Recent Posts

Thank You Frontstretch Fans!

Dear Frontstretch readers, After nine months and over 40 weeks of racing in NASCAR's top three series, the season has come to a close once again. It's been a tough year for the sport, with sagging attendance, sponsorship, and TV Ratings causing us all to question the series' future direction at some point. But while the fans may not be hitting the race track or turning on the television to watch the main event, even the most jaded of fans has proven more than ever that you're still interested in the various happenings surrounding this sport. Why in the world would I say that? Because our site has hit record growth this year in the face of all this negative news.

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Full Throttle: Giving Thanks Where Thanks Is Due

As Thanksgiving dawns in America, we all take the time to reflect on many different things and be thankful for so many blessings that have affected our lives. As a NASCAR fan, I have many things that I am appreciative of in my life. This column is just to share some of the many things that have brightened my life. I am thankful for...

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Matt McLaughlin Mouths Off: Testing 1,2,3

My, how times have changed. Earlier this year, NASCAR seemed poised to propose allowing teams almost unlimited testing dates for next season. Then, the economy hit the skids, and a week and a half ago a new policy was announced instead that will ban all Cup teams from testing at all -- at least, on tracks that hold NASCAR-sanctioned races. Effective January 1st, 2009, the really stunning part of this announcement was that the traditional preseason tests in preparation for the Daytona 500 are also included on the list. It wasn’t that many years ago that NASCAR was trying to market those weeks as a “Must See” fan event, with driver meet and greets intended to eliminate the T. Wayne Roberts charity event at Charlotte where fans lined up to get a look at the new season’s cars in their race livery and gather a few autographs. As one of NASCAR’s harshest critics (or at least one of its harshest critics in the media), I have to give credit where credit is due.

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2008 Sprint Cup Rookie Report Cards: Economic Woes and Poor Performances Leave Their Mark

Looking back on the 2008 season, many fans will notice a lot of similarities between this year and 2007. The most obvious comparison, for example, involves the complete dominance by three-time defending champion Jimmie Johnson during both Chases. But the 2007 season also saw the emergence of a new trend in NASCAR, involving the transition of open wheel stars joining the stock car scene. After a successful freshman campaign by Juan Pablo Montoya which included a win at Infineon, that trend set the tone for the freshman class of 2008, as four out of the six Rookie of the Year candidates were open wheel converts. Just nine months later, there is a very real difference for those open wheelers that debuted in '08 as compared to '07 -- just one of them appears ready to survive for a second season. What went wrong, and could their mistakes have been corrected? It’s now time for Professor Lumbis to grade their performance throughout the season, and take a look at the other new faces that emerged onto the scene and what the future may hold for them.

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The Keith Plan for the Nationwide Series: An Overview

Another season of Nationwide Series racing has officially come and gone. And with it, another Cup regular has stolen a minor league championship. The 2008 NASCAR Nationwide Series campaign was more of the same, with Cup star Clint Bowyer swooping in to claim the title -- the third straight driver to do so while running both of NASCAR's top two divisions full-time. Week in and week out, Cup regulars dominated the Top 10 on Saturdays before they strapped into the driver's seat the following day. That’s not to say that Nationwide Series regulars and development drivers didn’t have some things to cheer about in 2008.

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Bubble Breakdown Review: Yates Racing Biggest Surprise In Avoiding Top 35 Trouble

The 2008 Sprint Cup tour is now officially in the books. And as with all sports, there were many surprises as well as disappointment throughout the year. So, as the holiday season descends upon us and the thundering of NASCAR’s engines fades away for another offseason, let’s take a moment and look back upon the past ten months of racing, seeing who among the sport's middle and bottom-tier teams exceeded everyone’s expectations -- and who didn’t quite live up to them. *Biggest Surprises:* When I first learned I’d be doing this column, I figured there were a few drivers I’d be covering on a weekly basis; and therefore, would need to bone up on their stats. Three of those men were *David Gilliland*, *Paul Menard*, and *Travis Kvapil*.

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The Best 2008 NASCAR Stories That You Will Soon Forget

When a few of the Frontstretch gang get together for Mirror Driving on Monday nights, what happens in that room gets chopped and mangled and edited before its airing on Wednesday. Conversations are stitched together for coherence, off-topic rants are removed, and a sincere effort is made to ensure that at least most of the words are spelled correctly. We don’t have much time to discuss the questions that are laid out for us, and no one knows what they are beforehand. So, when the question “what is the biggest news story of 2008” came up, plenty of things came to mind in the short time provided for answers. Easily, Jimmie Johnson’s third straight title was the winner, but there were other memorable moments, including: the mess at the Brickyard; the meteoric rise and fall of Kyle Busch; a winless season for Jeff Gordon and Matt Kenseth; and Johnny Benson and Clint Bowyer winning titles in the lesser series.

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Not Yarborough vs. Johnson; Yarborough AND Johnson

Excuses, excuses. Everyone loves a good excuse, and this week, in the wake of Jimmie Johnson’s record-tying third straight Sprint Cup championship, I think I’ve heard them all. There are excuses why Johnson’s accomplishment isn’t as valid as Cale Yarborough’s was when he took three titles in a row in 1976-1978, compared to reasons why it was harder for Johnson to win the title under the Cup series’ current rules and with today’s competition. Over and over again, you hear this kind of "logic," and I use the term loosely, trying to explain away one driver’s accomplishments compared to an earlier or later time in the sport’s history. Well, the time for excuses is over.

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With The Season Over, I Leave You With a Few Parting Thoughts and Shots

Let’s start with Jimmie Johnson. While I refuse to compare Jimmie to Cale Yarborough, for the two are uncomparable, it is at this time that I formally congratulate Jimmie Johnson for winning three Cups in a row... Sprint Cups that is, not Winston Cups, for they too are uncomparable. Recently, at a meeting of some highly trained minds bent on saving NASCAR as we know it -- one that included Mark Dyer, CEO of Motorsports Authentics and others -- Dyer shed a little light about Jimmie Johnson and his connection to Winston Cups.

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David Starr Driver Diary: Another Season in the Books

So, here we are, at the end of another season in the Craftsman Truck Series! It’s only been two races since my last entry. The race at Phoenix was just okay for us and we struggled a lot with front grip. Our Zachry Toyota Tundra wasn’t too bad, but right there at the end, Kyle Busch and about four or five other drivers pitted for tires, and then we had a caution that hurt us a little, too. We probably would have finished ninth or 10th, but we lost some spots at the end to the guys with newer tires. At Homestead, we decided to try something new set-up wise, and it wasn’t very good. We really struggled. We were moving forward and making some progress, but it wasn’t enough to get us the finish we wanted. When you try new things for a race, you learn a lot of stuff – sometimes good, sometimes bad. But in the end, that’s what will help us next year.

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