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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: Closing The Inbox On The 2008 Season

*Q: Besides prima donna Joey Logano — who Gibbs is trying to force-feed the 2009 Rookie of the Year award by sandbagging his 2008 schedule and making him the new No. 20 successor to Tony Stewart — who else should we keep our eyes on? I know Danica Patrick isn't sitting on the pole at the Cup level yet; has the IRL import craze died down? Are there any Busch-leaguers swerving to the big leagues? Or legacies inheriting a silver spoon ride? Who's new?* _— Rowdy Rush_ *A:* Prima donna? Wow, I can always count on Rowdy here to call it like he sees it — and to go out with a BANG. As for the open-wheel imports, well, that “experiment” is in the process of dying a slow and sordid death thanks to the stunningly bad performances of Dario Franchitti, Jacques Villeneuve, Sam Hornish, Jr. and Patrick Carpentier. Juan Pablo Montoya and A.J. Allmendinger will continue to lead that charge in 2009 -- although, Hornish and Carpentier aren’t done trying to prove themselves just yet.

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Rick Crawford Driver Diary: I’ll Keep An Eye On The Casino For You…

Since the last time I was here, we went to Talladega, Martinsville, Atlanta, Phoenix, Texas, and then ended up at Homestead. During that stretch, we showed some signs of greatness as a team -- and then we showed signs of faltering a little bit. Talladega was just a mishap that we didn’t see coming on pit road, and I think it cost us the race there. As we went on through the season, Martinsville had a happy ending with a third place finish -- so that was an upswing. We had an OK race in Atlanta, and another in Phoenix. We also sat on the pole with the fastest truck in Texas in the Ford Power Stroke Diesel by International F-150. That was probably the beam of light throughout the 2008 season that we were looking for. We didn’t get quite the chance to show it throughout the event, but we still came home with a decent finish. We ended the year in Homestead at Ford Championship weekend without the finish we were looking for at all.

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NASCAR Stars Weigh In, For Better Or Worse, On Big Three Bailout Debate

Tough times have arrived for U.S. corporations, and thus NASCAR as well. This has prompted some of the sport’s best known and respected personalities to come to the aid of stock car racing’s most important partner - the U.S automobile manufacturers. As the heads of the Big Three car builders gathered in Washington D.C. yesterday with hats in hand to beg for further financial aid to stay afloat, a “grassroots” campaign kicked off within the NASCAR community to encourage fans to support Chrysler, Ford and GM in their quest to be the next segment of the U.S. economy to get in on the new trend of taxpayer-backed loans.

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Mirror Driving: 2008’s Biggest Moment, 2009’s Testing Nightmare, And Judging Johnson In 2050

*Jimmie Johnson became the second driver ever to win three straight NASCAR Cup championships by clinching the Cup at Homestead. Does that cement Johnson’s place among the best ever in the history books, or is the jury still out?* Kurt: Certainly it places him among the best. And lets discuss that before we figure in the Chase factor. Jimmie has been great every year he's been in Cup. Chase or not. Amy: I agree, Bryan, but that's because you can't compare them, not because Jimmie's is any less impressive Bryan: I didn't say it wasn't impressive. It's certainly an accomplishment, but trying to compare it to, say, Cale Yarborough's three-peat, is like comparing apples to oranges.

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Top Ten Things I Want To Say About The 2008 NASCAR Season

*10.* Brian France could disappear off the face of the earth tomorrow and no one would notice. Well OK, we would notice because someone with some competence would be running the show. However, this guy has been here five years now and still, every time he speaks or appears in public, you are left with a profound sense of waste. This guy is not bright enough to tie the laces on his loafers. Oh, that’s right; loafers don’t have laces! *9.* The ban on testing will not save the teams one bit of money. As it has been pointed out on this site before, the teams that could afford testing will spend it some other (possibly more expensive) way. The teams that couldn’t afford massive testing, well, they ain’t got the money to save anyway and are only hurt further.

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Who’s Hot/Who’s Not in Sprint Cup: 2008 Season Breakdown

The checkered flag has flown over the field at Homsetead marking the end of a historic 2008 season. We saw controversial and exciting finishes, scary crashes, and a historic third consecutive championship for the dynasty that is Jimmie Johnson, Chad Knaus, and the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports team. The season also featured three consistently dominant teams who took the Sprint Cup Series by storm. Johnson was obviously one of the three, but who were the two others? We have all that, including the three *COLDEST* teams of 2008, covered in this week's edition of edition of Who's Hot / Who's Not in Sprint Cup.

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Talking NASCAR TV: NASCAR on ESPN Finale in the Books… the Grading Begins

The second season of NASCAR' s rebirth on ESPN is in the books. Reactions from NASCAR fans across the nation have been mixed regarding the network's coverage. When NASCAR and the sports network announced their partnership in 2006, the potential seemed boundless for how good the coverage was going to be. From the first green flag for ESPN for last year's Nationwide Series race at Daytona, however, the main reaction from many fans, especially old school ones, has been disappointment. This disappointment followed ESPN from the 2007 season into 2008. For much of this season, fans have wondered aloud about the network's insistence on only covering the big stories and big teams, about the incessant references to the Chase, about why some wrecks happened out of camera range, about Dr. Jerry Punch's race calling abilities, and about other issues. ESPN must have taken cues from Jimmie Johnson's No. 48 team, though, because it managed to turn in some of it's best season performances in 2008's final races.

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Standing on the Precipice in NASCAR

It’s at this time every year that we are afforded a singular moment in which to assess that which has occurred during the NASCAR season and what is on the planning board in the foreseeable future. Maybe it’s the recent election, or the downturn in the economy, but this fan …

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Ten Points To Ponder… After the 2008 Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami

*1. It's Still The Thought That Counts* - NASCAR drivers Geoffrey Bodine and Scott Wimmer will join the National Hot Rod Association's Hillary Will and Arie Luyendyk, Jr. of the Indy Racing League in a tour of U.S. military bases in Iraq and Kuwait. Billed as “The Racing Heroes 2008 Goodwill Tour,” the four race car drivers will tour for eleven days, bringing some much-needed relief to our military personnel stationed so far from home. The foursome will visit hospital patients as well as interface with our troops in “meet and greets” and autograph sessions. Kudos to these men and women for taking time to thank the troops! But wouldn’t it be nice if some of the higher-profile drivers -- some of whom have benefited from military sponsorships -- took time during the offseason to also lift soldier's spirits where they are most needed?

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Bubble Breakdown: Brian Vickers Swap Pays Off For Team Red Bull With Final Locked In Spot

Everybody knew heading into Miami that barring some unforeseen catastrophic event, Jimmie Johnson was going to win his third consecutive NASCAR Championship; the only drama involving the points was who was going to be locked into the Top 35 going into 2009. With the economy not doing well, sponsors want to know that their money will at least make it to the track, and not be wasted when teams fail to qualify each weekend. Heading into the final event, Michael Waltrip Racing’s No. 47 now driven by Marcos Ambrose was clinging to a 17-point edge over the Team Red Bull No. 84 Toyota. In an effort to get back into the Top 35, TRB tried to get Mark Martin to drive their Toyota in the Ford 400 -- but that plan went by the wayside when the manufacturer couldn’t agree on a deal with GM. So instead, Team Red Bull swapped drivers within its own team, putting veteran teammate Brian Vickers into the No. 84 entry in an attempt to get back into the Top 35. To see if their plan paid off -- as well as who took the last spot in the Bud Shootout -- check out this week's edition of the Bubble Breakdown...

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