The Frontstretch: Did You Notice? Hornish Missed Again? Thoughts From Atlanta ... And Beyond by Thomas Bowles -- Tuesday October 30, 2007

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Did You Notice? … The degree to which Roger Penske is trying to force Sam Hornish, Jr. into a Cup series ride for next season? After his sixth DNQ at Atlanta, the team was even talking about switching rides with Kurt Busch for ’08 so that Hornish could have the comfort of being locked into the Top 35 next season - not suffering through the pressure of having to qualify on speed.

Um … what? How many DNQs do we have to put this guy through here before someone's convinced he's not ready for Cup yet? Are the options left out there (including former Penske driver Mike Wallace, David Stremme, Johnny Sauter, even Jeff Green) that bad they can't jump in and serve as at least a one-year stopgap while Hornish learns the ropes in the minor leagues? In fact, take away the last name Hornish from the guy trying to qualify the No. 06 car and replace it with Gaughan - do you think he would be allowed the same type of leeway? Oh, that's right … he wasn't.

Again, who said every open wheeler that ever lived needs to push his way through the Cup series now?

Did You Notice? … Carl Edwards' weird sense of urgency in what seemed like an immediate forced injection of Matt Kenseth when approached for post-race comments on PRN? I hope the ridiculousness of certain members of the media - and the general public - haven't backed Edwards into a corner where he'll no longer be able to say what he thinks. And for anyone who hasn't read Monte Dutton's take this whole overblown escapade, please "check it out": - I couldn't agree more with everything that was said.

Did You Notice? … That the decision to move to the Car of Tomorrow for the Busch / Nationwide Series in '09 comes just as strong organizations like Germain Racing of the Craftsman Truck Series, Petty Enterprises, and others were looking at joining up in ’08. Now, why would they bother committing? It's one year's worth of throwaway money before the series winds up forcing people to spend their funding on something completely different. And wasn't the Car of Tomorrow for the Nationwide Series supposed to be similar to pony cars? Weren't there going to be clear differences between Busch and Cup? I fear what happens to the remaining independent owners who will be forced to sell their old inventory at pennies on the dollar. I don't want to be too hypocritical here, because any type of change costs money; but the Nationwide Series really has to come up with a plan where this transition will be as inexpensive as possible, and right now, I don't see one.

I also find it ironic that while writing this section, the lyrics to the ‘90s song I'm listening to said (no joke), How'd you like to be alone … and drowning …

Let's hope the insurance company understands the product it just bought into.

Did You Notice? … That in the midst of all the Junior hype, Kyle Busch was actually the one who impressed in his new ride at Atlanta, blowing the rest of the field away by leading the morning test sessions both days? I know, I know … half of you are still in shock that Junior actually had other teams testing beside him this week, but I just thought I'd mention it for when that disbelief starts to fade away.

Did You Notice? … How everything that could go wrong, has gone wrong for Joe Gibbs Racing's three current drivers since the sun came back out at Kansas?

Did You Notice? … Rookie A.J. Allmendinger has less DNQs over the last ten races (two) than veteran teammate Brian Vickers (four)? At least Vickers' snagged a Top 10 on Sunday, proof that there will be life in that team yet after Doug Richert's sudden departure.

Did You Notice? … Dario Franchitti impressed the heck out of everyone at Memphis, running second before falling victim to Demolition Derby 2007? Roger Penske, that's the type of performance you should be looking for…

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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…


©2000 - 2008 Thomas Bowles and Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!

M. B. Voelker
10/31/2007 06:44 AM

Did you notice that Kyle Busch set a new record that seems likely to hold for a while?

There’s only a dozen or two drivers who have ever won a Cup race, a Busch race, and a Truck race in their career. Kyle and Harvick had been tied as the only drivers to get Triple Crown wins in the same year (twice each, actually, and both back-to-back).

Kyle’s truck win on Saturday made him the only person to ever get Triple Crown wins 3 years running.

None of the TV people seem to have noticed this and I only so one internet columnist comment on it. This is not an easy achievement and it deserves at least a passing mention.

Mike C
10/31/2007 08:24 AM

Sam Hornish Jr. has been one of Penskes best drivers for a number of years . Why would’nt he want to give Hornish every opportunity to race in cup instead of giving the ride to the established cup drivers you list ? Hornish has an impressive list of wins and championships , while Wallace , Green , and the others you mention don’t have much of a resume above being around for a long time . And show me where those drivers set the world on fire in their first or second year of cup . Or any other year .
A race car driver is exactly that . A RACE CAR DRIVER ! This constant hand wringing by journalists over the supposed invasion of “ open wheel drivers “ is ridiculous . These drivers have proven their abilities behind the wheel . And if you think that driving stock cars is some special talent , separate from all other forms of racing , look at the record of drivers who have come to NASCAR from other series . Foyt , Gurney , Andretti , Stewart , Gordon , Newman , Johnson , Blaney and many others .

10/31/2007 11:29 AM

I think all drivers should be required to spend time in busch and truck before they are allowed to drive in cup, make them earn so many points to advance to the next level of racing like they do in pro motorcycle racing.

10/31/2007 02:56 PM

I caint spale so I’ll just agree with Mike C.

10/31/2007 03:35 PM


In reference to your “Did You Notice?…”

I think Hornish will do OK in the stocks, as he raced good in the IROC’s. Sure wouldn’t want to see him hurt by going to soon though.

Things going wrong for Gibbs coincides more with their announcement to align with Toyota, than anything else. It was like falling on your own sword. No way Bowtie gives them any support for a championship run (I don’t blame them).

Thanks again,



Contact Tom Bowles

Recent articles from Tom Bowles:

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