The Frontstretch: Fanning the Flames: A Confused Writer Has A Question Of His Own For NASCAR by Matt Taliaferro -- Wednesday June 27, 2007

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Fanning the Flames: A Confused Writer Has A Question Of His Own For NASCAR

NASCAR Fan Q & A · Matt Taliaferro · Wednesday June 27, 2007


Before we get going with your questions this week, I have a question of my own:

Q: Dear NASCAR — How does Kurt Busch slam into Tony Stewart's car while on pit road, almost hitting Stewart's jackman in the process, only to walk away with the new standard of a 100-point docking and a $100,000 fine. Meanwhile, Ted Musgrave gives Kelly Bires a pop after a wreck at Milwaukee — while still on the track, mind you, no crewmen anywhere close — and gets docked 50 owner and driver points, 10 G's, and gets suspended for a race?

See NASCAR, I'm a little miffed because we, both the media and the fans, spent an entire week arguing whether Kurt should get the ol' heave-ho. Hell, I was even on your side in the matter! Anyway, Kurt — and more importantly Miller Lite — got off without a suspension. If that's the way it is, fine, we accept your ruling. However, two weeks later Musgrave does half of what Kurt did and he's sent packing?! Is this because Kurt is a star in the Cup Series and Musgrave is "only" a Truck Series participant? Please tell me the difference, NASCAR, because for the life of me I can't figure out why you'd throw fuel on the fire of rules (in)consistency.

You’ve already had a bad week as it is, NASCAR. With the No. 24 and No. 48's penalties and their merits (or lack thereof) and the Almirola / Hamlin switcheroo in Milwaukee, which still has many longtime fans feeling a bit uneasy, we need a strong hand guiding the ship. I'm afraid, if left to drift, this ship is doomed to wander in a sea of contradiction, doubt, and illegitimacy. — Matt

Q: NASCAR said it owns the No. 8 (not Teresa Earnhardt). But Budweiser No. 8 merchandise could become a confusing copyright fight between DEI and Hendrick if Little E continues to drink and drive. What are the odds Junior continues to use No. 8, replaces Kyle Busch as No. 5, finally takes his daddy’s old No. 3 out of retirement, or does none of the above? — Nate

A: OK, I'll play oddsmaker:
Odds Junior continues to use the No. 8: 800-1.
Odds Junior uses the No. 5 next season: 10-1.
Odds Junior drives the No. 3 next season: Astronomical. As in, ain't happening.

The whole number swap / buyout issue is only going to grow in speculation and confusion, and I do not believe anyone has a solid handle on what will happen at the moment. To be honest, the best odds may lie on "none of the above."

Q: Juan Pablo Montoya took the checkers on the road at Sonoma this weekend, and he didn’t even have to wipe out a teammate to take the victory this time. With a Busch Series win in Mexico City and a Nextel Cup win in California, is Montoya a road course specialist or a threat to join the big dogs of stock car racing after learning the tricks of the trade as a rookie? — Rush Rocket

A: For now, he's still a road course ace. I view road racing circa 2007 the same as I do plate racing; it is more about playing the cards you're dealt and crossing your fingers that you are in the right place at the right time (see: Jarrett, Dale, Talladega 2005). With smaller fuel cells this year, the road races simply come down to a thinking man’s game of pit strategy and conservation.

Now, do Montoya and crew chief Donnie Wingo deserve an ‘atta boy?’ Absolutely. They played the game better than 42 other teams. But let's face it, the Ganassi organization has been a step off since Sterling Marlin's near-miss in 2002, and I don't see them being back as weekly contenders just yet.

That being said, Montoya's Top 5 at Atlanta in March proved that it's not going to be long before he's a legit big dog on the circuit. The dude's got the talent; it's only a matter of familiarization with the heavier Cup cars and the ovals upon which they run. Look for continued improvement and a possible oval win next season.

Q: OK, so Toyota wins all the Truck races, and NASCAR says they can't use the engine anymore. Chevy wins all the Cup races, and NASCAR OKs a new and better engine. Can you explain this? — Mac

A: Well, we all know some of the decisions NASCAR makes, so I don't know if I can justify them; but I can tell you that the manifolds the Toyota Busch and Truck teams were using — and that were OK'd by NASCAR before the season started — were found to be producing 20-30 more horsepower than the other make's engines. In NASCAR's never ending quest to ensure that no manufacturer, team, driver, or jackman has an unfair advantage, they deemed Toyota teams must use the older model manifold that was used in the Truck Series last season. If I've said it once, I've said it a hundred times: So much for ingenuity in today's NASCAR.

Anyway, the new generation of Chevy engine, the R-07, has been in the works for awhile and was approved by NASCAR for use awhile ago. It is being phased in now, and I understand she's quite the beast.

In summary, no I can't explain it, but if you'd like to take a crack at the Musgrave / Busch ruling I'd be grateful.

Another week of great questions, race fans! Keep them coming to

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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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Frank Smith
06/28/2007 08:16 AM

I agree with you about the 3. Since Jr. decided to go to HMS, I do not believe Richard Childress will ever again offer Jr. the privelege of driving the 3 car. Also you have two other possibilities for that number coming up. Richard’s grandson Austin and Kerry Earnhardt’s son. I think Jr. blew it with RCR.

Larry Johnson
06/28/2007 09:22 AM

If NASCAR inspects all cars before racing and infractions are repaired whats the problem? Our sport does not need the bad coverage the news gives it for cheating. Wonder why ratings are down this is just one of many reasons.

06/28/2007 09:29 AM

Not surprising about the Toyota deal this year. It almost seems as though NASCAR has had their hand in GM stock since the 80s. They crippled the Fords to the point of not being able to compete, Dodges as well. While Chevy gets a new nose kickout, better engines, etc. Now Toyotas getting it. Shame

William T.
06/28/2007 10:55 AM

Ratings are down because NASCAR is pissing off the true fans from back in the day. Screw these new yuppie fans and Brian France, they are ruining…not helping… NASCAR

David Odom
06/28/2007 11:52 AM

Your question about suspending Ted for a race, you will not get an answer from NA$CAR on that. If I do the math right 50 points and the loss of a race is more points that the 48 and the 24 got. This is not right or fair, oh excuse me I am talking about NA$CAR.


06/28/2007 08:02 PM

If NASCAR could tell the truth;

A: Penske Racing and Dodge complied with the compulsary penalty negotions in the finest NASCAR tradition, while the upstarts at Germain Racing and the evil Toyota factory declined to participate in the established procedures….

06/28/2007 09:29 PM

NASCAR has their own take on the half full / half empty concept;

Penske has a briefcase that is full…

...and Germain can’t even afford a briefcase that would be empty anyhow…

06/29/2007 09:06 AM

Is this because Musgrave had a previous incident like this two years ago in the last race that cost him a championship? If that is the case, why wasn’t Knaus punished harder considering his previous height adjuster modification at Daytona in 06? I guess it goes back to NASCAR’s low credibility in their evenhandness when dishing out penalties.


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Contact Matt Taliaferro

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