The Frontstretch: Ten Points to Ponder ... After Infineon by Tommy Thompson -- Monday June 23, 2008

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Ten Points to Ponder ... After Infineon

Tommy Thompson · Monday June 23, 2008


1. Still Able To Get ‘Er Done – 1995 Busch (Nationwide) Series Champion and 1996 Winston (Sprint) Cup Rookie of the Year Johnny Benson won for the third consecutive time at the Milwaukee Mile in the Camping World RV 200 Craftsman Truck Series race Friday evening. With the win, Benson maintains his CTS points lead in the drivers standings by 50-points over Todd Bodine. Benson has ten wins in since moving to the CTS in 2005 after not being able to any longer secure a competitive Cup ride.

Is the Craftsman Truck Series where Cup veterans are sent to die…or do they sometimes get another chance?

2. Long Time Ago! – Bill Davis racing will lose the Caterpillar sponsorship on its No. 22 Toyota at the end of the 2007 season. “Cat” will move its sponsorship to the No. 31 Chevrolet of Jeff Burton’s at Richard Childress Racing. “Caterpillar and Bill Davis Racing have enjoyed a long and successful partnership throughout the last 10 seasons, and we are proud of everything we’ve accomplished together, including wins in both the Daytona 500 and Southern 500,” said team owner Bill Davis.

Possibly that’s the problem…Ward Burton drove the No. 22 Bill Davis Racing “Cat” car to victory at the Southern 500 in 2001, and the Daytona 500 in 2002.

3. Catch Me If You Can…Copper! – The No. 28 Yates Racing Ford sported a replica California Highway Patrol car paint scheme for the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Sunday. Driver Travis Kvapil finished 22nd on the day. The sponsorship was only for one race and the CHP’s hope that the NASCAR exposure will aid the department in its current recruitment campaign.

Just how strange was it for the other NASCAR competitors to see a cop car in their rearview mirrors…and “gun it”?

Travis Kvapil pulled in sponsorship from the California Highway Patrol for Sunday’s race at Sonoma. Luckily they didn’t have to have Eric Estrada in the pits as part of the deal.

4. Just A Hobby? – Two-time, semi-retired Cup Champ Terry Labonte, subbing for aspiring part-time TV race commentator Kyle Petty put the No. 45 Petty Enterprises Dodge into the starting grid at Sonoma with the 11th fastest qualifying time before finishing 17th. Labonte was the only driver in the race lineup that has participated in all 20 NASCAR Cup races held at the 1.99-mile 10-turn road course.

Semi-retired? Part-time race commentator? Where’s the commitment guys?

5. Down Under – Personable Australian Marcos Ambrose pulled double-duty competing at Milwaukee in the Nationwide Series Camping World RV Rental 250, finishing 16th, and the Sprint Cup Series road course event at Infineon Raceway finishing 42nd after battling with the leader before being relegated to the pits after 83 laps. Ambrose, fastest in practice and qualifying seventh, had the No. 21 Woods Bros. entry looking like it did in its heyday when Dan Gurney drove the famed No. 21 to victory at the now-defunct Riverside road course four times in a row (1964-1967). The Nationwide regular is the sixth Australian and first since Geoff Brabham in 1994 to qualify for a NASCAR Cup race.

Don’t bug him! Yes, there is such a thing as a Tasmanian Devil; they are carnivorous marsupials about the size of a small dog found exclusively on the island of Tasmania in Australia. And a Billabong is a small, still body of water similar to a pond adjacent to a larger moving body of water.

6. Part Time Work Wanted – Vice President of Motorsports Operations at Dale Earnhardt, Inc., John Story has let it be known that Aric Almirola, who is ride-sharing the No. 8 Army Chevrolet with veteran Mark Martin will be in the car full time next race season. When asked what that would mean to Martin’s future with DEI, “We have five guys that we’d like to run full-time, but Mark doesn’t want to run a full-time schedule,” Story said. “So he’s looking at wanting to do something very similar to what he’s doing now. That’s the challenge we face. We talk every day about what we can do to try to make it all work.”

What other team needs a cagy veteran that can make mediocre equipment look downright competitive?

7. Hard Habit To Break – Sears Point Raceway was renamed Infineon Raceway in 2002. Infineon Technologies, a Neubiberg, Germany headquartered semiconductor technology company purchased the naming rights for a period of ten years at that time.

Now seven years later, is it a forgone conclusion that most will still continue to refer to the track as Sonoma or Sears Point at the time Infineon completes its ten-year agreement?

8. Go Figure – For the second time this season Owner/Driver Robby Gordon almost did not have primary sponsorship for his No. 7 Robby Gordon Motorsports Dodge until Camping World stepped-up at the 11th hour. It is surprising is that no company hooked up with Gordon prior to his eighth place qualifying effort. Gordon, who finished 36th at the road course after a on-track incident, still ran up front in the early going and received more than his fair share of TV exposure. The road course ace is almost a sure bet to give a corporate sponsor plenty of “bang for the buck” at any of NASCAR’s road courses, almost winning the event last year in Sonoma, except for a fuel mileage miscalculation. Additionally, Gordon led the most number of laps (48 of 110) in 2007.

Bet Camping World got some cheap TV time Sunday.

9. Grrrrrr… – As part of a $20 million deal between NASCAR and Coors Light that took effect in January, Coors Light became “The Official Beer Of NASCAR” replacing Anheuser-Busch. As part of the agreement Coors Light took naming rights for the pole award, previously known as the Bud Pole award…it is now the Coors Light Pole Award. Last season Dale Earnhardt, Jr., sponsored by Budweiser, a Coors Light competitor in the beer business earned a Bud Pole Award presented by his teams sponsor. At Sonoma last Friday, new Bud driver Kasey Kahne, for the second time this season collected a Coors Light Pole Award from the business rival.

Don’t you know those Coors Brewing Company executives in Golden, Colorado head for the whiskey cupboard every time Kahne and his Budweiser team collects one of their honors?

10. Go West Young Man – That’s five wins now for Joe Gibbs Racing’s Kyle Busch…just in Sprint Cup for 2008! Points To Ponder was at the track and reports that unlike other venues where the younger Busch brother has won this season, the fans were generally cordial, courteous and appreciative towards the charisma-challenged 22-year old as he celebrated his victory at Sonoma.

Okay…it is California!

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Today on the Frontstretch:
Swan Racing Announces Restructuring, No. 26 & No. 30 ‘Sold’ Off
Tech Talk with Tony Gibson: Taking Stock Of Danica Patrick In Year Two
Vexing Vito: Three Drivers In Need of a Role Reversal
Going By the Numbers: Top-10 NASCAR Variety Hard To Come By In…
Truckin’ Thursdays: Lessons Learned Just Two Races In
Fantasy Insider: Team Revelations For NASCAR’s Short Tracks



©2000 - 2008 Tommy Thompson and Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!

Kevin in SoCal
06/23/2008 01:52 AM

Kyle Busch is from Las Vegas, out here in the West, so he’s more likely to be welcomed and cheered. Unlike in the South, where they claim Southern Hospitality, but if you’re not one of them, you’re not welcome. Plus, since we’re so far away from the “true NASCAR fans in the South” we’re more likely to root for someone based on talent and wins, instead of his last name and lack of wins.

06/23/2008 04:24 AM

Talent and wins?
Kevin in SoCal must have started eating M&M’s about 3 months ago… Im sure you were sporting the “18” yellow shirt in january…?
It’s real easy to jump on an early season bandwagon, but to make fun of another driver to prove your point makes no sense… Im sure I know what lastname you are referring to. Why does Kyle winning have to be a shot at Jr.? Kyle is having an amazing year and is incredibly talented. And Jr. is also having his best season start of his carreer. But I DO think he gets booed because he has a disrespectful attitude toward the sport. He’s getting alot more humble lately and will continue to do so and i think that is why he was cheered today. He’s great for the sport and in many ways is a mirage of the father of the “lastname” you are referring to. So before you start blasting off on the bandwagon, read up on the history of the sport for atleast the last 5 years and you will see who has more wins… That last name must have done something right…
Its going to be very exciting to see these 2 battle it out for the cup though for sure. Props to Kyle, and go Junior.

You can buy an 88 Amp shirt at Wal-Mart for 10.99. Im sure youll be looking for one in September.

06/23/2008 08:25 AM

Kevin…..I think you struck a nerve!!!! I agree with you 100% .. OH and donnie ..slow down on that AMP! ,it makes you jittery could cause you to wreck you shopping cart while at WAL-MART picking up your amp t-shirts with the other redneck MULLET wearing little “e” FANS !!!…may want to try some M&M’s ….GO WILDTHING!!!!!!

Kevin in SoCal
06/23/2008 12:40 PM

I’ve been a racing fan in general since the 80’s, but I became a hardcore NASCAR fan in 2002. I picked my favorite driver then and he hasnt changed. Its not Kyle Busch and never will be. But I appreciate his style and his winning ways, as they’re bringing excitement back into the sport that was dominated by Hendrick last year. It sucks that he’s in a Toyota, though.
And you’re hilarious to accuse me of being on the bandwagon as a fan of the #88. Pot, meet the kettle. That’s one of the reasons why I dont root for Jr, as he’s too popular for the wrong reasons and doesnt need my support.

06/23/2008 02:53 PM

LOL!!! wreck my shopping cart. i cant even be mad about that!!! thats funny.
im in socal too. you guys really dont think i made any valid points? why would you not like jr cause of his popularity?
but this is exactly what i meant when i said it was great for the sport. it gets people talking.
i guess i just dont understand why if u like kyle u hate jr, or vice versa?
its a trip

that redneck shit was so hilarious!!! really

Kevin in SoCal
06/23/2008 05:23 PM

Junior’s fans are so loyal that they’re blinded by reality. Some actually think the other 42 drivers should pull over and park and not race him, letting him win all 36 races. Some think its ok that Junior said the “S” word on live TV at Talledega, but Tony Stewart said it at Indy last year and should be punished for it. Some Junior fans like to throw debris on the track when things dont go their way. Those things along with quite a few others are what turn me on and make me dislike Junior, just because of his overzealous fans.

Now as far as Kyle Busch is concerned, regular fans dont like him because he is arrogant, races in all three series as if he thinks he can win the championship in all three, and has said and proven he will wreck anyone and everyone to win the race. Junior fans dont like Kyle because he had the nerve to race their boy at Richmond and, instead of pulling over for him, actually dared to try and pass him. If you’ll read back this website from the beginning, you’ll see the anti-Kyle comments didnt really pick up until after Richmond.

Chris R
06/23/2008 06:58 PM

Ambrose did a wonderful job in the race, and I’m sure would have made sure Kyle couldn’t capture the victory so easily has he not had a transmission failure.

As far as M&M’s goes, I still think they should have stuck with Saddler. He was a much better fit for their image.

06/24/2008 02:13 AM

yea man i can see your point.but i think thats just the price u pay for being the sports most popular. the fans definitley pull the double standard shit. but like u said a driver should be judged by performance, not by who his fans are or his last name. its to the point where he is so popular that its starting to turn on him.
you are absolutely right about the richmond thing… and jr never said one negative thing about it. his fans crucified kyle but thats the south bro.
all im sayin is, drivers should be judged by performance and the 2 have performed the best of there carreers so far. no reason to hate

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