Recent Posts

Bubble Breakdown: Allmendinger Creeps Closer To First Ever Trip Inside Top 35

Set up in the mountains of eastern Pennsylvania is NASCAR’s tricky triangle known as Pocono Raceway. Like Indy, it’s a track that can be a nightmare to set up the car, as it has three straightaways all of different lengths, as well as three completely different types of turns. To make matters worse for teams and drivers, Mother Nature reared her ugly head all weekend, battering the track with enough rain on Saturday to completely wash out both practice sessions. Rain also played a role during the race Sunday, as a brief shower moved in causing a short red flag session to dry the track. But despite all the wet weather, the sun did manage to shine down on some of our Bubble Teams by the time the checkered flag flew. So, read on to see which teams basked in the sun’s warm glow -- and which teams wound up all wet in this week's edition of the Bubble Breakdown.

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Nationwide Series Breakdown: NAPA Auto Parts 200

*In a Nutshell:* The NAPA 200 didn’t really start until Lap 8, when rains descended on the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. But rather than postponing the event, NASCAR red-flagged the field and allowed teams to change their cars over to a rain package, putting on grooved tires and installing windshield wipers, brake lights, and defoggers. From there, it became a learning experience for most in the field, and the road ringers moved to the front -- with Marcos Ambrose putting on a clinic in wet-course driving. Ambrose led 27 consecutive laps and built an eight second lead over Max Papis, maintaining the lead even after slipping off course under green. Pit lane, however, snakebit Ambrose and the No. 59. Ambrose nearly spun in the pits while leading, and then received a speeding penalty to boot. That handed the lead to Ron Fellows, who had short-pitted earlier in the event, allowing the native Canadian to lead until the race was finally red-flagged for heavy rain and a lack of visibility. For Fellows, it was his fourth career Nationwide Series win, and the first at any level for him on the Montreal road course named after his racing hero Gilles Villeneuve. Fellow road-ringers Patrick Carpentier and Boris Said scored Top 5 finishes.

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Driven To The Past : The Competition Caution

I suppose this story can be told now, since everybody involved in it has at least retired by now, and I’m old enough that I don’t buy green bananas. We used to have our own code for cautions when we felt like we needed one. We never did it to tighten up the competition, but usually to give everybody a chance to pit without doing it under the green. From the tower, through some kind of innocent-sounding message, I would know that we needed a yellow in the next few laps. That was my cue to find a reason to throw it.

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It’s Time For Brian France To Step Down

There are two reasons that the Indianapolis backlash was so ravenous in the couple of days after the race, aside from the actual race itself. The first reason was NASCAR’s initial reaction—that good fans will shut up and keep buying tickets. And the second reason is that this has happened before—Charlotte or Atlanta, take your pick—so there really isn’t much explanation for the problem to have grown this big. Goodyear may bear some responsibility, at the very least since they should be aware that their name is attached to this. But ultimately, NASCAR is culpable for their product being in a decline that is growing steeper with the unacceptable piling up of preventable displays like we saw in Indianapolis. A local short track charging a tenth of what NASCAR collects for seats would have been embarrassed by it. Indy 2008 is going to be historic, and for awful reasons. The CEO needs to take responsibility for that.

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Is There a 48 in Kyle Busch’s Mirror?

Kyle Busch has dominated the Sprint Cup landscape for much of the season. It’s a championship caliber year for Busch, with seven wins, 12 Top 5 finishes, and 13 Top 10s in 20 races. He’s on par with great seasons like Jeff Gordon’s 1997 campaign. Busch is certainly on top of the Sprint Cup world. However, thanks to the Chase, NASCAR’s answer to the NFL playoffs and possibly one of the worst ideas in professional sports except for maybe the designated hitter, Busch’s lead will be virtually erased in just five weeks. The 253-point lead Busch enjoys now will be reduced to just 50. Fair or not, the current system is going to send some of the series’ top talent gunning for Busch this fall.

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Rick Crawford Driver Diary: Elvis Is In The Yard!

I had some folks in from out of town for my birthday that used to help me early in my racing career and we still remain friends today. I wouldn’t have it any other way. I had some friends come in from Mr. Mitchell’s family from southwest Texas, and Lisa and Michael Mitchell attended the birthday party. We had over 100 guests, I believe, and had a really nice time. Even the King performed in my back yard and that was cool. Not everybody can say that Elvis has performed in their back yard! We had a private band and we had a good time.

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Nuts for Nationwide : Adios Mexico, Now Only Canada Remains On NASCAR’s International Slate

So the rationale for scratching the Mexican race and shifting focus to the NASCAR Corona Series makes sense. Investing in organic growth with Mexican drivers and races at tracks throughout the country - rather than the one big one bang approach – is much more likely to produce long-term results. And on the flip side another American circuit will pick up an all-important race date. The word is the Iowa Speedway will be the lucky recipient, but it’s not hard to question the wisdom of the timing of the announcement.

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Newsletter Promo 7/31/08

Have you heard about the breaking news concerning a pending lawsuit against a team in the Nationwide Series — a story we broke first right here at FS? If the answer’s no, that means you didn’t get the Frontstretch Newsletter in your mailbox … and why not? It’s FREE to …

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Fanning the Flames: Strong Fan Reaction Makes This A Brickyard Backlash

*Q: Six of the last 10 Brickyard winners have gone on to win the Cup title [Jimmie Johnson in 2006, Tony Stewart in 2005, Jeff Gordon in 2001 and 1998, Bobby Labonte in 2000, and Dale Jarrett in 1999]. Do you think that trend will continue this year with Jimmie? Wouldn't that be a classic moment in Chase history, for Kyle Busch to get screwed out of a championship after one of the great seasons in recent memory.* _— Rowdy Rush_ *A:* It’s certainly not out of the question that Johnson and Chad Knaus get hot once again and go three-fer thanks to NASCAR’s Chase format. To this point, Kyle Busch is without a doubt the most deserving of the Cup, but we still have 16 races to go, which gives Johnson or a guy like Carl Edwards plenty of time to rip off a few more wins of their own. But let’s say Johnson or a wildcard like Matt Kenseth -- who may get one or two wins max -- sneak up and win the Chase based on consistency. That’d prove once and for all that NASCAR’s jimmied-up Chase is more about TV ratings (in theory) than crowning a rightful champ.

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Biggest BSNEWS Scoop of the Year! One Word: Indianapolis

(BSNEWS – Indianapolis) -- Last Sunday’s Allstate 400, presented by NASCAR and Goodyear at the fabled "Brickyard…" And now, back to our regularly scheduled column… In all seriousness, the big news this week was, as so aptly covered by the BSNEWS team, the fiasco that was Indianapolis. But since it is now so late in the week, and you are probably sick of hearing about it, all I am going to do is throw in a couple of observations -- and maybe make fun of a few Goodyear quotes. First of all, there was no need for NASCAR to keep using the competition caution throughout the whole race.

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