Kurt Busch to Attempt The Indianapolis-Charlotte Double
posted by Phil Allaway
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Andretti Autosport announced this morning that Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet in the Sprint Cup Series, will attempt the Indianapolis 500 in a fifth entry for the IndyCar Series team. Once the Indianapolis 500 is completed, Busch will fly from Indianapolis to Charlotte, jump in his No. 41 Chevrolet and compete in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Busch considers the opportunity to do the double as an old-school throwback moment.
“This is really to challenge myself within motorsports,” Busch said in Andretti Autosport’s press release. “Perhaps I am a bit of an old-school racer; a throwback, I guess. I enjoyed the era of drivers racing different cars and testing themselves in other series. It is tough to do now for a variety of factors, but when the opportunity is there, I want to do it. While NASCAR is my home, I have been fortunate to compete in Pro Stock on the NHRA circuit a number of years ago and test a V8 Supercar. This opportunity was a talk with Michael [Andretti] over dinner one night, a “What if,” and now it’s becoming a reality for me to drive in the Indy 500 with Andretti Autosport. It’s literally a dream come true. To go to the famous Brickyard with the iconic Andretti name, it doesn’t get much cooler or better than that.”
Busch will be doing the Indianapolis-Charlotte double as a Memorial Day mission to men and women serving in the U.S. Military via the Armed Forces Foundation. Fans can contribute to the cause by texting AFF to 50555 to donate $10.
Busch, who has never raced an IndyCar, passed Rookie Orientation at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last year during a test session. At the time, Busch was more or less testing the Dallara DW12 for fun.
Busch will be the fourth driver to attempt the Indianapolis-Charlotte double. John Andretti was the first driver to attempt it in 1994. After finishing four laps down in tenth in Indianapolis, Andretti crashed and had engine problems in the 600. Robby Gordon has attempted the double five times, most recently in 2004. However, Gordon failed to make it to Charlotte on time and did not start the 600 in 2000 (P.J. Jones started Gordon’s No. 13 Ford in that instance). Finally, Tony Stewart has attempted the double twice (most recently in 2001) and is the only driver to ever complete all 1100 miles. Neither of the three drivers has won either leg of the double. The best finishes are Stewart and Gordon’s sixth-place finishes at the Indianapolis 500 (although Gordon’s came in 2000, the year he didn’t make it to Charlotte in time to start the Coca-Cola 600), and Stewart’s fourth-place finish in the 2001 Coca-Cola 600.
Danica Patrick, Justin Allgaier Talk About Phoenix Incident
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
A disappointing start to the year for Danica Patrick won’t include continued conflict. Patrick met with rookie Justin Allgaier Sunday, shortly after the Phoenix Cup race after a wreck ruined both drivers’ days. Patrick, who was critical of the No. 51 car on the radio, claiming Allgaier was “driving all over the track” appeared receptive to a conversation that quickly settled differences over what will be a long season.
“She was just upset because she got involved in the crash that we had,’’ said Allgaier to the Motor Racing Network. “She says she’s been through this and that she felt like I needed to settle down at that point. I explained my position on why everything happened. I think she understood where I was coming from. It doesn’t fix either one of our racecars. It doesn’t fix either one of our days. Unfortunately, we were both having pretty decent days.’’
Allgaier wound up 30th due to the incident while Patrick was 36th. The incident, which was caused by Allgaier’s spin also involved the No. 32 team and Travis Kvapil, which wound up 38th after sustaining heavy damage.
Camping World Close to Extending Title Sponsorship of NCWTS
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Marcus Lemonis, CEO of Camping World, Grand Marshal of Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway, and star of CNBC’s “The Profit,” made the announcement over the weekend that the retailer is very close to announcing a deal that would continue its title sponsorship of NASCAR’s Truck Series. The original agreement with NASCAR is scheduled to conclude after the 2015 season.
According to the sanctioning body, no formal contract has been signed, but “the agreement between the two parties has proven to be a beneficial one.”
“In about a month, we’ll be announcing a significant extension to that contract. It’s been great for us,” said Camping World’s Lemonis in a statement. “The NASCAR relationship has worked well for Camping World. When we started, we had 35 stores. Now, we’re up to 120 stores. As we travel the country and we meet new customers in stores, they always are very appreciative of our relationship with NASCAR. It’s been good.”
Gaining a long-term commitment from Camping World to sponsor the Truck Series would be a relief for NASCAR, which is set to lose Nationwide Insurance as title sponsor for the NASCAR Nationwide Series at the end of the 2014 season. The sponsorship of the Cup Series by Sprint runs through 2016.
The NCWTS is back in action on March 29th at 2:30 PM (ET) when the trucks visit Martinsville Speedway in the Kroger 250, which can be seen on Fox Sports 1. Ratings for the season opener were up 11 percent.
Harvick Takes Win At Phoenix In Second Race With New Team
posted by Justin Tucker
Monday March 3, 2014
Phoenix International Raceway has become Kevin Harvick’s home away from home. Sunday Afternoon was no exception as Harvick charged to the front early and would dominate for much of the day, leading 224 of the scheduled 312 laps to record his record fifth win on the one mile oval and his third win in the last four races at Phoenix.
Harvick, coming off of a disappointing Speedweeks which was capped by a last lap crash in the Daytona 500 in his debut with Stewart-Haas Racing, set the tone on Saturday by winning both practices while having the best 5 and 10-lap averages in the first practice of the day on Saturday. On Sunday, Harvick and his No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet was nothing short of flawless as he was able to hold Dale Earnhardt, Jr. by .489 seconds after a late race restart to claim his 24th career Sprint Cup Series victory.
“Man, this is awesome,” Harvick said after his dominant victory on Sunday. “Man, this just solidifies so many things and so many decisions. It’s been so much work with all the time and effort that these guys (the crew) have put in—but what a race car.”
Stewart Haas Racing co-owner Gene Haas shared in Harvick’s excitement after the race.
“It took long enough,” Haas joked. “This is phenomenal. I think there was a lot of skepticism last year about what myself and Tony (Stewart) what we were up to, was there a lot of madness to this. Quite frankly, it’s a great team, there’s a lot of synergy at the shop, people working together. I don’t know what we did, but I think we put together a great organization.”
Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt, Jr. continued his hot start to the 2014 season. Earnhardt Jr. would finish second on Sunday, marking his seventh consecutive top 10 finish since the end of the 2013 season. Earnhardt Jr. was pleased with the effort after a coast-to-coast whirlwind week after winning his second Daytona 500 and also gave great praise to the efforts of Harvick and the No. 4 team.
“I’ve got to congratulate Kevin. Those guys were two-tenths faster than everyone all weekend in practice. They were just phenomenal,” Earnhardt said. “To be able to run with them all day was a big confidence builder for us.”
Joining Harvick and Earnhardt in the top 5 of The Profit on CNBC 500K were Brad Keselowski with his second consecutive top 3 run of 2014 in third. Keselowski’s Team Penske teammate Joey Logano would finish fourth, and Jeff Gordon would come home fifth in his No. 24 Pepsi Max Chevrolet.
Jimmie Johnson finished in sixth, followed by Ryan Newman with a nice rebound after Daytona in seventh. Carl Edwards would carry the banner for Roush Fenway Racing by finishing eighth, Kyle Busch was ninth, and Jamie McMurray would finish tenth.
A look at the Profit on CNBC 500K by the numbers. There were 14 lead changes among eight different drivers, there were eight cautions for 39 laps which slowed the race pace to 109.229 MPH.
Next Sunday, the Sprint Cup Series heads to Sin City and the Las Vegas Motor
Starting Lineup: The Profit On CNBC 500K
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday March 1, 2014
Drivers in RED (i) are those ineligible to collect Sprint Cup points
Daytona 500 TV Ratings Down
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Wednesday February 26, 2014
What was the longest weather delay in Daytona 500 history turned out to bring NASCAR lower ratings and TV viewership Sunday night than expected. According to a report Monday from FOX Sports, the 56th running of the Daytona 500 airing at 8 PM (ET) posted a 5.6/10 national household rating/share which averaged 9.3 million viewers. That’s down 44 percent from last year’s 9.9, easily making it the least-watched Daytona 500 of all-time.
Due to the six-hour, twenty-two minute rain delay in Daytona, the race was up against the primetime coverage of the Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony from Sochi, Russia on NBC (15.25 million viewers). FOX also reported that 69% of the pre-rain delay viewers of the race, which began at 1 PM (ET) kept tuning in.
In comparison, the 2013 Daytona 500 on FOX was the most-watched race in five years, posting a 9.9/22 rating/share, commanding 16.7 million viewers. The Daytona 500 in 2012, the first to ever be run on a Monday and in the primetime slot did a 7.7/13 overnight rating/share which resulted in 13.67 million households viewing the race according to Nielsen TV ratings data.
Earnhardt, Jr. Claims Second Daytona 500 Victory
posted by Justin Tucker
Wednesday February 26, 2014
Ten years is a long time. For Dale Earnhardt, Jr., it felt like an eternity. NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver endured many near misses and close calls at the Daytona 500 since his only win in the Great American Race in 2004. Earnhardt had finished second in two of his last three Daytona 500s coming into Sunday’s race. He was also riding the tail of a 55-race winless streak, dating back to Michigan in 2012.
However nothing would stop Dale Jr. on Sunday, not even a 6 hour and 22 minute rain delay from capturing his second Daytona 500 win. Earnhardt Jr. led a race-high 54 laps on the evening and used some timely drafting help from teammates Jimmie Johnson and, on the final restart, Jeff Gordon to separate from the pack and secure the victory.
“Winning this race is the greatest feeling that you could feel in this sport besides accepting the trophy for the championship,” said a jubilant Earnhardt after pulling into Victory Lane. “We could fight off battle after battle. We got a little help at the end there from Jeff to get away on the restart. This is amazing. I can’t believe this is happening. I never take this for granted, man because it doesn’t happen twice, let alone once.”
Aside from the race itself the big story of the race was the 6 hour and 22 minute red flag, which threatened to move the race to Monday evening (had the race been postponed, FOX Sports’ Chris Myers had tweeted that the race would resume at 5:00pm EST). However, Mother Nature would cooperate and would allow the race to be run under different conditions from which they practiced this week. Once the race resumed, the intensity picked up from the changing track conditions. This allowed the pack to race side-by-side and at times 3-wide up to seven rows deep.
Joining Earnhardt Jr. in the top 5 for the 2014 Daytona 500 were: Denny Hamlin who closed out a spectacular Speedweeks in second, Brad Keselowski in third, Jeff Gordon in fourth, and Jimmie Johnson who overcome two wrecks leading up to the 500 in fifth.
Rounding out the top 10 in the Daytona 500 were Matt Kenseth in sixth, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. in seventh and Greg Biffle would bring his No. 16 Ford home in eighth. Austin Dillon would come home ninth in his first Cup Series race in the iconic No. 3 for Richard Childress Racing, while Casey Mears would round out the top 10.
A couple of major contenders for the Daytona 500 win would see their hopes dashed early on as Martin Truex, Jr. would blow up just 30 laps into the race, relegating him to a 43rd-place finish in his debut for Furniture Row Racing. Crew chief Todd Berrier was already in Nashville for a test session before the race was even over. Kyle Busch, meanwhile would have a pit road violation just before halfway and would spend much of the race battling back from that mistake. Busch would eventually finish 19th after leading 19 laps.
Danica Patrick would also be bit by bad luck as she was caught up in a multi-car wreck on lap 145. Patrick would lead her second consecutive Daytona 500, but wouldn’t have the finish to show for it finishing 40th. Tony Stewart would encounter a frustrating evening as well, with a fuel pickup problem derailing his quest for his first Daytona 500 win. Stewart would finish 35th.
A look at the Daytona 500 by the numbers. There were 42 lead changes among 18 drivers, while seven cautions for 39 laps would slow the race pace to 145.290 MPH.
Next week, the Sprint Cup Series heads to the “diamond in the desert,” Phoenix International Raceway for The Profit on CNBC 500K. The Green flag is scheduled for 3:15pm EST.
Nationwide Series Post-Race Quotes: Drive4COPD 300
posted by Thomas Bowles
Tuesday February 25, 2014
Frontstretch Interviews – Courtesy Mike Neff
ELLIOTT SADLER – FINISHED 4th
Thoughts on the race?
It’s definitely a lot different racing than what we’re used to.
Comfortable with it?
Yeah, it’s just different. You’re worried about what you’re doing, but you’re also worried about what everyone else is doing and they’re not doing more than you’re doing. Physically pushing a guy is way better than just riding so you just gotta time it right and push it to the edge.
Happy to start the year with a top 5?
Yeah. Hell, that was the worst we ran all day, I think. I have no idea how they put the 3 car in front of us on that last restart. I hadn’t seen the 3 car hardly all day. When they put us from fifth to sixth, on the outside line, it just really boxed us in. I would have really restarted behind my teammate and given him a good push to the front. Anyways, it is what it is; we’ll take it and move on.
Looked like you were up front all day.
The guys did a good job. We had a fast race car. Great pit stops, just really proud of these guys. The car’s in one piece and we can take it to Talladega now. Great job by my guys. A lot of effort came into coming down here to Daytona and giving ourselves a shot to win. We had that chance to be up front and make some things happen. Fifth is not what we want, but we’ll take it and move on.
Bumping vs Pushing?
It’s way harder. You don’t want to lay on the guy in front of you, so it’s tough racing. A lot different than what we’re used to, ‘cause you gotta go. You gotta drag the brake too ‘cause you don’t want to hit the guys and you don’t want to stay on him. It’s a lot harder mentally than what we’ve done in the past.
Car was strong all day. Pushing vs. Bumping, is that harder to do than just getting on somebody and pushing them?
Yeah, it is a little bit. When you bump ‘em, you jar ‘em, it kinda jacks ‘em a little bit. It’s a little more abrupt, obviously. I thought it was OK there at the end. It was certainly fun and hopefully entertaining. But a little bit of a struggle in the early part of the race and the midpart of the race to see a good race. And that’s unfortunate for the fans. You can’t do that the whole race, you can’t tear up your stuff, knock your grill in, overheat your motor, all that stuff so there’s no sense in doing all that until you get down to the last lap. The 7 and the 6, they did a good job. Man, the 7 really held the 22 and I tight on the bottom. I was rubbing his door and hitting the apron at the same time, no room whatsoever. So it was good; wish we were the ones who could have won but a lot better now than what we were last year.
Going home in one piece makes it a lot better, right?
Yeah. My back feels good. My foot feels good. Past years here, I’ve been going home with pain so I’m alright.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Truck Series Post-Race Quotes: Daytona (Exclusives)
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday February 22, 2014
When you’re on the outside like that, how frustrating is it?
It’s so hard. Timothy Peters has won here. Kyle Busch has won everywhere. Ron Hornaday has been running Trucks forever, probably before I was even born. I was surrounded by veterans there, and like I told them I don’t have a rookie stripe but I’m a rookie. This is only my fourth Truck race ever, my fourth superspeedway race, and man, I figured out when the 17 got up in front of me, I pushed him. And as soon as I pushed him, he took off. And I went with him. And I just kept doing it, and before I knew it, he was leading. And I saw Ron in my mirror, backed up to him, and if it wasn’t for him, I don’t know what would have happened. I gotta thank him big time for that. That was a true teammate move right there. I really appreciate that. He just bounced off me and we got to the front. I tried my hardest to sidedraft Kyle. I was probably touching his door.
Top 5 in the No. 30 truck. This deal come together at the last minute, but you had a heck of a truck. Tell us about your night.
Yeah, I’ve got to thank Turner Scott Motorsports. The guys worked so hard on this Rheem Comfort Products Chevrolet. Exciting! Just got hung up on the outside and had to wait for my teammate there to catch up. And then he got to the bottom, so… I got the old 32 and started pushing ol’ Ryan to the front. So, it’s not bad. We’ll take it. You just don’t want to step over that boundary. You don’t know how far to push and shove. We bumped about six times down the straightaway without latching onto them. Hopefully, that was OK and we came home with a top 5.
Connect with Mike!
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.
Beth Lunkenheimer · Thursday November 15, 2012
Author’s Note: Hey readers! As the 2012 draws to a close, we’re planning for next year. Please click here to send me an email or let me know in the comments below what you’d like to see in Tracking the Trucks that currently isn’t in there. Is there something you don’t like about this format? I want to know that too! I’ll collect your comments throughout the rest of the year and the offseason and debut the new and improved Tracking the Trucks in February for the season opener at Daytona. Thank you for your dedicated readership! —Beth
In a Nutshell: Cale Gale took the checkered flag 0.14 seconds ahead of Kyle Busch to win the Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway Friday night. Gale restarted on the front row alongside Busch during the green-white-checkered finish and drove the No. 18 Toyota up the track, pinning him to the wall to score his first Camping World Truck Series victory. Joey Coulter, Nelson Piquet, Jr. and Miguel Paludo rounded out the top-5 finishers.
Who Should Have Won: Cale Gale. Gale started fifth and ran unnoticed inside the top 5 for much of the night before finding himself alongside Kyle Busch on the final restart. He peeked his nose inside Busch several times before finally driving up alongside him, nearly wrecking both competitors in the process. In the end, it took some rough-and-tumble driving — exactly what made the Truck Series famous in the first place — but it was Gale who came out on top in what can only be described as one of the best finishes the Truck Series has seen since Erik Darnell barely edged Johnny Benson to snag his first career victory at Michigan in 2008.
Questions You Should Be Asking After the Race:
1. Which driver was at fault in the Ty Dillon / Kyle Larson wreck?
With just a handful of laps remaining, Ty Dillon found himself within one point of champion James Buescher while the leader was still in his sights, making it look like the last lap would truly decide the champion as Buescher struggled a bit on the restart just a few laps earlier. But those hopes came crashing to a halt when he and Kyle Larson got together, wrecking both trucks and sending rookie Ryan Blaney hard enough into the wall to knock the wind out of him. Blaney, though clearly shaken up, got out of the No. 29 Dodge under his own power.
But who was at fault in that wreck?
Ty Dillon likely saw that Larson had one heck of a run to his inside and moved down to block; however, the driver of the No. 4 Chevrolet had his truck nearly alongside the driver of the No. 3 before Dillon made his move, wrecking both drivers. Don’t believe me? See for yourself.
I saw plenty of rumblings on Twitter — and SPEED, for that matter — that said Larson should have backed off because Dillon was racing for the championship but that’s just plain asinine. Yes Dillon was racing for the title, but Larson was also racing for his first career win. I’m so sick of drivers feeling like they have to tip toe around the championship contenders and not race them hard. Plenty said Larson should have exercised better judgment knowing the situation the driver of the No. 3 was in, but I completely disagree. If anything, it’s Dillon who should have been aware of his own situation and not driven down on the No. 4 Chevrolet.
But one thing is for sure after seeing Dillon’s post-wreck comments: he will make a great champion some day soon. After seeing his championship hopes expand and then fall apart in a matter of moments, he was very composed in the aftermath, something that several Sprint Cup drivers still struggle with.
“I hate it had to come down to us hitting the wall like that. I feel bad for my guys, but I’m really proud of them,” Dillon said. “It just wasn’t our year. The Lord didn’t have it in his plans for us, but I’ve gotta thank him anyway for blessing the season for us.”
And while Larson showed some remorse for being involved in Dillon’s wreck, he didn’t take blame, having not seen a replay of the accident.
Larson did later post on his Twitter page about the incident.
“Watched the replay of the wreck. Feel REALLY bad for @tydillon. I definitely would never wreck someone on purpose. I just drove over my head. Also would never do that to help a teammate out. Can’t really express how bad I feel about it all.”
In the end, it comes out as a lesson learned by both drivers. However, I can’t fault Larson for racing hard for a shot at Victory Lane, especially after spending as much time out front as he did.
2. What happened on the green-white-checkered finish?
For the second week in a row, the Truck Series saw a green-white-checkered finish decide the winner of the race. When Ty Dillon and Kyle Larson got together, Kyle Busch had a substantial lead and looked like he was on the way to his first win on the year, but Cale Gale managed to drive alongside and pinned Busch to the outside wall, snagging his first career victory by a nose.
When asked to describe what happened, Busch kept it short.
“I got drove into the fence,” he said. “That’s it.”
And Gale didn’t waste any time trying to deny that’s exactly what he did.
“It’s not my style, but I know that, if I could pinch him a little bit, I could get the advantage, and pretty much, that’s what I was thinking at that point. A guy like me, it’s my first opportunity to come down for the checkered flag in a NASCAR race,” Gale said. “When it comes down to the final straightaway to win at Homestead in the last race, and your first NASCAR win, I believe anybody would do it.”
I’ve often been someone that disagrees with wrecking a fellow competitor to get a win, however, in this case, neither driver wrecked. Yes, both nearly lost it after taking the checkered flag, but despite some damage both trucks were facing the right way at the finish. The Ford EcoBoost 200 marked the second consecutive race where the leader on the restart for the green-white-checkered finish didn’t make it to Victory Lane.
Truck Rookie Report
No. of Rookies in the Race: 15 (add Kyle Larson, Ryan Blaney, Jake Crum, German Quiroga, Ryan Lynch, Travis Miller, Tim George, Jr. and Blake Koch)
No. of Rookies to Finish in the Top 10: 2; Cale Gale, finished first; Ross Chastain, finished tenth
Rookie of the Race: Cale Gale
2012 Rookie of the Year: Ty Dillon: 1 win, 7 top 5s, 17 top 10s, 3 poles
“Kyle’s (Busch) a racer. He’s been in the same position I’ve been in. We’ve all seen hungry racers get an opportunity and take it. That’s what you have to do in this sport. He owes me, but I saw the checkers in the final race. That’s all I can say.” Cale Gale
“I was really hoping to earn another top-10 finish — I think the NET10 Wireless Tundra was capable of that, we just got too far behind early in the race. I am thankful to NET10 for trusting in me for these four races and to everyone at Kyle Busch Motorsports for helping me get up to speed in the trucks. I’m hopeful that I will be running in the Truck Series again next year — it has been a great experience.” German Quiroga, finished 15th
“This was not the way I wanted to end the season. First of all, I have to thank Gere (Kennon, crew chief) and the rest of my guys for giving me a really fast truck. We were fast right off the hauler. I like Homestead-Miami Speedway. I was loose during qualifying and nearly lost it in turn four which gave us a bad starting position. That pretty much sealed our fate with a short race. Every position was a fight. I did get a good restart for the green-white-checkered finish and then lost the air and spun out on the final turn. I’ve learned a lot about racing the trucks this year and I’m looking forward to next year.” Tim George, Jr., finished 18th
Author’s Note: SPEED failed to mention George’s spin at any time during the broadcast. I suppose it’s understandable given everything going on with the race winner and the champion as well as the repurcussions for Dillon’s block on Larson, however I’m not willing to give the network a free pass on this one. There’s no reason to ignore anyone involved in any kind of on-track incident… period. For more on the Ford EcoBoost 200 broadcast, don’t forget to check out Couch Potato Tuesday by Phil Allaway.
“We just had to go out there and win the race and make something happen. I just tried to make something happen there at the end, I got to second and the points were looking good. We just missed that championship by a little bit, but I’m all right with everything that played out. We were going for it. We almost had it. We were trying to hit the home run in the bottom of the ninth and almost did it. But it’s all right. We’ll be back next year, fighting harder than ever.” Ty Dillon, finished 25th
“[That hit] felt pretty hard. I don’t know how it looked but it felt pretty hard. It’s one of the worst hits when you get clipped like that. You don’t think you’re going to get clipped. We struggled a little bit all night and just really couldn’t find speed, but I really wish we could have at least finished. I think we could have wrestled a decent finish out of it. Every time you’re getting turned around into the wall it’s not really a good thing.” Ryan Blaney, finished 28th
Biggest Winner: Joey Coulter managed to capitalize on back-to-back third-place finishes and the misfortune of fellow competitors Parker Kligerman and Ty Dillon in the last two weeks to gain two spots in the standings. He ended the season a solid third in the championship battle.
Biggest Loser: Simply put, Ty Dillon would probably like to rewind the last ten laps of the Ford EcoBoost 200 and try again. After turning down to block Kyle Larson, both drivers found themselves with a significant amount of damage, and if that wasn’t enough, Dillon was also held on pit road for a lap for passing the pace car under the resulting caution. He ended up finishing 25th, five laps down. As for the championship battle, he dropped his second position in two weeks and brought home a fourth-place result.
Final Standings After the Ford EcoBoost 200
Parker Kligerman and Kyle Larson posted identical speeds (168.824 mpg) during qualifying for the Ford EcoBoost 200. The polesitter was determined by owner points for each team, giving Kligerman his second pole of the year.
What a night for Turner Motorsports. James Buescher came out on top in the championship battle, and their other two full-time drivers snagged solid top-5 results. Miguel Paludo took advantage of the wave-around, along with fresher tires to work his way through the field to fifth place, his first and only top 5 on the year. Meanwhile, teammate Nelson Piquet, Jr. took four fresh tires right before the final restart and raced his way from 12th to fourth in just two laps, capping off what has been a standout year for the Brazilian.
Cale Gale’s victory marked the ninth different first-time winner and the 16th different driver to visit Victory Lane in what was a record breaking season. Gale joins Ryan Blaney, James Buescher, Joey Coulter, Ty Dillon, John King, Parker Kligerman, Justin Lofton, and Nelson Piquet, Jr. Four of those first-time victors accomplished the feat in their first visit to the track — King (Daytona), Blaney (Iowa), Dillon (Atlanta) and Gale (Homestead).
During the race, Phil Parsons reported ThorSport Racing will return next season with two full-time trucks. Matt Crafton and Johnny Sauter will continue to pilot the No. 88 and No. 13 Toyotas, respectively. The duo combined for two wins (both by Sauter in a Texas Motor Speedway sweep), 14 top 5s and 23 top-10 finishes this season.
Mario Gosselin made his first Truck Series start since the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway in November, 2010. He started 24th and finished 21st, two laps off the pace behind the wheel of the No. 84 Carport Empire / ProBuilt Buildings Chevrolet owned by Chris Fontaine.
“We had a really good truck all day [Friday]. We just kind of watched Nelson (Piquet, Jr.) run up there and Kyle Larson and those guys ran a good race too — they were really fast. We, we just bided our time and kept working on our stuff and making adjustments there to try to get it better, and that last run there, the battle we had with (Matt) Crafton I was really loose, but I was giving it everything I had. Just hate it that we had that caution that came out and then we had the red flag and then — well we had a caution, then we had another caution with the red flag. Just brought too many trucks [close to me] and changed the order around too much.” Kyle Busch, finished second
“A third-place finish is a great way to end the season. At first I didn’t think the Rip It Energy Fuel crew was going to be able to pull off that strong of a result. We really struggled during the first part of the race. But thanks to the call Harold (Holly, crew chief) made at the end for right-side tires only, we gained a lot of track position and were able to hold on at the end. I also have to thank my guys for such an awesome season, finishing third in the point standings shows how solid this team was all season.” Joey Coulter
“I’ve won a couple championships in my career already, but my ultimate goal was to one day be called a NASCAR champion. Today, my dream has come true. I owe so much to my team. We’ve been through a lot the last couple seasons, including coming close to being in this same spot last year. We came into the season with the mindset to never give up. We knew what had to be done this weekend and then entire Turner Motorsports organization came in focused and ready to go.” 2012 Champion James Buescher
“This is awesome. I’m so proud of this entire No. 3 Bass Pro Shops team. They did a great job all year and because of all of their hard work, we won the 2012 Rookie of the Year. We made goals in the beginning of the year, and this was one of them. I’m excited to be able to keep this award in the RCR family another year and win it just like my brother did back in 2010.” Ty Dillon
[Our race] was eventful, but I didn’t help matters getting into the fence earlier in practice [Friday]. All in all, still a great effort by everybody on this Red Horse Racing Toyota Tundra team all year long. We didn’t lose it just in this race. I made some wrong choices earlier this year that got us behind the eight ball. Hey, this is the best year I’ve ever had. So, I’m disappointed not to win — anybody would be — but it’s pretty cool to come home second. I couldn’t be any happier.” Timothy Peters
“On behalf of Chevrolet, congratulations to James Buescher and the No. 31 Chevrolet Silverado crew on winning the 2012 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship. James and his team demonstrated determination, perseverance and that never-give-up attitude to win their first championship. Congratulations to Steve Turner and his entire Turner Motorsports organization on this accomplishment.” Jim Campbell, Chevrolet U.S. vice president of performance vehicles and motorsports
“For Ty (Dillon) to have won a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race in his rookie year and come down to Homestead with a chance to win the championship are great accomplishments in his rookie season. He’s continued the success he had last year after winning the ARCA Racing Series championship and, if not for some misfortune, he would be in an even better position for this year’s championship. But for him to win the rookie of the year in the Truck Series, after Joey Coulter did it last year and Austin did it in 2010, is a pretty cool deal for RCR, ECR and our family.” Richard Childress
Up Next: The Camping World Truck Series heads to the Loews Miami Beach Hotel in South Florida on Monday for their combined awards banquet with the Nationwide Series. The banquet will be broadcast on SPEED Thursday, November 29th at 8:00 PM ET.
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What was Dillon’s spotter saying as Larson drove under Dillon?
- The Larson/Dillon incident was just a racing deal, if anything blame a spotter. Larson had a fender on him, it was a bold move, but Dillon still came down on him. I doubt we’d even be discussing it if it hadn’t taken out a Championship contender.
- The entire race was awesome; as usual, the length was just right, I was on the edge of my seat for most of it. Cale Gale’s win was epic, and don’t think for a SECOND that Busch wouldn’t have done the same thing in his position. Last turn, last lap, for your first career win? Damn right he would. That was shades of Kurt Busch/Craven at Darlington, and was just as exciting.
- It was great that, with Dillon’s wreck, Beuscher couldn’t rest on his laurels, as suddenly Timothy Peters was getting close to stealing the whole thing!
- Kyle Larson is the real deal. I don’t know if Beuscher is going up to Nationwide next season or not, but Turner is going to have a killer stable with at least Piquet and Larson. Kid can’t get it done.
- Disappointed my man Ron couldn’t get a win this season. :(