The Frontstretch: Rambunctious Night In Richmond by Dennis Michelsen -- Monday September 11, 2006

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Rambunctious Night In Richmond

Nextel Cup Making The Grade · Dennis Michelsen · Monday September 11, 2006


Pace Laps

On Friday night for the Busch race, we got a classy rendition of the National Anthem by a military band. Saturday night, we got an out of tune rock band just there to promote their album…

Classy addition, though, to include the Pledge of Allegiance in the pre-race festivities…way to go, Richmond!

Welcome back, Benny; this is one racing writer that missed you!

Finally, NASCAR enters the real world of sports by having cool playoff hats for the winners to wear right after clinching a spot in the Chase!

Race Grade: A

Despite NBC's “Chase Only” coverage, the race was terrific! Richmond International Raceway is the perfect size, shape, and banking to put on a great show every time. They tried to mess this track up with new sealer a few years ago, but she’s come back strong in recent races!

F for TNT's Coverage

Bill Weber should be a contender on “Mike and Mike's Just Shut Up” award every Tuesday. That sure was a terrific race from Bristol, wasn't it Bill? There is no doubt that Bill Weber has naked pictures of TNT brass and knows how to use them! What other explanation would there be for this guy being the play-by-play announcer?

D for Jeff Green's Temper

Paybacks might have a time and a place in sports…but that time and place is NOT the final race that qualifies drivers for the playoffs! While Jimmie Johnson had his spot clinched, Jeff Green's retaliatory slam could have taken out another Chase contender. NASCAR should send a message, parking Green and his owner's car for the next race at New Hampshire!

C for David Stremme

This team has struggled this season, but Stremme's 26th place finish deserves a mention this week. Several times, Stremme could have raced a few of the Chase contenders harder, but eased back a little to make sure he wouldn't take one of them out.

B for Mark Martin

There was no backing into the Chase for this cagey veteran! Mark Martin and his team both had a flawless night. The pit crew that has been ridiculed for making so many mistakes this year consistently got Martin out even or gaining positions on every stop! Maybe Mark will finally get that championship NASCAR stole from him in 1990 after all!

A for Kevin Harvick

This is one scary team for the competition heading into the Chase! Kevin Harvick is focused and on a roll. Heck, he might also have a seven-time champion riding along for good luck, too!

A for Dave Blaney

Departing from tradition to award a second top grade this week, simply because Dave Blaney deserves some top recognition! This team has struggled all year, but finally put it together Saturday night; sadly, TNT couldn't even spend some time interviewing Blaney after the race. That gives me one more reason to hate the Chase! Still, congrats to Blaney and Bill Davis Racing for a hard fought 4th place finish.

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Today on the Frontstretch:
Championship Caliber? What Does That Even Mean?
Mirror Driving: Winning Vs. Points, Needing a Boost, and The Lady’s Last Dance?
Nuts for Nationwide: The Curious Case of Elliott Sadler
Happiness Is…Arrogance, Less, Next, and the Outdoors
Frontstretch Foto Funnies: It’s Not Gonna Fit…


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09/12/2006 07:56 AM

How about an i for incomplete. As in tnt race coverage.

09/12/2006 03:33 PM

Wow, so your buying into the whole Chase bit then..your saying that someone like Jeff Green shouldn’t give payback because the guy he was taking out was in the Chase and therefor we should protect those guys..cut me a break here..park him the next race? NASCAR sure didn’t bother too much with other drivers that actually hit guys on pit road or left pit road to hit another driver during a caution but now you want Jeff Green to be made an example of? Had the roles been reversed I’m sure you’d be asking for Jimmie Johnson to be kept out of the next race.

09/12/2006 03:52 PM

Jeff Green, Johnny Sauter and any number of other third and fourth tier drivers should have their competition licenses revoked as they are nothing more than mobile accidents looking for a place to happen. I am no fan of Jimmie Johnson, but at least he can drive a race car, although he should have been parked a couple times after some of the wrecks he has caused. When is NASCAR going to wise up and stop letting these field fillers get in the way of real racers?

09/12/2006 04:42 PM

So what your saying Paul is we should have a race with ten cars then? Perhaps if NASCAR treated this as a sport instead of entertainment the field fillers wouldn’t be considered as such. Hard to run against huge multi-car teams even with Hendrick engines…I seriously doubt that Hass has the resources that someone like Hendrick or Roush has seeing that they have one Cup team and one Busch team. Roush on the otherhand has five in the Nextel series, a couple in the Busch series and three in the Truck series. Yeah..can’t imagine why some teams are deemed to be fillers. There has always been teams that have been better than others but in the last seven or eight years, thanks to NASCAR the difference from the “haves” to have-nots” has grown enormously.

09/12/2006 05:38 PM

If Jimmie Johnson did the same thing I would indeed say to park him too!

Thanks for the lively feedback about the grades this week!

09/12/2006 08:16 PM

Dennis, I’m glad to hear that you’d park Jimmie it been him. That being said at what point do you think that NASCAR will get serious when it comes to being consistant in penalizing drivers for their actions? First off let me say this is racing we are talking about and sometimes things just happen in racing..thats the name of the game. What I’m asking about though is NASCAR being all over the charts as far as enforcing rough driving..heck, we can make it even easier..rough driving under the caution. If you look at the incidents we’ve had this past season,(so far), where that situation has happened NASCAR hasn’t been consistent in regards to the penalty. I’d think with a car hitting another under caution there could be a pretty lear rule on that..its not like a subjective “bump and run” that could be seen a few different ways. When a guy gives you a shot under caution its hard to see that as anything else but. My take on it is park ‘ matter the driver or his/her standing. What’s yours?


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