible, it sounded like someone wrote it for him and he rehearsed it in the trailer for 30 minutes and he still couldn’t make it sound like it was original? A good zinger can’t be rehearsed, you want the best zinger for the year award it has to be said right when the driver gets out of the car. Please, best zinger. My friends and I were laughing when he said it after the race just not at the “best zinger” as you call it, no we were laugh at Lagano trying to sound tuff and or funny?

Don
06/08/2010 07:37 PM
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dansmom, your comment about Robby at 1:44 renders you irrelevant on this site, and as a person. What a disgusting and unfunny comment. You should be ashamed, but I suspect you are not, as you got a reply as desired.

mkrcr
06/08/2010 09:22 PM
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It should be called the death of Frontstretch. The same toads from the Internet, who spend more time burning each other than discussing the topic, have arrived. It was nice while it lasted.

Kasey
06/09/2010 01:10 AM
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I just found this gem from “DansMom” in the Daly Planet comments….

Dans Mom said… Nooooooooooo. Why can’t DW just go away. He has as much to do with Nascars declining ratings as Brian France himself. Why do they keep putting this self absorbed schill on the air?

June 8, 2010 1:41 PM

Major tool, troll and hypocrite.

Kasey
06/09/2010 01:19 AM
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More…

Dans Mom said… I thought the TNT broadcast was top notch and far better than the horrible product that Fox puts out. No DW droning on all about himself and Toyota was refreshing, and the race had a lot better flow on TNT. I hope Fox was watching and taking notes.

Now if we can just get back to old school racing and real stock based cars to go along with the refreshing TNT coverage.

June 7, 2010 1:58 PM

ThunderRoads
06/09/2010 02:02 PM
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Wait wait wait… Robby Gordon isnt dead?