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Did You Notice? 2007 Offseason Edition

Editor’s Note: Still not getting the Frontstretch newsletter, delivered FREE right to your inbox? Well, we’re doing everything we can to get you to hop on board; so, here’s a little preview of what you’re missing. With news scarce to come by this Thanksgiving, instead of Bowles-Eye View, Tom has graciously agreed to a do a special edition of Did You Notice?, a weekly column that appears in the newsletter each Wednesday. If you like what you read, don’t hesitate to click here to sign up for the newsletter as soon as you can; it’s the only way you’ll be able to find this newest Frontstretch feature each and every week!

Did You Notice? How quickly everyone got the heck out of dodge as soon as the NASCAR season is over? You didn’t hear a peep from much of anyone over the past week – because we were all on vacation! Yes, it’s the holidays, but the sigh of relief uttered by everyone who’s a part of the sport is yet another sign the Cup season is as lengthy as it’s ever going to get.

Did You Notice? The gentlemanly way in which Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon interacted after Gordon lost the title at Homestead? The respect the two men have for one another seems to grow by the day; and truth be told, they did stage one of the more impressive battles for the title in recent history, regardless of how many fans chose to care. A rivalry the likes of Petty-Allison, it’s not; but that doesn’t mean it’s not a healthy competition between the two nonetheless.

Did You Notice? The irony in Dale Earnhardt Jr.‘s final race with DEI included damaging contact with the man he’s replacing at Hendrick, Kyle Busch? The two may claim they don’t consider themselves rivals; but they’re not going to need to come together much more in order for that to change.

HENDERSON: DALE JR.’S LAST LAP AT DEI

Did You Notice? That even with Matt Kenseth‘s win at Homestead, Roush Fenway Racing cars have combined to win just a total of 13 Cup races over the last two seasons? That pales in comparison to the 15 wins they spread around five cars back in ’05. Of course, that year Roush had all five of its cars in the Chase; the past two years, they’ve managed just two. Oh, how far the Blue Oval hath fallen – the 13-win total for them is the worst two-year span since they won just eight times in Cup over the 1983-’84 seasons.

Did You Notice? That just seven teams combined to win this year’s 36 races? Hendrick Motorsports won a season-high 18, Roush Fenway Racing won seven, and Joe Gibbs Racing took the checkered four times this season to lead the list. Other winning programs included Richard Childress Racing (three wins), Penske Racing (two), Dale Earnhardt Inc. (one) and Chip Ganassi Racing (one). That’s not exactly the type of variety – and parity – NASCAR’s looking for in its top series.

Did You Notice? That after all the threats, the whining, and scaring a town board to death, Bruton Smith will be keeping Lowe’s Motor Speedway right where it is after all. In hindsight, no one should be surprised…

Did You Notice? That Robby Gordon has now lost three crew chiefs in the span of a year? First, Greg Erwin (to Roush Fenway), then Gene Nead and now Peter Sospenzo. This comes on the heels of a second team falling through and the team still pursuing sponsorship for Robby’s primary program. At least the team still has a Top-35 qualifying exemption for the first five races next season – but I’m beginning to worry about their future.

Did You Notice? All the new teams being announced for the Nextel Cup Series next year? There’s the new third Penske team, and, and,

Still thinking…

Wasn’t the Car of Tomorrow going to make joining Nextel Cup cost-effective?

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