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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: A Slap On The Wrist For Stewart And Busch? Junior Go Whoosh… And Waltrip’s 2008 Push

*Friday night's Budweiser Shootout final practice was filled with torn-up cars and aggressive moves. For the second time in a year, Kurt Busch took his frustration with Tony Stewart out on pit road. Busch was penalized with a point deduction and fine last year; but this time, NASCAR went for probation. Was this enough?* Amy: No, it wasn't enough. If the point fine wasn't enough last time, they think a "play nice" will be?! Please… Mike: The action between the two was actually on the track this time, not on pit road ... so I'll cut them a little slack. Vito: Probation was plenty. Kurt bumped into him a few times on the track en route to the pits... there was no danger to anyone. Matt T.: Honestly, I think Kurt's punishment came at the hand -- er, fist -- of Stewart. It's over. Let it be. After all, it was during practice. Tony: But this is not following precedent, and that's my huge problem with it. I love the rivalry -- it's needed -- but using your car as a weapon on pit road has got to be stopped. Matt T.: Since when does NASCAR follow precedent, Tony?

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With Help From Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Has Arrived

Betting the farm on which driver will win the Daytona 500 is never advisable, as there are just way too many possibilities given the level of NASCAR Sprint Cup competition. However, in the past, wagering on which manufacturer would win provided much better odds. In fact, you normally would pretty much have a 50/50 chance of being correct if you simply answered Ford or Chevy. With the exception of a stunning Dodge win in 2002 by Ward Burton, those two makes have won every Daytona 500 since 1989. However, with the emergence of Toyota as a genuine threat, odds of any one manufacturer going to Victory Lane have decreased dramatically. Quite simply, Toyota has arrived!

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Top Ten Things That REALLY Were Said In the NASCAR Trailer After the Kurt and Tony Incident…Hollywood Style!

10. *Tony:* "Don't worry Kurt. I can fix it! My dad is a T.V. repairman and he has an AWESOME set of tools" 9. *Kurt to Mike Helton:* "But sir, it's not important how many people I've crashed. What's important is how I drive with the ones still on the track." 8. *Kurt to Tony:* "If my little brother looked like you, I'd shave his butt and teach him to walk backwards!" 7. *Mike Helton:* "I've about had it with you two! You are now both on proba…" *John Darby (whispering to Mike):* "But sir, they are already on probation." *Mike Helton:* "Well from this moment on, they are on double SECRET probation!"

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Who’s Hot/Who’s Not In Sprint Cup: 2008 Preview Edition

The last time we were in Florida for a race, *Jimmie Johnson* and the No. 48 team were basking in a sea of confetti after winning their second consecutive Sprint Cup title at Homestead-Miami Speedway. A lot has changed since that historic day in November; there's been a powerful addition to the Toyota camp, and the sport's most popular driver debuted with Johnson's organization in convincing fashion during Saturday's Budweiser Shootout. Those are just two of a number of storylines and questions heading into 2008 -- some will have to wait to be answered, while some may be answered here. For those of you who are new to this column, well ... so am I. Moving over from the Bubble Breakdown, I'll be replacing Cami Starr, who has done a wonderful job keeping you, the racing fan, updated on the trends of what's happening in NASCAR's premiere series over the past few years. With that said, here's the first edition of Who's Hot / Who's Not for 2008. Use it for fantasy purposes, use it for an unbiased view of where your favorite driver ranks (not that you'd be biased in the first place, right?), or simply read it to kill some time. Either way, I'm glad to have you on board for the upcoming season.

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Ten Points To Ponder: After the 2008 Bud Shootout at Daytona

*1. Bad Karma For Robby.* Robby Gordon seems to have been bit with some bad karma as of late. Last month, he lost approximately $4.5 million when the Dakar Rally was canceled due to the threat of terrorism in Mauritania, an unforeseen bill which prompted him to admit that the loss hit the Robby Gordon Motorsports "slush fund" pretty hard. Now, he may be looking at a fine from NASCAR for a situation not of his making. It seems that Gillett Evernham Motorsports, RGM's new partner, sent an unapproved nose for his recently converted Ford-to-Dodge race car, one that officials wasted no time in confiscating from the No. 7 Jim Beam Dodge. A couple of pondering points here, though; will GEM reimburse Robby Gordon for any fine that comes from the illegal part ... and how cool would it be to have a $4.5 million slush fund? *2. Boys Will Be Boys.* Habitual "bad boys" Kurt Busch and Tony Stewart were once again at each other's throats after wrecking in Friday's practice leading up to the Bud Shootout, possibly facing fines and penalties to be dished out early next week. But really... didn't we all enjoy it? The intrigue now is that they've forced the sanctioning body to define what Chairman Brian France meant in last month's back-to-basics proclamation, saying, in effect, that it was important to allow drivers to be themselves if they hoped to win back some of the longtime fans who have become increasingly disgruntled in recent years. To fine, or not to fine?

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Bubble Breakdown: Previewing The 2008 Battle For The Top 35, Part II

Being in the Top 35 for the first five races this season is a great luxury for those lucky enough to secure a spot at the conclusion of 2007. But after that, each team has to perform well enough to stay there in order to keep enjoying those benefits. "Last week":https://frontstretch.com/bsimmons/14206/ in ths column, I talked about the teams on the outside of the Top 35 looking in; but this week, I'm going to touch on some of the teams that wound up just _inside_ the Top 35 last year. If past performance is any indication, they're the ones most in jeopardy of being on the bubble this season; and with the competition closer than ever, I'll rate the chances I think they'll have at still being locked in by race six -- or if they're headed towards some frantic Friday afternoons instead.

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Who’s The Champ, Who’s The Chump, and Who’s In The Chase: 2008 Sprint Cup Predictions

Now that another new season is officially upon us, the time is here for our FS Staff to look like geniuses...or fools with our picks for who makes the Chase -- and most importantly, who takes this year's title. So, read on to find out who your favorite expert picked to bring home the hardware this season, along with who's ready to cash their first unemployment check. And while Rookie Of The Year might not count for much this year ... we made a selection there, too.

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The Official Columnist of NASCAR

Hello race fans and Frontstretch readers, especially those who are both! As reported, I'm one of the new kids in town. New to the Frontstretch, that is, but not new to racing "journalism". If the name looks familiar, it's because for the last year and a half or so, yours truly has been supplying blog fodder at the esteemed website "That's Racin'". That was a lot of fun and there were some perks, and I have no beef whatever with the fine folks there. But circumstances and slightly greener grass has brought me here, and I'm definitely excited about working with this group. And that's enough gratuitous biography. As anyone who has ever read my tirades knows, my position in a nutshell is this: I still love NASCAR and stock car racing, but I have a low opinion of how the sport is currently being run. In other words, I fit in fairly well with a large portion of NASCAR fans today.

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Why Brian France Is Driving Me Insane

I honestly didn't want to start my year out like this, but I have been given no choice. You see, what happened was Brian France opened his mouth and spoke -- the ramifications of which are further proof that the world has gone totally insane. That's right, insane ... it's to the point that I would rather listen to a year's worth of presidential candidates than 20 minutes of Brian France. That's bad... but the _really_ insane part is that, put side by side, I would be more inclined to put my trust in, and understand, the politician. If you continue on through the rest of this column, you too will be more than willing to tune into the next Presidential Debate, if for no other reason than to bring a bit more understanding and mental stability back into your life. At least with politicians, you know and they know and they know that you know that they are lying to you. Well, Brian France simply isn't that sharp.

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Fanning the Flames: Buyouts and Point Swaps… A Greasy Affair for NASCAR

The end of the offseason always seems to bring an unexpected surprise... and this year was no exception. Just when you thought the driver / car owner dance was over, up jumps Robby Gordon like one of the girls in _Grease_ sitting along the edge of the gym, waiting for some guy in an ill-fitting suit, white socks, and sporting a ducktail to get in Rydell High's dance-off. George Gillett proved to be that guy ... and in the course of one short musical number, the No. 7 team left Ford sitting alone in the corner. Hey, more power to ya, Robby. You've gone to this dance stag the last two years, and finally got a Danny Zucko-type to whirl you around the joint for awhile.

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