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.
Doug Turnbull · Monday November 22, 2010
In case you haven’t heard, Jimmie Johnson and the No. 48 Lowe’s team won the 2010 Sprint Cup championship on the strength of a second-place finish at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Sunday’s Ford 400 – his fifth straight. And while the ESPN crew and pillars of the media that cover NASCAR release stories lacing him with words like, “incredible,” “historic,” “unbelievable,” and “all-time great,” NASCAR’s ever-growing pool of dissatisfied fans just grew another notch disinterested. Is one side right? Are both points of view spiraling away from each other? With sponsors fleeing the sport, ratings bottoming out, and NASCAR spinning every positive event into a string of platitudes that makes stomaching them hard for even the greatest of optimists, one can’t help but have a few reservations about Johnson now winning a half-decade’s worth of championships under the Chase format.
But is this feeling the right one to have?
Drivers like Petty, Earnhardt, Yarborough, Waltrip, and Gordon all rang up astronomical numbers and championship hardware. However, Johnson’s efforts seem cheapened by the points reset that takes place after race 26 every year. That could be overlooked if Johnson were more relatable. Unlike Petty (The King of giving back to the fans), Yarborough and Earnhardt (who each personified blue collar, rags-to-riches rises to fame), NASCAR nation has had trouble grasping Johnson’s vanilla, corporate image. Despite the fact that Johnson grew up poor, didn’t buy his ride with Hendrick, and lost four championships before winning one, his domination has not jived well with many in both the media center and the grandstands. NASCAR’s numbers began to fall in 2006, the same year Johnson and crew chief Chad Knaus began their string of success. Chisel Rick Hendrick’s face in with this duo, and you have the Mount Rushmore of the problem that NASCAR has become, the dynasty of driving interest in stock car racing… elsewhere.
Then again, Johnson’s drive for five is historic. No NFL team has won five Super Bowls and only select teams have only been able to match the feat in the MLB, NHL, and NBA. In racing, only F-1’s Michael Schumacher (five championships from 2000-2004) and NHRA’s John Force (ten championships between 1993 and 2002) have accomplished five in a row. Johnson is the only driver in NASCAR history to come close to five crowns, and is only two short of Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt (seven each) to tie for the all-time lead in Cup championships. Shouldn’t we respect this achievement? Johnson could crash through the ceiling of most all-time records in the series. If he quit tomorrow to start modeling in beard galleries and fixing stop signs with Kobalt tools, he likely would go down statistically as one of the sport’s ten best… at least. But instead, we yawn and flip the TV to see how many interceptions Favre has thrown or if his wife swapped his iPhone for a 2002 Nokia without a camera. We just can’t grasp history when we see it.
Who’s to blame? Is NASCAR’s fan base taking out its frustration with Brian France and his leadership group’s poor decisionmaking in the last seven years on Johnson?
The answer, to me, is a little bit yes and a little bit no. Fans reacted poorly to some of Dale Earnhardt’s domination in the late ’80s and early ‘90s and also to Jeff Gordon’s surge from 1995-2001. So naturally, Johnson raking in five rings and doing it with ease in the previous four years is going to rub more than a few skeptics the wrong way. But combine the most dominant run in Sprint Cup history with rampant disapproval of the Chase, along with many other mitigating negative characteristics of the sport, and this perfect storm morphs into a hurricane that washes the allure and excitement off of Johnson and the No. 48 team’s accomplishments.
Like it or not, agree or disagree – that’s a shame.
Almost everyone outside of the Johnson camp, whether they admit it or not, has a bad taste in their mouth today. Despite one of the most exciting stretches of races in awhile, Johnson’s should-be inspiring fifth straight Sprint Cup crown actually mars what was an exciting 2010. After a season full of comeback stories (see: Richard Childress Racing, Jamie McMurray), verbal comebacks after races (see: “She wears the firesuit in the family,” Joey Logano; “He’s starting to piss me off,” Jeff Gordon; Kyle Busch’s tirade against Hamlin after wrecking in the All-Star race), and an airtight points race through most of the Chase, the 2010 season’s lasting memory will end up being just another Cup falling into Johnson’s hands.
Twenty years hence, when Johnson likely has retired and some other hot shoe is at the apex of their career, another points format is being criticized for the same problems the Chase has, and no one else has won five straight championships, we likely will sit back with our kids and grandkids and reminisce about the greatness of Johnson and his team. Little will be said about how much it rubbed us the wrong way after, say, 2007. Don’t we do that about Earnhardt and the No. 3 team now? Don’t we already do that about the Jeff Gordon-Ray Evernham dynamic duo that led the Rainbow Warriors to four championships in seven years? Unfortunately, those good feelings are going to come long after whatever solution is born that will resurrect this sport from the doldrums in which it sits – because they are not around to save NASCAR now.
Johnson, Knaus, and Hendrick deserve major props for what they have accomplished. Nonetheless, here’s to whoever rises to the occasion next season and gives the No. 48 team a run for its money.
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. (or whenever the Georgia Bulldogs are not playing) and daily as a traffic reporter on AM-750 and NOW 95.5 FM News/Talk WSB in Atlanta and on wsbradio.com. Doug also hosts podcasts on ChaseElliott.com and BillElliott.com and is co-track announcer at Gresham Motorsports Park in Jefferson, GA.
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©2000 - 2008 Doug Turnbull and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
Don’t forget Tony Schumacher has six straight Top Fuel Championships. 2004-2009
If my math serves me well, and I have several degrees of education, #48 would only have TWO Titles if the old scoring system were used insted of this really BAD “Chase,” or should we call it the “Jimmy’” NASCAR shoves off the dwindling attendance at the tracks to the “Poor Economy.” Has the “Poor Economy,” caused those at home to save electricity by not trning on their TV’s to watch the races for free. F-1 and Indy Cars traveled down the “Stupid” road and almost became extinct before they pulled their “Head’s out of their shorts,” and started listening to the fans. Dump the Chase!! Few like it, and most will not return as fans until they do. The teams are crying that they can’t get sponsers, of course not. Why should they put up all that money to help advertise Lowes and Kobalt Tools. Five in a row just sent another two dozen sponsers packing, count on it.
Doug, you and Randy are both just dead wrong! Rick “the felon” hendrick has bought and paid for every chanpionship he has.That man has NEVER done anything on the up and up in his life!! I and sure he and brian farce spend many a night together playing with each other and Randy. If jimmy drove for ANY other team, including another hendrick team he would be a start and parker now..The reason for the loss of interest in nascrap is that most people are smart enough to see a sham, it’s a pity that you and Randy can’t!
Doug, I can guarantee that I won’t be reminiscing fondly about the amazing streak of Jimmie Johnson 20 years from now.
Good article Doug! I stopped being a Jeff Gordon fan when he jumped ship on Bill Davis, but he was screwed out of several championships because of the miserable “Chase” format!Harvick had a big points lead in the regular season and Hamlin wins 8 races and isn’t the champion…the “Chase” just sucks! Not to say that Jimmie Johnson wouldn’t be extremely competitive in any format, but the “Chase” has certainly aided his cause!
We shouldn’t be hating on Jimmie. He’s just competing with the system put before him. Most fans just don’t like the Chase and what Brian France has done to this sport. The most needed change is obvious, revamp the driver’s point system. It’s 30+ years old and outdated, especially for the Chase era. Formula-1 provides the basic model.
Those are some pretty strong claims.
Do you have ANY evidence to back them up?
I would like to propose that everyone on this site make a New Years resolution to post on this site in 2011 with a bit less stridency and at least a modicum of intelligent thought. One can dream cant one??
Agree with don mei – this website has become a high school schoolyard, sometimes less mature than that. We really need to ignore the more obvious morons. Just ignore them. They know who they are (one IP-multiple post names).
Randy…are you really Brian France in disquise?
Just once I will make an exception to my policy of never talking to or responding to idiots. Pay attention Goldman, take notes if you have to…OK…ready? Lets see if you can grasp this concept…most of us unhappy with the direction that Nascar is going do so because we are serious fans and care about that direction. Its essentially analagous to caring about ones children.Not to try and correct them would be the real tragedy. Clear now? And please dont bother responding to this post, youll just look like a jackass…again.
One moron has singlehandedly turned the focus of attention towards himself. Let’s take the focus back to comments on the articles by not addressing or referring to said moron anymore. Tired of his (their) drivel……………
JJ is an illegitimate champ. In many people’s opinions, he not only hasn’t surpassed Cale Yarborough, he hasn’t even tied him. Cale was a season-long champ three years in a row. Jimmie is a contrived champion, forced down our throats by NASCAR, Chevy, and the networks. In the real world of having to actually race ALL SEASON for a championship, Jimmie would have 2. As it stands today, he is not a legitimate champion to many, many fans. And we’re tired of hearing how awesome he is, when – in reality – he isn’t. Its not the same system. Not the same points. Apples and oranges.
I think the majority of the fans are more upset about the Chase than they are with Jimmie. Insert another driver in as a 5 time 10 race champ and you will get the same response from disgruntled fans.
At least Jimmie winning 5 in a row will show everyone how this Chase is not working. Instead of enacting a Chase format, wouldn’t giving more points to the winner but less of a points distribution overall determine a real champion without the Chase? Food for thought
Personally I am SICK AND TIRED of the ENTIRE #48 Team and their arrogance. They are NOT anything special and how dare they compare themselves to Earnhardt !!! On their best day they couldn’t hold a you know what you know where !!! I am DONE with NASCAR. Brain-less is an embarrassment to his own family. Sober up and pay attention, Jerk – - – nevermind – - -you’ve done lost it now !!! It’s too late to come back now, too bad too !!!
Steve: Amen to that! Awarding additional points to the race winner is the only thing that has ever made sense to me. Since it is so very difficult to win a Cup race, additional points should be awarded!
NASCAR nation should congratulate the 48, but demand change from Brian France and his cronies. The vast majority of the fan base has rejected the Chase and wants it gone. I found France’s comments this weekend insulting. Another spoiled rich kid, maybe Bill Jr. didn’t hug him enough.
Do I think the points system needs to be revamped? Yes. I hate the Chase, as it mainly makes the first 2/3’s of the season irrelevant, and puts all of the focus on making the Chase for the second half of the regular season. It also only focuses on the Chase drivers. I did not watch the end of the race yesterday, and had to check 3 different race sites just to find out who actually won the race in Homestead. I do not buy the sentiment of whoever wins the most races should win the Championship. Nascar has never operated on that premise and there needs to be some room for just consistency. Some races just taking a bad car and getting a good finish shows a winning mentality, both for driver and team.
I voted “no” he is not the best driver ever. However if the question were “is Chad Knaus the best crew chief ever”, that would be a big yes.
They are not always the fastest, or most powerful, or most consistent or win the most races, but they start right now today with a plan to save their best cars, best engines, best “tricks” for race one of the chase. they know it makes no difference what happens prior to that, they just need to finish each race and they can be in the top 12 in their sleep. Wins don’t matter, qualifying doesn’t matter, just snooze their way until race 27 and pull all the tricks out of the bag. the other 42 teams just have not taken that theory to heart yet. The other 42 are happy to take a chance on wrecking a car for a meaningless position gained or a meaningless win.
That’s all. No big secret.
Kind of makes most of the season irrelevant and boring doesn’t it?
Let’s see if I can say this simply enough that some of those posting on here can understand.
EVERY SINGLE DRIVER AND TEAM RACE UNDER THE SAME POINTS SYSTEM AND RULES. THEY HAVE ALL RACED UNDER THE CHASE FOR 7 YEARS. IT IS WHAT IT IS. JIMMIE, RICK, CHAD NOR THEIR FANS ASKED NASCAR TO CHANGE THE SYSTEM. AGAIN EVERY DRIVER AND TEAM HAVE THE SAME SYSTEM AND THE SAME RULES. They all have had the same opportunity to to adjust how they approach races and the Chase and learn how to win with what they are given.
JJ, Chad and the 48 are plain good. They would be multiple time Champs and most likely still be several time in a row champs no matter what points they raced under. They finished 5th in points rookie year and 2nd sophomore year under your blessed/never ever been anything in the world as good as that/Nascar went the h*ll when it went away points system. They most assuredly would have won many championships under that system had it stayed. Jimmie and Chad and their team out work everyone else in the sport. Even Mark Martin said that last year.
All that said if fans don’t like Jimmie and the 48 team’s reign… too bad, so sad. Let the other drivers & teams step it up and beat them.
Ok, one last thing. If Chad were Jr’s CC he’d probably have killed him already. I LIKE Jr and he’s a nice guy but he does not know how to tell his crew chief what the car is doing in detail and then let the crew chief and team adjust. I’ve listened to him.
Jimmie truly is that talented of a driver, a student of the sport, and a very very calm detailed perfectionist when describing what his car is doing. Chad is truly a talented crew chief in taking that input and checking against his notes and between he and Ron M deciding on adjustments.
It’s not the JJ haters that’s the problem here. Dynasties in sports have been around for ages. Look at the Yankees, Celtics, Lakers, Red Wings and the SEC in the NCAA. So, what’s the difference? Sports is driven by love/hate relationships. People tune into watching the teams they hate hoping to see them get their butts kicked. I know I tune into the Lakers and Notre Dame hoping to see them get a good azz whipping. But when it comes to Jimmie Johnson, I just yawn and fall asleep. There’s nothing to cheer for and he’s someone you really can’t hate. He’s just a boring, white bread, robotic, corporate licking driver with barely a personality.
In the “old” days, you had the likes of Earnhardt, Wallace, Waltrip and the rest, hating on each other, having hot tempered personalities—-guys who fought to the end on the track. Regardless of what fans say now, Earnhardt had a ton of haters, and those people came to the track and turned on the TV hoping to see him get punted off the track, hoping to see Waltrip take a swing at him. You don’t have that with today’s Nascar. The drivers who are winning now have the personality of a blade of grass.
Can you all imagine what would happen if the current hot heads in the sport were fighting for a Cup? Can you imagine Busch, Montoya, Hamlin, Harvick, Stewart all fighting for a Cup, NOT in the Chase format? Like I said, sports survive on love/hate relationships, and since there’s nothing to either love or hate about Jimmie, fans are just yawning and turning off the TV.
You know what would be interesting? Have the crew chiefs and teams prepare a car, without any decals. Then have a lottery to see which driver gets which car. After that, you decal the car, you practice and qualify with that car and then it’s impounded——no working on it until the race. I wonder how Jimmie would do with a car not prepared by Chad? Would he still be as dominate?
20+ yr fan who follows many racing blogs and articles but has never responded or participated – so give me your time to read what I have to say, please. This article was exceptional; however, it hit on one of my ‘sore’ points regarding JJ’s 5th championship.
Look at the facts… The sport is around for 50 years with one points system and then drastically changes it. Then all of the sudden a guy wins 5 championships in a row. No one ever came close to that in the past. Johnson fans will, of course, claim it’s because he’s so great but how coincidental. IMO, Johnson is a great driver but the five in a row has more to do with the chase format than how great he is.
In 5 years this will all be a moot point when NA$CAR has to go bankrupt because there are no fans in the stands, nobody is watching at home, and no teams can afford to race because they can’t find any sponsors.The only way it can be turned around is by replacing NA$CAR’s leadership with some competent people who actually care about racing and the folks who buy the tickets and watch at home. Otherwise, it’ll be R.I.P. NA$CAR in about 5 years.
The chase is a hoke. Harvick has a 200+ points lead after 26 races. Johnson is a great driver, but the chase has cheapened the championship.