Kurt Busch to Attempt The Indianapolis-Charlotte Double
posted by Phil Allaway
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Andretti Autosport announced this morning that Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet in the Sprint Cup Series, will attempt the Indianapolis 500 in a fifth entry for the IndyCar Series team. Once the Indianapolis 500 is completed, Busch will fly from Indianapolis to Charlotte, jump in his No. 41 Chevrolet and compete in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Busch considers the opportunity to do the double as an old-school throwback moment.
“This is really to challenge myself within motorsports,” Busch said in Andretti Autosport’s press release. “Perhaps I am a bit of an old-school racer; a throwback, I guess. I enjoyed the era of drivers racing different cars and testing themselves in other series. It is tough to do now for a variety of factors, but when the opportunity is there, I want to do it. While NASCAR is my home, I have been fortunate to compete in Pro Stock on the NHRA circuit a number of years ago and test a V8 Supercar. This opportunity was a talk with Michael [Andretti] over dinner one night, a “What if,” and now it’s becoming a reality for me to drive in the Indy 500 with Andretti Autosport. It’s literally a dream come true. To go to the famous Brickyard with the iconic Andretti name, it doesn’t get much cooler or better than that.”
Busch will be doing the Indianapolis-Charlotte double as a Memorial Day mission to men and women serving in the U.S. Military via the Armed Forces Foundation. Fans can contribute to the cause by texting AFF to 50555 to donate $10.
Busch, who has never raced an IndyCar, passed Rookie Orientation at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last year during a test session. At the time, Busch was more or less testing the Dallara DW12 for fun.
Busch will be the fourth driver to attempt the Indianapolis-Charlotte double. John Andretti was the first driver to attempt it in 1994. After finishing four laps down in tenth in Indianapolis, Andretti crashed and had engine problems in the 600. Robby Gordon has attempted the double five times, most recently in 2004. However, Gordon failed to make it to Charlotte on time and did not start the 600 in 2000 (P.J. Jones started Gordon’s No. 13 Ford in that instance). Finally, Tony Stewart has attempted the double twice (most recently in 2001) and is the only driver to ever complete all 1100 miles. Neither of the three drivers has won either leg of the double. The best finishes are Stewart and Gordon’s sixth-place finishes at the Indianapolis 500 (although Gordon’s came in 2000, the year he didn’t make it to Charlotte in time to start the Coca-Cola 600), and Stewart’s fourth-place finish in the 2001 Coca-Cola 600.
Danica Patrick, Justin Allgaier Talk About Phoenix Incident
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
A disappointing start to the year for Danica Patrick won’t include continued conflict. Patrick met with rookie Justin Allgaier Sunday, shortly after the Phoenix Cup race after a wreck ruined both drivers’ days. Patrick, who was critical of the No. 51 car on the radio, claiming Allgaier was “driving all over the track” appeared receptive to a conversation that quickly settled differences over what will be a long season.
“She was just upset because she got involved in the crash that we had,’’ said Allgaier to the Motor Racing Network. “She says she’s been through this and that she felt like I needed to settle down at that point. I explained my position on why everything happened. I think she understood where I was coming from. It doesn’t fix either one of our racecars. It doesn’t fix either one of our days. Unfortunately, we were both having pretty decent days.’’
Allgaier wound up 30th due to the incident while Patrick was 36th. The incident, which was caused by Allgaier’s spin also involved the No. 32 team and Travis Kvapil, which wound up 38th after sustaining heavy damage.
Camping World Close to Extending Title Sponsorship of NCWTS
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Marcus Lemonis, CEO of Camping World, Grand Marshal of Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway, and star of CNBC’s “The Profit,” made the announcement over the weekend that the retailer is very close to announcing a deal that would continue its title sponsorship of NASCAR’s Truck Series. The original agreement with NASCAR is scheduled to conclude after the 2015 season.
According to the sanctioning body, no formal contract has been signed, but “the agreement between the two parties has proven to be a beneficial one.”
“In about a month, we’ll be announcing a significant extension to that contract. It’s been great for us,” said Camping World’s Lemonis in a statement. “The NASCAR relationship has worked well for Camping World. When we started, we had 35 stores. Now, we’re up to 120 stores. As we travel the country and we meet new customers in stores, they always are very appreciative of our relationship with NASCAR. It’s been good.”
Gaining a long-term commitment from Camping World to sponsor the Truck Series would be a relief for NASCAR, which is set to lose Nationwide Insurance as title sponsor for the NASCAR Nationwide Series at the end of the 2014 season. The sponsorship of the Cup Series by Sprint runs through 2016.
The NCWTS is back in action on March 29th at 2:30 PM (ET) when the trucks visit Martinsville Speedway in the Kroger 250, which can be seen on Fox Sports 1. Ratings for the season opener were up 11 percent.
Harvick Takes Win At Phoenix In Second Race With New Team
posted by Justin Tucker
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Phoenix International Raceway has become Kevin Harvick’s home away from home. Sunday Afternoon was no exception as Harvick charged to the front early and would dominate for much of the day, leading 224 of the scheduled 312 laps to record his record fifth win on the one mile oval and his third win in the last four races at Phoenix.
Harvick, coming off of a disappointing Speedweeks which was capped by a last lap crash in the Daytona 500 in his debut with Stewart-Haas Racing, set the tone on Saturday by winning both practices while having the best 5 and 10-lap averages in the first practice of the day on Saturday. On Sunday, Harvick and his No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet was nothing short of flawless as he was able to hold Dale Earnhardt, Jr. by .489 seconds after a late race restart to claim his 24th career Sprint Cup Series victory.
“Man, this is awesome,” Harvick said after his dominant victory on Sunday. “Man, this just solidifies so many things and so many decisions. It’s been so much work with all the time and effort that these guys (the crew) have put in—but what a race car.”
Stewart Haas Racing co-owner Gene Haas shared in Harvick’s excitement after the race.
“It took long enough,” Haas joked. “This is phenomenal. I think there was a lot of skepticism last year about what myself and Tony (Stewart) what we were up to, was there a lot of madness to this. Quite frankly, it’s a great team, there’s a lot of synergy at the shop, people working together. I don’t know what we did, but I think we put together a great organization.”
Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt, Jr. continued his hot start to the 2014 season. Earnhardt Jr. would finish second on Sunday, marking his seventh consecutive top 10 finish since the end of the 2013 season. Earnhardt Jr. was pleased with the effort after a coast-to-coast whirlwind week after winning his second Daytona 500 and also gave great praise to the efforts of Harvick and the No. 4 team.
“I’ve got to congratulate Kevin. Those guys were two-tenths faster than everyone all weekend in practice. They were just phenomenal,” Earnhardt said. “To be able to run with them all day was a big confidence builder for us.”
Joining Harvick and Earnhardt in the top 5 of The Profit on CNBC 500K were Brad Keselowski with his second consecutive top 3 run of 2014 in third. Keselowski’s Team Penske teammate Joey Logano would finish fourth, and Jeff Gordon would come home fifth in his No. 24 Pepsi Max Chevrolet.
Jimmie Johnson finished in sixth, followed by Ryan Newman with a nice rebound after Daytona in seventh. Carl Edwards would carry the banner for Roush Fenway Racing by finishing eighth, Kyle Busch was ninth, and Jamie McMurray would finish tenth.
A look at the Profit on CNBC 500K by the numbers. There were 14 lead changes among eight different drivers, there were eight cautions for 39 laps which slowed the race pace to 109.229 MPH.
Next Sunday, the Sprint Cup Series heads to Sin City and the Las Vegas Motor
Starting Lineup: The Profit On CNBC 500K
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday March 1, 2014
Drivers in RED (i) are those ineligible to collect Sprint Cup points
Daytona 500 TV Ratings Down
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Wednesday February 26, 2014
What was the longest weather delay in Daytona 500 history turned out to bring NASCAR lower ratings and TV viewership Sunday night than expected. According to a report Monday from FOX Sports, the 56th running of the Daytona 500 airing at 8 PM (ET) posted a 5.6/10 national household rating/share which averaged 9.3 million viewers. That’s down 44 percent from last year’s 9.9, easily making it the least-watched Daytona 500 of all-time.
Due to the six-hour, twenty-two minute rain delay in Daytona, the race was up against the primetime coverage of the Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony from Sochi, Russia on NBC (15.25 million viewers). FOX also reported that 69% of the pre-rain delay viewers of the race, which began at 1 PM (ET) kept tuning in.
In comparison, the 2013 Daytona 500 on FOX was the most-watched race in five years, posting a 9.9/22 rating/share, commanding 16.7 million viewers. The Daytona 500 in 2012, the first to ever be run on a Monday and in the primetime slot did a 7.7/13 overnight rating/share which resulted in 13.67 million households viewing the race according to Nielsen TV ratings data.
Earnhardt, Jr. Claims Second Daytona 500 Victory
posted by Justin Tucker
Wednesday February 26, 2014
Ten years is a long time. For Dale Earnhardt, Jr., it felt like an eternity. NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver endured many near misses and close calls at the Daytona 500 since his only win in the Great American Race in 2004. Earnhardt had finished second in two of his last three Daytona 500s coming into Sunday’s race. He was also riding the tail of a 55-race winless streak, dating back to Michigan in 2012.
However nothing would stop Dale Jr. on Sunday, not even a 6 hour and 22 minute rain delay from capturing his second Daytona 500 win. Earnhardt Jr. led a race-high 54 laps on the evening and used some timely drafting help from teammates Jimmie Johnson and, on the final restart, Jeff Gordon to separate from the pack and secure the victory.
“Winning this race is the greatest feeling that you could feel in this sport besides accepting the trophy for the championship,” said a jubilant Earnhardt after pulling into Victory Lane. “We could fight off battle after battle. We got a little help at the end there from Jeff to get away on the restart. This is amazing. I can’t believe this is happening. I never take this for granted, man because it doesn’t happen twice, let alone once.”
Aside from the race itself the big story of the race was the 6 hour and 22 minute red flag, which threatened to move the race to Monday evening (had the race been postponed, FOX Sports’ Chris Myers had tweeted that the race would resume at 5:00pm EST). However, Mother Nature would cooperate and would allow the race to be run under different conditions from which they practiced this week. Once the race resumed, the intensity picked up from the changing track conditions. This allowed the pack to race side-by-side and at times 3-wide up to seven rows deep.
Joining Earnhardt Jr. in the top 5 for the 2014 Daytona 500 were: Denny Hamlin who closed out a spectacular Speedweeks in second, Brad Keselowski in third, Jeff Gordon in fourth, and Jimmie Johnson who overcome two wrecks leading up to the 500 in fifth.
Rounding out the top 10 in the Daytona 500 were Matt Kenseth in sixth, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. in seventh and Greg Biffle would bring his No. 16 Ford home in eighth. Austin Dillon would come home ninth in his first Cup Series race in the iconic No. 3 for Richard Childress Racing, while Casey Mears would round out the top 10.
A couple of major contenders for the Daytona 500 win would see their hopes dashed early on as Martin Truex, Jr. would blow up just 30 laps into the race, relegating him to a 43rd-place finish in his debut for Furniture Row Racing. Crew chief Todd Berrier was already in Nashville for a test session before the race was even over. Kyle Busch, meanwhile would have a pit road violation just before halfway and would spend much of the race battling back from that mistake. Busch would eventually finish 19th after leading 19 laps.
Danica Patrick would also be bit by bad luck as she was caught up in a multi-car wreck on lap 145. Patrick would lead her second consecutive Daytona 500, but wouldn’t have the finish to show for it finishing 40th. Tony Stewart would encounter a frustrating evening as well, with a fuel pickup problem derailing his quest for his first Daytona 500 win. Stewart would finish 35th.
A look at the Daytona 500 by the numbers. There were 42 lead changes among 18 drivers, while seven cautions for 39 laps would slow the race pace to 145.290 MPH.
Next week, the Sprint Cup Series heads to the “diamond in the desert,” Phoenix International Raceway for The Profit on CNBC 500K. The Green flag is scheduled for 3:15pm EST.
Nationwide Series Post-Race Quotes: Drive4COPD 300
posted by Thomas Bowles
Tuesday February 25, 2014
Frontstretch Interviews – Courtesy Mike Neff
ELLIOTT SADLER – FINISHED 4th
Thoughts on the race?
It’s definitely a lot different racing than what we’re used to.
Comfortable with it?
Yeah, it’s just different. You’re worried about what you’re doing, but you’re also worried about what everyone else is doing and they’re not doing more than you’re doing. Physically pushing a guy is way better than just riding so you just gotta time it right and push it to the edge.
Happy to start the year with a top 5?
Yeah. Hell, that was the worst we ran all day, I think. I have no idea how they put the 3 car in front of us on that last restart. I hadn’t seen the 3 car hardly all day. When they put us from fifth to sixth, on the outside line, it just really boxed us in. I would have really restarted behind my teammate and given him a good push to the front. Anyways, it is what it is; we’ll take it and move on.
Looked like you were up front all day.
The guys did a good job. We had a fast race car. Great pit stops, just really proud of these guys. The car’s in one piece and we can take it to Talladega now. Great job by my guys. A lot of effort came into coming down here to Daytona and giving ourselves a shot to win. We had that chance to be up front and make some things happen. Fifth is not what we want, but we’ll take it and move on.
Bumping vs Pushing?
It’s way harder. You don’t want to lay on the guy in front of you, so it’s tough racing. A lot different than what we’re used to, ‘cause you gotta go. You gotta drag the brake too ‘cause you don’t want to hit the guys and you don’t want to stay on him. It’s a lot harder mentally than what we’ve done in the past.
Car was strong all day. Pushing vs. Bumping, is that harder to do than just getting on somebody and pushing them?
Yeah, it is a little bit. When you bump ‘em, you jar ‘em, it kinda jacks ‘em a little bit. It’s a little more abrupt, obviously. I thought it was OK there at the end. It was certainly fun and hopefully entertaining. But a little bit of a struggle in the early part of the race and the midpart of the race to see a good race. And that’s unfortunate for the fans. You can’t do that the whole race, you can’t tear up your stuff, knock your grill in, overheat your motor, all that stuff so there’s no sense in doing all that until you get down to the last lap. The 7 and the 6, they did a good job. Man, the 7 really held the 22 and I tight on the bottom. I was rubbing his door and hitting the apron at the same time, no room whatsoever. So it was good; wish we were the ones who could have won but a lot better now than what we were last year.
Going home in one piece makes it a lot better, right?
Yeah. My back feels good. My foot feels good. Past years here, I’ve been going home with pain so I’m alright.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Truck Series Post-Race Quotes: Daytona (Exclusives)
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday February 22, 2014
When you’re on the outside like that, how frustrating is it?
It’s so hard. Timothy Peters has won here. Kyle Busch has won everywhere. Ron Hornaday has been running Trucks forever, probably before I was even born. I was surrounded by veterans there, and like I told them I don’t have a rookie stripe but I’m a rookie. This is only my fourth Truck race ever, my fourth superspeedway race, and man, I figured out when the 17 got up in front of me, I pushed him. And as soon as I pushed him, he took off. And I went with him. And I just kept doing it, and before I knew it, he was leading. And I saw Ron in my mirror, backed up to him, and if it wasn’t for him, I don’t know what would have happened. I gotta thank him big time for that. That was a true teammate move right there. I really appreciate that. He just bounced off me and we got to the front. I tried my hardest to sidedraft Kyle. I was probably touching his door.
Top 5 in the No. 30 truck. This deal come together at the last minute, but you had a heck of a truck. Tell us about your night.
Yeah, I’ve got to thank Turner Scott Motorsports. The guys worked so hard on this Rheem Comfort Products Chevrolet. Exciting! Just got hung up on the outside and had to wait for my teammate there to catch up. And then he got to the bottom, so… I got the old 32 and started pushing ol’ Ryan to the front. So, it’s not bad. We’ll take it. You just don’t want to step over that boundary. You don’t know how far to push and shove. We bumped about six times down the straightaway without latching onto them. Hopefully, that was OK and we came home with a top 5.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Budweiser Duels Post Race Quotes
posted by Matt Stallknecht
Friday February 21, 2014
BUDWEISER DUELS POST-RACE QUOTES
They’re saying the wheel bearing burned up in it. I don’t know what caused it, they’re taking it all apart to figure out what the heck happened. Something abnormal that’s for sure I don’t think I’ve ever had that happen at all. Hopefully, we made the race and hopefully we can fix the problem before Sunday.
WHAT WAS THAT LOUD BOOM ONCE YOU TURNED INTO THE GARAGE?
Loud pop was a tire… thankfully, it popped, hopefully it didn’t hurt anybody. All the heat created in the left front that popped was pretty weird.
REALLY GOOD RUN. WHAT DID YOU THINK OF IT?
Yeah, it was good. We have a car we can work with for the 500. Got a good starting spot, so we’re going to rest easy, fluff and buff our car for a couple of days and get ready for Sunday.
ANY DIFFERENCE ON WHETHER THE TOP OR BOTTOM LANE WORKED?
Yeah, I was just moving around, trying to stay with the flow. For me, this car works on all parts of the racetrack. So I’m pretty happy with it.
DALE EARNHARDT, JR.
GOT SHUFFLED BACK, AFTER PIT STOPS AND THEN COULDN’T GET BACK UP TO THE FRONT. WHY?
Nah, we were just sitting there waiting until the last few laps to make a move. You didn’t want to pull down and get sent to the back. Seen a couple of guys get sent to the back really quick so we were just kind of waiting for the end. I felt like we had a good situation there with Ambrose behind us — we had a good run off Turn 2 and I went. It was the last lap, time to go do something, nobody went with us but hopefully Sunday is a different story.
We got a great car. We don’t have to work hard. We learned, we got a good race car. Got a car in one piece, ready to go so we’ll try and get through the next couple of practices, deliver it to the starting group this Sunday and we’ll be real happy.
YOU’RE IN THE DAYTONA 500!
Yeah, it’s pretty awesome. This Whitetail Chevrolet was so fast that I knew all I had to do was stick it behind smart, intelligent drafters and we could have a good finish. That’s what we did in the Duels and I’m excited. I’m excited to go do some stuff with the Nationwide car and have some more practice with this. But to know that we’re locked in the Daytona 500’s pretty cool.
YOU WERE OBVIOUSLY IN FRONT OF THAT MELEE AT THE END. WHEN YOU WERE UP FRONT THERE IN THE BEGINNING, WERE YOU HOPING TO JUST STAY IN LINE AND LET YOU FINISH TOP 5?
I was pretty content to ride and luckily I knew a lot of people around us were. It was nice to have a little calm and not really have to be racing hard the whole time. I knew that the pit stop was going to shake everything up and that’s exactly what happened. Fell back a little bit there but made the right moves at the end to get a good finish.
HOW STRONG ARE THESE RCR CARS?
They’re very strong! They definitely have the capabilities to be winning one of these races.
YOU’RE IN THE TOP 5 FOR YOUR HEAT IN THE DAYTONA 500. YOUR PRIMARY CAR IS SITTING RIGHT IN THE GARAGE, KIND OF WADDED UP. DID YOU THINK THIS ONE HAD IT IN IT?
Yeah, it’s a brand new car also. It’s just not quite as good as the primary but still a damned good car. I’m just proud of everybody at RCR for building such fast race cars. All of our cars have been fast, ECR motor’s been strong, even our affiliate teams have been qualifying really good and racing good. So… excited about 2014! It’s going to be a good year.
WELL MAN, YOU STARTED IN THE BACK BUT WORKED YOUR WAY TO THE FRONT WHEN IT COUNTED MOST. WERE YOU JUST BIDING YOUR TIME THROUGHOUT THE RACE?
Eh, you never know if you’re going to get back up there or not. We had to start at the back, we had to make a run early and see what we could do. We drove right to 10th, or something like that and then it got stagnant. We tried to make something happen, and went to the back again. Drove back up to the front. Again, just really proud of my guys. Matt Kruder did a hell of a job on that pit stop getting just enough gas in to gain some spots there.
RCR CARS SEEM PRETTY DARNED STRONG. DO YOU THINK THE RCR CARS HAVE SOMETHING FOR THEM ON SUNDAY — ESPECIALLY THE THREE JOE GIBBS RACING CARS THAT SEEM TO BE THE CLASS OF THE FIELD RIGHT NOW?
Oh yeah. The 20 car was extremely fast. The 11 didn’t qualify that good, but he’s a good drafter. I think he won. We definitely have something for him.
Check in with Matt and Jay on their site at CareyandCoffey.com.
In a Nutshell: Kyle Busch won the O’Reilly 200—his third consecutive Truck win at Bristol—when he took the checkered flag under caution ahead of Aric Almirola. Busch pitted once around lap 30 and had just enough fuel to hold onto the lead through a green-white-checkered finish and celebrate with a burnout. Ron Hornaday, Jr., Mike Skinner and Justin Lofton rounded out the top 5.
Who Should Have Won: Kyle Busch. The record books officially show Busch starting on the pole, but the driver of his self-owned No. 18 Toyota had to drop to the rear of the field following an unapproved adjustment after qualifying. Busch made quick work of the field and took the lead when Mike Skinner pitted for fuel under the eighth caution. He went on to lead the final 116 laps on the way to his 19th career Truck Series win.
Questions You Should Be Asking After the Race:
1. Does Kyle Busch have any patience in him?
Following unapproved adjustments to his No. 18 NASCAR.com RaceView Toyota, polesitter Kyle Busch was forced to drop to the rear of the field before the field took the green flag Wednesday night. In typical “Rowdy” fashion, Busch made quick work of much of the field before getting caught up behind Jennifer Jo Cobb with Todd Bodine alongside him on lap 36.
Instead of showing patience for a few laps for the traffic to get out of the way of a clearly faster truck, Busch chose to shove Cobb’s No. 10 self-owned Ford out of his way. She ended up spinning to bring out the fourth caution, but kept her truck from sustaining damage on the inside wall while Busch drove off with the position.
Clearly Kyle Busch had a strong truck, and everyone knows the lower speeds Cobb has been running all season in a truck funded almost entirely out of her own pocket. Just 36 laps into a 200 lap race is hardly a time to start shoving other drivers out of the way. And it’s even worse when the driver putting the spin on someone else isn’t even racing full-time in the series.
Regardless of who you’re racing with, a little respect on the track goes a long way. And Kyle Busch would be wise to remember that in the future.
2. Should Austin Dillon have been upset with Matt Crafton?
Following a brief red flag stop to clean up the aftermath of the David Starr / Ken Schrader wreck that brought out a record-tying 12th caution, the typical chaos of a green-white-checkered finish ensued. As the field came to the white flag, Matt Crafton bumped Austin Dillon, who was two laps down to the field, multiple times before Dillon was finally forced up the track into Max Papis and Dennis Setzer, bringing out the 13th and final caution along with the white flag.
Once the checkered flag flew, Dillon made his irritation with Crafton quite clear as he ran into the No. 88 Ideal Door / Menards Chevrolet more than once. When asked about the incident after the race, Crafton was apologetic as he explained his intentions as the field approached the white flag.
“I understand they’d be upset. That’s the last thing we wanted to do—to wreck him,” Crafton said. “That was not intended. I tried to get him up off the bottom and was not intending to wreck him. I just got into him a little harder than I meant to.”
But does Austin Dillon really have a reason to be upset with Matt Crafton?
Absolutely not! Dillon was running two laps down and had little chance to improve his position in the final laps, but Crafton was still running on the lead lap. The driver of the No. 3 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet tried to justify his irritation with Crafton, but his argument just doesn’t hold water.
“We didn’t have anything for anybody at the end, but Crafton wasn’t racing for position either,” Dillon said after the race. “I know he was on the lead lap, but the lead lap trucks were plenty far ahead of him.”
Um, sorry Austin, but that doesn’t make any sense. Both trucks Dillon hit—Setzer and Papis—were on the lead lap and racing Crafton for position. But despite that, whether the rest of the lead lap trucks are just two feet or 200 feet away, a driver not on the lead lap—especially coming to the white flag—should do everything in his power to stay out of the way of those on the lead lap.
And if Dillon doesn’t learn that lesson pretty quickly, he’ll have a pretty tough end to his rookie season and an even tougher sophomore season in the Truck Series, because these drivers don’t forget.
Truck Rookie Report
2010 Rookie of the Year Candidates:
No. of Rookies in the Race: 8 (add debuting drivers Miguel Paludo, Jake Crum and John King, as well as Jerick Johnson and Clay Greenfield)
No. of Rookies to Finish in the Top 10: 1; Justin Lofton, finished fifth
Rookie Of The Race: Justin Lofton
Justin Lofton scored his third top-10 finish in the last four races on Wednesday night. The driver of the No. 7 visitPIT.com Toyota managed to avoid major damage all night despite being around multiple wrecks as they happened. The closest was when Jennifer Jo Cobb spun and rolled down the track, as Lofton barely squeezed through.
After being involved in three separate incidents on the track during the race, Austin Dillon’s streak of consecutive top-10 finishes ended at eight, tying the record for a rookie set by Ricky Hendrick.
Miguel Paludo, John King and Jake Crum each made their Truck Series debuts Wednesday night. Paludo, who has run six K&N East Series races this season (best finish ninth at Lime Rock Park in Connecticut) was by far the most successful of the three, finishing ninth after surviving contact late in the running. The next best finish saw Kingsport, Tennessee native King score a 15th as the first truck one lap down. Crum, who has just two starts in the K&N East Series (best finish 13th), wasn’t as fortunate as the other two debuting drivers; he was forced to retire after just 90 laps due to a fuel pump issue.
Did you know at least one rookie has finished in the top 10 in 12 out of 16 races this season? The O’Reilly 200 also marked the ninth consecutive race in which a rookie finished seventh or better.
Worth Noting / Points Shuffle:
Aric Almirola’s runner-up finish allowed him to gain 15 points on leader Todd Bodine who now holds a 211 point lead. Timothy Peters remains in third, with Johnny Sauter trailing him by 38 points in fourth. Defending champion Ron Hornaday, Jr. managed to recover from a lap 52 spin to finish third and moved up one spot to round out the top 5, more than 350 points behind Bodine.
Matt Crafton’s 11th top-10 finish this season moved him up one spot to sixth—he trails Hornaday, Jr. by just 32 points. The biggest loser in the top 10 this week was Austin Dillon, who was involved in three different incidents in the race alone following a wreck in practice. He dropped two spots to seventh, 361 points out of first. Mike Skinner and David Starr remain in eight and ninth respectively, and Ricky Carmichael moved up one spot to round out the top 10.
Jason White suffered his third consecutive engine failure, this time after just 28 laps, and was credited with a 36th place finish. As a result, he dropped outside the top 10 and now trails leader Todd Bodine by nearly 700 points.
The O’Reilly 200 was record-breaking in multiple ways. The race was slowed by 13 cautions, barely knocking off the previous record of 12 as the 13th and final caution flew right after the white flag did. Also, Kyle Busch became the first driver to start outside the top 12 to win in 13 Truck Series races at Bristol.
Brad Keselowski got sideways while battling inside Ron Hornaday, Jr. just eight laps into the race and went two laps down while getting four tires and fuel as the caution flew on lap 12. He managed to take advantage of the lucky dog award twice and recovered for a respectable seventh place finish.
2011 Schedule Released
This week, NASCAR announced the 2011 schedules for all three of their top series. The season will begin with a triple-header at Daytona on February 18th and end with the same at Homestead-Miami exactly nine months later on November 18th. Again the Truck Series schedule will feature 25 races with a few changes. The second race of the season will be hosted by Phoenix International Raceway, and the Darlington date moves to March. October will feature two stand-alone races—Kentucky and Las Vegas. The full schedule can be viewed here.
“It worried me a little bit just having to start back there and try to come through traffic really unsure. We were passing guys one at a time, just kind of biding our time getting our way up there. It was a bummer deal that we didn’t get to start from the pole and kind of lead the laps and play our strategy out a little bit, but it was still cool coming from the back I guess. I wish there was an award for it or maybe a bonus for sitting on the pole, then starting in the back and coming up through there and winning. That’s just me.” Kyle Busch
“We had a good truck tonight. I was down in the dumps all day because we didn’t have any speed. It just ran the same speed no matter what we changed—it never went faster, it never went slower. It did the same thing tonight when we took off for the race. We started 19th and we ran the same speed. Everybody seemed to fall back and come back to us. The race was just so much dictated by what line you restarted tonight.” Aric Almirola, finished second
“We didn’t make any adjustments all night. We pitted so early that we didn’t run enough green to make a good decision on what to do so we left it alone. We were a little free all night, but Kyle (Busch) did a great job. The guys did a good job and he saved gas. That was the biggest key.” Winning Crew Chief Eric Phillips
“It was awesome. I appreciate all the work and all the support of Germain and Toyota. The team put the truck in one week together so I’m really proud of all the guys. I’m happy, I’m really happy. We had a tight truck, a loose truck, a lot of different trucks in the race, but you can’t imagine how happy I am. Every person I talked with said, ‘Why Bristol? It’s tough.’ It’s perfect. I’m real happy and it’s a team effort. Germain Racing did a great job and I’m real happy.” Miguel Paludo, finished ninth, on his Truck Series debut
“Pretty much nowhere to go. She (Jennifer Jo Cobb) got spun by somebody, but if she would’ve locked the brakes and stopped the truck, maybe it would have kept her from taking us out.” James Buescher after a lap 85 wreck caused terminal damage to his No. 31 Wolf Pack Rentals Chevrolet, finished 33rd
The Camping World Truck Series heads to Chicagoland Speedway for the Chicagoland 225. Last season, Kyle Busch took Billy Ballew Motorsports to victory lane after pit strategy and a couple late race cautions played into his favor. Coverage begins at 8:30 pm EDT; the race can also be heard on your local MRN affiliate.
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Kyle wrecking Jennifer Jo Cobb – typical, no class Kyle.
I was thinking the same thing about Kyle’s patience when he punted her. The only way he will learn is if people start punting him. It hasn’t happened yet but I“m sure waiting for the day.
While I understand your issue with Dillon at the end of the race, Beth, on a short track you can’t get out of the way as easily. Its tough to blame Crafton either as at that point in the race its “go” time. Crafton is not a dirty driver so I would have to give him a pass on this one.
Nice comment Kyle. Just shows what an arrogant punk you really are.
Kyle needs to have a “talk” with Jimmy Spencer, face to fist. It should have happened quite a while back.
Steve: My complaint with Dillon isn’t so much that he didn’t get out of the way but rather that he complained that Crafton shouldn’t have been that aggressive. He was racing two others for position and absolutely needed to go. I understand it’s a small track and it was a tight squeeze there to begin with, but the whining from Austin after the race is what really got to me.
MichaelinSoCal and DoninAjax: You should see what I have written in my notes from this race after that happened. Needless to say, it didn’t belong in this column. I had to rewrite that section several times to make sure I wasn’t going overboard because Kyle made me so angry with what he did. I don’t have a problem with him racing in the series, especially since he’s driving his own stuff, but that crap of wrecking someone intentionally like that when they were less than 40 laps in is just stupid.