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!
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 July 2, 2012
ONE: Letting Wins Stand Detrimental to the Sport
Yes, Austin Dillon’s first Nationwide victory this past weekend at Kentucky was a feel good story on a number of fronts. A proud grandfather got to see his grandson carry on the family name in a big-time performance. The rookie that could served notice in the Nationwide title chase. And the No. 3 was dominant in a way it hasn’t been in over a decade.
Having said that, the car was found illegal in post-race inspection. It doesn’t matter that the failure stemmed from an apparent parts failure. It doesn’t matter that, as owner Richard Childress told the Sporting News, that the reduction in height was actually of detriment to Dillon’s machine over the course of 300 miles. None of that changes the fact that the car could not pass post-race inspection. It was illegal.
And even though NASCAR levied penalties Tuesday that ended up costing Dillon the points lead (ironically, another RCR entry ended up taking the point), the win still stands. Dillon remains a firm fixture in the title chase. And crew chief Danny Stockman will be back on the war wagon come Daytona this Friday night. Win a race with an illegal race car, keep the trophy and get slapped on the wrist.
Is it a wonder so many have a hard time taking this sport and the sanctioning body seriously?
TWO: Call for Mandatory Cautions Show Just How Bad Things Are
Those legitimacy concerns are nothing compared to the ones that would result should one Bruton Smith get his way. Following a weekend of relatively tame racing action that saw the first two events runaways and the third dictated almost entirely by track position (even with aerodynamic changes that were supposedly going to be game changers), Smith put the asinine notion out there that races needed cautions to be exciting. Even if that means, as it would in the case of many current tracks, throwing a yellow flag every 20 laps.
Talk about missing the forest for the trees. Making cautions mandatory doesn’t make racing exciting…it manufactures tension that a crappy on-track product can’t naturally produce. And NASCAR fans have already seen what taking a 400-mile Cup race and turning it into glorified heat races does; the product can range from the recent dud All-Star races of the past few years to the God-awful Brickyard 400 of 2008. That’s hardly an inspiring product to be aiming for. And it’s also essentially a sign that in the name of trying to placate fans with artificial moments of excitement, a highly influential race promoter is essentially proclaiming that 60+ years of racing history built on tests of man and machine over the course of demanding distances be thrown out the window.
Hey Bruton, here’s a thought. Take the millions of dollars that SMI obviously still has pouring into its coffers, tear up an intermediate oval or two and built a Martinsville clone. Instead of placing a damaged sport on another crutch, go back to what works.
THREE: What Does JGR’s Commitment to Logano Mean?
Team owner Joe Gibbs was reported Saturday to have stated that resigning Joey Logano was of top priority for his organization…an issue that apparently has become severable from the team’s longstanding sponsorship arrangement with the Home Depot. Said Gibbs, according to the NASCAR Wire Service, “Joey, we want to get that done. Everything else is kind of up in the air for us right now.”
There’s a lot to be gleaned from these remarks. For one, if the team is ready to commit to a statement that Logano is a priority and Home Depot isn’t being mentioned in the same breath, it’s a pretty good indicator that a seemingly illogical marriage is finally about to end. It would also seem to point out that, well, Home Depot is spoken for (read: Matt Kenseth got the ride…my fellow writer Matt McLaughlin did well to point out that Ryan Newman’s rage directed at the No. 20 car this Saturday wasn’t consistent with what was going on on-track; it suggested some larger frustration was at play.)
That leaves JGR with the same predicament that Roush Fenway Racing has been having with their underachieving development drivers…trying to convince a major dollar backer to sign on for Cup dollars to field a glorified Nationwide Series driver. It makes perfect sense that Gibbs would be pushing Logano at Kentucky; he’s only two weeks removed from his first legitimate Cup win, has been a terror at the Nationwide Series level all spring and is as accomplished a racer at Kentucky as anyone in Sunday’s field.
But make no mistake, No. 20 or not, Logano is going to be the fourth car or out of the fold at JGR in 2013. The owner good as said so himself.
FOUR: Do or Die Weekend for Edwards at Daytona
With all the focus on the Matt Kenseth saga this past week, the magnifying glass has also honed on how disappointing a 2012 season it has been for teammate Carl Edwards, the driver that owner Jack Roush focused all his attention on to the seeming neglect of the 2003 champion. And there’s definitely cause for concern in the No. 99 camp after the team’s pit strategy backfired in a major way at Kentucky, leaving them winless and outside the top 10 in points heading to the wild card race at Daytona. There’s something to be said for how far the No. 99 team has fallen; that they’re resorting to pit strategy to stay relevant on one of the intermediate ovals they used to be a sure thing on.
As inconsistent and unimpressive as the No. 99 has been this year, the reality is Daytona may well be their best chance before the Chase to score a victory and shore up their position for a playoff berth. Ford has won the last three Daytona races, and the summer 400-miler is one that’s been kind to Roush Fenway Racing’s underachievers; Jamie McMurray scored the first of only two wins during his ill-fated stint with the organization there in 2007, while David Ragan scored the only Cup win of his career last season.
Edwards came within a lap or so of winning this event in 2008, and there’s no reason to think the Roush Fusions will be less stout this weekend in a race that drivers agreed in consensus at Kentucky would be a carbon copy of what was seen in this year’s Daytona 500. The way his team is running, the plates may be their only shot at getting on the scoreboard for 2012, and generating any sort of momentum that would turn their campaign from rudderless to legitimate.
FIVE: Thursday Race Didn’t Seem to Be a Draw at Kentucky
The crowds were down for all three events at Kentucky Speedway this weekend, and there are a million different explanations to be had for it; extreme heat, the land hurricane of Friday afternoon, bad memories of 2011’s horrible traffic problems. That doesn’t change the results though; the Cup race did not sell out, the Nationwide race was nowhere near filling up the 60,000 seats the track had a reputation for filling before it got its Cup race, and the Truck race crowd was about what one would expect at any venue on the circuit.
Now, granted, the development series that Kentucky did so well with to land their Cup date were bound to take a hit, now that the big boys come to play. But there’s something to be said about the days on the schedule as well…it’s the Saturday show that draws the biggest. The weeknight event, one of a scarce handful across all three national touring series, just wasn’t the type of draw that would validate the type of talk heard early in the season about Monday Night NASCAR following the rain delay of the Daytona 500.
Sunday is race day. And Saturday night is the night to hit the local track, whatever the track may be. It worked for decades. There’s no reason it won’t work now. The Kentucky Speedway has always had to do things its own way, from suing the sanctioning body to try and get a Cup date to the nonsensical W-shaped garage (apparently a homage, when coupled with the D-shaped oval, to track designer Darrell Waltrip if one watched SPEED on Friday). Maybe a more conventional schedule would be worth a look.
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How about running the Firecracker 400 only on July 4th and start at 10 am on the dot?
Starting a race at 1PM on a Kentucky afternoon in June/July is probably not the best idea you have come up with. Way too hot.
I have a friend who will never go back to MIS because he never got to the track due to traffic issues. People hold grudges when they have been screwed. KY will sell out again, it will just take a few years.
Would throwing mandatory cautions be any more artificial than having the ‘chase’? I think not.
S B, you are spot on, the chase suc#s !
The Chase is the ultimate phony debris caution.
Planned cautions are ridiculous, but advertising time demands a change.
How about this? Divide the race into five equal length heats. All 43 starts the first heat, the bottom six are dropped before the 2nd heat. CARS THAT DON’T COMPLETE THE FIRST HEAT GET POINTS BUT NO MONEY (no start & parkers!). The 2nd, 3rd and 4th heats also drop the bottom six, leaving 25 cars for the main.
Fifteen minute breaks in between for commercials and idle chatter from the booth. A few additional commercials during yellows, but not so many that we don’t have time to summarize pit stops before we go to green again.
No commercials, tech segments, Hollywood Hotel, fluff pieces or any other crap during green.
Creating cautions is BS!! Bruton Smith is one of the MAJOR problems with NASCAR. He knows nothing about taking care of the product, he destroyed Bristol and now is trying to put the dagger in the heart of a once great sport. He and Brian France need to be run out of town. Spec racing is total crap!! And I swear to TV coverage makes me sick!! What the hell happened to Trackside? It’s absolutely stupid now! RaceHub sucks too. Get rid of all these former “drivers” who do nothing but suck up to Nascar. They have helped ruin the credibility of the sport. Boring flashy new tracks are another reason the races suck, they not built for racing, their built for riding. Most of these tracks are owned by SMI and we know they don’t care about a good product, it suck! Here’s another fact that proves NASCAR is out of touch, The Brickyard, one of the absolute worst events ever has been given the Nationwide race to go along with the Cup race. Are you kidding me!! The races at IRP we always great now it’s been replaced by another yawner. Way to go NASCAR. They have no clue as to how and direct the sport. It’s been left in the hands of retards who proven their worth with an increasingly bad product. It kills me to see this happening.
One video clip that TNT ran as a promo for the race really reinforced my opinion of what they call racing. It is the one showing a line of “cars” going single file down the track with the sun reflecting off of them. They all look like tin cans on a conveyer belt all stamped out of some machine. All were content to follow the other until the process was complete.
NASCAR has held its policy of not stripping race wins for failing inspection for decades. Didn’t Richard Petty keep a win despite having an illegal engine? I agree with the NASCAR policy on this this one. The fans who show up should leave knowing who won the race. Taking a win should only be considered for a gigantic rules violation, (e.g. messing with the engine, tires, etc.)
Thank you Tyler, for reminding me of my upcoming boycott of all things Nascar the weekend of Indianapolis. To move the NW series race from IRP to Indianapolis was a terrible idea. The racing at Indy (for stock cars) is terrible, and the NW series racing there won’t make it any better. Now a NW race at a great short track, now there’s something the fans scream for every weekend.
Bruton Smith does something nascar doesn’t do: He listens to the fans.
I urge all disenfranchised nascar fans to contact Mr. Smith and tell him how you feel and what you would like to see.
For example: I want to see more short tracks.
I don’t take Bruton’s comments on cautions too seriously. I think he was trying to get some discussion going on the lack of excitement in nascar racing these days.
Did anybody REALLY think nascar was going to do a damn thing to Austin Dillon? They made a token gesture as a show.
That #3 only fined 6 points tells you something as to who is who in NA$CAR. And the last time I went to Daytona it was 1984 and Petty won 200th and it was on the 4th at 10.00am and we went to the beach aferwards.
Lets use common sense Mr. Keith. Failure of inspection due to a part failure is one thing, failing inspection because of cheating is another.
There is no ‘intent’ with a part failure. Same as our laws pertaining to murder one, murder two and manslaughter.
NASCAR’s penalty is spot on.
I had to look up five months of news releases on Jayski to find what I wanted. I would bet anyone complaining about Austin Dillon’s penalty are probably the first to say NASCAR isn’t fair in how it hands out penalties or fully believe that favoritism regularly takes place. I wish NASCAR would release specific data but they don’t do that. Now I’m not arguing that the car was illegal. But 3/8” to low and three inches too low are completely different entities. And NASCAR issued the same penalty across the board for ALL teams. 6 Points and 10,000 dollars. The only drivers to suffer two penalties this year. The #2 Elliot Sadler ride and #3 Austin Dillon. So their teams have lost a total of 12 points and fined $20,000. We’ll have to wait until one of Turner or Penske drivers/teams gets caught again this year to see if RCR is getting a special deal, which I highly doubt, because if I can fing the info in under 20 minutes you’d be sure a real journalist could also locate it.
What about Dillon’s crew chief who was already on probation for an illegal nose section? Doesn’t anyone think that NASCAR’s probation rules need teeth? Everyone thought they did when Kurt Busch was involved but apprently believes that the Earnhardt connection is sacred and must not be dirtied.
“And it’s also essentially a sign that in the name of trying to placate fans with artificial moments of excitement, a highly influential race promoter is essentially proclaiming that 60+ years of racing history built on tests of man and machine over the course of demanding distances be thrown out the window.”
Brian France has already done that. In so many ways.
Folks, NASCAR has taken away wins before, but it’s very rare. In 1992, Jeff Burton was disqualified after winning a busch series race for an illegal part (part unknown). Dale Jarrett was disqualified in 1995 at michigan after winning a busch race for an illegal intake manifold, and Mike Skinner won at atlanta in 1999 in the busch race, was disqualified for an illegal cylinder head. But he got his win back when the appeal board ruled in his favor. It’s rare, but it has happened.