NASCAR Changes Qualifying Format
posted by Summer Bedgood
Tuesday March 11, 2014
Following safety concerns regarding NASCAR’s new qualifying format, the sanctioning body is introducing some changes in preparation for this weekend’s race at Bristol Motor Speedway. According to the Associated Press, NASCAR is banning teams from cool-down laps after their qualifying attempts, but will instead be allowed to hook up cool-down units to the engine through hood flaps.
Late Tuesday afternoon, a release from NASCAR fully detailed the changes. Teams will be allowed a single cool down unit to be connected through the right or left side hood flap, however the hood must remain closed. Additionally, two crew members will be allowed over the wall while cooling down.
“The qualifying is new to all of us and as we have said over the past several weeks, we are looking at it from all aspects,” said Robin Pemberton, vice president of competition and racing development. “Following discussions, both internally and with others in the garage area, we moved quickly to make a few revisions that will be effective starting with our two national series events at Bristol Motor Speedway this weekend. We believe this will only enhance and improve what has demonstrated to be an exciting form of qualifying for our fans, competitors and others involved with the sport. Moving forward we will continue to look at it and address anything else that we may need to as the season unfolds.”
The move comes after three weeks of NASCAR’s new knockout qualifying system, where multiple cars are allowed to make qualifying attempts at the same time instead of the traditional one-car-at-a-time procedure. Drivers and teams had complained that the new rules didn’t allow them to cool their engines down on pit road, and the cool-down laps caused a dangerous situation with slower cars staying on the track at the same time that other cars were running by them at much higher speeds.
The rule will begin this weekend in Bristol, a track that has a much narrower racing surface than Daytona, Phoenix, and Las Vegas.
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!
Check in with Matt and Jay on their site at CareyandCoffey.com.
Holding A Pretty Wheel · Amy Henderson · Friday August 6, 2010
Last weekend marked a noteworthy event in NASCAR. On Saturday, in Iowa, Kyle Busch, the ultra-talented 25-year-old from Las Vegas, took home his 75th victory in NASCAR’s three national touring divisions. (The win is actually Busch’s 76th NASCAR win; he has one win in the K&N Pro Series, a regional development series). Busch has 18 Sprint Cup wins, 18 Camping World Truck Series wins, and 39 Nationwide Series victories, a mark good for second-place on the all-time wins list for that series. That’s a lot of hardware.
Color me less than impressed.
It’s not that I’m not impressed with Busch’s talent-that’s pretty hard to ignore. There aren’t many drivers in Sprint Cup, let alone the other two series, who can touch him on raw talent, and the ones that do have a patch on their uniform identifying them as Cup champions. Heck, there are a couple wearing that patch who don’t have his kind of natural ability.
I read a column by former Cup crew chief and current commentator Larry McReynolds this week, and Larry Mac wondered if Busch could reach 200 wins, alluding to the mark set by Hall of Fame driver Richard Petty. Mathematically, it’s an outside possibility. Busch’s first NASCAR wins came in 2004, putting the 75 within just seven seasons to date. That’s just under 11 wins per year. At this same pace, Busch would reach 200 wins at the age of 38, certainly not ancient by NASCAR standards, where it’s not unheard-of for a driver to win at 50. So, yes, it’s an outside possibility-if Busch can keep up the same grueling schedule for another 13 years. That’s a hugely tall order.
Judging by the fan comments to Larry Mac’s piece, many fans aren’t nearly as impressed by the numbers as Larry Mac was-and neither am I. First of all, all of Richard Petty’s 200 wins came at NASCAR’s top division (now Sprint Cup). Sure, the series was different in those years, but the competition was stiff and the schedule was longer. In 1964, Petty raced 61 of 62 events-that’s the length of the entire Sprint Cup and Truck series combined these days-all at the Cup level. Petty won nine times that year, far from his best years, but won the championship. Petty only raced 15 times in another national touring series, the now defunct convertible series. Add in his 1959 win, and his NASCAR total is 201.
On the other hand, the majority of Busch’s wins have come in the Nationwide and Truck series, which are series in which most regulars are either up-and-comers who have not yet made their mark on the Sprint Cup scene, or veterans who call those series home. In the Nationwide Series especially, many of the veterans are running for small-budget teams. It’s relatively easy for a Cup Series driver-especially one with wins at that level-to come in and win. Case in point: through 21 Nationwide races this year, 20 have been won by Cup drivers in superior equipment to most of the series regulars’ stuff. The Camping World Truck Series has seen six Cup regulars in victory lane in 13 races this season.
All of which makes it hard to be impressed by Busch’s numbers. Sure, it takes a combination of equipment and driver to win. That’s been true since the beginning of racing. But the mark of a great driver vs. just a good one is this: A good driver can take a fifth-place car and finish fifth in it, but a great one can take a fifth-place car and find a way to win in it. And for the vast majority of his Nationwide wins, Busch simply hasn’t had to do that. He’s had a winning car almost every week, and he should be winning in them.
That’s the heart of the issue for most of the Cup guys in Nationwide of late-sure they’re winning-in cars that should be winning with a driver of their caliber. In essence, they’re doing what they should. They aren’t exceeding expectations or overcoming any kind of adversity. It’s simply a matter of good drivers in the best equipment, not of some extraordinary gift.
Which is why, in the Cup Series, where there are more cars that should be winning races, winning is that much more impressive, and why it’s that much harder. There is a reason that out of all of the drivers in the history of the series, only a dozen have reached the 50 win mark. In Sprint Cup today, of the 45 or so who show up each week, there are only two with 50 wins under their belts. It’s not coincidental that both have multiple series championships. In fact, of the dozen drivers with 50 or more wins, only one (Junior Johnson, who never ran a complete season) doesn’t have a title. The remaining 11 account for 38 championship titles-more than half of all the championships won in series history. Nine of the 12 have two or more. Those are the greatest drivers in the sport. To date, Kyle Busch is 32 wins short.
Busch is capable of 50 Cup wins. But his excessive racing in other series has often called question to his focus and dedication to his Cup effort. It’s interesting to note that though a few of them may dabble in a few Nationwide races a year, not one past or current active Cup champion runs close to the entire Nationwide Schedule.
Reigning Cup champion Jimmie Johnson hasn’t run in the series since 2008. The most Nationwide races Johnson has run in a year since going to Cup full time is just eight, and he’s raced in that series 19 times as a Cup regular. Busch, in comparison, ran the entire 35-race NNS schedule last year, and since becoming a full-time Cup driver in 2005, Busch has raced 149 times in Nationwide and another 69 times in trucks. Altogether, that’s more than his career Cup race total.
That can’t be good for Busch’s Cup numbers. The wear and tear of the travel aside, the schedule sometimes means racing on two completely different tracks in a single week-and no matter how good you are, that has to take away focus from at least one, if not both, of those tracks. And when that’s happening multiple times, the Cup numbers suffer. Busch’s Cup numbers are certainly respectable-18 wins in five and a half seasons-but Busch falls short of those who he would join as the sport’s greats.
In his first 207 starts, Richard Petty had 25 wins to Busch’s 18. David Pearson, whose 105 Cup wins are second all time, had 28 through the same number of races. If Busch would like to be compared to the winningest active Cup drivers at the beginnings of their careers, he still falls far short of both Jeff Gordon (33 wins through 207 starts) and Jimmie Johnson (27 wins in that time frame).
Busch could be one of the greats in the sport, no question. But his lack of focus on the Cup Series is, so far, keeping that from happening. And his prowess in the Nationwide and Truck series is, to an extent, bought with better racecars.
New York Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez also had a career milestone this week-his 600th home run. That number in the past has all but guaranteed players entrance to the Hall of Fame. It puts Rodriguez seventh all time. The number he reached this week is somewhat tainted by allegations of steroid use. Busch’s milestone isn’t marred by performance enhancing drugs, but it is similarly tainted. A baseball player’s home run tally only counts his performance in the majors. Minor league stats simply don’t count once a player reaches the big time. That’s true in other major sports as well-Wayne Gretzky’s goal tally would be higher if you add on his junior league numbers. Emmitt Smith’s rushing yards at Florida aren’t counted in his NFL totals. Hank Aaron and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar don’t have anything to pad their home run and scoring totals. And Richard Petty’s 200-win mark doesn’t include development series.
Strip it all down to the numbers that really count in an athlete’s career, and Kyle Busch’s are respectable. They aren’t spectacular (though I suspect they could be much better had Busch concentrated on the Cup Series), and they’re a far cry from the greatest ever. Some might call 75 wins across three series a great accomplishment, but I just don’t see it.
If Busch chose to make a career of the Nationwide Series, his 39 wins would mean a heck of a lot more-but that’s not the case. If the 75 wins were at the Cup level-and that’s a stretch for Busch at this point-he’d be a certain Hall of Famer. Instead, he’s an ultra-talented Cup driver who, for whatever reason, feels like he needs to prove himself in a lower series when he isn’t getting it done at the Cup level. By doing that, he’s insulting the intelligence of fans-and he’s selling himself short. The win total rings hollow.
Kyle Busch could have put himself on pace to win 75 Cup races in his career. He also could have chosen to be one of the best Nationwide or Truck Series drivers ever, had he played it straight. Not only has he jeopardized his career Cup numbers, but he’s damaged his reputation and integrity in the process. Many race fans aren’t impressed with his method of padding his statistics. He may have 75 wins, but by virtue of taking so many of them from less experienced drivers and those with far inferior equipment, he doesn’t come across like much of a winner at all.
©2000 - 2008 Amy Henderson and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
Since when did they start counting every win a driver has in every Nascar series as their ‘win total’? If you took every driver who ever raced in Trucks, Bus…eh, Nationwide, and Cup series and totalled their wins, it would make some impressive numbers for many of them…like, say, Mark Martin? To me it’s just another way of inflating stats to make things sound more impressive than they really are. Like how many passes are made at scoring loops when the only ones that really count are for the lead, or how many cars finish on the lead lap since the Lucky Dog and wave around rule. I don’t deny KB’s talent, but trying to skew the stats so they can pretend he’s the next ‘King’ is just another example of Nascar trying to fudge the numbers.
What a crock. Who cares that Busch can go down into a lower series and whup on the wanna-bees. He must really need to fuel that ego of his.
Amy, ….Damn Girl Right On!!!!
I’m sorry, but I don’t think the Nationwide series wins, as a whole, are meaningful. In it’s present form, the cup drivers have such superior equipment that when a “regular” in the series wins a race, it’s a miracle. Sure a few cup drivers ran in the series in the past, but they didn’t dominate the series. Same with the truck series. Money talk.
This column was really only about defending the records of Johnson and Gordon . A pretty typical theme in your columns . I noticed you accidentally left out out Dale Earnhardts win total in his first 207 ( why 207 ? ) starts . Probably just an oversight .
Amy, I think you’re starting to get it.
Excellent and well-written article, Amy. I couldn’t agree more. It’s a downright shame that NA$CAR has to create “News” stories like this crock. Anyone tempted to compare NA$CAR to the stick’n‘ball sports (are you listening, Brain Farce?) doesn’t have to look very far to see that the comparison is apples to oranges (or maybe pomegranates). I’ll go you one better: Not only do the other sports stars not include their stats from the minor leagues, but none of them, NONE OF THEM, competed in those minor leagues AT THE SAME TIME as competing in the majors! How impressed do you think the fans would have been if Hank Aaron had played in AAA ball at the same time as the Braves just to get more HR stats? I dare say he would definitely not be revered as the great player he is if that had been the case. So go tell LarryMac to give up on this particular shill and ask Brain Farce for another worthless soundbite to inflate. Oh, one more thing: Isn’t it funny how an article like this one brings out all of those PeeWee Herman (Oops, sorry: Kyle Busch) fans and the Gordon/Johnson haters to tell you what your REAL reason for writing the article was? Keep up the good work, Amy
Larry Mac is truly completely out of touch with fan attitudes. Why dont we count ARCA wins too?
Looks like I’m by myself on this, as I am a Kyle Busch fan. I do not know if he could reach 200 wins in the “big three”, probably not with the changes coming to the nationwide series. But he would need at least 100 more wins to start to make this a legit conversation, with 30+ in the cup series.
I will agree with some of Amy’s comment’s along with some of the previous poster’s.
If I remeber correctly one reason the points were changed in the early 70’s to make all races equal was because some drivers only raced the big money races, (Not Richard he raced all he could make) kind of like Kyle who loves to race.
Yes I know MOST will disagree with my comments. I believe you need to take your rose colored glasses off and read up on the history of racing and see that alot of what you say is wrong with Cup drivers in Busch series was The King back in the 60’s & 70’s most money and best sponser.
wcfan is right on the money . The Richard Petty stats have always been a little mis-leading . When Richard started out , NASCAR often had 2 or even 3 sanctioned races on a given night within towing distance . Lee Petty always insisted that they scour the entries for each event and then go to the least well attended one . Makes sense . If most of the heavy hitters are going to one particular race , and each race pays roughly the same prize money and exactly the same points , well…its a no brainer . And Richard had the inside track on ALL parts and developments from MOPAR . He always got the best parts , usually long before they were available to the other MOPAR teams . Thats not to diminish Richards’ accomplishments , winning 200 times in any sport is damned impressive .
Kyle Busch is the poster boy for whats wrong with the Nationwide series. I know that these guys are racers and they want to race as often as possible, but watching Busch and Edwards race in the NNS is like watching NFL linebackers tackle little league football players. It’s ugly.
I’m okay with a small, rotating group of Cup drivers racing in the Nationwide series to help developing drivers learn how to get around the tracks. However, what Busch, Edwards, and a few other cup drivers do is nothing more than feeding their egos at the expense of the true NNS teams.
I didn’t realize Busch getting 75 wins across three series was a story. Is anyone other than ESPN reporting this? Or is it just that network trying to hype the NNS which, I’m guessing, is not their most popular programming right now?
I have said for years that the Busch and Truck series need to have more companion events with each other and less with the Cup series. If you go back and look there have ALWAYS been Cup drivers in the lower series at these companion events, don’t remember this outrage when Mark Martin was winning the Busch races (Best car, Best sponsers , Most money) but now that Busch, Edwards and Harvick are winning we have a problem. I will agree the Busch series has MAJOR PROBLEMS and the Cup drivers are part of this problem. But a Bigger part is the LOW PURSES start up teams can not afford to enter and build the cars they need to be competitve,(when a start and park can make more money then a driver that runs ALL DAY and (finishes in the top 20) has to pay the crew and risk the car, YOU HAVE A MAJOR PROBLEM. When you have only 8-10 teams with any chance at the win, this is not a Cup driver “Buschwacking” only problem.
Lets go to Iowa, Irvindale, Nashville Fairgrounds, Myrtle Beach, and South Boston just to name a few. And watch this series take off again. These tracks have PLENTY of seats for the measly crowds that have been supporting this series the last couple of years.
Amy, if that were Dale Jr. getting his 75th win, you’d be ecstatic about it, and proclaiming Junior the best ever. (Come to think of it, you DO think he’s the best ever.) I am sure it is a requirement of getting a blog or column or whatever the heck this is, on Frontstretch, that you hate Kyle and announce that fact every week or so. I am not a huge fan of Cup drivers slumming it in the lower series, but your beloved Mark Martin did it for most of his career. My point is not whether 75 wins is meaningful, but whether media and Kyle-haters would think differently if it were another driver accomplishing it.
Kyle is the probably the most talented driver in NASCAR. He is not the company man that Gordon or Johnson are. He annoys the heck out of people. For all these reasons, he is NASCAR’s most valuable commodity right now.
And wcfan and Martin are both right. Petty’s 200 victories were also just a number, and not as meaningful a number as David Pearson’s 105.
To be fair, I didn’t like it when Mark Martin raced the #60 in so many Busch series races back in his heyday. There just wasn’t a vast internet forum where fans could make their opinions known back then.
I agree that money is the biggest problem facing startup teams and NNS teams in in general, but when the Cup guys win the purse money for the top five or six finishing postions race after race, that leaves even less for the teams that truly need the money.
The money is not in the series to travel across the country 4 or 5 times for the $15,000 to $60,000 purse, it takes BIG MONEY to do that and this series is not a good investment for the sponsers without Cup drivers. I believe if the Cup drivers left so would alot of the money, until nascar takes these series back to the basics, the small tracks with less traveling.
I lost alot of respect for “The King” after hearing David Pearson say one of the best complements he ever recieved was from Richard Petty who said (That if Pearson had raced full time Earnhardt would never have won 7 championship’s) I believe Pearson raced more against Petty in his prime then Earnhardt and if anyone would have lost championship’s it would have been “The King”
wcfan… You make a very good point. Not much return on investment for current NNS teams and sponsors.
First off, I thought this was a well written and well thought out article.
In regards to some comments: It’s true that eliminating the Cup drivers would not suddenly solve the problem, but the Cup drivers are the reason the other teams are failing in the first place.
The Cup teams already have the money, resources, and technology far above a standard Nationwide team, and when they take all the sponsors it only widens the gap.
I understand about competition and letting the best team and drivers win, but these Cup teams came in with the decks stacked way, way in their favor. I don’t see how a Nationwide team with 9 employees, limited funds, and an inexperienced driver is supposed to compete with a Cup driver driving for a Cup team with 400 employees and engineers, and the best technology their $100 million combined budget can buy. With these factors, it’s beyond a top level athlete playing in the minor leagues just for the fun of it. It’s more like having an NFL team play against a high school football team.
I think every one else has pretty much said all that needs to be said, so if you’ll excuse me, I’m participating in a Karate Tournament tonight. Sure, I’m a black belt and yes, I am fighting individuals in beginner Karate class for children, but what else am I gonna do on a Friday night??
For those who asked-207 is the number of starts Kyle Busch currently has in the Cup Series, so I couldn’t compare entire careers as it wouldn’t be fair.
Also, I left Earnhardt off the list only because I didn’t want to overrun readers with stats, so I went with the four drivers most relevant to this discussion-Petty and Pearson as they are the two winningest Cup drivers of all time, and the ones Larry Mac was talking of Busch “eclipsing.” I chose Gordon and Johnson as they are the winningest active drivers and Busch’s peers and therefore relevant for comparison.
Finally, while I don’t love that Mark Martin got his Nationwide wins as a Cup driver, he at least wasn’t also running for the series championship-and in the days when he was winning, while the Cup guys still won a rather pathetic number of races, the real NNS guys still got their share. Not so anymore. For the record, Jack Ingram’s 31 wins are the most for a real Nationwide driver who was not a Cup regular. Ingram was never a full time Cup driver, for that matter. I fing his 31 wins much more impressive than any Cup driver’s in that series.
While I agree the Cup drivers are winning to many of the Busch races (I’m a Rowdy fan), I do not see alot of talent in the series (maybe 4-5 future Cup drivers) and alot of recycled mid pack drivers, who are also taking rides away from up and coming drivers.
@Susan- Finally, someone besides me sees that KB is the most talented driver out there today. Name one driver that is more fun to watch.
I think the article hits on a problem for KB’s career which is his talent is not matched by wins in the series that counts, Sprint Cup. Jimmy Johnson has won 16.6% of his races in Sprint Cup. Kyle has won 8% of his races in Sprint Cup. Petty won 16.9% of his races in NASCAR’s top series. Jeff Gordon has won 13% of his races in Cup. Earnhardt won 11.2% of his races. Even when you take Kyle’s 75 wins across his 473 starts in all three series, his winning percentage of 15.8% is still less than Johnson’s Cup series winning percentage. Kyle needs a title and to move his move his Sprint Cup winning percentage into the double digits to match his contemporaries.
Until KB has a Sprint Cup winning percentage like Johnson or Petty, I don’t see how you can make an argument that KB is the best driver in Sprint Cup. Yes, he’s exciting. Yes, he is talented. But, he needs to win in Sprint Cup. He needs a title in Sprint Cup. He needs to stand up and tell Jimmy Johnson, “I’m coming after you.”
18 wins puts Kyle in a league with Junior and Kenseth and Biffle. If he wants to get in a league with Johnson and Gordon, he needs to start winning like Johnson and the young Jeff Gordon.
I also hate how everyone is making a big deal about Kyle Busch’s numbers in all three series. Get back to me when he wins 200 CUP races. The Truck series has only been around since 1995, so ya i guess there is a reason many other drivers haven’t put up big numbers in all three series. Plus when he has the equipment he has, plus those Toyota motors that seem to have about 5,000 more horsepower than anyone else, ya i guess it’s wasy to win all the time in the busch and truck series
Actually Kyle Busch is winning races that are longer in length than the races Richard Petty won, a large number of Richard Petty’s wins were in races that were 100 miles or less, talk about hollow numbers? K&N East+West races are longer than that. And Richard Petty only had to usually outrun one or two other competitors to know he had it in the bag, even in the Nationwide+Truck series, there are at least 6 to 8 serious challengers for the win. Since 2008 Kyle Busch has won over 25% of all races he has competed in, and for those who claim he is beating up on nobodies, he has the second most wins in the Cup series since 2008, I guess they are a bunch of nobodies too? Get real, the research for this lacks attention to detail, a Nationwide or Truck series win is far more impressive than a 200 lap, 50 mile win on a 1/4 mile track over a bunch of cars that were completely over matched by the quality of the Petty equipment.
So it’s settled then. A lot of Richard Petty’s wins were with superior equipment and inferior competitors and shorter races, therefore proving Kyle Busch is the greatest today, if not all time!!
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