Recent Posts

Frontstretch Folio: 2008 Goody’s Cool Orange 500

The Sprint Cup Series heads to Virginia this weekend to beat and bang at Martinsville Speedway. The Goody's Cool Orange 500 is the sixth race of the 2008 Sprint Cup season, and will be broadcast live on Sunday, March 30th at 2:00 pm ET on FOX, with radio coverage by MRN affiliates nationwide. Competitors will make 500 circuits for 263 miles around the .526-mile flat short track in their quest for the checkered flag. *Records and Facts* *Tony Stewart* holds the record for the fastest lap at Martinsville Speedway, posting a qualifying lap with a speed of 98.084 mph to win the pole for the 2005 running of the Subway 500. *Darrell Waltrip* holds the record for the most poles recorded at Martinsville with eight; *Denny Hamlin* won the pole for last year's event.

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Hendrick’s Recent Performance At Martinsville Inspirational

Much has been said and written about the perceived fall from dominance of Hendrick Motorsports. It is the farthest they've gone into a season without a victory since 2003, Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson are out of the top 12, Casey Mears is struggling to stay in the top 35, etc. It seems as though this team is suddenly looking very mortal. But let's not get hasty. We're only five races in, and in truth the only really surprising faulty cog in the Hendrick machine has been Jimmie Johnson. After winning two straight championships and fifteen races in two years, the 48 team has only finished higher than 13th once in 2008, with a 2nd in California. That's a surprise, but even that isn't impossible to believe…the car being run at the intermediate tracks is radically different from last year's, so we're going to see some anomalies out there, at least for a little while. Jeff Gordon has two top fives and could easily have had four by now. And the new kid in the 88 hasn't done too badly…it's his best start since 2004, or since the last time he drove for a team that was capable of consistently building winning racecars.

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Voices From the Heartland: Silly Sponsors and Another Nail In the “Manufacturer’s” Coffin

As usual following an "off" NASCAR week, finding things to write about can be pretty slow. There were, however, a few things that did pique my interest enough for me to share my opinion on them with you my lucky readers. Of course there has been the whole Jack Roush vs. The World Toyota saga, but since I am running a day late this week, you've probably read all you want on that subject anyway. Not that there is much of an actual story there. The way I see it, if Jack Roush has the lugnuts enough to make accusations of theft, he should at least "put up or shut up". Don't throw little barbs out there and then not tell the whole story. If they stole something, tell us what it is! Until Jack comes clean, to me he appears to be just a sniveling little crybaby. (And now, to use a phrase that I detest, but seems to be one of our editor's favorites, and would have probably been thrown in here anyway…) But I digress.

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Fan’s Reactions to Junior, Jeff, Jimmie and Jack-Not What You Might Expect

It may be only five races into the NASCAR season, but there have certainly been a lot of things to think about: Toyota's surge from backmarker to contender to winner; last year's absolute domination of Hendrick Motorsports turning into not even being a serious contender to win in '08; the Car of Tomorrow; Robby Gordon's overturned penalty; Carl Edwards' uncontested penalty; and Jack Roush's accusation of Toyota stealing a "proprietary part," to name a few. The list is long and interesting. What is even more interesting is the fans' reactions to each of these stories.

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David Starr Driver Diary: Martinsville and “Honey Do” Lists

It's been three weeks since we raced at Atlanta, and I can't wait to get back into the truck this weekend at Martinsville. As many of you may remember, two years ago I was able to drive my Red Horse Racing Toyota to victory there. But that was then. Even though we won at Martinsville in 2006, I don't look at this race any differently than I do any other race. I go into this weekend's race at Martinsville just like I went into Atlanta and California - knowing we can win.

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Tearing Apart the Trucks: Heading Back East

As the drivers of the Craftsman Truck Series roll into Martinsville, VA, for the fourth race of the season it will mark the first time since the season opener at Daytona International Speedway that the truck series will have a full field for Saturday's Kroger 250. The San Bernardino County 200 at Auto Club Speedway had a field of 35, just one short of a full field, but the American Commercial Lines 200 at Atlanta Motor Speedway saw a field of only 32. Currently, there are 38 drivers entered for a field of 36 at the Virginia short track.

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Matt McLaughlin Mouths Off: 2008 Questions and Surprises

Only five races into the 2008 Cup season, it's still premature to draw too many conclusions as to how various drivers and teams will fare this year. Things could change radically in the next five events and, like those disclaimers concerning mutual funds state, past performance is no guarantee of future success. But what is inarguable at this juncture of the season is that with the Cup Series taking the Easter Weekend off, there just isn't much to write about. So, let's take a look back at some of the questions we had heading into 2008, and see whether they've been answered yet; and while we're at it, check out what surprises have popped up along the way. It seemed that during the entire offseason, a majority of media attention was focused on Dale Earnhardt, Jr.'s move to the Rick Hendrick organization and how he would fare as part of stock car racing's "super team." To date, Earnhardt has done just fine, thank you; he's currently sitting fifth in the points, with Top 5 finishes in the last three events.

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Driven to the Past: Dick Trickle

From some notes on the internet, phone calls, and e-mails, I'm one of those who has learned that Dick Trickle is apparently having some chest and / or intestinal tract problems. The man himself, I'm told, isn't worried; in fact, he's told everyone things are fine. Trickle had a hip replacement recently, and the troubles started after that; a couple of stints haven't cured it, but he still isn't overly concerned. In fact, just this week John McKarns (the man who founded ARTGO and directed it for so many years) informed me that Trickle says everything is now A-OK after a "million dollars" worth of tests. He's feeling much better and is pretty much back to his regular routine; however, Trickle has confirmed that he won't be racing as long as he is on a blood thinner.

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Fanning the Flames: Marching to Martinsville, With Goodyears In Tow

Peaks of jubilation and valleys of heartbreak. Devotion. Sacrifice. Harrowing escapes, crushing defeats, and glorious victories. Good choices and bad... and it all equates to 46 wins, 13th on the all-time list. No, this isn't the gritty tale of the ageless Elzie Wylie Baker, Sr., better known to us as "Buck." Yes, Buck Baker makes for a great story. The South Carolina native was the first driver to win back-to-back Grand National championships, recorded 46 career wins and, ironically enough (for the sake of this story) sits 13th on the all-time NASCAR wins list. Buck provided Jeff Gordon his first ride in a stock car at his "Buck Baker Racing School," has been inducted into nearly every Motorsports Hall Of Fame in America, and was named one of NASCAR's 50 Greatest Drivers in 1998.

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Roush Continues Grudge Match With Toyota…But That’s All It Is

If you haven't already heard by now, word came out in the 10th anniversary issue of ESPN the Magazine this week that Jack Roush had a proprietary component disappear from his shop; he retrieved it from an undisclosed Toyota team at the Atlanta race this March. Roush said that he is considering legal action, or even getting NASCAR involved following the incident. That's ironic, seeing as in the face of those statements Roush chose to go to the press before approaching the legal process or NASCAR first. To the naked eye, that would seem more like sour grapes than a true legal issue; but only time will tell. But this is not the first blow this season between these warring factions on NASCAR's biggest stage. After Carl Edwards was found to have a "loose" lid on his oil tank compartment, Lee White, the general manager for Toyota Racing Development, was quite vocal in his belief that Roush Fenway Racing intentionally caused the lid to come off, and swore that there was a proven aerodynamic advantage which resulted from the loosened lid. Steadfast in his beliefs, White even maintained that Toyota's testing proved that, with the oil tank cover removed, there was a gain of nearly 170 pounds of downforce on the car. Roush quickly fired back at White, questioning his ethics about knowing that such a gain would occur based on testing results when such a condition would obviously have been illegal and, therefore, indirectly accused Toyota of testing ways to cheat the rules.

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