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 · Monday May 7, 2012
ONE: Brad Keselowski’s Race-Winning Move Biggest Change to Plate Racing
Talk will undoubtedly swirl until Daytona later this summer about water pressures, engine temperatures and ambient heat proving to make both driving and sustaining a viable engine extremely difficult. The rule changes that NASCAR has put in place to bring back pack racing to the plate tracks have proven largely successful, drastically changing the restrictor plate events from what they were a season ago…a two-car tango.
Though the rules have had a dramatic impact and will continue to pose challenges when NASCAR next plate races in the humid summer heat of Florida, the biggest change that this drafting package will see came not courtesy of the rulebook, but one Brad Keselowski. After breaking free from the pack coming to the white flag courtesy of a huge push from Kyle Busch, fans and viewers alike were biding their time on the final lap, waiting for the tri-oval and Kyle to make a sling-shot move for the win. Only Brad broke the script, swinging high entering turn 3 and making a move that, while subtle, effectively killed the draft between he and Busch. Keselowski cruised unmolested to the win by several car lengths, a marathon margin of victory at Talladega.
It’s hard to understand what took NASCAR’s racers so long to figure that one out. The slingshot move at Talladega has proven all but impossible to defend, yet time after time the leader of the breakaway two car tandem has played the good soldier and stayed in line, all but serving up victory to their partner on a silver platter. Keselowski took that draft and broke it up. A simple move, an understated move, and one so obvious it took over a year for someone to actually use it.
This is good news for plate racing in that it further devalues the two-car tandem, a practice that is all but the antithesis of no-holds-barred racing for the win. The field now knows full well how to break the tandem when the race is on the line. It’s gone from a certain 1-2 finish to a classic prisoner’s dilemma. Will my drafting partner stay in line to the end? Do I need to make a move earlier? The more doubt in a tandem, the more likely they’re going to break sooner. They break sooner on the last lap, the field has time to catch up.
And suddenly pack racing will extend to the final two laps as well. Farewell tandems, you will not be missed.
TWO: The Polar Opposite at Penske Racing
While Brad Keselowski scored win number two for 2012 and did a lot to cement his Chase chances less than a third of the way into the season, Talladega proved the latest shortcoming for Penske teammate AJ Allmendinger. A front row start and avoiding attrition for the majority of Sunday afternoon proved all for naught on lap 184, when trying to block Denny Hamlin on the restart the ‘Dinger clearly came across the nose of the No. 11, starting a melee that ended up caving his left front fender in and destroying much of what was left of the field. Allmendinger was visibly irritated post-race after yet another disappointing finish in a series that has produced only one top 10 finish and 20th place in the standings.
Here’s the rub. Unlike Jeff Gordon, who has run like gangbusters and run into every type of misfortune imaginable thus far in 2012, Allmendinger’s issues on Sunday were self-made. Coming across Hamlin’s nose was both a reactionary move to getting jumped on a restart…and one careless enough to take a car that started on the front row from contention in the closing laps.
That frustration visible on Allmendinger’s face post-race was nothing to do with bad luck or misfortune. It was a big-time, costly mistake in a race that Penske Racing had the field covered. There’ve been plenty of struggles for the No. 22 team the first three months of the season, but Talladega may have been the most costly yet.
THREE: To Borrow Your Words, “Yeah Right”
In case some of our readers out there haven’t emerged from under a rock 5000 miles away yet, Danica Patrick wrecked Sam Hornish Jr. on the cool-down lap in Turn 1 at Talladega after contact between the two put the No. 7 car in the fence coming to the checkers. And not surprisingly, NASCAR was quick to confirm that no penalties were coming for the incident.
Here are the details. Sam Hornish Jr. says he hit Danica because he had a flat rear tire in the tri-oval that forced his car up the track. The video is fairly conclusive that his story is accurate, largely because, as the far-more-accomplished open wheeler noted, there is no reason for a driver to force their way up the tri-oval at Talladega. Hornish went further to note that Danica quipped “yeah right” when he went over to apologize immediately following Saturday’s race.
Patrick was indignant in her post-race interview, yet by Monday afternoon was apologizing, claiming she never meant to put Hornish in the fence, but just to tap him. She went further to note she had no idea he had even hit the wall until later.
To borrow her own catchphrase…yeah right. The video is fairly conclusive that the No. 7 did more than make a love tap with the No. 12 car post-race. Couple that with Patrick’s apparent frustration that she found trouble getting drafting help in the closing laps, and its hardly a stretch to see that a frustrated driver pulled a very bush league move after the Aaron’s 312 was over.
FOUR: Is Furniture Row Racing a Lateral Move for Kurt Busch?
Furniture Row Racing has obviously turned some heads as they approach the first anniversary of their stunning Southern 500 upset win in 2011, the first Cup win ever for the organization. Heading back to Darlington, they’ve been linked to talks of outside investor, a second team with 2004 Cup champion Kurt Busch, and the potential to become Dodge Motorsports new flagship for 2013.
Obviously, for Kurt Busch, even the slight prospect of getting back behind the wheel of a factory flagship (like he was with Dodge a season ago) has got to be tantalizing, given the limitations Busch is having to adjust to driving for Phoenix Racing in 2012. But a move to a second team at Furniture Row Racing is far from sure-fire.
Regan Smith has done some fantastic work in the No. 78 car, and the team has paid their dues in becoming a competitive presence in Cup racing. But face the facts; more often than not, they’re not challenging to win. That Southern 500 win a season ago was a tire strategy win, as exciting as it was. Over the course of their existence, they’ve secured little in the form of outside sponsorship…and in this climate, relying on “outside investors” is hardly a reliable business development model. The point here? Funded by Furniture Row or not, money is not suddenly growing on trees at FRR.
The other point being Dodge’s flagship is hardly a guarantee that competitiveness is going to follow. One shouldn’t forget just how far off the mark Penske Racing was, especially on intermediate ovals, when Busch first moved to the organization in 2005. That a Dodge flagship team had to resort to running old model year noses, as they did that season, is hardly a ringing endorsement.
Meanwhile, Phoenix Racing has been more competitive, both with and without plates, simply for having Busch behind the wheel. Busch, however loosely, is in the Hendrick umbrella right now. And should he manage to pull a Regan Smith or steal a plate win at any point in 2012, Busch is a race-winning driver in Hendrick-backed equipment. Who wouldn’t take that over a Dodge? And perhaps more importantly…who wouldn’t want to try selling that to sponsors instead of a Dodge?
FIVE: David Ragan Proving This Writer Wrong
After an ugly start to the 2012 season in the Bud Shootout left Ragan and Front Row Motorsports with an early exit and a mangled race car, I openly questioned in this column the hiring of David Ragan by the organization. Now, coming off a top 10 finish in the same No. 34 at Talladega, it’s time for this writer to eat some crow.
Ragan hasn’t had a DNF since Daytona, owns the operation’s best Cup finish in 2012 and is ranked ahead of Front Row veteran David Gilliland. Perhaps more importantly, Ragan has been landing sponsorship for Front Row. In short, he’s done everything one could ask thus far, leaving that Bud Shootout result in the rear-view mirror.
©2000 - 2008 Bryan Davis Keith and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
Did not think drivers were suppost to lag back and jump start, which is what Denny did to get run the run on AJ.
Listening to Dale Jr.‘s and Tony Stewart’s radios, they were both steering wide of the DInger and Hamlin. Several times Junior noted that Dinger was driving like an idiot and told his spotter to keep him away from AJ. Junior didn’t insult Denny like he did Dinger, but he did ask “why in the hell is the ’11 driving over his head. He’s going to crash the field.” Tony was worried about the Dinger as well and had a few typical Tony remarks about Dinger’s driving as well as his heritage.
I’ve noticed that when the DInger comes out like gangbusters and leads a bunch of laps, he either fads later or blows a motor. This happened at Petty and is now happening at Penske. At the plate tracks he seems to drive too aggressively and like Kyle Busch, more often than not ends up on the short end at the end of the day.
I noticed that the Dinger got about the sixth loudest fan response at Talladega (I was in the stands) behind Junior, Stewart, Busch, Harvick, and Edwards. I guess the ‘dinger is developing a fan base. I think the guy is a dork.
What A.J. Allmendinger did was not only stupid, but it took out several cars that had a chance for a win.
I’m sure drivers will remember that come the next plate race.
nascar will not give the media darling and queen of hype any kind of fine or suspension.
That Busch rumour is very interesting. With his new outlook on life and a 2-car team with Smith and Dodge, I might have something to cheer for next season.
I am flabbergasted, flummoxed and fit to be tied. Robin permberton said that what Danika did to hornish did not rise to the same level as the busch/hornaday incident? Really?? really? Good god man, you just flushed what little credibility you had left. She intentionally turned him into the wall at speed, at a fast race track under non green flag conditions as a retaliation to a perceived injustice. Those are all facts. She should be parked.
Regarding the 11 and the 22, i see both drivers having about an equal share of responsibility in causing that wreck.
I noticed not too many driver seemed to want to work with the 7… hmm wonder why.
I thought it was cool that brad and kyle outfoxed the roush boys and then brad outfoxed kyle. I just hope the author is right about the death of the tandem.
How anyone thinks what we saw Sunday is better than what we had last year at plate races is beyond me.
Re. ‘Dega: Tony Stewart said it all. Right on. That goes for all plate races—they stink.
Dinger made a mistake and paid the price. I think his frustration after the race was with himself, or at least it should have been. Still, AJ is a talented driver who I think can win races at the cup level. Remember, his lack of success this year has been primarily due to faulty equipment and a couple of bad breaks. One mistake on his part won’t get him canned. Keselowski started out slow last year and yet Penske was patient with him and it paid off. There’s no reason to think AJ can’t be successful as well.
What Danica did is completely different. She’s not an invading driver from a higher class of racing wrecking a “lower tier” driver who was making a run at a championship. She did it after the race, not under caution DURING the race, so she didn’t affect the race outcome. And, she’s pretty new to the whole wrecking thing and as mentioned she was just looking to whack him, not turn him into the wall. Busch specifically wanted to demolish Hornaday’s truck. And to say it was at a faster track is pretty irrelevant, both incidents happened when cars were slowing down from racing speeds, the difference was likely 140-150 mph vs 150-160 mph.
She’s being immature but last time I checked, there were a lot of immature moves this season so far. It’s not the same thing, at all.