Kurt Busch to Attempt The Indianapolis-Charlotte Double
posted by Phil Allaway
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Andretti Autosport announced this morning that Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet in the Sprint Cup Series, will attempt the Indianapolis 500 in a fifth entry for the IndyCar Series team. Once the Indianapolis 500 is completed, Busch will fly from Indianapolis to Charlotte, jump in his No. 41 Chevrolet and compete in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Busch considers the opportunity to do the double as an old-school throwback moment.
“This is really to challenge myself within motorsports,” Busch said in Andretti Autosport’s press release. “Perhaps I am a bit of an old-school racer; a throwback, I guess. I enjoyed the era of drivers racing different cars and testing themselves in other series. It is tough to do now for a variety of factors, but when the opportunity is there, I want to do it. While NASCAR is my home, I have been fortunate to compete in Pro Stock on the NHRA circuit a number of years ago and test a V8 Supercar. This opportunity was a talk with Michael [Andretti] over dinner one night, a “What if,” and now it’s becoming a reality for me to drive in the Indy 500 with Andretti Autosport. It’s literally a dream come true. To go to the famous Brickyard with the iconic Andretti name, it doesn’t get much cooler or better than that.”
Busch will be doing the Indianapolis-Charlotte double as a Memorial Day mission to men and women serving in the U.S. Military via the Armed Forces Foundation. Fans can contribute to the cause by texting AFF to 50555 to donate $10.
Busch, who has never raced an IndyCar, passed Rookie Orientation at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last year during a test session. At the time, Busch was more or less testing the Dallara DW12 for fun.
Busch will be the fourth driver to attempt the Indianapolis-Charlotte double. John Andretti was the first driver to attempt it in 1994. After finishing four laps down in tenth in Indianapolis, Andretti crashed and had engine problems in the 600. Robby Gordon has attempted the double five times, most recently in 2004. However, Gordon failed to make it to Charlotte on time and did not start the 600 in 2000 (P.J. Jones started Gordon’s No. 13 Ford in that instance). Finally, Tony Stewart has attempted the double twice (most recently in 2001) and is the only driver to ever complete all 1100 miles. Neither of the three drivers has won either leg of the double. The best finishes are Stewart and Gordon’s sixth-place finishes at the Indianapolis 500 (although Gordon’s came in 2000, the year he didn’t make it to Charlotte in time to start the Coca-Cola 600), and Stewart’s fourth-place finish in the 2001 Coca-Cola 600.
Danica Patrick, Justin Allgaier Talk About Phoenix Incident
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
A disappointing start to the year for Danica Patrick won’t include continued conflict. Patrick met with rookie Justin Allgaier Sunday, shortly after the Phoenix Cup race after a wreck ruined both drivers’ days. Patrick, who was critical of the No. 51 car on the radio, claiming Allgaier was “driving all over the track” appeared receptive to a conversation that quickly settled differences over what will be a long season.
“She was just upset because she got involved in the crash that we had,’’ said Allgaier to the Motor Racing Network. “She says she’s been through this and that she felt like I needed to settle down at that point. I explained my position on why everything happened. I think she understood where I was coming from. It doesn’t fix either one of our racecars. It doesn’t fix either one of our days. Unfortunately, we were both having pretty decent days.’’
Allgaier wound up 30th due to the incident while Patrick was 36th. The incident, which was caused by Allgaier’s spin also involved the No. 32 team and Travis Kvapil, which wound up 38th after sustaining heavy damage.
Camping World Close to Extending Title Sponsorship of NCWTS
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Marcus Lemonis, CEO of Camping World, Grand Marshal of Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway, and star of CNBC’s “The Profit,” made the announcement over the weekend that the retailer is very close to announcing a deal that would continue its title sponsorship of NASCAR’s Truck Series. The original agreement with NASCAR is scheduled to conclude after the 2015 season.
According to the sanctioning body, no formal contract has been signed, but “the agreement between the two parties has proven to be a beneficial one.”
“In about a month, we’ll be announcing a significant extension to that contract. It’s been great for us,” said Camping World’s Lemonis in a statement. “The NASCAR relationship has worked well for Camping World. When we started, we had 35 stores. Now, we’re up to 120 stores. As we travel the country and we meet new customers in stores, they always are very appreciative of our relationship with NASCAR. It’s been good.”
Gaining a long-term commitment from Camping World to sponsor the Truck Series would be a relief for NASCAR, which is set to lose Nationwide Insurance as title sponsor for the NASCAR Nationwide Series at the end of the 2014 season. The sponsorship of the Cup Series by Sprint runs through 2016.
The NCWTS is back in action on March 29th at 2:30 PM (ET) when the trucks visit Martinsville Speedway in the Kroger 250, which can be seen on Fox Sports 1. Ratings for the season opener were up 11 percent.
Harvick Takes Win At Phoenix In Second Race With New Team
posted by Justin Tucker
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Phoenix International Raceway has become Kevin Harvick’s home away from home. Sunday Afternoon was no exception as Harvick charged to the front early and would dominate for much of the day, leading 224 of the scheduled 312 laps to record his record fifth win on the one mile oval and his third win in the last four races at Phoenix.
Harvick, coming off of a disappointing Speedweeks which was capped by a last lap crash in the Daytona 500 in his debut with Stewart-Haas Racing, set the tone on Saturday by winning both practices while having the best 5 and 10-lap averages in the first practice of the day on Saturday. On Sunday, Harvick and his No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet was nothing short of flawless as he was able to hold Dale Earnhardt, Jr. by .489 seconds after a late race restart to claim his 24th career Sprint Cup Series victory.
“Man, this is awesome,” Harvick said after his dominant victory on Sunday. “Man, this just solidifies so many things and so many decisions. It’s been so much work with all the time and effort that these guys (the crew) have put in—but what a race car.”
Stewart Haas Racing co-owner Gene Haas shared in Harvick’s excitement after the race.
“It took long enough,” Haas joked. “This is phenomenal. I think there was a lot of skepticism last year about what myself and Tony (Stewart) what we were up to, was there a lot of madness to this. Quite frankly, it’s a great team, there’s a lot of synergy at the shop, people working together. I don’t know what we did, but I think we put together a great organization.”
Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt, Jr. continued his hot start to the 2014 season. Earnhardt Jr. would finish second on Sunday, marking his seventh consecutive top 10 finish since the end of the 2013 season. Earnhardt Jr. was pleased with the effort after a coast-to-coast whirlwind week after winning his second Daytona 500 and also gave great praise to the efforts of Harvick and the No. 4 team.
“I’ve got to congratulate Kevin. Those guys were two-tenths faster than everyone all weekend in practice. They were just phenomenal,” Earnhardt said. “To be able to run with them all day was a big confidence builder for us.”
Joining Harvick and Earnhardt in the top 5 of The Profit on CNBC 500K were Brad Keselowski with his second consecutive top 3 run of 2014 in third. Keselowski’s Team Penske teammate Joey Logano would finish fourth, and Jeff Gordon would come home fifth in his No. 24 Pepsi Max Chevrolet.
Jimmie Johnson finished in sixth, followed by Ryan Newman with a nice rebound after Daytona in seventh. Carl Edwards would carry the banner for Roush Fenway Racing by finishing eighth, Kyle Busch was ninth, and Jamie McMurray would finish tenth.
A look at the Profit on CNBC 500K by the numbers. There were 14 lead changes among eight different drivers, there were eight cautions for 39 laps which slowed the race pace to 109.229 MPH.
Next Sunday, the Sprint Cup Series heads to Sin City and the Las Vegas Motor
Starting Lineup: The Profit On CNBC 500K
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday March 1, 2014
Drivers in RED (i) are those ineligible to collect Sprint Cup points
Daytona 500 TV Ratings Down
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Wednesday February 26, 2014
What was the longest weather delay in Daytona 500 history turned out to bring NASCAR lower ratings and TV viewership Sunday night than expected. According to a report Monday from FOX Sports, the 56th running of the Daytona 500 airing at 8 PM (ET) posted a 5.6/10 national household rating/share which averaged 9.3 million viewers. That’s down 44 percent from last year’s 9.9, easily making it the least-watched Daytona 500 of all-time.
Due to the six-hour, twenty-two minute rain delay in Daytona, the race was up against the primetime coverage of the Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony from Sochi, Russia on NBC (15.25 million viewers). FOX also reported that 69% of the pre-rain delay viewers of the race, which began at 1 PM (ET) kept tuning in.
In comparison, the 2013 Daytona 500 on FOX was the most-watched race in five years, posting a 9.9/22 rating/share, commanding 16.7 million viewers. The Daytona 500 in 2012, the first to ever be run on a Monday and in the primetime slot did a 7.7/13 overnight rating/share which resulted in 13.67 million households viewing the race according to Nielsen TV ratings data.
Earnhardt, Jr. Claims Second Daytona 500 Victory
posted by Justin Tucker
Wednesday February 26, 2014
Ten years is a long time. For Dale Earnhardt, Jr., it felt like an eternity. NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver endured many near misses and close calls at the Daytona 500 since his only win in the Great American Race in 2004. Earnhardt had finished second in two of his last three Daytona 500s coming into Sunday’s race. He was also riding the tail of a 55-race winless streak, dating back to Michigan in 2012.
However nothing would stop Dale Jr. on Sunday, not even a 6 hour and 22 minute rain delay from capturing his second Daytona 500 win. Earnhardt Jr. led a race-high 54 laps on the evening and used some timely drafting help from teammates Jimmie Johnson and, on the final restart, Jeff Gordon to separate from the pack and secure the victory.
“Winning this race is the greatest feeling that you could feel in this sport besides accepting the trophy for the championship,” said a jubilant Earnhardt after pulling into Victory Lane. “We could fight off battle after battle. We got a little help at the end there from Jeff to get away on the restart. This is amazing. I can’t believe this is happening. I never take this for granted, man because it doesn’t happen twice, let alone once.”
Aside from the race itself the big story of the race was the 6 hour and 22 minute red flag, which threatened to move the race to Monday evening (had the race been postponed, FOX Sports’ Chris Myers had tweeted that the race would resume at 5:00pm EST). However, Mother Nature would cooperate and would allow the race to be run under different conditions from which they practiced this week. Once the race resumed, the intensity picked up from the changing track conditions. This allowed the pack to race side-by-side and at times 3-wide up to seven rows deep.
Joining Earnhardt Jr. in the top 5 for the 2014 Daytona 500 were: Denny Hamlin who closed out a spectacular Speedweeks in second, Brad Keselowski in third, Jeff Gordon in fourth, and Jimmie Johnson who overcome two wrecks leading up to the 500 in fifth.
Rounding out the top 10 in the Daytona 500 were Matt Kenseth in sixth, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. in seventh and Greg Biffle would bring his No. 16 Ford home in eighth. Austin Dillon would come home ninth in his first Cup Series race in the iconic No. 3 for Richard Childress Racing, while Casey Mears would round out the top 10.
A couple of major contenders for the Daytona 500 win would see their hopes dashed early on as Martin Truex, Jr. would blow up just 30 laps into the race, relegating him to a 43rd-place finish in his debut for Furniture Row Racing. Crew chief Todd Berrier was already in Nashville for a test session before the race was even over. Kyle Busch, meanwhile would have a pit road violation just before halfway and would spend much of the race battling back from that mistake. Busch would eventually finish 19th after leading 19 laps.
Danica Patrick would also be bit by bad luck as she was caught up in a multi-car wreck on lap 145. Patrick would lead her second consecutive Daytona 500, but wouldn’t have the finish to show for it finishing 40th. Tony Stewart would encounter a frustrating evening as well, with a fuel pickup problem derailing his quest for his first Daytona 500 win. Stewart would finish 35th.
A look at the Daytona 500 by the numbers. There were 42 lead changes among 18 drivers, while seven cautions for 39 laps would slow the race pace to 145.290 MPH.
Next week, the Sprint Cup Series heads to the “diamond in the desert,” Phoenix International Raceway for The Profit on CNBC 500K. The Green flag is scheduled for 3:15pm EST.
Nationwide Series Post-Race Quotes: Drive4COPD 300
posted by Thomas Bowles
Tuesday February 25, 2014
Frontstretch Interviews – Courtesy Mike Neff
ELLIOTT SADLER – FINISHED 4th
Thoughts on the race?
It’s definitely a lot different racing than what we’re used to.
Comfortable with it?
Yeah, it’s just different. You’re worried about what you’re doing, but you’re also worried about what everyone else is doing and they’re not doing more than you’re doing. Physically pushing a guy is way better than just riding so you just gotta time it right and push it to the edge.
Happy to start the year with a top 5?
Yeah. Hell, that was the worst we ran all day, I think. I have no idea how they put the 3 car in front of us on that last restart. I hadn’t seen the 3 car hardly all day. When they put us from fifth to sixth, on the outside line, it just really boxed us in. I would have really restarted behind my teammate and given him a good push to the front. Anyways, it is what it is; we’ll take it and move on.
Looked like you were up front all day.
The guys did a good job. We had a fast race car. Great pit stops, just really proud of these guys. The car’s in one piece and we can take it to Talladega now. Great job by my guys. A lot of effort came into coming down here to Daytona and giving ourselves a shot to win. We had that chance to be up front and make some things happen. Fifth is not what we want, but we’ll take it and move on.
Bumping vs Pushing?
It’s way harder. You don’t want to lay on the guy in front of you, so it’s tough racing. A lot different than what we’re used to, ‘cause you gotta go. You gotta drag the brake too ‘cause you don’t want to hit the guys and you don’t want to stay on him. It’s a lot harder mentally than what we’ve done in the past.
Car was strong all day. Pushing vs. Bumping, is that harder to do than just getting on somebody and pushing them?
Yeah, it is a little bit. When you bump ‘em, you jar ‘em, it kinda jacks ‘em a little bit. It’s a little more abrupt, obviously. I thought it was OK there at the end. It was certainly fun and hopefully entertaining. But a little bit of a struggle in the early part of the race and the midpart of the race to see a good race. And that’s unfortunate for the fans. You can’t do that the whole race, you can’t tear up your stuff, knock your grill in, overheat your motor, all that stuff so there’s no sense in doing all that until you get down to the last lap. The 7 and the 6, they did a good job. Man, the 7 really held the 22 and I tight on the bottom. I was rubbing his door and hitting the apron at the same time, no room whatsoever. So it was good; wish we were the ones who could have won but a lot better now than what we were last year.
Going home in one piece makes it a lot better, right?
Yeah. My back feels good. My foot feels good. Past years here, I’ve been going home with pain so I’m alright.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Truck Series Post-Race Quotes: Daytona (Exclusives)
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday February 22, 2014
When you’re on the outside like that, how frustrating is it?
It’s so hard. Timothy Peters has won here. Kyle Busch has won everywhere. Ron Hornaday has been running Trucks forever, probably before I was even born. I was surrounded by veterans there, and like I told them I don’t have a rookie stripe but I’m a rookie. This is only my fourth Truck race ever, my fourth superspeedway race, and man, I figured out when the 17 got up in front of me, I pushed him. And as soon as I pushed him, he took off. And I went with him. And I just kept doing it, and before I knew it, he was leading. And I saw Ron in my mirror, backed up to him, and if it wasn’t for him, I don’t know what would have happened. I gotta thank him big time for that. That was a true teammate move right there. I really appreciate that. He just bounced off me and we got to the front. I tried my hardest to sidedraft Kyle. I was probably touching his door.
Top 5 in the No. 30 truck. This deal come together at the last minute, but you had a heck of a truck. Tell us about your night.
Yeah, I’ve got to thank Turner Scott Motorsports. The guys worked so hard on this Rheem Comfort Products Chevrolet. Exciting! Just got hung up on the outside and had to wait for my teammate there to catch up. And then he got to the bottom, so… I got the old 32 and started pushing ol’ Ryan to the front. So, it’s not bad. We’ll take it. You just don’t want to step over that boundary. You don’t know how far to push and shove. We bumped about six times down the straightaway without latching onto them. Hopefully, that was OK and we came home with a top 5.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Budweiser Duels Post Race Quotes
posted by Matt Stallknecht
Friday February 21, 2014
BUDWEISER DUELS POST-RACE QUOTES
They’re saying the wheel bearing burned up in it. I don’t know what caused it, they’re taking it all apart to figure out what the heck happened. Something abnormal that’s for sure I don’t think I’ve ever had that happen at all. Hopefully, we made the race and hopefully we can fix the problem before Sunday.
WHAT WAS THAT LOUD BOOM ONCE YOU TURNED INTO THE GARAGE?
Loud pop was a tire… thankfully, it popped, hopefully it didn’t hurt anybody. All the heat created in the left front that popped was pretty weird.
REALLY GOOD RUN. WHAT DID YOU THINK OF IT?
Yeah, it was good. We have a car we can work with for the 500. Got a good starting spot, so we’re going to rest easy, fluff and buff our car for a couple of days and get ready for Sunday.
ANY DIFFERENCE ON WHETHER THE TOP OR BOTTOM LANE WORKED?
Yeah, I was just moving around, trying to stay with the flow. For me, this car works on all parts of the racetrack. So I’m pretty happy with it.
DALE EARNHARDT, JR.
GOT SHUFFLED BACK, AFTER PIT STOPS AND THEN COULDN’T GET BACK UP TO THE FRONT. WHY?
Nah, we were just sitting there waiting until the last few laps to make a move. You didn’t want to pull down and get sent to the back. Seen a couple of guys get sent to the back really quick so we were just kind of waiting for the end. I felt like we had a good situation there with Ambrose behind us — we had a good run off Turn 2 and I went. It was the last lap, time to go do something, nobody went with us but hopefully Sunday is a different story.
We got a great car. We don’t have to work hard. We learned, we got a good race car. Got a car in one piece, ready to go so we’ll try and get through the next couple of practices, deliver it to the starting group this Sunday and we’ll be real happy.
YOU’RE IN THE DAYTONA 500!
Yeah, it’s pretty awesome. This Whitetail Chevrolet was so fast that I knew all I had to do was stick it behind smart, intelligent drafters and we could have a good finish. That’s what we did in the Duels and I’m excited. I’m excited to go do some stuff with the Nationwide car and have some more practice with this. But to know that we’re locked in the Daytona 500’s pretty cool.
YOU WERE OBVIOUSLY IN FRONT OF THAT MELEE AT THE END. WHEN YOU WERE UP FRONT THERE IN THE BEGINNING, WERE YOU HOPING TO JUST STAY IN LINE AND LET YOU FINISH TOP 5?
I was pretty content to ride and luckily I knew a lot of people around us were. It was nice to have a little calm and not really have to be racing hard the whole time. I knew that the pit stop was going to shake everything up and that’s exactly what happened. Fell back a little bit there but made the right moves at the end to get a good finish.
HOW STRONG ARE THESE RCR CARS?
They’re very strong! They definitely have the capabilities to be winning one of these races.
YOU’RE IN THE TOP 5 FOR YOUR HEAT IN THE DAYTONA 500. YOUR PRIMARY CAR IS SITTING RIGHT IN THE GARAGE, KIND OF WADDED UP. DID YOU THINK THIS ONE HAD IT IN IT?
Yeah, it’s a brand new car also. It’s just not quite as good as the primary but still a damned good car. I’m just proud of everybody at RCR for building such fast race cars. All of our cars have been fast, ECR motor’s been strong, even our affiliate teams have been qualifying really good and racing good. So… excited about 2014! It’s going to be a good year.
WELL MAN, YOU STARTED IN THE BACK BUT WORKED YOUR WAY TO THE FRONT WHEN IT COUNTED MOST. WERE YOU JUST BIDING YOUR TIME THROUGHOUT THE RACE?
Eh, you never know if you’re going to get back up there or not. We had to start at the back, we had to make a run early and see what we could do. We drove right to 10th, or something like that and then it got stagnant. We tried to make something happen, and went to the back again. Drove back up to the front. Again, just really proud of my guys. Matt Kruder did a hell of a job on that pit stop getting just enough gas in to gain some spots there.
RCR CARS SEEM PRETTY DARNED STRONG. DO YOU THINK THE RCR CARS HAVE SOMETHING FOR THEM ON SUNDAY — ESPECIALLY THE THREE JOE GIBBS RACING CARS THAT SEEM TO BE THE CLASS OF THE FIELD RIGHT NOW?
Oh yeah. The 20 car was extremely fast. The 11 didn’t qualify that good, but he’s a good drafter. I think he won. We definitely have something for him.
Check in with Matt and Jay on their site at CareyandCoffey.com.
Bryan Davis Keith · Tuesday May 1, 2012
ONE: The Double-Edged Sword of Debris Caution Wrongs
Tony Stewart certainly wasn’t the only person upset about losing Saturday night’s race, and for that matter having Saturday’s 300-mile race determined by a conveniently placed water bottle a stone’s throw from the finish. Fellow FS writer Matt McLaughlin has been so kind as to remind the sanctioning body for as long as I’ve been on staff at this site that NASCAR fans aren’t stupid…they’re more than capable of figuring out when the officials in charge are manipulating a finish.
This one was about as open-and-shut a case of manipulation as has been seen since the Mark Martin/Jimmie Johnson episode in the fall Atlanta race of 2004. While there wasn’t a dramatic storyline that NASCAR was determined to see written this time, the motivation was clear; after two straight weekends of mundane racing on intermediate ovals, there was no way fans weren’t going to see a late lap battle at Richmond. Even if, prior to the yellow flag for that dastardly water bottle, the “Action Track” had grossly failed to live up to Dale Jarrett’s promise for plenty of yellow flags made before the start of Friday’s NNS race.
Speaking of that NNS race, check it out. Only three caution flags, the race ended on a 70+ lap green flag run…and the finish was everything a promoter could ask for; full of contact, decided by inches, something that would do Sportscenter highlight reels and still photos justice for years to come.
Just goes to show that this shouldn’t be a hard lesson to learn. This sport is too unpredictable to think that one can effectively guarantee a good finish. Stock car racing is not entertainment, it happens to be entertaining. It’s just less so when the folks running the show do everything in their power to over-regulate and over-officiate.
TWO: Yeah, That Really Just Happened
Speaking of those overzealous officials…how is it that with literally hundreds of uniformed officials, a scoring tower full of personnel and enough cameras stationed around the track to make a European urbanite feel at home, there is confusion over who is actually leading the race?
The scoring pylon says Carl Edwards is leading. The spotter for the No. 99 car was supposedly told by an official that Carl Edwards was leading. Yet, Tony Stewart’s the one lining up in front in the preferred line coming to the green.
The sad thing is that given the uncertainty surrounding this restart situation, there will never be a conclusive way to figure out right and wrong. Did Edwards’ spotter really get told by an official a mere three seconds before the green flag waved that the No. 99 was the race leader? Or did he just happen to take a gander at the scoring pylon when faced with a split-second question to answer for his driver? If the No. 99 team was confused as to where they were starting, if they thought they were the leader, why wouldn’t they have been raising holy hell about getting lane choice?
Frankly, the evidence suggests to me that this error is on the No. 99 team for making a bad assumption and not the sanctioning body. NASCAR’s doing something wrong when it comes down to the driver’s word that his spotter said they were in front. There’s something to be said about conflict of interest regarding that story.
But then again, after thinking further, I can vividly imagine a NASCAR official telling spotter Jason Hedlesky that Cousin Carl was indeed out front…because past experience has shown that NASCAR, having scores of officials covering every inch of a facility, has never been strong at communicating the story to them all. Rewind back to February 2011, the Truck race at Daytona where Michael Waltrip won with his failed rear spoiler. In a span of five minutes, Frontstretch spoke to two NASCAR officials regarding the way NASCAR was inspecting that spoiler, and got two completely different accounts of how the inspection was being handled and why.
With any other sanctioning body, I’d think Carl Edwards and crew flat messed up. Then again, this was a NASCAR race.
THREE: What’s in a Name?
A whole hell of a lot. Just ask Ryan Blaney, whose Nationwide Series debut Friday night received more air time than that of X-games athlete Travis Pastrana and became one of the most analyzed first races the Nationwide ranks has seen since Danica Patrick and Joey Logano. It’s not often one can say that about a team like Tommy Baldwin Racing fielding a new prospect.
That being said, take away the name Blaney…anybody out there think even that eighth-place run would have gotten the kind of attention that it did? Ryan’s got a tremendous amount of promise as he’s been a terror on late model circuits across the South, but he’s also a rather quiet 18-year-old…and one of about 50 million late model racers out there trying to break into the big-time. Hell, there was another 18-year-old with ARCA experience that made their debut on Friday night in Tanner Berryhill, and he got scarcely a mention over a two-hour plus telecast. As for TV time? Forget about it.
Blaney’s a bad example to make a point with; his dad’s been an upstanding figure in the Cup garage for decades now and hey, wheeling an independent team car to a top 10 in the Nationwide Series these days is an accomplishment for any driver. But there is a point to be made here…it’s not a level playing field for drivers trying to break through. With old guard and ownership in the booth, directing the play-by-play of NASCAR racing to the millions watching, there’s a tremendous amount of control exercised in the booth as to who makes it and who doesn’t.
Ryan Blaney? He’s a real talent. This kid’s gonna do his dad proud and be around for a while. But the amount of hype, coverage and kudos that were bestowed on him this Friday night make it abundantly clear there’s very powerful people rooting for him. That sucks for guys like Tanner Berryhill.
FOUR: The Implications of Bumper-Gate
The Nationwide Series Breakdown from this week went into plenty of detail of just how dramatic the repercussions of likely penalties against Richard Childress Racing and Turner Motorsports for modified bumpers will be come the end of 2012. But the penalties that all but certainly will be handed down on Tuesday…and the appeal that will undoubtedly follow…are going to send just as many shockwaves through the racing community.
After all, just look at Jimmie Johnson’s C-post episode from Daytona. The penalty went all the way to the Supreme Court of Stock Car Racing…then was overturned, a major coup for NASCAR’s most powerful team in Hendrick Motorsports.
In terms of stature, Richard Childress Racing isn’t too far behind in that regard. And not only is Elliott Sadler’s championship campaign in serious danger as a result of the bumper episode, so is Austin Dillon’s. It’s personal, it’s family for RC and his team. Don’t for one second think that should the appeals process go up the food chain on this one that objectivity will be 100% able to overcome the influence and dues paid by Childress and RCR.
Problem is, should the appeal go all the way to the top only to get overturned again in this case, now the system looks toothless. Two powerful teams getting out of two “major” penalties isn’t an image the sanctioning body’s going to want a part of.
Buckle up folks, Bumpergate may prove more exciting than a race at Texas. Too soon?
FIVE: An Earnhardt Kind of Weekend
As discussed in point one, it is not possible, no matter how hard the sanctioning body tries, to fix a stock car race. There’s just too many moving pieces. But, when it comes to plate racing, they can certainly push an event in a particular direction. It’s been done before…anyone really think the No. 3 was going to lose when it returned to the track at Daytona a few years back?
Which begs the question…in a real doldrum for the sport that’s seen calm races, no on-track feuds and big-names such as Gordon, Earnhardt, Patrick and Pastrana all making little more than a whimper in terms of highlights, is it so hard to believe that the No. 7 on Saturday and the No. 88 on Sunday might get the mystical bigger plate?
Both will be factors in their respective races. And should they be up front late in the going, take a real good look at how well they can pass…and how everyone acts around them. Draw your own conclusions from there.
©2000 - 2008 Bryan Davis Keith and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
Its “journalists” like you and most of the staff at Frontstretch that do more harm to the sport than good.
If you don’t like the way NASCAR handles things…if you don’t like the racing…go pretend to write about something else…because all you’re doing is bitching and moaning.
The reason Ryan Blaney got coverage on Friday is because he ran up front. Top ten most of the night. In his first race. With the big guns of the sport. It’s called a storyline…something important for television coverage. Good on Tanner Berryhill for making his first start, but unless he runs up front or sticks it in the fence…its not compelling TV.
“big-names such as Gordon, Earnhardt, Patrick and Pastrana….”
Ok, Gordon, four time Cup Champion.
Ok, Earnhardt, has Daddy’s big time name.
Huh? Patrick, done nothing but the media thinks she’s something. Maybe secretly want in her firesuit.
Pastrana, never heard of him if again it wasn’t for the media hype. Another flat-brimmed cap, “cool kid” wanting to get exposure.
You guys just can’t report a story, but rather like the mainstream media, you want to create a story. What a shame, or should it be sham?
You lump Earnhardt with Gordon, Patrick and Pastrana as making little more than a wimper? Hell man, Earnhardt is second in points and 5 away from first and you say he has made barely a whimper? Have you been watching the races at all or are you just another writer who is so dang jealous of Dale Jr’s nation of fans that you have to hurl venom when given a chance? And the #3 only won that race with Nascar’s assistance? Please tell me how Nascar convinced 42 other drivers to cooperate with them in this little charade. WTH are you drinking/smoking?
I realize the quality of writing has swirled the bowl for years, but this kind of untalented, nonsensical, factless diatribe isn’t worthy to line a bird cage.
The next time I see your name, I’ll remember to just pass on by.
Thanks Frontstretch for being the site we can go to to read about the truth in nASCAR. Most others are just part of the propaganda machine. They call it racing. The racing is no more than a concert with cars as a prop. The drivers are dressed up like the band Kiss and there are always a bunch of groupies on pit road. Even blow smoke after the concert,I mean race.The tracks are just a social scene for the elite.
I have to say – Ryan Blaney drove one hell of a race. He deserved the credit that he got and he finished 8th. When Danica (and I do like her) finishes 38th, she gets like 5 minutes of post race time. So, give the kid some credit. HE KILLED IT!
Writing about a mystical bigger restrictor plate? Really? You got any proof about this? Oh yeah, the race hasn’t even happened yet, and yet you’re writing about it. What a load.
And by the way, I think the word you’re looking for is mythical, not mystical.
Sometimes the coverage of Nascar on the web is bad. This is terrible.
You could give Danica a Hemi (a real one) and she still wouldn’t win the race.
As to Junior, NASCAR not only wants him to win, but they want to pump Hendrick’s 200th for every ounce of publicity. He’s been running well and he knows how to drive plate tracks, so it’s hard to say who would be responsible if he pulled off a win. Certainly if they made it easier for him then this is one of the more likely places that they would get a payoff.
Even as young Mr. Berryhill was getting no attention neither was young Ms. Long who finished ahead of both Princess Danica and Mr. Pastrana.
I Think I gotta go with GoFast & Rick …This ? …Article is not worthy of any one who carrys media credentials …I Think I to will considor passing by on this ?..writer
Pepper and Jr. Nation, don’t worry, Dale Jr. is going to get his only win this year in 2 weeks at Charlotte. In what is becoming an Embarrassing annual “win”, he will “win” the PITY PASS into the Sprint All-Star race, after again driving the best equipment in Na$crap and and not being able to win the Sprint Open race for Losers, because he was “saving his equipment” for the All-Star race. BTW, Dale Jr. hasn’t won a Cup plate race in eight (8) years.
you want to pick on how an article is written and not address the big picture issues that are raised? really?
The end is near.
@babydufus…I have no problem with HOW the article was written…I take issue with the content and how its presented.
I agree completely that FOX’s commentary leaves plenty to be desired…mainly a muzzle for the two Waltrips, but like it or not, politics plays a huge part in TV coverage…its ugly and dirty and necessary but its not going anywhere. Like sausage. Tastes halfway decent, but sure isn’t pretty to watch being made.
I also agree that NASCAR may have some credibility issues. BUT…imagine how hard it is to distinguish something that can cut a tire or fly into the stands when hit from a plastic bottle (which by the way, can be sharp, and if hit will go flying off just about as fast as the car that hit it).
Unless an official happens to be standing on top of the offending debris, its very hard to identify. Most of the time, its reported by a driver who told his spotter that he saw something. Think about how hard it is to identify crap lying on the side of the interstate. Now add in 70 -110 more miles an hour, a full face helmet, and windows you can’t really see out of. Stock cars are notoriously hard to see out of. All the driver saw was something on the racing surface that he knew wasn’t supposed to be there….so what does NASCAR do? If they can’t identify it, they throw the caution and go check it out. It could be nothing…but hey, better safe than sorry, right?
When Carl hit the fence at ‘Dega three years ago, there was major outcry for the people who got hurt by the parts that flew into the stands. Pieces fall of these machines and they end up in the seats. Happened at the Rock this year. Not sure if it made TV, but there was a woman about 5 rows up in the entrance of turn 1 who got cut by a piece of something on her left thigh that cleared the fence.
As for showing it on TV…remember our driver scenario? Now imagine trying to find that same piece of debris through a black and white viewfinder with a screen slightly larger than an iPod…unless the camera op knows exactly where to look, he’s not going to find it. Unless its a big, honkin, chunk of car. Sure FOX, ESPN and TNT take 75 plus cameras to the track, but they can’t see everything. The production staff has more important things to focus on. Don’t forget ,this race is happening live. If someone misses it, its gone.
One final note… if you don’t like the way NASCAR runs things…if you think its rigged, if you think Hendrick, Childress and Roush have secret back room deals with the France family… DON’T WATCH. Simple as that.
If the debris is so tiny that they can’t see it and aren’t absolutely sure its debris, especially with 14 laps to go, they need to stay green. The cars are safe, the walls are safe, its about time the Cup series takes off the kid gloves. Aren’t these guys supposed to be the best drivers in the world?
Funny how they go to Daytona/Talladega and don’t have a problem destroying car after car with huge wrecks, but a little spec of metal alarms everyone to the point that we need to hault the race immediately in the name of safety. Hypocracy at its best.