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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.

Bubble Breakdown: Hidden Within Indy Madness, Scott Riggs, No. 66 Team Sneak Back Into Top 35

As difficult as Indianapolis Motor Speedway can be for drivers and crew chiefs alike, it proved to be even more difficult for Goodyear engineers on Sunday. With the company's few racing tires lasting only a handful of laps before showing excessive wear, NASCAR, in the name of safety, was forced to throw competition cautions every dozen or so laps for the duration of the race. This allowed teams to come down pit road and grab fresh rubber, in order to keep the cars from blowing their right sides off during a full green flag run and winding up in the wall. But amidst all the starting and stopping, crashes, and various pit strategies, an interesting subplot emerged concerning the usual slate of bubble teams. As the clouds lifted on a strange day of racing, Scott Riggs managed to post his second straight Top 25 finish, giving his team enough of a boost to race their way back into the Top 35 in owner points. And if the No. 66 State Water Heaters Chevrolet is back in... then obviously, someone’s bubble just popped. Whose bubble was it, exactly, and how big of a hole have they dug for themselves starting at Pocono next week? To find out more, read on in this week's installment of the Bubble Breakdown ...

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Networks Prop Up The Chase; Real Fans Reject It

In four years of the worst playoff system in recent history to be forced down sports fans’ throats, I still haven’t seen or heard anything resembling a viable argument in favor of the Chase, even from professionals who write about NASCAR for a living. If you are a devoted sports fan, if you think the best man or woman should win, if you believe that the integrity of the outcome in any sport should be respected and preserved, if you think Bart Giamatti was right to expel Pete Rose from baseball, if at the very least you recognize that professional wrestling _really isn’t a sport_, then you cannot reasonably defend the Chase for the Sprint Cup on competition grounds. Your sports fan’s conscience shouldn’t allow it. It’s like a lifelong baseball fan welcoming the preponderance of steroids. Because when you get right down to it, the Chase does one thing and one thing only: it takes points away from drivers. Points that were earned the only way points should ever be earned in motorsports: on the racetrack.

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Fanning the Flames: Junior Aces One, Nationwide Notes, And A NASCAR History Lesson

As I listened to the _Jim Rome Show_ while sitting at my desk on Tuesday, I cringed when I remembered that Dale Earnhardt, Jr. was to be a guest. Don’t get me wrong, I like Junior — I’m no rabid diehard, but I’d like to drink a beer with the guy. Thing is, I really didn’t know how he’d handle Rome’s up-in-yer-grill style and combative, machine-gun line of questioning. Junior's a man of many things, but aggressive he ain’t; not in an interview setting, anyway. Turns out I had no need to worry: Junior aced that bad boy. See, Rome plays a little disclaimer montage any time he interviews one of the good ‘ol boys. Goes something like this: “Great guy … always on time … well spoken … I get it! … they’re all like that! … total pro.” The clip goes on and on (much like Rome himself). And that's bad for Junior, or so I thought -- for as sincere and straight-up as he is in interviews, he oftentimes looks and sounds more than a little uncomfortable with a mic in his chops. “Ummm, well, da car run good … and ah … I don’t know, I’m proud of Tony and da guys. And ummm, y'know … we’ll jus’ keep workin’ on things and ummm … hope to win a couple ‘a these before the season’s over.” You know, like Junior wants to get on the chopper and get back on home.

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Doug Turnbull Mouths Off: Brickyard Is Big, But Daytona Still Reigns Supreme

After the last off-week of the season, the Sprint Cup Series travels to one of the most storied racetracks in the United States - the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. This race and this racetrack have a different feel in comparison to many of the others that the series races at, especially some of the tracks visited most recently. However, despite the history of the track and the fondness that many show toward these hallowed grounds in the nation’s heartland, a win in the Daytona 500 still means far more than grabbing the checkered flag at the Brickyard. There is no doubt in my mind that a Daytona 500 win is more meaningful to every driver on the NASCAR circuit than a Brickyard win. That race has been the sport’s biggest race since the track’s opening in 1959. The speed demons on the beach in Daytona set the stage for not only how much Daytona would end up meaning to racing, but how big NASCAR would grow. When Bill France saw this potential and gathered that famous group of racing figures together at Daytona’s Streamline Hotel in 1947, the stage was set for Daytona to become the hub for stock car racing. When NASCAR started to grow and France wanted a crown jewel racetrack to rival Indianapolis, the high banks of Daytona International Speedway were born.

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Heartland Racing At Its Best In The Gateway To The West

It had been four years since I last visited the great city of St. Louis. At that time, I attended a (then) Busch Series race at Gateway International Raceway, which, as you will see if you click on this "word":https://frontstretch.com/myer/2004myer/040513.htm turned into a most memorable time! After all the events that transpired then, I never imagined that another trip to St. Louis could ever top it. OK, in all honesty, I must say that that is not entirely true. This trip to St. Louis _did_ have an ulterior motive other than a day at the race track...

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Mirror Driving: Busch The Bad Boy vs. Earnhardt The Popular, Penalties, And Judging JTG

*At the midpoint of the season, this year’s championship picture is taking shape, and the two strongest candidates right now are looking like Kyle Busch and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. But who makes a better potential champion for NASCAR in the big picture — the brash, outspoken multiple-race winner Busch, or the mild-mannered Earnhardt, a picture of consistency with fewer wins but more fans?* Mike: Who would NASCAR like? Probably Earnhardt, Jr. But the best spokesperson for the sport would probably be Kyle Busch. Tony: Actually, they both have strengths. Kyle speaks more clearly, but what he says sure ticks off people. Earnhardt isn't always the most eloquent speaker, but he is much more of a "fan friendly" guy. Amy: Big picture, Earnhardt is better for NASCAR’s image.

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Top Ten Things I Didn’t Miss During the Sprint Cup “Off” Week

*10.* Hearing or seeing Bill Weber. *9.* An in-depth explanation of how a rotor -- or any number of other parts work -- all while being shown to me on some sponsored cutaway car. *8.* "…I don’t think he has enough SUNOCO fuel to go the distance…" *7.* "Race Buddy" or "Digger."

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Talking NASCAR TV: ESPN Needs To Learn From Mistakes To Improve 2008 NASCAR Coverage

The third network to cover the Sprint Cup Series takes their turn at glory this week, as ESPN / ABC begins their NASCAR coverage at the historic Brickyard on Sunday, July 27th. The final seventeen week stretch to finish off the year follows a 21-race schedule that was covered by both FOX and TNT. Those networks had their ups and downs over the course of their second season under NASCAR's current TV contract; but overall, they delivered the results that people expect from networks that have plenty of experience covering the sport. However, both FOX and TNT did have some major flaws that ESPN can learn from -- and not repeat. Two major things stand out amongst the array of complaints received about FOX: less Digger and less Darrell. Digger, for those who do not remember, is the little camera that is positioned on the fringe of the apron and the racetrack that cars practically run over as they jostle for position. But although the camera provided a good angle to cut to during the broadcast once in awhile, the over-promotion of Digger merchandise was cheesy at best and annoying at worst.

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Who’s Hot/Who’s Not in Sprint Cup: 2008 Pre-Brickyard 400 Edition

As teams approach one of the most prestigious races in the Sprint Cup Series and fans and drivers are refreshed following a rare off weekend, it's a perfect opportunity to recognize some of the streakiest drivers heading into this year's Brickyard 400. Of course, one man has been in a league of his own all season - but another driver has surprised in mirroring Kyle Busch's points total over the past nine races. Who is that famous wheelman giving Busch a run for his money? And who's season is suddenly running on life support after a strong early start? See who are some of the worst drivers in the series as of late, and who has an opportunity to kiss the bricks on Sunday by checking out this week's edition of Who's Hot / Who's Not in Sprint Cup.

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When the Lights Went Out on NASCAR

It’s unnerving, I tell you. I am living in a world devoid of noise, action, and annoying TV commentators. My somewhat dated, but still functional, 36” Sony Wega is sitting in my living room, its screen is black and the speakers silent. Oh, the little green light comes on when I push the power button on the remote. That is not the problem. The problem is the connection to the wider world. In short, my DirecTV dish is no longer providing signal. What am I supposed to do? Crisis does not begin to describe the feelings of panic and desperation that are fluttering through my stomach. I haven’t seen a stock car spinning on a track in days! My hands are shaking. I have this interminable headache. I’ve even gone to such lengths as searching for tidbits on the NASCAR scene in the Boston newspapers. Which, since the Beantown press thinks stock car racing is the ugly child of the sports world, means reading about Tony Stewart in the Northeast is near impossible. Furthermore, in this region we don’t even receive PRN or MRN stations, so I can’t simply listen to the latest on-track action. I’ve thought about unboxing some of the 1/64th scale die-cast and putting on my own mini 500. I am going nuts.

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