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
Monday March 3, 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.
Holding A Pretty Wheel · Amy Henderson · Thursday November 12, 2009
The blame game.
It’s a game that race fans and media play all the time when it comes to wrecks, one that’s to be expected as no two viewers are going to have exactly the same view on an on-track incident. But since I got taken to task for calling out a certain driver this week in Mirror Driving (an opinion I stand by), I decided to take a look at some different, but common scenarios where controversy can come into play. For example, what makes something a “racing incident” instead of overaggression or a flat out lapse of judgment on a driver’s part — and what kind of crash can be chalked up to pure selfishness or lack of thought instead of an honest mistake? Where do we draw the line?
I can’t speak for every observer, but here’s my take on a few scenarios.
First, let’s look at the Jimmie Johnson accident at Texas on Sunday. It’s a scenario that plays out throughout the year, with a couple of key variations. Here’s what happens: Three drivers are racing for position coming into a turn. The driver on the top of the racetrack holds his line. The driver in the middle tries to hold his line, but his car is loose. The driver on the bottom decides to make it three-wide into the corner, hits the left rear of the middle car, and sends that car, which was already loose, into the outside car. The end result is a wreck that leaves at least two of those three vehicles in tatters.
My verdict: At Texas, David Reutimann, the driver on the bottom, made a stupid and dangerous move. It was just the third lap of the race, and Reutimann had a good car. It’s his responsibility as a driver to know the car directly in front of him is loose. Had Reutimann backed out, Sam Hornish, Jr. might have been able to save his No. 77 Dodge, allowing Reutimann to make the pass cleanly within a couple of laps. The car on top in this scenario became an innocent victim. In this case, it was the point leader, but as long as that driver holds his line and doesn’t compound the issue by trying to drop down, it doesn’t matter who is up top. The end result is a wrecked race car — and it’s all because someone got impatient.
It might be different if: There is no bottom car, the middle car isn’t visibly loose, or it is considerably later in the race. If the driver in a side-by-side pairing loses the car and spins (like the Juan Pablo Montoya – Carl Edwards wreck on Sunday), that’s a different deal. It might be ugly, it might even suggest that the driver isn’t as skilled as he could be, but it’s just a racing incident – albeit an avoidable one. Also, if two cars are already racing with one not clearly having handling issues, making it three-wide in some turns at some tracks is perfectly acceptable and should be expected, as long as the battle is chosen wisely. And if Sunday’s incident had happened with three laps to go instead of three laps into the race, it might even be a different story – but early on isn’t all “go time” all the time. Competing at this level, with races hundreds of miles in length, makes it as much a game of strategy and patience as it is going fast – something that the best racers have always known.
Next, we’ll take a look at the typical restrictor plate track incident. Here’s what happens: One driver gets out of shape (or sees the driver in front of him in trouble), slows a fraction, and gets run into from behind, which more often than not triggers a multi-car incident in which several cars suffer damage.
My verdict: This is a racing incident, and is much more the fault of a car without any throttle response. If a car slows just a fraction, the driver behind him might have the chance to avoid it, but the car behind him – not as likely. Many times, it’s not even visible in real time that the first driver slowed down, a product of a draft that’s a powerful and difficult thing at best. So blame this type of “Big One” on the racing created by restrictor plates, not on driver error.
It might be different if: The driver behind mistimes a bump draft and launches the car in front, or a driver tries to throw a block. Bump drafting has its place and has helped many a driver win a plate race, but if it’s mistimed or off-center, it can be disastrous. In some cases, it is a case of overaggression (it’s called “bump drafting” and not “slam drafting” for a reason), but in others, it’s the case of an error in judgment or in execution – still an error, but of a different ilk. Blocking on a plate track (or an intermediate, for that matter) is a touchy business to begin with, anyway. Unless there is considerable distance between cars (a rarity on the plate tracks), it simply takes more time for a car to move in multiple directions to block (forwards and sideways) as it does for them to move in one. That can easily result in the blocker getting a wild ride from the blockee — but in the end, it’s the blocker who’s at fault.
The third scenario often appears like the first one we discussed, with two notable differences. Here’s what happens: Two drivers race hard into a corner, late in a race – and one of them doesn’t (or can’t) hold his line. Last year at Richmond, this happened twice, with the same drivers in the spotlight, and ended the same way both times – with wrecked race cars and angry drivers.
My verdict: In the closing laps, it’s a racing incident, but most of the time, it’s an avoidable one. It’s also always the fault of the driver who did not hold his own line — regardless of why. Even if the car just “gets loose,” it’s the driver’s responsibility to keep it together when racing side-by-side going into the turn. In both cases last year, it appeared that Kyle Busch didn’t hold his line in either incident, though he was the top car on one and the bottom car on the other. Both times brought fan outcry because the other driver involved was Dale Earnhardt, Jr. – only the sport’s Most Popular Driver – who appeared from every angle to have held his line through the corners. Late in the race, I understand drivers need to take chances, but one does wonder if “wreckers or checkers” is always the best philosophy in the long run. Would backing off with a loose car and finishing in one piece really be a terrible option instead?
It might be different if: It were a deliberate blocking (or wrecking) move. If one car, more likely the top car, turned in an attempt to squeeze or block the other, then it’s a deliberate move made with the intention of at least making the other guy hit the brakes. Part of racing, but not the cleanest part.
Finally, there’s the infamous “bump and run.” Here’s what happens: In order to gain track position, one driver drives deep underneath the other and deliberately bumps him in the left rear in an attempt to make his car get loose and slide up the track, allowing him to take the spot. It’s been done countless times over the years, and there are definitely mixed feelings on the morality of this one.
My verdict: If it’s a last lap attempt to take the checkers, it’s the driver’s job to get all he can. But there is a right way and a wrong way to do the “bump and run.” The right way doesn’t involve wrecking the car on the outside: That makes the car loose, forcing the driver to back out and allow the car on the inside to complete the pass. The wrong way causes the car on the outside to hit something (or several somethings), including but not limited to the outside wall and/or other cars.
Instead, the right way — on the last lap, light enough to upset the car in front but not send him wrecking — has been part of the game since they made the second car and ran the first race.
It might be different if: It happens on any lap but the last, or it’s done the wrong way. Then it’s just dirty driving.
That’s just my take on these types of incidents. Others can call ‘em like they see ’em, and that’s what makes racing interesting. But in judging any type of on-track contact, both timing and thought are key. Racing is sometimes as much a game of patience as it is speed, as even the most aggressive drivers know when to push an issue and when not to. There are smart, aggressive racers and there are not-so-brilliant racers who act without forethought. The latter are dangerous for obvious reasons; they don’t think and don’t plan, meaning someone else pays the price. As for the former, they will make every attempt to get by, but their moves are calculated and correctly timed and orchestrated — almost like watching a big cat stalk and kill its prey.
And as for the dirty drivers? Well, those are the ones racers just have to avoid at all costs.
©2000 - 2008 Amy Henderson and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
You forgot to mention scenarios where drivers on the outside just simply don’t have the talent to keep their cars under control when barely touched by a car on the inside . Like for example , well i’m sure we can think of a recent example . Is it then the fault of the car on the inside for being aggresive and losing control , or is it the fault of the car on the outside for not having the driving ability to regain control and avoid a single car crash ? Cars get bumped on every lap of every race , somtimes its imtentional , sometimes not . But all of the drivers are paid big money to be able to get their cars back under control and continue racing . Not drive back across the track out of control like a big toothless cat ( whose fearsome reputation is mostly hype ) stumbling along trying to pretend it can catch its prey .
Not the least impressed with your take on things here either!!
Your analysis sounds like an MBA student trying to reason out the impact the changes in interest rates have on the market price of derivatives and is just as silly. I have no idea if you have ever been in a race car at speed but if you have not, may I respectfully suggest that you attend one of the Nascar driving schools so that perhaps you may know of what you speak.
Sure doesn’t get an clearer here for sure!
Quote from above: “Here’s what happens: One driver gets out of shape (or sees the driver in front of him in trouble), slows a fraction, and gets run into from behind, which more often than not triggers a multi-car incident in which several cars suffer damage.
My verdict: This is a racing incident” (end of quote)
So, with that said, lets consider:
1. I always thought the races started when the green flag was shown, but apparently the racing has to start at least AFTER the third lap! Per Amy!
2. now we have this scenario, Amy says that three (3) wide, three (3) laps into a race, makes a driver an IDIOT!
BUT! Now that driver is not “below” anyone, but in FRONT of another car, and WIGGLES! (same exact thing as Reuti did down low), BUT, since this driver is in FRONT of the others, CAUSING THE OTHERS TO LIFT THUS CAUSING A MAJOR CRASH, this is considered simply a “RACING INCIDENT”?
If one cause a MAJOR crash from “wiggling”, who cares whether it is beside, in front, behind, or anywhere else, they lost control of their car? Resulting in a major crash!
I’m admittedly having a hard time following when one actually qualifies to become an “idiot”?
A “loose” car, is a “loose” car, ALL causing accidents!
Maybe I need to open both eyes? Or maybe it’s not me!
I actually got a headache reading your column. There is nothing you can write to cover up your bias against the so called “idiot” and your love for the 48.
Totally disagree with this assessment and seems a bit narrow minded. To put the entire blame on Reut for this is stupid (using your choice of words). The only reason this is getting so much attention is because it happened to be Jimmie Johnson on the outside. If it was Robby Gordon on the outside would this have been such a big issue with you?
Its racing. These things happen all season long. Just take it for what it is. Jimmie was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
So if Jimmie loses the championship, are you going to blame it all on Reuti?
Here’s What Happens: Although his car owner has thrown more money at his team than the government spends bailing out Wall Street, the annointed finds himself the victim of a three-wide racing incident and back in the garage. With help from one of his closest rival’s crew members, the car is repaired and returns to the track. Unfortunately, the annointed still loses over 100 points of his lead in the chase. Wednesday on Fronstretch, his biggest cheerleader is called out for bias by her co-panelists and commenters alike, and so on Friday we get an entire article explaining how to tell who’s at fault in a wreck.
Hey Carl D. your “and so on Friday we get an entire article explaining how to tell who’s at fault in a wreck.”
Well, “trying” to explain anyway, but the “explanation” is not much better than the original”
Me thinks the hole is getting DEEPER!
It,s called “RACING” Amy, not ride and be nice till the last lap.
Well Amy you could have saved your fingers alot of work if you had stopped after that first paragraph.
Dom Mei and yourself point it out perfectly. Everyone “sees” it differently and we’re not stock car drivers.
This was an exercise in futility of thinking that YOUR opinion matters and you’re going to beat everyone over the head with until they change thier opinion to match yours. And if they don’t you’re going to keep beating us over the head with it (write from the angle you do) unitl we capitulate to you.As I made the statement in mirror driving. I’ll say it again here. If you were on the tittantic, you would have been the one hanging onto a railing screaming at the top of your lungs that the ship couldn’t sink because Mr. Ishmay told you so.
It becomes easier to read and understand you if we all know your “angle”. Thanks for an entertaining but feeble “what if” game.
Hey Geoff from FL – It’s not always racing, sometimes it is riding in a single file line for many many laps on end. But maybe you missed Talladega, just like Brian France did. And for the record, I am in no way comparing you to Brian France. Just noting that maybe you had a valid reason for missing the Talladega parade, unlike Brian France, who, if he isn’t at the track on raceday, should be glued to his television. But apparently he has better things to do than watch Nascar races.
So let me get this straight. Since Jimmie got wrecked it has to be someone else’s fault, either Ruetimann or Hornish. But when the exact same thing takes Carl Edwards out, it can’t be Montoya’s fault. It is just a “racing deal” then. Does that about cover it? Seems biased to me. No that can’t be. No one would ever write anything biased. Ha Ha
Amy, it happened on the 3rd lap exactly when cars are close together and it is easy to misjudge something like the car in front slowing slightly, a little loose or whatever. That’s when things are most likely to happen. Even your precious JJ makes mistakes in those circumstances. Things happen.
I got the biggest kick out of your speech about good journalism the other day, that good journalists (as you see herself) deal only in facts not opinions. Well, Amy, the only fact we know is that David Reutimann got into the corner of Sam Hornish. When you start stating why, assessing motives or deciding he is an idiot, you have stopped being a “good journalist” (by your definition) and are giving your opinion.
I don’t think it matters who the drivers in question are, to be honest. If Johnson had been the one on the bottom and Reutimann on top, it would have been Johnson’s fault for not driving smarter so early in a race. The fact that Johnson was the point leader does magnify the situation-he has a lot more to lose than Reutimann, but there is really no excuse for trying to put a car where it doesn’t fit on lap three of a race. Racing is as much about strategy and patience as it as about going fast. Reutimann didn’t take himself out, but that does often happen with overzealous drivers-and then it’s even more of a silly move, given that had that driver have waited to make the move at a better time, he’d not be wrecked either.
One other thing…the journalistic ethics argument that I made in Mirror (and stand by)makes a distinction that perhaps the layperson doesn’t understand-my bad if I didn’t explain. There is a difference between a news piece (which event coverage essentially is) and a commentary, or opinion piece. A news piece should not comment on the situation, just report facts. This is why you won’t see a reputable anchorman or woman comment about a story (What a terrible person the accused burglar is-he should be ashamed of himself and rot in hell!) That same line would be perfectly acceptible in an editorial piece, but it is not ethical in a hard news piece.
Will good sports commentators occassionally express an opinion about an individual event? Yes- “And he makes a spectacular catch against the outfield wall!” or “That was an incredible save.” Even that is acceptable-but commenting on the quality of the event is not. Fans can make that decision on their own. You won’t hear a World Series announcer exclaim what a horrible game it is because nobody has scored any runs and it’s the eighth inning. They report that there have been no runs scored, give the circumstances surrounding that, and leave the final judgment up to the fans. That’s how sports should be broadcast and reported according to the journalistic standards taught in intro level classes-and are only further enforced as you advance. News and event broadcast are different from an opinion piece in the same manner that a news story is different from an op-ed piece.
I still don’t place all the blame on Reutimann. It was quite clear, particularly from the 4 dozen replays of the incident, that Hornish was going backwards in a hurry. Anyone who got trapped behind him was going to end up in the back with him. Once again, “Sideways Sam” qualified beyond his talent level and as such was making a rolling roadblock out of him self. Watching the replay, no one was lining up behind Hornish- they were all in the bottom groove where Reutimann was or up high where Johnson was, not sliding backwards in the middle.
So what if it was lap 3? The only time these rolling boxcars can pass is on a start or a restart. Once everyone gets strung out, your’re stuck until the next caution. You don’t want to be stuck back with the scrubs who are going to get lapped by the leader within 25 laps, which is where Hornish was headed. You want to be up front with the leader and close enough to see the clean air that lets the top 3 or 4 cars check out on the rest of the pack.
I’m not saying Reutimann is faultless- Reutimann has a reputation for running hard and fast at the beginning, and has been taken to task for it before. But I’d rather see more of that than the guys who think riding around midpack or worse for 90% of a race is the proper strategy. The only time you see everyone scrambling before the final caution anymore is when there’s a threat of rain. Otherwise, it’s hold steady until the last pit stop then maybe go bat outta hell if you need to make up points. It makes no sense to hold a 500 mile race if folks only “race” for 50 of those miles.
As a “layperson” I have a problem with equating the standards of covering hard news with the standards of covering sporting events. Guys like John Madden, Billy Packer, and even Benny Parsons made a name for themselves by being honest and calling things like they see ‘em. Still, the bigger issue is Poston’s public condemnation of the broadcast team. It came across as petty, heavy-handed, and unfortunately, typical of the “our-way-or-the-highway” attitude prevalent in those currently managing the sport.
Amy , you are correct . Not on this ridiculous hash of a column , but on the difference between commentary and news .
By the way , do you know the difference between yourself and any of the Laypersons who read this column ? You get paid for this tripe . Other than that , the Laypersons seem to have a much better knowlege of NASCAR and racing in general than you do . Funny world isn’t it . We , the Laypersons , do all the real thinking and writing , yet you get the paycheck .
I’ve never said that any team is without fault-if you regularly read my columns, you would see that I lay blame where I see it. This column was not meant to be about any one team or situation-it does offer an explanation of why I felt the wreck on Sunday was silly and senseless. As I stated before, it would have been just as silly and senseless if the roles of the 48 and the 00 were reversed-and I would have called Jimmie Johnson out for making a move early in the race that not only wrecked two racecars, but could well have ruined his own chances in the race. Do I respect the 48 team?Heck yeah-because they are the best team in the business right now-but they are not blameless. Johnson was one of the worst plate drivers on the circuit five or six years ago and caused plenty of “excitement.” Other than one instance where I felt (and still do) that blame was shared, I have called him out on it. He tried to do things with his racecar that he, in hindsight, should not have done. It happens a lot, and to a lot of drivers. Nobody is immune.
Those of you who think the move to go three wide on lap three was smart because it effected the outcome for Reutimann-cool. I don’t think it made a difference to him in the end. If you can make a good pass for position early-do it-that’s why it’s called racing. But making a move that could well result in your own early exit, or that takes someone else out of contention-I don’t agree with it, and it’s not smart racing, period. You rarely see the best drivers make a move like that-because they understand the need to make equipment last for 500 miles, and will back out of a situation on lap three that could end their day.
WHAT! I “SHOUT” once again?
Once more we are subjected to this comment from Amy: “ but there is really no excuse for trying to put a car where it doesn’t fit on lap three of a race”, FROM THE ABOVE RESPONSE YET!
So, once again, Amy is saying that the racing DOES NOT START WITH THE DROP OF THE GREEN FLAG!
But of course she never states when the racing “really should begin”!
Obviously these key words “where it doesn’t fit on lap three of a race”!
Amy! Please, please, repeat after me “THE GREEN FLAG IS OUT, THE TRACK IS GREEN, THE RACING HAS BEGUN”!
Not a difficult concept to understand I think!
GREEN is GREEN!
YELLOW is YELLOW!
(“and we decide which is right”) Nights in White Satin!
The interview nobody saw.
Amy, the saying goes “when you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop digging”. You are never going to live down or change the opinion that you are a biased 48 lover. Admit it. That’s the first step to Kool-Aid recovery.
Question? OF THE DAY!
“can anyone please tell me what lap # the racing really starts on Sunday”?
It certainly ain’t on lap #1!
Just want to make sure I get my facts right.
I can see it now, the “new” NA$CRAP advertisement: “FOR SUNDAY’S RACE THE GREEN FLAG DROPS AT 2:08pm, THE RACING STARTS AT 3:25pm”!
Oh, and as another note, passed thru Homestead yesterday, near the speedway, I swear the banners they have flying advertising the “final” event said “NA$CRAP CHUMPIONSHIP RACES, NOV 20-22”!
That’s what I thought I read anyway!
Sure glad the season is almost out of it’s ever loving misery soon, this thing has been flogged to death!
You know how they used to play loud music to disturb the prisoners? I understand the new method, less humane even, is to have them all watch a NA$CRAP race start (whenever that is) to finish!
And then listen to a Brian France interview!
Talk about torture!
I agree with Doug in Washington. Hornish was going backwards and Johnson and Reutimann were attempting to pass him. Either Reutimann moved up or Hornish moved down, I dont know. But it was just an “accident” or “racing deal” and nobody’s fault, in my opinion.
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