Kurt Busch to Attempt The Indianapolis-Charlotte Double
posted by Phil Allaway
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Andretti Autosport announced this morning that Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet in the Sprint Cup Series, will attempt the Indianapolis 500 in a fifth entry for the IndyCar Series team. Once the Indianapolis 500 is completed, Busch will fly from Indianapolis to Charlotte, jump in his No. 41 Chevrolet and compete in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Busch considers the opportunity to do the double as an old-school throwback moment.
“This is really to challenge myself within motorsports,” Busch said in Andretti Autosport’s press release. “Perhaps I am a bit of an old-school racer; a throwback, I guess. I enjoyed the era of drivers racing different cars and testing themselves in other series. It is tough to do now for a variety of factors, but when the opportunity is there, I want to do it. While NASCAR is my home, I have been fortunate to compete in Pro Stock on the NHRA circuit a number of years ago and test a V8 Supercar. This opportunity was a talk with Michael [Andretti] over dinner one night, a “What if,” and now it’s becoming a reality for me to drive in the Indy 500 with Andretti Autosport. It’s literally a dream come true. To go to the famous Brickyard with the iconic Andretti name, it doesn’t get much cooler or better than that.”
Busch will be doing the Indianapolis-Charlotte double as a Memorial Day mission to men and women serving in the U.S. Military via the Armed Forces Foundation. Fans can contribute to the cause by texting AFF to 50555 to donate $10.
Busch, who has never raced an IndyCar, passed Rookie Orientation at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last year during a test session. At the time, Busch was more or less testing the Dallara DW12 for fun.
Busch will be the fourth driver to attempt the Indianapolis-Charlotte double. John Andretti was the first driver to attempt it in 1994. After finishing four laps down in tenth in Indianapolis, Andretti crashed and had engine problems in the 600. Robby Gordon has attempted the double five times, most recently in 2004. However, Gordon failed to make it to Charlotte on time and did not start the 600 in 2000 (P.J. Jones started Gordon’s No. 13 Ford in that instance). Finally, Tony Stewart has attempted the double twice (most recently in 2001) and is the only driver to ever complete all 1100 miles. Neither of the three drivers has won either leg of the double. The best finishes are Stewart and Gordon’s sixth-place finishes at the Indianapolis 500 (although Gordon’s came in 2000, the year he didn’t make it to Charlotte in time to start the Coca-Cola 600), and Stewart’s fourth-place finish in the 2001 Coca-Cola 600.
Danica Patrick, Justin Allgaier Talk About Phoenix Incident
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
A disappointing start to the year for Danica Patrick won’t include continued conflict. Patrick met with rookie Justin Allgaier Sunday, shortly after the Phoenix Cup race after a wreck ruined both drivers’ days. Patrick, who was critical of the No. 51 car on the radio, claiming Allgaier was “driving all over the track” appeared receptive to a conversation that quickly settled differences over what will be a long season.
“She was just upset because she got involved in the crash that we had,’’ said Allgaier to the Motor Racing Network. “She says she’s been through this and that she felt like I needed to settle down at that point. I explained my position on why everything happened. I think she understood where I was coming from. It doesn’t fix either one of our racecars. It doesn’t fix either one of our days. Unfortunately, we were both having pretty decent days.’’
Allgaier wound up 30th due to the incident while Patrick was 36th. The incident, which was caused by Allgaier’s spin also involved the No. 32 team and Travis Kvapil, which wound up 38th after sustaining heavy damage.
Camping World Close to Extending Title Sponsorship of NCWTS
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Marcus Lemonis, CEO of Camping World, Grand Marshal of Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway, and star of CNBC’s “The Profit,” made the announcement over the weekend that the retailer is very close to announcing a deal that would continue its title sponsorship of NASCAR’s Truck Series. The original agreement with NASCAR is scheduled to conclude after the 2015 season.
According to the sanctioning body, no formal contract has been signed, but “the agreement between the two parties has proven to be a beneficial one.”
“In about a month, we’ll be announcing a significant extension to that contract. It’s been great for us,” said Camping World’s Lemonis in a statement. “The NASCAR relationship has worked well for Camping World. When we started, we had 35 stores. Now, we’re up to 120 stores. As we travel the country and we meet new customers in stores, they always are very appreciative of our relationship with NASCAR. It’s been good.”
Gaining a long-term commitment from Camping World to sponsor the Truck Series would be a relief for NASCAR, which is set to lose Nationwide Insurance as title sponsor for the NASCAR Nationwide Series at the end of the 2014 season. The sponsorship of the Cup Series by Sprint runs through 2016.
The NCWTS is back in action on March 29th at 2:30 PM (ET) when the trucks visit Martinsville Speedway in the Kroger 250, which can be seen on Fox Sports 1. Ratings for the season opener were up 11 percent.
Harvick Takes Win At Phoenix In Second Race With New Team
posted by Justin Tucker
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Phoenix International Raceway has become Kevin Harvick’s home away from home. Sunday Afternoon was no exception as Harvick charged to the front early and would dominate for much of the day, leading 224 of the scheduled 312 laps to record his record fifth win on the one mile oval and his third win in the last four races at Phoenix.
Harvick, coming off of a disappointing Speedweeks which was capped by a last lap crash in the Daytona 500 in his debut with Stewart-Haas Racing, set the tone on Saturday by winning both practices while having the best 5 and 10-lap averages in the first practice of the day on Saturday. On Sunday, Harvick and his No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet was nothing short of flawless as he was able to hold Dale Earnhardt, Jr. by .489 seconds after a late race restart to claim his 24th career Sprint Cup Series victory.
“Man, this is awesome,” Harvick said after his dominant victory on Sunday. “Man, this just solidifies so many things and so many decisions. It’s been so much work with all the time and effort that these guys (the crew) have put in—but what a race car.”
Stewart Haas Racing co-owner Gene Haas shared in Harvick’s excitement after the race.
“It took long enough,” Haas joked. “This is phenomenal. I think there was a lot of skepticism last year about what myself and Tony (Stewart) what we were up to, was there a lot of madness to this. Quite frankly, it’s a great team, there’s a lot of synergy at the shop, people working together. I don’t know what we did, but I think we put together a great organization.”
Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt, Jr. continued his hot start to the 2014 season. Earnhardt Jr. would finish second on Sunday, marking his seventh consecutive top 10 finish since the end of the 2013 season. Earnhardt Jr. was pleased with the effort after a coast-to-coast whirlwind week after winning his second Daytona 500 and also gave great praise to the efforts of Harvick and the No. 4 team.
“I’ve got to congratulate Kevin. Those guys were two-tenths faster than everyone all weekend in practice. They were just phenomenal,” Earnhardt said. “To be able to run with them all day was a big confidence builder for us.”
Joining Harvick and Earnhardt in the top 5 of The Profit on CNBC 500K were Brad Keselowski with his second consecutive top 3 run of 2014 in third. Keselowski’s Team Penske teammate Joey Logano would finish fourth, and Jeff Gordon would come home fifth in his No. 24 Pepsi Max Chevrolet.
Jimmie Johnson finished in sixth, followed by Ryan Newman with a nice rebound after Daytona in seventh. Carl Edwards would carry the banner for Roush Fenway Racing by finishing eighth, Kyle Busch was ninth, and Jamie McMurray would finish tenth.
A look at the Profit on CNBC 500K by the numbers. There were 14 lead changes among eight different drivers, there were eight cautions for 39 laps which slowed the race pace to 109.229 MPH.
Next Sunday, the Sprint Cup Series heads to Sin City and the Las Vegas Motor
Starting Lineup: The Profit On CNBC 500K
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday March 1, 2014
Drivers in RED (i) are those ineligible to collect Sprint Cup points
Daytona 500 TV Ratings Down
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Wednesday February 26, 2014
What was the longest weather delay in Daytona 500 history turned out to bring NASCAR lower ratings and TV viewership Sunday night than expected. According to a report Monday from FOX Sports, the 56th running of the Daytona 500 airing at 8 PM (ET) posted a 5.6/10 national household rating/share which averaged 9.3 million viewers. That’s down 44 percent from last year’s 9.9, easily making it the least-watched Daytona 500 of all-time.
Due to the six-hour, twenty-two minute rain delay in Daytona, the race was up against the primetime coverage of the Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony from Sochi, Russia on NBC (15.25 million viewers). FOX also reported that 69% of the pre-rain delay viewers of the race, which began at 1 PM (ET) kept tuning in.
In comparison, the 2013 Daytona 500 on FOX was the most-watched race in five years, posting a 9.9/22 rating/share, commanding 16.7 million viewers. The Daytona 500 in 2012, the first to ever be run on a Monday and in the primetime slot did a 7.7/13 overnight rating/share which resulted in 13.67 million households viewing the race according to Nielsen TV ratings data.
Earnhardt, Jr. Claims Second Daytona 500 Victory
posted by Justin Tucker
Wednesday February 26, 2014
Ten years is a long time. For Dale Earnhardt, Jr., it felt like an eternity. NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver endured many near misses and close calls at the Daytona 500 since his only win in the Great American Race in 2004. Earnhardt had finished second in two of his last three Daytona 500s coming into Sunday’s race. He was also riding the tail of a 55-race winless streak, dating back to Michigan in 2012.
However nothing would stop Dale Jr. on Sunday, not even a 6 hour and 22 minute rain delay from capturing his second Daytona 500 win. Earnhardt Jr. led a race-high 54 laps on the evening and used some timely drafting help from teammates Jimmie Johnson and, on the final restart, Jeff Gordon to separate from the pack and secure the victory.
“Winning this race is the greatest feeling that you could feel in this sport besides accepting the trophy for the championship,” said a jubilant Earnhardt after pulling into Victory Lane. “We could fight off battle after battle. We got a little help at the end there from Jeff to get away on the restart. This is amazing. I can’t believe this is happening. I never take this for granted, man because it doesn’t happen twice, let alone once.”
Aside from the race itself the big story of the race was the 6 hour and 22 minute red flag, which threatened to move the race to Monday evening (had the race been postponed, FOX Sports’ Chris Myers had tweeted that the race would resume at 5:00pm EST). However, Mother Nature would cooperate and would allow the race to be run under different conditions from which they practiced this week. Once the race resumed, the intensity picked up from the changing track conditions. This allowed the pack to race side-by-side and at times 3-wide up to seven rows deep.
Joining Earnhardt Jr. in the top 5 for the 2014 Daytona 500 were: Denny Hamlin who closed out a spectacular Speedweeks in second, Brad Keselowski in third, Jeff Gordon in fourth, and Jimmie Johnson who overcome two wrecks leading up to the 500 in fifth.
Rounding out the top 10 in the Daytona 500 were Matt Kenseth in sixth, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. in seventh and Greg Biffle would bring his No. 16 Ford home in eighth. Austin Dillon would come home ninth in his first Cup Series race in the iconic No. 3 for Richard Childress Racing, while Casey Mears would round out the top 10.
A couple of major contenders for the Daytona 500 win would see their hopes dashed early on as Martin Truex, Jr. would blow up just 30 laps into the race, relegating him to a 43rd-place finish in his debut for Furniture Row Racing. Crew chief Todd Berrier was already in Nashville for a test session before the race was even over. Kyle Busch, meanwhile would have a pit road violation just before halfway and would spend much of the race battling back from that mistake. Busch would eventually finish 19th after leading 19 laps.
Danica Patrick would also be bit by bad luck as she was caught up in a multi-car wreck on lap 145. Patrick would lead her second consecutive Daytona 500, but wouldn’t have the finish to show for it finishing 40th. Tony Stewart would encounter a frustrating evening as well, with a fuel pickup problem derailing his quest for his first Daytona 500 win. Stewart would finish 35th.
A look at the Daytona 500 by the numbers. There were 42 lead changes among 18 drivers, while seven cautions for 39 laps would slow the race pace to 145.290 MPH.
Next week, the Sprint Cup Series heads to the “diamond in the desert,” Phoenix International Raceway for The Profit on CNBC 500K. The Green flag is scheduled for 3:15pm EST.
Nationwide Series Post-Race Quotes: Drive4COPD 300
posted by Thomas Bowles
Tuesday February 25, 2014
Frontstretch Interviews – Courtesy Mike Neff
ELLIOTT SADLER – FINISHED 4th
Thoughts on the race?
It’s definitely a lot different racing than what we’re used to.
Comfortable with it?
Yeah, it’s just different. You’re worried about what you’re doing, but you’re also worried about what everyone else is doing and they’re not doing more than you’re doing. Physically pushing a guy is way better than just riding so you just gotta time it right and push it to the edge.
Happy to start the year with a top 5?
Yeah. Hell, that was the worst we ran all day, I think. I have no idea how they put the 3 car in front of us on that last restart. I hadn’t seen the 3 car hardly all day. When they put us from fifth to sixth, on the outside line, it just really boxed us in. I would have really restarted behind my teammate and given him a good push to the front. Anyways, it is what it is; we’ll take it and move on.
Looked like you were up front all day.
The guys did a good job. We had a fast race car. Great pit stops, just really proud of these guys. The car’s in one piece and we can take it to Talladega now. Great job by my guys. A lot of effort came into coming down here to Daytona and giving ourselves a shot to win. We had that chance to be up front and make some things happen. Fifth is not what we want, but we’ll take it and move on.
Bumping vs Pushing?
It’s way harder. You don’t want to lay on the guy in front of you, so it’s tough racing. A lot different than what we’re used to, ‘cause you gotta go. You gotta drag the brake too ‘cause you don’t want to hit the guys and you don’t want to stay on him. It’s a lot harder mentally than what we’ve done in the past.
Car was strong all day. Pushing vs. Bumping, is that harder to do than just getting on somebody and pushing them?
Yeah, it is a little bit. When you bump ‘em, you jar ‘em, it kinda jacks ‘em a little bit. It’s a little more abrupt, obviously. I thought it was OK there at the end. It was certainly fun and hopefully entertaining. But a little bit of a struggle in the early part of the race and the midpart of the race to see a good race. And that’s unfortunate for the fans. You can’t do that the whole race, you can’t tear up your stuff, knock your grill in, overheat your motor, all that stuff so there’s no sense in doing all that until you get down to the last lap. The 7 and the 6, they did a good job. Man, the 7 really held the 22 and I tight on the bottom. I was rubbing his door and hitting the apron at the same time, no room whatsoever. So it was good; wish we were the ones who could have won but a lot better now than what we were last year.
Going home in one piece makes it a lot better, right?
Yeah. My back feels good. My foot feels good. Past years here, I’ve been going home with pain so I’m alright.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Truck Series Post-Race Quotes: Daytona (Exclusives)
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday February 22, 2014
When you’re on the outside like that, how frustrating is it?
It’s so hard. Timothy Peters has won here. Kyle Busch has won everywhere. Ron Hornaday has been running Trucks forever, probably before I was even born. I was surrounded by veterans there, and like I told them I don’t have a rookie stripe but I’m a rookie. This is only my fourth Truck race ever, my fourth superspeedway race, and man, I figured out when the 17 got up in front of me, I pushed him. And as soon as I pushed him, he took off. And I went with him. And I just kept doing it, and before I knew it, he was leading. And I saw Ron in my mirror, backed up to him, and if it wasn’t for him, I don’t know what would have happened. I gotta thank him big time for that. That was a true teammate move right there. I really appreciate that. He just bounced off me and we got to the front. I tried my hardest to sidedraft Kyle. I was probably touching his door.
Top 5 in the No. 30 truck. This deal come together at the last minute, but you had a heck of a truck. Tell us about your night.
Yeah, I’ve got to thank Turner Scott Motorsports. The guys worked so hard on this Rheem Comfort Products Chevrolet. Exciting! Just got hung up on the outside and had to wait for my teammate there to catch up. And then he got to the bottom, so… I got the old 32 and started pushing ol’ Ryan to the front. So, it’s not bad. We’ll take it. You just don’t want to step over that boundary. You don’t know how far to push and shove. We bumped about six times down the straightaway without latching onto them. Hopefully, that was OK and we came home with a top 5.
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2014 Budweiser Duels Post Race Quotes
posted by Matt Stallknecht
Friday February 21, 2014
BUDWEISER DUELS POST-RACE QUOTES
They’re saying the wheel bearing burned up in it. I don’t know what caused it, they’re taking it all apart to figure out what the heck happened. Something abnormal that’s for sure I don’t think I’ve ever had that happen at all. Hopefully, we made the race and hopefully we can fix the problem before Sunday.
WHAT WAS THAT LOUD BOOM ONCE YOU TURNED INTO THE GARAGE?
Loud pop was a tire… thankfully, it popped, hopefully it didn’t hurt anybody. All the heat created in the left front that popped was pretty weird.
REALLY GOOD RUN. WHAT DID YOU THINK OF IT?
Yeah, it was good. We have a car we can work with for the 500. Got a good starting spot, so we’re going to rest easy, fluff and buff our car for a couple of days and get ready for Sunday.
ANY DIFFERENCE ON WHETHER THE TOP OR BOTTOM LANE WORKED?
Yeah, I was just moving around, trying to stay with the flow. For me, this car works on all parts of the racetrack. So I’m pretty happy with it.
DALE EARNHARDT, JR.
GOT SHUFFLED BACK, AFTER PIT STOPS AND THEN COULDN’T GET BACK UP TO THE FRONT. WHY?
Nah, we were just sitting there waiting until the last few laps to make a move. You didn’t want to pull down and get sent to the back. Seen a couple of guys get sent to the back really quick so we were just kind of waiting for the end. I felt like we had a good situation there with Ambrose behind us — we had a good run off Turn 2 and I went. It was the last lap, time to go do something, nobody went with us but hopefully Sunday is a different story.
We got a great car. We don’t have to work hard. We learned, we got a good race car. Got a car in one piece, ready to go so we’ll try and get through the next couple of practices, deliver it to the starting group this Sunday and we’ll be real happy.
YOU’RE IN THE DAYTONA 500!
Yeah, it’s pretty awesome. This Whitetail Chevrolet was so fast that I knew all I had to do was stick it behind smart, intelligent drafters and we could have a good finish. That’s what we did in the Duels and I’m excited. I’m excited to go do some stuff with the Nationwide car and have some more practice with this. But to know that we’re locked in the Daytona 500’s pretty cool.
YOU WERE OBVIOUSLY IN FRONT OF THAT MELEE AT THE END. WHEN YOU WERE UP FRONT THERE IN THE BEGINNING, WERE YOU HOPING TO JUST STAY IN LINE AND LET YOU FINISH TOP 5?
I was pretty content to ride and luckily I knew a lot of people around us were. It was nice to have a little calm and not really have to be racing hard the whole time. I knew that the pit stop was going to shake everything up and that’s exactly what happened. Fell back a little bit there but made the right moves at the end to get a good finish.
HOW STRONG ARE THESE RCR CARS?
They’re very strong! They definitely have the capabilities to be winning one of these races.
YOU’RE IN THE TOP 5 FOR YOUR HEAT IN THE DAYTONA 500. YOUR PRIMARY CAR IS SITTING RIGHT IN THE GARAGE, KIND OF WADDED UP. DID YOU THINK THIS ONE HAD IT IN IT?
Yeah, it’s a brand new car also. It’s just not quite as good as the primary but still a damned good car. I’m just proud of everybody at RCR for building such fast race cars. All of our cars have been fast, ECR motor’s been strong, even our affiliate teams have been qualifying really good and racing good. So… excited about 2014! It’s going to be a good year.
WELL MAN, YOU STARTED IN THE BACK BUT WORKED YOUR WAY TO THE FRONT WHEN IT COUNTED MOST. WERE YOU JUST BIDING YOUR TIME THROUGHOUT THE RACE?
Eh, you never know if you’re going to get back up there or not. We had to start at the back, we had to make a run early and see what we could do. We drove right to 10th, or something like that and then it got stagnant. We tried to make something happen, and went to the back again. Drove back up to the front. Again, just really proud of my guys. Matt Kruder did a hell of a job on that pit stop getting just enough gas in to gain some spots there.
RCR CARS SEEM PRETTY DARNED STRONG. DO YOU THINK THE RCR CARS HAVE SOMETHING FOR THEM ON SUNDAY — ESPECIALLY THE THREE JOE GIBBS RACING CARS THAT SEEM TO BE THE CLASS OF THE FIELD RIGHT NOW?
Oh yeah. The 20 car was extremely fast. The 11 didn’t qualify that good, but he’s a good drafter. I think he won. We definitely have something for him.
Check in with Matt and Jay on their site at CareyandCoffey.com.
Danny Peters · Tuesday April 16, 2013
ONE: Brad’s Rant Was Quite Something. So Was The Lack Of A Fine
One of the things I enjoy the most about our current champion is that he is not afraid to speak his mind, giving his honest opinion. It’s a quality you need in a driver who is very much the face of the sport right now and, as the champion, I think it’s even more the case that Brad should say what he thinks. But when I first heard Keselowski’s forthright comments Saturday night, my immediate thought was that his two minutes was going to cost around $50,000 – especially when compared to Denny Hamlin’s much milder comments after the Phoenix race which resulted in a $25,000 penalty for the Joe Gibbs Racing driver.
But on FOX Business News Monday morning, NASCAR head honcho Brian France confirmed that Brad would not be receiving a fine even though he noted, “I would certainly disagree with everything he said.” France went on to suggest that Keselowski was just blowing off steam.
Well, yes, to an extent that was the case. Keselowski was tangibly and openly frustrated, but it does seem to me to be another consistency – or rather a complete and utter lack of consistency – issue with NASCAR. I’m all in favor of “have at it” and letting the drivers give strong opinions, but if I was Denny Hamlin I’d be parking myself outside the NASCAR hauler at Kansas waiting on a check for the money he was fined. NASCAR needs to find a happy medium here because the inconsistency is making them look more than a little silly.
TWO: Another Solid Finish For The Sheriff
Since losing his full-time ride when Red Bull upped sticks and quit the sport at the end of 2011, Brian Vickers has run just eleven of the next 43 Cup races; a small sample size for a driver with 11 years and 266 races under his belt. In that time, with the honorable exception of an engine expiration before he completed a lap at Watkins Glen, Vickers has run extremely well with two top-5 results – a pair of fourth-place finishes – seven total top 10s and a worst run of 18th.
If you’re involved in any kind of Fantasy League for NASCAR, you’ll know just how useful he’s become in that regard. This Saturday night, driving the No. 11 car for an ailing Denny Hamlin, Vickers finished eighth but with that recent string of strong runs, he wanted more.
“It feels great. Honestly, I guess I’m pleased but not satisfied,” said Vickers post-race. “A top-10, we ran top-five a lot of the night for the first time with a new team — the whole FedEx team. Like I said, we’re pleased, but I wanted to win. I guess that’s what we’re here for.”
It’s that kind of attitude that serves Vickers so well as he looks to get himself back into a full-time Cup ride in 2014 – likely the No. 55 Michael Waltrip Racing vehicle. If and when this opportunity occurs, it will be a testament to the sort of character Vickers is. He never gave up, making the most of his chances when given, however few and far between. Good for him, I say.
THREE: Kyle Busch Wins — Which Means Nothing Until He Proves It In The Chase
After slogging through a terrible 2012 season, by his own high standards, Kyle Busch has roared back to regular form in 2013, winning two of the last three Cup races and picking up four dominant victories in six races at the Nationwide Series level: an impressive start, no question.
The nature of Busch’s awful form in 2012 was a point team owner Joe Gibbs was keen to address in the winner’s post-race press conference. “I think back to last year, at the end of the year, Kyle probably had some of the most bitter disappointments, I think, that’s happened to us in 22 years,” said Gibbs. “We missed the Chase.”
The last few words are the part that really matters. Now, in 2013 it’s all chocolate and flowers so far but the simple truth is none of this really matters until we hit the postseason the driver typically stumbles in – and we’re not there yet. Busch has qualified for the big dance on five previous occasions, even earning the top seed but has never made any kind of sustained run once he got there. To showcase he’s grown, Rowdy needs to prove he can be a factor right through until Homestead and until that’s the case, all the newfound maturity we’ve been hearing about doesn’t mean an awful lot.
FOUR: A Trip to the Heartland
A quick word about this weekend’s upcoming race: the first of two trips this season to the tri-oval, mile-and-a-half long Kansas Speedway. This will be the fifteenth top echelon Cup event at the cookie-cutter circuit, one that opened back in 2001 with a race won by Jeff Gordon, the second since the track was repaved and variable banking added following the early season race in 2012. Last October’s event was won by Matt Kenseth, his 24th and final win driving for Roush Fenway Racing. As often seems to be the case when “the robot” wins, the race was more memorable for a rash of blown tires and cautions – 14 in all – than the actual competition. There were only two on-track green flag passes for the lead, one of which came on the very first lap and the other during a mid-race wreck.
So, with passing likely to be at a premium, expect the restarts to be particularly aggressive: something we’ve seen a lot of this year already as drivers get the most they can from fresh rubber. Truth be told, I’m not expecting a great race on Sunday but the last time I said that this season was prior to Auto Club Speedway. Here’s hoping my pessimism is equally as wrong as it was before Fontana.
FIVE: SHR is Struggling
And finally this week, I wanted to mention the continued struggles of Stewart-Haas Racing. Collectively across the three drivers, SHR has one top 5, six top 10s, a paltry 29 total laps led and nine finishes lower than 28th. From an organization that has pretty much had success from day one as a fledgling team, this start is not the one that anyone expected or wanted.
Tony Stewart, as most of you are aware, tends to start the season slowly but these stats are sluggish even by his standards. Ryan Newman has a team best four top 10s while Danica Patrick, outside of Daytona (8th) and Martinsville (12th) has found the going extremely tough. With a fourth team – Kevin Harvick – in the works for next season, it’s clear that SHR need to re-find their collective mojo (and no, I’m not talking about Smoke’s erstwhile monkey). The good news is, with things the way they are right now, the only way is up.
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Kez never directly accused NASCAR of anything. He talked in generalities. There is an AP piece out there that makes you think he was talking about Hendrick Motorsports. How do you fine someone when you do not know exactly what he is talking about?
I think you are being unfair to Kyle Busch. The guy wins and wins a lot. The lack of success the last ten races of a contrived system do nothing to diminish how great a driver he is. Put Richmond and Bristol in the chase and he probably has a championship.
I wish ALL the media would go after Nascar on Hamlin’s fine and the lack of one for Brad K.
Understand…I don’t want either driver to get a fine.
I particularly wish FOX would do a legit story on it and be aggressive about it. But they, like most other media, are scared of Nascar. Scared of losing their access. Scared of rocking the boat.
It’s a shame.
Hmmm….looks like the Hendrick crew tipped off the Nascar Nazis. They were parked right next to Brad and Logano.
This should be interesting. I haven’t seen Brad back down from a spat yet.
GO GET ‘EM BRAD!!!!
If there is any truth that the Hendrick crews snitched on the Penske teams, it says two things. One is that they were finally able to get back at Brad for calling out Hendrick at Michigan last August. Doesn’t Brad know that you never, ever speak out against the almighty Felon? Second, I think if I was Jimmie or Jeff, I would be very careful with anything I do, on the track AND in the garage. Brad, and to a lesser extent Joey, won’t take this lying down.
It reminds me of what happened back in 1990 at Richmond. Richard Childress and Dale Earnhadt went after the NASCAR inspectors and showed them a modified intake manifold on Mark Martin’s car after mark won the race at Richmond. When Dale won his 4th Championship. he and Childress were very proud of themselves for blowing the whistle on Roush and Martin. Neither Roush or Martin ever recovered from that penalty throughout the rest of Martin’s time at Roush, both in reputation and in preformance. That won’t happen with Brad and Penske. There will be revenge, if this is true. The next few races will be very interesting!
The rumor is Hendricks teams “ratted” on the Penske teams…boys have at it. If true..I gotta say what goes around comes around. Brad
Kyle Busch is ALREADY a contender for 2013. He has two wins and his team seems to be clicking on all cylinders. It’s too early to assume that the #18 team will make the chase, but I’ll be surprised if they don’t.
My question is this… If Kyle stays competitive and makes the chase but comes up just short of winning the championship, is that a success or a failure? When it comes to judging Kyle Busch, can a successful season be anything short of a championship?
Oh Brad will get fined. It will be added to his penalty coming this week, but Nascar will spin it as no fine to keep in the good graces of its fans.
Funny how the Hendrick boys whine about another team when they cheat the most out of any team in the garage. Of course when you have Rick as your owner and him in Nascars pocket, you can pretty much do anything you wish. Guess Hendrick isn’t going to take losing last years championship lying down.
Man, it sure would be fun to see all the non-Hendrick teams just go and take out the 48 every race.
You gotta know there’s a lot of “want to” there.
Hey, we can dream can’t we? LOL.
Nate, I love that idea. Just make it look like an accident. Block them in their pit stall, make life difficult on the track.
Isn’t Brad the one that was complaining about the HMS cars being skewed in the rear last year? Maybe they just saw an opportunity to tattle on the Penske cars as payback.
The Hendricks drivers already have a built in advantage with Hendricks and francy pants being butt buddies. Now you’ve got the old felons’ drivers snitching on other teams. And cheatin’ chad takes it all in with a smug smile. I came into this season with high hopes with the new gen 6 car, but the that’s disappearing with the Hendricks-France love fest. And I’m sure a lot of other fans feel the same way. And yes, Kyle Busch IS a title contender.
There is not much about the #55 being to low because of the shocks.Did MW get in trouble a few year a go about shocks,are was it the fact that they found some of Jack R. shocks in Mikeys pit area? Either way you want hear Speed/Fox talk much about this subject.
Been a NASCAR fan since my first Daytona race as a 14 yr old … beach race 1959! With all the team members that change teams, all the teams know who is trying to cheat you can bet! If you sampled 100 races, then the % found cheating would be fairly uniform you can bet! Just remember, they are all racers!
The 48 team passed inspection so they must be legal. At least legal enough for Brian.