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Author Archives: Frontstretch Staff

The Frontstretch Staff is made up of a group of talented men and women spread out all over the United States and Canada. Residing in 15 states throughout the country, plus Ontario, and widely ranging in age, the staff showcases a wide variety of diverse opinions that will keep you coming back for more week in and week out.
Mirror Driving: A Worthy Champ, Villainous Vickers and Series Identities

Mirror Driving: A Worthy Champ, Villainous Vickers and Series Identities

*The Sprint Cup title comes down to just two drivers at Homestead, three points between them. Does this mean that the new points system did what it was supposed to, or was it just a lucky break?* Phil: I'd argue that it's a lucky break. I don't think anyone would have predicted the 10th-place guy at the start of the Chase battling for the title. Tom: More of a lucky break than anything else. To be honest, it's not too much different than the old system. Not enough points for winning, consistency rules... only two of the 12 drivers are eligible for the title. We've been in situations where five, six drivers have been eligible. Read More »

Mirror Driving: Chase Games, Brainless Kyle And Sponsorship Loyalty

*After Texas, the championship battle is effectively between Tony Stewart and Carl Edwards. Who has an edge the last two races, and why?* Phil: Well, both guys are pretty good. I'd argue Stewart, though. He's got Big Mo on his side and he's very good at Phoenix. Of course, Phoenix is a bit of a toss-up... Tom: Going into Texas, I still think Carl had the edge. But Tony just beat Carl at his own game. Intermediates are the No. 99's bread and butter. Have been for years. So now, I think it's a total toss-up. Both men have won at Phoenix and Homestead... and that track is repaved. So it's a virtual unknown. Read More »

Mirror Driving: Martinsville Chaos, Cheating Chad And Settling For a Job

Mirror Driving: Martinsville Chaos, Cheating Chad And Settling For a Job

*The Martinsville race was full of spinouts, paybacks, and all sorts of aggressive on-track behavior. Plenty of people left the track angry... but who, if anyone should have a legitimate beef going forward and will we see payback before the 2011 Sprint Cup season is out?* Amy: I think about half the field has a beef with Brian Vickers. But I don't think you'll see a lot of payback. Phoenix is much faster now, and the other two are as well. Phil: I doubt you'll see any paybacks this weekend since they'll be in Texas. Maybe at Phoenix. No one's stupid enough to dump someone at 195. Read More »

Mirror Driving: Championship Stroking, Martinsville Strategies and Feel-Good Stories

*Despite finishing 11th at Talladega, Carl Edwards holds his biggest points lead of the Chase. With only one victory, would an Edwards title defeat the purpose of the Chase and, if it happens, will it bring about a rules change for 2012?* Phil: No, and it shouldn't. Simple as that. Edwards has been the best so far in the Chase. Why do you want to penalize him? Amy: I think it defeats NASCAR's original purpose of the Chase, which is FINE with me because it's a big ol' thumb to the nose on that. Read More »

Mirror Driving: Halfway Chase Favorites, Crew Chief Silly Season and Fuel Injection

*Charlotte marked the halfway point of the 2011 Chase, and the top four are separated by just 18 points. Is there a favorite finally emerging, or will the picture be unclear down to the last laps at Homestead?* Phil: Still not so much right now. No one's been dominant. Amy: Honestly, every time I think a favorite is emerging, someone else shows up to the party. I do think fifth and back are done if Talladega is kind to any of the top 4. Read More »

Mirror Driving: Pushing 101, Points Recalculation And One Final Waltrip-Bowyer Thought

Mirror Driving: Pushing 101, Points Recalculation And One Final Waltrip-Bowyer Thought

*With four Chase races in the books, there is still no clear title favorite, and very few drivers have fallen out of true contention. Does the new points system make the Chase a more exciting championship race than the old Latford system, or is this year just an anomaly?* Editor's Note: Check out the 2011 Chase standings with the old, Latford system by "clicking here.":http://www.frontstretch.com/tbowles/35929/ Phil: I'd argue that it's an anomaly. Mike N.: I don't know that the new points have made much of a difference. It might be slightly closer than with the old system, but I really think it is more just the nature of the field this year. Read More »

Mirror Driving: Let’s Hear It For The Non-Chasers! Official Embarrassment & More

Mirror Driving: Let’s Hear It For The Non-Chasers! Official Embarrassment & More

Welcome to "Mirror Driving." Every week, your favorite columnists sit down and give their opinion about the latest NASCAR news, rumors, and controversy. Love us or hate us, make a comment below and tell us how you feel about what we've said! *This Week's Participants*: Phil Allaway "(Tuesdays: Talking NASCAR TV & Frontstretch Newsletter Editor)":http://www.frontstretch.com/staffinfo/18439/ Mike Neff "(Wednesday: Full Throttle & Friday: Keepin' It Short)":http://www.frontstretch.com/staffinfo/1744/ Amy Henderson "(Fridays: Holding A Pretty Wheel)":http://www.frontstretch.com/staffinfo/351/ Beth Lunkenheimer "(Fridays: Tearing Apart The Trucks & Frontstretch Truck Series Reporter)":www.frontstretch.com/staffinfo/3362/ *Both Carl Edwards and Jimmie Johnson greatly improved their points positions on Sunday, but Edwards' last points win came in March at Las Vegas while Johnson's last trip to Victory Lane was Talladega in April. Can either of these drivers snap their winless streaks and take the title... or is there a possibility that this year's Chase could be won without a victory in the final ten races?* Amy: I think that in order to have a legit chance of winning the Chase, you _have_ to win a race. With that said, I'd love to see it won without a victory to show how ridiculous it is... but I think it will come down to winning. Phil: I think it's definitely possible to win the title without winning a Chase race. But the idea of Johnson being in a victory slump is laughable. Oh wow, Johnson hasn't won a race in 5 months. Read More »

Mirror Driving: Cinderella Stories, Talladega Trials, And Agitating Adjustments

Mirror Driving: Cinderella Stories, Talladega Trials, And Agitating Adjustments

*Tony Stewart won for the second week in a row at New Hampshire and took the points lead. Can Stewart sustain it and win the title from tenth place at Richmond, or is someone gearing up to beat the two-time champ in the stretch run?* Phil: Well, if this fuel mileage tilt holds out, you never know. Stewart has shown improved form lately, regardless of time of the race, though. I think he could do it. Beth: Actually, I feel like Smoke has a very real chance of being around come Homestead. With eight races remaining, he's got a combined 12 wins and double-digit top 10s at all but two of those tracks (Homestead and Kansas). Read More »

Mirror Driving: Surprises, Off Weeks, And Sorting Out Free Agency

*One race into the Chase, there were plenty of surprises, and the adage is that you can't win the Chase in the first week but you can lose it. Is anyone out of the running after Chicagoland?* Amy: I think Denny Hamlin is pretty much done. He's got to beat eleven drivers every week to get to the top. I think that in another week or two, 20 out will mean done. Beth: I don't know...I wouldn't count anyone out just yet, but Hamlin is in a deep hole. Another week like Chicagoland and I'll count out the No. 11 team, but anything can happen in the final nine races this season. Phil: I disagree with that statement, Amy. You'll still be in it through at least Talladega being 20 out. Denny Hamlin is probably out of it by now, but everyone else is still in play. No one else is more than 20 and change behind right now. Read More »

Mirror Driving: The Calm… Err, The Tornado Ahead Of The Chase Storm

*Kevin Harvick's fourth win at Richmond sends him into the Chase tied with Kyle Busch for the lead in points. Busch and Harvick each have four wins, but Busch was the points leader when the race ended and before the reset, while Harvick was in fifth place. Is it right for Busch to lose the lead based on wins, or should there be an additional bonus for the points leader who earned that advantage over 26 weeks of racing?* Phil: There should be something. Maybe a couple of extra points here or there. Amy: After the reset, the points leader, regardless of wins, should start with at least a 3-point lead over the next guy. It's ridiculous that they're that good all year and NASCAR just hands it to someone else. There should be a premium on winning, yes. But leading the points after 26 races deserves more than just the "Nice job, enjoy that tie (or 3rd, 4th, or 5th seed), have a nice life" they get from NASCAR now. Leading the points after 26 weeks is harder than winning a couple of races along the way. Read More »