Kurt Busch to Attempt The Indianapolis-Charlotte Double
posted by Phil Allaway
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Andretti Autosport announced this morning that Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet in the Sprint Cup Series, will attempt the Indianapolis 500 in a fifth entry for the IndyCar Series team. Once the Indianapolis 500 is completed, Busch will fly from Indianapolis to Charlotte, jump in his No. 41 Chevrolet and compete in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Busch considers the opportunity to do the double as an old-school throwback moment.
“This is really to challenge myself within motorsports,” Busch said in Andretti Autosport’s press release. “Perhaps I am a bit of an old-school racer; a throwback, I guess. I enjoyed the era of drivers racing different cars and testing themselves in other series. It is tough to do now for a variety of factors, but when the opportunity is there, I want to do it. While NASCAR is my home, I have been fortunate to compete in Pro Stock on the NHRA circuit a number of years ago and test a V8 Supercar. This opportunity was a talk with Michael [Andretti] over dinner one night, a “What if,” and now it’s becoming a reality for me to drive in the Indy 500 with Andretti Autosport. It’s literally a dream come true. To go to the famous Brickyard with the iconic Andretti name, it doesn’t get much cooler or better than that.”
Busch will be doing the Indianapolis-Charlotte double as a Memorial Day mission to men and women serving in the U.S. Military via the Armed Forces Foundation. Fans can contribute to the cause by texting AFF to 50555 to donate $10.
Busch, who has never raced an IndyCar, passed Rookie Orientation at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last year during a test session. At the time, Busch was more or less testing the Dallara DW12 for fun.
Busch will be the fourth driver to attempt the Indianapolis-Charlotte double. John Andretti was the first driver to attempt it in 1994. After finishing four laps down in tenth in Indianapolis, Andretti crashed and had engine problems in the 600. Robby Gordon has attempted the double five times, most recently in 2004. However, Gordon failed to make it to Charlotte on time and did not start the 600 in 2000 (P.J. Jones started Gordon’s No. 13 Ford in that instance). Finally, Tony Stewart has attempted the double twice (most recently in 2001) and is the only driver to ever complete all 1100 miles. Neither of the three drivers has won either leg of the double. The best finishes are Stewart and Gordon’s sixth-place finishes at the Indianapolis 500 (although Gordon’s came in 2000, the year he didn’t make it to Charlotte in time to start the Coca-Cola 600), and Stewart’s fourth-place finish in the 2001 Coca-Cola 600.
Danica Patrick, Justin Allgaier Talk About Phoenix Incident
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
A disappointing start to the year for Danica Patrick won’t include continued conflict. Patrick met with rookie Justin Allgaier Sunday, shortly after the Phoenix Cup race after a wreck ruined both drivers’ days. Patrick, who was critical of the No. 51 car on the radio, claiming Allgaier was “driving all over the track” appeared receptive to a conversation that quickly settled differences over what will be a long season.
“She was just upset because she got involved in the crash that we had,’’ said Allgaier to the Motor Racing Network. “She says she’s been through this and that she felt like I needed to settle down at that point. I explained my position on why everything happened. I think she understood where I was coming from. It doesn’t fix either one of our racecars. It doesn’t fix either one of our days. Unfortunately, we were both having pretty decent days.’’
Allgaier wound up 30th due to the incident while Patrick was 36th. The incident, which was caused by Allgaier’s spin also involved the No. 32 team and Travis Kvapil, which wound up 38th after sustaining heavy damage.
Camping World Close to Extending Title Sponsorship of NCWTS
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Marcus Lemonis, CEO of Camping World, Grand Marshal of Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway, and star of CNBC’s “The Profit,” made the announcement over the weekend that the retailer is very close to announcing a deal that would continue its title sponsorship of NASCAR’s Truck Series. The original agreement with NASCAR is scheduled to conclude after the 2015 season.
According to the sanctioning body, no formal contract has been signed, but “the agreement between the two parties has proven to be a beneficial one.”
“In about a month, we’ll be announcing a significant extension to that contract. It’s been great for us,” said Camping World’s Lemonis in a statement. “The NASCAR relationship has worked well for Camping World. When we started, we had 35 stores. Now, we’re up to 120 stores. As we travel the country and we meet new customers in stores, they always are very appreciative of our relationship with NASCAR. It’s been good.”
Gaining a long-term commitment from Camping World to sponsor the Truck Series would be a relief for NASCAR, which is set to lose Nationwide Insurance as title sponsor for the NASCAR Nationwide Series at the end of the 2014 season. The sponsorship of the Cup Series by Sprint runs through 2016.
The NCWTS is back in action on March 29th at 2:30 PM (ET) when the trucks visit Martinsville Speedway in the Kroger 250, which can be seen on Fox Sports 1. Ratings for the season opener were up 11 percent.
Harvick Takes Win At Phoenix In Second Race With New Team
posted by Justin Tucker
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Phoenix International Raceway has become Kevin Harvick’s home away from home. Sunday Afternoon was no exception as Harvick charged to the front early and would dominate for much of the day, leading 224 of the scheduled 312 laps to record his record fifth win on the one mile oval and his third win in the last four races at Phoenix.
Harvick, coming off of a disappointing Speedweeks which was capped by a last lap crash in the Daytona 500 in his debut with Stewart-Haas Racing, set the tone on Saturday by winning both practices while having the best 5 and 10-lap averages in the first practice of the day on Saturday. On Sunday, Harvick and his No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet was nothing short of flawless as he was able to hold Dale Earnhardt, Jr. by .489 seconds after a late race restart to claim his 24th career Sprint Cup Series victory.
“Man, this is awesome,” Harvick said after his dominant victory on Sunday. “Man, this just solidifies so many things and so many decisions. It’s been so much work with all the time and effort that these guys (the crew) have put in—but what a race car.”
Stewart Haas Racing co-owner Gene Haas shared in Harvick’s excitement after the race.
“It took long enough,” Haas joked. “This is phenomenal. I think there was a lot of skepticism last year about what myself and Tony (Stewart) what we were up to, was there a lot of madness to this. Quite frankly, it’s a great team, there’s a lot of synergy at the shop, people working together. I don’t know what we did, but I think we put together a great organization.”
Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt, Jr. continued his hot start to the 2014 season. Earnhardt Jr. would finish second on Sunday, marking his seventh consecutive top 10 finish since the end of the 2013 season. Earnhardt Jr. was pleased with the effort after a coast-to-coast whirlwind week after winning his second Daytona 500 and also gave great praise to the efforts of Harvick and the No. 4 team.
“I’ve got to congratulate Kevin. Those guys were two-tenths faster than everyone all weekend in practice. They were just phenomenal,” Earnhardt said. “To be able to run with them all day was a big confidence builder for us.”
Joining Harvick and Earnhardt in the top 5 of The Profit on CNBC 500K were Brad Keselowski with his second consecutive top 3 run of 2014 in third. Keselowski’s Team Penske teammate Joey Logano would finish fourth, and Jeff Gordon would come home fifth in his No. 24 Pepsi Max Chevrolet.
Jimmie Johnson finished in sixth, followed by Ryan Newman with a nice rebound after Daytona in seventh. Carl Edwards would carry the banner for Roush Fenway Racing by finishing eighth, Kyle Busch was ninth, and Jamie McMurray would finish tenth.
A look at the Profit on CNBC 500K by the numbers. There were 14 lead changes among eight different drivers, there were eight cautions for 39 laps which slowed the race pace to 109.229 MPH.
Next Sunday, the Sprint Cup Series heads to Sin City and the Las Vegas Motor
Starting Lineup: The Profit On CNBC 500K
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday March 1, 2014
Drivers in RED (i) are those ineligible to collect Sprint Cup points
Daytona 500 TV Ratings Down
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Wednesday February 26, 2014
What was the longest weather delay in Daytona 500 history turned out to bring NASCAR lower ratings and TV viewership Sunday night than expected. According to a report Monday from FOX Sports, the 56th running of the Daytona 500 airing at 8 PM (ET) posted a 5.6/10 national household rating/share which averaged 9.3 million viewers. That’s down 44 percent from last year’s 9.9, easily making it the least-watched Daytona 500 of all-time.
Due to the six-hour, twenty-two minute rain delay in Daytona, the race was up against the primetime coverage of the Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony from Sochi, Russia on NBC (15.25 million viewers). FOX also reported that 69% of the pre-rain delay viewers of the race, which began at 1 PM (ET) kept tuning in.
In comparison, the 2013 Daytona 500 on FOX was the most-watched race in five years, posting a 9.9/22 rating/share, commanding 16.7 million viewers. The Daytona 500 in 2012, the first to ever be run on a Monday and in the primetime slot did a 7.7/13 overnight rating/share which resulted in 13.67 million households viewing the race according to Nielsen TV ratings data.
Earnhardt, Jr. Claims Second Daytona 500 Victory
posted by Justin Tucker
Wednesday February 26, 2014
Ten years is a long time. For Dale Earnhardt, Jr., it felt like an eternity. NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver endured many near misses and close calls at the Daytona 500 since his only win in the Great American Race in 2004. Earnhardt had finished second in two of his last three Daytona 500s coming into Sunday’s race. He was also riding the tail of a 55-race winless streak, dating back to Michigan in 2012.
However nothing would stop Dale Jr. on Sunday, not even a 6 hour and 22 minute rain delay from capturing his second Daytona 500 win. Earnhardt Jr. led a race-high 54 laps on the evening and used some timely drafting help from teammates Jimmie Johnson and, on the final restart, Jeff Gordon to separate from the pack and secure the victory.
“Winning this race is the greatest feeling that you could feel in this sport besides accepting the trophy for the championship,” said a jubilant Earnhardt after pulling into Victory Lane. “We could fight off battle after battle. We got a little help at the end there from Jeff to get away on the restart. This is amazing. I can’t believe this is happening. I never take this for granted, man because it doesn’t happen twice, let alone once.”
Aside from the race itself the big story of the race was the 6 hour and 22 minute red flag, which threatened to move the race to Monday evening (had the race been postponed, FOX Sports’ Chris Myers had tweeted that the race would resume at 5:00pm EST). However, Mother Nature would cooperate and would allow the race to be run under different conditions from which they practiced this week. Once the race resumed, the intensity picked up from the changing track conditions. This allowed the pack to race side-by-side and at times 3-wide up to seven rows deep.
Joining Earnhardt Jr. in the top 5 for the 2014 Daytona 500 were: Denny Hamlin who closed out a spectacular Speedweeks in second, Brad Keselowski in third, Jeff Gordon in fourth, and Jimmie Johnson who overcome two wrecks leading up to the 500 in fifth.
Rounding out the top 10 in the Daytona 500 were Matt Kenseth in sixth, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. in seventh and Greg Biffle would bring his No. 16 Ford home in eighth. Austin Dillon would come home ninth in his first Cup Series race in the iconic No. 3 for Richard Childress Racing, while Casey Mears would round out the top 10.
A couple of major contenders for the Daytona 500 win would see their hopes dashed early on as Martin Truex, Jr. would blow up just 30 laps into the race, relegating him to a 43rd-place finish in his debut for Furniture Row Racing. Crew chief Todd Berrier was already in Nashville for a test session before the race was even over. Kyle Busch, meanwhile would have a pit road violation just before halfway and would spend much of the race battling back from that mistake. Busch would eventually finish 19th after leading 19 laps.
Danica Patrick would also be bit by bad luck as she was caught up in a multi-car wreck on lap 145. Patrick would lead her second consecutive Daytona 500, but wouldn’t have the finish to show for it finishing 40th. Tony Stewart would encounter a frustrating evening as well, with a fuel pickup problem derailing his quest for his first Daytona 500 win. Stewart would finish 35th.
A look at the Daytona 500 by the numbers. There were 42 lead changes among 18 drivers, while seven cautions for 39 laps would slow the race pace to 145.290 MPH.
Next week, the Sprint Cup Series heads to the “diamond in the desert,” Phoenix International Raceway for The Profit on CNBC 500K. The Green flag is scheduled for 3:15pm EST.
Nationwide Series Post-Race Quotes: Drive4COPD 300
posted by Thomas Bowles
Tuesday February 25, 2014
Frontstretch Interviews – Courtesy Mike Neff
ELLIOTT SADLER – FINISHED 4th
Thoughts on the race?
It’s definitely a lot different racing than what we’re used to.
Comfortable with it?
Yeah, it’s just different. You’re worried about what you’re doing, but you’re also worried about what everyone else is doing and they’re not doing more than you’re doing. Physically pushing a guy is way better than just riding so you just gotta time it right and push it to the edge.
Happy to start the year with a top 5?
Yeah. Hell, that was the worst we ran all day, I think. I have no idea how they put the 3 car in front of us on that last restart. I hadn’t seen the 3 car hardly all day. When they put us from fifth to sixth, on the outside line, it just really boxed us in. I would have really restarted behind my teammate and given him a good push to the front. Anyways, it is what it is; we’ll take it and move on.
Looked like you were up front all day.
The guys did a good job. We had a fast race car. Great pit stops, just really proud of these guys. The car’s in one piece and we can take it to Talladega now. Great job by my guys. A lot of effort came into coming down here to Daytona and giving ourselves a shot to win. We had that chance to be up front and make some things happen. Fifth is not what we want, but we’ll take it and move on.
Bumping vs Pushing?
It’s way harder. You don’t want to lay on the guy in front of you, so it’s tough racing. A lot different than what we’re used to, ‘cause you gotta go. You gotta drag the brake too ‘cause you don’t want to hit the guys and you don’t want to stay on him. It’s a lot harder mentally than what we’ve done in the past.
Car was strong all day. Pushing vs. Bumping, is that harder to do than just getting on somebody and pushing them?
Yeah, it is a little bit. When you bump ‘em, you jar ‘em, it kinda jacks ‘em a little bit. It’s a little more abrupt, obviously. I thought it was OK there at the end. It was certainly fun and hopefully entertaining. But a little bit of a struggle in the early part of the race and the midpart of the race to see a good race. And that’s unfortunate for the fans. You can’t do that the whole race, you can’t tear up your stuff, knock your grill in, overheat your motor, all that stuff so there’s no sense in doing all that until you get down to the last lap. The 7 and the 6, they did a good job. Man, the 7 really held the 22 and I tight on the bottom. I was rubbing his door and hitting the apron at the same time, no room whatsoever. So it was good; wish we were the ones who could have won but a lot better now than what we were last year.
Going home in one piece makes it a lot better, right?
Yeah. My back feels good. My foot feels good. Past years here, I’ve been going home with pain so I’m alright.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Truck Series Post-Race Quotes: Daytona (Exclusives)
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday February 22, 2014
When you’re on the outside like that, how frustrating is it?
It’s so hard. Timothy Peters has won here. Kyle Busch has won everywhere. Ron Hornaday has been running Trucks forever, probably before I was even born. I was surrounded by veterans there, and like I told them I don’t have a rookie stripe but I’m a rookie. This is only my fourth Truck race ever, my fourth superspeedway race, and man, I figured out when the 17 got up in front of me, I pushed him. And as soon as I pushed him, he took off. And I went with him. And I just kept doing it, and before I knew it, he was leading. And I saw Ron in my mirror, backed up to him, and if it wasn’t for him, I don’t know what would have happened. I gotta thank him big time for that. That was a true teammate move right there. I really appreciate that. He just bounced off me and we got to the front. I tried my hardest to sidedraft Kyle. I was probably touching his door.
Top 5 in the No. 30 truck. This deal come together at the last minute, but you had a heck of a truck. Tell us about your night.
Yeah, I’ve got to thank Turner Scott Motorsports. The guys worked so hard on this Rheem Comfort Products Chevrolet. Exciting! Just got hung up on the outside and had to wait for my teammate there to catch up. And then he got to the bottom, so… I got the old 32 and started pushing ol’ Ryan to the front. So, it’s not bad. We’ll take it. You just don’t want to step over that boundary. You don’t know how far to push and shove. We bumped about six times down the straightaway without latching onto them. Hopefully, that was OK and we came home with a top 5.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Budweiser Duels Post Race Quotes
posted by Matt Stallknecht
Friday February 21, 2014
BUDWEISER DUELS POST-RACE QUOTES
They’re saying the wheel bearing burned up in it. I don’t know what caused it, they’re taking it all apart to figure out what the heck happened. Something abnormal that’s for sure I don’t think I’ve ever had that happen at all. Hopefully, we made the race and hopefully we can fix the problem before Sunday.
WHAT WAS THAT LOUD BOOM ONCE YOU TURNED INTO THE GARAGE?
Loud pop was a tire… thankfully, it popped, hopefully it didn’t hurt anybody. All the heat created in the left front that popped was pretty weird.
REALLY GOOD RUN. WHAT DID YOU THINK OF IT?
Yeah, it was good. We have a car we can work with for the 500. Got a good starting spot, so we’re going to rest easy, fluff and buff our car for a couple of days and get ready for Sunday.
ANY DIFFERENCE ON WHETHER THE TOP OR BOTTOM LANE WORKED?
Yeah, I was just moving around, trying to stay with the flow. For me, this car works on all parts of the racetrack. So I’m pretty happy with it.
DALE EARNHARDT, JR.
GOT SHUFFLED BACK, AFTER PIT STOPS AND THEN COULDN’T GET BACK UP TO THE FRONT. WHY?
Nah, we were just sitting there waiting until the last few laps to make a move. You didn’t want to pull down and get sent to the back. Seen a couple of guys get sent to the back really quick so we were just kind of waiting for the end. I felt like we had a good situation there with Ambrose behind us — we had a good run off Turn 2 and I went. It was the last lap, time to go do something, nobody went with us but hopefully Sunday is a different story.
We got a great car. We don’t have to work hard. We learned, we got a good race car. Got a car in one piece, ready to go so we’ll try and get through the next couple of practices, deliver it to the starting group this Sunday and we’ll be real happy.
YOU’RE IN THE DAYTONA 500!
Yeah, it’s pretty awesome. This Whitetail Chevrolet was so fast that I knew all I had to do was stick it behind smart, intelligent drafters and we could have a good finish. That’s what we did in the Duels and I’m excited. I’m excited to go do some stuff with the Nationwide car and have some more practice with this. But to know that we’re locked in the Daytona 500’s pretty cool.
YOU WERE OBVIOUSLY IN FRONT OF THAT MELEE AT THE END. WHEN YOU WERE UP FRONT THERE IN THE BEGINNING, WERE YOU HOPING TO JUST STAY IN LINE AND LET YOU FINISH TOP 5?
I was pretty content to ride and luckily I knew a lot of people around us were. It was nice to have a little calm and not really have to be racing hard the whole time. I knew that the pit stop was going to shake everything up and that’s exactly what happened. Fell back a little bit there but made the right moves at the end to get a good finish.
HOW STRONG ARE THESE RCR CARS?
They’re very strong! They definitely have the capabilities to be winning one of these races.
YOU’RE IN THE TOP 5 FOR YOUR HEAT IN THE DAYTONA 500. YOUR PRIMARY CAR IS SITTING RIGHT IN THE GARAGE, KIND OF WADDED UP. DID YOU THINK THIS ONE HAD IT IN IT?
Yeah, it’s a brand new car also. It’s just not quite as good as the primary but still a damned good car. I’m just proud of everybody at RCR for building such fast race cars. All of our cars have been fast, ECR motor’s been strong, even our affiliate teams have been qualifying really good and racing good. So… excited about 2014! It’s going to be a good year.
WELL MAN, YOU STARTED IN THE BACK BUT WORKED YOUR WAY TO THE FRONT WHEN IT COUNTED MOST. WERE YOU JUST BIDING YOUR TIME THROUGHOUT THE RACE?
Eh, you never know if you’re going to get back up there or not. We had to start at the back, we had to make a run early and see what we could do. We drove right to 10th, or something like that and then it got stagnant. We tried to make something happen, and went to the back again. Drove back up to the front. Again, just really proud of my guys. Matt Kruder did a hell of a job on that pit stop getting just enough gas in to gain some spots there.
RCR CARS SEEM PRETTY DARNED STRONG. DO YOU THINK THE RCR CARS HAVE SOMETHING FOR THEM ON SUNDAY — ESPECIALLY THE THREE JOE GIBBS RACING CARS THAT SEEM TO BE THE CLASS OF THE FIELD RIGHT NOW?
Oh yeah. The 20 car was extremely fast. The 11 didn’t qualify that good, but he’s a good drafter. I think he won. We definitely have something for him.
Check in with Matt and Jay on their site at CareyandCoffey.com.
Bryan Davis Keith · Tuesday May 17, 2011
ONE: Entries Dropping Like Flies Heading Into Summer
As Spring turns to Summer on the NASCAR circuit, dwindling sponsorship is making car count in each of its top three series an emerging issue. Scott Wimmer’s home in the No. 40 Nationwide Series car for Key Motorsports has become a start-and-park ride, and whether the team will even continue to show up at the track remains to be seen (the driver for Iowa is listed as TBA, while radio communications by the team this past weekend at Dover suggest they might not even show up). On that same Nationwide Series circuit, the No. 79 of Tim Andrews and the 2nd Chance Race Parts team is nowhere to be found. Meanwhile, over on the Cup side, Robby Gordon’s No. 7 car joined the start-and-park brigade at Dover, with no sign of any new backing to add to the SPEED Energy Drink money that’s kept the team afloat this long.
While the Truck Series is bursting at the seams, with 43 entries for its 36 slots this Friday night in Charlotte, the full field battle that the Cup and Nationwide Series have been waging week after week since Daytona is about to intensify. This time of the year, with nearly a dozen races having been run and all the excitement of the earlier parts of the year giving way to the toil of the grind, there’s plenty of teams out there that started 2011 ready to give it a shot… and now, three months later, that shot’s not translating into sponsor dollars.
The entries listed above may well prove to be the tip of an approaching iceberg.
TWO: Brad Keselowski Losing Credibility with Torrent of Talk
Video replays showed that the violent wreck to end Saturday’s Nationwide Series race at Dover was not caused, as it first appeared, by Carl Edwards pushing up into Joey Logano. Rather, though the two cars came close, Logano hit the turn 4 wall and triggered the melee on his own volition, a revelation that had Edwards seemingly relieved after seeing the carnage of the crash nearly flip Clint Bowyer and send Brad Keselowski hard headfirst into the frontstretch wall. Still, the reigning Nationwide Series champ found a way to pin blame on one of his fiercest rivals, accusing Edwards of intentionally causing the wreck by using an “air bubble” to force Logano loose and into a tailspin.
Huh? Apparently struggling in Cup and not running for a Nationwide title have left a pretty big void in the life of the Penske driver if he’s having to reach that far to start a controversy. There was no contact, something video conclusively proved. So Edwards used aerodynamics to force his opponent into a bad spot. And? The problem here is? Like it or not, Edwards did absolutely nothing wrong on Saturday (if you’ll excuse his racing in the minors in the first place). It’s up to Logano, not his competitor to keep that car under control.
For Keselowski, besides the “duh” side of the point he posed with his post-race comments Saturday, a bigger problem comes in that making such ludicrous complaints about competitors is going to reduce credibility… which, if his second set of statements made Saturday were true, could pose a problem. Because according to Brad, Kyle Busch, probation or not, went after Keselowski under a late-race caution. This writer did not see the events in question transpire when at the track on Saturday, but if the remarks are true, then NASCAR’s got a predicament on their hands that will require public clarification; Brad’s got to watch his back and do what he has to do to keep Rowdy at bay, while Busch is thumbing his nose at the penalties laid down as a result of Darlington transgressions.
Problem for Brad is, with the incident he’s referring to not one that was blatantly obvious to the public eye, any action NASCAR’s going to take has to be based on the credibility of his account. Blasting Carl Edwards for intentionally manipulating air to cause a wreck doesn’t scream objectivity or impropriety; it suggests saying what he has to to paint a bitter foe in a bad light. Who’s to say the same doesn’t hold true for Kyle?
THREE: David Stremme Forgoes Top 10 NNS Ride…for Backmarker Cup Car?
Making his debut with the ML Motorsports Nationwide team at Richmond a few weeks back, David Stremme delivered a top-10 finish that was just the latest feather in the cap of a team that, since moving from the ARCA ranks has defied the odds, remaining competitive as a single-car, part-time independent operation. Yet, as the Nationwide Series heads to Iowa, Stremme is sitting out of that ride he took over just two races ago, handing the keys to Scott Wimmer while he runs the Sprint All-Star Race for fledgling Inception Motorsports. Haven’t heard of them? That’s not surprising; it’s a Cup team that start-and-parked the last two events since running the distance in their debut at RIR earlier this month.
It’s hard to know what to make of the move if it’s not contractual. The chances of the No. 30 actually racing their way into the All-Star Race are less than a snowball’s chance in hell, while the No. 70 car out in Iowa will be running on a track similar to the same RIR oval that saw the team score a competitive, top-10 result.
Contractual obligation? An overwhelming desire to be in Cup above all else? Or maybe Stremme made his choice because, based on 2010 numbers, last place in the Showdown paid better than Shelby Howard got for finishing 12th in that same No. 70 car at Iowa? That’s not a knock on Stremme or on the Showdown. It’s more a reflection of just how ridiculous the Nationwide Series current purses are given the expenses of running a 35-race schedule coast-to-coast with a car still being developed.
FOUR: Ty Dillon Builds Momentum, Hit List, at Toledo
There was absolutely no arguing with Ty Dillon being the overwhelming favorite to win the 2011 ARCA Racing Series crown. Having won two of his three debut starts in the series, including the season finale at Rockingham, a driver many consider to be even more talented than older brother Austin (who’s no slouch) with the full backing of Richard Childress Racing behind him couldn’t really ask for a more opportune situation to score a title. Simply showing up at the race track would be a championship statement enough for one of the most powerhouse combinations ARCA has seen in recent memory.
But that apparently wasn’t enough for Dillon, who turned the ARCA Series upside down on Sunday afternoon at Toledo Speedway. While heading towards his second win of 2011, he pulled the unthinkable: spinning nine-time champion Frank Kimmel from the race lead en route to his first ARCA triumph on a short track. The incident left the usually level-headed Kimmel hot under the collar (reports are he knocked the checkered flag from Dillon’s hands when the two met face-to-face), while the youngster made no attempt to deny that he had knocked around perhaps the greatest short-tracker the series has ever seen.
Simply a case of youthful exuberance? There certainly doesn’t seem to be any malice behind Dillon’s actions… he apologized in Victory Lane and mentioned that he, like just about every development driver to enter ARCA Racing, had gotten a great deal of advice from elder statesman Kimmel. But whether this one will turn into an “awaken a sleeping giant” moment remains to be seen. After an uncharacteristically strong showing at both Daytona and Talladega, Kimmel has gotten two of his three worst races of the year out of the way while keeping Dillon in check. The series knocks out its one road course in New Jersey this weekend, and barring disaster for Kimmel in that race Dillon will still be within striking distance for a veteran still seeking his first title driving for his own team.
Following New Jersey, Dillon will likely have a leg up the next three races at Chicago, Pocono and Michigan, three ovals that his RCR crew will be prepared for backwards and forwards. But from there, the summer homestretch for the ARCA Racing Series is all Midwestern short tracks, dirt tracks, etc…venues that Kimmel has made a career on. What’s more, that veteran’s not the only driver upset with the RCR prospect… Matt Merrell voiced his displeasure with the No. 41 team’s win at Toledo after having been spun out by Dillon the previous race at Salem.
A little early in the year to have your top two points rivals owing you one, don’t ya think?
FIVE: SPLIT-SCREEN ADS! YES! MORE! NOW!
Anyone still watching the telecast at the end of Sunday’s Cup race could not have missed FOX’s first split-screen ad/racing action commercial break. It was, in a word, glorious. Fan support has been overwhelmingly positive on social media regarding the experiment (no surprise there). Here’s hoping it continues to build… who in their right mind wouldn’t want to have racing action on screen even during commercial breaks?
For once, FOX is on the right track. Here’s hoping they stay on it.
©2000 - 2008 Bryan Davis Keith and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
I like Brad but he probably needs to just shut up. I defended him for his comments immediately following the Nationwide race Saturday; he’d just had a good run spoiled by a wreck not of his making, a microphone was stuck in his face, and he didn’t have the benefit of replay at the time. If he stuck by his assessment after cooling off and seeing the replay, then he’s an idiot. If he didn’t, then his comments were excusable given the situation. As for his comments about Kyle Busch, you say you didn’t see it, and I didn’t see it, so maybe he’s right. Still, no need to whine about it in public. It seems that with Kyle on probation and Brad not on probation, Brad has a shot at making his point on the track, not in the press.
Has Brad Keselowski ever had credibility? After shooting off his mouth after the Nationwide race on Saturday, he needs to be reminded of two rules. Rule #1: Always put your brain in gear before putting your mouth in motion, and Rule #2: Better to thought a fool (or in Keselowski’s case, a jerk) than to open your mouth and remove all doubt. And no, I am not, never have been, nor will I ever be, a fan of his!
Kes has one top 10 in cup this season, and isn’t exactly setting the nationwide world on fire. He needs to shut up and drive…
In Brad’s defense, the only reason Edwards didn’t drive right through Logano is that Logano spun before Edwards could hit him… Carl is historically a malicious enough driver to have lost the benefit of the doubt.
As far as the comment about Edwards .. they didn’t show Brad a replay B4 shoving a mike in his face. About KB….He did run into the back of Brad real hard and they showed at least 2 replays of it on TV. And yes I am A fan of Brads, but I don’t have blinders on
Maybe Brad the brat should look at the videos. It clearly shows that There was a gap between Brad and Kyle until Brad hit Logano. Then Kyle did run into Brad and Sorenson ran into Kyle…… It’s what happens when cars wreck in a pack.
I am not sure anyone who wrote, or read, this article actually read the twitter stream from Brad. IMO he was simply stating that Car’s “oh my gosh I didn’t mean to” post-race comments were less that sincere, as they always have been and that whether he physically touched Joey or not he certainly was trying to get him out of the way. People say they don’t want vanilla drivers yet they criticize those who do speak their mind (heat of the moment or not). I like hearing what drivers are thinking after the race and this article is the exact reason many do just shut up. As far as the comments on driving, I’d like to see any of the commenters outdrive Brad in ANYTHING.
There’s no mystery in why the Nationwide series is dwindling into irrelevancy. Bryan’s right- it’s the purse money. WINNING a Nationwide race pays less, sometimes HALF the money, of finishing dead last in the Cup race the same weekend. But the costs to run a mediocre nationwide team are nearly the same as running a mediocre Cup team. Only difference is a little engine tuning and a different body; the chassis are nearly identical. Oh, and you have a couple fewer sets of tires per race.
Since sponsors only seem to go to the big-name Cup guys, it’s even worse for the NW-only teams.
It makes zero sense to run a NW team at all unless you have a Cup car to pay the bills (See: Joe Nemechek). Since there aren’t gobs of outdated NW COTs laying around, no one can start a “budget” team using old parts like folks can do in the Truck series, where the chassis hasn’t changed significantly in a decade. Of course Truck series money is bad too, but last place there is about $2000 less than last place in NW, and first place paid better than NW at Dover.
My opinion is that the NW series day is done. Merge the Cup and NW series, have a 60-race season with 2 races (one short, one long) on 25 of the weekends, increase the truck series to fill in the gaps left by the 10 “lost” NW races, and call it good. There were 50-race seasons back in King Richard’s heydays of the 60s, and if Carl, Kevin, Kyle, and Brad can do it the “best of the best” drivers can too.
This sounds like a simple case of a “journalist” with a grudge or bias towards Brad Keselowski. To simply mention an unimportant comment that has no relevance towards anything, shows that the writer is more afraid of his own credibility than the credibility of a defending champion. Oh and as far as Brad “struggling” in Cup, he’s only raced one full season. I guess Brad should be winning races and curing cancer in his 2nd year. Give me a break. This is the best Penske’s secondary team has run since early 2008.
Seriously, 2 Cup regulars whining like a bunch of 4th graders about a race they don’t belong in in the first place. I could care less. The NW series is a garbage series right now. It used to be a great series and I blame Nascar 100% for making it garbage from their greed. Until the Cup guys are removed completely, it will remain a garbage series.
I don’t blame Stremme one bit. He has been a spot driver for most of the year, so I’m guessing money is not as plentiful as it once was. I would do the same thing if I was him. When your not a full time driver, it about survival and having your face in the garage area so you are not forgotten, not necessarily doing what’s politically correct.