Recent Posts

Nationwide Series Breakdown: Camping World RV Sales 200

*In a Nutshell:* The first companion race for the Nationwide Series since Dover was a trip back to reality for Nationwide Series fans, as Cup regulars ran roughshod over the field. Cup drivers scored the first seven finishing positions and eight of the Top 10 spots Saturday, with Tony Stewart scoring a relatively easy win at New Hampshire. Stewart took the lead for good on Lap 136 after Clint Bowyer, Kyle Busch, and Carl Edwards had shared the top spot for much of the early part of the race. In the end, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyotas wound up the class of the field, with Stewart and Kyle Busch (who finished third) combining to lead 138 of 200 laps. Behind them, Greg Biffle wrecked late in the event after starting from the pole but losing the handle on his car in the second half of the race. Mike Bliss was the top finisher of the Nationwide Series regulars, joined only by Brad Keselowski in the Top 10. Between them, Clint Bowyer fell back late and finished ninth, maintaining the series points lead over David Reutimann. Reutimann moved into second, 182 points back, with Brad Keselowski dropping to fourth in the championship standings; however, Keselowski remains the lead Nationwide Series regular in the title chase.

Read More »

Tracking the Trucks : O’Reilly 200

*In a Nutshell:* Ron Hornaday, Jr. took the checkered flag 0.269 seconds ahead of Erik Darnell to win the O'Reilly 200 Saturday night at Memphis Motorsports Park. Hornaday, Jr. held the lead after a short red flag to clean up the track and through a green-white-checker finish to score his second win of the season. Matt Crafton, Rick Crawford, and David Starr rounded out the Top 5 finishers. *Who Should Have Won: Ron Hornaday, Jr.* Hornaday, Jr. qualified third and wasted no time trying to take the lead, as he drove his No. 33 Camping World Chevrolet down to the inside of pole sitter Johnny Benson in turn one right after taking the green flag. Though he didn't win the battle for the lead then, Hornaday, Jr. took the top spot for the first time on lap 44 and went on to stay up front for 139 of the 204 laps run.

Read More »

Mauricia Grant’s Lawyer Smells Blood

The other night I was watching the movie _Ransom_, a thriller in which a dirty cop named Jimmy Shaker (played by Gary Sinise) kidnaps the son of wealthy airline entrepreneur Tom Mullen (played by Mel Gibson). The movie reaches a point where Mullen is going to make the drop of the money, and during the jaunt between destinations that Shaker orders him to take, Mullen asks Shaker, “Why me? Why come after me?” Shaker thinks about it for a second, and then reminds Mullen that he was willing to pay off a union-connected mob boss to stop a strike that would have hurt his airline. “Because you buy your way out of trouble,” he tells Mullen. “You’re a payer. You did it once. You’re gonna do it again.” Up until 2003, before the sport’s “Drive for Diversity” began, NASCAR had been contributing to Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow/PUSH coalition, supposedly to help increase the number of minorities in auto racing. So far, no one can cite any specific achievements of that partnership, which reportedly cost NASCAR $250,000

Read More »

Kenny Wallace Driver Diary: Drive the Hell Out of the Car–But Don’t Wreck It!

My very first Nationwide start was in 1988 at Martinsville, Virginia. NASCAR told me they wouldn’t allow me to run Daytona unless they took a look at me and see me race. My Mom and my wife, Kim put together a portfolio of what I’d done and part of that portfolio that I sent to NASCAR was that I ran ASA at Michigan and Milwaukee, so I’d been on mile and mile and a half tracks. But still, NASCAR wanted to see me race. So my brother Rusty and Dale Earnhardt have always been good friends, and they put together a ride for me, and my very first Nationwide start ever was in the No. 8 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet at Martinsville. It was awesome.

Read More »

Sprint Cup Teams Need Consistency in Their Drivers

As the Sprint Cup Series tackled the Infineon Raceway last weekend, four full-time teams pulled their regular drivers, installing substitutes that they felt would post a better result and score valuable points in the race to stay in the Top 35. DEI pulled Regan Smith for Ron Fellows, Chip Ganassi Racing pulled Reed Sorenson for Scott Pruett, and Haas CNC Racing moved Scott Riggs into the No. 70 while putting Max Papis in the No. 66. As the race started, the No. 66 and the No. 70 found themselves outside the Top 35, while the No. 01 was 30th in owner points and the No. 41 was 32nd. And, despite the efforts of these road ringers, the No. 66 and No. 70 left Sonoma outside the Top 35, while the No. 01 fell to 31st and the No. 41 to a precarious 35th. While the struggles of these four teams speak volumes as to how antiquated the practice of entering road course specialists in Cup races has become, it speaks to a larger issue, and that is the need of Sprint Cup teams to be consistent with the drivers they put behind the wheel. There are numerous Cup teams this season that have attempted to improve their performance with substitute drivers and driver by committee, yet none of them have managed to find improved performance as a result.

Read More »

Driven To The Past : Parnelli Jones and A.J. Foyt

I mentioned the USAC sprint cars at Salem last week on the way to telling that story about Roger McCluskey, and it brought this recollection to mind... It was in 1960 that Parnelli Jones came east with the Fike Plumbing Special out of Phoenix which was powered by a small-block Chevy, and began kicking the butts of the venerable Offenhauser-powered cars. If I recall correctly, that was also the last year USAC had a Midwest champion and an Eastern champion. Parnelli won the Midwest title, and some guy named Foyt won the No. 1 in the East. The thing I remember most is the battles they had on the high-banked track there, as well as at Winchester and Dayton – Parnelli in that Fike Chevy and A.J. driving the Offy-powered Bowes Seal Fast Special.

Read More »

Nuts for Nationwide: Joey Logano Where He Needs to Be

After Joey Logano convincingly scored his first Nationwide Series win at Kentucky Speedway in only his third series start, talk ignited about when, not if, he should move to the Cup series. While there were plenty of Frontstretch readers out there that stressed the need for Logano to remain in the Nationwide Series for 2009 before making his jump to Cup, I was not one of them. Kentucky had me convinced that should Logano keep putting a hurt on the Nationwide Series field, he could and should be moved to the Cup series next season. After watching this past weekend’s race at Milwaukee, however, I’m going to need to step back from that assertion. I fully confess, I jumped the gun too soon and got caught up in the hype that surrounded the phenom’s first win.

Read More »

Tearing Apart the Trucks : Green Light Racing Owner Sued

Earlier this week, the Texas State Attorney General's office filed a civil suit against Green Light Racing owner Gene Christensen claiming he, along with board members of his charity People Against Drugs (PAD) Affordable Housing, violated the Texas Nonprofit Corporation Act. Christensen is accused of using nearly $2 million to fund both his Craftsman Truck Series team and his failed congressional race earlier this year. The apartment complex in Garland, Texas, was created to be a drug-free and subsidized rent community, but the complex has been run as a regular apartment complex, charging full rent, and fails to offer any drug programs.

Read More »

Fanning the Flames: Vague Rules, Driver Moves, And A Long Dry Spell

*Q: Matt, what is the penalty for running over the air wrench supply hose? In the past, it was either a pass through pit road, a 15 second Stop-N-Go, or being held a lap. I know every situation is different, but several weeks ago Dale Jr. ran over a hose and I didn't see any penalty enforced -- or heard any post-event discussion of a penalty. What driver ran over a hose recently [Michigan]? What was the penalty? Thanks.* _— Doc Riley_ *A:* Straight from the official NASCAR Rulebook (yes, it does exist) the rule is 9-15-C: _During a pit stop, all equipment used to service the car must remain in the assigned pit box. When a car runs completely over or under its air hose or any other equipment within its assigned pit box, the driver may be instructed to return to the car's assigned pit box for inspection at the direction of NASCAR officials._ Yes, this is the actual wording of the rule. And yes, it leaves all kinds of wiggle room — as most all of them do.

Read More »

Beyond the Cockpit: Regan Smith Optimistic About Future … Even Racing In Canada

_Regan Smith has about seen it all during his first season and a half in the Sprint Cup series. But despite seeing his team fold up in 2007 and working with a fourth different crew chief so far in his young Cup career, Smith is still battling hard with rookie rival Sam Hornish, Jr. for the 2008 Rookie of the Year Award._ _The driver of the No. 01 Chevrolet took time out of his schedule at Pocono to speak to our Tony Lumbis about his season to date, his new crew chief, the influence of mentor Mark Martin, and his experience racing north of the border in our latest edition of Beyond The Cockpit._ *The 2007 season was one of great transition for you. You lost the Nationwide ride due to financial reasons, you became the driver of the No. 14 car and had it shut down before even getting in the seat, then you had the DEI merger and had Aric Almirola take over the No. 01. How do you as a driver stay focused through all of that?* This sport is a sport of the highest of highs and the lowest of lows, and it’s always been that way. You have to have good people looking after you and people you can go to when you’re in a tough situation. Not that any of that stuff [last year] was a problem. It was business; that’s how it goes. It was just a little more of a high-profile deal since it was in the middle of the season. You just focus on what you need to do on the racetrack, and that’s all you can do.

Read More »