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Vito Pugliese

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Vito is one of the longest-tenured writers at Frontstretch, joining the staff in 2007. With his column Voice of Vito (monthly, Fridays) he’s a contributor to several other outlets, including Athlon Sports and Popular Speed in addition to making radio appearances. He forever has a soft-spot in his heart for old Mopars and presumably oil-soaked cardboard in his garage.

Don’t Tread On Thee: Three Straight Weeks of Nostalgic NASCAR Remind Us Of What’s Right With Racing

So, what is up with Dale Earnhardt, Jr.? After yet another disappointing outcome that saw Junior finish 27th, relegating him to 18th in points, the question remains -- what is wrong with this team, and what will it take to get him into Victory Lane and Chase contention? I don’t know; I’ll leave that up to one of the other beat writers. I have bigger fish to fry this week. Speaking of which, I had a fantastic grouper sandwich and burger with my lady friend Friday night. And she’s pretty fun to look at, too. But that’s neither here nor there. What I am peeved about this week aren’t fish sandos or the plight of Joonyer, but rather how desperately NASCAR needs to preserve what little vestiges of the sport’s traditional foundation that remains.

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First Plymouth, Now Pontiac: Legendary Performance and NASCAR Name Plate Sacrificed In Favor Of Big, Ugly, Stupid Buicks

This week, it was announced that General Motors is pulling the plug on Pontiac. The brand that brought us so many legendary nameplates such as the GTO, Trans Am, Grand Prix, and Bonneville will be put out to pasture with the rest of America’s storied nameplates such as Plymouth, Studabaker, …

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Talladega Flights: Massive Crash Highlights Superspeedway’s Continued Conflicts

As you may have noticed, much of the action that many have become accustomed to in NASCAR has been absent over the last few weeks. Matt Kenseth winning back-to-back races was nice, and it surely did many good to see Mark Martin back in Victory Lane. For the most part, however, this has been a lackluster season, with little to rally around or get up in arms about. Enter Talladega.

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A Lifetime of Trials, Tribulation, and Tragedy: Mark Martin and Rick Hendrick Setting The Stage For NASCAR’s Biggest Comeback Story

Upon exiting his winning Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, Martin invoked the name of a previous Hendrick driver, Tim Richmond. He remembered how great it was to see Richmond win after coming back from a bout with pneumonia that was ultimately the result of the AIDS virus he had contracted. He mentioned how Rick Hendrick was able to make his fallen comrade’s dreams come true; and now he had done the same for Martin, who has been so close to winning the last few years – even while running a limited schedule. The invitation from Hendrick led him to shelve his part-time status and return to the fold full-time for another run at the ultimate prize that has eluded him for so long: a Sprint Cup championship.

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The Prophet Pugliese – NASCAR’s Future Hangs In The Balance With General Motors and Chrysler

Everything old is new again. A tired and trite saying, to be sure, but it could be applied to NASCAR lately. Since we are coming off of Easter weekend, maybe now is a good time to get all biblical on you. Relax, I am not here to judge or preach; after all, what do I know? If you don’t want to hear it from me, heed the words of King Solomon who wrote: _What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun. Is there a thing of which it is said, "See, this is new?"_ _It has been already in the ages before us. Ecclesiastes Chapter 1 – Verses 1-10._

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Vexing Vito: Economy Or No Economy, Parking No. 8 Car For Phoenix Dumbest Thing Ever

Word has come down from on high at Earnhardt Ganassi Racing that the No. 8 Chevrolet now piloted by Aric Almirola – and formerly by some guy with a goatee and another one with a buzz cut – will be parked until adequate sponsorship can be found. Is this what NASCAR’s come to? As if it wasn’t bad enough that Petty Enterprises is no more, the Wood Brothers show up to about as many races as David Pearson nowadays, and Kyle Petty has been relegated to an as yet unconfirmed stint in the American Le Mans Series... now one of the most iconic numbers in NASCAR is being shelved for lack of sponsorship.

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Taking One For The Team: Earnhardt, Jr. and Martin Getting Gordon and Johnson’s Leftovers?

With the Sprint Cup Series off this week, you might expect some of the senior writers of this staff or other publications would be absent as well. But that is not the case with me. Although I was sidetracked by a brief hiatus, the reports of my demise have been greatly exaggerated. I’m back... Having said that, somebody else whose name is also synonymous with NASCAR has returned as well – Jeff Gordon. After 17 starts at the 1.5-mile D-shaped tri-oval, Gordon won for the first time at Texas Motor Speedway Sunday, snapping a drought of 47 races since his last win at Lowe’s back in October, 2007.

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The Season Ahead – Martinsville Serves as NASCAR’s True Test of Legitimacy

I have always maintained that Martinsville is the true litmus test for the opening months of the NASCAR season. Daytona is the Superbowl of motorsports, and it is easy to get caught up in the hype of the grandest race on the schedule. A win can make a season or …

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Racing The Way It Used To Be: NASCAR Short Tracks Still Exist – If Barely

I am going to focus on what used to be one of the most anticipated times of the year, NASCAR’s short track season. Back when I first started really getting into the sport, four of the greatest and most storied tracks — Darlington, Bristol, North Wilkesboro and Martinsville — would follow one another. It was short track action that looked the same then as it did 20 or 30 years earlier. Darlington is not a short track of course, and has but one date now that resides in early May, while Wilkesboro has since been relegated to little more than a weed farm and termite Valhalla. Bristol and Martinsville remain, but the racing has not been the same at these tracks of late. So what gives?

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Don’t Jump, It’s Not Worth It! NASCAR’s Biggest Names Stumbling Along The Ledge On Off Weekend

The Sprint Cup Series is off this week, giving some teams a much-needed break. Not so much from the cross-country grind that is the first month of the season... but rather, to the stop the bleeding instead. For some teams, the first few races have gone like Rocky’s first few rounds with Clubber Lang: taking a beating is admirable, but after awhile, you wish for somebody to intervene and throw in the towel on your behalf. Mercifully, one of the few off weekends has come at just the right time to put a stop to the brutality for some of the biggest names in the sport. Heading into Atlanta this past Sunday, David Reutimann, Bobby Labonte, and Michael Waltrip were the apple of everyone’s eye – faces and names we haven’t seen atop the standings in awhile. Or ever.

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