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Danny Peters

Has This Season Really Been All That Bad?

Has This Season Really Been All That Bad?

They say absence makes the heart grow fonder and in the case of the Sprint Cup that’s certainly how I felt this past Sunday, as for the fourth and final time this season, NASCAR’s top echelon took a well deserved weekend off from the relentless slog that is the Cup schedule. With 24 races in the books -- precisely two-thirds of the full season for those so mathematically inclined -- and a 12-week, 12-race swing ahead of us, there will be precious little time for reflection in the next couple of months; and, by the time we next pause for collective breath, the champion will have been decided and the top 35 set headed into 2010. How it’s all going to play out only the good Lord knows (although don’t discount that evil genius himself Chad Knaus having some kind of inside track here), but before we get down to the serious business of the sharp end of the season, I wanted to take a minute to reflect on what we’ve seen so far in the 61st NASCAR season. Read More »

Two To Go: Five Points To Ponder Ahead Of The Off-Weekend

Two To Go: Five Points To Ponder Ahead Of The Off-Weekend

*Just How Good is Marcos Ambrose Going to Get?* Following a tremendous third place finish at Thunder Valley, Ambrose played the humility card with great aplomb in the post race interview; talking in “pseudo-incredulous” terms about how he was shocked that someone like him could be racing (and holding his own) with the legends of the sport. Now modesty isn’t typically a trait you associate with Australian sport stars – and I must pause and laugh heartily at the Aussie cricket team who just lost the “Ashes” test series to England this past weekend; but in the case of Ambrose the whole “aww shucks, I’m just happy to be here” routine is going to get old quick. Read More »

Side By Side: Will Kyle Busch Make the Chase?

Side By Side: Will Kyle Busch Make the Chase?

*Today's Question: After Sunday's wreck left him a disappointing 38th at Indianapolis, Kyle Busch dropped from 10th to 14th in points, 87 out of the Chase. Will he be able to recover by Richmond and make NASCAR's ten-race playoff?* *Kyle Busch WILL Make the Chase* _Danny Peters_ I have no doubt my Side-by-Side debating partner this week, our esteemed managing editor Tom Bowles, will blind you with all manner of statistics and juicy numerical nuggets as to why Kyle Busch won’t make the Chase. *Busch In The Chase? Not A Chance* _Tom Bowles_ Heading into Indianapolis, I already had a sneaky feeling Kyle Busch wasn’t going to make the Chase. 60 laps later, one hard hit into the outside wall has left me totally convinced. Read More »

Driver Report Cards, Part II: Grading Dale Jr. And The Rest

Driver Report Cards, Part II: Grading Dale Jr. And The Rest

Continuing on from yesterday’s review, it’s time for Professors Danny and Tom to grade those drivers sitting at the back of the class. Whether it’s some bad racing luck, poor chemistry with a crew chief, or just plain awful driving, most of these guys from 21st on back have endured a season they’d like to forget. As the upcoming summer stretch heats up, those unlucky enough to be a part of this list won’t be fighting to make the Chase; instead, they’ll be working to save their jobs, explaining to unhappy sponsors and owners how things didn’t go as planned. But in the midst of this group are a handful of diamonds in the rough, wheelmen overachieving with single-car teams overmatched from the start against the multi-car powerhouses. Just which of these underdogs stood out above the rest? Read below to find out as our two-part midseason report card series comes to a close. Read More »

2009 Driver Report Cards, Part I: Grading The Chase Contenders

2009 Driver Report Cards, Part I: Grading The Chase Contenders

We’re one race past the statistical halfway point of the 2009 season and as we gear up for the stretch run of 17 Sprint Cup races in 18 weeks, the much maligned (and in equal parts ballyhooed) “Chase for the Sprint Cup” is just seven races away. So before we get down to the serious business of the sharp end of the season, we’ve graded each of the top 40 drivers – based on the points standings as we run headed to the Brickyard. We’ve divided our review into two halves; today, we focus on the top 20 drivers while tomorrow we’ll look at the wheelmen running in positions 21 through 40. Some of these grades will seem just right to you, others a country mile off. But no matter what you think, let us know what you agree with, what you don’t, and why below… Leading off, it’s “owner/driver” Tony Stewart, a moniker he’s taken well to, it seems. Read More »

NASCAR on TNT A Breath of Fresh Air After FOX Hype

NASCAR on TNT A Breath of Fresh Air After FOX Hype

The Sprint Cup season is now over halfway home. Can you believe it? I know I can’t. In fact, it only seems like yesterday Elliott Sadler was leading a rain-threatened Daytona 500 bemoaning his lack of luck… and heck, we all know how that turned out. So, with 19 races in the books, seven races to go until the Chase, and a rare off weekend ahead, we reach the final broadcasting transition of the season as ESPN, the “Worldwide Leader in Sports” takes over for the stretch run following a terrific six-race spell by TNT. Read More »

Ten of the Best Motorsports Writers You Should Be Reading (Outside Of Frontstretch)

Ten of the Best Motorsports Writers You Should Be Reading (Outside Of Frontstretch)

Part of the beauty of the sheer volume of online information available to NASCAR aficionados these days is that you can cherry pick your favorites. If one particular writer annoys you, then you just ignore that particular scribe or site. But part of the fun of the wide variety of columns and links, each and every day, is that you can very quickly get a long list of must read columns that inform you on the latest and greatest in the NASCAR world. And that, dear readers, is the spirit in which this column is written. When I first mentioned the topic to our Managing Editor, he was plenty skeptical – and not without good reason. Why, to be fair, did I want to willingly direct traffic away from Frontstretch? But the bottom line is we're not the only site with great writing -- and there are several other members of the media who should both be read and acknowledged for their hard work they put out each and every week. So, without any further ado, here are ten of the best NASCAR writers you’re not reading on Frontstretch... Read More »

The Remarkable Rise of Michael Waltrip Racing

The Remarkable Rise of Michael Waltrip Racing

With the honorable exception of David Reutimann, the driver formerly known as the Franchise, it was another very positive weekend for Michael Waltrip Racing at Infineon Raceway this past Sunday; yet more evidence to support the remarkable rise from the ashes of the jet-fuel “first race” debacle at Daytona in 2007. Taking top billing was everybody’s favorite Australian NASCAR driver, Marcos Ambrose, who finished third -- a season high -- behind race winner Kasey Kahne and Tony Stewart. For the Launceston, Tasmania native, the third place finish made up for his fine run, but terrible finish at the same track last year, and tied his highest Cup finish, having also come home third at Watkins Glen in 2008. Read More »

Crucial Weeks Approach for Chase Hopeful Montoya

Crucial Weeks Approach for Chase Hopeful Montoya

Lost in the pack, behind the failed fuel gambles of Jimmie Johnson and Greg Biffle and a series-equaling best third win for NASCAR’s very own Peter Pan, Mark Martin, was the sixth place finish for the No. 42 car of Juan Pablo Montoya this week at Michigan. But for a man who'd never been better than 25th at MIS, Sunday's formidable finish was nothing to shy away from. The Colombian’s best run of the year, and fourth top 10 in six races, elevated the 33-year-old to 14th in the standings -- leaving him a scant 43 points from the all-important Chase cutoff. Montoya’s ebullience was evident in his post-race comments, where in a telling moment, an often-temperamental driver wasn't afraid to shy away from spreading the love. Read More »

Will Hamlin’s Supposed “Bad Luck” Derail A Promising Career?

Will Hamlin’s Supposed “Bad Luck” Derail A Promising Career?

"I think luck is the sense to recognize an opportunity and the ability to take advantage of it. The man who can smile at his breaks and grab his chances gets on." _- Samuel Goldwyn_ There is a tendency in sport, from the highest echelon to the lowest, most grassroots level, to accentuate the short term, focusing on what just happened or what is happening rather than looking at the bigger picture. A driver guiltier of that than most is the wheelman of the No. 11 FedEx Camry -- Denny Hamlin – but after a pair of shocking races, short and term are two words the Virginia native would do well not to let pass his lips in the near future. Read More »