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Five Points To Ponder

Five Points to Ponder: Good Racing, Bad TV, and Some Mighty Fine Officiating

Five Points to Ponder: Good Racing, Bad TV, and Some Mighty Fine Officiating

*ONE: Thank You Thank You Thank You for this New Plate Package* A two car tandem still ended up deciding this Shootout, and along with the return of pack drafting came the return of the “big one.” But if the first 180-some miles of the season were any indication, NASCAR actually managed to find a technical fix to the problem (and yes, it was a problem) that turned last year’s Daytona races into a four-hour dance marathon with stock cars. The pack racing seen Saturday had all the inherent problems that the pack racing of the past has, but the amount of control the drivers’ had over their own destinies was exponentially greater. Read More »

Five Points to Ponder: Shortcomings, Hangovers, Schedules And A Look Ahead

Five Points to Ponder: Shortcomings, Hangovers, Schedules And A Look Ahead

*ONE: Why Winning Needs to Mean More* Both Carl Edwards and Tony Stewart entered Sunday's 400-miler knowing how strong each other were; Roush Fenway Racing has long made the intermediate ovals their dominion, while Tony Stewart was the hottest driver in all of stock car racing. Regardless of what the math said, both drivers came into the race knowing full well it was going to take a win to take the Cup. And lo and behold, two of Sprint Cup's heavyweights put on one of the best shows NASCAR racing has seen in recent memory. The last 40 laps of green flag racing were as intense as they come. Read More »

Five Points to Ponder: Motivation, Substitution, Last-Ditch Efforts, And Ending Eras

Five Points to Ponder: Motivation, Substitution, Last-Ditch Efforts, And Ending Eras

It's hard to believe that Sam Hornish, Jr. was able to make it through his post-race interview this Saturday considering how much emotion he was obviously holding back in Victory Lane. This win was a very long time coming for a driver that's been accustomed to winning, having scored multiple IndyCar and Indianapolis 500 trophies in another life. What's more, it was a return to relevance for a driver that seemed doomed to the graveyard of so many open-wheelers before him that tried to transition to stock cars and failed. Read More »

Five Points to Ponder: Same Ol’ Same Ol’, Rubber, and the Former Franchise

Five Points to Ponder: Same Ol’ Same Ol’, Rubber, and the Former Franchise

Let's get the whole Kyle Busch/Ron Hornaday deal out of the way. Yes, there is precedent that NASCAR followed to a T in parking Kyle Busch for the weekend. Yes, there is no defense for Busch doing what he did--making contact under yellow is one thing, but running a truck at nearly full speed into the fence at a high speed oval like Texas is taking that even further towards unacceptability. And yes, this Busch incident was a feud that's been building for years. It was only a matter of time before the sanctioning body stepped in, right or wrong. Read More »

Five Points to Ponder: Trouble In Paradise, Too Many Yellows, And Winning

Five Points to Ponder: Trouble In Paradise, Too Many Yellows, And Winning

*ONE: Chase Overshadowing Just How Good This Race Was* Tony Stewart's unlikely come from behind triumph at Martinsville this Sunday earned a tremendous amount of airtime, both for how dramatic a comeback the No. 14 team made over the course of 500 laps and how Smoke is having one of his patented hot streaks at just the right time in 2011... the fall, not the summer. There's definitely plenty of story there; Stewart not only stole the win from Jimmie Johnson in the closing laps, he also fired a shot across point leader Carl Edwards' bow in Victory Lane, saying he wasn't going to let the driver of the No. 99 sleep for three weeks. Read More »

Five Points to Ponder: A Paper Clip Edition

Five Points to Ponder: A Paper Clip Edition

After the tragic events at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in the 2011 IndyCar Season Finale last weekend, it was great just to see both races at Talladega proceed without a hitch. All the drivers made it home under their own steam (read: expensive private jets) and now head to Martinsville Speedway for some good old fashioned short track racing. Read More »

Five Points to Ponder: Departures, the Rocket Goes Leffler, and Dillon’s Tarnished Crown

Five Points to Ponder: Departures, the Rocket Goes Leffler, and Dillon’s Tarnished Crown

*ONE: Who Can Blame Addington for (Possibly) Leaving?* Though it was dismissed as “pure rumors and speculation” by Steve Addington, the current crew chief for Kurt Busch and the No. 22 Penske Racing team, sources in the garage area at Charlotte tell Frontstretch otherwise...that these rumors indeed do have some weight to them. One can't blame Addington for aiming to play down any talk surrounding upcoming shuffles in team personnel; Busch may be 27 points out in the seventh position, but with Talladega still on the docket and Busch having proved strength on 1.5 mile ovals as well as Phoenix and the plate tracks, he's by no means out of the running. The last thing the No. 22 team needs right now is to be in the spotlight of Silly Season, with media ready to pounce on the story of how another Busch brother ran a race-winning crew chief away. Read More »

Five Points to Ponder: Do or Die For Special K, Why Reed and Where’s The NNS?

Five Points to Ponder: Do or Die For Special K, Why Reed and Where’s The NNS?

*ONE: Is Brad Keselowski the Juan Pablo Montoya of the 2011 Chase?* Rewind back to 2009, and heading into the fall race at Charlotte Juan Pablo Montoya was the surprise of the Chase. Ninth in points after Richmond with no wins on the season, Montoya rattled off four consecutive top-5 finishes and led 184 laps over the course of those events; that left him just 58 points from Jimmie Johnson and Chase immortality. But Charlotte was the hiccup that broke the string and reduced the No. 42 team from contenders to pretenders; Montoya scored a top 5 the next week at a Martinsville short track that he's always run well at, followed by three finishes outside the top 35 in the final four races which sunk any title hopes he and the team had. Read More »

Five Points To Ponder: Ill-Advised Debuts, Hires And Tire Contracts

Five Points To Ponder: Ill-Advised Debuts, Hires And Tire Contracts

*ONE: An Ill-Advised Cup Debut for Austin Dillon* The current Truck Series points leader is slated for a full assault on the Nationwide Series championship in 2012, but he's also popped up on the entry list for this weekend's Cup race at Kansas, driving the No. 98 under Mike Curb's ownership banner. Though Dillon has only 11 career Nationwide Series starts under his belt, the unprepared for Cup argument really doesn't hold all that much water... the driver has been an established contender on the Truck circuit the last two seasons. Plus, even though the No. 98 is technically going to be a single-car team, making a partial schedule attempt, don't doubt for even a second that there won't be some Richard Childress Racing help all over that entry. Read More »

5 Points To Ponder: A Penske Rebellion? Chase Panic Over Nothing, And The Change We Should Have Seen

5 Points To Ponder: A Penske Rebellion? Chase Panic Over Nothing, And The Change We Should Have Seen

_Editor’s Note: Hey everyone! You’re not used to seeing me in this space, but our “tell it like it is” writer, Bryan Davis Keith is living a hard knock life these days: he got free tickets to the Foster The People concert last-minute. What does that one-day vacation mean for your life? A bit of a switch; I’ll fill in today while Bryan takes over our weekly staple, Did You Notice?, for this Wednesday’s edition on the website._ Loudon, New Hampshire left a sour taste in most fans’ mouths after fuel mileage dominated the NASCAR landscape Sunday. So as we dust off, ignore the Sunoco signs and try to move on, I’ll promise you this much regarding the column ahead: that’s the last you’ll hear about gas _or_ Tony Stewart’s “dead weight” _National Enquirer_ story. Read More »