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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.

The Daytona 500 — From Feel Good Story to Bad Taste In My Mouth

Overall, last Sunday's Daytona 500 seemed to go pretty well, from my standards anyway. The racing was ok, and while I do admit to catching a 60 lap mid-race nap, the ending, with the prospect of Sprint's arch-rival AT&T sponsored car capturing the checkers, almost made me wet my pants with delight. Fortunately for me, seeing as how the ambient wind-chill in my neck of the woods was about MINUS the AT&T's car number at the time, Jeff Burton did not win.

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Fanning the Flames: Casual Questions From “Hard Core” Fans — And Vice Versa

Another solid batch, guys and gals. The diversity of questions is just outstanding, so keep ‘em rolling in… Thus far you all have absolutely topped yourselves from where we were at this point last season. Just click on this little red link and let's talk. And before we start, I just have to say that if Chubby Checker and his painted-on jeans, denim jacket and shoddy lip-sync job ever show at a pre-race concert again, I'm outta here. I love racing, but my stomach just won't stand for that. *Q: Do you know why NASCAR can't build a few more pit stalls and allow more cars to race on a 2.5-mile track? With its "Super Bowl" status, and kicking off the season, why not let Bill Elliott and the Wood Brothers, Ken Schrader and others in the race? Now these teams face Race No. 2 with zero points and the dreaded go-or-go-home status the rest of the season. NASCAR is not very bright.* _— Ray Miller_ *A:* Basically, because 43 is the max number. That's the set-in-stone rule. We don't have too many of those these days, so let's not give NASCAR any ideas, OK?

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Mirror Driving: Dodging The Charger, Who Pulls The Next Upset, And Questioning The Start Times At Daytona

*After a whole week in relative anonymity amongst their manufaturer counterparts, Dodge took six of the Top 10 spots in the Daytona 500 on Sunday. Were the Dodges merely in the right place at the right time, or are they going to be a force to reckoned with this year?* Jeff: They were never as far behind as they let on. Amy: They certainly weren't really on my radar much -- though Sorenson's Speedweeks should have been a clue. Mike: As Roger Penske stated after the race, they focused on downforce and it paid off in the end. Matt T.: Six of the Top 8 tells me they had something figured out. But Daytona is an anomaly, so let's see how Cali and Vegas go before jumping on the bandwagon.

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Top Ten Excuses Heard At Hendrick Motorsports Weekly Post Race Meeting

*10. (Someone from the No. 48 team)*: "…but all we gotta do is be in at least 12th by race 26 -- right?" *9. Chad Knaus*: "I do my best work when I'm not allowed at the track." *8. (Someone from the No. 24 team)*: "Well, we hired this new kid, see -- Shane Hmiel, I think his name was -- to work on the suspension…" *7. Jimmie Johnson*: "I'm the reigning back-to-back Champion. You'll have to ask my agent."

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Newman Flies Under the Radar En Route To Returning As Cup Contender

By most accounts, the 50th running of the Daytona 500 lived up to its hype. The annual Florida speed extravaganza provided spectators with an above-average dose of exciting side-by-side racing, and it culminated in an almost-Cinderella like ending with a completely unexpected win by Ryan Newman. To say Newman's win was an upset -- despite being aligned with powerful Penske Racing -- would be an understatement. Plenty of big names were being bandied around as real threats to win the event, with fan favorite Dale Earnhardt, Jr. becoming the odds-on favorite based not on his popularity, but on his wins in both the Bud Shootout and the first Gatorade Duel qualifying race. Should Junior falter, many speculated that his teammates, Jeff Gordon or Jimmie Johnson, would also have a shot of pulling out the win. Based on preseason hype and prerace success, it seemed just a matter of time until the heretofore dominating Hendrick Motorsports stable of drivers would be lined up on the last lap as they raced to the checkered flag at Daytona.

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Who’s Hot/Who’s Not In Sprint Cup: 2008 Daytona 500 Edition

For three months the anticipation built up in preparation for the 50th running of the Daytona 500, all the way up until the green flag flew over 43 of the world's best drivers to kick off the 2008 season Sunday afternoon. The expected Hendrick Motorsports dominance was overshadowed by the success of Joe Gibbs Racing and Toyota with *Tony Stewart*, *Kyle Busch* and *Denny Hamlin* each taking turns at the front of the field while only one Hendrick car finished in the Top 25. As the closing laps came winding down, it was two drivers who hadn't necessarily been contenders for the majority of the race who teamed up for a 1-2 finish. The Penske cars of *Kurt Busch* and *Ryan Newman* are obviously two of the hottest cars coming out of Daytona, but who else is satisfied with their performance in the Great American Race? Who is already behind the 8-ball after just one race? Come in and find out in this week's edition of Who's/ Who's Not in Sprint Cup.

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Numbers Game: 2008 Daytona 500

*0.092* Ryan Newman's margin of victory over Kurt Busch in the Daytona 500. (in seconds) *1st* Coors Light Pole of 2008 for Jimmie Johnson after taking the top starting spot in Daytona, with a speed of 187.075 mph. It was the 14th of his career and second at Daytona. *3* Cars dropped to the rear of the field before the start of racing at Daytona. (No. 26 - Jamie McMurray and No. 40 - Dario Franchitti for using back-up cars, No. 78 - Joe Nemechek for missing drivers introductions)

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Ten Points To Ponder: After the 2008 Daytona 500

*1. Well … Isn't That Just Super? -* The Daytona 500 is often referred to as NASCAR's equivalent of the NFL's Super Bowl. Well, the Patriots - Giants game, held two weeks ago, was an exciting and well-played contest in its own right; and, with a Cinderella finish to boot. I just thought it was appropriate to mention here, because while I like the New York Giants, Ryan Newman and the Penske Dodges were just as big of an underdog, overcoming the odds for a surprise victory in Sprint Cup. It's clear that in terms of entertainment value, both the NFL and NASCAR appear to have delivered in the past month or so. *2. Was It Just A Hunch? -* Those NASCAR PR guys are slick; did you catch the NASCAR promo shortly after the opening laps as FOX went to break with Jeff Gordon exclaiming that, "Hey, I like the way this is looking." And that happened not long after he had taken the lead, either! How did those guys know?

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Bubble Breakdown: Vickers Shines While Digging Out Of Top 35 Hole…Wood Brothers Dig Themselves In Deeper

All week, it looked like a battle between Joe Gibbs' Toyotas and Rick Hendrick's Chevrolets at this year's Daytona 500; but with a last lap surprise, Ryan Newman, Kurt Busch, and Roger Penske came out of nowhere to score a major 1-2 upset in the Great American Race for Dodge. There were a lot of surprises when it came to the Top 35, too. Early results are in, and there are some "locked in" teams that will find themselves digging out of a hole in the next four races to work on keeping their status. Not only that, but teams outside the Top 35 started working hard to change that disadvantage for race six of this season -- when the current owner points for 2008 will be used and allow them to sneak back into the race lineup. So, without further ado let's check out our Top 35 results for this week -- we'll start with some of those cars "locked in" but a little nervous about how it's going to go this next month or two: Ganassi Racing's No. 40 car with *Dario Franchitti* came in 33rd, a devastating finish for them on a track where Franchitti should particularly be successful. With Franchitti's rookie status intact for the year, this program needs to improve their equipment to keep the team inside the bubble -- plain and simple.

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Call it the Kyle Busch Rule

Kyle Busch humorously apologized indirectly to Joey Logano and Marc Davis for possibly being responsible for making NASCAR believe that Cup drivers need to be at least 21. In an article at "That's Racin'":http://www.thatsracin.com/242/story/10294.html some time ago, Kyle was quoted as saying that "…I think a lot of this might have to do with just the off-track stuff, the way - I don't know if I brought it on, which is going to be the Kyle Busch rule again for others again, I'm sorry." Most of us know what he means. Certainly his name enters the minds of many fans when NASCAR talks about ensuring that drivers reach a certain level of maturity before racing at the Cup level. Not because Kyle is immature necessarily, but that is the public perception of him.

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