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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.

Turn That Frown Upside Down: DEI/Ginn Merger Has Upside All Around

Last week, the circle track world was up in arms about the goings-on at Ginn Racing. The former MB2 Motorsports team that shocked the world and showed so much promise by nearly winning the Daytona 500 in February, then going on to lead the points earlier in the year, was suddenly in dire straits. After dismissing long-time veterans and fan-friendly drivers Sterling Marlin and Joe Nemechek due to lack of sponsorship dollars, Ginn found himself having to go on Sirius NASCAR Radio to explain himself. It was a bit of damage control, with Ginn not wanting to appear to be this era's J.D. Stacy (unscrupulous early 1980's car owner), after being touted as potentially the next Rick Hendrick of the sport. Word has it that the DEI/Ginn Racing Merger is well underway, and may be announced as early as today. It is rumored that Mark Martin will drive this weekend under the DEI banner; an irony of sorts, as Earnhardt and Martin stagged some epic battles during the late 1980's through the 1990's. The No. 13 owner points look to be transferred to the No. 15 of DEI rookie Paul Menard, who has shown flashes of brilliance in his short Cup career.

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Driven To The Past: Phil Parsons

Phil Parsons is probably best known to race fans as part of the trio that make up the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series color commentating team for Speed. Along with Rick Allen and Michael Waltrip, Parsons can be seen and heard calling the action in NASCAR's version of Double-A baseball. What many may not know is that Phil was a pretty fair racecar driver in his own right, becoming part of racing history by winning the 1988 Winston 500 at Talladega.

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Kyle Busch: There’s Nothing More Dangerous Than A Man With Nothing Left To Lose

_"You better not try to stand in my way_ _As I'm a walking out the door,_ _Take this job and shove it_ _I ain't workin' here no more."_ -Chorus to _"Take This Job And Shove It"_, by Johnny Paycheck Those words immediately came to mind when digesting the recent bizarre behavior exhibited by Kyle Busch. While his recent statements aren't exactly as outlandish as say, Tony Stewart accusing his teammate of backing up into him at 200mph at Daytona, they do give one pause for reflection: What the heck is up with this kid? It doesn't appear he's trying to make the best of a difficult situation, wooing a suiting sponsor, or auditioning for his next ride. He looks like a guy trying to get canned instead of quitting, so he can collect unemployment.

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Driven To The Past: Fred Lorenzen – Turning The Blue Oval Gold

Chicago is home to a number of things. Wind. Da Bears. Polish Sausage. Ditka…Ditka…and this weekend's race at Chicagoland. While the Chicagoland area is home to both Jake and Elwood Blues, it is also home to one of the 50 Greatest Drivers in NASCAR history. "The Golden Boy", Fred Lorenzen of Elmhurst, Illinois (or as it is pronounced on the other side of Lake Michigan, "Ill-uh-noise") was well on his way to writing a most impressive chapter in racing history when inexplicably, at the age of 32 years old and seemingly in his prime, he called it quits.

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Green & 13: Unlucky as Ever for Ginn Racing

At Daytona in February, Mark Martin made his debut for Ginn Racing by winning the Daytona 500...but losing the Daytona 505 by little more than one foot. Many argue that he got worked out of it by NASCAR's controversial decision to not throw the yellow flag for a crash off turn four until after the checkered flew. Not one to dwell on the past, Martin took the momentum from that run and put it to work, reeling off a series of impressive runs in what used to be Joe Nemechek's car. Nemechek was now driving the No. 13, a team that was hastily assembled following Martin's arrival to expand Ginn Racing into a three car arsenal for 2007. It was a move that should have led to on-track success...if only there were the money to fund it. At first, expansion and success for Ginn this season brought a basic form of respect along with it. What once was a decent 2nd-tier Cup operation was suddenly contending for wins and possibly even championships after only a few short months under Bobby Ginn's ownership.

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Driven To The Past: Greg Sacks

The Daytona 500 is widely recognized as the Superbowl of Stockcar racing. The July event has a slightly less prestigious moniker attached to it; longtime fans know it simply as The Firecracker 400. Before the days of the Pepsi sponsorship and lights circling the track; the race started by noon, as the stifling Florida heat and humidity in July made it as uncomfortable for the fans as it did the drivers. The old adage used to be "On the track by eleven, on the beach by three." In 1985, the most unlikely of drivers would visit Victory Lane at the World Center of Racing. This week we profile one of the most unlikely of heroes, as surprised at his own success, as were his competitors, Greg Sacks.

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What’s In A Suspension?

This past weekend's race at Loudon, New Hampshire marked the 8th race of the Car of Tomorrow, the 6th race of Tony Eury Jr's suspension, and the 1st race suspension for Chad Knaus and Steve Letarte for their infractions last week at Sonoma. It's the circle of life, Simba; one suspension ends, two more begin. However, it was widely reported all weekend long that even though Knaus and Letarte were indeed suspended, they were still at the track in some capacity. NASCAR reasoned that while they cannot be physically with their team, they are still permitted on the track's property and can be in communication with their team. Which got me to thinking: what the heck is in a suspension anyway?

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Driven To The Past: Ricky Craven

At one time, NASCAR was thought of as a sport comprised mainly of drivers from the southeast. In the late 80's and early 1990s, that began to change. Suddenly there was an influx of drivers from the modified and Busch North Series, including driver Ricky Craven. Craven began his career at Unity Raceway in Unity, Maine, where he won Rookie of the Year in 1992, following it up with a 12 win season that saw him earn track championship honors in 1993. From there Ricky would dominate at several tracks in New England before competing in the American-Canadian Tour. Craven, born May 24th, 1966, ironically shares a birthday with Muppet creator Frank Oz, the voice of Yoda from _Star Wars_ who coined the mantra of "There is no 'Try'; only ‘Do'," something Craven has taken to heart.Busch slid high and rode the wall through turn 4, Craven steered his Pontiac Grand Prix to the bottom, and drove up under Busch. As he drifted back up to complete the turn, both cars met, fender to fender, tire to tire, door handle to door handle. Both cars quivered violently back and forth, smoke wafting out of the front fenders as their drivers struggled to keep them pointed in a straight line coming to the checkered flag.

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What’s The Call: Are The Penalties Against Jeff Gordon And Jimmie Johnson’s Teams Too Severe?

*Today's Question : Earlier this week, NASCAR came down hard on the No. 24 and No. 48 teams for failing pre-race inspection at Infineon Raceway. Due to fenders that fell outside Car Of Tomorrow specifications, the following penalties were given out:* - Crew chiefs Chad Knaus (No. 48) and Steve LeTarte (No. 24) were suspended six weeks and fined $100,000 - Both Gordon and Johnson lost 100 driver points - Both teams lost 100 car owner points - Knaus and LeTarte were placed on probation for the rest of the season *Without question, these are some of the toughest consequences given out in recent NASCAR history. With that in mind, did the sport come down too hard on this one? Or did both teams get exactly what they deserved for breaking the rules?* *Vito Pugliese*: Since when did NASCAR become Roscoe P. Coltrane, issuing ridiculously inflated citations for racers simply trying to do their job? Gordon's team didn't get caught with a big engine, doctored tires, illegal fuel, or God forbid, duct tape by the oil tank. Instead, they had massaged the left front fenders of their DuPont Chevrolet a little too much, in an area they were once permitted to actually have some sort of input into their car. Kathy Grindle: There's no reason to complain about the penalty handed down to the No. 24 and No. 48 teams; in the end, the heavy hand coming down from the NASCAR brass couldn't be more justified. These teams broke the new golden CoT rule of "don't mess with our design," and the sport's simply doing its duty in ensuring that every organization is following the rules.

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Driven To The Past: Buddy Arrington

Buddy Arrington was born on July 26th, 1938 in Martinsville, Virgina. No photographic evidence exists, but it is a fair assumption that there was likely a Chrysler Pentastar emblem on his crib. Mopar guys are a different bunch for sure. If there was anyone who embodied the term "Mopar of NoCar" it was Arrington. At a time when the Chrysler Corporation was circling the drain and NASCAR appeared to be legislating them out of competition, Buddy held true to his roots, and carried the torch for the Mopar faithful, after even King Richard ditched his Dodge in favor of a Chevrolet Monte Carlo.

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