Kurt Busch to Attempt The Indianapolis-Charlotte Double
posted by Phil Allaway
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Andretti Autosport announced this morning that Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet in the Sprint Cup Series, will attempt the Indianapolis 500 in a fifth entry for the IndyCar Series team. Once the Indianapolis 500 is completed, Busch will fly from Indianapolis to Charlotte, jump in his No. 41 Chevrolet and compete in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Busch considers the opportunity to do the double as an old-school throwback moment.
“This is really to challenge myself within motorsports,” Busch said in Andretti Autosport’s press release. “Perhaps I am a bit of an old-school racer; a throwback, I guess. I enjoyed the era of drivers racing different cars and testing themselves in other series. It is tough to do now for a variety of factors, but when the opportunity is there, I want to do it. While NASCAR is my home, I have been fortunate to compete in Pro Stock on the NHRA circuit a number of years ago and test a V8 Supercar. This opportunity was a talk with Michael [Andretti] over dinner one night, a “What if,” and now it’s becoming a reality for me to drive in the Indy 500 with Andretti Autosport. It’s literally a dream come true. To go to the famous Brickyard with the iconic Andretti name, it doesn’t get much cooler or better than that.”
Busch will be doing the Indianapolis-Charlotte double as a Memorial Day mission to men and women serving in the U.S. Military via the Armed Forces Foundation. Fans can contribute to the cause by texting AFF to 50555 to donate $10.
Busch, who has never raced an IndyCar, passed Rookie Orientation at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last year during a test session. At the time, Busch was more or less testing the Dallara DW12 for fun.
Busch will be the fourth driver to attempt the Indianapolis-Charlotte double. John Andretti was the first driver to attempt it in 1994. After finishing four laps down in tenth in Indianapolis, Andretti crashed and had engine problems in the 600. Robby Gordon has attempted the double five times, most recently in 2004. However, Gordon failed to make it to Charlotte on time and did not start the 600 in 2000 (P.J. Jones started Gordon’s No. 13 Ford in that instance). Finally, Tony Stewart has attempted the double twice (most recently in 2001) and is the only driver to ever complete all 1100 miles. Neither of the three drivers has won either leg of the double. The best finishes are Stewart and Gordon’s sixth-place finishes at the Indianapolis 500 (although Gordon’s came in 2000, the year he didn’t make it to Charlotte in time to start the Coca-Cola 600), and Stewart’s fourth-place finish in the 2001 Coca-Cola 600.
Danica Patrick, Justin Allgaier Talk About Phoenix Incident
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
A disappointing start to the year for Danica Patrick won’t include continued conflict. Patrick met with rookie Justin Allgaier Sunday, shortly after the Phoenix Cup race after a wreck ruined both drivers’ days. Patrick, who was critical of the No. 51 car on the radio, claiming Allgaier was “driving all over the track” appeared receptive to a conversation that quickly settled differences over what will be a long season.
“She was just upset because she got involved in the crash that we had,’’ said Allgaier to the Motor Racing Network. “She says she’s been through this and that she felt like I needed to settle down at that point. I explained my position on why everything happened. I think she understood where I was coming from. It doesn’t fix either one of our racecars. It doesn’t fix either one of our days. Unfortunately, we were both having pretty decent days.’’
Allgaier wound up 30th due to the incident while Patrick was 36th. The incident, which was caused by Allgaier’s spin also involved the No. 32 team and Travis Kvapil, which wound up 38th after sustaining heavy damage.
Camping World Close to Extending Title Sponsorship of NCWTS
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Marcus Lemonis, CEO of Camping World, Grand Marshal of Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway, and star of CNBC’s “The Profit,” made the announcement over the weekend that the retailer is very close to announcing a deal that would continue its title sponsorship of NASCAR’s Truck Series. The original agreement with NASCAR is scheduled to conclude after the 2015 season.
According to the sanctioning body, no formal contract has been signed, but “the agreement between the two parties has proven to be a beneficial one.”
“In about a month, we’ll be announcing a significant extension to that contract. It’s been great for us,” said Camping World’s Lemonis in a statement. “The NASCAR relationship has worked well for Camping World. When we started, we had 35 stores. Now, we’re up to 120 stores. As we travel the country and we meet new customers in stores, they always are very appreciative of our relationship with NASCAR. It’s been good.”
Gaining a long-term commitment from Camping World to sponsor the Truck Series would be a relief for NASCAR, which is set to lose Nationwide Insurance as title sponsor for the NASCAR Nationwide Series at the end of the 2014 season. The sponsorship of the Cup Series by Sprint runs through 2016.
The NCWTS is back in action on March 29th at 2:30 PM (ET) when the trucks visit Martinsville Speedway in the Kroger 250, which can be seen on Fox Sports 1. Ratings for the season opener were up 11 percent.
Harvick Takes Win At Phoenix In Second Race With New Team
posted by Justin Tucker
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Phoenix International Raceway has become Kevin Harvick’s home away from home. Sunday Afternoon was no exception as Harvick charged to the front early and would dominate for much of the day, leading 224 of the scheduled 312 laps to record his record fifth win on the one mile oval and his third win in the last four races at Phoenix.
Harvick, coming off of a disappointing Speedweeks which was capped by a last lap crash in the Daytona 500 in his debut with Stewart-Haas Racing, set the tone on Saturday by winning both practices while having the best 5 and 10-lap averages in the first practice of the day on Saturday. On Sunday, Harvick and his No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet was nothing short of flawless as he was able to hold Dale Earnhardt, Jr. by .489 seconds after a late race restart to claim his 24th career Sprint Cup Series victory.
“Man, this is awesome,” Harvick said after his dominant victory on Sunday. “Man, this just solidifies so many things and so many decisions. It’s been so much work with all the time and effort that these guys (the crew) have put in—but what a race car.”
Stewart Haas Racing co-owner Gene Haas shared in Harvick’s excitement after the race.
“It took long enough,” Haas joked. “This is phenomenal. I think there was a lot of skepticism last year about what myself and Tony (Stewart) what we were up to, was there a lot of madness to this. Quite frankly, it’s a great team, there’s a lot of synergy at the shop, people working together. I don’t know what we did, but I think we put together a great organization.”
Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt, Jr. continued his hot start to the 2014 season. Earnhardt Jr. would finish second on Sunday, marking his seventh consecutive top 10 finish since the end of the 2013 season. Earnhardt Jr. was pleased with the effort after a coast-to-coast whirlwind week after winning his second Daytona 500 and also gave great praise to the efforts of Harvick and the No. 4 team.
“I’ve got to congratulate Kevin. Those guys were two-tenths faster than everyone all weekend in practice. They were just phenomenal,” Earnhardt said. “To be able to run with them all day was a big confidence builder for us.”
Joining Harvick and Earnhardt in the top 5 of The Profit on CNBC 500K were Brad Keselowski with his second consecutive top 3 run of 2014 in third. Keselowski’s Team Penske teammate Joey Logano would finish fourth, and Jeff Gordon would come home fifth in his No. 24 Pepsi Max Chevrolet.
Jimmie Johnson finished in sixth, followed by Ryan Newman with a nice rebound after Daytona in seventh. Carl Edwards would carry the banner for Roush Fenway Racing by finishing eighth, Kyle Busch was ninth, and Jamie McMurray would finish tenth.
A look at the Profit on CNBC 500K by the numbers. There were 14 lead changes among eight different drivers, there were eight cautions for 39 laps which slowed the race pace to 109.229 MPH.
Next Sunday, the Sprint Cup Series heads to Sin City and the Las Vegas Motor
Starting Lineup: The Profit On CNBC 500K
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday March 1, 2014
Drivers in RED (i) are those ineligible to collect Sprint Cup points
Daytona 500 TV Ratings Down
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Wednesday February 26, 2014
What was the longest weather delay in Daytona 500 history turned out to bring NASCAR lower ratings and TV viewership Sunday night than expected. According to a report Monday from FOX Sports, the 56th running of the Daytona 500 airing at 8 PM (ET) posted a 5.6/10 national household rating/share which averaged 9.3 million viewers. That’s down 44 percent from last year’s 9.9, easily making it the least-watched Daytona 500 of all-time.
Due to the six-hour, twenty-two minute rain delay in Daytona, the race was up against the primetime coverage of the Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony from Sochi, Russia on NBC (15.25 million viewers). FOX also reported that 69% of the pre-rain delay viewers of the race, which began at 1 PM (ET) kept tuning in.
In comparison, the 2013 Daytona 500 on FOX was the most-watched race in five years, posting a 9.9/22 rating/share, commanding 16.7 million viewers. The Daytona 500 in 2012, the first to ever be run on a Monday and in the primetime slot did a 7.7/13 overnight rating/share which resulted in 13.67 million households viewing the race according to Nielsen TV ratings data.
Earnhardt, Jr. Claims Second Daytona 500 Victory
posted by Justin Tucker
Wednesday February 26, 2014
Ten years is a long time. For Dale Earnhardt, Jr., it felt like an eternity. NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver endured many near misses and close calls at the Daytona 500 since his only win in the Great American Race in 2004. Earnhardt had finished second in two of his last three Daytona 500s coming into Sunday’s race. He was also riding the tail of a 55-race winless streak, dating back to Michigan in 2012.
However nothing would stop Dale Jr. on Sunday, not even a 6 hour and 22 minute rain delay from capturing his second Daytona 500 win. Earnhardt Jr. led a race-high 54 laps on the evening and used some timely drafting help from teammates Jimmie Johnson and, on the final restart, Jeff Gordon to separate from the pack and secure the victory.
“Winning this race is the greatest feeling that you could feel in this sport besides accepting the trophy for the championship,” said a jubilant Earnhardt after pulling into Victory Lane. “We could fight off battle after battle. We got a little help at the end there from Jeff to get away on the restart. This is amazing. I can’t believe this is happening. I never take this for granted, man because it doesn’t happen twice, let alone once.”
Aside from the race itself the big story of the race was the 6 hour and 22 minute red flag, which threatened to move the race to Monday evening (had the race been postponed, FOX Sports’ Chris Myers had tweeted that the race would resume at 5:00pm EST). However, Mother Nature would cooperate and would allow the race to be run under different conditions from which they practiced this week. Once the race resumed, the intensity picked up from the changing track conditions. This allowed the pack to race side-by-side and at times 3-wide up to seven rows deep.
Joining Earnhardt Jr. in the top 5 for the 2014 Daytona 500 were: Denny Hamlin who closed out a spectacular Speedweeks in second, Brad Keselowski in third, Jeff Gordon in fourth, and Jimmie Johnson who overcome two wrecks leading up to the 500 in fifth.
Rounding out the top 10 in the Daytona 500 were Matt Kenseth in sixth, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. in seventh and Greg Biffle would bring his No. 16 Ford home in eighth. Austin Dillon would come home ninth in his first Cup Series race in the iconic No. 3 for Richard Childress Racing, while Casey Mears would round out the top 10.
A couple of major contenders for the Daytona 500 win would see their hopes dashed early on as Martin Truex, Jr. would blow up just 30 laps into the race, relegating him to a 43rd-place finish in his debut for Furniture Row Racing. Crew chief Todd Berrier was already in Nashville for a test session before the race was even over. Kyle Busch, meanwhile would have a pit road violation just before halfway and would spend much of the race battling back from that mistake. Busch would eventually finish 19th after leading 19 laps.
Danica Patrick would also be bit by bad luck as she was caught up in a multi-car wreck on lap 145. Patrick would lead her second consecutive Daytona 500, but wouldn’t have the finish to show for it finishing 40th. Tony Stewart would encounter a frustrating evening as well, with a fuel pickup problem derailing his quest for his first Daytona 500 win. Stewart would finish 35th.
A look at the Daytona 500 by the numbers. There were 42 lead changes among 18 drivers, while seven cautions for 39 laps would slow the race pace to 145.290 MPH.
Next week, the Sprint Cup Series heads to the “diamond in the desert,” Phoenix International Raceway for The Profit on CNBC 500K. The Green flag is scheduled for 3:15pm EST.
Nationwide Series Post-Race Quotes: Drive4COPD 300
posted by Thomas Bowles
Tuesday February 25, 2014
Frontstretch Interviews – Courtesy Mike Neff
ELLIOTT SADLER – FINISHED 4th
Thoughts on the race?
It’s definitely a lot different racing than what we’re used to.
Comfortable with it?
Yeah, it’s just different. You’re worried about what you’re doing, but you’re also worried about what everyone else is doing and they’re not doing more than you’re doing. Physically pushing a guy is way better than just riding so you just gotta time it right and push it to the edge.
Happy to start the year with a top 5?
Yeah. Hell, that was the worst we ran all day, I think. I have no idea how they put the 3 car in front of us on that last restart. I hadn’t seen the 3 car hardly all day. When they put us from fifth to sixth, on the outside line, it just really boxed us in. I would have really restarted behind my teammate and given him a good push to the front. Anyways, it is what it is; we’ll take it and move on.
Looked like you were up front all day.
The guys did a good job. We had a fast race car. Great pit stops, just really proud of these guys. The car’s in one piece and we can take it to Talladega now. Great job by my guys. A lot of effort came into coming down here to Daytona and giving ourselves a shot to win. We had that chance to be up front and make some things happen. Fifth is not what we want, but we’ll take it and move on.
Bumping vs Pushing?
It’s way harder. You don’t want to lay on the guy in front of you, so it’s tough racing. A lot different than what we’re used to, ‘cause you gotta go. You gotta drag the brake too ‘cause you don’t want to hit the guys and you don’t want to stay on him. It’s a lot harder mentally than what we’ve done in the past.
Car was strong all day. Pushing vs. Bumping, is that harder to do than just getting on somebody and pushing them?
Yeah, it is a little bit. When you bump ‘em, you jar ‘em, it kinda jacks ‘em a little bit. It’s a little more abrupt, obviously. I thought it was OK there at the end. It was certainly fun and hopefully entertaining. But a little bit of a struggle in the early part of the race and the midpart of the race to see a good race. And that’s unfortunate for the fans. You can’t do that the whole race, you can’t tear up your stuff, knock your grill in, overheat your motor, all that stuff so there’s no sense in doing all that until you get down to the last lap. The 7 and the 6, they did a good job. Man, the 7 really held the 22 and I tight on the bottom. I was rubbing his door and hitting the apron at the same time, no room whatsoever. So it was good; wish we were the ones who could have won but a lot better now than what we were last year.
Going home in one piece makes it a lot better, right?
Yeah. My back feels good. My foot feels good. Past years here, I’ve been going home with pain so I’m alright.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Truck Series Post-Race Quotes: Daytona (Exclusives)
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday February 22, 2014
When you’re on the outside like that, how frustrating is it?
It’s so hard. Timothy Peters has won here. Kyle Busch has won everywhere. Ron Hornaday has been running Trucks forever, probably before I was even born. I was surrounded by veterans there, and like I told them I don’t have a rookie stripe but I’m a rookie. This is only my fourth Truck race ever, my fourth superspeedway race, and man, I figured out when the 17 got up in front of me, I pushed him. And as soon as I pushed him, he took off. And I went with him. And I just kept doing it, and before I knew it, he was leading. And I saw Ron in my mirror, backed up to him, and if it wasn’t for him, I don’t know what would have happened. I gotta thank him big time for that. That was a true teammate move right there. I really appreciate that. He just bounced off me and we got to the front. I tried my hardest to sidedraft Kyle. I was probably touching his door.
Top 5 in the No. 30 truck. This deal come together at the last minute, but you had a heck of a truck. Tell us about your night.
Yeah, I’ve got to thank Turner Scott Motorsports. The guys worked so hard on this Rheem Comfort Products Chevrolet. Exciting! Just got hung up on the outside and had to wait for my teammate there to catch up. And then he got to the bottom, so… I got the old 32 and started pushing ol’ Ryan to the front. So, it’s not bad. We’ll take it. You just don’t want to step over that boundary. You don’t know how far to push and shove. We bumped about six times down the straightaway without latching onto them. Hopefully, that was OK and we came home with a top 5.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Budweiser Duels Post Race Quotes
posted by Matt Stallknecht
Friday February 21, 2014
BUDWEISER DUELS POST-RACE QUOTES
They’re saying the wheel bearing burned up in it. I don’t know what caused it, they’re taking it all apart to figure out what the heck happened. Something abnormal that’s for sure I don’t think I’ve ever had that happen at all. Hopefully, we made the race and hopefully we can fix the problem before Sunday.
WHAT WAS THAT LOUD BOOM ONCE YOU TURNED INTO THE GARAGE?
Loud pop was a tire… thankfully, it popped, hopefully it didn’t hurt anybody. All the heat created in the left front that popped was pretty weird.
REALLY GOOD RUN. WHAT DID YOU THINK OF IT?
Yeah, it was good. We have a car we can work with for the 500. Got a good starting spot, so we’re going to rest easy, fluff and buff our car for a couple of days and get ready for Sunday.
ANY DIFFERENCE ON WHETHER THE TOP OR BOTTOM LANE WORKED?
Yeah, I was just moving around, trying to stay with the flow. For me, this car works on all parts of the racetrack. So I’m pretty happy with it.
DALE EARNHARDT, JR.
GOT SHUFFLED BACK, AFTER PIT STOPS AND THEN COULDN’T GET BACK UP TO THE FRONT. WHY?
Nah, we were just sitting there waiting until the last few laps to make a move. You didn’t want to pull down and get sent to the back. Seen a couple of guys get sent to the back really quick so we were just kind of waiting for the end. I felt like we had a good situation there with Ambrose behind us — we had a good run off Turn 2 and I went. It was the last lap, time to go do something, nobody went with us but hopefully Sunday is a different story.
We got a great car. We don’t have to work hard. We learned, we got a good race car. Got a car in one piece, ready to go so we’ll try and get through the next couple of practices, deliver it to the starting group this Sunday and we’ll be real happy.
YOU’RE IN THE DAYTONA 500!
Yeah, it’s pretty awesome. This Whitetail Chevrolet was so fast that I knew all I had to do was stick it behind smart, intelligent drafters and we could have a good finish. That’s what we did in the Duels and I’m excited. I’m excited to go do some stuff with the Nationwide car and have some more practice with this. But to know that we’re locked in the Daytona 500’s pretty cool.
YOU WERE OBVIOUSLY IN FRONT OF THAT MELEE AT THE END. WHEN YOU WERE UP FRONT THERE IN THE BEGINNING, WERE YOU HOPING TO JUST STAY IN LINE AND LET YOU FINISH TOP 5?
I was pretty content to ride and luckily I knew a lot of people around us were. It was nice to have a little calm and not really have to be racing hard the whole time. I knew that the pit stop was going to shake everything up and that’s exactly what happened. Fell back a little bit there but made the right moves at the end to get a good finish.
HOW STRONG ARE THESE RCR CARS?
They’re very strong! They definitely have the capabilities to be winning one of these races.
YOU’RE IN THE TOP 5 FOR YOUR HEAT IN THE DAYTONA 500. YOUR PRIMARY CAR IS SITTING RIGHT IN THE GARAGE, KIND OF WADDED UP. DID YOU THINK THIS ONE HAD IT IN IT?
Yeah, it’s a brand new car also. It’s just not quite as good as the primary but still a damned good car. I’m just proud of everybody at RCR for building such fast race cars. All of our cars have been fast, ECR motor’s been strong, even our affiliate teams have been qualifying really good and racing good. So… excited about 2014! It’s going to be a good year.
WELL MAN, YOU STARTED IN THE BACK BUT WORKED YOUR WAY TO THE FRONT WHEN IT COUNTED MOST. WERE YOU JUST BIDING YOUR TIME THROUGHOUT THE RACE?
Eh, you never know if you’re going to get back up there or not. We had to start at the back, we had to make a run early and see what we could do. We drove right to 10th, or something like that and then it got stagnant. We tried to make something happen, and went to the back again. Drove back up to the front. Again, just really proud of my guys. Matt Kruder did a hell of a job on that pit stop getting just enough gas in to gain some spots there.
RCR CARS SEEM PRETTY DARNED STRONG. DO YOU THINK THE RCR CARS HAVE SOMETHING FOR THEM ON SUNDAY — ESPECIALLY THE THREE JOE GIBBS RACING CARS THAT SEEM TO BE THE CLASS OF THE FIELD RIGHT NOW?
Oh yeah. The 20 car was extremely fast. The 11 didn’t qualify that good, but he’s a good drafter. I think he won. We definitely have something for him.
Check in with Matt and Jay on their site at CareyandCoffey.com.
NASCAR’s resident funny-man, corporate promoter extraordinaire and one of three owner/drivers in the Sprint Cup Series is geared-up and offering his opinions on most anything NASCAR, although that is not so unusual. Topping the list of issues that the 45-year old Waltrip, now in his third season as a team owner, expounded upon this week was the current ban on testing at NASCAR sanctioned tracks for competitors in its top five divisions. The testing prohibition, in place for the time being at least through the 2009 season, is in Waltrip’s estimation “…a colossal waste of time and money.”
The 45-year-old Owensboro, Ky. native, who first strapped into a Cup car in 1985 and has competed in 725 points-earning events since that time, would just as soon see the testing ban become permanent. In his opinion, computer technology has made the need to test obsolete. Said Waltrip, “We can go to the wind tunnel. These guys will tell you, the cars are set up so precisely when they leave the shop. The guys go to the seven-post rig, and they shake them. They do simulation. They understand what the cars are going to do when they go into the corner in the wind tunnel. So everything about the setup, it can be done virtually or through wind tunnel and seven-post testing. So when you go to a race track to test, you’re just basically burning up tires, burning up gas and taking people’s time, taking employees’ time at home away, which is a negative, because the schedule is so intense.”
Keep in mind that this is not the same Michael Waltrip that for years was routinely referred to as Mikey, more recognized for his goofiness and the fact that he was the not-so-accomplished younger brother of stock car racing legend Darrell Waltrip. In recent years, Michael Waltrip has become his own man. Though arguably still a little goofy, he is a person who is fully committed to the sport hook, line and sinker. Waltrip’s longtime involvement and his sizable investment in the sport through Michael Waltrip Racing has earned him the right to voice his opinion…and for it to be considered.
In short, Michael Waltrip is putting his money where his mouth is. He has signed the checks for Sprint Cup teams to go testing and he has realized the savings from the testing prohibition this off-season. On a purely financial level it is impossible to argue his point that not testing saves time and aids in giving personnel more time at home before entering another race season – the longest season of any professional sport.
Where Waltrip’s argument seems to come apart at the seams is when he states, “We used to didn’t know how to set up a car on the computer. We would blow a car in the wind tunnel, then couldn’t wait to get it to the track to see how it runs. Now they blow a car in the wind tunnel, they know exactly what it will do. It’s gotten that precise.”
Perhaps MWR has beat the competition in recruiting the right computer geeks and has now advanced his computer simulation testing procedures to true virtual reality. However, that is doubtful. If in fact Waltrip’s assertion that computer simulation and analytical interpretations has negated the need to put rubber on the track, then it would only seem logical that if and when NASCAR once again permits on-track testing the MWR stable of cars will forgo those test dates and save the money and time. What the heck, let Roush-Fenway, JGR and HMS chase their tails.
Jimmie Johnson’s No. 48 HMS bunch conducted more than 20 testing sessions during his successful championship effort in ’08. And this is a team that seemingly has had it all figured out for the previous two championship years! If Michael Waltrip is to be believed – shame on Chad Knaus and crew for wasting millions of Rick Hendrick’s dollars!
You won’t find a winning Sprint Cup Crew Chief on pit road that will proclaim that the only information he needs to dial in his hotrod to victory is a $3.5 million seven-post shaker rig and some really good proprietary software. Conversely, no Crew Chief intent on winning would not want that equipment and information available to him.
They’ll all tell you that the computer age has allowed them to “get it close” before loading the racecars onto the hauler, but there are things a computer just can’t precisely simulate. Such as the variations of tire wear that occur depending on a variety of different factors, including driving styles and weather conditions. Or for that matter, how a driver adjusts to tire wear or fuel loads at any given time. You might be able to tune a car with a computer, but there hasn’t been a computer chip developed yet that can be inserted into a driver’s modem that will allow him or her to interface flawlessly and in parallel with the predetermined computer model that is assumed to be best on race day.
And of course, thankfully such a futuristic day hasn’t arrived. We’ve all seen it many times when a car finally loses its superior handling during a run and then it is up to the driver to race by the seat of his pants. It is inevitable at some point during a long run that the handling will go away, and only through on-track testing can that point be determined and what adjustments should be made by mechanics and the driver to allow the car to still turn acceptable lap speeds.
There is little doubt that on-track testing does provide valuable information to the crew and driver. After all…isn’t the information that can be shared by multi-car teams in testing the biggest argument owners have used for wanting to expand, if at all possible, to the four-team limit?
Again, Michael Waltrip has every right to his opinion, and probably more so than anyone besides a handful of his fellow team owners. Besides, even if his justification for the argument does not entirely mesh with his opinion, perhaps saving money, equipment and wear and tear on crewmembers is justification enough to put an ending to extra testing separate from that afforded teams during the normal course of a race weekend.
Since Waltrip’s statements appeared Monday at the website scenedaily.com, the anti-Waltrip crowd has used his statements as an opportunity to post venomous attacks on Waltrip as a person, driver, owner and most everything in between. Such comments that are, in my estimation, nothing more than silliness and ignorance on the part of those that entertain themselves in such a manner. However, one comment on a website did get my attention. A simply stated, “Who cares what Michael Waltrip thinks.”
Well, as a team owner and veteran of almost 25-years in the series, I would think anyone interested in the sport would respect Waltrip’s opinion, even if they didn’t agree with it. NASCAR certainly has considered his thoughts on improving the sport. Let’s not forget that it was the 6’ 5” Waltrip that championed the need for a roof exit on Cup cars. And Waltrip that observed the inequity of the go-or-go home cars qualifying at different times during qualifying, leaving some at a disadvantage to others depending on track condition changes during the session. NASCAR’s answer: a mid-season change in qualifying procedure dictating that those outside the top 35 in points and needing to qualify into a race on speed are all grouped together and qualify one immediately after another.
Though it may be that Waltrip did not entirely hit the mark on his recent musings concerning extra-curricular testing, he might not have missed it by much either – at least in theory.
Either way…give the guy his due.
And…That’s my view from Turn 5.
©2000 - 2008 Tommy Thompson and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
Thanks for this respectful article. I agree that MW don’t get the respect he often deserves. I don’t always agree or understand why MW thinks the way he does, but i do respect his opinion as an owner and a 25 year veteran of the sport.
Thank you for the respectable article on Michael, it’s refreshing.
I think Michael has gotten far more respect than he deserves for years. He would never have gotten past the local dirt track if it had not been for his older brother. A huckster and fraud will be his legacy.
Is he the greatest driver in Nascar? No. Will MWR be a success? Remains to be seen. Admire the man for getting out there and trying? YES! Those who sit home on their ass and do nothing but write cruel things about MW or any driver for that matter, well they are just plain ignorant and give this sport a black eye. I have my favorite drivers and my least favorite drivers, but lets cut the name calling etc. These are hard times, support them all, and at times respectivly agree or disagree.
Good article.I do have some personal insight about negativity towards him. I am a lifelong fan and am always looking for interesting new info about the sport.When Ray Evernham talks I listen carefully as he often tells us things others fail to(ie. a computer program that predicts cautions).I never get that from either Waltrip brother, matter of fact some things they say do not seem to hold true.I have pretty much always liked the Waltrip brothers, not a favorite driver but have rooted for them at times in the past. But it seems that since FOX/SPEED has taken over both have become hugely overexposed.I think their goofy acts and attempts at humor fall well short and begin to grate on you. Leave the humor to the Blue Collar Tour.They both plug their sponsors and their agendas to a point where that grates on you as well.So I have been finding myself becoming more negative towards them as I have no control over who is in front of the camera and what they are saying and am growing weary of them.I also think that FOX/SPEED promotes more of a WWE approach to TV coverage ( the Dopey Boogity stuff) and these two are in the forefront of that as well. These are my feelings and I guess there must be some who like his approach on TV but I for one cannot stand it and I am sick of it.
Hey Ken. Were all entitled to our opinion, but to call a person a fraud and a huckster when he’s given 25 years of his life to the sport is way off the mark. You may not like him and he is a little goofy at times, but he deserves his due.
All I have to say is 2 time Daytona winner
Thank you so much for this article, Tommy. As a fan of his, I get tired of reading all the negativity and negative press on MW.
I am a fan of Nascar as well and really don’t like seeing negative press about any of the drivers. Yes, there are some drivers that I don’t care about, but I really respect what they do and if it were not for the rest of the field then Michael couldn’t race. It takes all of them to make a Nascar race what it is.
I really think that Michael Waltrip is a visionary and sometimes thinks so far into the future that what he says right now seem goofy. Look at what he did with his race shop making it more fan friendly. The other race shops may eventually redo their shops to match what MW did. I really admire Michael for all that he has done lately and what he has done in his career. Michael has, with his race teams and ownership, put it all on the line.
Any of the drivers that have put in the time that Michael has deserve to be respected. I also think that Michael and Darrell are on tv as much as they are because the tv ratings say they are good. The Waltrips are also good.
Just remember that Michael is as much a fan of Nascar as we are and it comes across that way.
Hi Tommy: Did you see his cars perform at Daytona these past weeks? No testing yet they hit the track ready to go. Best cars MWR has produced to this point, and with NO TESTING.
ALSO, losers set around throwing dirt at those who have the courage to stand up and try. MW is no fraud nor huckster, and he never makes excuses for his failures. I wish that could be said for most people.
Recent editions of Turn 5:
Turn 5 - The Fat Lady's Humming...At Least!