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Frontstretch Staff

Frontstretch Staff
The Frontstretch Staff is made up of a group of talented men and women spread out all over the United States and Canada. Residing in 15 states throughout the country, plus Ontario, and widely ranging in age, the staff showcases a wide variety of diverse opinions that will keep you coming back for more week in and week out.

Talking NASCAR TV: ESPN Shines Under The Bristol Lights

The script for excitement during Saturday night’s race at Bristol Motor Speedway practically wrote itself. The sports two hottest drivers, Kyle Busch and Carl Edwards, occupied the top two spots in the pack for most of the race. Edwards tagged Busch’s back bumper ever-so-slightly, clawing his way into the lead, and yanking victory away from the unflappable Busch. A frustrated Busch scraped against the driver’s side of Edwards’ car after crossing the finish line, which prompted Edwards to go into Cole Trickle-mode, spinning Rowdy out on the cool down lap. The post-race quotes from each driver were captivating, with Edwards admitting to knocking Busch out of the way to take the lead and Busch likening Edwards to Mr. Ed…yes, _that_ Mr. Ed. Midway through the race, a large crash included Chase contenders Kasey Kahne and Clint Bowyer, causing Kahne to retire from the event. Bowyer drove an ill-handling car to a Top 10 finish, renewing his Chase hopes as he crept back into the Top 12. David Ragan backed up a career-best third place finish at Michigan with a 10th place in Thunder Valley, moving him within several points of Chase contention.

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Ten Points to Ponder… After the 2008 Bristol Night Race

*Knowing Your Competition:* Carl Edward used his No. 99 Roush Fenway Ford front bumper to execute a “bump and run” pass on the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota driven by Kyle Busch on lap 470 of the 500 lap Sharpie 500, a maneuver that proved to be the winning move of the race. “It’s one of those deals where I couldn’t get by him, I couldn’t get by him, and I just had to ask myself, ‘Would he do that to me?’ And he has before, so that’s the way it goes.” Kyle Busch, before hearing Edwards’ explanation of the aggressive driving, predicted that Edwards would say, “He didn’t mean to do it and is sorry.” Apparently Carl felt no need to be apologetic...Kyle.

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Bubble Breakdown: Regan Smith Builds Cushion With 14th Place Run

Once again, the half-mile bullring that is Bristol Motor Speedway proved to be too much for the teams sitting around the bubble. Only one driver ranked between 29th and 37th finished in the Top 25; and for that same group of nine drivers, the average starting position was 29th and the finishing position 31st. To add insult to injury, six of those nine cars were also involved in wrecks. With that list of poor performers, which lone driver was able to stand out and take advantage of the others' misfortunes? Read on to find out in this week’s edition of the Bubble Breakdown. *Biggest Winner* This week’s biggest winner is easily the No. 01 DEI Chevrolet driven by Cato, NY native *Regan Smith*. Smith had a great qualifying run that saw him put the car on the outside of the second row to start the race. The team did have some problems finding the handling on the car from there, however, and was twice the beneficiary of the Lucky Dog award on separate occasions.

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Tony Stewart And Ryan Newman Should Enjoy The Honeymoon While It Lasts

A two car team with established veteran drivers behind the wheel, quite a few wins between them, one a former Cup champion. Sharing engines and chassis with one of the top outfits in the business. Luring away a capable mechanic from Hendrick Motorsports, a fellow who performed more than adequately sitting in as a crew chief during the full-time crew chief’s suspension. And the support of a couple of big name sponsors. It seems as though the future is bright for Stewart-Haas Motorsports.

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Driven To The Past: An Uneasy Feeling

People seemed to get a kick out of it when I talked about being a little apprehensive (OK, scared) while working on pit road back in the day. Lemme tell ya about a day at Salem, Indiana when things happened so fast I didn’t have time to get scared. It was 1963, and I was standing on the inside of the second turn of that high-banked half-mile during the feature, when a car suddenly bounced off the outside wall and then skidded down to the apron. I could see heat waves, or alcohol flames, coming off the tank and the left rear tire where fuel had apparently spilled, but a fireman standing nearby apparently hadn’t been told that alcohol burns with a colorless flame.

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Fanning the Flames: Full Moon Fever Sweeps NASCAR Nation

*Q: My God, just what we need: another pathetic race at Kansas Speedway, the monkey's who run NASCAR are putting a worse and worse show together, but that's OK since the real racing (IndyCar) is gaining momentum and will feed off the moronic decisions of the woefully inbred France family and the idiots such as “Walrus” Helton, etc.* *A:* Yeah, Tony George is building a ton of momentum for his open wheel boys and girls by getting the series downgraded to the Vs. Channel. All the while, “Inbred Brian and the Walrus” continue to roll in the network and advertising dollars as TV ratings rise once again. Look, I don’t agree with or pretend to understand some (read: most) of the decisions made by the fendered brass in Daytona, but the microscope they’re under is enormous and sometimes we tend to pile on a bit too much.

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David Starr Driver Diary: Exciting Changes

There has been some big news in my life since my last diary a month ago. As many of you may have heard during the last SPEED broadcast, my wife Kim and I are expecting our first child in the early Spring. We are both really excited, and it’s a really cool thing for us. We love kids and have been looking forward to having our own -- so right now, life is good. Luckily, Kim is feeling great right now. Our lives are definitely going to change, but we couldn’t be more excited. One of the other exciting things that has been happening recently, as far as our Red Horse Racing team, is that we may finally be getting close to a possible second Craftsman Truck Series team. While there hasn’t been an announcement yet, it’s been no secret that we have been trying to expand our organization. Rick Gay has been hired by Red Horse Racing, and while he’s already a huge help for our No. 11 team, he has also been getting people hired for the possible second team. I’m sure there will be an announcement pretty soon, but right now they are just trying to get everything in place and situated. It’s a cool thing for me because I’m excited to have a teammate, and I think it’s going to be awesome for everyone at RHR.

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Top Ten Ways Carl Edwards Can Psych Out Kyle Busch

_Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson recently failed miserably in an attempt to get into Kyle Busch’s head before Watkins Glen, suggesting that Busch was in a slump. Busch responded to that by dominating that race for his eighth win of the season, then finished runner-up to Carl Edwards at Michigan the following week. So, with the Chase on the horizon, The Official Columnist of NASCAR offers Edwards -- Busch’s biggest challenger -- some advice on how to really get into his brain:_ *10.* Challenge him to a “Best Pecs” contest on ESPN. *9.* Teach Kyle how to do a backflip -- but leave out the detail that enables him to land on his feet.

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Jeff Gordon And Others Still Figuring Out How To Approach The Chase

Immediately following NASCAR’s announcement in 2003 of the new championship points format -- the ten-race Chase -- I found myself fully on board with the plan. I supported the decision by the new management regime headed by Brian France because, in my estimation, it was a smart business move to insure there were no more forgone conclusions as to who would win the championship by September -- allowing for more fans to stay tuned in as the NFL season began. But more importantly, it seemed apparent to me that the change would increase the need for teams and drivers to let it all hang out and fight for every available point from the opening race at Daytona. Certainly, the move was designed to put some pizzazz into the championship fight, hoping to force the Chase-eligible drivers to run hard every second of every race up through the last lap at Homestead in November.

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Mirror Driving: Gibbs’ Cheating, Kyle Busch Takes A Beating, And Dyno Tweaking

*The empty seats at Michigan were the latest in a trend that has seen attendance declining at many tracks on the Cup circuit. With the 2009 schedule coming out this week, would it be in NASCAR's — and the tracks’ — best interest to hold one race at some of these venues with hopes of a sellout, allowing the series to travel to tracks like Kentucky and Nashville for one-race shows -- or are stands that are a quarter or more empty still worth the trouble?* Amy: I almost think so. Yes, you sell more tickets with two dates even at 3/4 full, but operating costs, like electric and water, are astronomical times two with two races. Matt T.: I'd love to see a few tracks lose one date for variety's sake and to cater to more people.

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