Dustin Long

Backseat Drivers Fan Council

Weighing in on TNT, Loudon and the Army
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<p> The Backseat Drivers Fan Council grades TNT's coverage of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, the race at New Hampshire and the US Army's decision to pull its funding from the sport.</p>
2012

Few things fire up NASCAR fans more than TV coverage of the races. With the end of TNT’s six-race Sprint Cup stretch last weekend at New Hampshire, members of the Backseat Drivers Fan Council had a chance to judge TNT’s performance and offer critiques.

It wasn’t only TV that fired up the Council. Members opined on the Army leaving NASCAR and the New Hampshire race. Here’s what they had to say:

NASCAR News & Notes of the Week

Edwards, Allmendinger, Gordon and Ryan Blaney highlight storylines
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<p> Athlon Sports contributor Dustin Long takes a spin around the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, with Carl Edwards' new crew chief, AJ Allmendinger's test date, Martin Truex Jr.'s contract situation and Jeff Gordon's trip to Rwanda.</p>
2012

Carl Edwards, winless in his last 52 races and fighting to make NASCAR’s Chase for the Championship, has a new crew chief, Roush Fenway Racing announced Tuesday.

Chad Norris will replace Bob Osborne as Edwards’ crew chief immediately. Osborne was with Edwards when Edwards made his Cup debut in 2004 and ran the final 13 races that year. The following season, their first full season together, Edwards won four races and finished third in the points. 

Backseat Drivers Fan Council

Packs vs. tandems, tradition vs. change, shortened races and 2012 surprises
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<p> The&nbsp;Backseat Drivers Fan Council discuss tradition vs. change, tandem rdafting vs. pack racing, shortening races, 2012 surprises and the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona.</p>
2012

Tradition vs. Change. Shorten races vs. keeping them the same. Tandem drafting vs. pack racing. Members of the Backseat Drivers Fan Council faced many choices with this week’s NASCAR survey.

There was more, including what has been the biggest surprise of the season to how they graded last weekend’s Sprint Cup race at Daytona. The opinions vary — and in some cases are quite strong. Here’s what the Backseat Drivers Fan Council had to say about these issues.

Backseat Drivers Fan Council

Racing, traffic and TNT coverage at Kentucky Speedway
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<p> The&nbsp;Backseat Drivers Fan Council discuss racing at Kentucky Speedway, traffic issues around the track and TNT's coverage of NASCAR Sprint Cup races.</p>
2012

TV coverage, traffic and the racing at Kentucky were on the minds of members of the Backseat Drivers Fan Council this week. With the recent complaints about commercials, especially during the Kentucky race, members were asked if Pay-Per-View should be an option. Members also discussed if they were satisfied with the fixes to the traffic situation to go to Kentucky Speedway and what they thought of the racing there last weekend. This is what members of the Backseat Drivers Fan Council had to say:

Confident Earnhardt Heads Back to Daytona

The Long and Short of It
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<p> Athlon Sports contributor Dustin Long takes a spin around the NASCAR Sprint Cup circuit as the series reaches its midway point at Daytona International Speedway.</p>
2012

The equipment and team help but Dale Earnhardt Jr. says a key reason for his success in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series this season is crew chief Steve Letarte.

Since being paired together last year, Earnhardt has scored one victory, 11 top-five finishes and 25 top-10 finishes in 53 races.

Kenseth's Future, Gordon's Slump and Kahne's Strategy

The Long and Short of It
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<p> Athlon Sports contributor Dustin Long talks about Matt Kenseth leaving Roush, Jeff Gordon's continued slump and Kasey Kahne's new Chase strategy.</p>

Points leader Matt Kenseth will leave Roush Fenway Racing after this season and be replaced by Ricky Stenhouse Jr., the team announced Tuesday.

Reports state that Kenseth is headed to Joe Gibbs Racing although it is unclear if it will be with a fourth team or in place of Joey Logano, who is in the final year of his contract. 

Backseat Drivers Fan Council

Junior's title hopes, grading Michigan and road racing in Sonoma
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<p> The Backseat Drivers Fan Council wieghs in on Dale Earnahrdt Jr.'s championship hopes, his win at Michigan and road course racing at Infineon and Watkins Glen.</p>
2012

Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s victory celebration is long over and now it’s time to look ahead. Members of the Backseat Drivers Fan Council were asked to look ahead on what Earnhardt’s victory means related to the title race and at this weekend’s race — the first race on a road course this season. Of course, members did have time to look back at Michigan and give that race a grade.

Here’s what members of the Backseat Drivers Fan Council had to say:

Ambrose vs. the Road Course, Junior's Confidence and Martin's Vacation

The Long and Short of It
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<p> Athlon Sports contributor Dustin Long looks at Marcos Ambrose and his record on NASCAR's road courses, Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s confidence level, Elliott Sadler's title hopes in the Nationwide Series and Mark Martin's Sprint Cup vacation.</p>
2012

To break one trend, Marcos Ambrose knows he’ll likely endure another when the Sprint Cup Series competes at Sonoma in the Toyota/Save Mart 350 on Sunday in the first of two races at road courses this season.

Ambrose, who won at Watkins Glen last year for his first Cup victory, seeks to break a string of seven different winners on road courses. To do so, he’ll have to avoid the litany of trouble that lurks on the tight, 12-turn road course.

#NASCAR & #Twitter? OMG! and Jerry Springer coming to Cup?

Backseat Drivers Fan Council
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<p> The Backseat Drivers Fan Council talks the NAScAR and Twitter partnership, a potential "Jerry Springer Show" sponsorship and the race at Pocono.</p>
2012

Jerry Springer and NASCAR? A special Twitter page for NASCAR and a unique race at a unique race track. Backseat Drivers Fan Council members had much to debate this week and they didn’t always agree. Here’s what they had to say about this week’s issues:

NASCAR Free Agents, Speed in Michigan and the Sponsor Search for Bodine

The Long and Short of It
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<p> Athlon Sports contributor Dustin Long looks at free agent drivers in the Cup Series, excelerated speeds on a re-paved Michigan International Speedway and Todd Bodine's continued sponsorship search.</p>
2012

One race can reveal only so much about a season but could Sunday’s event at Pocono forecast the future for some drivers? Joey Logano, AJ Allmendinger and Kurt Busch are among those trying to solidify their status for next season, yet Pocono pulled them in opposite directions.

One of the biggest questions from Sunday’s race is what did the victory do for Logano’s future with Joe Gibbs Racing.

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