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Happiness Is

Happiness Is… Franchises, Barber, Work and Wrigley

Happiness Is… Franchises, Barber, Work and Wrigley

So it was an off week in NASCAR. Did anyone miss it? Aww, c’mon, a little break never hurt. Of course, the difficulty in writing anything worthwhile about the sport becomes problematic when, you know, nothing really happened. But wait, something did. The demise of Swan Racing has taken center stage in the news cycle — which tells you that either A) nothing actually happened or B) it’s actually worth writing about. OK, it’s not to pick on the drivers, crewmen, ... Read More »

Happiness Is…Arrogance, Less, Next, and the Outdoors

Happiness Is…Arrogance, Less, Next, and the Outdoors

It’s a NASCAR-free weekend. What will the ratings be for that? Much has been made of TV ratings so far this season; for NASCAR, IndyCar and even F1 have all been showing poorly thus far. (In fairness to the F1 series, the live races have been at strange hours for Americans, unless you’re in Hawaii, and the rebroadcasts have sometimes come in opposition to NASCAR races). The dell knell has sounded and now fans are watching, with a rubber-necked intrigue, to see the sport ... Read More »

Happiness Is… The DVR, Will Robinson, Not Mercedes & Long Beach.

Happiness Is… The DVR, Will Robinson, Not Mercedes & Long Beach.

One of the easy ways to fill space in a NASCAR column for the past couple years has been to debate the role of Cup drivers in the Nationwide Series. The oft-used comparison in this argument is that drivers who dabble in Nationwide are like Major League Baseball players dropping down into the minor leagues. First, let’s ignore the fact that too many writers feel the need to compare the sport to so-called stick-and-ball sports. Second, let’s also ignore the fact that ... Read More »

Happiness Is… Trucks, McNabb, Latecomers & Formula One

Happiness Is… Trucks, McNabb, Latecomers & Formula One

Once upon a time, there was a track that featured scintillating racing. She was a lovely track, and people were always fond of her and what she provided. One of the aspects that made the racing so good was how the tires wore out and how the drivers had to figure out how to deal with the issue. The track became a mix of masterful car setups and smart driving, which seems to be the right combination for good racing. ... Read More »

Happiness Is… FOX, F1, California, and Points

Happiness Is… FOX, F1, California, and Points

This racing season is off to a fantastic start. Really. Two 12-hour races in Cup. The last three Nationwide races were won by Cup drivers. The Truck Series… wait, do they still race? Even Formula One is rolling hot with derision over its new six-cylinder engine and the lack of noise it produces. And INDYCAR hasn’t even gotten started — what’s taking them so long?! Good times all around then. You betcha. Tom Bowles usually does a Did You Notice column each week, found here. ... Read More »

Happiness Is… NASCAR Fans, FOX, Kasey Kahne, and Phoenix

Happiness Is… NASCAR Fans, FOX, Kasey Kahne, and Phoenix

The Daytona 500 has become a strange affair over the past few years. Rain delays. Pot hole issues. The famed jet dryer incident. And now, another rain delay. The Frontstretch’s staff has debated whether or not the race was compelling — but hey, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. won! — and then the viewership numbers came in and indicated that “walkers” and “biters” are more popular than cars going around in a circle at 200 mph. (Note: The Walking Dead never uses the ... Read More »

Happiness Is… Daytona

Happiness Is… Daytona

JOIN OUR FANTASY RACING LEAGUE!! The Frontstretch has a big league on Yahoo!, once again and we’d like you to be a part of it. Come compete with your favorite racing experts by clicking here and signing up. Our Group ID is 10532 and the password is stenica… so don’t miss out! Happiness Is… is a chance to offer a positive view on the world of auto racing. Criticizing the various series has become all too easy, so this column ... Read More »

Happiness Is … Status Quo

Happiness Is … Status Quo

Ryan Newman gave a scathing review of racing at Talladega Superspeedway, something that seemed an adrenalized version of earlier criticisms of the track. Since restrictor plates were added to the cars to reduce horsepower, racing at Daytona and Talladega has evolved into, well, take your pick: equalizer; crapshoot; fake racing; 150 laps of racing with a big crash to thin the herd; or an immensely entertaining race product. It doesn’t matter which option you choose, or if you go with a mixture of some of them. Restrictor plate racing is its own entity, and one that sits outside the normal parameters of racing where a talented driver with a strong car can distance himself from the field. Read More »

Happiness Is… NASCAR’s Newest Brand Of Racing Analysis

Happiness Is… NASCAR’s Newest Brand Of Racing Analysis

So Brad Keselowski ended Kyle Busch’s streak and Kevin Harvick stole one. That sums up the action from Richmond this past weekend, right? Whatever. That’s like saying that _The Sound and the Fury_ was a book about a family in the South. Here’s a look at something other than the winners from this past weekend. *Happiness Is...Carl Edwards* Edwards joined the broadcast team of ESPN in covering the Nationwide race this past Friday. In seasons past, he had come across as stilted and offered little in the way of commentary that was insightful or impactful. It had seemed that he was playing up to some kind of construct of what he thought an announcer should be, rather than being himself. Of course, who knows what the producer might be babbling in his ear during a race as well, but wooden and laconic are typically not attributes one aspires to in sports broadcasting. Read More »