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Amy Henderson

McMurray At A Crossroads With Miles To Go

McMurray At A Crossroads With Miles To Go

The year is 2002, and there is buzz in the then Busch Series garage and among fans about a 26-year-old driver seemingly in the fast lane to the top. By season’s end, he looks to be proving to all takers that he’s worthy of the talk--he’ll end up with a pair of wins, and will finish in the top 10 over 40% of the time. He’ll also finish sixth in points and win in a then-Winston Cup race as well, in only his second start as a fill in for the injured Sterling Marlin. In fact, his first Cup win will come before his first Busch Series win. He is a sponsor’s dream, a genuinely likeable young man with a floppy bowl haircut and an easy smile. Everyone likes him because of his outgoing personality. There seems to be no limit to where this young driver will go, and after he wins Raybestos Rookie of the Year honors and finishes 13th in points in the Cup series in 2003, now driving for a brand-new Cup team with a new and extravagant owner in Chip Ganassi while winning two more Busch Series races on a limited schedule, his future seems written in stone. Read More »

Big Six: Allstate 400 at the Brickyard

*Who…gets my shoutout of the race?* A fraction of a mile per hour cost *Juan Pablo Montoya* the chance to become the only driver to win both the Indianapolis 500 (a feat which he accomplished in 2006) and the Allstate 400. Montoya, who is Earnhardt-Ganassi racing’s only real Chase hope, had a dominant car all day long and was driving like a championship contender until a speeding penalty ended his chances to win. Still, Montoya showed that his learning curve ... Read More »

It’s About Dreams: Lessons From A Short Track

It’s About Dreams: Lessons From A Short Track

With the Sprint Cup Series off and the Nationwide Series at Gateway for a late Saturday Night Special, a trip to the local track was in order. Now my local short track is one of the most famous in the land-Hickory Motor Speedway, in Hickory, North Carolina, a track where the winners’ list reads like a who’s who of NASCAR’s best and brightest. But these days, Hickory is all short track, and it’s a great place to spend a sultry Southern Saturday night. So I grabbed the cooler, a lawn chair and a few friends, and off we went. Read More »

Side By Side: Should Johnson’s Indy Win Have An Asterisk?

Side By Side: Should Johnson’s Indy Win Have An Asterisk?

_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: Given NASCAR's tire debacle in last year's Brickyard 400, should Jimmie Johnson's win have an asterisk by it in the record book?* Read More »

Too Steep A Learning Curve Makes Too Wild A Ride

Too Steep A Learning Curve Makes Too Wild A Ride

There has been discussion lately about rushing young drivers too quickly to the top in NASCAR, because at one time, in the not-too-distant past, it was considered out of the ordinary for drivers younger than their mid- to late-20s to join the elite class of race drivers that is now NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series. It has become more and more common in recent years to see younger drivers reaching the top, along with many question as to whether it is detrimental to them or their careers. Certainly, one has to wonder if this is so. But there is another thing to consider as well. What about its effect on the sport? Read More »

Beyond the Cockpit: Brian Vickers on Luck, Teammates, and Jumping Out of a Perfectly Good Airplane

Beyond the Cockpit: Brian Vickers on Luck, Teammates, and Jumping Out of a Perfectly Good Airplane

Amy Henderson: What do you think that next step is as far as winning races? It certainly looks like your team is right there every week. Brian Vickers: We’ve accomplished a lot. I feel like we’ve had some work to do -- on the driver’s part, on the team’s part, in the race shop. But above and beyond that, I feel like we just need to have a little bit of luck... Read More »

Big Six: LifeLock 400

*Who…gets my shoutout of the race?* It’s a tough week to have to choose this one, but I’m going with a driver who, a year ago, was labeled as just another open-wheel convert who couldn’t figure out stock cars. Fast forward to the present, though, and *Juan Pablo Montoya* seems to have it figured out nicely, thank you very much. Montoya’s tenth-place run was his ninth top 10 of the year, already a career best, and Montoya also moved up ... Read More »

Life Is A Team Sport, But is NASCAR?

Life Is A Team Sport, But is NASCAR?

We’ve all heard it: the winning driver in Victory Lane, thanking his teammates, without whom he surely could not have prevailed. Well, okay, maybe not in those exact words, because he’d sound like a dork, but you know the drill. Thank those teammates! So, how important are those teammates, really? In a perfect world, of course, teammates would have completely similar driving styles, share all their setup information, draft with each other, block for each other, park next to each other in the motor home lot and have a cookout every Saturday night. Maybe that’s taking it too far. As everyone knows in today’s NASCAR, success generally lies in multicar teams. But how important is it, really, for those drivers to get along? Do they need to share any and all information? And is there such a thing as taking being a team player too far? Read More »

Beyond the Cockpit: Casey Mears on Routines, RCR, and Diapering 101

Beyond the Cockpit: Casey Mears on Routines, RCR, and Diapering 101

_It’s been an eventful year for Casey Mears, and when we last talked with him, it was just the beginning. Amy Henderson caught up with the driver of the No. 07 Jack Daniel’s Chevrolet at New Hampshire International Speedway, and he had a lot to say about the past year, his new team at Richard Childress Racing, and fatherhood._ *Amy Henderson, FS.com:* Last year at this time, you were still deciding what you were going to do this year. What was the process like for you deciding to come over to Richard Childress Racing, and what has the transition been like? *Casey Mears:* The process was like any other -- you’re just trying to find the best fit, what’s going to work the best, and what’s the best opportunity. By far, RCR was the best opportunity that I had. I’m just really excited to be a part of this organization. It’s a great opportunity, and I’m just having fun so far. Read More »

Greatness Is Made Of Many Things

Greatness Is Made Of Many Things

The 25 finalists for five spots in the inaugural calls in the NASCAR Hall of Fame were released this week and I don’t envy anyone who has to narrow that list down. It did start me thinking, though, about what really makes a stock car driver great. At this level, they’re _all_ good. They wouldn’t be here if they weren’t. For all fans say about a particular driver being “bad” or “mediocre,” the fact is that to simply get to any of NASCAR’s top divisions, you’re good. But what separates the really great drivers from the masses today? This is how I break it down: Read More »