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.”
Connect with Tom!
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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Beth Lunkenheimer · Wednesday May 11, 2011
Another Saturday night race with a Cinderella story winner in Regan Smith was overshadowed by two drivers throwing temper tantrums. And as Wednesday dawns in NASCAR-land, the bigger story continues to be not surrounding the man that won but the punishment doled out to two men who lost.
By now, everyone has heard about or seen the late-race altercation between Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick. With just a handful of laps remaining, the duo made contact on the track, an initial sideswipe by Harvick a combination of driving into the corner too hard and some contact with his teammate Clint Bowyer. What happened between that contact and the bump Harvick handed to Busch in the next turn is anyone’s guess, but two of the series biggest hotheads were already riled up from their previous fender-banging.
Seconds later, as a three-wide sandwich led to Bowyer spinning out, utter chaos ensued: Kyle Busch turned across the track and caught the back bumper of Harvick’s No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet, sending him spinning and steaming towards retaliation after the checkered flag. After the race ended, the two headed toward pit road and played a juvenile game of chicken before ultimately stopping nose to tail near the pit road entrance. It didn’t take long for Harvick to get out of his car and head toward Busch, but the driver of the No. 18 didn’t want anything to do with a confrontation. Instead, he gunned the motor and shoved the No. 29 out of the way just as Harvick reached Busch and attempted to throw a punch through the open window.
Of course, both parties along with owners Richard Childress and Joe Gibbs were immediately invited to the NASCAR hauler for a “talk” about what happened. When asked about the conversation, Harvick simply grinned and said “not much” was discussed, while Busch openly criticized his rival for an aggressive style of racing.
Fast forward to Tuesday, the traditional NASCAR penalty day, and both drivers walked out of the incident with a minimal $25,000 fine and probation through the Pocono 500 in mid-June under the standard Section 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing involved in an altercation on pit road after the conclusion of the race).
NASCAR’s Senior Director of Communications and Competition Kerry Tharp had little to say about the consequences after they were announced, making it difficult to deconstruct officials’ thought process on their reasoning.
“These penalties are a result of what occurred on pit road after the race was over,” Tharp said. “They are about maintaining a safe environment on pit road.”
Are the consequences justified? Let’s start at the beginning. While I don’t condone using a race car as a weapon of retaliation, NASCAR has opened that can of worms with the “Boys, Have at It” mantra adopted last season. If that’s the way the sanctioning body wants the drivers to handle their differences, that’s fine, but frankly I’d rather see them handle it in the garage or on pit road — or better yet, privately — where lives aren’t endangered. Heck, even the pits may not be the best place to settle such arguments, especially considering Busch’s actions once Harvick got out of his car and headed toward the No. 18 sitting right behind him. Slamming into a parked car was both dangerous and potentially disastrous for innocent bystanders not paying attention to their argument.
Frankly, I expected both drivers to be penalized simply because Harvick threw a punch and Busch endangered those around him on pit road by punting the empty No. 29 into the pit wall. I mean, it’s not the first time a driver has been penalized for fighting, and it clearly won’t be the last. But what I don’t understand is why those penalties are equal. Last time I checked, throwing a punch at a guy who’s still sitting in his race car with his helmet on isn’t exactly going to cause any damage unless it comes in the form of a nasty bruise — or worse — to the hand of the driver doing the swinging.
On the other hand, shoving an unmanned 3,400 pound race car out of the way can create a whole plethora of dangers for those working on pit road to close out a race weekend. What exactly did Busch expect to get out of that move? After the race, he claimed he “made a judgment call there” and that he was “just trying to get away from it and get back to [his] hauler and go on with my own business.”
Huh? What kind of judgment call is that? I’ll give Busch the benefit of the doubt and agree that he was, in fact, more interested in getting back to his hauler, but it doesn’t take a genius to know the route Busch chose was clearly dangerous to those around the two cars on pit road. I can’t even begin to understand the thought process that brought Busch to the decision to punt Harvick’s car, and I don’t intend to try to explain it either.
That said, did both parties overreact? Definitely. And while I don’t necessarily agree with equal penalties for both parties involved, I do understand why NASCAR felt the need to police Harvick and Busch following their pit road altercation.
But the funny thing is that I’m almost 100% sure we haven’t seen the last of these two this season. NASCAR may be keeping a closer eye on both drivers, but as soon as the All-Star Race – remember, this probation is for points-paying events only – fireworks between the duo could easily explode once again.
©2000 - 2008 Beth Lunkenheimer and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
Notice how there hasn’t been one penalty this season that resulted in points. All the cars have been legal. All the cars have passed inspection. No team or driver has stepped over the proverbial, ever-changing line. We are almost a third of the way through the season and not penalties.
I can’t remember the last time we were this far into the season without a points penalty.
Is NASCAR afraid to assess points penalties because they have no idea what a penalty should be under the new points system?
i only saw one driver throw a temper tantrum… with the other driver getting the better of him.
Personally, I was more upset with the deliberate wrecking of Harvick by Busch on the track. That could have been potentially more dangerous for Harvick and for other innocent drivers behind them. Based on what they let Busch get by with, why would any other driver be afraid to do the same if given the chance. The fine means nothing to these multi-millionaire drivers and teams. And this double secret don’t do it again probation is a joke too. When someone like Busch gets someone seriously hurt or killed then maybe Nascar will react like what they did when Earnhardt got killed but it’s very clear they are not going to do anything until that happens. Look, I know the cars are safer now than in the past and we have softer walls but a driver can stll get injured especially if he gets hit in the drivers door. If this type of stuff keeps happening and Nascar keeps turning a blind eye to Busch then the blood will be on their hand. However, I think the smell of money means more to them than the safety of some driver or innocent drivers getting caught up in Busch’s temper tandrums. Another sad day for NASCAR.
So what we have here is two millionaire self centered jerks acting like 5 year olds during and at the end of a race. All we seem to be disagreeing about is which one is the bigger jerk. My vote goes to Harvick by a nose but its really really close!!.
Calm down Susan…we know you are hot for the Lil man….but rest assured…the ONLY thing big on Kyle is his mouth!! He got that from his illegit daddy DW!!
I have no idea why people read Frontstretch if they believe it is a crap publication. You may want to switch to Nascar.com where they will give you a daily dose of BS that should make you smile.
Do you also watch TV shows that you don’t like just so you can e-mail the networks about the crap they televise?
It makes no difference to me because I like to chuckle as I see your blood pressure rise when you’re confronted with differing opinions.
Have at it readers!
I’m with you, Annie. I keep looking for intelligent conversation.
OK since everyone wants to debate the Busch-Harvick thing….
Do we all agree that the main reason Busch didn’t get out of his car is because he knew he’d get his ass kicked?
BTW I like Busch and Harvick about the same… I think they are both punks.
Susan, Kyle could club baby seals to death and you would defend him.
Bill B. Yes you are correct. That little wussy Kyle did not get out of the car because he knew was gonna get his ass kicked. Same reason his coward brother did not get out after the deal with Jimmy Spencer.
Must suck for the Busch brothers knowing a 5th grade girl can kick their butts. ha ha ha.
Okay, can we all agree that at least Ryan Newman isn’t afraid to throw a punch, helmet off, at another driver? And guess what? No fines and no probation for Newman. There’s a lesson here… Happy and Rowdy, are you taking notes?
Susan I beleive you are so enamored with shrubby that you are blind to any negative facts about him….Therefore your opinion is of no value…Sorry Both partys have lots of fault here …But to me the big issue is the danger created on pit road by pushing an unmanned vehicle with pedestrians around after the conclusion of an event…Nascar I guess dos’nt know what a negative effect a serious injury or worse will create & it seems will wait till there is a victim
Harvick is a big punk than Bush!!! But, Bush is a better driver than Harvick!!
Susan, there are not enough drivers on the track to catch up with Busch and all the cars and trucks he has deliberately bumped, wreck, or pushed out of the way. He has wrecked many drivers in the Trucks and Nationwide who was running for the championship and Busch wasn’t yet he wrecked them. This guy has no respect for anyone on the track except hisself. Just a very self centered, spoiled, rich kid brat and why anyone could be a fan of him is beyond me. I can assure you one thing, if I was a driver when I got through putting him over or through the wall his attitude would change. If I was some of these high dollar teams I would pay some of these back of the field runners to take that little punk out. Maybe after about ten times of that he might get the message but I doubt it. Again, I want to congratulate Rick Hendrick for dumping that little twerp. It may have cost Rick some wins and some money but at least he had sense enough to know a bad thing when he saw it. The same can’t be said for Gibbs. Busch is just the complete opposite of Gibbs and yet why they put up with him I’ll never know.
I’m not sure if he has ever landed a punch. I can’t say I have ever seen a driver land a good punch that was shown on tv. Probably because there are usually others there (conveniently) holding them back.
Did Jimmy Spencer punch Kyle Busch? Did Ryan Newman punch Montoya?
I don’t know because that is all heresay.
What I do know is that, once again IMO, both Busch’s seem to be willing to run their mouth and wield their cars like weapons (fyi they don’t have a monopoly on that, I’ve seen most drivers do it at one time or another), however when it comes to the face to face confrontation after the race they avoid it.
Reading between the lines I interpret that as being afraid they’ll get their ass kicked.
It reminds me of that kid in the neighborhood that will run their mouth and then hide behind their mother when the other kid comes after them. And then, while the mother is admonishing the other kid, the whole time her kid is behind her making faces and gestures at the other kid.
His nickname should be The Instigator or maybe the Master… nevermind.
Harvick is all talk when he has 8 guys standing behind him; otherwise he’s just a big blowhard. Spencer is right.
Most of the time I disagree with what Susan writes, but, oh heck, I have to go with about 95 percent of what she wrote today. Am I going to hell because of that? :)
OK so the boys got a $25,000.00 fine. Are you kidding me! This is comparable to fining the average worker $25.00
Until NASCAR takes away points this is nothing but a JOKE! And the drivers just laugh (-:
“….played a juvenile game of chicken”.
Best description I’ve heard yet of the incident between these two morons.
I saw the race and watched the video of the event twice.
What stands out, is that Kyle did a last second move back onto the track, instead of going to pit road. Presumably this was to avoid a confrontation with Harvick.
So Harvick goes back out as well, pulls along side of Busch and invites him to get out of his car. Cool-headed Kyle slams his car into reverse so hard he dumps his transmission and Harvick beats him back onto pit road and blocks him. The rest is history.
Had Kyle had the intestinal fortitude to get out of his vehicle on the track and tell Harvick “that’s for Homestead” this would all be over. No fines, no penalties. Instead he chose to run….
Why does anybody think Nascar is going to do anything other than encourage this sort of thing?
They desperately need anything that will draw attention and put butts in the seat.
Follow the money folks, follow the money.
This whole line of conversation is why NASCAR encourages fighting.
Did you ever come across an individual that just HAS TO disagree? The sky is blue…..Susan’s response “NO IT’S NOT AND I SAY THAT BECAUSE EVERYBODY ELSE SAYS IT’S BLUE”. Blah Blah Blah. Hey FS….how about limiting responses to 140 characters? It would go a long way on cutting down on the self ordained windbags.