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Voice Of Vito

A “Pure” Michigan 400 – Back To Business As Usual At MIS

Sunday’s Pure Michigan 400 was aptly named. The race was Pure Michigan International Speedway, bringing all of what we’ve come to expect at MIS in August -- repave be damned.Yes, the new asphalt did play a role, to some degree. The formerly multi-groove track used to see cars running four different lines, fanning out in all areas around the 2-mile oval. However, following a repave and a re-tire to keep the speeds under 220mph (at one point, quarter-sized chunks of rubber were coming off from blistering) it has become more of a one-and-a-half groove track in 2012. Speeds, once dangerous are still well in excess of 210 MPH down the straightaway.But the more things change, the more they stay the same. The names you normally expect to see up front and factors in the race were there. Mark Martin leads active drivers with five career wins at MIS, the last coming in 2009 when – coincidentally – it was Greg Biffle who ran out of fuel on the last lap, while Martin sped past, only to run out of gas a corner later and coast to the win.

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Less is More: Nationwide Losing Some Dates Not a Bad Idea If They’re the Right Ones

As much as I hate tired, trite clichés, one that I do believe in happens to be the simple phrase, “Less is More.”It is an axiom that has proven to be correct in the automotive industry time and time again. The 1968 Plymouth Roadrunner – a stripped out Satellite with a 383 engine and some non-color cartoon stickers -- was expected to sell a little over 2,000 units its first year and sold over 45,000. The Toyota Prius is essentially a battery in a box with little in the way of creature comforts, style, or power – but it has developed a rabid following, establishing itself as the poster child for the cause du jour of guilt-ridden/eco-conscious drivers everywhere.

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Surefire Bets The Next Seven Weeks

Gambling used to have a bit of a negative connotation to it. Now, it is to be celebrated and encouraged, particularly if it is on television and/or if you are wearing a stupid hat and mirrored state cop teardrops while engaging in degenerate behavior. With that said, if you know anybody who’s going to Vegas, they might want to scour the sports books to see if any of these are on tap; and if so, to lay some money down. I firmly believe and fearlessly predict that each of these the next few scenarios are money in the bank and guaranteed to happen.

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Get the “Point?” How NASCAR’s New System Has Evolved… In A Good Way

It goes without saying, but NASCAR deals with a lot of criticism on a weekly — no, _daily!_ — basis, and sometimes rightfully so. After all, they make questionable calls without explaining them to fans, they tend to show favoritism without saying why, and go directly against peoples' wishes when it comes to issues like the schedule and rules changes their constituents openly resist.However, I’m a believer in giving credit where credit is due, and I think NASCAR is in line for some praise. Prior to the start of the 2011 season, the sport announced several changes to the way the points would be structured, earned, and set. That garnered a mixed response from fans and the media, somewhat expected on how, exactly they would work out.

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Kyle Busch: Another Chase Calamity?

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: Kyle Busch walks into the Chase, and the car instantly falls apart like Jake and Elwood’s ’74 Dodge Monaco in _The Blues Brothers_.The trend continued Monday afternoon as Kyle Busch saw an eighth-place finish magically turn into a 22nd-place momentum-killer at Chicagoland Speedway. Busch, who came in tied for first currently finds himself 19 points behind leader and "best friend" Kevin Harvick, a drop of eight positions in the standings. The alternative finish – courtesy of the easy-to-calculate new points system – would have had Busch within five points of the lead heading into New Hampshire, but instead highlights the same struggles the No. 18 has experienced since Busch guided the team to an eight-win season in 2008.Regular season: Awesome. Chase Races: Everybody forgets how to do everything at exactly the same time. A quick look back at Busch’s Chase resume will find some dents.

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From The Back To The Front: Will Longshot Chasers Make Their Move?

With the field for the Chase for The Sprint Cup finally decided, you are likely going to be inundated this week with article upon article with who will win, why, the rankings, and what it’s going to take to win the title. This one will be a bit different, as I am going to be looking at things from a different angle: who will not be in contention for the crown and why. It may hurt some feelings or ruffle some feathers – but in ten weeks we will know whether or not I am stupid. Or at least confirm it. So with that, here we go...

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Going To Extremes: NASCAR Ups And Downs That Have Defined 2011 To Date

The world of racing is a metaphor for life, full of its own ups and downs. For instance, after working for 12 hours today, I returned to my vehicle only to the find the keys were in the ignition – and, naturally, the doors locked. Thankfully, I left the window cracked and was able to jimmy a broken branch off a pine tree, trip the power lock switch and wind up driving home minutes later. I'd like to credit time spent working in law enforcement and gaining an insight to the criminal mind... OK, perhaps I’ve said too much. But now that I'm back at home, Firebase Beckwith, I can provide for you my latest creation: the Ups and Downs of NASCAR 2011.*Up: First-Time Winners*For those who pine for “The Good Ol’ Days,” 2011 has seen its fair share of it. For the first time in ages, we've seen the ability for teams not named Hendrick Motorsports, Roush Fenway, Richard Childress, or Joe Gibbs Racing to end up in Victory Lane. The Daytona 500 saw the Wood Brothers' triumphant return to the winner’s circle after a nine-year absence, while Regan Smith won the Southern 500 for Furniture Row Racing in May, his flat black, single-car Chevrolet No. 78 taming the track deemed The Lady In Black.

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From Nationwide to Cup: A Backwards, Yet Successful Journey For Some

It’s hard to establish a standard of success in the world of NASCAR, and no standard is higher than that of the fans. A few wins here and there won’t cut it, as the sport’s loyal legion of followers will take nothing less than week-to-week competitiveness and several victories (though …

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Spencer For Hire: Busch and Johnson Feud Honors Greatness

Not since Chris Economacki announced that the rookie from Berwick, PA was going to use his Daytona 500 winnings to acquire a new hairpiece, has the name of Jimmy Spencer been invoked as it has the past two weeks. To what do we owe this renaissance of the best driver not named Andretti to hail from The Keystone State?While Brad Keselowski showed Spence what was up by winning in his backyard two weeks ago at Pocono, it was the feud that followed between Kurt Busch and Jimmie Johnson. Both driver referenced Spencer in their respective press conferences at The Glen. Johnson is currently third in the championship points standings, while Busch sits sixth.

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Dodge and Keselowski: Brad-isfaction, Guaranteed

Brad Keselowski is in a very unique position in his young career. He has a Nationwide Championship, three Sprint Cup wins, and is quickly becoming the name driver for a marquee manufacturer. With his most recent win at Pocono this past Sunday, you could say Keselowski’s chances of qualifying for the Cup championship comes with a Brad-isfaction guarantee.The only problem is, the numbers are as confusing as they are convincing.

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