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Holding A Pretty Wheel

A Slap On The Wrist? NASCAR Chooses Inconsistency Over Fairness… Again

You could almost miss it, perusing some popular NASCAR Websites. It’s kind of innocuous on NASCAR Online with only a small box dedicated to it, buried under a story on the Sprint Cup title race, another on Richard Petty, and a third on the destruction at Talladega. The story itself is short, too, outlining a penalty handed down at Talladega. NASCAR’s statement is as follows: “The No. 46 car was found to be in violation of Sections 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing); 12-4-J (any determination by NASCAR officials that the race equipment used in the event does not conform to NASCAR required rules); and 20-2.3A (unapproved added weight location and unapproved added weight -- lower A-frames were filled with weight pellets) of the 2010 NASCAR rule book. Crew chief Thomas Tucker has been fined $50,000 and indefinitely suspended from NASCAR. Car chief Richard Boga and team manager Tony Furr have also been indefinitely suspended from NASCAR. Driver Michael McDowell and car owner Dusty Whitney have been penalized with the loss of 50 driver and owner points, respectively.” Huh, someone got caught cheating and NASCAR issued a penalty. Interesting.

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They Just Want to Race: Start And Parks Deserve Sympathy and Admiration, Not Derision

You see it every week now in the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series: less than halfway through the race, a seemingly undamaged car pulls into the garage and the team packs up and heads home early. The results sheet shows an electrical or brake failure, and the owner collects a backmarker paycheck. It’s a practice known as start and park, and it’s been increasing in the sport over the last few seasons. It’s terrible. It’s a blight on the sport and it shouldn’t be allowed. Or so say many race fans, quick to disparage the practice as a greedy team owner and/or driver trying to make a quick buck on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon. They’re getting rich on the purses and not putting any of that back into the team. They don’t really want to race, they just want to make money. NASCAR really should do something about them. Not so fast.

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A Sport In Crisis: RPM Just One Card in NASCAR’s Deck

_Editor's Note: For the latest timeline on the RPM / Gillett / Kasey Kahne saga, please check out our Breaking News section by "clicking here":https://frontstretch.com/breakingnews/31961/ to find out the future of RPM, how we got to this point, and so much more._ “The house of cards is finally falling for George Gillett’s Richard Petty Motorsports.” These words, written by "FOX Sports’ Lee Spencer,":http://msn.foxsports.com/nascar/story/Richard-Petty-Motorsports-in-financial-crisis-in-NASCAR-Sprint-Cup-ranks-102110 began what has become the biggest story in racing this week. As Gillett’s empire crumbles around him, RPM could be the latest casualty for the beleaguered owner of several different properties, including the soon-to-be-divested Liverpool FC soccer club. But Gillett's financial and personal woes are really just the tip of the iceberg of a Titanic-sized problem brewing for the number one stock car series in America. The team’s potential demise is a microcosm of a sport in crisis, the joker in a NASCAR house of cards becoming increasingly fragile.

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The Chase Begins, But Who Wins? And What Does That Mean Historically?

26 down, 10 to go. The Chase starts this weekend at Loudon and it’s looking to be a different animal than it has been for the last three years, in which the champion (that’s Jimmie Johnson, Jimmie Johnson, and Jimmie Johnson if you’re keeping score) has taken the title by keeping his opponents at bay the easiest way possible: winning, and winning a lot. This year just doesn’t have that feel. Four-time defending champion Johnson doesn’t have that look. On the other hand, neither does anyone else.

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Crossing the Dirty Line: When Drivers Do, When They Don’t, and How Dirty Is It, Anyway?

Todd Bodine “thanked” Kyle Busch in victory lane at Kentucky this past Friday, calling Busch’s move that took the air off Bodine’s truck, causing him to spin, “dirty.” A lot of people jumped on one bandwagon or another-many agreed with Bodine’s assessment of Busch, while others didn’t think the move was even a little spotty-and were quick to point out that Bodine has had a run-in or several in his career. Busch’s move on Bodine was far from dirty, but that doesn’t exonerate him completely.

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It’s Not Just About Talent; It’s About a Winning Combination

With an even dozen races left in the season, it used to be that NASCAR’s so-called Silly Season-that time of year when drivers and teams announced partings of the ways and new contractual unions-was just heating up. In more recent years, Silly Season has started earlier and lasted longer than in the past. Some big names came up this year, though a couple of those became anti-climactic. But that got me thinking about Silly Seasons past and some of the winners and losers to come out of them. It’s not always what you’d expect, and clearly, there is more to it than finding a talented driver. If there wasn’t, anyone could do it, right?

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Five Who Must Thrive: Drivers Who Need A Chase Hot Streak Most of All

In late August, summer is in its last glorious days in many parts of the county; cooler weather has already begun to creep in and the once balmy evenings carry just the tiniest taste of autumn’s chill. But with just two races left until the Chase for the Sprint Cup, the NASCAR season is heating up. The final three months of the season are the most intense. Drivers, teams and fans are caught up in the urgency that builds as the late summer heat fades-urgency to earn an edge in the Chase, urgency to make the Chase, urgency to find some magic or hold onto a ride when it’s clear the Chase is an unreachable goal.

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NASCAR’s Changes: For the Fans, or Racing In the Wrong Direction?

Earlier this year, I looked at some of the goings-on in NASCAR and put a grade on some of the changes NASCAR made, as well as some other things going on in the sport. Well, the times, they have kept right on a-changin’, as the sanctioning body strives to stop the bleeding as ratings and attendance have plummeted in recent years. There have been changes to the schedule, changes to the rules, and more proposed changes to the Chase. All of this begs the question: Are these changes really what the fans want?

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Time to Take Notice: Underrated Busch Emerging as a Championship Threat

_Underrate: v. to rate too low, undervalue_ -Webster’s Dictionary It goes without saying that in order to race in one of NASCAR’s national touring series, you have to be able to drive a little. All of these drivers have skill, even if some of them have a little luck to go along with it. They have the respect (mostly, anyway) of their peers and (well, sometimes) the fans. Every year though, there are few drivers that seem to garner the lion’s share of media attention.

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Busch’s 75th Win Is Just a Number-And Not a Particularly Meaningful One

Last weekend marked a noteworthy event in NASCAR. On Saturday, in Iowa, Kyle Busch, the ultra-talented 25-year-old from Las Vegas, took home his 75th victory in NASCAR’s three national touring divisions. (The win is actually Busch’s 76th NASCAR win; he has one win in the K&N Pro Series, a regional development series). Busch has 18 Sprint Cup wins, 18 Camping World Truck Series wins, and 39 Nationwide Series victories, a mark good for second-place on the all-time wins list for that series. That’s a lot of hardware. Color me less than impressed.

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