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Holding A Pretty Wheel

BEST OF 2011: At The Heart Of It All, It’s Not About NASCAR; It’s About Racing

BEST OF 2011: At The Heart Of It All, It’s Not About NASCAR; It’s About Racing

_Editor's Note: With 2011 winding down and the holidays upon us, it's time for the Frontstretch Staff to reflect on another great year. As part of that, we'd like to remind our readers of the year's special highlight, Amy Henderson, who received the website's first ever award from the National Motorsports Press Association. Henderson won second place in the Daily / Internet Columns category, for this column printed below and several others. We hope you enjoy rereading each one daily as we finish off our season with the best of the best._ Read More »

Kurt Busch Out At Penske Racing

Kurt Busch will not return to Penske Racing in 2012. According to "a Charlotte Observer report":http://www.thatsracin.com/2011/12/04/80040/penske-racing-fires-kurt-busch.html Busch has been released from the No. 22 Penske Dodge, and a formal announcement from Penske Racing is expected on Monday. At the moment, Busch's legal counsel has denied this story, according to the AP's Jenna Fryer on her "twitter feed,":http://www.twitter.com/JennaFryer/ claiming Penske Racing has not made any type of decision on the future. However, several sources with knowledge of the situation confirm that a divorce from Penske is imminent. Read More »

Let The Games Begin

If only Don King liked cars going in circles, the boxing promoter would be smiling proud this Friday morning. Heading into Homestead-Miami, the tete-a-tete battle between Tony Stewart and Carl Edwards just ratcheted up a notch in the form of a little pre-race posturing. For most of the past few weeks, it’s been Stewart driving this phenomenon, doing most of the talking as a man who never hesitates to speak his mind. And that’s how it started on Thursday afternoon, Smoke signaling to the national media he won’t back down from the challenge of unseating NASCAR’s Sprint Cup point leader. Read More »

Kyle Busch Will Race, But Can Anybody Win?

Kyle Busch Will Race, But Can Anybody Win?

Nearly a week after Sprint Cup star Kyle Busch was parked for the weekend at Texas following an incident in the Camping World Truck Series last Friday night, the sport is still buzzing with reaction and speculation about the driver, the punishment, and the future. The picture still wasn’t terribly clear on Thursday night, just hours before the Cup cars were scheduled to open the weekend practices, though a couple of the pieces have fallen into place. Read More »

Busch Drew the Line in “Boys, Have At It,” But Why Did NASCAR Let It Get This Far?

Busch Drew the Line in “Boys, Have At It,” But Why Did NASCAR Let It Get This Far?

NASCAR is a racing series built on rivalries. Even more than that, it is a sport that thrives on them. Through 62 years of competition, each individual era has been defined by these mano-e-mano, on-track boxing matches: Petty-Pearson, Allison-Yarborough, Yarborough-Waltrip, Wallace-Earnhardt, Earnhardt-Gordon… the list is long and storied, full of current and future Hall of Famers. Rivalries, when they are played the right way, have helped make the sport as popular as it is today. But even with NASCAR’s “Boys, Have At It” policy, there is a line not to be crossed. During Friday night’s Camping World Truck Series race, "Kyle Busch crossed it when he deliberately wrecked Ron Hornaday, Jr. under caution.":http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dDBd0CLjOwc Read More »

Who’s Carrying Whom? The Question Behind the No. 48

Who’s Carrying Whom? The Question Behind the No. 48

When a young Jimmie Johnson burst onto the Sprint Cup scene in the fall of 2001, he was given one of the most coveted rides in the sport: a brand-new Hendrick Motorsports team, co-owned by Jeff Gordon, in an organization that had won five championships since 1995. When Gordon hand-picked Johnson, a lot of people were surprised; though Johnson had top-10 points finishes in the then-Busch Series in 2000 and 2001, he only had one win and there was nothing earth-shattering about it. Read More »

Just Want Good, No-Frills Racing?  It’s Right Here.

Just Want Good, No-Frills Racing? It’s Right Here.

With the rain finally gone, the Camping World Truck Series took center stage at Martinsville Speedway for the Kroger 200, one of the toughest races in the series synonymous with the word tough. It’s a reputation well-earned by both track and trucks; NASCAR’s oldest racetrack and its youngest series seem made for each other. Really, nobody should be surprised that the trucks put on a great show. There are several reasons why the series offers some of the best (and most overlooked) racing in NASCAR, often producing excitement that even the more prestigious Sprint Cup Series often can’t. Read More »

The Rise and Fall of UPS in NASCAR-And Who They Took Down With Them

The Rise and Fall of UPS in NASCAR-And Who They Took Down With Them

Be careful what you wish for. In 2001, NASCAR was on an upswing. The sport enjoyed tremendous growth in the late 1990s, and before the 2001 season began, signs of its vibrant health were everywhere. The stands were full (at one point, Bristol motor Speedway had a waiting list for tickets so long that some estimates said it would be a generation before some people saw a seat, the race fields were competitive, full of entries from a wide variety of race teams, and sponsors were lining up to sponsor racecars as they saw the massive potential for return on investment. A look at the finishing order from the Daytona 500 shows a list of fully-sponsored cars from a variety of businesses: from General Motors to Dodge, from Budweiser and Coors to Miller, from K-Mart to Lowe’s and from Kodak to Kodiak to Pfizer. Everyone wanted a piece of the action back then. Read More »

Better Half Dash Adds a Little Fun to a Serious Game

Better Half Dash Adds a Little Fun to a Serious Game

When the announcement was made at Atlanta, the whole idea seemed like a side show: a Bandolero race for the wives and girlfriends of NASCAR stars to be held on Saturday, October 15, at Charlotte Motor Speedway as part of the entertainment leading up to the Bank of America 500. The race was for charity, and it seemed like a fun, if frivolous, way to keep fans entertained for a little while. The women had several practice sessions for the event, and its safety did come into question after Katie Kenseth broke her shoulder when she hit the wall in practice. Bandolero cars are little more than glorified go-karts with bodies built onto them with a roll cage. Top speed is around 30 MPH. Practices eventually continued and the race went off as scheduled. Read More »

An Open Letter to Race Fans: Did You Cheer Knowing A Driver Could Die?

An Open Letter to Race Fans: Did You Cheer Knowing A Driver Could Die?

Did you figure it was OK because the cars are so safe nowadays? Did you excuse it by reasoning that you didn’t really want to see him _hurt_; you were just happy about how it changed the points race? Did you brush it off because Johnson, within moments, was talking to an ESPN reporter like nothing was wrong? Perhaps you didn’t think about it at all because hey, crashes make the sport exciting? You ought to know better. Part of being a race fan is choosing your heroes and villains. But that’s not what this is about. It’s one thing to pull for your chosen driver, to stand up and scream your loyalty at the top of your lungs as if that alone will bring him home a winner. That’s what race fans _do._ You might even harbor a deep desire for the one you have selected as your own personal villain to have 36 engine failures in a row, melancholy mechanical disaster beginning with February's Daytona 500. Or maybe you just secretly hope he sits on a tack. That’s called being a loyal race fan. It fuels the passion for the sport, makes watching races fun. Read More »