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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.

The Problem With the Buschwackers Is…There Needs To Be More Of Them!

Of course it isn't breaking news that there is a large disparity in talent and equipment between Busch Series teams owned by Cup team owners such as Childress, Ganassi, Gibbs, Hendrick and the other big time Cup players in comparison to the series' non-Cup-owned teams. Obviously, the Cup participants have both the monetary and engineering resources to put on track equipment that is far superior to teams that compete solely in NASCAR's second-tier series. Plus, they quite often put their more experienced and sometimes more talented Cup drivers in the Busch cars, creating an insurmountable advantage over Busch Series mainstays. This situation has had a fair number of NASCAR fans crying FOUL for quite some time. These pirates are generally referred to as "Buschwackers." And some believe they should be limited or barred from competing in the series. Since that is not practical, I believe for the best interest of race fans, and certainly NASCAR, the goal should be to increase the Cup influence in Busch to provide the very best racing that it can this side of the Nextel Cup series.

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Fanning the Flames: One Team’s Folly Is Another’s Fortune

What a typical NASCAR vacation: The circuit takes a one-week hiatus from on-track action only to turn up the volume away from it. The Ginn / DEI merger not only shuffled the driver deck and taught prospective owners a thing or two about life in the bigs, it opened a spot in the owner points standings for the Wood Brothers. The recipient of the Lucky Dog in all this chaos, the Woods went from previously finding themselves in a seemingly insurmountable 225-point hole, relying on driver-for-hire Bill Elliott's Past Champion's Provisionals (or pure speed) to make the show each week. The Woods' No. 21 now sits in the 35th position as Bobby Ginn's No. 13 car owner points have been dissolved. With Dave Blaney and Scott Riggs knocking at the door — just seven- and 67-markers back — we once again have a race within the race and, undoubtedly, the biggest break the Woods and the Toyota contingent have caught all season. What was just a short week ago a non-issue will now be one of the most highlighted battles on the track and in qualifying each week. Speaking of which, the US Air Force, Motorcraft, Little Debbie, Valvoline and Caterpillar all send their thanks, Bobby. Too bad they can't send you money. I send my thanks as well for the questions and comments this week. As always, the easiest way to reach me outside of my cell phone — sorry, not publishing the number — is to email me at _matt.taliaferro@frontstretch.com_.

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Surprise! NASCAR’s Version of Reality Slightly Skewered

In case you didn't know it, the competitiveness in NASCAR's highest ranks has never been better. Don't take my word for it, though; just _ask NASCAR_. On second thought...you don't have to. This sport is more than willing to _tell_ you what to believe. Here is an excerpt from a July 16th NASCAR press release titled "NASCAR's Golden Age of Competition is Now." "Present-day NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races offer closer competition than anytime in history, a new NASCAR statistical analysis has shown. Taking into account such statistics as cars on the lead lap, average leaders per race and margin of victory, racing since 1970 has become more competitive and more unpredictable than ever. Consider this: In 1970, 22 of the 48 races "featured" only ONE car on the lead lap at the end of the race. Not since 1994 has a race ended with one car on the lead lap (Geoffrey Bodine at North Wilkesboro)."

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Mirror Driving: Chasing The Chase, Truckers Ruining The Race?, and Does ESPN Know Their Place?

*After a one-week breather, Nextel Cup racing resumes this week with just seven races remaining until the end of the regular season. Heading into that final stretch, who among the Top 12 is the most vulnerable to drop out and why? And if someone does fall out, who slips in their place?* Tommy: I would say Clint Bowyer. I'm just not convinced that RCR is all that strong...and Bowyer's inexperience will get him in the end. Truex is in trouble, too…for much the same reason. Tony: It's definitely Bowyer due to inexperience or Harvick due to inconsistency. Tom: I think Bowyer is definitely vulnerable. I think the biggest thing for him is going to be whether or not he can handle the pressure of being on the bubble as this thing comes down to the wire.

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Bobby Ginn: The Gambler Rolled “Snake Eyes”

In what has become the quickest and most dramatic rise and fall of a race team in recent NASCAR history, Ginn Racing has fans, drivers and other owners in the NASCAR garages wondering what in the world has transpired with the team that had been showing so much promise since the drop of the green flag at this years Daytona 500. Since owner Bobby Ginn purchased the two-team organization formerly known as MB2 Motorsports from its previous majority owner Nelson Bowers barely a year ago, what the NASCAR community has witnessed is an illusion…a highly calculated gamble, based on maintaining an appearance of stability to gain acceptance within the sport in hopes of securing significant outside financing, money that was desperately needed to continue the charade. And it was a fairly well orchestrated deception...one that almost worked. The plan's downfall was simply that no corporate sponsor was ever found that would take the bait that Bobby Ginn set out…and the ruse has now begun to unravel. Bobby Ginn, a real estate developer from South Carolina, entered the NASCAR scene with a BANG!

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Top Ten Signs Your Crew Chief Is About to Resign

10. He was seen entering the NASCAR trailer with a resume in hand. 9. The kid in the shop with the broom now has a hard card and all the car notes. 8. His lawyer sent you paperwork for a legal separation. 7. Instead of his name on the back of his uniform, it says "Space for Rent - Your Name Could Be Here."

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ESPN Draft Track Technology Will Allow NASCAR Fans to ‘See the Air’

For years, NASCAR fans have heard about the effects of drafting on high-speed racetracks and how certain drivers, such as the late Dale Earnhardt, were so good in the draft it was said they could “see the air.” Now, as NASCAR NEXTEL Cup racing returns to ESPN with Sunday’s Allstate …

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Who’s Hot/Who’s Not In Nextel Cup: Race to The Chase Special Edition

Now that we have survived the final off weekend of the year, it's time to turn our focus to the upcoming seven-race slugfest that will determine the field for the 2007 Chase for the Championship. Obviously, there are certain drivers that are all but locked into the field barring some sort of meteor hitting their race shops. But the expansion to a field of 12 this year has widened the door for more of these wheelmen to try to make a name for themselves and stake their claim to a piece of NASCAR history. So, which drivers look to be heading for Chase glory after Richmond, and which ones might be hanging their head in shame? Check out this week's special edition of Who's Hot and Who's Not to find out who's in the best position to secure a spot in the upcoming battle for the Chase.

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Rick Crawford Driver Diary: Graceland, Fine Wine, and Bad Luck

At Memphis the truck was in the Top 5 on each practice session and running really good. I had an early draw for qualifying, went out and was the fastest of the trucks that went out before me. I was pretty optimistic and thought we had a really nice piece but got knocked out early. Some dramatic things happened during that particular wreck that have just never happened to me before. We exploded a battery and the battery blew the back of the truck off. The crew did a fantastic job fixing it but we lost two or three laps in the pits when we had to install a new battery. We just made laps and finished where we finished. In Kentucky we practiced about where we qualified and were trying to move up as soon as the green flag dropped. I don't know, it just got away from me and that's one of those things. I save it probably 90% of the time but there's that 10% chance that you're going to lose it.

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What’s The Call: Did Aric Almirola Make The Right Career Choice?

Today's Question : Earlier this week, it was announced that Aric Almirola will be headed to Ginn Racing to share a Cup ride with Mark Martin for the rest of 2007 and beyond. Was this the right move for Aric's future, or was he wrong to slam the door on an opportunity with one of the top teams in Cup, Joe Gibbs Racing, a team he drove for in the Busch Series up until this surprising turn of events? Becca Gladden:Let's see - sharing a Busch ride with Denny Hamlin or sharing a Cup ride with Mark Martin. Hmmm. That's a tough choice. Not! This is a no-brainer for Almirola...and it has nothing to do with what happened in Milwaukee. Tommy Thompson: The news that Aric Almirola is leaving Joe Gibbs and signing on as a part-time Cup driver, sharing duties with Mark Martin in the No. 01 U.S. Army Chevrolet at Ginn Racing, truly bewilders me. Is the kid suicidal? That's the first of two things that came to my mind when I heard the decision. The other was simply a rule of thumb for self-preservation, one that a grizzled firefighting instructor at Texas A&M once shared with me and the other assembled trainees: "If the rats are running out of a burning building, you don't run in." Someone needs to share this practical wisdom with Almirola, before he gets burned…BIG TIME!

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