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.
The Cool Down Lap · Doug Turnbull · Monday June 7, 2010
For the second straight week, a normally calm driver in the NASCAR garage lost his cool after the race. But this time, a hot temper didn’t stop at just finger-pointing.
Jeff Burton’s heated berating of Kyle Busch — after the No. 18’s contact caused a flat tire on the No. 31 late in last Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 — came as a surprise to most bystanders. Burton, known as the veteran statesman of the NASCAR fraternity, brought the Wrath of God to Busch after the race, yet was quick to say to reporters afterwards that Busch had every right to the spot he was going for; instead, Burton’s anger was more a result of a cut tire instead of Busch cutting him off. By this Friday, the apologies mounted, with the veteran assuring reporters this “rivalry” was simply a non-issue.
In comparison, Joey Logano’s Pocono post-race episode Sunday unfolded much differently, WWE-style drama that will almost certainly have more of a long-term impact. It all started when contact between the right front of Kevin Harvick’s No. 29 Shell Chevy and the left side of Logano’s No. 20 Home Depot Toyota sent Logano spinning with just two laps to go. Joe Gibbs Racing’s sophomore, who ended up 13th, then pulled perpendicular to the No. 29 after the race for a not-so-friendly chat. Furious with the second late-race tangle between the two this season, Logano stormed through the barricade of his father and fellow crewmen to go straight for the yellow and red mob enveloping Harvick’s car.
In the process, Logano yelled out several criticisms of the current point leader in much the same fashion as Burton’s tongue-lashing – just more R-Rated. The main theme included a quote that went something along these lines: “You [expletive]’d everything up…”
Swearing was a new concept for fans of the mild-mannered Logano, but he had every reason to feel perturbed. Armed with a top-5 car for most of the Gillette Fusion ProGlide 500 at Pocono – surprising considering his average finish of 25th at the Pennsylvania track in two career races – he was on the verge of his best result since Martinsville the end of March, the type that rights the ship of a team sitting on the fence of making the Chase. Indeed, Logano had held the fifth position handily until a hard-charging Harvick waged a two-wide battle with the 20-year-old for a couple of laps. With less than two to go, Logano thought he had Harvick cleared down the short chute, but Harvick dove to the inside entering turn 3, causing the two to make contact while battling for the same piece of real estate. Logano almost saved his Toyota before finally spinning and bringing out the caution just before leader and teammate Denny Hamlin took the white flag.
Who’s at fault? I say both of them. While Logano could have written his own fate by not coming down on Harvick’s nose in the apex of the turn, Harvick did not help his case for innocence in the matter by standing in the throttle, making contact with the No. 20, and starting the spin.
But just because it’s a racin’ deal means nothing when we’re figuring out who’s egging who on. A similar situation to this wreck occurred in the Nationwide Series race at Bristol in March, an incident that left Logano holding the short end of the stick. In that instance, the youngster did not hunt down and accost Harvick, but the veteran didn’t mince words when asked about the contact. Instead, he all but stated that spinning Logano is what’s supposed to happen when one driver is stunting another’s progress late in the race.
That demand for other drivers to move out of his way is nothing new; Harvick’s handling of issues has been a topic of discussion before in this column. The fiery veteran has never been a stranger to controversy, and has been criticized more than once by competitors for his antics on and off the track. In fact, Carl Edwards outright said Harvick was “not a good person” after he threw barbs at Edwards after the No. 99 wrecked Brad Keselowski at Atlanta Motor Speedway in March. Harvick takes no prisoners and now, with the points lead, a new contract in hand, and very fast entries in all three of NASCAR’s top series, has to be in the racing equivalent of nirvana. That leaves him ready and willing to cut down all challengers with one sentence out of his mouth.
On Sunday, Logano took into his hands the task of bringing Harvick back to earth. The lanky, baby-faced youngster, fresh from his teenage years, marched in to Harvick’s territory and stated not only to him but to the NASCAR world that he would not be pushed around any longer. It was a big step in his road to growing up, finally throwing a punch back after a long history of getting stepped on by veteran drivers taking advantage of his tendency to take the high road after races.
But while NASCAR’s young star may have felt wronged by Harvick, he was off base, too, at several points during his first real scrape with big league controversy. First, he also made some childish statements about Harvick in a post-race (and post-talking to with his bosses Joe and J.D. Gibbs) interview, including:
“It’s obvious that his [Harvick’s] wife wears the fire suit in that family,” and “He’s stupid.”
At 20 years old, a volatile mix of anger, testosterone, and immaturity can send a young man on a beeline in the direction of wrongdoing. Logano asserted his position by getting in the faces of men decades his senior, even making contact with one in letting anger get the best of him. For while he had every right to pull next to Harvick and vent, his belligerence toward his father and crew members who were trying to calm him down was unnecessary. Logano not only yelled at his father to get out of his way, but came close to slugging him in an attempt at breaking the human barricade between him and the No. 29 car.
He also made similar contact with a NASCAR official after backing away from the No. 29 crew that could have gotten him in serious trouble if it had been even more severe. And while Logano showed he had the stones to dance with the big boys, his immaturity glared through in post-race quotes, as he resorted to taking jabs at Harvick’s wife Delana.
Still, NASCAR Nation may very well have met Joey Logano Sunday. The fire he displayed after the Pocono race has always been present, a notion one would be familiar with after a race of listening to his in-car audio and not lost on a car owner who’s always seen it.
“I think we probably missed the fire that’s inside of Joey,” explained Joe Gibbs to the media after the race. “I think he does have a real fire. Now, he controls himself. He’s somebody that rarely gets out of control. But I definitely think he’s got a real passion for what he does. It means a lot to him.”
That explains why the Public Relations Fairy did not don her wand in enough time to veil the high-road Logano as he approached Kevin Harvick. And while Harvick hid behind the Shell/Pennzoil crew, the young driver made a bold statement to both Harvick and the world that he would stand for no more.
So what happens now? As with any controversy, passion spilleth over could work to his and the Home Depot team’s detriment. But after getting pushed around his entire career, taking the public step of standing up to a bully – however immature the way he did it might be – could more than likely send a charge through a No. 20 crew that may launch them into the 2010 Sprint Cup Series Chase.
Either way, the ride will be fun to watch.
Listen to Doug weekly on The Allan Vigil Ford Lincoln Mercury Speedshop racing show with host Captain Herb Emory each Saturday, from 12-1 p.m., on News/Talk 750 WSB in Atlanta and on wsbradio.com. Doug also hosts podcasts on ChaseElliott.com and BillElliott.com.
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©2000 - 2008 Doug Turnbull and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
Tough to tell from the TV coverage, but it looked like Mr. Logano wasn’t exactly trying to hold Joey back…
In any event, Joey’s comments were poorly thought out. Tip for post-race interviews: not a good idea to say anything about another driver’s wife if your dad still drives you to the races.
While it was good it see the fire, Joey needs to watch the replay and see he was as much to blame as Kevin.
I like both Kevin and Kyle Busch ( I like their fire, and know that at times they both need to grow up) and it really gets me when people want to try and use Carl Edwards and Denny Hamlin as examples for the way they believe Kevin and Kyle should act. Carl and Denny are probably the 2 biggest Bullies in the garage. Two good examples for good conduct would be Jeff Burton and Mark Martin, not a big fan of either, but these 2 are the cleanest, even tempered drivers in the Cup series.
Joey-take a look a the replays. You really expect Harvick to lift with 2 to go? Looking at all the replays – more a racing incident than anything else. Grow up little boy. Stupid remarks about the wife of another driver not too cool. Makes you look like a big crybaby.
We got a HUGE laugh at Joey saying that Delana wears the “fire suit” in the family.
All of us Raceday watchers have always thought it VERY ODD that Delana wears a fire suit!!!
***Please, can anybody tell us why she does? I never recall seeing Theresa Earnhardt wearing one….Or any of the other wives, for that matter. Too FUNNY! (But we have to agree with Logano, we know who wears the fire suit in that family!!)
Also, I would have loved to have seen him and Harvick tangle!! Delana might have knocked the kid down though.
Logano’s comment about who wears the firesuit was pretty definitive. He simply said what a lot of people have been thinking.
Harvick has always been a bully and always will be. He is the only driver to have ever been sat down for a race following an on track incident.
@ Doug: I’ll have to diagree with you on this one. Joey is too young to act so nice. He will be pushed around as long as he doesn’t retaliate. I had no problem with either his anger, or comments.
@ WCFan and 29racefan: Back your tapes up a little bit. Kevin did slow down on the straightaway to let Joey pass him, that’s why it’s easy to tell that he did indeed intend to spin the #20. If not for that it could have been simple racing contact.
Logano had a top 5 car for most of the race? What race did you watch?
Where was Harvick in error? Harvick doesn’t owe it to Logano or anyone to step on the brake in the last five laps of a race. Logano held his line and Harvick held his, and a spin was the result.
In deference to your headline I think Harvick sent a louder statement to Logano when he spun him. A driver can say all he wants to say to the media, but what happens on the track is what matters. If Logano wanted a top ten finish, he should have moved over. If he wanted to end up spinning, he got his wish. Kyle Busch seems to have learned this and sits 2nd in points. Logano might spend less time following Denny around in practice, and spend more time with the best driver in the Joe GIbbs stable. All he’ll learn from Hamlin is a sense of entitlement but from Busch he’ll learn how to race.
WTG Joey, all Joey did was say what MANY of us have been thinking. Harvick has been a jerk to his crews, his drivers, to other drivers. Someone needs to drop his attitude big time. WTG!
Logano is lucky that Ole Harv didn’t slap him back down to earth after the race on Sunday. Harvick did not move up one inch towards little Joey but simply held his line with two laps to go. Could he have lifted? Yes. Could he have not raced Joey to the finish line? Yes. Could he have simply pulled over and let Joey finish wherever he would have? Yes. Except, that ain’t racing.
Joey would have done better to go after Biffle than Kevin. Maybe he should go and ask Carl Edwards about that.
You people crack me up. You say let the drivers do there thing and when they do all you want to do is cry about it. It was racin get over it!
I dont know what race you people were watching but “yap-yap mouth” punk harvick never turned his wheel and stayed in the gas. He wouldnt have made the turn if not for hitting Logano. The announcer’s said so until they realized that they were actually criticizing one of the manufactured “stars”. He’s chicken-“crap” who always starts something and then hides behind his crew. Remember when he tried to act like he wanted a part of Rudd and then hid behind his crew and cried why is Rudd after me. He’s a punk. And Joey was right about Delana.
Someone said Harvick is a bully. That is true. Another name for a bully is a coward. Look back at most of Harvicks confrontations, When it is one on one. he waits until there are many people around to protect and hold him back before he acts as though he wants to fight. Sign of a true coward. To bad his crew saved him before Ricky Rudd got to him. He was also afraid of Montoya.
“Two good examples for good conduct would be Jeff Burton and Mark Martin, not a big fan of either, but these 2 are the cleanest, even tempered drivers in the Cup series.”
They are also two of the oldest and close to retiring. Im sure they were quite different 20 years ago.
New rule… you must be able to collect social security to race in Nascar! That will ensure that all the races will be raced politely and at 45 MPH.
Travis, you must be watching a different racing series. Let see, Harvick went after Biffle on pit road, Front Roe Joe, Juan, Edwards? Did you see the Rudd race, his crew was jumping on Rudds car, I don’t remember them holding him back?
What Harvick going to do hit Rudd, Lagano? He not stupid he’d be suspended. What would Harvick be scared of and over the hill driver or a child who looked like he was going to cry while yelling at Harvick?
If YOU would read my whole post you would have seen that I wrote I’m a fan of both Harvick and Rowdy Busch, and had a problem with people using Carl and Denny as examples of “good behavior”.
Travis, Harvick sure did look scared when he was choking Biffle in Bristol didn’t he?
I think all of the after-race stuff was fine,comments and all. I just wonder if it had been the 31 car passing him, would Harvick have dumped him? I doubt it. The only simple solution is Logano needs to take out the 29 twice, and then call it even. Give Joey another couple of years and they will ALL be trying to catch up.
Harvick’s a bully and a coward and Childress and his crew have always been a bunch of rednecks. They deserve one another and I hope they never find a sponsor since they’ve lost Shell. WTG Joey, especially with the remark on Delana!
@Stephen: I understand that Kyle Busch is a great driver and all, but you certainly can’t take anything away from Denny Hamlin (who has more wins than anyone this season… on a bum knee). I think Denny is a great driver for Joey to learn from. Though he needs to take his post race belittlement classes from Harvick or Stewart. They’re much better at it.
Great point Cory. It was funny watching Lagano’s post race comments, it was almost like he was coached on what to say(somebody is writing his zingers?) and practiced in the hauler before coming out. His delivery was horrible.
Maybe Delana is the only one who would help Kevin in a fire.
Joey Logano has a gas pedal and a brake pedal and so does Kevin Harvick. Pick your sides if you want, but they’re both to blame here. However, Joey’s comments were out of line and sexist. So what if Delana wears a firesuit and no other wife does. I see it as she’s proud of her husband and wants to be a part of what he does. To make fun of her for it is just insulting. Lots of strong women shop at Home Depot to engage in projects with their husband. Apparently the driver that represents that company has very little respect for women like that. It’s been noted.
Not a Logano fan! Too much, too early IMO! However, Harvick took him out this time! Why? Who benefited? Harvick! There is no way he had even the slightest chance of getting to the front without a caution!
Although I don’t know how fair it was, I LOVED the comment about who wears the firesuit in the family!
Kevin did slow down, thats one of the thing he does. Kevin did it in late models and winston west cars, I know he did it two times to my cars, Harvick is ass H####. Joey put him in the wall so hard that he gets the message he has more to lose than you, he will stop or he will get you back Nascar will have no choice and park him, in ethers case you hold the champion ship in YOUR hand , Harvick is to stupid to know what you are doing unless Delana tells him .
Just a racing deal, two drivers going for the same spot. Nothing more but fans have to find a villain. Harvick was faster, had run Logano down and was going to pass him eventually. Logano ASSUMED Harvick would take the low line into the turn, he didn’t. Whose fault is that? If Logano lets him go he finishes a strong 6th, instead he put his car in a dangerous position and paid the price. He’ll learn in time…
Adam go back and watch that race with Rudd again. punk ran his mouth and then punk jumped behind his crew and danced around to keep his crew between him and Rudd. That’s when Rudd call punk harvick “yapp-yapp mouth” If you can’t acknowledge that after watching the tape you are just blind and a punk yap-yap fan.
Sorry forgot to put put my name on the post.
Obviously Travis you see what you want to see. As do I. I’m not really seeing Havick “dancing” behind his crew, I see them holding him back and trying to calm him down. Again I pose the question, did you really ever think he was going to hit him? He’d been suspend one race for less. I don’t think with a big time sponsor like GM at the time he or his crew would let him hit him(which they didn’t). If I’m not mistaken he was 2nd in points at the time also? Which is why they were holding him back. What I did see was Rudd getting a nice “man” massage from one of his crew??? Interesting
You comment was he a chicken “crap” who always hides behind his crew. As I said in my previous post, there are too many instances that this just isn’t the case. And I love how you know for sure that Harvick wreaked him, you were in the car. Hey to me it looks like it could have went either way, either drivers fault, I’m not sure anyone thats objective would say otherwise. But you know for sure!
Look Harvick’s not your driver. Maybe you could cheer for Jeff Gordon, I“m sure you’d look great in rainbow gear!
As I recall, the crews for Harvick and Ricky R were both making sure that their drivers did not get close enough to the other for a real incident.
Looked to me like Harvick’s crew was also making sure Harvick did not get close enough to hit Lagano. Taking a shot at another driver’s wife is not showing maturity.
Isn’t it amazing how many media people are willing to write about the incident without having been there and without talking to any of those involved? Facts can often screw up a good story.
I found this confrontation absolutely hilarious. Harvick got a little of his own back and Logano showed that he really does fit into Coach Gibbs’s stable of hotheads.
Kevin Harvick can’t really have too terribly much to say in reply to Joey’s comment either, considering his history.
And its not like the idea of Delana being the tougher Harvick is anything original — Joey may have been reading Nascar forums in his spare time where that’s a fairly standard concept. LOL
IMO, a lot of fans and reporters take these adrenaline-charged conflicts far more seriously than they deserve. Usually they die right back down when the adrenaline clears.
Participants in a high-pressure, high-intensity sport periodically blow up at each other and make snarky remarks about their opponents. Go figure.
I’ve been waiting for Logano to stick up for himself. He’s been pushed around and has finally showed he won’t take it anymore. I really like this kid. Harvick enjoys the bully role and shows it. He’s always tried to get into other drivers heads. That’s racin’.
It was a racing deal. Harvick never lifted, Logano came down into him.
When did professional athletes start insulting competetor’s wives?
Bash Ole Harv if you like but he stands up for himself. He went after the Rooster and the Rooster looked frustrated that he just got punked when it was done. He was the final nail in the coffin for “front row Joe”. He almost committed a felony against Biffle so that isn’t even up for consideration. His messing with Mr. Ed was psychological and it seems to have worked. From what I read and saw in pics he did not back down from steroid Carl and happened to have slammed him onto the hood of a race car in their confrontation.
I will give you the Juan Pablo encounter. He manned up but then seemed to not want to continue when Juan stood up for himself. I am not sure what happened there but maybe he saw something in Juan’s eyes that he did not want a part of.
And for “No Spin”:
All the above posters can get all worked up about all this, but it can really be summarized in a few points.
1) People fight. People fight more when money is involved. People fight most when pride is involved. Is this news?
2) Joey calling out Delana before even talking to Kevin is a bitch move. He’s a boy. Harvick’s an arrogant prick. Is this news?
3) Tom needs to let his little boy turn into a man, WITHOUT INTERFERING. Seriously, who takes a boy seriously when daddy is always jumping in? Boys only grow up one way – the hard way. Get over it, Tom.
4) This sort of hard-nosed driving was done on every lap of every race 20 years ago. That this is news today – sad. Says a lot about our “sport” today.
So, Joey – grow up, Kevin – show some respect to all your competitors, Tom – shut up and sit down, Delana – keep looking hot in firesuits and kick Joey’s ass if he gets close (we know he has a secret crush on you), and fans – beg to get your sport back and have BF overthrown so you can once again have the real thing rather than the watered-down crap that is getting your pulse up these days.