The Frontstretch: Second Fiddle: Around the Busch and Craftsman Truck Series by Toni Montgomery -- Thursday May 25, 2006

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Second Fiddle: Around the Busch and Craftsman Truck Series

Toni Montgomery · Thursday May 25, 2006


I have some sad news to impart to Busch Series fans who enjoy watching Speed Channel’s weekly look inside the series, NBS 24/7. After 2 ½ seasons, the last episode of the show will air on Monday, June 19th. I haven’t really mentioned it this year, but I have been a viewer of the show since it first started. I’ll be sorry to see it go.

The first two seasons documented the weekly ups and downs of Busch Series regular teams FitzBradshaw Racing, Braun Racing, and Akins Motorsports. This season they took a slightly different approach with NBS 24/7 The Rookies and focused on the freshmen drivers on all teams. FitzBradshaw and Akins still figured prominently, since both teams started the season with rookie drivers, but we also saw competitors from Roush Racing, Kevin Harvick Inc., and JR Motorsports as well. This was actually a really good idea, because it gave us a chance to get to know the new drivers as well as providing some fun moments as these new guys adjusted to life in the big leagues. It also contained some painful moments as some of the rookies struggled and fell by the wayside in the early going.

The format change also probably proved to be a good thing for the show, because the teams they featured in previous seasons have fallen on some hard times. FitzBradshaw Racing has recently scaled back to one car most of the time and is suffering from sponsorship issues that have left the future of the entire operation up in the air. Braun and Akins pooled their efforts and, after the departure of rookie driver Anthony Foyt IV, sponsorship issues have also caused them to scale back to one full time effort, with Jason Leffler in the No. 38 Great Clips Chevrolet, and one part time effort, with Nextel Cup regular Dave Blaney driving the No. 32 Chevrolet in selected races. Without the new format, one has to wonder if the show would have survived this far into the season.

On the competition side of the equation, we have seen some dismal disappointment for the rookies, as races and seasons have not gone as expected so far. It’s always tough to be a rookie, but now we got a good insider view of what it can be like. We have also seen some happy surprises as some of the rookies have performed above their expectations at times. It’s a learning experience when you are new to a series and it’s been interesting to see that from the unique point of view afforded by a show like NBS 24/7.

NBS 24/7 has always been entertaining, honest, and the best way for Busch Series fans to get a good look at what goes on both behind the scenes and at the track on a weekly basis. I, for one, will miss this inside look I was treated to every week.

Before I sign off, I’d also like to say I was very saddened by the news of the tragic auto accident that caused the death of NASCAR driver Spencer Clark earlier this week. At only nineteen years old, Clark was already a champion at the bullring in Las Vegas and had posted three top fives and one pole in only eight starts in NASCAR’s West Series Grand National Division. Clark made his NASCAR Busch Series debut earlier this season at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. This was not only a personal loss for his family but a loss to all of us as well who will never get the chance to get to know Spencer Clark better, to see him realize the potential he had already shown, or to see what he might have accomplished both on the race track and in life.

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Today on the Frontstretch:
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