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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.

Mirror Driving: Tired Of Tires, Who’s Haas Gonna Hire, And Whose Chase Has Caught Fire?

*All weekend long at Lowe's, both complaints and concern centered around the tire Goodyear brought to the event. After seeing the race unfold, is the tire still too hard for this surface - or are drivers getting to the point of whining about something a little too much?* Amy: A little of both. Tom: I did think that the racing was slightly better - but the cars spread out just too quickly. It's easy to see clean air is so much more critical at Lowe's than ever before. Tommy: NASCAR should have been changed to a softer tire for this race. I understood the caution after the repave...but come on!

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Who’s Hot/Who’s Not: Outside the Chase after the 2007 Bank of America 500 at Charlotte

Lowe's is a 1.5-mile oval that has a reputation for going fast and wrecking hard; Saturday night's race proved no exception to that rule. As such, it's time to take a look at how a myriad of non-Chasers performed under the lights in NASCAR's hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina. Let's take a look at Who's Hot, and Who's Not, non-Chase style... *Warm* The last four races have seen *Michael Waltrip* qualify for each of them - his longest streak of 2007 - as well as watch him finish in the Top 10 for the second time this year, win a Bud Pole Award, and gain five positions in the points.

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Numbers Game: 2007 Bank of America 500 at Charlotte

*0.579* Jeff Gordon's margin of victory over Clint Bowyer in the Bank of America 500. *1* Red flag period during the Bank of America 500 lasting 12 minutes, 6 seconds for Johnny Sauter's Lap 323 accident in Turn 4. *1* Car moved to the rear of the field at the start of the Bank of America 500. (No. 18 - J.J. Yeley for going to a back-up car) *4* Number of times Jeff Gordon led the Bank of America 500.

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Who’s Hot/Who’s Not In The Chase: 2007 Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Edition

The halfway point of the Chase at Lowe's brought with it a reality check to several men no longer in the hunt for a championship. For drivers like Denny Hamlin, Matt Kenseth, and Kevin Harvick, their one-time title dreams turned into nightmares filled with enough broken parts and pieces to start a junkyard. On the contrary, for others it was a case of too little, too late, as strong runs by Jeff Burton and Kyle Busch didn't even make a dent in deficiencies that seem far too steep to overcome. The fact they survived the 1.5-mile Beast of the Southeast was impressive enough, though; a hard tire and an even tougher racing surface made it difficult for even the best of the Nextel Cup faithful to keep all four wheels underneath them. In the end, the only one capable of taming it was a certain Rainbow Warrior, surviving a late race scare to pick up all the fuel out of _his_ tank and score a second straight victory on the season. In the process, he wasted no time putting his face on the stamp labeled "championship favorite," while everyone else had no choice but to look on in awe at the man who's been down this road before...and finished up on top of the heap. So, who are the only men left waiting in line at the post office - just hoping for a little championship stamp of their own - and which ones will spend the rest of the year simply trying to find the building? Read on to figure out how the field stacks up for the second half of the Chase in this week's edition of Who's Hot, Who's Not.

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Bubble Breakdown: Dave Blaney Continues Hot Streak, Carries Toyota Banner Back into Top 35

It's been a difficult second half of the season for Dave Blaney and the No. 22 team; they're busy jockeying for the 35th and final "locked in" spot in car owner points with the No. 21 team and their driver combo of Bill Elliott and Ken Schrader. But last week, Blaney had his best finish of the year, surviving a hairy Talladega race to finish 3rd and build momentum he carried over to the following week at Lowe's. Finishing 6th, his second consecutive Top 10 and his third consecutive Top 15 gave the No. 22 some distance from a handul of cars chasing him. Now, for the first time in this stretch of the season, Blaney finally has breathing room, moving into 34th in the standings, 39 points ahead of 35th and a crucial 148 ahead of 36th. To see who Blaney leapfrogged to get into the 34th spot, check out this week's edition of the Bubble Breakdown...

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Ten Points to Ponder…After the 2007 Bank of America 500 at Charlotte

*1. Lucky at Lowe's* - Jeff Gordon is a great race car driver, but even the best sometimes need a bit of luck, as Gordon acknowledged in his post-race comments from Victory Lane: "I can't tell you how many times we tried to give this one away. I was having trouble with the (fuel) pickup on the banking. Even on the last (restart), the tires spun so bad, Clint Bowyer could have gone right by me." Gordon pulled out the win despite two cautions and a red flag in the last 16 laps of the race, a green-white-checkered finish, an almost-empty gas tank, and a group of talented hard chargers right behind him, including Kyle Busch, Clint Bowyer, Ryan Newman, and Carl Edwards. *2. Translation, please?* - There was some serious fender rubbing going on partway through the race between future teammates Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. After Jeff got into Dale, an angry Junior warned, "Tell him I ain't gonna forget that!" But I'm really curious about what Gordon meant when he said a short time later, "I really don't want to race him tonight," referring to none other than his future teammate. What's your interpretation?

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Passion Fuels Michael Waltrip’s Past, Present and Future

The year was 2002. It was my 27th birthday. My father was receiving the Mayor's Award of Excellence for community service. Darrell Waltrip was there too, accepting the award for excellence in sports. Each recipient stood and spoke and, while I was very proud of my father and felt him to be more than deserving, it was Darrell's speech that spoke directly to me. "Find your passion," he told us that night. Whether that be ballet or racing, teaching or writing, the path to being happy and successful is to zero in on what you do well and follow it.

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The Loss Of Dale Jarrett – My Own NASCAR Hero – To Retirement

During my lengthy tenure as a writer for Frontstretch.com, the editors have often reminded us (the writers) that no matter what our past experience is with NASCAR, we should always strive to appear as journalists first...fans second. While I have usually succeeded in following that directive, longtime readers know that, being the rebel that I am, I have never hidden the fact that Dale Jarrett is my favorite NASCAR driver. So tday, I have been given special permission to ignore that directive and wear my heart on my sleeve (of my fancy UPS jacket, of course!). I have never been the type of guy that has "heroes," but if I were, Dale Jarrett would have been one.

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Fanning the Flames: Single-File Questions After A Single-File Sunday

*Q: In the first five Car of Tomorrow races, NASCAR jumped up and down, pointing to the "close finishes." But the last six CoT races (excluding the Talladega plate race where we always see close finishes) have been anything BUT close at the checkers. Could it be that those hair-raising finishes were aided and abetted by the infamous "debris caution" in the last laps that NASCAR is so famous for? And have these less than stellar finishes occurred _after_ Tony [Stewart] compared NASCAR to the WWE, manipulating the finishes with phony cautions? I have noticed that field bunching cautions dropped noticeably since then.* _— SallyB_ *A:* The mysterious invisible debris cautions have been somewhat nonexistent lately, haven't they Sally? We'll examine that in a minute. First off, I went back and looked at the finishes of the first five CoT races and found that, beyond Bristol and Martinsville — where close finishes are not necessarily the norm, but not uncommon either — the endings weren't quite as close as NASCAR would like for you to believe.

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I’m Just Sayin’…NASCAR Qualifying is Stupefying

If you know someone who thinks NASCAR is just a bunch of guys driving around in circles, I have a challenge for you. Get a printout of the actual qualifying results - you know, the ones based on lap times - from the October 7th Talladega race, and put them side-by-side with the actual starting lineup of the event. Then, try explaining to a person who's already a little dubious about NASCAR why the two lists are so completely different. By the time you're done, the person you're talking to will be less concerned about drivers going in circles, and more concerned about the dizziness in his own head. And chances are, so will you.

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