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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.

Five Points to Ponder: 2009 Lifelock 400 at Chicagoland Edition

*ONE: Will Martin Truex Jr. make the Chase in his first year at MWR?* *_Fan Vote -- YES: 63%; NO: 38%_* It was a move Martin Truex, Jr. had to make. The No. 1 Earnhardt-Ganassi team has been in disarray all season long, and Truex has felt the effects with just three top 10s and a current 24th spot in the driver standings. A move to Michael Waltrip Racing may not be a jump to a perennial powerhouse, but it’s a move that could reap benefits as both David Reutimann and Marcos Ambrose have shown that the team does harness potential. The million dollar question is, though, will the partnership between Truex and Waltrip lead to a Chase berth in 2010?

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Bubble Breakdown: Late Race Trouble Negates Good Efforts from Paul Menard and Brad Keselowski

News from the bubble this past week was dominated by the announcement from Michael Waltrip Racing, who not only re-signed primary sponsor NAPA to a multi-year deal but also upgraded the cockpit of the car by signing two-time Busch Series Champion and one-time Chase participant Martin Truex, Jr. for 2010. Waltrip will drive up to 12 races next season in a No. 55 Toyota, cutting back his schedule, while Truex will drive the full slate in the newly-renumbered No. 56 NAPA-sponsored car. Truex will also get the owner points that the No. 55 team earns in 2009, which means he will almost certainly have a guaranteed starting spot in the season’s first five races in 2010. So, with one of our bubble teams making improvements for next year, would any others step up and try to grab the limelight? Read on in this week’s edition of the Bubble Breakdown for the Lifelock.com 400 from Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Illinois.

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NASCAR And The “Citizen Journalist”

_Editor’s Note: Kurt Smith is currently in Las Vegas losing both his proverbial and metaphorical behind. Since he won’t be able to recoup his losses without his salary of untold millions contracted in a per-column basis, he gave us his thoughts on NASCAR’s recent edict allowing “Citizen Journalists” media access to Cup garages. He would have talked about it sooner, but Matt McLaughlin beat him to it, and Matt was more qualified to comment anyway. But at any rate, we hope you enjoy Kurt’s thoughts on the subject…and thanks for reading commentary from the People’s Republic of the Frontstretch!_ As most of you know, recently NASCAR renewed their efforts to connect with its most devoted fans, with the initiation of the “NASCAR Citizen’s Journalist Media Corps." The idea is to allow writers from NASCAR-themed websites the same media access to garages and pressrooms and such that had previously been offered only to newspaper and television types.

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Driven To The Past: Cadillacs On The Track

As you might expect, I check over a lot of websites and message boards looking for stuff from the past that reminds me of things that have happened. I don’t remember which site or board it was, but last week somebody asked about whether anybody had tried a Cadillac in big-time stock car racing. Racing what would now be called a “high end” car isn’t new. A Lincoln won the first NASCAR Strictly Stock race in 1949, and I think Frank Mundy drove a Cadillac in that one. Lincolns figured prominently in the early years, and they also had quite a record in the old Carrera Panamericana, or Mexican Road Race. And, of course, the Chrysler 300 teams of the 1950s were dominant in their era. Cadillac, however, has for some reason always been perceived as a pure luxury car.

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Blue Smoke and Burnt Rubber: Chapter 11

Cook County Mile Chris slammed the door to the silver pick-up normally towed behind Danny’s RV. He looked around the crowded parking lot and located a shopping cart pushed up on an island. Grabbing the red bar that read “Super D Mart”, he headed into the store mentally reviewing his …

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While Not Required, Sportsmanship Is Still The RIGHT Thing to Do

As with any sport, game or competition in general, there are going to be high levels of emotions. That is a given, but there is a time and place for those emotions AND there are proper ways and avenues to express them too. In NASCAR, sportsmanship after a loss or wreck is not required, but it IS expected no matter who you are, how talented you are or how old you are. Anyone who chooses not to use it AND those who dismiss or defend it are just plain wrong.

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Fanning the Flames: Jeremy Mayfield’s “Dangerous Precedent” May Serve To Benefit The Sport

Anyone see where former U.S. figure skating champion Nicole Bobek was charged in a New Jersey court with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine? (Anyone care?) Wonder if she’ll “follow the dangerous precedent” set forth by Jeremy Mayfield, his appeal, and the court’s subsequent injunction? Considering she’s been retired for awhile and already in jail, I guess she has no one to appeal to — besides the court itself. All joking aside, I think we’re making a little much of the “dangerous precedent” theory.

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Blocking: It’s Just Racing!

Following last Saturday nights exciting final lap of the Coke Zero 400 from Daytona International Speedway, there has been a renewed call for NASCAR to ‘do something’ to prevent what some view as the just too dangerous practice of ‘blocking' --a driving maneuver as much a part of stock car racing as rubbing door handles is to the sport. Blocking is a practice that cannot be effectively regulated - nor should be. Interest in the issue had gained momentum following the spectacular last lap crash during the running of the Aaron’s 399 at Talladega at the end of April. That is of course when Roush Fenway driver Carl Edwards ended up in the catch-fence while attempting to prevent upstart Brad Keselowski from overtaking him for the win at the biggest track on the circuit. The wreck that ensued sent Keselowski to victory lane in a true “Cinderella story” of a win. Images of Edwards’ airborne No. 99 Ford were featured in sports and non-sports newscasts for the best part of the following week.

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Frontstretch Fantasy Insider: Cookie-Cuttering, Windy City Style

_There are few, if any, tracks on the Sprint Cup circuit as sterile as the 1.5-mile Chicagoland Speedway. The epitome of a cookie-cutter oval, there will likely be few, if any, surprises at the front this Saturday night, so make sure you leave your underdog drivers sitting on the bench. Indeed, the big names of the big teams are likely to dominate in such a convincing manner that the little guys might as well not make the trek from Daytona. Still, there are big names out there who have been unable to get a grasp on the constantly-curved Illinois circuit, so leave it to the Frontstretch Fantasy Insider to ensure you avoid these tricky gusts and wind your team’s way into Victory Lane in the Windy City._

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