The Frontstretch: Making the Grade : Dancing in the Desert at Phoenix by Dennis Michelsen -- Monday April 24, 2006

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Making the Grade : Dancing in the Desert at Phoenix

Dennis Michelsen · Monday April 24, 2006


Pace Laps

Maybe Smokey the Bear is needed as an associate sponsor in Nextel Cup. Sure glad those firefighters got that fire out before the race on Saturday night!

How long will race fans put up with insanely stupid comments by Jeanne Zalasko? The NASCAR thermometer? Please!

How long will fans put up with Fox missing so many restarts before switching stations?

Chris Myers didn’t even seem to be paying attention to the race when they went to him for a VISA Race Update.

Race Grade: A
Put the show back in the hands of the drivers and you will get real racing! For anyone who has not ventured to Phoenix International Raceway in person, you are missing one of the best stops on the NASCAR circuit.

F for Kyle Busch
The Shrub gets nabbed for speeding entering pit road on a caution flag, which was dumb enough in itself. Then, he is on the outside of Casey Mears and wrecks his own race car, but retaliates against Casey during a red flag. This kid needs to grow up before NASCAR shows him they don’t need a bad boy!

D for Mark Martin’s Crew
His new tire changer cost Mark a shot at the win, then bad gas mileage computations cost him a top three finish. Mark drove like a man possessed dashing back threw the field after the botched pit stop though. Maybe running out of gas was a ploy to remind people that AAA Motor Club provides emergency fuel service?

C for Kenny Schrader
It simply took awhile for the Wood Brothers to get to know what their new driver needed; now that they do, Schrader’s beginning to put things together. While a 16th place finish is not what this team should be capable of, you do have to walk before you can run.

B for Tony Stewart
Since I only can give out one "A" grade each week, Smoke slips to a "B." But what a show he put on going from last to first during the race! Also, you didn’t hear him criticize his team for a botched move with his qualifying tires that cost him a 3rd place starting position. Instead, Tony just went about his business of driving the car to the front!

A for Kevin Harvick
Nothing like sweeping the race weekend at a tough track on your “free agent” year! Happy Harvick will have his choice of staying at RCR or moving on to be Toyota’s poster boy next season. One thing’s for sure: the paycheck will be even larger now that Harvick showed he remembers his way to Victory Lane!

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Today on the Frontstretch:
Did You Notice? … Breaking Down A Sprint Cup Season Eight Races In
Beyond the Cockpit: Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. on Growing Up Racing and Owner Loyalties
The Frontstretch Five: Flaws Exposed In the New Chase So Far
NASCAR Writer Power Rankings: Top 15 After Darlington
NASCAR Mailbox: Past Winners Aren’t Winning …. Yet
Open Wheel Wednesday: How Can IndyCar Stand Out?


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