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FS Articles for 11/13/12

Tuesday on the Frontstretch: “Double Standards in Play as Gordon Avoids a Deserved Suspension”: “Five Points to Ponder: The Latest ... Read More »

Double Standards in Play as Gordon Avoids a Deserved Suspension

Well that was quite the race wasn’t it? In fact, so much happened between Jeff Gordon’s deliberate and premeditated wrecking of Clint Bowyer just before the leader took the white flag, I almost forgot there was still a race to finish whilst the fifteen-minute red flag delay occurred. In many ways Kevin Harvick’s victory and Brad Keselowski all but sealing his first Sprint Cup championship became little more than afterthoughts, given the melee and general carnage after Gordon’s remarkably ill-advised on track actions. Read More »

Five Points to Ponder: The Latest Failings of a Failed Sanctioning Body

*ONE: Hello, Consistency?* Anyone that needs more proof as to whether or not name means something in the eyes of NASCAR got it this afternoon, with NASCAR bucking their typical Tuesday announcements to notify the racing world that when the Cup Series takes the green at Homestead, Jeff Gordon will be on the track. Despite premeditating a clear act of payback on the racetrack that collected championship contender Clint Bowyer, Joey Logano and Aric Almirola (not to mention very nearly wrecking points leader Brad Keselowski as well), Gordon got away with a points penalty that means nothing and a fine Hendrick Motorsports will scoff at. Read More »

Who’s Hot / Who’s Not in NASCAR: Phoenix / Homestead-Miami Edition

Brad Keselowski couldn’t catch a break in the final 50 laps of the race at Texas, but he caught a big one at Phoenix. Jimmie Johnson’s right-front tire failure and subsequent crash put Keselowski in the catbird’s seat (20-point lead) heading to Homestead-Miami. Johnson must have left his golden horseshoe in Victory Lane at Texas, or maybe Kevin Harvick finally stole it. Either way, after Johnson caught all the lucky breaks at Texas, Keselowski caught them all at Phoenix. After Johnson’s wreck, the race wasn’t exactly a cakewalk for Keselowski, especially in the final laps. He had to avoid Jeff Gordon’s stupidity (more on that in Cold), then get to the finish while skating in oil and avoiding a massive accident on the frontstretch. It must’ve felt like Watkins Glen all over again, except the championship was on the line so it wasn’t as easy to laugh at. Read More »

Tech Talk: Making a Car Stick in the Florida Sun with Bob Osborne

_Bob Osborne was Carl Edwards crew chief for most of the first seven years of his career, with the exception of a brief stint with Jamie McMurray. He ran the No. 99 for the first 19 races this season before stepping aside due to health concerns. He is still part of the management of Roush Fenway racing and has his finger on the pulse of all of the teams under the Roush banner._ _Osborne shared his opinions on setting up for a variable banking track, an oval without a bend in the front straight, the character of Homestead after baking in the Florida sun for a few years and the strategy every team uses when they come to the race track on a race weekend. He also tells FS what he'd like to see out of the tires that are brought to the track every weekend._ Read More »

Thinkin’ Out Loud: Phoenix-2 Race Recap

*Key Moment* - Jeff Gordon intentionally wrecked Clint Bowyer, collecting Joey Logano and Aric Almirola as the field was coming to the white flag. The result was a green-white-checkered finish, one that saw Danica Patrick wreck on the first of two laps, lay down a large amount of oil on the track, then cause a complete melee on the front straight as the cars came to the checkered flag. The final wreck tore up over half-a-dozen race cars while the incident between Gordon and Bowyer set off a rumble in the garage, one reminiscent of the Tide team vs. the Kodiak crew at the 1989 Winston. *In a Nutshell* - For Phoenix, the word "wild" doesn't do it justice. For NASCAR officials, some controversial moments that will be argued well into the coming week. For the championship? Perhaps the moment Brad Keselowski sealed the deal. Read More »

Pace Laps: Bowyer-Gordon Brawling, Lost Title Trauma And Kyle Larson Mania

*Sprint Cup: In Whirlwind Weekend Of News, Brawl Takes Center Stage* Kevin Harvick's reported signing with Stewart-Haas Racing for the 2014 season was supposed to be the top story of the weekend — until Jimmie Johnson, the point leader before the race at Phoenix, slammed into the wall coming off Turn 4 late in the race. That was destined to take over the top spot — until the fight broke out. That happened on pit road after a pair of incidents on-track between Clint Bowyer and Jeff Gordon. Bowyer gave Gordon a tap, thinking he was being held up, and Gordon got into the wall. Gordon then waited for Bowyer on track and turned the No. 15 into the barrier himself, collecting Joey Logano in the process and causing extensive damage to all three cars. Read More »

The Big Six: Questions Answered After The AdvoCare 500

*Who… gets my shoutout of the race?* To the guys at the top of the points, a ninth top-10 finish might not seem like much. But for *Paul Menard*, it's a career high. Menard staked his claim on his ninth-place run early, qualifying seventh and running in the top five for most of the first half of Sunday's contest before fading a bit, then rallying back into the top ten. Menard has quietly put together a solid, if unspectacular, 2013 season. He'll likely wind up 16th in points, just one spot behind Carl Edwards and with just two fewer top-5 runs. He's having a better season than veteran teammate Jeff Burton. With Kevin Harvick a lame duck at Richard Childress Racing in 2013 and Jeff Burton on the hot seat, Menard could even be a dark horse candidate for the Chase next year if he can make the top ten a bit more often. Read More »

Fixing NASCAR’s Product Is Simple, Yet Impossible

If you haven’t read "Friday's column": written by my esteemed, award-winning colleague Amy Henderson, you should. In it, Amy eloquently explains, in a much nicer and less crude way than I do, the many points that are making NASCAR just another channel to surf over on a Sunday afternoon. While I agree with Amy on almost every point, a very rare occasion indeed, I do disagree that the way to "fix" NASCAR is not simple but actually quite the opposite. To put it mildly, the fixes are no brainers; they're just choices NASCAR simply does not have the balls to make. Read More »