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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?* Phil: It’s not like Edwards’ bump on lap 470 resulted in Busch crashing -- he still finished a strong second, and had enough time to run Edwards back down if only his car was handling as good. Historically, this type of maneuver is typical at Bristol -- even with the new repaving job -- and the point leader should have expected something like this. But instead of taking it all in stride, Busch decided to essentially ram Edwards after the checkered flag in a display of petulance not seen in the Sprint Cup Series in quite awhile. It was the motorsports equivalent of throwing a hissy fit -- and Busch should have paid for it. *Vito*: Kyle Busch was summoned to the officials' trailer Saturday night, but not before he got in his digs on Edwards with a Mr. Ed quote heard around the NASCAR world. Following Edwards' unapologetic remark that all he would do differently next time is hit him harder, both were slapped with a six-race probation. Considering the broad scope of the incident, some are wondering if the penalties were not harsh enough. Are you kidding?

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Fanning the Flames: Another Failed Opportunity To Right A Wrong With Darlington

With apologies to the Bristol Night Race, this week was all about Darlington on the _Fanning the Flames_ circuit. NASCAR’s announcement last week that a three-race date swap involving Atlanta, California, and Talladega left the Flame Faithful scratching their heads as to why the sport didn’t cut its losses with the ill-fated California / Labor Day weekend experiment, returning said date to its rightful spot in Darlington as the Southern 500. As a lifelong fan first and foremost, I was saddened and left a bit jaded when Darlington was stripped of its Southern 500 date. No other venue could fill the void, and although Atlanta Motor Speedway is much more rooted in NASCAR lore and a much more entertaining track than Auto Club Speedway, it will still come up just short.

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Only The Racing Has Gotten Better At Bristol

Last year about this time, I penned a column about the racing at Bristol that eventually led to the severe hair loss of several senior members of the Frontstretch Editorial staff. The problem, it seems, was my calling into question the professionalism of another journalist after he boldly proclaimed that he -- and the masses of fans that attended last year’s Sharpie 500 -- thought that the newly repaved surface of BMS caused some of the most boring racing he had ever seen.

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Fantasy Picks ‘N’ Pans: Is It Roush Fenway Racing’s Time To Shine At California?

California is the penultimate race in the "regular season" leading up to the Chase for the Cup, and the two-mile facility that is the sister track to Michigan will bring the playoff picture into much better focus. Some drivers will find themselves locked in, with several "clinch" scenarios in play -- while other drivers will be eliminated no matter how well they run over the course of Sunday night. With all sorts of different scenarios in play, the decision for gamers is to figure out whether their driver will play it conservative to avoid taking a major hit in points; or, will they go for broke to take the chance of cementing themselves into the Chase? Besides that, there's the matter of sorting out which drivers eliminated from contention are capable of positioning themselves for a strong run at the end of the season versus going through a whole set of experimental struggle for next year.

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Raybestos Rookie News and Notes: Pepsi 500

·        Regan Smith was the Raybestos® Rookie of the Race in the August 23 Sharpie 500 at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway.  Smith scored a 14th-place finish equaling his best effort in 29 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts.  He also finished 14th this season at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway (race No. 6).  …

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Message Board Promo 8/25

*Still haven’t joined the Frontstretch Forums? Here’s a peek at what you’re missing this week:* “Kyle Busch was clearly upset with Carl Edwards following the Sharpie 500. Tell us what you think about the bump and run move used by Edwards.”:https://frontstretch.com/board/index.php/topic,2812.0.html “Is NASCAR as fun as it ever was? Tell …

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Did You Notice? … Sorenson Could Be Casey Atwood, Part II … And Two Teams Better Than One For Big Four

*Did You Notice?* … The sneaking suspicion that Reed Sorenson’s move to Gillett Evernham Motorsports equals the second coming of Casey Atwood? In light of the official announcement Sorenson’s headed to GEM, I can’t stop thinking about the comparison between the two. For new fans, some background: both were rookies in the Cup Series at 20 years old, driving for what equated to be middle-of-the-pack teams. At the time of Atwood’s rise into the Cup Series, Evernham Motorsports was in their first year of competition, spearheading Dodge’s return to the series after more than 20 years on the sidelines. But Atwood’s maturity level just wasn’t there at the Cup level.

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Edwards And Busch… Like Mayfield And Earnhardt

The bump-and-run maneuver -- as demonstrated by Carl Edwards Saturday night in the Sharpie 500 at Bristol to gain the win -- is without a doubt the sorriest, most low-rent passing tactic in the book. The maneuver requires very little skill, but lots of brashness coupled with minimal regard for sportsmanship. However, for only the second time in over 40 years of following the sport of stock car racing, I applaud the culprit and simply write it off as poetic justice. Edwards' move on Kyle Busch -- in which his rival was sent up the track while the No. 99 streaked into the lead -- is "race ‘em like they race me," "tit for tat," "live by the sword, die by the sword," and "just reward" all rolled up into one neatly wrapped package.

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Top Ten Ways You Know You Just Spent a Week At Bristol

*10.* At least one of the nights, you passed out in one place and woke up somewhere completely different -- with no recollection of how you did that. *9.* You spent at least one day vowing to "never do THAT again," and spent a lot of time in the port-a-john. *8.* You wondered who everyone was talking about as they told stories of "last night," but were afraid to ask.

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Frontstretch Sprint Cup Power Rankings : Top 15 After Bristol

Frontstretch Power Rankings
Bristol's new, variable banking has given drivers the option to pass without having to wreck a guy on the race track. But as Carl Edwards showed us Saturday night, the bump and run can still be the only option if the car in front is just good enough to keep you behind. Ensuring that move remains alive and well, Edwards' shove of Kyle Busch was enough to move him into the top spot on our power rankings this week, displacing Kyle Busch for the first time since Richmond in May. But while Edwards was singing Bristol's praises, other drivers were riding their own bumps and bruises all the way down the list. This week, we saw two drivers fell out while two more slipped in -- with one Chase hopeful working his way back to the Top 10 for the first time in weeks. Who is he? You'll have to read below to find out in this week's edition of our Top 15.

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