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In Case You Missed It: Friday, June 26, 2009

Infineon Ratings Down From 2008 Kasey Kahne’s surprise victory in the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway was watched by 7% fewer viewers than last year’s event. The TNT broadcast scored a 4.0 rating compared to 4.3 for last season. The race averaged 5.788 million viewers. TNT’s ratings for their …

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Blue Smoke and Burnt Rubber: Chapter 10

Cody turned off the TV and tossed the remote to the foot of the bed. She stared at the heavy beige curtains, closed against the glare of a beautiful June morning. If she dared to pull the blinds back for a peek, the dude with muscles would appear in moments …

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Matt McLaughlin Mouths Off: The Intimidator Versus the Irritator

Something remarkable happened Saturday night in Milwaukee. The Nationwide Series race featured a lot of side by side racing not only for the lead, but for positions in the top 5 and top 10 and throughout the field. With the majority of the Cup regulars, save Carl Edwards and Kyle Busch, a half continent away, some of the Nationwide regulars and part timers finally got to strut their stuff a little. While not unprecedented, it was pretty remarkable how quickly Edwards and Busch were able to move from the back of the field to the top 10 in so few laps. Yeah, they’ve got the best equipment, but both drivers displayed a lot of talent in their charge to the front as well. It was even less remarkable that Busch was able to finally take the lead of the race and that he stayed there for such a long time. Busch has, after all, led more than 50 laps in 11 of the 15 Nationwide races he’s run this season and he’s led more than 100 laps in eight of those events. He’s won four of those 15 events and in major league racing--that’s a pretty remarkable average. That’s why he’s leading the points in that series.

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Voices From the Heartland: Win On Sunday… Sell Out On Monday?

For those that have missed the obvious in the past, I will state it again...very slowly. Read my lips--the old adage of ‘Win on Sunday, Sell on Monday’ is as dead as two of the ‘Big 3’ themselves. Granted, GM and Chrysler are not technically dead, but they have been placed on life support and sent to Barackenstein’s lab in hopes of one day being reborn as something new. Chrysler of course has already been given a new life at the hands of Fiat, an Italian company, of all things, but GM still lies in stasis, waiting for a new brain since the removal of the old one at the insistence of the lab keeper himself.

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Believe It: A Generic Race Engine Will Come To NASCAR

The ‘shoe’ continues to fall in what this column has foretold will be the future of NASCAR racing with the news that NASCAR and folks from Detroit have discussed a generic ‘spec’ engine or ‘crate’ engine that would, if reports are believed, be used at least initially in the Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series. GM, Ford and Chrysler previously had cut all but the most meager engineering and technical support to their respective teams in those two series, with Toyota reported to follow suit by year's end.

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Fanning the Flames: A Silly Season Like No Other

Recently I’ve had quite a few questions sent my way in regards to a Silly Season like no other. This one is centered not on driver movement, but on shifts (seismic shifts, at that) in the manufacturer and organizational landscapes. I have chosen not to address many of these inquiries for one simple reason: The same rumor mill churned out a hundred “can’t miss” sources that knew where Dale Earnhardt, Jr. was heading following his announcement to leave DEI in May 2007. Roughly 99 of those were wrong. I’ve talked to a lot of people over the past few weeks about everything from Keselowski to Kahne to Richard Petty to Richard Childress … and everything in between. And during that time, I’ve gotten more confused than straightened out. Again, 99 out of a hundred.

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Frontstretch Fantasy Insider: There’s Magic in This Here Mile

While the configurations between Sonoma’s road course and Loudon’s oval are about as far apart as race tracks come, there are some similarities. The groove at Loudon is narrow, just like Sonoma…and drivers out-braking each other into corners will constitute much of Sunday’s action. Track position will be at a premium on race day, and the Frontstretch Fantasy Insider will provide just that for your roster this weekend.

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Bill Claren Reflects on the Early Days of NASCAR, the Bootlegger Myth the Current State of the Sport

On June 13, 1954, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (then known as the Grand National Series) held its first and only event at the Linden Airport in Linden, New Jersey. This event marked the first time NASCAR ever raced on a road course that was not on the Daytona Beach. The race received further notoriety last season, as it was the last time a foreign car manufacturer (Jaguar driven by Al Keller) went to victory lane in the sport until Kyle Busch won at Atlanta driving a Toyota in the spring of 2008. In fact, there were 13 Jaguars entered at Linden and one of them was driven by Bill Claren, who drove his No. 2 XK-21 to a fourth place finish that day, one spot behind Buck Baker while beating names such as Herb Thomas and Lee Petty

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Did You Notice? Boris Said a Madman for a Reason, Petty’s New Face, and Leffler, NNS in Trouble?

*Did You Notice...* That Boris Said was a one man wrecking ball on the road course at Sonoma this past Sunday? Of course you did, because unless you’re a P.J. Jones or Dave Blaney fan, Said probably made contact with your favorite driver during the race’s 113 laps. Said’s brazenly reckless and even violent performance on the track was a sharp departure from the car control and breathtaking footwork that he has demonstrated on NASCAR’s road courses over the years, and a large number of fans took notice.

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