Thursday , October 23 2014
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Amy Henderson

The Wheel Files: Conspiracy Theories Alive and Well in NASCAR

The Wheel Files: Conspiracy Theories Alive and Well in NASCAR

Did you hear? NASCAR wants Kyle Busch to win the championship and will do anything to make sure he does. NASCAR doesn’t want Hendrick Motorsports to win another title, either. And the reason they don’t publish the rulebook or specific punishments is so they can punish based on who they want to win and who they don’t. And let’s not forget that they really don’t want independent teams in the sport and will go about slowly eliminating them, one by one. All secretly. Cue the whistly, sort-of scary music and bring on the slightly harangued FBI agent who works in the attic because nobody else will work next to his lunchbox, which contains Limburger cheese every day since 1982, because there is a conspiracy afoot. Or so legions of NASCAR fans would have us believe. To hear some fans tell it, NASCAR picks and chooses who is going to succeed, and who is going to fail. And maybe the weather, too. Read More »

Big Six: Autism Speaks 400

*Who…Gets my shoutout of the race?* A driver who quietly had an outstanding weekend, *Casey Mears* had a strong finish at a difficult track. After hovering near the top ten on the speed charts since Friday, Mears brought it home in ninth, the highest finishing position in the Richard Childress Racing stable. Though a midpack driver most of this season, Mears has had his strongest runs at two of the series’ most demanding tracks-Richmond and now Dover. A lot of ... Read More »

The Time is Now for Earnhardt, Jr. as Eury, Jr. Departs

The Time is Now for Earnhardt, Jr. as Eury, Jr. Departs

The announcement that much of NASCAR Nation has been waiting for with bated breath came Thursday: Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and crew chief Tony Eury, Jr. will part ways, effective immediately. Hendrick Motorsports team manager Brian Whitesell will be on top of the pit box this weekend at Dover, and then veteran head wrench Lance McGrew will take the reins on an interim basis while a permanent replacement is sought. Both Whitesell and McGrew have found victory lane as crew chiefs, Whitesell with Jeff Gordon and McGrew with several drivers from the Camping World Truck Series and up. Though it is easy to lose sight of with the way things have been going, Earnhardt has a decent record himself-his 18 Cup wins rank ninth among active drivers. He has more wins than Carl Edwards, Greg Biffle, or Kyle Busch, in fact. The majority of his success came with a crew chief other than Eury, Jr. All of which adds up to mean only one thing. It’s do or die time. Read More »

Big Six: Sprint All-Star Race

Big Six: Sprint All-Star Race

*Who…gets my shoutout of the race?* I’m going to take a hard right turn from the norm and award a winner in this. He wasn’t the million-dollar winner, but I’d be willing to bet that *Sam Hornish, Jr.* felt like a million dollars after winning the Sprint Showdown. While not an official points race, the victory was Hornish’s first in a stock car. While due credit should be given to improving Penske equipment, Hornish is doing a fair job of steady improvement himself these days. Sure, the big names werne’t there to contend with, but Hornish proved his mettle against the best of the rest on Saturday. Read More »

After 25 Years of All-Star Races, One Really Stands Out, But Not For the Racing

After 25 Years of All-Star Races, One Really Stands Out, But Not For the Racing

With the 25th running of the All-Star race coming up Saturday night, I was supposed to write a column about memorable All-Star Races...or something like that. You know, standard rundown of the big moments. But the problem with that reared its ugly head in oh, about 30 seconds. I don’t really remember any. Sure, I could go to the highlight reels, but considering that everyone and their brother has done that, and on TV, with film to back it up--well, suffice it to say that didn’t do it for me. There have been moments for sure. I’ll admit a small measure of something like, oh, say complete and utter glee following Kyle Busch’s spin a couple of years ago at the moment I realized that he was going to take Kurt with him. But I’m not proud of being happy that someone wrecked, and besides, I couldn’t tell you who actually won that race, which is, after all, the point. Read More »

Big Six: Southern 500

*Who…gets my shoutout of the race?* There were several candidates for this one, including two rookies and one driver who drove much of the race feeling very ill because his team couldn’t find a relief driver small enough. But the award goes to the defending series champion after an exhausting night. After starting in the back, fighting an ill-handling car early, losing a lap when a caution flew while he was on pit road, *Jimmie Johnson* somehow got back on ... Read More »

The Things We Forget: A Richmond Revelation, Kevin Grubb, and Putting Racing Into Perspective

The Things We Forget: A Richmond Revelation, Kevin Grubb, and Putting Racing Into Perspective

Every once in a while, something happens that puts things in perspective. Something that reminds you why you’re here in the first place. It’s not necessarily a big event--it can be something as small as a child’s thank you or the smell of spring and fresh cut grass. But it’s a reminder of what is important, and right, and good. It was that kind of week. A couple of things happened to put my racing life into perspective. Read More »

Second and Third Fiddle Sharing One Bow Is A Sour Note

Second and Third Fiddle Sharing One Bow Is A Sour Note

I think it’s one of Murphy’s Laws (Murphy, I never knew you, but you were one hell of a pessimist, huh?) that just when you think things couldn’t get any worse, someone surprises you. Of course, this is NASCAR we’re talking about, the sanctioning body that has come up with so ways to fix something that wasn’t broken that it will hurt your brain trying to remember them all. But still, the latest missive from The Powers That Be might just be the worst. Well, okay, not the worst, because the worst was the top 35 rule. But pretty darn close. In a time when NASCAR ought to be marketing the hell out of the Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series, NASCAR’s latest decision instead sends teams in those series, their sponsors, and their fans the message that nobody gives a damn about them. Read More »

Beyond the Cockpit: NASCAR’s Hockey Player Turned Nationwide Rookie Michael Annett

Beyond the Cockpit: NASCAR’s Hockey Player Turned Nationwide Rookie Michael Annett

Amy Henderson, Frontstretch.com: For the fans who don’t know your background yet, tell me how you got into racing -- I understand you had to make a choice between racing and another sport you love. Michael Annett: Yes. I grew up my whole life playing hockey across the Midwest, around Iowa and Minnesota. I was actually born into a family that had racing in its blood. Read More »

Big Six: Aaron’s 499

*Who…gets my shoutout of the race?* Most readers know I never give this one to the race winner, because he gets enough shoutouts, but this week I’m going to make an exception. To win a race as a rookie is tough enough, but *Brad Keselowski *won’t even be a full-time rookie until next year at the earliest. Yet he raced Carl Edwards like a veteran, and had the presence of mind to hold his line when he got it. Edwards ... Read More »