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 September 13, 2011
It seems completely consistent with what’s become a growing trend, the antithesis of another that Kevin Harvick himself kicked into overdrive back in 2006. Back then, Harvick became the first full-time Cup driver to successfully retreat into double-dipping, running full NNS and Cup schedules en route to a dominating Nationwide Series championship campaign that saw Happy win nine races and clinch the series title a month early in Charlotte. It was the second time Harvick had pulled it off, doing the same in the wake of Dale Earnhardt, Sr.‘s death that forced him into the Cup level back in 2001. The difference this time? A half-dozen drivers, at the peak of “Buschwhacking” competed with dual schedules along with him.
Five years later, though, the trend is for Cup’s big guns to do just the opposite. With Jimmie Johnson proving completely unflappable at the front of the Cup field, Kyle Busch gave up double duty after his 2009 championship run in the Nationwide ranks. Next, it was Brad Keselowski who scaled back this season after winning the NNS title a year ago. Even Carl Edwards, running both series full-time since 2005 has finally given up the ghost, announcing that even he would scale back extracurricular racing activities in 2012. It’s not even the racing these guys are doing that’s being scaled back, either… Kyle Busch’s Truck Series team lasted but a few months as a two-truck operation before Busch realized he was in over his head and scaled down.
A lot of this contraction revolves around “following the leader;” or, in this case, trying to Chase him down. There’s been a number of constants in Jimmie Johnson’s unprecedented reign as king of stock car racing…and a big one of those has been that Jimmie’s sole focus is and has been the No. 48 car and the No. 48 car alone since he took the ride over in 2002. Monkey see, monkey do?
Considering that fact, the explanation given Friday morning that KHI would no longer be fielding trucks or Nationwide cars after the close of this season to allow Harvick to focus on Cup racing…and winning the big trophy that is the last remaining piece of a career that has already scored two Nationwide crowns and a Daytona 500 triumph…makes perfect sense.
Problem is, no matter the trend, it doesn’t add up in Harvick’s case.
Look at the guys that he’s supposedly joining as honing in on the Cup; Keselowski, Edwards, Busch. The only one of those guys at a comparable point in their career is Edwards, and Edwards’ racing activities outside of Cup follow a far different pattern than those of Harvick. Edwards has been racing Nationwide full-time his whole career because that’s all he’s known. Hell, after running only a third of a season in the No. 99 before getting the ride full-time in 2005, there was almost an argument to be made for the former Truck regular needing to run a full-time Nationwide car to get up to speed. Harvick, on the other hand, has been far more episodic. A part-time truck effort here and there in 2003. A return to full-time NNS competition and a championship run in 2006. And how ironic that Harvick was top 5 in points in both of those years.
Take a good, hard look at the stats, and Harvick’s best seasons in Cup have lined up with heavy involvement in racing outside of the No. 29 car. That’s a huge difference between Edwards, who has no idea how he’ll perform Cup with no NNS distractions because, well, he’s never tried it; Keselowski, who flat out sucked in Cup en route to winning that AAA title last season; and Busch, who has publicly admitted that his exploits in NNS and the trucks in 2009 played a significant role in keeping him out of the Chase that season.
But in Harvick’s case, sometimes busy does mean better. Look closer at Harvick’s worst seasons in Cup racing; 14th in 2004 and 2005, 19th in 2009. There’s a constant there that has nothing to do with Harvick, KHI, anything. It’s that when Harvick is down, all of RCR is down. 2004, Robby Gordon struggled in the No. 31, and the No. 30 fielded entries for everyone from Johnny Sauter to Jim Inglebright before Jeff Burton finally ended up behind the wheel. 2005, Burton was still aiding RCR in their rebuilding project while Dave Blaney limped home to a 26th-place finish in the points. 2009, a roster including Harvick, Burton, Clint Bowyer and Casey Mears combined to win zero races. When RCR slumps, Harvick slumps.
2011 has been no exception. Harvick is on pace to run fewer Truck and Nationwide races than he has since 2002, yet prior to a resurgent Richmond weekend Harvick has been all but off the radar in the Cup field. Just as Jeff Burton’s woeful campaign continued, while both Paul Menard and Clint Bowyer fumbled away any hopes they had of making the Chase, the No. 29 flared back up into contention. There’s certainly been a problem with RCR’s Cup program…but KHI doesn’t exactly fit into that equation.
Besides, it’s been very well-documented that Delana Harvick has been the muscle and brains behind the ever-growing day-to-day operations of KHI’s racing programs, even before Joey Logano’s infamous “firesuit” comments. ESPN ran a feature on Delana the business woman for crying out loud…a month ago. Strange given that Harvick referred to the timeframe of KHI’s shutdown having started much earlier this season in his Friday remarks.
And then there’s the 800-pound gorilla of a story that was running wild throughout the garage area this entire weekend at Richmond… that the ultimate dissolution of NASCAR’s premier Nationwide/Truck Series operation is coming as a result of problems within the Cup Series’ most iconic marriage. Frontstretch received reports from several independent sources over the course of the Richmond weekend that personal troubles between the Harvicks were at least in some way responsible for the announcement this weekend that a Truck Series operation that has won two championships and is contending for the owner’s title this year is now facing shutters.
To be fair, such a scenario was presented to Harvick during questioning on Friday and was adamantly denied. But again, look at the competition side of things; Harvick has for whatever reason done well throughout his career to correlate successful Cup campaigns with lots of extracurricular activity in racing. Look at the reality of how KHI operated as a business; Delana, not Kevin did the heavy lifting. Look at the fact that for all the claims of racing not making business sense, KHI had enough sponsors and employees to field five full-time teams and employ 140 people in the worst economic climate the sport has seen in recent memory.
And look at the drivers who will now face uncertain futures as a result of this move. Elliott Sadler, the Nationwide Series title contender that KHI rescued from a floundering Cup career. Cale Gale, one of the hardest working guys in the garage and a development prospect that KHI has stuck behind for years. And Ron Hornaday, a driver who not only owes his career resurgence to the company, but is a well-known friend of the Harvicks. Each of those three are known to be significant figures in the lives of both Kevin and Delana; and yet, they’re ultimately the ones on the chopping block because of Friday’s announcement. A decision like that doesn’t come around because it’s not worth it anymore. It comes around because drivers like that always make it worth it.
Whatever the reason, there’s no compelling evidence of any kind to suggest that KHI’s racing operations are on the way out because the business model was failing, or the driver was distracted from his day job, or that ownership was suddenly a less satisfying enterprise.
And that’s sad, because as long as the adamant denial continues, as long as the company line is “it’s just business” and “I want to focus on Cup,” the end of KHI is going to be synonymous with a great success story becoming the latest casualty of the Nationwide and Truck Series, a segment of racing that has in recent years destroyed such great stories as Lewis Motorsports, PPC Racing, Baker/Curb Racing, Mac Hill Motorsports, and more. The problem is, when comparing KHI to those other companies, the story is going to be “If Kevin Harvick, Delana, and 140 of racing’s brightest can’t make it work, who can?”
If even a smidgen of the rumors are true, that the personal life of one of stock car racing’s most recognizable couples is even remotely responsible for the end of KHI racing, then all this talk of focusing elsewhere and business sense is a cover for something else…
Well, it’d be safe to say that two individuals that have given so much to NASCAR’s lower-tier series may well have torn down far more than the race team they built up.
©2000 - 2008 Bryan Davis Keith and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
Interesting theory. I am sure if there is any truth to “trouble in paradise” for the Harvicks that it’s out there on the internet somewhere. Very few secrets are kept for long in the NASCAR circle.
Sometimes… people just get tired and need a break! As all business owners know… you’re always at work when you own a business. Actually… “the business owns you”… many times to the point of total slavery / total exhaustion.
Maybe people need to mind their own business. Why would you publish a story full of rumors and innuendos? When did Frontstretch become TMZ? If the Harvick’s are having marital problems that is their business and when they’re ready to tell you, they will. Otherwise, MYOB.
AnnieMack: Good job—I’m with you.
Don’t know where you’re getting your info, Bryan, but the NNS teams are not shutting down. The 2 and the 33 will both run full schedules next year, with Sadler in the 2, and Kevin and other RCR drivers in the 33. They (the KHI/RCR joint NNS team) have also announced a 3rd car for next year, the 3 driven by Austin Dillon.
You can believe what you choose to about the rumors you are spreading. After all, what would this site be without conspiracies, rumors, and sky-is-falling predictions?
I can’t imagine how a marriage between two self absorbed egomaniacs could ever be in trouble. She is a spoiled brat and he is a spoiled punk how could that ever lead to trouble ?
Something possibly being overlooked here, the biological clock is ticking. Maybe we’ll see a little “Happy” later on in 2012!
You and your rumors and unnamed sources.
I still recall a terrible article you wrote back on April 27, 2010, how Harvick was out at RCR and no sponsor would touch him.
Leave it alone.
If the Harvicks have marital problems it’s their business.
Harvick is the best 2 faced punk Nascar. Like a good magician, could be all misdirection to keep current sponsors happy. (“What the eyes see and the ears hear, the mind believes.”)
The Harvick’s have chosen to be “public figures”, and they have their careers and quite a bit of money because of that. Therefore they have no reason to complain when people speculate.
To be fair, the Kevin/Delana marrage split was so big of a rumor that Jamie Little asked him privately after the press conference. I guess we will find out soon enough, but something tells me they want to do 1 of 2 things: 1) sell the business so they can enjoy what they have without the stress of going out of business or 2)use the capital from KHI to do something else.
Delana just got tired of “working”. She’s the princess of pit road, don’t ya’ know.