Kurt Busch to Attempt The Indianapolis-Charlotte Double
posted by Phil Allaway
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Andretti Autosport announced this morning that Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet in the Sprint Cup Series, will attempt the Indianapolis 500 in a fifth entry for the IndyCar Series team. Once the Indianapolis 500 is completed, Busch will fly from Indianapolis to Charlotte, jump in his No. 41 Chevrolet and compete in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Busch considers the opportunity to do the double as an old-school throwback moment.
“This is really to challenge myself within motorsports,” Busch said in Andretti Autosport’s press release. “Perhaps I am a bit of an old-school racer; a throwback, I guess. I enjoyed the era of drivers racing different cars and testing themselves in other series. It is tough to do now for a variety of factors, but when the opportunity is there, I want to do it. While NASCAR is my home, I have been fortunate to compete in Pro Stock on the NHRA circuit a number of years ago and test a V8 Supercar. This opportunity was a talk with Michael [Andretti] over dinner one night, a “What if,” and now it’s becoming a reality for me to drive in the Indy 500 with Andretti Autosport. It’s literally a dream come true. To go to the famous Brickyard with the iconic Andretti name, it doesn’t get much cooler or better than that.”
Busch will be doing the Indianapolis-Charlotte double as a Memorial Day mission to men and women serving in the U.S. Military via the Armed Forces Foundation. Fans can contribute to the cause by texting AFF to 50555 to donate $10.
Busch, who has never raced an IndyCar, passed Rookie Orientation at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last year during a test session. At the time, Busch was more or less testing the Dallara DW12 for fun.
Busch will be the fourth driver to attempt the Indianapolis-Charlotte double. John Andretti was the first driver to attempt it in 1994. After finishing four laps down in tenth in Indianapolis, Andretti crashed and had engine problems in the 600. Robby Gordon has attempted the double five times, most recently in 2004. However, Gordon failed to make it to Charlotte on time and did not start the 600 in 2000 (P.J. Jones started Gordon’s No. 13 Ford in that instance). Finally, Tony Stewart has attempted the double twice (most recently in 2001) and is the only driver to ever complete all 1100 miles. Neither of the three drivers has won either leg of the double. The best finishes are Stewart and Gordon’s sixth-place finishes at the Indianapolis 500 (although Gordon’s came in 2000, the year he didn’t make it to Charlotte in time to start the Coca-Cola 600), and Stewart’s fourth-place finish in the 2001 Coca-Cola 600.
Danica Patrick, Justin Allgaier Talk About Phoenix Incident
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
A disappointing start to the year for Danica Patrick won’t include continued conflict. Patrick met with rookie Justin Allgaier Sunday, shortly after the Phoenix Cup race after a wreck ruined both drivers’ days. Patrick, who was critical of the No. 51 car on the radio, claiming Allgaier was “driving all over the track” appeared receptive to a conversation that quickly settled differences over what will be a long season.
“She was just upset because she got involved in the crash that we had,’’ said Allgaier to the Motor Racing Network. “She says she’s been through this and that she felt like I needed to settle down at that point. I explained my position on why everything happened. I think she understood where I was coming from. It doesn’t fix either one of our racecars. It doesn’t fix either one of our days. Unfortunately, we were both having pretty decent days.’’
Allgaier wound up 30th due to the incident while Patrick was 36th. The incident, which was caused by Allgaier’s spin also involved the No. 32 team and Travis Kvapil, which wound up 38th after sustaining heavy damage.
Camping World Close to Extending Title Sponsorship of NCWTS
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Marcus Lemonis, CEO of Camping World, Grand Marshal of Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway, and star of CNBC’s “The Profit,” made the announcement over the weekend that the retailer is very close to announcing a deal that would continue its title sponsorship of NASCAR’s Truck Series. The original agreement with NASCAR is scheduled to conclude after the 2015 season.
According to the sanctioning body, no formal contract has been signed, but “the agreement between the two parties has proven to be a beneficial one.”
“In about a month, we’ll be announcing a significant extension to that contract. It’s been great for us,” said Camping World’s Lemonis in a statement. “The NASCAR relationship has worked well for Camping World. When we started, we had 35 stores. Now, we’re up to 120 stores. As we travel the country and we meet new customers in stores, they always are very appreciative of our relationship with NASCAR. It’s been good.”
Gaining a long-term commitment from Camping World to sponsor the Truck Series would be a relief for NASCAR, which is set to lose Nationwide Insurance as title sponsor for the NASCAR Nationwide Series at the end of the 2014 season. The sponsorship of the Cup Series by Sprint runs through 2016.
The NCWTS is back in action on March 29th at 2:30 PM (ET) when the trucks visit Martinsville Speedway in the Kroger 250, which can be seen on Fox Sports 1. Ratings for the season opener were up 11 percent.
Harvick Takes Win At Phoenix In Second Race With New Team
posted by Justin Tucker
Monday March 3, 2014
Phoenix International Raceway has become Kevin Harvick’s home away from home. Sunday Afternoon was no exception as Harvick charged to the front early and would dominate for much of the day, leading 224 of the scheduled 312 laps to record his record fifth win on the one mile oval and his third win in the last four races at Phoenix.
Harvick, coming off of a disappointing Speedweeks which was capped by a last lap crash in the Daytona 500 in his debut with Stewart-Haas Racing, set the tone on Saturday by winning both practices while having the best 5 and 10-lap averages in the first practice of the day on Saturday. On Sunday, Harvick and his No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet was nothing short of flawless as he was able to hold Dale Earnhardt, Jr. by .489 seconds after a late race restart to claim his 24th career Sprint Cup Series victory.
“Man, this is awesome,” Harvick said after his dominant victory on Sunday. “Man, this just solidifies so many things and so many decisions. It’s been so much work with all the time and effort that these guys (the crew) have put in—but what a race car.”
Stewart Haas Racing co-owner Gene Haas shared in Harvick’s excitement after the race.
“It took long enough,” Haas joked. “This is phenomenal. I think there was a lot of skepticism last year about what myself and Tony (Stewart) what we were up to, was there a lot of madness to this. Quite frankly, it’s a great team, there’s a lot of synergy at the shop, people working together. I don’t know what we did, but I think we put together a great organization.”
Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt, Jr. continued his hot start to the 2014 season. Earnhardt Jr. would finish second on Sunday, marking his seventh consecutive top 10 finish since the end of the 2013 season. Earnhardt Jr. was pleased with the effort after a coast-to-coast whirlwind week after winning his second Daytona 500 and also gave great praise to the efforts of Harvick and the No. 4 team.
“I’ve got to congratulate Kevin. Those guys were two-tenths faster than everyone all weekend in practice. They were just phenomenal,” Earnhardt said. “To be able to run with them all day was a big confidence builder for us.”
Joining Harvick and Earnhardt in the top 5 of The Profit on CNBC 500K were Brad Keselowski with his second consecutive top 3 run of 2014 in third. Keselowski’s Team Penske teammate Joey Logano would finish fourth, and Jeff Gordon would come home fifth in his No. 24 Pepsi Max Chevrolet.
Jimmie Johnson finished in sixth, followed by Ryan Newman with a nice rebound after Daytona in seventh. Carl Edwards would carry the banner for Roush Fenway Racing by finishing eighth, Kyle Busch was ninth, and Jamie McMurray would finish tenth.
A look at the Profit on CNBC 500K by the numbers. There were 14 lead changes among eight different drivers, there were eight cautions for 39 laps which slowed the race pace to 109.229 MPH.
Next Sunday, the Sprint Cup Series heads to Sin City and the Las Vegas Motor
Starting Lineup: The Profit On CNBC 500K
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday March 1, 2014
Drivers in RED (i) are those ineligible to collect Sprint Cup points
Daytona 500 TV Ratings Down
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Wednesday February 26, 2014
What was the longest weather delay in Daytona 500 history turned out to bring NASCAR lower ratings and TV viewership Sunday night than expected. According to a report Monday from FOX Sports, the 56th running of the Daytona 500 airing at 8 PM (ET) posted a 5.6/10 national household rating/share which averaged 9.3 million viewers. That’s down 44 percent from last year’s 9.9, easily making it the least-watched Daytona 500 of all-time.
Due to the six-hour, twenty-two minute rain delay in Daytona, the race was up against the primetime coverage of the Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony from Sochi, Russia on NBC (15.25 million viewers). FOX also reported that 69% of the pre-rain delay viewers of the race, which began at 1 PM (ET) kept tuning in.
In comparison, the 2013 Daytona 500 on FOX was the most-watched race in five years, posting a 9.9/22 rating/share, commanding 16.7 million viewers. The Daytona 500 in 2012, the first to ever be run on a Monday and in the primetime slot did a 7.7/13 overnight rating/share which resulted in 13.67 million households viewing the race according to Nielsen TV ratings data.
Earnhardt, Jr. Claims Second Daytona 500 Victory
posted by Justin Tucker
Wednesday February 26, 2014
Ten years is a long time. For Dale Earnhardt, Jr., it felt like an eternity. NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver endured many near misses and close calls at the Daytona 500 since his only win in the Great American Race in 2004. Earnhardt had finished second in two of his last three Daytona 500s coming into Sunday’s race. He was also riding the tail of a 55-race winless streak, dating back to Michigan in 2012.
However nothing would stop Dale Jr. on Sunday, not even a 6 hour and 22 minute rain delay from capturing his second Daytona 500 win. Earnhardt Jr. led a race-high 54 laps on the evening and used some timely drafting help from teammates Jimmie Johnson and, on the final restart, Jeff Gordon to separate from the pack and secure the victory.
“Winning this race is the greatest feeling that you could feel in this sport besides accepting the trophy for the championship,” said a jubilant Earnhardt after pulling into Victory Lane. “We could fight off battle after battle. We got a little help at the end there from Jeff to get away on the restart. This is amazing. I can’t believe this is happening. I never take this for granted, man because it doesn’t happen twice, let alone once.”
Aside from the race itself the big story of the race was the 6 hour and 22 minute red flag, which threatened to move the race to Monday evening (had the race been postponed, FOX Sports’ Chris Myers had tweeted that the race would resume at 5:00pm EST). However, Mother Nature would cooperate and would allow the race to be run under different conditions from which they practiced this week. Once the race resumed, the intensity picked up from the changing track conditions. This allowed the pack to race side-by-side and at times 3-wide up to seven rows deep.
Joining Earnhardt Jr. in the top 5 for the 2014 Daytona 500 were: Denny Hamlin who closed out a spectacular Speedweeks in second, Brad Keselowski in third, Jeff Gordon in fourth, and Jimmie Johnson who overcome two wrecks leading up to the 500 in fifth.
Rounding out the top 10 in the Daytona 500 were Matt Kenseth in sixth, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. in seventh and Greg Biffle would bring his No. 16 Ford home in eighth. Austin Dillon would come home ninth in his first Cup Series race in the iconic No. 3 for Richard Childress Racing, while Casey Mears would round out the top 10.
A couple of major contenders for the Daytona 500 win would see their hopes dashed early on as Martin Truex, Jr. would blow up just 30 laps into the race, relegating him to a 43rd-place finish in his debut for Furniture Row Racing. Crew chief Todd Berrier was already in Nashville for a test session before the race was even over. Kyle Busch, meanwhile would have a pit road violation just before halfway and would spend much of the race battling back from that mistake. Busch would eventually finish 19th after leading 19 laps.
Danica Patrick would also be bit by bad luck as she was caught up in a multi-car wreck on lap 145. Patrick would lead her second consecutive Daytona 500, but wouldn’t have the finish to show for it finishing 40th. Tony Stewart would encounter a frustrating evening as well, with a fuel pickup problem derailing his quest for his first Daytona 500 win. Stewart would finish 35th.
A look at the Daytona 500 by the numbers. There were 42 lead changes among 18 drivers, while seven cautions for 39 laps would slow the race pace to 145.290 MPH.
Next week, the Sprint Cup Series heads to the “diamond in the desert,” Phoenix International Raceway for The Profit on CNBC 500K. The Green flag is scheduled for 3:15pm EST.
Nationwide Series Post-Race Quotes: Drive4COPD 300
posted by Thomas Bowles
Tuesday February 25, 2014
Frontstretch Interviews – Courtesy Mike Neff
ELLIOTT SADLER – FINISHED 4th
Thoughts on the race?
It’s definitely a lot different racing than what we’re used to.
Comfortable with it?
Yeah, it’s just different. You’re worried about what you’re doing, but you’re also worried about what everyone else is doing and they’re not doing more than you’re doing. Physically pushing a guy is way better than just riding so you just gotta time it right and push it to the edge.
Happy to start the year with a top 5?
Yeah. Hell, that was the worst we ran all day, I think. I have no idea how they put the 3 car in front of us on that last restart. I hadn’t seen the 3 car hardly all day. When they put us from fifth to sixth, on the outside line, it just really boxed us in. I would have really restarted behind my teammate and given him a good push to the front. Anyways, it is what it is; we’ll take it and move on.
Looked like you were up front all day.
The guys did a good job. We had a fast race car. Great pit stops, just really proud of these guys. The car’s in one piece and we can take it to Talladega now. Great job by my guys. A lot of effort came into coming down here to Daytona and giving ourselves a shot to win. We had that chance to be up front and make some things happen. Fifth is not what we want, but we’ll take it and move on.
Bumping vs Pushing?
It’s way harder. You don’t want to lay on the guy in front of you, so it’s tough racing. A lot different than what we’re used to, ‘cause you gotta go. You gotta drag the brake too ‘cause you don’t want to hit the guys and you don’t want to stay on him. It’s a lot harder mentally than what we’ve done in the past.
Car was strong all day. Pushing vs. Bumping, is that harder to do than just getting on somebody and pushing them?
Yeah, it is a little bit. When you bump ‘em, you jar ‘em, it kinda jacks ‘em a little bit. It’s a little more abrupt, obviously. I thought it was OK there at the end. It was certainly fun and hopefully entertaining. But a little bit of a struggle in the early part of the race and the midpart of the race to see a good race. And that’s unfortunate for the fans. You can’t do that the whole race, you can’t tear up your stuff, knock your grill in, overheat your motor, all that stuff so there’s no sense in doing all that until you get down to the last lap. The 7 and the 6, they did a good job. Man, the 7 really held the 22 and I tight on the bottom. I was rubbing his door and hitting the apron at the same time, no room whatsoever. So it was good; wish we were the ones who could have won but a lot better now than what we were last year.
Going home in one piece makes it a lot better, right?
Yeah. My back feels good. My foot feels good. Past years here, I’ve been going home with pain so I’m alright.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Truck Series Post-Race Quotes: Daytona (Exclusives)
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday February 22, 2014
When you’re on the outside like that, how frustrating is it?
It’s so hard. Timothy Peters has won here. Kyle Busch has won everywhere. Ron Hornaday has been running Trucks forever, probably before I was even born. I was surrounded by veterans there, and like I told them I don’t have a rookie stripe but I’m a rookie. This is only my fourth Truck race ever, my fourth superspeedway race, and man, I figured out when the 17 got up in front of me, I pushed him. And as soon as I pushed him, he took off. And I went with him. And I just kept doing it, and before I knew it, he was leading. And I saw Ron in my mirror, backed up to him, and if it wasn’t for him, I don’t know what would have happened. I gotta thank him big time for that. That was a true teammate move right there. I really appreciate that. He just bounced off me and we got to the front. I tried my hardest to sidedraft Kyle. I was probably touching his door.
Top 5 in the No. 30 truck. This deal come together at the last minute, but you had a heck of a truck. Tell us about your night.
Yeah, I’ve got to thank Turner Scott Motorsports. The guys worked so hard on this Rheem Comfort Products Chevrolet. Exciting! Just got hung up on the outside and had to wait for my teammate there to catch up. And then he got to the bottom, so… I got the old 32 and started pushing ol’ Ryan to the front. So, it’s not bad. We’ll take it. You just don’t want to step over that boundary. You don’t know how far to push and shove. We bumped about six times down the straightaway without latching onto them. Hopefully, that was OK and we came home with a top 5.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Budweiser Duels Post Race Quotes
posted by Matt Stallknecht
Friday February 21, 2014
BUDWEISER DUELS POST-RACE QUOTES
They’re saying the wheel bearing burned up in it. I don’t know what caused it, they’re taking it all apart to figure out what the heck happened. Something abnormal that’s for sure I don’t think I’ve ever had that happen at all. Hopefully, we made the race and hopefully we can fix the problem before Sunday.
WHAT WAS THAT LOUD BOOM ONCE YOU TURNED INTO THE GARAGE?
Loud pop was a tire… thankfully, it popped, hopefully it didn’t hurt anybody. All the heat created in the left front that popped was pretty weird.
REALLY GOOD RUN. WHAT DID YOU THINK OF IT?
Yeah, it was good. We have a car we can work with for the 500. Got a good starting spot, so we’re going to rest easy, fluff and buff our car for a couple of days and get ready for Sunday.
ANY DIFFERENCE ON WHETHER THE TOP OR BOTTOM LANE WORKED?
Yeah, I was just moving around, trying to stay with the flow. For me, this car works on all parts of the racetrack. So I’m pretty happy with it.
DALE EARNHARDT, JR.
GOT SHUFFLED BACK, AFTER PIT STOPS AND THEN COULDN’T GET BACK UP TO THE FRONT. WHY?
Nah, we were just sitting there waiting until the last few laps to make a move. You didn’t want to pull down and get sent to the back. Seen a couple of guys get sent to the back really quick so we were just kind of waiting for the end. I felt like we had a good situation there with Ambrose behind us — we had a good run off Turn 2 and I went. It was the last lap, time to go do something, nobody went with us but hopefully Sunday is a different story.
We got a great car. We don’t have to work hard. We learned, we got a good race car. Got a car in one piece, ready to go so we’ll try and get through the next couple of practices, deliver it to the starting group this Sunday and we’ll be real happy.
YOU’RE IN THE DAYTONA 500!
Yeah, it’s pretty awesome. This Whitetail Chevrolet was so fast that I knew all I had to do was stick it behind smart, intelligent drafters and we could have a good finish. That’s what we did in the Duels and I’m excited. I’m excited to go do some stuff with the Nationwide car and have some more practice with this. But to know that we’re locked in the Daytona 500’s pretty cool.
YOU WERE OBVIOUSLY IN FRONT OF THAT MELEE AT THE END. WHEN YOU WERE UP FRONT THERE IN THE BEGINNING, WERE YOU HOPING TO JUST STAY IN LINE AND LET YOU FINISH TOP 5?
I was pretty content to ride and luckily I knew a lot of people around us were. It was nice to have a little calm and not really have to be racing hard the whole time. I knew that the pit stop was going to shake everything up and that’s exactly what happened. Fell back a little bit there but made the right moves at the end to get a good finish.
HOW STRONG ARE THESE RCR CARS?
They’re very strong! They definitely have the capabilities to be winning one of these races.
YOU’RE IN THE TOP 5 FOR YOUR HEAT IN THE DAYTONA 500. YOUR PRIMARY CAR IS SITTING RIGHT IN THE GARAGE, KIND OF WADDED UP. DID YOU THINK THIS ONE HAD IT IN IT?
Yeah, it’s a brand new car also. It’s just not quite as good as the primary but still a damned good car. I’m just proud of everybody at RCR for building such fast race cars. All of our cars have been fast, ECR motor’s been strong, even our affiliate teams have been qualifying really good and racing good. So… excited about 2014! It’s going to be a good year.
WELL MAN, YOU STARTED IN THE BACK BUT WORKED YOUR WAY TO THE FRONT WHEN IT COUNTED MOST. WERE YOU JUST BIDING YOUR TIME THROUGHOUT THE RACE?
Eh, you never know if you’re going to get back up there or not. We had to start at the back, we had to make a run early and see what we could do. We drove right to 10th, or something like that and then it got stagnant. We tried to make something happen, and went to the back again. Drove back up to the front. Again, just really proud of my guys. Matt Kruder did a hell of a job on that pit stop getting just enough gas in to gain some spots there.
RCR CARS SEEM PRETTY DARNED STRONG. DO YOU THINK THE RCR CARS HAVE SOMETHING FOR THEM ON SUNDAY — ESPECIALLY THE THREE JOE GIBBS RACING CARS THAT SEEM TO BE THE CLASS OF THE FIELD RIGHT NOW?
Oh yeah. The 20 car was extremely fast. The 11 didn’t qualify that good, but he’s a good drafter. I think he won. We definitely have something for him.
Check in with Matt and Jay on their site at CareyandCoffey.com.
Thomas Bowles · Sunday April 24, 2005
No question about it, the 2005 Nextel Cup season can be broken down into three categories, despite the defending champ’s win on Saturday: Jimmie Johnson, Greg Biffle, and everyone else. Biffle has arguably been the most dominant on the track, leading all drivers in laps led, but has suffered from poor pit strategy and mechanical problems, ultimately causing a slip in the standings. Meanwhile, Johnson has taken advantage, using NASCAR’s point system to lap the field with his incredible consistency. His streak of 13 Top 10 finishes, which came to an end this Saturday in Phoenix, has been well documented. We’re only eight races into the season, but Johnson already has a 173-point lead over defending champion Kurt Busch in second place, and leads 10th-place Rusty Wallace by 300 points. At the rate we’re going, the 9th and 10th-place finishers won’t deserve to have their points reset for the Chase after race 26, as they could be as many as 900 or 1,000 points behind the 48 car.
But things aren’t all peachy over in Jimmie-land. Coming into this season, Johnson had developed an excellent image as a clean-cut, All-American guy, a personable driver with an easygoing personality, newly married with a beautiful wife. But most importantly, Johnson was looked at as a “clean,” respected driver; someone you could race side-by-side or in front of without a worry in the world of being run over.
But that reputation is being challenged. For the first time, Johnson is becoming the center of attention for some questionable on-track incidents, threatening his “good guy” image that had thrust him into a world of overwhelming popularity. At Bristol, some aggressive driving by Johnson appeared to be the cause of a back-straightaway wreck that took out Jeff Burton and defending champion Kurt Busch. Burton, usually a cool customer, was so angry he walked up the track and expressed his displeasure to Johnson as he passed by, just before walking to the ambulance for the obligatory trip to the infield care center. Busch’s bell was rung by a hard impact with Burton, but he also wasted no time in expressing his anger towards Johnson’s driving style after exiting the infield care center shortly after the incident.
This week, we had more of the same. Johnson started going at it with NASCAR’s resident hothead, Tony Stewart, shortly past the halfway point of Saturday’s race at Phoenix. A back-and-forth battle of rubbing fenders, it ended with the 48 punting the 20 heading into Turn 3. A five-car pileup ensued, effectively ending the chances of contenders Stewart, Rusty Wallace, and several others to grab solid finishes. Meanwhile, Johnson drove away unscathed for the second time in two major incidents.
While Wallace was pretty matter-of-fact in his statements about the matter (“The 48 punted the 20” was among his post-race comments), Stewart was a little more upset.
“I don’t know what he (Johnson) was doing,” Stewart said. “He was running guys up and down the racetrack. He about ran (Dale Earnhardt) Junior into the wall…and then he finally put me backwards. So I don’t know what was wrong with him tonight.”
While Johnson’s night wasn’t exactly stellar after that (he finished 15th), the fact remains he was able to finish the race, while several competitors finished the night in the garage after a wreck he started. This was similar to what happened at Bristol, where Johnson finished solidly in the Top 10 while Busch and Burton had their days ended by their crash.
Now, this article isn’t meant to bash Jimmie Johnson. Two incidents does not a reckless driver make, especially not with Johnson’s track record. Not only that, but one of these situations occurred at Bristol, which creates wrecks more quickly then the blink of an eye.
Still, there’s a point to make here. Johnson’s leading the points, which puts him under greater scrutiny than most drivers. Every move he makes is going to grab some media coverage, and when he makes a mistake, he deserves to be scrutinized for it. Add to the wrecks the rules violation at Las Vegas which cost the team 25 points (and nearly cost them Chad Knaus for 2 weeks) and it’s clear the image of Johnson has taken a hit. Fans usually referred to Johnson as a Brady Bunch-like aw-shucks clean-cut driver; now, it seems Carl Edwards is rapidly filling that role, while fans struggle to figure out where Johnson fits in the grand scheme of things. As Johnson’s teammate Jeff Gordon has found out through the years, fans can turn on you for any reason, any time, and by not being more humble in admitting his mistakes in either incident, Johnson is risking alienating a fan base that took time and energy to build.
And no doubt about it, those wrecks were some pretty big mistakes. Johnson has now “crossed” not one but two drivers likely to be involved in this year’s Chase: Kurt Busch and Tony Stewart. Burton and Wallace were also upset, but they aren’t known to hold a grudge; both Busch and Stewart, on the other hand, have known how to give a payback when the time is right. And while Johnson could apologize until he’s blue in the face, nothing can take back the fact that he took potential Top 5 finishes away from both. Simply put, you don’t want to anger people racing for a yearlong trophy that will make you do anything to engrave your name on.
The best part of all this is Johnson doesn’t need to be driving so aggressively. Sure, as a race car driver you’re going to constantly be gunning to win the race, and pass any driver you can if you have a good car. But by the way Johnson has already separated himself from the rest of the Nextel Cup field this season, battling with Tony Stewart heavy and heated with 100 laps to go in the race may not be so smart in the grand scheme of things, when Johnson can settle in behind and easily protect his comfortable point lead. At Bristol, Johnson had the same experience. Had he been a little more patient, he would have easily finished in nearly the same spot he ended up in, while saving two drivers totalled race cars and extreme frustration.
Last year, Johnson’s team led the points as well but peaked too early, and had an inevitable string of bad luck just before the Chase come back to bite them. This year, if Johnson isn’t careful, he’ll be bit by bad luck of a different kind. It’s amazing what a small tap to the rear bumper can do, especially when it’s time for a payback with the Nextel Cup Trophy on the line.
©2000 - 2008 Thomas Bowles and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
I certainly agree with the contents of this article. Johnson was doing this same kind of driving a couple of years ago. Didn’t like it then and don’t like it now. His inability to admit his mistakes is also a thorn. Most in that organization are that way. They look straight at the camera and let it fly, knowing what they are saying is not the truth. Johnson seems to truly feel that he is above the other drivers and it shows.
One of the funny things about Jimmie is that he thinks he can get away with anything. During the race coverage, they played his radio transmission and he was not mad, he said he would not do it on purpose and that Tony must have brake-checked him. In the post race interview, he started whinning about how Tony was pushing him all over and that he was not going to stand for that. Now after hearing Tony and Rusty and combine that with Jeff and Kurt, it looks ike he knew precisely what he was doing. Last year Tony was driving aggresively and they were calling for him to get suspended. I wonder how long before they start calling for the same for the Nascar glory boy.
I agree with this article….Hendricks must offer a class to their drivers called “How to Point the Finger at Someone Else When You’re to Blame.” Gordon probably teaches it. It looked like Kurt Busch gave Johnson a warning via a timely tap in Phoenix. I’m not sure Stewart will give the courtesy of a warning. Sometimes you have to send a message that you’re not one to be messed with.
To Don: I was listening to Jimmie’s radio and he certainly WAS mad. He was furious, immediately asking what Tony’s problem was. They didn’t play that on the air. What they played was said some minute or two later. I don’t believe for a second that it was some premeditated thing.
If this had been the 48 and the 6, or the 48 and the 07, I would believe that it was all JJ’s fault. Since it involves one of the more notorious drivers, famous for making stupid mistakes when angry himself, I’m willing to cut JJ some slack.
But I know that’s something that many people won’t do regardless, because they’re predisposed to not like Jimmie, some because he drives for HMS, others because the 48 is clearly the team to beat right now.
When almost every other driver does the bump and run it is considered just racing. Now that Jimmy has had two incidents it has become aggressive driving. If a driver slows down in front of you at that speed, how can you not hit them. People are just jealous of the success the 48 team has had and want to find someway of putting down such a great team.
Well, I could agree with the bump and run statement if it weren’t for the following:
both incidents resulted in not just one car, but MULTIPLE cars being wrecked. And not the agressor’s…
Earnhardt was famous for this—- and the reason that just as many fans “hated” him as “loved” him. Jimmie won’t lose all of his fans, and will probably gain some new ones. But, this fact remains…if you own up to what you do, then people respect you. If you have a “it’s not my fault” attitude, the fans, and more importantly, the other drivers, will lose respect for you.
JJ is reminding me way too much of Gordo in the 90’s. While it is too early to label Jimmie as “wreckless”, this article does the job of drawing attention to the situation, which needed to be done. The true test will be when Jimmie is on the other end of wreck. Will he whine like his teammate always does, or understand from his own experience, that accidents happen.
I seem to remember a time when a not so popular driver did a bump and run on another driver and he was penalized one lap form spinning the guy out. Why doesn’t that happen in today’s NASCAR?????
Could it be that NASCAR is playing favorites????You betcha!!!That is exactly what is happening.
BTW, the 2 drivers involved in the incident I mentioned were Dale Earnhardt & Rusty Wallace. Earnhardt was penalized one lap for spinning Rusty out at Bristol. He did come back to finish 2nd to Terry Labonte and that was before the day of the “FREE PASS” which NASCAR seems to be sure goes to the drivers “THEY” want to get.
I find it interesting how differently Jimmie Johnson is being covered as compared to Tony Stewart. The media—and DW—were all over Tony and yelling to have him parked last season, but Jimmie is getting a free pass.
What happened at Phoenix, to me, was not intentional, but the way Jimmie reacted was uncalled for. He even said on his radio that Tony “deserved it.” Oh, really?
And don’t forget that Jimmie got into Tony at Daytona this year, so it’s not just two incidents.
Jimmy needs to cool down…a lot. I respected him as a driver, however after the fracas that he had in Daytona (yes I know that wasn’t his fault in the Duel) it seems like he thinks because he is the points leader and that Nascar gives him leniency. In my opinion it feels that he is invincible, because it will be clearly the other man’s fault to “take out” the points leader. He figures, “Who would do that?” He took out a decent car in Burton at Bristol (who just happend to cut a tire and be a few laps down) and he took out a capable car in Stewart in Phoenix. And then he gets out of the car with a “What?” attitude like a dog that just peed on the floor. It is getting sickening and it disgusts me that Nascar is letting a person on probation drive like this without getting parked. What a disgrace.
I certainly agree with this article also. Jimmie was quick to blast Harvick at Daytona. I don’t see any difference in his actions over the past month. With his perceived clean image – he thinks he can get away with it. Although I am not at all a Kurt Busch fan – I would never, ever want to see any driver injured. Kurt and Jeff Burton could have been very seriously injured at Bristol. Looks like Jimmie is taking after Gordon – being quick to defend himself, describing it as a “racing incident” or “just going for the same piece of real estate” – Sorry Jimmie, replays show different. The accolades constantly given to him on every broadcast are starting to get pretty old. The broadcasters are quick to come to his defense. I suggest they start looking closer at their own replays. Let’s hope that someone steps up and sends a message to Mr Perfect before someone gets hurt.
I love this article! Thanks so much for expressing my feelings down to the letter! Jimmie is making some major enemies, and he seems to feel that he’s invincible. I can’t wait for Kurt or Smoke to give him a wake-up call…those are the wrong drivers to mess with. If he would ‘fess up and apologize, that might do a lot to mend fences, but he thinks he’s God apparently! I don’t agree with the person that said other drivers are just jealous, c’mon! There ARE other drivers out there that are capable of winning races…watched any lately? LOL I think it’s definitely time for NASCAR’s next Golden Boy to be parked before he seriously hurts someone.
tell it like it is. in nascar either you love or hate the hendrick cars, mainly because of the 24 car. nascar loves these little feuds because it keeps more fannies in the seats. stewart seems like the greatest guy in the world off the track , but on track he could get on anyones nerves, only car he gives any slack to is the 8 car. and please don’t give rusty a job on tv when his racing is over, give me dw all year long. thanks and remember that’s racin
jealous, I remember a certain #3 car that made a living with that type of driving.Get off Jimmies back. By the way, he did apologize for his incident at Bristol!
It’s nice to see that some of the people here can’t even spell Jimmie Johnson right. Shows you the quality of who we are dealing with. Just because the 8 car isn’t winning and is getting surpassed by HMS by leaps and bounds is no reason to start picking on Jimmie. Every one of your drivers has run over someone either by mistake or intentionally in their careers. Heck, look at Junior, he’s hit everyone and gets away with it. But when he does it “he’s just driving like his daddy did” and it makes it OK. I also like how everyone conieniently forgets that Jimmie went out of his way to apologize to Burton and Jeff said there were no hard feelings. I’m a Stewart, Johnson and Junior fan, but I am also a realist, EVERYONE makes contact with someone, it’s called racing. Live with it.
There will always be paint traded on the track, its racing. And there is all types of contact; incidental, minor bump, and the big punt. Ricky Craven and Dave Blaney seem to be able to wheel a car and never hit anyone, while Earnhardt and others make a living using the bumper. The difference between Earnhardt and others is that Dale always said what he was doing. AFter Bristol in 95 he said I was trying to rattle Terry’s cage, didn’t mean to wreck him. But Dale admitted it. Jimmie is always shocked to hear that he may be at fault. People accept aggressive driving when the driver owns up. At least be a man about it. Its funny how its mostly women coming to JJ’s rescue here. I guess a cute face beats courage or integrity anyday.
That’s what’s been bugging me…the whole “Mr. Clean Cut” image he had going from the beginning, it just seemed to be so manufactured to me, like they were trying to mold him into another Jeff Gordon. That veneer is starting to crack a bit-JJ is NOT Jeff Gordon (Thank God!! LOL)...I haven’t a problem with that, really. It takes all types of personalities to make the world go ‘round: if all the drivers where of one personality, NASCAR would be boring.
But someone here mentioned how Dale Earnhardt may have caused his fair share of wrecks, but generally owned up to it…JJ doesn’t seem to want to admit that he could have made a mistake. I was of the segment of fans who loved to hate Earnhardt…but I respected him. JJ hasn’t done much in my mind in these incidents recently to earn my respect. Not entirely because of the incidents themselves, but because of his reaction to them.
Someone pointed out they wouldn’t want to see false humility out of him, taking the blame for everything, like some other drivers do. That’s fine, I agree, it would just look fake on him. But every time he DOES admit he did something wrong, he always qualifies it: “I got into __ accidentally, I’m really sorry, but he was running me all over the track, giving me the finger and…”
Quit qualifying things, JJ. Just admit you made a mistake, and move on!!
Feel better Josh? Not all women are defending Jimmie! ;)
BTW great article, Tom…but then again, you usually do provide thought-provoking articles…
FYI, we’ve been discussing this on the message board, too…thank God for race incidents, they make the time between races go by all the faster!! :)
It seems that JJ is being molded just like his car owner. Give the bump and run, then blame it on the other guy. He’ll have is day and then he’ll wine like JG did about Rusty wrecking him at Richmond a few years back. Paybacks are He**.
JJ will learn soon enough that Tony is the wrong guy to mess with. Pay back will come and it will probably come during the last 10 races. I wouldn’t be near as mad at JJ if he would have just say 2 simple words. My Fault. Thats it.
You say po-tay-to, I’ll say po-tah-to, stick up for a driver, get hit with a to-mah-to…
It’s part of what makes being a racing fan so much fun: it’s okay if my guy does it to you but if you do it to my guy…lol.
I like the debating and the contention. I’m kinda scared of the folks who take it all too seriously but they’re few and we get to mock them!
On to Talladega! I wonder who’ll be zoomin’ who? *g*
Great article. I agree, JJ should just say, “I hit him!” Of course the first time he ever did that was in Bristol, and that was probably from pressure caused by hitting Jeff Burton, who does not drive too wiildly, and usually does not place too much blame. Usually Jimmie thinks any incident that he has been involved, since he started Cup Racing, was someone else’s fault! He thinks if he can catch you, then you should move over and let him through! That is not the way it works, though, and that is why it is called racing! You have to pass the car in front of you! If he would just stop the whining he would be a much better driver! I have gotten to the point that I mute the TV when he is doing an interview!
JJ should get a medal. Couldnt have turned a more deserving idiot than stewart. He should get punted every race for the rest of the season
I’ll get right to the facts.stop the whining.when the drivers get tired of johnson maybe someone will pull him to the side and this will be the message:listen boy at dega in the 1st pratice you are going to have an accident and then make sure its done and the probelms will be solved at 190mph nuff said!
The truth lies in the footage. How many times does JJ think he can point the finger elsewhere – when only he is to blame. The truth is obvious – only JJ doesnt see it – footage doesn’t lie. If this were Tony – he would be suspended – it is the NASCAR double standard. Sad to see Tony pay the heavy price.
I love this article. JJ is the biggest jerk on the track week after week. Why doesn’t NASCAR see who is the common factor in all the recent wrecks. Typical NASCAR double standard….if the cars yesterday were reversed (the 20 bumping the 48) TS would have instantly been called on the carpet and penalized. But once again NASCAR has shown that the Hendrick Golden Boy can do no wrong.
The message from NASCAR is clear… the Hendrick teams are allowed to live by a different set of rules…cheating is ok, punting other cars is ok….just ask JJ—he’ll tell you “it wasn’t my fault. I would never do that.”
But then again, why should NASCAR waste their time punishing a Hendrick team… Hendrick teams just have to go cry to the appeal board and get their punishment overturned anyway.
On the matter concerning Jimmie Johnson I definately agree, Its amazing how nascar lets the Hendrick cars get by with anything. Just like when Kevin Harvick was penalized for spinning Jimmie out, but if Jimmie does it, oh its okay. However I am a big Dale Jr. fan, and yes I know he’s got away with things too. I also like Kevin and his attitude, but heaven for bid hope he doesn’t touch nobody. Oh and Jeff Gordon took Kurt Busch out last week and of course Nascar didn’t do anything to their baby. I hope somebody straigtens Jimmie out and I think Tony is the man to do it.
jj needs to tone down his arrogant attitude and be a little more humble. he was handed a first class ride and didn’t pay his dues like so many of his peers. now all of a sudden he has the god complex and he thinks he is the only guy on the track.
First of all I’m a BIG Jeff Gordon fan and for that reason I don’t think there is anyone in NASCAR today that can equal him. Last one to come close was Dale Sr. Having said that I’m NOT a Johnson fan at all. I hate hearing his whinning every week. Wanting lead lap cars to get out of his way. Why not pass them like Jeff does? I can tell you why – he can’t. He thinks he is better than Jeff. Well I have news for him – NOT NOW or EVER.
You guys are hilarious. You all loved the #3 for doing the same thing .. now its a different story. If you don’t like HMS thats fine .. but every week someone takes someone else out ..deal with it. NASCAR goes through this very year …its racing ! I agree about not admiting when wrong but this aint kindergarten … who cares. I guess the #8 fans are upset and need to blame someone..why not the points leader. Don’t blame Hendricks for being on top of their game week in and out.
Well, Jimmie is a fair driver and owns up to his mistakes, All this is because he is first in points. If he wasn’t, you would not hear much about him:)
This is “NASCAR” if there were no conflicts between drivers, it wouldn’t be interesting.Everyone just get over the Jimmie Johnson ordeal.
It’s just racing. Paint will always be traded. The brakes on both Tony’s and Jimmie’s cars were glowing red at the time of the accident. If Tony couldn’t handle the corners without getting on the brakes like that, he should have gotten out of the way. Especially when he was quite probably aware that the 48 had already been having brake problems early on in the race. It’s not like Tony or Kurt have never bumped into anyone or spun anyone out. And to all these Jimmie detractors saying that Jimmie is such a bad driver that he needs to be sat down and that Tony or Kurt are going to retaliate, what kind of drivers would that make them if they did? What should happen to them if they do?
I agree That Jimmy Johnson needs to get him a good pop and be knocked out of a race then he can blame someone. So far he does it all the time blaming everone everyone except himself. My family
watches all the races and we have lost all respect for Jimmy. He is not acting like championship material. Nascar lets him get away
with everthing even let him win his appeal for cheating. I sure hope this week the drivers gang up on him and send him to the garage….
Johnson’s a smart guy…he just needs to learn to lie a little better and stop changing his story. First he doesn’t know what happened, then he was break checked, then Stewart got what he deserved. I mean he wrecks someone and immediately comes on the radio saying Stewart brake checked him? I’m not a smart man, but even I know not to brake check someone going into the corner….you’ll spin out everytime. The break check line was clearly a blatant lie to cover himself. Good idea, but he should have taken a lap to think of something a little more believable…or since it seems to happen more and more often…maybe write some pre-determined excuses on your wrists like quarterbacks do with their plays. Better yet, just admit what you did. You may even sell a few more t-shirts because of it.
I agree racing accidents will happen. People will hit other people. But the fastest car doesn’t always get win. If you are in front and running your line, the faster car cannot just spin you around. If that was the case, the faster car would always win.
Secondly, yes racing accidents happen. When they do, it’s not hard to say it’s my fault. I am not a junior fan by any strecth, but when he clipped the back of Vickers and wrecked both cars, the first thing he did is apologize to vickers for being a little too agressive. It wasn’t intentional, but the 8 knew he could of avoided it. And it is already forgotten because of a simple “My Fault”
Nice article but it seems every time a (fan favorite)who puts people in the stands & has more shirts & flags. They (NASCAR) seems to give them a break of some kind, but they punish the rest of the drivers for even looking @ NASCAR the wrong way. They let Dale Sr. & Jeff Gordon get away with stuff & since JJ drives for Jeff he can all most do what he wants & get away with it.
He saw how Kurt was doing at Bristol & how Kurt & Tony was doing at Phoenix & the possible threat of working on his (JJ) point lead. What is he going to do hit every top driver who is a threat (except for his boss AKA other top cry baby Jeff). JJ hasn’t even tried to come near his boss. If he did Jeff might give him a fine & not tell NASCAR or the world. I’m not a Kurt Busch fan but, he & Tony need to teach the (BOY) what he(JJ,JEFF Gordon)call a racing incident.
Drivers get punted every week, either intentionally or otherwise. It’s a part of racing, and Jimmie is a racer. Jimmie is focused on one thing. It’s called winning a championship. Earnhardt didn’t win all his championships by pulling over and waving as others went by now did he? The Hendrick boys are on their game, so face it, get used to it, or watch golf or tear jerking chick flicks instead.
Deal with it!!! This is how NASCAR racing is played. All the drivers have their days. I’ve seen Tony, Kurt, Dale, Jeff & Jimmie take it and give it. If they didn’t trade paint none of us would want to even watch the sport.
This article had its moments, but the real points were made by the readers. I agree with the “Deal with it!” and the “Remember #3” comments. JJ is leading the points and is one of the best drivers out there (much better than Tony over the last 100 races). Tony did not have a top 5 car, Thomas. He wasn’t going to finish, because his radiator was going and he knew it. He was destined to finish low Saturday night and he figured he would be hard on the brakes take JJs car out of the race, too, and place the blame on someone else. Well, thankfully it backfired as do most of Tony’s antics! I do think Tony is good for NASCAR, but please….accuse JJ of being an aggressive driver? Duh! What else are you going to be? Sure you need a lot of patience, but the non-aggressive drivers don’t last in Nextel Cup!
Alot of the comments made here are quite ridiculous. I listen to Jimmie every week…yes I am a HUGE Jimmie fan…and to top that off…I AM NOT A JEFF GORDON FAN. I think Jimmie is WAY better than Jeffy.
Moving on, Jimmie was confused when the incident with Tony happened. He wasn’t sure what Tony was doing and he even said to his spotter, someone go tell him I would never intentionally wreck someone.
Tony and Jimmie are good buddies..as said by Tony and Jimmie themselves. And Tony is not stupid enough to “get Jimmie back” in the last 10, because, I’m sure, Nascar will be watching closely as they did last year and gave warnings to everyone about taking out any top ten drivers..even taking out each other. And Tony’s not a dirty driver either. I am also a Tony fan.
Also, would everyone please stop referring to the Burton thing? That was taken care after the Bristol race and already forgotten. Jimmie owned up to that..did he not???
Some people just need to grow up.
It wouldn’t be a very logical move for Jimmie to purposely spin Tony around, now would it? Especially not for the positions they were fighting for. We’ve heard these guys say time and time again that the cars are like eggshells and one little dent can mess with their whole setup. He’s smarter than taking someone out on purpose because he knows that there is no telling what the contact would do to his car.
It was an accident. Maybe Tony helped – or maybe Jimmie just couldn’t get on the breaks hard enough.
People really need to get over it. I’m sure the drivers have already sorted it out between themselves. There isn’t quite all the drama that a lot of people think.
I think Tony knew just how bad a car he had, and that he was not going to be up there in the top 10. He saw a chance to take out the points leader by brake-checking and it blew up for him. Since this was the first time in a long time that Tony was not in the top ten in points, I guess he thought it would be easier for him to bring the points down to his level.
JJ should man up and take responsibility for HIS mistakes. It’s never his fault, but when you look at the replays they usually are. He’s become the biggest whiner in the sport. I’ve heard him on the radio several times saying he should let me by I’m faster. What a crybaby!
Yeah people do get punted around every race but the difference is JJ will never take responsibilities for his actions.
Dale Sr. & Jeff Gordon at least had the balls to say “Yeah I hit him and he can come talk to me later”. Jimmie Johnson has got into Harvick, Burton and Stewart, in just 8 races and none were his fault. Those incidents also took out several cars that were capable of good finishes. Jimmie needs grow some balls and admit his mistakes or retaliations. JJ, be a man or go race with Shawna Robinson
The article is right, it doesn’t pay to make these kind of enemies. But I can’t believe the rant of some on this sublece. It’s just racin! Get over it. JJ is a great driver for a great team, could be this years champion to be, but I don’t believe for a moment that Tony & Bush will forget. It will all even out on the track at some point.
When a driver feels they were responsible for a wreck, they should say so. JJ did just that at Bristol. This incedent was not JJ’s fault. Yes, he did get into the back of Stewart’s car. Why was Tony so hard on the brakes? His car was doomed to a bad finish anyways (overheating), why check up so hard with a car right behind you? Would it have anything to do with your one finger salutes from the beginning of the year? Was it because he just passed your buddy and about to pass you? Tony’s driving style is well documented, please dont associate JJ’s style with him, just because Tony’s day was going south and he decided to take someone with him. PS – when did JJ take Jr’s golden hat away? I’m not sure, unless its because hes not winning anymore?
Just wanted to thank everyone for posting their thoughts. What a great response, although I know there are some of you who disagree…I will try and answer every one of these comments as quickly as I can, hopefully by tomorrow night I will have gotten back to you all.
Our Mirror Driving column also touches on this issue. It runs on Wednesdays and is on the main page; check it out!
The point of the matter is this. JJ is in the points lead, everyone else wants thier driver to be in the points lead. JJ lost the cup last season by the skin of his teeth. He has every right to drive the way he drives. Tony Stewart has a well founded reputation for wreckless driving and vendetta (pay you back). If TS had put JJ in the wall, no one would have said JJ will get him back at dega, because he doesn’t drive like that. So stop crying because JJ is in the points lead and drives the way he does. He learned last year that if you give any slack, someone will be there to fill the lead.
So I know now what Driver you are really not for ! Jimmy Johnson should not SloW up abit like you wrote, If he did …He wouldn’t be where he is at.. 1st.Place B.K.
p.s. Rusty is still WHINNING !
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