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.

10 Points To Ponder… After 2008 Dodge Challenger 500 at Darlington

1. No Popularity Contest - Joe Gibbs Racing “hot shoe” Kyle Busch, winner of Saturday night's Dodge Challenger 500 won honors as the First Quarter Driver of the Year for 2008. The voting panel, made up of individuals knowledgeable in the numerous disciplines of U.S. motor racing, picked the 23-year old Las Vegas, Nev. native for his winning performances in not just his Sprint Cup gig, but his impressive results in NASCAR’s Craftsman Truck Series and Nationwide Series as well. Busch trounced his nearest rivals, totaling 142 points to runner-up and fellow NASCAR driver Carl Edwards, who garnered 72 points. IndyCar driver Danica Patrick, the first female in history to score a win in that series, placed third with 51 points. The voting period ended after the Talladega race and well before Busch was involved in a controversial late race accident while battling fan favorite Dale Earnhardt Jr. at Richmond. Busch went on to finish second to Clint Bowyer, while Earnhardt Jr., though also finishing in the top 10, lost any chance he may have had to end a two-year winless streak due to what many believed to be overly aggressive driving on the part of Busch.

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Nationwide Series Breakdown: 2008 Diamond Hill Plywood 200 at Darlington

In a word: dominating. That’s how one could describe Tony Stewart’s run at Darlington in the Diamond Hill Plywood 200 Friday night. Stewart, who qualified third, led on three different occasions for a total of 90 laps to score the win. His fourth victory in the Nationwide Series this season, it also doubled as his first in any NASCAR division at the Lady in Black.

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It May Be Time to Panic for Michael Waltrip

A year and a half ago, Michael Waltrip was successfully wooing employees, a very eager foreign auto manufacturer, and several high profile sponsors to sign onto his new racing team. The pundits predicted that with the backing of both Toyota and cash-rich sponsorship, Michael Waltrip Racing was going to be a contender in Sprint Cup right away, maybe even winning a race or two. 46 races later, Michael Waltrip’s three Cup teams are barely in the Top 35—and that is an improvement over last season. Two major sponsors, Burger King and Domino’s, have departed. Another, UPS, is very likely on its way out, leaving only the ever-loyal NAPA and Aaron’s, at least for now. Performance that is well below the expectations of big sponsors and a heavily invested automobile brand, combined with ethical incidents raising questions about his leadership, have led to the current bleak situation for Waltrip’s team. So as usual, the pundits were wrong.

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Rick Crawford Driver Diary: Everyone Is Welcome at Circle Bar Racing

We had a good points day at Kansas for the Ford Powerstroke Diesel by International No. 14 truck and got a top 10 finish in ninth. We tried something new. Our team tested in Pocono with Tony Raines driving and tried something new there. It's just a point where Kevin Starland and the guys on the Circle Bar race team are getting this new package together and it will start showing dividends here pretty quick. We've never raced at Pocono before, but it's a pretty good testing facility. The straightaways and the corners and all that let you try a lot of different elements out of a race.

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Side by Side: Who Got The Better Deal — Dale Earnhardt Jr. Or Kyle Busch?

Today's Question: Three months into one of the biggest free agent moves in history, which one of NASCAR's two biggest drivers has the upper hand (i.e. better deal)? Is it "Good Guy" Dale Earnhardt Jr. -- NASCAR's Most Popular Driver -- or resident "Bad Boy" Kyle Busch -- its most aggressive?

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Fanning the Flames: All Darlington, All The Time

Q: What are we to expect from the newly repaved Darlington Raceway? If speeds are up like they were in the tire tests, will it make it harder for drivers to pass? And what about the excessive tire wear? Is that still a concern, or has the repave taken care of that?

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Is NASCAR Bluffing, Or Will They Go “All In” On A New Drug Policy?

A few weeks ago, I penned a column that basically said Aaron Fike’s admission of doing heroin on race days was tantamount to holding a royal flush when it came to forcing NASCAR’s hand on reexamining its drug testing policy. Backing Fike’s play was Tony Stewart and former Fike boss, Kevin Harvick, both of which said that they have never been tested for drugs since they began their NASCAR careers. Well, this week the spot responded in their typical fashion, stating that while they do keep an eye on other professional sports’ drug testing policies, by and large, their system gave them more power and had certainly been serving them quite well, thank you very much.

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Mirror Driving: Making Sense of Richmond Night Fights – Junior vs. Busch, Busch vs. Wallace, And Waltrip vs. Mears

Obviously, the number one topic following Richmond is the contact between Kyle Busch and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. But here's a question for you: If the roles were reversed, would the public be anointing Earnhardt. the "villain" the way they've been doing to Busch? Along those lines, is Busch getting a bad rap?

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Darlington Fans: “Too Tough To Surrender”

Fans best not forget just how close they came to seeing the oldest superspeedway on the Sprint Cup circuit become extinct. And had it not been for the tremendous fan support that the track has experienced the last three years, the "Lady in Black” would without a doubt be about as popular a tourist stop as North Wilkesboro Speedway is today. Like it or not, there have to be consistently 63,000 ticket purchasing patrons in the 63,000 seats available on race day; otherwise, the track will meet its untimely demise, no matter how popular it is among racing traditionalists. Sure, it's only race date is on Mother’s Day weekend... but what nicer way is there to let Mom know you love her than with a tailgate party and a ticket to Darlington under the lights?

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