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: G-W-C Disaster, And Does NASCAR Need Earnhardt To Win?

*Atlanta saw two attempts at a finish before the race was decided, and leader Kurt Busch expressed his displeasure at having to hold off the field twice while many cars were wrecked on the first attempt at a green-white-checker finish. After a couple of races with multiple attempts, was the “three attempt rule” the way to go?* Kurt: I didn't like the green-white-checkered rule. It usually ended under caution anyway, because everyone is going for it. Amy: I think so, but some drivers need to understand that it's not a free-for-all.

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Mirror Driving: Is Jimmie’s Success NASCAR Suicide? Grading Danica, And…

*Jimmie Johnson won his second race of the season Sunday, with ratings plummeting 25 percent along with it. Many fans say that one driver winning so much is bad for NASCAR, but can one athlete winning really be that bad for an entire sport?* Beth: Look at the last three years ... of course it can. It doesn't matter who it is, but in this day of instant gratification, fans aren't going to want to sit around and wait for everyone else to catch up. Amy: I disagree. That's just an excuse. The Yankees don't hurt all of baseball. Beth: You can't compare racing to baseball. When the Yankees play, there are other games to watch. When Jimmie Johnson dominates, there's not another race we can switch to.

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Mirror Driving: Fontana Follies, NASCAR Sends A Message, And Danica’s Nationwide Impact… On TV?

*The racing at Fontana was somewhat improved over recent races, with the 1.5-second margin of victory in the Cup race, which was .4 second under the average. Is this a sign of a turnaround for the track? And what can it be attributed to?* Bryan: Softer tires are never a bad thing, for one. Goodyear hit the nail on the head with their new tires. Let's see them do it again. It also helped that someone was actually capable of running down the No. 48 car. Phil: Yeah, a lot of the talk on the broadcast was about the tires. That definitely helps.

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Mirror Driving: Daytona Debrief, Shocking Starts, & Bad Bump Drafts … In Trucks?

*NASCAR made several rules changes in the offseason to improve the racing at Daytona and Talladega — allowing bump drafting anywhere on track, adding more attempts at a green-flag finish, and pushing out a larger restrictor plate. Did the new rules do enough to provide great racing?* Summer: Could they have done anymore? The racing was amazing! Bryan: Yes. The 500 was a great race. Take away the pothole and we had a classic on our hands. Amy: For the plate tracks, absolutely, that was a great race. Best 500 I've seen in a long time.

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Mirror Driving: Penny-Pinching Purses, Penske Power, And…Pena?

*NASCAR announced late last week a 10% cut in race purses, with the money instead going to the racetracks. How does this affect the sport's outlook, given the sagging economy and increasing cost of competition?* Amy: Since I'm guessing that's not all coming from the winner's cut … way to screw the smaller teams even more. Jeff: Can’t give it to the teams, they’ve got to keep ISC alive! Most of the tracks are owned by ISC, anyway, so who's getting the biggest benefit? Tom: I give NASCAR credit for being the only sport to adjust to the recession (how in the hell have baseball salaries gone up during this whole economic mess?) With that said, it never looks good to the casually viewing public when you're cutting anything.

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Mirror Driving: Making Sense Of “Major” Changes In 2010

*NASCAR announced several changes this offseason, including an eventual change from a rear wing to a blade spoiler and new rules at restrictor plate tracks that allow bump drafting in all zones. Did NASCAR make the best, and safest, changes they could to improve the racing, or should they have stayed at the drawing board and come up with something else?* Kurt: I say the bump drafting leniency lasts exactly one Talladega race. But I'm glad the wing is gone. It was ugly — it looked like it was slapped on just before the race. Jeff: They did what was right. They are starting to rectify all the stupid things they shouldn’t have messed with in the first place.

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Mirror Driving: Banquet Sins In Sin City, Kyle’s Truck Temptation, And 2009 NASCAR Awards

*NASCAR held its Champion's Week festivities in Las Vegas for the first time in 2009. Rate the events up to and including the banquet - what worked, and what needs to change?* Bryan: Just stick with Vegas and end the stupid banquet. There's no need to have a banquet in the first place… all it does is put a bunch of people that look ridiculous in tuxes on a stage to say canned lines about their sponsors and teams. Phil: The banquet definitely looked put together at the last minute, and as a result, most everything had nothing to do with the sport. I guess that's what happens when you announce a host a week beforehand.

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Mirror Driving: Too Much Teamwork?, Curbing NASCAR Criticism, And A Tall Order For Townley

*After Jimmie Johnson's crash, crew members from both the Nos. 88 and 24 were in the garage helping to repair Johnson's car -- despite the fact that Jeff Gordon is still in championship contention. Is this a sign of favoritism in the Hendrick camp?* Beth: It's not favoritism, it's called TEAMWORK. Amazing that a team would work together to get a championship contender back out on the track. Go figure. Amy: No, it isn't. It is why Hendrick teams win. Had that been Junior or Jeff in the wall, there would have been crewmen from the No. 48 over there, too. Jeff: I doubt that, Amy. Vito: It's like those old U.S. Army commercials during NFL Games: "Teammates ... working to be the best they can be!"

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Mirror Driving: Addington Angst, Rewarding Wins, And Is Jeff Gordon Over The Hill?

*Sunday's race at Martinsville Speedway illustrated the frustration that many fans have with the current points system, as race winner Denny Hamlin gained two spots but made little headway against point leader Jimmie Johnson -- who stretched his lead over Mark Martin by finishing second. How should NASCAR reward winning in its top series?* Kurt: Exactly as they do now, with a win in the win column. Seriously, what if there were 30 extra points for a win? Jimmie's lead would be even bigger! Amy: Is it REALLY not working? The guy with the most wins is the point leader. Jeff: How about the old points system, with a 100-point bonus over second for a win.

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Juan Pablo Montoya Has Arrived, But His Championship Hopes Are Underpowered

For Juan Pablo Montoya, 2009 marks the year that he has become, by every measure, a stock car driver. When the Columbian began his fulltime Sprint Cup career in 2007 after barely a hand-full of races ran in the Nationwide and ARCA Series, there were plenty of reasons to be skeptical of Montoya’s likelihood for success. Fast forwarding to the former Indianapolis 500 winner’s third season of NASCAR stock car racing, any lingering questions have been answered--he is a full-fledged, successful NASCAR driver.

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