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.
Happy Hour : The "Official" Journalist Of NASCAR · Kurt Smith · Friday May 16, 2008
Dear Dale Earnhardt, Jr.:
I’m writing to congratulate you on your terrific season so far. Smile, dude… Jeff Gordon would love to be in your position right now.
Still, I’m sure you grow weary of the press harping on that zero in the win column. Just this week alone, Pete Pistone of Racing One wrote a piece entitled Still in Search of Victory Lane. Buddy Shacklette’s column Jr. Nation Appears Alive And Well mentions the streak is now 72 races. Even our own Tom Bowles pointed out the Richmond incident that’s kept you winless in 2008. And so it goes — and will continue — as it has ever since you finished ninth at Daytona. If you listen to much of the racing press, your season so far has been a failure.
Don’t believe it.
You’re third in the standings — even with a DNF on the board. That’s after collecting four Top 5s and eight Top 10s so far…with only one finish out of the Top 15, the “weepers” incident at California. Hey cap’n, maybe I’m in the minority in the racing press, but I’m danged impressed with your first eleven races this year. I’m not sure if anyone informed you of this, but it’s your best start since 2004…and you had inferior equipment back then. If you keep going at that same rate, all you have to do is watch your mouth on TV and you’ll be right back in the hunt for a title.
So, when some eager beaver reporter asks for the billionth time why you haven’t won this year — after you’ve battled for 500 miles in the heat and finished third, no less — here’s a few answers you could give:
“I’m saving myself for the right race.”
“The gas pedal doesn’t go down far enough.”
Or even, “I’m afraid I might use a bad word in Victory Lane and cost myself points.”
Look, you get the picture: you’re the man as far as visibility. When you win, it’s news. When you don’t win, it’s news. Any product with your name on it sells, including racing articles. Websites are always looking for hits, and you always generate them — positive or negative (Thanks in advance, by the way).
It’s easy to understand why you’re a rock star, to paraphrase your estranged ex-owner. It’s not just being the son of a departed legend; it is also the low-key demeanor and maturity. There is rarely ever any whine out of your mouth, at least publicly, and people notice that. And for all of your considerable fame — even being on People Magazine’s Most Beautiful list, for heaven’s sake — none of it seems to have gone to your head. That is no small feat, especially considering the brightness of the spotlight thrust on you at a very young age.
I have to admit I once rooted against you, as I once strongly pulled against your father. But in eight years of seeing you handle that spotlight, even I’ve grown to become a supporter. However, with that enormous popularity can come unreasonable, almost impossible demands. One of those is the pressure that comes with not always finishing as well as you would like. And it was very clear that it bothered you that your former team’s owner did not seem to share your desire to bring home more wins and a championship for your fans. Junior Nation isn’t shy about their desire to see their hero up front; and it is noble of you to care about making them happy.
Going from the team Dale Sr. started to Hendrick Motorsports, of all places — a team that so many of your fans considered to be the Dark Side — couldn’t have been easy. What was going to happen to your father’s legacy once you left had to be weighing on your mind, as well as whether Junior Nation would consider you a sellout for joining the team that built cars for a hated driver who was once one of Dad’s biggest rivals on the track.
You did the right thing, man. Trust me.
The only problem is that now, driving for an elite team, you are expected to win, win, and win, to utterly dominate the circuit — since everyone knows you are ten times better than those prima donna drivers who lucked into good rides. Just 11 races into the season, the story is not that you’re having your best start since 2004, that you’re on your way to perhaps your best season ever, that you are outperforming all of your teammates — two of whom are multiple Cup champions — or that you have never run this well this consistently. No, the story is that JUNIOR HASN’T WON IN A HENDRICK CAR YET, disregarding that the team you drive for has only been to Victory Lane twice since 2001.
Pressure or no pressure from the racing media and Junior Nation, I’m certain that you would have battled Kyle Busch just as hard for the win at Richmond. That’s fine; it’s what racers do. But clearly in the interview afterward, you seemed a little upset with yourself for not taking the points with a second or third. Maybe you were reaching back for a little extra to quiet the critics (like that’s gonna happen). Not that you were to blame for that incident by any means, but regret was visible in your post-race interview.
Don’t worry, though; I’m here to help, to offer some meaningful advice. It’s simple, and it’s easy: forget what we in the press say about your thus far winless season.
The dirty little secret is that wins aren’t as important as consistency. I know that for you to say so out loud might arouse incredulous ire of the old school racers — especially those who were fans of your father — but it’s perfectly OK to take the points rather than risk wrecking going for a win. Senior won seven titles, in fact, by knowing when to do exactly that.
You’ve already won your fair share of Cup races. Big races, huge races, in fact; like your first win at Daytona after your father’s passing. You’ve won at Bristol. You’ve won at Phoenix and Texas. You’ve won four straight at Senior’s old house, Talladega. And you’ve won the 500, the granddaddy of them all. You’ve been there and done that; another win isn’t going to change that feeling.
So, it’s time to take the next step. Win a championship. You’re due.
And remember that championships don’t go to the driver with the most wins. Sometimes, winning a Cup can be as simple as putting up consistent Top 10 and Top 5 finishes every week, and simply taking the points. Just ask your buddy Matt Kenseth.
I know your fans want to see you get back into Victory Lane, because it has been a little while. I can appreciate that. But week in and week out, no matter how good you and your team are, the odds of winning for any car with 43 of the best of the best on the track are small. So despite what so many think, there is no shame in finishing second in a field of 43 of the best in the world — especially if you can do it more often than anyone else. You’re getting the job done like a champion this season, and don’t let anyone tell you different. There is a reason why they call it “big picture racing.”
I’m not saying don’t try for a win. What I’m saying is to get your best finish each week. Sooner or later, that is going to be first place. You’ll win eventually… but a win is only a win, and simply means you were the best for one week. It’s that championship which will truly place you among the greats.
So, focus on that — even if it means occasionally taking the points, and listening to further complaints from a media member constantly looking for a Junior story.
Kurt’s All-Star Shorts
©2000 - 2008 Kurt Smith and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
Good article , excellent perspective on a potentially great driver. Thanks and keep it up Fronstrecth , I love this site.
How do you come up with such trashy articles about drivers that “never were”, he is not even a “has been”!!
Oh, your correct, he is consistent! A CONSISTENT LOSER & WHINER!
Wonder how this poor guy feels now that all his press has been taken over by a REAL RACER called Kyle Busch?
I want to see racers go for the win, but a driver can’t win one week and wreck another and expect to win a championship. A true contender has to be there at the finish each week. Junior is on the right path and top fives and top tens are going to elevate him into true contention. The wins will come.
I guess if one was a close personal friend of Jr’s and thought he needed a pep talk and someones shoulder to cry on is about the only reason a person could do so much gushing.
What a great article. I am an avid fan of JR. You hit the nail right on the head!!! A win is only good for one time……a championship is forever. Thanks for telling it like it REALLY is. Marilyn
Excellent article. I did not start out as a member of Junior Nation either, but came to admire Dale Junior’s poise and maturity while under the microscope. This long time race fan and now member of Junior Nation has absolutely no complaints about the job Junior has done in 2008. Consistency of top finishes will pay off in the end and the wins will come.
Kurt, that was an excellent article. I’m a Junior fan and I couldn’t have said it better myself. Of course, I think it’s an internet requirement that at least one fool comes on and posts a hateful comment about Junior but hey, that’s what happens when someone is insecure about the driver they pull for.
Great Article…As a long time Junior fan and a pretty good judge of one’s character, I watch people from afar and there is a reason why Junior has so many fans. He has maturity for his young age, whereas Kyle Busch (the speed demon and spoiled brat) has really nothing going for him in life and is one of these people who thrive on the attention of others. He knows that JR. is more popular and he is just trying to divert the attention to himself.
Good article, thank you Kurt. Interesting that you once rooted against him and now you have seen the error of your ways! Truth is there wouldn’t be any reason for me to watch Nascar at all if it were not for this man – yes, I’m proud to say he has become my very brave hero! Go Dale #88!!!!!
Hey Lorraine, Jr is 10 years older than Kyle Busch is, so of course he is more mature. I’m sure you were a lot more mature at 33 than you were at 23, as well. Kyle is just experiencing too much success too soon, and let it go to his head.
Good article, Kurt.
I can’t believe you referenced Pistone or an article he wrote. He is a hack and in dire need to actually use a freakin spell checker. I think if we just stopped writing about, and reading about, Jr, he would have one less brick on his shoulders. He’ll be just fine. There has GOT to be other drivers out there to write about, isn’t there?
“…ten times better than those prima donna drivers who lucked into good rides…” Who are you thinking about here? I would have to assume its the “elite team” you spoke of prior to the quote. Gordon and Johnson lucked into good rides? You can’t be serious. Both of those rides were CREATED around driver, crew chief and owner. Thanks for the laugh!
Leave the “All-Star” race right were it is. The track and the date.
The Burnout Contest is already over – Kevin Harvick wins hands down. A straight-line street burnout beats a donut every time.
HankZ, just for clarification, since I may not have worded it well enough, I don’t actually think that Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson are “prima donnas who lucked into good rides”. I said it that way because that is the opinion of many out there, not Junior fans per se but fans in general. It is most certainly not my opinion. My fault if it is interpreted that way.
This is not NASCAR related, but I’m truely sorry to hear of John Rutseys’ passing. First time I saw Rush he was still their drummer. Rock On! Mike.
Roger wilco Kurt.
Hey Douglas. How ‘bout that Truck Race? Just gotta love Karma. Too bad Speed didn’t talk to Mr. Potatoe Head,‘scuse me, a REAL RACER after that result. No “rookie lap truck”, but a Champion driver made a mistake. Apology accepted? Doubt it.
They couldn’t have interviewed Kyle Busch after the truck race because he doesn’t grant interviews unless he wins!! And if he wrecks in the race, he leaves the track so there couldn’t possibly be an interview, now could there?
Sorry all! Do not watch the Truck Series!
But! To clarify once and for all:
KYLE BUSCH = 3
JR. = ZERO
Unless of course just riding around collecting points is your version of “racing”!!
It certainly isn’t to me!
“the Richmond incident that’s kept you winless in 2008.”
Who was passing who there? I belive Jr. was getting passed for the lead by Kyle Bush. So, if they had not crashed, it’s fair to say that Kyle Bush could of won, and very possibly had a better chance of victory than Jr. Normally the guy getting passed isn’t the person who “would of won”.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. is the next Kyle Petty. Get used to it, and your life will be much better, and you won’t have to write pep talks for Jr.
I’m waiting for him to cry after one of these races.