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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.

Who’s Hot/Who’s Not in Sprint Cup: 2008 All-Star Race at Charlotte Edition

With $1 million on the line Saturday night, drivers and fans got a glimpse of what just may happen when points are up for grabs at the Coca-Cola 600 this weekend. While the annual Sprint All-Star event, traditionally run on the weekend prior to Memorial Day, may be an altogether different animal -- it's a 100-lap sprint compared to the longest race on the NASCAR schedule -- many teams still view the event as an extended test session. Because of that, don’t be surprised if some of the stronger cars last week will be up front once again, putting what they learned to good use late Sunday night. While this column is traditionally designed for the upward and downward trends of Sprint Cup drivers as the season progresses, we’ll also take a look at how the hottest and coldest drivers fared in The All-Star Race -- and whether or not they'll stay the course when it really counts this weekend. *HOT* *Kyle Busch:* If his car holds together for the entire 600 miles next week, Busch will be the man to beat once again. With five consecutive Top 5s and three consecutive finishes of second or better, the No. 18 is the hottest team in the series right now.

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Behind the Scenes in NASCAR: Who Are All Those Guys?

It’s not often that we see them on camera; like a rare bird, they dash out of shot, intent on accomplishing the task at hand. But that doesn't stop our curiosity; instead, we sit at home and wonder why they’re there. What do they do? Is it really important? The fact is, our heroes, the drivers of NASCAR, wouldn’t be able to go anywhere without them. These people are the teams, crews, and support staff for the Sprint Cup circuit. Over the past two weeks, I’ve had the opportunity to watch these unsung heroes, on TV and in person. And even if they don’t get to live in the limelight, like Dale Jr. and Kyle Busch, these participants are every bit as committed to this sport as the more recognizable names in NASCAR.

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Ten Points To Ponder… After The 2008 All-Star Challenge at Charlotte

*1. No Problem, Ron* – Sprint Cup Series point leader Kyle Busch ended his six weekend streak of winning a race – somewhere and in some type of car or truck. The Las Vegas native won the pole positions at Lowe’s Motor Speedway for both the Craftsman Truck Series North Carolina Education Lottery 200 and the Sprint Cup All-Star Race, but did not visit Victory Lane in either contest. In the All-Star Race, Busch appeared to be the driver to beat as he dominated the early going, but encountered engine problems before the end of segment two, relegating him to the 24th and final position in the running order. Busch also dominated the CTS event, leading 86 of the first 105 laps on the night; however, with just 29 laps remaining in the contest, reigning series champ Ron Hornaday and Busch made contact, requiring NASCAR’s hottest driver to pit twice for repairs and dash his hopes for a victory. Said Hornaday, a three-time CTS Champion; “I got loose and got into him. He got the short end of the stick.” No doubt Hornaday’s explanation is more than good enough for many Dale Earnhardt, Jr. fans!

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An Open Letter To Dale Earnhardt, Jr.: Don’t Worry About The Wins

Dear Dale Earnhardt, Jr.: I’m writing to congratulate you on your terrific season so far. Smile, dude… Jeff Gordon would love to be in your position right now. Still, I’m sure you grow weary of the press harping on that zero in the win column. Just this week alone, Pete Pistone of Racing One wrote a piece entitled "Still in Search of Victory Lane.":http://www.racingone.com/article.aspx?artnum=42359 Buddy Shacklette’s column "Jr. Nation Appears Alive And Well":http://www.news-journalonline.com/NewsJournalOnline/Speed/Headlines/racSPRINT01051108.htm mentions the streak is now 72 races. Even our own Tom Bowles pointed out the Richmond incident that's "kept you winless":/tbowles/16306/ in 2008. And so it goes -- and will continue -- as it has ever since you finished ninth at Daytona. If you listen to much of the racing press, your season so far has been a failure. Don’t believe it.

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David Reutimann Driver Diary: The Family Ties That Bind

It was a tough day this past week during the Nationwide [Series] testing at Charlotte. We tore up a really good race car, which is unfortunate. I am OK, but I feel bad for the guys back at the shop. The good thing though is that is really the only negative thing that has happened to us recently, as our season is really shaping up the way we knew it would. For instance, last weekend at Darlington we got jammed up early on and had to come in for a pit stop. We left pit road in 38th position, but raced our way up to the Top 10. For most of the night, I was running anywhere from 10th – 12th, and that is a great step for this team. I was up there passing and racing guys who just last year, I could hardly see their bumper covers. If we can stay the course and keep doing the right things, I definitely feel like we can get a Top 10 finish before long.

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Fanning the Flames: Be Careful What You Wish For… Like It Or Not, NASCAR Personality Is Back

Before we get rolling with this week’s questions, I have a question of my own: What’s with all the Kyle Busch hate in NASCAR fandom? I’ve read more than a few columns, message boards and received a comment or two concerning Busch and the way some race fans view him and I gotta be honest, I’m really taken aback. Before I get the obligatory, “he’s a young punk,” or “he’s got an attitude problem,” or “he drives dirty,” responses, let’s think about this rationally for a second. Yes, Kyle is young and brash and isn’t afraid to swagger down pit road with a cocky air about him just before administering an ass-whoopin’ to the field. OK, I get that that can rub some the wrong way. Thing is, most of the greats had the same strut to them — and get the same results. People love to wax poetic about Tim Richmond’s cavalier style, Darrell Waltrip’s propensity for smack talk and Dale Earnhardt’s win-at-all-cost mentality. You see a correlation here?

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Some Plane Crash Facts NASCAR Fails To Mention

When I saw a headline the other day stating that NASCAR officials had determined it was an electrical fire that brought down a NASCAR-operated Cessna 310 on July 10, 2007 in Sanford, FL; it struck me as extremely odd that they would be making such a statement. For those who've forgotten, let me refresh your memory of the tragedy that occurred halfway through the year. Five people were fatally wounded, including NASCAR pilots Michael Klemm and Dr. Bruce Kennedy, husband of ISC President Lesa France Kennedy. The three other fatalities were residents of the houses that the plane struck when it went down.

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Mirror Driving: Judging The Lady In Black, Throwing Your Crew Under The Bus, And Yaw. Yes, Yaw

*Darlington's new paving job produced speeds never touched before at the track, and tires held up longer than ever. Darlington stripes came back into fashion, too. Was this the best race at the track held in years, and what does it mean for the future of NASCAR's original superspeedway?* Vito: Not the best race ever... but acceptable. I think the new car is almost too resilient. You can bounce it off the wall all night and still win. Mike: I don't think it was the best it’s been in years. Passing was rather difficult. At least the durability of the tire added a little pit strategy. But give it two more years on the track for this pavement to settle, and the racing will be awesome.

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Richard Childress: Rightfully – A Hall Of Famer

What do sports greats Jim “Catfish” Hunter, Sonny Jurgensen, Arnold Palmer, Gaylord Perry and NASCAR team owner Richard Childress have in common? Well, at least after Thursday evening’s induction ceremony at the Raleigh, North Carolina Hilton in which Childress will be honored; all will be members of the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame. Childress’ selection is well deserved, and if anything...long overdue. North Carolina is truly the Mecca of stock car racing and holds the sport's legends, in particular those native to the state, in high regard. Other North Carolinians from stock car racing that have previously been selected for the Hall of Fame include Buck Baker, Ned Jarrett, Junior Johnson, Lee and Richard Petty, Herb Thomas and Richard Childress’ close friend and driver, the late Dale Earnhardt.

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Top Ten Things Being Said About Carl Edwards’ Rear End

*10.* "It's the way that you use it to your advantage. Some guys are getting it more than others." – _Kyle Busch, talking about Carl’s car presumably._ *9.* “Mine used to look like that when I was racing.” – _Jimmy Spencer_ *8.* “They [complain] when we've got too many rules and then they want us to create more. NASCAR is not going to police any team’s rear ends more than we already do." – _Series director John Darby_ *7.* “The way it sits up high and tight and slightly to the right is just fabulous! You can tell he’s been working hard on it. Oh, and I hear his race car is pretty good too.” – _Richard Simmons_

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