Home / Frontstretch Staff (page 164)

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.

Top Ten Excuses Heard At Hendrick Motorsports Weekly Post Race Meeting

*10. (Someone from the No. 48 team)*: "…but all we gotta do is be in at least 12th by race 26 -- right?" *9. Chad Knaus*: "I do my best work when I'm not allowed at the track." *8. (Someone from the No. 24 team)*: "Well, we hired this new kid, see -- Shane Hmiel, I think his name was -- to work on the suspension…" *7. Jimmie Johnson*: "I'm the reigning back-to-back Champion. You'll have to ask my agent."

Read More »

Ryan Newman Flies Under the Radar En Route To Returning As Cup Contender

By most accounts, the 50th running of the Daytona 500 lived up to its hype. The annual Florida speed extravaganza provided spectators with an above-average dose of exciting side-by-side racing, and it culminated in an almost-Cinderella like ending with a completely unexpected win by Ryan Newman. To say Newman's win was an upset -- despite being aligned with powerful Penske Racing -- would be an understatement. Plenty of big names were being bandied around as real threats to win the event, with fan favorite Dale Earnhardt, Jr. becoming the odds-on favorite based not on his popularity, but on his wins in both the Bud Shootout and the first Gatorade Duel qualifying race. Should Junior falter, many speculated that his teammates, Jeff Gordon or Jimmie Johnson, would also have a shot of pulling out the win. Based on preseason hype and prerace success, it seemed just a matter of time until the heretofore dominating Hendrick Motorsports stable of drivers would be lined up on the last lap as they raced to the checkered flag at Daytona.

Read More »

Who’s Hot/Who’s Not In Sprint Cup: 2008 Daytona 500 Edition

For three months the anticipation built up in preparation for the 50th running of the Daytona 500, all the way up until the green flag flew over 43 of the world's best drivers to kick off the 2008 season Sunday afternoon. The expected Hendrick Motorsports dominance was overshadowed by the success of Joe Gibbs Racing and Toyota with *Tony Stewart*, *Kyle Busch* and *Denny Hamlin* each taking turns at the front of the field while only one Hendrick car finished in the Top 25. As the closing laps came winding down, it was two drivers who hadn't necessarily been contenders for the majority of the race who teamed up for a 1-2 finish. The Penske cars of *Kurt Busch* and *Ryan Newman* are obviously two of the hottest cars coming out of Daytona, but who else is satisfied with their performance in the Great American Race? Who is already behind the 8-ball after just one race? Come in and find out in this week's edition of Who's/ Who's Not in Sprint Cup.

Read More »

Numbers Game: 2008 Daytona 500

*0.092* Ryan Newman's margin of victory over Kurt Busch in the Daytona 500. (in seconds) *1st* Coors Light Pole of 2008 for Jimmie Johnson after taking the top starting spot in Daytona, with a speed of 187.075 mph. It was the 14th of his career and second at Daytona. *3* Cars dropped to the rear of the field before the start of racing at Daytona. (No. 26 - Jamie McMurray and No. 40 - Dario Franchitti for using back-up cars, No. 78 - Joe Nemechek for missing drivers introductions)

Read More »

Ten Points To Ponder: After the 2008 Daytona 500

*1. Well … Isn't That Just Super? -* The Daytona 500 is often referred to as NASCAR's equivalent of the NFL's Super Bowl. Well, the Patriots - Giants game, held two weeks ago, was an exciting and well-played contest in its own right; and, with a Cinderella finish to boot. I just thought it was appropriate to mention here, because while I like the New York Giants, Ryan Newman and the Penske Dodges were just as big of an underdog, overcoming the odds for a surprise victory in Sprint Cup. It's clear that in terms of entertainment value, both the NFL and NASCAR appear to have delivered in the past month or so. *2. Was It Just A Hunch? -* Those NASCAR PR guys are slick; did you catch the NASCAR promo shortly after the opening laps as FOX went to break with Jeff Gordon exclaiming that, "Hey, I like the way this is looking." And that happened not long after he had taken the lead, either! How did those guys know?

Read More »

Bubble Breakdown: Vickers Shines While Digging Out Of Top 35 Hole… Wood Brothers Dig Themselves In Deeper

All week, it looked like a battle between Joe Gibbs' Toyotas and Rick Hendrick's Chevrolets at this year's Daytona 500; but with a last lap surprise, Ryan Newman, Kurt Busch, and Roger Penske came out of nowhere to score a major 1-2 upset in the Great American Race for Dodge. There were a lot of surprises when it came to the Top 35, too. Early results are in, and there are some "locked in" teams that will find themselves digging out of a hole in the next four races to work on keeping their status. Not only that, but teams outside the Top 35 started working hard to change that disadvantage for race six of this season -- when the current owner points for 2008 will be used and allow them to sneak back into the race lineup. So, without further ado let's check out our Top 35 results for this week -- we'll start with some of those cars "locked in" but a little nervous about how it's going to go this next month or two: Ganassi Racing's No. 40 car with *Dario Franchitti* came in 33rd, a devastating finish for them on a track where Franchitti should particularly be successful. With Franchitti's rookie status intact for the year, this program needs to improve their equipment to keep the team inside the bubble -- plain and simple.

Read More »

Call it the Kyle Busch Rule

Kyle Busch humorously apologized indirectly to Joey Logano and Marc Davis for possibly being responsible for making NASCAR believe that Cup drivers need to be at least 21. In an article at "That's Racin'":http://www.thatsracin.com/242/story/10294.html some time ago, Kyle was quoted as saying that "…I think a lot of this might have to do with just the off-track stuff, the way - I don't know if I brought it on, which is going to be the Kyle Busch rule again for others again, I'm sorry." Most of us know what he means. Certainly his name enters the minds of many fans when NASCAR talks about ensuring that drivers reach a certain level of maturity before racing at the Cup level. Not because Kyle is immature necessarily, but that is the public perception of him.

Read More »

Rick Crawford Driver Diary: Let’s Go Racing!

The biggest thing I probably learned since I've been here in Daytona is why the Daytona races are run in February. I'd bet a lot of people reading this probably don't know why the Daytona 500 is run in February and so why we are here in February too. But I've got the answer! I learned something new today. I don't claim to be the smartest guy in the world but I'm running real close to the guy who's running second! I finally found that answer out and that's my history lesson of Speedweeks 2008. The answer is because the month of February is when the tide is out the furtherest here in Florida and it leaves the racers more room to race on the beach.

Read More »

Beyond The Cockpit: David Ragan on his Sophomore Season

Mike Lovecchio, Frontstretch.com: *Rookies obviously feel a lot of pressure in this sport in the first place, but looking back, was there added pressure joining a team like Roush-Fenway Racing and taking over the historic No. 6 car of Mark Martin?* David Ragan: Definitely. There's pressure in this sport whether you're a rookie, a veteran or someone just being a crew chief. I think that being with a team like Roush-Fenway and taking over the No. 6 added some extra pressure, but at the same time it gave a bit of confidence knowing that I might belong here and that I should use the guys Jack Roush put on my team to my benefit; to go out and make sure I use them to help me with situations that I might not be familiar with. There's was a lot of pressure joining the the No. 6 team, but at the same time the experience around me helped a lot.

Read More »

Hope Springs Eternal For This “Casual Fan”

When I started this writing gig a few years back, I made it clear to all who took the time to read that I consider myself a fan first and a journalist second. I was just an average schmuck sitting in a tavern, watching the races, and arguing with my buddies over who started the most recent crash and, more importantly, who was going to pay the tab. A lot of readers seemed to identify with that image, and while my "I agree with Jeff" t-shirts never did quite sell out, the popularity of this column seems to have grown. It has grown to the point that, in recent years, my Editors have insisted that I come across more as journalist and not the beverage swilling, NASCAR redneck that I used to be. Since they are "Editors," I usually try to allow them their delusional fantasies and let them believe that they have, in fact, reformed me.

Read More »