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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: What Will Label Sin City A Gen-6 Success Story

Welcome to \"Mirror Driving.\" Every Wednesday, 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*: <span style=\"color:dodgerblue; font-weight:bold\">Amy Henderson</span> \"(Mondays / The Big Six & Fridays / Holding A Pretty Wheel & Frontstretch Co-Managing Editor)\":http://www.frontstretch.com/staffinfo/351/ <span style=\"color:indigo; font-weight:bold\">Jeff Wolfe</span> (Frontstretch Fantasy Insider) <span style=\"color:blue; font-weight:bold\">Phil Allaway</span> \"(Tuesdays / Talking NASCAR TV & Frontstretch Newsletter Editor)\":http://www.frontstretch.com/staffinfo/18439/ <span style=\"color:magenta; font-weight:bold\">Summer Bedgood</span> \"(Frontstretch NASCAR Senior Writer)\":http://www.frontstretch.com/staffinfo/32577/ *The Gen-6 car has received mixed reviews so far in 2013, but we’re only two races into the season. The “real test” is going to be this weekend in Las Vegas, one of the many intermediate racetracks that are currently on the Sprint Cup Series schedule. What would a successful race be for you and do you think expectations are too high?* <span style=\"color:indigo; font-weight:bold\">Jeff:</span>: I would like to at least six or eight passes for the lead. But really, when it comes down to the end, it would be nice to say any one of four or five drivers could win. <span style=\"color:dodgerblue; font-weight:bold\">Amy:</span> Like I said a couple of weeks ago, teams are still learning this car, as is NASCAR. Any time before the second race at tracks is too soon to know what it's really capable of. <span style=\"color:magenta; font-weight:bold\">Summer:</span>: I do think expectations are too high because of all the hype. Still, though, a successful race would be a variety of passing throughout. <span style=\"color:indigo; font-weight:bold\">Jeff:</span>: Yes, even a lot of passing in the top 10 would be good, too. <span style=\"color:blue; font-weight:bold\">Phil:</span> Agreed. A successful race at Las Vegas would be one where drivers don’t just pass… they can race each other _hard_ for position. <span style=\"color:magenta; font-weight:bold\">Summer:</span>: I don't think that will happen simply because it's a long race and drivers won't race too hard regardless. But I'd like to get through one weekend without hearing the drivers say, \"You just can't pass in traffic.\" Phoenix wasn't a terrible race, but drivers were _still_ saying that. I understand that some of that is the tires and track configuration, but the car plays a role too. <span style=\"color:blue; font-weight:bold\">Phil:</span> At this point, I'm confident that almost any type of car at Phoenix would create a similar race to what we saw on Sunday. <span style=\"color:indigo; font-weight:bold\">Jeff:</span>: I thought Phoenix was a decent race. There was a respectable amount of passing late in the event. <span style=\"color:dodgerblue; font-weight:bold\">Amy:</span> I think expectations are too high from fans. And one thing hasn’t changed…there are passes for position, under green, all race long…but you never see most of them because the cameras are only showing a few select cars. When FOX used the stationary cams during the Crank It Up segments at Phoenix, you could see several cars racing side-by-side. The rest of the time, not so much. I was listening to team audio, so I know there was passing going on. <span style=\"color:magenta; font-weight:bold\">Summer:</span>: Like I said, it wasn't a terrible race, but I still heard drivers talking about how the car reacted in traffic. It sounded the same as the old car. <span style=\"color:dodgerblue; font-weight:bold\">Amy:</span> It will be interesting to see what the cars do at Vegas. Based on what I saw during the tests at Charlotte over the winter, there was passing when they raced in small groups. However, they never raced in groups bigger than about four or five. <span style=\"color:magenta; font-weight:bold\">Summer:</span>: Yeah, but we don't see \"big packs\" at intermediates anyway. Four or five _is_ a big pack at those tracks. <span style=\"color:blue; font-weight:bold\">Phil:</span> ... Read More »

NASCAR Writer Power Rankings: Top 15 After Phoenix-1

<div style=\"margin: 20px; width: 275px; float: left; border: 0px solid black; padding: 3px\"><img src=\"http://www.frontstretch.com/images/1952.gif\" border=\"0\" alt=\"Frontstretch Power Rankings\" width=\"206\" height=\"202\" /></div><div><div><div>The backflip is back! Carl Edwards survived a green-white-checkered finish and broke a 70-race winless streak in Phoenix to capture his first win since Las Vegas in 2011. Ironically, this is the same track Edwards broke his first 70-race winless streak at, back in November 2010.&nbsp;</div><div><br /></div><div>Tire wear was the major story leaving Phoenix as a majority of cautions were a result of right-front tire failures. Those among the victims included Ryan Newman and Danica Patrick, who both fell out of the race from damage due to blown Goodyears.</div><div><br /></div><div>Also a top story was track position. Early leaders Mark Martin, Carl Edwards and Kasey Kahne were strong throughout the first half of the race, but Martin and Kahne couldn&rsquo;t recover after falling back into traffic due to ill-handling race cars. Edwards was the only one of that trio to finish inside the top 15. &nbsp;</div><div><br /></div><div>In the end, the cream rose to the top. Nine of the top-10 finishers Sunday were in the top 10 in the final 2012 point standings. It&rsquo;s still early in the season but Jimmie, Brad and Junior are making statements. Did Carl Edwards&#39; victory help propel him up the rankings? Or does Jimmie Johnson reign supreme with back-to-back top-2 finishes? Read on to find out:</div><div>&nbsp;</div></div><div><strong>How The Rankings Are Calculated</strong>: Frontstretch does our power rankings somewhat similar to how the Associated Press does them for basketball or football – our expert stable of NASCAR writers, both on staff and from other major publications will vote for the Top 20 on a 20-19-18-17-16-15… 3-2-1 basis, giving 20 points to their first place driver, 19 for their second, and so on. In the end, Michael Mehedin calculates the points, adds some funny one-liners, and … here you go!</div></div><table border=\"0\"><tbody></tbody></table><table border=\"0\" cellspacing=\"4\" cellpadding=\"0\" bgcolor=\"#a0a0a0\"><tbody><tr bgcolor=\"#ffffff\"><td colspan=\"4\" align=\"center\"><strong>FRONTSTRETCH TOP 15 POWER RANKINGS: March 6th</strong></td></tr><tr bgcolor=\"#ffffff\"><td><strong>Rank</strong></td><td><strong>Driver (First Place Votes)</strong></td><td><strong>Votes</strong> </td><td align=\"right\"><strong>Last Week</strong></td></tr><tr bgcolor=\"#ffffff\"><td align=\"center\"><strong>1</strong></td><td><strong>Jimmie Johnson (10)</strong></td><td align=\"right\">219</td><td align=\"right\">1</td></tr><tr><td colspan=\"4\">Appears that Johnson is in &ldquo;Chase Mode&rdquo; mode a little early this year. <em>Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch.com</em></td></tr><tr bgcolor=\"#ffffff\"><td align=\"center\"><strong>2</strong></td><td><strong>Brad Keselowski</strong></td><td align=\"right\">199</td><td align=\"right\">2</td></tr><tr><td colspan=\"4\">Don&rsquo;t look now but the champ is looking like he&rsquo;s ready to make five-time earn number six. <em>Mike Neff, Frontstretch.com</em></td></tr><tr bgcolor=\"#ffffff\"><td align=\"center\"><strong>3</strong></td><td><strong>Dale Earnhardt, Jr. </strong></td><td align=\"right\">194</td><td align=\"right\">3</td></tr><tr><td colspan=\"4\">Two good races on totally different tracks, a good sign for Junior Nation. <em>Jeff Wolfe, Frontstretch.com</em></td></tr><tr bgcolor=\"#ffffff\"><td align=\"center\"><strong>4</strong></td><td><strong>Denny Hamlin</strong></td><td align=\"right\">168</td><td align=\"right\">7</td></tr><tr><td colspan=\"4\">BONZAAAAAAIIIIIIIIIII!!!!! <em>Mike Neff, Frontstretch.com</em></td></tr><tr bgcolor=\"#ffffff\"><td align=\"center\"><strong>5</strong></td><td><strong>Clint Bowyer </strong></td><td align=\"right\">163</td><td align=\"right\">5</td></tr><tr><td colspan=\"4\">Happy with a solid, sixth-place performance, but probably would have preferred that finish a lot more the last time the series visited the desert. <em>Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch.com</em></td></tr><tr bgcolor=\"#ffffff\"><td align=\"center\"><strong>6</strong></td><td><strong>Matt Kenseth</strong></td><td align=\"right\">152</td><td align=\"right\">6</td></tr><tr><td colspan=\"4\">Matt showed what TRD power can do without any issues. <em>Michael Mehedin, Frontstretch.com</em></td></tr><tr bgcolor=\"#ffffff\"><td align=\"center\"><strong>7</strong></td><td><strong>Carl Edwards</strong></td><td align=\"right\">150</td><td align=\"right\">NR</td></tr><tr><td colspan=\"4\">Good to see the focus in the grandstands after the race was for a driver celebrating a win, not debris from an accident. <em>Michael Mehedin, Frontstretch.com</em></td></tr><tr bgcolor=\"#ffffff\"><td align=\"center\"><strong>8</strong></td><td><strong>Tony Stewart</strong></td><td align=\"right\">137</td><td align=\"right\">11</td></tr><tr><td colspan=\"4\">The boss had to prove that an SHR car could make it to the finish. <em>Mike Neff, Frontstretch.com</em></td></tr><tr bgcolor=\"#ffffff\"><td align=\"center\"><strong>9</strong></td><td><strong>Jeff Gordon</strong></td><td align=\"right\">135</td><td align=\"right\">9</td></tr><tr><td colspan=\"4\">Could see Clint Bowyer at the end of the race but couldn&rsquo;t get close enough to dump him again. <em>Mike Neff, Frontstretch.com</em></td></tr><tr bgcolor=\"#ffffff\"><td align=\"center\"><strong>10</strong></td><td><strong>Greg Biffle</strong></td><td align=\"right\">128</td><td align=\"right\">4</td></tr><tr><td colspan=\"4\">The rollercoaster that is Biffle&rsquo;s season is heading towards hill number two. <em>Mike Neff, Frontstretch.com</em></td></tr><tr bgcolor=\"#ffffff\"><td align=\"center\"><strong>11</strong></td><td><strong>Kevin Harvick</strong></td><td align=\"right\">100</td><td align=\"right\">13</td></tr><tr><td colspan=\"4\">Hoping the entire &ldquo;baby in the car&rdquo; during pre-race has been put to bed, <em>Mike Neff, Frontstretch.com</em></td></tr><tr bgcolor=\"#ffffff\"><td align=\"center\"><strong>12</strong></td><td><strong>Kasey Kahne (1)</strong></td><td align=\"right\">89</td><td align=\"right\">10</td></tr><tr><td colspan=\"4\">Kasey continues to dig a hole much like he did in 2012. On the positive side, the hole isn&rsquo;t as big as it was this time last year. <em>Michael Mehedin, Frontstretch.com</em></td></tr><tr bgcolor=\"#ffffff\"><td align=\"center\"><strong>13</strong></td><td><strong>Mark Martin</strong></td><td align=\"right\">74</td><td align=\"right\">14</td></tr><tr><td colspan=\"4\">Fondly recalls the days when four new tires made your car faster than those competitors that opted for only two. <em>Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch.com</em></td></tr><tr bgcolor=\"#ffffff\"><td align=\"center\"><strong>14</strong></td><td><strong>Kyle Busch</strong></td><td align=\"right\">60</td><td align=\"right\">8</td></tr><tr><td colspan=\"4\">The natural flow of Sunday&rsquo;s race guaranteed that the early spin would keep him from being able to record a decent finish. <em>Phil Allaway, Frontstretch.com</em></td></tr><tr bgcolor=\"#ffffff\"><td align=\"center\"><strong>15</strong></td><td><strong>Aric Almirola</strong></td><td align=\"right\">58</td><td align=\"right\">NR</td></tr><tr><td colspan=\"4\">It will be a while before Aric is considered a threat for anything, but sitting ninth in points after two races is a good start. <em>Mike Neff, Frontstretch.com</em></td></tr><tr><td colspan=\"4\"><strong>Dropped Out</strong>: Danica Patrick (15), Ryan Newman (12) </td></tr><tr><td colspan=\"4\"><strong>Others Receiving Votes</strong>:&nbsp;Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. (52), Jeff Burton (43), Ryan Newman (39), AJ Allmendinger (27), Marcos Ambrose (27), Martin Truex, Jr. (23), Juan Pablo Montoya (21), Kurt Busch (15), Joey Logano (14), Paul Menard (11), Casey Mears (6), J.J. Yeley (3), Danica Patrick (2), Bobby Labonte (1).</td></tr><tr><td colspan=\"4\"><strong>Who Voted</strong>: <a href=\"http://twitter.com/Critic84\">Phil Allaway, Frontstretch.com</a>; <a href=\"http://www.twitter.com/NASCARBowles\">Tom Bowles, Frontstretch.com</a>; <a href=\"http://www.twitter.com/KellyCrandall%22\">Kelly Crandall, SpeedwayMedia.com</a>; <a href=\"http://www.twitter.com/dustinlong\">Dustin Long, Athlon Sports</a>; <a href=\"http://twitter.com/tonylumbis\">Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch.com</a>; <a href=\"http://www.twitter.com/MikeyMehedin\">Michael Mehedin, Frontstretch.com</a>; <a href=\"http://www.facebook.com/RaceTalkRadio\">Dennis Michelsen, RaceTalkRadio.com</a>; Brad Morgan, Frontstretch.com; <a href=\"http://www.facebook.com/MNeffshorttracj\">Mike Neff, Frontstretch.com</a>; <a href=\"http://www.twitter.com/surfwax83\">Kevin Rutherford, Frontstretch.com</a>; <a href=\"http://www.twitter.com/jeffwolfe206\">Jeff Wolfe, Frontstretch.com</a>.</td></tr></tbody></table> Read More »

Top Ten Things Ryan Newman Was Thinking As He Walked Away From His Phoenix Crash

<div style=\"float:right; width:250px; margin: 20px; border: black solid 1px; padding: 3px;\"><img src=\"http://www.frontstretch.com/images/14463.jpg\" width=\"250\" height=\"390\"/><p style=\"margin: 3px; text-align: left; font-weight:bold;\">I can't believe I thought it would be cool to try and grow a beard like Jimmie's! This stubble itches something fierce under the helmet–must shave now!</p></div> *10.* Oh, well…. at least now I can check on my fantasy racing league. *9.* Man, all those free Bloomin' Onions are still weighing me down. *8.* I swear the GPS said to turn right. *7.* One of my cows just had another calf. I gotta hurry and get home to see how they are doing. *6.* Somebody said something about a fight going on back here. Where is it? *5.* This gives me a chance to show off my sponsors a little more. Please re-up. Please! *4.* Where the heck did I see that Port a Potty? *3.* This NASCAR green movement is taking things a bit far… *2.* Who thought it would be funny to put the rattlesnakes from the hill under my seat? *1.* I'm no Clint Bowyer, but I can move pretty fast, too! \"Contact the Frontstretch Staff\":http://www.frontstretch.com/contact/14345/ Read More »

Jeb Burton Driver Diary: Daytona Success, Goals and Extended Breaks

Jeb Burton Driver Diary: Daytona Success, Goals and Extended Breaks

_Welcome to Jeb Burton's Driver Diary! After running a handful of Camping World Truck Series races last season before a lack of sponsorship sidelined him, the 20-year-old has signed on to run the full season with Turner Scott Motorsports behind the wheel of the No. 4 Chevrolet. In five races last season, Burton posted a lone top-10 finish (eighth at Charlotte) and has already bettered that with a fifth-place at Daytona to start off 2013. Join in all season long as he keeps you up to date on everything happening both on and off the track._ I started racing Motocross and I did that and won some races. I realized my talent was better on four wheels than two, so I took it to go-karts and succeeded very well at it. Then we went on to Late Models and I ran really well. We figured it was time to go to the next level, got some time and ran well in the Truck Series (in 2012). I knew I could do it then and I'm with a great organization now - it's time to win races now. Read More »

Frontstretch Foto Funnies: Anyone Know Where We Can Buy This In Bulk?

Frontstretch Foto Funnies: Anyone Know Where We Can Buy This In Bulk?

_Welcome to the Frontstretch Foto Funnies! Ever see a photo that's just begging for a caption? We see them all the time! Each week, we'll pick a few, and our let our staff give it their best shot. Then we'll post the best ones for you!_ _Want to get in on the fun? Each week, we'll also designate one of the photos for fan captions. Leave your best ideas in the comments below or on our "Facebook page.":https://www.facebook.com/Frontstretch We'll choose our favorite one and reprint the photo next week with its new caption! This week's Fan Foto is Photo No. 2 (the one with Brad Keselowski and Martin Truex, Jr.). Ready, set... caption that!_ Read More »

Mirror Driving: Picking Up The Plate Pieces, Drivers In Trouble And Gen-6, The Next Step

Mirror Driving: Picking Up The Plate Pieces, Drivers In Trouble And Gen-6, The Next Step

*Obviously, the Daytona 500 was the big race of the weekend, but most of our thoughts are still with the injured fans from Saturday’s Nationwide Series race after Kyle Larson’s car flew into the catchfence. What can NASCAR and Daytona learn from the incident and what can be done to make sure it never happens again?* Mike N.: You can never be sure it will never happen again. It is cars travelling at high rates of speed. Accidents will happen. That said, I hope they've learned that they need to get rid of crossover gates at all racetracks. Summer: Or at least find a way to make them safer. I usually advocate for a second look before a total elimination. I think it should be an evolving process, like the cars. But it will never be perfect. Read More »

NASCAR Writer Power Rankings Poll: Top 15 Heading To Phoenix

NASCAR Writer Power Rankings Poll: Top 15 Heading To Phoenix

Daytona weekend stole national headlines for a multitude of reasons; both good and bad. Johnny Sauter redeemed himself from last year’s wreck while leading and won the Camping World Truck Series season opener Friday under the lights. Tony Stewart continued his dominance of the Nationwide Series at Daytona with his seventh February victory. However, his victory lane celebration was diminished after a last-lap multi-car wreck sent Kyle Larson’s car into the frontstretch catchfence, ripping a hole in the crossover gate and sending 28 spectators to either the infield care center or medical centers off-property. Read More »

Mirror Driving: Dueling Towards The 500 And Qualifying Quandaries

Mirror Driving: Dueling Towards The 500 And Qualifying Quandaries

*Danica Patrick made history last Sunday, becoming the first female to win a pole in the Sprint Cup Series. What impact, if any, will it have on her season and NASCAR as a whole?* Phil: Somewhere between bukpis and bupkis. While it is nice to win the pole at Daytona, it doesn't really help her case for the rest of the season. There have been drivers who have had terrible years win the pole for the 500. Loy Allen, Jr. won the pole in 1994, then DNQ'd 12 times. Kevin: That's the exact stat I was actually going to point to, Phil! In terms of the season, it's definitely a nice boost of confidence, but it's still just one pole position at the beginning of the year. She's still gotta perform in the actual race(s). Jeff: I think it gives her a big boost of confidence that she can drive a fast car. How much impact she has will depend on her ability to stay consistent. I think she will have some good races, top 15s even, and some 30-something finishes. Read More »

NASCAR Sprint Cup Power Rankings: Preseason

NASCAR Sprint Cup Power Rankings: Preseason

For the first time in seven years, we have a Sprint Cup Champion not named Stewart or Johnson. History was made during 2013 Daytona 500 qualifying, Stanica was born, Kevin Harvick isn’t acting like a lame duck and the Gen-6 car has finally brought back brand identity to NASCAR. All this news and the season hasn’t even started yet! The past three months have brought more excitement to the 2013 season than Junior jumping ship to Hendrick Motorsports... Read More »