Kurt Busch to Attempt The Indianapolis-Charlotte Double
posted by Phil Allaway
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Andretti Autosport announced this morning that Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet in the Sprint Cup Series, will attempt the Indianapolis 500 in a fifth entry for the IndyCar Series team. Once the Indianapolis 500 is completed, Busch will fly from Indianapolis to Charlotte, jump in his No. 41 Chevrolet and compete in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Busch considers the opportunity to do the double as an old-school throwback moment.
“This is really to challenge myself within motorsports,” Busch said in Andretti Autosport’s press release. “Perhaps I am a bit of an old-school racer; a throwback, I guess. I enjoyed the era of drivers racing different cars and testing themselves in other series. It is tough to do now for a variety of factors, but when the opportunity is there, I want to do it. While NASCAR is my home, I have been fortunate to compete in Pro Stock on the NHRA circuit a number of years ago and test a V8 Supercar. This opportunity was a talk with Michael [Andretti] over dinner one night, a “What if,” and now it’s becoming a reality for me to drive in the Indy 500 with Andretti Autosport. It’s literally a dream come true. To go to the famous Brickyard with the iconic Andretti name, it doesn’t get much cooler or better than that.”
Busch will be doing the Indianapolis-Charlotte double as a Memorial Day mission to men and women serving in the U.S. Military via the Armed Forces Foundation. Fans can contribute to the cause by texting AFF to 50555 to donate $10.
Busch, who has never raced an IndyCar, passed Rookie Orientation at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last year during a test session. At the time, Busch was more or less testing the Dallara DW12 for fun.
Busch will be the fourth driver to attempt the Indianapolis-Charlotte double. John Andretti was the first driver to attempt it in 1994. After finishing four laps down in tenth in Indianapolis, Andretti crashed and had engine problems in the 600. Robby Gordon has attempted the double five times, most recently in 2004. However, Gordon failed to make it to Charlotte on time and did not start the 600 in 2000 (P.J. Jones started Gordon’s No. 13 Ford in that instance). Finally, Tony Stewart has attempted the double twice (most recently in 2001) and is the only driver to ever complete all 1100 miles. Neither of the three drivers has won either leg of the double. The best finishes are Stewart and Gordon’s sixth-place finishes at the Indianapolis 500 (although Gordon’s came in 2000, the year he didn’t make it to Charlotte in time to start the Coca-Cola 600), and Stewart’s fourth-place finish in the 2001 Coca-Cola 600.
Danica Patrick, Justin Allgaier Talk About Phoenix Incident
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
A disappointing start to the year for Danica Patrick won’t include continued conflict. Patrick met with rookie Justin Allgaier Sunday, shortly after the Phoenix Cup race after a wreck ruined both drivers’ days. Patrick, who was critical of the No. 51 car on the radio, claiming Allgaier was “driving all over the track” appeared receptive to a conversation that quickly settled differences over what will be a long season.
“She was just upset because she got involved in the crash that we had,’’ said Allgaier to the Motor Racing Network. “She says she’s been through this and that she felt like I needed to settle down at that point. I explained my position on why everything happened. I think she understood where I was coming from. It doesn’t fix either one of our racecars. It doesn’t fix either one of our days. Unfortunately, we were both having pretty decent days.’’
Allgaier wound up 30th due to the incident while Patrick was 36th. The incident, which was caused by Allgaier’s spin also involved the No. 32 team and Travis Kvapil, which wound up 38th after sustaining heavy damage.
Camping World Close to Extending Title Sponsorship of NCWTS
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Marcus Lemonis, CEO of Camping World, Grand Marshal of Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway, and star of CNBC’s “The Profit,” made the announcement over the weekend that the retailer is very close to announcing a deal that would continue its title sponsorship of NASCAR’s Truck Series. The original agreement with NASCAR is scheduled to conclude after the 2015 season.
According to the sanctioning body, no formal contract has been signed, but “the agreement between the two parties has proven to be a beneficial one.”
“In about a month, we’ll be announcing a significant extension to that contract. It’s been great for us,” said Camping World’s Lemonis in a statement. “The NASCAR relationship has worked well for Camping World. When we started, we had 35 stores. Now, we’re up to 120 stores. As we travel the country and we meet new customers in stores, they always are very appreciative of our relationship with NASCAR. It’s been good.”
Gaining a long-term commitment from Camping World to sponsor the Truck Series would be a relief for NASCAR, which is set to lose Nationwide Insurance as title sponsor for the NASCAR Nationwide Series at the end of the 2014 season. The sponsorship of the Cup Series by Sprint runs through 2016.
The NCWTS is back in action on March 29th at 2:30 PM (ET) when the trucks visit Martinsville Speedway in the Kroger 250, which can be seen on Fox Sports 1. Ratings for the season opener were up 11 percent.
Harvick Takes Win At Phoenix In Second Race With New Team
posted by Justin Tucker
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Phoenix International Raceway has become Kevin Harvick’s home away from home. Sunday Afternoon was no exception as Harvick charged to the front early and would dominate for much of the day, leading 224 of the scheduled 312 laps to record his record fifth win on the one mile oval and his third win in the last four races at Phoenix.
Harvick, coming off of a disappointing Speedweeks which was capped by a last lap crash in the Daytona 500 in his debut with Stewart-Haas Racing, set the tone on Saturday by winning both practices while having the best 5 and 10-lap averages in the first practice of the day on Saturday. On Sunday, Harvick and his No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet was nothing short of flawless as he was able to hold Dale Earnhardt, Jr. by .489 seconds after a late race restart to claim his 24th career Sprint Cup Series victory.
“Man, this is awesome,” Harvick said after his dominant victory on Sunday. “Man, this just solidifies so many things and so many decisions. It’s been so much work with all the time and effort that these guys (the crew) have put in—but what a race car.”
Stewart Haas Racing co-owner Gene Haas shared in Harvick’s excitement after the race.
“It took long enough,” Haas joked. “This is phenomenal. I think there was a lot of skepticism last year about what myself and Tony (Stewart) what we were up to, was there a lot of madness to this. Quite frankly, it’s a great team, there’s a lot of synergy at the shop, people working together. I don’t know what we did, but I think we put together a great organization.”
Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt, Jr. continued his hot start to the 2014 season. Earnhardt Jr. would finish second on Sunday, marking his seventh consecutive top 10 finish since the end of the 2013 season. Earnhardt Jr. was pleased with the effort after a coast-to-coast whirlwind week after winning his second Daytona 500 and also gave great praise to the efforts of Harvick and the No. 4 team.
“I’ve got to congratulate Kevin. Those guys were two-tenths faster than everyone all weekend in practice. They were just phenomenal,” Earnhardt said. “To be able to run with them all day was a big confidence builder for us.”
Joining Harvick and Earnhardt in the top 5 of The Profit on CNBC 500K were Brad Keselowski with his second consecutive top 3 run of 2014 in third. Keselowski’s Team Penske teammate Joey Logano would finish fourth, and Jeff Gordon would come home fifth in his No. 24 Pepsi Max Chevrolet.
Jimmie Johnson finished in sixth, followed by Ryan Newman with a nice rebound after Daytona in seventh. Carl Edwards would carry the banner for Roush Fenway Racing by finishing eighth, Kyle Busch was ninth, and Jamie McMurray would finish tenth.
A look at the Profit on CNBC 500K by the numbers. There were 14 lead changes among eight different drivers, there were eight cautions for 39 laps which slowed the race pace to 109.229 MPH.
Next Sunday, the Sprint Cup Series heads to Sin City and the Las Vegas Motor
Starting Lineup: The Profit On CNBC 500K
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday March 1, 2014
Drivers in RED (i) are those ineligible to collect Sprint Cup points
Daytona 500 TV Ratings Down
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Wednesday February 26, 2014
What was the longest weather delay in Daytona 500 history turned out to bring NASCAR lower ratings and TV viewership Sunday night than expected. According to a report Monday from FOX Sports, the 56th running of the Daytona 500 airing at 8 PM (ET) posted a 5.6/10 national household rating/share which averaged 9.3 million viewers. That’s down 44 percent from last year’s 9.9, easily making it the least-watched Daytona 500 of all-time.
Due to the six-hour, twenty-two minute rain delay in Daytona, the race was up against the primetime coverage of the Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony from Sochi, Russia on NBC (15.25 million viewers). FOX also reported that 69% of the pre-rain delay viewers of the race, which began at 1 PM (ET) kept tuning in.
In comparison, the 2013 Daytona 500 on FOX was the most-watched race in five years, posting a 9.9/22 rating/share, commanding 16.7 million viewers. The Daytona 500 in 2012, the first to ever be run on a Monday and in the primetime slot did a 7.7/13 overnight rating/share which resulted in 13.67 million households viewing the race according to Nielsen TV ratings data.
Earnhardt, Jr. Claims Second Daytona 500 Victory
posted by Justin Tucker
Wednesday February 26, 2014
Ten years is a long time. For Dale Earnhardt, Jr., it felt like an eternity. NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver endured many near misses and close calls at the Daytona 500 since his only win in the Great American Race in 2004. Earnhardt had finished second in two of his last three Daytona 500s coming into Sunday’s race. He was also riding the tail of a 55-race winless streak, dating back to Michigan in 2012.
However nothing would stop Dale Jr. on Sunday, not even a 6 hour and 22 minute rain delay from capturing his second Daytona 500 win. Earnhardt Jr. led a race-high 54 laps on the evening and used some timely drafting help from teammates Jimmie Johnson and, on the final restart, Jeff Gordon to separate from the pack and secure the victory.
“Winning this race is the greatest feeling that you could feel in this sport besides accepting the trophy for the championship,” said a jubilant Earnhardt after pulling into Victory Lane. “We could fight off battle after battle. We got a little help at the end there from Jeff to get away on the restart. This is amazing. I can’t believe this is happening. I never take this for granted, man because it doesn’t happen twice, let alone once.”
Aside from the race itself the big story of the race was the 6 hour and 22 minute red flag, which threatened to move the race to Monday evening (had the race been postponed, FOX Sports’ Chris Myers had tweeted that the race would resume at 5:00pm EST). However, Mother Nature would cooperate and would allow the race to be run under different conditions from which they practiced this week. Once the race resumed, the intensity picked up from the changing track conditions. This allowed the pack to race side-by-side and at times 3-wide up to seven rows deep.
Joining Earnhardt Jr. in the top 5 for the 2014 Daytona 500 were: Denny Hamlin who closed out a spectacular Speedweeks in second, Brad Keselowski in third, Jeff Gordon in fourth, and Jimmie Johnson who overcome two wrecks leading up to the 500 in fifth.
Rounding out the top 10 in the Daytona 500 were Matt Kenseth in sixth, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. in seventh and Greg Biffle would bring his No. 16 Ford home in eighth. Austin Dillon would come home ninth in his first Cup Series race in the iconic No. 3 for Richard Childress Racing, while Casey Mears would round out the top 10.
A couple of major contenders for the Daytona 500 win would see their hopes dashed early on as Martin Truex, Jr. would blow up just 30 laps into the race, relegating him to a 43rd-place finish in his debut for Furniture Row Racing. Crew chief Todd Berrier was already in Nashville for a test session before the race was even over. Kyle Busch, meanwhile would have a pit road violation just before halfway and would spend much of the race battling back from that mistake. Busch would eventually finish 19th after leading 19 laps.
Danica Patrick would also be bit by bad luck as she was caught up in a multi-car wreck on lap 145. Patrick would lead her second consecutive Daytona 500, but wouldn’t have the finish to show for it finishing 40th. Tony Stewart would encounter a frustrating evening as well, with a fuel pickup problem derailing his quest for his first Daytona 500 win. Stewart would finish 35th.
A look at the Daytona 500 by the numbers. There were 42 lead changes among 18 drivers, while seven cautions for 39 laps would slow the race pace to 145.290 MPH.
Next week, the Sprint Cup Series heads to the “diamond in the desert,” Phoenix International Raceway for The Profit on CNBC 500K. The Green flag is scheduled for 3:15pm EST.
Nationwide Series Post-Race Quotes: Drive4COPD 300
posted by Thomas Bowles
Tuesday February 25, 2014
Frontstretch Interviews – Courtesy Mike Neff
ELLIOTT SADLER – FINISHED 4th
Thoughts on the race?
It’s definitely a lot different racing than what we’re used to.
Comfortable with it?
Yeah, it’s just different. You’re worried about what you’re doing, but you’re also worried about what everyone else is doing and they’re not doing more than you’re doing. Physically pushing a guy is way better than just riding so you just gotta time it right and push it to the edge.
Happy to start the year with a top 5?
Yeah. Hell, that was the worst we ran all day, I think. I have no idea how they put the 3 car in front of us on that last restart. I hadn’t seen the 3 car hardly all day. When they put us from fifth to sixth, on the outside line, it just really boxed us in. I would have really restarted behind my teammate and given him a good push to the front. Anyways, it is what it is; we’ll take it and move on.
Looked like you were up front all day.
The guys did a good job. We had a fast race car. Great pit stops, just really proud of these guys. The car’s in one piece and we can take it to Talladega now. Great job by my guys. A lot of effort came into coming down here to Daytona and giving ourselves a shot to win. We had that chance to be up front and make some things happen. Fifth is not what we want, but we’ll take it and move on.
Bumping vs Pushing?
It’s way harder. You don’t want to lay on the guy in front of you, so it’s tough racing. A lot different than what we’re used to, ‘cause you gotta go. You gotta drag the brake too ‘cause you don’t want to hit the guys and you don’t want to stay on him. It’s a lot harder mentally than what we’ve done in the past.
Car was strong all day. Pushing vs. Bumping, is that harder to do than just getting on somebody and pushing them?
Yeah, it is a little bit. When you bump ‘em, you jar ‘em, it kinda jacks ‘em a little bit. It’s a little more abrupt, obviously. I thought it was OK there at the end. It was certainly fun and hopefully entertaining. But a little bit of a struggle in the early part of the race and the midpart of the race to see a good race. And that’s unfortunate for the fans. You can’t do that the whole race, you can’t tear up your stuff, knock your grill in, overheat your motor, all that stuff so there’s no sense in doing all that until you get down to the last lap. The 7 and the 6, they did a good job. Man, the 7 really held the 22 and I tight on the bottom. I was rubbing his door and hitting the apron at the same time, no room whatsoever. So it was good; wish we were the ones who could have won but a lot better now than what we were last year.
Going home in one piece makes it a lot better, right?
Yeah. My back feels good. My foot feels good. Past years here, I’ve been going home with pain so I’m alright.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Truck Series Post-Race Quotes: Daytona (Exclusives)
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday February 22, 2014
When you’re on the outside like that, how frustrating is it?
It’s so hard. Timothy Peters has won here. Kyle Busch has won everywhere. Ron Hornaday has been running Trucks forever, probably before I was even born. I was surrounded by veterans there, and like I told them I don’t have a rookie stripe but I’m a rookie. This is only my fourth Truck race ever, my fourth superspeedway race, and man, I figured out when the 17 got up in front of me, I pushed him. And as soon as I pushed him, he took off. And I went with him. And I just kept doing it, and before I knew it, he was leading. And I saw Ron in my mirror, backed up to him, and if it wasn’t for him, I don’t know what would have happened. I gotta thank him big time for that. That was a true teammate move right there. I really appreciate that. He just bounced off me and we got to the front. I tried my hardest to sidedraft Kyle. I was probably touching his door.
Top 5 in the No. 30 truck. This deal come together at the last minute, but you had a heck of a truck. Tell us about your night.
Yeah, I’ve got to thank Turner Scott Motorsports. The guys worked so hard on this Rheem Comfort Products Chevrolet. Exciting! Just got hung up on the outside and had to wait for my teammate there to catch up. And then he got to the bottom, so… I got the old 32 and started pushing ol’ Ryan to the front. So, it’s not bad. We’ll take it. You just don’t want to step over that boundary. You don’t know how far to push and shove. We bumped about six times down the straightaway without latching onto them. Hopefully, that was OK and we came home with a top 5.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Budweiser Duels Post Race Quotes
posted by Matt Stallknecht
Friday February 21, 2014
BUDWEISER DUELS POST-RACE QUOTES
They’re saying the wheel bearing burned up in it. I don’t know what caused it, they’re taking it all apart to figure out what the heck happened. Something abnormal that’s for sure I don’t think I’ve ever had that happen at all. Hopefully, we made the race and hopefully we can fix the problem before Sunday.
WHAT WAS THAT LOUD BOOM ONCE YOU TURNED INTO THE GARAGE?
Loud pop was a tire… thankfully, it popped, hopefully it didn’t hurt anybody. All the heat created in the left front that popped was pretty weird.
REALLY GOOD RUN. WHAT DID YOU THINK OF IT?
Yeah, it was good. We have a car we can work with for the 500. Got a good starting spot, so we’re going to rest easy, fluff and buff our car for a couple of days and get ready for Sunday.
ANY DIFFERENCE ON WHETHER THE TOP OR BOTTOM LANE WORKED?
Yeah, I was just moving around, trying to stay with the flow. For me, this car works on all parts of the racetrack. So I’m pretty happy with it.
DALE EARNHARDT, JR.
GOT SHUFFLED BACK, AFTER PIT STOPS AND THEN COULDN’T GET BACK UP TO THE FRONT. WHY?
Nah, we were just sitting there waiting until the last few laps to make a move. You didn’t want to pull down and get sent to the back. Seen a couple of guys get sent to the back really quick so we were just kind of waiting for the end. I felt like we had a good situation there with Ambrose behind us — we had a good run off Turn 2 and I went. It was the last lap, time to go do something, nobody went with us but hopefully Sunday is a different story.
We got a great car. We don’t have to work hard. We learned, we got a good race car. Got a car in one piece, ready to go so we’ll try and get through the next couple of practices, deliver it to the starting group this Sunday and we’ll be real happy.
YOU’RE IN THE DAYTONA 500!
Yeah, it’s pretty awesome. This Whitetail Chevrolet was so fast that I knew all I had to do was stick it behind smart, intelligent drafters and we could have a good finish. That’s what we did in the Duels and I’m excited. I’m excited to go do some stuff with the Nationwide car and have some more practice with this. But to know that we’re locked in the Daytona 500’s pretty cool.
YOU WERE OBVIOUSLY IN FRONT OF THAT MELEE AT THE END. WHEN YOU WERE UP FRONT THERE IN THE BEGINNING, WERE YOU HOPING TO JUST STAY IN LINE AND LET YOU FINISH TOP 5?
I was pretty content to ride and luckily I knew a lot of people around us were. It was nice to have a little calm and not really have to be racing hard the whole time. I knew that the pit stop was going to shake everything up and that’s exactly what happened. Fell back a little bit there but made the right moves at the end to get a good finish.
HOW STRONG ARE THESE RCR CARS?
They’re very strong! They definitely have the capabilities to be winning one of these races.
YOU’RE IN THE TOP 5 FOR YOUR HEAT IN THE DAYTONA 500. YOUR PRIMARY CAR IS SITTING RIGHT IN THE GARAGE, KIND OF WADDED UP. DID YOU THINK THIS ONE HAD IT IN IT?
Yeah, it’s a brand new car also. It’s just not quite as good as the primary but still a damned good car. I’m just proud of everybody at RCR for building such fast race cars. All of our cars have been fast, ECR motor’s been strong, even our affiliate teams have been qualifying really good and racing good. So… excited about 2014! It’s going to be a good year.
WELL MAN, YOU STARTED IN THE BACK BUT WORKED YOUR WAY TO THE FRONT WHEN IT COUNTED MOST. WERE YOU JUST BIDING YOUR TIME THROUGHOUT THE RACE?
Eh, you never know if you’re going to get back up there or not. We had to start at the back, we had to make a run early and see what we could do. We drove right to 10th, or something like that and then it got stagnant. We tried to make something happen, and went to the back again. Drove back up to the front. Again, just really proud of my guys. Matt Kruder did a hell of a job on that pit stop getting just enough gas in to gain some spots there.
RCR CARS SEEM PRETTY DARNED STRONG. DO YOU THINK THE RCR CARS HAVE SOMETHING FOR THEM ON SUNDAY — ESPECIALLY THE THREE JOE GIBBS RACING CARS THAT SEEM TO BE THE CLASS OF THE FIELD RIGHT NOW?
Oh yeah. The 20 car was extremely fast. The 11 didn’t qualify that good, but he’s a good drafter. I think he won. We definitely have something for him.
Check in with Matt and Jay on their site at CareyandCoffey.com.
Holding A Pretty Wheel · Amy Henderson · Thursday September 23, 2010
Clint Bowyer’s win on Sunday at Loudon was one of NASCAR’s feel good stories in a season that has been largely unremarkable. Bowyer, the last driver to lock up a Chase berth with a torrid run at Richmond, dominated in New Hampshire, taking the checkers ahead of Denny Hamlin after Tony Stewart ran out of gas. But don’t be fooled by the fuel mileage angle; Bowyer had the best car all day long. He deserved to be in Victory Lane.
Bowyer’s car was taken for further technical inspection at NASCAR’s R&D center, as has become customary for the winner’s car. A week prior, Bowyer’s team had been warned that its Richmond Chevy was dangerously close to being outside NASCAR’s tolerances on some measurements. It was legal, but by less than a hairbreadth. The team was admonished not to do it again in a series of face-to-face meetings, conversations that culminated long before the haulers came to Loudon and parked.
A few days later, it appeared that Bowyer’s car had sailed through Sunday’s postrace inspection, as the car was loaded up and taken to NASCAR’s high-tech R&D center just to verify its legality. It failed teardown.
NASCAR reacted the way it has in recent years, with a six-race suspension for crew chief Shane Wilson (the win was Wilson’s first as a crew chief) and car chief Chad Haney, a $150,000 fine for both Wilson and owner Richard Childress, and a fine of 150 points for Childress and Bowyer.
The fine isn’t cheap, but the points will cost this team the most: Bowyer dropped from second, just 35 markers off Denny Hamlin’s lead, all the way to the bottom of the Chase barrel, 185 back – a hole almost certainly too deep to dig out of. Just like that, his Cinderella story of pulling a surprise Chase upset from the 12th seed is dead.
Pressed for comment through a teleconference Wednesday, NASCAR’s 25 minutes worth of political jargon centered around what they termed a definitive case: their penalty was just.
I don’t think so. Once again, NASCAR fails to see reality.
The sanctioning body made a couple of big mistakes here. First, Bowyer was allowed to retain the win and did not lose all of the points he earned. Should Hamlin, officially second but the first driver to take the checkers in a legal car, lose the title by less than those 45 points that Bowyer was allowed to retain, he ought to be livid. Not to mention, the win will be recorded in NASCAR history as if the car was legal — no asterisk, no footnote. As a result, Bowyer also landed a spot in the 2011 All-Star race.
NASCAR says that they allow a driver who won in an illegal car to keep the victory because they want fans at the track to know definitively who won before they go home. That’s kind of an insult to race fans’ intelligence, in my opinion. I think most fans would rather see a legal car win, even if that means an altered result later — certainly, race fans are intelligent enough to understand why it happened, even if they wouldn’t be happy they witnessed it. If I were in the stands, I certainly wouldn’t feel cheated if I paid to see a race and the winner was changed a few days later – as long as the reason was made clear. But from a fan’s perspective, I would feel cheated every time the win goes to a driver in an illegal car.
The sanctioning body has said that there is no precedent for stripping a win, but that’s a falsehood, as any old-timer will tell you. In the very first sanctioned race in what is now the Cup Series, the first car to cross the finish line was driven by Glenn Dunnaway. But Dunnaway’s car failed inspection because the rear springs had been altered outside NASCAR’s rules, so Big Bill France did what he felt was the only thing to do – he gave the race win with its points and purse to Jim Roper, driver of the first legal car to take the checkered flag. Dunnaway’s car owner sued, and a judge threw his case out. NASCAR’s rule was law, a strong precedent that initially held up in almost any circumstance.
But then came the growth – and the money – of the modern era, meaning now NASCAR won’t do the only right thing anymore. Do we really live in a society with such a sense of entitlement that winning at all costs is okay? Handing a team the same (or worse — it’s been done!) penalty for winning a race in an illegal car as they would have gotten if it had never set a wheel on the track isn’t right. Pushing the limits to see if you can get away with it is part of the game, and if you get caught, you fix it and present a legal car, probably incurring some hefty fines and point penalties. But if you alter it, then race it, then NASCAR should take that finishing position and give it to someone who deserves it. Or at least that’s how it should be. Until then, nothing is going to deter teams from “creative engineering.”
On the other hand, NASCAR is proposing tougher future crackdowns for similar situations. The sanctioning body hinted that they will dock 200 or more points next time — in essence, all of the points from an illegal win and then some.
That’s wrong, too.
First of all, the win would still stand. Strike one. Second, now you’re talking docking points that were earned legally. That’s just even more wrong. Strike two. Third, the win goes in the record books as if the car was legal and slightly cheapens the legal wins. Strike three, you’re out.
Just grow a pair and take the win. Seriously.
The other mistake here was NASCAR’s handling of Bowyer’s Richmond car, which was barely within the tolerance set for the area of the chassis. The team was warned, and that should have been the end of it. That the “story” was released at all was ridiculous. It’s not a story. The same thing happened a year ago with a pair of Hendrick Motorsports cars, which were legal by less than the thickness of a piece of paper. Those two cars were “randomly” inspected after every race for the remainder of the year and found legal. There never was a story, and all releasing the so-called news did was fuel the wrong kind of media and fan attention, something the sport can ill afford to begin with.
Granted, this time is a little different because not only was Bowyer’s car found outside of tolerance the very next week, but it was outside of tolerance in the same area that the team had been warned about the previous week. That does look a little incriminating for the team, makes it a little harder to buy the excuse they gave: That the track wrecker damaged the car pushing it to Victory Lane or it was the congratulatory rubs from the other cars. Often something does break, or get bent in competition, and that can cause a funky measurement. But usually, NASCAR allows for that if the team can prove it. Last week’s story actually gives credence to NASCAR’s assertion that the No. 33 was altered before the race. But the sport still shouldn’t have been releasing that type of information, as it leads to unnecessary speculation and bias. I repeat: it is not even a story!
Clint Bowyer’s team apparently made a mistake at Loudon, pushing the limits too far, and for that, they deserve a penalty. However, NASCAR, as is all too typical these days, completely mishandled the situation, failing to properly punish Bowyer and his team by stripping the win, and with it all of the championship points and the All-Star berth that comes with the territory.
NASCAR then compounded their mistake in typical NASCAR fashion — by overreacting and promising a completely unfair point fine to the next offender. And then they capped it off by releasing a non-story, raising suspicion and perhaps unfairly biasing the media and fans against Bowyer’s team. Face it, if that had never come to light, it would be easier to sympathize with Bowyer. Perhaps the team was playing with fire and pushing the limits, but when the car is legal there is zero purpose in spreading the word in such a way as to imply that it wasn’t, and if it wasn’t, Bowyer should have been stripped of the points after Richmond, which would have given his Chase spot to a presumably legal Ryan Newman. No matter what, officials didn’t handle this particular situation with discretion.
The sanctioning body of a sport owes it to the paying fans to be fair and correct in their rulings, and NASCAR has failed the fans in that respect. That’s no way to treat the participants and it’s no way to treat the fans, as the sport needs to make necessary changes – not frivolous ones. The record books should be filled with legal wins (or at least those where NASCAR never found fault), and the fans should go home knowing that NASCAR will do the right thing, even if that means they see a different winner in the morning. It’s time to fix what’s wrong and stop trying to fix what isn’t.
That is how NASCAR can stop the bleeding.
©2000 - 2008 Amy Henderson and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
Totally agree – NASCAR should have taken the win from him.
I agree that the win, points, and money should have been stripped. I don’t understand the rest of your post. NASCAR mishandles rumor, speculation, and media hype? In the days of unnamed sources, rumors reported as fact, and stories rushed to the net before they’ve been fact checked, most organizations look foolish when a controversy erupts. I think it is almost impossible to control a story in todays media environment. Did NASCAR mishandle the situation, or has the media frenzy shaped the perception of the outcome?
If they were clearly cheating, then they should be hammered. I just don’t know if the case against Bowyer is all that cut and dried. NASCAR has earned my distrust over the past few seasons.
There are a couple of problems with your story, Amy. First of all, NA$CAR only had the RCR guys at the R&D center this Tuesday (2 days ago). NA$CAR said that traveling conflict prevented them from admonishing the team before the Loudon race. They did tell them that it was barely legal before the Loudon race, but the team did NOT get to see the area in question before going to Loudon. Now I have to wonder what kind of traveling concerns kept the RCR teams from being able to travel to the R&D center only a few miles from their shop. The second problem that I have with your article is over the points penalty. I would agree with you that a car (any car) that fails post-race inspection should be DQ’ed. All money and points should be lost. But I say that a second infraction during a set probationary period should cost 2 races worth of points. A third violation (during the probationary period) should net every member of the team driver, crew chief, car chief, and pit crew a 5 race suspension. Only by having sanctions that would severely punish chronic offenders will NA$CAR actually gain credibility. Then if an act of Congress or God (probably BOTH) could make NA$CAR enforce it’s rules uniformly, instead of arbitrarily; they might get some respect from the fans.
Just shows how NASCAR views racings these days: Races and wins mean nothing; Championships and Points are everything.
So keep your worthless win and stupid trophy, Bowyer. However we will take your valuable points – which will prevent you from being our beloved 2010 Champion.
WTF? Is this the Help the Drive for 5 Survive rule?
Did the car not pass Pre-Inspection? If all Chase cars are not pre-inspected then NA$CAR is a bigger joke than I thought.
At Richmond the car passed PERIOD. It was not over spec but just a bit under.
Well legal is legal, if a car passed then STFU. What purpose does that serve?
Now this car that was what? Sixty thousandths of an inch off in the rear after the race? A car which was shoved from behind by a Tow Truck, bumped multiple times by other cars?
An aerodynamic difference that would matter not one bit at a track like NHMS.
I am no Boyer fan, I am a fan of racing. Racing that is on the up and up. This is just WWE style crap.
RC is going to appeal the ruling and he should. Did you see how far it was off? Did you see that he did get pushed around after the race. Could that have altered the rear 6/1000. You bet it could. Don’t jump to conclusions. I hope Clint gets to keep points and the win.
IF IT WAS JIMMY OR JEFF EVERYTHING WOULD HAVE BEEN OK. BOWYER HIMSELF DOES NOT BUILD THE CARS.MYSELF I DO NOT THINK POINTS SHOULD BE TAKEN FROM A DRIVER. THE OWNER AND CREW CHIEF ARE A DIFFERENT STORY. IM NOT A BOWYER FAN BUT I DO FEEL BAD FOR THE GUY.HE HAS WORKED HIS HEART TO GET WHERE HE IS. LESS THIN 1/16 OF AN INCH IS NOT GOING TO MAKE OR BREAK A WIN ON THIS TYPE OF TRACK. I AM QUICKLY LOSING ALL INTEREST IN WATCHING NASCAR.
Please everyone stop saying it was only 1/16 of an inch. What if they made the rule the current measurement and added 1/16 to it, then next week someone is 1/16 over that? The line needs to be drawn somewhere and the rule must be enforced at that line. My feeling is he was probably over at Richmond but the warned him instead of penalized him (much like the 5 and 48 were warned during last year’s chase).
This is the kind of stupidness that is driving away the fans. Really….do you think a car being out of spec by the thickness of a piece of paper is gonna make a win? I think not. Nascar is losing credibility real fast.
Does anyone believe the Hendrick car last year was legal?
It passed the pre-race and post-race inspections because they aren’t as accurate as a teardown. NASCAR doesn’t do teardown inspections BEFORE a race, I don’t think anyone does.
While being 6/1000ths out of tolerance may seem small, remember than there is a specification, and each spec then has its “tolerance”. While I don’t know the spec used here, an example is say you are given a “height” of some component that must be 6.5”. Reality is, you are never going to get exactly 6.5000”, so there’s a tolerance, say, 0.5”, so the allowed measurement is between 6.000” and 7.000”. If there’s an advantage for being taller, some guys will push that, and instead of building it at 6.5” they build it at 6.90”. Still “within tolerance”. It still passes at 6.990”. But you’re getting real close to having one little wrinkle put you out of tolerance, whereas if you built it to the “spec” 6.5” you’s have half an inch of wiggle room. At 6.990” you only have .01” before your out. Hit 7.001”, you’re out of spec and illegal.
It’s easy to avoid- don’t push the limit, stick to the spec. When we race 2.5L boat engines, and 2725cc is the max allowed displacement, you don’t build a 2725cc engine. You build a 2600cc engine so that you don’t wear out of spec.
If football can take the Heisman trophy away because the guy who won it broke the rules, there is no reason NASCAR can’t take a win away for breaking the rules. In fact, they should take the win away, forget the points loss and the fines. move everyone up one place in the standings and be done with it. Then disqualify the team for the following race and don’t allow the driver to race in the all star race.
Actually, I think that all of the cars in the chase should be taken by NASCAR after the race and torn down. Would be interesting to see who else was testing the tolerance limits.
Not taking away a win is just a relic of the old days of Nascar .I know there was more to it than just worrying that the fans wouldn’t be sure who won as they were headed home . Bill Sr. was a very crafty old guy .
Can’t believe how this issue is being reported here.
A car’s setup is going to change throughout the period of race from racing…period.
1/16th of an inch the ride height was off…that obviously happened throughout the run on Sunday. OR IT WOULD HAVE BEEN FLAGGED PRE RACE
The penalties and media both need a boot.
This is rediculous. They didn’t do a thing wrong.
Check the other 42 cars and your going to find similar issues post race. They just didn’t win. I smell sh_T
If the car passed pre-race inpsection, and it can be showed that the car was bumped at any point in the race or post-race (which it was), then that is enough for me to believe the failure of post-race inspection was the contact. Again, this is assuming it passed pre-race inspection, which I would think it did, since it was allowed to race.
If only there was no Chase, Bowyer would go from 12th to 13th. OOhhhhhh.
If Johnson or any Hendrick car bumps the wall and wins the race and his car doesn’t measure within specs, does anyone think he would be penalized?
NASCAR just had TV ratings show the biggest drop-off in viewership for the first race of the Chase. Next day – huge controversy over illegal car by a sheet of paper. What an amazing coincidence!! I have absolutely no faith in the integrity of sanctioning officials at this point in time. Just one more reason to shut the tv off and find a better way to spend my time.
I agree with 29racefan—-cooked up story, trying to make some noise. I really don’t believe a word from anyone involved anymore (teams, Na$car or media).
Its not the penalty that people are upset with, its the consistency with which these penalties are assessed and who they are assessed to.
the 48 and 5 car last year went through the same thing. Where was their penalty? Instead the 48 wins the championship. And why after being warned by Nascar would Childress be stupid enough to bring a car to the track that doesn’t meet specs when they know it will be getting torn down.
Call it conspiracy if you want but this reeks of favoritism again. Its not a coincidence that this penalty happens to come when all the chosen ones are at the bottom of the standings after the first race.
the nascar “officials” are little more than rodeo clowns these days they couldnt make an intelligent call on a bet. why not have vince mcmahon come over and run nascar like the wwe, hell theyre almost there now. im 62 andbeen a fan a long time but i believe my nascar watching days are about done. either the rules apply to all equally, or throw the rule book out. CLINT GOT SCREWED,, PERIOD…
NASCAR wonders why the TV ratings and attendance are dropping? It’s for BS like this.
And the Chase to give Jimmie Johnson the Championship begins!
Which competitor between Johnson and the top spot will be penalized next week?
Tune in to find out!
this is nothing new.been going on for years.Petty with a big motor at Charlotte…gets the win!and countless others.and in one case at North Wilkesboro,everyone in attendance saw Darrell Waltrip win the race,but because of some error by Nascar,Brett Bodine went home with the checkers!Oh well,I’d rather be racing than not!
Cheaters should not get to keep trophys
“That the “story” was released at all was ridiculous.”
One other thing – by calling Bowyer a cheater, NASCAR sure gets the heat off their back about the ‘Chase’, don’t they?
A bumper this far
Yep, that sure worked out real convenient for NASCAR.
If the left rear of the car was too high lower the tire pressure.
Once again, a car can pass pre-race/pre-qualifying inspection and post-race inspection and still be illegal. The actual violation was found during the teardown back at the R&D center. There are technical rules on where and how the body is attached.
You can’t check those with a measuring stick- you have to take the car apart to see. Once it was apart, you can tell if the mount points were in the required “box” per the rules. The tolerances are noted, but teams routinely push the tolerance, and in this case they were “out of the box” as far as what is allowed.
The body was attached in a way that made it possible to be out of tolerance, and while it likely it was intended to be right on the edge of legal, it ended up being NOT legal. I bet Harvick’s car is probably pushing the same limits, and RCR is scrambling to put the mounts back closer to the middle of the “box” rather than out at the edge.
“NASCAR just had TV ratings show the biggest drop-off in viewership for the first race of the Chase. Next day – huge controversy over illegal car by a sheet of paper. What an amazing coincidence!! I have absolutely no faith in the integrity of sanctioning officials at this point in time. Just one more reason to shut the tv off and find a better way to spend my time.”
DING DING DING!!!!!!! We have a Whinnah!!!
I was just reading in the new TV Guide that the football ratings for both opening games on ESPN and Fox were at 14 year highs, so you can just smell the desperation from Daytona on the contrived contoversy on their drive for higher ratings.
Nascar, I have a solution for you; change the rules and let the teams buy real stock cars and let them do whatever they want using the stock motors and drivelines, but only mandate and have set rules for the safety aspects of the cars. If you do this your ratings will soar and Detroit will be getting a collective chubby, while fans run out on Monday to buy a new showroom model because it kicked ass on Sunday.
“No sane person ever believes any Hendrick car is legal.” Junior’s is. :)
@ElecPerk Tork, I agree with you.
Guys blaming NASCAR, you are pathetic.
This is almost the same as a pit road speeding penalty. If the speed limit is 55 MPH, NASCAR gives you a 5 MPH “cusion”. If you want to be legal, you set your tach at 58 MPH. But no, the teams push it to 59.99 MPH, and thats why you see people get busted for going 60.02 MPH.
Metal dimensions can grow or contract 1/16” just with a slight change in ambient temperature. Is the R&D t-stat set at the same temp as RCR’s shop? Why would RCR push the limits after being warned? A few good taps from the wrecker and other cars can’t move metal a 1/16” ? What a big, steaming pile of crap from the mother-ship. And you don’t think the pre-race inspection is intense with the zillion points the templates and car must adhere to? Nascar is a turd in a punchbowl.
Good article, Amy.
The tale of Glenn Dunnaway being stripped of the win in the first sanctioned race is only part of the story. The next year, at the first race at the new Darlington Speedway, Johnny Mantz won, but other competitors claimed his car wasn’t legal and demanded a tear-down. This time, Big Bill France refused. Of course, one of the four owners of Mantz’s car was…Big Bill France.
NA$CAR has been crooked since France stole it from the rest of the racing community right after that famous meeting in the Ebony Room of the Streamline Hotel.
I guess I’m the last one to comment, but here goes: Call me a conspiracy theorist; fine. But we cannot have someone like Clint Bowyer showing America just how STOOOPID this whole chase crap is! Think about it: this driver barely makes it into the “playoff”, then goes from (almost) last to (almost) first in ONE FREAKING RACE! Anyone can see just how ludicrous this makes that whole “chase” crap look, so we need to make an example of this upstart, don’t we? But I truly believe it goes much deeper than that. Consider this (fasten your seatbelts!): When Brain Farce originally made his deal with Toyota to bring them into NA$CAR, a promise was made to Toyota of a championship trophy within X number of years. Now, knowing full well that the old-school, hard-core stock-car racing fans are no big fans of the “rice-burners”, the Brain Farce had to come up with a strategy to make this Japanese championship somewhat more palatable. Enter four consecutive championships for (insert driver’s name here), in order to make the masses so sick and tired of the same old same old, that they’ll all jump for joy at the thought of someone, ANYONE else as champion. So MARK MY WORDS: A TOYOTA WILL WIN THE 2010 CUP! It will probably be Hamlin, so Shrub can “knock him off his throne” next year. But for 2010, let’s keep ole fourtime in the running, to keep all those fans hoping for something new. So guys like Harvick and Gordon (who have both showed the consistency that would have put them at the top before this CHASECRAP) had better watch their P’s and Q’s, or else his highness will find a way to eliminate them also. Good luck finding a way around this fix! (Gee, all this race fixing is beginning to make me really disgusted)
Nascar piss and moans about attendance, then they try too pull a rabbit out of there hats like this one (another Boy Brian wonder blunder)
I would love to see Boyer turn right and destroy the 48 car on lap one this sunday.
Just for fun.
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