Swan Racing Announces Restructuring, No. 26 & No. 30 "Sold" Off
posted by Thomas Bowles
Wednesday April 23, 2014
After a week of uncertainty, Swan Racing’s two teams will show up at Richmond Friday night after a combination of mergers and acquisitions have kept the two teams up and running. The moves, announced in a press release Wednesday will keep rookie Cole Whitt behind the wheel of the No. 26 while J.J. Yeley moves into the No. 30, replacing Parker Kligerman effective immediately.
The solution for Whitt was rather simple: Swan co-owner Anthony Marlowe merged his portion of ownership into a deal with BK Racing. That team will now expand to three cars, with Whitt running full-time (for now) alongside fellow rookies Alex Bowman (No. 23) and Ryan Truex (No. 83). The move will also keep former Swan employees working full-time, rehired by BK as enough money was gathered up to keep the No. 26 up and running. Whitt, who has a best run of 18th this season (Fontana) will remain competing with his crew essentially intact.
“I respect Brandon Davis and everything he has done for the Swan Racing Company,” said Marlowe in the release. “Looking forward, my mission is to ensure Cole Whitt races in every NASCAR Sprint Cup event this season. My friend Ron Devine and the BK Ownership group really stepped up to enable me to keep the No. 26 on the track. Cole and Randy [Cox, crew chief] are off to an auspicious start in 2014 for a new Cup Team and we are gearing up for Richmond. In addition to the No. 26 team’s performance so far this year, the new ‘win and you’re in’ system and qualifying rules were motivating and positive factors in my continued investment in NASCAR.”
As for Swan’s No. 30, the equipment has been sold to Johnathan Cohen and his Xxxtreme Motorsports operation. That team, which has yet to make a race this season with J.J. Yeley will now run that No. 30 with their own Chevys before switching to the new Swan equipment (plus their old number, 44) beginning at Talladega. It’s an opportunity for them to gain speed and perhaps run a full race. Xxxtreme, with patchwork funding has yet to run more than 66 laps in any Cup event, start-and-parking in every race it’s made since making a go at NASCAR’s top level in mid-2012.
“We’ve had a lot of adversity in our organization,” Cohen tweeted after the purchase. “But today, made a big step in the right direction.”
Co-owner Brandon Davis, who had been MIA before Tuesday’s public announcement praised both Marlowe and Cohen in helping keep the equipment, former employees, and one of his two drivers afloat while Swan searches for funding to keep racing.
“Anthony and Jonathan are both young and ambitious NASCAR enthusiasts,” he said in a statement, later reiterating those points on SIRIUS XM Radio. “It is important to keep them in the sport for the long term. I am very relieved to know that the Nos. 26 and 30 teams will be in good hands and will continue to compete the remainder of the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. Most importantly, most of the team members have the opportunity to continue their employment in the sport and to support their families. This was critically important to me.”
So what happens to Swan’s other rookie, Parker Kligerman? Davis has retained Kligerman’s contract, and while the team has officially suspended operations he’s actively searching for funding to get the No. 30 back on track. Should it happen, it’ll be a one-car program with Kligerman at the wheel despite an ugly start that left the first-year driver 38th in series points.
“We are encouraged by the response we have received from interested parties,” Davis said of Kligerman. “Parker continues to be one of the most talented young drivers in NASCAR. He brought this racing team one of its strongest results in his first race with us [18th at Texas], and we are certain of his success in the future.”
The driver, in his response left the door open to run for other programs. Swan, which has partnered with celebrities like the NFL’s Bill Romanowski and rapper 50 Cent may be able to parlay those connections into funding that gets Kligerman into another car in the meantime.
“Although it’s unfortunate we are having to scale back, I look forward to the future and the exciting things that I’m confident we will accomplish at Swan Racing or with another team,” said Kligerman. “I value the relationship that I’ve had with Brandon Davis and am very grateful for him giving me an opportunity to compete in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Whether I continue to race with Brandon and Swan Racing or end up with another team, I will always give it my all on and off track to be the best I can be.”
Connect with Tom!
Daniel Suarez to Make Nationwide Debut for Joe Gibbs Racing at Richmond
posted by Phil Allaway
Tuesday April 22, 2014
Joe Gibbs Racing announced on Tuesday morning that NASCAR Toyota Series and K&N Pro Series East driver Daniel Suarez will make his Nationwide Series debut in Friday night’s ToyotaCare 250 at Richmond International Raceway. Sponsorship will be provided by Silent Circle, a global service that allows for the sending of encrypted communications and Telcel, a Mexican telecommunications company.
Suarez is thrilled to have the opportunity to race for Joe Gibbs Racing at Richmond.
“I’m excited for the opportunity to make my NASCAR Nationwide Series debut,” Suarez said in a press release. “I want to thank Telcel and Silent Circle for believing in me and making this a reality. I can’t wait for Friday night in Richmond.”
JGR President J.D. Gibbs is very excited to have an up and coming talent such as Suarez in the fold.
“Daniel is certainly someone that has proven to have a lot of talent and we are thrilled this was able to come together and allow him to make his debut at Richmond,” Gibbs said. “I think it’s exciting when you look at the young talent our sport has right now and we certainly feel that Daniel is going to be part of the future for NASCAR.”
For Suarez, the 2014 season has been very successful so far. He started tke K&N Pro Series East season with two wins in three days in New Smyrna Beach, FL and Daytona Beach, FL (as part of the UNOH Battle at the Beach). Despite a crash at Bristol, Suarez still ranks second in points behind Ben Rhodes. In the Toyota Series, Suarez came from behind to win the season opening Toyota 120 at Phoenix International Raceway in front of all the Sprint Cup and Nationwide teams. Another win in Chiapas and a second-place finish at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez’s oval gives him a nine point lead over Antonio Perez.
This will be a very busy weekend for Suarez. With the Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown moving to South Boston Speedway this year, the K&N Pro Series East Blue Ox 100 will be held immediately after the conclusion of the Nationwide Series ToyotaCare 250. In addition, the Toyota Series will have their fourth race of the season at the Autodromo de Monterrey in Suarez’s hometown on Sunday.
Gene Haas' Formula One License Application Accepted By FIA
posted by Phil Allaway
Friday April 11, 2014
This morning, the FIA announced that the license application submitted by Stewart-Haas Racing co-owner Gene Haas had officially been accepted. As a result, provided that everything comes together financially and technically, Haas’ new Formula One team will have a spot on the grid at the start of the 2015 season.
Upon receiving the news this morning, Haas released the following statement.
“Obviously, we’re extremely pleased to have been granted a Formula One license by the FIA,” Haas wrote. “It’s an exciting time for me, Haas Automation and anyone who wanted to see an American team return to Formula One.”
“Now, the really hard work begins. It’s a challenge we embrace as we work to put cars on the grid. I want to thank the FIA for this opportunity and the diligence everyone put forth to see our license application come to fruition.”
Haas’ team would be the 12th team on the Formula One grid for the 2015 season if all the current teams return. Much like the failed USF1 team that Peter Windsor was involved with, the team would partially be based in North Carolina with an additional European base.
Stewart-Haas Racing is setting up a press conference for Monday to further discuss the move. We’ll have more information here at Frontstretch as soon as it becomes available.
Speeds Approach 220 MPH At Michigan Test
posted by Phil Allaway
Thursday April 10, 2014
On Wednesday, Goodyear held the second and final day of their tire test at Michigan International Speedway. The overall goal of the test was so teams could come up with a solution that would encourage better racing on the two-mile, D-shaped oval, while at the same time allowing for a compound that would not blister.
Much of the headlines from the test seemed to stem from high speeds reported. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. tweeted a computer readout that stated he reached 215.2 mph. Clint Bowyer went a little bit faster at 217 mph, which Bowyer later described as “whites-in-your-eyes fast.” Greg Biffle told ESPN’s Shannon Spake on NASCAR Now that he reached 220 mph and a 204 mph average.
Despite the high speeds, the drivers who tested Tuesday and Wednesday believe that there will be better racing this year in the Irish Hills. Michigan winters are a bit harsher than in most locales on the Sprint Cup calendar. As a result, there is more weathering from year to year.
Earnhardt Jr. appeared to be quite happy with the track.
“I enjoy racing here,” the two-time Michigan winner said. “It’s a fun track. The asphalt is really aging well and it’s just going to keep getting better and better over the next couple of years.”
As is the norm for Goodyear tire tests, no official speeds were announced. However, Earnhardt Jr. stated in the Media Center that while he was going anywhere from 212-215 mph at the end of the frontstretch, he was only dropping down to 180 or so in the turns.
Greg Biffle and Ryan Newman echoed Earnhardt Jr.’s sentiment when asked about the track surface. They expect the track to support multiple grooves for racing when the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series return in June.
As for track management, they definitely appear to like the high speeds. Michigan International Speedway President Roger Curtis spent part of Wednesday retweeting top speed posts. However, Curtis understands that going fast is not the only thing that matters.
“The drivers are posting 200 mph. That’s awesome,” Curtis said. “The fans get very, very excited about that. But at the end of the day, on Sunday when the green flag drops, the numbers ‘two zero zero’ they’re not anywhere in the fans’ minds. It’s lead changes, it’s the competition…”
Since the track was repaved prior to the 2012 season, the number of lead changes at Michigan International Speedway has been relatively flat with the years before the repave. However, the number of cautions are up as well, which can skew the lead change numbers a little. Complaints have come more from a rock hard tire compound, made by Goodyear for safety reasons which has made passing more difficult and actual “wear” (which leads to speed dropoff) hard to come by.
Sherwin-Williams To Sponsor No. 51 Cup Car At Darlington
posted by Phil Allaway
Thursday April 10, 2014
On Wednesday, HScott Motorsports announced that Sherwin-Williams will serve as the primary sponsor of Justin Allgaier’s No. 51 Chevrolet this weekend at Darlington Raceway. The No. 51 will primarily be advertising the automotive finishes division, in addition to the AWX Performance Plus Waterborne Refinish System the company makes.
Allgaier is very happy to have Sherwin-Williams onboard.
“I’m thrilled to have Sherwin-Williams on the car at Darlington,” Allgaier said in the press release. “They are a big supporter of HScott Motorsports and NASCAR. I can’t wait drive the No. 51 with the Sherwin-Williams colors on it at one of my favorite tracks.”
Sherwin-Williams has a fairly extensive history in NASCAR. They currently serve as the “Official Automotive Paint of NASCAR.” Prior to that, the company served as a primary sponsor for a number of cars in what is now the Nationwide Series.
As for Allgaier, Saturday will more than likely be his first career Sprint Cup start at the historic oval. However, in five Nationwide Series starts, Allgaier already has two top-5 and three top-10 finishes. His average result is an excellent 9.8.
Bass Pro Shops Primary Sponsor For Austin Dillon In Two Cup Races
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Wednesday April 9, 2014
Announced Tuesday in a ceremony and car unveiling at their Concord, NC location, Bass Pro Shops and Richard Childress Racing made it official that the national outdoor sports retail giant will be the primary sponsor of Austin Dillon’s No. 3 Chevrolet SS for two races during the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup season at Talladega (May 4th) and Daytona (July 5th).
Bass Pro Shops has been associated with Dillon’s career dating back to 2010, when they sponsored his No. 3 Chevy Silverado in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, and also followed Dillon to the Nationwide Series as a sponsor for his No. 3 Chevy Camaro for RCR. The two won a pair of NASCAR championships together, and the retailer has also served as an associate sponsor for Dillon’s car in the NSCS this season.
During the announcement, Bass Pro Shops noted that the retailer has been involved in the sport of NASCAR since 1998, when they became an associate sponsor of RCR’s No. 3 Chevy Monte Carlo driven by legend Dale Earnhardt.
Now, the sponsor is back on the Cup level, paired with the No. 3 once again and hoping to elevate the program to Victory Lane. Already, Dillon has one pole to start the season at Daytona, where he posted a ninth-place finish, his best result to date during this rookie campaign. 21st at Texas last weekend, he’s currently 11th in the Sprint Cup championship standings.
For the Bojangles’ Southern 500 this weekend at Darlington, Dillon will have Dow Chemical on board as the primary sponsor for the No. 3 car.
Ruud To Sponsor Buescher, No. 99 RAB Racing Toyota
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Wednesday April 9, 2014
RAB Racing announced that Ruud, heating and cooling brand, will be on board the No. 99 Toyota Camry as primary sponsor this weekend at Darlington for the VFW Sport Clips Help-A-Hero 200 NASCAR Nationwide Series race. The brand joins Rheem as a primary sponsor of the car during the 2014 Nationwide Series campaign. Ruud will also sponsor the No. 99 of James Buescher in several other races this season, according to a team statement.
Buescher, the 2012 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Champion, is driving full-time for RAB Racing and making the transition from the Truck Series to the NNS this year. The No. 99 team was recently penalized by NASCAR at Bristol for a P3 penalty (illegal weight added to the car improperly, which was lost during the race), which led to crew chief Chris Rice being fined $10,000 and placed on probation until December 31st. Car chief John Guerra was also placed on probation by the sanctioning body for the incident.
Sitting ninth in points thus far in 2014, Buescher’s best finish this season has been 12th at Phoenix. The 24-year-old, Plano, Texas native has one career win and 14 top-10 finishes in the NNS since his first start in 2008.
Five Sprint Cup Teams Test At MIS For Goodyear
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Wednesday April 9, 2014
After a long winter in Michigan, five NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams visited Michigan International Speedway for a Goodyear Tire Test taking place both Tuesday and Wednesday this week. To prepare for the test, MIS reported having to use the track’s jet dryers to clear and melt snow and ice from the two-mile track.
Due to the snow melt, frost, and rain on Monday night, MIS had to delay the tire test for most of the day because of weepers around the track’s surface. The track crew worked throughout the afternoon to dry up the moisture so that testing could get safely underway. Finally, Greg Biffle took his No. 16 3M Ford Fusion to the asphalt at MIS around 4:00 PM ET as the first driver on track.
In addition to Biffle, Goodyear has scheduled drivers Clint Bowyer; Trevor Bayne; Ryan Newman; and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. to take part in the tire test, which is open to fans from 9 AM to 5 PM today.
Michigan International Speedway is in for a busy summer in the Irish Hills as the track plays host to the Quicken Loans 400 on June 15th, then the Pure Michigan 400 on August 17th.
Logano's Four Tires Triumph Over Jeff Gordon's Two At Texas
posted by Justin Tucker
Tuesday April 8, 2014
Joey Logano would overcome Mother Nature and a green-white-checkered restart with four-time Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon to win the rain-delayed Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. Logano, with his trip to Victory Lane Monday afternoon also became the seventh different Sprint Cup driver to win in 2014 in as many races.
Logano, who led a race-high 108 laps on the afternoon, appeared to be on his way to a dominating victory until two laps to go. That’s when Kurt Busch blew a left-rear tire on his No. 41 Chevrolet, spraying debris all over the track.
“When you got like 40-something laps after the last pit stop, you got a pretty sizable lead, really all you’re thinking is, ‘Where is the white flag? Where is the white flag?’” Logano said after the race. “Then, you go into turn one, you see the [No.] 41 up against the wall. You’re like, Please no caution, please no caution. Boom, it comes out. You got to be kidding me. You get so mad you can barely control yourself.”
This incident, the third for Busch on the day would set up a decisive yellow-flag pit stop before the final restart. Jeff Gordon and the No. 24 team then rolled the dice, jumping from sixth to first with only two tires while Logano and his Penske teammate Brad Keselowski would take four. Keselowski, who was second coming in would then get caught speeding while exiting pit road, eliminating him from contention. The Penske Racing driver, after leading 85 laps in his own right dropped to a disappointing 15th on the afternoon.
“That last caution was a shame,” Keselowski said, who lost a chance to become the series’ first two-time winner. “I was just trying to get a little too much on pit road, wanted to get us out front to be able to win the race and tried a little too hard.”
That left Logano dealing with Gordon and Brian Vickers directly in front on the restart. As the cars accelerated, he wasted no time dispatching Vickers for second and set his sights on the bumper of Gordon’s No. 24 Chevrolet. On the white-flag lap, Logano was able to take advantage of his four fresh tires to get underneath Gordon, clearing him by the exit of Turn 1.
“I mean, coming in sixth, you’re in that position that you can gamble,” said Gordon, who did earn a consolation prize — becoming the Sprint Cup points leader for the first time since the 2009 Coca-Cola 600 (see below). “You’re not going to win it with four tires, you’re not going to win it with none. I knew it was going to be hard to hold those guys off.”
After clearing Gordon, Logano was able to cruise to his fourth career Sprint Cup Series win, his second with Penske in a little over a season with the team. The driver’s confidence is high, stemming from crew chief Todd Gordon whom the 23-year-old was quick to praise after the race.
“He (Todd Gordon) made a last-minute decision to put fuel in it, gave me better balance for what I needed and the guys made the ‘money stop,’” Logano said of the ending. “I was the first guy out with four tires on.”
Behind Logano and Gordon in the top 5 were Kyle Busch in third, followed by Vickers fourth and rookie sensation Kyle Larson in fifth, the only rookie to run inside the top 20. Greg Biffle was sixth, Matt Kenseth seventh, while Clint Bowyer earned his second top-10 result in eighth. Paul Menard earned his fourth top 10 in five races, running ninth while pole sitter Tony Stewart rounded out the top 10.
Monday’s race started in bizarre fashion, under a rare, green-yellow flag condition for ten laps to ensure that the 1.5-mile quad-oval was dry and fit for racing. Jet dryers were still on the track during this period to help the process. Unfortunately, the air from the dryers managed to get inside the wheel wells and affect the hood and roof flaps of several cars. Keselowski’s Ford actually ended up with a damaged hood hinge, resulting in four pit stops during this period for repairs. Many additional cars came down pit road to fix the flaps as well. NASCAR allowed the cars affected to make their stops without penalty, provided that they not add fuel or change tires in the process.
Then, shortly after going green Dale Earnhardt, Jr.‘s day ended prematurely after just 14 laps when he misjudged his positioning and clipped the grass in Texas’ quad-oval. The miscue resulted in the car digging in, popping a wheelie and shooting the No. 88 Chevrolet straight into a SAFER-less wall, resulting in a fiery crash. Not only did that ruin Earnhardt’s day, but it also impacted the race of Hendrick teammate Jimmie Johnson. Johnson wound up with windshield damage and a bent left-front corner of his No. 48 Chevrolet. Losing multiple laps for repairs, Johnson ended up 25th on the day while Earnhardt Jr. was scored dead last (43rd).
“You can’t run through there they way they have these cars on the ground,” Earnhardt said of the incident. “Just a mistake on my part. I just didn’t know I was that close to the grass, and made a mistake.”
Kevin Harvick had another fast race car, one capable of going up and taking the lead away from teammate Stewart on Lap 25. However, Harvick’s run of bad luck continued after blowing an engine just a couple of laps later. Harvick ended up 42nd, sitting just 31 points inside the top 30 needed to make the Chase after his win at Phoenix.
A look at the Duck Commander 500 by the numbers. There were 18 lead changes among nine drivers, while seven cautions for 49 laps slowed the pace to 134.191 MPH.
Next weekend, the Sprint Cup Series heads to legendary Darlington Raceway for the Bojangles’ Southern 500. The Green flag is scheduled for 6:45 PM ET on Saturday night.
Keselowski - Busch Feud And Other Martinsville Sidebars To Follow
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Monday March 31, 2014
Keselowski, Busch Feud
Two former Penske Racing teammates didn’t play the part Sunday, Brad Keselowski and Kurt Busch starting a feud that almost kept the latter from Victory Lane. It all started during the competition caution, on Lap 43 when the two cars made contact on pit road. Keselowski claims Busch turned into him, breaking the front suspension on the Miller Lite Ford in an accident that also included Kasey Kahne.
“I started to check up and I just barely got in the back of him and Kurt (Busch) just accelerated and drove through us, absolutely drove through us,” Keselowski said inside the garage. “I tell you what, I’m about tired of his recklessness.”
So Keselowski went back on-track, found Busch’s No. 41 car and promptly slammed into its right side. Trying to flatten tires, it seemed the endeavor ultimately failed but still fired up Busch to the point he started ranting inside the car.
“Welp, guess we’re going to get in a fight afterwards,” Busch said. “I’m going to **** that dude’s ****ing face!”
After that, Busch got focused, starting a drive that would end with him in Victory Lane. Keselowski, meanwhile ran 38th and still remained frustrated after the race.
“Tell him come here. I’m right here,” he said when told Busch was OK with fighting. “He knows where I’m at. Leave Victory Lane and we’ll go.”
“He does awesome things for charity and he’s probably the most talented race car driver, but he’s also one of the dumbest, so put those three together.”
Busch’s response, initially was to downplay the incident. But when pressed in the media center, post-race he finally broke down a bit. Calling the contact by a damaged Keselowski a “punk-ass move,” Busch said he’d be enacting revenge at a time of his choosing.
At press time, Keselowski had calmed down a bit, claiming he wasn’t trying to wreck Busch on Twitter and that the rivalry would not continue into Texas. No penalties from NASCAR, by the way occurred during the race or are expected for either side.
Crafton Claims Rain-Delayed Kroger 250 Victory
Due to Saturday’s complete washout, the Camping World Truck Series held their second race of the season immediately after the Sprint Cup Series’ STP 500 wrapped up. With a 5:30 PM start time, some feared the race would be called early due to darkness. Ultimately, that was not a concern.
In a quick event, Matt Crafton took the lead from local favorite Timothy Peters on Lap 209. From there, Crafton held off the rest of the pack through two green-white-checkered restarts to claim his first career Martinsville grandfather clock.
In the scrum on the final restart, Darrell Wallace, Jr. rose up to second, while rookie Ben Kennedy was third. Johnny Sauter finished fourth while using the front end of his Toyota Tundra in a manner similar to a battering ram. Ryan Blaney rounded out the top-5 finishers.
For more on Sunday’s Camping World Truck Series race, please check out Kelly Crandall’s Tracking the Trucks race recap at Frontstretch.
Tires Fail To Adhere to Track
Goodyear tire engineers stated Sunday that it takes a track temperature of 80 degrees Fahrenheit in order for their tires to lay down a proper groove in the turns. On Sunday, the track temperature never reached that point during the race. As a result, tire wear was very high on Sunday. Rubber chunks would shear off, early during green-flag runs and gather just outside the racing groove.
Drivers would ask for new tires every 20 laps or so. If there was a caution, nearly the entire field would come in for fresh rubber. There were examples of
“The track conditions today were extremely challenging with the marbles,” said Kenseth, who recovered to run sixth while Stewart wasn’t so lucky (17th). “They just wouldn’t clean them up — I don’t know why. If you had warm tires and you got pushed up in there then you were going to lose 15 spots sometimes — it was that bad.”
If the story sounds familiar to readers, it should. Last Fall, track temperatures struggled to reach 80 degrees through much of the race. However, the tire issues that resulted were not quite as severe.
Check in with Matt and Jay on their site at CareyandCoffey.com.
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Voices from the Cheapseats · Jeff Meyer · Thursday October 11, 2012
In light of Dale Jr.’s shocking announcement yesterday, there are a few observations and/or questions that I’d like to throw out there.
As I read through the transcript of the news conference, the first thing that caught my eye were a few statements that seemed a bit off. Well duh, you say, the man has a concussion! Yeah, that’s very funny and all, but here is what struck me as strange.
“So I took it upon myself to — I contacted my sister, and we talked about seeing a neurosurgeon, and we ended up getting steered toward Dr. Petty.”
OK that is great! The man (or his sister) has the sense to get some referrals. After all, nothing but the best for a man of his stature. As I read on, this statement seemed strange.
“I trust his opinion. That’s why I went to see him. He’s been a good friend of mine for a long time and has helped me through a lot of injuries before,…”
Excuse me, but if he is such a good friend and a neurosurgeon to boot, why would you need to be ‘steered’ to him? I mean, wouldn’t he be the first one you’d ask? If I were good friends with say, Tiger Woods, and I needed some help with my golf game, I think that’s where I go for advice. Just sayin’. It’s all probably nothing, but as I said, it just came off as weird to me. Blame it on a law enforcement background!
Second of all, is it just me (and you need to read the transcript for this part) or did trying to follow Dr. Petty’s comments positively drip with the oration style of Brian France? What is it with rich people and their social skills? As you ponder that, lets get on to some other thoughts.
If you are reading this, I’m sure you are aware of Jr.’s comments on Sunday following the big crash. Basically what he was saying, and was lauded for it by everyone for finally speaking up to NASCAR, was that he was sick and tired of this pack racing produced by restrictor plates and would rather sit out a race at Daytona or Talladega it this kinda crap was going to continue.
OK, here’s the thing, no one in their right mind believes that Jr. would actually sit a big race out like the Daytona 500. NASCAR knows that too. So basically, what he said on Sunday was an idle threat. However, what if Jr. wanted to somehow put some weight behind his threat? How would you go about that? He is, after all, THE face of NASCAR. Even so, NASCAR isn’t about to do one damn thing to change the status quo. How does Jr. do it and do it in a diplomatic way? He essentially gives up on the Chase!
Think about it, after Sunday’s crash, Jr.’s chances of winning the Cup became about as good as Kyle Busch’s. He’s got nothing to lose by sitting out a couple of Chase races. NASCAR on the other hand, has it’s star player say “Hey, that last crash kinda re-injured me, I gotta sit out for a bit.” We all know that the only thing NASCAR will listen to is the sound of less money flowing into their coffers and this is an ingenious way for Jr. to maybe, just maybe, hit them where it hurts and possibly force them to make what ever changes need to be made to prevent the ‘Big One’ that NASCAR counts on no less than four times a year. I dunno, maybe I’m over-thinking it all.
One thing I do know for certain…if Dale Earnhardt, Jr. were in second or even third place in the standings right now, this press conference NEVER would have happened! Who’s gonna disagree with that?
Here are a few more things I thought of while on this whole subject…
How can the medical/coaching staff in college and professional football be so good at seeing a concussion almost instantly and take a player off the field, yet no one in NASCAR can?
And speaking of ‘The Big One’…ever notice how every year, four times a year, everybody always hollers someone is going to get killed! Yet no one ever does, even though the crashes get more and more spectacular? Granted they’ve tamed down a bit now that NASCAR got rid of the wing but still. We all know who the last person to get killed in a plate race was and that was not in a ‘Big One’! That man would still be alive today if only one simple safety device had been MANDATED BEFORE he died.
I hope Regan Smith wins!
Stay off the wall (and if you don’t, get yourself checked by an NFL guy!)
©2000 - 2008 Jeff Meyer and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
First off, I love this article, and hope he gets well soon. It will be different not seeing an Earnhardt in the race for the next 2 weeks. Secondly, I feel it is time for Dale Jr. to hitch-hike out of Hendrick Motorsports, and here is why. JR Nation (most of them anyways) don’t realize the talent he does have. But to tell you the truth, being at HMS, he isn’t able to show that. That being, is he has too much on his plate and is living up to expectations that he is not use to. Hendrick Motorsports is a top rated team that everyone is trying to beat and Dale Jr, to be honest, is just barely trying to keep up with the rest of his Hendrick teammates. I mean, for crying out loud, it tool Dale Jr. four years or so, just to grab his second career win for Hendrick Motorsport. Quite frankly, I hate to say this being a Dale Jr. fan, but it is probably going to take him another while for his next win. Kasey Kahne is in his first year with Hendrick Motorsports. It took Kasey just one year to get two victories. And I might add, is higher in points too. This is something us JR Nation should thing about. I really wish Dale never left DEI, I really do.
jr has so little self-confidence in himself that he has to call his sister FIRST, to discuss not feeling well to go to the doc?
it appears he’s been racing several week at less than 100%. hence his performance issues?
all the media has reported that mris are clear and everything looks normal. i had a concussion from a car crash years and years ago, head hit windshield when i was hit broadside. to this day, 35 yrs later when i still complain of chronic headaches that injury is discussed.
remember his dad raced once and passed out on pace laps and blamed it on a mix of advil and tomatoes he had eaten before race.
what concerns me is look at ricky craven…..ultimately concussions took him out of the sport. be interesting to see what happens in 2 weeks.
the fact that it was noted that gordon said he wouldn’t say he wasn’t feeling well if he is higher in points shows the pressure on these guys to perform. as with gordon, jr has had a number of wrecks over the years that were violent enough to have people wondering.
i guess it just needs to be decided, what is better, jr fueling the coffers of na$car, or his health or life.
Just a note on Ricky Craven, His concussion issues that caused him to miss races were in 1997-98. His best career years (results wise) happened after this event. (2001-2003) Reading between the lines, they have all had them. Dale Jr. is just the first to admit it.
I posted a (less articulate) comment on another website yesterday pondering the same thing. Did Jr do this to to force NASCAR to do something about restrictor plate racing. This is bad PR for NASCAR and bad for NASCAR’s bottom line economically. He was mathematically taken out of the chase last week and he knew he had symptoms of a concussion, why not put some weight behind his post Talladega comments.
So you think there was something “off” about Dale Jr’s press conference. It appears to me the only thing “off” is you. I understood the reasoning behind Dale’s PC and Dr Petty’s statements concerning how he came to his decision not to clear him to race. Perhaps you don’t have sufficient healthy brain cells to understand a completely understandable PC. With that said, you are inferring that somehow Dale chose to skip trying to improve his standing in the chase and instead finagle NASCAR in changing the RP racing. Dale Jr’s integrity is unquestionable, Your’s is debatable.
Oh, FYI, if you really listened to Dr Petty, much of determining a concussion comes directly from the patient, not a test. Football players are tested, then a series of questions are asked of them. The answers given by the player usually determines whether or not the player has a concussion.
Guess you don’t understand that either.
I had the same question about “being steered” when I read the transcript. I considerd the remark to be glad handing, but maybe it was the result of a concussion-fogged mind.
Junior has already won the 500 once and it’s not like he’ll ever be close enough to a championship that he’ll miss not getting those points. I was hoping that he would send a message by skipping the event. We already know from Talladega 1969 that a driver boycott won’t work, but the most popular driver would bring a lot of press to bear on NASCAR management.
Try to think of it like this. Fact, Jr has a concussion. If he was at the top of the standings he’d be driving with a concussion as long as he could walk (just like all the other drivers). However he’s not at the top of the standings and has a concussion. Why not make a statement? Why not press NASCAR? If that is what he’s doing then he is standing up for what’s right and for all drivers’ health. God knows the drivers need someone to look after their best interest because NASCAR sure as hell won’t.
While I think him purposely sitting out a race because of his feelings towards Talladega might be a little far fetched, I believe Nascar is getting exactly what they deserve in the end. And it goes 2 fold. 1.) for putting all their eggs in the Dale Jr. basket as their savior, and 2) the fact that 25 drivers could have been hurt or killed on Sunday and Nascar could care less because it sells tickets. Now their most popular driver is hurt because of it.
I like this article except at the end. Just because nobody got killed doesn’t make plate racing right.
And Dale Sr. died because of his stubbornness. Had he been wearing a full faced helmet, I firmly beleive he would still be with us today.
Whether or not this is a ploy by Jr to show NASCAR and the fans how dangers RP racing is, I’ve been saying for years that NASCAR needs to subtract each driver’s 2 worst finishes from their points total each year. Of course, with the Chase in place, that would be the 2 worst in the first 26 races (because no way are they getting rid of the Chase). In the Chase, I’m not sure if anyone would ever agree to dropping the lowest points race or any driver would willingly sit any race out while still in contention for a Championship.
But built in with dropping the 2 lowest points finishes would be the option for a driver to take one or 2 weeks off when injured to properly heal!! (NOT just take one or 2 weeks off for a vacation with the wife and kids, but actually a doctor-diagnosed injury or illness)
It would suck to not have my favorite driver in the race, but it would suck even more if he had to “retire” prematurely due to repeated head injuries….or worse.
Please dont misunderstand me. I am NOT defending RP racing. Any long time (well not even that long really, as I say it all the time it comes up)reader of mine knows, I say get rid of the plates altogether. Racing is about finding the limits of machine and man. Just because you CAN go into the corner at 230 doesn’t mean you SHOULD! I was just mentioning a thought that had occured to me.
And Pepper, the funny thing is,you only think I don’t understand the thinking behind the thinking of Dale and the doc when in fact, you are the one thinking erroneously!
(Put THAT in your Brian France quote book!)
Very interesting, Makes one stop and think doesn’t it? The thought went thru my mind ,zi wonder if Dale Jr——— NAH but —— good Blog Jeff ! You got a lot of people thinking. You dont’t think maybe NASCAR might see——- NAH! But maybe they might ?
Actually this story hasn’t gotten that much attention on sports radio.
Just goes to show how far the sport has dropped in terms of importance.
12 years ago this was the fastest growing spectator sport. Now it’s a slow dying sport. The Chase is not bringing people in.
Recent articles from Jeff Meyer:
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