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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.

The Key (or lack thereof) To Winning The Chase: “Big Picture” This!

I have always been an unabashed advocate of the Chase to the Nextel Cup Championship format since it began back in 2004. There's a number of reasons for that. I believed at the time - as I do now - that when the pros and cons are objectively considered, tracking the ten-race playoff is considerably more entertaining (yes, auto racing is entertainment) than watching Jeff Gordon go through the motions for the last fifteen races of the season, waiting to pick up his Nextel Cup Championship hardware already engraved. That said, I understood the angst of racing "traditionalists" that could not accept such a radical change in how NASCAR Cup titles were going to be determined in future years... but still felt a new system would eventually take hold over time. However, a part of my rationale for supporting the Chase concept was a genuine belief that it would intensify the racing, at least amongst the ten (now twelve) championship-eligible participants. But after watching the playoffs unfold these last few years, it's an assumption that now seems, on my end, to have not been completely accurate. Instead, it appears that some drivers and / or team owners believe that championships can be won by playing it safe. Whoops. Perhaps I am missing something here, but isn't the guy that wins the race awarded the most points for that event? And isn't the driver with the most points at season's end going to be crowned the Nextel Cup Champion?

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Top Ten Things Overheard During the Kyle Petty/Denny Hamlin Exchange

10. "Look at that! Kyle's glasses are all steamed over. Ya think he's upset about something?" -Anonymous Hamlin Crew Member 9. "Listen here, you little puke! Don't you know who I am!? I'm the Prince of NASCAR! My daddy is the King!" - Kyle Petty 8. "I am sooooo mad right now! Why, I oughta poke you in the eye with this little finger brace thingy I'm wearing!" - Kyle Petty 7. "Just cause you got a handicap plate on your car don't mean you gotta drive like one, old man!" - Denny Hamlin

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Fix ‘Er Up! Nextel Cup Power Rankings after the 2007 Dodge Dealers 400 at Dover

*Fix 'Er Up - Frontstretch Editor Nextel Cup Power Rankings* _As Of September 26th_ 1) Tony Stewart (4 First Place Votes) (Last Week : 1) - Home Depot wants us to smell the Smoke. Bet they won't put THAT slogan in Tony's armpits! 2) Carl Edwards (1 First Place Vote) (Last Week : 8) Uh-oh...Roush found out all of the dirty CoT secrets Hendrick had! And it's not too late for them to join the party at the top with Cousin Carl...even if it cost them 25 points in the process. 3) Jeff Gordon (2 First Place Votes) (Last Week : 4) Would have expected a better showing from the point leader in DuPont's neck of the woods (Delaware).

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Mirror Driving: A Hamlin-Petty Brawl, Are Dover Pits Too Small? And Team Orders Leave Us Appalled

*Kyle Petty and Denny Hamlin got into it at Dover recently, after Petty confronted Hamlin in his car following a nasty incident that sent both drivers to the garage for repairs. Who should be apologizing to who -if anyone - and should NASCAR take action for this incident?* Vito: Denny Hamlin has joined Kevin Harvick in the Jerkoff Hall of Fame. Amy: And Kyle WILL be apologizing to NASCAR after he gets fined. The crash was all Denny, though. Matt T.: Huh? I say _no and no_ to those questions, Amy. The term "just one of those racin' deals" gets used too much, but in this case it fits. Mike: Right. Nobody should be apologizing to anyone…it was a racing deal.

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Who’s Hot/Who’s Not in the Chase: 2007 Dodge Dealers at Dover Edition

When looking at the schedule of the ten races in the Chase, most people would have pointed to Talladega as the track where wrecks and bad luck could turn the tide in the Championship. But in Dover on Sunday, the Monster Mile played tough and took a swing at some of the biggest names in the sport. By the end of the day, 13 caution flags had waved and four Chasers found themselves finishing 20th or lower. As is always the case when some people find misfortune, others reap the benefits. That was certainly the case for a few of the Chase drivers who left Dover with finishes a few places higher than where they had been running most of the day. So, which drivers left Dover feeling fortunate for surviving the monster, and which drivers felt like they had gone 12 rounds with the heavyweight champ? Read this week's Who's Hot and Who's Not in the Chase to find out.

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Who’s Hot/Who’s Not: Outside the Chase after the 2007 Dodge Dealers 400 at Dover

*Hot* In a year that has included only three Top 5s, a crew chief change, and sponsorship uncertainty, a season-high second place finish at Dover is definitely something that *Greg Biffle* and his entire No. 16 team can get excited about. That's now six Top 20 finishes in seven races for The Biff, who showed flashes of his old self as he came charging through the field in the last laps of Sunday's race, taking advantage of fresh rubber to come home a few car lengths behind winner and teammate Carl Edwards. Of course, one good finish doesn't equate to the multiple victories of the last two seasons, including 2005's runner up finish in points. Biffle in particular made the intermediate tracks his personal playground back then, taking home a career high six trophies that year while coming into his own as a Cup driver. That confidence provided by past history should prove a good thing for this team, as five of the remaining eight Chase events will be held at tracks that are a mile and a half in length. And if all else fails, there's always Homestead, a track where Biffle has won the past three consecutive races. If he can continue to gel with crew chief Greg Erwin, look for Biffle to easily play the role of Chase spoiler for the remainder of the season.

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Numbers Game: 2007 Dodge Dealers 400 at Dover

*1/2* Fraction of an inch that NASCAR allows cars to be below the minimum height requirement following a race. Dodge Dealers 400 winner Carl Edwards' No. 99 Office Depot Ford was lower than that, failing post-race technical inspection. Any fines and/or point penalties are expected to be announced by NASCAR Tuesday afternoon. *0.671* Carl Edwards' margin of victory over Greg Biffle Sunday. (in seconds) *1* Car dropped to the rear of the field before the start of the Dodge Dealers 400. (No. 84 - A.J. Allmendinger for an engine change)

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Ten Points to Ponder…After the 2007 Dodge Dealers 400 at Dover

*1. Car of Too-Massive?* - Dover was considered an extremely narrow race track when the "old" car was in use. Is the Car of Tomorrow - four inches wider than the old car - just too big and boxy to run on a tight track like this? The race, which Dale Earnhardt, Jr. described as "bizarre and weird," had 13 cautions (only three for debris) and two extended red flag clean-up periods. What say you, race fans? *2. War of the Words* - You never know where the next rivalry will come from...but Kyle Petty versus Denny Hamlin? Racing on very different agendas - Hamlin for a title and Petty for a Top 35 spot - the two had an angry exchange in the garage and through the media after Hamlin wrecked Petty on Lap 204. "I watched the Busch race yesterday and I knew Denny was sick - I just didn't know he was hallucinating and needed three lanes to get up off the corner, because he ran all over us," said Petty. Countered Hamlin, "I think a lot of it was his frustration over this whole Top 35 thing, but we're racing for bigger and better things. Hopefully one day if they get it turned around I can exchange the favor, but right now we're the guys racing for the championship."

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Kyle Petty Fading, Feeling Pressure of Top 35

If you don't think those drivers fighting to get - or remain - inside the Top 35 in car owner points are feeling any pressure with eight races remaining...think again. Kyle Petty's obvious frustration towards Denny Hamlin following a lap 204 crash was without a doubt the expression of a disappointed driver trying hard to hold his spot in the field...not only for now, but ultimately for the first five races of 2008. The accident that ended Petty's day drops the No. 45 team to just one point away from the 35th and final guaranteed starting position, leaving them more vulnerable than they've been in quite sometime. To see who Petty is trying to fend off in the Top 35 battle, check out this week's edition of the Bubble Breakdown...

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Voices From the Heartland: Kudos To Yates For Giving Up the Eights

Today I would like to use this weekly column to send a personal and public "Thank You" to Mr. Robert Yates. You see, his selfless giving of the number 88 to the Hendrick organization for Dale, Jr. to use, has actually helped solve many of my own personal problems. Granted, it's probably not the personal problems my friends and kin would think I should worry about, but they were things that were lingering in a dark corner of my mind and it is good to be rid of them. The first problem started over a year ago when my all time favorite NASCAR driver, Dale Jarrett, left Robert Yates Racing. I have tons of 88 stuff! Luckily, (and as I predicted) Jarrett's long time sponsor, UPS, decided to go with Dale when he went to Michael Waltrip Racing so, other than his number changing to 44, all my hats, shirts and other stuff were still publicly accepted. While the stuff that had the UPS logo and the ‘88' were still good, it was the things that just had the number on them that caused me a bit of concern. If I wear one of the many hats that is emblazoned with just the number 88 on it, would people think I was a Ricky Rudd fan? Luckily for this year anyway, it wasn't too big of a worry because I happen to like Ricky Rudd, but what would happen if some other yahoo started driving the 88?

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