NASCAR Changes Qualifying Format
posted by Summer Bedgood
Tuesday March 11, 2014
Following safety concerns regarding NASCAR’s new qualifying format, the sanctioning body is introducing some changes in preparation for this weekend’s race at Bristol Motor Speedway. According to the Associated Press, NASCAR is banning teams from cool-down laps after their qualifying attempts, but will instead be allowed to hook up cool-down units to the engine through hood flaps.
Late Tuesday afternoon, a release from NASCAR fully detailed the changes. Teams will be allowed a single cool down unit to be connected through the right or left side hood flap, however the hood must remain closed. Additionally, two crew members will be allowed over the wall while cooling down.
“The qualifying is new to all of us and as we have said over the past several weeks, we are looking at it from all aspects,” said Robin Pemberton, vice president of competition and racing development. “Following discussions, both internally and with others in the garage area, we moved quickly to make a few revisions that will be effective starting with our two national series events at Bristol Motor Speedway this weekend. We believe this will only enhance and improve what has demonstrated to be an exciting form of qualifying for our fans, competitors and others involved with the sport. Moving forward we will continue to look at it and address anything else that we may need to as the season unfolds.”
The move comes after three weeks of NASCAR’s new knockout qualifying system, where multiple cars are allowed to make qualifying attempts at the same time instead of the traditional one-car-at-a-time procedure. Drivers and teams had complained that the new rules didn’t allow them to cool their engines down on pit road, and the cool-down laps caused a dangerous situation with slower cars staying on the track at the same time that other cars were running by them at much higher speeds.
The rule will begin this weekend in Bristol, a track that has a much narrower racing surface than Daytona, Phoenix, and Las Vegas.
Kurt Busch to Attempt The Indianapolis-Charlotte Double
posted by Phil Allaway
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Andretti Autosport announced this morning that Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet in the Sprint Cup Series, will attempt the Indianapolis 500 in a fifth entry for the IndyCar Series team. Once the Indianapolis 500 is completed, Busch will fly from Indianapolis to Charlotte, jump in his No. 41 Chevrolet and compete in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Busch considers the opportunity to do the double as an old-school throwback moment.
“This is really to challenge myself within motorsports,” Busch said in Andretti Autosport’s press release. “Perhaps I am a bit of an old-school racer; a throwback, I guess. I enjoyed the era of drivers racing different cars and testing themselves in other series. It is tough to do now for a variety of factors, but when the opportunity is there, I want to do it. While NASCAR is my home, I have been fortunate to compete in Pro Stock on the NHRA circuit a number of years ago and test a V8 Supercar. This opportunity was a talk with Michael [Andretti] over dinner one night, a “What if,” and now it’s becoming a reality for me to drive in the Indy 500 with Andretti Autosport. It’s literally a dream come true. To go to the famous Brickyard with the iconic Andretti name, it doesn’t get much cooler or better than that.”
Busch will be doing the Indianapolis-Charlotte double as a Memorial Day mission to men and women serving in the U.S. Military via the Armed Forces Foundation. Fans can contribute to the cause by texting AFF to 50555 to donate $10.
Busch, who has never raced an IndyCar, passed Rookie Orientation at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last year during a test session. At the time, Busch was more or less testing the Dallara DW12 for fun.
Busch will be the fourth driver to attempt the Indianapolis-Charlotte double. John Andretti was the first driver to attempt it in 1994. After finishing four laps down in tenth in Indianapolis, Andretti crashed and had engine problems in the 600. Robby Gordon has attempted the double five times, most recently in 2004. However, Gordon failed to make it to Charlotte on time and did not start the 600 in 2000 (P.J. Jones started Gordon’s No. 13 Ford in that instance). Finally, Tony Stewart has attempted the double twice (most recently in 2001) and is the only driver to ever complete all 1100 miles. Neither of the three drivers has won either leg of the double. The best finishes are Stewart and Gordon’s sixth-place finishes at the Indianapolis 500 (although Gordon’s came in 2000, the year he didn’t make it to Charlotte in time to start the Coca-Cola 600), and Stewart’s fourth-place finish in the 2001 Coca-Cola 600.
Danica Patrick, Justin Allgaier Talk About Phoenix Incident
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
A disappointing start to the year for Danica Patrick won’t include continued conflict. Patrick met with rookie Justin Allgaier Sunday, shortly after the Phoenix Cup race after a wreck ruined both drivers’ days. Patrick, who was critical of the No. 51 car on the radio, claiming Allgaier was “driving all over the track” appeared receptive to a conversation that quickly settled differences over what will be a long season.
“She was just upset because she got involved in the crash that we had,’’ said Allgaier to the Motor Racing Network. “She says she’s been through this and that she felt like I needed to settle down at that point. I explained my position on why everything happened. I think she understood where I was coming from. It doesn’t fix either one of our racecars. It doesn’t fix either one of our days. Unfortunately, we were both having pretty decent days.’’
Allgaier wound up 30th due to the incident while Patrick was 36th. The incident, which was caused by Allgaier’s spin also involved the No. 32 team and Travis Kvapil, which wound up 38th after sustaining heavy damage.
Camping World Close to Extending Title Sponsorship of NCWTS
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Marcus Lemonis, CEO of Camping World, Grand Marshal of Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway, and star of CNBC’s “The Profit,” made the announcement over the weekend that the retailer is very close to announcing a deal that would continue its title sponsorship of NASCAR’s Truck Series. The original agreement with NASCAR is scheduled to conclude after the 2015 season.
According to the sanctioning body, no formal contract has been signed, but “the agreement between the two parties has proven to be a beneficial one.”
“In about a month, we’ll be announcing a significant extension to that contract. It’s been great for us,” said Camping World’s Lemonis in a statement. “The NASCAR relationship has worked well for Camping World. When we started, we had 35 stores. Now, we’re up to 120 stores. As we travel the country and we meet new customers in stores, they always are very appreciative of our relationship with NASCAR. It’s been good.”
Gaining a long-term commitment from Camping World to sponsor the Truck Series would be a relief for NASCAR, which is set to lose Nationwide Insurance as title sponsor for the NASCAR Nationwide Series at the end of the 2014 season. The sponsorship of the Cup Series by Sprint runs through 2016.
The NCWTS is back in action on March 29th at 2:30 PM (ET) when the trucks visit Martinsville Speedway in the Kroger 250, which can be seen on Fox Sports 1. Ratings for the season opener were up 11 percent.
Harvick Takes Win At Phoenix In Second Race With New Team
posted by Justin Tucker
Monday March 3, 2014
Phoenix International Raceway has become Kevin Harvick’s home away from home. Sunday Afternoon was no exception as Harvick charged to the front early and would dominate for much of the day, leading 224 of the scheduled 312 laps to record his record fifth win on the one mile oval and his third win in the last four races at Phoenix.
Harvick, coming off of a disappointing Speedweeks which was capped by a last lap crash in the Daytona 500 in his debut with Stewart-Haas Racing, set the tone on Saturday by winning both practices while having the best 5 and 10-lap averages in the first practice of the day on Saturday. On Sunday, Harvick and his No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet was nothing short of flawless as he was able to hold Dale Earnhardt, Jr. by .489 seconds after a late race restart to claim his 24th career Sprint Cup Series victory.
“Man, this is awesome,” Harvick said after his dominant victory on Sunday. “Man, this just solidifies so many things and so many decisions. It’s been so much work with all the time and effort that these guys (the crew) have put in—but what a race car.”
Stewart Haas Racing co-owner Gene Haas shared in Harvick’s excitement after the race.
“It took long enough,” Haas joked. “This is phenomenal. I think there was a lot of skepticism last year about what myself and Tony (Stewart) what we were up to, was there a lot of madness to this. Quite frankly, it’s a great team, there’s a lot of synergy at the shop, people working together. I don’t know what we did, but I think we put together a great organization.”
Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt, Jr. continued his hot start to the 2014 season. Earnhardt Jr. would finish second on Sunday, marking his seventh consecutive top 10 finish since the end of the 2013 season. Earnhardt Jr. was pleased with the effort after a coast-to-coast whirlwind week after winning his second Daytona 500 and also gave great praise to the efforts of Harvick and the No. 4 team.
“I’ve got to congratulate Kevin. Those guys were two-tenths faster than everyone all weekend in practice. They were just phenomenal,” Earnhardt said. “To be able to run with them all day was a big confidence builder for us.”
Joining Harvick and Earnhardt in the top 5 of The Profit on CNBC 500K were Brad Keselowski with his second consecutive top 3 run of 2014 in third. Keselowski’s Team Penske teammate Joey Logano would finish fourth, and Jeff Gordon would come home fifth in his No. 24 Pepsi Max Chevrolet.
Jimmie Johnson finished in sixth, followed by Ryan Newman with a nice rebound after Daytona in seventh. Carl Edwards would carry the banner for Roush Fenway Racing by finishing eighth, Kyle Busch was ninth, and Jamie McMurray would finish tenth.
A look at the Profit on CNBC 500K by the numbers. There were 14 lead changes among eight different drivers, there were eight cautions for 39 laps which slowed the race pace to 109.229 MPH.
Next Sunday, the Sprint Cup Series heads to Sin City and the Las Vegas Motor
Starting Lineup: The Profit On CNBC 500K
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday March 1, 2014
Drivers in RED (i) are those ineligible to collect Sprint Cup points
Daytona 500 TV Ratings Down
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Wednesday February 26, 2014
What was the longest weather delay in Daytona 500 history turned out to bring NASCAR lower ratings and TV viewership Sunday night than expected. According to a report Monday from FOX Sports, the 56th running of the Daytona 500 airing at 8 PM (ET) posted a 5.6/10 national household rating/share which averaged 9.3 million viewers. That’s down 44 percent from last year’s 9.9, easily making it the least-watched Daytona 500 of all-time.
Due to the six-hour, twenty-two minute rain delay in Daytona, the race was up against the primetime coverage of the Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony from Sochi, Russia on NBC (15.25 million viewers). FOX also reported that 69% of the pre-rain delay viewers of the race, which began at 1 PM (ET) kept tuning in.
In comparison, the 2013 Daytona 500 on FOX was the most-watched race in five years, posting a 9.9/22 rating/share, commanding 16.7 million viewers. The Daytona 500 in 2012, the first to ever be run on a Monday and in the primetime slot did a 7.7/13 overnight rating/share which resulted in 13.67 million households viewing the race according to Nielsen TV ratings data.
Earnhardt, Jr. Claims Second Daytona 500 Victory
posted by Justin Tucker
Wednesday February 26, 2014
Ten years is a long time. For Dale Earnhardt, Jr., it felt like an eternity. NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver endured many near misses and close calls at the Daytona 500 since his only win in the Great American Race in 2004. Earnhardt had finished second in two of his last three Daytona 500s coming into Sunday’s race. He was also riding the tail of a 55-race winless streak, dating back to Michigan in 2012.
However nothing would stop Dale Jr. on Sunday, not even a 6 hour and 22 minute rain delay from capturing his second Daytona 500 win. Earnhardt Jr. led a race-high 54 laps on the evening and used some timely drafting help from teammates Jimmie Johnson and, on the final restart, Jeff Gordon to separate from the pack and secure the victory.
“Winning this race is the greatest feeling that you could feel in this sport besides accepting the trophy for the championship,” said a jubilant Earnhardt after pulling into Victory Lane. “We could fight off battle after battle. We got a little help at the end there from Jeff to get away on the restart. This is amazing. I can’t believe this is happening. I never take this for granted, man because it doesn’t happen twice, let alone once.”
Aside from the race itself the big story of the race was the 6 hour and 22 minute red flag, which threatened to move the race to Monday evening (had the race been postponed, FOX Sports’ Chris Myers had tweeted that the race would resume at 5:00pm EST). However, Mother Nature would cooperate and would allow the race to be run under different conditions from which they practiced this week. Once the race resumed, the intensity picked up from the changing track conditions. This allowed the pack to race side-by-side and at times 3-wide up to seven rows deep.
Joining Earnhardt Jr. in the top 5 for the 2014 Daytona 500 were: Denny Hamlin who closed out a spectacular Speedweeks in second, Brad Keselowski in third, Jeff Gordon in fourth, and Jimmie Johnson who overcome two wrecks leading up to the 500 in fifth.
Rounding out the top 10 in the Daytona 500 were Matt Kenseth in sixth, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. in seventh and Greg Biffle would bring his No. 16 Ford home in eighth. Austin Dillon would come home ninth in his first Cup Series race in the iconic No. 3 for Richard Childress Racing, while Casey Mears would round out the top 10.
A couple of major contenders for the Daytona 500 win would see their hopes dashed early on as Martin Truex, Jr. would blow up just 30 laps into the race, relegating him to a 43rd-place finish in his debut for Furniture Row Racing. Crew chief Todd Berrier was already in Nashville for a test session before the race was even over. Kyle Busch, meanwhile would have a pit road violation just before halfway and would spend much of the race battling back from that mistake. Busch would eventually finish 19th after leading 19 laps.
Danica Patrick would also be bit by bad luck as she was caught up in a multi-car wreck on lap 145. Patrick would lead her second consecutive Daytona 500, but wouldn’t have the finish to show for it finishing 40th. Tony Stewart would encounter a frustrating evening as well, with a fuel pickup problem derailing his quest for his first Daytona 500 win. Stewart would finish 35th.
A look at the Daytona 500 by the numbers. There were 42 lead changes among 18 drivers, while seven cautions for 39 laps would slow the race pace to 145.290 MPH.
Next week, the Sprint Cup Series heads to the “diamond in the desert,” Phoenix International Raceway for The Profit on CNBC 500K. The Green flag is scheduled for 3:15pm EST.
Nationwide Series Post-Race Quotes: Drive4COPD 300
posted by Thomas Bowles
Tuesday February 25, 2014
Frontstretch Interviews – Courtesy Mike Neff
ELLIOTT SADLER – FINISHED 4th
Thoughts on the race?
It’s definitely a lot different racing than what we’re used to.
Comfortable with it?
Yeah, it’s just different. You’re worried about what you’re doing, but you’re also worried about what everyone else is doing and they’re not doing more than you’re doing. Physically pushing a guy is way better than just riding so you just gotta time it right and push it to the edge.
Happy to start the year with a top 5?
Yeah. Hell, that was the worst we ran all day, I think. I have no idea how they put the 3 car in front of us on that last restart. I hadn’t seen the 3 car hardly all day. When they put us from fifth to sixth, on the outside line, it just really boxed us in. I would have really restarted behind my teammate and given him a good push to the front. Anyways, it is what it is; we’ll take it and move on.
Looked like you were up front all day.
The guys did a good job. We had a fast race car. Great pit stops, just really proud of these guys. The car’s in one piece and we can take it to Talladega now. Great job by my guys. A lot of effort came into coming down here to Daytona and giving ourselves a shot to win. We had that chance to be up front and make some things happen. Fifth is not what we want, but we’ll take it and move on.
Bumping vs Pushing?
It’s way harder. You don’t want to lay on the guy in front of you, so it’s tough racing. A lot different than what we’re used to, ‘cause you gotta go. You gotta drag the brake too ‘cause you don’t want to hit the guys and you don’t want to stay on him. It’s a lot harder mentally than what we’ve done in the past.
Car was strong all day. Pushing vs. Bumping, is that harder to do than just getting on somebody and pushing them?
Yeah, it is a little bit. When you bump ‘em, you jar ‘em, it kinda jacks ‘em a little bit. It’s a little more abrupt, obviously. I thought it was OK there at the end. It was certainly fun and hopefully entertaining. But a little bit of a struggle in the early part of the race and the midpart of the race to see a good race. And that’s unfortunate for the fans. You can’t do that the whole race, you can’t tear up your stuff, knock your grill in, overheat your motor, all that stuff so there’s no sense in doing all that until you get down to the last lap. The 7 and the 6, they did a good job. Man, the 7 really held the 22 and I tight on the bottom. I was rubbing his door and hitting the apron at the same time, no room whatsoever. So it was good; wish we were the ones who could have won but a lot better now than what we were last year.
Going home in one piece makes it a lot better, right?
Yeah. My back feels good. My foot feels good. Past years here, I’ve been going home with pain so I’m alright.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Truck Series Post-Race Quotes: Daytona (Exclusives)
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday February 22, 2014
When you’re on the outside like that, how frustrating is it?
It’s so hard. Timothy Peters has won here. Kyle Busch has won everywhere. Ron Hornaday has been running Trucks forever, probably before I was even born. I was surrounded by veterans there, and like I told them I don’t have a rookie stripe but I’m a rookie. This is only my fourth Truck race ever, my fourth superspeedway race, and man, I figured out when the 17 got up in front of me, I pushed him. And as soon as I pushed him, he took off. And I went with him. And I just kept doing it, and before I knew it, he was leading. And I saw Ron in my mirror, backed up to him, and if it wasn’t for him, I don’t know what would have happened. I gotta thank him big time for that. That was a true teammate move right there. I really appreciate that. He just bounced off me and we got to the front. I tried my hardest to sidedraft Kyle. I was probably touching his door.
Top 5 in the No. 30 truck. This deal come together at the last minute, but you had a heck of a truck. Tell us about your night.
Yeah, I’ve got to thank Turner Scott Motorsports. The guys worked so hard on this Rheem Comfort Products Chevrolet. Exciting! Just got hung up on the outside and had to wait for my teammate there to catch up. And then he got to the bottom, so… I got the old 32 and started pushing ol’ Ryan to the front. So, it’s not bad. We’ll take it. You just don’t want to step over that boundary. You don’t know how far to push and shove. We bumped about six times down the straightaway without latching onto them. Hopefully, that was OK and we came home with a top 5.
Connect with Mike!
Check in with Matt and Jay on their site at CareyandCoffey.com.
Bryan Davis Keith · Monday August 6, 2012
ONE: Scoring Errors Call for Racing Back to Yellow
Yes, the restart melee that ended up the conclusion of Sunday’s abbreviated Cup race at Pocono was the purest example of mayhem seen on TV since the latest Allstate commercial. That being said, with race cars that are chock full of transponders, TV cameras all over the damn place and officials whose sole job is to manage the ongoing race, NASCAR still managed to create controversy in resetting the running order. Jimmie Johnson triggered the entire wreck and all but spun his car out, yet he got to restart ahead of Greg Biffle, who accurately represented his situation as merely slowing to avoid a wreck. It took nearly a half-hour after the race was red-flagged before NASCAR reset positions 16-19 on the results sheet.
The running order…what is so complicated here? The issue is trying to set the field based on what scoring loops say, incident be damned. Like it or not, no two incidents are the same, circumstances require drivers to do different things, involved in the incident or not…and scoring loops intermittently positioned over a race track aren’t going to be in the right position every time.
Last week I called for getting rid of gray area by throwing the red lines to the wind and having the flagman handle race restarts. This week, here’s another gray area to get rid of…it’s time to race back to the yellow flag. Instead of having officials attempt to abstractly place cars in an order based on inconsistent appraisals of how they recover, how fast they keep moving in the face of an incident, just make it simple. Get back to the line.
Spare me the speeches, safety advocates. Nobody forces any driver to take the track. Just ask John Wes Townley.
TWO: Speaking of Safety, There’s No Stopping Mother Nature
It’s darkly ironic to be calling for a nearly decade-old safety initiative to go out the window 24 hours after NASCAR endured a terrible loss…the death of a race fan at the track. I’ve attended over 50 races in the last few years, and I’ve never been more thankful to have been in the press box than I was on Sunday when the second thunderstorm of the afternoon hit Pocono…the weather was thick enough to make the tail lights of traffic leaving the infield invisible to those of us looking down from the tower.
Having said that, it was quite predictable that there’d be people jumping down the throats of NASCAR and the Pocono Raceway on Monday morning, implying that both could have done more to avoid this tragedy. Twitter’s self-dubbed NASCAR weatherman, for example, took to SB Nation to describe how not every race fan could know that the storms coming were severe, that NASCAR needs to put uniform policies in place for dealing with weather based on the distance a storm is from a track, that they should have thrown the red flag sooner.
Thankfully, Pocono Mountain Regional Police Chief Harry Lewis delivered the statement that everybody needed to hear: “There are risks that people take to come to these events. You have to be accountable and responsible for your own well-being. We can only do so much to ensure your safety. You’ve got to be responsible enough to seek shelter yourself.”
Let’s be clear. These storms were definitely known to be coming…and everyone in the track, even those of us in the fish bowl that is the press box, saw the weather coming…and it didn’t take radar to know it was a big deal. And let’s be clear, every single race fan that enters the grandstands is taking a risk. Just like with any sporting event, voluntarily becoming one of a throng of 50,000+ people in a wide open space without shelter or any means to move quickly out of harm’s way is a strictly voluntary decision. Racing is the most dangerous spectator sport anyway, with the risk of flying debris and vehicular crashes hanging over every event. Like it or not, risk comes inherent with attending spectacles such as Sunday’s race.
But for argument’s sake, let’s consider Twitter’s weatherman and his plan. Let’s say that NASCAR threw the red flag at 4:12 when the severe storm warning was issued, and fans had 42 minutes to get out and get to their cars. There’s still thousands of people in tents, in trailers, in vehicles, sitting in a wide open field with one two lane road being the only way out. Would that have prevented an individual from being struck by lightning? Possibly. Would it have dramatically made a difference in terms of safety? Let’s see, 50,000 people, in cars and trailers, in a wide-open field, in the face of hail and high winds.
Face it, a storm hitting a crowd this large is always going to be dangerous. The race promoters and track officials cleared the stands quickly, they made information available through numerous means, and they responded almost immediately when disaster struck. All of us should be so lucky to be in that situation, should we be unfortunate enough to be in the stands when nature strikes.
Lastly, my sincerest condolences to the Zimmerman family for their loss. Race fanhood is a true family bond, and it hurts to lose a family member.
THREE: Where’s the Flat (Tire)?
Thinking back to one of the first races I ever covered, I penned a column in March of 2009 describing Jimmie Johnson’s victory at Martinsville in the spring race, one that saw him move the No. 11 car out of the way late to take home a grandfather clock…and how Johnson, for all the mettle he showed in using the chrome horn, refused to cop to it in post-race remarks. Johnson has over the years firmly convinced this writer that his talent behind the wheel is something rare and unique, but he’s done nothing to convince me that he plays the PR game as seriously as he does the racing game.
Having that said that, it wasn’t entirely unexpected that the No. 48 driver screamed flat tire after spinning his car out racing for the lead at the end of Sunday’s event, costing his team a sure top-5 and collecting fellow contenders Hamlin and Matt Kenseth in the process. Problem is, the video replays never showed a flat tire. Crew chief Chad Knaus certainly didn’t sound convinced there was a flat in post-wreck radio chatter. What’s the more likely scenario…a flat tire that nobody on the track or around the track visibly saw, or Jimmie Johnson making a rare mistake and trying to cover for it?
Johnson could hardly be blamed for doing so. The No. 48 was the class of the field for the second week in a row, and was within that one final corner of making a statement win that would have had the whole field on their heels. Instead, Johnson spun out, stumbling with a chance to throw a knockout blow.
In the same form as he was three years ago, refusing to cop to a perfectly executed and perfectly acceptable bump-and-run, this time the error that prevented the No. 48 from blasting was not the product of a mistake, but a cursed blown tire.
Hendrick drivers are as good as they come at driving. They’re even better at staying on message.
FOUR: Truex is Back: Does it Matter?
Martin Truex Jr. is fifth in points heading to Watkins Glen. Ever since a disappointing outing at Sonoma, the No. 56 team has climbed from ninth to fifth in the standings, showing the form they had displayed earlier in the season. There’s something to be said about peaking at the right time…especially for a team that’s riding consistency, not race wins, to their place on the charts.
Because when one takes a look at the season’s earlier results, they’ll notice sans Talladega, Truex and the No. 56 team finished no worse than 12th on any of the Chase tracks that have second dates later this season. His average finish across those venues: 9.75, and that’s with a bad Talladega race.
Here’s the rub though. The last (and only time) Truex made the Chase in 2007, his average finish in the first races on Chase circuits was also a top 10 finish. And that Chase saw Truex fade from sixth to 11th in the final standings, a non-factor in the big picture.
Until the No. 56 team wins again, there’s little reason to think 2012 won’t be 2007 all over again.
FIVE: Parker Kligerman’s Head-Scratching Release
Rumors about the longtime Penske development project having been fired from his ride at Brad Keselowski Racing for shopping around have been dismissed by the driver himself. Which begs the question…why did a driver in the top 10 in truck points who’s been a staple in the Penske camp since a near ARCA championship in 2009 suddenly get the heave-ho?
Dave Moody did well in pointing out that per Twitter, Kligerman had suggested even last week that his days in the No. 29 truck were numbered. Having said that, there’s questions abound. Why would Penske Racing make such a move in favor of Ryan Blaney, a driver that for all his promise hasn’t done anything that Kligerman hasn’t in his development career?
In this writer’s eye, the larger question comes not regarding the driver change, but the ownership direction. Years at Penske may make one forget this, but Brad Keselowski is the protégé of one Dale Earnhardt Jr. And take a look at JR Motorsports early history of driver changes…Mark McFarland lasted only half a season before he got yanked for Shane Huffman. Huffman didn’t last much longer, giving way to Dale Earnhardt Jr. himself, who then drove his cars and openly admitted that they weren’t as good as he thought they were. To this date, Keselowski remains the only driver to finish a season in a JR Motorsports machine and score a win doing it. Driver development has been surprisingly unsuccessful for a Hendrick-backed operation.
Is it possible that Keselowski is making the same mistake his mentor did early in his ownership days, yanking drivers as part of a misinformed idea of how good the equipment is? Don’t forget that the No. 29 Truck is the only factory-backed Dodge out there, it’s not a powerhouse manufacturer.
Unless something else breaks, this one doesn’t add up.
©2000 - 2008 Bryan Davis Keith and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
The weather…I’ve never been to Pocono but wasn’t it possible for the majority of the fans to wait out the storm under the grandstands? I’ve
Whoops! Forgot the Truex part of the quiz…minus 10 points! It does matter..especially to MWR, Truex, sponsors, and his fans. If you wonder if it matters..you should include Harvick and Bowyer….it ALWAYS matters to be in Nascars silly Chase..just ask Stewart!
I’m sorry, but I’m not going to spare you the speech about not racing to the yellow flag (though it will be a short one). It still boils my blood 9 years later thinking about the debacle in New Hampshire (lap down guys like Waltrip racing full out to get their lap back while Dale Jarrett’s wrecked car was stopped sideways at the start/finish line) that forced NASCAR’s hand in regards to freezing the fields at the caution.
NFL and MLB evacuate the stands when there’s a major lightning storm in the area. If there’s no structure to evacuate people into to be safe then something needs to be built or a better plan needs to be figured out. I understand the risks of being at an auto race. However, if the chances of people getting struck by lightning can be decreased by NASCAR and/or the facility, they need to do everything they can to do it. As long as cars are on the track people will sit in the stands no matter how dangerous it is. Get the cars off the track sooner so the people aren’t tempted to stay put. Unfortunately many people are ill informed as to how dangerous weather can be.
Freezing the field at caution was an important safety rule for NASCAR. I’ll take a little scoring confusion v. weakening safety rules any day. I think NASCAR has tried to use good judgment on when to throw a yellow flag at the end of races, trying to balance fans desires for a green finish with safety. It’s also the reason why they created the green-white-checkered rule.
Persopally, things like this happen but NASCAR should do like many local short tracks do. If you are part of the reason for caution or are the caution. end of the line. It would totally resolve the taking people out, spinning other drivers out, etc. as the penalty would be similar to what the “victim” had to do as a result of these types of issues. Johnson clearly caused the caution yet had very limited actual penalty Kenseth and Hamlin had little to do with the reason for the caution but yet had a severe result in the finishing order.
Add me to the list of those that has issues with racing back to the flag.
Being at that race in NH, watching that field fly by Jarrett while sitting helpless in his car in the middle of the track was scary. Hate the lucky dog or the wave around all you want, but racing back to the caution is still a bad idea.
Guys need to slow down when there is a crash in front of them, not speed up.
Well said in #2 though Brian. Everyones trying to place blame for this. Maybe Nascar should have stopped the race sooner, or maybe not even started it, but if the storms passed or they got nothing, people would have been all over Nascar for that too. Nascar can’t win in this situation.
Matt Kenseth on fire at Indianapolis and you want the safety crews to wait 60-90 more seconds for everyone to slow down before they can go help him? What if he’s unconscious and cant get out of the burning car, like David Reutimann at Fontana a few years back? No, racing back to the yellow flag is done and gone, and is not coming back. The quicker the racers slow down and the quicker the safety crews can get on the track and help drivers in an accident, the better.
All the above comments clearly show the reason for the disappearance of old time fans. News flash… charging around 42 other 3800 lb cars at 190+ miles per hour is dangerous. Let’s look at it this way, if it saves just one life wouldn’t it be better just to ban the sport entirely? (sarcasm)
I understand why people do not like racing back to the line under yellow when there is a wreck too big for that to happen, but why not race back when a single car spins, or for a debris caution? Here is a compromise, Drivers can race back to the line during ANY yellow BUT if there is a big wreck, a car blocking the finish line, then slow the cars down and freeze the field.
That would satisfy everyone, you get racing back to the yellow and at the same time you also don’t risk the safety of drivers in a big wreck by freezing the field as you do now if the front stretch is blocked or there is a big wreck.
Mike, how do the drivers know what kind of yellow it is? Is this a race-back caution or a slow-down caution?
sunfighter, yes its dangerous. Lets not make it any more dangerous than it is by not allowing the safety crews to get to the drivers involved in accidents quickly.
Let’s just get rid of the pit road speed limit too. No one forces NASCAR officials and pit crews onto pit lane.