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 · Friday October 22, 2010
Editor’s Note: For the latest timeline on the Kasey Kahne saga, please check out our Breaking News section by clicking here to find out the future of RPM, how we got to this point, and so much more.
Who quit on whom?
That was the question around NASCAR Nation this week after Kasey Kahne’s early departure from his No. 9 after he spun in Saturday night’s Bank of America 500, and it certainly does bring up an interesting follow-up: who gave up first?
Kahne said he was sick, but he was well enough to blast his crew on the radio and to run a 5K race the next morning. Perhaps the most incriminating statement, though, was that if the car had been better, he’d have stayed in it.
That’s not sick, that’s quitting.
A team member accused Kahne of lying down during the race; that is, not putting forth the best effort. Kahne fired back, saying that the team has given him subpar cars since he announced his departure from Richard Petty Motorsports effective at the end of this season. He claimed that the team is using bad brake fluid in his cars and that they won’t listen to him.
In the end, it’s probably a little of both, but given the big picture, more of it falls squarely on Kahne’s shoulders. After all, he quit first. With his announcement that he will leave RPM at the end of the season for Red Bull Racing, a move that will eventually land him at juggernaut Hendrick Motorsports in 2012, Kahne basically told his team they weren’t good enough anymore.
Certainly, if reports that RPM owes Kahne money are true, that makes his frustration understandable. Editor’s Note: Kahne said he was paid “up to date” by RPM as of this morning. However, I can’t help but think of A.J. Allmendinger, who not only has remained loyal to the team for two years, but who also went without pay for a good chunk of that so the money could be funneled into his race team instead. I can’t help but wonder why, if RPM breached Kahne’s contract by not paying him, why the driver chose to stick around instead of moving over to Red Bull as soon as that deal was announced. After all, given that Reed Sorenson is a fill-in driver for the injured Brian Vickers, who will be back in January, it makes sense that the team would have gladly jumped at the chance to have three or four months to work toward 2011. If Kahne wasn’t getting paid, why did he stick around and badmouth his team, all of whom are likely going to be out of work in a couple of weeks and weren’t pulling in the percentage of winnings that Kahne was, either? Why not just step away, sue for the money, and be done with it? Why wait until Saturday and then throw the team under the bus for something they had no control over? George Gillett was the one not paying Kahne, not his crew.
I’m all for bettering your career, and Kahne did just that. But the timing of his announcement (and he announced the Hendrick move first, meaning he made the statement nearly two years before it actually happens) was poor. If Kahne expected the best of everything from RPM, he should have delayed the announcement until much later. Had the news been kept under wraps, it’s entirely likely that the organization’s main focus would have been the flagship No. 9.
Instead, Kahne made his bed, and the team’s focus understandably shifted elsewhere – to the No. 43, a former icon of the sport currently driven by Allmendinger. It’s kind of a no-brainer, really, to put the effort into the team that is your best hope and the driver who has been loyal to winning in your machine. Once Kahne quit first, the team couldn’t quit on the others who would still help them survive.
Yet if the driver is to be believed, his team slipped below just putting more effort into the No. 43. They’ve practically sunk to sabotage, the latest accusation from Kahne surrounding brake issues he says were preventable. He claims it’s the brake fluid his team uses, but it’s the same product used by his three teammates without incident, which leaves either the team’s setups or Kahne’s driving to blame for the failures. If the team did give up on Kahne, I still don’t buy that they would ever do anything intentionally to hurt him. However, if they’re really mailing it in to the point of being so careless that they put the driver’s safety in jeopardy… well, let’s just leave it at they don’t deserve a role on any team in the sport. There is zero excuse for that kind of negligence.
On the other hand, what incentive does the race team really have for giving up at this point? First of all, it’s unlikely that crew chief Kenny Francis, who is presumably still on Kahne’s good side, since he will accompany Kahne to Red Bull and Hendrick, would put up with anything blatantly dangerous from the team he commands. It’s even a stretch to imagine that he’d tolerate laziness at any level. Not only that, but the team will be back next year with Marcos Ambrose behind the wheel, and in a sport where teams learn about the equipment literally every week, why would they want to get behind the other teams before Daytona? So while they may be apathetic about Kahne, it’s more likely that the failures are due to trying new things, either to help the team get ready for 2011 or to help the RPM organization as a whole.
Sure, it’s no fun to be the R & D guy, but what did Kahne expect after he decided to bail? He told his team with his announcement that they weren’t good enough for the likes of him. The team as a whole simply has more to gain by working to help the guy who wants to be there. That’s really not a personal knock on Kahne in itself, but Kahne apparently made it one, to the point where the team accused him of mailing it in for most of the summer.
Fast forward to Saturday, though, and Kahne was the one who is at fault. While it’s never wise to burn bridges, you also have to wonder what Rick Hendrick thought of Kahne’s exit and excuse. One of Hendrick’s drivers at the time, Kyle Busch, did the same thing at Texas a couple of years ago when his car was wrecked. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. was there to take over, and when Earnhardt joined Hendrick Motorsports the following year, it was ultimately at Busch’s expense. That was probably not the deciding factor, but you have to wonder if it played a role. It took two months from “no room at the inn” to transforming the ultra-talented Busch into the odd man out, a move that happened despite him putting up better numbers than Casey Mears – the ultimate team player during his tenure.
Yet Saturday night really boils down to Kahne’s matter-of-fact statement; if the car was better, he might have stayed in. But it wasn’t, so he quit. Compare that to Kevin Conway’s run in the Coca-Cola 600 this May, where he was ill throughout the race – physically sick to his stomach in a car far worse than Kahne’s on any scale – and still stayed in the seat for 600 miles. Say what you want about Conway’s talent, but you can’t doubt his dedication.
What Kahne showed on Saturday was not. And at the root of it all, Kahne gave up first. I’m not so sure J.J. Yeley shouldn’t have been given the reins for the rest of the year after that. Yeley stepping in for Kahne also makes you wonder, would the team have put a random driver in an unsafe car, leaving him at risk of getting injured? Would Yeley have even taken that chance? I doubt it.
Kasey Kahne essentially gave up on his team when he inked the deal at Hendrick Motorsports. His team may have become apathetic toward the driver, but really, who’s to blame for that? They should have given their best effort, but they didn’t. The crew chief, who is also leaving, should not have allowed it – but he did. The driver could have gotten behind his team and his teammates for his remaining time at RPM, but he didn’t, either. So in the end, nobody held up their end of the bargain – it’s just that the driver dropped his end first.
©2000 - 2008 Amy Henderson and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
Doesn’t RPM have a commitment to its sponsor to provide top flight equipment to the sponsor’s driver? I can understand the inner turmoil of a lame duck driving team. I’ve been a lame duck at several jobs in the past, and its best to get on out the door quickly unless you’re retiring. But, racing teams have sponsors who are paying a lot of money to put a good product on the track.
Kahne’s stats following his Hendrick announcement are telling. It does seem that the emphasis shifted to the #43. Yet, was Kahne the better driver or was Bud paying the freight? And, if Bud was paying the freight, why didn’t Kahne continue to get the best equipment?
I actually think Kahne should be sainted for putting up with the BS at Evernham Motorsports; Evernham/Crocker Motorsports; Gillette Evernham Motorsports; and, now, RIchard Petty Motorsports with Rousch Fenway. The fact that Kahne has stuck with this bumbling troop without having a breakdown before now actually speaks to his character and commitment to racing. I wonder what AJ and Marcos are thinking as they enter Martinsville this weekend. Who is going to come to the rescue and salvage RPM now? Will NASCAR allow a bailout via Rousch Fenway or are we about the witness the complete collapse of RPM?
Now that more information has come to light about the situation at RPM, I think Kahne’s actions last Saturday are well within the boundaries. AJ Allmendinger’s willingness to go unpaid speaks more to his desperation as a third tier talent than his commitment to stock car racing. Again, Kahne and his sponsor were paying the freight.
It’s a sad day when Petty Enterprises is poised to collapse. Ultimately, I blame NASCAR and Brian France. The marketing genius (not) that has driven the sport into the ground. We have carpetbaggers running Petty Enterprises. There’s no meat left on the bone, it’s been picked clean. Don’t mind the hard working folks getting ready to lose their jobs. It’s the price of doing business in today’s NASCAR. Do you think King Richard is ashamed that he made a deal with the devil? Brian France and George Gillett could care less about the history of NASCAR and those that made this a once great sport. That’s a damn shame.
What makes me think your in Middle School and not Brian France is Brain France wouldn’t be able to keep his attention span on the articles this long.
Do us all a favor, go away.
KK comes across as a whiney, I am entitled to everything little poser. Wow. he sounds like a lot like Kryle Busch, except Kryle wins races and KK doesn’t. I wonder if HMS realizes what they are getting in 2012. His stats sure aren’t any better than JR and since there is usually only one R&D car, how will KK react if Jr finally gets to race a real race car, and Kasey drives the R&D car. Whine and cry? Throw his crew under the bus? Should be interesting. At least he should be sure of a steady paycheck, unless JR bolts to another team and takes all his teeshirt sales with him. Wonder if HMS would be the powerhouse they are without JR’s teeshirt money?
Amy you wrote one large story on nothing but a guessing game. I understand that as of today there have been no official announcements from either side on the demise of RPM or Kayne, your story just doesn’t hold water, so before sitting in judgment against the driver as you have done, I choose to wait and see who really did what , when, where, why and to who, before making my call. But as I recall RPM has been having financial problems , that were reported since April, so this is only a guess, but my guess is Kasey has done the right thing in this terrible situation. We will see soon enough won’t we???
KK is a whiney, no talent, little punk. I’m glad Hendick has to put up with him after next year. They deserve each other. I hope RPM can somehow come out of this mess with some dignity that the Petty family so rightfully deserves.
I think Kasey is a good guy, but we all have our breaking point. I don’t think he would have ever re-uped with this team a couple of years ago if he knew Evernham was going to collapse and be turned into RPM. Should he have gotten back in the car yes, but what’s the point of repairing that car at this time of the season? The 9 isn’t in the Chase, and not near the top-35 cut off. This feels like a situation that’s been building for months if not a year or more. Remember Kasey did get this team 2 wins last year.
How long would you keep writing “Holding a Pretty Wheel” if your paycheck bounced? What if they never even showed up? Would you forgo your financial compensation, for the good of FrontStretch? Something tells me that your mortgage, car payments, various bills, and feeding the kids might win out fairly rapidly. And your life isn’t even in danger while you are doing your job.
RPM quit on Kasey, especially with the latest revelations that they won’t run past Martinsville, Roush has stopped sending equipment & in some cases repossessing it, and the Gilletts are $12 million in the hole. That’s not Kasey’s fault…that’s the Gilletts. I imagine that Richard Petty is regretting the day he merged with that team. It was a bad idea to switch to Ford & it’s shown. Ford’s barely won a race this year & Kasey HAS had subpar equipment. Who can blame him for being mad? He saw the writing on the wall when he signed with Hendrick & RPM stabbed him in the back, despite Kasey performing well in the middle of the year. And remember, Kasey isn’t the only driver leaving…3 of the 4 are. People may say that Kasey’s inconsistent, but keep in mind that he’s the ONLY winning driver on that team. None of the others has won a race besides Sadler & he wasn’t with Evernham at that time. George Gillett ran the team that Ray built into the ground & now he & Foster have dragged Richard Petty through this. Say goodbye to Richard’s participation in the sport.
Kasey Kahne just grab your boyfriend and he’ll make it all better
What about Budweiser? How are they taking this? No doubt RPM’s management leaves something to be desired, but I would think the sponsor would have juice. Kind of funny after swithing to Ford they still stunk. Dodge has 30% of their cars in the chase… who’s laughing now?
Why is it everything you write a slam against Kahne? I get it that you must despise the guy but come on the stories coming out on the details of this deal with RPM make his choice the right one.
Hey, I’m still of the notion that you NEVER quit on your team no matter what. However it’s pretty clear there’s a lot more to the story and plenty of blame to be shared.
I feel sorry for the author of this piece because she’s put so many blind assumptions into it that it’s proving the old adage of what happens when one assumes. She’s coming off as a donkey’s behind and that’s a shame.
But the bottom line is we NASCAR fans are a bunch of mushrooms. We’re kept in the dark and fed a whole lot of manure. Thanks to the PR spin machine we’re left to believe our assumptions are correct…when in reality we’re ignorant mules too.
Up until yesterday, I was hard on Kasey Kahne for being a quitter. Now, I’m surprised he waited this long. I wouldn’t have.
Ghost of Curtis Turner wrote: “Wow, Matt is correct your either in Middle School or you are Brian France. What makes me think your in Middle School and not Brian France is Brain France wouldn’t be able to keep his attention span on the articles this long.”
I learned before middle school the difference between your and you’re. Perhaps you should use a better cleaner on that glass house of yours?
Yankeegranny wrote: “Wonder if HMS would be the powerhouse they are without JR’s teeshirt money?”
HMS was winning races and championships well before Dale Jr showed up to ride around and collect a paycheck to fund his bar. Sad but true.
NO HE DID NOT QUIT, THE OWNER QUIT HIM, WAKE UP
Ah come on Amy. Would you drive a car down the road with no brakes? Now think about doing 180. I wouldn’t drive a go kart with no brakes. And the rumor mill is saying he wasn’t even current on his paycheck. Why can’t we wait for all the facts before grilling him or even RPM?
Kahne laid down last year when RPM announced they were switching to Ford. Simple as that. Is anyone truly surprised that he announced he was leaving Richard to drive for “Mr. Hendrick”?
Adios, turd nugget…
In every editorial slamming KK, they talk about how he ran a 5k the next morning. This, somehow is evidence that he’s not sick.
Dude ran it in like 22 minutes, which for an in-shape, young fella, is a joke. Plus, I think this speaks more to his character that even though he was ticked, and not feeling well, he still had time for charitable events.
I’ve figured out who RandyGoldman is. It’s DansMom using another name. Must be kin of Brain Fart.
Just a couple of things here that you mention that need clarification.
Kasey did not announce he had signed with Hendrick until it was leaked. You find the source yet? You write as though Kasey’s team (fab guys, pit road guy’s etc.) buy the parts and pieces they put on the car. They can only install the parts and pieces provided to them. I don’t believe Kasey feels these team members were the ones that were not giving full effort. There are many things, other than brake fluid alone, that could cause the brakes to fail. For instance, it could be a combination of the fluid and the one R&D pump. Maybe it has different seals in it and a different fluid may not destroy those seals (not the teams fault if management refuses to try another fluid in the R&D pump). Just a thought……..
You compare 2 years that AJ has been at RPM to the many years put in that team and it’s struggles by Kasey and draw from that that AJ is the more loyal employee?. Believe me on this, if RPM survives into next year and AJ struggles at all, you will hear him set a worlds record volume level for whining.
There are a few other things that deserve a comment but I’ll let you look over your article and see what else you may have assumed that deserve a second thought…
Seems like the perfect storm. Petty will be no more past this week end, Kahne is already sitting in a Red Bull car. Lord knows what Roush’s future holds either.
YOu need to do more one on one with the people that worked at Rpm . Then you will understand how gillet lies to people all the time.
Sorry Amy but you are out to lunch on this one.
“They’ve practically sunk to sabotage, the latest accusation from Kahne surrounding brake issues he says were preventable. He claims it’s the brake fluid his team uses, but it’s the same product used by his three teammates without incident, which leaves either the team’s setups or Kahne’s driving to blame for the failures”.Hmm, I recall two other RPM drivers having brake problems in recent weeks.
Um, Amy, you’re slamming Kasey for the timing of the announcement of his move to HMS? If you’ll recall, the media forced their hand on that. But I’m sure you would have preferred an entire year of “no comment” from Kasey, instead of getting it out in the open and letting everyone stop the speculation?
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