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 · Tuesday April 20, 2010
It was as uncharacteristic as thunder straight out of a sunny sky. And, like a bolt from the blue that harmlessly strikes a lightning rod instead of causing an inferno, it could have been so much worse.
The fact that it wasn’t worse was blind luck, really. And the most worrisome part about it is the two cars in the eye of the squall weren’t rivals, but teammates – cars that should be working together and not tangling, both of them championship contenders. The duo averted disaster, but at least one of them was surely left wondering how dear the cost really was.
These teammates race each other as aggressively, if not more so, as anyone else on the racetrack. That’s how it should be: team orders should be left for holding up lapped traffic and the like… but there is a line. Really, there’s enough to worry about without starting an in-house spat.
And in this case, should the resentment simmer, it could have championship implications later.
It was both commonplace and a rarity, a study in contrasts. Jeff Gordon has long been known for a slightly aggressive style. He won’t put you in the wall very often, but if he’s fast and there’s real estate to be had, he has never shied away from moving a car with his bumper for position. So when teammate and one-time protégé Jimmie Johnson was bumped up the track to take over second place on lap 241, it wasn’t particularly unusual.
Johnson’s reaction, though, was the bolt out of a blue sky. The reigning four-time champ is one of the cleanest drivers in the sport, and to see him slam into the side of Gordon’s car was almost enough to cause a double take. There was never intent to wreck Gordon, but it certainly looked as if the No. 48, usually so smooth through the corners, turned down into Gordon’s No. 24 in a move that got everyone’s heart rising. It’s not that Gordon was giving Johnson an inch of space, but it doesn’t look as though Gordon drifted so high that he and Johnson couldn’t have avoided each other. It looked as if Johnson didn’t want to avoid him.
And that moment’s loss of composure cost Johnson track position – positions which he couldn’t regain, having to settle instead for second. That’s not a position he has had to settle for all that often, and for the last four years, it’s a position others, including Gordon twice, have had to get used to in the final standings. But that’s exactly what Johnson had to do after the incident.
While the damage was minimal, Johnson was forced to pit for the tire rub caused by the contact. He would cycle back to the lead briefly, only to lose it to Gordon, who had fresher tires by virtue of staying on pit sequence. Fighting from behind the rest of the day, Johnson wouldn’t see the top spot again. Was Johnson a lock to win the race before his temper got the better of him? No, he wasn’t. But in the closing laps, had the fastest car; if there was one more corner, he would probably have won the whole thing. Unfortunately, it was Johnson who had to do what no driver wants to ever have to do to put him in that spot – lose track position to prove a point. In the end, he had nobody to blame but himself.
Gordon, as it turns out, didn’t lose because of the contact with Johnson, but because of a later incident with Tony Stewart that damaged 14 cars, all of them on the lead lap. On his team radio after making contact with Johnson, though, Gordon voiced his frustration with the younger driver, snipping, “Oh, Mr. Four-time’s upset?” – a comment that turns around words Johnson had spoken after an incident a year or two ago, one where he was frustrated with Gordon’s lack of patience. But does it indicate a deeper issue?
Johnson says no. “It’s going to happen in racing,” he said after the race was over. “Doesn’t matter if it’s teammates or not. There are just times where you’re irritated by racing with other guys. You know, Jeff and I have been racing hard against each other for wins for a long time. We’ve had this issue in the past, so I really don’t see it being a big deal. I guess he got out and said he was disappointed. So since I have my chance, I can equally say I was pretty disappointed with him today. We’ll sit down and get it talked out.”
“In general, we’ve been through this before… so don’t get the headline writers out saying trouble at HMS, because it’s really no big deal. And we all know from scanning during the race, there are a lot of colorful things said on that racetrack about teammates and other drivers and all that kind of stuff. So to have the word disappointed used from Jeff and myself, I don’t think it is a very big deal.”
But, is Johnson protesting too much? Saying it’s no big deal and it not being any kind of deal are not the same thing. If it was really a non-issue, would anyone have to say it was a non-issue?
In a sport where winning gets harder every week, it could be a much bigger deal. Johnson is the defending champion four times over, and everyone, including Gordon, is gunning for him. Denny Hamlin showed his hand at Texas, winning even though he said he was “still not 100% by any means right now. I feel like I’m 60 at best,” after major knee surgery three weeks ago. Hamlin has a driving style similar to Johnson’s -except that his temper has gotten the best of him and perhaps kept him from making a serious title run to date. Hamlin is a threat, and Johnson knows it, admitting that he’s been warily watching the No. 11 since last season – the first time Johnson has admitted that anyone is in his team’s collective head.
Matt Kenseth and Greg Biffle also loom large in the points picture, and both are also known for an aggressive style.
Johnson’s calm, clean driving in comparison has been perhaps the most dangerous asset he has. Racers race their competition the way those drivers race them, and Johnson has given no reason for anyone to retaliate; Tony Stewart said at one point that he trusted Johnson more than almost any other driver, and that’s why drivers rarely cross that line with the El Cajon, CA native – he never crosses it with them. That may be Johnson’s hidden advantage, and it’s not one he can afford to lose, especially to a tiff with a teammate.
Face it: in racing, there are plenty of people gunning for you. A driver needs someone to watch his back, and the most logical someone is a teammate (Roger Penske sums it up best with a long-standing team rule: Don’t wreck each other, period.) Whether it’s a drafting partner on a plate track, someone to race hard from a lap down while you open a lead, or just someone you know is going to try not to wreck you, that’s not something to give up over a small bump for second place. For that matter, maybe it’s best not to make that bump for second place with almost 100 laps to go, either.
The message is clear: the last thing any driver needs is trouble with a teammate, so Johnson better fix this problem with Gordon ASAP. There’s enough trouble lurking outside the home shop… and like a bolt from the blue, it’s bound to strike.
©2000 - 2008 Amy Henderson and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
Haters of Jimmie Johnson must agree that he was anything BUT “Vanilla” on Monday. And those last 17 laps he races for the win – not points as he’s so often accused of. (Although to me, it’s the same thing. Win=Points and Points=Championship)
VABlueGrass, those last 17 laps also said one other very important statement. The 2010 Championship is officially over! Jimmie has won his fifth, albiet underserved, championship in a row! There is no competition from any other team. No other driver currently racing in the Cup series has any capability to beat the Jimmie/Chad machine. Yes, I hate Jimmie with a passion! Nothing would make me smile more than to see that sleezy, slimy jerk slammed hard into the wall on lap 1, but that will never happen. The felon has more money that probably Childress, Gibbs, Roush, and all the other team owners combined, and he spends it well, including, and this is my personal suspicion, the lining of Brian France’s pockets to make sure his inspectors now look the other way when it comes to the inspection of Chad’s creations. Yes, this is once again Jimmie’s year! Even I concede that! I used to be a staunch Matt kenseth But even I have to finally admit that he is washed up and finished. As for the rest of the 2010 season, it will be interesting to see how the Jimmie and Chad domination plays out with race attendance and viewing. Bet it kills it! And I hope people like DansMom enjoy watching, because, as I’ve been doing for the last three years, I turn off the TV at the first mention of either of their names. And I’m sure there are lots of others who do the same. NASCAR is dead!!
Oh i can’t wait for those two manly men to get into it after the race . Screaming , hair pulling , scratching , and windmill swings at each other . That would be a show .
“So when teammate and one-time protégé Jimmie Johnson was bumped up the track to take over second place on lap 241, it wasn’t particularly unusual.”
Sweet. Now that Paul is out, there is one less guy I have to wait behind in line to get to the bathroom at the races!
That’s the spirit! And maybe if Jimmie keeps winning, eventually there won’t even be a line and you’ll have the whole bathroom to yourself!
Volcano – nice!
Paul – you must not have watched the whole race. Or you would have seen that the 24 was dominant the whole day – and if he runs like that he’ll give Jimmie a run for his money.
Jeff Burton showed he could climb from the back of the pack to the lead. Did it twice.
And if you listen to Denny Hamlin talk, he’s got something in store for the 48 team and proved it yesterday.
Personally, I’m baffled at how once again Mark Martin turned an absolutely AWFUL day into a great points finish. THAT is the stuff thats going to make him tough come chase time.
I think there is a lot of drama in the points race this year. Afterall, like a race you can’t win on lap 8, you can’t win the championship after the 8th race of the year!
Sorry, but for all you blind people, Jeff never touched Jimmie…he just got him loose, and made the pass! A great move on his part, with a car that was by far the best out there!!! Idiotic moronic asinine nascrap-killing jimmie was just mad cuz he didn’t have the dominant car once again! He was just being the spoiled brat baby that he is!!…And anyone who says idiotic moronic cheating nascrap- killing jimmie is a clean driver…well…you’re a moronic idiot too!…cuz idiotic moronic cheating nascrap-killing jimmie is one of the dirtiest drivers out there!!!! I’m continually amazed at how blind people are!!!!
Volcano- You use the bathroom at NASCAR races? Just wear a bathing suit, you’ll miss less action that way!
Carl: A whole bathroom to myself?! It’s like a dream come true. I could convert the troughs on the walls into some elaborate beer fountain system.
GrassyKnoll: What if you need to go #2?
Hit him again jeff. Forget this friendship bs. For too long he’s been taken advantage of you. There are no friends on the race track. As far as jimmy being mr clean on the racetrack, what a joke.
Volcano, If this season does go the way Paul said, you will have the bathroom all to yourself and DansMom’s male friends. I was at Bristol and I was totally shocked that at a track that holds, what 160,000, and those stands were only about three-quarters full. And I’m being generous. But when that phony caution came out with 13 laps to go, those stands emptied. Why? Everyone knew that NASCAR threw that caution to give their precious Jimmie boy a chance to get passed Kurt Busch. Kurt had the field covered, and with Jimmie-poo not able to catch up, ol Ricky got hold of his “ buddy” Brian, and viola, a fake caution! Jimmie and Kurt both take four, but lo-and-behold, Jimmie is able to get by with a little help from his teammate Tony holding Kurt up and Jimmie goes to Victory lane. What surprized me most about yesterday is that NASCAR didn’t throw another fake caution with two- or three to go to give Jimmie the race again! Ricky must have not been able to reach Brian, who was maybe preoccupied with something else. Bet Brian is getting an earfull from Rick today!
That right there is why I love conspiracy theorists… when the conspiracy doesn’t come true they assume something must have gone wrong.
Do you know how complicated a scheme it would be to pull off the story you just told. Someone has seen ocean’s 13 a few too many times.
THIS IS A THUNDER ROADS MOMENT!
I am assuming this means you are Not a fan of Jimmie Johnson, I could be wrong but I don’t think so.
If Jimmie Johnson’s dominance is killing NASCAR, then how did the NASCAR popularity occur at a time when Jeff Gordon was winning all the races?
Volcano – don’t eat the martinsville hot dogs and you’ll be ok. Just drink beer. But not too much or you’ll “volcano” all over yourself (and someone’s couch – if you don’t do that outside) after the race.
My favorites are races where Jimmie Johnson leads lap #3. A tribute to the real champion he is.
Jeez, lighten up will you all? especially Paul! Its only a stupid car race!!!
“Johnson the cleanest driver in NASCAR”, huh? I don’t think so. Mr. Vanilla has had so many people pull over out of his way and with the stupid chase giving him 4 trophies, he thinks he’s god’s gift to racing.
Poor baby, he was losing to a better car yesterday, so instead of being a man about it, he tried to wreck the guy who helped him get his ride. Real smooth. Well, Jeff may only disappointed with Johnson, but I was glad to see Gordon have a good enough car to be able to drive up past other cars. It was an awesome sight. It’s a shame that Edwards and Stewart caused the best car on the track to lose the race. It would have been fun to see the 24 and 48 go head to head for the win.
Po, Po, JJ.
At least Dale Sr had the right idea to kill himself to protect his legacy before his career was washed up.
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