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.

Hendrick Motorsports: A Decade of Dominance… And Then Some

Rick Hendrick's team has fielded cars for some of the iconic names in racing's modern era: Darrell Waltrip, Al Unser Jr., Cup champion Terry Labonte, and the late Tim Richmond. In the process, the man became a pioneer, fielding multi-car teams that seemed to work together much better than others before. This became the foundation upon which Hendrick would build an empire; with his centerpiece, the heir-apparent to the throne who would make his arrival at the final race of 1992 at Atlanta. Teaming him with a young crew chief who cut his teeth in modifieds, Rick Hendrick was about to set the racing world on its ear, as the duo of driver Jeff Gordon and crew chief Ray Evernham had come together for a magical pairing.

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Change For The Better: Helping The CoT From Becoming a PoS

It's no secret that I am not a fan of the Car of Tomorrow. Just saying the phrase elicits certain feelings: Anger. Spite. Loathing. Still... as much as I would love to sit here and rail against it for another 1,500 words, I have made peace with the fact that it is here to stay, and you should, too. Call it what you will - a work in progress or mechanical cruelty - but there's no denying this is the vehicle that will represent NASCAR for well into the next decade. With this weekend's race at Phoenix being the last for the CoT's initial foray into competition, we thought it would be a good time to reflect on the car, how it has performed to date, and what can be done to help make racing better for both the fans and the drivers - before these things go full-time in 2008.

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That’s History Profile: Ned Jarrett

Ned Jarrett was one of the first bonafide superstars of the sport, helping to bring NASCAR to the next level in the early to mid-1960s. What started out as a regional sport with an underground following began to rise to national prominence by the mid-1950s, with factory involvement from Ford and Chrysler. At the time, the heroes of the sport were characters that seemed right out of central casting from Dukes Of Hazzard: Curtis Turner, Fireball Roberts, Joe Weatherly, and the Flock brothers. Ned Jarrett was the antithesis of the hell raisers of the early years. He was a family man who truly earned the nickname, "Gentleman Ned."

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2007: The Year The Biscuit Wheels Came Off The Gravy Train For Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Following this past weekend's race at Atlanta Motor Speedway, the championship Chase tightened considerably between point leader Jeff Gordon and teammate Jimmie Johnson. But as Johnson stood spraying the bubbly in Victory Lane - winner of his second straight race in the playoffs - cleanup crews were busy picking up parts and pieces sprayed all over the racetrack, most of them belonging to a certain No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet. While the two Hendrick teammates prepared for the next battle in a long, hard-fought race to the title, their future teammate remained in possession of a sole, irrefutable fact reinforced from what would turn out to be a horrific Sunday ending. No question about it... the wheels have now come off Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s season. Literally.

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That’s History Profile: Rusty Wallace

Rusty Wallace came of age during the late '70s and early 1980s running USAC and ASA with such short truck luminaries as Larry Phillips and Dick Trickle. He also was competing with fellow future NASCAR stars Alan Kulwicki and Mark Martin, often driving the fastidious Martin crazy by showing up late to practice because he had to wait for his crewman and youngest brother Kenny to get out of school before they could leave for the track. In those days, Rusty sported what he referred to as his "nuclear hairdo," a massive poofy Afro that resembled something rising into the atmosphere over Yucca Flats or Bikini Atoll.

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Getting Their Just Desserts – NASCAR Driver Earnings Finally Matching Those Of Other Major Athletes

All decade long, we've heard such age-old discussion of how NASCAR drivers stack up to the athletic performances of the stick 'n' ball sports: Major League Baseball, the NFL, the NHL, and the NBA. You can go back and forth on that question for ages; but in the end, you'll never be able to test athletes on the same athletic skill that makes them so great. However, there's another area where direct comparison is readily available; it's a mode of financial number crunching that goes far beyond physical talent laid out on a track, a football field, or a baseball diamond, one that gives you an idea of just how much one man measures up against another. It's the checkbook.

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That’s History Profile: Tim Flock

Tim Flock was one of the legendary personalities of the sport, along with the likes of his brother Fonty Flock, Curtis Turner, and Fireball Roberts. He was a hell-raiser straight from the mold of the drivers of yesteryear, a far cry from the spit-polished corporate spokesmen of today. His father was a bicycle racer who held the distinction of owning the first car in Fort Payne, Ala. Tim Flock saw his first race in 1937, and became hooked. His brothers Bob, Fonty, and Carl wouldn't let him drive, so he got behind the wheel of a taxicab in Atlanta. He also worked as a bellhop and a fireman. Tim's sister Ethel and his brother-in-law helped get him into racing in 1948, driving modifieds.

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NASCAR Fans: Still Reviled Among The Elite

Last week the Washington Times reported that the Democratic head of the Homeland Security Committee (the ones who try to find the best way to keep airplanes out of buildings and bombs off of buses), instructed aides to receive immunization shots prior to embarking on a fact-finding mission. Among the diseases they were most concerned with: hepatitis, diphtheria, tetanus and influenza. Just what far flung, third-world crap hole that time forgot were they traveling to? Iraq? Sudan? The Ivory Coast? Nope. Charlotte, N.C. Lowe's Motor Speedway was their target objective.

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That’s History Profile: Joe Weatherly

Joe Weatherly's driving career almost ended before it even began. He nearly died while out with a group of friends one night, lost control while driving through an S-curve; he had bumped into a curb and broke a tie rod. With no steering or time to react, he ran headlong into a tree. Weatherly was nearly ejected from the vehicle, his head and neck breaking through the windshield. As Weatherly was trapped and bleeding to death, one passenger was dead, and others badly injured. Weatherly recovered then, but in other instances, he wasn't so lucky. He was left badly scarred about the face; rumors arose that it was the result of a Nazi sniper in WWII. Unfortunately, it would not be the last time he had an encounter with a parts failure in the middle of an S-curve turn.

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