Recent Posts

The Best Of The Frontstretch: A Question of Risk: Is Death Too High a Price for a Driver to Pay?

This past Thursday night, NASCAR lost a great racer. John Blewett, III lost his life in a wreck during the New England Dodge Dealers 150 at Thompson International Speedway. He was driving his Whelan Modified No. 66 at the time of the incident. A champion of several tracks throughout the East, at 33 he was considered a seasoned veteran of the Modified circuit. It is at moments such as these, when we are mourning the loss of a competitor, husband and father, that it behooves us to stop and consider the dangers of racing and the choices that are made by racers and fans to continue participating in the sport.

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The Best Of The Frontstretch: TNT “F Bomb” Squad Snips Wrong Wire!

The explosion of an "F bomb" at last Sunday's Toyota/Save Mart 350 in Sonoma, CA is a prime example of what seemed like a brilliant idea at the time go horribly awry. The idea was to have Kyle Petty be part of the race broadcast team, not from the booth, but actually while he competed in the race itself. Brilliant! So far, so good. This could be really cool. However, not long into the broadcast, a few problems began to manifest themselves. Initially, due to some technical gremlins, booth announcers Wally Dallenbach and Bill Weber were having some difficulty establishing contact with racer / analyst Petty. At one point, once contact was made, they broke in and surprised Kyle while he was leading the team in a pre-race prayer. Oops! But after the initial awkwardness, breaking in on the team prayer could seem like a great thing as far as ratings go.

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The Best Of The Frontstretch: Thousands Gather as Community Celebrates Life of a Legend

At the service for her late husband Bill France Junior, Betty Jane France stepped up to the microphone and said, "Bill France loved Daytona Beach, and today, the city returns that love to him." In front of 2,000 people at Bethune-Cookman University, the life of the visionary who transformed NASCAR from a regional sport to a worldwide phenomenon was celebrated in the same city where the sport got its start. It was 60 years ago that his father, William H.G. France, called the first meeting at the Streamline Hotel and set up NASCAR, an idea that Bill Junior helped develop into a multi-billion dollar industry.

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The Best Of The Frontstretch: Budweiser’s Big Blunder: Why The Driver Makes The Sponsor, Not The Other Way Around

This past weekend, one of the biggest driver/sponsor divorces in recent memory became public knowledge: Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Anheuser-Busch, specifically Budweiser, will end a nine-year marriage following the conclusion of the 2007 season. The only primary sponsor that Junior's ever had since he moved up to the Cup series as a part-timer in 1999, the magnitude of this change can't be underestimated; Junior Nation is famous for the amount of red Budweiser gear that they wear in the stands, sporting clothing and souvenirs that are about to become little more than collector's items just a few short months from now. Clearly, this change will be a huge adjustment for Junior's legion of supporters, an adjustment that will literally change the color of the stands on race weekends as the new sponsor weeds its way into clothing collections all over the country. But while the rest of us adjust, there's one part of this fairy tale that can't make just a few minor changes in order to live happily ever after - the impact Budweiser will have on the sport. In a move that's turned into one of the biggest sponsor/driver divorces in the sport's history, Anheuser-Busch appears to be the biggest loser in a decision they should have been more hesitant to agree to; for when the amount of exposure they're about to lose is taken into consideration, you can't help but feel sorry for a sponsor about to have a large chunk of its marketing value taken away.

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The Best Of The Frontstretch: 2007: The Worst NASCAR Season Ever

I may be in the minority here (my heritage notwithstanding), but for many reasons, to me this season has been one of the worst in recent memory for NASCAR. Perhaps ever. To look back on it that way is quite disappointing - especially since 2007 started out with so much promise. There was the addition of a new manufacturer in Toyota, a new face in the form of a former Formula One superstar, and the network that started the ball of unencumbered growth rolling in the mid 1980's was about to take over NASCAR coverage again. _And_, if all that wasn't enough, for the first time since 1981, a new breed of car was about to hit the track. Then the season actually started.

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The Best Of The Frontstretch: Martin Goes To Kick The Football…And Lucy Picks It Up

As the dust settled in one of the most exciting Daytona 500s in recent memory, all I could think of was…Peanuts. Not the Planters kind…rather, the kind you see in the newspaper every day. You see, in one of the comic's most famous running gags, Charlie Brown, the lovable good guy, is convinced to go kick the football by his conniving friend Lucy. Each time, Lucy convinces Charlie Brown he's going to kick the football halfway across the world; yet every time he runs up to kick it, she pulls it away and watches him fall flat on his face. Laughing as he falls, she comes up with a new saying every time to explain to Charlie Brown how gullible he really is. Charlie Brown, meet Mark Martin. Lucy, meet Kevin Harvick. The Daytona 500 trophy…now, that would be the football Harvick stole away. With one surprising last lap pass that shot Harvick to Victory Lane and Martin into gut-wrenching pain, the whole community watched the whole missed football kick unfold in a state of shock; hours after the win, it's still not sure how to react.

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The Best Of The Frontstretch: Ginn Racing’s Five Year Plan Failing At Protecting Even Its Biggest Assets

Earlier this week in the "Frontstretch Newsletter":http://groups.google.com/group/TheFrontstretch/browse_thread/thread/d3d723644011e909, I wrote a brief commentary asking readers to understand the harsh reality of Bobby Ginn's decision to cut loose the popular veterans Sterling Marlin and Joe Nemechek into the world of NASCAR free agency. While everyone has their varying opinions about what's gone down in the last week or so, I felt it was necessary for fans to take a step back and consider the difficult position the rookie car owner was placed in. In essence, I made a move to protect Bobby Ginn, protect a man who I felt was painted into a corner and forced to make some difficult decisions. But twenty-four hours after my plea to the NASCAR community, everything that most people, including myself, thought was true about Ginn's "restructuring plan" was proved false...with even members of the team itself still digesting a thought process proven to be nothing more than a bad sequence of broken promises. The news of the merger between DEI and Ginn Racing is still fresh in everyone's minds, and only the bare minimum of details has been released.

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The Best Of The Frontstretch: NASCAR’s Youth Movement

Taking a look at last year's Nextel Cup Chase for the Championship, you might have noticed an interesting pattern; six of the ten drivers were no older than age 32. Kyle Busch, in fact, set a record as the youngest driver ever to make a run for the championship, qualifying for the playoffs at the ripe old age of 21. No question about; in today's world of NASCAR, the youth movement has effectively taken control. And with today's young drivers finding themselves behind the steering wheel at an earlier age than ever, the amount of untapped talent is high. There's an immense amount of teenage sensations to sort through; read on to sift through the research and figure out which drivers experts say are better than Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart at their age and which ones can be closer compared to Paris Hilton and Ryan Leaf. *Finding talent can be difficult* NASCAR has entered an era of youth - the timeline for success is short. In what has recently become a "what have you done for me lately" sport, NASCAR fans have seen promising young talent shoot up through the ranks, only to fizzle faster than a Paris Hilton hit single.

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The Best Of The Frontstretch: Don’t Drink The Kool Aid

As a season of uncertainty in NASCAR is set to begin after some football game this evening, NASCAR is circling the wagons. Unable, or perhaps unwilling to fix the problems that plague the sport, the organization has instead decided to ramp up their propaganda machine to proclaim all is well.

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The Best Of The Frontstretch: World’s Oldest Living NASCAR Driver Shares Memories with Delightful Wit and Down-Home Wisdom

Western New York state resident Lloyd Moore is the last of the '49ers. Not the gold-rush '49ers - at age 95, Moore is about a hundred years too young for that. Nevertheless, Moore is a pioneer of sorts. He raced cars in the Strictly Stock series - predecessor of modern-day NASCAR - in its very first year of competitive racing. Talking with Lloyd Moore is like chatting with your grandpa or a long-time neighbor. He instantly puts you at ease with his friendly manner and makes you feel like a member of the family.

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