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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: 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 »

Mirror Driving: Bickering Teammates, Flexible Schedules & Gordon’s Place In History

Mirror Driving: Bickering Teammates, Flexible Schedules & Gordon’s Place In History

*Jeff Gordon won the AdvoCare 500, beating Jimmie Johnson on the final laps to take his 85th career win. Where does the win put Gordon among the sport's greats? And does this win put Gordon in the best position yet to win his fifth title?* Phil: Gordon is definitely in good position. Not necessarily the best position in the Chase era, but still pretty good. Plus, anyone who's watched NASCAR in the past 20 years would consider Gordon amongst the all-time greats. Amy: There is no question that Gordon is one of the finest ever to strap into a stock car. Today, in the closing laps, he reminded us why. IF I had to pick a Chase favorite right now, it would be Gordon. Summer: I liked what Richard Petty has to say. You compare a driver to those he raced with. I'm having a hard time jumping on the Gordon bandwagon right now, but he certainly is peaking at a great time. Read More »

Mirror Driving: Policing Pit Road, Cooling Off Keselowski And Playing By Too Many Rules

*There's an old adage that races are won and lost on pit road, and they proved the case at Bristol on Saturday night as Brad Keselowski was able to use the timing lines to his advantage on the final pit stop. Jeff Gordon complained about the perceived advantage, and NASCAR agreed to add more timing loops at the track next year. Is that adequate, or does NASCAR need to look at better ways to police pit road speed, as Gordon suggested?* Mike: No, more lines will be fine. I was surprised to learn that there were only three lines for all of the pit lane on the front and back. I think, if they double that number they should be fine. Amy: OK, first off, I had no issues with what happened Saturday as NOTHING illegal went on. But for the life of me I can not see why NASCAR can't just go to flat speeds and do away with the segments altogether. That's the only way to ensure fairness. Beth: That would work for me Amy, but like posting pit road speeds for everyone to see, we know that'll never happen. That said, no matter what NASCAR does, there are drivers that will use the rules to their advantage. It's just a matter that some drivers have that technique down while others often get burned by it. Read More »

Mirror Driving: Championship Favorites, Young Talent, And “Chasing” Road Courses

Mirror Driving: Championship Favorites, Young Talent, And “Chasing” Road Courses

*Kyle Busch took over sole possession of the points lead in Michigan after Carl Edwards' engine woes. With his fourth win of the year, does Busch become the title favorite, or does that moniker still belong to Carl Edwards, Jimmie Johnson, or someone else?* Mike: The favorite banner is still Jimmie Johnson's until he's beaten. I know people try and poo-poo their chances for a multitude of reasons but they're right there. That said, Busch should, at least at this point in time, be the favorite to take the title away if anyone is going to. Phil: Busch has been very strong recently, but Johnson is starting to come on once again. Edwards is falling off, even though his contract is done and signed now. Read More »

Mirror Driving: As Joe Gibbs Racing Turns, In The Name Of Safety And Points Racing

*Marcos Ambrose's first career win was nearly overshadowed by some nasty crashes at Watkins Glen. Does the track need a major safety overhaul?* Amy: Yes, but here's the thing. The major incidents in recent years have been on parts of the track that can't be reconfigured because of the temporary barriers. Phil: There are some nasty blunt angles on walls there. That kickout that Ragan originally hit was an issue last year. I wouldn't be surprised if that got revised. However, that kickout protects a crossover. Read More »