Kurt Busch to Attempt The Indianapolis-Charlotte Double
posted by Phil Allaway
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Andretti Autosport announced this morning that Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet in the Sprint Cup Series, will attempt the Indianapolis 500 in a fifth entry for the IndyCar Series team. Once the Indianapolis 500 is completed, Busch will fly from Indianapolis to Charlotte, jump in his No. 41 Chevrolet and compete in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Busch considers the opportunity to do the double as an old-school throwback moment.
“This is really to challenge myself within motorsports,” Busch said in Andretti Autosport’s press release. “Perhaps I am a bit of an old-school racer; a throwback, I guess. I enjoyed the era of drivers racing different cars and testing themselves in other series. It is tough to do now for a variety of factors, but when the opportunity is there, I want to do it. While NASCAR is my home, I have been fortunate to compete in Pro Stock on the NHRA circuit a number of years ago and test a V8 Supercar. This opportunity was a talk with Michael [Andretti] over dinner one night, a “What if,” and now it’s becoming a reality for me to drive in the Indy 500 with Andretti Autosport. It’s literally a dream come true. To go to the famous Brickyard with the iconic Andretti name, it doesn’t get much cooler or better than that.”
Busch will be doing the Indianapolis-Charlotte double as a Memorial Day mission to men and women serving in the U.S. Military via the Armed Forces Foundation. Fans can contribute to the cause by texting AFF to 50555 to donate $10.
Busch, who has never raced an IndyCar, passed Rookie Orientation at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last year during a test session. At the time, Busch was more or less testing the Dallara DW12 for fun.
Busch will be the fourth driver to attempt the Indianapolis-Charlotte double. John Andretti was the first driver to attempt it in 1994. After finishing four laps down in tenth in Indianapolis, Andretti crashed and had engine problems in the 600. Robby Gordon has attempted the double five times, most recently in 2004. However, Gordon failed to make it to Charlotte on time and did not start the 600 in 2000 (P.J. Jones started Gordon’s No. 13 Ford in that instance). Finally, Tony Stewart has attempted the double twice (most recently in 2001) and is the only driver to ever complete all 1100 miles. Neither of the three drivers has won either leg of the double. The best finishes are Stewart and Gordon’s sixth-place finishes at the Indianapolis 500 (although Gordon’s came in 2000, the year he didn’t make it to Charlotte in time to start the Coca-Cola 600), and Stewart’s fourth-place finish in the 2001 Coca-Cola 600.
Danica Patrick, Justin Allgaier Talk About Phoenix Incident
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
A disappointing start to the year for Danica Patrick won’t include continued conflict. Patrick met with rookie Justin Allgaier Sunday, shortly after the Phoenix Cup race after a wreck ruined both drivers’ days. Patrick, who was critical of the No. 51 car on the radio, claiming Allgaier was “driving all over the track” appeared receptive to a conversation that quickly settled differences over what will be a long season.
“She was just upset because she got involved in the crash that we had,’’ said Allgaier to the Motor Racing Network. “She says she’s been through this and that she felt like I needed to settle down at that point. I explained my position on why everything happened. I think she understood where I was coming from. It doesn’t fix either one of our racecars. It doesn’t fix either one of our days. Unfortunately, we were both having pretty decent days.’’
Allgaier wound up 30th due to the incident while Patrick was 36th. The incident, which was caused by Allgaier’s spin also involved the No. 32 team and Travis Kvapil, which wound up 38th after sustaining heavy damage.
Camping World Close to Extending Title Sponsorship of NCWTS
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Marcus Lemonis, CEO of Camping World, Grand Marshal of Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway, and star of CNBC’s “The Profit,” made the announcement over the weekend that the retailer is very close to announcing a deal that would continue its title sponsorship of NASCAR’s Truck Series. The original agreement with NASCAR is scheduled to conclude after the 2015 season.
According to the sanctioning body, no formal contract has been signed, but “the agreement between the two parties has proven to be a beneficial one.”
“In about a month, we’ll be announcing a significant extension to that contract. It’s been great for us,” said Camping World’s Lemonis in a statement. “The NASCAR relationship has worked well for Camping World. When we started, we had 35 stores. Now, we’re up to 120 stores. As we travel the country and we meet new customers in stores, they always are very appreciative of our relationship with NASCAR. It’s been good.”
Gaining a long-term commitment from Camping World to sponsor the Truck Series would be a relief for NASCAR, which is set to lose Nationwide Insurance as title sponsor for the NASCAR Nationwide Series at the end of the 2014 season. The sponsorship of the Cup Series by Sprint runs through 2016.
The NCWTS is back in action on March 29th at 2:30 PM (ET) when the trucks visit Martinsville Speedway in the Kroger 250, which can be seen on Fox Sports 1. Ratings for the season opener were up 11 percent.
Harvick Takes Win At Phoenix In Second Race With New Team
posted by Justin Tucker
Monday March 3, 2014
Phoenix International Raceway has become Kevin Harvick’s home away from home. Sunday Afternoon was no exception as Harvick charged to the front early and would dominate for much of the day, leading 224 of the scheduled 312 laps to record his record fifth win on the one mile oval and his third win in the last four races at Phoenix.
Harvick, coming off of a disappointing Speedweeks which was capped by a last lap crash in the Daytona 500 in his debut with Stewart-Haas Racing, set the tone on Saturday by winning both practices while having the best 5 and 10-lap averages in the first practice of the day on Saturday. On Sunday, Harvick and his No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet was nothing short of flawless as he was able to hold Dale Earnhardt, Jr. by .489 seconds after a late race restart to claim his 24th career Sprint Cup Series victory.
“Man, this is awesome,” Harvick said after his dominant victory on Sunday. “Man, this just solidifies so many things and so many decisions. It’s been so much work with all the time and effort that these guys (the crew) have put in—but what a race car.”
Stewart Haas Racing co-owner Gene Haas shared in Harvick’s excitement after the race.
“It took long enough,” Haas joked. “This is phenomenal. I think there was a lot of skepticism last year about what myself and Tony (Stewart) what we were up to, was there a lot of madness to this. Quite frankly, it’s a great team, there’s a lot of synergy at the shop, people working together. I don’t know what we did, but I think we put together a great organization.”
Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt, Jr. continued his hot start to the 2014 season. Earnhardt Jr. would finish second on Sunday, marking his seventh consecutive top 10 finish since the end of the 2013 season. Earnhardt Jr. was pleased with the effort after a coast-to-coast whirlwind week after winning his second Daytona 500 and also gave great praise to the efforts of Harvick and the No. 4 team.
“I’ve got to congratulate Kevin. Those guys were two-tenths faster than everyone all weekend in practice. They were just phenomenal,” Earnhardt said. “To be able to run with them all day was a big confidence builder for us.”
Joining Harvick and Earnhardt in the top 5 of The Profit on CNBC 500K were Brad Keselowski with his second consecutive top 3 run of 2014 in third. Keselowski’s Team Penske teammate Joey Logano would finish fourth, and Jeff Gordon would come home fifth in his No. 24 Pepsi Max Chevrolet.
Jimmie Johnson finished in sixth, followed by Ryan Newman with a nice rebound after Daytona in seventh. Carl Edwards would carry the banner for Roush Fenway Racing by finishing eighth, Kyle Busch was ninth, and Jamie McMurray would finish tenth.
A look at the Profit on CNBC 500K by the numbers. There were 14 lead changes among eight different drivers, there were eight cautions for 39 laps which slowed the race pace to 109.229 MPH.
Next Sunday, the Sprint Cup Series heads to Sin City and the Las Vegas Motor
Starting Lineup: The Profit On CNBC 500K
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday March 1, 2014
Drivers in RED (i) are those ineligible to collect Sprint Cup points
Daytona 500 TV Ratings Down
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Wednesday February 26, 2014
What was the longest weather delay in Daytona 500 history turned out to bring NASCAR lower ratings and TV viewership Sunday night than expected. According to a report Monday from FOX Sports, the 56th running of the Daytona 500 airing at 8 PM (ET) posted a 5.6/10 national household rating/share which averaged 9.3 million viewers. That’s down 44 percent from last year’s 9.9, easily making it the least-watched Daytona 500 of all-time.
Due to the six-hour, twenty-two minute rain delay in Daytona, the race was up against the primetime coverage of the Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony from Sochi, Russia on NBC (15.25 million viewers). FOX also reported that 69% of the pre-rain delay viewers of the race, which began at 1 PM (ET) kept tuning in.
In comparison, the 2013 Daytona 500 on FOX was the most-watched race in five years, posting a 9.9/22 rating/share, commanding 16.7 million viewers. The Daytona 500 in 2012, the first to ever be run on a Monday and in the primetime slot did a 7.7/13 overnight rating/share which resulted in 13.67 million households viewing the race according to Nielsen TV ratings data.
Earnhardt, Jr. Claims Second Daytona 500 Victory
posted by Justin Tucker
Wednesday February 26, 2014
Ten years is a long time. For Dale Earnhardt, Jr., it felt like an eternity. NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver endured many near misses and close calls at the Daytona 500 since his only win in the Great American Race in 2004. Earnhardt had finished second in two of his last three Daytona 500s coming into Sunday’s race. He was also riding the tail of a 55-race winless streak, dating back to Michigan in 2012.
However nothing would stop Dale Jr. on Sunday, not even a 6 hour and 22 minute rain delay from capturing his second Daytona 500 win. Earnhardt Jr. led a race-high 54 laps on the evening and used some timely drafting help from teammates Jimmie Johnson and, on the final restart, Jeff Gordon to separate from the pack and secure the victory.
“Winning this race is the greatest feeling that you could feel in this sport besides accepting the trophy for the championship,” said a jubilant Earnhardt after pulling into Victory Lane. “We could fight off battle after battle. We got a little help at the end there from Jeff to get away on the restart. This is amazing. I can’t believe this is happening. I never take this for granted, man because it doesn’t happen twice, let alone once.”
Aside from the race itself the big story of the race was the 6 hour and 22 minute red flag, which threatened to move the race to Monday evening (had the race been postponed, FOX Sports’ Chris Myers had tweeted that the race would resume at 5:00pm EST). However, Mother Nature would cooperate and would allow the race to be run under different conditions from which they practiced this week. Once the race resumed, the intensity picked up from the changing track conditions. This allowed the pack to race side-by-side and at times 3-wide up to seven rows deep.
Joining Earnhardt Jr. in the top 5 for the 2014 Daytona 500 were: Denny Hamlin who closed out a spectacular Speedweeks in second, Brad Keselowski in third, Jeff Gordon in fourth, and Jimmie Johnson who overcome two wrecks leading up to the 500 in fifth.
Rounding out the top 10 in the Daytona 500 were Matt Kenseth in sixth, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. in seventh and Greg Biffle would bring his No. 16 Ford home in eighth. Austin Dillon would come home ninth in his first Cup Series race in the iconic No. 3 for Richard Childress Racing, while Casey Mears would round out the top 10.
A couple of major contenders for the Daytona 500 win would see their hopes dashed early on as Martin Truex, Jr. would blow up just 30 laps into the race, relegating him to a 43rd-place finish in his debut for Furniture Row Racing. Crew chief Todd Berrier was already in Nashville for a test session before the race was even over. Kyle Busch, meanwhile would have a pit road violation just before halfway and would spend much of the race battling back from that mistake. Busch would eventually finish 19th after leading 19 laps.
Danica Patrick would also be bit by bad luck as she was caught up in a multi-car wreck on lap 145. Patrick would lead her second consecutive Daytona 500, but wouldn’t have the finish to show for it finishing 40th. Tony Stewart would encounter a frustrating evening as well, with a fuel pickup problem derailing his quest for his first Daytona 500 win. Stewart would finish 35th.
A look at the Daytona 500 by the numbers. There were 42 lead changes among 18 drivers, while seven cautions for 39 laps would slow the race pace to 145.290 MPH.
Next week, the Sprint Cup Series heads to the “diamond in the desert,” Phoenix International Raceway for The Profit on CNBC 500K. The Green flag is scheduled for 3:15pm EST.
Nationwide Series Post-Race Quotes: Drive4COPD 300
posted by Thomas Bowles
Tuesday February 25, 2014
Frontstretch Interviews – Courtesy Mike Neff
ELLIOTT SADLER – FINISHED 4th
Thoughts on the race?
It’s definitely a lot different racing than what we’re used to.
Comfortable with it?
Yeah, it’s just different. You’re worried about what you’re doing, but you’re also worried about what everyone else is doing and they’re not doing more than you’re doing. Physically pushing a guy is way better than just riding so you just gotta time it right and push it to the edge.
Happy to start the year with a top 5?
Yeah. Hell, that was the worst we ran all day, I think. I have no idea how they put the 3 car in front of us on that last restart. I hadn’t seen the 3 car hardly all day. When they put us from fifth to sixth, on the outside line, it just really boxed us in. I would have really restarted behind my teammate and given him a good push to the front. Anyways, it is what it is; we’ll take it and move on.
Looked like you were up front all day.
The guys did a good job. We had a fast race car. Great pit stops, just really proud of these guys. The car’s in one piece and we can take it to Talladega now. Great job by my guys. A lot of effort came into coming down here to Daytona and giving ourselves a shot to win. We had that chance to be up front and make some things happen. Fifth is not what we want, but we’ll take it and move on.
Bumping vs Pushing?
It’s way harder. You don’t want to lay on the guy in front of you, so it’s tough racing. A lot different than what we’re used to, ‘cause you gotta go. You gotta drag the brake too ‘cause you don’t want to hit the guys and you don’t want to stay on him. It’s a lot harder mentally than what we’ve done in the past.
Car was strong all day. Pushing vs. Bumping, is that harder to do than just getting on somebody and pushing them?
Yeah, it is a little bit. When you bump ‘em, you jar ‘em, it kinda jacks ‘em a little bit. It’s a little more abrupt, obviously. I thought it was OK there at the end. It was certainly fun and hopefully entertaining. But a little bit of a struggle in the early part of the race and the midpart of the race to see a good race. And that’s unfortunate for the fans. You can’t do that the whole race, you can’t tear up your stuff, knock your grill in, overheat your motor, all that stuff so there’s no sense in doing all that until you get down to the last lap. The 7 and the 6, they did a good job. Man, the 7 really held the 22 and I tight on the bottom. I was rubbing his door and hitting the apron at the same time, no room whatsoever. So it was good; wish we were the ones who could have won but a lot better now than what we were last year.
Going home in one piece makes it a lot better, right?
Yeah. My back feels good. My foot feels good. Past years here, I’ve been going home with pain so I’m alright.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Truck Series Post-Race Quotes: Daytona (Exclusives)
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday February 22, 2014
When you’re on the outside like that, how frustrating is it?
It’s so hard. Timothy Peters has won here. Kyle Busch has won everywhere. Ron Hornaday has been running Trucks forever, probably before I was even born. I was surrounded by veterans there, and like I told them I don’t have a rookie stripe but I’m a rookie. This is only my fourth Truck race ever, my fourth superspeedway race, and man, I figured out when the 17 got up in front of me, I pushed him. And as soon as I pushed him, he took off. And I went with him. And I just kept doing it, and before I knew it, he was leading. And I saw Ron in my mirror, backed up to him, and if it wasn’t for him, I don’t know what would have happened. I gotta thank him big time for that. That was a true teammate move right there. I really appreciate that. He just bounced off me and we got to the front. I tried my hardest to sidedraft Kyle. I was probably touching his door.
Top 5 in the No. 30 truck. This deal come together at the last minute, but you had a heck of a truck. Tell us about your night.
Yeah, I’ve got to thank Turner Scott Motorsports. The guys worked so hard on this Rheem Comfort Products Chevrolet. Exciting! Just got hung up on the outside and had to wait for my teammate there to catch up. And then he got to the bottom, so… I got the old 32 and started pushing ol’ Ryan to the front. So, it’s not bad. We’ll take it. You just don’t want to step over that boundary. You don’t know how far to push and shove. We bumped about six times down the straightaway without latching onto them. Hopefully, that was OK and we came home with a top 5.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Budweiser Duels Post Race Quotes
posted by Matt Stallknecht
Friday February 21, 2014
BUDWEISER DUELS POST-RACE QUOTES
They’re saying the wheel bearing burned up in it. I don’t know what caused it, they’re taking it all apart to figure out what the heck happened. Something abnormal that’s for sure I don’t think I’ve ever had that happen at all. Hopefully, we made the race and hopefully we can fix the problem before Sunday.
WHAT WAS THAT LOUD BOOM ONCE YOU TURNED INTO THE GARAGE?
Loud pop was a tire… thankfully, it popped, hopefully it didn’t hurt anybody. All the heat created in the left front that popped was pretty weird.
REALLY GOOD RUN. WHAT DID YOU THINK OF IT?
Yeah, it was good. We have a car we can work with for the 500. Got a good starting spot, so we’re going to rest easy, fluff and buff our car for a couple of days and get ready for Sunday.
ANY DIFFERENCE ON WHETHER THE TOP OR BOTTOM LANE WORKED?
Yeah, I was just moving around, trying to stay with the flow. For me, this car works on all parts of the racetrack. So I’m pretty happy with it.
DALE EARNHARDT, JR.
GOT SHUFFLED BACK, AFTER PIT STOPS AND THEN COULDN’T GET BACK UP TO THE FRONT. WHY?
Nah, we were just sitting there waiting until the last few laps to make a move. You didn’t want to pull down and get sent to the back. Seen a couple of guys get sent to the back really quick so we were just kind of waiting for the end. I felt like we had a good situation there with Ambrose behind us — we had a good run off Turn 2 and I went. It was the last lap, time to go do something, nobody went with us but hopefully Sunday is a different story.
We got a great car. We don’t have to work hard. We learned, we got a good race car. Got a car in one piece, ready to go so we’ll try and get through the next couple of practices, deliver it to the starting group this Sunday and we’ll be real happy.
YOU’RE IN THE DAYTONA 500!
Yeah, it’s pretty awesome. This Whitetail Chevrolet was so fast that I knew all I had to do was stick it behind smart, intelligent drafters and we could have a good finish. That’s what we did in the Duels and I’m excited. I’m excited to go do some stuff with the Nationwide car and have some more practice with this. But to know that we’re locked in the Daytona 500’s pretty cool.
YOU WERE OBVIOUSLY IN FRONT OF THAT MELEE AT THE END. WHEN YOU WERE UP FRONT THERE IN THE BEGINNING, WERE YOU HOPING TO JUST STAY IN LINE AND LET YOU FINISH TOP 5?
I was pretty content to ride and luckily I knew a lot of people around us were. It was nice to have a little calm and not really have to be racing hard the whole time. I knew that the pit stop was going to shake everything up and that’s exactly what happened. Fell back a little bit there but made the right moves at the end to get a good finish.
HOW STRONG ARE THESE RCR CARS?
They’re very strong! They definitely have the capabilities to be winning one of these races.
YOU’RE IN THE TOP 5 FOR YOUR HEAT IN THE DAYTONA 500. YOUR PRIMARY CAR IS SITTING RIGHT IN THE GARAGE, KIND OF WADDED UP. DID YOU THINK THIS ONE HAD IT IN IT?
Yeah, it’s a brand new car also. It’s just not quite as good as the primary but still a damned good car. I’m just proud of everybody at RCR for building such fast race cars. All of our cars have been fast, ECR motor’s been strong, even our affiliate teams have been qualifying really good and racing good. So… excited about 2014! It’s going to be a good year.
WELL MAN, YOU STARTED IN THE BACK BUT WORKED YOUR WAY TO THE FRONT WHEN IT COUNTED MOST. WERE YOU JUST BIDING YOUR TIME THROUGHOUT THE RACE?
Eh, you never know if you’re going to get back up there or not. We had to start at the back, we had to make a run early and see what we could do. We drove right to 10th, or something like that and then it got stagnant. We tried to make something happen, and went to the back again. Drove back up to the front. Again, just really proud of my guys. Matt Kruder did a hell of a job on that pit stop getting just enough gas in to gain some spots there.
RCR CARS SEEM PRETTY DARNED STRONG. DO YOU THINK THE RCR CARS HAVE SOMETHING FOR THEM ON SUNDAY — ESPECIALLY THE THREE JOE GIBBS RACING CARS THAT SEEM TO BE THE CLASS OF THE FIELD RIGHT NOW?
Oh yeah. The 20 car was extremely fast. The 11 didn’t qualify that good, but he’s a good drafter. I think he won. We definitely have something for him.
Check in with Matt and Jay on their site at CareyandCoffey.com.
Kurt Smith · Friday March 21, 2008
As everyone watching saw last Sunday, there was a marked difference in Tony Stewart's post-race demeanor between Atlanta and Bristol.
After being dumped by Kevin Harvick at Bristol â€” which relegated him to a 14th place finish in a race he dominated for most of the dayâ€”Stewart said as little as possible; a few sentences sarcastically taking the blame for the incident, and he was out of there. There probably wasn't anything he could say on television that described how he felt, but the fact that Harvick and Stewart are good friends had to be even more conflicting. What can you say after being punted by someone who is going to wax your back in two days?
His close friendship with Harvick notwithstanding, though, the tight-lipped interview was quite a contrast with Tony's post-race comments after Atlanta. After that one, Stewart let it all hang out — as only he can — in his rant about Goodyear. He pointed out, in so many words, that no other series considered their tires to be adequate, and that they should be ashamed of the product they put out on the track. He even threw in a superlative or two: like describing the Atlanta tire as the most pathetic tire he had ever raced on.
Talk about harsh. So, why the difference? At the very least, from these two incidents the NASCAR world can probably surmise that Stewart isn't as tight with Goodyear as he is with Harvick.
But friendship aside, Smoke walks a tightrope these days; let’s not forget, the man is still on probation following his Daytona incident with Kurt Busch. If he wasn’t, one wonders whether his post-Atlanta diatribe might have been directed at NASCAR instead of Goodyear.
That assertion is made in the context of Stewart's recent history. Not quite a year ago, as most of us remember, he openly fumed on his radio show about debris cautions playing a part in denying him a win at Phoenix. He called it "playing God," and accused the sanctioning body of not caring about the integrity of the sport. Had he left it at that, the words might not have warranted the heavy corrective hand of NASCAR; but he pushed the hot button further, comparing the sport to the WWE. Stewart wasn't the first person to say it by a long shot, but he was the first driver to openly repeat what fans, media, and even some quiet whispers in the garage had been saying.
The man had a point… somewhat. But instead of accusing NASCAR of throwing phony cautions to bunch up the field, he might have been better served had he questioned why yellows were being thrown for a piece of foam on the track at Phoenix, two months after it took NASCAR an eternity to throw a yellow flag when a dozen cars were wrecking at Daytona on the final lap.
Most of us remember the drama that followed those comments. Predictably, NASCAR was furious, and wouldn't let the No. 20 car out of the hauler the following week in Talladega until Tony was summoned into the hauler for a good talking-to… or a good paddle-whooping, however you look at it. Stewart reportedly heard the standard "you need us more than we need you" speech (which probably caused him, at least mentally, to make obscene wrist-jerking gestures), was fined $10,000 ("officially" for skipping a post-race interview, although Aric Almirola got away with doing just that following a Busch race a few weeks later), and was placed on probation for the rest of 2007.
While Stewart was contrite when interviewed, most hardly believed the man had pulled a 180 in the matter of seven days. With the penalties in hand, the veteran stepped back, and the end result was that NASCAR looked both disingenuous and arrogant. Point, orange.
Deep down, Stewart had to be shaking his head at NASCAR's sensitivity. Have you ever seen a wrestler accuse the WWE sanctioning body of fixing the sport? The whole idea of that would be laughable. Tony must have thought no one would take his WWE comment at face value because of the obvious point: that if NASCAR really was rigged, its participants wouldn't be saying so.
But the powers that be didn’t respond well to insults. And since Smoke seems to spend most of his time on probation these days, he surely knows now that he has to bite his tongue when it comes to criticizing NASCAR. He may not care personally — and that's what makes the wait for the possible release of his memoirs someday worthwhile — but he has teammates and a sponsor that are invested heavily in the fortunes of the Home Depot No. 20 car. And he recognizes that.
“I don’t think it’s worth it, to be honest,” he said in a media teleconference back in January about speaking out.“Most of the people you deal with on a weekly basis, nine out of the ten get it and know what you mean; but the tenth person that doesn’t get it makes it not worth it. It’s just a lot easier just to be kind of plain-Jane, and know that when you leave the track Sunday night, you don’t have to go to work Monday and Tuesday putting out fires.”
With that in mind, Stewart’s harangue in Atlanta could be viewed as an indirect way of going after NASCAR. Everyone knows that whatever problems Goodyear may be having, the new car is the root of their issues at the moment. Goodyear may be sincerely trying to bring a quality tire to the track, but they are obviously as mystified by the new car design as most of the teams and drivers are. That doesn’t leave the the company blameless; after seven years of research for the Snow Plow of Today (the SPoT), it's hard to believe that some fairly important things, such as what compound of rubber will be between the car and the track, apparently weren't thought out enough. But while Goodyear may bear some responsibility for the SPoT's handling problems, ultimately NASCAR should be on the hot seat for not working out tire compounds with their only supplier before putting 43 cars on a speedway to race at 200 MPH for 500 miles.
The bottom line is that the SPoT needs a lot of work that can't all be done by the teams, and that may well be what Tony Stewart was driving at in an indirect way. Coming at it from that perspective, he may have spared Kevin Harvick his usual post-wreck vitriol after Bristol not just out of friendship but out of simple class solidarity, since Harvick has to drive the SPoT every week, too.
It is to NASCAR's credit, I suppose, that they did not lower the boom on Stewart after his bashing of the official tire supplier — even if they would have had a tough time explaining why a penalty would have been justified. They may finally be anticipating fan backlash at their often open-ended rule enforcement; or maybe, Brian France really meant it when he said NASCAR is going to loosen drivers' leashes a little bit.
But based on past history, even without a penalty you wouldn’t be surprised if Stewart thought about the ramifications of two weeks straight of over the line outbursts. And that’s a shame; because it’s part of Tony Stewart’s personality to go over the line sometimes. No question about it. If and when he does again, NASCAR should just let him rip. Many times, there is at least a grain of truth to his rants, and from a ratings standpoint, they're always entertaining. NASCAR doesn't mind if people tune in just for the wrecks. They should consider that some folks just might watch to see what Tony Stewart is going to do or say this week. Punish him if he spins someone on pit road, but not if he says Vince McMahon could do a better job running the sport. NASCAR's and Goodyear's brass are big boys. They can handle it.
But considering the circumstances, perhaps Stewart did well to temper it a little bit at Bristol; some time needs to pass without incident so he gets off probation, and NASCAR isn't watching him so closely.
That way, when one of his trademark tirades is truly justified, he can spew as needed for maximum impact.
And so goes Happy Hour this week. Have a fine Easter, and see you before Martinsville.
©2000 - 2008 Kurt Smith and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
It was mentioned in a previous column on this website and I myself made a comment about why FOX was only showing the top 10 drivers in the ticker at the top. Fox mentioned they were having problems with their computer during the race, and it was not updating the running order as it should be. I saw it showing only the top ten once or twice in a row, then a full field update, then back to the top ten.
I think we need a new stat: percentage of a driver’s career spent on probation. That would be a fun read. Smoke has gotta be close to 50%…
Hey Kurt, dang, you guys at the “frontstretch” are good, what wonderful reading!
Oh, and regarding FOX concentrating on the top ten drivers! I don’t buy the fact they had problems, why? Because when they finally did start scrolling past the top ten, they got to about 20 in the rundown and then CUT TO A COMMERCIAL!
They care not about the “lower” 33 cars!
You can’t really think that FOX plans commercial breaks around the ticker. It was just unfortunate timing that their ticker started working correctly as they were hitting a commercial. Not everything in NASCAR is a conspiracy.
Douglas is correct . There was only time to scroll to tenth before it was time to go to commercial again .
There have been only a handfull of drivers over the years whose careers would not have been affected in the least if they had left NASCAR and gone racing somewhere else . They had already made names for themselves in other types of racing . AJ Foyt comes to mind . How much sleep would AJ have lost if he had to leave NASCAR ? If Tony walks away , and i sure hope he doesn’t , he will be forced to go win the Indy 500 .
Dale jr , Jeff Gordon , JIMMY JOHNSON , matt kennseth and most reccently CARL EDWARDS , kyle bush ,denny hamlin and KASEY KANE are most vital to NA$CAR along with SMOKE.
Hey Steven M, I would think this obviously would not need further explanation, but for your benefit here goes!
(gee, does that sound crass?)
IF!! FOX has a scrolling problem, and all they can show is the top ten (which I am not buying for an instant)then WHEN THEY DO GET THE OP TO DO A FULL FIELD RUNDOWN, don’t you think someone at FOX would think they owe that to the viewers and hold off on the commercial breaks?
And I don’t call it a “conspiracy”, I call it plain STUPID and not really caring about the racing or the running order!
“I know we here at FOX apologize for the lack of a complete running order, we will get you a complete running order as soon as we can”, oh great news, we can now provide all you viewers the complete running order”, “here it comes, oh, sorry, we now have to cut to a commercial break”!!
Then the viewers are once again shown only the top ten!
So who is not thinking?
If you examine the focus of the majority of Tony’s criticisms of Nascar, it is not a stretch to think of the same criticisms coming from ol’ Ironhead. So I just consider it to be Tony’s channeling of what Earnhardt would be thinking now, especially the phony caution issue. Which is a very real issue by the way and one that Dale would have called Nascar out on as well if he were here. Maybe he did at that…..
I was surprised to see Smoke swallow hard and make nice after Harvick took him out. After being “waxed” for pelt removal on his radio show, it was great to see it confirmed there are no upfront hard feelings.
In my opinion, during post race interviews, it would have been an honorable thing for Harvick to credit Tony for moving up the track — at least twice — to give him racing and passing room.
Regarding the crawler having only the top ten cars — I though about it during the race. Bristol laps occur at the speed of light, probably not enough time to show more than ten cars.
Makes sense to me.
TONYS comments on nascar staging cautions was SPOT on then , and about due again …how many of us watched the yellow NOT wave when folks hit the wall and spew debris down the track , and then see a yellow thrown before JIMMIE could even get all the way spun out ? Just like a few weeks ago when caution didnt come out to trap him and gordo in pits and a lap down …DONT tell me the flagmans decision cause its not !! AS for the rest of tonys tirades : hes never too far from the TRUTH … ANYONE doubt that dale sr would speak as loud and clear on some of the same BS that na$car has doled out ?
RIGHT ON TARGET.
I noticed last year, after Tony’s comments, that the caution was thrown LESS.
And nascar listens in on communications too. Was it Pocono last year with Jeff Gordon screaming “caution, caution, now! Now!” Jeff knows they listen. He got his caution.