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 March 2, 2012
The 2012 NASCAR season is barely a week old and already the sanctioning body is throwing its weight around the garage, this time in the form of fines, suspensions, and points deductions for the No. 48 team, which was found to have an illegal C-post in the opening technical inspection. At first glance, this is NASCAR patrolling the garage, making sure that no team is breaking the rules, and making sure everyone knows that any infraction found in opening tech will be dealt with in a fair and equitable manner. That’s supposed to be a good thing, right? NASCAR is really cracking down on cheating, right?
Well, no. Because when you look closer at the situation, including similar situations in recent years, there are some glaring inconsistencies.
Let’s start with that first inspection. According to several sources, the No. 48 was singled out before the inspection for a closer look. Why? Perhaps it stemmed from the Talladega race last fall, when Chad Knaus, while looking directly at a television camera, told driver Jimmie Johnson to hit the rear end of the car on something if he won. Bear in mind that that car passed four separate inspections that weekend with no issues. NASCAR never had any reason to believe that Knaus’s comment was anything more than smoke and mirrors, a way to get inside the heads of the competition, something both he and Johnson excel at. So, why single out a car before it even hits the inspection line?
Well, then how about those C-posts? NASCAR has never said where they were out of tolerance, nor by how much. The final ruling was that the sanctioning body “didn’t like” how they looked. Really? If officials not liking how something looks was grounds for a penalty, several drivers would be out of a job.
In case you missed it, the No. 48 fit the template. That was never in question. And the car never even hit the track. Except, that is for the four times it raced in 2011, where it was inspected at least 16 times, including a complete teardown at NASCAR’s R&D center. According to team officials, the C-posts were never changed. If that’s true, then why are the posts suddenly illegal? There were no rules changes issued in the off-season regarding the C-post configuration. If the car really was in violation of a rule and passed 16 inspections, perhaps NASCAR needs to invest in some new officials, or a better training program.
Because if they could miss a violation on one car 16 times, what else are they missing?
Now for the sake of argument, let’s say that the No. 48 did get a make-over in the off season. It was presented at preseason testing…if it looked that wrong, wouldn’t someone from NASCAR have said something?
There are really two things at the heart of this matter: when the alleged infraction was found, and why the penalties for cars that never get on the racetrack are often heavier than cars that are found to be illegal after they have competed, and often won. This is not about the No. 48; it’s about every team that shows up, every week, and their fans.
Here’s the thing: teams don’t show up at the track attempting to race with a template violation. They show up with a car that they hope will satisfy the NASCAR inspectors. If NASCAR allows something through, it’s not cheating, because the people who make the rules didn’t find it illegal. But if it doesn’t satisfy the inspectors, that’s where the questions start. The answer isn’t always the same.
And that’s where NASCAR really fails its teams and fans. In other sports, the rules are clear, and everyone is given the same penalty for the same infraction; it’s simple and fair. Not so in NASCAR, even though it could and should be so.
In NASCAR, cars come to opening tech every weekend to see if they are legal. If they are legal, they are allowed to practice. If they are not, especially on a body violation, they are told to go back, fix it and try again. That’s different for parts, like windshields, that require prior approval by NASCAR-if something is supposed to be submitted for approval and isn’t, that team was already given one chance. But for parts like door posts, which do not require pre-approval, the only way to know if they’re legit is to go through the inspection line.
Lest you think that template violations don’t happen every weekend, that this is something rare and special, they do and it’s not. On any given weekend, cars that don’t meet NASCAR’s rigid standards are told to make a change or two and go to the end of the line. All they lose is practice time, a penalty in itself. It should be no different here; the No. 48 fit the template, and NASCAR had questions on the C-post. They should have told Knaus exactly what their issue was and made the team fix it, like they have with countless teams.
Heck, it was practically tradition at Daytona in years past for teams to show up with some off-season innovation to see if it was going to pass muster. If it did, good for them; if it didn’t, well, there were whole tables of confiscated parts put out in the garage for all to see what not to do. And no penalties beyond the humiliation. This situation is no different, and should not have been treated as such.
Not to mention, the other teams didn’t have an issue with Knaus’s C-posts. Most crew chiefs applauded him for working on an area they hadn’t thought of, one not touched by the template. Is there no room for innovation in NASCAR anymore? Does NASCAR, or its fan base, really want nothing more than IROC with the NASCAR label slapped on the fenders?
Teams need to be able to work somewhere. The common template and current engine and suspension packages allow little room for a smart mechanic to find his driver an advantage, and that too is a shame. Yes, it should be about the drivers, but it should also be about the team around him, and the ability to find that something more. The other teams would then find their own advantage, or be relegated to a season of beatdowns until they did. Parity comes from the common template, from the engine and geometry rules. Innovation comes from the rest of the car.
Not only was the No. 48 heavily punished for a part that NASCAR couldn’t even explain the illegality of, but a car went out the very next day and was found to be in violation of a clearly defined rule after their run…and next to nothing was done. When a corner of the No. 15 was too low after its qualifying run-potentially an aerodynamic advantage- the team had its time thrown out and had to start at the rear of its qualifying race, while still guaranteed a spot on Sunday. There were no fines, no points taken…from a car that competed illegally.
There’s something seriously wrong there, even if one can say that Knaus is a repeat offender. Do you know which crew chiefs have the most penalties in the past five years that resulted in fines, suspensions, or both? How about which teams have had the most violations in that time span? You won’t find Knaus or the No. 48 on either list. Including this one, the team and crew chief have just one other infraction since 2007, for a five-year total of two.
Four crew chiefs also have a pair of infractions over that stretch. Three-Kevin Manion, Rodney Childers, and Frank Kerr-have more, with three apiece. The No. 7 team of Robby Gordon leads with four violations, while the No. 1 of Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing and the No. 18 of Joe Gibbs Racing have three each. (Driver-only penalties are not included here.) Bob Osborne and the No. 99 tie Knaus and the No. 48 with a pair, but both were post-race violations, while the No. 48’s both came in opening tech, before the car ever even practiced. The repeat offender card isn’t really on the table here, or shouldn’t be anyway.
What NASCAR needs to do is have a set penalty for infractions found at different stages of the weekend. An issue in opening tech should result in the team having to fix the issue and reinspect after every other car has gone through the line. A team should be able to show up with a monster truck with a jet engine and a rocket launcher and this should still be the penalty as long as it never competes. Perhaps also taking 30-60 minutes of practice time after the car passes would be a good attention-getter here. Take the offending part and put it on display for the rest of the world to see.
And that’s it.
Instead, some teams go back through, while others get fines (as the Joe Gibbs teams did last year after NASCAR found unapproved oil pans on all three JGR cars), and still others get point deductions and suspensions (as did the Michael Waltrip Raicng teams last year for unapproved windshields, largely the same infraction as the JGR teams had in terms of not getting prior approval). The process is ridiculously arbitrary and unfair. There should be no points deductions as no points are earned in practice.
If a car qualifies and is found illegal, it’s a no-brainer: if, after given time to cool, the car is not legal in any way that may have affected its performance, unless the team can prove that a part failure caused the infraction, the time should be tossed, and the team should miss the race, whether or not they are in the top 35. Right now, times are thrown out, but teams in the top 35 still start the race, while those outside go home, thereby receiving a much stiffer penalty for the same infraction. A stiff fine or even suspensions should come into play as well, but again, if points were not earned by the infraction, points should not be deducted.
Finally, if a car is found illegal after a race, if the infraction could have given any performance advantage, no matter how small, the finishing position, even a win, should be stripped, as well as all points and money earned in the event (but no more) by driver and owner, suspensions issued to crew chiefs. Basically, it should be as if that team was never in the race.
Unless NASCAR is planning to treat every team that fails opening tech for any reason in the same way as the No. 48 at Daytona, the penalty the team received was out of line with the infraction, if there even was one. There needs to be a better reason than “it didn’t look right,” and measurements to back that up. Really though, what NASCAR needs to do is treat the No. 48, and any other team that can’t make it through opening tech the same way as every other team that doesn’t, because that didn’t happen at Daytona.
Not only that, but it didn’t happen last year with the MWR and JGR teams, either. NASCAR, not the teams, was out of line in these punishments (and every other opening tech problem they gave penalties for). There needs to be a set of rules for the entire weekend, escalating in accordance with the amount of competition the car has participated in. It’s not about one team here. It’s about them all.
©2000 - 2008 Amy Henderson and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
Exactly right Amy! Interesting… to hear some folks Chad is the only CC in the garage that pushes the envelope and he does it way more than anyone else… but appears that is not the case. Stats in your piece speak for themselves.
This is the best article I’ve read on this issue.
I don’t agree with you most time, Amy, but you hit it dead on this time.
With the inconsistencies, it gives NASCAR the appearance and ability to play favorites. But then again, with Brian France at the helm, no one would expect anything different.
The problem is that NASCAR doesn’t want teams to push the envelope where the body is concerned. What part of that don’t you understand? I don’t particularly like it but that’s what they want and they make the rules. (I don’t like a lot of the laws the government forces on us but I have to follow them and if I don’t I get in trouble). I’ve notice that there have been fewer and fewer illegal parts found each year at Daytona. That is because most teams have gotten the message and aren’t playing the “try to get one by NASCAR game” (or they have gotten even better at slipping things by than Chad). Once again whether you like it or not that’s what NASCAR wants and it’s their game.
Just disgruntled 48 fans doing what they and Jimmy do best….whining!! Bring out the towels…..
@Bill… however the point is NASCAR HAS to be consistent across the board and apply the rules and penalties equally for every team for infractions. What part of that do you not understand? In this instance I have heard from more than one source/article that there were other cars with similar looks to their c-posts but NASCAR let theirs go. That’s not being consistent or fair in managing the sport. If you don’t want teams to mess with an area then make specific rules and then apply them across the board, don’t pick and choose. And if you actually read the article there are other crew chiefs/teams with more violations in the past few years than Chad.
So what you are saying is that if NASCAR’s intent is to not have any modification made to the body then then need to develop better templates. Perhaps some sort of encasement that fits over the entire car and then, using some sort of monitoring system, can determine variances all over the car.
Similarly, when sports players are tested for performance enhancing drugs there is a list of things they test for (they can’t test for something they don’t know about). The intent is that they don’t want anyone using a substance that gives them an unnatural advantage. If someone invents a new performance enhancing drug that they don’t know about (and trust me they will if they haven’t already) they can’t test for it until they find out about it. However the player in question KNOWS they are circumventing the purpose of the rule and when they get caught they get discredited and the drug gets added to the list. You could call that innovation or you could call it cheating.
Once again, you can make the case that the intent of NASCAR’s rules stifles innovation but that is a point of view. I don’t necessarily like it either but that is what NASCAR wants and it’s their game. I think they have made their intentions abundantly clear and if crew chiefs continue to try to outsmart them then they deserve what they get when they get caught. Chad knew he was trying to circumvent the intent of the rule, it wasn’t an accident.
Now I have a question for you… on a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being the highest) how big of a 48 fan are you?
Explain the car being legal (and don’t tell me DArby didn’t see the car last year cause Darby sees everything) last year including at the R&D center but not this year but no rule changes about that area? And I am a JIMMIE fan and have been since the beginning; he just happens to drive the 48 car. And I’d give same argument no matter what team this happened to. Fairness and consistency should apply to all teams.
nascar is trying to do every thing it can to keep Jimmie Johnson from winning another championship
On a scale from 1-10 I am a -10 fan of Jimmie Johnson. Now that I have made it crystal clear I loath the 48 team, I think suspension, points and fine are absurd. If you ask me why, then I would have to ask you to read this article again.
Great article Amy!
Very good article, Amy, and you are right in all respects. You are wrong, however, in assuming that NASCAR is inconsistent in administration of penalties. They are very consistent. They just have different goals in mind than most of us fans would have.
NASCAR has always enforced rules with the intent to make for a better show or to put fans in the seats. This has been true from the very beginning. They always do whatever they believe will cause ticket sales to increase and if that hurts the #48 team this week, that’s just part of the big picture. Maybe it will hurt the #29 or the #18 next week. NASCAR racing has always been and will always be about creating a show that will put folks in the seats. I wish it wasn’t, but it is.
NASCAR needs to give us access to their dry erase rulebook. If the C-posts fit within the template, the car should pass. If you don’t like the innovation and creativity from some race teams, fix your damn templates. If not, tell Chad “good job” and close the loophole, but don’t punish him for outsmarting y’all…it ain’t that hard to do.
Great article Amy.
I’m not a #48 fan.
Just another day at the track—Jimmie & company cheating and Amy defending the cheater.
Believing team officials statements that the C posts on the car had not been touched after last season is like a criminal in prison stating he’s innocent. There’s a possibility but highly unlikely. Stating something doesn’t make it so.
If the C posts were that obvious to NA$CAR during this inspection, you can’t make me believe they missed them in 16 previous inspections. The 48 team knew what they were doing. They showed up at the track with every intention of racing an illegal car and got busted. Now they have to pay the price. I wonder if they would have slipped through, and won the race with that car, if JJ would have had the guts to back it into the wall after the “Victory” celebration.
I knew Amy’s dislike of toyota and the 18 would show up before even reading the article.
Nascar is laughing….all this stuff is for show.
This makes a nice setup for JJ to make the “comeback” later in the season.
Then Amy can write a article about how awesome the Hendrick teams are.
I love the argument that because the car raced last year and passed that it should be ok this year. By that thinking Sammy Sosa’s corked bat would have been legal because he used it before in a game. Come on, if you get caught it doesn’t matter if you got away with it before.
Almost NEVER agree with amy (due to reporting by favs & emotion) But this article is about dead on..(that didn’t hurt as much as I thought it would) & no I’m no fan of JJ. But Nascar got the penalty phase of this wrong & I believe it has to do with Dega (& the stupidest comments by a crew chief ever) .,..This car didn’t race (& no I don’t buy the “we used it last year the same way” argument) But when Nascars mad at you your going to pay. (maybe it’s time for more legal challenges until a scale is established…Go Phoenix (real Racin)
Nascar consistency does suck, but one thing they have stuck to, especially with this new car, was to not mess with it or there will be stiff fines and punishments (severity based on who you are of course)
What people need to understand is Nascar, for better or worse, does not allow innovation with this new car. Plain and simple. You don’t have to like it, but peoples negative reactions to this penalty have more to do with the lack of innovation allowed than the infractions.
I think that anytime a car is at the track, and submitted for inspection, it should be race ready. To say something like “I don’t care if they bring a monster truckZ” is just plain dumb. In what sport are you told, “bring what you want, and if we don’t catch it, it’s OK”? Pre race, post race, during the race, it’s all the same to me. If that car hadn’t been caught, it would have been raced that way. And I also don’t care how many, or how few times, he’s been caught. If the car isn’t in spec, it isn’t in spec. I don’t care if it’s my favorite driver, or least favorite. Citing what other crew chiefs have or have not done has ZERO bearing on whether or not the 48 was in spec this week. Also, didn’t NASCAR state a few years ago that penalties would be cranked up for repeat offenders? It’s a just punishment, especially in light of the fact NA$car will more than likely reduce it on appeal.
I have never understood the “They intended to race it if it wasn’t caught” argument. Of course they intend to race it if NASCAR inspects it and says it’s legal! If a car goes through four NASCAR inspections over a weekend and passes them all, especially if one is a complete teardown…the car was legal in NASCAR’s opinion. And if it was legal, then there is really no issue, is there?
I am puzzled with this entire incident..Knaus says the cars not been changed..NASCAR says its out of spec. I have no clue. The biggest huh? to me is if the car is correct why would NASCAR put themselves in the idiot seat with such big fines? Now I know they are pretty good at doing dumb stuff..but I would have to believe they did more then eyeball the parts…and can backup their allegations during the appeal. I just have a feeling NASCAR “caught on” to the infraction to late last season and waited to have the car put before them at Daytona for their Ah Ha! moment! I think Chad’s telling truth the car has not been changed..it just took NASCAR awhile to catch up with Chad’s ingenuity.
The thing that comes to my mind is NASCAR was “waiting” for that 48 car to go through inspection. I believe somehow they got wind the 48 has been out of spec and passing inspection since last season..and they were ready to put their hands on those c posts. I don’t know if someone snitched or was just overheard bragging..(gotta watch those tv cameras!) but I believe NASCAR got a “heads up”.
What is there not to understand about the “intent to race it if it passed”?
If they managed to sneak an illegal car through, they would have raced it. Duh. Not real hard to understand. I’m sure there are still illegal cars that get through. If folks say it’s a crew chiefs job to try and be “innovative”, then it’s his job to try and sneak something past. To say it’s only illegal if caught is just a foolish argument.
You know what argument I don’t understand? The one where folks think you can just bring anything you want to the track and try to pass it. I am pretty sure NA$CAR tell em to bring cars that are LEGAL from day for inspection, not bring the closest you can get it. Do you know how foolish it sounds, how much of a second rate sport it looks like, to see it that way?
So Chad says the C-posts weren’t changed from the car last year. Does anybody believe him?
This reminds me of the penalty to Mark Martin in 1990. NASCAR said what his team did to the engine (they welded the spacer to the intake instead of a gasket)didn’t affect it in any way but NASCAR didn’t like what they did. They penalized him about 46 points and he lost the title by 26.
Recent articles from Amy Henderson:
Earnhardt Ganassi Racing Announces Partnership with Cessna, Textron
Want to know more about Amy or see an archive of all of her articles? Check out her bio page for more information.