Kurt Busch to Attempt The Indianapolis-Charlotte Double
posted by Phil Allaway
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Andretti Autosport announced this morning that Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet in the Sprint Cup Series, will attempt the Indianapolis 500 in a fifth entry for the IndyCar Series team. Once the Indianapolis 500 is completed, Busch will fly from Indianapolis to Charlotte, jump in his No. 41 Chevrolet and compete in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Busch considers the opportunity to do the double as an old-school throwback moment.
“This is really to challenge myself within motorsports,” Busch said in Andretti Autosport’s press release. “Perhaps I am a bit of an old-school racer; a throwback, I guess. I enjoyed the era of drivers racing different cars and testing themselves in other series. It is tough to do now for a variety of factors, but when the opportunity is there, I want to do it. While NASCAR is my home, I have been fortunate to compete in Pro Stock on the NHRA circuit a number of years ago and test a V8 Supercar. This opportunity was a talk with Michael [Andretti] over dinner one night, a “What if,” and now it’s becoming a reality for me to drive in the Indy 500 with Andretti Autosport. It’s literally a dream come true. To go to the famous Brickyard with the iconic Andretti name, it doesn’t get much cooler or better than that.”
Busch will be doing the Indianapolis-Charlotte double as a Memorial Day mission to men and women serving in the U.S. Military via the Armed Forces Foundation. Fans can contribute to the cause by texting AFF to 50555 to donate $10.
Busch, who has never raced an IndyCar, passed Rookie Orientation at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last year during a test session. At the time, Busch was more or less testing the Dallara DW12 for fun.
Busch will be the fourth driver to attempt the Indianapolis-Charlotte double. John Andretti was the first driver to attempt it in 1994. After finishing four laps down in tenth in Indianapolis, Andretti crashed and had engine problems in the 600. Robby Gordon has attempted the double five times, most recently in 2004. However, Gordon failed to make it to Charlotte on time and did not start the 600 in 2000 (P.J. Jones started Gordon’s No. 13 Ford in that instance). Finally, Tony Stewart has attempted the double twice (most recently in 2001) and is the only driver to ever complete all 1100 miles. Neither of the three drivers has won either leg of the double. The best finishes are Stewart and Gordon’s sixth-place finishes at the Indianapolis 500 (although Gordon’s came in 2000, the year he didn’t make it to Charlotte in time to start the Coca-Cola 600), and Stewart’s fourth-place finish in the 2001 Coca-Cola 600.
Danica Patrick, Justin Allgaier Talk About Phoenix Incident
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
A disappointing start to the year for Danica Patrick won’t include continued conflict. Patrick met with rookie Justin Allgaier Sunday, shortly after the Phoenix Cup race after a wreck ruined both drivers’ days. Patrick, who was critical of the No. 51 car on the radio, claiming Allgaier was “driving all over the track” appeared receptive to a conversation that quickly settled differences over what will be a long season.
“She was just upset because she got involved in the crash that we had,’’ said Allgaier to the Motor Racing Network. “She says she’s been through this and that she felt like I needed to settle down at that point. I explained my position on why everything happened. I think she understood where I was coming from. It doesn’t fix either one of our racecars. It doesn’t fix either one of our days. Unfortunately, we were both having pretty decent days.’’
Allgaier wound up 30th due to the incident while Patrick was 36th. The incident, which was caused by Allgaier’s spin also involved the No. 32 team and Travis Kvapil, which wound up 38th after sustaining heavy damage.
Camping World Close to Extending Title Sponsorship of NCWTS
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Marcus Lemonis, CEO of Camping World, Grand Marshal of Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway, and star of CNBC’s “The Profit,” made the announcement over the weekend that the retailer is very close to announcing a deal that would continue its title sponsorship of NASCAR’s Truck Series. The original agreement with NASCAR is scheduled to conclude after the 2015 season.
According to the sanctioning body, no formal contract has been signed, but “the agreement between the two parties has proven to be a beneficial one.”
“In about a month, we’ll be announcing a significant extension to that contract. It’s been great for us,” said Camping World’s Lemonis in a statement. “The NASCAR relationship has worked well for Camping World. When we started, we had 35 stores. Now, we’re up to 120 stores. As we travel the country and we meet new customers in stores, they always are very appreciative of our relationship with NASCAR. It’s been good.”
Gaining a long-term commitment from Camping World to sponsor the Truck Series would be a relief for NASCAR, which is set to lose Nationwide Insurance as title sponsor for the NASCAR Nationwide Series at the end of the 2014 season. The sponsorship of the Cup Series by Sprint runs through 2016.
The NCWTS is back in action on March 29th at 2:30 PM (ET) when the trucks visit Martinsville Speedway in the Kroger 250, which can be seen on Fox Sports 1. Ratings for the season opener were up 11 percent.
Harvick Takes Win At Phoenix In Second Race With New Team
posted by Justin Tucker
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Phoenix International Raceway has become Kevin Harvick’s home away from home. Sunday Afternoon was no exception as Harvick charged to the front early and would dominate for much of the day, leading 224 of the scheduled 312 laps to record his record fifth win on the one mile oval and his third win in the last four races at Phoenix.
Harvick, coming off of a disappointing Speedweeks which was capped by a last lap crash in the Daytona 500 in his debut with Stewart-Haas Racing, set the tone on Saturday by winning both practices while having the best 5 and 10-lap averages in the first practice of the day on Saturday. On Sunday, Harvick and his No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet was nothing short of flawless as he was able to hold Dale Earnhardt, Jr. by .489 seconds after a late race restart to claim his 24th career Sprint Cup Series victory.
“Man, this is awesome,” Harvick said after his dominant victory on Sunday. “Man, this just solidifies so many things and so many decisions. It’s been so much work with all the time and effort that these guys (the crew) have put in—but what a race car.”
Stewart Haas Racing co-owner Gene Haas shared in Harvick’s excitement after the race.
“It took long enough,” Haas joked. “This is phenomenal. I think there was a lot of skepticism last year about what myself and Tony (Stewart) what we were up to, was there a lot of madness to this. Quite frankly, it’s a great team, there’s a lot of synergy at the shop, people working together. I don’t know what we did, but I think we put together a great organization.”
Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt, Jr. continued his hot start to the 2014 season. Earnhardt Jr. would finish second on Sunday, marking his seventh consecutive top 10 finish since the end of the 2013 season. Earnhardt Jr. was pleased with the effort after a coast-to-coast whirlwind week after winning his second Daytona 500 and also gave great praise to the efforts of Harvick and the No. 4 team.
“I’ve got to congratulate Kevin. Those guys were two-tenths faster than everyone all weekend in practice. They were just phenomenal,” Earnhardt said. “To be able to run with them all day was a big confidence builder for us.”
Joining Harvick and Earnhardt in the top 5 of The Profit on CNBC 500K were Brad Keselowski with his second consecutive top 3 run of 2014 in third. Keselowski’s Team Penske teammate Joey Logano would finish fourth, and Jeff Gordon would come home fifth in his No. 24 Pepsi Max Chevrolet.
Jimmie Johnson finished in sixth, followed by Ryan Newman with a nice rebound after Daytona in seventh. Carl Edwards would carry the banner for Roush Fenway Racing by finishing eighth, Kyle Busch was ninth, and Jamie McMurray would finish tenth.
A look at the Profit on CNBC 500K by the numbers. There were 14 lead changes among eight different drivers, there were eight cautions for 39 laps which slowed the race pace to 109.229 MPH.
Next Sunday, the Sprint Cup Series heads to Sin City and the Las Vegas Motor
Starting Lineup: The Profit On CNBC 500K
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday March 1, 2014
Drivers in RED (i) are those ineligible to collect Sprint Cup points
Daytona 500 TV Ratings Down
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Wednesday February 26, 2014
What was the longest weather delay in Daytona 500 history turned out to bring NASCAR lower ratings and TV viewership Sunday night than expected. According to a report Monday from FOX Sports, the 56th running of the Daytona 500 airing at 8 PM (ET) posted a 5.6/10 national household rating/share which averaged 9.3 million viewers. That’s down 44 percent from last year’s 9.9, easily making it the least-watched Daytona 500 of all-time.
Due to the six-hour, twenty-two minute rain delay in Daytona, the race was up against the primetime coverage of the Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony from Sochi, Russia on NBC (15.25 million viewers). FOX also reported that 69% of the pre-rain delay viewers of the race, which began at 1 PM (ET) kept tuning in.
In comparison, the 2013 Daytona 500 on FOX was the most-watched race in five years, posting a 9.9/22 rating/share, commanding 16.7 million viewers. The Daytona 500 in 2012, the first to ever be run on a Monday and in the primetime slot did a 7.7/13 overnight rating/share which resulted in 13.67 million households viewing the race according to Nielsen TV ratings data.
Earnhardt, Jr. Claims Second Daytona 500 Victory
posted by Justin Tucker
Wednesday February 26, 2014
Ten years is a long time. For Dale Earnhardt, Jr., it felt like an eternity. NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver endured many near misses and close calls at the Daytona 500 since his only win in the Great American Race in 2004. Earnhardt had finished second in two of his last three Daytona 500s coming into Sunday’s race. He was also riding the tail of a 55-race winless streak, dating back to Michigan in 2012.
However nothing would stop Dale Jr. on Sunday, not even a 6 hour and 22 minute rain delay from capturing his second Daytona 500 win. Earnhardt Jr. led a race-high 54 laps on the evening and used some timely drafting help from teammates Jimmie Johnson and, on the final restart, Jeff Gordon to separate from the pack and secure the victory.
“Winning this race is the greatest feeling that you could feel in this sport besides accepting the trophy for the championship,” said a jubilant Earnhardt after pulling into Victory Lane. “We could fight off battle after battle. We got a little help at the end there from Jeff to get away on the restart. This is amazing. I can’t believe this is happening. I never take this for granted, man because it doesn’t happen twice, let alone once.”
Aside from the race itself the big story of the race was the 6 hour and 22 minute red flag, which threatened to move the race to Monday evening (had the race been postponed, FOX Sports’ Chris Myers had tweeted that the race would resume at 5:00pm EST). However, Mother Nature would cooperate and would allow the race to be run under different conditions from which they practiced this week. Once the race resumed, the intensity picked up from the changing track conditions. This allowed the pack to race side-by-side and at times 3-wide up to seven rows deep.
Joining Earnhardt Jr. in the top 5 for the 2014 Daytona 500 were: Denny Hamlin who closed out a spectacular Speedweeks in second, Brad Keselowski in third, Jeff Gordon in fourth, and Jimmie Johnson who overcome two wrecks leading up to the 500 in fifth.
Rounding out the top 10 in the Daytona 500 were Matt Kenseth in sixth, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. in seventh and Greg Biffle would bring his No. 16 Ford home in eighth. Austin Dillon would come home ninth in his first Cup Series race in the iconic No. 3 for Richard Childress Racing, while Casey Mears would round out the top 10.
A couple of major contenders for the Daytona 500 win would see their hopes dashed early on as Martin Truex, Jr. would blow up just 30 laps into the race, relegating him to a 43rd-place finish in his debut for Furniture Row Racing. Crew chief Todd Berrier was already in Nashville for a test session before the race was even over. Kyle Busch, meanwhile would have a pit road violation just before halfway and would spend much of the race battling back from that mistake. Busch would eventually finish 19th after leading 19 laps.
Danica Patrick would also be bit by bad luck as she was caught up in a multi-car wreck on lap 145. Patrick would lead her second consecutive Daytona 500, but wouldn’t have the finish to show for it finishing 40th. Tony Stewart would encounter a frustrating evening as well, with a fuel pickup problem derailing his quest for his first Daytona 500 win. Stewart would finish 35th.
A look at the Daytona 500 by the numbers. There were 42 lead changes among 18 drivers, while seven cautions for 39 laps would slow the race pace to 145.290 MPH.
Next week, the Sprint Cup Series heads to the “diamond in the desert,” Phoenix International Raceway for The Profit on CNBC 500K. The Green flag is scheduled for 3:15pm EST.
Nationwide Series Post-Race Quotes: Drive4COPD 300
posted by Thomas Bowles
Tuesday February 25, 2014
Frontstretch Interviews – Courtesy Mike Neff
ELLIOTT SADLER – FINISHED 4th
Thoughts on the race?
It’s definitely a lot different racing than what we’re used to.
Comfortable with it?
Yeah, it’s just different. You’re worried about what you’re doing, but you’re also worried about what everyone else is doing and they’re not doing more than you’re doing. Physically pushing a guy is way better than just riding so you just gotta time it right and push it to the edge.
Happy to start the year with a top 5?
Yeah. Hell, that was the worst we ran all day, I think. I have no idea how they put the 3 car in front of us on that last restart. I hadn’t seen the 3 car hardly all day. When they put us from fifth to sixth, on the outside line, it just really boxed us in. I would have really restarted behind my teammate and given him a good push to the front. Anyways, it is what it is; we’ll take it and move on.
Looked like you were up front all day.
The guys did a good job. We had a fast race car. Great pit stops, just really proud of these guys. The car’s in one piece and we can take it to Talladega now. Great job by my guys. A lot of effort came into coming down here to Daytona and giving ourselves a shot to win. We had that chance to be up front and make some things happen. Fifth is not what we want, but we’ll take it and move on.
Bumping vs Pushing?
It’s way harder. You don’t want to lay on the guy in front of you, so it’s tough racing. A lot different than what we’re used to, ‘cause you gotta go. You gotta drag the brake too ‘cause you don’t want to hit the guys and you don’t want to stay on him. It’s a lot harder mentally than what we’ve done in the past.
Car was strong all day. Pushing vs. Bumping, is that harder to do than just getting on somebody and pushing them?
Yeah, it is a little bit. When you bump ‘em, you jar ‘em, it kinda jacks ‘em a little bit. It’s a little more abrupt, obviously. I thought it was OK there at the end. It was certainly fun and hopefully entertaining. But a little bit of a struggle in the early part of the race and the midpart of the race to see a good race. And that’s unfortunate for the fans. You can’t do that the whole race, you can’t tear up your stuff, knock your grill in, overheat your motor, all that stuff so there’s no sense in doing all that until you get down to the last lap. The 7 and the 6, they did a good job. Man, the 7 really held the 22 and I tight on the bottom. I was rubbing his door and hitting the apron at the same time, no room whatsoever. So it was good; wish we were the ones who could have won but a lot better now than what we were last year.
Going home in one piece makes it a lot better, right?
Yeah. My back feels good. My foot feels good. Past years here, I’ve been going home with pain so I’m alright.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Truck Series Post-Race Quotes: Daytona (Exclusives)
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday February 22, 2014
When you’re on the outside like that, how frustrating is it?
It’s so hard. Timothy Peters has won here. Kyle Busch has won everywhere. Ron Hornaday has been running Trucks forever, probably before I was even born. I was surrounded by veterans there, and like I told them I don’t have a rookie stripe but I’m a rookie. This is only my fourth Truck race ever, my fourth superspeedway race, and man, I figured out when the 17 got up in front of me, I pushed him. And as soon as I pushed him, he took off. And I went with him. And I just kept doing it, and before I knew it, he was leading. And I saw Ron in my mirror, backed up to him, and if it wasn’t for him, I don’t know what would have happened. I gotta thank him big time for that. That was a true teammate move right there. I really appreciate that. He just bounced off me and we got to the front. I tried my hardest to sidedraft Kyle. I was probably touching his door.
Top 5 in the No. 30 truck. This deal come together at the last minute, but you had a heck of a truck. Tell us about your night.
Yeah, I’ve got to thank Turner Scott Motorsports. The guys worked so hard on this Rheem Comfort Products Chevrolet. Exciting! Just got hung up on the outside and had to wait for my teammate there to catch up. And then he got to the bottom, so… I got the old 32 and started pushing ol’ Ryan to the front. So, it’s not bad. We’ll take it. You just don’t want to step over that boundary. You don’t know how far to push and shove. We bumped about six times down the straightaway without latching onto them. Hopefully, that was OK and we came home with a top 5.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Budweiser Duels Post Race Quotes
posted by Matt Stallknecht
Friday February 21, 2014
BUDWEISER DUELS POST-RACE QUOTES
They’re saying the wheel bearing burned up in it. I don’t know what caused it, they’re taking it all apart to figure out what the heck happened. Something abnormal that’s for sure I don’t think I’ve ever had that happen at all. Hopefully, we made the race and hopefully we can fix the problem before Sunday.
WHAT WAS THAT LOUD BOOM ONCE YOU TURNED INTO THE GARAGE?
Loud pop was a tire… thankfully, it popped, hopefully it didn’t hurt anybody. All the heat created in the left front that popped was pretty weird.
REALLY GOOD RUN. WHAT DID YOU THINK OF IT?
Yeah, it was good. We have a car we can work with for the 500. Got a good starting spot, so we’re going to rest easy, fluff and buff our car for a couple of days and get ready for Sunday.
ANY DIFFERENCE ON WHETHER THE TOP OR BOTTOM LANE WORKED?
Yeah, I was just moving around, trying to stay with the flow. For me, this car works on all parts of the racetrack. So I’m pretty happy with it.
DALE EARNHARDT, JR.
GOT SHUFFLED BACK, AFTER PIT STOPS AND THEN COULDN’T GET BACK UP TO THE FRONT. WHY?
Nah, we were just sitting there waiting until the last few laps to make a move. You didn’t want to pull down and get sent to the back. Seen a couple of guys get sent to the back really quick so we were just kind of waiting for the end. I felt like we had a good situation there with Ambrose behind us — we had a good run off Turn 2 and I went. It was the last lap, time to go do something, nobody went with us but hopefully Sunday is a different story.
We got a great car. We don’t have to work hard. We learned, we got a good race car. Got a car in one piece, ready to go so we’ll try and get through the next couple of practices, deliver it to the starting group this Sunday and we’ll be real happy.
YOU’RE IN THE DAYTONA 500!
Yeah, it’s pretty awesome. This Whitetail Chevrolet was so fast that I knew all I had to do was stick it behind smart, intelligent drafters and we could have a good finish. That’s what we did in the Duels and I’m excited. I’m excited to go do some stuff with the Nationwide car and have some more practice with this. But to know that we’re locked in the Daytona 500’s pretty cool.
YOU WERE OBVIOUSLY IN FRONT OF THAT MELEE AT THE END. WHEN YOU WERE UP FRONT THERE IN THE BEGINNING, WERE YOU HOPING TO JUST STAY IN LINE AND LET YOU FINISH TOP 5?
I was pretty content to ride and luckily I knew a lot of people around us were. It was nice to have a little calm and not really have to be racing hard the whole time. I knew that the pit stop was going to shake everything up and that’s exactly what happened. Fell back a little bit there but made the right moves at the end to get a good finish.
HOW STRONG ARE THESE RCR CARS?
They’re very strong! They definitely have the capabilities to be winning one of these races.
YOU’RE IN THE TOP 5 FOR YOUR HEAT IN THE DAYTONA 500. YOUR PRIMARY CAR IS SITTING RIGHT IN THE GARAGE, KIND OF WADDED UP. DID YOU THINK THIS ONE HAD IT IN IT?
Yeah, it’s a brand new car also. It’s just not quite as good as the primary but still a damned good car. I’m just proud of everybody at RCR for building such fast race cars. All of our cars have been fast, ECR motor’s been strong, even our affiliate teams have been qualifying really good and racing good. So… excited about 2014! It’s going to be a good year.
WELL MAN, YOU STARTED IN THE BACK BUT WORKED YOUR WAY TO THE FRONT WHEN IT COUNTED MOST. WERE YOU JUST BIDING YOUR TIME THROUGHOUT THE RACE?
Eh, you never know if you’re going to get back up there or not. We had to start at the back, we had to make a run early and see what we could do. We drove right to 10th, or something like that and then it got stagnant. We tried to make something happen, and went to the back again. Drove back up to the front. Again, just really proud of my guys. Matt Kruder did a hell of a job on that pit stop getting just enough gas in to gain some spots there.
RCR CARS SEEM PRETTY DARNED STRONG. DO YOU THINK THE RCR CARS HAVE SOMETHING FOR THEM ON SUNDAY — ESPECIALLY THE THREE JOE GIBBS RACING CARS THAT SEEM TO BE THE CLASS OF THE FIELD RIGHT NOW?
Oh yeah. The 20 car was extremely fast. The 11 didn’t qualify that good, but he’s a good drafter. I think he won. We definitely have something for him.
Check in with Matt and Jay on their site at CareyandCoffey.com.
Kurt Smith · Friday September 19, 2008
Twenty laps into the 27th race this season, an enigmatic driver, who had been wiping up the floor with most of the competition for 26 races, had his season more or less destroyed. Eight wins in 26 races meant only that he’s eligible for the title—one faulty sway bar bolt in one race has effectively negated even that. It would have been rough enough to take the slam of a 34th place finish because of a 50-cent part, but combined with the Big Points Giveaway, that part resulted in a shift of 281 points and seven positions in the standings in one week.
OK, I’ve read all about how Jimmie Johnson finished 39th in the first Chase race in 2006, and how 74 points can be made up in one race. Of course it’s not technically over for Kyle Busch. But even as great as he is and has been all season, would you bet on him now?
Jimmie Johnson overcame Loudon to win the 2006 Chase with an incredible run of five races where he finished first or second. Kyle’s best five race stretch this year was from Talladega to Dover, with three wins, a second and a third. But that was before Jimmie Johnson, Tony Stewart, and Greg Biffle all found speed. Kyle may be as capable as anyone of such a run, but the odds are strongly against it happening.
Johnson also benefited in 2006 from everyone else using up a “mulligan” (a word that the Chase introduced into the NASCAR lexicon, at the same time that the Talladega race was pronounced to be the “wild card”). Matt Kenseth, who finished second in 2006, didn’t DNF in the Chase, but he also only had two Top 5s. Denny Hamlin, finishing third, had three finishes of 18th or worse. Busch already has one.
Johnson had no such advantage against Jeff Gordon in 2007…and no one with a DNF in the Chase was close to competing with either of them. One wreck or blown engine and Johnson would have lost it to his almost as blistering teammate. Not only does Kyle need a phenomenal run from this point forward, but he needs everyone else—particularly Jimmie Johnson and Carl Edwards—to falter.
74 points can be made up in one race…but that’s just how far Kyle is behind Edwards and Johnson. Busch also has six other very good drivers and teams—a pack that includes Greg Biffle, Jeff Burton, and a resurging Tony Stewart—that he now has to leap-frog to regain the points lead. One DNF in the last nine…and at Talladega and Martinsville everyone is vulnerable…and anyone who consistently puts up Top 10s without a hitch is likely to finish the season ahead of Busch. A perfect illustration of why the Big Points Giveaway extinguishes brilliance, as I so often rail in this forum.
Suppose Kyle has another DNF and is effectively taken out of the championship hunt. How exciting will it be then?
Consider the buzz surrounding Kyle Busch this season. In an age when NASCAR is addressing…or more correctly dismissing…steadily falling ratings, attendance that has dropped off a cliff, and a generally and persistently low opinion of the current car design from both insiders and outsiders, along comes a young, cocky driver who in his fourth season has suddenly caught fire and dusted the rest of the pack, all the while bowing, brazenly and boldly, without regard for fans’ opinion.
Boos came loudly at the beginning of the season, especially after he had an incident with the sport’s golden boy. And after a while came cheers too. And the racing press was suddenly filled with stories by writers fumbling to reach those who both loved or hated Kyle Busch. The reaction to Kyle is something NASCAR desperately needed: noise.
And now his season may be relegated to becoming that team that almost won it all. You know, the one everyone more or less forgets.
If Jimmie Johnson wins a third title under this format, no one here is going to take anything away from him, just remember what that did to the ratings. Some people dislike Jimmie Johnson, but he’ll never generate emotion like Kyle does. And when he wins, he doesn’t generate ratings either. Nothing wrong with that by the way, it works for them.
But imagine if Kyle had a full season to rev up some old-school fans of hard racin’. Or if he had a full season to aggravate fans of humble, clean racing drivers. Kyle Busch has been doing this year what the Big Points Giveaway and the Winged Snowplow have undoubtedly not been doing…generating interest in the sport.
Is NASCAR happy about the diminished title prospects of the driver who has become one of their most well-known figures, even if he isn’t the most popular? After race fans have been talking about him all year long, in just 20 laps a faulty part has extinguished all of that, save for comments about his bad day and how he handled it. And with his title hopes now severely deflated, the wind has gone out of the sails of the Kyle Busch juggernaut. Busch fans probably don’t like his chances now. Let’s see if the Colts have better luck. Busch haters can breathe a little easier, knowing that he is much less likely to win it now. Whew, that was close! Are the Red Sox on?
If Busch won this year’s championship, he would have plenty more new fans and NASCAR would have a new face that they need…a champion many fans love to hate. Jimmie Johnson, for all of his remarkable ability, just can’t make people despise him with that kind of passion. And Tony Stewart won’t be igniting the ire of fans as much when he is running 20th every week next year.
There are plenty of people out there rejoicing over Kyle having lost a sizable points lead just 20 laps into race 27. I’ve already heard several people calling it karma for the way he has been racing others all year. What a long way we’ve come indeed from our admiration of the Intimidator for the way he raced so hard to win. One wonders what the reaction would be if Dale Earnhardt lost eight wins to the Chase.
Others say this is what makes the Chase work…that now instead of being on cruise control the rest of the year (as if Matt Kenseth snored his way through all of those Top 10 finishes in 2003), Kyle and the 18 team will have to work for it. Excuse me, but I thought they had been doing that all year. Haven’t they at least worked hard enough not to have a sway bar bolt possibly end their season?
Besides that, without a Chase, Loudon would have put Carl and Jimmie back in the hunt. And no one would be questioning it. Nothing against Greg Biffle, but how did he suddenly become third in points? What the hell just happened?
Seriously, is this how fans want their own driver to win? My favorite driver is in the Top 12; I’m not even rooting for him to win the title this way. Truthfully, the Big Points Giveaway so distorts the standings that it’s hard to care who wins. Since 2004, a resetting of the points that doesn’t entertain anyone, that has nothing to do with events on the track, that we can’t even tangibly see, has played a bigger part in deciding who will be the champion than overall performance through 36 races.
Can it be said that fans don’t watch NASCAR because they admire the genius of Brian France?
This in the name of “growing” the sport, in the words of those who have run out of logical arguments defending the Big Points Giveaway (which often doesn’t take long). If you’re not a fan of the Chase, get over it you rigid old fart, and start changing with the times because the sport is “growing”. You need to move on. Duh, the 36-race points system is so 10 minutes ago.
How the sport has grown since the Chase. To find out what happened in the grand kickoff of NASCAR’s 2008 playoffs in the Philly area, you had to turn to page 11 of the sports section of the Philadelphia Inquirer for a 100-word blurb. Biffle wins, Busch falters, and now on to high school basketball. It’s always been that way and I’m not a fan of the Inquirer, but that’s the point…the outsiders were the people NASCAR was trying to reach.
Maybe having a polarizing driver who wins frequently and becomes a champion by kicking tail all season might bring some casual fans around and “grow” the sport. I’m pretty confident that’s what happened with Darrell Waltrip, Dale Earnhardt and Jeff Gordon. Any of those three certainly brought in more new fans than the Big Points Giveaway has.
Kyle Busch has eight wins this season, and he is now just barely ahead of Clint Bowyer, who has half as many Top 5s. All because Nextel didn’t think the sport they were dropping $700 million into was exciting enough. Now that Kyle’s brilliant season has been reduced to his being part of the pack, does that help?
My gut says that Kyle Busch has lost the points lead for good in 2008. It’s not over, but they are in a hole now that they shouldn’t be in. Partly because of a sway bar bolt failing at the worst possible time, but mostly because of some good old-fashioned wealth redistribution.
I don’t care if you hate Kyle Busch. You can’t tell me that’s right.
Kurt’s Shorts at the Monster Mile
©2000 - 2008 Kurt Smith and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
I think this is the perfect example of what is wrong with the Chase (besides the concept of the Chase itself). What it comes down to is the fact that Kyle Bush finished 11th out of the 12 Chase drivers, but was awarded 34th place points. So 23 non-Chase drivers interfered with him earning points. In all other sports, teams that don’t make the play-offs don’t have a chance to interfer with a play-off team’s chance of winning the title, but in NASCAR, they do.
I really don’t want to see only 12 guys race the final 10 races. But I do think that the point system should be changed so that if you finish 11th of the 12 drivers, the points reflect that, and not a 34th place earnings of points, and a 40th for Kenseth.
I agree with Fred.
With 9 races to go, we have a guy with 8 wins behind other drivers with 0 wins in the point standings.
The championship really means nothing under this format.
The championship means exactly what it has from the day NASCAR was conceived . A contrived arbitrary system to give meaning to a sport that most didn’t take very seriously . How did the old system really make much more semse than the new one does ? Only five points difference between positions . Lead flag to flag and only receive an additional five points over the second place driver .
And besides , the “ debris “ and the “ wreck that really wasn’t “ cautions will be used by NASCAR to determine the outcome of the races and the championship anyway .
Quote: “ Truthfully, the Big Points Giveaway so distorts the standings that it’s hard to care who wins. “
Marshall – I won’t argue with you that the old points system wasn’t perfect. For my part I believe that DNFs are too severe. And perhaps there isn’t enough of a bonus for winning. But at least there was some measure of consistency with it. You had 35 races to make up for something that happened in one.
I understand that NASCAR is not run by Kurt Smith and that’s fine. If they think they have a winner with the Chase, so be it. But that doesn’t mean you or I or anyone else shouldn’t voice an opinion about it.
Regarding the Lucky Dog rule…well, you do have a point. I don’t consider the free pass a stain in the rulebook like I think the Chase is, but sometime down the road I’ll discuss it here.
P.S. One quick correction: I stated that Busch has six other drivers he has to pass besides Johnson and Edwards—the actual number is five. As they say in Manitoba, my bad.
Seems you can point out all the wins but for all other sports when it comes to play-off time (what the Chase is supposed to be) all teams are basically in the same boat, New England was perfect for the season and the playoffs up to the SuperBowl and they got beat. It happens in all types of sports, from college level to pro level some team may just struggle to get into the play-offs system and beat the unbeaten team that kicked everyone’s booty. In the end that’s life, that sports, and a Kurt Smith needs to get a clue, if he can buy a heim joint that these teams are using for 50 cents then he had better buy a bunch of them. Again a heim joint breaking is no different than a tire getting cut and going flat, or a valve breaking and taking out the motor. Those are the breaks, Kurt sounds like Kyle, a little cheese with that whine!!!!
Anyone winning a so-called championship since Matt. Should have an asterisk after their names. So as not to be confused with teams who were real season Champions.
Kurt, I didn’t think your remark Golden Boy was very appropriate! If the roles were reversed would you have called Kyle the same? I think not. Let’s face it the whole role of Nascar needs to be replaced and put back like it was…good hard racing and the first one wins. No giving lucky dog passes either. And if they want to continue this CHASE…then only the ones that qualify should be running. Just like any other sport..the losers go home. I hate seeing a driver that is not in the chase take someone out that has a future at stake. I sometimes wonder how much those drivers get paid to take out someone in the chase to help a buddy???? MR FRANCE had better get some good advice and get this changed before it’s toooooo late. I have so many friends that won’t even turn Nascar on anymore. They say it is a farce and the real racing is gone. I couldn’t agree more.
Whatever RJ…I concede I don’t know how much a heim joint for a racecar costs. Nor will I explain how that is even relevant. The point is that any particular piece of bad luck, no matter how minor, is devastating in NASCAR’s playoff format. That is so in every other sport too, but at least New England didn’t lose a star player to injury because they had to play the Dolphins again.
Marilyn, the “golden boy” wasn’t meant to be derogatory. Just a euphemism for the sport’s most popular driver. Not meant to be insulting.
I don’t like the “chase” simply because trying to have a play off with 43 total teams isn’t how playoffs work but I don’t own the Nascar “sandbox” the France family does. Jeff Gordon (not a Jeff fan) had an incredible season last year with a lead that was at least double what Kyle had over the 2nd place driver and it all evaporated when the chase began, and that was the 2nd time where the chase took a championship from him. Yes people have buddies, kinda like Denny H parking his car to draw the caution flag so Kyle to catch up with JR. The lucky dog has become a strategy by some crew chiefs (Chad K.) being one of them and some cautions seem to pop out when a driver gets too large a lead (instead of show us the money, just show us the debris, hold it up, let that debris be proud because it caused a caution). No matter what you think of the rules, they were in place at the beginning of the season, everyone knew what they would be, everyone is playing under the same rules, Tony dominate a race, 2 laps to go the tires goes down, Kyle starts the chase and a heim joint breaks, Denny dominates a race and a few laps to go and the cable for the fuel pump fails, Dale SR dominates how many Daytona races and either on the last lap a tire goes down or something else happened. Just plain bad luck, and just plain racing!!! Kurt just come to terms with it, Kyle is not Superman, bad luck happens to everyone!!!
The lucky dog rule is there as a way for a racer to make up a lap. You all remember NASCAR stopped racing back to the caution flag because of Dale Jarret’s spin on the frontstretch of New Hampshire back in Sept 2003? It was no longer safe to continue at speed when a possibly injured driver is sitting in harms way on the track. So, now instead of lapped cars passing the leader to get their lap back, NASCAR gives them their lap back automatically. Why is that so difficult and why do you not like it? We’ll never go back to racing back to the caution, for safety issues. Same as we’ll never go back to driving as fast as you can on pit road, and we’ll never go back to hard concrete walls in the turns.
The powers that be in NA$CAR has proven time and again that they could care less what we think. I’d say from what I’ve read from various sites on the net that about 80% of the people who watch NA$CAR vehemetly dislike the chase format. I’ve been watching NA$CAR for twenty-five plus years and the recing has steadily gone downhill, particularly in the last seven or eight years. Hmm, isn’t that around the time that Earnhardt died and Brian France took over. Change for the sake of change to appease mass media doesn’t cut it. Problem is I’m not going to hold my breath in thinking that they’re going to listen to me, a fan. It is what it is and it ain’t pretty. The only way things are going to change is if people quit watching and attending. That’s starting to happen in growing numbers. You’d think NA$CAR would get the message. I guess it will take something pretty drastic to make them change their mind. Like losing tv contracts when the numbers hit the bottom. Thanks for listening.
80% hate the Chase? I’d like to see the data to back that up since my belief is that everywhere you saw that got it from the same place and they had to stand up, drop their pants, bend over and reach deep to get to it!
Maybe an internet poll? Yeah, those are reliable. Ask which team is the best in NASCAR and guarantee, the one that comes up will not even be close to the best. Not even the best in the HMS garage.
Show me valid figures and I’ll believe it, but until then, I believe that the majority of fans don’t care one way or the other and only a vocal few are the ones that are creating the appearance of a majority.
Quote from Kevin in SoCal:
“The lucky dog rule is there as a way for a racer to make up a lap. “
If this is the case, and NA$CAR says it is, then why do we have multiple races where they, NA$CAR, REFUSE to throw the yellow flag due to wrecks? And please notice I said MULTIPLE TIMES!
They allowed all cars on the track to continue “green flag racing”, even though at times the track was blocked and had cars strewn all over the racing surface!
Starting of course a year or so ago when NA$CAR “REFUSED” to throw the yellow that would have made Mark Martin the winner! And rightfully so, Daytona, correct?
And a few more time this year!
So what is it? We have the lucky dog so drivers “do not have to race under green back to the start/finish”, for “safety reasons”, per NA$CAR, But then NA$CAR refuses to throw the yellow when it is required and justified!
Another quote from Kevin in SoCal “We’ll never go back to racing back to the caution, for safety issues.”
HUH? We have been back baby, many times over!
What’s wrong with this picture is the same thing that’s been wrong with it since 2005.
Jeff Gordon should have 6 titles at this point in his career, Jimmy Johnson should have only one and Kurt Busch none.
What I wonder about is if all of the people who said Kurt Busch didn’t deserve his championship will say if Jr. wins the cup this year? My guess is that Jr. will have deserved it even though Busch didn’t. Of course, if Jr. walked off a cliff and plunged to his death, 40% of the NASCAR fans of today, mostly come-lately’s, would follow him right off of it.
Doug you are absolutely correct. There were cars on fire and no caution was tossed when Havick won Daytona and Mark didn’t. Make the rules and follow them, don’t pick and choose when to enforce them and when not to, it makes the sport look like WWE, which some drivers have mentioned before. They throw enough red flags now, wonder if there is someone documenting and tracking that over the years, but let a wreck happen and make a bone headed decision to continue letting a race go is beyond belief and then try to rationalize it, geez.
Percentage points are relative. The plain fact is most real fans have spoken and MOST have come to the conclusion that the chase is not real racing. It’s hard to call it real racing when most of the parties involved are racing not to lose as opposed to the opposite.
As long as the teams/drivers all knew what the points system rules were when the season started, then I don’t see the problem. It’s not like NASCAR said “Surprise! we’re changing the points system and Kyle gets the shaft.”
The teams all knew what they were in for, and the 18 had an issue at a darned inconvenient time. Sorta like the movie Airplane: “I guess I picked the wrong week to stop sniffing glue.”
I don’t really know that I think the chase is good. I know that in the vast majority of championships under the old system, the last 10ish races of the season were usually garbage time. Until the chase, I didn’t even think about the championship as a goal. Each race was it’s own deal. Winner wins, 42 other cars don’t.
For better or for worse, the Chase made the season championship a goal.
Like anything, they need to reward the behavior they want. I don’t think the chase does that, but I don’t think the previous points system does that either.
I’ve even gone so far as to sit down with a spreadsheet to calculate a points system I think is more appropriate.
It does kind of bite that they picked this time to have an error, but I don’t really see how there’s anything wrong with it.
Why are you still upset about the 2007 Daytona 500? It was the last turn of the last lap of the race. The cars were wrecking behind the two leaders, and as soon as they crossed the finish line, the yellow was thrown. I would like to see Mark Martin win a Daytona 500 too, but in this instance, NASCAR can be forgiven for letting them continue the race to the finish line.
Let see now, “The cars were wrecking behind the two leaders, and as soon as they crossed the finish line, the yellow was thrown.”
For complete drivers safety, ALL DRIVERS, does it matter that “the wrecks” were happening BEHIND the TWO leaders?
41 cars, full speed ahead, thru a complete melee?
Does NA$CAR then need to re-define the rule, that any drivers safety is at risk EXCEPT the two cars or so battling for the lead? And everyone else is fair game to be killed?
I mean, they make everyone drive the CoT! Again, “supposedly” for drivers safety, all drivers, not “selective” drivers!
Who cares it was a year or so ago, it happened this year also! NA$CAR makes rules, but only applies them at “their convenience”!
And just how many times have you heard NA$CAR state that “driver safety” is their number one goal?
It’s just one big funny joke! Up until even the CoT cannot save a driver maimed or killed because of the idiots running the NA$CAR races!
DAMN THE TORPEDOS, FULL SPEED AHEAD!
Quote: “One bright spot in NASCAR these days is Dover Speedway.”
Actually Dover should be banned from NA$CAR!
They don’t even have enough pit space for all the cars! Teams will be doubling up on Sunday in pit stalls!
Lets see now, “THE CHASE” is supposedly to emulate say the NFL!
I can see it now, at the next home to the SUPER BOWL (I mean the real one), an announcement is made: “due to lack of bench space, both teams will have to share the very same benches”!
How funny would that be?
Only in NA$CAR can that happen!
DOUBLE UP IN PIT STALLS???
LUDICROUS! At best!
Either this “Chase” track can handle 43 cars, or it cannot! And right now, it CANNOT!
What’s next? The IROC car. Oh sorry! We already have it in the car of today.
It is a little goofy that they have less than 43 pit stalls.
Strangely enough, the Green Bay Packers used to play (in the 90’s) a couple home games a year in Milwaukee. At that stadium, there was only space on one side for player benches due to the configuration. So, both team’s benches were shared. I’m sure it was a “you stay on this side of the line” sort of thing, but there is sort of a precedent for it in the NFL. Not at the Super Bowl, of course.
I agree with Kevin in So Cal. But, it does sort of open the door for NASCAR to throw fake cautions for those certain drivers that need a lap back.
About KyB, too bad, too sad. However, NASCAR should make a separate point system for the Chasers. I made up my own last year, 10 for 1st, on down the line. There were only of couple of drivers that were different than the current points standings.
If a car spins out by itself, ends up in the apron, doesnt hit anything, and the driver gets it going and continues, I see no reason why a yellow needs to be thrown. If he hits the wall, or another car, or the car stops on the track, then yes a yellow flag needs to come out.
Which incidents this year are you referring to, Douglas?
Hey Kevin in SoCal, this year in at least two more events, NA$CAR late in the race did not throw the caution and let cars race back to the finish, actually not long ago the track was littered with cars and the green was still their flag of choice. If I have time and the inclination I will do the research. But I really should not have to, it is a fact, and I am sure someone will remember when that was. Maybe 8/10 races ago or so!
It was ludicrous! And the comments that NA$CAR made after were along the lines: “gee, the wrecked cars were off the “racing line” so it should be ok to race under the green”!
The problem I saw, was that if 5 or so cars can crash, and be stopped on or near the track, what prevents other cars from reaching them?
NOTHING! They are still in dangers way!
Oh, yes, but NA$CAR held out the green!
Lets keep racin boys!
Driver safety be damned!
Help me out people, which recent race was this?
(and I am not refering to cars that spin, then get going again, I mean multiple cars crashed and stopped on or near the track with the drivers still strapped inside)
Nascar has a commerical rule number 1 be your self well they lost that years ago and have driven more fans away with this chase and the 35 point rule where the fastest don’t run. They started to gain some popularity and didn’t know how to handle it,