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 November 2, 2010
ONE: Count on Earnhardt Ganassi Racing to Stick with Chevrolet
You can’t blame Ford for trying. With the blood of Richard Petty Motorsports still floating in the water, the Blue Oval brigade has made an offer to the EGR camp that in terms of finances trumps the organization’s current deal with Chevrolet. According to a report by Sirius Speedway, a spokesperson for the Ford Motor Company said, “the offer is on the table, and it’s up to them whether or not to take it.”
But despite the financial incentive that’s there, don’t count on EGR bolting from the bowtie camp. And don’t mistake any of that decision for loyalty to the Chevrolet brand, or just out of racing loyalty in general, as the Ford spokesperson quoted by Sirius referred.
It’s a convenient explanation for the Blue Oval crowd, but one that glosses over the fact that in terms of contending for wins week in and week out, they’re dead last among manufacturers, tied with Dodge at only two wins with one driver over the course of 2010 (and that’s with Dodge running only three factory-backed cars). Not to mention that despite all their struggles, Roush Fenway Racing is clearly top dog at Ford. Let’s not forget that it was Richard Petty Motorsports’ midseason assistance that allowed the RFR camp to make up for setups based on faulty simulations, returning Roush to the semblance of competitiveness that they’re currently exhibiting on the track. This season would have been even more of a wash for the Ford camp without the help. Yet, for all the assistance that RPM bestowed on the manufacturer’s flagship and the entire Ford Racing camp, Richard Petty Motorsports may well not be back in 2011, no matter how many stories of new investors and driver confidences in their contracts are told.
That’s not to say that EGR’s sudden return to relevance will buy them a higher seat at the table with Chevrolet. But the fact remains right now that even as the fourth-tier operation with Chevy, EGR has won as many Cup races as Ford and Dodge combined in 2010.
That’s largely thanks to those oh-so-powerful ECR engines. Face it, the FR9 hasn’t righted the ship for Ford Racing, its unreliability actually derailing Greg Biffle’s Chase chances for good at Fontana. ECR’s horsepower, on the other hand, played a large role in winning the Daytona 500, the Brickyard 400, and nearly the Southern 500, as well.
The business sense angle from EGR says move to Ford… but business sense shouldn’t mean that much to them. That’s because business sense would have prevented that camp from signing Jamie McMurray, who could never make an arrangement with Bass Pro Shops work. Right?
It all adds up to an easy answer: Ganassi and Ford aren’t meant to be together for 2011.
TWO: The Wild Card Race Decides Nothing
“Talladega is the race that changes everything,” or so we’ve been told. Jimmie Johnson admitted he was looking past Martinsville for fear of what Talladega would bring. Denny Hamlin and Kevin Harvick both wrote that race off to chance. This plate race, more than any other, was the one that was going to throw a wrench into the Chase. It was where a contender or more would fall from the title fight at the hands of the vicious Big One, where one driver’s mistake triggered a massive crash that exposed the illegitimacy of plate racing and created a de facto elimination event. Boy, Brian must have been salivating at the prospects of this weekend.
Yet, nothing happened. There was no Big One. All three Chasers led laps and finished in the top 10. Jimmie Johnson maintained the points lead, which fluctuated by less than 10 markers between first and second. Talladega may well not have happened this past weekend, sans for Clint Bowyer scoring his fourth career Cup win.
So what did we learn from this past weekend? One, it is possible, even at the Cup level, to run a plate race without a Big One demolishing dozens of cars. Though, frankly, just as this 500-miler was clean, it was also tempered. It was without the late four-wide moment that saw Jimmie Johnson’s season inches from being scrunched, a rather tame affair on Sunday afternoon even during the closing laps.
Two, just as plate racing is referred to as a great equalizer, no driver in the title Chase proved something that established them the favorite with three races to go. Johnson did manage to get out of that four-wide mess late, but let’s not forget that just as he was trying to stay out of a wreck, the dozen guys around him were doing their damnedest to avoid being the one to wreck the defending champ. Denny Hamlin did recover from going a lap down, a product of trying to stay too far in the back rather than the team recovering from a poor race car down the stretch. And as for Kevin Harvick’s recovery from a wreck with Marcos Ambrose to finish runner-up, it’s not like an intact front end has ever been a prerequisite to win at ‘Dega; just ask Dale Earnhardt, Jr. in 2003 or Martin Truex, Jr. in Nationwide Series competition back in 2005.
The wild card’s been played, and everyone’s called. The game rolls on.
THREE: Top 35 Race All About Money, Not the Future
While the Chase standings remained tight, Travis Kvapil’s failure to qualify at Talladega allowed both TRG Motorsports and Robby Gordon Motorsports to pull over 100 points ahead of Front Row’s No. 38 team, leaving the top 35 all but set heading into the 2011 Daytona 500.
And while that bodes well for a strong field at season’s open, the real question is whether any of these teams battling for the final locked in spots in the Cup field will actually be around to have a go at the 2011 Cup slate. TRG Motorsports has been all but noncommittal as to what next year’s plans are, opting to go driver-by-committee rather than auditioning a driver for the new year with their primary backer, TaxSlayer.com, committed to JR Motorsports’ Nationwide program next year. Front Row Motorsports has said that without finding major sponsorship, the organization would likely cut back to two cars after this season’s finale at Homestead, even admitting today they have questioned whether or not to run the No. 38 in this year’s final three events.
As for Robby Gordon Motorsports, though the driver has committed for the first five races of next season, the commitment after that stretches only to the “fun” events on the Cup slate. Not to mention that for all the Extenze paint that the No. 7 car has featured since Kevin Conway moved over to the team, there’s been no news regarding that deal or the plan for BioTab to market the Alteril brand with Conway next year in the Cup Series… except that Conway will drive only one more race this season.
The bottom line is none of these teams will be conclusively back. The race is on not for ensuring a successful 2011, but for securing a spot in NASCAR’s biggest payday, and having a significant carrot to dangle in front of a new owner trying to make Cup racing who happens to show up at Daytona with some dollars to play with.
Chances of that happening? About as high as either of these three teams finding a sponsor in the first five races of 2011 that will result in a full-season campaign.
FOUR: PRISM Motorsports Back to One Car
It seemed the perfect plan. Take the business model of MSRP Motorsports in the Nationwide ranks, then transfer it to Cup. And after seeing Dave Blaney post a top-5 qualifying effort while Michael McDowell also raced into the event at Fontana in the first race after the Daytona 500, the two drivers parked for good by lap 45, bringing home almost $160,000 in purse money. It was the dream start-and-park situation.
Fast forward to now, and the dream season has since disintegrated for the PRISM Motorsports team. Only one car, the team’s trademark No. 66, is on the entry list for the weekend’s event at Texas, as the dedicated start-and-parkers attempt to return to profitability; since the Chase started, the team’s two cars only went five for 14 in qualifying for races. Sooner or later, no matter how cheap the team does Cup racing, those dollars will stop making sense.
FIVE: The Yellow Line Club Welcomes Kyle Busch
It’s an exclusive club indeed, the list of drivers that can make a pass clearly below the yellow line at a restrictor plate race and be allowed not only to keep the position, but score a win doing it. The club ensures that Talladega’s Victory Lane is home to select names of NASCAR royalty, be it allowing Dale Earnhardt, Jr. to score the 2003 spring trophy at Talladega doing that same thing, or depriving Regan Smith of the fall trophy in 2008 to ensure that it went to Tony Stewart.
So while Kyle Busch was only granted a truck trophy by the Yellow Line Club this past weekend, rest assured that his day scoring a Cup trophy in such regard will come. The talent is undoubtedly there… and now that it’s well known that he is worthy, it’s only a matter of time before Kyle drives through the infield grass to score a win at ‘Dega. Call Vegas, any race fans that need a betting fix.
©2000 - 2008 Bryan Davis Keith and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
Point One: Did anyone actually think there would be Fords in store for EGR next season. I think Chip has learned his lesson about fielding the worst equipment that na$car has to offer.
Point Five: Read the rulebook, and watch the replay.
Jacob, got to agree with both points.
#1 ECR engines definitely seemed to be the class of the field at ‘Dega.
#5 Bush’s truck was leaving skid marks with all 4 tires as he passed Aric and took the win.
If he had been in control of his truck, he wouldn’t have had to go below the line, and would have had a truck lengths lead.
I also believe that on the last lap, the yellow line rule at the line is ridiculous. Actually, I think it is ridiculous all-around.
They decided to let “the boys police themselves” when it came to “boys have at it”.
They quickly changed the no bump drafting rule after they changed it the morning of the ‘Dega race a year or so ago. And decided to let the drivers “police” themselves.
Considering more than half the multi-car wrecks happen on the straightaways, why not do away with the yellow line rule? Let them police themselves.
And why is it completely all around the track when they obviously can run below it without a problem for most of the track.
The line seems to create more wrecks than it prevents.
Granted, the track is super smooth now and the line was put in place when it wasn’t. Daytona will be super smooth soon too.
How smooth these 2 tracks are really could be the difference for needing the line or not. But at ‘Dega right now, it definitely isn’t needed.
Earlier in the year, the ARCA cars were purposely driving with half their car below the line at Daytona to keep anyone from passing them. With those cars, the outside lane just couldn’t make the pass. And thus they proved they could drive well below the line in order to block. It made for lame racing.
Re point 2, I wonder if Talladega would have changed the points had the top drivers actually been racing for 188 laps instead of riding at the back until the last 20. Oooh, that was exciting.
The yellow line rule says you can’t advance your position below the yellow line, it doesn’t say you can’t drive down there. Busch had advanced his position prior to going below the yellow line. Go to the Speed website and look at the replay and it seems obvious to me that Kyle advances to P1 before he slides below the line. Smiths problem in his race against Stewart was he advanced his position below the line. Apparently, if the driver is in first place, he can dive below the line to secure the win. If another driver gets ahead, the driver below the line has to come back above the line to advance.
I understand NASCAR giving Earnhardt Jr. a win at Talladega even if he was out of bounds. If they decided to rule against him, a riot would ensue and 1500 fans would be killed in the stampede. Plus, any NASCAR official caught within the confines of the track would be strung up in retaliation. A European soccer riot would appear tame compared to the mayhem following the revoking of an Earnhardt win. I sat in a section of fans on Sunday that every time Earnhardt led a lap, a dude blew a whistle, and the whole section stood up and cheered. Not one person or two people, but the whole damn section. Earnhardt needs to win soon for the sake of NASCAR.
Once again, the mainstream media fails to address how NASCAR treats certain drivers. Here’s a link from someone not afraid to tell the truth:
I agree 100% with you. Blocking on the straights has caused more “big-ones” than bump drafting and the yellow line combined.
I just hope now that everyone survived the Talladega roulette wheel the Chase will stay this tight through Homestead. Not just to make good drama, but maybe if it goes down to the last lap at Homestead NASCAR will shelve the proposed changes to the Chase.
We all hate the Chase, but the changes being “seriously considered” are far worse than we have now. Think the regular season leader gets the shaft now, try the “elimination chase” where you can dominate the whole year only to lose in the last race for whatever reason because NASCAR wants a show. Or it appears 15 drivers is likely for next year because a driver 12th in points and with no wins in the regular season now, clearly deserves a shot at the title. And still Dale Jr. will miss the Chase. It’s elementary school lets give everyone a participation ribbon.
Sadly, I think these changes were decided last year when Jimmy nearly clinched before Homestead. He would have done it no doubt if he doesn’t wreck at Texas. NASCAR doesn’t care who wins the title, they want a big flashy show at Homestead North Cuba.
As a Mopar fan I take exception to being compared with Ford… 3 cars on 1 team had similar results to all the Fords?? Then there is Nationwide… not even close. Go underdog!
It’s a shame that Johnson and Hamlin got out of ‘Dega with top 10’s as they did absolutely nothing all day. I would have loved to see them finish where they ran the whole first 475 miles.
Don’t forget who won the All-Star race, too!
Point #4: Funny how alot of those people that it is so lucrative starting and parking, but those teams are still struggling, if not non existant.
Its a good think they have those luxurious homes with their luxury cars and helicopters to go back to (sarcasm over). Its obvious Brian still doesn’t get it.
The yellow line rule, like the France family, has got to go. I am still burning at NASCAR for what they did to Regan Smith back in ’08 at Talladega. Abolishing the yellow line rule will being excitement back to ‘Dega and integrity back to NASCAR.
What Ganassi should do is hook up with a new manufacturer. Buick, Cadillac, Lincoln, and Chrysler all sound great. Whatever car manufacturer he can land, Ganassi’s team will be the car manufacturer’s primary focus. We need more American manufacturers in NASCAR.
Point #1: I will say this, Chip Ganassi would be stupid to make the move to Ford. Lets look at the facts here: The Earnhardt name has a 30 year history with the General Motors company and for Chip Ganassi to be dumb enough to make a move to Ford and take away that, a lot of Earnhardt fans will not be happy. That thump you will hear, that will be Dale Earnhardt rolling over in his grave. The Earnhardt-Childress Racing Engines are by far the best performing engines on the track now. Without that, Chip would be loosing races. Lets face it, Ford was even stupid to go up to an Earnhardt team and ask for them to consider them. That is almost like having Toyota go up to Hendrick Motorsports, not going to happen. I hope Earnhardt Ganassi Racing stays with Chevrolet…where they belong.
As for Regan Smith’s 2008 Talladega race, in my eyes, he won that race fare and square. Who ever looked over the video, obviously needed glasses. Tony did force him off the track…you could even see him hit his right front bumper. And they say it was a unacceptable move? So what…it would be okay to come back up the track and take Tony Stewart out, putting him and others at risk…which I guess he should have done that. In 2009, Brad did just that to Carl Edwards and that injured a girl, almost killing her. Just imagine if that would have happen if Regan Smith did that to Tony Stewart that year? And that would be okay to NASCAR? Putting fans at risk like that? Regan Smith won that Talladega race weather they like it or not. Shoot, Regan would probably be with DEI or EGR still.