Kurt Busch to Attempt The Indianapolis-Charlotte Double
posted by Phil Allaway
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Andretti Autosport announced this morning that Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet in the Sprint Cup Series, will attempt the Indianapolis 500 in a fifth entry for the IndyCar Series team. Once the Indianapolis 500 is completed, Busch will fly from Indianapolis to Charlotte, jump in his No. 41 Chevrolet and compete in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Busch considers the opportunity to do the double as an old-school throwback moment.
“This is really to challenge myself within motorsports,” Busch said in Andretti Autosport’s press release. “Perhaps I am a bit of an old-school racer; a throwback, I guess. I enjoyed the era of drivers racing different cars and testing themselves in other series. It is tough to do now for a variety of factors, but when the opportunity is there, I want to do it. While NASCAR is my home, I have been fortunate to compete in Pro Stock on the NHRA circuit a number of years ago and test a V8 Supercar. This opportunity was a talk with Michael [Andretti] over dinner one night, a “What if,” and now it’s becoming a reality for me to drive in the Indy 500 with Andretti Autosport. It’s literally a dream come true. To go to the famous Brickyard with the iconic Andretti name, it doesn’t get much cooler or better than that.”
Busch will be doing the Indianapolis-Charlotte double as a Memorial Day mission to men and women serving in the U.S. Military via the Armed Forces Foundation. Fans can contribute to the cause by texting AFF to 50555 to donate $10.
Busch, who has never raced an IndyCar, passed Rookie Orientation at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last year during a test session. At the time, Busch was more or less testing the Dallara DW12 for fun.
Busch will be the fourth driver to attempt the Indianapolis-Charlotte double. John Andretti was the first driver to attempt it in 1994. After finishing four laps down in tenth in Indianapolis, Andretti crashed and had engine problems in the 600. Robby Gordon has attempted the double five times, most recently in 2004. However, Gordon failed to make it to Charlotte on time and did not start the 600 in 2000 (P.J. Jones started Gordon’s No. 13 Ford in that instance). Finally, Tony Stewart has attempted the double twice (most recently in 2001) and is the only driver to ever complete all 1100 miles. Neither of the three drivers has won either leg of the double. The best finishes are Stewart and Gordon’s sixth-place finishes at the Indianapolis 500 (although Gordon’s came in 2000, the year he didn’t make it to Charlotte in time to start the Coca-Cola 600), and Stewart’s fourth-place finish in the 2001 Coca-Cola 600.
Danica Patrick, Justin Allgaier Talk About Phoenix Incident
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
A disappointing start to the year for Danica Patrick won’t include continued conflict. Patrick met with rookie Justin Allgaier Sunday, shortly after the Phoenix Cup race after a wreck ruined both drivers’ days. Patrick, who was critical of the No. 51 car on the radio, claiming Allgaier was “driving all over the track” appeared receptive to a conversation that quickly settled differences over what will be a long season.
“She was just upset because she got involved in the crash that we had,’’ said Allgaier to the Motor Racing Network. “She says she’s been through this and that she felt like I needed to settle down at that point. I explained my position on why everything happened. I think she understood where I was coming from. It doesn’t fix either one of our racecars. It doesn’t fix either one of our days. Unfortunately, we were both having pretty decent days.’’
Allgaier wound up 30th due to the incident while Patrick was 36th. The incident, which was caused by Allgaier’s spin also involved the No. 32 team and Travis Kvapil, which wound up 38th after sustaining heavy damage.
Camping World Close to Extending Title Sponsorship of NCWTS
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Marcus Lemonis, CEO of Camping World, Grand Marshal of Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway, and star of CNBC’s “The Profit,” made the announcement over the weekend that the retailer is very close to announcing a deal that would continue its title sponsorship of NASCAR’s Truck Series. The original agreement with NASCAR is scheduled to conclude after the 2015 season.
According to the sanctioning body, no formal contract has been signed, but “the agreement between the two parties has proven to be a beneficial one.”
“In about a month, we’ll be announcing a significant extension to that contract. It’s been great for us,” said Camping World’s Lemonis in a statement. “The NASCAR relationship has worked well for Camping World. When we started, we had 35 stores. Now, we’re up to 120 stores. As we travel the country and we meet new customers in stores, they always are very appreciative of our relationship with NASCAR. It’s been good.”
Gaining a long-term commitment from Camping World to sponsor the Truck Series would be a relief for NASCAR, which is set to lose Nationwide Insurance as title sponsor for the NASCAR Nationwide Series at the end of the 2014 season. The sponsorship of the Cup Series by Sprint runs through 2016.
The NCWTS is back in action on March 29th at 2:30 PM (ET) when the trucks visit Martinsville Speedway in the Kroger 250, which can be seen on Fox Sports 1. Ratings for the season opener were up 11 percent.
Harvick Takes Win At Phoenix In Second Race With New Team
posted by Justin Tucker
Monday March 3, 2014
Phoenix International Raceway has become Kevin Harvick’s home away from home. Sunday Afternoon was no exception as Harvick charged to the front early and would dominate for much of the day, leading 224 of the scheduled 312 laps to record his record fifth win on the one mile oval and his third win in the last four races at Phoenix.
Harvick, coming off of a disappointing Speedweeks which was capped by a last lap crash in the Daytona 500 in his debut with Stewart-Haas Racing, set the tone on Saturday by winning both practices while having the best 5 and 10-lap averages in the first practice of the day on Saturday. On Sunday, Harvick and his No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet was nothing short of flawless as he was able to hold Dale Earnhardt, Jr. by .489 seconds after a late race restart to claim his 24th career Sprint Cup Series victory.
“Man, this is awesome,” Harvick said after his dominant victory on Sunday. “Man, this just solidifies so many things and so many decisions. It’s been so much work with all the time and effort that these guys (the crew) have put in—but what a race car.”
Stewart Haas Racing co-owner Gene Haas shared in Harvick’s excitement after the race.
“It took long enough,” Haas joked. “This is phenomenal. I think there was a lot of skepticism last year about what myself and Tony (Stewart) what we were up to, was there a lot of madness to this. Quite frankly, it’s a great team, there’s a lot of synergy at the shop, people working together. I don’t know what we did, but I think we put together a great organization.”
Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt, Jr. continued his hot start to the 2014 season. Earnhardt Jr. would finish second on Sunday, marking his seventh consecutive top 10 finish since the end of the 2013 season. Earnhardt Jr. was pleased with the effort after a coast-to-coast whirlwind week after winning his second Daytona 500 and also gave great praise to the efforts of Harvick and the No. 4 team.
“I’ve got to congratulate Kevin. Those guys were two-tenths faster than everyone all weekend in practice. They were just phenomenal,” Earnhardt said. “To be able to run with them all day was a big confidence builder for us.”
Joining Harvick and Earnhardt in the top 5 of The Profit on CNBC 500K were Brad Keselowski with his second consecutive top 3 run of 2014 in third. Keselowski’s Team Penske teammate Joey Logano would finish fourth, and Jeff Gordon would come home fifth in his No. 24 Pepsi Max Chevrolet.
Jimmie Johnson finished in sixth, followed by Ryan Newman with a nice rebound after Daytona in seventh. Carl Edwards would carry the banner for Roush Fenway Racing by finishing eighth, Kyle Busch was ninth, and Jamie McMurray would finish tenth.
A look at the Profit on CNBC 500K by the numbers. There were 14 lead changes among eight different drivers, there were eight cautions for 39 laps which slowed the race pace to 109.229 MPH.
Next Sunday, the Sprint Cup Series heads to Sin City and the Las Vegas Motor
Starting Lineup: The Profit On CNBC 500K
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday March 1, 2014
Drivers in RED (i) are those ineligible to collect Sprint Cup points
Daytona 500 TV Ratings Down
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Wednesday February 26, 2014
What was the longest weather delay in Daytona 500 history turned out to bring NASCAR lower ratings and TV viewership Sunday night than expected. According to a report Monday from FOX Sports, the 56th running of the Daytona 500 airing at 8 PM (ET) posted a 5.6/10 national household rating/share which averaged 9.3 million viewers. That’s down 44 percent from last year’s 9.9, easily making it the least-watched Daytona 500 of all-time.
Due to the six-hour, twenty-two minute rain delay in Daytona, the race was up against the primetime coverage of the Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony from Sochi, Russia on NBC (15.25 million viewers). FOX also reported that 69% of the pre-rain delay viewers of the race, which began at 1 PM (ET) kept tuning in.
In comparison, the 2013 Daytona 500 on FOX was the most-watched race in five years, posting a 9.9/22 rating/share, commanding 16.7 million viewers. The Daytona 500 in 2012, the first to ever be run on a Monday and in the primetime slot did a 7.7/13 overnight rating/share which resulted in 13.67 million households viewing the race according to Nielsen TV ratings data.
Earnhardt, Jr. Claims Second Daytona 500 Victory
posted by Justin Tucker
Wednesday February 26, 2014
Ten years is a long time. For Dale Earnhardt, Jr., it felt like an eternity. NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver endured many near misses and close calls at the Daytona 500 since his only win in the Great American Race in 2004. Earnhardt had finished second in two of his last three Daytona 500s coming into Sunday’s race. He was also riding the tail of a 55-race winless streak, dating back to Michigan in 2012.
However nothing would stop Dale Jr. on Sunday, not even a 6 hour and 22 minute rain delay from capturing his second Daytona 500 win. Earnhardt Jr. led a race-high 54 laps on the evening and used some timely drafting help from teammates Jimmie Johnson and, on the final restart, Jeff Gordon to separate from the pack and secure the victory.
“Winning this race is the greatest feeling that you could feel in this sport besides accepting the trophy for the championship,” said a jubilant Earnhardt after pulling into Victory Lane. “We could fight off battle after battle. We got a little help at the end there from Jeff to get away on the restart. This is amazing. I can’t believe this is happening. I never take this for granted, man because it doesn’t happen twice, let alone once.”
Aside from the race itself the big story of the race was the 6 hour and 22 minute red flag, which threatened to move the race to Monday evening (had the race been postponed, FOX Sports’ Chris Myers had tweeted that the race would resume at 5:00pm EST). However, Mother Nature would cooperate and would allow the race to be run under different conditions from which they practiced this week. Once the race resumed, the intensity picked up from the changing track conditions. This allowed the pack to race side-by-side and at times 3-wide up to seven rows deep.
Joining Earnhardt Jr. in the top 5 for the 2014 Daytona 500 were: Denny Hamlin who closed out a spectacular Speedweeks in second, Brad Keselowski in third, Jeff Gordon in fourth, and Jimmie Johnson who overcome two wrecks leading up to the 500 in fifth.
Rounding out the top 10 in the Daytona 500 were Matt Kenseth in sixth, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. in seventh and Greg Biffle would bring his No. 16 Ford home in eighth. Austin Dillon would come home ninth in his first Cup Series race in the iconic No. 3 for Richard Childress Racing, while Casey Mears would round out the top 10.
A couple of major contenders for the Daytona 500 win would see their hopes dashed early on as Martin Truex, Jr. would blow up just 30 laps into the race, relegating him to a 43rd-place finish in his debut for Furniture Row Racing. Crew chief Todd Berrier was already in Nashville for a test session before the race was even over. Kyle Busch, meanwhile would have a pit road violation just before halfway and would spend much of the race battling back from that mistake. Busch would eventually finish 19th after leading 19 laps.
Danica Patrick would also be bit by bad luck as she was caught up in a multi-car wreck on lap 145. Patrick would lead her second consecutive Daytona 500, but wouldn’t have the finish to show for it finishing 40th. Tony Stewart would encounter a frustrating evening as well, with a fuel pickup problem derailing his quest for his first Daytona 500 win. Stewart would finish 35th.
A look at the Daytona 500 by the numbers. There were 42 lead changes among 18 drivers, while seven cautions for 39 laps would slow the race pace to 145.290 MPH.
Next week, the Sprint Cup Series heads to the “diamond in the desert,” Phoenix International Raceway for The Profit on CNBC 500K. The Green flag is scheduled for 3:15pm EST.
Nationwide Series Post-Race Quotes: Drive4COPD 300
posted by Thomas Bowles
Tuesday February 25, 2014
Frontstretch Interviews – Courtesy Mike Neff
ELLIOTT SADLER – FINISHED 4th
Thoughts on the race?
It’s definitely a lot different racing than what we’re used to.
Comfortable with it?
Yeah, it’s just different. You’re worried about what you’re doing, but you’re also worried about what everyone else is doing and they’re not doing more than you’re doing. Physically pushing a guy is way better than just riding so you just gotta time it right and push it to the edge.
Happy to start the year with a top 5?
Yeah. Hell, that was the worst we ran all day, I think. I have no idea how they put the 3 car in front of us on that last restart. I hadn’t seen the 3 car hardly all day. When they put us from fifth to sixth, on the outside line, it just really boxed us in. I would have really restarted behind my teammate and given him a good push to the front. Anyways, it is what it is; we’ll take it and move on.
Looked like you were up front all day.
The guys did a good job. We had a fast race car. Great pit stops, just really proud of these guys. The car’s in one piece and we can take it to Talladega now. Great job by my guys. A lot of effort came into coming down here to Daytona and giving ourselves a shot to win. We had that chance to be up front and make some things happen. Fifth is not what we want, but we’ll take it and move on.
Bumping vs Pushing?
It’s way harder. You don’t want to lay on the guy in front of you, so it’s tough racing. A lot different than what we’re used to, ‘cause you gotta go. You gotta drag the brake too ‘cause you don’t want to hit the guys and you don’t want to stay on him. It’s a lot harder mentally than what we’ve done in the past.
Car was strong all day. Pushing vs. Bumping, is that harder to do than just getting on somebody and pushing them?
Yeah, it is a little bit. When you bump ‘em, you jar ‘em, it kinda jacks ‘em a little bit. It’s a little more abrupt, obviously. I thought it was OK there at the end. It was certainly fun and hopefully entertaining. But a little bit of a struggle in the early part of the race and the midpart of the race to see a good race. And that’s unfortunate for the fans. You can’t do that the whole race, you can’t tear up your stuff, knock your grill in, overheat your motor, all that stuff so there’s no sense in doing all that until you get down to the last lap. The 7 and the 6, they did a good job. Man, the 7 really held the 22 and I tight on the bottom. I was rubbing his door and hitting the apron at the same time, no room whatsoever. So it was good; wish we were the ones who could have won but a lot better now than what we were last year.
Going home in one piece makes it a lot better, right?
Yeah. My back feels good. My foot feels good. Past years here, I’ve been going home with pain so I’m alright.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Truck Series Post-Race Quotes: Daytona (Exclusives)
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday February 22, 2014
When you’re on the outside like that, how frustrating is it?
It’s so hard. Timothy Peters has won here. Kyle Busch has won everywhere. Ron Hornaday has been running Trucks forever, probably before I was even born. I was surrounded by veterans there, and like I told them I don’t have a rookie stripe but I’m a rookie. This is only my fourth Truck race ever, my fourth superspeedway race, and man, I figured out when the 17 got up in front of me, I pushed him. And as soon as I pushed him, he took off. And I went with him. And I just kept doing it, and before I knew it, he was leading. And I saw Ron in my mirror, backed up to him, and if it wasn’t for him, I don’t know what would have happened. I gotta thank him big time for that. That was a true teammate move right there. I really appreciate that. He just bounced off me and we got to the front. I tried my hardest to sidedraft Kyle. I was probably touching his door.
Top 5 in the No. 30 truck. This deal come together at the last minute, but you had a heck of a truck. Tell us about your night.
Yeah, I’ve got to thank Turner Scott Motorsports. The guys worked so hard on this Rheem Comfort Products Chevrolet. Exciting! Just got hung up on the outside and had to wait for my teammate there to catch up. And then he got to the bottom, so… I got the old 32 and started pushing ol’ Ryan to the front. So, it’s not bad. We’ll take it. You just don’t want to step over that boundary. You don’t know how far to push and shove. We bumped about six times down the straightaway without latching onto them. Hopefully, that was OK and we came home with a top 5.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Budweiser Duels Post Race Quotes
posted by Matt Stallknecht
Friday February 21, 2014
BUDWEISER DUELS POST-RACE QUOTES
They’re saying the wheel bearing burned up in it. I don’t know what caused it, they’re taking it all apart to figure out what the heck happened. Something abnormal that’s for sure I don’t think I’ve ever had that happen at all. Hopefully, we made the race and hopefully we can fix the problem before Sunday.
WHAT WAS THAT LOUD BOOM ONCE YOU TURNED INTO THE GARAGE?
Loud pop was a tire… thankfully, it popped, hopefully it didn’t hurt anybody. All the heat created in the left front that popped was pretty weird.
REALLY GOOD RUN. WHAT DID YOU THINK OF IT?
Yeah, it was good. We have a car we can work with for the 500. Got a good starting spot, so we’re going to rest easy, fluff and buff our car for a couple of days and get ready for Sunday.
ANY DIFFERENCE ON WHETHER THE TOP OR BOTTOM LANE WORKED?
Yeah, I was just moving around, trying to stay with the flow. For me, this car works on all parts of the racetrack. So I’m pretty happy with it.
DALE EARNHARDT, JR.
GOT SHUFFLED BACK, AFTER PIT STOPS AND THEN COULDN’T GET BACK UP TO THE FRONT. WHY?
Nah, we were just sitting there waiting until the last few laps to make a move. You didn’t want to pull down and get sent to the back. Seen a couple of guys get sent to the back really quick so we were just kind of waiting for the end. I felt like we had a good situation there with Ambrose behind us — we had a good run off Turn 2 and I went. It was the last lap, time to go do something, nobody went with us but hopefully Sunday is a different story.
We got a great car. We don’t have to work hard. We learned, we got a good race car. Got a car in one piece, ready to go so we’ll try and get through the next couple of practices, deliver it to the starting group this Sunday and we’ll be real happy.
YOU’RE IN THE DAYTONA 500!
Yeah, it’s pretty awesome. This Whitetail Chevrolet was so fast that I knew all I had to do was stick it behind smart, intelligent drafters and we could have a good finish. That’s what we did in the Duels and I’m excited. I’m excited to go do some stuff with the Nationwide car and have some more practice with this. But to know that we’re locked in the Daytona 500’s pretty cool.
YOU WERE OBVIOUSLY IN FRONT OF THAT MELEE AT THE END. WHEN YOU WERE UP FRONT THERE IN THE BEGINNING, WERE YOU HOPING TO JUST STAY IN LINE AND LET YOU FINISH TOP 5?
I was pretty content to ride and luckily I knew a lot of people around us were. It was nice to have a little calm and not really have to be racing hard the whole time. I knew that the pit stop was going to shake everything up and that’s exactly what happened. Fell back a little bit there but made the right moves at the end to get a good finish.
HOW STRONG ARE THESE RCR CARS?
They’re very strong! They definitely have the capabilities to be winning one of these races.
YOU’RE IN THE TOP 5 FOR YOUR HEAT IN THE DAYTONA 500. YOUR PRIMARY CAR IS SITTING RIGHT IN THE GARAGE, KIND OF WADDED UP. DID YOU THINK THIS ONE HAD IT IN IT?
Yeah, it’s a brand new car also. It’s just not quite as good as the primary but still a damned good car. I’m just proud of everybody at RCR for building such fast race cars. All of our cars have been fast, ECR motor’s been strong, even our affiliate teams have been qualifying really good and racing good. So… excited about 2014! It’s going to be a good year.
WELL MAN, YOU STARTED IN THE BACK BUT WORKED YOUR WAY TO THE FRONT WHEN IT COUNTED MOST. WERE YOU JUST BIDING YOUR TIME THROUGHOUT THE RACE?
Eh, you never know if you’re going to get back up there or not. We had to start at the back, we had to make a run early and see what we could do. We drove right to 10th, or something like that and then it got stagnant. We tried to make something happen, and went to the back again. Drove back up to the front. Again, just really proud of my guys. Matt Kruder did a hell of a job on that pit stop getting just enough gas in to gain some spots there.
RCR CARS SEEM PRETTY DARNED STRONG. DO YOU THINK THE RCR CARS HAVE SOMETHING FOR THEM ON SUNDAY — ESPECIALLY THE THREE JOE GIBBS RACING CARS THAT SEEM TO BE THE CLASS OF THE FIELD RIGHT NOW?
Oh yeah. The 20 car was extremely fast. The 11 didn’t qualify that good, but he’s a good drafter. I think he won. We definitely have something for him.
Check in with Matt and Jay on their site at CareyandCoffey.com.
Holding A Pretty Wheel · Amy Henderson · Saturday November 5, 2011
NASCAR is a racing series built on rivalries. Even more than that, it is a sport that thrives on them. Through 62 years of competition, each individual era has been defined by these mano-e-mano, on-track boxing matches: Petty-Pearson, Allison-Yarborough, Yarborough-Waltrip, Wallace-Earnhardt, Earnhardt-Gordon… the list is long and storied, full of current and future Hall of Famers. Rivalries, when they are played the right way, have helped make the sport as popular as it is today.
But even with NASCAR’s “Boys, Have At It” policy, there is a line not to be crossed. During Friday night’s Camping World Truck Series race, Kyle Busch crossed it when he deliberately wrecked Ron Hornaday, Jr. under caution.
In case you missed the Truck race, here’s what happened: Hornaday and Busch were racing for position just 14 laps in when they came upon a lapped truck. As both went to its outside, Hornaday got loose and Busch didn’t give him much room to correct. Stuck in the middle, Hornaday slid up under Busch, and both drivers scraped the wall to draw a yellow. However, heading into Turn 3 the trucks had not slowed to caution speed when Busch got behind Hornaday and hit him several times, finally turning his own truck sideways in a blatant attempt to wreck the Kevin Harvick, Inc. driver.
He succeeded. Brute force and determination finally hooked the No. 33, sending Hornaday head-on into the retaining wall for an ugly wreck while Busch destroyed his own truck in the process.
NASCAR immediately parked Busch for the remainder of the night. And then, on Saturday morning, the sanctioning body dropped the bomb. NASCAR President Mike Helton said, simply, “NASCAR has decided to maintain that parked position on the driver of the No. 18 truck for the remainder of the weekend.”
That’s right. While the other eleven Chase contenders will race for the championship Sunday, or at least the best possible seat in Las Vegas, Busch will not be among them. Michael McDowell will replace him in the No. 18 M&M’s machine, killing any faint title chances left; Busch was 57 points off the lead coming to Texas. That may not be the only race missed, either, as Helton also did not rule out further penalties in the coming week. Joe Gibbs, Busch’s Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series car owner, could add additional repercussions as well. Saturday morning, while “taking responsibility” for the incident a humble Gibbs said that he still needed to meet with key people, including Busch’s sponsors, before making any decisions. M&M’s expressed their displeasure with Busch earlier in the season, and it remains to be seen how much more that they will put up with, especially given their family-friendly nature.
As it stands right now, Busch deserved everything he got. Whether or not the wreck was a deliberate attempt to retaliate against team owner Kevin Harvick, with whom Busch has had a long-simmering feud, or not, it was completely uncalled for. Anyone with eyes could see that Hornaday did not get into him deliberately; anyone with a brain understands the man was running for a championship. Busch’s statement afterward, summarizing that Hornaday should have known he’d get loose when they passed the lapped truck and backed out is ridiculous, but trademark entitlement. Busch is always quick to complain that someone else – never him – should have backed off and not raced him hard. At the same time, Busch is never the one to back out, the constant aggressor even when he should know better. Backing out, in his mind appears reserved to lesser drivers than him; even early in a race, even if it means a wreck.
It also wasn’t the first time that Busch has retaliated on a KHI driver under caution. At Bristol in August, Busch deliberately turned Elliott Sadler under yellow when Sadler cut across the nose of his truck. Sadler wasn’t driving for Harvick that day; he was diving for Joe Denette’s start-up operation. Busch wrecked his own truck in the incident and could not continue, regardless of whether NASCAR would have let him.
So there is a pattern of Busch going after Harvick’s team drivers after he and Harvick were told to stay away from each other after an incident at Richmond (though Harvick seemed to take the brunt of NASCAR’s wrath on that one). And the consequences for Busch’s innocent victim at Texas are far-reaching. This incident effectively ends a strong late bid for a fifth series title for Hornaday, who is looking for a ride for 2012. In an ironic twist, it also handed the owner’s title to Harvick’s No. 2 truck over Busch’s self-owned No. 18. Busch’s deliberate wrecking of Hornaday for an unintentional racing incident was far enough out of line as it is. But if it was done to keep Harvick, Hornaday’s owner, from competing for that title too that’s stooping to a level so low that justifies the outcry further. So much for that “new” Kyle Busch everyone was talking about this year.
There has been outcry over this incident. Many people wanted to see an even stiffer punishment: Busch parked for the remainder of the year. That would be a little too far, though the weekend is certainly not unprecedented and was completely appropriate under the circumstances. What Busch did was a slap in the face to his car owner, Joe Gibbs and his sponsors. He was given everything he needed to make a Sprint Cup championship bid, and threw it away to potentially get even with Harvick in a race he couldn’t even receive driver points for.
But is Busch solely to blame?
For this incident, he certainly is. But why was it allowed to even get to this point? That’s on NASCAR as well as on Busch. The “Boys, Have At It” policy that the sport has adopted, while it can be a positive when drivers use it for its original intent, had no clear line drawn between acceptable and not. NASCAR took the stance that they would evaluate each incident separately, something Helton said he understands can be frustrating for both fans and competitors. “As annoying as the comments that I’ve made personally in the past about ‘we’ll know it when we see it’ might have been, we saw it last night,” said Helton Saturday. And while Helton claimed that Busch’s cumulative record had only a small role in the decision, it had to be a part of it. The main reason for the penalty, of course is that it was done under caution and Busch hooked Hornaday in the corner, sending him head-on into the wall at what was still a relatively high rate of speed – remember, the pace car had not yet picked up the field.
“Boys, Have At It” has its good points. At Sonoma in June, for example, Tony Stewart took exception to Brian Vickers repeatedly blocking and spun him. Vickers later retaliated, punting Stewart into the tire barrier. And then it was over. Stewart even acknowledged that he had it coming, and the two went on with no festering ill will. That’s how it’s supposed to work, and it works well. I don’t like deliberate wrecking, especially at the bigger tracks, but sometimes a reminder of how to drive is necessary, and there is a right way and a wrong way to do it. Stewart and Vickers did it the right way at Infineon Raceway; Busch did it wrong at Texas. He had no real beef with Hornaday; the real problem was with Hornaday’s truck owner, and destroying Hornaday’s championship hopes over an old argument with Harvick was flat wrong. Helton acknowledged that the points implications did play a small role in their decision to park Busch.
It’s good that NASCAR has drawn a clear line in the sand on the boys having at it, but the policy could well have led to Friday’s incident. Though Busch and Harvick were put on probation after Richmond in May, that only lasted four weeks and Harvick got a much sterner warning than Busch about the consequences of further actions. Busch was not punished for his deliberate turning of Sadler at Bristol, and other small incidents of rough driving have been allowed to slide as well. So, to an extent, it’s natural that Busch didn’t think that this time would be any different. NASCAR tolerated his actions before, even after warning the driver.
Busch could be really good for NASCAR, and the sanctioning body knows it. When he drives with respect for those around him, he’s a brilliant driver who’s a joy to watch in a Cup race. NASCAR wants that, and they want a bad boy, something the sport has been lacking since the death of Dale Earnhardt over a decade ago. So perhaps they have been a bit too lenient with Busch at times, allowing him to show disrespect for NASCAR and his competitors. They’re desperate to have that type of driver in the sport. It’s a bit like the parents of an insolent child, spoiling him just a little too much in an effort to help him be the best he can be, then realizing that he’s gone too far, broken too many rules and not being sure what to do next. So to some extent, even though the responsibility for Friday night is Busch’s, NASCAR shoulders some of the blame. They allowed Busch the illusion that his tactics have been acceptable in the past.
Unfortunately, Busch is no Dale Earnhardt. Earnhardt had the respect of his competitors most of the time, and perhaps more importantly, to the fans he represented an everyman, one who loved racing so much he put his very soul into it and yes, ruffled feathers in the process. Busch doesn’t have that appeal. He’s exciting to watch in a racecar, but his air of spoiled entitlement is much harder to identify with on a personal level, and many fans don’t see the same level of hard work and earning his way up that Earnhardt had. Busch doesn’t have the same level of respect from his competitors, either. They are similar in their skill and aggression, for sure, but the comparison ends there.
Hopefully, Busch will learn from his choices on Friday night. It would be good for NASCAR to have a driver of his caliber if he’d work to race the right way and curb the attitude. It’s just that up to this point, NASCAR did him no favors by feeding and even rewarding this behavior. They can’t change the past, although this suspension is a good start; hopefully, they will not tolerate any such behavior in the future.
Because it’s time for Kyle Busch to grow up and act like the champion he could be. And it’s also time NASCAR stands up and makes him do it.
©2000 - 2008 Amy Henderson and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
I can find no redemptive value to “boys have at it”. The moment those words were uttered Nascar was hell bent on this kind of result. You just don’t take 43 testosterone-hyped drivers, some of whom are naturally volatile, put them on a track at speeds approaching 210 and expect anything other than this result.
Tony’s intentional wrecking of Vickers also wrecked Dale Jr. None of these situations work out cleanly. There is always collateral damage to cars with drivers racing clean. No driver should be allowed to affect another driver’s results just because they have a temper tantrum.
This situation never had to happen. When Carl Edwards, Denny Hamlin, and Kyle Busch were playing pocket pool with Keselowski in NW, penalties should have been assessed equaling the offense. It never was because Brad wasn’t a “star”. Then when Carl pitched the toddler fit at Atlanta, he should have been parked for at least one race. That didn’t happen either. This kind of insanity has only increased in severity. What Nascar has been thinking is beyond me. Some body has to be the adult, and it seems there are no adults in Nascar management. Millions of dollars in work and scrap metal have resulted. For what? Has the racing been that much better? The answer is an unequivacal NO. Have certain driver’s careers been affected? YES.
I’ve been a Nascar fan since the early seventies. I saw the rivalries you mention. As strange as it sounds, there was always a certain orderliness about them. When things really got out of hand, Bill France, Jr put a stop to it in blunt terms and by blunt force. Where this goes is anybodies guess. I’m not sure Nascar management has the fortitude to handle it correctly. You know…too afraid to make an owner, or a sponsor, or a driver mad. People have been saying Nascar needs to grow balls. I think they had better grow a backbone. THEY run this sport. Don’t wait for someone to tell you how. Just DO IT>
Busch is a piece of garbage. I’m a bit surprised NASCAR parked him for the weekend. I just wonder if they still would have done it if he was in the think of the Chase. I hope JGR cans him. Lets see how good he is if he has to run crap equipment every week. I wonder if that pretty wife of his will stay with him if he has to run in 30th place cars every week. Him and brother have that same arrogant “God’s gift to NASCAR attitude”.
Kyle is now available for some quality time with his wife, if she wants him around. Maybe he should go fishing (for fish).
I think,that the race announcers, have created, half of why kyle is like he is, because that is all they talk about, how great he is till i mute their mouth!his head is so big, because ,he hears all of them braging how great, he is ! the fans are sick of hearingtheir mouth!he deserves, whatever he gets! I will throw carl right in there with him! two of a kind!
I think Joe Gibbs has to take a part of the blame for this, too. He could have let Kyle know that the sort of behavior behind the wheel of his race car that he has shown all year (especially in the ‘lower’ series) would not be tolerated. After all, he controls who drives that car, and is responsible, to some extent, for his actions. Apparently those gentle reminders from him haven’t made much of an impression.
And Nascar contributed by letting Carl blatently wreck Brad K more than once.
i too think kyle bushe a spoiled brat i do not like his attitude maybe thats why you r losing your hair jerk
I will not take up much space. I just want to agree with pepper and jojr.
Pepper, you hit the nail right on the head. If NASCAR had any b**** they would appoint a Race Director or Chief Referee with the ABSOLUTE authority to immediately black flag any dangerous driving or to ban a driver from the next event. Our sport is turning into Rollerball and it has to stop.
Until nascrap bans fighting in the pits then it will happen on the track. and sooner or later someone innocent will get hurt!!. These sissy man drivers need to handle these things between themselves IN THE PITS so just the two of them are involved. That is the way it is handled all over the country at nascrap sanctioned tacks all across the country. Carl Edwards will get physical with you anytime Brain Fart takes off the cuffs. Until that time this on track stuff will continue for boys will be boys and WILL have at on track or off!!
Kyle Busch got what he deserved in fact he is lucky it did not happen back in the day. He would have literally gotten the snot knocked out him back then. NASCAR did the right thing and Gibbs should sit him out for rest of the season and should reconsider wanting him around next season. Mars candies should pull sponsorship from his team and take it elsewhere. NASCAR should do the same to other drivers who cross that line. No apology from Kyle at this point any or other time in the future will allow me to forgive him . He has been in this series long enough and been called to the trailer way too many times for knuckleheaded actions on the track. NASCAR does not need someone like Kyle in the series since there plenty of newer drivers these days who have a better respect for other drivers out there and deserve way more attention than Kyle Busch. Kyle has become nothing more than a black eye on Joe Gibbs Racing and NASCAR and will only continue to get worse even with his empty promises of beoming a more mature driver. As stated in Amy’s column M&M’s has already become disillusioned with Kyle. I am also tired of the press mentioning his name in the same sentence or article for that matter with Dale Earnhardt. Kyle can’t even light the match to hold the candle in that comparison if you all catch my drift.
Said it before, I’ll say it again. Kyle’s only mistake was not waiting for the green flag to rough up Hornaday. Had he done that, we’d be talking about ‘boys have at it’ and comparing his shot to Vickers’ hit on Kenseth last week. And… ole Kyle’d be racing today.
I don’t think a weekend ban, docking of points, or a fine is enough. A full season or lifetime ban is needed to get the point across to these arrogant young punks that their actions of using a race vehicle as a weapon won’t be tolerated. In a lower series, a driver did something similar to what Kyle Busch did and was not only banned for life but also charged with attempted vehicular manslaughter by the local district attorney. I’d say NASCAR needs to get serious about this but they don’t have the testicular fortitude. They seem to be taking an attitude more like the Roman emperors did with the coliseums and gladiators. The more gore and maiming the better.
I think GRT is absolutely correct.
This is the penalty after what Carl Edwards attempted to kill Brad K?????? Come on Nascar… Just when I thought there was no way Nascar could further damage their credibility. And Joe Gibbs, pah… What a farce. I’m completely disgusted.
I’ll agree with everyone that says Edwards should have been parked when he flipped Kesolowski and for that NASCAR is to blame.
@ Bill B, I totally agree with what you wrote. Saves me from being redundant.
First Amy we know you hate Kyle and so to expect anything but a biased one sided comment would be a close second to the great flood.
As much as I enjoy watching Kyle race, his smirking interview immediately after the wreck simply served as further illustration of the sort of pathological narcissism that seems to pervade this driver’s brain. His so-called “apology letter”, apparently produced after a stern lecture from Gibbs and a day of supposed personal reflection, did little to reduce the impression that his self-entitled sense of superiority is anything that thought or increasing maturity will be able to temper. While in time he may find himself able to don the sort of socially acceptable mask that his brother Kurt has managed, it would appear that this way of thinking is such an integral aspect of his personality that despite whatever superficial efforts he appears to make, we are destined to see these sorts of actions from him again. It would seem that NASCAR, Gibbs and M+M’s are coming to the same conclusions, and as such it will be interesting to see how this otherwise-talented driver’s future plays out.
Did this apology come from him or his PR person. I think he needs to face his competitors and publicly apologize for his actions. It’s time for him to grow up and try to earn respect and not expect it.
i think kyle should have been parked because the 33 just got loose on the inside of him so there was no cause for what he did. edwards on the other hand retaliated in self defense when afterall brat cow-slow-ski sent carl roof first through the fence at dega at 200 mph i say thats why nascar done nothing and brat now no’s what its like being a racer in front of someone who can be as self centered as he is.
SueRarick….are you dillusional? Who the F do you think YOU are? You’re going to “make sure” people stop going to stores that sell M&M? PLEASE FIND ANOTHER SPORT TO GET INTERESTED IN. TRYING TO APPEAL TO IDIOTS LIKE YOU SITHE REASON NASCAR IS IN THE PLACE IT IS.
Since a lot of people here are going back and bringing up the incident between Carl Edwards and Brad Keselowski at Atlanta last year, I don’t see anyone mentioning about Brad-Boy deliberately turning Carl for having the audacity to defend his position (the lead) and nearly putting Carl into the grandstand at Talladega. After that incident, Brad wasn’t the least bit remoseful, and the media even applauded Brad for his actions, most of whom were quick to declare that Edwards got what he deserved. Had NASCAR called Keselowski’s win back (and therefore given the win to Junior), then none of this would be happening now. Further, didn’t Tony turn Kyle at the finish of the Firecracker 400 last year, sending Kyle head-on into the wall? I’m not defending Kyle, nor am I defending Edwards. I’m just saying that other drivers have pulled this crap. So where does the blame truely lie? As far as I’m concerned, it rests solely on the shoulders of NASCAR, and their phoney Boys-Have-At-It policy.
I have seen this coming for a long time. When Nascar and Gibbs have not given out any meaningful punishment to Busch except some fines and double secret probation what do you expect? Kyle has been wrecking drivers in all three series for years even drivers running for championships that Kyle wasn’t running for. This wreck could have very well cost Hornaday a Truck Championship. What price do you put on that not counting the prestige of winning a championship. How does Nascar and Gibbs handle that? Like I said,anybody who has been watching Nascar for several years could see what kind of person and driver Kyle was. After the incident at Darlington with Harvick I said if Nascar didn’t put a stop to Kyle then someone was going to get injured or killed and the blood would be on Nascar and Gibbs Hands for not getting Kyle under control. That incident could have very well resulted in serious injury to Hornaday and we are all just lucky it didn’t happpen. Bottom line is Nascar and Gibbs should take full responsibility for this because they let it get this far. And, Kyle should be out for the remainder of the season in all three series. Kyle should have to personally pay for all damages to Hornaday’s Truck plus let’s see how Hornaday finishes the last race. If he has a good finish and if a top ten finish Friday Night would have won him the championship then Kyle ought to pay the money difference from the championship to where Hornaday actually finishes. I know, that still won’t give the prestige of winning a championship to Hornaday but at least Kyle would have to ante up some money out of all the many millions he has. Again, Nascar and Joe Gibbs is the reason this incident happened. We all knew including Gibbs and Nascar what an idiot Kyle Busch was and it was just a matter of time before Kyle committed something like this. Nascar and Gibbs just better be glad that Hornaday wasn’t injured. It’s about as bad as it can get when Kyle maybe knocks you out of a championship that you are not even running for but if Hornaday had got injured the blood would have been on Gibbs and Nascar. Again, Sit Kyle out for the rest of the year.
I don’t think he should be fired, but I do think he should be suspended, for the rest of the season. His arrogant ego & anger problem is going to hurt someone one day if he does not get it under control. He thinks that because of his talent, he is entitled to do whatever he feels like doing, is justified in do so & the rules don’t apply to him. A lot of the media is to blame too. People like Darrell Waltrip kissing up to Kyle, & making up excuse after excuse to cover Kyle’s antics, fueled his ego, & made him think he can do no wrong. Kyle needs that “I’m above everybody & rules do not apply to me” smirk wiped off his face for good. If he is not knocked off the pedestal he put himself on, he will keep thinking he is above the law, & may someday hurt someone bad. Kyle needs to realize he is just like everybody else on the track, & talent alone does not justify his antics.
To blame this on NASCAR’s “boys have at it” is ridiculous. Busch would’ve been just as likely to do this in the past. He has that hair-trigger temper and sense of entitlement.
What so many people don’t seem to want to bring up: Never mind that he took out a championship contender on a hot streak in a series he doesn’t even collect points in…
Never mind that he retaliated for a simple racing mistake…
Never mind that both trucks were easily repairable and could’ve still won the race…
And never mind that it was done under caution, at 160 mph, not 40 mph at Martinsville.
Kyle Busch did not spin Hornaday out or bump him… He hooked him, Left-Front to Right-Rear. There’s an unspoken rule among us drivers in circle track racing that you simply don’t do that, it’s obscenely dangerous not only for the victim, but the carnage that often follows to cars behind.
Kyle Busch’s goal was to TOTAL that Truck, and if Ron Hornaday was injured, oh well, plain and simple. Had the SAFER barriers not been there, he might have succeeded. I say ban him from the Truck Series for life.
Also for those comparing this to Edwards/Keselowski or Vickers/Kenseth, have some perspective for god’s sake.
Vickers was a weapon but he was doing it at 40 mph at Martinsville.
As for Edwards, he was retaliating for an on-track incident, not a tiny accident… He did it under green, and he intended to spin BradK out… hitting in the left-rear… The fact he went airborne was surprising to everyone, including Edwards, because that doesn’t typically happen at a non-plate track. The intent was completely different.
The Boys Have At It attitude most definitely has failed. NASCAR lost control of Kyle Busch a long time ago, not just this past weekend. They are as much to blame for Friday night’s action as is Kyle, and, for that matter, Joe Gibbs. When Kyle appeared on the Cup scene I didn’t like him; I admitted that he had talent, but he was a spoiled petulant entitled driver who felt his career was owed to him. Over the years I’ve watched him mature, and was pleased to see him be more responsible. But this year he just could not keep grip on his temper and all that entitlement and the world owes me attitude kept oozing back out, and I lost a lot of the respect that I had grudgingly given Kyle. At this point, I have ZERO respect for him as a driver. All the good things he does off track, by all accounts, count for naught right now. There is an old saying about how 12 Attaboy Actions are completely wiped out by a single Oh Shit! action. Should NASCAR suspend him for the season? I won’t protest it if they do, but it does seem to be a bit harsh to punish him in Cup for a Truck incident. Suspending him from Truck racing and docking him points/money there would seem to be more in line, since it was in the Truck series that the misbehavior occured. What really bothers me is that I still do not think Kyle realizes just how far-reaching an impact his action has. He has placed his car owner in the unenvious position of losing a major sponsor. Even if JGR were to fire Kyle, it is possible that M&Ms might pull out of the JGR stable. After all, If NASCAR says they lost control of Kyle, it it for certain that Joe Gibbs likewise has lost control of him. And who wants to sponsor a car for an owner who can’t control his employee? So who will JGR get to replace M&Ms? If he can’t find one, the 18 team folds. That means the everyone from the crew chief on down to the janitor in the shop no longer has a job. This means engineers and mechanics and EVERY ONE -even the secretaries – are without a job. Without a means to support their families. THIS is just how far reaching an impact Kyle’s stupidity can have. Will it go that far? I most certainly hope not; in a country that has as bad an economy as ours, we don’t need hundreds more people out of work, especially because one single adult-in-age-only couldn’t control his childish impulses. If JGR fires Kyle, will he ever be able to put JGR back in place as a force to contend with as a race team? He has the chance with Denny, and Joey may finally be able to long last step up to the place. Michael McDowell might be able to step in and salvage something there, too. I do not envy Joe Gibbs the decisions he has to make in the next day or so. But he has to accept some of the blame for what has happened, too. He could have pulled the reins in on Kyle before things got this far. As could has NASCAR. So let’s not just blame Kyle for what happened Friday night. JGR and NASCAR are to blame as well. What I hate is the fact that a lot of innocent people within the JGR racing family could be seriously hurt by all this, and my heart goes out to them for the anguish some of them may be feeling as they contemplate their own future, all because a driver thought he was the only one who deserved to drive/win/race, because a sanctioning body wouldn’t draw the line in the sand and tell that driver to back down, and because a team owner couldn’t control his own employee.
Nascar has just announced a $50,000 fine and probation for Kyle for the rest of the year. These penalties are exactly why we are here talking about Kyle today. What is a $50,000 fine to a 26 year old making probably over ten million dollars a year? We all know the answer to that. And probabtion for the two remaining events. Big deal. Only two events to go. I’m sure Kyle will keep his nose clean for the next two events. Again, these slap on the backs by Nascar and Joe Gibbs is the reason this event ever happened. And, just how much is a nascar truck championship worth both in money and prestige? Why, because there is a very good chance that Hornady may have lost the championship because of Kyle’s actions. So I ask you and Nascar and Joe Gibbs, How much is a truck championship worth? A $50,000 fine to Kyle is useless along with probabtion for two events. So, let me get this straight, Kyle wrecks a championship contender possible keeping him from winning a championship, destroys his truck, could have possibly injured Hornaday or even worst resulted in his death, and could have possibly involve other truck drivers destroying their equipment and possibly causing injury to them and Nascar only fines him $50,000 and a two race probation? This is unbelievable! I know, Kyle sit out the rest of the weekend but if you think this is fair punishment for his actions not counting all the other events he has had then you don’t have a clue. Congratulations Nascar and Joe Gibbs, you have just set yourself up for another Kyle Busch moment next year and you can take it to the bank. And if I was Kevin Harvick, Busch would never win a championship. I would sacrifice my car and equipment to keep this tweerp from winning any championship. I guess Nascar was right when they said “boys have at it” because it’s very clear Nascar is not going to do anything major to send him a message. Kyle should have been banned for the reminder of the season and kept on probation for the whole year 2012. He has been given too many chances already. And remember Nascar and Joe Gibbs, the next time some driver might not be as lucky as Hornaday and it also could affect other drivers not involve in the event. What will be your excuse then for Kyle’s Actions and your lack of inactions?
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