The Frontstretch: 4th of July Parade at 185mph- Daytona Cup Making the Grade by Dennis Michelsen -- Monday July 4, 2005

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4th of July Parade at 185mph- Daytona Cup Making the Grade

Dennis Michelsen · Monday July 4, 2005


Pace Laps

Maybe I am just getting old…but who is JoJo and why was she picked to sing the National Anthem at such a big event? My first guess is “American Idol” loser (1st round) but I could be mistaken.

Did anyone notice that Dale Jarrett was talking with his hands while being interviewed while driving pace laps?

This will offend many people I am sure…but I was disgusted to see Donald Rumsfield chosen to give the command to start engines when so many heroes that REALLY fought for our country could have been used instead!

How loyal are NASCAR fans? Look how long a capacity crowd waited in the rain for the Cup race and then stayed until the wee hours of the morning to celebrate Stewart’s win!

Race Grade C-

This was not one of the more exciting restrictor plate races of all time, but that four-wide pass for the lead by Tony Stewart raised the grade one full letter.

F for Mark Martin’s Luck

Never a fan of restrictor plate racing, Mark Martin’s awful luck here returned again! Martin had nowhere to go while racing up front and ended up in a mess not of his making.

D for Scott Riggs, Jamie McMurray, and Jeff Gordon

Gordon gets a mention for slowing down so early for his pit stop and helping cause the huge wreck. As far as Jamie McMurray is concerned, what we had there was a failure to communicate. (Thank you Strother Martin for your insightful NASCAR commentary!) Scott Riggs finished off the chain of events that led to a disastrous accident by plowing into Mark Martin and ruining many drivers’ chances.

C for Johnny Sauter

This is another of the Cup teams that is forced to try to do more with less. While a 17th finish might be a “Bad Day” for the big money teams, this represents a successful day for a smart team such as James Finch’s.

B for Mike Wallace

Morgan McClure used to be a force on restrictor plate tracks, but in this day and age of the mega car super funded teams their 8th place finish is amazing. Once again Mike Wallace proves that he just might be the best of the racing Wallace brothers although he has seldom driven top-notch cars at this level.

A for Tony Stewart

I just don’t see how anyone can dislike this guy! Stewart’s enthusiasm boiled over as he made an ill-advised but entertaining climb up the catch fence to the flag stand after winning the Fire Cracker 400! The fans that stayed into the early morning hours witnessed that for the first and last time from Tony as he explained, “I am too damn fat to be climbing fences!” Smoke is on a nice roll that has shown Gibbs Racing has championship aspirations after all their trouble this year!

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Today on the Frontstretch:
Championship Caliber? What Does That Even Mean?
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