Frontstretch Staff · Tuesday January 3, 2006
Dear guys ‘n’ gals,
It’s that time again! A new year brings with it a chance to start with a clean slate, not only in life but in the NASCAR realm as the 2006 season is now but a month or so away.
But before we open the book on 2006, it’s time to write the final chapters in the 2005 NASCAR season that was. Join us over the next seven days as our Frontstretch Staff gives their take on some of the best and worst moments of the year, as well as the biggest challenges facing the sport as we head into a new season. And here’s the best part: we’ve left space underneath for you to add your own opinions! As always, we’d love to hear your own take on what should be remembered about NASCAR in 2005.
Today’s first question in this seven-part series doesn’t mess around. Any person who follows the sport can pick out a dozen moments at the drop of a hat that made the 2005 season memorable. But which one really stuck out enough to be labeled the best momeny of the year? We all had our own opinions, with most people centered around one certain race in Atlanta that not only left jaws dropped but led to a backflipping coming-out party for NASCAR’s newest star. However, a certain fence-climbing Chevy driver had a few bricks to throw into the debate before all was said and done…
What was the Best Nextel Cup Moment of 2005?
Nikki Krone, FS Editor: Tony Stewart’s win at Indy was, in my opinion, the Best Nextel Cup Moment. Knowing how much the place means to Stewart—arguably more than it does to anyone else in the series—made it exciting and memorable to see him win that race.
Tom Bowles, FS Assistant Editor/ Bowles-Eye View Columnist: Without question, Carl Edwards’ win at Atlanta set the tone for a season in which Roush’s newest edition to the Cup ranks surprised everyone in the garage, including himself. I don’t think anyone expected his banzai Turn 4 pass on the outside of Jimmie Johnson to stick, most of all Johnson himself, but Edwards’ dirt-kicking first victory proved to everyone that NASCAR had itself a diamond in the rough the moment he crossed the finish line. The fact Edwards was a rookie who at that time a year ago was still licking his wounds in the Craftsman Truck Series truly makes that win a NASCAR Moment to savor in a sometimes tasteless season.
Kim DeHaven, FS Assistant Editor: Best Cup Moment? Tony’s win at the Brickyard. It was a childhood dream fulfilled, followed by an emotional victory celebration. First Stewart stopped in Turn 2 to “celebrate” with his friends and family in the suites, and then he and the crew climbed the catchfence to celebrate with the fans. Stewart termed that day “the greatest day of his life,” and judging by his actions, you could feel his words were heartfelt and genuine.
Jeff Meyer, FS Voices Columnist: Best Nextel Cup Moment of 2005? The wave of the green flag to start the Daytona 500! Finally! Something to stop the shakes and tremors of withdrawal! But seriously folks"¦Carl Edwards win at Atlanta, for me, was the best racing of the year. You thought he might have a chance, then he brushes the wall while "˜slideways’ out of the turn. Figured he was done after that, but NO! He just kept on coming! Much to everyone’s surprise, especially Jimmy Johnson!
Toni Heffelfinger, FS Second Fiddle Columnist: Tony Stewart winning at Indy. Everyone knows it was a dream come true for Stewart, and what it meant to him to win there. Watching him savor that was great.
Amy Henderson, FS That’s History Columnist: Tony Stewart winning at the Brickyard. From the moment the checkered flag fell, this was no longer another win in Stewart’s amazing mid-summer run. Having come within a hairbreadth of winning the Indianapolis 500 in his home state, this proud Hoosier looked like a kid at Christmas after winning what just may have been the biggest race of his career. Seeing him look for his dad in the stands was a moment not many fans are likely to forget soon. Stewart’s coming-of-age year was never brighter than that day in Indiana.
Becca Gladden, FS If I Ruled the World Columnist: Tony Stewart winning the Brickyard. It’s fun to see someone fulfill a lifelong dream, and Stewart did that with his emotional victory in August at the track where he watched his childhood idols race.
Mike Neff, FS Columnist: I know there are a lot of people who will answer this, but for me, the best moment was Tony Stewart winning the Brickyard. Having grown up in Indiana and dreamed of winning at that track myself, I have a very real appreciation for what that race meant to him. I’m sure he’d still like to win the 500, but the Brickyard victory was certainly the high point of the year for me.
What do you think? Edwards…or Stewart…or are we completely missing the boat? Let us know.
Join us tomorrow for Part II of our Year in Review series as the Staff tackles the not-so-great moments of the 2005 Nextel Cup Season…
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