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.
Thomas Bowles · Saturday February 19, 2011
As Michael Waltrip came off Turn 4, all it took to nail down an emotional victory 10 years after the date of Dale Earnhardt’s death – and Waltrip’s own Daytona 500 triumph – was a last-ditch run to pass Elliott Sadler.
It was then that Waltrip’s spoiler went down, too; and everything from that moment on, despite a compelling drive to victory for him, remains under a cloud of uncertainty Saturday morning.
In the midst of palpable emotion, memories of Dale Earnhardt and the significance of the 10-year anniversary overwhelming Waltrip concerns over how and what happened to “spoil” the run to the checkered flag became a hot topic during post-race activity. This much we know: the right side of the spoiler was angled flat, clearly at an illegal angle when Waltrip crossed the line. The bizarre turn of events roused drivers Kasey Kahne and Robby Gordon on Twitter, both questioning its legality before the No. 15 Toyota could even drive its way into Victory Lane.
Immediately, NASCAR confiscated both sides of the spoiler and will take them back to their R&D Center in North Carolina for further inspection. Late Friday night, PR spokesman Kerry Tharp gave some basic speculation on the issue but explained the win will stand regardless of what they find going forward.
“The spoiler broke,” he explained. “It appeared to be a failure on a part, we’re going to look at it and make any determinations past that.”
Here’s what Waltrip had to say on the incident, with two questions posed by Gary Graves of USA Today and myself:
Graves: Obvious question, Michael: What happened with the spoiler on your truck?
Michael Waltrip: I don’t know. I just know if it had fallen off before the checkered, they would have black-flagged me. I guess that last push with, um… I think they said we went a second faster than we did all day long, and then the constant beating on the back of the truck from the other trucks, and then that last push with me on Elliott, all the air off his truck and my truck onto the back just knocked it loose. I’m just so thankful it hung on until the checkered, because I didn’t even know it was an issue. I didn’t even see it until after the race.
Graves: Doug, was there any notice of it in the pits?
No. 15 crew chief Doug Howe: No, there was no damage.
Bowles: Mike, congrats on your very emotional win. In this day and age, we have instant response on Twitter, and to quote Kasey Kahne: “I need to figure out how to get my spoiler to fall off if that’s legal. Wow.” There have been a couple of other drivers saying the same thing; what’s your reaction when you have peers saying that stuff right after a win, and what do you say to people who might view this with a little bit of skepticism?
Waltrip: It’s been a long day.
Under normal, green-flag conditions Waltrip was right; the NASCAR rulebook would mandate a black-flag to fix the equipment, but since it happened so close to the checkered flag no penalty was issued. Of course, there are two sides to every story and Elliott Sadler, the second-place finisher after Waltrip’s sudden boost to the checkered believes the spoiler had nothing to do with him winning the race.
“I asked him [Waltrip] how’d he do that,” Sadler joked. “Where’s the switch [to fold down spoiler?]” Turning serious, he told reporters of his confidence in the victory while focusing on Waltrip’s emotions on this memorable anniversary.
I went to Victory Lane and told him if anybody deserves to win a race today, it’s you,” he said. “You deserve to celebrate tonight and cherish this moment.”
The question now, of course, is whether that moment will be tarnished by probation, a fine, or something worse. Tharp explained the entire three-part piece of the spoiler was instructed to be removed from the car, with the bolts that hold it in place included. That contradicted a NASCAR official, speaking on condition of anonymity after the race who explained, “We don’t tell the teams how to take the spoilers off.”
POST-INSPECTION SHOT 1: NORMAL TRUCK (CLAY ROGERS)
POST-INSPECTION SHOT 2: MICHAEL WALTRIP’s TRUCK
So what happens now? It’ll be early in the week before NASCAR issues a ruling, although considering the timing of the incident and the confirmation Friday’s victory will stand, a major penalty seems unlikely at best.
“I don’t think it was seen,” added a second official when contacted. “I guess if they prove how it broke, it won’t be an issue. I am very curious. But generally, you prove what damage caused it and you’re fine.”
The incident comes in the midst of Speedweeks drama over Dale Earnhardt, Sr.‘s 10th anniversary; earlier in the week, the integrity of Dale Jr.‘s pole-winning run was questioned by Liz Clarke of the Washington Post and led to criticism on Pardon The Interruption that set off a firestorm of discussion about the possibility NASCAR would ever “fix” an event. In the meantime, though, Waltrip refuses to focus on any negative talk and will relish in a victory he claims was determined by fate.
“With the 10th anniversary of that terrible day, I believe in God, and I believe everything happens for a reason,” he said. “That’s what enabled me to live the last ten years without total self-destruction, because of that.”
It’ll be a few days, at least, before we know whether that’s the only answer to what we saw on that final lap.
Bryan Davis Keith and Jay Pennell contributed to this report.
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©2000 - 2008 Thomas Bowles and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
I like Waltrip, and it definitely was an emotional win.
But in doing my own replays with my DVR, I saw no contact from the spoiler being up to the spoiler being down. Granted, it may have taken a beating at some time during the race and just decided to break on the final lap… but the odds of that seem very slim.
Whether is was rigged or it truly just broke at the perfect time… unless NASCAR comes out and says that it was rigged, the Dictatorship of NASCAR, in which it doesn’t have a non-biased sanctioning body, will always leave this race finish up for debate.
Hell, even if it honestly just broke, don’t the rules then disqualify his truck? Before going to Victory Lane at Daytona, it’s mandatory to get your spoiler angle checked, and obviously Waltrip failed that.
It definitely would have been a little different if Sadler and him were beating and banging on each other on the final lap, and that caused it to fold down… but that wasn’t the case.
Chalk another one up for questionable finishes. That’s 2 out 4 races so far this year, IMO. (In the Shootout, they enforce breaking the yellow line rule, but don’t enforce the forcing of someone below the yellow line rule?)
Seem to remember Clint Bowyer getting hammered for less than an 1/8 of an inch. I;m sure that had less effect than having your spoiler lay down flat. BS decision my NASCAR. Again.
I don’t think that NASCAR ever takes away a win, and that even Bowyer’s win stood. If they find a problem they issue a fine.
This could not have been intentional. It would be impossible to conceal that the spoiler was missing or at a different angle than required.
If nascar was truely interested in finding the exact problem, they would have immediately confiscated the truck and shipped it to NC. From the pictures in this article, the back of that truck was not beat on bad enough to cause that much of a failure.
What is the difference if the spoiler is laid back flat or completely off, same result, it isn’t catching the air. The win will stand, but they busted Boyer for a minor degree infraction, they should do the same with the 15.
It is what it is, but there is a past history here (think jet fuel)which makes me a little more than skeptical.
Everything, I’ve read since says it was just a broken part. Waltrip was in the middle of the pack most of the night, and it was a quite possible the rear got beat on a lot. That being said that was an amazing race. I don’t want to hear anymore NASCAR conspiracy theories. When the Yankees make miraculous comebacks at home they say there are ghosts in the air, not that MLB rigged the results. It was really nice to Michael win that race 10 years to the day of Sr.‘s death. They will probably fine and penalize the 15 truck team at most, and I don’t even think that is a full time truck team this year. In the end, those trucks can put on a hell of a show.
Waltrip would never have gotten by Sadler without the trick spoiler. I’m sure that Nascar hoped that nobody would notice, the “broadcasters” barely noticed. Thanks for the very interesting article.
I am not a Fan of either of the Waltrip’s but I must admit that Michael did a masterful job in orchestrating the win.First he kept himslf in position and out of trouble until it counted. Then he conned his friend Elliot into setting himself up for the classic last lap pass tha sealed the win. It is lucky for MW that he was not racing Eliot’s boss KH or he would be looking for parts to replace his truck this morning. The spoler failure was another bit of luck and I am not one who thinks its was an intentional failure. Even Chad Knaus couldn’t pull that off.I t boggles the mind to think that MW can be so good at restrictor plate racing and have had such a dismal career in racing at all other tracks.
I hope no one is surprised by any of this. As if no one has noticed what a corrupt sleaze the CEO of NASCAR has been since the death of his father.
I like how Speed cut away from the NASCAR offical that was trying to measure the spoiler angle on the 15 truck when it pulled on pit road. Just another way for them to promote the 10 year of Dales death and maybe sell out the 500. Shame on them.
There are a whole bunch of people that need to go out and buy some tin hats and keep an eye out for those black helicopters. The guys that put that truck together have to be the smartest people on the planet to design it to fail on the last corner, taking into account the green/white checker.
The facts are… It was detaching around turn 3. There was a definite wiggle to the car at the moment the right side broke. The effect of only one side changing angle would make the truck much harder to drive, so any speed advantage would have been negated by the loss of handling… Ok now everyone go back to making their tin hats.
I don’t understand how all you people can always be so angry at NASCAR and still watch the sport. Just stop watching and it won’t bother you. As for the lack of decision by NASCAR, they never make a decision like this until around Tuesday the following week. Boyer kept his win. If you people had more than a rudimentary education, you would realize that there is no way this is a conspiracy. Hundreds of people would have to be involved and corporate sponsors would never spend millions of dollars on this sport if it was fixed. They want their machines to win every week, not other sponsors’ The more their machines are winning, the better return on their investment.
Professional “rasslin” has never done it so well. What a hokey bunch of crap.
They didn’t dare “script” the 500 (much), so they used the Truck Race to stage a pathos-thon, recreating the now (in)famous banter between Mikey & Darryl at the end of Sr.‘s last 500. Waltrip should have been disqualified the minute his spoiler “malfunctioned”. Period. And, BTW, Mikey, that NAPA commercial is downright tasteless, and if #3 were still around, it would have ended with a black racing shoe planted squarely in you shaking booty. Shame on you!
I’ll give Michael the win, but if Jr wins the nationwide race today, I will really start wondering.
Gee Bob, I have a couple of masters degrees; does that qualify as more than rudimentary? I still get angry at Nascar for their lack of consistency in making decisions. Must I wear my “I love Brian” T-shirt when I watch an event?
Nice to see all the new and occasional posters and
NO PERSONNAL ATTACKS.
I wonder what Nascar would have done if it was Robby Gordon.
If there was some sort of conspiracy why in the world would Nascar let jr go 93 point races without a win? It will always be there, if jr or waltrip win race Sunday it will be a conspiracy.People have nothing better to do but look for the FIX in something. I say to those people get a life and watch something else. Lets remember clints win was NOT taken away.No reason Nascar will take mikeys win away.
Nascar did not take Richard Pettys 200th win from the 1984 Firecracker 400 either. The precedent has been set and shady wins are never taken away.
As for Jr, you have to actually have the talent to make it happen when you get the nod.
Conspiracy theorists and tinfoil hats won’t go away until rules are published and consistently enforced. NASCAR seems to be losing credibility as fast as it’s losing fans and viewers.
One of the distractions to watching a race is the broadcasters. They are all as phony as a 3 dollar bill, especially Waltrip.
You guys keep focusing on the beating and banging that did or did not happen to the truck. Your forgetting 1 thing. AIR, he was in the pack all night and right behind Elliot pushing him, The trucks have a new blade that runs long ways on the bed, could have just been to much preasure, and a part Broke? Or it could be a higher power at work?? I say both
My god, what a complete BS article,written by a “respected Nascar scribe” who points out every sinister possibility. Most of these things will never happen and he knows it. It does work, because we see the tin-foil chapeau crowd is well represented in the comments. I am no Waltrip fan, but the bias is visible. After the Jr. district attorney style question TB asked him, Mikey’s response was gracious. Dale Sr. would have invited him to discuss the matter privately, outside.
Yeah I was wondering if anyone has any information about the #15 truck Michael Waltrip drove last night to the victory..
Does anyone know if there are plans to make a diecast version of the truck, or if there is one already available????
Any info will be greatly appreciated…..
Good article….I am sure that BF has got everything covered and everyone knows that them Waltrip Boys and France are more than just good buddies. Notice how popular and promoted they have been since Sr. Death. You see them on everthing Nascar. Waltrips career stats are one of the worst in the sport but the Nascar media machine has him as the face of Nascar. You would have thought that he was greater than any driver in Nascar history. Yeah right!!!LOL!! the spoiler failed on its on….some people will believe whatever a con will tell them… all it takes is a little act of sweetness and look the part! LOL.
Think about the amount of trucks that could have won this race and been called a conspiracy theory. 1) Mikey. 2) Austin Dillon. 3) Jeffrey Earnhardt. 4) Joey Coulter. I trust that the spoiler broke. Hiding a system that lays it back would be impossible, and it’s equally as impossible to prepare it to break on the last lap (or late enough to not get black-flagged). I think a small penalty is in order, maybe 50 points, just because it clearly gave them an advantage, but nothing more than that.
NASCAR fans…STUPID, STUPID, STUPID. Quit complaining or quit watching. Waltrip won get over it!
I saw the spoiler and it broke at the fold/bend leaving the flange still attached to the bed top and the rest only attached to the support bolts, couldnt tell if there was any sign of an impact from the angle I was but I can just imagine the forces present when another truck is pushing and the spoiler flexing between each change in air passing over and around it caused a stress failure in the metal at the fold/bend to make the attachemt flang. instead of a folded/bent flange a welded one would have prevented the stress point. their was noway anyone could have predicted a failure at a certain point in the race. Noone would have intended the part breaking knowing it would result in a black flag within a couple of laps.
What a bunch of crap. If this win is allowed to stand, NASCAR sucks. MW is a cheater, it is the only way he can win. 4 wins in over 30 years racing speaks for itself.
What they did to Boywer was a bunch of crap.Waltrip should be severely penalized.
Of course the booth boys are trying to avoid talking about the spoiler. They couldn’t stop talking about “the best plate racer there is” winning a truck race. I beleive that’s what DW said and I almost lost my dinner after he said it. Can he be any more unprofessional? (schilling for Nascar, stupid 3 boogity’s and cheering for his favorite drivers/sponsors/manufacturers.)
Nascar should have immediately when it happened, put him at the tail end of the lead lap and given the win to Sadler. It won’t happen though. Just more inconsistent interpretations of the rules based on who it is and what the cirumstances are.
People wonder why there are conpiracty theory’s? Its because Nascar has been pulling this stuff for years.
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