Kurt Busch to Attempt The Indianapolis-Charlotte Double
posted by Phil Allaway
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Andretti Autosport announced this morning that Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet in the Sprint Cup Series, will attempt the Indianapolis 500 in a fifth entry for the IndyCar Series team. Once the Indianapolis 500 is completed, Busch will fly from Indianapolis to Charlotte, jump in his No. 41 Chevrolet and compete in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Busch considers the opportunity to do the double as an old-school throwback moment.
“This is really to challenge myself within motorsports,” Busch said in Andretti Autosport’s press release. “Perhaps I am a bit of an old-school racer; a throwback, I guess. I enjoyed the era of drivers racing different cars and testing themselves in other series. It is tough to do now for a variety of factors, but when the opportunity is there, I want to do it. While NASCAR is my home, I have been fortunate to compete in Pro Stock on the NHRA circuit a number of years ago and test a V8 Supercar. This opportunity was a talk with Michael [Andretti] over dinner one night, a “What if,” and now it’s becoming a reality for me to drive in the Indy 500 with Andretti Autosport. It’s literally a dream come true. To go to the famous Brickyard with the iconic Andretti name, it doesn’t get much cooler or better than that.”
Busch will be doing the Indianapolis-Charlotte double as a Memorial Day mission to men and women serving in the U.S. Military via the Armed Forces Foundation. Fans can contribute to the cause by texting AFF to 50555 to donate $10.
Busch, who has never raced an IndyCar, passed Rookie Orientation at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last year during a test session. At the time, Busch was more or less testing the Dallara DW12 for fun.
Busch will be the fourth driver to attempt the Indianapolis-Charlotte double. John Andretti was the first driver to attempt it in 1994. After finishing four laps down in tenth in Indianapolis, Andretti crashed and had engine problems in the 600. Robby Gordon has attempted the double five times, most recently in 2004. However, Gordon failed to make it to Charlotte on time and did not start the 600 in 2000 (P.J. Jones started Gordon’s No. 13 Ford in that instance). Finally, Tony Stewart has attempted the double twice (most recently in 2001) and is the only driver to ever complete all 1100 miles. Neither of the three drivers has won either leg of the double. The best finishes are Stewart and Gordon’s sixth-place finishes at the Indianapolis 500 (although Gordon’s came in 2000, the year he didn’t make it to Charlotte in time to start the Coca-Cola 600), and Stewart’s fourth-place finish in the 2001 Coca-Cola 600.
Danica Patrick, Justin Allgaier Talk About Phoenix Incident
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
A disappointing start to the year for Danica Patrick won’t include continued conflict. Patrick met with rookie Justin Allgaier Sunday, shortly after the Phoenix Cup race after a wreck ruined both drivers’ days. Patrick, who was critical of the No. 51 car on the radio, claiming Allgaier was “driving all over the track” appeared receptive to a conversation that quickly settled differences over what will be a long season.
“She was just upset because she got involved in the crash that we had,’’ said Allgaier to the Motor Racing Network. “She says she’s been through this and that she felt like I needed to settle down at that point. I explained my position on why everything happened. I think she understood where I was coming from. It doesn’t fix either one of our racecars. It doesn’t fix either one of our days. Unfortunately, we were both having pretty decent days.’’
Allgaier wound up 30th due to the incident while Patrick was 36th. The incident, which was caused by Allgaier’s spin also involved the No. 32 team and Travis Kvapil, which wound up 38th after sustaining heavy damage.
Camping World Close to Extending Title Sponsorship of NCWTS
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Marcus Lemonis, CEO of Camping World, Grand Marshal of Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway, and star of CNBC’s “The Profit,” made the announcement over the weekend that the retailer is very close to announcing a deal that would continue its title sponsorship of NASCAR’s Truck Series. The original agreement with NASCAR is scheduled to conclude after the 2015 season.
According to the sanctioning body, no formal contract has been signed, but “the agreement between the two parties has proven to be a beneficial one.”
“In about a month, we’ll be announcing a significant extension to that contract. It’s been great for us,” said Camping World’s Lemonis in a statement. “The NASCAR relationship has worked well for Camping World. When we started, we had 35 stores. Now, we’re up to 120 stores. As we travel the country and we meet new customers in stores, they always are very appreciative of our relationship with NASCAR. It’s been good.”
Gaining a long-term commitment from Camping World to sponsor the Truck Series would be a relief for NASCAR, which is set to lose Nationwide Insurance as title sponsor for the NASCAR Nationwide Series at the end of the 2014 season. The sponsorship of the Cup Series by Sprint runs through 2016.
The NCWTS is back in action on March 29th at 2:30 PM (ET) when the trucks visit Martinsville Speedway in the Kroger 250, which can be seen on Fox Sports 1. Ratings for the season opener were up 11 percent.
Harvick Takes Win At Phoenix In Second Race With New Team
posted by Justin Tucker
Monday March 3, 2014
Phoenix International Raceway has become Kevin Harvick’s home away from home. Sunday Afternoon was no exception as Harvick charged to the front early and would dominate for much of the day, leading 224 of the scheduled 312 laps to record his record fifth win on the one mile oval and his third win in the last four races at Phoenix.
Harvick, coming off of a disappointing Speedweeks which was capped by a last lap crash in the Daytona 500 in his debut with Stewart-Haas Racing, set the tone on Saturday by winning both practices while having the best 5 and 10-lap averages in the first practice of the day on Saturday. On Sunday, Harvick and his No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet was nothing short of flawless as he was able to hold Dale Earnhardt, Jr. by .489 seconds after a late race restart to claim his 24th career Sprint Cup Series victory.
“Man, this is awesome,” Harvick said after his dominant victory on Sunday. “Man, this just solidifies so many things and so many decisions. It’s been so much work with all the time and effort that these guys (the crew) have put in—but what a race car.”
Stewart Haas Racing co-owner Gene Haas shared in Harvick’s excitement after the race.
“It took long enough,” Haas joked. “This is phenomenal. I think there was a lot of skepticism last year about what myself and Tony (Stewart) what we were up to, was there a lot of madness to this. Quite frankly, it’s a great team, there’s a lot of synergy at the shop, people working together. I don’t know what we did, but I think we put together a great organization.”
Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt, Jr. continued his hot start to the 2014 season. Earnhardt Jr. would finish second on Sunday, marking his seventh consecutive top 10 finish since the end of the 2013 season. Earnhardt Jr. was pleased with the effort after a coast-to-coast whirlwind week after winning his second Daytona 500 and also gave great praise to the efforts of Harvick and the No. 4 team.
“I’ve got to congratulate Kevin. Those guys were two-tenths faster than everyone all weekend in practice. They were just phenomenal,” Earnhardt said. “To be able to run with them all day was a big confidence builder for us.”
Joining Harvick and Earnhardt in the top 5 of The Profit on CNBC 500K were Brad Keselowski with his second consecutive top 3 run of 2014 in third. Keselowski’s Team Penske teammate Joey Logano would finish fourth, and Jeff Gordon would come home fifth in his No. 24 Pepsi Max Chevrolet.
Jimmie Johnson finished in sixth, followed by Ryan Newman with a nice rebound after Daytona in seventh. Carl Edwards would carry the banner for Roush Fenway Racing by finishing eighth, Kyle Busch was ninth, and Jamie McMurray would finish tenth.
A look at the Profit on CNBC 500K by the numbers. There were 14 lead changes among eight different drivers, there were eight cautions for 39 laps which slowed the race pace to 109.229 MPH.
Next Sunday, the Sprint Cup Series heads to Sin City and the Las Vegas Motor
Starting Lineup: The Profit On CNBC 500K
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday March 1, 2014
Drivers in RED (i) are those ineligible to collect Sprint Cup points
Daytona 500 TV Ratings Down
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Wednesday February 26, 2014
What was the longest weather delay in Daytona 500 history turned out to bring NASCAR lower ratings and TV viewership Sunday night than expected. According to a report Monday from FOX Sports, the 56th running of the Daytona 500 airing at 8 PM (ET) posted a 5.6/10 national household rating/share which averaged 9.3 million viewers. That’s down 44 percent from last year’s 9.9, easily making it the least-watched Daytona 500 of all-time.
Due to the six-hour, twenty-two minute rain delay in Daytona, the race was up against the primetime coverage of the Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony from Sochi, Russia on NBC (15.25 million viewers). FOX also reported that 69% of the pre-rain delay viewers of the race, which began at 1 PM (ET) kept tuning in.
In comparison, the 2013 Daytona 500 on FOX was the most-watched race in five years, posting a 9.9/22 rating/share, commanding 16.7 million viewers. The Daytona 500 in 2012, the first to ever be run on a Monday and in the primetime slot did a 7.7/13 overnight rating/share which resulted in 13.67 million households viewing the race according to Nielsen TV ratings data.
Earnhardt, Jr. Claims Second Daytona 500 Victory
posted by Justin Tucker
Wednesday February 26, 2014
Ten years is a long time. For Dale Earnhardt, Jr., it felt like an eternity. NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver endured many near misses and close calls at the Daytona 500 since his only win in the Great American Race in 2004. Earnhardt had finished second in two of his last three Daytona 500s coming into Sunday’s race. He was also riding the tail of a 55-race winless streak, dating back to Michigan in 2012.
However nothing would stop Dale Jr. on Sunday, not even a 6 hour and 22 minute rain delay from capturing his second Daytona 500 win. Earnhardt Jr. led a race-high 54 laps on the evening and used some timely drafting help from teammates Jimmie Johnson and, on the final restart, Jeff Gordon to separate from the pack and secure the victory.
“Winning this race is the greatest feeling that you could feel in this sport besides accepting the trophy for the championship,” said a jubilant Earnhardt after pulling into Victory Lane. “We could fight off battle after battle. We got a little help at the end there from Jeff to get away on the restart. This is amazing. I can’t believe this is happening. I never take this for granted, man because it doesn’t happen twice, let alone once.”
Aside from the race itself the big story of the race was the 6 hour and 22 minute red flag, which threatened to move the race to Monday evening (had the race been postponed, FOX Sports’ Chris Myers had tweeted that the race would resume at 5:00pm EST). However, Mother Nature would cooperate and would allow the race to be run under different conditions from which they practiced this week. Once the race resumed, the intensity picked up from the changing track conditions. This allowed the pack to race side-by-side and at times 3-wide up to seven rows deep.
Joining Earnhardt Jr. in the top 5 for the 2014 Daytona 500 were: Denny Hamlin who closed out a spectacular Speedweeks in second, Brad Keselowski in third, Jeff Gordon in fourth, and Jimmie Johnson who overcome two wrecks leading up to the 500 in fifth.
Rounding out the top 10 in the Daytona 500 were Matt Kenseth in sixth, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. in seventh and Greg Biffle would bring his No. 16 Ford home in eighth. Austin Dillon would come home ninth in his first Cup Series race in the iconic No. 3 for Richard Childress Racing, while Casey Mears would round out the top 10.
A couple of major contenders for the Daytona 500 win would see their hopes dashed early on as Martin Truex, Jr. would blow up just 30 laps into the race, relegating him to a 43rd-place finish in his debut for Furniture Row Racing. Crew chief Todd Berrier was already in Nashville for a test session before the race was even over. Kyle Busch, meanwhile would have a pit road violation just before halfway and would spend much of the race battling back from that mistake. Busch would eventually finish 19th after leading 19 laps.
Danica Patrick would also be bit by bad luck as she was caught up in a multi-car wreck on lap 145. Patrick would lead her second consecutive Daytona 500, but wouldn’t have the finish to show for it finishing 40th. Tony Stewart would encounter a frustrating evening as well, with a fuel pickup problem derailing his quest for his first Daytona 500 win. Stewart would finish 35th.
A look at the Daytona 500 by the numbers. There were 42 lead changes among 18 drivers, while seven cautions for 39 laps would slow the race pace to 145.290 MPH.
Next week, the Sprint Cup Series heads to the “diamond in the desert,” Phoenix International Raceway for The Profit on CNBC 500K. The Green flag is scheduled for 3:15pm EST.
Nationwide Series Post-Race Quotes: Drive4COPD 300
posted by Thomas Bowles
Tuesday February 25, 2014
Frontstretch Interviews – Courtesy Mike Neff
ELLIOTT SADLER – FINISHED 4th
Thoughts on the race?
It’s definitely a lot different racing than what we’re used to.
Comfortable with it?
Yeah, it’s just different. You’re worried about what you’re doing, but you’re also worried about what everyone else is doing and they’re not doing more than you’re doing. Physically pushing a guy is way better than just riding so you just gotta time it right and push it to the edge.
Happy to start the year with a top 5?
Yeah. Hell, that was the worst we ran all day, I think. I have no idea how they put the 3 car in front of us on that last restart. I hadn’t seen the 3 car hardly all day. When they put us from fifth to sixth, on the outside line, it just really boxed us in. I would have really restarted behind my teammate and given him a good push to the front. Anyways, it is what it is; we’ll take it and move on.
Looked like you were up front all day.
The guys did a good job. We had a fast race car. Great pit stops, just really proud of these guys. The car’s in one piece and we can take it to Talladega now. Great job by my guys. A lot of effort came into coming down here to Daytona and giving ourselves a shot to win. We had that chance to be up front and make some things happen. Fifth is not what we want, but we’ll take it and move on.
Bumping vs Pushing?
It’s way harder. You don’t want to lay on the guy in front of you, so it’s tough racing. A lot different than what we’re used to, ‘cause you gotta go. You gotta drag the brake too ‘cause you don’t want to hit the guys and you don’t want to stay on him. It’s a lot harder mentally than what we’ve done in the past.
Car was strong all day. Pushing vs. Bumping, is that harder to do than just getting on somebody and pushing them?
Yeah, it is a little bit. When you bump ‘em, you jar ‘em, it kinda jacks ‘em a little bit. It’s a little more abrupt, obviously. I thought it was OK there at the end. It was certainly fun and hopefully entertaining. But a little bit of a struggle in the early part of the race and the midpart of the race to see a good race. And that’s unfortunate for the fans. You can’t do that the whole race, you can’t tear up your stuff, knock your grill in, overheat your motor, all that stuff so there’s no sense in doing all that until you get down to the last lap. The 7 and the 6, they did a good job. Man, the 7 really held the 22 and I tight on the bottom. I was rubbing his door and hitting the apron at the same time, no room whatsoever. So it was good; wish we were the ones who could have won but a lot better now than what we were last year.
Going home in one piece makes it a lot better, right?
Yeah. My back feels good. My foot feels good. Past years here, I’ve been going home with pain so I’m alright.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Truck Series Post-Race Quotes: Daytona (Exclusives)
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday February 22, 2014
When you’re on the outside like that, how frustrating is it?
It’s so hard. Timothy Peters has won here. Kyle Busch has won everywhere. Ron Hornaday has been running Trucks forever, probably before I was even born. I was surrounded by veterans there, and like I told them I don’t have a rookie stripe but I’m a rookie. This is only my fourth Truck race ever, my fourth superspeedway race, and man, I figured out when the 17 got up in front of me, I pushed him. And as soon as I pushed him, he took off. And I went with him. And I just kept doing it, and before I knew it, he was leading. And I saw Ron in my mirror, backed up to him, and if it wasn’t for him, I don’t know what would have happened. I gotta thank him big time for that. That was a true teammate move right there. I really appreciate that. He just bounced off me and we got to the front. I tried my hardest to sidedraft Kyle. I was probably touching his door.
Top 5 in the No. 30 truck. This deal come together at the last minute, but you had a heck of a truck. Tell us about your night.
Yeah, I’ve got to thank Turner Scott Motorsports. The guys worked so hard on this Rheem Comfort Products Chevrolet. Exciting! Just got hung up on the outside and had to wait for my teammate there to catch up. And then he got to the bottom, so… I got the old 32 and started pushing ol’ Ryan to the front. So, it’s not bad. We’ll take it. You just don’t want to step over that boundary. You don’t know how far to push and shove. We bumped about six times down the straightaway without latching onto them. Hopefully, that was OK and we came home with a top 5.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Budweiser Duels Post Race Quotes
posted by Matt Stallknecht
Friday February 21, 2014
BUDWEISER DUELS POST-RACE QUOTES
They’re saying the wheel bearing burned up in it. I don’t know what caused it, they’re taking it all apart to figure out what the heck happened. Something abnormal that’s for sure I don’t think I’ve ever had that happen at all. Hopefully, we made the race and hopefully we can fix the problem before Sunday.
WHAT WAS THAT LOUD BOOM ONCE YOU TURNED INTO THE GARAGE?
Loud pop was a tire… thankfully, it popped, hopefully it didn’t hurt anybody. All the heat created in the left front that popped was pretty weird.
REALLY GOOD RUN. WHAT DID YOU THINK OF IT?
Yeah, it was good. We have a car we can work with for the 500. Got a good starting spot, so we’re going to rest easy, fluff and buff our car for a couple of days and get ready for Sunday.
ANY DIFFERENCE ON WHETHER THE TOP OR BOTTOM LANE WORKED?
Yeah, I was just moving around, trying to stay with the flow. For me, this car works on all parts of the racetrack. So I’m pretty happy with it.
DALE EARNHARDT, JR.
GOT SHUFFLED BACK, AFTER PIT STOPS AND THEN COULDN’T GET BACK UP TO THE FRONT. WHY?
Nah, we were just sitting there waiting until the last few laps to make a move. You didn’t want to pull down and get sent to the back. Seen a couple of guys get sent to the back really quick so we were just kind of waiting for the end. I felt like we had a good situation there with Ambrose behind us — we had a good run off Turn 2 and I went. It was the last lap, time to go do something, nobody went with us but hopefully Sunday is a different story.
We got a great car. We don’t have to work hard. We learned, we got a good race car. Got a car in one piece, ready to go so we’ll try and get through the next couple of practices, deliver it to the starting group this Sunday and we’ll be real happy.
YOU’RE IN THE DAYTONA 500!
Yeah, it’s pretty awesome. This Whitetail Chevrolet was so fast that I knew all I had to do was stick it behind smart, intelligent drafters and we could have a good finish. That’s what we did in the Duels and I’m excited. I’m excited to go do some stuff with the Nationwide car and have some more practice with this. But to know that we’re locked in the Daytona 500’s pretty cool.
YOU WERE OBVIOUSLY IN FRONT OF THAT MELEE AT THE END. WHEN YOU WERE UP FRONT THERE IN THE BEGINNING, WERE YOU HOPING TO JUST STAY IN LINE AND LET YOU FINISH TOP 5?
I was pretty content to ride and luckily I knew a lot of people around us were. It was nice to have a little calm and not really have to be racing hard the whole time. I knew that the pit stop was going to shake everything up and that’s exactly what happened. Fell back a little bit there but made the right moves at the end to get a good finish.
HOW STRONG ARE THESE RCR CARS?
They’re very strong! They definitely have the capabilities to be winning one of these races.
YOU’RE IN THE TOP 5 FOR YOUR HEAT IN THE DAYTONA 500. YOUR PRIMARY CAR IS SITTING RIGHT IN THE GARAGE, KIND OF WADDED UP. DID YOU THINK THIS ONE HAD IT IN IT?
Yeah, it’s a brand new car also. It’s just not quite as good as the primary but still a damned good car. I’m just proud of everybody at RCR for building such fast race cars. All of our cars have been fast, ECR motor’s been strong, even our affiliate teams have been qualifying really good and racing good. So… excited about 2014! It’s going to be a good year.
WELL MAN, YOU STARTED IN THE BACK BUT WORKED YOUR WAY TO THE FRONT WHEN IT COUNTED MOST. WERE YOU JUST BIDING YOUR TIME THROUGHOUT THE RACE?
Eh, you never know if you’re going to get back up there or not. We had to start at the back, we had to make a run early and see what we could do. We drove right to 10th, or something like that and then it got stagnant. We tried to make something happen, and went to the back again. Drove back up to the front. Again, just really proud of my guys. Matt Kruder did a hell of a job on that pit stop getting just enough gas in to gain some spots there.
RCR CARS SEEM PRETTY DARNED STRONG. DO YOU THINK THE RCR CARS HAVE SOMETHING FOR THEM ON SUNDAY — ESPECIALLY THE THREE JOE GIBBS RACING CARS THAT SEEM TO BE THE CLASS OF THE FIELD RIGHT NOW?
Oh yeah. The 20 car was extremely fast. The 11 didn’t qualify that good, but he’s a good drafter. I think he won. We definitely have something for him.
Check in with Matt and Jay on their site at CareyandCoffey.com.
With Danica Patrick likely to race in the Nationwide Series with JR Motorsports next season, NASCAR can partially exhale knowing that they can declare their diversity efforts to finally be bearing some fruit. Erin Crocker just wasn’t going to get it done there.
But with that selection comes a simple question: Why her?
At face value, Patrick is a better driver than most give her credit for. The surface comparisons to Anna Kournikova — hot female athlete with marginal ability — are not without merit, but they aren’t quite accurate. Danica finished fifth in the IRL standings this year. Each season, she has done better than in the previous one.
So it isn’t so much that she’s overrated as a race car driver. She isn’t A.J. Foyt… but she doesn’t stink at it, either.
That said, there is no heavy-breathing desire on any NASCAR team’s part to pursue Tony Kanaan, Dan Wheldon, Ryan Briscoe, or Helio Castroneves, all of whom are far more accomplished than Patrick in the IRL. Kanaan is Patrick’s teammate at Andretti-Green Racing, so presumably they race in close to equal equipment. He’s won six races to Danica’s one in the last three seasons. Dario Franchitti, whose foray into NASCAR was brief and unmarked by achievement, won a championship with Andretti-Green in 2007.
Open-wheel drivers far better than Patrick have tried NASCAR and mostly failed. Franchitti is the best example. Granted, none of the recent open-wheel entrants into NASCAR drove for Hendrick Motorsports or for one of its tentacles. But Sam Hornish, Jr. and Scott Speed thus far have not even challenged to be the top performers on their own teams, a level of success that Franchitti also failed to reach during his stint in NASCAR. Juan Pablo Montoya is the only exception, and it took him a couple of years to start running well with the big boys. Based on history, Patrick’s prospects would look bleak in NASCAR.
So there’s a fair conclusion to draw from this. NASCAR wants Danica, teams want Danica, and sponsors want Danica — not because she’s the best Indy Car racer out there, not because she’s female even, but because she looks great in a swimsuit.
In a perfect world, there would be minority and female drivers who fought their way into the top series of NASCAR by becoming worthy race car drivers on their own, not because NASCAR selected them to be in a special training program or because they sold Sports Illustrated swimsuit specials. Danica doesn’t seem to have a problem being better known for her curves than for how she navigates them, but somehow I don’t think female drivers trying to work their way through the auto racing ranks would like the idea that they can’t have any body fat or stringy hair if they want to make it in NASCAR.
You would think sports would be different from Hollywood in that regard. In reality, it isn’t. A team needs sponsorship to race, and drivers like Danica Patrick and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. unquestionably bring it. Kyle Busch may be a better race car driver than either of them, but there isn’t any question whom you’d rather have on your team from a strictly business standpoint. Junior and Danica are moneymaking machines. Of course teams are going to pursue them, no matter what their results on the track.
So reality being what it is, what’s bothersome is that fields are featuring more and more drivers who are there not because of their skills in piloting a race car but because of their skills in bringing along a sponsor. Paul Menard is a better driver than his results have been showing, but he isn’t as good as some of the unknowns that are struggling to get full-time rides in the Nationwide Series. Casey Mears is a super nice guy, but that someone with his career numbers is continually offered rides with high-profile teams is baffling.
The Nationwide Series itself is suffering from this affliction. In the end, the funding dictates who races on the track, so Nationwide becomes Cup Lite, with sponsors almost as willing to take a chance on an unknown as a big market radio station is willing to play a song that we haven’t already heard two billion times. (Honestly, if I have to hear “Born To Be Wild” one more time…) Full-time Cup drivers run away with minor league championships while aspiring talents languish unseen, unfunded, and unnoticed in inferior equipment.
It’s a nice little Catch-22 — you need to be proven to get a sponsor, but you need to get a sponsor to have a chance to prove yourself. Sometimes, even that isn’t good enough. Earlier this year, I wrote an article about Scott Wimmer and how he is struggling to even keep a Nationwide ride despite the fact that he was holding his own with the Cup drivers when he had the equipment. You can bet Danica will never have any such difficulty, though, no matter how many times she finishes 30th.
At least the situation improved slightly this year, to the point where we’re seeing some promising young talent in the Nationwide Series for the first time in awhile… drivers like Kelly Bires and Justin Allgaier are starting to get some respect out there. But JR Motorsports would take that progress a step back putting Danica in the No. 5. There are plenty of qualified stock car drivers who have paid their dues and are worthy of a competitive ride.
Now don’t get me wrong here. Being sponsor-friendly, which means either winning a lot or being non-controversial (or both, in the case of drivers like Jimmie Johnson), needs to be part of the package for a driver to succeed in racing — but should it be this large a part of it?
Patrick will get a quality ride in the Nationwide Series thanks to her SI swimsuit spread, but in the end she’s going to have to perform to hold fans’ interest. The racetrack is still the arena where one is measured and rewarded solely on ability (except for when 11 drivers have their points upgraded to match the leader) — not for bouncy hair, nice eyes, or smooth skin. At least for now.
One wonders if NASCAR will make insidious rule changes in an effort to help another marketable driver who will probably not succeed right away. But even if they don’t, the pursuit of Danica demonstrates that it’s more about the show than the racing anymore, anyway. Why not give her a hand up? Maybe have a “fan vote” to determine the polesitter each Saturday. Sort of the same principle, isn’t it?
The bottom line is another open-wheel star is coming to NASCAR without working through the ranks, following basically the same path that many better drivers have — ultimately to mediocrity. And that means the product on the track is being dictated by people who, in fact, know very little about auto racing — except that Danica Patrick unzipping herself is hot.
Remember, it’s a show.
©2000 - 2008 Kurt Smith and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
I’m so glad Danica is bringing her “Brand” over to Nascar. I hear DW is changing his BBB to Danica Danica Danica, lets go racin!!!!
I had no idea that the media mind control was so good! Honestly, how much more can Nascar insult us fans? Do they really believe that we are too stupid to form our own opinions? Perhaps treating the fans they depend on to keep them is business like village idiots is part of the reason so many of us are finding other ways to spend our Sunday afternoons.
Who cares about Danica? I mean really? If she was that good of a driver her merits would be based on her on track performance and not how much cleavage she shows during commercials.
Wow think about this, it took Big Bill France and Brian France Sr. 50+ Years to build NASCAR into a legitimate Sport recognized on it’s own merits. But it only took Brian France Jr. 5 years to totally destroy the sport and turn it into a freaking Circus Sideshow pandering to 13 year old prepubescent and 20 some year old XBox playing Losers. Thank God for the local dirt tracks, at least true race fans can still go some where to watch real racing.
In NA$CRAP, it is all about marketability, NOT talent! (and I am not saying Danica does not have talent, please).
Pass the screen test, get a ride! Bring sponsors, get a ride! Bring money making potential, get a ride!
And oh yeh, NA$CRAP’S “DIVERSITY” program is working well, getting (stealing) a “diverse” driver with an established name FROM ANOTHER SERIES/ORGANIZATION!
Thought the “diversity program” was to create their OWN driver!
Well, what do I know?
Actually Danica getting a ride in NA$CRAP is proof positive the NA$CRAP “diversity program”, is a FLOP!
Kinda like their racing!
the funniest part is bad wolf and turnip will be right on front of the tv lapping it up too.
oh and one other thing. what the @#$% does brian france or nascar have anything to do with danica patrick coming to race for jr motorsports?
Its really rather simple; Nascar’s ratings are down, their serious fan base is eroding and the “new wave” fans they so desperately want have moved on to the next in thing. Danica is an attractive woman, a reasonably competent driver and will generate enormous publicity for Nascar in the short run, even if she doesnt succeed. Do you really think they care about anything else?
Hey NASCAR CRUSADER!
Are you really serious?
Your “oh and one other thing. what the @#$% does brian france or nascar have anything to do with danica patrick coming to race for jr motorsports?”
It’s economics 101!
How can one make such a statement?
so turnip you’re saying nascar signed danica to a deal? what a tool.
nascar has nothing to do with it. it is between danica’s people and the individual teams she is speaking with.
wah!!!!!!! nascar is bringing danica over!!!!!! wah!!!!!!!! cry me a @#$%^&* river. nascar doesn’t have anything to do with it.
NC, if you dont think Nascar isnt salivating at the thought of Danica driving in Nascar, I’ve got a bridge I would like to sell you. Quite frankly It wouldn’t surprise me if they are helping to underwrite whatever deal she works out. N’est-ce pas?
there is no doubt they would be thrilled to have danica. but for you dopes to insuate that nascar is “bringing” her over takes your nonsense to a new low.
O.K. this has been pointed out before but I will point it out again. Juan Pablo Montoya is not the most successful driver to come from open wheel to Nascar. Tony Stewart did it better than anyone has. He is a two time Champion. Danica has talked to Tony and it sounds as if she is using the same strategy that he used in his change over. Do I think Danica will be the next Tony Stewart? No, I don’t think so. But I never thought a guy with one Busch series win, and it on fuel mileage to boot, would ever be a great Cup racer and he is now going for his 4th Cup title in a row. So, you just never know.
My, my NC. To call people who disagree with you “dopes” is to exhibit a churlishness beneath any further rational discussion. Have a good life you rude, boorish bozo!
i wasn’t calling you a dope because you disagree me. i was calling you a dope because you believe nascar is playing a role behind the scenes with bringing danica to jr motorsports.
do you believe in santa too?
Sure do; and the Easter Bunny and Great Pumpkin too!!!Have fun deluding yourself about the economic realities in contemporary American motorsports.
i will. and continue to sit in front of the tv every sunday and lap up everything nascar feeds you.
I’m not sure what you’re listening to or reading but on Eddie D’Hondt’s Voice America radio show he continuously raves about how great the racing is. He may have prematurely called the champ winner this year but you might want to do better homework before you slander people. In addition, he works with ladies in stock car racing that deserve to move up in Nascar and don’t have sponsors handed to them.
just goes to prove, it’s all about the $$$$$$$. danica will crash and burn. if i were shana robinson or patty moise, i’d be highly offended at this article. they tried, patty ran busch series for a while. shana well she had problems with her “relationships” with various members of teams in the garage.
maybe the weekends danica is at track it will divert the spotlight away from jr and his performance. i guess danica will run arca and nationwide race in feb at daytona?
Just clearing a couple of points:
Crusader Guy – Regarding NASCAR having a hand in bringing Danica over, I never suggested anything of the kind was happening. But I agree with the commenters who say NASCAR is drooling at the idea.
Joe W. – I knew someone was going to bring up Tony Stewart. I chose my words carefully, note that I used the word “recent” in that paragraph. I am well aware that the switch has been done, I’m just saying it hasn’t happened lately, which is true.
Allen, sorry if I wasn’t clear about D’Hondt. He recently took Richard Allen to task for being too negative about NASCAR. I wrote about that in a recent column, that’s what I was referring to, and Tony Stewart recently said the media was being too negative too, or something like that. My mistake for not making that clearer.
New slogan for nas$crap regarding Danica. “Drive a$$ on Sunday, sell a$$ on Monday”
And once again for NC,
Don’t think for an INSTANT! That NA$CRAP wouldn’t do WHATEVER it takes to have a team sign Danica! Hell, NA$CRAP takes sponsors from teams to get the money to do tricks like that!
With the glorious Jr. failing the grade, NA$CRAP needs SOMETHING to hang their hats on, or in this case, BRA’S!
And it would be much easier to understand you if you actually every once in a while made sense!
Kinda like that old saying about having a battle of the wits!
Make sure one does not come half-armed!
NASCAR CRUSADER, isn’t it funny how people change there handles when they’ve been kicked off so many websites. And they still continue with the same demeaning crap that got them kicked off in the first place. I know there are lots of names to hide behind in the dictionary, but the style is always the same. Gotta comment and slam right after someone posts. You’re so large.
Chrissy Wallace has more potential to succeed in NA$CAR than Danica, too bad she is struggling for sponsorship. She’s ran well in all the truck races she’s entered.
you’re more responsible for dringing danica to nascar than nascar is. the teams are owned and operated independant from nascar despite what you may think. nascar has nothing to do with what driver signs with what team.
the problem is you. if you and all your friends here didn’t sit glued to the tv every sunday and then spend every single day on these nascar related sites the sport wouldn’t be as big as it is today and in turn danica wouldn’t be interested in coming to nascar.
try and take a break just for a day. i bet you can do it. i bet you can’t go one full day without discussing and buzzing about nascar.
NASCAR CRUSADER, take a look at the stands and check out the ratings. I think guys like Turnip are tuning out and not glued to the tv like you think.