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.
Five Points to Ponder · Bryan Davis Keith · Tuesday February 16, 2010
ONE: Jamie McMurray’s emotional display surprising…and refreshing
Understandably, Jamie McMurray was thrilled after scoring the biggest win of his career. But in his post-race press conference, the usually calm and composed McMurray literally broke down into tears when speaking to the media, commenting on how his father was his best friend and the man he grew up racing with. For at least a minute, McMurray sat with his face in his hands, only able to mutter to the writers before him, “You can see how I feel.”
Everyone in the media center was hushed, as we were struggling just as Jamie was to let the incredible race we had just witnessed sink in. And after having a night and the 12 hour drive home to reflect on it, McMurray’s emotional reaction was absolutely appropriate. Coming into Speedweeks, NASCAR made a point that by making the restrictor plates bigger, by taking the leash off the drivers, by allowing bump drafting again, that they were trying to get away from the over-policed racing of the last few seasons in favor of a no-holds barred show for the fans to enjoy.
Where does McMurray fit in? With McMurray, you have perhaps the textbook example of a modern era driver; good looking, well spoken, cool and polished. In his case, so much so that sponsor BASS Pro Shops was hesitant to sign with him beyond one year (and still seems to be, given that they’ve now started associate sponsorships with Stewart-Haas Racing’s Tony Stewart and Ryan Newman). The tension as to whether or not McMurray would be behind the wheel of the No. 1 BASS ride was so much that Lee Spencer went as far to write a sales pitch posing as an article that EGR and BASS had no choice but to sign McMurray.
On Sunday night, all of that went out the window. McMurray was beside himself, in tears and even embracing the Harley J. Earl trophy. And in that moment, one of NASCAR’s most clean-cut, modern drivers was side by side with Darrell Waltrip, Dale Earnhardt and other racers that were at a loss after winning the 500, consumed completely by the sport’s biggest stage. He had just won the most prestigious stock car race in the world, and knew better than anyone how huge an accomplishment that was.
I’m not ready to write off what has been a career of underachievement, or to say that the No. 1 team is primed for a Chase run. But seeing Jamie McMurray’s genuine appreciation for accomplishing what every racer to take the wheel of stock car dreams of earned him at least one new fan this Sunday night.
TWO: Scott Speed is wise beyond his years in NASCAR
For a while late in the running Sunday, Speed led the Great American race despite being on old tires and running out front simply thanks to pit strategy. He sure didn’t look that way at the head of the field. Able to hold the yellow line and continually position himself for timely drafting help, Speed managed to lead 12 laps and to run up front with top 5 finishers, including Clint Bowyer and Greg Biffle, before ultimately getting shuffled out of the lead pack. Speed finished a solid 19th.
Speaking to him after the race though, perhaps the most eccentric driver in the Sprint Cup garage was remarkably subdued. When asked how he felt about a solid upset bid, he shrugged it off, saying he had only been hanging on with an OK car and that they were lucky for late cautions that allowed them to take fuel to finish. When questioned on his ability to hang around and draft with the leaders after a 2009 campaign that saw him often mired in traffic with backmarkers, Speed shrugged it off, noting that more than anything he was simply happy not to be in a points hole to start the season (he started 2009 in the top 35 only to fall out, missing several races).
Frankly, those were answers I was not expecting to hear from a driver that made ARCA and Truck racing look easy…and had an attitude that seemed to say the same thing. But if his Daytona post-race comments are any indication, for all the quirks and humor on Twitter, Speed was humbled and educated a lot last year, and seems ready to tackle 2010 as a driver as well as a Red Bull icon. That’s good news for Speed, his teammate Brian Vickers, and everyone with the Red Bull Racing Team.
THREE: Setting the field by qualifying draw can NOT happen again
56 cars showed up in the Nationwide Series garage for the season-opening race. And 13 of them were sent home, not because of being too slow on the track, but because of a pill draw conducted by NASCAR before they even showed up.
I was able to actually read a copy of the Nationwide Series rule book (it does exist), and it states that the field, progressing through various clauses, is set by owner points based on the “current calendar year.” Since no team has raced in 2010, NASCAR moved down the rules page to qualifying draw, which is in the rulebook. However, what that fails to take into account is that NASCAR set the qualifying order with the top 30 teams from 2009 locked into the top 30 spots in the qualifying order; in short, points from the 2009 calendar year were enough to lock teams 1-30 into the field, while that wasn’t good enough for teams ranked 31-43.
Furthermore, it reveals a bigger issue brought up by Brian Keselowski, who had two cars sent home as a result of NASCAR’s lotto to make the field. It really isn’t fair at all to have go-or-go-home teams show up for a race and never be given a chance to, well, go or go home. The 13 teams that got sent home all spent money to get to Daytona and all spent money to practice. That money’s gone, and they never even got a chance to compete even amongst themselves for a spot in the most prestigious race on the Nationwide Series circuit.
Because of the pill draw, Jeff Fuller and his team with no race attempts were given a starting position to sell off to Paul Menard, while Jeremy Clements, Donnie Neuenberger, their respective teams and others were all told to pack up and leave despite having fully sponsored race cars.
There were hours of free time on the race track between qualifying being rained out and the scheduled race start time for NASCAR to put the cars on the track and qualify them. They should have, and as long as there are teams paying to enter races they’re being forced to qualify for, they damned well ought to get a shot at doing so.
Yes, Dale Earnhardt Jr. hates the asphalt, and has hated it for years. Yes, having a chunk of the track become dislodged and three hours of delays during the Great American Race was an absolute disaster for NASCAR and the hundreds of thousands of fans in the grandstands. Yes, the track is gritty and very bumpy.
But that’s what gives Daytona character that Talladega has lost much of. That Charlotte has lost much of since its disastrous “levigation.” The bumps, the grittiness that eats up tires-those traits are what make Daytona such a handling track, what make the field of drafting cars bounce left and right and make the racing far more than the horsepower contest that is Talladega. The old asphalt gives Daytona its character, and absolutely should not be tampered with.
Daytona’s president made clear he was opposed to a full repave if investigation into the track revealed a patch job was all that was needed. He’s right. There is no reason to destroy a fantastic racing surface because of an unfortunate incident…no matter what race it happens in. The Daytona 500 produced an awesome show, and the aged asphalt was a large part of the reason why. Dale Jr. being the exception, the racing surface is largely popular among drivers.
Daytona, listen to them. Unless it can be proven that age was the sole cause of Sunday’s pothole and that age will soon cause more, leave the track alone.
FIVE: 2010 started on the right foot
Two photo finishes in the Gatorade Duel. A thrilling Saturday doubleheader. And one of the most anticipated Daytona 500s in recent memory delivered a thrilling race. Minus the pothole, Speedweeks was a fantastic kickoff to a season that NASCAR needs to go well.
And they deserve credit where its due. The bigger plate, bump drafting approved again, and the drivers being able to race without Big Brother Brian and his cronies looking over their shoulders produced better racing. It’s indisputable: The Daytona 500 was excellent stock car competition.
NASCAR needs this season to go well, but the fans obviously want it to go well. It’s too early to pop champagne and celebrate, but the fans’ voices are starting to get to NASCAR, and the racing product looks to be improving as a result.
Fans, keep speaking up, because it is working. And if the racing keeps getting better, keep showing up. Because after Speedweeks, I feel I can speak for just about everyone at Frontstretch that we’re anxious to keep writing…because the sport might be on track to rebounding, just like we all need it to.
©2000 - 2008 Bryan Davis Keith and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
I don’t know Bryan. Phil says in his column in so many words that the ones that take Nascar and the broadcast partners to task have miserable lives and just do it to make themselves feel better. I just wanted better racing like it used to be and spoke out with boldness.
McMurray only cried because NASCAR allowed him to show more emotion.
- some things are out of the controll of even Brian France.
If you knew anything at all about JMac from the past 6 yrs, you know he is genuine, his emotion has NOTHING to do with anything NASCAR has said. This is the biggest win so far of his mostly anonymous career, and he showed how much it meant.
PS Bass Pro has sponsored Stewart’s other series teams for years, their putting the name on his Cup cars is no surprise. I have also heard that BPS did plan on moving to SHR, but maybe JMac/Ganassi has changed their mind. Just as an aside, I too wrote a letter of support to Bass Pro when I heard they were wavering on Jamie.
Jamie McMurray showed genuine emotion after winning the biggest race of his career. It was great to see.
Congratulations to Jamie McMurray.
The kid is a class act.He ran well last year and was let down by his equipment a few times. It really was good to see.
JMac is a class act and deserves to wear his emotions on his sleeve. I’d much rather see that than the scripted, Coke drinking(label forward),robots we usually see. Seems like I remember a certain 24 driver crying on stage at the Championship dinner and everyone thought it was so refreshing.
I am amazed and impressed to find an article here that doesn’t automatically bash NASCAR about the pot hole and say repaving is needed. Thank you. Stuff happens – I hear there’s a rumor that there’s not enough snow in Canada for the Olympics?
I still get butterflies reading about Jamie’s win. I hope he can back it with more victories this year. Granassi with Cheverolet is probably his best year. I can understand Jamie’s being overcome with emotion. When he has has so much flustration over the years it builds up and when wins the Daytoma 500 it all burst out. Nothing to be ashamed of. I think they were many of us pulling for someone else but pushed that aside and were proud for Jamie to win.