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.
Bryan Davis Keith · Thursday July 2, 2009
Guess who’s coming to Daytona?
That’d be none other than formerly-suspended Jeremy Mayfield. With high-powered attorney Bill Diehl backing him up, Mayfield was granted a temporary injunction that will allow him to return to competition as early as this weekend’s races in Daytona Beach. And while Diehl was quick to label the court’s finding in Mayfield’s favor as an “independence day” for his client, it is really really hard to take anything positive from this latest twist in what has become a black-eye saga for the racing community.
Sure, Mayfield fans will rejoice in getting to see their favorite driver take to the track in the near future and just about everyone (including this writer) will take some satisfaction in seeing NASCAR being taken down a peg or three. But the smiles stop there…because this case has established precedent that no one in their right mind should consider progress.
Consider the cornerstone argument used by Diehl to garner Mayfield his injunction: that because NASCAR’s drug policy requires all testing to be done by laboratories that the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration of the US Department of Health has certified, NASCAR must inherently abide by the same guidelines used to govern drug testing in the federal workplace.
In short, simply because NASCAR has chosen in their drug policy to use laboratories that are held to be of the highest caliber by the US Department of Health, they must act as a federal agency would themselves in conducting drug testing, according to this latest decision.
To call that dangerous precedent is putting it lightly. For all the debate and scorn directed (and rightfully so) at NASCAR for their bumbling incompetence in managing a tremendous sport, there shouldn’t be a single fan out there embracing the fact that federal agency guidelines for drug testing are now being forced upon NASCAR. Think of the groundwork that could be laid here considering the recent power grabs of the federal government (and the fact that they own substantial interest in two automakers that play a huge role in this sport).
Who is going to determine if NASCAR is meeting federal agency guidelines? And how? Call me a conspiracy theorist, but the mere possibilities that these questions evoke scare me. And all of this because NASCAR did the right thing in crafting their drug policy by mandating that the labs doing the testing be certified.
Not convinced? Let’s try a simpler argument. The precedent to follow now is if suspended, simply sue. The precedent is now, thanks to the workings of a courtroom, competitive control has been taken from the very sanctioning body itself, and a driver with a possible outstanding positive drug test has been cleared to compete in one of the world’s most dangerous sports. NASCAR’s new drug policy, which for all of its flaws was truly a step forward, has now been ripped to shreds and will serve as no deterrent to substance abuse in the foreseeable future.
Now before jumping down my throat, let’s be clear: I am not in any way shape or form blanket-defending NASCAR’s drug testing policy. Not having an available, published list of substances being tested for is unacceptable. Not having a plan in place to have second samples tested by an independent lab following a positive drug test is unacceptable. And frankly, the way NASCAR has handled the entire Mayfield fiasco is unacceptable.
But the Pandorra’s Box that has been opened as a result of this legal injunction is going to have repercussions far beyond Jeremy Mayfield, and far beyond the short-lived joy of seeing Brian France and Co. lose a battle to the little guy. The courts are now involved, federal agency standards (and likely the oversight mechanisms that come with them) are now involved, and NASCAR’s admirable hard-line stance on strict suspensions for positive drug tests has been compromised. This is not good news for the racing community.
And, as always, NASCAR has no one but themselves to thank for this utter disaster. Though on the drug-testing front NASCAR has done so many things right, be it being a professional sporting entity willing to suspend a competitor for life or taking immediate action to address shortcomings in its testing policy when confronted with proof of failure (Aaron Fike’s admission to heroin use during races), its utter refusal to be transparent and black and white with the governing of its sport has now truly taken drug testing out of their hands.
Jeremy Mayfield didn’t need a Bill Diehl for his counsel to punch a hole of reasonable doubt in NASCAR’s defense of its actions. Being a driver/owner in the Sprint Cup Series and not being presented with a list of substances that such competitors would be tested for will raise anyone’s eyebrows. Refusing to submit a second sample of a positive test to an independent laboratory for confirmation defies common sense, legal soundness, any measure of accountability. And handling a situation as sensitive as a driver suspension with smoke and mirrors (taking weeks to even identify the substance tested positive for) isn’t going to convince anyone that the right thing is inherently being done.
Had this been a jury trial, the deliberation would have been short. There is no way to get around the haziness surrounding the entire Mayfield episode and how NASCAR has handled it.
You’d really think after all these years that NASCAR would catch on and realize that for all its efforts to create non-committal rules and regulations that allow them to make it up as they go, such a strategy is going to come back and bite them time and time again. Just look at Talladega this past April: Thanks to an utter refusal last October to acknowledge that Regan Smith had in fact bested Tony Stewart safely, and thus fully in the spirit of the yellow-line rule, NASCAR made a knee-jerk move to ensure that well-known Smoke, and not rookie Smith, went to Victory Lane, directly contradicting past rulings made regarding the yellow-line that allowed Dale Earnhardt, Jr. to score a win at Talladega in 2003, or Johnny Benson to make a daring pass in a Truck race at Daytona.
The result? When push came to shove again at the Cup race this spring, Brad Keselowski was left no competitive choice but to send Carl Edwards spinning…an episode that sent a 3400 pound projectile hurtling towards thousands of spectators.
Unfortunately, though, NASCAR’s constant refusal to set rules and follow them has robbed them of the very control they so desperately seek over their sport. They’ve made a bed for themselves, and now they must sleep in it.
It’s a bed that has the involvement of courts and federal regulations looming. It’s a bed that has rendered an attempt by the sanctioning body to be at the forefront of professional drug regulation worth less than the paper the regulations are printed on. And it’s a bed that will now force NASCAR and its competitors to sit back and watch as a driver who is well-known throughout the garage to have possibly failed a drug test allowed back on the track, well-earned suspension be damned, to race once again.
Any celebrations in any camp regarding this injunction will soon be extinguished. Mayfield may well get the chance to race in the near future, but it won’t be this weekend. Sources tell Frontstretch that Mayfield Motorsports does not have the wherewithal to get their No. 41 team trackside in time for the upcoming Daytona race weekend, and the Gunselman Motorsports ride that ESPN reported as a possibility for Mayfield is not going to be available (plate ace Mike Wallace is scheduled to drive the car and has already attempted races for the No. 64 team this year). There’s also the problem of an already small team having laid off 10 of its employees over the team’s competitive hiatus.
And even if the No. 41 team gets to the track at Chicago, it’s not like there’s any performance to look forward to. Back at Atlanta in March, I wrote about how intriguing the team’s mentality was regarding their approach to Cup racing on a tight budget—essentially shop for ready-built race cars from Triad Racing Technologies and show up on Sundays. Unfortunately, as great a strategy as that may be for Mayfield, who in that interview noted that despite being the “owner” of the team that his involvement at the track did not go beyond his role as the driver, it’s clearly not proving to be a competitive model; the team has only qualified for five races in 2009, with a best finish of 32nd. Numerous Frontstretch writers, myself included, have also noticed Mayfield to be absent from the team hauler and garage stall for extended periods of time during race weekends; If you’re going to race Cup small-time, hands-on involvement is a necessity, not an option.
As for sponsorship, forget about it. Injunction or not, I don’t buy this notion that there will be companies out there lining up to back the driver who took on NASCAR and won. Spending money to sponsor a driver who, despite today’s victory, has a positive methamphetamine test and inevitable further lawsuits pending doesn’t ring up as a solid sale, especially with dollars to go racing so hard to come by.
A driver with a hazy past and uncertain legal future returns to a back-marker ride with no certain team composition or financial future. The sanctioning of big-time stock car racing is now being held to the standards of a federal agency, and stands poised to lose control over a vital element of its competitive policing as well as an issue that it stood to make up valuable ground as a professional sports entity. Stock car racing’s headline as it heads to hallowed Daytona and the vital summer stretch will be far removed from the actual race track. And what was supposed to be one of the toughest drug testing policies in professional sports has now been reduced to scrap.
There’s no silver lining to this one. A black-eye for NASCAR, and stock car racing, just got blacker.
©2000 - 2008 Bryan Davis Keith and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
Yaknow, i dont like Jeremy Mayfield. Not even a little bit. When i heard he got popped for drugs i admittly laughed but now some time later after a good bit of the facts have come out i still dont like him but i cant help but feel bad for the guy. i mean people now think hes some drug abuser when this has NOT been proven, just sort of half assed
While i wont be rooting for him anytime soon on track i do hope he beats this silly drug rap and NASCAR gets its policy straightened out
Joe, I have to agree with you 100%.
Think he’ll have fun in the tech line?
If it takes Federal laws to get Na$crap in A**‘s in gear, so be it. There are REASONS we have Federal laws in the first place! In today’s world, Na$crap’s double talking, playing both sides against the middle, double standards, monpoly has been totally exposed by the media coverage they so long greedily craved. Always have been neutral on Mayfield, but this one smelled funny from day one. In the end Na$crap will be writing Mayfield a VERY FAT CHECK>
Well written article..especially about the shortcomings of Nascar and it’s method of running itself.
A post from myself on another board about this…echoing the same sentiment but a little more colorfully written:
“I personally think Nascar is a bunch of stupid @#$%ing screwups. For the most part the system runs itself and it works, but when you get into the occasional gray area in any facet of the sport (drug testing, contracts, rules interpetations), they are always caught off guard and sound like a bunch of buffoons.
I think we are seeing one of those gray areas right here…and believe me I think I dislike Mayfield more than Nascar beaurocracy…lol”
Nascar’s ineptness and “our way or the highway” mentality has ALWAYS bothered me…and it appears to have snuck up from behind and bitten them there…
I cannot figure out how when the “sport we all love” gets forced by the sensationalist media to create the very drug policy that they then rip to pieces because it doesn’t set limits on what it can test for, be so milktoasty when one of the drivers it is meant to protect ends up on the wrong side of it. You all wanted a policy to keep the “meth headed” drivers off the track, now you are happy that Mayfield can race? What a bunch of idiots. I hope he doesn’t pass tech or gets collected in a practice incident and gives you something else to complain about. IDIOTS!!
I think the only way Mayfield stays off the track is if those drivers who said they’d refuse to race if a drug addict is among them actually do as they say and refuse to run Daytona this week. No way Mayfield fails inspection, no way at all, even in Gunselman’s car. He’ll qualify, and he’ll start and park like the others. I doubt if Bill France or France Jr. was around this would have gotten to this point. Brian France strikes me as the type that thinks everyone else around him is just a hick from the sticks. With the amount of money NASCAR has given away the past 5 years, I think ISC may need to go the route of the Hulman family and cut their losses and maybe bump up Lesa or someone else to the top. I mean this guy has just made some absolutely egregious decisions since he took over the helm and it’s not getting any better. The drug policy is ridiculous. We don’t want to publicize it because we don’t want to be boxed in. For 1, they have no problem boxing in the drivers with this sh!tbox CoT. 2, a trip to the local bakery and a poppy seed muffin can get you banned for life. There needs to be transparency in circumstances like this. The beauty of a banned list is you can always add to it or detract from it. Look at the engine rules that got Carl Long. Why do you think he has not attempted to sue, only appeal the severity of the penalty? Because there are cut and dried parameters and he was outside of those, albeit barely. To me, it’s looking like NASCAR simply got caught up in its own hubris and did not think a driver would challenge almighty NASCAR in court. Maybe they had it out for him, doubtful, but it sure looks like it. I do agree that most sponsors would not touch him, aside from maybe Wizzinator or that stuff what was it called, Golden Seal?
If this were 1988 and Brain was the one calling the shots versus Bill Junior, Tim Richmond may well have gotten to drive in the Busch Clash and had a damn nice payday by way of the defamation suit.
Does anyone think its wise to trust Nascar to set up and monitor its own version of drug test policy ? Does anyone feel confident about Nascars integrity in testing and reporting ( leaking ) drug use . Does anyone think that Nascar will put any more than the bare minumum effort into a policy , oh.. like the Diversity program for instance . Without having a nationally known and understood drug testing policy forced on them , Nascar would likely continue with the secretive , poorly thought out , poorly implemented one they came up with on their own . The one responsible for the Tim Richmond fiasco , as well as the Mayfield mess .Nascar can’t be trusted to put on stock car races effectively , how on Earth could we allow them to ruin competitors lives with their usual lack of common sense and integrity where rules enforcement is concerned . I think its become all too clear that Nascar needs supervision at all times .
Good article; you hit the nail right on the head. One thing you didnt address, its “Nascar this” and “Nascar that”. Nascar, like any organization is made up of people. Its easy to hide behind a corporate logo. Whomever made the decisions regarding the drug policy should be taken to task for doing so. Its time the racing press focuses on the responsible individuals.
Bottom line, NASCAR wants to be considered big time like the stick and ball sports, but they don’t want the responsibilities that come with it.
Bob, do you really think any drivers at the Sprint Cup level are stupid enough to be doing meth especially someone like Mayfield? I would think cocaine or prescription painkillers way before meth. NASCAR has shown time and time again that they feel they are above reproach and not subject to the accountability that the NFL, NBA, MLB and other big time sports are subject to. They dodged a huge bullet when the catch fence worked at Talladega this year.
Mayfield stayed the course throughout this entire deal, it was NASCAR who seemed to change stories and alter history. Think about it, NASCAR did jump the gun with Ron Hornaday last year. They got very lucky that it was swept under the rug by the mainstream media and that Hornaday did not sue.
They did not learn from the race discrimination suit and finally someone got them.
All NASCAR has to do is follow the same guidelines as other sports and organizations such as the Olympics or the international cycling federation. The stakes and dollars are way too high in NASCAR which is the most sponsor driven “sport” out there. I use quotes because the way Brian is running things, NASCAR is quickly turning into the WWE in terms of legitimacy.
It may cost some money, but I think the France family can afford it. Did Floyd Landis win his appeal, better yet tell me a time where an Olympian or cyclist won their appeal in court or at the least got an injunction.
It was ridiculously stupid on Nascar’s part to have the same facility test the B sample. This is just a simple case of Nascar shooting itself in the foot. I don’t know whether Mayfield was hopped up on Meth (but I doubt it)…but if Nascar had not deprived him of his 72 hour window to have the B sample tested by a separate lab, they probably wouldn’t have put themselves in this position. I don’t think this sets any kind of bad example or precedent other than “when you do things wrong, there may be a penalty”.
I don’t know that a guy should be driving a race car on Alderall and Claritin-D cocktail, but that wasn’t the argument that Nascar chose to make. They chose to do something belligerent and stupid. It usually does sort of work for them, but not in this case.
I haven’t seen any court documents, but prior to the suit i researched the issue a bit, and Federal law requires that any company receiving Federal funds (in excess of a certain, small amount) must abide by the Federal drug testing guidelines.
The last record I can find of NASCAR itself receiving Federal money was in 2004, but there are a lot of ways a lawyer can run with that.
They could argue that once NASCAR fell under the law, they’re always there. They could argue that sponsorship from government entities qualifies (think National Guard).
There was a little reported experiment by some DJ recently where he took Adderall and Claratin D and did a urine test that popped positive for Meth as well. Twice.
NASCAR sending the already tested/arguably contaminated samples to a second lab this week looks like a lame CYA tactic as well.
Combined with the vagueness of the policy and a lack of a list – which was bound to be challenged in court sooner or later, and the whole thing is turning into a huge fiasco for NASCAR.
If they lose it’s a crippling blow to NASCAR and NASCARs bank acount – but I predict it gets settled out of court with a ‘no talkie’ clause.
If there is damage to Nascar they indeed did bring it on themselves. I also would think you commentors who classify Mayfield as a “meth head” might think twice about that accusation. It is not proven that he ever did this drug. I really doubt that he did. Is he a saint? No but I really do not see him as a meth adict. There are many signs of it and there has never been any proof other than a test that can be false positive. I am no big Mayfield fan but I do not like to see people falsly accused of anything and then convicted in the “court of public opinion”. Nascar messed this whole thing up from the start. I only hope this is not just another example of the sport basicly imploding, but that seems to be happening. The whole thing is just very sad.
As I understand it, Nascar has not published its testing policy or a list of banned drugs. But we are supposed to trust its fairness and accuracy.
Is Mayfield’s use of meth confirmed by Nascar, or is it just another pit road rumor?
I suspect that anyone under the influence of that drug probably couldn’t climb into the racecar, let alone complete the pace laps without wrecking.
Dodge boy from Canada
I am not surprised that Mayfield tested positive for meth. Why is everyone making NASCAR the bad guy for having a drug test and following the guidelines it has in it. This could have been any driver and NASCAR would have been wrong. This is not T Ball, somebody gets to win and loose.
The whole point is that Mayfield’s test may have been botched or misread. False-positive drug tests happen. If Nascar had done the prudent thing and had a second sample teted by an independent lab, Mayfield might have been exonerated. Or, the case against him would have been a lot stronger. As it stands, you can’t call Mayfield a meth-head based on a drug testing procedure that is questionable at best. I’m not making Nascar the bad guy, but I’m not making Mayfield the bad guy either based on a testing policy that is flawed.
Bob , you forgot to mention which NASCAR department you work for .
First, as mentioned time and time again, NA$CRAP has no credibility, NONE!
And with that in mind, and the overall way they, NA$CRAP handles their “supposed” drug testing policy!
ANY DRIVER or CREWMEMBER who feels wronged has only one (1) recourse!!
Without that option, NA$CRAP then becomes another branch of the beloved IRS! “We are above any laws of the land”!
How sick is that scenario!
And did you see those Lilly white JERKS Jeff Gordon & Jimmie Johnson supplied testimony (against) Jeremy in this matter!
Pure out and out NA$CRAP shills they are! TRASH is what they are!
And your, to quote: “and NASCAR’s admirable hard-line stance on strict suspensions for positive drug tests has been compromised.”
Where did that come from? NA$CRAPS history on ANY type of rules violations, (rules? what rules and for whom?), defies the word “ADMIRABLE”!
NA$CRAP has NEVER done ANYTHING “ADMIRABLE” since King Brian took command!
Bryan, If you’re going to play with the little black helicopters flying around your head, in regards to Federal regulations, I’m more inclined to look at those helicopters with NA$CAR emblems on them. I work several jobs where my UA falls under Federal guidelines and I’d rather have it that way than wonder if my employer could manipulate the results because he wants me gone. Conspiracy theory’s abound in NA$CAR mainly because they’ve earned them. I thought it’d be a cold day in hell before I’d trust the government, but in this case, I’ll take them over NA$CAR any day and twice on Sunday.
NASCAR could have handled this much better just by allowing Jeremy the chance to prove his innocence. After the positive “B” test he should have been suspended, but he should also have been allowed to try and prove his allegation that a combination of a prescribed drug and and OTC medication caused the false positive. NASCAR was unwilling to admit the possibly their drug test might not be 100% accurate. Nothing is ever as absolute as NASCAR tries to make it out to be.
If the choice is between NASCAR’s “because we say so” drug policy and having the Feds be in charge, I’ll take the Feds every time. NASCAR has nobody but themselves and their arrogance to blame for letting this situation get so out of control.
Why does everyone think that because he doesn’t appear to be a “meth head” addict that he’s innocent? It’s possible to be a casual user and not an addict, you know.
Let’s talk about FACTS:
#1) Lab tests are extremely accurate. False-positives are, for all intents and purposes, statistially ZERO.
#2) The samples provided by Mayfield were tested and confirmed by 2 different, independent labs.
#3) “Innocent until proven guilty” applies only to a criminal trial. If you test positive in your workplace, you’d be fired also because the TESTS ARE ACCURATE. You get no trial or due process.
#4) There are NO over-the-counter medications or foods that will cause a false-positive, despite those who think a poppyseed muffin will cause you to test positive for heroin (that one always makes me laugh).
These are FACTS, not OPINIONS. People need to evaluate their OPINIONS based on FACTS.
You guys want the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT to become involved in NASCAR?????
SERIOUSLY? That just shows how far out in left field you are and that alone makes your points completely invalid.
I’ve heard in the past that when you use drugs, those drugs eventually show up in your HAIR! So if Mayfield really wants to clear himself he could have that test done to see if it shows the same things that the urine did.
I don’t work for NASCAR, but it is THEIR game and they get to set the rules. If they don’t have the right to set policy then who does? This is not China where the Govt. runs all and knows all. You don’t question baseball or football suspensions do you? So what gives you, this judge, or anyone else but the people sanctioning the race the right to set policy? Nothing! It is not your game.
A casual user is even less likely to be able to hide the effects of a powerful drug such as meth and therefore even more obvious.
Lab Guy, you need to get your FACTS straight.
#1. Lab tests are NOT as accurate as you make them out to be. That’s why labs have a list of potential false positives that they check against. The last study done that i could find on labs using federal guidelines had a 4% false positive rate. That may be low, but it’s a hell of a lot different than “statistically zero.”
2) No, they weren’t. Both samples were tested by the same lab. They didn’t send them to a second lab until this monday. No results of those second tests on potentially contaminated samples has been made public yet.
3) Sure, NASCAR can say guilty until proven innocent. But that’s why they’re embroiled in controversy and a major lawsuit now. They have to back it up in court, and so far, it doesn’t look like they can.
4)Wrong again. Reference the lists labs have for false positives. Reference the DJ who took the same two medications Mayfield says he took and the fact that the DJ popped positive for meth TWICE from taking those two meds.