Swan Racing Announces Restructuring, No. 26 & No. 30 "Sold" Off
posted by Thomas Bowles
Wednesday April 23, 2014
After a week of uncertainty, Swan Racing’s two teams will show up at Richmond Friday night after a combination of mergers and acquisitions have kept the two teams up and running. The moves, announced in a press release Wednesday will keep rookie Cole Whitt behind the wheel of the No. 26 while J.J. Yeley moves into the No. 30, replacing Parker Kligerman effective immediately.
The solution for Whitt was rather simple: Swan co-owner Anthony Marlowe merged his portion of ownership into a deal with BK Racing. That team will now expand to three cars, with Whitt running full-time (for now) alongside fellow rookies Alex Bowman (No. 23) and Ryan Truex (No. 83). The move will also keep former Swan employees working full-time, rehired by BK as enough money was gathered up to keep the No. 26 up and running. Whitt, who has a best run of 18th this season (Fontana) will remain competing with his crew essentially intact.
“I respect Brandon Davis and everything he has done for the Swan Racing Company,” said Marlowe in the release. “Looking forward, my mission is to ensure Cole Whitt races in every NASCAR Sprint Cup event this season. My friend Ron Devine and the BK Ownership group really stepped up to enable me to keep the No. 26 on the track. Cole and Randy [Cox, crew chief] are off to an auspicious start in 2014 for a new Cup Team and we are gearing up for Richmond. In addition to the No. 26 team’s performance so far this year, the new ‘win and you’re in’ system and qualifying rules were motivating and positive factors in my continued investment in NASCAR.”
As for Swan’s No. 30, the equipment has been sold to Johnathan Cohen and his Xxxtreme Motorsports operation. That team, which has yet to make a race this season with J.J. Yeley will now run that No. 30 with their own Chevys before switching to the new Swan equipment (plus their old number, 44) beginning at Talladega. It’s an opportunity for them to gain speed and perhaps run a full race. Xxxtreme, with patchwork funding has yet to run more than 66 laps in any Cup event, start-and-parking in every race it’s made since making a go at NASCAR’s top level in mid-2012.
“We’ve had a lot of adversity in our organization,” Cohen tweeted after the purchase. “But today, made a big step in the right direction.”
Co-owner Brandon Davis, who had been MIA before Tuesday’s public announcement praised both Marlowe and Cohen in helping keep the equipment, former employees, and one of his two drivers afloat while Swan searches for funding to keep racing.
“Anthony and Jonathan are both young and ambitious NASCAR enthusiasts,” he said in a statement, later reiterating those points on SIRIUS XM Radio. “It is important to keep them in the sport for the long term. I am very relieved to know that the Nos. 26 and 30 teams will be in good hands and will continue to compete the remainder of the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. Most importantly, most of the team members have the opportunity to continue their employment in the sport and to support their families. This was critically important to me.”
So what happens to Swan’s other rookie, Parker Kligerman? Davis has retained Kligerman’s contract, and while the team has officially suspended operations he’s actively searching for funding to get the No. 30 back on track. Should it happen, it’ll be a one-car program with Kligerman at the wheel despite an ugly start that left the first-year driver 38th in series points.
“We are encouraged by the response we have received from interested parties,” Davis said of Kligerman. “Parker continues to be one of the most talented young drivers in NASCAR. He brought this racing team one of its strongest results in his first race with us [18th at Texas], and we are certain of his success in the future.”
The driver, in his response left the door open to run for other programs. Swan, which has partnered with celebrities like the NFL’s Bill Romanowski and rapper 50 Cent may be able to parlay those connections into funding that gets Kligerman into another car in the meantime.
“Although it’s unfortunate we are having to scale back, I look forward to the future and the exciting things that I’m confident we will accomplish at Swan Racing or with another team,” said Kligerman. “I value the relationship that I’ve had with Brandon Davis and am very grateful for him giving me an opportunity to compete in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Whether I continue to race with Brandon and Swan Racing or end up with another team, I will always give it my all on and off track to be the best I can be.”
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Daniel Suarez to Make Nationwide Debut for Joe Gibbs Racing at Richmond
posted by Phil Allaway
Tuesday April 22, 2014
Joe Gibbs Racing announced on Tuesday morning that NASCAR Toyota Series and K&N Pro Series East driver Daniel Suarez will make his Nationwide Series debut in Friday night’s ToyotaCare 250 at Richmond International Raceway. Sponsorship will be provided by Silent Circle, a global service that allows for the sending of encrypted communications and Telcel, a Mexican telecommunications company.
Suarez is thrilled to have the opportunity to race for Joe Gibbs Racing at Richmond.
“I’m excited for the opportunity to make my NASCAR Nationwide Series debut,” Suarez said in a press release. “I want to thank Telcel and Silent Circle for believing in me and making this a reality. I can’t wait for Friday night in Richmond.”
JGR President J.D. Gibbs is very excited to have an up and coming talent such as Suarez in the fold.
“Daniel is certainly someone that has proven to have a lot of talent and we are thrilled this was able to come together and allow him to make his debut at Richmond,” Gibbs said. “I think it’s exciting when you look at the young talent our sport has right now and we certainly feel that Daniel is going to be part of the future for NASCAR.”
For Suarez, the 2014 season has been very successful so far. He started tke K&N Pro Series East season with two wins in three days in New Smyrna Beach, FL and Daytona Beach, FL (as part of the UNOH Battle at the Beach). Despite a crash at Bristol, Suarez still ranks second in points behind Ben Rhodes. In the Toyota Series, Suarez came from behind to win the season opening Toyota 120 at Phoenix International Raceway in front of all the Sprint Cup and Nationwide teams. Another win in Chiapas and a second-place finish at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez’s oval gives him a nine point lead over Antonio Perez.
This will be a very busy weekend for Suarez. With the Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown moving to South Boston Speedway this year, the K&N Pro Series East Blue Ox 100 will be held immediately after the conclusion of the Nationwide Series ToyotaCare 250. In addition, the Toyota Series will have their fourth race of the season at the Autodromo de Monterrey in Suarez’s hometown on Sunday.
Gene Haas' Formula One License Application Accepted By FIA
posted by Phil Allaway
Friday April 11, 2014
This morning, the FIA announced that the license application submitted by Stewart-Haas Racing co-owner Gene Haas had officially been accepted. As a result, provided that everything comes together financially and technically, Haas’ new Formula One team will have a spot on the grid at the start of the 2015 season.
Upon receiving the news this morning, Haas released the following statement.
“Obviously, we’re extremely pleased to have been granted a Formula One license by the FIA,” Haas wrote. “It’s an exciting time for me, Haas Automation and anyone who wanted to see an American team return to Formula One.”
“Now, the really hard work begins. It’s a challenge we embrace as we work to put cars on the grid. I want to thank the FIA for this opportunity and the diligence everyone put forth to see our license application come to fruition.”
Haas’ team would be the 12th team on the Formula One grid for the 2015 season if all the current teams return. Much like the failed USF1 team that Peter Windsor was involved with, the team would partially be based in North Carolina with an additional European base.
Stewart-Haas Racing is setting up a press conference for Monday to further discuss the move. We’ll have more information here at Frontstretch as soon as it becomes available.
Speeds Approach 220 MPH At Michigan Test
posted by Phil Allaway
Thursday April 10, 2014
On Wednesday, Goodyear held the second and final day of their tire test at Michigan International Speedway. The overall goal of the test was so teams could come up with a solution that would encourage better racing on the two-mile, D-shaped oval, while at the same time allowing for a compound that would not blister.
Much of the headlines from the test seemed to stem from high speeds reported. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. tweeted a computer readout that stated he reached 215.2 mph. Clint Bowyer went a little bit faster at 217 mph, which Bowyer later described as “whites-in-your-eyes fast.” Greg Biffle told ESPN’s Shannon Spake on NASCAR Now that he reached 220 mph and a 204 mph average.
Despite the high speeds, the drivers who tested Tuesday and Wednesday believe that there will be better racing this year in the Irish Hills. Michigan winters are a bit harsher than in most locales on the Sprint Cup calendar. As a result, there is more weathering from year to year.
Earnhardt Jr. appeared to be quite happy with the track.
“I enjoy racing here,” the two-time Michigan winner said. “It’s a fun track. The asphalt is really aging well and it’s just going to keep getting better and better over the next couple of years.”
As is the norm for Goodyear tire tests, no official speeds were announced. However, Earnhardt Jr. stated in the Media Center that while he was going anywhere from 212-215 mph at the end of the frontstretch, he was only dropping down to 180 or so in the turns.
Greg Biffle and Ryan Newman echoed Earnhardt Jr.’s sentiment when asked about the track surface. They expect the track to support multiple grooves for racing when the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series return in June.
As for track management, they definitely appear to like the high speeds. Michigan International Speedway President Roger Curtis spent part of Wednesday retweeting top speed posts. However, Curtis understands that going fast is not the only thing that matters.
“The drivers are posting 200 mph. That’s awesome,” Curtis said. “The fans get very, very excited about that. But at the end of the day, on Sunday when the green flag drops, the numbers ‘two zero zero’ they’re not anywhere in the fans’ minds. It’s lead changes, it’s the competition…”
Since the track was repaved prior to the 2012 season, the number of lead changes at Michigan International Speedway has been relatively flat with the years before the repave. However, the number of cautions are up as well, which can skew the lead change numbers a little. Complaints have come more from a rock hard tire compound, made by Goodyear for safety reasons which has made passing more difficult and actual “wear” (which leads to speed dropoff) hard to come by.
Sherwin-Williams To Sponsor No. 51 Cup Car At Darlington
posted by Phil Allaway
Thursday April 10, 2014
On Wednesday, HScott Motorsports announced that Sherwin-Williams will serve as the primary sponsor of Justin Allgaier’s No. 51 Chevrolet this weekend at Darlington Raceway. The No. 51 will primarily be advertising the automotive finishes division, in addition to the AWX Performance Plus Waterborne Refinish System the company makes.
Allgaier is very happy to have Sherwin-Williams onboard.
“I’m thrilled to have Sherwin-Williams on the car at Darlington,” Allgaier said in the press release. “They are a big supporter of HScott Motorsports and NASCAR. I can’t wait drive the No. 51 with the Sherwin-Williams colors on it at one of my favorite tracks.”
Sherwin-Williams has a fairly extensive history in NASCAR. They currently serve as the “Official Automotive Paint of NASCAR.” Prior to that, the company served as a primary sponsor for a number of cars in what is now the Nationwide Series.
As for Allgaier, Saturday will more than likely be his first career Sprint Cup start at the historic oval. However, in five Nationwide Series starts, Allgaier already has two top-5 and three top-10 finishes. His average result is an excellent 9.8.
Bass Pro Shops Primary Sponsor For Austin Dillon In Two Cup Races
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Wednesday April 9, 2014
Announced Tuesday in a ceremony and car unveiling at their Concord, NC location, Bass Pro Shops and Richard Childress Racing made it official that the national outdoor sports retail giant will be the primary sponsor of Austin Dillon’s No. 3 Chevrolet SS for two races during the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup season at Talladega (May 4th) and Daytona (July 5th).
Bass Pro Shops has been associated with Dillon’s career dating back to 2010, when they sponsored his No. 3 Chevy Silverado in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, and also followed Dillon to the Nationwide Series as a sponsor for his No. 3 Chevy Camaro for RCR. The two won a pair of NASCAR championships together, and the retailer has also served as an associate sponsor for Dillon’s car in the NSCS this season.
During the announcement, Bass Pro Shops noted that the retailer has been involved in the sport of NASCAR since 1998, when they became an associate sponsor of RCR’s No. 3 Chevy Monte Carlo driven by legend Dale Earnhardt.
Now, the sponsor is back on the Cup level, paired with the No. 3 once again and hoping to elevate the program to Victory Lane. Already, Dillon has one pole to start the season at Daytona, where he posted a ninth-place finish, his best result to date during this rookie campaign. 21st at Texas last weekend, he’s currently 11th in the Sprint Cup championship standings.
For the Bojangles’ Southern 500 this weekend at Darlington, Dillon will have Dow Chemical on board as the primary sponsor for the No. 3 car.
Ruud To Sponsor Buescher, No. 99 RAB Racing Toyota
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Wednesday April 9, 2014
RAB Racing announced that Ruud, heating and cooling brand, will be on board the No. 99 Toyota Camry as primary sponsor this weekend at Darlington for the VFW Sport Clips Help-A-Hero 200 NASCAR Nationwide Series race. The brand joins Rheem as a primary sponsor of the car during the 2014 Nationwide Series campaign. Ruud will also sponsor the No. 99 of James Buescher in several other races this season, according to a team statement.
Buescher, the 2012 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Champion, is driving full-time for RAB Racing and making the transition from the Truck Series to the NNS this year. The No. 99 team was recently penalized by NASCAR at Bristol for a P3 penalty (illegal weight added to the car improperly, which was lost during the race), which led to crew chief Chris Rice being fined $10,000 and placed on probation until December 31st. Car chief John Guerra was also placed on probation by the sanctioning body for the incident.
Sitting ninth in points thus far in 2014, Buescher’s best finish this season has been 12th at Phoenix. The 24-year-old, Plano, Texas native has one career win and 14 top-10 finishes in the NNS since his first start in 2008.
Five Sprint Cup Teams Test At MIS For Goodyear
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Wednesday April 9, 2014
After a long winter in Michigan, five NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams visited Michigan International Speedway for a Goodyear Tire Test taking place both Tuesday and Wednesday this week. To prepare for the test, MIS reported having to use the track’s jet dryers to clear and melt snow and ice from the two-mile track.
Due to the snow melt, frost, and rain on Monday night, MIS had to delay the tire test for most of the day because of weepers around the track’s surface. The track crew worked throughout the afternoon to dry up the moisture so that testing could get safely underway. Finally, Greg Biffle took his No. 16 3M Ford Fusion to the asphalt at MIS around 4:00 PM ET as the first driver on track.
In addition to Biffle, Goodyear has scheduled drivers Clint Bowyer; Trevor Bayne; Ryan Newman; and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. to take part in the tire test, which is open to fans from 9 AM to 5 PM today.
Michigan International Speedway is in for a busy summer in the Irish Hills as the track plays host to the Quicken Loans 400 on June 15th, then the Pure Michigan 400 on August 17th.
Logano's Four Tires Triumph Over Jeff Gordon's Two At Texas
posted by Justin Tucker
Tuesday April 8, 2014
Joey Logano would overcome Mother Nature and a green-white-checkered restart with four-time Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon to win the rain-delayed Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. Logano, with his trip to Victory Lane Monday afternoon also became the seventh different Sprint Cup driver to win in 2014 in as many races.
Logano, who led a race-high 108 laps on the afternoon, appeared to be on his way to a dominating victory until two laps to go. That’s when Kurt Busch blew a left-rear tire on his No. 41 Chevrolet, spraying debris all over the track.
“When you got like 40-something laps after the last pit stop, you got a pretty sizable lead, really all you’re thinking is, ‘Where is the white flag? Where is the white flag?’” Logano said after the race. “Then, you go into turn one, you see the [No.] 41 up against the wall. You’re like, Please no caution, please no caution. Boom, it comes out. You got to be kidding me. You get so mad you can barely control yourself.”
This incident, the third for Busch on the day would set up a decisive yellow-flag pit stop before the final restart. Jeff Gordon and the No. 24 team then rolled the dice, jumping from sixth to first with only two tires while Logano and his Penske teammate Brad Keselowski would take four. Keselowski, who was second coming in would then get caught speeding while exiting pit road, eliminating him from contention. The Penske Racing driver, after leading 85 laps in his own right dropped to a disappointing 15th on the afternoon.
“That last caution was a shame,” Keselowski said, who lost a chance to become the series’ first two-time winner. “I was just trying to get a little too much on pit road, wanted to get us out front to be able to win the race and tried a little too hard.”
That left Logano dealing with Gordon and Brian Vickers directly in front on the restart. As the cars accelerated, he wasted no time dispatching Vickers for second and set his sights on the bumper of Gordon’s No. 24 Chevrolet. On the white-flag lap, Logano was able to take advantage of his four fresh tires to get underneath Gordon, clearing him by the exit of Turn 1.
“I mean, coming in sixth, you’re in that position that you can gamble,” said Gordon, who did earn a consolation prize — becoming the Sprint Cup points leader for the first time since the 2009 Coca-Cola 600 (see below). “You’re not going to win it with four tires, you’re not going to win it with none. I knew it was going to be hard to hold those guys off.”
After clearing Gordon, Logano was able to cruise to his fourth career Sprint Cup Series win, his second with Penske in a little over a season with the team. The driver’s confidence is high, stemming from crew chief Todd Gordon whom the 23-year-old was quick to praise after the race.
“He (Todd Gordon) made a last-minute decision to put fuel in it, gave me better balance for what I needed and the guys made the ‘money stop,’” Logano said of the ending. “I was the first guy out with four tires on.”
Behind Logano and Gordon in the top 5 were Kyle Busch in third, followed by Vickers fourth and rookie sensation Kyle Larson in fifth, the only rookie to run inside the top 20. Greg Biffle was sixth, Matt Kenseth seventh, while Clint Bowyer earned his second top-10 result in eighth. Paul Menard earned his fourth top 10 in five races, running ninth while pole sitter Tony Stewart rounded out the top 10.
Monday’s race started in bizarre fashion, under a rare, green-yellow flag condition for ten laps to ensure that the 1.5-mile quad-oval was dry and fit for racing. Jet dryers were still on the track during this period to help the process. Unfortunately, the air from the dryers managed to get inside the wheel wells and affect the hood and roof flaps of several cars. Keselowski’s Ford actually ended up with a damaged hood hinge, resulting in four pit stops during this period for repairs. Many additional cars came down pit road to fix the flaps as well. NASCAR allowed the cars affected to make their stops without penalty, provided that they not add fuel or change tires in the process.
Then, shortly after going green Dale Earnhardt, Jr.‘s day ended prematurely after just 14 laps when he misjudged his positioning and clipped the grass in Texas’ quad-oval. The miscue resulted in the car digging in, popping a wheelie and shooting the No. 88 Chevrolet straight into a SAFER-less wall, resulting in a fiery crash. Not only did that ruin Earnhardt’s day, but it also impacted the race of Hendrick teammate Jimmie Johnson. Johnson wound up with windshield damage and a bent left-front corner of his No. 48 Chevrolet. Losing multiple laps for repairs, Johnson ended up 25th on the day while Earnhardt Jr. was scored dead last (43rd).
“You can’t run through there they way they have these cars on the ground,” Earnhardt said of the incident. “Just a mistake on my part. I just didn’t know I was that close to the grass, and made a mistake.”
Kevin Harvick had another fast race car, one capable of going up and taking the lead away from teammate Stewart on Lap 25. However, Harvick’s run of bad luck continued after blowing an engine just a couple of laps later. Harvick ended up 42nd, sitting just 31 points inside the top 30 needed to make the Chase after his win at Phoenix.
A look at the Duck Commander 500 by the numbers. There were 18 lead changes among nine drivers, while seven cautions for 49 laps slowed the pace to 134.191 MPH.
Next weekend, the Sprint Cup Series heads to legendary Darlington Raceway for the Bojangles’ Southern 500. The Green flag is scheduled for 6:45 PM ET on Saturday night.
Keselowski - Busch Feud And Other Martinsville Sidebars To Follow
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Monday March 31, 2014
Keselowski, Busch Feud
Two former Penske Racing teammates didn’t play the part Sunday, Brad Keselowski and Kurt Busch starting a feud that almost kept the latter from Victory Lane. It all started during the competition caution, on Lap 43 when the two cars made contact on pit road. Keselowski claims Busch turned into him, breaking the front suspension on the Miller Lite Ford in an accident that also included Kasey Kahne.
“I started to check up and I just barely got in the back of him and Kurt (Busch) just accelerated and drove through us, absolutely drove through us,” Keselowski said inside the garage. “I tell you what, I’m about tired of his recklessness.”
So Keselowski went back on-track, found Busch’s No. 41 car and promptly slammed into its right side. Trying to flatten tires, it seemed the endeavor ultimately failed but still fired up Busch to the point he started ranting inside the car.
“Welp, guess we’re going to get in a fight afterwards,” Busch said. “I’m going to **** that dude’s ****ing face!”
After that, Busch got focused, starting a drive that would end with him in Victory Lane. Keselowski, meanwhile ran 38th and still remained frustrated after the race.
“Tell him come here. I’m right here,” he said when told Busch was OK with fighting. “He knows where I’m at. Leave Victory Lane and we’ll go.”
“He does awesome things for charity and he’s probably the most talented race car driver, but he’s also one of the dumbest, so put those three together.”
Busch’s response, initially was to downplay the incident. But when pressed in the media center, post-race he finally broke down a bit. Calling the contact by a damaged Keselowski a “punk-ass move,” Busch said he’d be enacting revenge at a time of his choosing.
At press time, Keselowski had calmed down a bit, claiming he wasn’t trying to wreck Busch on Twitter and that the rivalry would not continue into Texas. No penalties from NASCAR, by the way occurred during the race or are expected for either side.
Crafton Claims Rain-Delayed Kroger 250 Victory
Due to Saturday’s complete washout, the Camping World Truck Series held their second race of the season immediately after the Sprint Cup Series’ STP 500 wrapped up. With a 5:30 PM start time, some feared the race would be called early due to darkness. Ultimately, that was not a concern.
In a quick event, Matt Crafton took the lead from local favorite Timothy Peters on Lap 209. From there, Crafton held off the rest of the pack through two green-white-checkered restarts to claim his first career Martinsville grandfather clock.
In the scrum on the final restart, Darrell Wallace, Jr. rose up to second, while rookie Ben Kennedy was third. Johnny Sauter finished fourth while using the front end of his Toyota Tundra in a manner similar to a battering ram. Ryan Blaney rounded out the top-5 finishers.
For more on Sunday’s Camping World Truck Series race, please check out Kelly Crandall’s Tracking the Trucks race recap at Frontstretch.
Tires Fail To Adhere to Track
Goodyear tire engineers stated Sunday that it takes a track temperature of 80 degrees Fahrenheit in order for their tires to lay down a proper groove in the turns. On Sunday, the track temperature never reached that point during the race. As a result, tire wear was very high on Sunday. Rubber chunks would shear off, early during green-flag runs and gather just outside the racing groove.
Drivers would ask for new tires every 20 laps or so. If there was a caution, nearly the entire field would come in for fresh rubber. There were examples of
“The track conditions today were extremely challenging with the marbles,” said Kenseth, who recovered to run sixth while Stewart wasn’t so lucky (17th). “They just wouldn’t clean them up — I don’t know why. If you had warm tires and you got pushed up in there then you were going to lose 15 spots sometimes — it was that bad.”
If the story sounds familiar to readers, it should. Last Fall, track temperatures struggled to reach 80 degrees through much of the race. However, the tire issues that resulted were not quite as severe.
Check in with Matt and Jay on their site at CareyandCoffey.com.
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So here’s a question for Darrell Waltrip and Co.
Where, exactly, was the “new” Kyle Busch? Did he have this weekend off? Because he sure as hell wasn’t in Darlington, South Carolina. Because whoever was wheeling the No. 18 Toyota this Saturday night displayed not a shred of anything resembling guts, sincerity, or maturity.
The events of lap 364 of the Southern 500 were captured to crystal clarity by FOX’s broadcast crew. Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick were battling hard for a spot in the top 10. Harvick made contact with Busch’s rear end entering turn 4 while making a crossover move. As the two were side by side entering turn 4, Clint Bowyer also entered the fray, creating a three-wide situation that proved too much for Harvick’s No. 29 to handle; Harvick corrected down the track and sent his teammate headfirst into the frontstretch’s interior retaining wall.
From there, Harvick visibly moved down the track to get off of Busch’s Toyota. Busch, however, refused to let Harvick get away, turning a hard left down the frontstretch that hooked the No. 29 and sent it into the fence. Busch would finish the melee 11th, Harvick a distant 17th, disappointing results for two drivers that were contending through the long night for the win.
Frankly, there’s not a case to be made against Busch for choosing to wreck Harvick. Harvick did initiate the contact that the two drivers engaged in for the better part of a quarter-lap in the closing stretch. And what’s more, Harvick is one of the very few drivers in any level of NASCAR that Busch actually owed one. Flashback to Homestead last November, where after nearly 400 miles of Busch playing the good teammate, making life a living hell for both Kevin Harvick and Jimmie Johnson as he tried to assist Denny Hamlin’s championship bid, Happy bowled all over Busch down the frontstretch to end the No. 18’s season early (he would later tell Hamlin “I parked yours [teammate].”)
Had the events of the evening ended at that, Busch would for the first time in his career actually be left holding the high ground. Eye for an eye, Busch six months later did exactly to Harvick what he had done to him at Homestead.
But what happened next ended any chance the Shrub would have at playing that role. It went beyond that, burning the facade that is the newfound maturity of Kyle Busch and desecrating the ashes.
A visibly angry Harvick pulled up right alongside Busch’s machine coming to pit road after the race; Busch tried to avoid the situation, pulling off pit road and back to the frontstretch. Harvick followed. Eventually, Busch returned to pit road, and Harvick stopped his car in front. Once Harvick had exited his car, Busch did the unthinkable; he ran into the back of Harvick’s parked car on pit road, sending the No. 29 into the pit wall with Harvick’s crew members watching.
Busch proceeded to drive his own car to the No. 18 hauler, parking the machine and later emerging to speak to FOX regarding the incident. And here, the brat side of Kyle Busch was on display for race fans coast to coast to see. He described Kevin Harvick’s racing hard in the late going as “unacceptable.” He never once acknowledged that, as the tapes clearly showed, that he had delivered payback, justified or not. And he blew off being called to the NASCAR hauler as “cool,” bearing more resemblance to a cocky high schooler trying to impress a gaggle of freshman by blowing off the man. With a slimy smile on his face to boot.
None of this is to say that Kevin Harvick has anything to hang his hat on either. Harvick did initiate contact with a driver he knows full well has a temper…and that owed him one. Harvick tried to throw a punch at Busch before Busch had gotten out of his car. And Harvick yet again opted to march into conflict with a driver completely protected by his helmet. If anything, Happy proved that he still needs to grow a pair to match the attitude he sports.
But none of that changes the fact that a driver has been the subject of an intense media lovefest for his supposed maturation since an offseason marriage and a red hot start to 2011 that’s seen him run well in Cup while massacring the minor league ranks of NASCAR. Lesson learned; it’s awful easy to act calm and mature when things are going well. On this Saturday night, that wasn’t the case. Busch had a car capable of winning this race, but a mid-race vibration and an unscheduled pit stop mired the No. 18 too far back in traffic to take this trophy home. Top 10 was the best case on this Saturday night.
And lo and behold, that “maturity” went out the window. There was Busch, playing rough with one of NASCAR’s nastiest, and then literally running away from the situation after the fact. There was Busch, wrecking another car after the checkered flag flew (not the first time, flash back to Watkins Glen in 2005, when Busch ran over Anthony Lazzaro after the race concluded). And there was Busch, basking in media attention for his misdeed as if he’d made a point, as if he’d stood up for himself on the sport’s biggest stage.
Busch certainly made a point. The “old” Kyle Busch is alive and well. No matter the PR job that Joe Gibbs Racing does, and no matter the rubber stamp DW and so many in the media put on it, Kyle Busch is still a petulant punk of a race car driver, even if there’s a ring on his finger. And though he may be smiling more in 2011, the same attitude and behaviors that for years have kept one of NASCAR’s greatest talents from realizing anything short of stacks of minor league wins are all still there.
Then again, Mars Inc. is probably thrilled. The terror of a little kid they’ve had hawking candy for the past few years started talking, acting and smirking like one again.
©2000 - 2008 Bryan Davis Keith and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
How pathetic. You and Harvick are both just pissed that Kyle Busch is a better substitute for the “real” Earnhardt than Harvick ever was.
So, Kyle is sitting in a car with a seat that virtually surrounds him, wearing a full face helmet, and he’s worried that Keving is going to punch him? All he had to do was keep the face plate down and turn his head and let Kevin break a knuckle trying to swing at him (Ask Mikey Waltrip how well that works). At least Harvick was willing to settle it mano a mano. As many times as Kyle has ‘bumped’ other cars out of his way without apology makes it even sillier. But we all knew he hadn’t really changed, didn’t we?
Harvick stayed in his car till he radioed for his posse to show up. And the posse (I counted 8 crew members of Harvicks)were the only ones that could possibly have been hit by Harvick’s car (poetic justice?. Kyle did the smart thing. Getting into a fight with 9-1 odds against you is not a smart move by even the best fighters.
No facts here. Just assumptions of what is going on in each of the drivers minds. Biased editorials based on preconceived opinions.
I guess the author of this article saw a different set of events than I. First off, crossing the Start/Finish at the beginning of lap 364 Harvick was outside, one row in front of Busch, but the outside line was hung up. As Busch on the inside lane was about to pass Harvick, Harvick dived three full lanes left forcing Busch way to the inside and out of the racing lane. Busch then held position to the inside (the preferred line) and half a car length behind in turns one and two, finally making the pass through three and four. Then he was bumped hard by a veteran driver(Harvick) who knows that hitting a driver in that part of the car is definitely going to cause him problems. Beating and banging ensued resulting in Bowyer getting dumped. Following that, Kyle may have gotten loose, but more likely than not, he returned the “veteran driver” bump to Harvick. That was ugly racing, but it was racing. What happened after the race was over was childish and petty. Busch, who has been lambasted over the years, tried to take the high road. He is trying to turn his image around and Harvicks knows it. Harvick did his best to goad Busch into a fight, one that surely would have erased any progress to date with Busch’s image cleansing process. But don’t worry, where Harvick failed, the author of this article has surely picked up. Busch did hit Harvick’s car, but they were less than a foot apart at a complete stop. It was a bad choice, yet it was just about the only choice Busch had short of a fist fight. A fist fight would have certainly brought out the “Old Kyle” comments faster than anything. Of course, that may be exactly what many people want. Had Harvick acted like a man and took his car to garage as is the custom, none of the events would have happened. Busch’s interview before heading off to the NASCAR hauler was not childish, it was actually done quite well. He actually said it was cool that NASCAR had summoned them, because they would have a chance to talk it out and figure out why the events happened as they did. The author failed to mention that part because it didn’t fit his agenda. But I guess it is lost on Frontstretch readers that trashy writers will stir up any king of garbage that they can to sell more ad space.
The most entertaining part of the whole mess was listening to DW fumble and fart around trying to justify PeeWee crossing down to take Harvick out. If it had been ANY other driver, DW would have said “He intentionally wrecked him”; but since it was PeeWee Herman, all DW could muster was something like “I’m not sure what that was all about” !?!?! I guess it didn’t fit in with the oft-mentioned script for the show: “Kyle Busch at the HEIGHT OF HIS MATURITY”. What a sad, sick joke. As I’ve said before, why doesn’t DW just lean over and give PeeWee a big ole wet kiss and get it over with? Man, I can’t wait for the Fox part of the broadcast season to be over with!
Well this whole situation would make me laugh if it wasn’t so dangerous. I am just glad no one was hurt on pit road. I have said all along that Kyle Busch and Harvick are the two biggest jerks in all motorsports. I think they proved my point Saturday night. I would love to see them take each other out every week except that someone else might get hurt. There never was a “new” Kyle Busch. That was Joe Gibbs and Fox’s creation. Now we see how that played out. And Harvick is the same old jerk he always was too. Yes if it wasn’t for the fact that someone else could get hurt this would be hilarious!!! But someone else probably would get hurt and these two Bozos would never even care. That is the sad part.
Perfection – I knew this article was gonna be great when the first line was addressed to the blind DW. I don’t know what I was more angered about Saturday night. Kylebaby’s real personality coming out yet again, or DW’s overwhelming case of blindness towards his behavior. I guess this is what, round 5 of the “new Kyle Busch”???
I can’t wait for Dover!!! I’m sure there will be a lot of smashed metal after the race :)
While I usually agree with you, in this instance I believe you need to take off your blinders. (your hatred of Kyle is evident)
Kyle did many things to avoid any confrontion with Harvick (which would have had consciquences) and pushed Harvick’s car (as Happy stopped right in front of him) still trying to avoid a fight.
These are my 2 drivers. And they both acted like A$$E$ Sat. night.
I too am amazed at how ole DW tried to mitigate Kyle’s deliberate wrecking of Harvick which could have been way worse than what it was. There was plenty of cars behind Kyle and Harvick and it’s just amazing a lot of innocent drivers didn’t get caught up in Kyle’s Mess. Look, I know Harvick has had some problems too but in all honesty, that incident with Harvick and the pass he was trying to make when they got three wide and there was some bumping and rubbing going on looked like good tough hard nosed racing. But, remember Busch can touch anyone he wants to but you had better not ever, ever, touch him. We saw exactly why this spoiled rich kid brat is so hated Sat. Night. And, I want to personally give thanks to Rick Hendricks for dumping this little idiot brat. Sure, it may have cost him some wins but he stood up to Kyle and his personality and said I’m not going to put up with you. However, the good christian man Mr. Gibbs has no problem with Kyle as long as he can get win for him regardless of his antics or whatever. One of these days when Kyle pulls one of these stunts and Kyle gets somebody seriously hurt, crippled, or killed, wonder what ole DW and Kyle’s Fans will spin then. Nascar’s wonders what’s wrong with them and why the crowds or down. All they have to look at is Kyle. People are tired of going to races and watching him win because he is so disliked. Guess he fits in good with Gibb’s Racing. Remember the old saying “you’re known by the company you keep”. Gibbs Racing ought to remember this.
Larry, if there was a like button on these comments I would click it for your comment. Very well stated.
Geez, Larry, why don’t you tell us how you really fee? Look, these are 2 of my drivers and I like them both, and they did both act like asses the other night. But why are we making such a big deal out of it? Yes, Kyle made a mistake by running into Harvick’s unpiloted car, but remove that from the situation. Take away that one error in judgement and what do we have? We have the type of situation that makes race fans salivate. 2 drivers at the end of 500 going at it and getting a little physical, with a nice confrontation after the race for good measure. I’ll take that over “Well, I wanna thank Lowe’s and my guys and all the awesome competitors I compete against. NASCAR is the greatest sanctioning body ever. Thanks for coming to Auto Club Speedway.” The fact of the matter is, one judgement error has everybody up in arms over what would have been a great situation for the sport (not to mention Dover).
No one has really responded to the dead-on part of the article which described Kyle the Mature’s comments after the race. DW, et al continued to act like this was the “new and improved” #18. I have intuited all along that this was a handler’s creation, a sock puppet with a fake smile, like one of those e-mouths you used to see on Conan, lip-synching empty niceties. Most inauthentic person I ever witnessed. This time it was all on display, even though he had the fake mouth thing going. It was fakier than ever, and even though he didn’t storm off like he used to, boy driver’s words and attitude were a Mars Corp. demographic dream.
With ya on shrubber still just a punk…I to thought things were a changing… Other than the chicken stuff he should..My only problem is in that moment of panic some one on pit road could have been hurt …That boy & Harv are lucky
I’m glad I wasn’t the only one that noticed DW fumbling around trying to justify Kyle running over Harvick.
But then again, FOX is becoming quite the joke. I mean focusing on this altercation instead of Regan’s win just confirms to all that they don’t care about the racing but more about hyping up the race and their favorites. You wonder if JJ or Jr won the race, how they would have juggled that.
Anyway, they get their wish. They can hype up next weeks race all week now. For a network to put so much effort in hyping up a race, they sure blow it when it comes to actually broadcasting it.
Harvick has always been you get what you see. Childress has never sugar-coated Harvick’s rep. He’s a hot-head and doesn’t always do the PC thing.
But Krylebaby Busch wrecks anyone who touches him after bashing half the field. Kryle has been the subject of a major PR fest this season. They can spin all they want and make him the teacher’s pet. But he is the kid that runs roughshod over everyone until finally someone steps up and kicks his ass. I’m waiting…………..
After Darlington, I will not support the Joe Gibbs hypocrites. Joe Gibbs needs to speak to his drivers to clean up their acts or get out of Nascar. M&M should be ashamed to support the likes of Kyle Busch. Mars should go to better people. You do not need Kyle Busch. He is bad publicity for families and their kids. No more Mars products here. Fed Ex cry baby driver Hamlin. Go UPS for business. No more Home Depot. Lowes or Menards for hardware.
let’s not forget that kyle busch also destroyed bobby labonte’s car and put marcos ambrose into the wall on the last lap also because of idiotic driving.
Ur writing sums this situation up as well as anything ive read , definitely be a reader from now on ! Thnx
Fox did a terbbile job of showing the harvick/busch contact, comming off of turn 2 harvick came down 3-4 lanes and pushed kyle almost to the inside wall. Also harvick’s car got up to a whopping 5 mph, about the same speed Menard was going when he ran over his crew member.
okay, I’m tired of everyone being on Kyle’s case. Kyle didn’t do a thing wrong on the track(or at least, nothing Kevin wouldn’t have done).I’ll admit, the pit road thing was uncalled for but i mean… Kevin boxed him in and didn’t even have the decency to take his helmet off or let kyle get out. and how dare you say the “new kyle” wasn’t in darlington. he raced with respect and maturity all night long and it was paying off towards the end there. yeah he lost his temper but everyone does. and we all know even this kyle doesn’t have a very long fuse. you people make me sick,constantly letting your bias get in the way of your ability to think clearly. i knew the moment he didn’t do something poster-boyish, everyone would get on his case like they’re glued there. geez
Bush is a wussy. And so is Forehead Harvick. Looks like Bush never considered his only option – getting out of his car and kicking Harvicks butt. But neither one would have had the guts to take their hemlets off. What a joke. Bet NASCAR paid them a bonus for stirring up a little excitement. ‘HAVE AT IT BOYS’.
And just what the heck is a ‘cawshun’, anyway?No wonder people don’t waste time on this crappola anymore.
I guess Dana will have to take care of Kyle.
The only thing funnier than what happened on the track Saturday night is all of these idiots letting their hatred for Kyle show through. If he had gotten out of his car and started throwing punches, both with helmets on, they would have looked like a couple of morons. Instead Kyle bumped Harvicks car out of the way. First of all, no one seems to mention that maybe Harvick should not have left his vehicle unattended so he could throw a punch at a fellow driver. Secondly, Kyle made multiple attempts to avoid any conflict but Harvick wouldnt let it go. Thirdly, it doesnt matter if he wrecked him on purpose or not. Harvick hit him just a few laps earlier, and put him in the wall at homestead. Harvick didnt get in front of a microphone to announce his intentions and say “i parked your teammate” someone happened to over hear that comment. Harvick is no more of a man than any other driver out there. I simply cannot believe that a driver got out of his car to strike another is considered the lesser of the two aggressors in this situation. Absoulutel abhorent and completely biased writing. Finally, what the h3ll is all of this talk about how you people think the “new” kyle is not authentic. Of course its not authentic, but this is what you wanted! You hated the old kyle, too arrogant, too cocky, too rough around the edges, doesnt interview well, says the wrong things, blah blah blah blah blah. You got what you wished for! What Kyle Busch does in front of a mic is no different than any other jack a55 that stands up there. Dale Jr stumbles through interviews like he barely knows the english language and no one comments on his inability to communicate. Its time to decide once and for all what you want! If it were me, I would adapt to what the people paying $20 Million a year to sponsor my car wanted as well. You people are not the ones paying his salary. I tend to do what my boss wants as well.
You need to go out and pick some tulips.
matt’s the only one who said anything that made sense…(including the article writer)
Spot on, Matt.
All that these ‘writers’ have to do is bash Kyle and they’re instant stars, I guess.
All you Kryle Busch lovers need to reread his history….
Frankly, most comments I’ve read on here and other sites seemed to be more concerned with the pit road events. I was more concerned about how Kyle just blatenly took Harvick out in front of the field. Kyle should have at least been parked at that time but Nascar just does nothing and when some driver or innocent other driver gets caught up in Kyle’s Mess the blood will be on Nascar not Kyle because Nascar has done nothing. What a joke for the fines and double secret probation handed out today. Again, Nascar will have blood on their hands one day because of things like this.
Matt & Pat yall need to hang out together…I’ve never said ANYthing that was incorrect or biased against shrubber … The boy has incredible skill ..But he’s such an A’s Hole most folks will never see it…I Was just backing off my M7M’s ban (& Thx for supporting Nascar) The he turned back into the shrub (in every way) Comments do NOT = Your (yes both) comments where Your Bia’s is Quite Clear…Thx & Best To All Nascar Fan’s
& Larry I Completely agree …It will hurt the sport so bad right now.. & Why wait till some one’s hurt..& Both Partys have a ton O’ guilt here… Just one was worse…The hit (last one) was a really cheap shot considering the situation & than just man up after ya know …( miss the 70-90’s)