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.
New race at Bristol … same ol’ Kyle Busch. The track’s dominant driver as of late led 268 of 300 laps run en route to his second win of the Nationwide Series season and 45th of his career in a race that was nowhere near as close as the margin of victory would hint. Busch moved from his fifth place starting position to the front in next to no time flat at the race’s start, running second by lap 8, leading for good by lap 185 and securing a win that makes him the first driver to win back-to-back Bristol Nationwide races since former champion Steve Grissom did it in 1995. Kasey Kahne, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Elliott Sadler and Joey Logano rounded out the top 5.
The race was a quiet Bristol affair for nearly 200 laps until Brad Keselowski cut a tire and smacked the wall on lap 182. Following the restart from that incident on lap 188, five yellow flags dotted the final circuits of the event, with a mix of spins, contact on track and cut tires cutting down on what had been a largely green flag competition up to that point.
The Nationwide Series points race changed in a big way on lap 213, with then-leader Reed Sorenson forced to take his No. 32 car behind the wall with engine troubles. Sorenson’s Turner Motorsports teammate Jason Leffler finished eighth and took the points lead by two markers over Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. Stenhouse won the pole on Saturday and was poised to take the lead with a top 10 car – one that led 28 circuits – but had to battle back for a 14th-place result after serving a pass through penalty under green for taking the lap 188 restart in the wrong position on-track.
“This was a win today,” said Elliott Sadler of his fourth-place finish on Saturday. Why? It was the second consecutive top-5 finish in Nationwide competition for Kevin Harvick, Incorporated as well as his first top-10 result of 2011. After a disappointing start to the season that saw Sadler involved in a wreck at Daytona and mediocre results at Phoenix and Las Vegas, a visit to the site of his first career Cup win seemed to be just what the doctor ordered for the No. 2 team. Until first practice, that is, when Sadler cut a tire and wrecked his primary car. Quick work by the KHI crew had the backup prepared by second practice…and had the driver back in the top 10 on the charts. Qualifying sixth, Sadler never fell out of the top 10 after lap 165 and had what he argued was a second-place car to winner Kyle Busch; the other two finishers to pass him, Kasey Kahne and Dale Earnhardt Jr, had fresher tires on the final restarts. Still, “all we needed was one uneventful” race said Sadler of he and his team…and he was right; the No. 2 left Bristol in the top 10 in points.
Even happier with his place in the standings was the new leader, Nationwide Series veteran Jason Leffler. And yet again, a stellar performance came in an alternate car, not his primary Great Clips ride. Driving the No. 30 car for the second time this season to make way for Kasey Kahne, Leffler qualified second, his first front row start in Nationwide competition since winning the pole for the Bristol night race back in 2007. What’s more, Leffler was a fixture in the top 10 all day, though he was unable to charge back to the top 5 owing both to handling challenges and pit strategy that had the team fighting through the race’s midsection to earn a lucky dog, which they did for a lap 204 restart. Leffler’s eighth place result was his fourth top 10 finish in the last five races, a wave of consistency that ensured Turner Motorsports maintained the points lead headed to Fontana.
Aric Almirola was another driver that, like Sadler, had had an underwhelming start to his 2011 campaign in a big-time ride. And in finishing 10th, he was also another driver whose season got a much needed short in the arm. Only difference was, Almirola’s race wasn’t uneventful. Though the No. 88 had charged from 15th starting position to cracking the top 5 nearing lap 200, that 200th circuit saw JR Motorsports’ title contender loop his car around after having a tire go down. Fortunate to avoid contact with the wall, Almirola lost few spots in the running order owing to so many cars having been lapped by Kyle Busch’s dominant machine. Despite the spin and fading late, Bristol still proved to be the first top 10 for JRM’s flagship team.
Just as Las Vegas chewed up and spat out native son Kyle Busch last weekend, the Bristol Motor Speedway was none too kind to it’s home state brethren this Saturday. Johnson City’s Brad Teague was perhaps wise to park the No. 49 car after only three laps…it didn’t give Bristol any time to ruin his day. Nashville’s Willie Allen had his day cut short nearly 100 laps short of the finish when a cut tire sent the No. 05 car hard into the turn 4 wall on lap 208, yielding a 35th place result that was Allen’s worst non start-and-park finish since a wreck at Kentucky last summer. Knoxville’s Trevor Bayne avoided tire problems, but slapped the wall himself after getting caught up in fluid when Robert Richardson’s engine expired on lap 67. Bayne’s team managed to make repairs and salvage a top 20 result in 19th, but that was a long distance away from his fourth place qualifying result.
Reed Sorenson was the points leader coming into the weekend, but suffered a blown engine that relegated him to a 34th place finish on a day that all four other Turner Motorsports entries finished in the top 15. It was also his worst finish since Kansas last season, snapping a streak of nine consecutive top 15 finishes for the Georgia native. It doesn’t get much worse than that.
Two women were introduced at driver introductions at Bristol on Saturday. One took the green flag. None saw the checkers. Danica Patrick’s streak of three consecutive top 15 results to start 2011 came to a crashing halt at the world’s fastest half-mile; running in the top 20, Patrick made contact with Ryan Truex on lap 248 coming down the frontstretch, losing control and taking a vicious head-on hit into the turn 1 wall. Replays were inconclusive; Patrick made a clean exit of 4 to pull alongside Truex down the frontstretch, but left no room for Truex to correct when the No. 99 brushed the wall. Though Truex took responsibility for the incident in post-race interviews, the broadcast crew was perplexed as to Danica’s anger towards the No. 99 (Patrick did her traditional hands in the air display when Truex drove past). She was so indignant, the Pastrana-Waltrip Racing crew noting over the radio to their driver “she’s [Danica] never been wrong about anything in her life.” In an incident where fault is inconclusive at best, to see Patrick acting indignant and speaking on the “nature of NASCAR” in the post-race interview of only her 17th career start brought forward not a shred of attention for her driving talent, but instead a vivid reminder of just what IndyCar has enamored itself with; a model with the attitude of an eight-year-old child being loud and petulant in a public place. Sure, everyone is paying attention, but that’s no measure of anything. Just look at Jersey Shore’s ratings.
As for Jennifer Jo Cobb, she never turned a lap at Bristol this Saturday. According to the driver, she was informed by the No. 79 team owner 10 minutes before the green flag that she would start and park the car to preserve it for Fontana, or be black-flagged by NASCAR. All to preserve the car so another driver [reportedly Tim Andrews] could drive next weekend. Both, according to Cobb, constitute breaches of contract between her and 2nd Chance Racing. What transpired in the garage is still unclear; much of the No. 79 crew disappeared, with Cobb noting that she and much of her crew hid the team’s tires for the race because she had paid for them herself. Dustin Long spoke with the owner of the No. 79 car, whose account was far different, stating that he had informed Cobb earlier in the race weekend that the team would have to start-and-park this weekend’s event.
There is much of this story left to be written; Cobb has stated she will have her self-owned No. 13 car ready to race at Texas, and is seeking a ride for Fontana next weekend. But this situation, regardless of right and wrong, got ugly and ugly fast. NASCAR’s women’s movement took a decided step backwards this Saturday.
Underdog Performer of the Race: Jeremy Clements Attempting to run a full season in a family-owned No. 51 car, Clements and his team were tackling Bristol for only the second time after years of avoiding the short tracks and more treacherous ovals on the circuit to preserve their equipment. None of that showed this weekend, with Clements never dropping out of the top 25 and progressing steadily into the top 15 before settling for 16th when the checkers flew. After watching their hopes of a full 2010 season blow up with three consecutive DNQs to start last year, the No. 51 squad is now a solid 20th in owner points and barring a complete disaster will be locked into the Nationwide field after Fontana next weekend. That’s an accomplishment a long-time coming for one of the more unheralded operations in the Nationwide garage.
Start-and-parkers took 6 of the 43 spots in Saturday’s field, taking home $100,658 in prize money.
Cup regulars won Saturday’s race, scored 7 of the top 10 finishing positions, occupied 9 of the 43 spots in the field, and took home $208,365 in prize money.
Year to Date
55 of 169 starting positions occupied (32.5%)
The Final Word: See Brody Jones’ 5 Points To Ponder this week.
©2000 - 2008 Bryan Davis Keith and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
Hey Brian I love your comments about Danica.Funny stuff.That was about the only thing memorable about the NAT race.It’s a wonder anyone attends a NAT race anymore.They are so one-sided, who actually cares.
As long as sprint drivers are allowed to run NW, the more this series will die! The “big boys” with superior equipment are always gonna win….proves nothing, no matter what kyle tries to say…..ALL sprint drivers should be banned from running, or maybe the NW drivers should start wrecking the sprint drivers at every chance they get…That’ll work too!!
TO BE THE BEST, YOU HAVE TO BEAT THE BEST the saying goes. Nationwide drivers who wish to compete in CUP races some day, need to show they have the talent to compete with those CUP drivers when they race in the Nationwide series.
To be the best you got to beat the best. What a load of s##t that is. Do formula 1 drivers race in formula 2. Do indy car drivers race in indy light, no. How can a nationwide driver that doesn’t have anywhere near the resourses of joe gibbs expect to compete. How can you beat the best when you don’t have the best equipment. Nascar is finding out that the rule change is doing nothing for the nationwide series. All its done is making more confusing for the fans.
With the way Danica pouts every time she has a wreck, I think that calling her an eight-year old is generous. I would say 4-years old would be about right!
If it wasn’t for her looks, she would be a complete nobody.
While not a fan of Danica’s, I thought she had done a good job so far this year and was doing good for her first time at Bristol. That all changed after her hissy fit, same old Danica. I would like to hear her say after seeing the replay that that was just racing and she understood in nascar you race every lap hard.
I understand that many of you do not like the buschwackers, when approx 30% of the field is cup drivers do not act like the winner beat a bunch of no talent, sub par equipped drivers.
Here is something that I believe might close the gap between the Cup guys and the NW guys. How about one less set of tires for the cup guys, I still want it to be SAFE, but make the cup guys manage thier tire wear a little would help the “little guy” more then anything nascar has done so far. Extra weight, or even a smaller carb for the cup guys might be things to think about, to help even the field. What do you guys think of these ideas.
How about we limit the number of NW races a Cup driver can race? So we still see some of them in a NW race – not the same drivers every week trouncing the field. The series is in serious trouble. Understatement……
Two things that will help the true Nationwide teams…
No purse money to Cup drivers running in the NW series. Redistribute it to the NW only teams.
No purse money to Start & Parkers. Redistribute it to the NW teams that run at least a third of the race (or are taken out in a multi-car wreck).
Give the money to the teams that need it and to the teams that want to race.
Come on people! If Kyle Busch that got in the wreck instead of Danica, he would have had just as big of a hissy fit as Danica. Some of you will find just about anything to bash her for.
And why is Jennifer Jo Cobbs situation “a step back” as you put it? Sounds to me like she did the right thing? But maybe its the fact that she’s a woman which is why she must be in the wrong.
Why don’t you just say it, Bryan? You hate women in Nascar or maybe you hate women altogether. Every week you make a point to bash Danica even when she does well, so there is obviously more to your rants about these woman than you are leading on.
And once again, I will remind everyone, Danica didn’t ask for the hype. ESPN gave her that all by themselves. All I have heard from her is that she wants to learn and get better, which she is doing. But apparently you can’t please some people.