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.
Doug Turnbull · Monday June 23, 2008
Hey guys! Doug Turnbull here. Matt warned you that he wouldn’t be in the driver’s seat for his Infineon column — I don’t know if that makes me a road course ringer or not, but I do know that I am gonna stick to his format for wrapping up the race. This race seemed to play itself out as many predicted and in the end, the best driver and the best car won.
The Key Moment: Robby Gordon’s spin into Kurt Busch that not only left contenders, like Carl Edwards, trapped on the track, while Kyle Busch, David Gilliland and others pitted, but also caused Gordon to run out of fuel and never regain position.
In a Nutshell: Kyle Busch benefited from the first caution, when David Ragan sent Joe Nemechek into one of the tire barriers. Busch and others had already pitted, meaning the early dominant car of Jimmie Johnson lost a ton of track position on pit road. Carl Edwards got burned in the same way as Johnson on a later caution, and never fully recovered. Busch never looked back, hitting his marks while the other fast horses of Marcos Ambrose, Juan Pablo Montoya, Tony Stewart, and Robby Gordon faded from contention. Would you like some M&M’s with that wine?
Dramatic Moment: Tony Stewart’s late race charge to the front to catch his leading teammate was foiled by Kevin Harvick’s Montoya-like decision to dive-bomb both Stewart and Jamie McMurray, eliminating all three of them, plus Ron Fellows, ending any chance of capturing the day’s trophy.
What They’ll Be Talking About at the Water Cooler This Week
Kyle Busch not only manipulates fuel mileage to win a road race, but absolutely dominates. Any doubters of the No. 18 team, based on their performance during the two weeks prior to Sonoma, have their foot in their mouths now. During those two races, the Busch and the boys had a good car, but fell on the wrong side of racing luck. Eliminate a spotter mistake and being bitten by fuel strategy, and those doubters don’t exist. Many people also said that Kyle Busch is a driver that should not be considered a road racer. People’s memories are so short. Kyle did happen to win the Nationwide Series race at Mexico City earlier this season. These doubts only prove that this is a ‘what have you done for me lately’ sport now, more than ever.
Silly Season’s crazy sinews make another turn Sunday, as DEI says they are ready to begin running Aric Almirola full-time. This is not a bad decision, considering the driver has not run horribly, but do they really want Mark Martin walking out of their stable? As DEI says this, Rick Hendrick is non-committal about Casey Mears’ future in the No. 5 car beyond this season; sparking speculation that Martin may move to that team and pull together one final attempt at a full season. This brings up several questions that need to be answered, if indeed Martin bolts for Hendrick.
What is the future of Casey Mears’ Cup career if he couldn’t make it at arguably the best organization in NASCAR? What will the sponsor lineup look like at DEI? Can Martin revitalize the No. 5? Or who will take the wheel if Mears’ is canned and Martin doesn’t make the jump?
Another topic discussed this week will be Joey Logano. Yes, he did have another great run in the Nationwide Series race at Milwaukee, finishing second; but he also managed to rough up race dominator Brad Keselowski on the track and points leader Clint Bowyer on pit road. These are the first noticeable mistakes the kid has made on the track, for his sake, they better not bite him back. Surprisingly, he is not running the entire rest of the season in the No. 20 Toyota, as Tony Stewart is scheduled to be behind the wheel the next two weeks. What is up with that? If Gibbs expects him to be ready enough to possibly run a few Cup races later this season, he needs to be in the car every week, learning how to not run into Brad Keselowski. If NASCAR has not yet approved Logano to run the superspeedways, they need to, because he will never learn how to draft on the sidelines, no matter how good NASCAR 09 is.
Kevin Harvick’s overzealous move on David Gilliland and Jamie McMurray, that ended up eliminating Harvick, McMurray, and Tony Stewart from contention, seemed to not only be a throwback move of Harvick’s from 2001, but also seemed to ironically resemble the move that Martin Truex, Jr. made at Watkins Glen that wrecked Harvick, Montoya, and RCR teammate Jeff Burton. The ensuing yelling and helmet shoving match between Montoya and Harvick became the NASCAR fight of ’07, as weak as it was – funny how the tables turn.
The Hindenburg Award for Foul Fortune
This has to go to either Juan Pablo Montoya, whose back bumper made contact with the front bumper of Marcos Ambrose, causing Montoya to spin and lose valuable track position or Tony Stewart getting wrecked out of not only a Top 5 finish, but also the Top 12 in the points by Harvick.
A runner-up, though, has to go to all the road course ringers, most of whom ran well at times on Sunday. Ambrose broke a shock and got spun out by Elliott Sadler, ending his day. Boris Said had mechanical trouble on his self-owned car, relegating him to a 41st place finish. Ron Fellows got wrecked out of a Top 10 run by Kevin Harvick. Scott Pruett’s mediocre run was mellowed as Tony Stewart bulldozed him to a 38th place finish. Max Papis never was in contention and was put even further back by getting tangled up in the Kurt Busch-Robby Gordon wreck. Brian Simo suffered a mechanical failure early in the event.
The “Seven Come Fore Eleven” Award For Fine Fortune
David Gilliland is a good candidate, pitting before two cautions and benefiting from later cautions, helping the No. 38 team to score the best Yates Racing finish since Dale Jarrett’s Talladega win in 2005 and Gilliland’s best finish of his career.
Matt Kenseth’s name was not mentioned the entire race, until he out of no where appeared in the Top 10 with just a few laps remaining. This allowed the 17 team to climb into the Top 12 in the points, something that seemed a silly thought a few races ago.
Jeff Gordon struggled with an ill-handling race car for much of the Infineon race, but managed a third place run, after barely running in the Top 15 for much of the event. This allowed him to pull away from some of the stragglers in the back of the Chase standings.
David Ragan is no longer 13th in the points, but easily could have fallen further back in the standings, considering his lack of road racing experience. Instead, he garnered a solid Top 25 finish and avoided wrecking out, like David Reutimann.
The TNT boys did an awesome job covering Elliott Sadler being able to drive on a tire that was going down, during the final two laps. He was sitting in fourth under the red flag when he felt the tire going down. But he kept the car from wrecking and stayed out of the way of others, finishing 19th…and then wrecking in turn 1 of the cool down lap. Two thumbs up!
After practically being pushed out of his No. 26 Crown Royal driver’s seat, by the media, (including me), Jamie McMurray has two consecutive solid runs. He proved his road racing prowess at Infineon, before being taken out by Harvick, and nearly won Michigan, finishing in the Top 10. His future at Roush Fenway may still be in doubt, but he is at least doing his best to quell any rumors and prove that he deserves a winning ride.
In his Cup debut, Marcos Ambrose ran solidly in the Top 5, before breaking a shock and getting spun out, ending his day. This run is a shot in the arm to a struggling Wood Brothers team, one of the most legendary in the sport, who need good runs to build their confidence and get their sponsors on TV. It also is good to see another foreign-born driver running well in a sport that is not yet known for its wealth of diversity.
A big “what the heck?” goes to full-time road course aces on the Cup circuit. Where were Sam Hornish, Jr. and Patrick Carpentier during the race? They never showed their teeth, running in the back of the pack. Surprisingly, Dario Franchitti easily failed to qualify for the event, raising more frustration for a struggling Ganassi operation. This also goes to show that you need more than just a driver to run well at any track the Cup circus goes to.
Overall Rating: On a scale of one to six wine bottles, this race gets four. Why not? There were enough cautions to keep the field bunched up and there were enough story lines, (like Ambrose’s strong run), to make things interesting.
Next Up: New Hampshire. This is one race track that I hope loses a date. Adam Petty and Kenny Irwin both died here and the racing is boring. Clint Bowyer did win his first race there and needs another shot in the arm, after a good run at Sonoma. Reed Sorenson returns to the No. 41 car at a track that he runs well at. This could be a good place for him to get his season back on track and save his future. Matt McLaughlin returns to the seat next week, while I will return to my normal duties as writer of the TV column. Check it out every Tuesday!
©2000 - 2008 Doug Turnbull and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
A) Proofreading is your friend. You have several grammatical errors and typos.
B) Marcos Ambrose said on the air he broke his transmission, not his shocks.
C) You did fine, otherwise, thanks for the rundown.
Did I miss something? Help me out here folks:
“Robby Gordon’s spin into
And, is NA$CAR really lying to me? First they, NA$CAR state that the CoT is really a good race car! Then they also say that they, NA$CAR, have the best drivers in the world!
So, with those comments in mind, please answer me the following question????
“Was it the cars or the drivers that made the Sonoma race a cruel joke?
Either the cars simply do not handle! Or the drivers cannot drive them!
Sonoma was a mess and the worst road course race I have ever seen!
stewart was at p19 when he tried to pass while everyone was chekcing up-punting pruett to hamlin.
part time road course ringers will never win because they play too nice;stewart,harvick thinks they deserve to run up front, does not matter if they wreck people in front of them.
Road course ringers? Ambros and Jon Wood were sceduled since the first of the year to run selected races for the Wood bros. Does that mean Jon Wood is a oval track ringer?
Good recap. I agree with Douglas. Awful road course race. But it’s so much fun to watch drivers who don’t know how to road race. There were too many cautions. Please, naXcar, learn how to officiate a road race. There was no need for a full course caution when Ambrose spun Montoya. Have you never heard of a local caution?
Well, after reading all the comments to this article, I am glad I didn’t bother to even turn the race on! I never even missed it. Heard the winner on the late news. Might be the start of a trend!
That race was more proof that the new car has SERIOUS aero push issues. Clean air is king. I feel like I’m watching a CART race from the mid 1980s. Lead changes occur on pit road. Expect another crap race next weekend at New Hampshire where front downforce is essential.
“A big “what the heck?” goes to full-time road course aces on the Cup circuit. Where were Sam Hornish, Jr. and Patrick Carpentier during the race?”
To be fair to Hornish, he never was a road course specialist, even though he raced in the IRL. Those were the races he was weakest at, and even he’d admit it.
I have a suggestion to the broadcast networks for the foreseeable future: Forget the lead car and focus on positions 2-43 during green flag racing. We will still see 100% of the passes and all of the exitement the race might have to offer.
I was hopeful that on a road course, maybe the front car with clean air wouldn’t have such an advantage and be able to pull away from the field. In fact, at Infineon it was worse than on the ovals. Look how strong JJ was at the first part of the race… He pulled away and was never challenged for the lead. But once he got back in traffic, he was never able to recover. And later with Shrub, even on restarts he managed to pull away from the pack with ease and drive off. This CoT needs some serious help, and don’t tell me it’s a work in progress.
Matt was smart to sit this one out. Wish I had.
One final thought… the Hindenburg award should have gone to Jamie McMurray. Here was a guy who desperately needed a good run, and was able to stay in the top 3 for the entire second half of the race, only to be taken out in an accident that was not his fault. Jamie deserved better.
You really have to feel sorry for the TV broadcast crew at Infinion . They had one issue after another all day long . First , they would show us a great shot from the “ footcam “ , but due to some sort of technical glitch every time they tried to give us that shot again , the only camara that woukd work was the one trained constantly on Jeff Gordon . Then they showed us a good shot from a camara mounted above the drivers head . But again , there must have been a technical problem in the production truck , all of the many times they tried to show us that shot , the only camara that would work was the one that for some reason was always on Jeff Gordon , even when he was in no way part of the story or even being talked about . They will be issuing an apololgy to the tv viewers later today .
The finishing order of this race was determined more on luck than skill.
Fellows was in top 10 all dya but (no)thanks to harvick ended in the rear. pruett was in top 15 with less than 5 to go when stewart can’t maintain his cool and punted him taking his teammate hamlin out as well causing the red flag.
nascar has no clue how to run/officiate road courses.
FOUR WINEBOTTLES OUT OF SIX. Are you sure you were watching the “infinity” race. That was an endless, boring mess. The caution during green flag pitstops determined the outcome, not good racing. I would give it one of Jeff’s daughter Ella’s used diapers. What a STINKER. I have already circled that race next year to do something else. And to all those idiots that think a road race belongs in the chase, go sit in a dark room and watch the Infinion race without commercials. talk about sensory deprevation; the commercials were the best part of the race this weekend.
Dougie, Dale Sr died at Daytona, so maybe we should close that track too! Maybe it’s because I actually watch the race closely rather than jump on the bandwagon of other complainers about the track, but I’ve seen some good racing at NHMS, and not only that, people actually show up (unlike Cali, Atlanta, and a few other tracks I could list).
The reason Joey Logano is not running some races is he is not approved yet to run on restrictor plate tracks.
Another error in the recap: Stewart didn’t drop out of the Top 12, Harvick did. Stewart drove like a madman during the Green-White-Checker, picking up better than 5 positions (I don’t know how many) but he was passing cars like crazy.
I would have given the Hindenberg award to Marcos Ambrose… he had a top-5 run going before getting shuffled by the Caution, then got spun and lost the transmission. The guy who had the shocks go out(?), after complaining all day about no brakes, was Boris Said.
I came to say what mmack said: Hornish hasn’t been known to be a road course guy in the IRL, he was much more comfortable and successful on ovals.
According to IndyCar.com, he’s never won at a road or street course. All of his 19 IndyCar wins came on ovals. Sam had 62 top-5 finishes in 116 starts, and only 2 top-5’s came at road/street courses.
stewart drove like mad alright – main cause of the red flag.
That was the worst race this year! Thought the 24 hours of California was bad but wow that race was BORING. I fell asleep twice and my husband said I didn’t miss anything.
We are making a run at trying to attend all the tracks that the Cup series goes to but I think we can save our money and skip that track. By the looks of the stands ALOT of people saved money by not attending. Never heard how many people attended that race.
The Key Moment, of course you are talking about the TV adds, that came every four to five minutes, when will this stop the racers from watching,
Please big Bill come back and get Nascar back to caring about the fans and the old racer that can not afford the ticket pricing, let alone the gas
Hey “bluescreen”, consider this along with the “aero” push, if one watched this fiasco of a race, virtually EVERY car had car balance problems, most noted by the continuing locking up of the wheels, mostly the fronts, upon any kind of braking!
I firmly believe these cars have basically ZERO suspension travel primarily because of the splitter, it sits so low to the ground that any downward movement bottoms the splitter out upsetting the handling of the car.
The higher center of gravity in these cars, along with less than half the suspension travel of the older car, and you have races like we witnessed yesterday and each and every weekend NA$CAR runs!
That is why we watched car after car, driver after driver just dive-bomb to the inside of the corner with his brakes locked up hoping it would create a passing situation! Unfortunately, it also caused many accidents!
What is a NA$CAR driver to do? Sure can’t bad mouth the CoT after their little meeting at MIS!
Now, come to think of it, maybe that is exactly why NA$CAR had a “discussion” with the drivers last weekend! They (NA$CAR) knew what kind of racing the CoT would provide at Sonoma!
Douglas, if I was you, I would go buy the complete NASCAR collection of races from the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s, and instead of watching today’s races, you can put in a DVD and watch the same track from yesteryear. You’d be a lot happier than you are now.