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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.

An Honest Assessment of the Discrimination Lawsuit

As much as Brian France would like to fuggiddaboutit, it is well known throughout the racing world that NASCAR is now facing a huge, multimillion dollar lawsuit claiming, among other things, sexual harassment and racial discrimination. The suit is being brought on by one Mauricia Grant, or “Mo” as she is more commonly called. “Mo” was a NASCAR Official in the now Nationwide Series for about two-and-a-half years -- from 2005 until her termination in 2007 -- and “Mo” is a 32-year-old Afro-American female. Those are all facts. Now, before I get to far along in all this, I want to say that I have read the 43-page lawsuit in it’s entirety and I have read Mo’s comments from her first face-to-face interview since filing the lawsuit. I am not writing this to proclaim guilt or innocence upon anyone involved; I am merely sharing with you some of the questions and concerns that I have after reading all the material.

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Fanning the Flames: Fueling The Engine Debate, Montoya’s Struggles, And… Joey Clanton?

Good batch this week, everyone; lots of questions to tackle. Keep 'em coming in ... this column doesn't exist without you. In case you need it, here's the link to my world... *Q: Matt, can you or someone tell the true story of what happened to Joey Clanton and Jack Roush in the Truck Series? If I remember correctly, Joey was a co-driver for some team in 2007. Joey came from Georgia, as well as his sponsor Zaxby's Chicken. He and Zaxby's teamed with Roush for 2008 ... but after the Daytona race, Joey left, and the official statement was he had family interests to pursue. Joey was a good up and coming driver, having won an ASA title a few years ago. It appears Roush used him to get the Zaxby's sponsor and then booted Joey for someone else. Maybe Joey can make a comeback next year? Thanks for your help.* _— Blackie Adams_ *A:* I believe Joey put it best himself after being released from his driving duties at Roush Fenway when he said, "I didn’t bring the Truck home in one piece, and I’m paying the ramifications for it."

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Mirror Driving: Junior’s Pace Car Problem, Kyle Busch’s Solution, And NASCAR’s Tight-Lipped Meeting

*Dale Earnhardt, Jr. snapped a 76-race losing streak at Michigan on Sunday with a fuel mileage win; but should NASCAR have allowed Junior, who passed the pace car on more than one occasion in an effort to conserve fuel, to retain the top spot?* Kurt: Aye, this is a tough one. Whatever the penalty is for passing the pace car should have been applied. Tony: I don't think so, but I’m with Kurt -- I have yet to hear what the penalty _should’ve_ been. Amy: Yes and no. I agree with letting the win stand — sort of — but in that case, NASCAR needs to rewrite the rule. To your question Tony, 10-4-D is the exact violation from the NASCAR Rule Book: “Cars may not pass the caution vehicle unless directed to do so by a NASCAR official. Any cars illegally passing the caution vehicle or race leader will be black-flagged or repositioned at the discretion of NASCAR officials.” So, according to that, he should have been black-flagged.

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Top Ten Ploys Used By NASCAR To Draw Attention Away From Its Discrimination Lawsuit

*10.* Make sure that NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver wins, so the maximum number of people are happy. *9.* Make sure Kyle Busch doesn’t win for exactly the same reason. *8.* Send an expendable official out in front of Matt Kenseth’s car to create controversy and sympathy for all officials. *7.* Allow the officials to unionize, thus creating the Association For Race Officials, (AFRO) so this sort of thing doesn’t happen again.

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Dale Earnhardt, Jr.’s Win Gave NASCAR What It Needed: Putting The Focus Back On Racing

Dale Earnhardt, Jr.’s first win in over two years could not have come at a better time for the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing. The sanctioning body desperately needed something positive to transpire for the sport after a week in which it found itself in the forefront of the national news -- and not for anything race related _on the track._ Instead, they were being sued by a former employee, Mauricia Grant, a NASCAR Busch [Nationwide] Series official who alleges that she had been subjected to racial and sexual discrimination, sexual harassment, and wrongful termination. The $225 million lawsuit details, among other particulars, racial remarks that Grant, a black woman who was employed by NASCAR from January 2005 – October 2007, was subjected to by co-workers. Before Dale Jr. trumped the field at Michigan International Speedway Sunday in a fuel strategy race, the lawsuit appeared to be continuing to “grow legs” and threatened to be a headliner going into this week. NASCAR has “circled the wagons” and denies that Grant had ever made the organization aware that there was a problem; nonetheless, hours before the running of the LifeLock 400 and following their own preliminary internal investigation of the matter, NASCAR announced that they had suspended two officials accused in the lawsuit of exposing themselves to Grant.

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Who’s Hot/Who’s Not in Sprint Cup: 2008 LifeLock 400 at Michigan Edition

The long-awaited first Hendrick-Earnhardt victory finally came this week at Michigan, but it didn't come without controversy. Winning on fuel mileage, the No. 88 team worked some pit strategy to make it to victory lane, but Matt Kenseth and Brian Vickers have criticized Junior and NASCAR for allowing the eventual winner to pass the pace car under caution. Nevertheless, Junior's win was still well-deserved and certainly earned. Earnhardt wasn't the only one who enjoyed success at the 2-mile oval, the Red Bull and Roush-Fenway teams also had strong runs. To see which teams made the "HOT" list this week, check out this week's edition of Who's Hot / Who's Not in Sprint Cup.

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Talking NASCAR TV: TNT Not The Only Network To Step It Up A Notch This Week

Dale Earnhardt, Jr. had a lot of reasons to win Sunday’s Lifelock 400 at Michigan International Speedway, not the least of which was the strong reader response to my being critical of Junior for lethargic television interviews in "last week’s column.":https://frontstretch.com/dturnbull/17431/ The results were varied, but most sided with Junior, saying that he does enough media appearances to suffice the wants and demands of the networks and that he deserves some lenience about his interviews, considering he does them after racing in extreme heat for several hours. I’m sure Junior read the column for inspiration, and that led him to Victory Lane on Sunday - I'm positive. But seriously, whether Junior read the column and the responses or not, his win did give TNT and other entities covering the race something to talk about after a rather dull event up to that point. Junior’s reaction to winning for the first time in 76 races – and on Father’s Day at that - definitely makes up for any lackluster interviews he may have delivered in past weeks. Instead, the raw emotion poured from his being as he congratulated and embraced teammates; it was clear a monkey was lifted off his back.

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Ten Points To Ponder… After the 2008 Lifelock 400 at Michigan

*1. Geico... Not Gecko!* - GEICO Insurance, sponsor of Mike Wallace and the No. 7 Germain Racing Toyota, is indicating that they will end their sponsorship of the car after next season. Wallace, who finished third in the Meijer 300 last Saturday at Kentucky, believes he will need another sponsor if he is to continue in the Nationwide Series after 2009. NASCAR has disallowed GEICO from further sponsorship in the series, agreeing to exclude other insurance companies from funding teams as part of the agreement that saw Nationwide Insurance replace Anheuser-Busch as the series' title sponsor. GEICO has been one of the more visible corporations supporting this series in recent years, producing a series of popular commercials featuring Wallace and a tough-talking youthful fictional second cousin (twice removed). “It’s a shame because you’re trying to take a sponsor of this particular series [GEICO] – they found a niche where they like to be – and go, ‘look, you’ve got to go away. We don’t want you around anymore,’” said Wallace. GEICO is permitted by NASCAR to participate as a sponsor in any of NASCAR’s other race divisions, however. So, will we see Loren Wallace in a GEICO sponsored Craftsman Truck in 2010? Naw… you just know the kid will hold out for a Sprint Cup ride!

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Bubble Breakdown: Michael Waltrip Wrecks, But It’s Haas CNC Crashing Out Of Top 35

Rain on Friday afternoon washed out NASCAR qualifying at Michigan International Raceway, meaning the starting grid was set by owner points -- leaving the No. 70 Haas Automation Chevrolet and the No. 34 Front Row Motorsports Chevy as the odd teams out. But while the teams on the bubble breathed a sigh of relief, their calm was short-lived, as they now had to deal with starting the race in the back of the field in a car that has been highly criticized for not running well in traffic. So, which teams towards the back of the field were able to navigate their way to the front? See for yourself as we break down the hunt for the Top 35 in this week's Bubble Breakdown for the Lifelock 400 at Michigan International Raceway.

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Numbers Game: 2008 LifeLock 400 at Michigan

1 Car that fell to the back of the field at the start of racing at Michigan. (No. 15 Paul Menard for an engine change) 2 Drivers that failed to qualify for the Cup race at Michigan. (No. 70 – Jason Leffler, No. 34 Tony Raines) 2 hours, 47 minutes, …

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