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.
Bryan Davis Keith · Tuesday July 20, 2010
ONE: NASCAR Needs to Make Nationwide Series Rules Now
After seeing Carl Edwards, Brad Keselowski, and Kevin Harvick dominate yet another weekend that was supposed to highlight the Nationwide Series and its own regulars, SceneDaily.com has again brought to our attention remarks made by Brian France that NASCAR is exploring means to discourage what has, for years, been a case of Cup Series superiority in the sanctioning body’s AAA division. Options apparently on the table include cutting points and money for Cup drivers in the field, limiting the number of starts a Cup full-timer can make, and taking measures to ensure they cannot win the Nationwide title – as has been the case since Kevin Harvick annihilated the competition to jumpstart this mess four years ago.
These measures are certainly great ideas; unfortunately, as has been previously discussed in this column, they’re a decade late and a grand short. But assuming that there actually is some sincerity to Brian France’s words this time, it’s vitally important that NASCAR make decisions on what those new rules are going to be… and set them in stone in terms of when they’re actually going to take effect. Now.
The remarks of Kelley Earnhardt should speak volumes to this necessity. In ruling out any chance that JR Motorsports would be fielding a Cup car in 2011, already beginning the sponsorship search for the team’s Nos. 7 and 88 cars next year, the team owner noted last week that to carry out their search effectively, and to cater towards the goal of putting a true development driver in their seats full-time, a Nationwide Series operation would need to know well in advance whatever changes NASCAR was going to make.
Truth be told, this isn’t rocket science… and something the sanctioning body would do very well to take to heart. Making these decisions early would give Nationwide teams a greater leg to stand on when pitching development talent to potential sponsors, considering companies are looking to set their 2011 advertising budgets now… not November. Giving plenty of lead time on these tweaks would give NASCAR a new tool to promote the Nationwide ranks, pumping up those efforts off the track – especially if it meant guaranteeing that a Cup regular would not be able to swoop in and make a mockery of the championship race in that series. And, most importantly, it would show that they’ve learned a lesson from the asinine decision made earlier this season, three weeks before Daytona and well after teams had calculated their 2010 budgets to cut purses by 10 percent.
So rather than sticking it to the few teams they’ve got left contesting their minor leagues, NASCAR may well want to get its act together in a timely matter on this one… assuming they actually are planning to do anything.
TWO: Shelby Howard’s Golden Opportunity with KHI … Or Is It?
One of the more underrated performances seen on the Nationwide Series circuit the last season and a half has come from Shelby Howard and the No. 70 ML Motorsports team. And apparently, someone finally took notice, with Howard signing a three-race deal to drive Kevin Harvick’s No. 2 truck starting this weekend. The No. 2 is a ride that’s hardly been short on horses, with Harvick winning three races behind the wheel this season. In his last dozen starts driving the No. 2 or No. 4, he’s visited Victory Lane 50 percent of the time.
That pairs nicely with the stats of Cup drivers Elliott Sadler and Ken Schrader; they’ve scored five top-10 finishes between the two of them in their last six starts. Those numbers are all the more impressive when you consider Sadler’s fifth-place run in the No. 2 was his best finish in NASCAR competition since the 2009 Daytona 500, and Schrader’s fourth-place result at Iowa was his strongest since a fourth in the Martinsville Truck race back in March, 2008.
But as hot a ride as this truck has been in 2010, the fact remains that for every prospect such as Ricky Carmichael, who has used KHI as a springboard for bigger and better things, there’s an elephant graveyard of development drivers that haven’t. Cale Gale’s now an ARCA crew chief, Kertus Davis is no longer driving, Burney Lamar is out of a ride, Sean Caisse is still searching for a full-time home… the list goes on and on. So for as much as KHI has contributed to NASCAR’s lower levels in terms of rides and racing services, successful driver development has not been one of their strong suits. Can Howard be the one to break the mold? It’ll be well worth watching over the next few weeks to come.
THREE: Inconsistency in the Name of Fan, Media Reactions to Carl vs. Brad II
There’s certainly no shortage of reading material out there on Saturday night’s last-lap carnage at Gateway. Looking back, it’s one of the most violent race conclusions NASCAR has seen since Dale Earnhardt took out Terry Labonte under the lights at Bristol in 1999. But through all this material, there’s themes emerging:
This time, Carl’s gone too far. A points penalty and fine are appropriate … now.
But here’s the problem with each and every one of these reactions that have been lighting up comment pages and message boards alike; they’re all subjective. “Carl hit Brad harder” is a judgment call based on perceptions of aggression, the elements of racing to the checkers, etc. – not to mention that “too hard” is about as subjective as they come. Whether Brad’s contact with Carl that actually triggered the whole episode was intentional in the first place is a judgment call, one that no official could hope to make under white flag conditions. And as far as points or fines being appropriate, applying such deterrents because of the gravity of the wreck that followed, history, post-race comments, whatever… it’s all total subjectivity.
Sound familiar? Hmm. Wasn’t the subjectivity of officiating one of the major complaints being leveled at the sanctioning body? So is green-lighting and encouraging NASCAR to step in and make such a judgment call opening a Pandora’s box – no matter how gut-wrenching and horrifying Saturday’s night wreck was?
FOUR: Edwards Needs to Be Punished by His Peers, Not His Employers
Here’s why. The first, and most important reason is Edwards became a NASCAR superstar during the era of points penalties, fines, and probation. He spent his first five-and-a-half years in the Cup ranks racing under the more stringent, pre-“Boys will be Boys” era, and yet was still involved in a number of notable incidents with fellow competitors, including threatening to assault teammate Matt Kenseth at Martinsville and a nasty payback tangle with Tony Stewart at Pocono in 2006.
So if Edwards’ long rap sheet of 2010 is any indication, dishing out NASCAR penalties when he acted out of line didn’t teach this guy a single lesson. The only tool that NASCAR has in their arsenal that actually may prove a deterrent would be to park cousin Carl; but considering he’s both the poster boy for the struggling Ford Racing program, as well as the spokesperson for big money sponsor Aflac, that’s not going to happen anytime soon.
That means, as it should, that Edwards’ discipline should come from his fellow competitors. Notice I didn’t say solely Keselowski. Edwards has, as many fans noted, become an eerie “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” personality, with the darker side proving constantly willing to use 3,400-pound stock cars as weapons of mass destruction. And just ask the drivers and guys at JR Motorsports, ML Motorsports, and others having to rebuild cars as a result of his brash on-track tactics what they think of it. Edwards’ obsession with making sure that Brad Keselowski doesn’t steal a sixth-place finish on his bad day, or a Nationwide Series win at Gateway is proving to have real implications for all of his competitors – be it those having to rebuild race cars this week, or those that are going to pay the price for the fans either angered or scared away from the sport by his deadly antics.
It all adds up to this conclusion: the only way that Edwards is going to learn a lesson on-track is by having the field step up to what has become a dangerous bully. If they all bond together as one, making it clear to Edwards that as long as he acts like a battering ram, he will not be able to race cleanly or to contend for titles, there’s no way in hell these kind of incidents will keep happening. It’s that simple, no matter how many times Brad pulls a good ol’-fashioned bump-and-run.
As for the second reason?
FIVE: Brian France’s Wisdom Strikes Again
Does any fan out there really want to green light NASCAR, under any circumstance, to made a judgment call based on their collective wisdom? It was reported today that NASCAR has named Andy Schwalb, a former Disney Parks executive, to an executive position within the NASCAR Media Group.
Hmm. That’s just what NASCAR’s Media Group needs, to be led by someone with Disney pedigree. This Disney is the same one, of course, whose ABC/ESPN broadcasts are making racing media look bad every weekend.
Sadly, these clowns should not be making any calls of any kind in this sport, no matter how hard the resulting wrecks are. And that’s why drivers need to literally take matters into their own hands to fix it.
Connect with Bryan!
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Well..I agree with you…having the drivers “band” together would get the message across to Carl. BUT..a lot of the drivers have CHASE hopes and messing with Carl..unless/until he creates a problem for them is not on their radar. That leaves the “back markers” and “start and parkers”…most of whom can’t afford the money it would take to repair their cars while they are “teaching Carl a lesson” or they can’t afford the bad finishes they would get trying to show Carl he can’t continue his bullying. Maybe NASCAR should have a drivers meeting..WITHOUT CARL in attendance..and let the drivers decide Carl’s future…THAT to me would be the way to go. In this day and age of money woes..having his peers teach him a lesson on the track would prove much too costly..but having his peers dole out his punishment off the track..that would work. AND to keep the voting confidential (so Carl won’t have more targets on the track) it can be done by secret ballot…(I’m sure Kenseth would appreciate that!).
I agree with you Lydia. The start and parkers and backmarkers wouldn’t take edwards out due to the possible cost related to having to repair a wrecked racecar. I also believe that NASCAR would react very differently to a non big name driver taking out a-and I use the word loosely-“star” like Carl Edwards. If Robby Gordon hit Edwards, or anyone for that matter-like Edwards hit Kesolowski, he would be finished in NASCAR. I hope Edwards gets suspended. I am all for a little bumping and contact, but you can bump and move someone without wrecking them. I find it particularly galling that Edwards basically admitted to wrecking Keslowski. NASCAR needs to do something-but won’t.
Racin’ is a rugged sport, every fan looks at the “contacts” differently, explaining the “fan fights” at local tracks. It WILL work itself out eventually, so just shut up!! Just a word for wanna be bully Harvick, careful about callin’ out Carl, you need a box to stand on to hit his nose!! Wake up Little man!!
Harvick afraid of Edwards – I think Edwards wound up the loser on Harvicks hood the last time Edwards tried to show his muscle.
I agree with Johnboy. You have all become so used to the Nascar parade on the track that when one driver actually does something out of the ordinary to win a race, you all get crazy. I would wreck my grandmother to win a Sprint Cup race. I don’t care too much for Carl, but I see nothing wrong with taking a win when you can. Maybe the guys up front will actually RACE for wins instead of just assuming someone is going to be happy to ride behind them for 2nd on back. RACE ‘EM BOYS!
Just a thought.What happened to J.Gordon a few weeks ago when he hit anyone in his way on the track (and I do like Jeff)? Montoya? Harvic ? Why Dave De Spain asked “Happy” what he thought of the situation on his show Sunday nite I’ll never get!The media is having a field day for sure. I’m sorry people. but I’m still going to stick by Carl. None of us are perfect! I have to weigh in all the voluteer work etc that he does for children and other people.I’d also like people to remember Brads history.He is not the “innocent “ he likes us to believe he is. Sure would like to get over this and get onto the Brickyard!!.
As with most sports, it’s the guy who hits back who gets caught. My recollection is that most, if not all, of Carl’s “bullying” has been payback for offenses against him. I admit a bias for Carl based on the total of his character rather than his occasional paybacks. I do wish he’d quit giving the boo-birds something to chirp about.
Amen, Gene, Amen.
IMO, the only fault Carl has is a total inability to lie when he’s paying someone back…and that’s not really a fault.
Brad hits Carl in turn 2 to take the spot from him, uses the “Chrome Horn” as has been done THOUSANDS OF TIMES in the past, before NASCAR started penalizing drivers for every little contact, HE starts out with “I got into Carl” making it sound accidental, then later admits he hit Carl to get around him….Just own up to it when you do something!
The fact is that Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt, Rusty Wallace, among many other stars of this sport, past and present, have used the bumper on a regular basis as a tool to help them win. Carl uses it OCCASIONALLY, and suddenly he’s trying to kill someone?? PULEASE!!!
I continue to stand behind Carl 100%, and applaud when he stands up for himself, because in racing as in life, if you roll over and let others push you around, they will continue to push you around.
And had positions been reversed, had Carl rubbed BRAD to get by him first, I fully expect that had Brad been able to get back to Carl, he’d have tried to spin HIM, also…they’re RACING FOR THE WIN, not to mention a championship, people!!
Let me get this straight the old saying, alls fair in love and war and the last lap is over? I know some of you were around when Dale started, how about Eirvin, and Harvick is a real sweetheart, believe me some one will take Carl to school and when it happen please be outraged as much as you are to day
The “bump and run” has been used forever, but lately the “wreck to payback” is getting used more by Carl. I wonder what would happen if Carl had done that to someone like Cale?
What would have happened if Brad had punted Cale?
Did Nascar test Carl for drugs after the race…?
To me it’s not the fact that contact happened, it’s the level of contact. How about when Kurt bumped Jimmy? Did Jimmy crash Kurt? No, he returned it with a like action and WON. Edwards goes way over the top which makes me believe there’s more of an issue there than payback. If NA$CAR is going to police anything, it’s the actions that will get someone hurt, regardless of the safety of the car, or causes the large financial hit that those other teams took. NA$CAR’s supposed to be all about saving the teams money, right?
Emperor Brian continues to make decisions based on making more money, not improving the racing. He teases people to go to a “race” and when they leave they’re disappointed. They tell people who tell people who… If he gave them something good to talk about he would be better off. But he’d rather keep trying to make more money and he’s failing miserably. A Disney executive is very appropriate. He’s living in Fantasy Land at Disney Land but the drinking is good.
I did a search of Andy Schwalb to see what was on the net. This cracked me up, its about some Mickey Mouse doll (that is no longer in production) at Disney World.
Could you describe some of the thinking behind Pal Mickey?
Schwalb: We experimented a lot with the concept, and there were many details to worry about. What should Mickey’s voice sound like? How loud should his voice be? Giving it volume without disturbing anybody else is a fine line that was a real challenge, for example. Would it work to wear Mickey around your wrist, or would it get too hot in the summer? We’re rolling out a Spanish-speaking Pal Mickey and looking into other language possibilities.
“What would have happened if Brad had punted Cale?”
He would be the most famous person ever because he would have figured out a way to travel through time.