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.

The Future Of DEI — And Why Mark Martin Is The Answer

Last season, two-time Sprint Cup champion Tony Stewart predicted that Dale Earnhardt Inc. would become "a museum" without their star driver, Dale Earnhardt Jr. As we approach one year after Junior's official announcement he'd signed with Hendrick Motorsports, it's a prophecy that looks like it may be coming to fruition. A look at the driver standings would certainly, at least at first glance, confirm that DEI drivers Paul Menard, Regan Smith, and Martin Truex Jr. are not among the elite of NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series. Far from it; of the three, only Truex Jr. -- currently 16th in points -- is even within the top 20 in the rankings. In fact, Menard at 27th and Smith at 31st are achieving genuine "also ran" status in their equipment as of late, with Smith's team even rumored to shut down due to lack of financial support. As for Truex Jr. -- the organization's lone Chase qualifier from 2007 -- he has seen the No. 1 team's performances languish to this point, remaining winless through 14 races this season to date. More than anything else, his struggles might be the best argument that DEI is on a downward spiral to non-competitiveness.

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Talking NASCAR TV: TNT return is dyn-o-mite!

A new segment of the NASCAR broadcasting season began this past Sunday, as TNT hosted the first of six races that it will cover this season. Many anticipated the weekend’s race at Pocono to lack the excitement and the drama that both NASCAR and TNT pride themselves upon. Fortunately for both, Sunday’s race delivered; and TNT had a huge hand in conveying that excitement to the viewers at home. Why the uptick in enthusiasm late? As correctly anticipated by Kyle Petty and Larry McReynolds early in the broadcast’s pre-race show, the Pocono 500 boiled down to fuel and pit stop strategy. This correct prediction by these current racing veterans further goes to show the worth in paying top dollar for seasoned participants in the sport.

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10 Points To Ponder… After the 2008 Pocono 500 at Pocono

1. What Program? - NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity Program has now entered its ninth year of existence as of this weekend. There are 13 Sprint Cup teams, eight Nationwide Teams, and four Craftsman Truck organizations participating in the program. But after nine years only one ethnic minority driver -- Aric Almirola -- has graduated to NASCAR’s top series through the program, and even then only on a part-time basis. No women or African-Americans have participated in the Sprint Cup series full-time… and none are expected to anytime in the future. Looks like NASCAR’s best diversity plan is to hope for more open-wheel defections.

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Bubble Breakdown: Scott Riggs Races His Way In While Michael Waltrip Wrecks His Way Out

The competition to stay in the Top 35 in owner points has dissolved into a dogfight, with many more teams falling back towards the bubble as opposed to moving away from it. While a few select cars -- such as Bill Davis’ No. 22 Caterpillar entry and Michael Waltrip Racing’s No. 44 UPS Toyota -- have been able to develop some semblance of consistency, many others have simply not developed any at all... or have just been consistently bad. And while those two teams have distanced themselves from the bubble fray, others -- like Chip Ganassi’s No. 41 Target Dodge and Robby Gordon’s No. 7 -- have struggled enough to come back towards the cut line. As it stands now, there’s less than 100 points separating 30th from 36th in owner points -- a number that has plenty of organizations just a little nervous. At least there's just one spot they've got to worry about, for now; a healthy gap of 128 points currently separates the 36th-place team from 37th.

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Driven to the Past: A Few Short Stories…

Back in the '60s and early '70s, one of the most popular watering holes in Daytona Beach was Mac’s Famous Bar on South Atlantic Avenue. They used to show racing films each night, some of them from back in the beach/road course days. If you wanted a table, you had to get there early, so the plan was usually to go over as soon as you left the track, order a pizza, enjoy the rest of the evening, and then stagger to the motel when the show was over. One night in February of 1968, Darel Dieringer came in, and one of the only open seats happened to be at our table. He asked if he could sit down, and naturally we were glad to have a driver there with us.

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Where’s The Love for Pocono Raceway?

In the world of motorsports commentary, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of affection for Pocono Raceway. The complaints are numerous. Boring, single file racing and not enough passing. No gear shifting. Too big of a track. 500 miles is too long. Can’t see what’s going on near the tunnel turn from the seats. Too long to get out of the parking lot. Waaah, waaah, waaah. Even the Wikipedia entry on the track bitches about it, citing “several drivers” (while naming only Denny Hamlin) and their antipathy for the place.

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Rick Crawford Driver Diary: Home and Home Away From Home

Since the last time we talked, we raced at Charlotte at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. It was a long drive from the Circle Bar race team shops with the Ford Powerstroke Diesel--it was almost a ride you could have made in a golf cart. It’s our neighbor track and probably the home track for a lot of teams but it’s really close for our team. We came out of there with a top five and with a truck that had been resurrected from a big crash last year. It’s one of my favorite trucks, CB-21. We were pretty pleased with that.

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Fanning the Flames: Silly Season Contracts, Old School Drivers, And The “Blow Up” Crowd

Q: How about my boy Kyle Busch? Not only is he dominating on the track, but he's become NASCAR's bad boy. Am I wrong to think that his driving style and persona are more like Dale Earnhardt's than even the Intimidator’s son and fellow 2007 free agent Dale Earnhardt Jr.?

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FOX Is Out, TNT Is In? May God Help Us All!

As I predicted a week or so ago, the media blitz is on to proclaim that NASCAR, after a couple of years of seriously slumping television ratings, is back and bolder than ever! In each of the last two years, FOX’s ratings for all things NASCAR were down 7%. This year, however, those ratings are up 2% over 2007 and the celebrations have begun! The party goes on despite the equation that minus 14 plus two still equals minus 12, unless, of course, you are using the "New Math" that is becoming so prevalent these days. FOX executives were quick to comment, attributing this earth-shattering rebound to the "return of the NASCAR Nation," or, more specifically, males 35 to 54.

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