NASCAR Fan Q & A · Matt Taliaferro · Wednesday May 16, 2007
Series sponsor be damned, it's time for The Winston, and I couldn't be happier. What I'm not too happy about is the name of the race. The NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge? It's never caught on with me. It's not a name for a race, it's an all-caps fest. This race will always be known to me as The Winston, much like the Firecracker 400 or the Southern 500 were back in the day. It's the event's God-given title and no amount of sponsorship dollars can change that…but that doesn’t mean we have to embrace it.
So, that got me thinking…do you still call races by their former names? The Busch Clash or the Hooters 500, maybe? How about the DieHard 500 at Talladega? (Which was a friggin' awesome name, by the way). Don’t forget some of the downright silly names we've had to endure: The Virginia Is For Lovers 200; Pork The Other White Meat 400; Pop Secret Microwave Popcorn 400 (congrats again on that win, Johnny).
Got some good stories along those lines? Post them below or e-mail them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Throw in a question or a memory as well. I've just scratched the surface on the ridiculous, I'm sure, and with all the talk (that is to follow) of contract negotiations, illegal wing mounts, and marketing potential, I figure some easy reading will be in order.
Q: I guess owning 49% of DEI was not enough for Mother Teresa. Funny thing is, She now owns 100% of nothing! Excited about your future? Truex, Menard… Maybe they can hire Michael Waltrip back, he may be available soon. This decision is almost as bad as Toyota buying the train wreck named Waltrip. Man that Buffy must be talentedâ€¦ I always thought so. â€” MCL
A: Guess she can stick with the side of the business she was always best at: Marketing the Dale Earnhardt name on die casts, bed spreads, waste baskets, wall clocks and the like.
D.E.I. sure takes on a hollow look without its golden boy, though. Truex has talent, but he's certainly no flagbearer. The best Teresa can hope for is the merger with Robert Yates Racing, which would bring better engines and a big-money sponsor into the fold. But you're right, MCL, they are hurting in the driver department riht now for 2008.
Paging Mr. Biffleâ€¦
Q: I can't believe Joe Gibbs would turn Junior away just because he has a beer sponsor! He's friends with Tony Stewart and Denny Hamlin and that is a championship winning company that could only stand to gain by having a championship contending driver. Swallow your pride Joe, and a cold Bud! â€”Tony
A: It speaks to Gibbs' character that he would turn away a driver of Junior's caliber and drawing power on the basis of his convictions. However, I doubt JGR is out of the picture just yet. Expounding on your point, Stewart and Hamlin could go a long way in convincing Joe and J.D. Gibbs that hiring Earnhardt is best for the organization.
A question I have to you is why do the JGR cars sport the Bud Pole decal when the ownership does not condone alcohol sponsorship? They didn't seem to have a problem with it after winning the Bud Shootout the last two years.
Q: It's got to be Childress! A black No. 3 Budweiser Chevy is too perfect to not happen! â€” Junior3
A: It'd look sweet Junebug, but don't get your hopes too high. Junior doesn't seem to have much interest at this point in driving the 3. But that black Budweiser Chevy looked badass at Talladega last year.
Q: I know I'm in the minority on this one, but I'd like to see Dale Earnhardt, Jr. go to Hendrick. He said himself he is making this move to win championships. Well, what better place is there than HMS? I can't figure out how Rick would squeeze him in there or how the chemistry between Junior and Jeff / Jimmie would work, but if Junior wants to win big, that's the spot. â€” Shawna H.
A: You may be in the minority here, but that doesn't make your reasoning wrong, Shawna. I've heard that a helicopter with a big “H” on the side has spent quite a lot of time on Junior's back 40 in Mooresville. I've also been told that talk in the garage area has Hendrick as the early favorite to land that walking golden mine.
Don't think for a moment that Hendrick wouldn't bring Junior into the fold, either. The four HMS teams work out of two shops, with the 24 and 48 in one and the 5 and 25 in the other. That'd give them all plenty of room on campus. Oh, and my flies on the wall tell me Kyle Busch â€” not Casey Mears â€” would be the first in line for the boot should Little E sign on the dotted line.
One other piece of business before I go. I wasn't able to participate in the Mirror Driving predictions this week, and I'm still in the running for the staff grand prize (courtesy of Mr. Tom Bowles) which is the trophy he stole that was awarded to the winner of the 1987 Valleydale Meats 500. See, there's another one! Anyway, I'm going with Matt Kenseth. The Roush cars will be strong in The Winston … errr, Nextel All-Star Challenge – this year.
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