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.
It made me chuckle that Dale Earnhardt, Jr.’s recent comments about the state of NASCAR came right around the time I said that the press isn’t responsible for the sport’s declining ratings. I’m sure he didn’t get the idea to be so honest after reading an article by little ol’ me, but I wondered if Eddie D’Hondt was going to chew him out now, too.
For the six of you that haven’t heard Junior’s recent take on things NASCAR, here are some quotes:
“I think we need to open our eyes a little bit. Everyone. NASCAR could probably be a little more urgent in improving our product, where the ultimate result is great, exciting racing that the fans will enjoy, that the drivers enjoy, so everyone is happy.
“I’m not trying to start a crusade against nobody or cause nobody any problems. I think the drivers, myself included, we would all work together with NASCAR to do this. I’m just trying to remind everyone of the optimal goal and prize for us is to have better racing.
“Even when things are good, we shouldn’t rest on any success we may be having. We’re not really where we want to be, I don’t think, as a sport. We need to do things to excite corporate America and excite the fans. We need to be proactive immediately to make that happen.”
Oh, and uh, before the double-file restarts, “95% of the race wasn’t worth the price of the ticket.”
Despite that these statements could come from any Master of the Obvious, a year ago Junior would have gotten his ass whipped by NASCAR for saying this. But in the kinder, gentler NASCAR of today, the only response from Mike Helton was that there would be no changes to the current car, since their concern was the costs for the teams to have to re-learn any new angles.
But given that NASCAR has been holding town hall meetings for drivers for their input, a year after telling them to shut up about the car to the press, you have to wonder if the sport’s biggest star doesn’t even care what they think now. Even with NASCAR attempting to be better listeners, it’s still surprising to see a popular driver be so vocal about the sport’s problems to a press that he has to know by now will eat it up and spit it out all over the Internet, which, of course, they did.
It’s doubtful that Junior’s recent comments about the car are his way of deflecting blame for his struggles on the track. He’s smarter than that. That was the knee-jerk reaction of his detractors of course, but it’s a little too easy for him not to know that that would happen. In the past, earlier this year even, he’s been more than willing to take responsibility for not doing as well as people think he should.
Earlier this year, Junior came out and publicly defended his embattled cousin and crew chief, asserting that he was a capable mechanic and that Eury was who he wanted to run with no matter what the results. It didn’t sound like something that his father would have said.
And a year ago, he also rightly opined that the season was too long.
It’s not that the guy does nothing but complain, but you have to wonder sometimes if he’s growing weary of this job. The pressure on any Cup driver is enormous, and it’s squared for the son of a departed legend.
Almost since his Cup career began, Little E has had the weight of the auto racing universe on his shoulders. He had to get back in a racecar a week after his father passed. He was put into a bright national spotlight suddenly and at a young age and has had to hold the title of ambassador ever since. As he was expected to start winning more and more, there were the public battles with his stepmother. When it could not be resolved and turned ugly in the press, he ended up leaving the company his father founded, which had to be painful knowing the team would suffer without him. Then came the high expectations of driving for the strongest team…and not living up to them. And the abuse and eventual dismissal of his cousin as a crew chief. And the lack of respect from young hotshots.
More than any other driver in the sport’s history, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. has had to live his life in a fishbowl. Not only is the pressure great, he has to live up to expectations that the best in this sport couldn’t live up to, and answer for why he hasn’t. For all of his fame and fortune, I don’t envy the guy.
To Junior’s enormous credit, he has handled all of it very well and still doesn’t seem to take himself too seriously. But more and more evident are cracks in his love for racing. Maybe he is as frustrated as many of us with NASCAR’s “progress”. If losing Rockingham was hard on some of us, what must it have been like for a driver who grew up as a wide-eyed kid watching his father race there?
Junior isn’t the driver his father was. Not many were. But Senior didn’t have the onus of living up to a famous name, or carrying a sport on his shoulders. It can’t be as fun as it used to be. It’s one thing for Casey Mears to run in the 20s week in and week out. That isn’t a surprise. But when your father was one of the greats and you are driving for the best team, not winning any races is unacceptable to many. And the weight may be showing in the mental lapses on pit roads and elsewhere.
It may not even be a conscious thing. Junior certainly sounds optimistic and motivated to contend and win when asked about the subject in interviews. Surely this team has gotten a lift from Michigan. I’m sure he’s not phoning it in out there, but perhaps subconsciously there’s a part of him that wants to spend a little more time fishing on a quiet lake and a little less time trying to figure out how to race a car that handles like a bus.
NASCAR can’t live on what Junior thinks. Nor can they go out of their way to keep him from being disgruntled if they don’t want to lose every other driver’s fans. But for him to be this vocal about the car, he must either be assured that NASCAR won’t reprimand him for taking his complaints public, or he no longer cares if they do. My hunch is that after fighting to pilot the mandated flying brick for two years, it’s the latter. Given NASCAR’s well-known ability to get drivers in line in the past, one wonders if he’s inwardly ready to tell NASCAR to take this job and shove it, even if he has no plans to.
He may be aware that in times like these, NASCAR can no longer tell a driver of Junior’s stature who needs who more.
©2000 - 2008 Kurt Smith and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
Maybe the fans are struggling with motivation as much as Junior. Judging by the steadily declining TV ratings, the economy isn’t the only problem Nascar has. I know I no longer plan my Sunday around a race. In fact, I sold my tickets to the night race this year, and won’t be renewing my Bristol tickets for next year. It has a lot to do with the lackluster racing everywhere (and particularly at Bristol the past several years) rather than the economy, as Nascar likes to use as their convenient excuse. I never thought I would voluntarily give up my season tickets to Bristol.
I congratulate Jr. for speaking his piece, it’s called the “free speech” theory, something of course NA$CRAP certainly does not support!
BUT! Remember, all the other wimps, I mean “drivers”, still are in fear of NA$CRAP!
Not a peep out of those other drivers!
And it ain’t because they like the POS, it is because they operate in fear!
And we call it “racing”?
Junior lacking motivation has been one of my main theories for well over a year now. I think Jeff Gordon is even starting to fall into category (granted, he is still driving pretty good, but not great like he used to).
Both of these guys have all the money they’ll ever need. Junior has many obvious reason not to like “racing” NASCAR-style, a.k.a., for entertainment instead of pure racing. And Gordon is getting up there in years and is now suffering from the abuse most sports cause to your body.
These aren’t the money hungry guys, like Bill Gates, who live to make money. These guys live to race. And NASCAR appears to be going out of their way to make racing a lot less fun. Just listen to all the pre-race shows and how all the drivers are racing dirt or go-karts and talk about it in a way that makes it sound like it is the funnest thing they have ever done.
To sum up what I am trying to say is that NASCAR has killed racing, to the point that it is not only losing fans, but it is starting to lose the drivers’ interest too.
So if you are a Junior or a Gordon and you sit back and look at your pile of cash, you have to think that, sooner rather than later, you would be calling it quits… unless things change.
When people stop going to Bristol it’s time for NA$CAR to wake up!!!!
Wake Up People!
Hey of Ghost of curtis turner, your statement “Hey Brian, put down the can of coke”, just ain’t accurate, because the “coke” King Brian is snorting does not come in a can!
AND! Doing some thinking, I wonder if King Brian is sweating bullets now that the Swiss Bank Accounts are no longer “hidden”! Wonder if King Brian is one of those tax-evaders to be named?
Don’t be surprised!
Kurt, thank you for having the guts to put in print what Jr is feeling. Commenters above, thank you for your take on this situation. The truth hurts, doesn’t it Mike Helton. You got on this like a duck on a junebug (no pun intended). I am getting close to the “I don’t give a darn” place. There are none so blind as those who will not see.
Finally, a driver who isn’t afraid to take on the Bubbas! But it doesn’t appear that the Bubbas are taking any of it to heart. In fact, they are ready to force the COT onto the NW series next year, so that what has been some really good racing this season will turn into another borefest next season. Oh well, that is the nature of existence-good years and bad years, until it dies or someone with vision revives it. Right now, NASCAR racing has one foot in the grave.
Nascars excuse for not fixing the car is “it will cost too much money” how much money are these teams spending to try and get this pos err i mean COT to turn through the middle of the corner?? The reason there is no side by side racing is because the drivers have so little control of the car,they are not driving it in to a turn they are pointing it in and hoping it sticks,case in point Mark Martin last week after qualifing he was scared shitless WAKE UP NASCAR before we all walk away
This takes me back to the late-1980s when Darrell Waltrip jilted Junior Johnson and signed on with Hendrick to run the #17 Tide Chevy. Even with the best of everything, and other than his only Daytona 500 win, the #17 team did not win championships, as expected.
Now fast-forward a couple of decades and history is repeating itself with Hendrick and Junior. That is because championship Cup teams cannot be thrown together like classic rock supergroups. Every Cup champion team has been grown organically.
JR along with others (before they were slapped senseless by NASCAR) made legitimate complaints. I tire of seeing cars that are identical except for stickers and engine, reminds me too much of IROC. It almost sounds like if you don’t have any food “eat cake” attitude is what NASCAR believes.
If Jr starts winning and says this, they will have to listen. They blowing it off now and calling him a poor loser. Go! Jr
JT, the supergroup analogy may be the best I’ve ever heard. I know a lot of people liked Asia, but I expected a lot better from the talent in that group.
And more regarding the POS!
Came in for lunch, egg sandwhich by the way, right from my own chickens, time is about 12:10PM, practice from Bristol is on.
Low & behold, they actually showed a side by side of a NWS car, and the POS! They showed how much movement the NWS car had going down the straight, and how LITTLE the POS exhibited, they also went on to try and describe how this “affects the handling” of the POS!
Golly gee! A revelation!
A revelation we all know, and have known!
And for that, the announcers have been “called to the hauler”, probably for their whipping by Helton & company!
Poor JR., there’s just 8,088whatever million excuses for him. Not motivated? Why should he be? Jr. can make $$$ just riding around in 20th someplace, and delusional Jr. Nation suckers will keep on buying t-shirts, just because they like Jr. as he is. Is Jr. feeling pressure because of his name? Well DUH! Maybe poor Jr. should have gone by his first name, RALPH, instead of milking and living off Dale Sr. name. The COT with less down force, seperated the really good drivers from the average drivers. With the down force the old car had, average at best drivers like Jr. could have occasional success. The embarassing red-headed stepchild at HMS can’t keep up with other 3 Championship Caliper Drivers at HMS, so now he crys to the media. Remember Jr. “could win if he had better equipment”, well he does now and still can’t win.
thanks douglas. that post about the side by side of the NWS vs POS was very enlightening. wish i could find it on youtube or somewhere.
hey overrated. just how in heck do you drive a caliper? maybe you should try a dictionary instead of spell check.
calipers do not drive. they are part of a cars brake system. try again Overrated
Hey overrated – It’s so much easier to denigrate someone anonymously than to add to a discussion, isn’t it? Keep it up with those Championship ‘Caliper’ comments.
Hey “archie harrison”, that sequence was on maybe about 12:15PM this afternoon while practice was on. I was actually SHOCKED, that they would air such a thing as it is the “reason” why the POS does not handle, and is everything the drivers are talking about!
After Jr.‘s airing at MIS, Jeff Gordon’s comment was “well, I wish these cars (POS), had more adjustability!
EXACTLY WHAT TODAY’S AIRING ON TV, THE SIDE BY SIDE, WAS SHOWING.
I just wish more people would understand why the POS is a poorly developed race car. This lack of movement, all bound up on it’s own suspension, is another reason it is not a good road race car. Road race cars, and circle track cars, all need things like weight transfer, front to back, side to side, to get proper bite to go thru corners.
That is also why you do hear the drivers at times simply say, “with the POS you simply point it and hope that’s where it goes”!
No feedback to the driver, thru such things as weight transfer, and such.
And it’s another reason the POS is prone to “rear wheel hop” under braking! There is no suspension to accomodate the braking forces, thus the rear wheels just start hopping!
A sick case indeed!
I have read on this blog several people that go to the track and the only thing that impresses them is “cars with 800HP & they way they sound”!
They don’t have a clue as to the handling of a race car is what makes racing!
Hope this helps understand things.
Great article! Glad you had the nerve to defend some of Jr.‘s comments. We all know he has had a bad year but what he said about the COT is exactly what the long time fans feel. Unlike what Brian De Los Santos said in his article yesterday, “that racing was as good as it has always been”, we long time fans know better. He like so many of the journalists are either too young or are too fearful of Nascar to really tell it like it is. Most of today’s articles are almost as boring as the racing. Your article today was a breath of fresh air. Keep up the good work.
Hey archie harrison, more,
if you can watch a replay of the nationwide race, watch for a “head-on” shot of the cars coming at you down the straight! The NW series cars lift the nose up a good 4” or 5” off the ground, then when they get to braking the car dips right down to the track, almost, if not rubbing the front “air dam”, as it is called.
On the POS, with it’s hated “splitter”! When the Cup car accelerate down thE track, again, the head-on shot, the “splitter” maybe moves about 2”, very limited movement!
This movement, on each of the cars, is the travel the chassis has on the supsension, travel that allows the cars to handle, or in the case of limited travel, i.e. the POS! NOT HANDLE!