Side by Side

Side By Side: Who’s A Chase Pretender — Bobby Labonte Or Michael Waltrip?

*Today's Question : Looks like the old guys are making a comeback in NASCAR these days, as two fortysomething drivers have cracked the Sprint Cup top 12 three races in. Which one has the best chance of maintaining their solid start -- Bobby Labonte or Michael Waltrip?* Doug: Though it's a little too early to really count points as of yet, when left to choose between a Cup champion in decent equipment and a clumsy, over-stretched driver that has struggled most of his career -- there's no question you place your money on the champ to make the Chase. Kurt: It’s easy to look at the careers of Bobby Labonte and Michael Waltrip and conclude that in similar equipment, Labonte would run circles around Waltrip. But with an extra car in the shop to go along with solid sponsor and manufacturer backing, Waltrip seems more likely to have a decent season.

Read More »

Side By Side: Who’s To Blame For Daytona’s Big Wreck — Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Or Brian Vickers?

*Today's Question : Who's to blame for the big wreck in this year's Daytona 500 -- Dale Earnhardt, Jr. or Brian Vickers?* Tom: With six top 5 finishes on the high banks to go along with 383 laps led, it's clear Earnhardt knows how to get around this place better than almost any other track on the circuit -- with the exception of perhaps Talladega and Richmond. In my opinion, that's what makes Sunday's major incident that much more tougher for NASCAR's Most Popular Driver; a track that should have a special place in his heart is now forever linked instead with his most embarrassing moment behind the wheel. *Vito:* If you review the tape from the backstretch and infield angles, you will witness Brian Vickers swerve across three lanes of traffic to block Dale Earnhardt, Jr.’s pass attempt. Was it a legal move by Vickers? Yes. Was it ill advised? As former VP candidate and snowbound cutie Sarah Palin would say, “You betcha!”

Read More »

Side by Side: Should The Champion’s Provisional Be Dropped?

_Editor's Note : The following is a special edition of Frontstretch's Side By Side. Occasionally throughout the season, two of your favorite Frontstretch writers will duke it out in a debate concerning one of NASCAR's biggest stories. Don't let us be the only ones to speak our minds, though...be sure to read both sides and let us know what you think about the situation in the comment section below!_ *Today's Question : With the Daytona 500 the equivalent to NASCAR's "Super Bowl," should they automatically save a spot for a former champion who can't qualify into the field any other way? Or should the rule be relaxed and another, faster driver installed in their place?*.

Read More »

Side By Side: Should Patrick Carpentier Have Been Fired?

_Editor's Note : The following is a special edition of Frontstretch's Side By Side. Occasionally throughout the season, two of your favorite Frontstretch writers will duke it out in a debate concerning one of NASCAR's biggest stories. Don't let us be the only ones to speak our minds, though...be sure to read both sides and let us know what you think about the situation in the comment section below!_ *Today's Question : Should Patrick Carpentier have been fired?* Tom: I don't blame Patrick Carpentier for what happened at Gillett Evernham Motorsports. He's a nice guy filled with future potential, and someone who deserves to land on his feet. But sometimes, even the nice guys need to get fired from their jobs; and under the circumstances presented to GEM this week, they were left with no other choice. The rookie had to go. Danny: the signs were there that Carpentier was just starting to get comfortable in stock cars. He had four Top 20 runs in his last 10 races and of course that pole position at Loudon. All you needed to see was the interview following the last qualifying run to see how important it was to the French Canadian – his joy was almost unconfined. And for the record, Carpentier’s efforts were the first time a rookie has won a pole in New Hampshire – not a bad effort huh?

Read More »

Side By Side: Did A.J. Allmendinger Get The Shaft At Red Bull?

_Editor's Note : The following is a special edition of Frontstretch's Side By Side. Occasionally throughout the season, two of your favorite Frontstretch writers will duke it out in a debate concerning one of NASCAR's biggest stories. Don't let us be the only ones to speak our minds, though...be sure to read both sides and let us know what you think about the situation in the comment section below!_ *Today's Question : Team Red Bull released A.J. Allmendinger from his 2009 contract this week, rather than expand to three Sprint Cup teams with he, Brian Vickers, and Scott Speed. Was it the right move to let A.J. go after just two seasons?* Tom: That’s what made Team Red Bull’s treatment of A.J. Allmendinger so compelling – because they seemed the exception to the rule. With the owner footing the bill through his multi-million dollar business, immediate success wasn’t needed at the Cup level, creating a mutual understanding that turning an open-wheel lifer into a stock car superstar was going to take some time. It was an old school plan to make a new school driver successful, taking him along for the ride as the team developed a long-term plan to be a force in the Sprint Cup Series. And then, that plan suddenly stopped. Vito: Absolutely. Though it should be known, this is of no fault of Allmendinger or an indictment of his ability. The main reason is the ascension of another former open wheel driver who hails from California. A budding star whose roots are grounded in Red Bull Formula One history, and one who shares a relationship with the owner of the racecars and the stickers that go on them.

Read More »

Side By Side: Should A Winless Season Shut You Out Of The Chase?

Today's Question: Heading to Richmond, we know that at least four of the 12 drivers in this year's Chase will have entered the playoffs not having won a race yet. Should a win be a requirement to be eligible to win the championship, or would it be unfair to cut off winless drivers who haven't yet earned their stripes in Victory Lane?

Read More »

Side By Side: Should Kyle Busch And Carl Edwards Have Been Penalized?

Today's Question: Following Saturday's on-track altercation after the race between Kyle Busch and Carl Edwards, NASCAR chose to penalize both drivers for their transgressions. On Wednesday, they announced the two men would be put on probation for six straight races -- although they determined there'd be no fines or loss of points for either of them. Did the sport stop short by not producing a harsher penalty? Or should Busch and Edwards have never been penalized at all?

Read More »

Side By Side: Were The Gibbs Penalties Too Harsh?

Today's Question: Following Saturday's Nationwide Series event, Joe Gibbs Racing was accused of tampering with their race cars during post-race inspection. By placing magnets underneath the accelerator pedals, JGR hoped to reduce the amount of horsepower NASCAR would read off their chassis dyno as they researched whether more rules changes were needed to equalize horsepower between manufacturers. The sport's reaction to this transgression was swift -- and it was severe. Crew chiefs Jason Ratcliff and Dave Rogers have been indefinitely suspended, along with five other crew members accused of participating in the project. Both the No. 18 and No. 20 cars lost 150 championship car owner points, and drivers Joey Logano and Tony Stewart lost 150 driver points as a result of the incident. It was one of the harshest penalties handed down by the sport this decade; but were those penalties far too much for a scenario that didn't occur until after the race? Or did NASCAR let JGR get off easy for a deliberate violation that -- if left undetected -- could have kept the sport from permanently changing the rules to level the playing field?

Read More »