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.
Amy Henderson · Monday September 9, 2013
Looking for the Who, What, When, Where, Why and How behind Sunday’s race? Amy Henderson has you covered with 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?
They had top-five finishes at Richmond, but does anyone know about that? Jamie McMurray and Paul Menard finished fourth and fifth, respectively, on Saturday, but since neither was in Chase contention, their runs were lost in much of the media shuffle, even though Menard was the race leader on the final restart (and got the short end of the stick on a NASCAR non-call that took away any chance he might have had to win on a two-tire strategy inside ten laps to go. McMurray got a brief mention in the middle of the broadcast but little else. It’s a shame that the actual race and the drivers in it were just a backdrop for the Chase’s overhyped, manufactured drama, because drivers like McMurray and Menard deserved better coverage.
What… was THAT?
Think Saturday’s broadcast was bad, with ESPN concentrating only on the Chase (and those ridiculous “if the race ended now” scenarios…um, it didn’t end then and wasn’t going to…), just wait until it starts. Sure, every once in a very long while, they mentioned a non-contender on Saturday, if they really had to for some reason, but all the talking heads wanted to talk about was the Chase. Yes, it’s important, but it wasn’t the only compelling storyline.
Fans whose favorite driver isn’t in the top 12 after this weekend need to hope their guy does something spectacular in the next ten races if they hope to see him on TV. And that’s a real problem within the sport. Fans are loyal to drivers not in the Chase. Sponsors pay good money to be on cars not in the Chase, and if they’re running well, those drivers deserve to be mentioned. It’s detrimental to the sport as a whole when three quarters of the field is an afterthought at best for a quarter of the season no matter how they perform. Why should a sponsor pay for 36 races if they’re only seen in 26? And if those teams running just outside the Chase field were to lose sponsorship, what are their chances of making the show next year? What potentially could happen in the next few years is the same teams make the Chase every year (even more than they usually do) because they’re the only ones with the funding to do so. Think fans are turned off now? Until the networks change this mentality, more and more are going to fall away.
Where…did the defending race winner wind up?
Clint Bowyer wound up embroiled in controversy after a late-race spin. Bowyer went around late in the race on his own…while Ryan Newman was leading, thereby locking Bowyer’s teammate, Martin Truex, Jr., out of the Chase if he won. Bowyer was already locked in, so it would certainly be easy enough to help a teammate.
NASCAR has said they’ll review the race, but even with some questionable audio, there’s no proof the spin was intentional, and without that, NASCAR should not be making any call other than to let it go. Imagine the precedent that would set? “No, we don’t have proof you did anything wrong, but we think you might have, so we’re taking away some points…” No bueno.
Oh yeah, and amid all the controversy, Bowyer finished two laps down in 25th.
When…will I be loved?
While Bowyer’s spin will be hard to make a call on unless someone ‘fesses up, NASCAR’s questionable call on the final restart overshadows that call because Carl Edwards’ jump is right there on tape for all to see. Richmond was Paul Menard’s race to lose on the final restart, and while with just two fresh tires, it’s questionable as to whether he could have held the lead for three laps, he never got the chance to find out. Edwards passed Menard, the race leader, before the start-finish line on the final restart and di not give the spot back, which is against NASCAR’s rules, but was not black-flagged for the jump and went on to win the race. Why NASCAR didn’t make the call is anyone’s guess, because Menard didn’t have an obvious problem and was in control of the start, but no matter the reason, Menard got the shaft on that non-call.
That’s the second time in two races that NASCAR has made a questionable call on a restart; they allowed what looked like a jump by Brad Keselowski to stand in Friday night’s Nationwide Series race as well. They got it right as recently as Dover in June, when they black flagged Jimmie Johnson for jumping the restart, so they certainly should know what constitutes a bad restart. Maybe the black flag got lost in the wash like that one odd sock? Hate it when that happens…
Was The Spin on purpose? Hard to tell (NASCAR’s looking into it, but without solid proof, well, it’s likely that NASCAR would change the Chase field or race outcome at this point), but after Clint Bowyer turned in the closing laps, it changed the Chase picture completely…and Martin Truex, Jr. was able to squeeze into the field…something that would not have happened if then-leader Ryan Newman had gone on to win. That Bowyer went around after his team asked if his arms were tired—an odd question to say the least—just adds fuel to the speculation; was that a code to be used in just that situation? Either way, Truex is in, Newman is out. Others who will watch the Chase unfold without them include four-time champion Jeff Gordon and reigning champion Brad Keselowski.
So, who should we all be watching as the Chase begins next week. It’s hard to pick a favorite. Carl Edwards should have gone in as the point leader, a position he earned in Richmond , but he goes in fifth and so will have to beat a lot of people every week to win. Jimmie Johnson has been terrible for a month and a half, and the No. 48 looks like anything but a championship caliber team right now. Will Joe Gibbs Racing really focus on two contenders or will one, most likely Kyle Busch, be the focus in hopes of bringing home the title? The contenders will change a bit as the first few races of the Chase run, but if you’re looking for real contenders right now, take a peek at Kyle Busch (if he can keep it together in the Chase, something he’s never been able to do), Kevin Harvick (if Richard Childress Racing remains focused on a title despite Harvick’s impending departure), and maybe Kenseth, (if he’s at the top of JGR’s “to-do” list).
How…did the little guys do?
JTG-Daugherty Racing; AJ Allmendinger (No. 47 Bush’s Beans Toyota): With a third straight top 15 finish (15th at Richmond) is this team finally turning it around? They were best in class last year as Bobby Labonte was ahead of all other small-team drivers in driver points. They won’t get there this year; they’re well behind Germain Racing in owner points and had two different drivers, but they could stand to take a step forward if they continue to run well. They’ve been rumored to have a new major technical alliance in the works for next year as well…could they be the next team to climb out of the small team ranks as Furniture Row did this year?
©2000 - 2008 Amy Henderson and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
The 48 team doesn’t look like a contender? Don’t be fooled! The 48 team has been experimenting. And why not? They had already secured their spot in the chase, so why not try different things. Failures? More like smoke-and-mirrors to fool the competition into a false sense of security. Let’s see what happens at Chicagoland.
As for this Bowyer spinning controversy, think about this. I suggest you find a copy of a book called “Arrogance And Accords”. It’s about a big scandal involving American Honda executives and their dealers. This was the one Rick Hendrick literally got away with major crime. Toyota is a Japanese based company. Companies over there have been known as a hot bed of corruption, and what happened at Honda bears evidence to this. And that corruption filtered its way across the Pacific Ocean. Given that, would Toyota have had anything to do with this garbage? Toyota pain “The Brainless One” $93-milloin dollars to be part of his rolling circus. Michael Waltrip is Toyota’s biggest shill. He’s also NASCAR’s biggest suck-up. Put two and two together and you get a spinning rat who will get away with it!
About that last restart that has everyone’s shorts in a knot. If you look at the replay, this brings in that dreaded restart box that gets highlighted so often by the commentators. The replay clearly shows Menard was leading after they passed that box. It also clearly shows Menard going slightly sideways and hitting the side of Edwards’ car about half-way between that box and the start/finish line. To me, it looked like Menard spun his tires and started to lose it. and on, I am not defending Edwards because I’m a fan of his. It just looks like Menard slipped and Edwards bit. And how is one driver supposed to see if the other driver does spin his tires when he’s beside him? Behind him? Yes! But not beside him. The only way to alleviate this restart confusion is to do away with that dumb box. And I’m surprized they haven’t after one of NASCAR’s chosen ones (whose initials are J.J.) whined about back at Dover.
Get rid of the chase and the double file restarts and the potential for these recurring controversies would go away.
Flag man starts the race, first drivers past the line is the leader. Easy right? Except not in Nascar…
The proof on MWR might not be absolute, but I think there is proof beyond a reasonable doubt. You have the 15 audio, what Dale Jr. saw on track, the radio to the 55 car after the caution, the timing and scoring on the final restart of the 15 and 55, and the comments post-race by Michael Walrip to Truex. That should be enough for NASCAR to bring the hammer down.
The spin! If someone thinks it happen by accident, I need to sell
One thing to remember though is that the 39 car could have changed 2 tires like others did and been in the lead making the spin irrelevant. It was the call of the team that changed the outcome. Johnson did not hit the wall very hard and the caution may not have come out. Look who was already on pit road versus who wasn’t. Did the 48 hit the wall on purpose to help Gordon?
RE: RESTART.. BOTH Carl’s and Paul’s remarks indicate Menard (on old L-side tires) bumped the 99 and spun the tires.DOES THAT SOUND LIKE CONTROL TO YOU??? Menard didn’t cry foul and he would know. So why are you? It was VERY different on Friday’s restart. The jump was obvious, the victim cried foul and anyone who saw it agrees. RE: Bowyer’s spin… I wouldn’t want to be the NASCAR detectives on this one. The radio traffic is perplexing BUT to say Bowyer looked at the scoring pylon and decided to affect the outcome, PLEASE… at those speeds, it’s a blur. That’s why we hear guys on the radio asking questions of their spotters & crew chief. Again, the radio traffic is perplexing but having paid for the radio & driver frequency lists when attending races, you hear some crazy stuff on those radios. Who knows what happened there, I guess we’ll find out soon.
We see manipulation every race, was this intentional, who knows. If it is, it was a bull in a china shop not the usual low key but albeit manipulation. The people who are supposed to be in “The Chase” are. The Chase is bad for the sport. So much money is on the line with sponsor, you better get your mug in The Chase cause once it starts and you aren’t in it..you will never see your advertising dollars at work because TV refuses to acknowledge the other drivers, oh don’t get me started on that damn Chase….
It’s sad that we won’t be seeing any one who’s not in the chase for the next 10 races (that drop fans) It’s sad that an illegal restart wins it(fix is in) & It’s So Sad that team mwr & toyota can team up with bowyer to eliminate other drivers & get theres in (more fans gone) & It’s Really sad that the“Chase” will start on the dullest of dull D’s(the rest of the fans gone)If I was Ryan race 1 of the chase would be Clint in the wall so his “chase” is damaged & on week 2 Perhaps Truex has a mishap (repaet cycle till their done in the “chase”
If you even watched or paid any attention to the race whatsoever you would know that Joe Nemechek was absolutely flying on the track on 3 separate occasions after pitting for fresh tires. Passing Jimmie Johnson TWICE on the same green flag run, the leader once, and pretty much the whole rest of the field. Allen Bestwick even mentioned this on the telecast.
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