Recent Posts

The Chase For The Cup: Saving Fans From A Championship Already Decided

There has been much handwringing, carping, and moaning about NASCAR's Chase format ever since it was instituted in 2004. Introduced the same year Nextel replaced Winston as series sponsor following 31 years of unprecedented growth, the two became entangled in a litany of criticism surrounding the inevitable fear of change. And that was understandable; with the Latford points system providing some of the most memorable championship battles in history since 1975, the new format raised the ire of many a race fan to see the old system replaced with what seemed like a gimmick designed to resemble traditional stick-and-ball sport championships. With NASCAR now in the national spotlight, the sanctioning body was clearly attempting to go head-to-head with the NFL - the only sport it hadn't eclipsed in popularity - in the Fall with its own version of the playoffs. After snoozer points battles in 2000, 2001, and 2003, NASCAR and new series sponsor Nextel felt a change was in order. Turns out change was good.

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Teresa Earnhardt: Still Making All The Right Moves

"DEI without Dale Earnhardt, Jr. is just a museum." _Tony Stewart, speaking on his Sirius Satellite Radio Talk Show_ Remember how so many, like Stewart, underestimated Miss Teresa's business acumen just a few short months ago - believing DEI would wither up and die without the presence of their superstar? In fact, this journalist vividly recalls widespread disagreement stemming from several fans about my position that the much maligned stepmother should hold to her stance and not give in to Junior's strongarm tactics to take over the company, jumpstarting a whirlwind of differing opinions in a piece I authored in April titled, "For Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Might Doesn't Make Him Right":https://frontstretch.com/tthompson/8344/. Likewise, I remember the lukewarm response that I received in my later defense of Teresa's on-the-job performance as a major NASCAR team owner in a commentary last month, "Junior Sets The Record Straight…Meaning Vindication For Teresa":https://frontstretch.com/tthompson/9497/. No doubt, this commentary will receive equal condemnation from those that truly want to portray Teresa Earnhardt as a kind of "wicked stepmother" character that has, through her penny-pinching and inept business practices, prevented her stepson from attaining what some believe is his preordained destiny...NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Champion. However, as the past weeks and months have unfolded, the truth continues to shine through above the chatter. The facts speak for themselves; no matter what you think of her business practices, Teresa Earnhardt is one smart cookie!

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Mirror Driving : Swearing Off NASCAR’s Bull…Well, You Know, Merger Mayhem, and Toyota On Top?

*Tony Stewart's slip of the tongue on TV didn't just cost him money...along with a $25,000 fine, 25 championship points were deducted. Is it wrong for drivers to lose championship points for over-the-line statements to the media?* Cami: Not if it's a true over-the-line statement. But I don't think that was over the line. It was cable, for F's sake! Vito: Depends on the context. Junior's was more of an innocent slip of the tongue…Tony's was more pointed, I felt. NASCAR also needs to be consistent with the precedent they started in 2004, so that's why this happened. Tony seems to be cool with it...so as far as I'm concerned, I don't think it's that big of a deal. I just kind of wish they'd leave points out of it and just fine them money.

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Who’s Hot / Who’s Not In Nextel Cup: Allstate 400 at the Brickyard Edition

While Tony Stewart was kissing the bricks at Indianapolis for the second time in three years, some drivers almost kissed their Chase hopes goodbye in the wreckfest that was the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard on Sunday. In the first 60 laps of the race, a total of 18 drivers had been involved in at least one accident, with defending race winner Jimmie Johnson making the most spectacular exit from Indy. As Johnson ran for cover from his burning car, several other key Chase contenders were in the garage area; namely Ryan Newman and Jamie McMurray, who were involved in earlier incidents. But what could have been a terrible day for those drivers turned out to be nothing more than a tiny bump in the road when current Chase bubble driver, Dale Earnhardt, Jr.'s engine went up in a plume of smoke. With those Chase drivers fresh on everyone's mind, which men left Indianapolis able to soak in the majesty of the famous track after putting in a good run...and which ones couldn't wait to make a beeline for the exit? Read this week's Who's Hot and Who's Not to find out.

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NASCAR: Still Showing What’s Right With Sports

For all intents and purposes, 2007 has been an absolute disaster for professional sports. Major League Baseball is about to have the most coveted and hallowed individual accomplishment bested, and the commissioner of the league's position regarding his attendance of the event, is predicated on if he doesn't have anything else better to do. Not to mention, the player who is preparing to beat the home run mark of 755 by Hank Aaron, is in the center of a grand jury investigation for using steroids and human growth hormone, among other unsavory allegations including an affair and funding his mistress' lifestyle through the sale of baseball memorabilia.

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Running Their Mouth : Allstate 400 at the Brickyard

_Each week, we'll go through all the media reports, interviews, PR, and all our own stuff to find the best quotes from the Nextel Cup race to capture the story of how the weekend unfolded. It's the most original commentary you'll ever find; the truth, coming straight out of the mouths of the drivers, crew members, and the car owners themselves. This week, here's a sneak peek at what some select few were thinking after the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard._ "This one is for everyone in the stands who pull for me and have to take the bull(expletive) from everyone else." _Tony Stewart_ "It's a little late to be concerned about it now, isn't it?" he asked. "Whatever happens, they can't take this (trophy) away from me today." _Stewart when asked about his post race expletive_ "Here, kitty, kitty, kitty. Come get you some of this." _Tony Stewart while he was chasing Kevin Harvick_ "Heh heh. That was FUN." _Dale Earnhardt Jr (finished 34th) on his radio after an agressive pass on Tony Stewart on lap 20_

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Numbers Game : Allstate 400 at the Brickyard

*1st* Career Cup pole for Reed Sorenson in 58 starts. *1* Car dropped to the rear of the field prior to the start of the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard. (No. 07 - Clint Bowyer, engine change) *2nd* Fence climb at Indianapolis for Tony Stewart. *2nd* Juan Pablo Montoya's starting and finishing position, earning him Rookie of the Race honors for the ninth time this season.

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Bowles-Eye : Tony Stewart Threatening To Make Indy His Personal Playground

There are some tracks where the mere mention of the name evokes memories of just one man, the driver above all others who took pleasure in making that rock-hard circle of speed his own personal playground. Darrell Waltrip and Bristol. Bill Elliott and Michigan. Dale Earnhardt and Talladega. Trophies were but a metaphor for these legends, defining themselves through years of dominance at a track with which they achieved perfect chemistry. Looks like the formula's in place for Tony Stewart and Indianapolis.

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Matt McLaughlin’s Thinkin’ Out Loud : Brickyard 400 Race Recap

*The Key Moment*: With ten laps to go, Tony Stewart muscled his way under Kevin Harvick. The two skirmished for a lap, but Stewart quickly emerged ahead and drove off to an uncontested win. *In a Nutshell*: All of the sizzle and none of the steak for the world's most overhyped sporting event. *Dramatic Moment*: There was some good racing with the Top 5 over the final fifteen laps as a clearly irritated Harvick slid backwards. *What They'll Be Talking About Around the Water Cooler This Week* Fortunately, the Brickyard 400 still pays fairly well, *because a profanity uttered live on ESPN's first Cup broadcast of the season ought to set Stewart back about $50,000 later this week*.

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Ten Points to Ponder … After Indianapolis

*1. Stewart Storylines* - As expected, Stewart has hit his midsummer stride, winning two straight Cup races and his second Brickyard 400. Stewart-related questions: Will Tony be punished for saying "bullsh*t" in his post-race interview? Just what bullsh*t was he referring to that he thinks his fans have to put up with? Will he continue the trend of six of the past nine Brickyard winners taking the title? And how much will an autographed sweat-soaked Tony Stewart towel go for at auction to benefit his charity foundation? *2. Unhappy Harvick* - Kevin Harvick was miffed when Tony Stewart bumped him passing for the lead in the closing laps. Harvick claimed the post-race doughnut he gave Stewart was congratulatory, not retaliatory. Still, Harvick said this: "He's always the first one to whine about people not giving him enough room. I gave him plenty of room all day to race, and he winds up knocking the left front fender off, and we wound up finishing seventh. It is what it is. Just race them how they race you." The two drivers are close friends off the track, but will Harvick stand by his veiled threat to move Tony the next time they are battling for a win?

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