Recent Posts

Fanning the Flames: Advantage Biffle? Slow Down There, Cowboy

After watching Greg Biffle put a hurtin’ on the field at both Loudon and Dover, that got me thinking: How has the top Chase finisher in each season’s first two playoff events fared in the final standings? It’s been widely reported since Biffle’s New Hampshire triumph that Kurt Busch, in 2004, is the only driver to win the first Chase race and go on to win the Cup. However, had any driver claimed Top 5s in the first two events (sans a win at Loudon, of course) and still gone on to take the big prize? So, I did a little research and compiled a highly trivial list of the only Top 5 playoff finishers at both Loudon and Dover -- and how each fared in the final rundown. Here’s what I found...

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Matt McLaughlin Mouths Off: How To Make A Good NASCAR Race

A lot of people have taken me to task lately -- either by email or in the comments section below my articles -- claiming I’m too negative. They feel I am lost in rose-colored remembrances of times gone by, referencing races that weren’t really all that great after all. Some go as far as to claim that the racing this year is better than it ever has been, thanks to the “excitement” of the Chase. Well, a couple of quick points. First, most of those who say today’s racing with the new car and the Chase are better than years gone by weren’t around in the glory days of this sport or, if they were, they were sucking at their mama’s teat -- not watching races. Secondly, if the Chase and the new car appeal to you, that’s fine. Your opinion is valid, and I respect your right to feel that way. But I feel differently.

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NASCAR Takes the Long Way Around the Barn With New Drug Policy

I came across a quote by Sir Barnett Cocks the other day that reminded me of the pansies that run NASCAR: “A committee is a cul-de-sac down which ideas are lured -- and then quietly strangled.” The "idea," in this case, is NASCAR’s new drug testing policy and -- while it was not strangled -- it definitely had no business being in that neighborhood in the first place.

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Side By Side: Did A.J. Allmendinger Get The Shaft At Red Bull?

_Editor's Note : The following is a special edition of Frontstretch's Side By Side. Occasionally throughout the season, two of your favorite Frontstretch writers will duke it out in a debate concerning one of NASCAR's biggest stories. Don't let us be the only ones to speak our minds, though...be sure to read both sides and let us know what you think about the situation in the comment section below!_ *Today's Question : Team Red Bull released A.J. Allmendinger from his 2009 contract this week, rather than expand to three Sprint Cup teams with he, Brian Vickers, and Scott Speed. Was it the right move to let A.J. go after just two seasons?* Tom: That’s what made Team Red Bull’s treatment of A.J. Allmendinger so compelling – because they seemed the exception to the rule. With the owner footing the bill through his multi-million dollar business, immediate success wasn’t needed at the Cup level, creating a mutual understanding that turning an open-wheel lifer into a stock car superstar was going to take some time. It was an old school plan to make a new school driver successful, taking him along for the ride as the team developed a long-term plan to be a force in the Sprint Cup Series. And then, that plan suddenly stopped. Vito: Absolutely. Though it should be known, this is of no fault of Allmendinger or an indictment of his ability. The main reason is the ascension of another former open wheel driver who hails from California. A budding star whose roots are grounded in Red Bull Formula One history, and one who shares a relationship with the owner of the racecars and the stickers that go on them.

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Fantasy Picks ‘N’ Pans: Getting Your Cookie Cutter Lineup Set At Kansas

The Chase heads to the Midwest this weekend for its eighth visit to Kansas Speedway. The teams will once again be trying to make the boxier new car go through the air quickly and still turn once it gets to the corners. As this is our first and only visit to the track this season, gamers will need to look at the previous 1.5-milers to get an idea of how their drivers have handled the cookie cutter style tracks earlier this year. There are some lower echelon drivers that seem to excel on the mile and a half tracks -- as well as some higher priced competitors who have struggled on this style of facility. Carl Edwards has all but owned this type of track this year -- can he continue to put a whooping on the field this weekend and expand his point lead? Meanwhile, Jimmie Johnson is peaking earlier than he has in recent years, and threw the last cookie cutter punch at Fontana -- can he follow that up with another surprising win? Finally, Kyle Busch has proclaimed he’s out of the title hunt; is that really the case, and is he worth the risk on your fantasy team as his on-track aggression heats up? Read this week’s Picks ‘N’ Pans to see which drivers should be running for your team -- and which ones would be better off driving a combine through a wheat field this Sunday.

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Did You Notice? McMurray Got Screwed, Screwy Rookie Scheduling, And NASCAR’s Fake Title Contenders

*Did You Notice?* … Jamie McMurray’s crash at Dover was not just caused by Robby Gordon’s recklessness … but by missing the playoffs? Let me explain. After the regular season finale at Richmond, Roush Fenway Racing GM Robbie Reiser made a number of pit crew switches to benefit the RFR teams set to contend for the championship. “There were some members on the No. 26 car that were proven veterans,” explained Greg Biffle’s crew chief Greg Erwin at Loudon. “And both our team and the No. 99 has had some issues with one guy in particular on each squad. Reiser stepped up to the plate and decided, ‘Look, this is our best foot forward. These are what we think are our most experienced, under-the-gun-type players,’ and made the decision and allowed each of our teams to get some guys from the No. 26 car -- and it’s helped. Without a doubt it’s helped.” Sure it has – for _them._

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The Critics Have Been Silent… At Least, Until Kansas

As an unabashed supporter of NASCAR’s decision to implement a playoff format that determines the Sprint Cup champion -- along with its equally controversial and much-maligned implementation of the race car formerly known as the Car of Tomorrow -- I am feeling at least partially vindicated for my opinion following the last three weeks of racing. Granted, no one has approached me to concede that maybe NASCAR isn’t as bad at running a racing series as they, and many racing columnists, had been saying ... and I haven't yet gotten a call to be told that maybe, the Car of Tomorrow isn’t the ruination of the most popular motorsports series in America. Nonetheless, I hear these men and women's contritions loud and clear -- and so does NASCAR!

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Mirror Driving: Playing It Unsafe, Saving Small-Time Teams, And The Cookie Cutter Conundrum

*This weekend at Dover produced some great racing at the finish. But now, two of the next three tracks are at mile and a half cookie cutters. Was success at the Monster Mile a sign NASCAR should have a better variety of tracks in the playoffs, or are five 1.5-milers in 10 races a fair representation of what the entire circuit runs?* Amy: Of course they need better tracks — ones that test driver’s skills. Matt T.: Definitely need more diversity in the Chase. 17 of the races are run throughout the season on the 1.5 and 2-milers, but give us more spice.

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Top Ten Good Things That Can Be Said About “The Chase”

*10.* It has given Brian France a sense of "self worth" and "immortality." *9.* It has created tons of "lost revenue" tax writeoffs for NASCAR. *8.* It has virtually guaranteed that Richard Petty’s and Dale Earnhardt’s record of seven Cups will never be broken. *7.* Gives us fans who also like football a chance to watch more football uninterrupted.

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Frontstretch Sprint Cup Power Rankings: Top 15 After the 2008 Camping World RV 400 at Dover

Frontstretch Power Rankings
The Chase may only be 20% done, but so far, it's been the Greg Biffle show 100% of the time. Two races and two wins have the six-year veteran on the verge of the championship lead, gunning hard to become the first driver to win the title in all three national touring series. But could The Biff's recent streak in Victory Lane be enough to put him on the top of our power rankings -- or would his Roush Fenway teammate Carl Edwards be the one to take control? On the flip side, Kyle Busch tumbled down the charts with his second straight mechanical problem ... but which one of his Joe Gibbs Racing teammates found himself slipping even further? For the answers to these questions and more, read below to find out just how much the Monster Mile made our writers change the course of our Top 15.

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