Kurt Busch to Attempt The Indianapolis-Charlotte Double
posted by Phil Allaway
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Andretti Autosport announced this morning that Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet in the Sprint Cup Series, will attempt the Indianapolis 500 in a fifth entry for the IndyCar Series team. Once the Indianapolis 500 is completed, Busch will fly from Indianapolis to Charlotte, jump in his No. 41 Chevrolet and compete in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Busch considers the opportunity to do the double as an old-school throwback moment.
“This is really to challenge myself within motorsports,” Busch said in Andretti Autosport’s press release. “Perhaps I am a bit of an old-school racer; a throwback, I guess. I enjoyed the era of drivers racing different cars and testing themselves in other series. It is tough to do now for a variety of factors, but when the opportunity is there, I want to do it. While NASCAR is my home, I have been fortunate to compete in Pro Stock on the NHRA circuit a number of years ago and test a V8 Supercar. This opportunity was a talk with Michael [Andretti] over dinner one night, a “What if,” and now it’s becoming a reality for me to drive in the Indy 500 with Andretti Autosport. It’s literally a dream come true. To go to the famous Brickyard with the iconic Andretti name, it doesn’t get much cooler or better than that.”
Busch will be doing the Indianapolis-Charlotte double as a Memorial Day mission to men and women serving in the U.S. Military via the Armed Forces Foundation. Fans can contribute to the cause by texting AFF to 50555 to donate $10.
Busch, who has never raced an IndyCar, passed Rookie Orientation at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last year during a test session. At the time, Busch was more or less testing the Dallara DW12 for fun.
Busch will be the fourth driver to attempt the Indianapolis-Charlotte double. John Andretti was the first driver to attempt it in 1994. After finishing four laps down in tenth in Indianapolis, Andretti crashed and had engine problems in the 600. Robby Gordon has attempted the double five times, most recently in 2004. However, Gordon failed to make it to Charlotte on time and did not start the 600 in 2000 (P.J. Jones started Gordon’s No. 13 Ford in that instance). Finally, Tony Stewart has attempted the double twice (most recently in 2001) and is the only driver to ever complete all 1100 miles. Neither of the three drivers has won either leg of the double. The best finishes are Stewart and Gordon’s sixth-place finishes at the Indianapolis 500 (although Gordon’s came in 2000, the year he didn’t make it to Charlotte in time to start the Coca-Cola 600), and Stewart’s fourth-place finish in the 2001 Coca-Cola 600.
Danica Patrick, Justin Allgaier Talk About Phoenix Incident
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
A disappointing start to the year for Danica Patrick won’t include continued conflict. Patrick met with rookie Justin Allgaier Sunday, shortly after the Phoenix Cup race after a wreck ruined both drivers’ days. Patrick, who was critical of the No. 51 car on the radio, claiming Allgaier was “driving all over the track” appeared receptive to a conversation that quickly settled differences over what will be a long season.
“She was just upset because she got involved in the crash that we had,’’ said Allgaier to the Motor Racing Network. “She says she’s been through this and that she felt like I needed to settle down at that point. I explained my position on why everything happened. I think she understood where I was coming from. It doesn’t fix either one of our racecars. It doesn’t fix either one of our days. Unfortunately, we were both having pretty decent days.’’
Allgaier wound up 30th due to the incident while Patrick was 36th. The incident, which was caused by Allgaier’s spin also involved the No. 32 team and Travis Kvapil, which wound up 38th after sustaining heavy damage.
Camping World Close to Extending Title Sponsorship of NCWTS
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Marcus Lemonis, CEO of Camping World, Grand Marshal of Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway, and star of CNBC’s “The Profit,” made the announcement over the weekend that the retailer is very close to announcing a deal that would continue its title sponsorship of NASCAR’s Truck Series. The original agreement with NASCAR is scheduled to conclude after the 2015 season.
According to the sanctioning body, no formal contract has been signed, but “the agreement between the two parties has proven to be a beneficial one.”
“In about a month, we’ll be announcing a significant extension to that contract. It’s been great for us,” said Camping World’s Lemonis in a statement. “The NASCAR relationship has worked well for Camping World. When we started, we had 35 stores. Now, we’re up to 120 stores. As we travel the country and we meet new customers in stores, they always are very appreciative of our relationship with NASCAR. It’s been good.”
Gaining a long-term commitment from Camping World to sponsor the Truck Series would be a relief for NASCAR, which is set to lose Nationwide Insurance as title sponsor for the NASCAR Nationwide Series at the end of the 2014 season. The sponsorship of the Cup Series by Sprint runs through 2016.
The NCWTS is back in action on March 29th at 2:30 PM (ET) when the trucks visit Martinsville Speedway in the Kroger 250, which can be seen on Fox Sports 1. Ratings for the season opener were up 11 percent.
Harvick Takes Win At Phoenix In Second Race With New Team
posted by Justin Tucker
Monday March 3, 2014
Phoenix International Raceway has become Kevin Harvick’s home away from home. Sunday Afternoon was no exception as Harvick charged to the front early and would dominate for much of the day, leading 224 of the scheduled 312 laps to record his record fifth win on the one mile oval and his third win in the last four races at Phoenix.
Harvick, coming off of a disappointing Speedweeks which was capped by a last lap crash in the Daytona 500 in his debut with Stewart-Haas Racing, set the tone on Saturday by winning both practices while having the best 5 and 10-lap averages in the first practice of the day on Saturday. On Sunday, Harvick and his No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet was nothing short of flawless as he was able to hold Dale Earnhardt, Jr. by .489 seconds after a late race restart to claim his 24th career Sprint Cup Series victory.
“Man, this is awesome,” Harvick said after his dominant victory on Sunday. “Man, this just solidifies so many things and so many decisions. It’s been so much work with all the time and effort that these guys (the crew) have put in—but what a race car.”
Stewart Haas Racing co-owner Gene Haas shared in Harvick’s excitement after the race.
“It took long enough,” Haas joked. “This is phenomenal. I think there was a lot of skepticism last year about what myself and Tony (Stewart) what we were up to, was there a lot of madness to this. Quite frankly, it’s a great team, there’s a lot of synergy at the shop, people working together. I don’t know what we did, but I think we put together a great organization.”
Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt, Jr. continued his hot start to the 2014 season. Earnhardt Jr. would finish second on Sunday, marking his seventh consecutive top 10 finish since the end of the 2013 season. Earnhardt Jr. was pleased with the effort after a coast-to-coast whirlwind week after winning his second Daytona 500 and also gave great praise to the efforts of Harvick and the No. 4 team.
“I’ve got to congratulate Kevin. Those guys were two-tenths faster than everyone all weekend in practice. They were just phenomenal,” Earnhardt said. “To be able to run with them all day was a big confidence builder for us.”
Joining Harvick and Earnhardt in the top 5 of The Profit on CNBC 500K were Brad Keselowski with his second consecutive top 3 run of 2014 in third. Keselowski’s Team Penske teammate Joey Logano would finish fourth, and Jeff Gordon would come home fifth in his No. 24 Pepsi Max Chevrolet.
Jimmie Johnson finished in sixth, followed by Ryan Newman with a nice rebound after Daytona in seventh. Carl Edwards would carry the banner for Roush Fenway Racing by finishing eighth, Kyle Busch was ninth, and Jamie McMurray would finish tenth.
A look at the Profit on CNBC 500K by the numbers. There were 14 lead changes among eight different drivers, there were eight cautions for 39 laps which slowed the race pace to 109.229 MPH.
Next Sunday, the Sprint Cup Series heads to Sin City and the Las Vegas Motor
Starting Lineup: The Profit On CNBC 500K
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday March 1, 2014
Drivers in RED (i) are those ineligible to collect Sprint Cup points
Daytona 500 TV Ratings Down
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Wednesday February 26, 2014
What was the longest weather delay in Daytona 500 history turned out to bring NASCAR lower ratings and TV viewership Sunday night than expected. According to a report Monday from FOX Sports, the 56th running of the Daytona 500 airing at 8 PM (ET) posted a 5.6/10 national household rating/share which averaged 9.3 million viewers. That’s down 44 percent from last year’s 9.9, easily making it the least-watched Daytona 500 of all-time.
Due to the six-hour, twenty-two minute rain delay in Daytona, the race was up against the primetime coverage of the Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony from Sochi, Russia on NBC (15.25 million viewers). FOX also reported that 69% of the pre-rain delay viewers of the race, which began at 1 PM (ET) kept tuning in.
In comparison, the 2013 Daytona 500 on FOX was the most-watched race in five years, posting a 9.9/22 rating/share, commanding 16.7 million viewers. The Daytona 500 in 2012, the first to ever be run on a Monday and in the primetime slot did a 7.7/13 overnight rating/share which resulted in 13.67 million households viewing the race according to Nielsen TV ratings data.
Earnhardt, Jr. Claims Second Daytona 500 Victory
posted by Justin Tucker
Wednesday February 26, 2014
Ten years is a long time. For Dale Earnhardt, Jr., it felt like an eternity. NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver endured many near misses and close calls at the Daytona 500 since his only win in the Great American Race in 2004. Earnhardt had finished second in two of his last three Daytona 500s coming into Sunday’s race. He was also riding the tail of a 55-race winless streak, dating back to Michigan in 2012.
However nothing would stop Dale Jr. on Sunday, not even a 6 hour and 22 minute rain delay from capturing his second Daytona 500 win. Earnhardt Jr. led a race-high 54 laps on the evening and used some timely drafting help from teammates Jimmie Johnson and, on the final restart, Jeff Gordon to separate from the pack and secure the victory.
“Winning this race is the greatest feeling that you could feel in this sport besides accepting the trophy for the championship,” said a jubilant Earnhardt after pulling into Victory Lane. “We could fight off battle after battle. We got a little help at the end there from Jeff to get away on the restart. This is amazing. I can’t believe this is happening. I never take this for granted, man because it doesn’t happen twice, let alone once.”
Aside from the race itself the big story of the race was the 6 hour and 22 minute red flag, which threatened to move the race to Monday evening (had the race been postponed, FOX Sports’ Chris Myers had tweeted that the race would resume at 5:00pm EST). However, Mother Nature would cooperate and would allow the race to be run under different conditions from which they practiced this week. Once the race resumed, the intensity picked up from the changing track conditions. This allowed the pack to race side-by-side and at times 3-wide up to seven rows deep.
Joining Earnhardt Jr. in the top 5 for the 2014 Daytona 500 were: Denny Hamlin who closed out a spectacular Speedweeks in second, Brad Keselowski in third, Jeff Gordon in fourth, and Jimmie Johnson who overcome two wrecks leading up to the 500 in fifth.
Rounding out the top 10 in the Daytona 500 were Matt Kenseth in sixth, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. in seventh and Greg Biffle would bring his No. 16 Ford home in eighth. Austin Dillon would come home ninth in his first Cup Series race in the iconic No. 3 for Richard Childress Racing, while Casey Mears would round out the top 10.
A couple of major contenders for the Daytona 500 win would see their hopes dashed early on as Martin Truex, Jr. would blow up just 30 laps into the race, relegating him to a 43rd-place finish in his debut for Furniture Row Racing. Crew chief Todd Berrier was already in Nashville for a test session before the race was even over. Kyle Busch, meanwhile would have a pit road violation just before halfway and would spend much of the race battling back from that mistake. Busch would eventually finish 19th after leading 19 laps.
Danica Patrick would also be bit by bad luck as she was caught up in a multi-car wreck on lap 145. Patrick would lead her second consecutive Daytona 500, but wouldn’t have the finish to show for it finishing 40th. Tony Stewart would encounter a frustrating evening as well, with a fuel pickup problem derailing his quest for his first Daytona 500 win. Stewart would finish 35th.
A look at the Daytona 500 by the numbers. There were 42 lead changes among 18 drivers, while seven cautions for 39 laps would slow the race pace to 145.290 MPH.
Next week, the Sprint Cup Series heads to the “diamond in the desert,” Phoenix International Raceway for The Profit on CNBC 500K. The Green flag is scheduled for 3:15pm EST.
Nationwide Series Post-Race Quotes: Drive4COPD 300
posted by Thomas Bowles
Tuesday February 25, 2014
Frontstretch Interviews – Courtesy Mike Neff
ELLIOTT SADLER – FINISHED 4th
Thoughts on the race?
It’s definitely a lot different racing than what we’re used to.
Comfortable with it?
Yeah, it’s just different. You’re worried about what you’re doing, but you’re also worried about what everyone else is doing and they’re not doing more than you’re doing. Physically pushing a guy is way better than just riding so you just gotta time it right and push it to the edge.
Happy to start the year with a top 5?
Yeah. Hell, that was the worst we ran all day, I think. I have no idea how they put the 3 car in front of us on that last restart. I hadn’t seen the 3 car hardly all day. When they put us from fifth to sixth, on the outside line, it just really boxed us in. I would have really restarted behind my teammate and given him a good push to the front. Anyways, it is what it is; we’ll take it and move on.
Looked like you were up front all day.
The guys did a good job. We had a fast race car. Great pit stops, just really proud of these guys. The car’s in one piece and we can take it to Talladega now. Great job by my guys. A lot of effort came into coming down here to Daytona and giving ourselves a shot to win. We had that chance to be up front and make some things happen. Fifth is not what we want, but we’ll take it and move on.
Bumping vs Pushing?
It’s way harder. You don’t want to lay on the guy in front of you, so it’s tough racing. A lot different than what we’re used to, ‘cause you gotta go. You gotta drag the brake too ‘cause you don’t want to hit the guys and you don’t want to stay on him. It’s a lot harder mentally than what we’ve done in the past.
Car was strong all day. Pushing vs. Bumping, is that harder to do than just getting on somebody and pushing them?
Yeah, it is a little bit. When you bump ‘em, you jar ‘em, it kinda jacks ‘em a little bit. It’s a little more abrupt, obviously. I thought it was OK there at the end. It was certainly fun and hopefully entertaining. But a little bit of a struggle in the early part of the race and the midpart of the race to see a good race. And that’s unfortunate for the fans. You can’t do that the whole race, you can’t tear up your stuff, knock your grill in, overheat your motor, all that stuff so there’s no sense in doing all that until you get down to the last lap. The 7 and the 6, they did a good job. Man, the 7 really held the 22 and I tight on the bottom. I was rubbing his door and hitting the apron at the same time, no room whatsoever. So it was good; wish we were the ones who could have won but a lot better now than what we were last year.
Going home in one piece makes it a lot better, right?
Yeah. My back feels good. My foot feels good. Past years here, I’ve been going home with pain so I’m alright.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Truck Series Post-Race Quotes: Daytona (Exclusives)
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday February 22, 2014
When you’re on the outside like that, how frustrating is it?
It’s so hard. Timothy Peters has won here. Kyle Busch has won everywhere. Ron Hornaday has been running Trucks forever, probably before I was even born. I was surrounded by veterans there, and like I told them I don’t have a rookie stripe but I’m a rookie. This is only my fourth Truck race ever, my fourth superspeedway race, and man, I figured out when the 17 got up in front of me, I pushed him. And as soon as I pushed him, he took off. And I went with him. And I just kept doing it, and before I knew it, he was leading. And I saw Ron in my mirror, backed up to him, and if it wasn’t for him, I don’t know what would have happened. I gotta thank him big time for that. That was a true teammate move right there. I really appreciate that. He just bounced off me and we got to the front. I tried my hardest to sidedraft Kyle. I was probably touching his door.
Top 5 in the No. 30 truck. This deal come together at the last minute, but you had a heck of a truck. Tell us about your night.
Yeah, I’ve got to thank Turner Scott Motorsports. The guys worked so hard on this Rheem Comfort Products Chevrolet. Exciting! Just got hung up on the outside and had to wait for my teammate there to catch up. And then he got to the bottom, so… I got the old 32 and started pushing ol’ Ryan to the front. So, it’s not bad. We’ll take it. You just don’t want to step over that boundary. You don’t know how far to push and shove. We bumped about six times down the straightaway without latching onto them. Hopefully, that was OK and we came home with a top 5.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Budweiser Duels Post Race Quotes
posted by Matt Stallknecht
Friday February 21, 2014
BUDWEISER DUELS POST-RACE QUOTES
They’re saying the wheel bearing burned up in it. I don’t know what caused it, they’re taking it all apart to figure out what the heck happened. Something abnormal that’s for sure I don’t think I’ve ever had that happen at all. Hopefully, we made the race and hopefully we can fix the problem before Sunday.
WHAT WAS THAT LOUD BOOM ONCE YOU TURNED INTO THE GARAGE?
Loud pop was a tire… thankfully, it popped, hopefully it didn’t hurt anybody. All the heat created in the left front that popped was pretty weird.
REALLY GOOD RUN. WHAT DID YOU THINK OF IT?
Yeah, it was good. We have a car we can work with for the 500. Got a good starting spot, so we’re going to rest easy, fluff and buff our car for a couple of days and get ready for Sunday.
ANY DIFFERENCE ON WHETHER THE TOP OR BOTTOM LANE WORKED?
Yeah, I was just moving around, trying to stay with the flow. For me, this car works on all parts of the racetrack. So I’m pretty happy with it.
DALE EARNHARDT, JR.
GOT SHUFFLED BACK, AFTER PIT STOPS AND THEN COULDN’T GET BACK UP TO THE FRONT. WHY?
Nah, we were just sitting there waiting until the last few laps to make a move. You didn’t want to pull down and get sent to the back. Seen a couple of guys get sent to the back really quick so we were just kind of waiting for the end. I felt like we had a good situation there with Ambrose behind us — we had a good run off Turn 2 and I went. It was the last lap, time to go do something, nobody went with us but hopefully Sunday is a different story.
We got a great car. We don’t have to work hard. We learned, we got a good race car. Got a car in one piece, ready to go so we’ll try and get through the next couple of practices, deliver it to the starting group this Sunday and we’ll be real happy.
YOU’RE IN THE DAYTONA 500!
Yeah, it’s pretty awesome. This Whitetail Chevrolet was so fast that I knew all I had to do was stick it behind smart, intelligent drafters and we could have a good finish. That’s what we did in the Duels and I’m excited. I’m excited to go do some stuff with the Nationwide car and have some more practice with this. But to know that we’re locked in the Daytona 500’s pretty cool.
YOU WERE OBVIOUSLY IN FRONT OF THAT MELEE AT THE END. WHEN YOU WERE UP FRONT THERE IN THE BEGINNING, WERE YOU HOPING TO JUST STAY IN LINE AND LET YOU FINISH TOP 5?
I was pretty content to ride and luckily I knew a lot of people around us were. It was nice to have a little calm and not really have to be racing hard the whole time. I knew that the pit stop was going to shake everything up and that’s exactly what happened. Fell back a little bit there but made the right moves at the end to get a good finish.
HOW STRONG ARE THESE RCR CARS?
They’re very strong! They definitely have the capabilities to be winning one of these races.
YOU’RE IN THE TOP 5 FOR YOUR HEAT IN THE DAYTONA 500. YOUR PRIMARY CAR IS SITTING RIGHT IN THE GARAGE, KIND OF WADDED UP. DID YOU THINK THIS ONE HAD IT IN IT?
Yeah, it’s a brand new car also. It’s just not quite as good as the primary but still a damned good car. I’m just proud of everybody at RCR for building such fast race cars. All of our cars have been fast, ECR motor’s been strong, even our affiliate teams have been qualifying really good and racing good. So… excited about 2014! It’s going to be a good year.
WELL MAN, YOU STARTED IN THE BACK BUT WORKED YOUR WAY TO THE FRONT WHEN IT COUNTED MOST. WERE YOU JUST BIDING YOUR TIME THROUGHOUT THE RACE?
Eh, you never know if you’re going to get back up there or not. We had to start at the back, we had to make a run early and see what we could do. We drove right to 10th, or something like that and then it got stagnant. We tried to make something happen, and went to the back again. Drove back up to the front. Again, just really proud of my guys. Matt Kruder did a hell of a job on that pit stop getting just enough gas in to gain some spots there.
RCR CARS SEEM PRETTY DARNED STRONG. DO YOU THINK THE RCR CARS HAVE SOMETHING FOR THEM ON SUNDAY — ESPECIALLY THE THREE JOE GIBBS RACING CARS THAT SEEM TO BE THE CLASS OF THE FIELD RIGHT NOW?
Oh yeah. The 20 car was extremely fast. The 11 didn’t qualify that good, but he’s a good drafter. I think he won. We definitely have something for him.
Check in with Matt and Jay on their site at CareyandCoffey.com.
Carl Edwards held on to win the 5 Hour Energy 200 at Dover on a rain-soaked Saturday afternoon, wrestling the lead from Joey Logano on lap 187, surviving three late race restarts and getting through a harrowing last lap crash unscathed that destroyed over a half dozen cars and sent Clint Bowyer airborne down the frontstretch, so high that his No. 33 machine nearly cleared the interior pit wall. Kyle Busch, Reed Sorenson, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and David Reutimann rounded out the top 5.
The race, which started nearly an hour late after rain canceled the series’ qualifying session earlier Saturday morning, saw the Roush Fenway Fords as the class of the field, with Edwards and Stenhouse combining to lead 120 of the 209 laps run. Two of the stouter cars in the field, the No. 18 of Busch and the No. 32 of Sorenson, were both damaged in an accordion accident entering pit road, leaving them unable to challenge the Mustangs and Logano, who proved to be Edwards’ stoutest competition as the laps wound down.
Justin Allgaier suffered his first DNF of 2011 after losing a right front and pounding the turn 3 wall while running in the top 10 on lap 140, relinquishing the points lead to Elliott Sadler, who finished sixth recovering from a pit road speeding penalty. Mike Bliss, driving the No. 14 after swapping rides with teammate Eric McClure for the weekend, scored a top 15 result that moved that team back into the top 30 after Scott Wimmer start-and-parked the No. 40 car.
Reed Sorenson’s third place finish was impressive enough in that it was his best finish of the 2011 season and best in Nationwide competition since Gateway last summer. But for perhaps the first time since Las Vegas, the No. 32 car actually ran like one capable of winning the race. Sorenson was a factor in the top 5 for much of the early portions of the race until incurring damage coming down pit road. Still, even with a wounded nose, Sorenson battled back into the top 10 and proved capable of running even with leaders including Clint Bowyer, eventually dodging the nasty last lap melee to move back into second in points, 10 markers behind new leader Elliott Sadler.
Speaking of Sadler, he had his own adversity to overcome after incurring a speeding penalty entering pit road under a lap 141 caution, and overcome the No. 2 team did. Finishing sixth for his seventh top 10 finish of the season (tops among NNS regulars) to take the points lead, Sadler capped a remarkable early season run that has seen his squad climb from 12th in points after Vegas to the front of the pack. And while Sadler came one position short of his seventh top 5 in eight races, the way the top 5 results are flowing for this bunch, they have to be considered the favorites among Nationwide regulars who will be the first to break through and win in 2011.
And then there’s Ricky Stenhouse Jr., who finished a disappointing fourth after leading 33 circuits. The fact that the Mississippi-native can feel disappointed after a top 5 run is remarkable given where he was a season ago. Stenhouse muscled the lead from teammate Carl Edwards almost immediately following the drop of the green flag Saturday afternoon, running away from both Edwards and Bowyer in the early going. Stenhouse eventually would fall back through the field as the car developed a loose handling condition that the team was unable to adjust out of over the course of the race. Still, the No. 6 team surged from running outside the top 10 to fourth following a red flag for rain on lap 145. The 33 laps led also marked the most Stenhouse has led in a NNS race since he paced the field for 46 circuits at Milwaukee back in 2009.
It had been nearly nine months since Justin Allgaier had failed to finish a Nationwide Series race, and bad luck couldn’t have chosen a more inopportune time to hit the No. 31 team. On a Saturday that title contenders Sadler, Sorenson, and Stenhouse all overcame adversity to deliver stout finishes, Allgaier saw what seemed a surefire top 10 finish go up in smoke on lap 140 when his right front tire expired, resulting in hard contact with the turn 3 wall that snapped the hood of his Chevrolet up over the windshield. The 29th place result was Allgaier’s worst since finishing 33rd with crash damage at Bristol last summer, dropping the 2009 Rookie of the Year from first to fifth in points.
MacDonald Motorsports is hardly a team that can afford to tear up equipment of any kind, yet by the end of the first lap at Dover the team had two mangled race cars to deal with. Heading down the backstretch for the first time Saturday, Mike Bliss made contact with the No. 81 of Donnie Neuenberger, sending his Dodge into a spin that put him right in the path…of teammate Blake Koch. The No. 82 team was unable to complete another circuit, while Neuenberger spent the remainder of Saturday hopping between the garage and the pits for repairs to run a few laps more. Koch finished 43rd, Neuenberger 33rd after completing 70 laps before his car was parked for failing to meet minimum speed.
Steve Wallace, Brian Scott and Michael Annett are all known to be close friends off of the race track, and three of the faces of Toyota’s development stable. Unfortunately, they’re also all becoming known for 2011 campaigns that have all been underwhelming at best. Wallace followed up his strongest run of the year at Darlington last weekend with a quiet 16th place result in his title sponsor’s race. Annett ran mired in traffic all day and spun of his own volition exiting turn 4 on lap 197 to put a cap on an unremarkable 20th place finish. And Brian Scott found the wall again, getting loose and losing control of his No. 11 exiting turn 4 on lap 47 and slamming headfirst into the interior frontstretch fence. Scott finished 29th, his third finish outside the top 20 in his last four starts.
Kevin Lepage’s return to a ride that’s allowing him to run the distance has so far not allowed for much of that. Two weeks removed from an engine failure at Richmond, the No. 52 car blew a tire only 20 laps into Saturday’s race, slamming the fence and leaving the Means Racing team with a finish they could have earned from start-and-parking, a distant 38th.
Kevin Swindell’s debut for Roush Fenway Racing behind the wheel of Trevor Bayne’s No. 16 was cut drastically short in one of the ugliest incidents stock car racing has seen in recent memory. After losing control of his No. 23 car exiting turn 2 and nosing his machine into the interior backstretch wall, Alex Kennedy attempted to loop his machine back around to get going. That being said, either Kennedy wasn’t paying attention, his spotter wasn’t paying attention, or, as the driver said in a post-crash interview, his car mechanically wouldn’t turn, because Kennedy pulled right into the path of Swindell’s Mustang under caution as he was accelerating to catch up to the field for pit stops. Swindell drilled right into Kennedy’s mangled machine, leaving both teams with heavily damaged race cars…and for Kennedy and his spotter, a trip to the NASCAR hauler. Swindell’s NNS debut was certainly a downer, but Kennedy’s gaffe was far more distressing.
Underdog Performer of the Race: Mike Wallace One can’t help but hand it to Mike Wallace…whenever one of his brothers or family member is out hogging the spotlight, he just outruns them. Who can forget the Wallace Family Tribute Race run back in 2005 that saw Mike run runner-up on a night custom designed to coincide with brother Rusty’s retirement tour? Saturday was more of the same; even with Rusty hawking 5-Hour Energy and Steve’s car carrying the race sponsor’s colors, Wallace stormed to a top 10 finish in JD Motorsports’ No. 01 car, his first of the 2011 season and first in Nationwide competition since Phoenix in the fall of 2008. To put it in more perspective, it was the first top 10 JD Motorsports has earned fielding the No. 01 entry, the first No. 01 car to score a top 10 since Jay Sauter did it at ORP with Duesenberg/Leik Motorsports back in the summer of 2006.
Start-and-parkers occupied 7 of the 43 spots in Saturday’s field, taking home $84,670 in purse money.
Cup regulars won Saturday’s race, scored 3 of the top 10 finishing positions (would have scored 6 if not for the last lap wreck), occupied 7 of the 43 spots in Saturday’s field, and took home $144,943 in purse money.
146 of 468 starting positions occupied (32.7%)
The Final Word
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Great report! Everything seems fine for ESPN and the Cup drivers wearing rose tinted glasses. Glad to see the other side of the garage have some coverage to see the true state of the series.
Carl and Kyle, who steal most of the money and the trophies in Nationwide. Bet their wives are real proud of them.
After the end of the race, ESPN’s Jaimie Little was interviewing Logano, Boyer, and Keselowski after they were released from the care center. There was a monitor handy and she showed Boyer and Logano a replay of the final lap leading up to the big wreck. Logano blamed the shark fin on the back of the car that causes the car to wiggle if someone gets beside you. Why wasn’t Big Bad Brad shown the monitor? I know the guy’s a total jerk and a punk, but maybe if he had of been shown a replay, maybe he wouldn’t have shot off his mouth about Edwards driving so hard! After all, what is Carl supposed to do, just move over and let Joey go? If I had a driver who didn’t do everything he could do to win and when it came down to the last lap and he just moved over and let the other driver win, he wouldn’t be driving for me for very long. Get a life Brad! You’re not all that great!
I know the Cup drivers in Nationwide are a bane to most fans, but Congratulations to Edwards yesterday. what i don’t understand though, was when he found out that he didn’t touch Logano, why didn’t he jump up onto the car and do his signature back flip in Victory Lane? Carl! You owe us a back flip!
Ken you are right in that Brad didn’t have the benefit of a replay when assessing what happened in the big crash. Add that to the fact that he had a microphone shoved in his face immediately folowing an incident which ended a pretty good run for the #22, and you can understand why he may have come off like a jerk. And for the record, Brad and Carl have exactly the same number of Nascar series titles.
I was impressed that Carl was concerned that he may have caused the accident by hitting Logano. Replays proved he didn’t, but it was nice to see him pull up to Logano’s car to make sure Joey was okay and to get Logano’s take on what happened. with the last few weeks as illustration of how drivers can be such jerks, it was refreshing to see a driver act like an adult.
Couldn’t believe that when the MacDonald Motorsports team cars of Donnie Neuenberger and Blake Koch were torn up in the same accident – that the ESPN reporters made no mention whatsoever of them being team cars!! Until reading this article, I wasn’t sure that they were – but it appeared to be so with the same blue and yellow color, and the consecutive numbers 81 and 82. Should have been some interesting commentary from the announcers. Once again, ESPN drops the ball!!
@ JOE… Yes, I’ll bet Carl and Kyle’s wive’s are real proud of them, all the way to the bank!!
Joey got loose because he had to go so far up the racetrack to keep carl from hitting him. Carl seems to be in a lot of wrecks coming to the finish. Bad loser.
Mike is my favorite Wallace, but he was still beaten by Kenny. And both only came away with top 10s because five cars in front of them wrecked on the last lap. Good runs nonetheless, but a huge amount of luck.