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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.

Down in Daytona: Change is the Story after Day 1 of Winter Testing

It seemed like only yesterday that the Nextel Cup series crowned *Jimmie Johnson* the 2007 champion, but just over one month since the season finale at Homestead, the Sprint Cup has returned this week to Florida for the first official test of 2008. Johnson led the usual cast of characters after Day 1 with a speed of 184.782 miles an hour - but around him, change appears to be the biggest story coming out of Daytona this winter. In the first session of the month, odd-numbered teams in the owner point standings following last year's Chicagoland race debuted the Car of Tomorrow for the first time on the high banks of Daytona. Among the drivers taking part in the first session were some familiar faces, including: *Casey Mears*, *Kyle Busch*, *J.J. Yeley*, *Travis Kvapil*, *Jeremy Mayfield*, and *Mark Martin.* But with each of these aforementioned drivers dawning new teams, sponsors, and numbers, it's safe to say that the only drivers fans placed with their cars were Johnson, *Jeff Gordon*, *Carl Edwards,* and maybe a few others.

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2007 NASCAR Driver Review: Tony Stewart

*2007 Ride*: No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Chevrolet *2007 Owner*: Joe Gibbs *2007 Primary Sponsor*: Home Depot *2007 Crew Chief*: Greg Zipadelli *Stats:* 36 Races, 3 Wins, 11 Top 5s, 23 Top 10s, 6th in points. *High Point:* Stewart typically uses the summer to heat up his season - and this year was no exception. During a four-race stretch in July and August, he won three races and finished sixth in the other, emerging as the most serious challenger to Hendrick Motorsports for the title. Among those wins was a second Brickyard 400 triumph; and with Stewart a native Hoosier, finishing first at Indianapolis will always be the highest point in his season.

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2007 NASCAR Driver Review: Johnny Sauter

*2007 Ride*: No. 70 Haas CNC Racing Chevrolet *2007 Primary Sponsor*: Yellow Transportation *2007 Owner*: Gene Haas / Joe Custer *2007 Crew Chief*: Robert "Bootie" Barker *Stats*: 35 Races, 0 Wins, 1 Top 5, 2 Top 10s, 30th in points. *Best Finish*: 5th - Richmond, September. *High Point*: Sauter's 5th place finish at the Chevy Rock & Roll 400 at Richmond was the best finish of his career, and it also wound up being his sole Top 5 of the season for Haas CNC Racing. While Sauter was experiencing a rather mediocre year on the track, though, his personal life was far from mediocre. Sauter and his girlfriend of two years, Paul Menard PR rep Cortney Owen, got engaged during the 2007 season - keeping any on-track struggles well in perspective. To our knowledge, the happy couple have not yet set a date for the wedding.

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2007 NASCAR Driver Review: Boris Said

*2007 Ride*: No. 60 No Fear Racing Ford (limited schedule) No. 21 Wood Brothers Racing Ford (Watkins Glen - August) No. 98 Gillett - Evernham Motorsports Dodge (Loudon - Sept.) *2007 Primary Sponsor*: SoBe No Fear Energy Drink (No. 60) Little Debbies (No. 21) Valvoline (No. 98) *2007 Owner*: Mark Simo (No. 60) Wood Brothers (No. 21) Ray Evernham (No. 98) *2007 Crew Chief*: Frankie Stoddard (No. 60) Michael "Fatback" McSwain (No. 21) Randy Seals (No. 98) *Stats* : 5 Races, 0 Wins, 0 Top 5s, 1 Top 10, 51st in points. *Best Finish* : 8th - Infineon, June. *High Point*: We are accustomed to seeing Boris Said excel on the road courses at Sonoma and Watkins Glen, so it comes as no surprise to see a Top 10 finish in his season stats. However, no one expected such a solid performance from Said in the Daytona 500. Said qualified the No. 60 SoBe No Fear Energy Drink Ford sixth overall, and started the biggest race of the year in the 23rd position following a solid performance in his Gatorade Duel. After taking the green flag, Said quickly fell to the rear of the restrictor plate drafting pack - but it turned out to be to his advantage. Avoiding all the wrecks and carnage, Said was able to bring it home 14th, completing all 202 laps and taking in a cool $265,375 in the process.

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2007 Driver Review: Scott Riggs

*2007 Ride:* No. 10 Gillett Evernham Dodge *2007 Primary Sponsor:* Stanley Proto Tools/Valvoline *2007 Owner:* James Rocco/Valvoline Evernham Racing *Stats:* 27 Races, 0 Wins, 0 Top 5s, 1 Top 10, 36th in points. *High Point:* While later in the season, qualifying would become an issue for the No. 10 team, Riggs started off the year strong starting in the Top 10 in six of the first ten races. However, strong finishes didn't follow other than an eighth place effort at Martinsville, his lone Top 10 finish of the season. A small consolation was the fact that he ended his tenure at Gillett Evernham Motorsports with three Top 20 finishes in his last five starts. *Low Point:* Riggs ended the 2006 season 20th in points, giving him a "free pass" into the first five races of the season. Solid qualifying runs in the first ten races meant he didn't have to rely on being in the top 35 in points to make those races, but with over half of those being finishes 30th or worse, Riggs sat 36th in points when the series hit Darlington. Unfortunately, his qualifying luck ran out, and Riggs missed his first of what would be nine races that week.

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2007 NASCAR Driver Review: David Reutimann

*2007 Ride:* No. 00 Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota *2007 Sponsors:* Burger King / Domino's Pizza *2007 Owner:* Michael Waltrip / Robert Kauffman (came on board in October) *2007 Crew Chief:* Frank Kerr *Stats:* 26 Races, 0 Wins, 0 Top 5s, 0 Top 10s, 0 Poles, 39th in points. *High Points:* Although there were a lot of zeros in David Reutimann's 2007 stat line, the rookie from Zephyrhills, Florida had plenty of reasons to be encouraged. His most notable on-track accomplishments came in June, when a 40th-place start proved no obstacle at Michigan; Reutimann drove his way through the field to notch a solid 15th-place finish. Another surprising run came at Richmond in September, when the driver of the No. 00 Toyota recorded a lead lap, 13th-place run. However, the best news out of the Reutimann camp came off the track in October, when he was announced as the heir apparent to drive the No. 44 UPS Toyota that will be vacated by 1999 Winston Cup champion Dale Jarrett after the fifth race of the '08 season.

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2007 Driver Review: Tony Raines

*2007 Ride:* No. 96 Hall of Fame Racing Chevrolet *2007 Primary Sponsor:* DLP HGTV *2007 Owners:* Bill Saunders, Troy Aikman, and Roger Staubach; Jeff Moorad and Tom Garfinkel (acquired majority ownership in September) *2007 Crew Chief:* Brandon Thomas *2007 Stats:* 34 Starts, 0 Top 5s, 1 Top 10, 29th in points. *Best Finish:* 9th, Talladega (October) *High Point:* If you were a Tony Raines fan, you had to wait awhile for success this year; his highest point came eight months after the season began, at a most unlikely place: Talladega. In October, Raines managed to not only survive the UAW-Ford 500, but he was a contender throughout, leading five of his six laps of 2007 in the process. When the checkers flew, Raines found himself with a 9th place finish, his only Top 10 of the season driving the No. 96 Chevrolet.

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Mirror Driving : Kahne Takes A Hit, Johnson Snakebit, And Replacing The Sponsor That Quit

*Kasey Kahne is getting sued for an incident in which he pushed a 62-year-old security officer to the ground. Is this another get-rich-quick scheme for private citizen versus NASCAR celebrity, or a troubling sign of a young driver's immaturity?* Tony: A bit of both. I bet if it was a run of the mill citizen, there may not be a lawsuit. However, Kasey is not off the hook; what he did was over the top. Amy: It's a lame attempt to extort money... but that does not excuse Kahne's behavior. It's not like needing credentials is something new! Vito: Maybe someone can get knocked out by Danica Patrick next year and outdo this guy.

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Mirror Driving : Johnson’s Place In History, Brian France Rewriting History, And Kenseth Looking Back On History

*Jimmie Johnson took his second consecutive Nextel Cup title Sunday, joining Richard Petty, Cale Yarborough, Darrell Waltrip, Dale Earnhardt, and Jeff Gordon as the sixth driver in the modern era to put together back-to-back title runs. Should Johnson now be considered among the best drivers in the modern era?* Mike: He certainly should. He's been in the Chase every year; you can't deny that he's been strong. He's also the winningest driver since he came into the series in 2002. Tommy: Gordon, Stewart, and Johnson are the best among active drivers. Johnson hit Cup racing full speed ahead, and hasn't slowed down since. Vito: He's knocked down 33 wins already ... so I'd say so. That's more than Dale Jarrett has in his entire career. He also has a Daytona 500 and a Brickyard 400 win, to boot.

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Mirror Driving : Johnson’s Place In History, Brian France Rewriting History, And Kenseth Looking Back On History

*Jimmie Johnson took his second consecutive Nextel Cup title Sunday, joining Richard Petty, Cale Yarborough, Darrell Waltrip, Dale Earnhardt, and Jeff Gordon as the sixth driver in the modern era to put together back-to-back title runs. Should Johnson now be considered among the best drivers in the modern era?* Mike: He certainly should. He's been in the Chase every year; you can't deny that he's been strong. He's also the winningest driver since he came into the series in 2002. Tommy: Gordon, Stewart, and Johnson are the best among active drivers. Johnson hit Cup racing full speed ahead, and hasn't slowed down since. Vito: He's knocked down 33 wins already ... so I'd say so. That's more than Dale Jarrett has in his entire career. He also has a Daytona 500 and a Brickyard 400 win, to boot.

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