Recent Posts

Did You Notice? Restrictor Plate One-Hit Wonders And The New Precedent Of “Probation”

*Did You Notice? …* The Daytona 500 is less of an indicator of season-long success than ever before? Heading into the second restrictor plate race of the season, no less than six of this year’s top 10 finishers in the Great American Race have yet to better their runs from February. Desperate for the draft dice to roll their way and get their year back on track, let’s take a look at each of these men who left their mojo down in Florida: *David Ragan* *Daytona 500: 6th* *Best Finish Since: 17th – Fontana* Who would have guessed that Ragan’d be on this list? Armed with both a high-dollar sponsor and that always tenuous “driver about to have a breakout season” tag attached to his back, the Chase appeared to have already put together a golden throne for this man’s arrival.

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Top Ten Reasons Jim France Stepped Down As the Head of ISC

*10.* Got tired of babysitting his brother’s kids for minimum wage. *9.* Couldn’t get Brian France to stop making monkey noises during the board meetings. *8.* Bruton Smith (who does kinda look like Marlon Brando) made him an offer he couldn’t refuse to work at SMI.

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A Lifetime of Trials, Tribulation, and Tragedy: Mark Martin and Rick Hendrick Setting The Stage For NASCAR’s Biggest Comeback Story

Upon exiting his winning Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, Martin invoked the name of a previous Hendrick driver, Tim Richmond. He remembered how great it was to see Richmond win after coming back from a bout with pneumonia that was ultimately the result of the AIDS virus he had contracted. He mentioned how Rick Hendrick was able to make his fallen comrade’s dreams come true; and now he had done the same for Martin, who has been so close to winning the last few years – even while running a limited schedule. The invitation from Hendrick led him to shelve his part-time status and return to the fold full-time for another run at the ultimate prize that has eluded him for so long: a Sprint Cup championship.

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Mirror Driving: Coming Clean At Roush Fenway, Cleaning Up NASCAR’s Ratings Decline, And More

*Continuing a recent trend, the race at Phoenix saw an 18% drop in ratings from over a year ago despite a popular Mark Martin victory. Why are ratings continuing to plummet, and is there any way to stop the trend?* Vito: People can't pay their cable bill. Seriously, Phoenix is typically an uncompetitive and boring race. The racing this year has been endured, not enjoyed. Kurt: Reason No. 1: Junior is running very mediocre-like. Reason No. 2: People don't like this car and the way it drives. Reason No. 3: It takes seven months just to get to the playoffs, which diminishes the value of individual races.

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Frontstretch Sprint Cup Power Rankings: Top 15 After the 2009 Subway Fresh 500 at Phoenix

Frontstretch Power Rankings
Phoenix's Saturday night showdown may have been Mark Martin's time to shine ... but it didn't mean much for the rest of the Sprint Cup competition. Most of the racing behind him was tame at best, with few top drivers encountering problems that left them dropping off our Power Rankings list. However, Jeff Gordon's loose lugnut issue was enough to loosen his grip on the top spot in our latest poll -- the number of first place votes for him dropped significantly amongst our Frontstretch experts. Was that enough to cause a change at #1? And just how far did Martin's win make him rise? Read on to find out in this week's edition of our top 15.

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NASCAR News for Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Penalties Come Down For Earnhardt Jr., Mears On Tuesday, NASCAR announced penalties for Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Casey Mears from their antics on Saturday night. NASCAR has placed both drivers on probation for the next six races, decreeing that both Earnhardt, Jr. and Mears had violated Article 12-4-a of the …

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Who’s Hot/Who’s Not in Sprint Cup: 2009 Subway Fresh 500 at Phoenix Edition

Another one bit the dust in the sands out west at Phoenix Saturday night. But as the smoke cleared from the Cup Series' eighth race of the season, we're left with plenty of storylines from a weekend's worth of action at PIR. Mark Martin became one of the oldest drivers ever to win a NASCAR race, scoring his first victory in nearly four years, while point leader Jeff Gordon surrendered nearly half his lead because of a late race pit road miscue -- garnering him his first finish outside the top 15 all year. Jimmie Johnson, Kurt Busch, and Tony Stewart’s solid finishes will keep Gordon honest atop the standings heading into this weekend's restrictor plate showdown at Talladega. As for Clint Bowyer, Kevin Harvick, and Matt Kenseth, they were just a few of the Chase contenders who struggled to get a grip on the one-mile, D-shaped oval. But which one did I think has been slumping long enough to earn a spot in this column's freezer? Read on to find out who -- as well as the other *HOT*, *WARM*, and *COLD* drivers in Sprint Cup halfway through the month of April:

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Talking NASCAR TV: Jump the Shark

Race fans, the title says it all for me. However, for those of you who may not be familiar with the term... let me explain. The term "Jump the Shark" was created by Jon Hein and a group of his buddies at the University of Michigan in 1987. Apparently, they spent a Saturday night watching Nick at Nite and thinking about television shows and when they peaked. One guy, named Sean Connolly, claimed that the TV show Happy Days essentially went in the toilet when they had Fonzie jump over a shark on water skis. The term stuck from there. In the late 1990’s, Hein started jumptheshark.com, a website devoted to, well, allowing fans to post their input on when their favorite shows peaked. It eventually became very popular on the internet, and its eventual sale to TV Guide netted Hein millions. Jump the Shark doesn’t just apply to TV shows, though; it can apply to anything. Hein’s 2002 book Jump the Shark: When Good Things Go Bad, covered TV shows, politicians, bands, celebrities, athletes, and sports teams. It has become a term used to describe anything that has peaked and is on the downturn. At the heart of this explanation is how NASCAR television may have hit a new low this weekend at Phoenix.

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50 Is The New 20 For Mark Martin

The NASCAR season is brutally long, and with 36 races across ten months, you know that from time to time you’re going to see an absolute stinker of a race. But from the moment I clicked on the broadcast on Saturday night, I just had a feeling it was going to be a fantastic evening -- and so it proved to be. The weather was great, the invocation by Phoenix International Raceway chaplain, Ken Bowers, was crisp and to the point; the anthem was sung with gusto by Kate and Kacey (whoever they might be, I have no clue, but they sure can sing), and the flyover by four F-16s from the 52nd Fighter Squadron from Luke Air Force base was flawless.

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Beyond the Cockpit: Scott Lagasse, Jr. on 2009 at CJM Racing

Doug Turnbull: You drive the No. 11 car in the Nationwide Series but have had an up and down ride on the way there. A couple of years ago, you drove in the Truck Series for Bobby Hamilton Racing, but that deal didn’t work out. Then, you landed on your feet again in the Truck Series with Wood Brothers/JTG Racing, but that ride didn’t pan out. You're on the sideline a couple of months and then, out of nowhere, you replace a proven Nationwide Series veteran in Jason Keller in that No. 11. How did that happen? Did something go wrong with Jason? Did you bring sponsorship? What’s the story? Scott Lagasse, Jr.: It’s really a wild story. I’ll probably get some of it wrong and get corrected here (his bosses are sitting right next to him). I guess you can say that everything happens for a reason. I had heard that a lot from my mom over the last three or four years, because it had been such a struggle; it wasn’t at all what I was expecting, moving to Charlotte and racing a lot.

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