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 July 24, 2009
It has been interesting to read the articles and comments devoted to the Mayfield mess. The surprise is the amount of fans in Mayfield’s corner. Some are lashing out at the institution of NASCAR as if it were a driver who had just wrecked their hero; others are presenting reasonable and thoughtful scenarios where Mayfield truly could be innocent.
Fox Sports conducted a poll asking people who they believe in the controversy. 25% sided with Mayfield. That isn’t a majority, but it’s a lot for a guy who failed two drug tests. But forget the poll—why does Fox even ask the question?
Mayfield, as everyone knows, has fiercely denied using banned substances. As did Barry Bonds, Rafael Palmeiro and just about any other athlete who was suspected. And with the athletes who do get caught, the pattern is generally the same: denials, excuses, baffling stories about how it happened that make it anyone’s fault but the athlete’s. The story is almost predictable by now.
Athletes failing a drug test and then proclaiming their innocence or astounding ignorance is not new. The main reason for it is that failing a drug test is profoundly embarrassing. If you’re in the public eye like an Alex Rodriguez and you get busted, chances are pretty good your mother will find out. And so an athlete makes a statement or two at least partially deflecting responsibility for it. But generally the public doesn’t buy it…like some are with Mayfield. In other sports, athletes are basically guilty until proven innocent.
If Mayfield were getting crucified in the court of public opinion, there might be a lot of different things happening. But he really isn’t. There are some writers and people giving interviews that believe he has a problem and compassionately say he should get out now. Very few, if any at all, have spoken of Mayfield and his reaction with the disdain shown for the Barry Bonds types of the world.
Our own Tom Bowles made the case earlier this week for at least waiting until all the facts come in before making a judgment, in light of NASCAR’s handling of the Tim Richmond case. I’m fine with that. But he is one of the few to even bring Richmond’s name into it. Whatever the merits of NASCAR’s case against Richmond, this was 20 years ago, and I doubt most of the folks with a take on the Mayfield case were even following NASCAR then.
In baseball, football and other sports, I have yet to see the validity of a drug test questioned. There are other ridiculous excuses made—yes, my arms doubled in size the day after the injection my highly recommended doctor gave me, but no, of course I never made the connection—but baseball and football have yet to have their integrity seriously challenged in this regard. This is a whole new reaction, and apparently, NASCAR is vulnerable to such accusations.
It seems obvious that NASCAR and Aegis labs have nothing to gain and everything to lose by doctoring up evidence in order to remove Jeremy Mayfield from the track, especially the second time around when everyone is watching. Mayfield is suggesting exactly that and screaming his innocence from the rooftops, but he has offered little in the way of what NASCAR’s motive would be for destroying his career and his life.
A participant in a sport failed two drug tests…something I haven’t often seen with athletes not named Steve Howe…and there are still plenty of fans and even some writers who are in doubt about his guilt. Looking at all of the facts I could find, it looks as though NASCAR has their legal ducks in a row, while Mayfield has loud denials and his own negative drug tests at a lab recommended by his lawyer—and that lab won’t comment on the validity of their tests. But that isn’t even relevant. NASCAR doesn’t have to allow someone who passes drug tests at a lab specified by his lawyer on the track to race. They’re an employer. They can decide who participates.
Reading NASCAR’s affidavit—most of which has thus far been challenged weakly at best by Mayfield and his attorney—gives a very strong impression that Mayfield did everything he could to stall—getting lost trying to find the lab, then saying he didn’t need to go, not answering phones and not calling the lab. Then he finally produced a sample that was diluted from drinking lots of water. Mayfield has said his sample was “spiked”. If he is guilty, he is digging one deep hole.
And that’s an interesting point that I’ve come to…reading affidavits containing all of the details on how a drug test was performed. Can’t say I did that with Manny Ramirez, and he only failed one test. So it’s curious why NASCAR seems to have so little credibility here when compared to other sports, especially considering that if any sport ought to be drug testing, it’s NASCAR.
Maybe it’s because the drug testing program is new, and Mayfield is its first high-profile victim. I don’t know if NASCAR was expecting the repeated denials and backlash from Mayfield. But it does seem as though they were prepared for once, documenting all of the events surrounding the second drug test and testing the second time in a manner that would exclude false positives, which Mayfield had claimed turned up in the original test. So far there haven’t been a lot of holes in NASCAR’s case, although I do have doubts about Mayfield’s stepmother.
Or it could be that NASCAR fans tend to be in the participants’ corner more because NASCAR hasn’t had the labor struggles baseball and other sports have had…and so drivers haven’t been tagged with the millionaire prima donna label as much. Few things are more despicable to people who are struggling with mortgage payments than seeing multi-millionaires who play a game for a living on a picket line. And athletes in such sports take a PR hit for it. NASCAR drivers are often pampered millionaires too, but at least they show up for work. And so, at least, that damage isn’t done to their public persona that would tip the scales against them in other matters.
It may be that Jeremy Mayfield is innocent and may someday really be a hero for pointing out substantial flaws in current methods of drug testing. But I didn’t see Aaron Fike or Shane Hmiel protesting their results and insisting that their sample was “spiked” or conducting their own independent lab tests. It’s doubtful that they would have kept their mouths shut for the good of the sport.
Or it may just ultimately be that NASCAR really does have a credibility problem—not just with the Carl Long fiasco, where NASCAR basically killed a flea with a nuclear weapon—but with all those little things that get fans’ goats, things like questionable debris cautions and selective rule enforcement. Every time a yellow flag flies for debris, people are wondering who was about to go a lap down and got saved, or who needed to catch up to the leader. Reports of Dale Jr. being about to go a lap down just before a debris caution are often found in message boards on Mondays. When no less an authority as Tony Stewart complains about it, why would fans be nuts to suspect a conspiracy? Justified or not, things are often perceived that way.
Who’s to say? It just seems strange that I’ve never seen a baseball or football player fail a league-sanctioned drug test not once but twice, and still have a sizable chunk of fans and even some reporters in his corner.
Somewhere Tim Richmond is laughing.
©2000 - 2008 Kurt Smith and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
Since May, Mayfield has been tested at least 15 times. Like he asked, if he is a chronic user as nascar claims, why have only 2 of the 15 come back positive?
Remember, Brian France is a MARKETING guy. Always has been and will be. He has no credible background to RUN the company only to SELL it! That is what he was groomed for.
Questions that go through my mind however are these….
Nascar revamps their drug policy not long ago because they had to due to Aaron Fikes arrest and admission that he did heroin on race days. If not for that, I do not believe nascar would have touched it. It was done simply because they needed to APPEAR to be doing SOMETHING. However, ratings are still falling, attendance and revenue are down. What to do? The stick and ball sports are having drug controversy all the time and it garners LOTS of publicity. Is it below the marketing powers that rule nascar to pick a semi popular driver and create a case as an example? Here is a guy that is toward the end of his career anyway…lets face it, he’s left a bad taste in previous employers mouths to the point that he could not get a ride. The only way he can race is to start his own team. Early on in the year, some of his crew is busted for failed drug testing…..why not take it a step further? Make him an example, get lots of publicity, appear to be like the stick and ball sport and you get to test you new policy while you are at it! Jeremy Mayfield is a nothing really, in the sport of nascar. They knew he would not go quietly. He’d put up a good fight until his funds ran out. They knew they could outlast him. Even if nascar is WRONG and they made it all up, they can just quietly drop the whole thing, assign one junior lawyer to occasionally maintain their side publicly. Meanwhile, Mayfield is ALREADY finished! He will never race again even if he is innocent. Sponsors wont touch him, he aint got no money, he’s gone. But hey, sure made some great headlines for nascar along the way, didn’t it? They are on top of it just like the NFL and MLB!
Why is it always some little guy that gets caught? Would this be going on if Dale Jr, the most popular and biggest cash cow tested + for meth or any drug? Or any popular driver for that matter. Gordon, Stewart, etc. Or do they have too many fans for a scandal like this to be productive for nascar? Personally, I think they could DO DRuGS WITH Brian France and get away with it. They are too powerful a marketing tool. Mayfield on the other hand can be of more use right where they got him.
Why doesn’t Brian France take a drug test? Is he immune from testing? Has he ever been tested? He’s running the sport, making the decisions, he should be clear headed too don’t ya think? Just like the lawmakers in DC that support Obamas new healthcare plan…..if it is good enough for the rest of the country, then the politicians should have to abide by it too! Think THAT will happen?
Kurt, just the fact the say that “NASCAR might have a credibility problem” makes me wonder if you have even watched a race.
The only reason the Mayfield and Carl Long incidents are being questioned is NASCAR’s lack of credibility. The dictatorship of the sport is going to be its downfall. And it is looking like without some major changes, like most sports have, of a separate governing body, NASCAR will never have any credibility.
I could write a few pages of non-credible issues that have happened in just the past year. I’m still amazed that NASCAR could determine that a engine that had the bottom end blow up was one 2,000th of an inch too big.
Kurt..I have asked this question of a few columists and so far have gotten no answer. If NASCAR mandated at the beginning of the season a mandatory drug test for all drivers/crew members..how did Mayfield do on that test? I assume he passed..which given his stepmom’s testimony means Mayfield must of abstained so he could pass. If so..knowing the stakes NOW and that the eyes of world are on him..why wouldn’t he abstain now..instead NASCAR keeps showing him positive..just doesn’t make sense???
First, in professional sports such as baseball and football, the player’s union has dictates how the tests are done, who does them and what the substances are to be tested. There are two samples taken and if one shows positive, the second is sent to a different lab for confirmation. MLB or NFL commissioners cannot order a test from its lab and then ban someone for a substance not-yet named.
Interesting that NASCAR has all of its “legal ducks in a row” with Mayfield. If only they had that determination to bring a good tire to Indy last year.
Strange how Mayfield could pass the pre-season drug test and yet fail just a few months later. Would NASCAR or Aegis Labs spike his urine sample? You bet your sweet bippy they would. NASCAR has gone out of its’ way to ruin the careers of several drivers and journalists. If that isn’t enough, after all of the mystery debris cautions, allowing drivers to run illegal parts, speeding penalties on cars that weren’t speeding, lug nuts that weren’t missing, and being “bought” by at least two manufacturers over the last 25 years, I’d say their credibility is pretty much non-existent. Hopefully Mayfield ends up having Brian France wash and wax his car and fetch his coffee as Mayfield would be the new CEO of NASCAR.
If na$car had anything in a row there would be no need for the manufactured dog and pony show they have been producing. your research on drug testing has apparently come up short,if you believe na$car’s test please give a credible reason how Mayfield is still alive.
WRONG! WRONG! WRONG!
Your “NASCAR doesn’t have to allow someone who passes drug tests at a lab specified by his lawyer on the track to race. They’re an employer. They can decide who participates.”
Is TOTALLY WRONG!
Your falling into the NA$CRAP trickery!
NA$CRAP takes great pains to “legally” keep the drivers at a distance, by proclaiming them as “INDEPENDENT CONTRACTORS”!
Don’t be surprised to see this come up as an issue in the Mayfield case!
In other words, how can a “non-employer”, in this case NA$CRAP! Dictate drug testing to a “NON-EMPLOYEE”?
And credibility is the issue, NA$CRAP thinks with all it’s money, and believe me, it is LOTS OF MONEY! That money buys everything in the justice system! Of course, mostly they are correct, those with the money generally prevail, but apparently Jeremy has enough backing to continue this thing, a fact I hope is true!
Oh, by the way, just watched Shane Hmiel & father at Terre Haute Action Track in the USAC Sprints. Maybe Shane did not have enough money to get a good attorney, you know how NA$CRAP threatens EVERYONE that stands in their way!
Remember the “special meeting” at MIS a year ago when NA$CRAP had the audacity to TELL the drivers to shut up and stop going public on their compliants about the WMD!, err, the CoT?
Can one say arrogant?
I think there’s a couple of significant points which were overlooked in the comparisons given in the article.
Firstly, when compared to Bonds, etc, those players were accused of using perfomance enhancing drugs which are banned in their sport but otherwise legal. Mayfield has not been accused of using a performance enhancing drug, he’s been accused of using an illegal recreational drug which, if he’s guilty, should send him to jail. That accusation requires a higher standard of accuracy.
Secondly, the comparison to Fike and Hmiel fails because both of those drivers admitted using drugs – there is no question of a false positive there, because they admitted guilt.
“the Carl Long fiasco, where NASCAR basically killed a flea with a nuclear weapon”
Nascar only has a credibility problem with the minority of “fans” who get their entertainment out of bashing the organization rather than from enjoying the racing. An attitude fueled by many reporters, including the majority on this website, who make their living stirring that pot and throwing red meat to the howling pack.
I don’t know why Nascar attracts more “fans” who see black helicopters and wear tinfoil hats than other sports, but those “fans” and the writers who pander to them are the ones whose credibility I question.
Its time for the serious journalists to step up and do some real investigation. Not one reporter has spent the time and exerted the effort to delve into how drug testing is done — both the collection of samples and the science of the testing — in other sports AND in other lines of work where the safety of the public is an issue.
The one real flaw in Nascar’s drug testing policy that this mess has revealed is that sample collection is not “observed” — since if it were then Mayfield would have not been able to get away with his shtick about the humiliation of having an observed sample taken.
Since Nascar gets the majority of the medical staff locally at each track, I propose that all sample collection be “observed” — with the test subject exposed from waist to knees — by a random, same-sex, member of the local medical staff. It would be nearly impossible for any member of Nascar’s traveling circus to influence/bribe such a person in advance.
And, as a side note about Mayfield’s “humiliation”, given his claims of innocence and his accusations of Nascar malfeasance a logical person would expect him not to protest “observed” collection but rather to insist on is and even to insist on multiple witnesses including members of the press.
Both Carl Long and Tim Richmond are red herrings that have nothing whatsoever to do with Mayfield.
Carl Long’s penalty for an illegal engine was entirely in line with Nascar’s recent policy of escalating penalties to stop teams from cheating. It was actually an example of Nascar being consistent. But the same people who continually scream “Nascar is inconsistent,” and who would have applauded seeing that penalty given to Hendrick if Hendrick had been foolish enough to show up with an exactly identical illegal engine wanted Nascar to show favoritism to Carl Long and give him special treatment.
As for Tim Richmond, keeping him off the track was a safety issue. AIDS was (and remains), an incurable disease with a 100% mortality rate which is transmitted via body fluids. The precise level of danger of various body fluids was not yet understood for the then new and rare disease.
At that time medical and emergency professionals had not yet come up with the procedures and special equipment that now allows them to handle bloody wrecks with minimal (not zero, but minimal), danger to the medical/rescue responders. But if a driver today had AIDS and a bloody wreck ended up in the stands or in the infield the fans would be completely unprotected.
No one is to blame for Tim Richmond’s self-destruction but Tim Richmond himself. And Nascar’s use of a technicality on Richmond’s drug test to keep him from endangering people (after all, he was irresponsible enough to pass his disease to several woman by continuing his promiscuous ways), was as justified as getting Al Capone off the streets on tax evasion was.
As for Mayfield’s pre-season test, since Nascar’s sample collections are, apparently, not “observed” Mayfield would have had the opportunity to obtain and substitute clean urine.
Or, to give him some credit, perhaps he tried to overcome his problem and stayed clean for a time then backslid — as druggies frequently do.
re: M.B. Voelker’s comment regarding NASCAR’s credibility and that it exists only with those who want to bash the organization, etc.
I haven’t given up on NASCAR, and still watch and enjoy the racing, but they do have a significant number of problems, many of which stem from their arrogance and heavy-handed way of running things. If this manner of running an organization doesn’t tend to produce a lack of credibility in the eyes of many, I don’t know what would. And though you can argue whether current management is worse or not, it’s been this way since Bill Sr. was in charge. NASCAR has always been a “my way or the highway” organization.
Regardless of how you feel, you can’t label all of those who question NASCAR’s credibility conspiracy theorists.
MB, I actually applaud Mayfield for being able to “go” with someone watching. If I was in that situation I’d be accused of stalling for days.
I agree with your statement that NAS$AR has everything to loose and nothing to gain by going down this road but not for the reasons you state. NAS$AR stands to loose it’s position of unquestioned authority if they don’t end up winning this case. That is their motivation for this playing out the way it is (i.e. very public and unprofessional). The unwritten statement to the drivers or anyone else that challenges NAS$AR is that you will be ruined if you challenge us.
Tell me M.B., would keeping Brian away from the office constiture a “safety issue”? Nascar went after Richmond because his “lifestyle” offended the “good ole boy” mentality of the France family. You have the temerity to talk about “red herrings” vis-a-vis Mayfield and then claim banning Richmond was to prtotect the fans from a bloody wreck ending up in the stands! What an absurdity, what a steaming pile of dung.
You write that NASCAR and their lab have everything to loose and nothing to gain. I would say you are right if a mistake was not made on the first test. But, if a mistake was made and NASCAR announced to the world at a press conference that Jeremy Mayfield tested positive for using a banned substance, then NASCAR and/or its lab has a lot to loose. I can’t help but believe that NASCAR and Aegis Labs have everything to loose. I don’ think NASCAR was attempting to destroy Mayfield or make him an example, but I do believe they may have made a mistake on the first test, and now are protecting their butts.
M.B. It is easy to see that you did not like Tim Richmond. Did you know him? I did not, but I enjoyed watching him race. I agree that AIDS is a scary disease and not much was know about it in the 1980’s but do you think that makes it O.K. to falsify tests? Do you really think someone claiming to have a moral high ground can act in an immoral way and not suffer credability issues? It is immoral to lie and faslify tests. There is more to morality than just sexual morality. I understand that Nascar did not like Tim Richmond’s lifestyle, but do you truly think he is the only driver to live that lifestyle. They were afraid of bad publicity and lied. I DO NOT hate Nascar, but I do not like the way the organization works. I love the racing, the cars, the drivers, the fans and those things that make it a spectacle. But there is a credability problem and they need to fix it before it is to late.
NA$CAR and Brian France. Who in their right mind would ever believe anything they say?
Your “rather than from enjoying the racing.”
WHAT RACING? NA$CRAP simply IS NOT RACING ANYMORE!
How funny ANYONE can be accused of calling NA$CRAP “RACING”!
It ain’t, my friend, it ain’t!
you know, the independent contractor aspect is of interest. i wonder if na$car has met with all the owners and told them that if they wish to compete in their series that they need to rewrite their driver contracts to state that they will submit to random drug/alcohol screening. employees are normally the only ones who fall under that guideline. so the drivers are contracted with the owners. are the owners employees of na$car? seems to me like the only employees of na$car are the officials. everyone else is an independent contractor. when driver negotiates his contract, it’s with the team owner, not with the owner and na$car. now being a owner/driver, did mayfield have a different type of relationship with na$car?
it’s going to get down to splitting hairs (sic).
na$car rules aren’t public, and change as the wind blows. every penalty falls under a general clause in the “rule book”. i have always felt that that rule book was written in invisible ink and subject to interpretation, and remember, the leader of the organization isn’t the brightest crayon in the box.
Just a quick note about Independent Contractors, since I have been one for most of the last 15 years. You still sign a contract, if that contract states that you must be drug free and submit to drug tests, then, if you want the contract, you have to abide by that. I’ve had to take many drug tests over the years.
I will also add the the labs vary greatly to how strick they are. Some do all but hold the cup for you, while others let you shut the door behind you, and just don’t let you flush the toilet or use the sink until you give them the sample. It is up to the company, NASCAR in Mayfield’s case, to decide how strict they want their tests to be.
Everyone brings up valid points about the whole mess that has been created here. I’d like to invite all of you to join our Jeremy Mayfield discussion on the Frontstretch Forums.
If you’re not a member, register and click on the link in your activation email. And if you have any trouble getting your activation email, send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org with your username, and I will activate your account manually.
I hate you more everyday Na$crap. So glad I don’t watch it at all anymore! Just like to come on here and hear people rip on it! Excellent! Up yours Brian France!
you seem to have fairly biased opinion. while you try to put it off a as “Neutral” one.
1 very little noted items is how almost every driver came out against the COT till the “meeting” last year, and many pointed out had they had never been tested, and/or stating that they did not think JM was a drug user.
either nascar is lying or Jm is trying to pull off the biggest lie in nascar in a long time.
M.B. as far as TR goes, you are of course aware that nascar did not know at the time, that he had aids, right? and of course you followed up on it and know that the doctor/testing facility falsified his tests? that TR sued nascar, and it was settled out of court with a gag order? you know all of that correct?
Quoting from your column, “So it’s curious why NASCAR seems to have so little credibility here when compared to other sports” ARE YOU KIDDING ME?? NASCAR has a BIG credibility problem in almost everything they do !! “Debris Cautions” whenever they need to bunch up the fields, Carl Long, Tim Richmond and did you read the current Wendell Scott book??? NASCAR has had a credibility problem almost from the day it was formed !!
Good article and M.B. good points. As a condition to getting his Cup license for 2009 JM had to agree to abide by the terms of NASCAR’s drug testing policy, including having his team members tested for specified substances before the season began. One of the first 2 crewmen to flunk a random drug test was a JM employee, and JM’s response was to fire the employee.
From what I have read, the NFL also has the B specimen tested by the same lab if the A sample comes back positive. What I have not seen is where anyone in the media has made the effort to do a thorough comparison of NASCAR’s testing program to that of any other major racing series, major sport, or the DOT.
Whether or not JM is guilty hopefully will be determined out in public in court so there can be no questions unanswered.
It is clear to me that there is a significant segment of the media that virtually always bashes NASCAR no matter what – either because it is believed that bashing NASCAR sells or they still harbor a grudge against NASCAR.
M.B., I agree with you, as usual. I see no point in the many NASCAR haters who post here, some who claim they dont even watch the races anymore. Why waste your time posting here if all you do is bash NASCAR and dont watch or support it?
M B Voelker I will no longer be shy about it….
I don’t know why Nascar attracts more “fans” who see black helicopters and wear tinfoil hats than other sports, but those “fans” and the writers who pander to them are the ones whose credibility I question.”
Well that is a simple fix..don’t read here no more! There are other stands that sell the flavor of kool aid you like.
nas$car is a dictatorship. Plain and simple. Always has been and always will be. Comparing nas$car to other sports like baseball and football is a joke. At least in other sports YOU DO GET YOUR DAY IN COURT. You stand up to nas$car and they will give you the boot heel treatment. Just ask Carl Long. Right or wrong Mayfield stood up to them and they’ll stoop to pretty low levels to squash him. The stepmother issue speaks volumes. nas$car’s Nero France has fiddled at his best when some crediability is needed from this organization. It makes me want to vomit when I watch the nas$car media sucks up to them. All I ask is that everyone remember that in this country everyone is SUPPOSED to be innocent until proven guilty. Problem is nas$car will go to any means to prove somebody guilty.
as a long time fan of nascar I dont get upset with their horsecrap rules , rulings and make up rules as they go approach . why ? because its barnum and bailey wwe wraped up in one , how many times have we seen a driver not named gordon , johnson or back in the day dale jr fading and all of the sudden caution for a hot dog wrapper and then we watch a 8 lap yellow while everyone can work on their car and the network runs 10 commercials , over the last 7 or 8 years i have slowly drifted from the sport because helton , brian france and their minions have gutted this sport , they have made it a joke period , the drivers need a union to stand up to the dictatorship and im a non union guy , but carl long got tied to the whipping post robbie gordon always gets the shaft as well . go jeremy smokey yunick is looking down and saying i told u about nascar old richard petty would cheat every week but nascar always busted smokey
MB is drunk from all the Nascar Kool Aid she drinks. That is the only explanation for her blindness.