Kurt Busch to Attempt The Indianapolis-Charlotte Double
posted by Phil Allaway
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Andretti Autosport announced this morning that Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet in the Sprint Cup Series, will attempt the Indianapolis 500 in a fifth entry for the IndyCar Series team. Once the Indianapolis 500 is completed, Busch will fly from Indianapolis to Charlotte, jump in his No. 41 Chevrolet and compete in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Busch considers the opportunity to do the double as an old-school throwback moment.
“This is really to challenge myself within motorsports,” Busch said in Andretti Autosport’s press release. “Perhaps I am a bit of an old-school racer; a throwback, I guess. I enjoyed the era of drivers racing different cars and testing themselves in other series. It is tough to do now for a variety of factors, but when the opportunity is there, I want to do it. While NASCAR is my home, I have been fortunate to compete in Pro Stock on the NHRA circuit a number of years ago and test a V8 Supercar. This opportunity was a talk with Michael [Andretti] over dinner one night, a “What if,” and now it’s becoming a reality for me to drive in the Indy 500 with Andretti Autosport. It’s literally a dream come true. To go to the famous Brickyard with the iconic Andretti name, it doesn’t get much cooler or better than that.”
Busch will be doing the Indianapolis-Charlotte double as a Memorial Day mission to men and women serving in the U.S. Military via the Armed Forces Foundation. Fans can contribute to the cause by texting AFF to 50555 to donate $10.
Busch, who has never raced an IndyCar, passed Rookie Orientation at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last year during a test session. At the time, Busch was more or less testing the Dallara DW12 for fun.
Busch will be the fourth driver to attempt the Indianapolis-Charlotte double. John Andretti was the first driver to attempt it in 1994. After finishing four laps down in tenth in Indianapolis, Andretti crashed and had engine problems in the 600. Robby Gordon has attempted the double five times, most recently in 2004. However, Gordon failed to make it to Charlotte on time and did not start the 600 in 2000 (P.J. Jones started Gordon’s No. 13 Ford in that instance). Finally, Tony Stewart has attempted the double twice (most recently in 2001) and is the only driver to ever complete all 1100 miles. Neither of the three drivers has won either leg of the double. The best finishes are Stewart and Gordon’s sixth-place finishes at the Indianapolis 500 (although Gordon’s came in 2000, the year he didn’t make it to Charlotte in time to start the Coca-Cola 600), and Stewart’s fourth-place finish in the 2001 Coca-Cola 600.
Danica Patrick, Justin Allgaier Talk About Phoenix Incident
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
A disappointing start to the year for Danica Patrick won’t include continued conflict. Patrick met with rookie Justin Allgaier Sunday, shortly after the Phoenix Cup race after a wreck ruined both drivers’ days. Patrick, who was critical of the No. 51 car on the radio, claiming Allgaier was “driving all over the track” appeared receptive to a conversation that quickly settled differences over what will be a long season.
“She was just upset because she got involved in the crash that we had,’’ said Allgaier to the Motor Racing Network. “She says she’s been through this and that she felt like I needed to settle down at that point. I explained my position on why everything happened. I think she understood where I was coming from. It doesn’t fix either one of our racecars. It doesn’t fix either one of our days. Unfortunately, we were both having pretty decent days.’’
Allgaier wound up 30th due to the incident while Patrick was 36th. The incident, which was caused by Allgaier’s spin also involved the No. 32 team and Travis Kvapil, which wound up 38th after sustaining heavy damage.
Camping World Close to Extending Title Sponsorship of NCWTS
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Marcus Lemonis, CEO of Camping World, Grand Marshal of Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway, and star of CNBC’s “The Profit,” made the announcement over the weekend that the retailer is very close to announcing a deal that would continue its title sponsorship of NASCAR’s Truck Series. The original agreement with NASCAR is scheduled to conclude after the 2015 season.
According to the sanctioning body, no formal contract has been signed, but “the agreement between the two parties has proven to be a beneficial one.”
“In about a month, we’ll be announcing a significant extension to that contract. It’s been great for us,” said Camping World’s Lemonis in a statement. “The NASCAR relationship has worked well for Camping World. When we started, we had 35 stores. Now, we’re up to 120 stores. As we travel the country and we meet new customers in stores, they always are very appreciative of our relationship with NASCAR. It’s been good.”
Gaining a long-term commitment from Camping World to sponsor the Truck Series would be a relief for NASCAR, which is set to lose Nationwide Insurance as title sponsor for the NASCAR Nationwide Series at the end of the 2014 season. The sponsorship of the Cup Series by Sprint runs through 2016.
The NCWTS is back in action on March 29th at 2:30 PM (ET) when the trucks visit Martinsville Speedway in the Kroger 250, which can be seen on Fox Sports 1. Ratings for the season opener were up 11 percent.
Harvick Takes Win At Phoenix In Second Race With New Team
posted by Justin Tucker
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Phoenix International Raceway has become Kevin Harvick’s home away from home. Sunday Afternoon was no exception as Harvick charged to the front early and would dominate for much of the day, leading 224 of the scheduled 312 laps to record his record fifth win on the one mile oval and his third win in the last four races at Phoenix.
Harvick, coming off of a disappointing Speedweeks which was capped by a last lap crash in the Daytona 500 in his debut with Stewart-Haas Racing, set the tone on Saturday by winning both practices while having the best 5 and 10-lap averages in the first practice of the day on Saturday. On Sunday, Harvick and his No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet was nothing short of flawless as he was able to hold Dale Earnhardt, Jr. by .489 seconds after a late race restart to claim his 24th career Sprint Cup Series victory.
“Man, this is awesome,” Harvick said after his dominant victory on Sunday. “Man, this just solidifies so many things and so many decisions. It’s been so much work with all the time and effort that these guys (the crew) have put in—but what a race car.”
Stewart Haas Racing co-owner Gene Haas shared in Harvick’s excitement after the race.
“It took long enough,” Haas joked. “This is phenomenal. I think there was a lot of skepticism last year about what myself and Tony (Stewart) what we were up to, was there a lot of madness to this. Quite frankly, it’s a great team, there’s a lot of synergy at the shop, people working together. I don’t know what we did, but I think we put together a great organization.”
Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt, Jr. continued his hot start to the 2014 season. Earnhardt Jr. would finish second on Sunday, marking his seventh consecutive top 10 finish since the end of the 2013 season. Earnhardt Jr. was pleased with the effort after a coast-to-coast whirlwind week after winning his second Daytona 500 and also gave great praise to the efforts of Harvick and the No. 4 team.
“I’ve got to congratulate Kevin. Those guys were two-tenths faster than everyone all weekend in practice. They were just phenomenal,” Earnhardt said. “To be able to run with them all day was a big confidence builder for us.”
Joining Harvick and Earnhardt in the top 5 of The Profit on CNBC 500K were Brad Keselowski with his second consecutive top 3 run of 2014 in third. Keselowski’s Team Penske teammate Joey Logano would finish fourth, and Jeff Gordon would come home fifth in his No. 24 Pepsi Max Chevrolet.
Jimmie Johnson finished in sixth, followed by Ryan Newman with a nice rebound after Daytona in seventh. Carl Edwards would carry the banner for Roush Fenway Racing by finishing eighth, Kyle Busch was ninth, and Jamie McMurray would finish tenth.
A look at the Profit on CNBC 500K by the numbers. There were 14 lead changes among eight different drivers, there were eight cautions for 39 laps which slowed the race pace to 109.229 MPH.
Next Sunday, the Sprint Cup Series heads to Sin City and the Las Vegas Motor
Starting Lineup: The Profit On CNBC 500K
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday March 1, 2014
Drivers in RED (i) are those ineligible to collect Sprint Cup points
Daytona 500 TV Ratings Down
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Wednesday February 26, 2014
What was the longest weather delay in Daytona 500 history turned out to bring NASCAR lower ratings and TV viewership Sunday night than expected. According to a report Monday from FOX Sports, the 56th running of the Daytona 500 airing at 8 PM (ET) posted a 5.6/10 national household rating/share which averaged 9.3 million viewers. That’s down 44 percent from last year’s 9.9, easily making it the least-watched Daytona 500 of all-time.
Due to the six-hour, twenty-two minute rain delay in Daytona, the race was up against the primetime coverage of the Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony from Sochi, Russia on NBC (15.25 million viewers). FOX also reported that 69% of the pre-rain delay viewers of the race, which began at 1 PM (ET) kept tuning in.
In comparison, the 2013 Daytona 500 on FOX was the most-watched race in five years, posting a 9.9/22 rating/share, commanding 16.7 million viewers. The Daytona 500 in 2012, the first to ever be run on a Monday and in the primetime slot did a 7.7/13 overnight rating/share which resulted in 13.67 million households viewing the race according to Nielsen TV ratings data.
Earnhardt, Jr. Claims Second Daytona 500 Victory
posted by Justin Tucker
Wednesday February 26, 2014
Ten years is a long time. For Dale Earnhardt, Jr., it felt like an eternity. NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver endured many near misses and close calls at the Daytona 500 since his only win in the Great American Race in 2004. Earnhardt had finished second in two of his last three Daytona 500s coming into Sunday’s race. He was also riding the tail of a 55-race winless streak, dating back to Michigan in 2012.
However nothing would stop Dale Jr. on Sunday, not even a 6 hour and 22 minute rain delay from capturing his second Daytona 500 win. Earnhardt Jr. led a race-high 54 laps on the evening and used some timely drafting help from teammates Jimmie Johnson and, on the final restart, Jeff Gordon to separate from the pack and secure the victory.
“Winning this race is the greatest feeling that you could feel in this sport besides accepting the trophy for the championship,” said a jubilant Earnhardt after pulling into Victory Lane. “We could fight off battle after battle. We got a little help at the end there from Jeff to get away on the restart. This is amazing. I can’t believe this is happening. I never take this for granted, man because it doesn’t happen twice, let alone once.”
Aside from the race itself the big story of the race was the 6 hour and 22 minute red flag, which threatened to move the race to Monday evening (had the race been postponed, FOX Sports’ Chris Myers had tweeted that the race would resume at 5:00pm EST). However, Mother Nature would cooperate and would allow the race to be run under different conditions from which they practiced this week. Once the race resumed, the intensity picked up from the changing track conditions. This allowed the pack to race side-by-side and at times 3-wide up to seven rows deep.
Joining Earnhardt Jr. in the top 5 for the 2014 Daytona 500 were: Denny Hamlin who closed out a spectacular Speedweeks in second, Brad Keselowski in third, Jeff Gordon in fourth, and Jimmie Johnson who overcome two wrecks leading up to the 500 in fifth.
Rounding out the top 10 in the Daytona 500 were Matt Kenseth in sixth, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. in seventh and Greg Biffle would bring his No. 16 Ford home in eighth. Austin Dillon would come home ninth in his first Cup Series race in the iconic No. 3 for Richard Childress Racing, while Casey Mears would round out the top 10.
A couple of major contenders for the Daytona 500 win would see their hopes dashed early on as Martin Truex, Jr. would blow up just 30 laps into the race, relegating him to a 43rd-place finish in his debut for Furniture Row Racing. Crew chief Todd Berrier was already in Nashville for a test session before the race was even over. Kyle Busch, meanwhile would have a pit road violation just before halfway and would spend much of the race battling back from that mistake. Busch would eventually finish 19th after leading 19 laps.
Danica Patrick would also be bit by bad luck as she was caught up in a multi-car wreck on lap 145. Patrick would lead her second consecutive Daytona 500, but wouldn’t have the finish to show for it finishing 40th. Tony Stewart would encounter a frustrating evening as well, with a fuel pickup problem derailing his quest for his first Daytona 500 win. Stewart would finish 35th.
A look at the Daytona 500 by the numbers. There were 42 lead changes among 18 drivers, while seven cautions for 39 laps would slow the race pace to 145.290 MPH.
Next week, the Sprint Cup Series heads to the “diamond in the desert,” Phoenix International Raceway for The Profit on CNBC 500K. The Green flag is scheduled for 3:15pm EST.
Nationwide Series Post-Race Quotes: Drive4COPD 300
posted by Thomas Bowles
Tuesday February 25, 2014
Frontstretch Interviews – Courtesy Mike Neff
ELLIOTT SADLER – FINISHED 4th
Thoughts on the race?
It’s definitely a lot different racing than what we’re used to.
Comfortable with it?
Yeah, it’s just different. You’re worried about what you’re doing, but you’re also worried about what everyone else is doing and they’re not doing more than you’re doing. Physically pushing a guy is way better than just riding so you just gotta time it right and push it to the edge.
Happy to start the year with a top 5?
Yeah. Hell, that was the worst we ran all day, I think. I have no idea how they put the 3 car in front of us on that last restart. I hadn’t seen the 3 car hardly all day. When they put us from fifth to sixth, on the outside line, it just really boxed us in. I would have really restarted behind my teammate and given him a good push to the front. Anyways, it is what it is; we’ll take it and move on.
Looked like you were up front all day.
The guys did a good job. We had a fast race car. Great pit stops, just really proud of these guys. The car’s in one piece and we can take it to Talladega now. Great job by my guys. A lot of effort came into coming down here to Daytona and giving ourselves a shot to win. We had that chance to be up front and make some things happen. Fifth is not what we want, but we’ll take it and move on.
Bumping vs Pushing?
It’s way harder. You don’t want to lay on the guy in front of you, so it’s tough racing. A lot different than what we’re used to, ‘cause you gotta go. You gotta drag the brake too ‘cause you don’t want to hit the guys and you don’t want to stay on him. It’s a lot harder mentally than what we’ve done in the past.
Car was strong all day. Pushing vs. Bumping, is that harder to do than just getting on somebody and pushing them?
Yeah, it is a little bit. When you bump ‘em, you jar ‘em, it kinda jacks ‘em a little bit. It’s a little more abrupt, obviously. I thought it was OK there at the end. It was certainly fun and hopefully entertaining. But a little bit of a struggle in the early part of the race and the midpart of the race to see a good race. And that’s unfortunate for the fans. You can’t do that the whole race, you can’t tear up your stuff, knock your grill in, overheat your motor, all that stuff so there’s no sense in doing all that until you get down to the last lap. The 7 and the 6, they did a good job. Man, the 7 really held the 22 and I tight on the bottom. I was rubbing his door and hitting the apron at the same time, no room whatsoever. So it was good; wish we were the ones who could have won but a lot better now than what we were last year.
Going home in one piece makes it a lot better, right?
Yeah. My back feels good. My foot feels good. Past years here, I’ve been going home with pain so I’m alright.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Truck Series Post-Race Quotes: Daytona (Exclusives)
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday February 22, 2014
When you’re on the outside like that, how frustrating is it?
It’s so hard. Timothy Peters has won here. Kyle Busch has won everywhere. Ron Hornaday has been running Trucks forever, probably before I was even born. I was surrounded by veterans there, and like I told them I don’t have a rookie stripe but I’m a rookie. This is only my fourth Truck race ever, my fourth superspeedway race, and man, I figured out when the 17 got up in front of me, I pushed him. And as soon as I pushed him, he took off. And I went with him. And I just kept doing it, and before I knew it, he was leading. And I saw Ron in my mirror, backed up to him, and if it wasn’t for him, I don’t know what would have happened. I gotta thank him big time for that. That was a true teammate move right there. I really appreciate that. He just bounced off me and we got to the front. I tried my hardest to sidedraft Kyle. I was probably touching his door.
Top 5 in the No. 30 truck. This deal come together at the last minute, but you had a heck of a truck. Tell us about your night.
Yeah, I’ve got to thank Turner Scott Motorsports. The guys worked so hard on this Rheem Comfort Products Chevrolet. Exciting! Just got hung up on the outside and had to wait for my teammate there to catch up. And then he got to the bottom, so… I got the old 32 and started pushing ol’ Ryan to the front. So, it’s not bad. We’ll take it. You just don’t want to step over that boundary. You don’t know how far to push and shove. We bumped about six times down the straightaway without latching onto them. Hopefully, that was OK and we came home with a top 5.
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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.
The Yellow Stripe · Bryan Davis Keith · Tuesday October 16, 2012
When one thinks of NASCAR racers making stupid comments in press conferences, there’s no shortage of names that come to mind: Harvick, the Busches, Stewart, these names easily roll off the tongue. Then there’s the heat of the moment stupids such as Kevin Lepage insisting he did nothing wrong by merging into traffic at Talladega or Todd Bodine abdicating all responsibility for his actions at Daytona.
But Jeff Gordon, that’s not a name that ugly remarks are typically associated with. Somehow, he got away with a big-time whopper at Charlotte. When asked if he would handle a head injury in the same way as teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr., who pulled himself out of a Chase-worthy race car to deal with a concussion, Gordon told the media, “No, I wouldn’t. That’s why I say we all play a part in this. If I have a thought at the championship, there’s two races to go, my head is hurting, and I just came through a wreck, and I am feeling signs of it, but I’m still leading the points, or second in the points, I’m not going to say anything. I’m sorry.”
It doesn’t matter that the finishing school-polished Gordon prefaced his remarks by stating, “Honestly, I hate to say this.” And it doesn’t matter that Gordon’s remarks are utterly ignorant of every shred of athletic health science that has been produced the past decade (though that doesn’t make them any less uninformed).
What matters is that Gordon, being the teammate of Dale Earnhardt Jr., cast aside the reasoned judgment of his teammate to make a personal statement about his competitive nature. For crying out loud, this is Jeff Gordon—the standard-bearer for politically correct, the one who chants that teams come first—remarking that his competitive streak would trump both science and common sense. That he would not do what his teammate did, even if it was the right thing in terms of safety, health and career longevity.
Even if that statement is true (and I have a very hard time believing that the father of two on the downward slope of his career would really be climbing back into a race car with his head messed up), Gordon is the last driver that should be making the type of statement an 18-year-old rookie that doesn’t know better would.
For one, Gordon, as much of a veteran as he is, has been remarkably blessed over the course of his career to avoid injury. He’s had his share of violent wrecks. Pocono in 2006 saw the sheet metal ripped from the driver’s side of his roll cage, while his tremendous impact at Las Vegas in 2008 threw a radiator hundreds of feet and prompted the track to install more SAFER barriers. He’s been fortunate enough to emerge unscathed in those incidents.
However, the same can’t be said for teammate Earnhardt, who even before his recent concussion problems suffered through a harrowing wreck in 2004 in a sports car race at Sonoma. That episode left him burned and forced to give way to a relief driver for two weeks while in the thick of a campaign that saw Junior win six races, including the Daytona 500. To date, that season is still the best he’s had in Cup racing, even if he finished higher in the standings in 2003.
But even more important than that, Gordon is a four-time champion and one of the most experienced and respected figures in the garage today. His words, whatever they are and whether or not he specifies that they are about him and not the sport at large, carry significant weight. Let’s not forget that it wasn’t but a few years ago that a young Denny Hamlin lamented the fact that NASCAR listened to a driver like Gordon, but not a new gun like himself.
Now, that same Gordon is running his mouth that he is so competitive, so flawed (his conclusion stated, “That’s not the way it should be. It’s something that most of us, I think, would do. I think that’s what gets a lot of us in trouble.”) that he would go old school. Not in the sense that he’d trade paint or go for the win in lieu of points, but that he’d play through blacking out or smoke a cigar while driving around at 200 mph.
I will get a ton of email this week about how I’m making a mountain of a molehill to write a column. There will be those that praise Jeff Gordon for proving a competitor above all else. There will be those that remark how Gordon’s comments were hardly a slight to teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr.
But the reality is this; anyone that’s been a competitor, from the amateur soccer player that scarfs down ibuprofen and double tapes his sprained ankle to keep playing, to the professional race car driver that’s endured two hard crashes in six weeks, has a big-time instinct to tough it out and play on. Those soccer players end up on the couch for months with an ankle fracture. And those race car drivers are taking their lives in their hands. Even if today’s cars make death less than likely a consequence of a major wreck, repeated head injuries have a way of making retirement years a lot less enjoyable.
If there’s ever been a time for race cars drivers, Hendrick-affiliated or otherwise, to use their heads and bite their tongues, it’s with regard to questioning a response to head injuries.
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What you are really putting Jeff down for is being honest. If you don’t think there have been lots of drivers that have driven with head injuries through the years then pass that thing over here.
I will point out the most obvious case – Dale Earnhardt Sr.. I think there is little doubt that he did. I remember him saying that he felt “woozy” before one race.
If you want to create an issue then why not talk about a points system that doesn’t allow a driver to be injured. As for Jr. he had a concussion after the test prior to the chase starting. Why aren’t you asking why he didn’t say something then. I know why, because he still had a chance at the championship. It wasn’t until the second hit at Talladega, when he knew his shot at the championship was a longshot that he raised his hand and spoke up. We will never know what he would have done if he’d been in the same position as Johnson who was in the same wreck but was still second in points.
While I admire Jeff Gordon’s drive to win, I agree with you here. As a veteran of the sport, his words carry weight. Younger drivers hear what he says and do as he says. I hope the question caught Gordon a little off guard and he answered without really thinking the issue through. The impact of multiple concussions has left many an athlete with health issues once their glory days have passed. Drivers need to know this and make smart decisions based on their long-term well-being.
The problem appears to be that Gordon has the drive and desire to win and be the best vs. being considerate, kind, cautious, (add your own politically correct word here) that current wimp men are supposed to be these days.
It’s good to see that a guy can take a licking or two and keep on ticking rather than crying ouch due to some alphabet (ADHD, LowT, OCD, PTSD, etc.) ailment.
As far as I’m concerned this issue was resolved the minute he got back to his motor home after his remark…His wife either…read him the riot act
Gordon has always hated Earnhardt. All you have to do is look at any restrictor plate race and see how Gordon will not work with him.
Has anyone asked what would happen if the 88 got dizzy during a race? It is not just him that gets hurt, but other drivers.
Gordon is just a frustrated movie star trying to stay in the limelight.
All you tough guys out there – come through a fire like Sonoma and get back in a race car – then get back to me. If you are a firefighter you can talk – the rest not so much.
Just one person, please answer the most relevant question: Why didn’t Jr say something after the Kansas test wreck?
I have two words for you… Muhammad Ali. Yeah, he was The Greatest. Today, a victim of Parkinson’s disease, a disease that has been linked to head trauma from activities such as boxing. Being tough won’t save you from permanent brain injury and disease.
I’m not saying he should have lied; I’m saying he should have said “Yeah, I’d want to climb back in the car and win a championship, but I’m smarter than that.” Hopefully that’s not a lie.
Bill B…that is the $100,000 question! And…I think in Gordon’s honest statement we have the answer! It’s great Junior “came out” and admitted his injuries…it would have been much “greater” if he would have done the responsible thing after his hit at Kansas. I wish him a speedy recovery…but praise and acclaimations I can’t extend! Drivers don’t want a drugged up peer on the track with them…but it’s ok to drive with an injury that can cause big trouble behind the wheel of a car??? (on or off the track) Makes no sense to me!
Now look back through the history of the sport. As you go back in time the safety equipment was less sophisticated. Now, how many drivers have sat out specifically for head trauma through the years? There is no way you are telling me that concussions weren’t much more prevalent in the past and that drivers (especially those in the top tier) didn’t drive with those conditions.
This is nothing new. It’s just the first time someone has voluntarily admitted they had a concussion.
A profound column. Many young athletes who hold Gordon in esteem will most likely continue to play hurt to their detriment. Gordon is a spokesman for the young, and should therefore monitor his mouth more closely.
RickP, you are obviously suffering from one of the “alphabet ailments”. Either that or you’re just plain stupid.
I respect Gordon as a driver however he simply should have kept silent on the issue. I have the highest respect for Earnhart doing what he did. Maybe he decided to be Mr Macho after the Kansas crash, but the second hit in Alabama and the subsequent headaches probably convinced him to take the medical advice he was offered. As to Rick P.‘s comment, somehow I rather suspect he has never raced anything as dangerous as a Big Wheel or he wouldnt have charachterized being stupid as somehow “manly”, whatever the hell that means.
I agree with Bill B. He was being honest. A question was asked and he answered honestly to a question based on the way the sport is right now and right now – that’s what most competitors would do if they had any chance at a championship.
I know and everyone else knows this is the wrong thing to do, but until there is some way to compensate for an injury like this the competitors like Jeff Gordon will race hurt or lose a whole season to injury.
Does HE think it’s wise? No, you can see by his preface to his answer that he doesn’t, but as a competitor he is compensated for competing and punished for cutting out. That’s why you see racecar drivers racing sick after taking IVs of fluid before a race – because they want to win. Is that wise? No way – you can get pretty woozy with the flu too folks!
What’s interesting to me is that Junior made the correct call on his own. According to Dr. Punch, there’s no way to diagnose the effects of multiple concussions; Junior just felt like “something wasn’t right” with his head. It was his call, and he did what he considered in his own best interest.
Yeah, drivers in the past had less protection, but with the advances in safety and medical equipment comes the responsibility for athletes to use that equipment for their own good. Otherwise what’s the point? Had Dale Sr. used a Hans device, he’d most likely be here today. It’s on the drivers to take care of themselves.
I agree with Jeff. i couldn’t get out of the car if a championship was on the line. Why are you going after him for saying that? Everyone else it seemed said the same thing. Also don’t forget that jr kept racing until he was all but out of it.
did not agree with jeff’s statement at all, an he threw jr. under the bus! jelouse of jr.? you bet! always ,has been! and I throw rusty’s remarks ,right in there with jeff! SHAME ON BOTH OF YOU!
Wow, hell hath frozen over. People are complaining that Jeff Gordon said something that was NOT pollitically correct. Never thought I’d see the day. LOL
Quote from Darrell Waltrip:
In Dale Jr.’s situation right now, it’s a little bit different. He’s already in the Chase, so the worst he can do is finish 12th. Realistically, he was sliding down the order before this weekend anyway and his championship hopes were starting to get dim.
If you look at the circumstances, timing-wise it all worked out well. He can get out of the car and get recuperated. A brain injury is nothing to mess around about.”
Rusty just confirmed to me what an idiot and loud mouth he is. No wonder his Nationwide car campaign failed.
This issue is really about job security. Junior has a big advantage over most of his peers. His name will always assure him ride with a top tier team. He has the luxury of stepping up and admitting his problem. Other don’t. They are fearful of being labeled as “Damaged Goods”. It would be a good question to put to the top tier team owners that if someone like say Newman, Logano, or Biffle would go the same route and have to sit out perhaps up to an entire season would their seats be assured at the end of that time? I would bet not. Its a cruel world out there. Only the strongeat survive. So there is a reason drivers keep their mouth shut when hurt.
If the Speed Channel does shut down maybe there will be less Wallaces babbling on tv.
Thinking of the number of retired drivers that suffer from dementia/Alzheimer’s should make every driver take a long, hard look at the possibilities of ignoring multiple concussions. How many former NFL players are suffering from years of ‘playing hurt’? If Nascar would allow a team to use a replacement driver in case of medical reasons, many more drivers might be willing to take the time to recover properly. They could make it much easier for drivers to make the smart decision instead of the macho one.
Ray Evernham said that after 3 concussions he retired from race driving. What does JG think of RE for that?