Articles

Fan’s View: Wondering “Where Does Ask.com Get These Ideas”?

There is a point at which my sense of happy-go-lucky NASCAR fan gets irritated. Ask.com has destroyed my ability to chuckle at anything bearing the company logo. Why, you ask? I laughed hysterically when NASCAR launched their “How Bad Do You Have It?” campaign years ago. The champagne showers in the living room, burnouts in front of your house, sculpted shrubberies, hair-dye, bumper stickers… almost every episode struck a chord with me. I could, and still can, understand the kind of silly stuff fans do in the name of their favorite past-time.

Read More »

5 Points to Ponder: 2009 Subway Fresh 500 at Phoenix Edition

*R-E-S-P-E-C-T* How cool was it to see the procession of drivers come through Victory Lane and congratulate Martin following his first win in nearly four years? The 50-year-old vet was joined by current teammates, former teammates, his former owner Jack Roush, and other past champions. This was as popular of a win as we’ve seen in quite awhile, and it really goes to show what respect can do for a driver. There is not one person in the garage who does not respect Martin… something younger drivers of today need to learn to earn.

Read More »

Bubble Breakdown: Sam Hornish Jr. Rips Off First Top 10 of 2009, Solidifies Locked-In Spot

Bad news has hit one of our bubble teams since the last race at Texas. After several patchwork sponsorship deals to keep the team afloat through March, the No. 8 Chevrolet driven by Aric Almirola has been shut down due to a lack of funding. Earnhardt Ganassi Racing plans to bring everyone back once sponsorship is found, but with the car sitting outside the Top 35, sponsors aren’t really lining up to throw money at them. Despite that disappointment, there was also plenty of good news coming out of Phoenix, too. Several teams sitting outside the Top 35 posted top-10 qualifying performances, while another one fighting to stay inside it actually managed to finish there. So, read on to see who’s moving up and who’s moving in the opposite direction in this week’s edition of the Bubble Breakdown:

Read More »

Happy Hour: Why We Don’t See As Much Emotion As We’d Like

Some NASCAR fans say they want to see more emotion from drivers, complaining that so many of them are corporate robots these days. Even Fox Sports’ Larry McReynolds has joined the chorus. This in an age when the current crop of drivers includes Tony Stewart, who is good for at least two or three post-race rants a season. Or Kyle Busch, who parks his car, gets out and lets his crew push it to the garage after a slow pit stop cost him a win. Or Carl Edwards, who went after his teammate on camera during an interview. Or Jeff Gordon, who emerged from his car after getting spun and gave a shove to the perpetrator without even waiting to take off his helmet. Or Kevin Harvick, who leaped onto a rival’s hood and did his best to put holes in it with his feet. Or Robby Gordon, who executed his own burnout after a botched official call cost him a victory. Racing is not an endeavor where keeping one’s head is easy or should even be expected. By definition it is unnerving. Imagine driving on a congested highway full of aggressive drivers at three times the speed. Competitive fire got these guys to this level. They’re human and sooner or later they’re going to lose it with someone. It does happen.

Read More »

Driven To The Past: Just Thinkin’ And Rememberin’

I’m tired of hearing all these technical explanations about engine failures. It was much better when the driver and crew chief just said, “It blew up.” Besides, all of these technical terms are ignoring the real reason that the cars run. We suspected the truth back in the day, but I never heard it explained quite as well as an old mechanic did in telling my son about it one day. Forget all that stuff about pistons, rods, camshafts, crankshafts, bearings, etc... What really makes a racing engine run is magic smoke. Ever notice all the smoke that comes out of a car before it falls out of a race? When they lose their magic smoke, they won’t run no more. Sometimes, if it’s an oil-line break or a fitting that lets some but not all of the magic smoke out, they can fix it and put some stuff in so it’ll make more magic smoke. And sometimes, it all comes out so slowly that you can’t even see it; but trust me, they’re losing it. Once you lose all of your magic smoke, you’re done.

Read More »

Side By Side: Does The NASCAR Points System Need An Overhaul?

Today's Question: Seven races into the season, Jeff Gordon already holds a lead in the points so large, all he needs to do is start the race at Phoenix to maintain it no matter where he finishes. But even with such a large cushion, he wouldn't even be the point leader in the playoffs if the season ended today.

Read More »

Fanning the Flames: Race Fans Throwing More TLC At TRG

Q: Can you please clear up something for me? Since the No. 8 team is shut down, I wonder why NASCAR would not have asked or told Teresa [Earnhardt] to let the number follow Dale Jr. If NASCAR owns the numbers, what’s to stop them from making that call. Now there is another great car number that won’t be on the track, and a lot of us feel that it should still be with Dale Earnhardt Jr. That number will always be identified with him.

Read More »

Voices From the Heartland: NASCAR Athletes, To Be Or Not To Be

The last time Richie Whitt appeared silhouetted in my crosshairs was almost five years ago, when he was a "freelance journalist" in October of 2004. You may remember his "groundbreaking" expose of the group NAMRF (National Association of Minority Race Fans)… or you may not, which is totally understandable as you probably had forgotten all about the clown show that was NAMRF, too.

Read More »

Thompson in Turn 5: Jeff Gordon A Legend Amongst Us

With the Samsung 500 victory at Texas, Gordon has now posted 82 career Cup Series wins. By comparison Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jimmie Johnson, his closest rival in the career win category of drivers competing fulltime in NASCAR’s top series, has exactly half or 41 victories to his credit. Even though Johnson has performed at a prolific pace during his relatively short 262 starts at the Cup level-- having yet to experience a significant and seemingly unavoidable win-drought in his career--he does not enjoy any significant win percentage advantage over Gordon. With 16-years and 554 starts in NASCAR Cup competition under his belt, Gordon has a winning percentage of 14.86%, a sum just under Johnson’s winning rate of 15.65% amassed since he began campaigning in the Cup circuit fulltime in 2002.

Read More »

Frontstretch Fantasy Insider: Keeping Your Team Hot In Phoenix’s Dry Heat

After a week off to regenerate the batteries and fatten up on Peeps and chocolate, the series is heading to the desert Southwest. The quirky 1-mile oval outside of Phoenix tests the drivers and the teams to come up with a setup that can handle the tight turns 1 and 2 as well as the sweeping turns 3 and 4. The drivers who succeed there vary -- from those who excel at short tracks to drivers who shine on intermediate tracks. Fantasy players have to take into account their team's history at Phoenix and their momentum heading into the eighth race of the season. Read on to see what the Frontstretch fantasy insiders feel about the week’s race ahead.

Read More »