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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.

Fanning the Flames: The Second Coming Of Bobby Ginn? A Word Of Warning For Jeff Moorad And Company

A note of foreboding before we get this week's questions rolling: It has been only one short year since a flashy real estate developer hit the sport with the force of a hurricane. A "five-year plan" to bring a title to the former MB2 Motorsports team; a hiring coup in grabbing the sport's elder statesman, Mark Martin; an expanded palace of a race shop that included the Christmas toy on every team owners' wish list - the seven-post shaker; a play for the sport's most sought-after free agent, Dale Earnhardt, Jr.; the expansion from two cars to three; heck, he even threw in two new team jets for good measure. Well, we all know how this chapter ended for Bobby Ginn. After pouring in more money and talking a bigger game than any other owner in that short run, Ginn's house of cards came tumbling down with one small gust of wind.

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Mirror Driving: Is Junior’s Situation Bad? Chase Changes: Did They Make You Mad? And Is Toyota Feeling Rad?

If Dale Earnhardt, Jr. doesn't make the Chase - and right now, it certainly isn't looking good - how will the No. 8 team perform the rest of the season? Vito: I think the No. 8 will perform as they have been - Junior and company aren't just mailing it in. He has too much class and respects the wishes of his father too much to do anything different. Toni: I'm not entirely sure why making or not making the Chase will make them perform any differently? Beth: Well, they won't have to worry about running for points.

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Who’s Hot/Who’s Not in Nextel Cup: 2007 Sharp Aquos 500 at Fontana Edition

Three things easily sum up this weekend's race at California Speedway: hot, hot and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Countless Earnhardt fans were on the edge of their seats just waiting to see if one of the drivers at the bottom of the Top 12 would slip up, giving their man a chance at making the Chase and the rest of us were forced to go along for the ride as the entire race seemed to be a case of "Where in the World is Dale Jr. Now?" At the end of the night, Earnhardt finished a solid fifth, but still is a long shot to make it into the post season Chase. But as the summer sun baked the drivers, crew members and the scarce number of fans in the stands; Jimmie Johnson came out on top to score his fifth win of the season and looking like he barely broke a sweat. So what other drivers thrived in the sweltering heat and which ones shriveled up under the pressure? Read this week's who's hot and who's not to find out.

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Toyota: Banking On Some Old Fashioned American Ingenuity…From Joe Gibbs

Today's expected announcement that Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) will end a 15-year relationship with General Motors (Chevrolet and Pontiac) in favor of forging a new alliance with the behemoth Japanese auto manufacturer Toyota indicates just how far from the "moonshine" days of NASCAR's infancy that it's race teams have come. All indications are that if anyone was knocking on doors it was Toyota selling themselves to the highly successful JGR organization. In other words...Toyota needed Gibbs more than Gibbs needed Toyota. Though generally considered second to Hendrick Motorsports in status within the GM hierarchy of race teams, Gibbs is a coveted member of the manufacturers racing effort that has resulted in capturing five of the last six Manufacturer Championships and seemingly on track to end-up with bragging rights again for the 2007 race season. Conversely, Toyota in their inaugural year in Cup racing is a distant fourth in the standings among auto manufacturers, and though showing some improvement in its Nextel Cup performances, is woefully lagging in its development to its competitors...most notably GM.

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Ten Points to Ponder…After the 2007 Sharp Aquos 500 at Fontana

*1. Lowe's High* - For weeks now I've been wondering why everyone was depicting the Chase as a duel between Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart. "Wait!" - I shouted, what about Jimmie Johnson? Heading into Fontana, Johnson was tied with Gordon for bonus points, 10 ahead of Stewart when the Chase starts, and tonight's win moves him ahead of both Gordon and Stewart with 50 bonus points. Johnson's team typically slumps in the summer but they turn it on when it counts. Don't hand that Nextel Cup trophy to anyone else just yet. It's also worth noting that Johnson and Matt Kenseth are now the only drivers to make the Chase all four seasons since its inception in 2004. *2. Enough Already!* - Look, I like Dale Junior as much as the next person, but the tunnel-visioned focus of Sunday's race broadcast on Junior's quest to make the Chase was ridiculous. Last week, Earnhardt himself complained about the media's obsession with his points situation, stating, "That's all y'all talk about. I shouldn't tell you that you dictate my mood."

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Bill Elliott Gets Wood Brothers Back in Top 35; Dave Blaney, Toyota Fall Out

Hot temperatures and consistently high RPM's took its toll on a number of engines Sunday night in California. The heat's biggest victim came when Dave Blaney's motor expired on lap 201 allowing the No. 21 Wood Brothers team the opportunity to jump back into the Top 35. This secured Bill Elliott a spot in the field next week in Richmond. The two teams have shuffled back and forth numerous times in the past month, with neither team capitalizing on the benefit of a guaranteed spot. The race for the final bubble position grew to four teams last weekend with Johnny Sauter and Kyle Petty falling into the clutches of 35th. See just how much breathing room these teams have, as well how close the No. 22 is to the No. 21 in this week's edition of the Bubble Breakdown...

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Numbers Game: 2007 Sharp Aquos 500 at Fontana

*1.868* Jimmie Johnson's margin of victory over Carl Edwards Sunday night. (in seconds) *2nd* Career Cup victory and sixth Top 10 finish at California Speedway for Sharp Aquos 500 winner Jimmie Johnson. *3* Cars dropped to the rear of the field prior to the start of Sunday's race. (No. 01 - Aric Almirola and No. 42 - Juan Pablo Montoya for engine changes; No. 96 - Tony Raines for a transmission change)

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Thinkin’ Out Loud: 2007 Sharp Aquos 500 at Fontana

*The Key Moment* - With 100 laps remaining Jimmie Johnson's crew chief, Chad Knaus, guaranteed a victory and Johnson pulled through in fine fashion, picking up his fifth win of the season. *In a Nutshell* - As the sun went down, the No. 48 car pulled away from the field, propelling Johnson to a victory at his home track. *Dramatic Moment* - Dale Earnhardt. Jr. drove like a man on a mission and went toe-to-toe with Kyle Busch and Jimmie Johnson for the lead several times on the night. *What They'll Be Talking About Around the Water Cooler This Week:* *It's Labor Day weekend. Where's Darlington?*

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“Dale”; A Film For Fans And Non-Fans Alike

My girlfriend loves me. I'm not sure why; I'm not that great looking, I'm moody, I probably don't buy her gifts often enough — wait, strike the "probably" part — and I don't particularly care to share one of her favorite pastimes: Going to the movies. I can't pinpoint the reason(s) I fail to appreciate two-hours in the theatre, but I think it has something to do with having to plan ahead, blocking off a portion of my not-very-busy schedule and sitting still for an extended period of time. Problem is, Kristin loves them. If it were up to her we would spend every Saturday afternoon at the matinee seeing something along the lines of _The Nanny Diaries_ (which by the way, isn't half bad). So it was a masterful stroke on her part three months ago when she bought tickets to the movie _Dale_. I mean, what better way to combine her passion with mine?

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