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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: Sadler’s Last Stand, Diversity’s Shocking Surprise, And NASCAR Free Agents Losing Hope

*Elliott Sadler was released from Gillett-Evernham Motorsports in favor of A.J. Allmendinger, and promptly filed suit for breach of contract. Does Sadler have a leg to stand on, and what can he hope to gain - or stand to lose - from the suit?* Doug: Is a judge going to force GEM to field Sadler? No. Phil: That's true. Unless he was given some kind of absolute guarantee that the No. 19 was his in 2009, he's got nothing. Tom: I think Sadler's just protecting himself financially. The way this whole thing went down, I'm hard-pressed to see him driving for Gillett ever again.

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2008 Driver Review: David Ragan

*2008 Ride:* No. 6 Roush Fenway Ford *2008 Sponsor:* AAA *2008 Owners:* Geoff Smith / Jack Roush / John Henry *2008 Crew Chief:* Jimmy Fennig *Stats:* 36 Races, 0 Wins, 6 Top 5s, 14 Top 10s, 0 Poles, 13th in points. *Best Finish:* 3rd - twice (Michigan - June, Talladega - October). *High Point:* Restrictor plate races have been a consistent strength for Ragan in his career, and a third place finish in the Talladega Chase race solidified that notion.

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2008 Driver Review: Kyle Petty

*2008 Ride:* No. 45 Petty Enterprises Dodge *2008 Primary Sponsors:* Wells Fargo / Paralyzed Veterans of America / Marathon American Spirit Motor Oil / Coca-Cola *2008 Owner:* Richard Petty / Boston Ventures *2008 Crew Chief:* Billy Wilburn (Feb. - Apr.) Stewart Cooper (Apr. - Nov.) *Stats:* 15 Races, 0 Wins, 0 Top 5s, 0 Top 10s, 1 DNF, 2 DNQs, 44th in points. *Best Finish:* 24th (Richmond – September). *Average Finish:* 34.8. *High Point:* OK, let’s be honest here. Other than his dedication to charity and the Victory Junction Gang Camp(s), there was no high point to the 2008 season for Kyle Petty.

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2008 Driver Review: Joe Nemechek

*2008 Ride:* No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Chevrolet *2008 Sponsors:* Furniture Row / Denver Mattress *2008 Owner:* Barney Visser *2008 Crew Chief:* Jay Guy *Stats:* 32 Races, 0 Wins, 0 Top 5s, 0 Top 10s, 1 Pole, 37th in points. *Best Finish:* 11th (Talladega - October). *High Point:* The highlights were far and few between for the 45-year-old Nemechek in 2008. Driving for Furniture Row Racing, a third-year, single-car outfit based in Denver, Colo., it was tough to compete with the multi-car giants at most races on the schedule.

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2008 Driver Review: Chad McCumbee

*2008 Ride*: No. 45 Petty Enterprises Dodge *2008 Sponsor*: Marathon American Sprint Motor Oil *2008 Owner*: Kyle Petty *2008 Crew Chief*: Stewart Cooper *Stats*: 6 Races, 0 Wins, 0 Top 5s, 0 Top 10s, 0 Poles, 52nd in points. *Best Finish*: 17th - Pocono (July). *High Point*: Young Chad McCumbee’s high point in 2008 occurred in his first race he qualified for with the No. 45 team. After a rough start at Pocono, the young driver managed to move up from his 34th starting position to finish 17th, on the lead lap, due to a fuel mileage gamble that paid off.

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2008 Driver Review: Sterling Marlin

*2008 Ride:* No. 09 James Finch Racing Chevrolet (7 Races) No. 40 Chip Ganassi Racing Dodge (2 Races) *2008 Primary Sponsors:* Miccosukee Gaming & Resorts (No. 09) Wii Fit (No. 40) *2008 Owners:* James Finch (No. 09), Chip Ganassi / Felix Sabates (No. 40) *2008 Crew Chiefs:* Marc Reno (No. 09), Steve Lane (No. 40) *Stats:* 9 Races, 0 Wins, 0 Top 5s, 0 Top 10s, 3 DNQs, 51st in points. *Best Finish:* 22nd – Talladega (April). *High Point:* After being unceremoniously released from the No. 40 ride in favor of a younger David Stremme at the end of 2005, it had to feel good for Marlin to be asked back by a desperate owner Chip Ganassi three years later – even if only for a few races.

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2008 Driver Review: Bobby Labonte

*2008 Ride:* No. 43 Petty Enterprises Dodge *2008 Primary Sponsor:* Cheerios / General Mills *2008 Owners:* Richard Petty (Feb. – June); Boston Ventures (June – Nov.) *2008 Crew Chief:* Jeff Meendering *Stats:* 36 Races, 0 Wins, 0 Top 5s, 2 Top 10s, 21st in points. *Best Finish:* 6th – Talladega (October). *High Point:* On the track, there wasn’t much for Labonte to smile about, despite the fact his season looked good on paper early on. After two Top 15 finishes in the first four races – including a 12th at his career-best track, Atlanta – Labonte was 14th in the standings, seemingly in the thick of the Chase hunt. However, the driver’s personal high point likely came long after that false hope faded away.

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2008 Driver Review: Travis Kvapil

*2008 Ride:* No. 28 Yates Racing Ford *2008 Primary Sponsor:* No full-time primary; multiple sponsors throughout the season in one to six-race deals *2008 Owner:* Doug Yates / Max Jones *2008 Crew Chief:* Todd Parrott *Stats:* 36 Races, 0 Wins, 0 Top 5s, 4 Top 10s, 1 Pole, 23rd in points. *Best Finish:* 6th -- Talladega (April). *High Point:* Kvapil achieved his best finish of the year at a place a lot of drivers loathe – Talladega Superspeedway. He followed that up with a pole-winning run when the series visited the 2.66-mile oval again in October, showcasing Yates Racing remains a threat at restrictor plate tracks -- their last win came at Talladega with Dale Jarrett in 2005.

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2008 Driver Review: Dale Jarrett

*2008 Ride:* No. 44 Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota *2008 Primary Sponsor:* UPS *2008 Owner:* Michael Waltrip *2008 Crew Chief:* Bill Pappas *Stats:* 5 Races, 0 Wins, 0 Top 5s, 0 Top 10s, 1 DNF, 54th in points. *Best Finish:* 16th -- Daytona 500. *High Point:* Was there really a high point to Dale's final few races of his career? If you go by stats, then the high point had to be the 16th place finish at the Daytona 500. But to hell with the stats! The high point, in my opinion, was the sendoff given by the fans to DJ at his final points race at Bristol in March.

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2008 Driver Review: Robby Gordon

*2008 Ride:* No. 7 Robby Gordon Motorsports Dodge *2008 Primary Sponsor:* Jim Beam *Associate or One-Time Primary Sponsors:* Charter Communications, Valvoline, Planet Color, Barrett-Jackson, Mapei, Camping World, Saveourname.com, Menards *2008 Owner:* Robby Gordon *2008 Crew Chief:* Frank Kerr *Stats*: 36 Races, 0 Wins, 0 Top 5s, 0 Top 10s, 0 Poles, 33rd in points. *Best Finish:* 6th - Coke Zero 400 (Daytona - July). *High Point:* On the track, Gordon's performances on the two restrictor plate tri-ovals, with an eighth and a sixth at Daytona to go along with an eighth at Talladega. These wound up being his only Top 10s of the season in the Cup Series.

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