Swan Racing Announces Restructuring, No. 26 & No. 30 "Sold" Off
posted by Thomas Bowles
Wednesday April 23, 2014
After a week of uncertainty, Swan Racing’s two teams will show up at Richmond Friday night after a combination of mergers and acquisitions have kept the two teams up and running. The moves, announced in a press release Wednesday will keep rookie Cole Whitt behind the wheel of the No. 26 while J.J. Yeley moves into the No. 30, replacing Parker Kligerman effective immediately.
The solution for Whitt was rather simple: Swan co-owner Anthony Marlowe merged his portion of ownership into a deal with BK Racing. That team will now expand to three cars, with Whitt running full-time (for now) alongside fellow rookies Alex Bowman (No. 23) and Ryan Truex (No. 83). The move will also keep former Swan employees working full-time, rehired by BK as enough money was gathered up to keep the No. 26 up and running. Whitt, who has a best run of 18th this season (Fontana) will remain competing with his crew essentially intact.
“I respect Brandon Davis and everything he has done for the Swan Racing Company,” said Marlowe in the release. “Looking forward, my mission is to ensure Cole Whitt races in every NASCAR Sprint Cup event this season. My friend Ron Devine and the BK Ownership group really stepped up to enable me to keep the No. 26 on the track. Cole and Randy [Cox, crew chief] are off to an auspicious start in 2014 for a new Cup Team and we are gearing up for Richmond. In addition to the No. 26 team’s performance so far this year, the new ‘win and you’re in’ system and qualifying rules were motivating and positive factors in my continued investment in NASCAR.”
As for Swan’s No. 30, the equipment has been sold to Johnathan Cohen and his Xxxtreme Motorsports operation. That team, which has yet to make a race this season with J.J. Yeley will now run that No. 30 with their own Chevys before switching to the new Swan equipment (plus their old number, 44) beginning at Talladega. It’s an opportunity for them to gain speed and perhaps run a full race. Xxxtreme, with patchwork funding has yet to run more than 66 laps in any Cup event, start-and-parking in every race it’s made since making a go at NASCAR’s top level in mid-2012.
“We’ve had a lot of adversity in our organization,” Cohen tweeted after the purchase. “But today, made a big step in the right direction.”
Co-owner Brandon Davis, who had been MIA before Tuesday’s public announcement praised both Marlowe and Cohen in helping keep the equipment, former employees, and one of his two drivers afloat while Swan searches for funding to keep racing.
“Anthony and Jonathan are both young and ambitious NASCAR enthusiasts,” he said in a statement, later reiterating those points on SIRIUS XM Radio. “It is important to keep them in the sport for the long term. I am very relieved to know that the Nos. 26 and 30 teams will be in good hands and will continue to compete the remainder of the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. Most importantly, most of the team members have the opportunity to continue their employment in the sport and to support their families. This was critically important to me.”
So what happens to Swan’s other rookie, Parker Kligerman? Davis has retained Kligerman’s contract, and while the team has officially suspended operations he’s actively searching for funding to get the No. 30 back on track. Should it happen, it’ll be a one-car program with Kligerman at the wheel despite an ugly start that left the first-year driver 38th in series points.
“We are encouraged by the response we have received from interested parties,” Davis said of Kligerman. “Parker continues to be one of the most talented young drivers in NASCAR. He brought this racing team one of its strongest results in his first race with us [18th at Texas], and we are certain of his success in the future.”
The driver, in his response left the door open to run for other programs. Swan, which has partnered with celebrities like the NFL’s Bill Romanowski and rapper 50 Cent may be able to parlay those connections into funding that gets Kligerman into another car in the meantime.
“Although it’s unfortunate we are having to scale back, I look forward to the future and the exciting things that I’m confident we will accomplish at Swan Racing or with another team,” said Kligerman. “I value the relationship that I’ve had with Brandon Davis and am very grateful for him giving me an opportunity to compete in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Whether I continue to race with Brandon and Swan Racing or end up with another team, I will always give it my all on and off track to be the best I can be.”
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Daniel Suarez to Make Nationwide Debut for Joe Gibbs Racing at Richmond
posted by Phil Allaway
Tuesday April 22, 2014
Joe Gibbs Racing announced on Tuesday morning that NASCAR Toyota Series and K&N Pro Series East driver Daniel Suarez will make his Nationwide Series debut in Friday night’s ToyotaCare 250 at Richmond International Raceway. Sponsorship will be provided by Silent Circle, a global service that allows for the sending of encrypted communications and Telcel, a Mexican telecommunications company.
Suarez is thrilled to have the opportunity to race for Joe Gibbs Racing at Richmond.
“I’m excited for the opportunity to make my NASCAR Nationwide Series debut,” Suarez said in a press release. “I want to thank Telcel and Silent Circle for believing in me and making this a reality. I can’t wait for Friday night in Richmond.”
JGR President J.D. Gibbs is very excited to have an up and coming talent such as Suarez in the fold.
“Daniel is certainly someone that has proven to have a lot of talent and we are thrilled this was able to come together and allow him to make his debut at Richmond,” Gibbs said. “I think it’s exciting when you look at the young talent our sport has right now and we certainly feel that Daniel is going to be part of the future for NASCAR.”
For Suarez, the 2014 season has been very successful so far. He started tke K&N Pro Series East season with two wins in three days in New Smyrna Beach, FL and Daytona Beach, FL (as part of the UNOH Battle at the Beach). Despite a crash at Bristol, Suarez still ranks second in points behind Ben Rhodes. In the Toyota Series, Suarez came from behind to win the season opening Toyota 120 at Phoenix International Raceway in front of all the Sprint Cup and Nationwide teams. Another win in Chiapas and a second-place finish at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez’s oval gives him a nine point lead over Antonio Perez.
This will be a very busy weekend for Suarez. With the Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown moving to South Boston Speedway this year, the K&N Pro Series East Blue Ox 100 will be held immediately after the conclusion of the Nationwide Series ToyotaCare 250. In addition, the Toyota Series will have their fourth race of the season at the Autodromo de Monterrey in Suarez’s hometown on Sunday.
Gene Haas' Formula One License Application Accepted By FIA
posted by Phil Allaway
Friday April 11, 2014
This morning, the FIA announced that the license application submitted by Stewart-Haas Racing co-owner Gene Haas had officially been accepted. As a result, provided that everything comes together financially and technically, Haas’ new Formula One team will have a spot on the grid at the start of the 2015 season.
Upon receiving the news this morning, Haas released the following statement.
“Obviously, we’re extremely pleased to have been granted a Formula One license by the FIA,” Haas wrote. “It’s an exciting time for me, Haas Automation and anyone who wanted to see an American team return to Formula One.”
“Now, the really hard work begins. It’s a challenge we embrace as we work to put cars on the grid. I want to thank the FIA for this opportunity and the diligence everyone put forth to see our license application come to fruition.”
Haas’ team would be the 12th team on the Formula One grid for the 2015 season if all the current teams return. Much like the failed USF1 team that Peter Windsor was involved with, the team would partially be based in North Carolina with an additional European base.
Stewart-Haas Racing is setting up a press conference for Monday to further discuss the move. We’ll have more information here at Frontstretch as soon as it becomes available.
Speeds Approach 220 MPH At Michigan Test
posted by Phil Allaway
Thursday April 10, 2014
On Wednesday, Goodyear held the second and final day of their tire test at Michigan International Speedway. The overall goal of the test was so teams could come up with a solution that would encourage better racing on the two-mile, D-shaped oval, while at the same time allowing for a compound that would not blister.
Much of the headlines from the test seemed to stem from high speeds reported. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. tweeted a computer readout that stated he reached 215.2 mph. Clint Bowyer went a little bit faster at 217 mph, which Bowyer later described as “whites-in-your-eyes fast.” Greg Biffle told ESPN’s Shannon Spake on NASCAR Now that he reached 220 mph and a 204 mph average.
Despite the high speeds, the drivers who tested Tuesday and Wednesday believe that there will be better racing this year in the Irish Hills. Michigan winters are a bit harsher than in most locales on the Sprint Cup calendar. As a result, there is more weathering from year to year.
Earnhardt Jr. appeared to be quite happy with the track.
“I enjoy racing here,” the two-time Michigan winner said. “It’s a fun track. The asphalt is really aging well and it’s just going to keep getting better and better over the next couple of years.”
As is the norm for Goodyear tire tests, no official speeds were announced. However, Earnhardt Jr. stated in the Media Center that while he was going anywhere from 212-215 mph at the end of the frontstretch, he was only dropping down to 180 or so in the turns.
Greg Biffle and Ryan Newman echoed Earnhardt Jr.’s sentiment when asked about the track surface. They expect the track to support multiple grooves for racing when the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series return in June.
As for track management, they definitely appear to like the high speeds. Michigan International Speedway President Roger Curtis spent part of Wednesday retweeting top speed posts. However, Curtis understands that going fast is not the only thing that matters.
“The drivers are posting 200 mph. That’s awesome,” Curtis said. “The fans get very, very excited about that. But at the end of the day, on Sunday when the green flag drops, the numbers ‘two zero zero’ they’re not anywhere in the fans’ minds. It’s lead changes, it’s the competition…”
Since the track was repaved prior to the 2012 season, the number of lead changes at Michigan International Speedway has been relatively flat with the years before the repave. However, the number of cautions are up as well, which can skew the lead change numbers a little. Complaints have come more from a rock hard tire compound, made by Goodyear for safety reasons which has made passing more difficult and actual “wear” (which leads to speed dropoff) hard to come by.
Sherwin-Williams To Sponsor No. 51 Cup Car At Darlington
posted by Phil Allaway
Thursday April 10, 2014
On Wednesday, HScott Motorsports announced that Sherwin-Williams will serve as the primary sponsor of Justin Allgaier’s No. 51 Chevrolet this weekend at Darlington Raceway. The No. 51 will primarily be advertising the automotive finishes division, in addition to the AWX Performance Plus Waterborne Refinish System the company makes.
Allgaier is very happy to have Sherwin-Williams onboard.
“I’m thrilled to have Sherwin-Williams on the car at Darlington,” Allgaier said in the press release. “They are a big supporter of HScott Motorsports and NASCAR. I can’t wait drive the No. 51 with the Sherwin-Williams colors on it at one of my favorite tracks.”
Sherwin-Williams has a fairly extensive history in NASCAR. They currently serve as the “Official Automotive Paint of NASCAR.” Prior to that, the company served as a primary sponsor for a number of cars in what is now the Nationwide Series.
As for Allgaier, Saturday will more than likely be his first career Sprint Cup start at the historic oval. However, in five Nationwide Series starts, Allgaier already has two top-5 and three top-10 finishes. His average result is an excellent 9.8.
Bass Pro Shops Primary Sponsor For Austin Dillon In Two Cup Races
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Wednesday April 9, 2014
Announced Tuesday in a ceremony and car unveiling at their Concord, NC location, Bass Pro Shops and Richard Childress Racing made it official that the national outdoor sports retail giant will be the primary sponsor of Austin Dillon’s No. 3 Chevrolet SS for two races during the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup season at Talladega (May 4th) and Daytona (July 5th).
Bass Pro Shops has been associated with Dillon’s career dating back to 2010, when they sponsored his No. 3 Chevy Silverado in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, and also followed Dillon to the Nationwide Series as a sponsor for his No. 3 Chevy Camaro for RCR. The two won a pair of NASCAR championships together, and the retailer has also served as an associate sponsor for Dillon’s car in the NSCS this season.
During the announcement, Bass Pro Shops noted that the retailer has been involved in the sport of NASCAR since 1998, when they became an associate sponsor of RCR’s No. 3 Chevy Monte Carlo driven by legend Dale Earnhardt.
Now, the sponsor is back on the Cup level, paired with the No. 3 once again and hoping to elevate the program to Victory Lane. Already, Dillon has one pole to start the season at Daytona, where he posted a ninth-place finish, his best result to date during this rookie campaign. 21st at Texas last weekend, he’s currently 11th in the Sprint Cup championship standings.
For the Bojangles’ Southern 500 this weekend at Darlington, Dillon will have Dow Chemical on board as the primary sponsor for the No. 3 car.
Ruud To Sponsor Buescher, No. 99 RAB Racing Toyota
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Wednesday April 9, 2014
RAB Racing announced that Ruud, heating and cooling brand, will be on board the No. 99 Toyota Camry as primary sponsor this weekend at Darlington for the VFW Sport Clips Help-A-Hero 200 NASCAR Nationwide Series race. The brand joins Rheem as a primary sponsor of the car during the 2014 Nationwide Series campaign. Ruud will also sponsor the No. 99 of James Buescher in several other races this season, according to a team statement.
Buescher, the 2012 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Champion, is driving full-time for RAB Racing and making the transition from the Truck Series to the NNS this year. The No. 99 team was recently penalized by NASCAR at Bristol for a P3 penalty (illegal weight added to the car improperly, which was lost during the race), which led to crew chief Chris Rice being fined $10,000 and placed on probation until December 31st. Car chief John Guerra was also placed on probation by the sanctioning body for the incident.
Sitting ninth in points thus far in 2014, Buescher’s best finish this season has been 12th at Phoenix. The 24-year-old, Plano, Texas native has one career win and 14 top-10 finishes in the NNS since his first start in 2008.
Five Sprint Cup Teams Test At MIS For Goodyear
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Wednesday April 9, 2014
After a long winter in Michigan, five NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams visited Michigan International Speedway for a Goodyear Tire Test taking place both Tuesday and Wednesday this week. To prepare for the test, MIS reported having to use the track’s jet dryers to clear and melt snow and ice from the two-mile track.
Due to the snow melt, frost, and rain on Monday night, MIS had to delay the tire test for most of the day because of weepers around the track’s surface. The track crew worked throughout the afternoon to dry up the moisture so that testing could get safely underway. Finally, Greg Biffle took his No. 16 3M Ford Fusion to the asphalt at MIS around 4:00 PM ET as the first driver on track.
In addition to Biffle, Goodyear has scheduled drivers Clint Bowyer; Trevor Bayne; Ryan Newman; and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. to take part in the tire test, which is open to fans from 9 AM to 5 PM today.
Michigan International Speedway is in for a busy summer in the Irish Hills as the track plays host to the Quicken Loans 400 on June 15th, then the Pure Michigan 400 on August 17th.
Logano's Four Tires Triumph Over Jeff Gordon's Two At Texas
posted by Justin Tucker
Tuesday April 8, 2014
Joey Logano would overcome Mother Nature and a green-white-checkered restart with four-time Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon to win the rain-delayed Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. Logano, with his trip to Victory Lane Monday afternoon also became the seventh different Sprint Cup driver to win in 2014 in as many races.
Logano, who led a race-high 108 laps on the afternoon, appeared to be on his way to a dominating victory until two laps to go. That’s when Kurt Busch blew a left-rear tire on his No. 41 Chevrolet, spraying debris all over the track.
“When you got like 40-something laps after the last pit stop, you got a pretty sizable lead, really all you’re thinking is, ‘Where is the white flag? Where is the white flag?’” Logano said after the race. “Then, you go into turn one, you see the [No.] 41 up against the wall. You’re like, Please no caution, please no caution. Boom, it comes out. You got to be kidding me. You get so mad you can barely control yourself.”
This incident, the third for Busch on the day would set up a decisive yellow-flag pit stop before the final restart. Jeff Gordon and the No. 24 team then rolled the dice, jumping from sixth to first with only two tires while Logano and his Penske teammate Brad Keselowski would take four. Keselowski, who was second coming in would then get caught speeding while exiting pit road, eliminating him from contention. The Penske Racing driver, after leading 85 laps in his own right dropped to a disappointing 15th on the afternoon.
“That last caution was a shame,” Keselowski said, who lost a chance to become the series’ first two-time winner. “I was just trying to get a little too much on pit road, wanted to get us out front to be able to win the race and tried a little too hard.”
That left Logano dealing with Gordon and Brian Vickers directly in front on the restart. As the cars accelerated, he wasted no time dispatching Vickers for second and set his sights on the bumper of Gordon’s No. 24 Chevrolet. On the white-flag lap, Logano was able to take advantage of his four fresh tires to get underneath Gordon, clearing him by the exit of Turn 1.
“I mean, coming in sixth, you’re in that position that you can gamble,” said Gordon, who did earn a consolation prize — becoming the Sprint Cup points leader for the first time since the 2009 Coca-Cola 600 (see below). “You’re not going to win it with four tires, you’re not going to win it with none. I knew it was going to be hard to hold those guys off.”
After clearing Gordon, Logano was able to cruise to his fourth career Sprint Cup Series win, his second with Penske in a little over a season with the team. The driver’s confidence is high, stemming from crew chief Todd Gordon whom the 23-year-old was quick to praise after the race.
“He (Todd Gordon) made a last-minute decision to put fuel in it, gave me better balance for what I needed and the guys made the ‘money stop,’” Logano said of the ending. “I was the first guy out with four tires on.”
Behind Logano and Gordon in the top 5 were Kyle Busch in third, followed by Vickers fourth and rookie sensation Kyle Larson in fifth, the only rookie to run inside the top 20. Greg Biffle was sixth, Matt Kenseth seventh, while Clint Bowyer earned his second top-10 result in eighth. Paul Menard earned his fourth top 10 in five races, running ninth while pole sitter Tony Stewart rounded out the top 10.
Monday’s race started in bizarre fashion, under a rare, green-yellow flag condition for ten laps to ensure that the 1.5-mile quad-oval was dry and fit for racing. Jet dryers were still on the track during this period to help the process. Unfortunately, the air from the dryers managed to get inside the wheel wells and affect the hood and roof flaps of several cars. Keselowski’s Ford actually ended up with a damaged hood hinge, resulting in four pit stops during this period for repairs. Many additional cars came down pit road to fix the flaps as well. NASCAR allowed the cars affected to make their stops without penalty, provided that they not add fuel or change tires in the process.
Then, shortly after going green Dale Earnhardt, Jr.‘s day ended prematurely after just 14 laps when he misjudged his positioning and clipped the grass in Texas’ quad-oval. The miscue resulted in the car digging in, popping a wheelie and shooting the No. 88 Chevrolet straight into a SAFER-less wall, resulting in a fiery crash. Not only did that ruin Earnhardt’s day, but it also impacted the race of Hendrick teammate Jimmie Johnson. Johnson wound up with windshield damage and a bent left-front corner of his No. 48 Chevrolet. Losing multiple laps for repairs, Johnson ended up 25th on the day while Earnhardt Jr. was scored dead last (43rd).
“You can’t run through there they way they have these cars on the ground,” Earnhardt said of the incident. “Just a mistake on my part. I just didn’t know I was that close to the grass, and made a mistake.”
Kevin Harvick had another fast race car, one capable of going up and taking the lead away from teammate Stewart on Lap 25. However, Harvick’s run of bad luck continued after blowing an engine just a couple of laps later. Harvick ended up 42nd, sitting just 31 points inside the top 30 needed to make the Chase after his win at Phoenix.
A look at the Duck Commander 500 by the numbers. There were 18 lead changes among nine drivers, while seven cautions for 49 laps slowed the pace to 134.191 MPH.
Next weekend, the Sprint Cup Series heads to legendary Darlington Raceway for the Bojangles’ Southern 500. The Green flag is scheduled for 6:45 PM ET on Saturday night.
Keselowski - Busch Feud And Other Martinsville Sidebars To Follow
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Monday March 31, 2014
Keselowski, Busch Feud
Two former Penske Racing teammates didn’t play the part Sunday, Brad Keselowski and Kurt Busch starting a feud that almost kept the latter from Victory Lane. It all started during the competition caution, on Lap 43 when the two cars made contact on pit road. Keselowski claims Busch turned into him, breaking the front suspension on the Miller Lite Ford in an accident that also included Kasey Kahne.
“I started to check up and I just barely got in the back of him and Kurt (Busch) just accelerated and drove through us, absolutely drove through us,” Keselowski said inside the garage. “I tell you what, I’m about tired of his recklessness.”
So Keselowski went back on-track, found Busch’s No. 41 car and promptly slammed into its right side. Trying to flatten tires, it seemed the endeavor ultimately failed but still fired up Busch to the point he started ranting inside the car.
“Welp, guess we’re going to get in a fight afterwards,” Busch said. “I’m going to **** that dude’s ****ing face!”
After that, Busch got focused, starting a drive that would end with him in Victory Lane. Keselowski, meanwhile ran 38th and still remained frustrated after the race.
“Tell him come here. I’m right here,” he said when told Busch was OK with fighting. “He knows where I’m at. Leave Victory Lane and we’ll go.”
“He does awesome things for charity and he’s probably the most talented race car driver, but he’s also one of the dumbest, so put those three together.”
Busch’s response, initially was to downplay the incident. But when pressed in the media center, post-race he finally broke down a bit. Calling the contact by a damaged Keselowski a “punk-ass move,” Busch said he’d be enacting revenge at a time of his choosing.
At press time, Keselowski had calmed down a bit, claiming he wasn’t trying to wreck Busch on Twitter and that the rivalry would not continue into Texas. No penalties from NASCAR, by the way occurred during the race or are expected for either side.
Crafton Claims Rain-Delayed Kroger 250 Victory
Due to Saturday’s complete washout, the Camping World Truck Series held their second race of the season immediately after the Sprint Cup Series’ STP 500 wrapped up. With a 5:30 PM start time, some feared the race would be called early due to darkness. Ultimately, that was not a concern.
In a quick event, Matt Crafton took the lead from local favorite Timothy Peters on Lap 209. From there, Crafton held off the rest of the pack through two green-white-checkered restarts to claim his first career Martinsville grandfather clock.
In the scrum on the final restart, Darrell Wallace, Jr. rose up to second, while rookie Ben Kennedy was third. Johnny Sauter finished fourth while using the front end of his Toyota Tundra in a manner similar to a battering ram. Ryan Blaney rounded out the top-5 finishers.
For more on Sunday’s Camping World Truck Series race, please check out Kelly Crandall’s Tracking the Trucks race recap at Frontstretch.
Tires Fail To Adhere to Track
Goodyear tire engineers stated Sunday that it takes a track temperature of 80 degrees Fahrenheit in order for their tires to lay down a proper groove in the turns. On Sunday, the track temperature never reached that point during the race. As a result, tire wear was very high on Sunday. Rubber chunks would shear off, early during green-flag runs and gather just outside the racing groove.
Drivers would ask for new tires every 20 laps or so. If there was a caution, nearly the entire field would come in for fresh rubber. There were examples of
“The track conditions today were extremely challenging with the marbles,” said Kenseth, who recovered to run sixth while Stewart wasn’t so lucky (17th). “They just wouldn’t clean them up — I don’t know why. If you had warm tires and you got pushed up in there then you were going to lose 15 spots sometimes — it was that bad.”
If the story sounds familiar to readers, it should. Last Fall, track temperatures struggled to reach 80 degrees through much of the race. However, the tire issues that resulted were not quite as severe.
Check in with Matt and Jay on their site at CareyandCoffey.com.
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The Yellow Stripe · Bryan Davis Keith · Monday October 8, 2012
So here’s a question. If Furniture Row Racing asks nicely, can they get Regan Smith back for a few more weeks? After all, the rumor mill is swirling that one Kurt Busch may be facing his second suspension of the 2012 season after the weekend’s race at Talladega. Busch, who got dumped in traffic after running out of fuel in the draft, ended up driving his wrecked car away from first responders, who not only had their equipment stashed on the roof of the wrecked machine, but were also visibly working and communicating inside the race car.
Frankly, if NASCAR can suspend Kurt Busch because he got annoyed with a reporter, they damn well better park the guy after Sunday. I don’t care how impassioned a speech Busch gave post-race about how his competitive streak compelled him to try and wheel his wrecked race car back to the garage so his team could work on it. There is absolutely no excuse for driving away from the scene of a crash once the first responders get there. Putting their safety at risk (and yes, it was at risk, watch the replays of the response team having to rush away from the moving car) and strewing their equipment all over the backstretch is more unacceptable than any words directed towards reporters ever could be.
No need for a column-long analysis here. And frankly I couldn’t care less that Busch didn’t listen to NASCAR’s command to stop. But driving off with rescue workers’ hands in the race car, that boils my blood (I’m admittedly biased, coming from a family of first responders).
While Busch’s remarks regarding his competitive streak and his apparent sainthood as a race car driver echoed with all the sincerity of a Bobby Petrino press conference, he did hit the nail on the head in post-race remarks Sunday when he noted that he’s put himself into a lot of the situations that have cratered his career. Case in point, Talladega.
Then again, there is apparently no need for Busch to learn a lesson and stop doing stupid things. Despite the fact that Busch has demonstrated zero improvement in terms of maturity or composure even after losing a premier ride at Penske Racing solely because he was a hothead, he’s been a full-time Cup driver all season long, and now has a fully sponsored ride in place for 2013.
The story behind Busch landing Furniture Row Racing’s No. 78 car is questionable enough. He’s replacing Regan Smith, the one driver that managed to lift a team that’s been a model in futility on the Cup circuit into a Southern 500 championship team just a season ago. Veteran Kenny Wallace couldn’t do that. Veteran Joe Nemechek couldn’t do that. But for all that accomplishment, Smith was shown the door for a driver that, albeit a Cup champion, has made headlines for nothing short of his language or antics over the past year.
Why should Busch change his behavior? He was stupid enough to run his mouth at a respected member of the media corps scarcely six months after getting the old heave-ho at Penske Racing for doing the exact same thing, yet his team voted to keep him on-board. (Author’s note: I don’t for one second believe that Busch should have been suspended for his remarks at Dover this spring, but I don’t want to be the guy trying to sell sponsors on a driver dumb enough to make the same mistake on camera twice either).
His talent as a race car driver sold Furniture Row Racing on replacing the most successful driver the team has had at any level in their history. Never mind the fact that that talent translated into nothing more than has already been done with Phoenix Racing equipment. Sure, Busch won a Nationwide race for the team. So have Jeff Purvis, Randy LaJoie, Jimmy Spencer, Jamie McMurray, Johnny Sauter and Mike Bliss.
Sure, Busch had moments of brilliance with the team’s Cup level program. That’s hardly unique either. Johnny Sauter led the Coca-Cola 600 with the former No. 09 team. Both Mike Wallace and Johnny Sauter scored top 10 finishes with the team on downforce tracks (Richmond, Phoenix). Wallace nearly won the Daytona 500 with the team. Brad Keselowski won at Talladega with the team. Flashes of brilliance have long been a staple for Phoenix Racing, even if they were sandwiched between loads of start-and-parks or 26th place finishes.
And leaving the No. 51 team, Busch leaves the squad 27th in owner points. A whopping three positions better than what Landon Cassill managed to pull off a season ago.
That’s what Furniture Row Racing is signing up for. A driver that for all his talent has demonstrated a complete inability to improve a mediocre ride. A driver that for all his talent has proven unable to live down the bad habit of overdriving a car to the point of wrecking it. A driver that secured next to no sponsor dollars even over the course of nearly a full season with Phoenix Racing. And a driver that despite ending on bad terms with two of NASCAR’s powerhouses still apparently requires the team he races for to act as an apologist.
One can only hope NASCAR has the balls to park this guy even without a shocking videoclip of a tirade to go with it this time. Because if the story of Kurt Busch is any indication, NASCAR’s ownership circle isn’t going to teach him anything.
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Lets not get carried away. In REAL racing, your local tracks the worst thing is to be brought in on a hook. You want to drive it back, fix it and finish. Same here. Lighten up, he didnt endanger anyone and if I owned a team i would applaud his efforts. You safety-crats are suspension happy.
Remember when he hit Stewarts car in the pits and almost killed that crew member?
Kurt needs to be banned from nascar. He’s has mental issues and needs help.
WOW lets just send him out to sea in a row boat. Henry you are so exagerating what happened. But using your thought process how long do we suspend Tony Stewart for causing a 25+ car accident? This sport would be so much better with 10 Kurt Busch’s then with 5 more bland one’s like the 48.
Give me a break. I’m far from a Kurt Busch fan, but MANY, MANY, MANY drivers have gotten out of their cars and realized they aren’t as bad as they thought and jumped back in and took off, yes while the safety crew was already there. I give them credit, they get there VERY quickly, they are almost always there before a driver gets out of the car. He was calm on the radio when he asked his crew “why did we run out of gas”, so he wasn’t in a rage. He was just trying to get it back to the pits. And you can blame him all you want, but I would think common sense should have told the safety crew that “Hey, driver’s getting back in the car, hey, car starts up! Duh, I wonder what that means??????? It means, he’s leaving!!!!!! BACK AWAY. Hell Dale Earnhardt got back into his car after flipping it at Daytona and drove back to the pits and finished the race. What did the safety crew do, they got the heck out of his way. And Busch didn’t speed recklessly back to the pits or out of control with flat tires as he would have done if he were pissed off. He slowly worked his way back to pit road. Of course he couldn’t hear Nascar without his helmet on. I’ll be the first to say Kurt has gotten himself into much trouble this year, but you can’t hang a guy every time just because of what he did in the past. He did nothing wrong here. it’s not his fault the safety guy put his bag on top of the car. Kurt was being a race car driver and doing all he could to get back in the race and this wouldn’t have remotely been an issue if it were any other driver that had done it, that doesn’t have Kurt’s history. If Nascar suspends him, it’s solely out of spite and uncalled for in this particular case. This is a very clear and easy NO CALL.
Two wrongs don’t make a right.
NASCAR screwed up once. Don’t do it again!!!
Dittos Nick 1
I normally enjoy reading all articles on this website. However, this article is the most stupid thing I have ever read. Sure Kurt has made some mistakes, but this so called reporter is playing like GOD and thinks their opinion is the only thing that matters. I am currently a first responder and I have to use common sense everyday. I will be the first to say if I am working a crash scene and something happens to put my life in jeopardy then I am getting away quickly. Not standing around when a driver who is obviously not injured gets back in their car and starts the engine and then proceeds to drive away. Then look for “reporters” like yourself to state what grave danger they were in. It is for so called reporters like you that NA$CAR is going down the drain. Anyone who has access to a key board thinks they are correct in everything they write.
Well we all might not be able to agree on whether or not Busch should be suspended, but can we all at least agree on the fact that he is one of the biggest dickheads to ever put on a helmet?
Bill B…. I agree. And the other one is his brother.
How’d he drive back to the garage area if he ran out of gas?
It’s a matter of perspective why people are watching. The same thing can be viewed in many ways.
You can watch Talladega for the packs, the drafting, the big wreck. NASCAR and the tv networks advertise all of them. You can like a driver because he/she is levelheaded, logical, wild, very determined, slightly crazy, etc.
Not everyone is going to agree. At least in my perspective, what Kurt did was not safe for the safety workers there to HELP him. How would you like to be the safety worker in this situation? Kurt’s record of foul behavior over the years could fill a multi-chapter book. It might be time to take a vacation.
But are his meltdowns and spontaneous actions what fans and what NASCAR want in a sport dulled by marketing? Kurt is the entertaining crazy character in the story. It comes down to perspective. What comes first for NASCAR, the business or the sport? Is it about creating characters or dangerously racing cars? It’s morals and safety vs. marketing and entertainment. It’s ultimately up to NASCAR how the company wants to present itself.
What Montoya did driving extremly fast by service vehicles (ie jet dryer) when he knew something was wrong(ie vibrations) was 1000 times more dangerous than getting back in a car, starting it up and slowing driving away. I would sure have the smarts to back away if the car refired or if I saw the driver getting back in. Maybe we should consider displinary action of the safety workers who were not paying attention.
Jason, vibrations can be caused by so many things in the car. He was already at the bottom of the track on the double yellow lines. I doubt Montoya (or anyone) could predict how that situation unfolded next.
Meanwhile, Kurt is sitting at a stop with safety workers all around his car. Obviously, he gave them no warning since the backpack was still on the car. It’s pretty easy to imagine what would happen if you just take off while the safety workers are getting organized around your car.
David, as for Kurt being able to drive the car back to the pits after it ran out of fuel; he explained that on the MRN interview. The ECM has a limp mode where it will run on reduced fuel pressure (I think of 20 psi). Not enough to race at 200 mph, but enough to fire up the car and make it back to the pits.
There is plenty of Rainbow Punch- the drink of nascar- for all who will continue to sip.
Wow! Strong feelings and very different perspectives of one event!
I don’t like Kurt Busch. I think he does a lot of flying off the handle without engaging his brain first. This incident wasn’t an indication that he’s changed much. Having safety workers respond quickly is a plus in any accident, so in a best case scenario, we would hope he would thank the safety workers and tell them he was going to take the car back to the garage. But since the gears in the his head must have been disconnected from the cognitive ability section of his brain as usual, he just jumped in the car and took off.
Is this a call for suspension? I guess that’s NASCAR’s call (not that they always make the best calls), but as mentioned above, the car started up (which to me would be a clue that he’s going to move), so I would hope the safety guys had a clue that movement wasn’t far behind.
Was it a great move? No. Was it suspension material? I don’t think so. Sounds like a misunderstanding to me, despite the mental midget display.
If Kurt had enough gas to get back to the garage, why did he sit there waiting for safety crew? And, why did he take his helmet off? Don’t most drivers try to get the car started right after spinning/crashing? I can’t remember who it was on fire (under car) after a crash, but he kept driving until CC told him to stop and get out.
I hope nascar treats Kurt like real life probation violators. Off to jail, or in his case out of a race or two.
ha ha ha suspend Tony for the helmet throwing incident and his Bone headed driving at dega , just think how his jaws would be flapping if he was wrecked he would be calling for MORONS to be parked and blah blah blah NA$CAR is a joke and only the golden boys get to do what they want
When Earnhardt did it they thought is was the second coming of Christ get in the real world no harm no foul
seems like a lot of folks are missing the point here. this is not an isolated incident. Kurt is a multiple time violator of na$cars rules and policies and has put peoples safety in jeopardy more than once with his childish antics. not to be overly dramatic, but does someone have to die before he gets set down by na$car.
I just realised why I watch very little Nascar anymore. The people running Nascar are just like the mama-boys that want Kurt draged and quatered. Maybe Nascar can put the drivers in bubble suits and let them ride around the track on wittle tricycles and go vroom vroom vroom.
Since the discussion has grown to include Tony Stewart, Here are his comments from Sonoma last year, reprinted by Art Garner in his column yesterday:
“If they wanna block, that’s what’s gonna happen to ‘em every time, for the rest of my career. I’m not gonna tolerate it. I don’t race guys that way and I’m not gonna let anybody race me that way. So if they block, they get dumped.”
“There are 42 guys out there and they know now how I race and what I expect. I don’t race ‘em that way, I don’t block guys and I’m not gonna block guys. If they block me, they will suffer the consequences.”
Apparently if Stewart blocks them, they will also suffer consequences..
Maybe you are right Sue but you have to admit, he is a prick. Right?
hy doesn’t everyone just shut up about Kurt Busch and let him drive? He can’t even go to the bathroom, it seems, without someone complaining about something.
I was watch that part of the race and tv did not show what happened. If he climbed back in the car, said he was taking it back to the pits, started the engine, them get out of the way. We won’t see any video of it. If somebody at the car didn’t think he should bother tying to repair it it’s not their call. I’m not a fan of his, but this is way over blown and one sided.
While NOT a fan of Kurt’s this inciDENT warrants no more than a fine of some type..That said he was on probation at the time so maybe more is warranted but this would be 1 of the smaller ones (crashing Tony on pit road was big)
I thought Kurt ran into the back of Ryan Newman in the pits at Darlington, not Tony Stewart?
I agree with Nick J and the others who said this isnt deserving of the coverage its getting. NASCAR punished him by parking him the rest of the race, and that’s all the punishment needed. Although he should probably give a sincere apology to the safety crew who was there, as well.
Kinda funny, all these opinions but in reality Kurt endangered NO-ONE and made his team proud. I guess all you whiners enjoy the no action races with drivers who shrug and say “it was a good points day”. Sorry but Kurt isnt pne of those. Good for him. Me neither
Funny, if you take the top 2 stories from Talladega Sunday – Tony Stewart wrecks the field blocking, and Kurt Busch driving away trying to get a better finish – switch the names of Tony Stewart and Kurt Busch in each story, you suddenly have a hero trying to finish the race in a wrecked car, and a d!(khead who wrecked the whole field cause he can’t drive and should be parked. not the first time Tony has talked out both sides of his mouth (first Daytona 2006 with Kenseth, again this year with the “I don’t block bs”) KB is unfortunately the new Robby Gordon – the guy that does the same thing as Tony stewart but actually gets the repercussions and punishments.
As far as Busch goes, the furnature row team willingly hired him so they deserve just what they are going to get with him. As for Nascar, they have been using rules and discipline for publicity purposes rather than for racing purposes for years now and they are getting what they deserve.
Kurt should have told everyone around his car that he was going back to the pits and to get out of his way so they don’t get hurt. Or maybe they should have figured it out for themselves. Best of luck Kurt.