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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.

Mirror Driving: Did Busch Pass Below The Line? Will Tony Stewart Leave? And Will Lepage Ever Regain Respect?

*Some drivers complained on Sunday that they did not get enough drafting help from their teammates at key points during the race. Should teammates be expected to help out until the closing laps, or is "every man for himself" the way to go all race long?* Mike: Teammates should help out when they can, but in the end, all that help goes out the window. Sunday wasn't the first time Junior has hung his teammate out during a plate race … and it won’t be the last. Amy: Junior has never been much of a help to anyone in a plate race, either; at least since Mikey won Daytona. Kurt: What about Stewart? Amy: He's out for himself - which is fine. Just don't complain when you get hung by him down the road.

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Richmond International Raceway: The Best Of The Rest!

These five weeks of NASCAR Sprint Cup racing that started at Texas Motor Speedway and run through May 10th are about as good as the schedule gets on a race-by-race basis. It's a real chance to give fans a diverse look at the different styles of racing -- with the exception of a road course event -- that showcase why stock cars have become the pinnacle of American motorsports today. It's ironic that the Texas race begins this stretch, because it's perhaps the track that produces the most negative reviews by fans. Most are dissatisfied with the “cookie-cutter,” generic 1½-mile race facilities that dominate the Sprint Cup Series. I, too, find myself less enthused on race weekends scheduled at these tracks, which are designed to be multi-functional in that they can easily host a number of different race series.

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Unrestricted Thoughts On Restrictor Plate Coverage From FOX And ESPN

NASCAR’s top two series each put on a whale of a show at Talladega Superspeedway this past weekend, producing a pair of thrillers that left the TV cameras on high alert from start to finish. Of course, that's not a new thing when it comes to Daytona and Talladega; and because of the nature of restrictor plate racing, action at these tracks becomes very tricky to cover. In a matter of seconds, a driver can go from leading the race, to being shuffled back to 28th place, to spinning through the trioval and wrecking half the field. So, while following the action, race announcers and producers are left with the daunting task of prioritizing which battles to cover, as well as when to break from the constant action to explain another aspect of the event. There's never a dull moment, but unfortunately, that doesn't make the broadcast commercial-free; knowing how to manage sponsor obligations with on-track excitement becomes a major part of any restrictor plate television broadcast.

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Who’s Hot/Who’s Not In Sprint Cup: 2008 Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Edition

Anything can – and as we saw Sunday – will happen at Talladega. The new car provided exciting racing for the fans and good runs for some drivers, but headaches for others. Drivers like Juan Pablo Montoya and Travis Kvapil had surprisingly strong finishes while Matt Kenseth and Carl Edwards’ days ended early with tire problems, more evidence that the superspeedway is a crapshoot. With a wildcard like Talladega, it’s hard for some of the hotter drivers to stay out of trouble at risk of the “Big One.” Come in and see who survived and stayed on this week’s HOT list and who could really go for a good run at Richmond. *HOT* *Kyle Busch:* The younger Busch is beginning to look like he did at the start of the season. After finishes of 17th and 38th at the short tracks, Busch has three consecutive top 10s including a win this weekend at Talladega that almost got away. A near crash that displayed his amazing car control skills, a controversial pass below the yellow line and a last lap caution all went Kyle’s way in this week’s victory.

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Ten Points To Ponder… After the 2008 Aaron’s 499 at Talladega

*1. Aye, Aye…Captain!* – The United States Navy has announced the formation of an 88-person Boot Camp as a recruiting gimmick dubbed the “Dale, Jr. Division,” in conjunction with the Navy’s sponsorship of the sport's most popular driver, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and his JR Motorsports NASCAR Nationwide team. Dale, Jr. will drive the No. 83 JR Motorsports NASCAR Nationwide series Chevrolet at Lowe’s Motor Speedway on May 24th to kick off the recruiting campaign; selected recruits will then be sent to Recruit Training Command in Great Lakes, Illinois in August, at which time Earnhardt, Jr. will commission the division. Following the completion of the seven-to-eight week course, Earnhardt, Jr. will again visit “his” recruits. All branches of the Armed Forces have or are sponsoring NASCAR race teams. However, no current full-time driver in the Sprint Cup Series has ever served in the active military ... including Junior himself.

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Top 35 Bubble Breakdown: If Only It Was The Aaron’s 498

As the NASCAR traveling circus made its way to Alabama last weekend for the running of the Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway, it was expected that the bubble drivers would do well entering Saturday's qualifying session. After all, the top eight spots for the Fall race were taken up by teams outside the Top 35; in that event, their qualifying setups easily outpaced those "safely" in the field, who were more focused on a winning combination for Sunday. While the "outsiders" didn't pull through a sweep, several of the bubble dwellers again made very strong qualifying runs this time around. A.J. Allmendinger, returning from a one month hiatus, put his No. 84 Red Bull Racing machine on the outside of the second row for Sunday's race. Next to A.J. in row two was Kenny Schrader, showing there is still life in the No. 70 team by qualifying in the third spot -- by far the team’s best qualifying effort of the year. The run was made all the more impressive by the fact it was Schrader's first go round in the No. 70 Chevrolet. Saturday’s biggest surprise, though, came courtesy of Joe Nemechek and his No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Chevy, which took the pole position. That team, owned by Barney Visser, has had its share of tough times this year, as it came into the race 44th in owner points, 195 out of the 35th spot. But as we all know, it’s not where you start, it’s where you finish the race at these restrictor plate tracks. So, let’s break down the Aaron’s 499, and see how our bubble dwellers fared at the 500-mile madness that is Talladega.

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Fanning the Flames: Fishin’ For Some Answers to Tony Stewart’s Likely Defection

Although no one asked, we did catch a few bass last weekend, even with a stiff wind and temps in the 40s. (When I mention fishing at the end of a column, it’s your cue to ask me how I did so I can talk racing _and_ fishing in the same article — and what’s better than that?) The truth was, my uncle and I couldn’t resist the call of the water on a Cup off-weekend despite the nasty weather forecast; and all was well, too, until the engine died as we were heading home for the morning. It’s like Grandad always said, “A boat is a hole in the water into which you pour money.” Looks like we found the hole early this Spring. Big news is breaking, so let’s get to it. Here’s the hole into which you can pour your questions. Let's start with the Big One: *Q: What are the odds that Rick Hendrick is able to put together NASCAR's version of the "Dream Team" by adding Tony Stewart to his team of Dale Jr., Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson? In the big picture, would that team be good or bad for the sport?* _— Dale Petty_ *A:* This question appears to be a moot point, my man (nice moniker, by the way).

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UPS Could Deliver My NASCAR Fantasy

As a motorsports journalist, I am repeated told by my editors, that I must remain impartial. As a motorsports commentary journalist, I am repeatedly telling my editors, don’t worry about it! To my way of thinking, being a writer of a commentary piece provides me a few loopholes. They are after all, paying me to write my opinion, not theirs. Unfortunately, their value of my opinion, has not kept up with the rising price of gas. Values of gas and opinions aside, when things get really messy, writer/editor wise, I am sometimes forced to drop the dreaded journalistic F bomb!

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Mirror Driving: Mexico’s Blown Save, Jon Wood… Savior? And Saving Excitement At Talladega

*The Sprint Cup Series was idle this week while the Nationwide Series teams went to Mexico City. Given the huge cost of the trip, should it be the other way around? Is it time for the Cup Series to have a race out of the country?* Amy: I think it's too expensive for anyone, but better the Cup guys than Nationwide. Bryan: I don’t think so. It’d be harder for Mexican drivers to get rides in the race, and that’s bound to hurt the event itself. Vito: Racing outside of the United States is a huge waste of time, effort, money, and resources. There are plenty of tracks that could use a race here and gain exposure. After all, whose economy are we truly trying to benefit? I'm guessing a smaller track in the Midwest could use a date more than Mexico City.

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