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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.

Where’s The Beef? Chase For The Championship A Far Cry From Past Battles

With only one race remaining before the start of the 2007 Chase for the Nextel Cup, the race for 12th place has all been but decided, with Kevin Harvick needing to only finish 32nd or better to solidify his place in the Championship dash. While the Daytona 500 winner will start the race a whopping 670 points out of first place, he will end it no more than 50 points out of the top spot, courtesy of NASCAR's new seeding system, awarding 10 bonus points for a win to each driver in the top 12. Which raises a legitimate question: What exactly does a 700-point deficit convey anything remotely related to the term "champion"? Is this what it has come to? "The race for 12th"?

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That’s History Profile: Coo Coo Marlin

Clifton Marlin's career began almost by accident. His brother Jack campaigned a car at Hohenwald Speedway in Tennessee, but didn't show up one night for one reason or another. Coo Coo volunteered to drive and finished third in his first race on dirt. While he credited a lot of it to beginners' luck, a good car, and the competition giving him plenty of room; he had another colorful explanation for it. He figured that being a farmer and having an intimate relationship with the earth helped him get around on it faster in a race car as well.

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NASCAR: Lacking Southern Flair?

Looking back at the history of NASCAR, it's not a big secret that the roots of the sport lie squarely in the Southeast. With the series founded in a smoke-filled room in Daytona Beach, Fla., back in 1947, the sport spent the '50s and '60s building its reputation on tracks like Darlington, Martinsville, and little dirt ovals scattered all over the Southeast. Since then, NASCAR has clearly opened itself up to become a national phenomenon... but despite decades of immeasurable growth, not everyone understands the way it has expanded. In fact, one of the stinging criticisms that has always bothered me has been when people claim the sport is "just a bunch of Southern rednecks driving around in a circle."

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What’s The Call? Jacques Villeneuve – Boom Or Bust?

Today's Question: On Friday, Bill Davis Racing announced Canadian Jacques Villeneuve will drive for the team in the Craftsman Truck Series, with an eye towards bringing the former Formula One star into Cup full-time by February, 2008. Can Villeneuve follow in Juan Pablo Montoya's footsteps and succeed in Nextel Cup - or will the open wheeler be destined for failure in his transition to American stock car racing?

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That’s History Profile: Alan Kulwicki

As we head into Bristol this weekend, we are often reminded of some of the most memorable moments in NASCAR Kulwicki was born on December 14, 1954 in Greenfield, Wis. He was a pioneer in the sport, coming to NASCAR through the Midwest's ASA series, which produced such luminaries as Rusty Wallace, Mark Martin, and Dick Trickle. Kulwicki was one of the first drivers to complete college, graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 1977, with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. Alan used his education and experience to his advantage; always getting more out of less, and doing things smarter than the other guy. Legendary car owner Junior Johnson was once asked which driver he would have wanted to drive for him that never did. The two names that came to mind were seven-time champion Dale Earnhardt, and Kulwicki. Johnson was convinced that having a driver who was just as (if not more) mechanically adept as he or the people he had assembling the car would have made them a force to be reckoned with.

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Blew By You: Kurt Busch Making A Case For Legitimate Title Contender… Turning Bud Fans Blue In The Process

With only three races remaining before the 2007 Chase for the Championship begins, the question of who will be the final qualifier for the 10-race playoff became a little more clear on a foggy and soggy Tuesday afternoon in Brooklyn, Michigan. For the second time in three races, Kurt Busch drove the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger to Victory Lane, in a performance that, while not nearly as dominating as his win two weeks earlier at Pocono, was convincing nonetheless that a playoff push has come ever closer to paying off.

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That’s History Profile: Benny Parsons

Benny Parsons was born in Ellerbe, N.C., on July 12th, 1941 - a small town just north of Rockingham. After growing up in the South throughout his childhood, Parsons actually made his first career choice around a profession that had nothing to do with racing - but driving an automobile nonetheless. Making a move up north to Detroit in 1960, Parsons relocated to where his father ran a taxi cab garage. That's where the youngster spent the remainder of his young adult years... learning how to drive not through the local dirt track, but by dropping passenger after passenger off at their destination as a cab driver.

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Kyle Busch: Giving 110% for a Great Opportunity… And Other Favorite Cliches

In recent years, however, as the "sport" has grown, a new term has emerged to describe our beloved pastime: "business". As unsavory as that might sound, racing exists because of sponsors, and our favorite drivers and car manufacturers are indeed pitchmen and very loud, very fast billboards. With this "business" aspect comes some of the cliches that accompany corporate America as well. I was reminded of this a number of times during Kyle Busch's announcement that he will join Joe Gibbs Racing in 2008, as driver of the No. 18 machines fielded by Coach Gibbs and Co.

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That’s History Profile: Tim Richmond

Tim Richmond came into NASCAR reminiscent of the way so many do today. He got his start in open wheel racing by testing a sprint car for a friend and wound up turning laps faster than the regular driver. At the age of 21, that brief test had him hooked and soon after he won the USAC Rookie of the Year in 1978. Two years later he moved to big time open wheel racing, competing in the Indianapolis 500 in 1980, finishing ninth after running out of fuel. Driving for car owner DK Ulrich, he would make his NASCAR debut at Pocono later that year -- a track where some of his most memorable, yet heart-breaking memories would be made.

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Pat Tryson: The Right Man At The Right Time For Kurt Busch

"Pat, buddy, where have you been all my life?!" No, that wasn't Kurt Busch speaking to new crew chief Pat Tryson following their Sunday victory at Pocono... although it easily could have been. Instead, it was Busch's former Roush Racing teammate Mark Martin, words spoken following Martin and Tryson's first race together at Phoenix in 2003. The joy expressed from that fateful day proved a telling insight into what would be a successful future between the two men... a future that Tryson appears ready to relive through the potential of a younger, rising talent.

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