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.
Frontstretch Staff · Wednesday March 3, 2010
Welcome to “Mirror Driving.” Every Wednesday this season, your favorite columnists sit down and give their opinion about the latest NASCAR news. Love us or hate us, make a comment below and tell us how you feel about what we’ve said!
This Week’s Participants:
Editor’s Note: Due to a computer glitch, Phil and Kurt were only able to be with us for the first question this week.
Jimmie Johnson won his second race of the season Sunday, with ratings plummeting 25 percent along with it. Many fans say that one driver winning so much is bad for NASCAR, but can one athlete winning really be that bad for an entire sport?
Beth: Look at the last three years … of course it can. It doesn’t matter who it is, but in this day of instant gratification, fans aren’t going to want to sit around and wait for everyone else to catch up.
Tom: As we’ve talked about many times, Jimmie Johnson is like the San Antonio Spurs of the NBA. He’s vanilla. But look at Tiger Woods: when he comes back to golf, it will be the highest-rated golf tournament in history because people want to see how he reacts to scandal. People in this day and age, like it or not, are attracted to uniqueness, aggression, something outside the norm – and Johnson is Mr. Everyman USA. That’s an automatic rejection.
While Auto Club Speedway struggled to fill half of its seats a week ago, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, less than four hours away, recorded its ninth straight sellout in a less than stellar economy. Why is Vegas so different, and what can ISC do about it?
Toni: Casinos. It has little to do with the racing and much to do with the fact that Vegas is a great vacation in addition to the race.
Amy: SMI is head and shoulders above ISC, because they put the fans first, whereas ISC puts the corporate sponsors first.
Denny Hamlin got upset on Saturday when the media failed to ask him a question about his second-place Nationwide Series finish. He said, on his Twitter feed, “And people wonder why we can’t grow the sport.” Did the media fail in this instance, or are they just reacting to the difficulty of trying to cover Cup guys racing in AAA?
Amy: There are only so many questions to be asked when it’s the same people in there, week in and week out.
Toni: Exactly. The wins and championships are bought more than anything, and that’s annoying, not impressive. Besides, I don’t want to talk about the championship in week three.
Danica Patrick finished up her three-race stint in stock cars with a wreck, making contact with Michael McDowell and totaling both cars. Give a grade for her first three races in stock cars, and tell us the one thing that needs to be done differently by either her, TV, or the other Nationwide drivers themselves when she returns.
Beth: She needs a little help staying out of messes on the track.
Tom: It’s almost like one of those $200 million blockbusters that gets crappy reviews to start. The first week it comes out, word-of-mouth is critical or it’s going to be a huge bust. The first three weeks, Danica’s gotten crappy reviews by the critics. It’s if she struggles these next three weeks where people will run out of patience. And by people, I mean the normal race fan. They’re already at their wits’ end … and the new ones won’t put up with her by the end of the year if she keeps sucking.
OK, predictions for Atlanta?
Toni: Jeff Gordon. He’s still pissed about last week.
Mirror Predictions 2010
Welcome to our fourth consecutive year of Mirror Predictions! Each week, our experts take the end of this column to tell us who the winner of each Cup race will be. But as we all know, predicting the future is difficult if not completely impossible … so how do you know which writer you can trust when you put your own reputation (or money) on the line?
That’s why we came up with our Mirror Predictions Chart. The scoring for this year is simple:
Through three races, here’s how our experts have fared so far:
©2000 - 2008 Frontstretch Staff and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
I grew up in the midwest where baseball was everything. I no longer care for baseball as the Yankees / Red Sox and a few other teams spend in a year the GNP of most small countries.
I don’t mind if my local baseball team gets beat because the other team was better or smarter. I do get upset when my local team is beat because the other team has unlimited resources because they can charge $2k / game / seat.
There is a difference between getting beat on the field or race track and getting beat the almighty dollar.
I get the feeling that most NASCAR fans feel like their teams are getting beat not on the track but by the deep pockets of Hendricks – who can hire the best engineers; etc.
Of course even worse is when your team is beat (and loses sponsors; money; etc.) because they are an AA organization going against a pro driver. Hey Denny: The reason NASCAR can’t grow the Nationwide series is that you and your Cup brothers have turned this once great series into test sessions. And this from a guy who actually watched every lap of the Busch Series back when it was what it was supposed to be: training ground for new drivers (see late 90’s).
Amy is the Jimmie Johnson of Mirror Driving. The only reason I tune in is to see how far up JJ’s (insert anatomy part here) she will insert herself this week! Like JJ’s consistancy, she never fails to need to wripe her nose!!!
Another very popular reason to not be a fan of Jimmy is that many people, including me, do not, will never feel anything but hate for that entire team. As a law abiding person, I resent a convicted felon can BUY his freedom (pardon) for cash and so many people worship is crooked ass. Hendrick is a prison bitch and in my mind always will be…I may be in the minority on this but I am by far not alone!! Either you believe in the law or you don’t….don’t make excuses for a crook who runs crooked teams with crooked people and expect us to be in awe of them!!
Two things; I just dont get the intense hatred here. How can you hate someone you dont even know? Its so sad that people need to take things down to that level. Im no Hendricks fan, in fact Im becoming less and less of a fan of anyone. Sad.
And as to Nationwide/Busch, I completely agree with Kevin. I used to prefer those events to cup events and regularly watched them. If it were up to me I would find a way to limit Cup regulars to 3 or 4 appearances in the Nationwide events.
Let’s blame Jimmie Johnson for the cup regulars dominating the Nationwide Series. I mean, they can’t win in cup – why not go somewhere they can be top dog. And Amy – could you point out again how many Cup Champions run in Nationwide?
Folks have bashed Kyle Busch for moonlighting in Nationwide, claiming that it cost him a run at the Cup series title. Mainly last year with a failed chase bid. But we give Denny Hamlin a break for the same thing?
Denny was the self proclaimed favorite to knock off Jimmie this year. Yet his two most noteworthy stories of the past 6 months are 1) crying about no one caring that he came in second in a series no one cares about anyway. and 2) A feud with a 2nd tier driver in Nationwide. Am i missing something, or shouldn’t he focus on running well in Cup???
The sad thing is, once people start asking Denny questions he’ll still be unhappy because they questions will go something like this:
“How do you plan to leapfrog 10 points in the standings to make it in the chase?”
“With the other 2 Gibbs drivers having success this year… where is your team lacking?”
Maybe we should modify the old Fed Ex add to give DH the attention he’s starving for:
“The prom queen who tripped over her own dress”. Now that’s funny right there. And it isn’t far from the truth. She blamed her spotter and McDowell because she drove right into McDowell without even trying to avoid him. Doh! IMHO McDowell had nothing to apologize for. As for Jimmy…well, it ain’t much different than when Gordon or Stewart dominated. And whiney-baby Denny…jeez. that’s it, just “jeez”. Cup guys SHOULD be limited to “X” amount of races as Don says. Better yet, if you hold a Cup license you shouldn’t be allowed to run Nationwide.
I can’t speak for all fans, but I’m just about at the end of my rope trying to remain a faithful watcher of Nascar races due to the domination of the 48 team. And most of my friends who watch have also had it. I don’t think of it as “sour grapes”, I think of it as to why would anyone continue to spend hours on a sunday watching a race that has an almost predictable outcome? It has nothing to do with the me not liking the 48 team, because I wouldn’t want to watch my own favorite driver dominate to that extreme, it hurts the sport. Every week there are 43 cars on the track and only a handful have a chance at pulling off a win, short of wins that come by fuel mileage or weather. I want to see some feelgood stories and some other drivers contending for wins. How does the 48 car roll off the truck each week at each track the dominant car 90% of the time? something is just not right. These are supposed to be the best drivers in the world and the cars are supposedly to be on a even playing field, but its obvious the deep pockets of Hendrick are bringing in resources and talent that the other teams cannot. And its obvious that Chad Knaus is the best crew chief out there. I think he is the far greater factor in the success of the 48 team. I can’t turn a blind eye to the fact that he’s been busted so many times in the past that this run of domination they have going isn’t “tainted” with some sort of advantage that Nascar hasn’t found, or is turning a blind eye at. Some will laugh at the so called “conspiracy theories”, but let’s get real, there is illegal activity in every sector of sports, businesses, government,etc. I don’t buy for a minute that NASCAR is running a squeaky clean operation, especially with Brian France Jr. at the helm. Another factor is I simply don’t buy into the fact that Johnson himself is that much better of a driver than the rest of his competitors, though his win totals would certainly make it look that way. Let’s face it, he has sat in the best car with the best crew chief since he came into the Cup series and until he drives another car or under another crew chief, we can’t truely measure his success. Most of the truely great drivers drove for multiple teams and crew chiefs. Until this johnson/knaus duo ceases, I question how JJ can be categorized. I certainly don’t doubt he’s a great driver, but he’s not better “pure talent wise” than the likes of Gordon, Stewart, Busch,etc. I certainly don’t expect the Johnson/Knaus run to end anytime soon, however, all good things come to an end. I don’t think I’m going out on a limb when I predict that as soon as their success falters and they are not winning races and championships, that driver/crew chief combo will disolve in a heartbeat. That’s the downside of success. If its all you have known since you have been in the CUP series, when you lose it, their relationship will self destruct as their ego’s won’t know how to handle “normalcy”
Amy said: What has happened is the same thing that happened in the Southeast: too many races in the same area, so people choose the best entertainment value/date/whatever.
Well said Amy, but very ironic at the same time. People (like you) bash NASCAR and Fontana but the whole reason Fontana has two dates is because of the oversaturation of NASCAR races in the Southeast. It just sucks they removed a race from Darlington and two from Rockingham to do it.
And yes the Yankees ruin baseball for me, but I’ll still always root for the Angels.
Bobby Labonte runs a few Nationwide races every year, and Jimmie Johnson usually runs the Charlotte races, but he probably wont this year since its not Lowe’s Motor Speedway anymore.
I am as far from being a Jimmy Johnson as can be, but I don’t support all of the “His success bad for the sport” commentary. Not sure what anyone’s supposed to do when his three (presumably) equally equipped teammates don’t perform at a similar level.
I am concerned with the lack of manufacturer parity. If Johnson were behind a Ford, Dodge, or Toyota, NASCAR would be on the case, stat. But he’s in a Chevy so all’s well from the governing body’s standpoint.
I think you guys are missing the boat on the Danica story. The only woman to win in IRL is really the only woman in a realistic position to win in NASCAR (factoring in team, equipment and patient sponsors). Danica struggling really only adds to the narrative. No one who follows her really expects her to dominate and win a championship. The question if she can do what no other woman has done in NASCAR – win a race. Even an average driver can do that and as long as she can keep improving the curious will keep watching.
Tom you made my point from an earlier post about Fontana. The track is marketing to the wrong people. It thinks by having D-list celebrities wave the green flag or give the race command it will attract more fans. That might work in Vegas, e.g. Kim Kardashian, but they have the whole city of Vegas that really is what brings them. Local marketing and community involvement would go a long ways to better attendance in Fontana.
Great column I look forward to Mirror Driving every week!
Mike above makes some very good points. Most drivers at many tracks are struggling with a bad handling race car. It seems like every week the #48 blazes right to the front of the pack to lead many laps as if he has 50 more bhp or special compound tires on his Impala. Honestly I hoped for the best but hearing him call out to Chad at Pocono last year when he was running right out side of the top 10 “should I pass these guys or just wait?” IIRC led me to believe he can pass at will at every track. I guess he is our generation’s Richard Petty/Darrell Waltrip. As Bobby Allison said in the NASCAR production “Ride of Their Lives” DVD/film Petty was able to “play by their own rule book”. Chip Ganassi was quoted a couple of seasons back “they (#48) are out there cheating every weekend”.
I could agree more with the post from Mike! JJ’s performance in the other series doesn’t hold a candle to his Sprint Cup performance. Yet other drivers are able to jump into the Nationwide cars or trucks and do quite well, you would think a 4 time champ could master these series too.
Absolutely bad for NASCAR. They’re having enough trouble keeping the TV fan base anyway. No one likes to see the same results week in and week out.
Opinions always Welcome
Amy, the desire to be entertained is the right reason to watch sports not the wrong reason. Jimmie Johnson is mind-numbingly boring. Therefore, …
I am really getting sick of media people trying to tell fans how we “ought” to like Jimmie because he’s so successful. Only bandwagon, follow the crowd fans root for drivers based solely on their success.
I have nothing in particular against Jimmie because he doesn’t interest me enough to drum up anything more than a mild resentment that he’s in front of my favorites again.
I like drivers with some color to them. I call them the hot-heads and hard-chargers. Guys like the Busch brothers, Greg Biffle, Ron Hornaday, Jimmy Spencer, and, of course, Big E himself. I wouldn’t recognize one of my guys if he wasn’t hip deep in hot water with at least one foot in his mouth.
Tony Stewart and Kevin Harvick are a couple more out of that mold too. Though they aren’t on my personal list they help make the racing INTERESTING. Its their very flaws that create the interest because you never know if they will do something amazing or push too far and fail.
Jimmie’s robotic perfection of execution combined with an intentionally projected blandness of personality is the exact antithesis of excitement.
And if you think that my desire to be entertained by interesting personalities doing interesting things on and off the track is the wrong reason to watch Nascar I think you’re the one whose reasons for watching sports are messed up.
Tom, Danica wrecking was a “big story”? Since when is it news that a rookie wrecks? We’ve seen hundreds of rookies make that same exact mistake — misjudging closing rates and corner lines — hundreds of times.
Danica promises to keep her clothes on and earn her recognition based only on her racing skills would be a big story. Rookie suffered back to back wrecks in second and third races is barely worth a footnote.
I don’t know how you blame the ratings on Johnson when Gordon was killing everyone for most of the race. I used to like the Busch series a lot more when it was that, not cup lite and now I enjoy the Grand-AM series and the V8 supercars more and I don’t know who half of those guys even are.
@Kevin, I don’t know where you are but here baseball died in the 80s now we have the equivalent of a start and park team, lowest budget in the league and they just take the money for themselves and don’t put it back in the team.
comment to the last post from Mike. Gordon “appeared” to have the dominant car last week, but I think Jimmie’s was better. Everybody talks how well Gordon ran, but JJ was on his butt most of the day. I think he was saving his stuff, and I don’t think Gordon’s 2 tires lost him the race. Fact is I believe Johnson would have beat him on equal tires. They just seem to have an afterburner almost like flicking a switch. The 48 car is “extra” good at the end of races, once he gets up front, nobody’s catching him. something’s not quite right with that. Gordon has occasional days where he is strong, but the 48 ends up with the win usually. And you bring up a good point on the start and park teams, that is embarassing for the sport and they should not be allowed to do that. As I driver, I don’t know how you look at yourself in the mirror if that’s what has become of your career. Find another way to make a living that doesn’t involve humiliation. Have some pride. I give credit to Scott Riggs for jumping out of Tommy Baldwin’s start and park circus. I’ll take my pride over racing for 10 laps and going to the garage. Please, Bobby Labonte, walk away with dignity now because a start and park team is where your career is headed.
Johnboy60 you are NOT alone
Why didnt anyone mention the EMPTY seats at Vegas?..obvious on tv..was not anywhere near a “sellout” !
Johnboy and Mike. YOU guys are the men! MB, Disgruntled and Mark Im right there with ya.
You guys Took the words right outta my mouth! GREAT posts that sum up my feelings to a tee about the lifelong con artist “Mr” Hendrick ugggh AND that whole cheating organization.
As I think Mike said..There is NO WAY,
SURE, Other drivers and teams do have runs of running very well for a few weeks or evena month or two… but this HMS consistancy thing is not even in the ballpark anymore. Almost every week we see at least 3 HMS cars in the Top 5. THAT is just highly improbable and near impossible IMHO on a level playing field. Id hate to even guess at the mathematical probablity of that happening and if theres some math wiz out there id love to hear it as im sure it could be figured out.
AND of course lets not forget all the “gray area” stuff HMS gets away with. I seem to recall Mike Helton say, and I quote,” If it aint in the rule book..you CAN’T do it!” THAT Pretty well eliminates any gray areas to me. But, doesnt seem to apply to HMS teams as they have “gray areas”. Riiiight…..
Also..It turns my stomach that HMS will use ANYTHING to garner a little sympathy or publicity. Were constantly reminded of “the plane crash” and “Mr’s” Leukemia that Im pretty sure theres NOBODY who doent know of it by now.
Lets not even start with all the questionable caution and non caution calls that directly benefit HMS cars pretty much every week.
And then we have the pleasure of getting to listen to the official HMS brown noser DW talking up and keeping the focus on JJ and JG all race long, even if they happen not to be running particularly well that day.
Ive said it before France , Helton and Hendrick are like 3 peas in a pod.
Either that..or Hendrick has naked pictures of Helton and France with farm animals!
Just my $.02
P.S. Did I mention I have EXTREME dislike of all things HMS??
People getting tired of Jimmie winning all the time is just part of it. The other part is that the races themselves are just not entertaining at all. Single file parades are the norm every week and once you add Jimmie winning, there really isn’t any reason to watch.
@Mark, you admire Scott Riggs for not starting and parking, but where is he now. These guys do it out of necessity, not because they want to. If a full sponsorship opportunity came about for these guys, do you think they would turn it down because they are much more successful starting and parking? Hogwash!!
I wonder when Gordon, Stewart et al decide to retire where nascar is going to get their next crop of talent from. They certainly aren’t developing it in the NW series. Get the Cup guys out of there and give that series an identity again.
Steve .. you make a valid point. $$$ is driving the NW racers to Sprint Cup before they’re ready, if they win one race, all of sa sudden they’re ready. (see Danica P). The only guys that remain in NW are those that can’t afford anything else and can’t make it in Cup. ‘BUSCH’ or ‘NATIONWIDE” USED to be the proving ground for Cup racers. They weren’t brough up until they proved they could win and drive. Now it’s just the $$$. RI
One more time. If they want closer competition then NA$CAR has to allow open testing. This car is a POS and the only way to polish the turd is to allow teams a chance. Not all teams have the resources of off track testing like Hendrick (thanks Haas). Testing at tracks on the schedule give a level playing field. NA$CAR wants to “save the teams money” but it’s costing this sport far more in so many ways.
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