Recent Posts

Matt McLaughlin Mouths Off: Of Rodents, Late Sunday Afternoons, The Crown Prince’s Temper Tantrum, Cabbages, And Kings

_The time has come, the Walrus said, to talk of many things -- of shoes and ships and sealing wax, of cabbages and kings._ -Lewis Carroll Daytona Speedweeks has reached its less than satisfactory conclusion, and the _real_ racing season now starts this weekend out in California. Now, the standard railbird pundits, this writer included, will tell you that the one thing you can tell about the upcoming season after Daytona is... that you really can’t tell anything about the upcoming season ahead after Daytona.

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Fanning the Flames: The Inevitable Daytona Hangover

*There has been a lot of talk this year about the start and park cars potentially entered into the 500. The talk also has placed the payout figure to these cars as starting at some $250,000 (just to start the race).* *My question then becomes: is $250,000 enough to cover expenses for a week or so at Daytona in trying to make the race?* _— Douglas_ *A:* OK, as I’ve stated before, I’m an English/History/Art type, so applying math to a column scares the hot pants off me. That said, let’s do some figuring...

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Frontstretch Fantasy Insider: Surviving (and Staying Awake) at Fontana

_With the glitz and glamour of Daytona now behind us, the focus of the Sprint Cup Series turns West to Fontana and the 2-mile oval that marks the real beginning of the 2009 season. Though unique thanks to its empty grandstands and exceptionally boring races, the Auto Club Speedway is the first of many intermediate ovals that make up the meat and potatoes of the Cup schedule. And with the ban on testing, it seems to be a safe assumption that the same teams which were good on these tracks in 2008 will be the ones to beat on Sunday -- and the drivers you should be picking for this weekend's fantasy lineup._

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Fontana: Lacks One Thing That Darlington Has

When NASCAR resumed racing in southern California in 1997 after previous failed attempts at gaining a foothold for the sport at Riverside and Ontario, the decision seemed at best ill-advised and at worst foolhardy to a large number of longtime and loyal NASCAR fans. However, when in 2004 a second date was awarded the 2-mile race facility at the expense of Darlington Raceway and its Labor Day Weekend tradition, the Southern 500, many felt that the sanctioning body had in effect committed a treasonous act against those that had supported it for years. These events have been a chronic black eye to the Fontana, CA racing facility...and one that has yet to heal nearly four years after NASCAR made its move.

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Mirror Driving: Daytona Disappointment, Yellow Line Disgust, And Is Kenseth A Hall of Famer?

*The Daytona 500 had several controversial moments, but the biggest was the race being shortened by over 100 miles due to rain. Did NASCAR do the right thing by starting at the scheduled time, or should the green flag have been moved up so that the entire race could be run?* Mike: “Hey, fans: the first five innings of the seventh game of the World Series ran too long. We're going to call it now.” Tom: I think there's a big issue with the green flag starting at 3:45 PM. As for the race getting restarted, the rain was ... rain, guys. You couldn't do much about it. I was there, and there was no way they were getting the track dry once it started.

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Did You Notice? Waltrip Succeeds, Martin Fails, The Top 35 Self-Destructs, And… Johnson’s Beard?

*Did You Notice? …* The firestorm surrounding cutting the Daytona 500 48 laps short? Personally, I think the anger should be focused on the _starting time_ of the race more than anything else. The 3:45 EST start makes it near impossible to avoid the type of weather issues that we experienced in Sunday’s event. If anything pops up, you don’t have the whole afternoon to kill drying the track and making sure the full distance gets in. Why are we starting the race so late? I can’t find an acceptable answer just yet. Personally, I think a 1:00 EST start time would be perfect …

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Diary of a Madman: Cabin Fever & Stir Crazy Collides With an Irritating Daytona 500

Well, another Daytona 500 has come and gone, and many are still talking about it. The 2009 NASCAR season is officially underway, and this year Speedweeks had many compelling stories to discuss. It started with the Budweiser Shootout that had Kevin Harvick virtually replaying the 2007 Daytona 500 with a last lap pass for the win. Then, there were the Duel 150s that saw Jeremy Mayfield, Scott Riggs, and A.J. Allmendinger squeak in the field by the skin of their teeth (or in Mayfield’s case, flat top).

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Frontstretch Sprint Cup Power Rankings: Top 15 After the 2009 Daytona 500

Frontstretch Power Rankings
Like it or not, after just 380 miles the first race of the 2009 Sprint Cup season is officially in the books. Matt Kenseth was crowned the winner of just the fourth rain-shortened Daytona 500 in history, taking the lead one lap before the weather with a generous push from runner-up Kevin Harvick. But was that last lap pass enough to leave Kenseth number one in the eyes of our staff this week? After all, Kyle Busch dominated the race, only to become an innocent victim of the day's big wreck on Lap 125. And where did A.J. Allmendinger land after starting the year with a career-best third -- driving for a team that doesn't even know if it'll exist two months from now?

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