Recent Posts

Jack Roush’s Ideas To Revamp Chase Aside, Let’s Give Fans A Break

Whether Jimmie Johnson, with a seemingly insurmountable 183 point lead in the Chase to the Cup, actually closes the deal this season is yet to be decided. However, many fans and others in the NASCAR community are already conceding the championship to him. The Hendrick Motorsports driver’s string of seven Top 9 finishes in seven Chase races has taken a lot of the suspense out of the new format, which was designed to increase interest and, in return, increase gate numbers and broadcast ratings as the race season competes for viewers with college and professional football. Without the suspense of a hotly contested points race to keep fans on the edge of their couches, many have begun tuning out and switching gears towards football -- all you need is a quick look at the ratings for proof. With that in mind, there now is a growing belief that the Sprint Cup chase format should be tweaked to further attempt to manufacture or engineer guaranteed three-way championship battles down to the last lap of the last race. Still others propose doing away with the controversial format altogether, using this year’s dominance by Johnson as justification.

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Frontstretch Sprint Cup Power Rankings : Top 15 After Atlanta

Frontstretch Power Rankings
Carl Edwards made good on the promise that he showed at the beginning of the Spring Atlanta race by taking the win this past weekend. Overshadowed by that performance, however, was a banzai run by Jimmie Johnson from 11th to second in the last eight laps of the race. That strength solidified the point leader's place at the top of the power rankings, where he swept all of the first place votes again this week. Behind him, positions continue to swap like hotcakes as drivers scrape and claw for every spot they can get on the race track. Read this week’s rankings to see if our writers thought your driver has had that extra incentive to wheel it to the front with only three races left -- or if he's been slip-sliding his way right out of our Top 15.

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A Dying Man’s Five Racing Wishes… If I Were Dying, That Is.

With the 2008 NASCAR season winding down, we are in the middle of one of the more anti-climactic points races of the last decade, regardless of format. There is one outstanding title fight in the Truck Series, and another brewing in the Nationwide Series. Predictably, most of the media have avoided covering these two series with much more than a passing interest. Then again, most of the media has avoided covering some telling statements about a certain individual who will be running for an elected executive office next week, so why should this be any different? As much as I would like to sit here and go over the possible scenarios of how Carl Edwards could beat Jimmie Johnson, or what Jimmie would have to do to empty the magazine into his foot and cost himself a title, I will avoid that and talk about something markedly different and refreshing: Me. Because when you get right down to it, it’s all about me and what I want.

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Did The NASCAR Genie Pull Through?

This is my 50th column for Frontstretch and with just three races to go in 2008 I’m fast approaching the end of my rookie year as a NASCAR columnist. I’m not sure the esteemed editors are quite ready to pull the Yellow Stripe off my back bumper (traditionally, the sign that denotes a first-year driver) but with the season to all intents and purposes done and dusted, and while we wait for the coronation of King Jimmie Kenneth Johnson for a third time, there isn’t much to get too excited about or indeed good topics to wax lyrical on. With that in mind, I’m going to take a look back at my third column, "Ten Wishes for NASCAR Heading Into 2008":https://frontstretch.com/dpeters/14387/ to see how many wishes the NASCAR Genie granted me. I’ll list the initial wish first, then discuss how it either broke down or went swimmingly in 2008.

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Talking NASCAR TV: ESPN Atlanta Coverage An Improvement Over Past Weeks

ESPN’s Sprint Cup portion of its broadcast schedule for 2008 has seen its ups and downs. Unfortunately for the network, recurring mistakes have overshadowed some of its other more solid efforts. At Atlanta, however, ESPN minimized its obvious mistakes and broadcast a very consistent race. Besides the championship standings, the big story heading into the start of the event at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Sunday was if Goodyear’s tires would allow the drivers to put on a better show than they did back in March. As the race unfolded, ESPN used several different tools to convey to its viewers the state of the racing tires and the effects on the race cars.

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Who’s Hot / Who’s Not in Sprint Cup : Pep Boys Auto 500 Edition

Carl Edwards returned to Victory Lane this weekend at Atlanta and is now one win behind Kyle Busch for the series lead, but Jimmie Johnson utilized late-race pit strategy for an impressive runner-up finish. The second place run improves the No. 48 team's stranglehold on the rest of the Chase field to 183 points, increasing the likelihood of what would be a third consecutive championship. Johnson has garnered the most headlines since the Chase began seven races ago, but it's one of his teammates who has quietly been one of the most consistent drivers right along with him. To see who that is and who else has been strong as of late, check out this week's version of Who's Hot / Who's Not in Sprint Cup: Chase Edition.

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Running Their Mouth : Pep Boys Auto 500

_Each week, we’ll go through media reports, interviews, PR, and all our own stuff to find the best quotes from the Sprint Cup race, capturing the story of how the weekend unfolded. It’s the most original commentary you’ll ever find: the truth, coming straight out of the mouths of the drivers, crew members, and the car owners themselves. This week, here’s a sneak peek at what a select few were thinking following the Pep Boys Auto 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway:_ "First of all, I’ve got to thank Office Depot, Aflac, Ford, Sprint and also these fans for coming out here. This race track is a blast. I hope they never repave it or mess with it. It’s really fun to drive on. I went to the Aflac Cancer Hospital and met this kid, Dalton. He gave me this necklace. It’s his courage necklace. He was a really cool kid and this is really awesome. He said this would bring me luck, so it was an awesome weekend for us. I can’t believe how great this weekend is.” _Carl Edwards_

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Matt McLaughlin’s Thinkin’ Out Loud: Pep Boys Auto 500

*The Key Moment:* Leader Denny Hamlin spun his tires on the penultimate restart, allowing Carl Edwards to power by him on the outside exiting Turn 2. *In a Nutshell:* The new car and an old race track… a combination that goes together like peanut butter and spinach. *Dramatic Moment:* Watching Jimmie Johnson roar from eleventh to second in the final three laps, taking advantage of fresh tires. *What They’ll Be Talking About Around the Water Cooler This Week* What are people going to be talking about around the water cooler this week? The presidential race, the economy, Wall Street, the World Series, the NFL, and *just about anything but the Chase,* an ill thought-out gimmick that hasn’t raised the pulse of the general population one iota.

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Ten Points to Ponder … After Atlanta

*Eating Sushi* - Expectations of a takeover of Chrysler by General Motors is gaining credibility as both companies fortunes continue to spiral downward as the world economy continues to slump. However, the buzz in the NASCAR garage is that it is doubtful that Chevy, Ford and Toyota will be willing, as a result of the continued souring of the business climate to absorb many, if any of the Dodge teams that may be left out in the cold with a GM / Chrysler alliance. Remember when NASCAR thumbed their noses at foreign automakers? They need to hope that Honda executives are a forgiving lot.

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Drivers Take Turns at Trying to Solve Rained Out Qualifying

Friday marked the third consecutive race and the 10th time this season that Sprint Cup qualifying had been rained out and the starting field has been set by owner’s points. With that in mind, many fans and the media have wondered aloud about the ramifications of NASCAR’s deciding never to move qualifying to another day. Why can’t NASCAR stage qualifying, if weather permits, on Saturday, instead of canceling it on a rainy Friday? How are teams outside the Top 35 supposed to have a fair shot at qualifying for the race, if some are simply sent home after a rainout? How can rookies who are trying to gain seat time in Cup and get certified to run in the series supposed to do that if qualifying gets rained out? If part-time teams are sent home after qualifying, how can they gain the traction to run well, attract sponsorship, and graduate to running a full-time, competitive schedule? Several Sprint Cup drivers took some time during the Friday rains to address the issue.

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