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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.

Why Is the Obvious Always So Hard To See?

I have an extremely low tolerance for ‘stupid’. Fortunately for me, seeing as how ‘stupid’ has reached epidemic proportions worldwide, I have a built in antidote. That antidote consists of 50% laughter, 40% wonderment and amazement and 10% humility; as in, there but for the grace of God go I. When it comes to NASCAR, I have been laughing, shaking my head a lot and thanking the good Lord above almost on a 24/7 schedule lately. Fortunately, my position here at Frontstretch.com allows me a platform to try and have some influence, or at least offer advice, even if it is mostly ignored. It’s not that it is bad advice or even unpopular, for most of the time, people seem to agree with me, but it is ignored none the less. Stupidly, I keep trying (said the author, laughing silently at himself as he looked pleadingly skyward and shaking his head.) Even though it will probably do no good, I will once again lay it all out there to be ignored once again.

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Top Ten Reasons Jimmie Johnson Might Not Win The Chase

_Author's note: This list is a revision of one I wrote about one year ago! It's sad how apropo it is today as when I wrote it last year -- 'cept for the Jeff Gordon part!_ *10.* Other drivers hire Tonya Harding to give Jimmie a good “knee whacking.” *9.* Chad Knaus decides he is tired of babysitting Jimmie, and lets him "keep on welding." *8.* Two words: Goodyear tires.

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Mirror Driving: Chasing The Chase, Tiring Tires, And Flipping The Bird

*Carl Edwards' win at Atlanta barely closed the gap between he and point leader Jimmie Johnson. Is the championship battle officially only between these two? And what has to happen for Edwards to win?* Matt T.: Johnson, Knaus, and the No. 48 team spontaneously combust. Jeff: J.J. needs to crash often, hard, and early. Bryan: The battle is over. The only thing Carl can do is spray sterno in J.J.'s engine.

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Jack Roush’s Ideas To Revamp Chase Aside, Let’s Give Fans A Break

Whether Jimmie Johnson, with a seemingly insurmountable 183 point lead in the Chase to the Cup, actually closes the deal this season is yet to be decided. However, many fans and others in the NASCAR community are already conceding the championship to him. The Hendrick Motorsports driver’s string of seven Top 9 finishes in seven Chase races has taken a lot of the suspense out of the new format, which was designed to increase interest and, in return, increase gate numbers and broadcast ratings as the race season competes for viewers with college and professional football. Without the suspense of a hotly contested points race to keep fans on the edge of their couches, many have begun tuning out and switching gears towards football -- all you need is a quick look at the ratings for proof. With that in mind, there now is a growing belief that the Sprint Cup chase format should be tweaked to further attempt to manufacture or engineer guaranteed three-way championship battles down to the last lap of the last race. Still others propose doing away with the controversial format altogether, using this year’s dominance by Johnson as justification.

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Talking NASCAR TV: ESPN Atlanta Coverage An Improvement Over Past Weeks

ESPN’s Sprint Cup portion of its broadcast schedule for 2008 has seen its ups and downs. Unfortunately for the network, recurring mistakes have overshadowed some of its other more solid efforts. At Atlanta, however, ESPN minimized its obvious mistakes and broadcast a very consistent race. Besides the championship standings, the big story heading into the start of the event at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Sunday was if Goodyear’s tires would allow the drivers to put on a better show than they did back in March. As the race unfolded, ESPN used several different tools to convey to its viewers the state of the racing tires and the effects on the race cars.

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Who’s Hot/Who’s Not in Sprint Cup: 2008 Pep Boys Auto 500 at Atlanta Edition

Carl Edwards returned to Victory Lane this weekend at Atlanta and is now one win behind Kyle Busch for the series lead, but Jimmie Johnson utilized late-race pit strategy for an impressive runner-up finish. The second place run improves the No. 48 team's stranglehold on the rest of the Chase field to 183 points, increasing the likelihood of what would be a third consecutive championship. Johnson has garnered the most headlines since the Chase began seven races ago, but it's one of his teammates who has quietly been one of the most consistent drivers right along with him. To see who that is and who else has been strong as of late, check out this week's version of Who's Hot / Who's Not in Sprint Cup: Chase Edition.

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Ten Points to Ponder… After the 2008 Pep Boys Auto 500 at Atlanta

*Eating Sushi* - Expectations of a takeover of Chrysler by General Motors is gaining credibility as both companies fortunes continue to spiral downward as the world economy continues to slump. However, the buzz in the NASCAR garage is that it is doubtful that Chevy, Ford and Toyota will be willing, as a result of the continued souring of the business climate to absorb many, if any of the Dodge teams that may be left out in the cold with a GM / Chrysler alliance. Remember when NASCAR thumbed their noses at foreign automakers? They need to hope that Honda executives are a forgiving lot.

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Drivers Take Turns at Trying to Solve Rained Out Qualifying

Friday marked the third consecutive race and the 10th time this season that Sprint Cup qualifying had been rained out and the starting field has been set by owner’s points. With that in mind, many fans and the media have wondered aloud about the ramifications of NASCAR’s deciding never to move qualifying to another day. Why can’t NASCAR stage qualifying, if weather permits, on Saturday, instead of canceling it on a rainy Friday? How are teams outside the Top 35 supposed to have a fair shot at qualifying for the race, if some are simply sent home after a rainout? How can rookies who are trying to gain seat time in Cup and get certified to run in the series supposed to do that if qualifying gets rained out? If part-time teams are sent home after qualifying, how can they gain the traction to run well, attract sponsorship, and graduate to running a full-time, competitive schedule? Several Sprint Cup drivers took some time during the Friday rains to address the issue.

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Bubble Breakdown: Several Teams Miss Opportunity To Lock Down Top 35 For ’09

There’s an old saying that Hell hath no fury like that of a Dinger scorned, or something to that affect anyways. And for the second straight week A.J. Allmendinger drove like a man on a mission right from the drop of the checkered flag. And a mission is what he needs to be on if he wants to drive Gillette-Evernham’s No. 10 Dodge into the top 35 before the checkered flag flies over Homestead in a month’s time. For the second week in a row, A.J. drove his Dodge from the back to the front and posted another top 15 run. But did he make any measurable gains in his quest for a top 35 locked in spot? Read on to find out in this week’s edition of the Bubble Breakdown.

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Is Jimmie Johnson’s Three Year Run As Good As Cale Yarborough’s Was?

In the wake of a seemingly inevitable third straight title for Jimmie Johnson and crew, John Close at CloseFinishes.com recently compared Johnson to the only other driver in the history of the sport to achieve that feat, the mighty Cale Yarborough. It’s a natural comparison to make, but Close was the first I saw to make it. So I decided to be second. Close hands the “better” title to Yarborough…“hands down”…based on comparing certain statistics—total wins, Top 5s, Top 10s, laps led, poles won. In that regard, Yarborough’s numbers are better. But to say that Yarborough scored better finishes and led more laps than Johnson did in their dominant three-year periods, while not an invalid argument, is not entirely a big-picture one.

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