Recent Posts

Frontstretch Power Rankings: Top 15 After the 2008 Samsung 500 at Texas

Frontstretch Power Rankings
The Texas Motor Speedway was a fickle lady this past weekend. Past champions couldn't keep their car on the lead lap, the polesitter lost the handle late in the race, and three drivers who were rookies just last season finished in the Top 17. The people who vote in the Frontstretch poll have spoken following the madness... and the movement in the poll may surprise you. Read on to see this week's changes below, and see if you agree with our staff's opinions... or if you think they've completely spun out of control.

Read More »

Top Ten NASCAR Related Deductions Submitted to the IRS

*10.* $450.00 for new shorts and driver's suit, by Michael McDowell. (Uniforms and Work Clothes) *9.* $1500.00 for the complete set of "Deep Thoughts" works by Jack Handey, submitted by Brian France. (Work-Related Educational Expenses) *8.* $750.00 for resumes from Fed Ex / Kinko's, submitted by Jeremy Mayfield. (Moving Expenses) *7.* $5000.00 submitted by Chip Ganassi for several copies of Rosetta Stone; Espanol (Latin America) for his entire staff. (Work-Related Educational Expenses)

Read More »

Did You Notice? Polesitters Falling, Professionalism Rising, And Fans Simply Have No Shame?

*Did You Notice?* … Well, you couldn't have noticed this one. But I was absolutely appalled by an incident I saw in the garage Friday at Texas. Kyle Petty - already coming off a rather traumatic week in his driving career - was talking animatedly on a cell phone while walking down by his trailer. All of a sudden, out of nowhere a fan runs him down from over 50 feet away, with a picture in hand, a marker, and obnoxiously asking for Petty to sign. Now, I understand the urge for athletes to sign something as much as the next guy; but wouldn't you want your one meeting with your favorite driver to be more of a "special" moment? And don't you think there's still some rules of common courtesy that need to be followed -- _especially_ when you're in the middle of a working garage on a Friday? To my surprise, Kyle ended up signing the picture for this man; no doubt, that's the type of easygoing fan interaction he learned from his father Richard. But if it were me, it would take everything in my being not to give this fan the middle finger. I'm wondering how many crazy people like that race drivers have to deal with over the course of the weekend; incidents like that make it easy to see why people complain a lot of drivers aren't as personable as they used to be.

Read More »

The Verdict Is In: NASCAR Scores Big With The CoT

Michael McDowell's terrifying near-head on collision with the SAFER barrier and subsequent barrel-rolling down the track at Texas Motor Speedway Friday was the most serious real-life test yet of NASCAR's new car, known during its developmental period as the Car of Tomorrow (CoT). But the five-year project by NASCAR's Research And Development division had been preparing for just such a moment; after all, their work was primarily prompted by as series of accidents that had kept drivers such as Jerry Nadeau unable to continue their careers while leaving the sport's biggest star, Dale Earnhardt, dead. NASCAR knew that something had to be done to better protect drivers at speeds approaching 200 miles per hour; and with the advent of some major structural changes, they hoped the car would live up to the challenge the next time an accident occurred. It did. With McDowell able to immediately extricate himself from his Michael Waltrip Racing No. 00 Toyota and wave to the crowd after such a horrendous accident, NASCAR has, although still to an unknown level, claimed initial success in improving driver safety for this vehicle.

Read More »

Mirror Driving: The CoT — Both Safe AND Boring, Toughing Out Texas, And Managing RCR’s Future

*The CoT did its job at Texas, disintegrating to absorb Michael McDowell's horrific crash during qualifying while the driver compartment remained completely intact. The racing on Sunday, while lackluster, was no worse than some past Texas races with the old car. With that said … is it time to stop complaining about the CoT and realize the role it plays in today's NASCAR?* Tony: Yes, I think so; and everyone has to remember that as much as we hate them, snoozer races are a part of this sport and will never completely go away. Kurt: I think the drivers complain on television for the same reason Tony Stewart complained about Goodyear: so that their criticisms would be heard, and they would be on record saying the car still needs a lot of work. Matt T.: But we're stuck with it, Kurt, so why continue to complain… right?

Read More »

Is Petty Enterprises Circling The Drain?

A couple of weeks back, some friends and I made a road trip across the state of Michigan to Detroit for the weekend. While jammed in the back of a three-quarter ton extended cab 4x4 pickup, my buddy riding in the back began to tire of the noise from the stereo. He leaned forward between the front seats to adjust the controls and, in typical GM fashion, the knob came off in his hand. Our other friend -- the driver and owner -- offered his assessment of the situation: "My truck … it's … crum-bl-ing…" This moment helped spur some thoughts of my own concerning another crumbling American institution - Petty Enterprises. Once the dominant force in NASCAR competition, it has, for some time now, been a struggling operation. Every two or three years, there is a renewed commitment to getting the team competitive, to once again make it a threat to win on race day; but sadly, these initiatives have never seemed to pan out. And now -- after several failed attempts -- there are stress cracks showing in the foundation of a team on the verge of possible destruction, especially after the events of the past week.

Read More »

Is It Already Bust Rather Than Chase For Juan Pablo Montoya?

Each week, NASCAR.com runs a short article on Juan Pablo Montoya. Entitled "Where's Juan?" it's a gentle look at what's going on in the world of the Bogota, Colombia native. But where, exactly, is Juan these days? After Sunday's 19th place finish, two laps down, it's not a bad question -- because for most of this year, he's been utterly anonymous. In fact, the start of the open-wheel convert's sophomore season has been as bland as his rookie campaign was colorful.

Read More »

The Magic Of McDowell, “Forgetting” A Blowout, And Watching TV Blow The Finish In Texas… Again

*The Good* The best part of the coverage down in Texas was the professional way that the Michael McDowell qualifying crash was handled by the SPEED / FOX crew all weekend. It was obviously a really bad incident, and the announcer's responses were both appropriate and applicable to the situation at hand. You could almost feel them holding their breath until McDowell stepped out of the car on his own; and once he emerged miraculously unhurt, detailed explanations of the many ways in which new safety advancements helped save his life provided a pathway for the viewer to understand just how this miracle occurred. The slow motion replay with the footage of the SAFER barrier moving was particularly impressive, as everyone worked together to cover the incident from all angles.

Read More »

Who’s Hot/Who’s Not in Sprint Cup: 2008 Samsung 500 at Texas Edition

It's been awhile since there's been a scary accident in any of NASCAR's three premier series; so, needless to say, Michael McDowell's qualifying crash raised a few eyebrows when it comes to safety in the sport. It's a wreck he could have easily not walked away from; but luckily, the improvements have left more than a few people impressed with the sport's new car, along with McDowell both fully intact and counting his blessings. This week, the "HOTTEST" people on this list are the individuals who developed the particular safety equipment that just may have saved McDowell's life; none of us can thank you enough. On the other end of the spectrum, McDowell is one that's stuck to the "COLD" list, with his second rough outing in as many weeks at Texas. But as bad of a week as the rookie has had, trust me; Kyle Petty's was worse. To see who else is on the list this week, check out this week's edition of Who's Hot / Who's Not in Sprint Cup.

Read More »

Running Their Mouth: 2008 Samsung 500 at Texas

"That was a really good race car. To win here, it means a lot. My first trip here was with Tony Roper. That was the weekend that he got killed here, and he was a great guy and it always means a lot to come back here, and to run well and to win these races is very special to me." _Carl Edwards_ "We didn't wreck, so that's okay. We battled our car all day long, and couldn't really ever get it right. Was it fun to drive? No. Was it hard to drive? Yes. Did it survive the day? Yes. So was it a good day? Sure. I knew the No. 99 [Carl Edwards] was holding back and waiting, not showing everything that he had." _Kyle Busch, finished 3rd_ "Clint just pinched me up there on the final lap. I had to turn left or I'd have gone into the wall. There was really no place to go." _Denny Hamlin, finished 5th_

Read More »