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.
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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.
Amy Henderson · Monday November 12, 2012
Looking for the Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How behind Sunday’s race? Amy Henderson has you covered each week with the answers to six race day questions, covering all five W’s and even the H… the Big Six.
Who… gets my shoutout of the race?
To the guys at the top of the points, a ninth top-10 finish might not seem like much. But for Paul Menard, it’s a career high. Menard staked his claim on his ninth-place run early, qualifying seventh and running in the top five for most of the first half of Sunday’s contest before fading a bit, then rallying back into the top ten.
Menard has quietly put together a solid, if unspectacular, 2013 season. He’ll likely wind up 16th in points, just one spot behind Carl Edwards and with just two fewer top-5 runs. He’s having a better season than veteran teammate Jeff Burton. With Kevin Harvick a lame duck at Richard Childress Racing in 2013 and Jeff Burton on the hot seat, Menard could even be a dark horse candidate for the Chase next year if he can make the top ten a bit more often.
What… was THAT?
Dale Jarrett said it best: as much as everyone wanted to see the race end, and as close as some teams were on fuel mileage, there needed to be a caution for Danica Patrick on the green-white-checkered attempt. NASCAR’s failure to throw the yellow was costly. As Kevin Harvick took the checkers, several cars sustained heavy damage as their drivers raced for position coming to the finish line, only to realize that there was fluid on the track from Patrick’s limping car. Paul Menard slammed into the back end of Patrick’s slower car so hard that the No 10 was thrown into the air. Ryan Newman, Mark Martin, Paul Menard, and Brad Keselowski all suffered damage. Kurt Busch’s car was destroyed and on fire.
The bottom line is that NASCAR sacrificed safety for a good finish—and they didn’t have to. Had the yellow flag flown as soon as Patrick crashed, Harvick wouldn’t have taken the white flag, and there would have been another attempt. Yes, some teams were close on fuel. But fuel strategy is up to the teams, and the outcome would have been on them. As it is, NASCAR is very lucky nobody was hurt in what could and should have easily been avoided
Where… did the polesitter wind up?
Kyle Busch put up a thoroughly dominant performance at Phoenix, taking the pole and leading four times for a total of 237 laps. It looked as though Busch had finally cast off the bad luck that has plagued him for much of the season and was en route to an easy win. But it didn’t quite happen that way; Busch faded late and wound up finishing third to Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin on Sunday. Busch led 74% of the race’s 319 laps, including 67 circuits from lap 238 to lap 304.
Busch should have won on Sunday; he must know that, and it must sting. But although a win would have provided a welcome boost, Busch and the No. 18 team should be looking at some of big positives as they head into 2013. Busch has four top-5 finishes in the last five weeks. That’s more top-5’s in that timespan than either Jimmie Johnson or Brad Keselowski. The team does have momentum on their side to start next season, leaving them with two over-arching goals: first to make the Chase, and then to put together a Chase performance like Busch has had this year. That’s easier said than done, since Busch has never been able to put those two parts of a season together. But if he can do that, he could be staring down a championship in a year’s time.
When… will I be loved?
Clint Bowyer took the first shot, giving Jeff Gordon a bumper in the left rear quarter and tire and sending Gordon into the wall. Had it ended there, Bowyer would have gotten my vote for villain of the day. Gordon took the next one, returning the favor when Bowyer came back around. It would have been nothing but turnabout if innocent bystander Joey Logano hadn’t been taken out; that alone made Gordon’s retaliation wrong. Had it ended there, Gordon would have gotten my vote for villain of the day instead. But it was Bowyer’s crew that took the last and cheapest shot, ambushing Gordon as he climbed from his car on pit road and shoving the driver to the ground before NASCAR officials and members of Gordon’s crew could pull them off.
Ricky Craven said it best after the race. Bowyer wrecked Gordon; Gordon retaliated. Had it ended there, whether right or not, it’s part of the game in the “Boys, Have at it” era. But the No. 15 crew changed that; what they did was a step too far. Heck, fighting is against the rules, but if Bowyer had wanted to duke it out with Gordon himself and accept the consequences, go for it. Two drivers taking it out on track is perhaps poor sportsmanship, and probably not the right thing to do. Bowyer was wrong, Gordon was more wrong. But what happened on pit road was inexcusable. An entire crew ambushing and jumping a driver is just dirty.
Why… worry now?
And then, as the sun set over the desert, there was one.
Clint Bowyer saw his last chance go up in flames, but it really was over before it started. Bowyer couldn’t gain enough all day to have made any real difference. When it was over, Bowyer—and everyone from third place on back—was mathematically eliminated from contention. Jimmie Johnson, the title favorite when the green flag fell, saw his chances melt away with the bead on his right front tire. The second that happened, before the No. 48 even impacted the Turn 4 wall, the title race was all over but the shouting. Barring disaster next week in Homestead, Roger Penske will have his first Sprint Cup title as an owner, and Dodge will have its last as a manufacturer. Brad Keselowski has clear sailing from here on out, with nothing but daylight between him and the silver Cup inscribed with the word “champion.”
For many fans, this was the way they wanted it to end, with Johnson in the wall. But you have to wonder if Brad Keselowski feels that way. He and Johnson have the utmost respect for each other, and no true racer wants anything to be decided by anything but racing to the wire on the last lap of the last race. Nobody wants to win but be left forever wondering “what if,” a question that can never be answered. Keselowski knows there are no guarantees, but as long as he has just a mediocre day at Homestead, 2012 is on the books. Nobody should want it to end like this; a year ago, the only way Carl Edwards or Tony Stewart could guarantee a title was to win—and they both raced like it. This time, all Brad Keselowski has to do is finish 15th or better, and so he can take it easy and race for points. He doesn’t have to drive hard enough to risk a crash, a blown tire… or an exciting race. Really, is that what anyone wants to see?
How… did the little guys do?
Furniture Row Racing (Furniture Row Chevy): It certainly wasn’t boring for Kurt Busch. An extra pit stop during a cycle dropped him off the lead lap. He got that back and crossed the finish line skidding and on fire after getting caught in the last-lap melee. Busch finished 8th, his second consecutive top 10 with Furniture Row.
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©2000 - 2008 Amy Henderson and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
Regarding the garage area fight, from what I can see from the footage, it looks like Jeff Gordon was not in the middle of the big pile-on, and it was simply a crew-on-crew fight. Right when the announcer said “the crews are in it”, at the left half of the screen there appears to be a 24-crew member grabbing a struggling Jeff Gordon from behind and leading him around the fight, reaching the 24 hauler’s entrance ramp at the bottom of the screen just as a 15-crew member knocks a tire to the ground.
Either ways, I see a whole lot of penalties coming for Jeff Gordon and crew members from both teams. They let their anger get the best of them, and NASCAR must let them know, as it did with Kyle Busch last year, that such harmful behavior cannot be tolerated.
Why isn’t anyone talking about how Jeff Burton caused the Danica wreck by running into her left rear off the turn for no good reason, ruining what looked to be a Top-15 finish for her? Time for him to retire.
Gordon drives for Hendrick/Chevy so I don’t expect to see much from nascar.
I don’t fault Bowyers crew at all for what they did. Good for them.
But I would tell Bowyer to take it out on JJ if Brad K. has a bad day next Sunday. That’s the smart way to get back at Gordon/Hendrick.
With all the publicity the fight will get NA$CAR should pay Gordon and Bowyer. Just because they will announce a fine doesn’t mean it will be paid.
Hendrick is on the phone to Brian right now getting him to fine Brad at least 20 points for his comments. And he will end the call with “The check is in the mail.”
I enjoy your columns but that whole paragraph about how awful it was for Johnson to hit the wall and how even Keselowski probably wished Johnson hadn’t crashed was pretty lame. I know you are disappointed, but that’s the breaks.
On the plus side, you mentioned Ricky Craven’s comments, which were, as usual, insightful and intellegent. I continue to enjoy his post-race comments and wish he had a larger presence in ESPN’s race coverage.
It is sad to see the two Jeffs, Gordon and Burton run as poorly as they are .In my opinion they should hang up their helmets. Jeff B has been ineffective for years and Gordon is frustrated at being the fourth best driver at HMS after being the top dog for so long.Even when he is on is game he is at best a fifth place car I hope he doesn’t further diminish his accomplishments by staying on too long like the“King” and DW did after Hall of Fame careers
i thought Kyle was parked last year for still crashing Ron while the caution was out and nascar and his spotter kept telling him to cool it? am i wrong on that?
Gordon had been black flagged before he took our Bowyer. And note that even at Martinsville, Gordon immediately and deliberately took out Bowyer by turning back into him.
Normally you make sound, well-reasoned points, Amy – even when I disagree with you – but this time you’re wrong. We want to see hard racing, even you say that, but why do you jump on the drivers when they race hard? Bowyer used the chrome bumper on Gordon, intentionally or not, and that’s racing. What Gordon did is pure **** and he derailed a legitimate championship run, even if that run was a long shot. Do you really blame Bowyer’s crew for being pissed?
Funny when a Hendrick driver uses the bumper to “move” another it’s good, old fashion racing.
When a non-Hendrick driver does it, then it’s dirty and OK for him to be taken out.
I wish every non-Hendrick driver out there would take out ALL the Hendrick drivers next week. That would get the ratings up.
It will be interesting to see what the penalty outcomes will be. Hendrick has nascar in his hip pocket if you don’t believe that think back to chads bunch escaping punishment due to hendrick’s buddy overruling nascar’s penalty. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely
The guys who should be fined heavily are Bowyer’s crew for attacking a driver, be it Gordon or any other driver. MWR should be called out for not being able to control their pit crew.Gordon is not innocent for sure but Bowyer showed no class by dashing from his car to Gordon’s hauler.Bowyer will never do for NASCAR what Gordon has done over his career. He talked about the actions of a 4 time champ but he shows no respect for a 4 time champ with his actions toward Gordon on or off the track.Don’t agree? Watch the show that was on Speed at the start of the “Chase” with all the “Chase” drivers.Bowyer did nothing but harass Gordon and a few other drivers that night. Bowyer doesn’t have enough class to carry Gordon’s helmet bag. Nuff said.
Jeff Gordon hasn’t been good since he stiffed me in the Vegas Garage area in 2009. Karma’s a bitch Jeff!
The best thing that could happen to nascar would be for the Hendrick team(s) to fold.
Half of the fans that nascar have left are sick and bored of the Hendrick/chevy/nascar love dominance.
@Mike In NH
No one is talking about it because it would force them to yet again acknowledge she was doing okay and had a career-best going, just like all the top 10s she was wrecked out of in Nationwide this year. No respect at all.
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