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 November 15, 2011
ONE: Sam Hornish, Jr.‘s 2011 Season Makes Him a Dangerous Title Threat
It’s hard to believe that Sam Hornish, Jr. was able to make it through his post-race interview this Saturday considering how much emotion he was obviously holding back in Victory Lane. This win was a very long time coming for a driver that’s been accustomed to winning, having scored multiple IndyCar and Indianapolis 500 trophies in another life. What’s more, it was a return to relevance for a driver that seemed doomed to the graveyard of so many open-wheelers before him that tried to transition to stock cars and failed.
After all, Hornish was far from ready when Penske Racing and Mobil 1 decided to throw him in the deep end (Hornish went two for eight in qualifying for Cup races before his first full-time season)… and boy, did it show. Though there were promising runs here and there, Hornish was continually tearing up cars and was never a factor on NASCAR’s top stage the way he was in IndyCar. And when Mobil 1 departed for the greener pastures of Tony Stewart — perhaps the most successful open-wheel convert of the modern era — Hornish was left in racing purgatory. Only the loyalty of the Penske Racing camp gave him a part-time Nationwide ride, one that came together only by taking shop personnel here and there to put together an ad hoc crew.
Hornish made that work, and that says a lot in its own regard. Even before winning at Phoenix this past weekend, the Defiance, Ohio native had posted four top-15 finishes in his last five races. The fifth event, of course was the summer event at Iowa that saw Hornish as a threat to win driving Brad Keselowski’s vaunted No. 22 car before suffering a late tire failure.
To be that successful in a part-time ride is significant in today’s Nationwide Series. More importantly, Hornish now knows full well just how hard life is outside the front of the field. Having spoken to the man at Daytona back in February before his first Nationwide start this season, it was abundantly clear that as grateful as he was for the opportunity to stay in a car, even part-time, he was out of his element… back of the garage, in a quiet hauler with an uncertain future.
Now that’s he been in the dark, and seemingly clawed his way out (rumors are still running rampant that Hornish will be in the Nationwide Series full-time in 2012), the driver is now a dangerous combination. He’s got the perspective of what life is like away from the top tier of motorsport; and now, with seat time he should have gotten years ago, this open-wheel talent is finally figuring these stock cars out.
Should a sponsor come, Hornish will be a threat in 2012.
TWO: Can Red Bull Racing Keep This Up?
Even our own, longtime writer Matt McLaughlin used the words “a notable achievement bordering on remarkable” when describing how Red Bull Racing’s No. 4 team pushed all the tension regarding their employment futures out the window and scored the organization’s second ever Cup win Sunday. Remarkable, it was. A band of employees that will likely be unemployed this time next week were top of the heap in the world’s most competitive motorsport.
Despite that triumph, though, the future is still very tenuous for this once fledgling Cup operation. No matter how much Jay Frye is working, a deal will not be in place to save this team until well into the offseason. That’s assuming not only that the organization finds sponsors, but investors and ownership as well… a longshot proposition when combining all three. Red Bull Racing has accomplished a great deal in their short time in Cup racing, but have hardly been roughing it; they’ve had plenty of manufacturer support from Toyota since day one, a full-time professional pit crew, etc. That’s not overhead which comes cheap.
What’s more, though, even if they do find the backing and dollars needed, duplicating the type of motivation that translated into victory this weekend will be tough… contrary to this organization’s past history. History shows that the up and downs for this operation are hardly smooth. After a hideous 2007 campaign, A.J. Allmendinger rebounded in 2008 to get Red Bull’s then No. 84 car into the top 35 in owner points, only to be released. Then, despite having a car leagues ahead of where it was when they first signed Allmendinger, new hire Scott Speed then ended up falling out of the top 35 himself, missing multiple races in his rookie season as if that improvement never happened. On the other side, Brian Vickers and the No. 83 team never recovered from his fallout due to blood clots last season. And as great a feat as it was for the No. 4 team to put Kasey Kahne in Victory Lane, let’s not forget that Kahne and Kenny Francis are a rather formidable pairing… and it still took them 35 races to cash in on their one-year “temp job.”
Red Bull Racing first found a win on August 16, 2009. It was two years before they did it a second time. And one can’t help but wonder if that magic can be summoned once more within two years… if ever, again.
THREE: Is There Upside for TBR’s Geoff Bodine Project?
Longtime veteran Geoffrey Bodine secured a limited sponsorship package this summer that returned him to Cup racing. Problem is, being outside the top 35 was not a kind place to be, as Bodine DNQ’d Tommy Baldwin’s No. 35 car in four of his first five attempts. Needing to find that sponsor some exposure, Bodine replaced regular driver Dave Blaney in the team’s locked-in No. 36 car for the past few races. While it’s worked out so far (Blaney has timed his way into the field in the No. 35 for each of the three weeks of that experiment), what it has not done is improved, or even maintained, the performance of the team’s flagship car. Bodine has finished 38th and 37th in his two starts, involved in multiple incidents at Phoenix and bowing out less than halfway into the event.
The top 35 isn’t a concern; with the TRG No. 71 car struggling to even make the field, Baldwin and team will be locked into the 2012 Daytona 500 regardless of whether sponsor Golden Corral re-ups for next year. But in terms of added value, does getting Bodine’s sponsor some guaranteed track time outweigh pulling the team’s regular driver in Blaney from the organization’s one full-time ride? It’s hard to understand how it does… after all, barring a miracle, the 62-year-old Bodine will not be TBR’s driver come February.
This team has come a long way in getting a sponsor and locking into the Cup field. That makes Speedweeks a lot less stressful, but that only lasts for so long. The No. 36 team is still towards the back of the field, and staying locked in isn’t a foregone conclusion. And because of this move, Blaney’s got four fewer races of learning to do in his regular ride.
FOUR: Kimmel Leaves His Own Team
Frank Kimmel’s run of eight consecutive ARCA Racing Series championships ended in 2008 after leaving his longtime home at Tri-State Motorsports to start his own team. In that time, Kimmel has managed to stay sponsored and a threat for the driving crown year after year, but has posted only three wins in that time (none since 2008). This season, under a barrage from Richard Childress Racing and a full-time campaign by the Roulo Brothers, Kimmel finished third in points, but had only a precious few races where the No. 44 was a contender for the win.
That being said, from a performance perspective, Kimmel’s move to ThorSport Racing for 2012 makes sense. ThorSport has been a prime contender in the Truck Series this season; there will likely be some growing pains, but this Midwestern organization is located in ARCA’s backyard. They will figure out their new series quickly.
But the move goes even further. Kimmel’s got a son coming through the ranks (he ran a number of ARCA races for his father’s team this season). This move, while away from owning his own operation with family on the pit box, suddenly has the Kimmel name involved with an established operation… and a winning one, at that.
The future of Kimmel Racing has yet to be revealed; should the team disappear, it would be a shame to see the owner/driver roster shrink. But this move will go a long way to ensure that the Kimmel name is going to be around ARCA for a long time to come. And if Will turns out to be half the ambassador for the sport that his father has been, that’s a good thing for all involved.
FIVE: This Chase Still Feels Anti-Climatic
Tony Stewart vs. Carl Edwards. The points are razor-tight, and the drivers are true heavyweights in their profession. Their final duel in south Florida will likely be a compelling show. But lost in that shuffle is what was the accomplishment on every driver’s mind at the start of the season… ending the run of Five-Time.
Sure, that’s a guarantee after this weekend’s race at Phoenix. But isn’t there something missing about having the No. 48 not being toppled over, quietly fading into the foreground instead? Yes, NASCAR is firmly capable of having a championship battle without Jimmie Johnson… but the sport has been in the midst of a dominant spell that has rarely, if ever, been seen. Like it or not, that’s been the story the sport has pinned itself on for half a decade.
Trevor Bayne’s win in the Daytona 500 this year on the 10th anniversary of Dale Earnhardt’s death was significant not only because it was a huge upset, but because he was a fresh face and moment of catharsis for a sport that was still hurting. Johnson’s run is not as significant an event in the sport’s history, but it’s still one that needed to end itself on the track in a moment where one driver ended it. Instead, as two big names duke it out, the villain and behemoth they are toppling will be absent. It’s an absence that will be felt this Sunday.
©2000 - 2008 Bryan Davis Keith and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
The Championship will still be the sixth in a row for Hendrick Motor Sports and the 7th in 10 years. 70% of NASCAR championships ain’t too shabby for a racing organization. Maybe the story could be the domination of Rick Hendrick in NASACAR. Currently, he employees the driver with the most championships and the most wins over the last decade; the current active driver with the most total wins; the driver with the most popularity, the ability to generate revenue, and the top performing legacy; and the driver considered the greatest NASCAR driver not to have won a Cup championship. Next year he’ll employee the driver with the most potential. His satellite driver will win this years title and is arguably one of the greatest wheel men in the garage. The other satellite driver has the most polls of any current drivers over the past decade and the only active driver with a college degree. Next, year his satellite team will have another popular driver with marketing cachet and the first female to drive top end equipment. I’d say Hendrick is dominating NASCAR in almost every conceivable category.
Congratulations for still attempting to make the chase story about Jimmie Johnson—NOT.
Any bets that Rick Hendrick will jump up on the stage and try to claim credit should Stewart win the championship like he did with Stewart’s first win as an owner/driver?
Can you say poor tv coverage, the contrived chase, poor racing, and the media talking about everyting but the racing on the track as the reason why the Chase is anti-climatic? I can.
Jimmie Johnson certainly isn’t the reason.
“Instead, as two big names duke it out, the villain and behemoth they are toppling will be absent. It’s an absence that will be felt this Sunday.” I beg to differ JJ absence will NOT be missed…
Face it, the points are only close because of Nascar’s arbitrary revamping them for the final 10 ‘not-a-playoff’ races. Maybe that’s why it feels so anti climactic.
I can’t tell you how many “sometime” nascar watchers asked me how in the world Stewart can STILL be 3 pts behind.
After all these years, the chase, and the ever-changing points system, still can’t be followed or understood by regular Joe’s. It makes zero sense to the working man…who is deciding to do something else on Sunday.