NASCAR Changes Qualifying Format
posted by Summer Bedgood
Tuesday March 11, 2014
Following safety concerns regarding NASCAR’s new qualifying format, the sanctioning body is introducing some changes in preparation for this weekend’s race at Bristol Motor Speedway. According to the Associated Press, NASCAR is banning teams from cool-down laps after their qualifying attempts, but will instead be allowed to hook up cool-down units to the engine through hood flaps.
Late Tuesday afternoon, a release from NASCAR fully detailed the changes. Teams will be allowed a single cool down unit to be connected through the right or left side hood flap, however the hood must remain closed. Additionally, two crew members will be allowed over the wall while cooling down.
“The qualifying is new to all of us and as we have said over the past several weeks, we are looking at it from all aspects,” said Robin Pemberton, vice president of competition and racing development. “Following discussions, both internally and with others in the garage area, we moved quickly to make a few revisions that will be effective starting with our two national series events at Bristol Motor Speedway this weekend. We believe this will only enhance and improve what has demonstrated to be an exciting form of qualifying for our fans, competitors and others involved with the sport. Moving forward we will continue to look at it and address anything else that we may need to as the season unfolds.”
The move comes after three weeks of NASCAR’s new knockout qualifying system, where multiple cars are allowed to make qualifying attempts at the same time instead of the traditional one-car-at-a-time procedure. Drivers and teams had complained that the new rules didn’t allow them to cool their engines down on pit road, and the cool-down laps caused a dangerous situation with slower cars staying on the track at the same time that other cars were running by them at much higher speeds.
The rule will begin this weekend in Bristol, a track that has a much narrower racing surface than Daytona, Phoenix, and Las Vegas.
Kurt Busch to Attempt The Indianapolis-Charlotte Double
posted by Phil Allaway
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Andretti Autosport announced this morning that Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet in the Sprint Cup Series, will attempt the Indianapolis 500 in a fifth entry for the IndyCar Series team. Once the Indianapolis 500 is completed, Busch will fly from Indianapolis to Charlotte, jump in his No. 41 Chevrolet and compete in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Busch considers the opportunity to do the double as an old-school throwback moment.
“This is really to challenge myself within motorsports,” Busch said in Andretti Autosport’s press release. “Perhaps I am a bit of an old-school racer; a throwback, I guess. I enjoyed the era of drivers racing different cars and testing themselves in other series. It is tough to do now for a variety of factors, but when the opportunity is there, I want to do it. While NASCAR is my home, I have been fortunate to compete in Pro Stock on the NHRA circuit a number of years ago and test a V8 Supercar. This opportunity was a talk with Michael [Andretti] over dinner one night, a “What if,” and now it’s becoming a reality for me to drive in the Indy 500 with Andretti Autosport. It’s literally a dream come true. To go to the famous Brickyard with the iconic Andretti name, it doesn’t get much cooler or better than that.”
Busch will be doing the Indianapolis-Charlotte double as a Memorial Day mission to men and women serving in the U.S. Military via the Armed Forces Foundation. Fans can contribute to the cause by texting AFF to 50555 to donate $10.
Busch, who has never raced an IndyCar, passed Rookie Orientation at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last year during a test session. At the time, Busch was more or less testing the Dallara DW12 for fun.
Busch will be the fourth driver to attempt the Indianapolis-Charlotte double. John Andretti was the first driver to attempt it in 1994. After finishing four laps down in tenth in Indianapolis, Andretti crashed and had engine problems in the 600. Robby Gordon has attempted the double five times, most recently in 2004. However, Gordon failed to make it to Charlotte on time and did not start the 600 in 2000 (P.J. Jones started Gordon’s No. 13 Ford in that instance). Finally, Tony Stewart has attempted the double twice (most recently in 2001) and is the only driver to ever complete all 1100 miles. Neither of the three drivers has won either leg of the double. The best finishes are Stewart and Gordon’s sixth-place finishes at the Indianapolis 500 (although Gordon’s came in 2000, the year he didn’t make it to Charlotte in time to start the Coca-Cola 600), and Stewart’s fourth-place finish in the 2001 Coca-Cola 600.
Danica Patrick, Justin Allgaier Talk About Phoenix Incident
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
A disappointing start to the year for Danica Patrick won’t include continued conflict. Patrick met with rookie Justin Allgaier Sunday, shortly after the Phoenix Cup race after a wreck ruined both drivers’ days. Patrick, who was critical of the No. 51 car on the radio, claiming Allgaier was “driving all over the track” appeared receptive to a conversation that quickly settled differences over what will be a long season.
“She was just upset because she got involved in the crash that we had,’’ said Allgaier to the Motor Racing Network. “She says she’s been through this and that she felt like I needed to settle down at that point. I explained my position on why everything happened. I think she understood where I was coming from. It doesn’t fix either one of our racecars. It doesn’t fix either one of our days. Unfortunately, we were both having pretty decent days.’’
Allgaier wound up 30th due to the incident while Patrick was 36th. The incident, which was caused by Allgaier’s spin also involved the No. 32 team and Travis Kvapil, which wound up 38th after sustaining heavy damage.
Camping World Close to Extending Title Sponsorship of NCWTS
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Marcus Lemonis, CEO of Camping World, Grand Marshal of Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway, and star of CNBC’s “The Profit,” made the announcement over the weekend that the retailer is very close to announcing a deal that would continue its title sponsorship of NASCAR’s Truck Series. The original agreement with NASCAR is scheduled to conclude after the 2015 season.
According to the sanctioning body, no formal contract has been signed, but “the agreement between the two parties has proven to be a beneficial one.”
“In about a month, we’ll be announcing a significant extension to that contract. It’s been great for us,” said Camping World’s Lemonis in a statement. “The NASCAR relationship has worked well for Camping World. When we started, we had 35 stores. Now, we’re up to 120 stores. As we travel the country and we meet new customers in stores, they always are very appreciative of our relationship with NASCAR. It’s been good.”
Gaining a long-term commitment from Camping World to sponsor the Truck Series would be a relief for NASCAR, which is set to lose Nationwide Insurance as title sponsor for the NASCAR Nationwide Series at the end of the 2014 season. The sponsorship of the Cup Series by Sprint runs through 2016.
The NCWTS is back in action on March 29th at 2:30 PM (ET) when the trucks visit Martinsville Speedway in the Kroger 250, which can be seen on Fox Sports 1. Ratings for the season opener were up 11 percent.
Harvick Takes Win At Phoenix In Second Race With New Team
posted by Justin Tucker
Monday March 3, 2014
Phoenix International Raceway has become Kevin Harvick’s home away from home. Sunday Afternoon was no exception as Harvick charged to the front early and would dominate for much of the day, leading 224 of the scheduled 312 laps to record his record fifth win on the one mile oval and his third win in the last four races at Phoenix.
Harvick, coming off of a disappointing Speedweeks which was capped by a last lap crash in the Daytona 500 in his debut with Stewart-Haas Racing, set the tone on Saturday by winning both practices while having the best 5 and 10-lap averages in the first practice of the day on Saturday. On Sunday, Harvick and his No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet was nothing short of flawless as he was able to hold Dale Earnhardt, Jr. by .489 seconds after a late race restart to claim his 24th career Sprint Cup Series victory.
“Man, this is awesome,” Harvick said after his dominant victory on Sunday. “Man, this just solidifies so many things and so many decisions. It’s been so much work with all the time and effort that these guys (the crew) have put in—but what a race car.”
Stewart Haas Racing co-owner Gene Haas shared in Harvick’s excitement after the race.
“It took long enough,” Haas joked. “This is phenomenal. I think there was a lot of skepticism last year about what myself and Tony (Stewart) what we were up to, was there a lot of madness to this. Quite frankly, it’s a great team, there’s a lot of synergy at the shop, people working together. I don’t know what we did, but I think we put together a great organization.”
Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt, Jr. continued his hot start to the 2014 season. Earnhardt Jr. would finish second on Sunday, marking his seventh consecutive top 10 finish since the end of the 2013 season. Earnhardt Jr. was pleased with the effort after a coast-to-coast whirlwind week after winning his second Daytona 500 and also gave great praise to the efforts of Harvick and the No. 4 team.
“I’ve got to congratulate Kevin. Those guys were two-tenths faster than everyone all weekend in practice. They were just phenomenal,” Earnhardt said. “To be able to run with them all day was a big confidence builder for us.”
Joining Harvick and Earnhardt in the top 5 of The Profit on CNBC 500K were Brad Keselowski with his second consecutive top 3 run of 2014 in third. Keselowski’s Team Penske teammate Joey Logano would finish fourth, and Jeff Gordon would come home fifth in his No. 24 Pepsi Max Chevrolet.
Jimmie Johnson finished in sixth, followed by Ryan Newman with a nice rebound after Daytona in seventh. Carl Edwards would carry the banner for Roush Fenway Racing by finishing eighth, Kyle Busch was ninth, and Jamie McMurray would finish tenth.
A look at the Profit on CNBC 500K by the numbers. There were 14 lead changes among eight different drivers, there were eight cautions for 39 laps which slowed the race pace to 109.229 MPH.
Next Sunday, the Sprint Cup Series heads to Sin City and the Las Vegas Motor
Starting Lineup: The Profit On CNBC 500K
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday March 1, 2014
Drivers in RED (i) are those ineligible to collect Sprint Cup points
Daytona 500 TV Ratings Down
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Wednesday February 26, 2014
What was the longest weather delay in Daytona 500 history turned out to bring NASCAR lower ratings and TV viewership Sunday night than expected. According to a report Monday from FOX Sports, the 56th running of the Daytona 500 airing at 8 PM (ET) posted a 5.6/10 national household rating/share which averaged 9.3 million viewers. That’s down 44 percent from last year’s 9.9, easily making it the least-watched Daytona 500 of all-time.
Due to the six-hour, twenty-two minute rain delay in Daytona, the race was up against the primetime coverage of the Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony from Sochi, Russia on NBC (15.25 million viewers). FOX also reported that 69% of the pre-rain delay viewers of the race, which began at 1 PM (ET) kept tuning in.
In comparison, the 2013 Daytona 500 on FOX was the most-watched race in five years, posting a 9.9/22 rating/share, commanding 16.7 million viewers. The Daytona 500 in 2012, the first to ever be run on a Monday and in the primetime slot did a 7.7/13 overnight rating/share which resulted in 13.67 million households viewing the race according to Nielsen TV ratings data.
Earnhardt, Jr. Claims Second Daytona 500 Victory
posted by Justin Tucker
Wednesday February 26, 2014
Ten years is a long time. For Dale Earnhardt, Jr., it felt like an eternity. NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver endured many near misses and close calls at the Daytona 500 since his only win in the Great American Race in 2004. Earnhardt had finished second in two of his last three Daytona 500s coming into Sunday’s race. He was also riding the tail of a 55-race winless streak, dating back to Michigan in 2012.
However nothing would stop Dale Jr. on Sunday, not even a 6 hour and 22 minute rain delay from capturing his second Daytona 500 win. Earnhardt Jr. led a race-high 54 laps on the evening and used some timely drafting help from teammates Jimmie Johnson and, on the final restart, Jeff Gordon to separate from the pack and secure the victory.
“Winning this race is the greatest feeling that you could feel in this sport besides accepting the trophy for the championship,” said a jubilant Earnhardt after pulling into Victory Lane. “We could fight off battle after battle. We got a little help at the end there from Jeff to get away on the restart. This is amazing. I can’t believe this is happening. I never take this for granted, man because it doesn’t happen twice, let alone once.”
Aside from the race itself the big story of the race was the 6 hour and 22 minute red flag, which threatened to move the race to Monday evening (had the race been postponed, FOX Sports’ Chris Myers had tweeted that the race would resume at 5:00pm EST). However, Mother Nature would cooperate and would allow the race to be run under different conditions from which they practiced this week. Once the race resumed, the intensity picked up from the changing track conditions. This allowed the pack to race side-by-side and at times 3-wide up to seven rows deep.
Joining Earnhardt Jr. in the top 5 for the 2014 Daytona 500 were: Denny Hamlin who closed out a spectacular Speedweeks in second, Brad Keselowski in third, Jeff Gordon in fourth, and Jimmie Johnson who overcome two wrecks leading up to the 500 in fifth.
Rounding out the top 10 in the Daytona 500 were Matt Kenseth in sixth, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. in seventh and Greg Biffle would bring his No. 16 Ford home in eighth. Austin Dillon would come home ninth in his first Cup Series race in the iconic No. 3 for Richard Childress Racing, while Casey Mears would round out the top 10.
A couple of major contenders for the Daytona 500 win would see their hopes dashed early on as Martin Truex, Jr. would blow up just 30 laps into the race, relegating him to a 43rd-place finish in his debut for Furniture Row Racing. Crew chief Todd Berrier was already in Nashville for a test session before the race was even over. Kyle Busch, meanwhile would have a pit road violation just before halfway and would spend much of the race battling back from that mistake. Busch would eventually finish 19th after leading 19 laps.
Danica Patrick would also be bit by bad luck as she was caught up in a multi-car wreck on lap 145. Patrick would lead her second consecutive Daytona 500, but wouldn’t have the finish to show for it finishing 40th. Tony Stewart would encounter a frustrating evening as well, with a fuel pickup problem derailing his quest for his first Daytona 500 win. Stewart would finish 35th.
A look at the Daytona 500 by the numbers. There were 42 lead changes among 18 drivers, while seven cautions for 39 laps would slow the race pace to 145.290 MPH.
Next week, the Sprint Cup Series heads to the “diamond in the desert,” Phoenix International Raceway for The Profit on CNBC 500K. The Green flag is scheduled for 3:15pm EST.
Nationwide Series Post-Race Quotes: Drive4COPD 300
posted by Thomas Bowles
Tuesday February 25, 2014
Frontstretch Interviews – Courtesy Mike Neff
ELLIOTT SADLER – FINISHED 4th
Thoughts on the race?
It’s definitely a lot different racing than what we’re used to.
Comfortable with it?
Yeah, it’s just different. You’re worried about what you’re doing, but you’re also worried about what everyone else is doing and they’re not doing more than you’re doing. Physically pushing a guy is way better than just riding so you just gotta time it right and push it to the edge.
Happy to start the year with a top 5?
Yeah. Hell, that was the worst we ran all day, I think. I have no idea how they put the 3 car in front of us on that last restart. I hadn’t seen the 3 car hardly all day. When they put us from fifth to sixth, on the outside line, it just really boxed us in. I would have really restarted behind my teammate and given him a good push to the front. Anyways, it is what it is; we’ll take it and move on.
Looked like you were up front all day.
The guys did a good job. We had a fast race car. Great pit stops, just really proud of these guys. The car’s in one piece and we can take it to Talladega now. Great job by my guys. A lot of effort came into coming down here to Daytona and giving ourselves a shot to win. We had that chance to be up front and make some things happen. Fifth is not what we want, but we’ll take it and move on.
Bumping vs Pushing?
It’s way harder. You don’t want to lay on the guy in front of you, so it’s tough racing. A lot different than what we’re used to, ‘cause you gotta go. You gotta drag the brake too ‘cause you don’t want to hit the guys and you don’t want to stay on him. It’s a lot harder mentally than what we’ve done in the past.
Car was strong all day. Pushing vs. Bumping, is that harder to do than just getting on somebody and pushing them?
Yeah, it is a little bit. When you bump ‘em, you jar ‘em, it kinda jacks ‘em a little bit. It’s a little more abrupt, obviously. I thought it was OK there at the end. It was certainly fun and hopefully entertaining. But a little bit of a struggle in the early part of the race and the midpart of the race to see a good race. And that’s unfortunate for the fans. You can’t do that the whole race, you can’t tear up your stuff, knock your grill in, overheat your motor, all that stuff so there’s no sense in doing all that until you get down to the last lap. The 7 and the 6, they did a good job. Man, the 7 really held the 22 and I tight on the bottom. I was rubbing his door and hitting the apron at the same time, no room whatsoever. So it was good; wish we were the ones who could have won but a lot better now than what we were last year.
Going home in one piece makes it a lot better, right?
Yeah. My back feels good. My foot feels good. Past years here, I’ve been going home with pain so I’m alright.
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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.
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Kevin Rutherford and Mark Howell · Wednesday April 17, 2013
Welcome back to Side By Side. There are always two sides to every story, and we’re going to bring them both, right here, every week. Two of our staff writers will face off on an important racing question … feel free to tell us what you think in the weekly poll and also in the comments section below!
This Week’s Question:Will Dale Earnhardt, Jr. win a Sprint Cup championship before he retires?
Kevin Rutherford, Senior Writer: Earnhardt, Jr. Will Win the Ultimate Prize
OK, I get it. Despite being NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver for a decade and having one of the most famous last names in all of auto racing, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. hasn’t exactly lived up to the throngs of cheers he’s received on race day. He’s never finished higher than third in the overall Cup standings, and has won only four times since 2005.
You’re wanting to tell me that means he’ll never win a championship? Ever? Nah. Not having it.
Don’t get me wrong here; I’m not going to sit here and say that he’s 100 percent, beyond a shadow of a doubt, going to win a title. I will, however, maintain that the potential is there, and that counting him out completely just isn’t necessary.
Just three weeks ago, Junior left California as the points leader, having amassed a formidable three top 5s and five top 10s in the first five races of the season. He’s followed up those results with not-so-wonderful finishes of 24th and 29th, but two races does not a season make. He’s still sixth in points, 35 behind leader Jimmie Johnson. Unless these unlucky results continue, he’s certainly a favorite to land in the Chase.
In 2012, Earnhardt, Jr. made the postseason and also won his first race since 2008, at Michigan in June. A crash during a test session at Kansas, in late August left him with a concussion, though he continued to compete until an accident at Talladega finally forced him out of the car for two weeks. By then, his results had suffered from the effects of his head injury. But before the Kansas wreck, he sat third in points, only 15 out of first.
The progress the driver of the No. 88 has shown since a fairly dismal 2009 and 2010 leaves the impression that Dale Earnhardt, Jr. isn’t down for the count just yet. He may not be the driver he was in the late ’90s and early ’00s, now pressing 40 years old, but forgive me for not completely counting out a driver who was a legitimate challenger last year and is tied for the second-most top-10 finishes in the series.
The real question is whether or not this driver can keep success within his grasp late in the season. Junior was certainly competing at a championship caliber up until about two-thirds into 2012, prior to his crashes. Even though his last two races this season have left much to be desired, his stats are still better now than they were at this point in the season last year.
What Earnhardt really needs is to go on the tear he experienced between Kansas and Michigan last season — eight races, three top 5s and seven top 10s, culminating in his Michigan triumph. As evidenced by the prowess of teammate Johnson so far, Hendrick Motorsports is firing on all cylinders, so there’s no reason to believe Earnhardt will falter because of overall team issues like he might if he were at, say, Richard Childress Racing right now.
He’s also known for having less-than-stellar showings in the Chase in recent years, when he even makes it in at all. That’s a warning flag, for sure, but past statistics don’t always mean very much — look at Brad Keselowski, circa 2012. It’s not exactly a major stretch to imagine Junior stringing together some better finishes, especially if he’s on a fairly good clip like he was last season before his injury.
If Earnhardt’s going to win a championship at all, it’s probably going to happen sometime in the next 10 years; I don’t expect him to remain competitive in the way his dad did at an older age. While he’s still a part of Hendrick Motorsports, arguably the sport’s best, he has the tools at his disposal to win not just one, but multiple championships.
To do so, the key is to keep up the pace he started in the first two-thirds of 2012 and in the first five races of 2013. If Earnhardt’s in contention to the very end, as a result, there’s really no reason he can’t pull one out, especially if he has a few great days compared to some bad days for others. I know the late 2000s were rough, but I’m just not ready to count the guy out just yet.
Mark Howell, Senior Writer: Earnhardt Will Retire Empty-Handed
Poor Dale Earnhardt, Jr.! He’s got all that opportunity, yet so few accolades to show for it. He has the famous name, the financially-stable background that often comes with such a famous moniker, and he’s a darling within the media-soaked world of NASCAR Nation. Why, then, has he yet to add a Sprint Cup championship to his career statistics? That’s a good question — one with an easy answer.
The answer to the “Why no Cup title for Junior?” question is this: it’s because a man named Mike Helton stepped up to a microphone on a Sunday evening at Daytona in 2001 and made the following statement: “We’ve lost Dale Earnhardt.”
At that moment (7:00 p.m. Eastern time on February 18, 2001; most race fans can probably tell you exactly where they were when they heard the news) any legitimate chance Dale Earnhardt, Jr. ever had of winning a Sprint Cup championship was swept under a tidal wave of newfound stress. This level of pressure, brought on by the expectations of (dare I say) millions of heartbroken Dale Earnhardt, Sr. fans, would affect the third-generation driver’s shot at ever taking home the big prize.
We’ve seen this movie before. Consider the record of Kyle Petty, another third-generation driver who had NASCAR success by the tail only to squander his shot at championships by trying his hand at a country music singing career. Too many expectations, too soon can result in a loss of professional momentum.
Junior’s Sprint Cup title hopes pretty much vanished after his father’s Chevrolet nosed into the retaining wall at Daytona on the final lap of the 500 in 2001; the young up-and-comer ascending the Cup ladder under his dad’s tutelage was, all of a sudden, the only Earnhardt competing regularly in NASCAR. As legions of grieving Dale Sr. fans faced a future without their beloved seven-time champion, their eyes (and loyalties) turned to Dale Jr. The hope was that Junior would show them the way.
What Junior wound up showing NASCAR Nation, instead was the tribulation of a young man torn by the pressure to win (and to win a lot) plus his need to … well, to be a young man.
Instead of grooming his competitive skills into those of a consistent contender, Junior appeared in music videos with Sheryl Crow and provided the voice for a character in an animated film. His often-rocky relationship with stepmother Teresa became gossip column fodder, leading the heir to the Earnhardt dynasty to take a ride with Hendrick Motorsports and leave his legacy behind.
Unfortunately, by the time Dale Jr. took the wheel of a Hendrick car in 2008, the Jimmie Johnson juggernaut was at full speed; any kind of momentum Junior had accumulated during his Cup career was overrun by the five straight championships collected by the No. 48 team, now his own teammates. Dale Jr. soon found himself sitting on stage during the annual media tour alongside four-time titlist Jeff Gordon and soon-to-be “Five-Time” himself.
Both Earnhardt and Hendrick have admitted to needing each other’s friendship during difficult times (Dale, Jr. following his father’s death in 2001, and Rick following the death of his son, Ricky, in 2004) but their professional alliance has done little over the years but prove frustrating for Junior Nation. Following his four-year winless streak (which ended last summer after 143 races) was akin to watching an ongoing hostage crisis. Toss in a couple of significant head injuries, plus a whole lot of bad racing luck, and that equals Junior’s championship hopes fading fast.
How bad have things gotten for Dale Jr.? Last month, following the Cup event in California, he was atop the Sprint Cup points for the first time since the summer of 2012. As I write this column today, just three weeks after the race at Fontana, Junior and his No. 88 Chevrolet sit sixth in the points. Battery woes at Texas dropped Dale, Jr. from a solid top-five run back to 27th-place finish. Woe is Junior…
The moral to this story is that Junior lost several key seasons between 2001 and 2012 where he could have established himself as a more-consistently relevant force for Sprint Cup championships. Those key years — before the concussions, the successful teammates, and the waning sponsorships — held the promise of multiple titles and a legacy perhaps rivaling that of his legendary father.
Oh, what might have been.
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What a load of garbage. Junior didn’t/won’t win a Cup Championship because his father died? That makes ZERO sense. He just hasn’t been a top five driver in the sport. He has nothing to be ashamed of. He was won the Daytona 500. When he retires he will likely have about 22-25 wins. That is a great number that puts him high up on the win chart.
I will also give you two examples of drivers who won championships despite their father’s tragic deaths in an on track incidents: Damon Hill & Jacques Villeneuve. I am sure their are more out there.
Correction: Graham Hill tragically died in a plane crash on the way home from a track. It was not a racing incident.
So how many races has Kyle won since Hendrick dumped him for Jr.? Neither has a championship but it’s still interesting.
I respect Jr. for leaving his daddy’s organization to go out on his own, but we all thought he would be winning races for Hendrick.
…..meanwhile…we’re all waiting for the hammer to drop on kez and Logano.
Nascar’s going to make an example out of them.
Gotta keep everybody scared and in their place.
I like Junior but my perception, and that’s all it is, is that he just doesn’t have a lot of confidence in himself. Part of that could be the high expectations that come with the name and the team he drives for; part of it could be that he’s surrounded by teammates with nine titles between them. Whatever the reason, I’m afraid Mark Howell will ultimately end up on the right side in this debate.
Just seen the penalties against Penske Racing. What a load of bullshit! How does NASCRAP justify the penalties when Helton himself said the rear end housings were not illegal but NASCRAP just didn’t like the looks of them?
NASCRAP at its finest !!
I agree that this is a load of garbage. You would think that it would make Jr even more determined to win a championship so his dad would be proud of him, not the way around.
I just don’t think Jr has the will to win that his dad did. He has had the best equipment, the best resources and backed by the most money in the sport and is still a mediocre Cup driver. He can win a race here and there but thats it.
I wish people would stop making excuses for him as to why he underachieves. Its always, “this will be the year” and he once again disappoints. He will never be considered a cup contender until he wins more and if he can’t do it with Hendrick, he won’t do it at all.