NASCAR Changes Qualifying Format
posted by Summer Bedgood
Tuesday March 11, 2014
Following safety concerns regarding NASCAR’s new qualifying format, the sanctioning body is introducing some changes in preparation for this weekend’s race at Bristol Motor Speedway. According to the Associated Press, NASCAR is banning teams from cool-down laps after their qualifying attempts, but will instead be allowed to hook up cool-down units to the engine through hood flaps.
Late Tuesday afternoon, a release from NASCAR fully detailed the changes. Teams will be allowed a single cool down unit to be connected through the right or left side hood flap, however the hood must remain closed. Additionally, two crew members will be allowed over the wall while cooling down.
“The qualifying is new to all of us and as we have said over the past several weeks, we are looking at it from all aspects,” said Robin Pemberton, vice president of competition and racing development. “Following discussions, both internally and with others in the garage area, we moved quickly to make a few revisions that will be effective starting with our two national series events at Bristol Motor Speedway this weekend. We believe this will only enhance and improve what has demonstrated to be an exciting form of qualifying for our fans, competitors and others involved with the sport. Moving forward we will continue to look at it and address anything else that we may need to as the season unfolds.”
The move comes after three weeks of NASCAR’s new knockout qualifying system, where multiple cars are allowed to make qualifying attempts at the same time instead of the traditional one-car-at-a-time procedure. Drivers and teams had complained that the new rules didn’t allow them to cool their engines down on pit road, and the cool-down laps caused a dangerous situation with slower cars staying on the track at the same time that other cars were running by them at much higher speeds.
The rule will begin this weekend in Bristol, a track that has a much narrower racing surface than Daytona, Phoenix, and Las Vegas.
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!
Check in with Matt and Jay on their site at CareyandCoffey.com.
Bryan Davis Keith · Tuesday August 16, 2011
The Key Moment – On the first green-white-checker restart, Kyle Busch overdrove turn 1, was unable to keep his car in the preferred groove on exit, and opened the door for Brad Keselowski and Marcos Ambrose to slip by. That left the two of them to settle the win amongst themselves; through the bus stop, Ambrose pounced, making the pass and riding off into the sunset for his first career Cup win.
In a Nutshell – After months of anticipation following a Sonoma race that had everyone and their mother dubbing road racing “the new Bristol,” the Cup Series’ annual trip to the Glen ended up being a fast-paced stroll through the hills of New York. At least until…
The Dramatic Moment – While Ambrose and Keselowski were storming away from the field to settle the battle for the checkered flag, contact between Boris Said and David Ragan triggered possibly the most violent wreck of the 2011 season. Ragan slammed at full speed into the wall jutting out the exit of turn 1, cutting into oncoming traffic and sending David Reutimann into the fence… and into a flip. Fortunately, both drivers walked away from the wreck, albeit visibly dazed.
What They’ll Be Talking About Around the Water Cooler This Week
This one has been a long time coming. After tragically fumbling away a sure victory at Sonoma a year ago, and notching three consecutive wins at the Glen in Nationwide competition from 2008 through 2010, finally Marcos Ambrose broke through and scored Cup win number one. It was the culmination of a multi-year campaign that brought the former sports car racer to the United States and to NASCAR, a win long overdue after Ambrose has for years been the premier road racer in any form of stock car racing. The real question now though, is this; how much longer will Ambrose be staying in NASCAR, and the United States? Even in Victory Lane, Ambrose was quick to make reference to his kids being back in Australia for their first day of school. It’s those comments, thrown around more frequently this season which remind you how much he misses life Down Under – even for all the success and enjoyment he’s found in NASCAR racing. And, unlike Juan Pablo Montoya, the quest to score an oval win isn’t life-or-death. Ambrose, unlike his former F-1 counterpart, hasn’t been nearly as quick to demarcate the importance of winning a Cup race and winning on an oval; he’s just wanted to win one, period. He’s now got that victory, a race that assures he’ll be in the record books for all-time. Sure, Ambrose will score a few more top 5 or top 10s over the rest of 2011, but the win at the Glen isn’t about turn the No. 9 team into a weekly threat or a Chase contender. Should the No. 9 struggle through the fall, this win very well may drive Ambrose back home for good.
David Ragan was certainly right to ask questions of the barriers in use at Watkins Glen International, remarking that he’d “been to some dirt tracks with better walls” than the blue Armco guardrails circling the road course. To be fair, he’s got a point. After all the talk about ovals needing SAFER barriers, after all the hoopla over Pocono Raceway’s vulnerabilities on the Long Pond straightaway, somehow the road courses got a free pass on this whole safety thing. Consider the last-lap wreck between NASCAR’s Davids a wake-up call.
Where…the…hell…were…the…rain tires?! For those fans with a 9 to 5 that needed tending to on Monday, it’s really hard to figure out how a dry Monday race was a better fan experience than a rainy one on Sunday – especially a rescheduled one that started as early as 7 AM PST for some unlucky fans. Sunday is race day, after all.
After watching a Watkins Glen event that was largely a quiet affair until the final few laps, will all the talk of road racing needing to increase in frequency cool off? It’s amazing that because of one rough and tumble show at Sonoma, that was, albeit entertaining, still lacking some of the road racing and dramatic passing that the pre-fan-friendly configuration offered, it produced a record amount of ink and language spent on describing road racing as the new form of short-tracking. While that might be more an indictment of Bristol and Richmond putting on underwhelming shows the past few seasons, it’s still a real stretch to say that more road races are needed. Lots of the “action” seen on road courses comes simply from the fact that stock cars aren’t really meant to be there in the first place. They’re heavy, clunky machines trying to tackle precision circuits, for crying out loud. Besides Cup, if it needs anything, has to be on dirt. Whether they’re turning right or left…
2003 through 2006, Boris Said was a hot commodity on the Cup road racing tour. 2003 pole winner at Sonoma. A near-win at Watkins Glen in 2006. And to top it all off, virtually every guy in the Cup garage learned at least something from him on how to turn right and left. But the past few seasons, Said has gone from the respected consultant to a wrecking ball on the track. Driving the No. 08 at Sonoma in 2009, there was scarcely a car in the field that didn’t have some trace of its black paint on it by race’s end. Last year, Said scored plenty of hits driving the Red Bull Toyota on and off the same circuit. And now, driving the No. 51 this Monday, Said both in the early laps overdrove the bus stop and later in the event ran over David Ragan. To be fair, in the Ragan episode it’s the final two laps and Said has no obligation to lift and let the No. 6 get back in line (contradictory to what Dale Jarrett implied during replays). However, the episode did absolutely no favors to Said’s image in the garage. Just ask Greg Biffle.
The same Greg Biffle that, for an absolutely terrible run on Monday, proved to be the backbone of Roush Fenway Racing. Multiple laps down after running out of fuel during a mid-race run, Biffle was responsible for pushing teammate and Chase contender Matt Kenseth back to the pits, under green, when he suffered the same dry fuel tank later in the event. Then, after limping to the finish through the debris field of the Ragan/Reutimann melee, it was Biffle who confronted Boris Said in the pits about what he saw as an egregious wrong towards another of his teammates.
Editor’s Note: Nick Harrison, the crew chief for Phoenix Racing indicated the Said – Biffle feud included heated tempers from how they personally raced each other. The bad blood didn’t just start during the event; it’s built up over a period of several races, finally coming to a head during the final laps on Monday.
For all the hoopla that surrounded Carl Edwards and his re-signing with the organization, maybe the No. 16 re-signing should have gotten a little bit more attention. After all, it wasn’t Edwards making the wheels turn on Monday.
ESPN. Shut the hell up about the damn Sprint Summer Showdown already. Marcos Ambrose won his first career Cup race after years of trying, for the camp that bears Richard Petty’s name, overcoming a mindblowing loss a year ago, and the talk is about a sponsor plug to be contested in Atlanta in a month?! If that’s what we’re going to be getting for Victory Lane coverage the next month, do us all a favor and cut to Sportscenter early.
The Hindenburg Award for Foul Fortune
Both Denny Hamlin and Kurt Busch learned the hard way that the softer Goodyear compound used at Watkins Glen doesn’t hold up to excessive brake heat any better than the previous rubber, suffering tire failures that triggered hard crashes into the outside barriers. Kurt Busch ran off track exiting the bus stop onto the third straightaway, while Denny Hamlin found himself unable to slow down coming down the frontstretch after losing one of his Goodyears. Hamlin’s 36th-place result was his second consecutive finish outside the top 35 at Watkins Glen after scoring top 10s in his first four career starts at the track. Kurt Busch finished 38th.
On a side note, Hamlin’s wreck looked an awful lot like Jimmie Johnson’s NNS destruction at the same track back in 2001. Maybe if Hamlin’s serious about being a Cup champion, he should have climbed up on the roof of his car and celebrated.
Tony Stewart‘s stellar road racing skills fell victim to making one mistake on the final circuits, running through the grass in the bus stop and dropping from seventh to 27th in the final running order.
Paul Menard lost a tire running down the second straightaway coming out of the esses and pounded the wall, losing out on a top-15 result to run 32nd. That’s his worst result since Richmond in the spring.
It wasn’t too long ago that Robby Gordon was a contender to win at every road course, even in his self-owned No. 7 car. Sadly, a visit to the Glen was just another reminder of how far RGM has fallen. Not only did P.J. Jones endure an ugly DNQ in the team’s No. 77 car Friday, not even completing a lap, Robby was a non-factor in Monday’s race. When all was said and done, the No. 7 finished a distant 24th, losing crucial ground to Andy Lally and the No. 71 machine in the process. It’s hard to imagine his Cup squad beating their underdog rivals and cracking the top 35 again in 2011… if ever.
The Seven Come Fore Eleven Award for Fine Fortune
Joey Logano scored his third top-5 finish in the last six races, rebounding from an ugly crash in the GT race earlier in the weekend to score a career-best road course result. Sitting 17th in points, Logano will need more such results and a win to keep his Chase hopes… and possibly his job… alive.
Brad Keselowski is turning in a Denny Hamlin-esque performance with an injured ankle; he’s got a 1.5 average finish since the crash at Road Atlanta, including a runner-up performance at the Glen that saw the No. 2 running down Ambrose before the final yellow flew. Three or four wins before Chase-time isn’t out of the question the way they’re running.
It took 22 races, but Jeff Burton scored his first top-10 finish of the 2011 season, and his first dating back to Martinsville last October.
A.J. Allmendinger capped off a day that saw both Richard Petty Motorsports cars finish in the top 10 with a seventh-place run, his first top 10 since the summer Daytona race.
What’s the Points?
A strong performance by Kyle Busch allowed him to surge back into the points lead even without the win, tied with Carl Edwards but giving him the nose ahead with his three wins on the season. Jimmie Johnson fell to third after taking the last spot in the top 10, while top-15 finishes for both Kevin Harvick and Matt Kenseth moved them into fourth and fifth in points. Kurt Busch, after that ugly wreck, dropped to a distant sixth.
Jeff Gordon and Ryan Newman held onto seventh and eighth in the standings, respectively, while all but “locking in” their postseason positions in the Chase. The story on the backside of the top 10 was that of Dale Earnhardt Jr., who persevered to a top 15 finish and capitalized on Tony Stewart’s late-race troubles to jump up a spot. Now ninth, he’s built an 11-point lead on Stewart and a 36-point cushion on Clint Bowyer in 11th as he tries to make his first Chase since 2008.
Overall Rating – On a scale of one to six cans, we’ll give this one three and a half domestics. It was a feel-good story to see Ambrose finally get his first win, and the last run to the checkers was exciting. Then again, it was on a Monday…
Up Next — 400 miles up in the Irish Hills of Michigan, complete with the spread-out field, aero push, and fuel mileage it inevitably brings…
©2000 - 2008 Bryan Davis Keith and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
Hey Boris I did not know men fought with their helmets on.
Was relieved to see Denny and both David’s walk away from their violent crashes.
Jimmie you come get in my face, you will DAMN SURE hear my point of view.
Some pretty intense racing there at the end. I’m glad everybody walked away.
Those were some of the most violent wrecks I’ve seen in the past few years. I couldn’t help but be reminded of J.D. McDuffie when Reutimann’s car flipped over. Both Ragan’s and Hamlin’s head-ons into the wall were hard and fast. Some safety changes are definitely in order.
Note to Boris… without the helmet you’re still twice the Biff’s size. If you wanna play the tough guy, man up and take off the helmet.
Rain tires? Sure… and windshield wipers, and mud flaps, and crew members with umbrellas and galoshes… Cue the duck.
I give this race no beers. It was run on a Monday while I was at work, and there’s no drinking on the job.
Boris joined the likes of the other big talking chumps in nascrap that won’t remove their helmets, Jeff Gordon, Kevin Harvick,Boy how brave one can be with that helmet on…too bad the Biff didn’t kick him in the gonads….LOL
Not sure where you get your info, but Ambrose and his family have fully relocated to the US. His wife and daughters went back to North Carolina to start school. Marcos has stated over and over that, yes he is a great road racer, but he wants to improve and win on ovals. I expect him to stick around a lot longer – as long as he can get rides with good teams. He is also making huge amounts of money in NASCAR, much more than he could ever make racing anywhere else.
I’m sort of with Tim on the Marcos story. I was just reading how he expects his RPM team to be better the rest of the year and is looking forward to them being even more competative next year. I think we will see him for a while. I hope so anyway. Congrats to Marcos, Richard Petty, RPM and Ford Racing. Good Job!!
Boris Said. No longer a ringer. Now a clinger. Good race. Nasty wrecks. Glad to see all three drivers walked away. Said needs to just go away.
I don’t see Ambrose leaving the sport at all. He didn’t work this much to move backwards in his life.
I also think people are over-reacting with the SAFER barriers. Even with safer barriers, the angle design of those walls would result in the same type of violent crash. The ARMCO barriers did their job and shifted when hit, releasing some energy. What should be analyzed are the odd shape/gaps in the walls after turn 1 & the effectiveness of adding a SAFER barrier only where Hamlin hit.
I’ve heard multiple excuses why they did not use rain tires: expense, uneven playing field, tv equiptment in the rain, fans leaving for dryness. BS aside, it seems Helton & the drivers just don’t want to use them, so they didn’t.
Also, I think road course racing is better now that the Cup drivers of today have adapted to it better than the drivers of the past.
You got it wrong. Ambrose came from touring car racing, which isn’t too much different from NASCAR. Outside the US, NASCAR is considered a touring car series.
Sorry, I work on Mondays too but I would rather them race on the dry than the wet. To me, it would be a very unentertaining race watching them tip toe around the track for 90 laps. How much hard racing do you think we would see? No thanks on the rain tires. If you have to work, record the race and watch it when you get home and stay off the internet. Its not that hard.
It amazes me how Nascar fans feel they are entitled to rain tires in the Cup series now just because the NW series experimented with them a few times at road courses. It was a failed experiment in NW and Cup has never used rain tires. Some people are just never happy I guess.
i too thought about j.d. mcduffie. too many wrecks on monday.
marcus’ family is here in us. school year has started in the south, so his children are in school. i think he has a home in tazmania still, but i think he was planning on being here a while. he’s happy now that he’s back with ford, as he raced fords “down under”. i was happy to see his win.
Harvick Finished 6th…more than just a top-15 finish. It was his first top-10 finish since 7th at Daytona.
Harvick did very good considering where he started. btw did you notice all the attention he got from commentators for coming to the front? sarcasm intended.
Tony Stewart has one hell of a lawn mower, probably the only thing the “race car” is good for.
Watching the wrecks of Hamlin and Johnson, they were lucky they weren’t Geoff Bodine, at Turn One also. His wreck was worse.