Race Weekend Central

Did You Notice? Hendrick Layoffs, Ratings Reality & Jeff Gordon’s Age?

Did You Notice? That in the midst of a championship performance, the sport’s most powerful team – Hendrick Motorsports – is laying off a dozen employees? Just think about that for a second. This is a team with hundreds of millions of dollars in sponsorship coming from brands like Lowe’s, Pepsi-Cola, DuPont, Kellogg’s, the National …

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Running Their Mouth: 2008 Checker O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Phoenix

This week, here’s a sneak peek at what a select few were thinking following the Checker Auto Parts 500 presented by Pennzoil at Phoenix International Raceway.

Bubble Breakdown: Heavy-Duty Wreck Leaves High Drama for Top 35 Heading to Homestead

Editor’s Note: We’re happy to report Mike Ravesi was unable to do this column for the best possible reason – he and his wife are having their first child! All of us at Frontstretch couldn’t be happier for the Ravesis and their new addition to the family. While Mike is out, Managing Editor Tom Bowles …

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Bubble Breakdown: Marcos Ambrose Cuts Margin in Half for Final Top-35 Slot

NASCAR’s thundering herd of 43 invaded the Lone Star State this past Sunday for the second time in 2008. At this point in the season the field is pretty much divided into three groups. One group is running for the championship, one group is running to get into or stay in the Top 35 for …

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Bubble Breakdown: NASCAR Teams Miss Opportunity to Lock Down Top 35 for ’09

There’s an old saying that Hell hath no fury like that of a ‘Dinger scorned; or something to that effect, anyways. For the second straight week, AJ Allmendinger drove like a man on a mission right from the drop of the checkered flag. And “man on a mission” is exactly the mindset Allmendinger needs to …

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Did You Notice? Who’s Making Fans Turn Away, Why Martinsville’s Lost & Marc Davis Debuts

Did You Notice? NASCAR’s TV ratings at Martinsville were down significantly this weekend, an overnight 2.9 as compared to a 3.3 in 2007? That low rating isn’t going to do the Virginia track any favors when it comes to whether it keeps a second date beyond the 2009 Cup season. Personally, it’s one of my …

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Bubble Breakdown: Scott Riggs, Michael Waltrip Securing Spots for Their Teams in Top 35

Lowe’s Motor Speedway was the venue Saturday night in Concord, N.C., for the running of the Bank of America 500. With just six races remaining in the ’08 season, the bubble teams should now look at each race as a qualifying attempt for next year’s Daytona 500. Struggling teams have trouble finding funding, and without …

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Did You Notice? Red Flag Means Work, Tires Need Work & No Work for Patrick Carpentier

Did You Notice? Officials appeared to be taking debris off certain cars on the track during the first red-flag period? I wasn’t at the track this weekend, so maybe my eyes were seeing things on television. But I could have sworn that officials appeared to be removing some metal from the front grills of a …

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Fanning the Flames: Talking Plates, Allmendingers & Last-Lap Dashes Heading Into Talladega

Good questions this week and I’m feeling long-winded, so let’s get to it. Q: We always seem to take it out on the 1.5-mile tracks as being uninteresting and of the cookie-cutter style. Actually, weren’t these type of tracks all built because, at one time, all the 1.5-milers provided really great door-to-door racing? (And one …

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Mirror Driving: Who’s Losing a Date to Kansas, Who’s Already Lost the Chase & Judging Lame Ducks

Welcome to Mirror Driving. Every week, your favorite columnists sit down and give their opinion about the latest NASCAR news and rumors. Love us or hate us, make a comment below and tell us how you feel about what we’ve said! This Week’s Participants: Tom Bowles (Editor-in-Chief; Mondays/Bowles-Eye View & Wednesdays/Did You Notice?) Doug Turnbull (Tuesdays/Talking NASCAR …

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Frontstretch NASCAR Power Rankings: Top 15 After the 2008 Camping World RV 400 at Kansas

As the 2008 postseason rolls on to Talladega, Jimmie Johnson continues to make the playoffs his own private playground. The all-time winningest driver in Chase history scored another one this past weekend at Kansas, and it was enough to propel him into first in our weekly rankings. Matt Kenseth, Jeff Gordon, Clint Bowyer, Dale Earnhardt …

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