Kurt Busch to Attempt The Indianapolis-Charlotte Double
posted by Phil Allaway
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Andretti Autosport announced this morning that Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet in the Sprint Cup Series, will attempt the Indianapolis 500 in a fifth entry for the IndyCar Series team. Once the Indianapolis 500 is completed, Busch will fly from Indianapolis to Charlotte, jump in his No. 41 Chevrolet and compete in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Busch considers the opportunity to do the double as an old-school throwback moment.
“This is really to challenge myself within motorsports,” Busch said in Andretti Autosport’s press release. “Perhaps I am a bit of an old-school racer; a throwback, I guess. I enjoyed the era of drivers racing different cars and testing themselves in other series. It is tough to do now for a variety of factors, but when the opportunity is there, I want to do it. While NASCAR is my home, I have been fortunate to compete in Pro Stock on the NHRA circuit a number of years ago and test a V8 Supercar. This opportunity was a talk with Michael [Andretti] over dinner one night, a “What if,” and now it’s becoming a reality for me to drive in the Indy 500 with Andretti Autosport. It’s literally a dream come true. To go to the famous Brickyard with the iconic Andretti name, it doesn’t get much cooler or better than that.”
Busch will be doing the Indianapolis-Charlotte double as a Memorial Day mission to men and women serving in the U.S. Military via the Armed Forces Foundation. Fans can contribute to the cause by texting AFF to 50555 to donate $10.
Busch, who has never raced an IndyCar, passed Rookie Orientation at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last year during a test session. At the time, Busch was more or less testing the Dallara DW12 for fun.
Busch will be the fourth driver to attempt the Indianapolis-Charlotte double. John Andretti was the first driver to attempt it in 1994. After finishing four laps down in tenth in Indianapolis, Andretti crashed and had engine problems in the 600. Robby Gordon has attempted the double five times, most recently in 2004. However, Gordon failed to make it to Charlotte on time and did not start the 600 in 2000 (P.J. Jones started Gordon’s No. 13 Ford in that instance). Finally, Tony Stewart has attempted the double twice (most recently in 2001) and is the only driver to ever complete all 1100 miles. Neither of the three drivers has won either leg of the double. The best finishes are Stewart and Gordon’s sixth-place finishes at the Indianapolis 500 (although Gordon’s came in 2000, the year he didn’t make it to Charlotte in time to start the Coca-Cola 600), and Stewart’s fourth-place finish in the 2001 Coca-Cola 600.
Danica Patrick, Justin Allgaier Talk About Phoenix Incident
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
A disappointing start to the year for Danica Patrick won’t include continued conflict. Patrick met with rookie Justin Allgaier Sunday, shortly after the Phoenix Cup race after a wreck ruined both drivers’ days. Patrick, who was critical of the No. 51 car on the radio, claiming Allgaier was “driving all over the track” appeared receptive to a conversation that quickly settled differences over what will be a long season.
“She was just upset because she got involved in the crash that we had,’’ said Allgaier to the Motor Racing Network. “She says she’s been through this and that she felt like I needed to settle down at that point. I explained my position on why everything happened. I think she understood where I was coming from. It doesn’t fix either one of our racecars. It doesn’t fix either one of our days. Unfortunately, we were both having pretty decent days.’’
Allgaier wound up 30th due to the incident while Patrick was 36th. The incident, which was caused by Allgaier’s spin also involved the No. 32 team and Travis Kvapil, which wound up 38th after sustaining heavy damage.
Camping World Close to Extending Title Sponsorship of NCWTS
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Marcus Lemonis, CEO of Camping World, Grand Marshal of Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway, and star of CNBC’s “The Profit,” made the announcement over the weekend that the retailer is very close to announcing a deal that would continue its title sponsorship of NASCAR’s Truck Series. The original agreement with NASCAR is scheduled to conclude after the 2015 season.
According to the sanctioning body, no formal contract has been signed, but “the agreement between the two parties has proven to be a beneficial one.”
“In about a month, we’ll be announcing a significant extension to that contract. It’s been great for us,” said Camping World’s Lemonis in a statement. “The NASCAR relationship has worked well for Camping World. When we started, we had 35 stores. Now, we’re up to 120 stores. As we travel the country and we meet new customers in stores, they always are very appreciative of our relationship with NASCAR. It’s been good.”
Gaining a long-term commitment from Camping World to sponsor the Truck Series would be a relief for NASCAR, which is set to lose Nationwide Insurance as title sponsor for the NASCAR Nationwide Series at the end of the 2014 season. The sponsorship of the Cup Series by Sprint runs through 2016.
The NCWTS is back in action on March 29th at 2:30 PM (ET) when the trucks visit Martinsville Speedway in the Kroger 250, which can be seen on Fox Sports 1. Ratings for the season opener were up 11 percent.
Harvick Takes Win At Phoenix In Second Race With New Team
posted by Justin Tucker
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Phoenix International Raceway has become Kevin Harvick’s home away from home. Sunday Afternoon was no exception as Harvick charged to the front early and would dominate for much of the day, leading 224 of the scheduled 312 laps to record his record fifth win on the one mile oval and his third win in the last four races at Phoenix.
Harvick, coming off of a disappointing Speedweeks which was capped by a last lap crash in the Daytona 500 in his debut with Stewart-Haas Racing, set the tone on Saturday by winning both practices while having the best 5 and 10-lap averages in the first practice of the day on Saturday. On Sunday, Harvick and his No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet was nothing short of flawless as he was able to hold Dale Earnhardt, Jr. by .489 seconds after a late race restart to claim his 24th career Sprint Cup Series victory.
“Man, this is awesome,” Harvick said after his dominant victory on Sunday. “Man, this just solidifies so many things and so many decisions. It’s been so much work with all the time and effort that these guys (the crew) have put in—but what a race car.”
Stewart Haas Racing co-owner Gene Haas shared in Harvick’s excitement after the race.
“It took long enough,” Haas joked. “This is phenomenal. I think there was a lot of skepticism last year about what myself and Tony (Stewart) what we were up to, was there a lot of madness to this. Quite frankly, it’s a great team, there’s a lot of synergy at the shop, people working together. I don’t know what we did, but I think we put together a great organization.”
Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt, Jr. continued his hot start to the 2014 season. Earnhardt Jr. would finish second on Sunday, marking his seventh consecutive top 10 finish since the end of the 2013 season. Earnhardt Jr. was pleased with the effort after a coast-to-coast whirlwind week after winning his second Daytona 500 and also gave great praise to the efforts of Harvick and the No. 4 team.
“I’ve got to congratulate Kevin. Those guys were two-tenths faster than everyone all weekend in practice. They were just phenomenal,” Earnhardt said. “To be able to run with them all day was a big confidence builder for us.”
Joining Harvick and Earnhardt in the top 5 of The Profit on CNBC 500K were Brad Keselowski with his second consecutive top 3 run of 2014 in third. Keselowski’s Team Penske teammate Joey Logano would finish fourth, and Jeff Gordon would come home fifth in his No. 24 Pepsi Max Chevrolet.
Jimmie Johnson finished in sixth, followed by Ryan Newman with a nice rebound after Daytona in seventh. Carl Edwards would carry the banner for Roush Fenway Racing by finishing eighth, Kyle Busch was ninth, and Jamie McMurray would finish tenth.
A look at the Profit on CNBC 500K by the numbers. There were 14 lead changes among eight different drivers, there were eight cautions for 39 laps which slowed the race pace to 109.229 MPH.
Next Sunday, the Sprint Cup Series heads to Sin City and the Las Vegas Motor
Starting Lineup: The Profit On CNBC 500K
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday March 1, 2014
Drivers in RED (i) are those ineligible to collect Sprint Cup points
Daytona 500 TV Ratings Down
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Wednesday February 26, 2014
What was the longest weather delay in Daytona 500 history turned out to bring NASCAR lower ratings and TV viewership Sunday night than expected. According to a report Monday from FOX Sports, the 56th running of the Daytona 500 airing at 8 PM (ET) posted a 5.6/10 national household rating/share which averaged 9.3 million viewers. That’s down 44 percent from last year’s 9.9, easily making it the least-watched Daytona 500 of all-time.
Due to the six-hour, twenty-two minute rain delay in Daytona, the race was up against the primetime coverage of the Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony from Sochi, Russia on NBC (15.25 million viewers). FOX also reported that 69% of the pre-rain delay viewers of the race, which began at 1 PM (ET) kept tuning in.
In comparison, the 2013 Daytona 500 on FOX was the most-watched race in five years, posting a 9.9/22 rating/share, commanding 16.7 million viewers. The Daytona 500 in 2012, the first to ever be run on a Monday and in the primetime slot did a 7.7/13 overnight rating/share which resulted in 13.67 million households viewing the race according to Nielsen TV ratings data.
Earnhardt, Jr. Claims Second Daytona 500 Victory
posted by Justin Tucker
Wednesday February 26, 2014
Ten years is a long time. For Dale Earnhardt, Jr., it felt like an eternity. NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver endured many near misses and close calls at the Daytona 500 since his only win in the Great American Race in 2004. Earnhardt had finished second in two of his last three Daytona 500s coming into Sunday’s race. He was also riding the tail of a 55-race winless streak, dating back to Michigan in 2012.
However nothing would stop Dale Jr. on Sunday, not even a 6 hour and 22 minute rain delay from capturing his second Daytona 500 win. Earnhardt Jr. led a race-high 54 laps on the evening and used some timely drafting help from teammates Jimmie Johnson and, on the final restart, Jeff Gordon to separate from the pack and secure the victory.
“Winning this race is the greatest feeling that you could feel in this sport besides accepting the trophy for the championship,” said a jubilant Earnhardt after pulling into Victory Lane. “We could fight off battle after battle. We got a little help at the end there from Jeff to get away on the restart. This is amazing. I can’t believe this is happening. I never take this for granted, man because it doesn’t happen twice, let alone once.”
Aside from the race itself the big story of the race was the 6 hour and 22 minute red flag, which threatened to move the race to Monday evening (had the race been postponed, FOX Sports’ Chris Myers had tweeted that the race would resume at 5:00pm EST). However, Mother Nature would cooperate and would allow the race to be run under different conditions from which they practiced this week. Once the race resumed, the intensity picked up from the changing track conditions. This allowed the pack to race side-by-side and at times 3-wide up to seven rows deep.
Joining Earnhardt Jr. in the top 5 for the 2014 Daytona 500 were: Denny Hamlin who closed out a spectacular Speedweeks in second, Brad Keselowski in third, Jeff Gordon in fourth, and Jimmie Johnson who overcome two wrecks leading up to the 500 in fifth.
Rounding out the top 10 in the Daytona 500 were Matt Kenseth in sixth, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. in seventh and Greg Biffle would bring his No. 16 Ford home in eighth. Austin Dillon would come home ninth in his first Cup Series race in the iconic No. 3 for Richard Childress Racing, while Casey Mears would round out the top 10.
A couple of major contenders for the Daytona 500 win would see their hopes dashed early on as Martin Truex, Jr. would blow up just 30 laps into the race, relegating him to a 43rd-place finish in his debut for Furniture Row Racing. Crew chief Todd Berrier was already in Nashville for a test session before the race was even over. Kyle Busch, meanwhile would have a pit road violation just before halfway and would spend much of the race battling back from that mistake. Busch would eventually finish 19th after leading 19 laps.
Danica Patrick would also be bit by bad luck as she was caught up in a multi-car wreck on lap 145. Patrick would lead her second consecutive Daytona 500, but wouldn’t have the finish to show for it finishing 40th. Tony Stewart would encounter a frustrating evening as well, with a fuel pickup problem derailing his quest for his first Daytona 500 win. Stewart would finish 35th.
A look at the Daytona 500 by the numbers. There were 42 lead changes among 18 drivers, while seven cautions for 39 laps would slow the race pace to 145.290 MPH.
Next week, the Sprint Cup Series heads to the “diamond in the desert,” Phoenix International Raceway for The Profit on CNBC 500K. The Green flag is scheduled for 3:15pm EST.
Nationwide Series Post-Race Quotes: Drive4COPD 300
posted by Thomas Bowles
Tuesday February 25, 2014
Frontstretch Interviews – Courtesy Mike Neff
ELLIOTT SADLER – FINISHED 4th
Thoughts on the race?
It’s definitely a lot different racing than what we’re used to.
Comfortable with it?
Yeah, it’s just different. You’re worried about what you’re doing, but you’re also worried about what everyone else is doing and they’re not doing more than you’re doing. Physically pushing a guy is way better than just riding so you just gotta time it right and push it to the edge.
Happy to start the year with a top 5?
Yeah. Hell, that was the worst we ran all day, I think. I have no idea how they put the 3 car in front of us on that last restart. I hadn’t seen the 3 car hardly all day. When they put us from fifth to sixth, on the outside line, it just really boxed us in. I would have really restarted behind my teammate and given him a good push to the front. Anyways, it is what it is; we’ll take it and move on.
Looked like you were up front all day.
The guys did a good job. We had a fast race car. Great pit stops, just really proud of these guys. The car’s in one piece and we can take it to Talladega now. Great job by my guys. A lot of effort came into coming down here to Daytona and giving ourselves a shot to win. We had that chance to be up front and make some things happen. Fifth is not what we want, but we’ll take it and move on.
Bumping vs Pushing?
It’s way harder. You don’t want to lay on the guy in front of you, so it’s tough racing. A lot different than what we’re used to, ‘cause you gotta go. You gotta drag the brake too ‘cause you don’t want to hit the guys and you don’t want to stay on him. It’s a lot harder mentally than what we’ve done in the past.
Car was strong all day. Pushing vs. Bumping, is that harder to do than just getting on somebody and pushing them?
Yeah, it is a little bit. When you bump ‘em, you jar ‘em, it kinda jacks ‘em a little bit. It’s a little more abrupt, obviously. I thought it was OK there at the end. It was certainly fun and hopefully entertaining. But a little bit of a struggle in the early part of the race and the midpart of the race to see a good race. And that’s unfortunate for the fans. You can’t do that the whole race, you can’t tear up your stuff, knock your grill in, overheat your motor, all that stuff so there’s no sense in doing all that until you get down to the last lap. The 7 and the 6, they did a good job. Man, the 7 really held the 22 and I tight on the bottom. I was rubbing his door and hitting the apron at the same time, no room whatsoever. So it was good; wish we were the ones who could have won but a lot better now than what we were last year.
Going home in one piece makes it a lot better, right?
Yeah. My back feels good. My foot feels good. Past years here, I’ve been going home with pain so I’m alright.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Truck Series Post-Race Quotes: Daytona (Exclusives)
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday February 22, 2014
When you’re on the outside like that, how frustrating is it?
It’s so hard. Timothy Peters has won here. Kyle Busch has won everywhere. Ron Hornaday has been running Trucks forever, probably before I was even born. I was surrounded by veterans there, and like I told them I don’t have a rookie stripe but I’m a rookie. This is only my fourth Truck race ever, my fourth superspeedway race, and man, I figured out when the 17 got up in front of me, I pushed him. And as soon as I pushed him, he took off. And I went with him. And I just kept doing it, and before I knew it, he was leading. And I saw Ron in my mirror, backed up to him, and if it wasn’t for him, I don’t know what would have happened. I gotta thank him big time for that. That was a true teammate move right there. I really appreciate that. He just bounced off me and we got to the front. I tried my hardest to sidedraft Kyle. I was probably touching his door.
Top 5 in the No. 30 truck. This deal come together at the last minute, but you had a heck of a truck. Tell us about your night.
Yeah, I’ve got to thank Turner Scott Motorsports. The guys worked so hard on this Rheem Comfort Products Chevrolet. Exciting! Just got hung up on the outside and had to wait for my teammate there to catch up. And then he got to the bottom, so… I got the old 32 and started pushing ol’ Ryan to the front. So, it’s not bad. We’ll take it. You just don’t want to step over that boundary. You don’t know how far to push and shove. We bumped about six times down the straightaway without latching onto them. Hopefully, that was OK and we came home with a top 5.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Budweiser Duels Post Race Quotes
posted by Matt Stallknecht
Friday February 21, 2014
BUDWEISER DUELS POST-RACE QUOTES
They’re saying the wheel bearing burned up in it. I don’t know what caused it, they’re taking it all apart to figure out what the heck happened. Something abnormal that’s for sure I don’t think I’ve ever had that happen at all. Hopefully, we made the race and hopefully we can fix the problem before Sunday.
WHAT WAS THAT LOUD BOOM ONCE YOU TURNED INTO THE GARAGE?
Loud pop was a tire… thankfully, it popped, hopefully it didn’t hurt anybody. All the heat created in the left front that popped was pretty weird.
REALLY GOOD RUN. WHAT DID YOU THINK OF IT?
Yeah, it was good. We have a car we can work with for the 500. Got a good starting spot, so we’re going to rest easy, fluff and buff our car for a couple of days and get ready for Sunday.
ANY DIFFERENCE ON WHETHER THE TOP OR BOTTOM LANE WORKED?
Yeah, I was just moving around, trying to stay with the flow. For me, this car works on all parts of the racetrack. So I’m pretty happy with it.
DALE EARNHARDT, JR.
GOT SHUFFLED BACK, AFTER PIT STOPS AND THEN COULDN’T GET BACK UP TO THE FRONT. WHY?
Nah, we were just sitting there waiting until the last few laps to make a move. You didn’t want to pull down and get sent to the back. Seen a couple of guys get sent to the back really quick so we were just kind of waiting for the end. I felt like we had a good situation there with Ambrose behind us — we had a good run off Turn 2 and I went. It was the last lap, time to go do something, nobody went with us but hopefully Sunday is a different story.
We got a great car. We don’t have to work hard. We learned, we got a good race car. Got a car in one piece, ready to go so we’ll try and get through the next couple of practices, deliver it to the starting group this Sunday and we’ll be real happy.
YOU’RE IN THE DAYTONA 500!
Yeah, it’s pretty awesome. This Whitetail Chevrolet was so fast that I knew all I had to do was stick it behind smart, intelligent drafters and we could have a good finish. That’s what we did in the Duels and I’m excited. I’m excited to go do some stuff with the Nationwide car and have some more practice with this. But to know that we’re locked in the Daytona 500’s pretty cool.
YOU WERE OBVIOUSLY IN FRONT OF THAT MELEE AT THE END. WHEN YOU WERE UP FRONT THERE IN THE BEGINNING, WERE YOU HOPING TO JUST STAY IN LINE AND LET YOU FINISH TOP 5?
I was pretty content to ride and luckily I knew a lot of people around us were. It was nice to have a little calm and not really have to be racing hard the whole time. I knew that the pit stop was going to shake everything up and that’s exactly what happened. Fell back a little bit there but made the right moves at the end to get a good finish.
HOW STRONG ARE THESE RCR CARS?
They’re very strong! They definitely have the capabilities to be winning one of these races.
YOU’RE IN THE TOP 5 FOR YOUR HEAT IN THE DAYTONA 500. YOUR PRIMARY CAR IS SITTING RIGHT IN THE GARAGE, KIND OF WADDED UP. DID YOU THINK THIS ONE HAD IT IN IT?
Yeah, it’s a brand new car also. It’s just not quite as good as the primary but still a damned good car. I’m just proud of everybody at RCR for building such fast race cars. All of our cars have been fast, ECR motor’s been strong, even our affiliate teams have been qualifying really good and racing good. So… excited about 2014! It’s going to be a good year.
WELL MAN, YOU STARTED IN THE BACK BUT WORKED YOUR WAY TO THE FRONT WHEN IT COUNTED MOST. WERE YOU JUST BIDING YOUR TIME THROUGHOUT THE RACE?
Eh, you never know if you’re going to get back up there or not. We had to start at the back, we had to make a run early and see what we could do. We drove right to 10th, or something like that and then it got stagnant. We tried to make something happen, and went to the back again. Drove back up to the front. Again, just really proud of my guys. Matt Kruder did a hell of a job on that pit stop getting just enough gas in to gain some spots there.
RCR CARS SEEM PRETTY DARNED STRONG. DO YOU THINK THE RCR CARS HAVE SOMETHING FOR THEM ON SUNDAY — ESPECIALLY THE THREE JOE GIBBS RACING CARS THAT SEEM TO BE THE CLASS OF THE FIELD RIGHT NOW?
Oh yeah. The 20 car was extremely fast. The 11 didn’t qualify that good, but he’s a good drafter. I think he won. We definitely have something for him.
Check in with Matt and Jay on their site at CareyandCoffey.com.
Danny Peters · Tuesday July 30, 2013
ONE: Six to Go
Six races remain until the 2013 Chase begins and in the next month and a half, the Sprint Cup circus will visit a wide array of tracks. First up is the two-and-a-half mile triangle at Pocono; then, it is on to the road course “wild card” at Watkins Glen. A second trip of the season, to the high-banked two-mile track at Michigan follows the visit to upstate New York before a tremendous trio of races at Bristol, Atlanta and finally the cutoff race at Richmond. With just 41 points separating Greg Biffle in eighth place and Joey Logano in 18th, there’s sure to be significant movement in the standings during this time and many a twist and turn before the checkered flag flies after race 26 of the season. In years past, the race to the Chase has tended to feel a little bit prosaic but this year is anything but. Wins, of course, will be at a premium, although with such a small tranche of points separating eleven drivers, consistency might just be the key to that all-important Chase spot. Whether you like the playoff and “wild card” system or not, the race within the race for the Chase berths these next few weeks should be absolutely compelling.
TWO: Bye-Bye Burton
Only four drivers have the unique honor of starting all twenty NASCAR races at the Brickyard: Jeff Gordon, Bobby Labonte, Mark Martin and Jeff Burton. For the latter, it was truly a race to forget with the 21-year veteran of some 675 races finishing dead last in 43rd place.
Prior to the “off week,” Burton sat 17th, a very manageable 25 points out of 10th and there was genuine optimism from the driver and team with regards to making the Chase. Sadly for Burton, that optimism evaporated with a broken part on Lap 82, midway through the event.
“It was a tough day for the No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet team. We were hanging around the top 20 when something in the transmission broke and sent us to the garage area for repairs,” said Burton. “I’m not sure what happened, but I’m proud of the team for getting the car back out there. This team never gives up. We just need to stay positive and know our Chase [for the NASCAR Sprint Cup] hopes are still very much alive.”
The math would, however, suggest otherwise with Burton falling three positions in the standings to 20th; that’s some sixty points (essentially a race and a half) out of tenth place. And while wins – and likely multiple wins – could still do it, Burton hasn’t scored a victory since the Charlotte Chase event in 2008, some 169 races ago. It would be great to see Burton make the postseason, but to say those hopes are “very much alive” seems little more than hyperbole.
THREE: NBC The Home of Racing
A staggering ten-year, $4.4 billion TV deal has secured NBC the rights to the final 20 races of each Cup season from 2015 through 2024. The deal also includes the final 19 Nationwide Series races for each of those ten seasons. With the addition of NASCAR to go alongside their coverage of every Formula One race, along with the bulk of the IndyCar Series (13 of 19 races), NBC is firmly establishing itself as the future home of racing. “This is a major step for motorsports in North America. A single network, NBC Sports, acquired rights to NASCAR, Formula One and IndyCar, allowing them to promote the sport as a whole,” noted Zak Brown, founder of motorsports marketing agency JMI. “The fact a major network invested substantially and long-term in motorsports is a marker of confidence and commitment in the platform.” The flip side to this argument is that with NASCAR no longer on ESPN, will the worldwide leader in sports really promote racing in any way, shape or form? My guess would be no, no and three times no. That being said, such a huge deal – in addition to the one Fox signed through 2022 – is a huge positive for the sport as it provides a platform and a safety net for a solid decade. In this crazy world of ours, that’s no bad thing.
FOUR: Six Pack
A poor final pit stop for Jimmie Johnson and a good strategy, two-tire gamble from crew chief Matt Borland enabled Indiana’s own Ryan Newman to kiss the bricks on Sunday. But make no mistake; the second-place finisher is absolutely the driver to beat going forward. The five-time champion leads the standings by a colossal 75 points and is tied for the most wins (four with Matt Kenseth), the most top 5s (9 with Kyle Busch), the most top 10s (14) and the most laps led (1,093). For a driver that doesn’t normally get fully started until the Chase begins, those are worrying stats to the chasing pack. Add in that Johnson could and should have won at Dover, Kentucky and Michigan, along with Indianapolis Sunday and you have a recipe for dominance. This weekend, we return to Pocono where he controlled the first race, qualifying on pole and leading 128 of 160 laps, so don’t be surprised to see win number five on the season. What’s more remarkable is that Johnson is flashing this speed in an era of extremely close competition, where on-track passing is still absolutely at a premium. At the rate, the only thing that stops Johnson winning title number six is mental errors on track or pit crew miscues. Yes, Matt Kenseth has run impressively but Johnson, as he has so often before, appears to be in a class all his own.
FIVE: Pocono Part II
Finally this week, we take a look ahead to this weekend’s race, the second trip to the tricky triangle: picturesque Pocono Raceway. As mentioned above, the last trip was a bit of a snoozer. Qualification was washed out and Jimmie Johnson then did likewise to the competition.
“That was the best car I’ve had in a long, long time,” Johnson said post-race. “What a race car and engine. I had plenty of horsepower. I could do what I wanted around other cars.”
Unfortunately for those watching, no one else could and for much of the day, the race was a 200 mile-an-hour procession.
“It was frustrating. I really wish we had qualified because you think 400 miles would be enough time to get up there and it really wasn’t… It was just so hard to pass today,” said Joey Logano, who won the first race at Pocono last year.
With that in mind, I would expect more of the same this Sunday unless Jimmie has a brain fade in qualifying. At least it’s only 400 miles of likely Johnson domination rather than the full 500.
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©2000 - 2008 Danny Peters and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
So now we’re learning that it was BSPN and TNT that ditched Nascar. That says a LOT doesn’t it?
Hmmm….The Chase, the COT, “FIVE TIME!”, debris cautions…all while on BSPN (the worldwide bleeder of sports).
That really helped grow the sport didn’t it Mr. France?
TV contracts and which channel the race is on won’t have any effect on my watching habits.
What will affect it though, is follow the leader parades around boring tracks dominated by the same 2-3 cars every week. I do think it’s good to have the big boys as a benchmark to compete, but when every week you can count on one hand the teams with a legit chance to win, that isn’t good racing. This season it has felt like the Gen6 car, while it looks better, is an absolute dog on the racetrack. There is very little racing, and clean air is more important than ever. I don’t want crashes, I want to see some action. Be it slamming fenders or drivers utilizing multiple grooves (California, Atlanta come to mind), I just want to see a little action. Not riding around for 450 miles then complaining the car is no good in traffic near the end.
I agree that Jimmie Johnson is the guy to beat for the championship; that’s pretty obvious. I still think it can be done, though. The points will be reset, and if another team peaks at the right time, and if Johnson falters even once, we could have a battle.
I don’t think it would be good for the sport for Johnson to run away with another title, but that ain’t his fault. His job is to win races and that’s what he does. Yeah, I hate to see him win so often, but it’s not personal… in fact, I have a measure of respect for Johnson despite the fact that I think the 48 team’s success is more the result of Chad’s cars than Johnson’s driving. One thing I really admire about Jimmie is that he rarely steps down into the Nationwide series to beat up on the minor league teams. I wish all cup drivers felt the same way.
But I still hope he never wins another cup title.
Ha, that puts the shoe on the other foot, doesn’t it? ESPN & TNT weren’t interested in renewing – maybe because they, like the fans, aren’t getting enough bang for their buck.
I agree with Hank and Carl D’s comments as well.
Pocono will hardly be a thrill. Honestly unless it is pouring rain, I’ll be out doing something else, not inside watching another parade. We have tickets to Dover for September but I honestly would rather NOT go based on the borefest that track puts on these days.
short tracks (a mile or less), and road courses make for good racing. The rest, zzzzzzzzzzzzz. I agree with Hank. I don’t want to see a ton of wrecks, just some good tight racing. As usual, Indy was a joke.
NASCAR will pay even less attention to its fans now, if that is even possible. What does NASCAR care now that the TV deals are signed? Did
Honestly, with each passing race the incentive to DVR it increases. Something tells me that this will only get more obvious in 2015. With higher dollar tv contracts come more commercials. It’s pretty sad when you can watch a 4 hour race in 2 hours if you just skip the commercials and BS.
I’m a little skeptical of ESPN and TNT now coming out and saying they didn’t want NASCAR period. I find it hard to believe they didn’t put a bid in. NBC would not have negotiated that huge a price against just themselves. Sounds more like the tv sports version of jilted lovers.
I’m with you on that. I don’t see any reason why NBC would pay such a substantial amount for coverage if ESPN and TNT didn’t want in. I think they probably presented a peanuts bid to get coverage for cheap, hoping no one else would jump into the ring. NBC decided they want back into nascar, so now ESPN and TNT are saving face by attempting to show a lack of interest on their behalf.
The manufactured “The Chase” has a negative impact on the overall experience for the viewer at home. Let them race till Homestead. By getting rid of it, racing might improve, some might “go for it” more, its point racing and its boring. Once “The Chase” is in full swing it is unbearable to listen as all you hear is “The Chase” about a billion times. They do not have a clue, sadly. I also think there is a negative impact in regards to sponsors. Oh the list goes on about “The Chase”, it actually makes us sick because it robs us of racing we used to enjoy, but there are many things that are not enjoyable about Nascar for some time now.
The chase has eliminated what used to be about 20 weeks of points racing, and created 36 weeks of points racing.
In years past, drivers would really gun for it early in the year to get a win or two to postion themselves, knowing that they had the rest of the year to catch up. Now it’s all about “Who’s in and who’s out” before we even leave Daytona in February. Not to mention once the chase starts 31 teams better not even come near a chase car or they’re labeled mavericks who shouldn’t be on the track. 13th in points for a middle of the road team used to be considered somewhat decent, but now it’s a failure and the driver might as well pack his bag and get a new job.
I don’t think it matters which stations cover the races, with poor competition its hard to cover a race anyway. But if NASCAR wants more people watching the races, then why would NBC have most of the races on their cable station? It will probably cost more on cable than it would on the local station. Same goes for FoxSports I, its gonna cost more to get it. And I think I’m fed up with it, so I’ll probably be done watching it then! But as long as NASCAR is quaranteed the money for next ten years, do they really care?
Hank, right on perfect. The Chase has created a cottage industry of sheep that think if somebody doesn’t “Make the Chase” well they are just the most horrible driver to strap into a Sprint Cup car, a misconception that could not be more wrong. A few weeks of you being caught up in anothers mess or a few blown tires..hell they are ready to tar and feather ya..when it wasn’t even your fault…let them race till Homestead..a more fair and accurate picture of one’s season overall! And if a driver gets in a tangle with a “Chaser” well..that is a whole nasty can of worms..its not fair to the sport all around!