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Did You Notice?

Did You Notice? … Ganassi Kept The Wrong Guy, Logano’s A Little Too Shy, And Money Talks

*Did You Notice?* … That for all the Joey Logano hype, not everyone is jumping on the bandwagon quite yet? Certainly, Sunday’s race was a bonified step in the right direction for establishing the 19-year-old as a national superstar. But while Logano shattered the record for being the youngest race winner in NASCAR history, what we’ve yet to see from him – and what I’m excited to see develop – is his personality. What we’re witnessing, folks, for better or for worse is a driver who could very well turn out to be the dominant Sprint Cup force over the next decade. And because of that, it’s critically important that a sport more and more people are referring to as “vanilla” gets its next superstar packaged with a little extra spice of personality. Read More »

Did You Notice? … How To Make A Profit In NASCAR Without Racing Two Laps, And Gant’s Record In Peril

Did You Notice? … How To Make A Profit In NASCAR Without Racing Two Laps, And Gant’s Record In Peril

*Did You Notice?* … There were stories on various television outlets that start and parkers need to be at the track each weekend so they don’t “lose touch” with what’s going on in the garage each week. Oh _really?_ Why don’t you say that to Furniture Row Racing and the Wood Brothers over in the Cup Series, two of the most pleasant success stories this year as limited-schedule, single-car programs. Both the No. 78 and No. 21 chose to take their money and use it wisely, picking and choosing the races they go to run the full distance rather than trying to start and park in the other events or stretching their money over 36 races. Since they’ve made those decisions, both teams have been rewarded with top 20 finishes and an increased amount of media attention. And – can you believe it – suddenly companies are interested in sponsoring at least the No. 78 for a full season in 2010! Read More »

Did You Notice?… The Real Problem With Kyle Busch, The Murkiness Of Meth, And Silly Season Revisited

Did You Notice?… The Real Problem With Kyle Busch, The Murkiness Of Meth, And Silly Season Revisited

*Did You Notice?* … That in between all the controversy and opinions surrounding Kyle Busch and his guitar smashing, the No. 18 Cup team is in very real danger of not even making the Chase? Before we get to his antics (and don’t worry, I’m not going to comment too much as 1,500 people have already) let’s examine his dropoff in performance. Through 14 races this season, Busch has 353 points less than at this point in 2008, easily the worst dropoff of any full-time driver in this category. He’s currently ninth in the Chase standings, a whopping 312 behind Tony Stewart and just 53 ahead of Mark Martin in 13th place. Read More »

Did You Notice? … Long’s Last Words, Driver Of The Decade, And GM’s Rough Road Ahead?

Did You Notice? … Long’s Last Words, Driver Of The Decade, And GM’s Rough Road Ahead?

*Did You Notice?* … That at the end of a provocative, fantastic "interview by ESPN’s Marty Smith,":http://sports.espn.go.com/rpm/nascar/cup/news/story?id=4225487 Carl Long took a swipe at NASCAR worth expanding on. In case you hadn’t heard, Long lost his appeal of an oversized engine penalty on Tuesday, meaning not only is he stuck with a 12-race suspension from the Cup Series, but his crew chief remains responsible for a record $200,000 fine. If the duo doesn’t pay it (Long refuses to let his head wrench, Charles Swing, fall on the sword on his own), they won’t be racing in NASCAR as of February 2010. The fine leaves Swing without a license and Long’s team in irrecoverable financial difficulty. The decision amounted to a brow-raising move from the NSCRC, especially considering the difficulties small teams are having even staying in business to begin with. But when Smith asked Long about the future of blue-collar, independent organizations like him, he got bluntly honest ... Read More »

Did You Notice? … France Manipulates The Truth, Why Parity Is Still Problematic, And Driver Do’s And Dont’s

Did You Notice? … France Manipulates The Truth, Why Parity Is Still Problematic, And Driver Do’s And Dont’s

*Did You Notice?* … In this space "last year,":http://www.frontstretch.com/tbowles/16748/ 11 races into the season we took a look at how the “Big Four” of Gibbs, Childress, Hendrick, and Roush were dominating the sport. Since we’re at the same point in 2009, I thought it might be a good time to revisit those numbers and see if we’re a little bit closer towards the parity NASCAR hoped to achieve with the Car of Tomorrow. Read More »

Did You Notice? … NASCAR’s Drug Mistake? (Not Mayfield’s), Keselowski’s Should Be Cup’s Top Rookie, And Johnson Plays Dead

Did You Notice? … NASCAR’s Drug Mistake? (Not Mayfield’s), Keselowski’s Should Be Cup’s Top Rookie, And Johnson Plays Dead

*Did You Notice? ...* How secretive NASCAR is trying to be with this whole drug thing? There’s two main questions that came up in my head since the positive test, ones I couldn’t answer immediately as a reporter as Darlington was a weekend I’d taken off: 1) Why was Mayfield allowed to practice and qualify if NASCAR knew there was a positive sample? 2) Why will NASCAR not publicize its list of banned substances for drivers – especially when they have a history of shadiness with drug suspensions (See: Tim Richmond, 1980s)? I thought I was going to have to wait until this weekend to get answers, but it turns out "Jenna Fryer had a fantastic piece":http://sports.yahoo.com/nascar/news?slug=jf-fivethings051109 she put out over on Yahoo! with some of them (for those looking for a good read post-David Poole, let me tell you, her stuff is always top notch). Read More »

Did You Notice? … Kyle Busch’s 200-Win Fantasy, Stremme’s Dream Turned Nightmare, And Hendrick’s Big Choice

Did You Notice? … Kyle Busch’s 200-Win Fantasy, Stremme’s Dream Turned Nightmare, And Hendrick’s Big Choice

*Did You Notice? …* The big hubbub this week – by far – is whether Kyle Busch can get to 200 wins throughout his Cup career in NASCAR’s top three series. What? I’ve been under the weather with some kind of flu bug this week, so at first I thought I was being delusional. But no, that’s what Busch said after his post-race press conference, a quote that’s sent speculation soaring as to whether or not it can be done. But for those of us who’ve been around a long time … you have to laugh. I remember during Jeff Gordon’s peak years in the mid-1990s, speculation ran rampant as to whether or not he’d be able to achieve a total of between 100 and 150 wins in Cup during his career – or possibly even come close to challenging Richard Petty. Read More »

Did You Notice? … Tragic NASCAR Death Reminder To Push For A Higher Standard

Did You Notice? … Tragic NASCAR Death Reminder To Push For A Higher Standard

In four years of covering the NASCAR beat, I never “officially” met David Poole. But you don’t have to know him to understand. The word is beloved, and the year is 2006. I’m asked to speak for a documentary about the past, present, and future of NASCAR. The producer, a friend, chooses three writers to be his main analysts; David Poole and I are among the chosen few. The day he interviews Poole down in Charlotte, I get a call. “You won’t believe what happened,” he says. Read More »

Did You Notice? … Restrictor Plate One-Hit Wonders And The New Precedent Of “Probation”

Did You Notice? … Restrictor Plate One-Hit Wonders And The New Precedent Of “Probation”

*Did You Notice? …* The Daytona 500 is less of an indicator of season-long success than ever before? Heading into the second restrictor plate race of the season, no less than six of this year’s top 10 finishers in the Great American Race have yet to better their runs from February. Desperate for the draft dice to roll their way and get their year back on track, let’s take a look at each of these men who left their mojo down in Florida: *David Ragan* *Daytona 500: 6th* *Best Finish Since: 17th – Fontana* Who would have guessed that Ragan’d be on this list? Armed with both a high-dollar sponsor and that always tenuous “driver about to have a breakout season” tag attached to his back, the Chase appeared to have already put together a golden throne for this man’s arrival. Read More »

Did You Notice? … Lesa Takes The Helm, NASCAR’s Expensive Engines, And No Guts, No Glory

Did You Notice? … Lesa Takes The Helm, NASCAR’s Expensive Engines, And No Guts, No Glory

*Did You Notice?* … With Jim France stepping down as CEO of International Speedway Corporation, it’ll be the first time since the company was incorporated in 1953 (then known as Bill France Racing, Inc.) that it won’t be run by a France. It’s an amazing development for a series whose foundation was secured by Big Bill back in the late 1940s; in France’s place, John R. Saunders has been selected as the man to take over the role. Read More »