The Frontstretch: Ten Points To Ponder ... After Indianapolis by Tommy Thompson -- Monday July 28, 2008

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Ten Points To Ponder ... After Indianapolis

Tommy Thompson · Monday July 28, 2008


1. Yuck! – Max Mosley, President of the governing body that oversees Formula One racing — the most widely followed form of automobile racing in the world — won a breach or privacy lawsuit against a British tabloid this week. The magazine ran a story about the 68-year old’s sexual escapades that quickly got picked up by the international press, including one that included a role playing scenario which appeared to have Nazi overtones behind it. Mosley’s other exploits — which included caning and spanking — were also brought to light this past March, when the tabloid published an article detailing his sexual encounters with five dominatrices in a London basement. But the judge dismissed the idea that Mosley’s activities were necessarily a reenactment of Nazi behavior. The Judge, in awarding $120,000 in damages to the F-1 head said, “There was bondage, beating and domination, which seem to be typical of S&M behavior.”

If NASCAR ever really wants to become the most popular racing series in the world, maybe they should drop the “family friendly” approach and Brian France needs to…naw, never mind!

2. Identical Twins? – Tony Stewart, on the heels of his announcement that he would be a co-owner in Haas CNC Racing — to be renamed Stewart-Haas Racing next season — announced Friday he will be co-sponsored by Office Depot and Old Spice. Also, Stewart revealed he will run the number 14 in honor of his racing hero, A.J. Foyt, in 2009 and beyond. Foyt and Stewart — both drivers that have enjoyed immense success behind the wheel of midgets, Sprint Cars, Indy Cars and stock cars — are often mentioned as two of the greatest American drivers of all time.

Careful though, Tony…A.J. also was a NASCAR team owner. And that didn’t work out so well, did it?

Tony Stewart’s choice of the No. 14 for his new ride next year was a nod to friend and hero A.J. Foyt. However, Stewart and his fans have to hope the similarities end there — and Stewart-Haas Racing doesn’t suffer from the same performance woes Foyt did as a NASCAR owner.

3. Let It Go…Rusty! – Rusty Wallace, who had a much-publicized falling out with then teammate Ryan Newman following the Martinsville race in the Fall of 2004, suggested in a recent interview that Newman and Penske Racing did not mutually agree to part ways at season’s end — that Newman was, in essence, fired. ““He didn’t leave,” Wallace said Friday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “I’ve read many, many stories that said that. Roger Penske called Ryan Newman into his office and said, ‘I don’t need your services next year.’ Ryan Newman didn’t come to him and say, ‘I’m leaving,’ OK? Y’all need to write about that. That’s exactly how it went down.”

But despite Wallace’s attempt at “dissin’” Newman with the assertions, team owner Roger Penske rejected the two-time Cup Champions allegations and stated, “I have read Rusty’s comments and it is important for everyone to understand that I did not fire Ryan. His contract runs though 2008, and we sat down and agreed that we were not going forward beyond this year.”

4. What Da Ya Want?!?! – Johnny Benson took the checkered flag Friday night at O’Reilly Raceway Park in the Craftsman Truck Series Power Stroke Diesel 200, increasing his lead over race runner-up Ron Hornaday by a whopping 15 points. The race showcased the typical CTS exciting and competitive door-to-door racing reminiscent of “old school” NASCAR that the series has become known for. However, once again the race field started short with only 34 entrants, and the reported attendance of 30,000 by all accounts seemed way, way too generous a number.

Are fans and sponsors really even interested in good racing?

5. A Season To Remember – Kyle Busch continued to pad his stat line in 2008, scoring his 15th NASCAR win of the season in the Nationwide Series event in the Kroger 200 at O’Reilly Raceway Park Saturday night. The victory surpassed the previous individual win total for a season in NASCAR’s top three divisions of 14, set by Kevin Harvick in 2006.

Yep…He’s impossible to ignore!

6. Hey…They Tried! – On Wednesday, July 23rd NASCAR issued new engine rules that only affected the Toyota powerplants running in the Nationwide Series. The change requires a carburetor restrictor issued by NASCAR to be used in the organization’s AAA series. NASCAR determined that Toyota had a horsepower advantage after confiscating ten engines following the Chicagoland Speedway race and made the rules change to “help maintain a level playing field,” according to NASCAR’s Vice President of Competition, Randy Pemberton.

Oh, yeah…Kyle Busch’s win at Saturday’s Kroger 200 was in a Joe Gibbs Racing TOYOTA!

7. The New NASCAR – 2002 Brickyard winner Bill Elliott failed to qualify the famed No. 21 Wood Brothers Racing Ford into Sunday’s race at Indianapolis. Elliott would have been eligible to use the Past Champion’s Provisional to sneak into the field — but instead, it was used by Terry Labonte. Labonte, who has been subbing for Kyle Petty in the No. 45 Petty Enterprises Dodge, did not turn a fast enough qualifying lap to make the race on speed, and by virtue of his more recent Cup championship, his provisional trumped Elliott’s.

Boy, remember when Petty and Wood Bros. cars used to regularly race fender-to-fender for victories…?

8. Broadway Mark? – Usually reserved Mark Martin never backed off his “I plan on winning the Brickyard in the No. 8 car” prediction he made after the Pocono race on June 8th. The 49-year-old soon-to-be fulltime Hendrick Motorsports driver qualified second and gave it his all, but finished 11th on the day.

Had the highly respected Batesville, AR driver fulfilled his prediction, it might not have equaled Joe Namath’s most famous sports prediction of victory against the heavily favored Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III, but…wouldn’t it still have been pretty cool?

9. Everything Is Beautiful – Super-team owners Richard Childress, Ray Evernham, Joe Gibbs, and Rick Hendrick unanimously credited NASCAR with doing a good job of managing the tire troubles at Indianapolis during the running of the
Allstate 400. Further, none would place any blame for the debacle that saw tires wearing to the core in as little as five laps on the sanctioning body, track management, or Goodyear.

Are these men that know where their “bread is buttered,” or what? In their minds, was it just an unavoidable natural disaster?

10. Ain’t What They Paid To See – Two-time defending Sprint Cup Champion Jimmie Johnson won the Allstate 400 at Indianapolis in a hard fought seven-lap shootout, with Roush Fenway driver Carl Edwards following the last of nine competition yellows thrown by race officials due to excessive tire wear.

Do fans have a right to be just a little bit peeved? A seven-lap shootout is the best they could get in a race that had no more than 12 laps of green flag racing all day?

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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…


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Not Kurt Busch
07/28/2008 09:39 AM

One comment, Why did Nascar Allow Klye Busch to jump the Start at the Nationwide Race at ORP???
He clearly jumped the start the Announcers called, we fans in the stands witnessed it, And then the radio calls to the flag stand not to throw the black flag, the Starter had it in his hand ready to throw it out but he was told not to??? Then NASCAR telling the TV and Radio announcers to shut??? …. Hey NASCAR if you don’t want us to know how you fix races then don’t allow the fans acess to your radio transmissions.. I was there I heard the call come from Race Controll… so how are you going to cover this one up?????

07/28/2008 01:36 PM

>>Super-team owners Richard Childress, Ray Evernham, Joe Gibbs, and Rick Hendrick unanimously credited NASCAR with doing a good job of managing the tire troubles at Indianapolis during the running of the Allstate 400.<<

They were sincere, Tommy. NA$CAR’s decision to change the Brickyard into a progression of 10-lap sprints saved those gentlemen a boatload of money.

I was at the fall race at Lowes after it was “legivated.” We saw the same sort of tire-wear probelms, but NA$CAR left ‘em race. I thought it was one of the most intriguing—if wierdest—races I’ve ever seen. If a driver wanted to push it, he could cut through the field like a knife through hot butter, as most of the competitors were tippy-toeing around Lowes at about three-quarter speed. It was fun to watch. But…. If a driver pushed too hard, too long, he blew a tire and hit the wall. The tension was electric.

Problem is, a lot of good cars got wadded up and somebody could have been seriously hurt. So, having screwed up the tire-testing thing, NA$CAR at least did the right thing yesterday, saving the owners repair bills and the drivers hospital bills.

And I got a nice afternoon nap in. :o]

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