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Side by Side: New Bristol vs. Old Bristol

Jeff Meyer and Kurt Smith · Thursday March 18, 2010

Once again, the argument that started immediately after the 2007 Sharpie 500, (the aftermath of which found me offering my resignation from this very site by the way… rejected, obviously!) rears its ugly head. That argument is simple: which Bristol configuration produces the best racing? The old or the new?

Now, since I have fought this battle before, and with an infinitely bigger foe than my esteemed colleague this time (zing!), I jumped at the chance to do it again. Why? Because during the last decade, I have attended all but three of the August night races, not as a member of the media, but as a fan!

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Side By Side: Who Will Make the Chase Cut, Vickers Or Busch?

Tommy Thompson and Doug Turnbull · Wednesday September 2, 2009

Today’s Question: Kyle Busch and Brian Vickers have combined to win the last two Cup races … but both drivers still stand 34 and 39 points out of the Chase, respectively. With only two races left in the regular season, which one has the best chance to crack the top 12?

Tommy: Do not let Busch’s incredible winning percentage, or for that matter his triumph in the most recent Sprint Cup race unduly influence you. In all reality, it’s Brian Vickers as the driver with the momentum on his side going into the last two races before the Chase field is set.

Doug: Despite the hubbub surrounding Kyle Busch about his lack of sportsmanship and erratic driving under pressure, he is still a superior driver to Brian Vickers and drives for a better race team. Ask almost anyone, from the garage to the grandstands, regardless of love or hate for the brash driver, and they would agree that Busch would be able to beat Vickers one-on-one at any moment.

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Side By Side: Will Kyle Busch Make the Chase?

Danny Peters · Tuesday July 28, 2009

Today’s Question: After Sunday’s wreck left him a disappointing 38th at Indianapolis, Kyle Busch dropped from 10th to 14th in points, 87 out of the Chase. Will he be able to recover by Richmond and make NASCAR’s ten-race playoff?

Kyle Busch WILL Make the Chase
Danny Peters

I have no doubt my Side-by-Side debating partner this week, our esteemed managing editor Tom Bowles, will blind you with all manner of statistics and juicy numerical nuggets as to why Kyle Busch won’t make the Chase.

Busch In The Chase? Not A Chance
Tom Bowles

Heading into Indianapolis, I already had a sneaky feeling Kyle Busch wasn’t going to make the Chase.

60 laps later, one hard hit into the outside wall has left me totally convinced.

Read more Side By Side: Will Kyle Busch Make the Chase? ...

Side By Side: Should Johnson's Indy Win Have An Asterisk?

Amy Henderson and Jeff Meyer · Tuesday July 21, 2009

Editor’s Note : The following is a special edition of Frontstretch’s Side By Side. Occasionally throughout the season, two of your favorite Frontstretch writers will duke it out in a debate concerning one of NASCAR’s biggest stories. Don’t let us be the only ones to speak our minds, though…be sure to read both sides and let us know what you think about the situation in the comment section below!

Today’s Question: Given NASCAR’s tire debacle in last year’s Brickyard 400, should Jimmie Johnson’s win have an asterisk by it in the record book?

Read more Side By Side: Should Johnson's Indy Win Have An Asterisk? ...

Side By Side: Is Racism NASCAR's Responsibility To Investigate?

Bryan Davis Keith and S.D. Grady · Wednesday June 17, 2009

Today’s Question: NASCAR suspended Nationwide No. 62 team’s crew chief Bryan Berry last Thursday, citing Section 12-1: “Actions detrimental to stock car racing…involved in an altercation with another team”. It was later revealed through various media outlets that Berry allegedly said a racial slur in reference to Marc Davis, the 19-year old driver of the No. 10. Since the announcement, there has been sporadic coverage of the suspension by the major NASCAR networks and no official statement by the sanctioning body.

Is it NASCAR’s responsibility to publish what precise actions resulted in a suspension — specifically when racism is involved? Further, does it help the sport to discuss this explosive topic, or does it just keep an old injury fresh with no hope of healing in the future?

Bryan Davis Keith: Before we even get into this topic, let’s set one thing straight: When NASCAR announces that they are indefinitely suspending a competitor from the sport, for any reason, there needs to be a crystal clear picture presented as to why the suspension was handed out. That it was not the case when Bryan Berry was suspended is unacceptable… and there needs be no debate here that NASCAR needs to communicate its penalties a whole lot better.

With that said, where there needs to be debate, and a lot of it, is with the decision NASCAR made to suspend Bryan Berry in the first place. Because frankly, his suspension and the aimless series of events and statements that have followed make it clear that NASCAR rushed to make a judgment it did not need to make.

S.D. Grady: When NASCAR announced the indefinite suspension of Nationwide crew chief Bryan Berry last Thursday, that’s all it did. Yes, there was the usual line and paragraph regarding which rule of the NASCAR golden book he violated — the all encompassing Section 12-1, actions detrimental to stock car racing — but, there was nothing else.

Now, I don’t believe any of us would benefit by knowing the exact derogatory words used in this case. However, I do believe that by burying the hot-button topic of race in the stack of weekly press releases followed by silence, NASCAR is in danger of promoting the stereotypical reputation the sport has been trying to shed for almost 20 years.

Read more Side By Side: Is Racism NASCAR's Responsibility To Investigate? ...

Side By Side: Is the Daytona 500 now bigger than the Indy 500?

Bryan Davis Keith and Phil Allaway · Tuesday May 19, 2009

Today’s Question: With the struggles of open-wheel racing over the last 15 years, the Indy 500 has struggled to maintain its national appeal. Considering NASCAR’s explosive growth over the same time period, is it fair to say at this point the Daytona 500 is the biggest race in North America?

Bryan: The face of motorsports has changed in North America. NASCAR, not open-wheel racing, is the top of the pyramid. The Rick Mears and A.J. Foyts of this generation are not going to be racing in Indianapolis this weekend… they’re going to be in Charlotte.

Phil: While it is definitely true that the Daytona 500 has eclipsed the Indianapolis 500 in TV ratings, and NASCAR, despite its recent slide, has many times the average viewership of the IndyCar Series, the Indianapolis 500 is still the bigger of the two major auto races. Remember, TV ratings are not the only factor for how “big” a race is. The race at Indianapolis, by over a hundred thousand fans, still attracts a bigger race day crowd than the Daytona 500 does. And that’s just for starters…

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Side By Side: Will Dodge Return To NASCAR In 2010?

Bryan Davis Keith and Tom Bowles · Tuesday May 5, 2009

Today’s Question: With Chrysler filing for bankruptcy, their racing division was quick to reaffirm they’ll be involved in NASCAR for the foreseeable future. But with the company’s fate now in the government’s hands, will they let it happen — or will Dodge wind up pulling out of the sport following the 2009 season?

Bryan: The last thing the Obama administration is going to do in trying to restore Chrysler to its stature as a viable, red-blooded piece of American industry is to make a spectacle of squashing the company’s involvement in motorsports. What’s the point of celebrating “Yes, we can build American cars” if “No, we can’t race American cars?”

Tom: Let’s not forget this manufacturer is just one year removed from missing the Chase altogether. So, while losing Dodge is painful, it’s not like they have a powerhouse brewing within NASCAR … and that makes cutting the cord that much easier for a company that’s going to be looking to save money any way it can.

Read more Side By Side: Will Dodge Return To NASCAR In 2010? ...

Side By Side : Does The NASCAR Points System Need An Overhaul?

Tom Bowles and Vito Pugliese · Thursday April 16, 2009

Today’s Question : Seven races into the season, Jeff Gordon already holds a lead in the points so large, all he needs to do is start the race at Phoenix to maintain it no matter where he finishes. But even with such a large cushion, he wouldn’t even be the point leader in the playoffs if the season ended today.

Is this a sign our points system needs a major overhaul? Or should we keep things the way they are?

Read more Side By Side : Does The NASCAR Points System Need An Overhaul? ...

Side By Side: Who's A Chase Pretender -- Bobby Labonte Or Michael Waltrip?

Doug Turnbull and Kurt Allen Smith · Tuesday March 3, 2009

Today’s Question : Looks like the old guys are making a comeback in NASCAR these days, as two fortysomething drivers have cracked the Sprint Cup top 12 three races in. Which one has the best chance of maintaining their solid start — Bobby Labonte or Michael Waltrip?

Doug: Though it’s a little too early to really count points as of yet, when left to choose between a Cup champion in decent equipment and a clumsy, over-stretched driver that has struggled most of his career — there’s no question you place your money on the champ to make the Chase.

Kurt: It’s easy to look at the careers of Bobby Labonte and Michael Waltrip and conclude that in similar equipment, Labonte would run circles around Waltrip. But with an extra car in the shop to go along with solid sponsor and manufacturer backing, Waltrip seems more likely to have a decent season.

Read more Side By Side: Who's A Chase Pretender -- Bobby Labonte Or Michael Waltrip? ...

Side By Side: Who's To Blame For Daytona's Big Wreck -- Earnhardt, Jr. Or Brian Vickers?

Tom Bowles and Vito Pugliese · Tuesday February 17, 2009

Today’s Question : Who’s to blame for the big wreck in this year’s Daytona 500 — Dale Earnhardt, Jr. or Brian Vickers?

Tom: With six top 5 finishes on the high banks to go along with 383 laps led, it’s clear Earnhardt knows how to get around this place better than almost any other track on the circuit — with the exception of perhaps Talladega and Richmond. In my opinion, that’s what makes Sunday’s major incident that much more tougher for NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver; a track that should have a special place in his heart is now forever linked instead with his most embarrassing moment behind the wheel.

Vito: If you review the tape from the backstretch and infield angles, you will witness Brian Vickers swerve across three lanes of traffic to block Dale Earnhardt, Jr.’s pass attempt. Was it a legal move by Vickers? Yes. Was it ill advised?

As former VP candidate and snowbound cutie Sarah Palin would say, “You betcha!”

Read more Side By Side: Who's To Blame For Daytona's Big Wreck -- Earnhardt, Jr. Or Brian Vickers? ...

Side By Side : Should Patrick Carpentier Have Been Fired?

Tom Bowles and Danny Peters · Thursday October 9, 2008

Editor’s Note : The following is a special edition of Frontstretch’s Side By Side. Occasionally throughout the season, two of your favorite Frontstretch writers will duke it out in a debate concerning one of NASCAR’s biggest stories. Don’t let us be the only ones to speak our minds, though…be sure to read both sides and let us know what you think about the situation in the comment section below!

Today’s Question : Should Patrick Carpentier have been fired?

Tom: I don’t blame Patrick Carpentier for what happened at Gillett Evernham Motorsports. He’s a nice guy filled with future potential, and someone who deserves to land on his feet. But sometimes, even the nice guys need to get fired from their jobs; and under the circumstances presented to GEM this week, they were left with no other choice.

The rookie had to go.

Danny: the signs were there that Carpentier was just starting to get comfortable in stock cars. He had four Top 20 runs in his last 10 races and of course that pole position at Loudon. All you needed to see was the interview following the last qualifying run to see how important it was to the French Canadian – his joy was almost unconfined. And for the record, Carpentier’s efforts were the first time a rookie has won a pole in New Hampshire – not a bad effort huh?

Read more Side By Side : Should Patrick Carpentier Have Been Fired? ...

Side By Side : Did A.J. Allmendinger Get The Shaft?

Tom Bowles and Vito Pugliese · Thursday September 25, 2008

Editor’s Note : The following is a special edition of Frontstretch’s Side By Side. Occasionally throughout the season, two of your favorite Frontstretch writers will duke it out in a debate concerning one of NASCAR’s biggest stories. Don’t let us be the only ones to speak our minds, though…be sure to read both sides and let us know what you think about the situation in the comment section below!

Today’s Question : Team Red Bull released A.J. Allmendinger from his 2009 contract this week, rather than expand to three Sprint Cup teams with he, Brian Vickers, and Scott Speed. Was it the right move to let A.J. go after just two seasons?

Tom:
That’s what made Team Red Bull’s treatment of A.J. Allmendinger so compelling – because they seemed the exception to the rule. With the owner footing the bill through his multi-million dollar business, immediate success wasn’t needed at the Cup level, creating a mutual understanding that turning an open-wheel lifer into a stock car superstar was going to take some time. It was an old school plan to make a new school driver successful, taking him along for the ride as the team developed a long-term plan to be a force in the Sprint Cup Series. And then, that plan suddenly stopped.

Vito:
Absolutely. Though it should be known, this is of no fault of Allmendinger or an indictment of his ability. The main reason is the ascension of another former open wheel driver who hails from California. A budding star whose roots are grounded in Red Bull Formula One history, and one who shares a relationship with the owner of the racecars and the stickers that go on them.

Read more Side By Side : Did A.J. Allmendinger Get The Shaft? ...

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