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.
Welcome to “Mirror Driving.” Every week, your favorite columnists sit down and give their opinion about the latest news from the past week or race weekend. Love us or hate us, make a comment below and tell us how you feel about what we’ve said!
This week’s participants:
Most of the off week centered around the future of Robert Yates Racing, with crew chiefs Tommy Baldwin and Slugger Labbe released and Busch Series surprise David Gilliland unofficially signed for 2007. Now having officially replaced both drivers, crew chiefs, and its general manager for the start of next season, is this too much change to overcome?
Jeff: Sometimes it's good to start from the ground up.
20 races into the season, what do you think has been the most unexpected surprise of 2006, and why?
Cami: Biffle not being solidly in the Chase at this point.
As we enter the final 16 races, much of the focus will shift into Chase for the Championship mode, but that “other” race known as Silly Season is still very much in high gear. Who is under the most pressure in this final part of the season to keep their ride?
Tom: I still maintain Tony Raines is under the most pressure.
One of the unfortunate consequences of David Gilliland signing with Robert Yates is that his Busch Series team, Clay Andrews Racing, closed up shop. Sign of the times, or a case of a team that’s unable to carry on?
Amy: Sign of the times, unfortunately. Until something is done about Cup owners in Busch, more and more small teams will go by the boards.
Predictions for Indy?
Jeff: Denny Hamlin.
©2000 - 2008 Frontstretch Staff and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
The NAPA Driver didn’t forget how to drive. He has crappy Bill Davis Racing equipment. He needs to sever his relationship with BDR, and go back to Chevy with DEI power. I can’t wait for this year to be over for him, Talk about a throwaway year.
Ren, I almost sunk to your level and started spouting ignorant statements…like the ones you made about Ward. But I am going to show all the humility, grace and diginity that Ward always shows. Aw, maybe not. You sir, are an idiot. Have a great day!
Usually, I enjoy reading the articles posted on your site, especially Tomâ€™s stuff. But I just finished reading the most recent Mirror Driving, and I have to say that Ren comes off as an ignorant jackass. Maybe all of his derogatory Ward Burton comments were meant to get people fired up, since it is very obvious that there has been a lot of attention paid to his efforts to get back in Cup. Or maybe heâ€™s just an ignorant jackass.
Burton has five career wins driving mediocre equipment for Bill Davis Racing. He has one Daytona 500 win, which I wouldnâ€™t use to promote him since Michael Waltrip and Derrike Cope have also won the Daytona 500, and they suckâ€¦.always haveâ€¦.always will. But if Ren had looked a little further, he would know that Burton has also won at Darlington twice, at Rockingham and at Loudon. All of these tracks differ greatly from one another, and I think any driver would agree that Darlington is a tough track to win at.
You question why people are making such a big deal out of Burton when there are plenty of good drivers in Busch and Trucks. Who are they? You didnâ€™t bother to name any. Busch is full of Cup drivers and most of the rest of the drivers in Busch who arenâ€™t full-time Cup drivers are driving for teams owned by Cup drivers or Cup teams. Yeahâ€¦.thatâ€™s a real deep pool of applicants to choose from. And Trucks? Help me out here on this one. Bobby Hamilton Jr? Erin Crocker? Some retired Cup drivers? Burton proved he canâ€™t win a championship? When has he had championship caliber equipment? How about Mark Martin and Jimmie Johnson? Theyâ€™re in superior equipment. Theyâ€™ve proven they canâ€™t win a championship so far too. As a matter of fact, with only 11 drivers owning the last two decades worth of championships, I guess there are several dozen drivers who have proven they canâ€™t win a championship for their teams.
Iâ€™ve got some news for you, dude. The team that Burton ends up with is going to be far better off than Team Green (that means inexperiencedâ€¦.just in case you didnâ€™t catch it) will be over at Yates. If Jarrett and Sadler donâ€™t drop their teams out of the top-35 in ownerâ€™s points, Gilliland and Leicht will certainly finish them off. RYR is screwed, and no amount of â€˜freshnessâ€™ in terms of drivers, crew chief, sponsors or general managers is going to change that. Why would any crew chief with talent want to go there now anyway? Trying to get some usable feedback from an inexperienced driver? Possibly being fired before the season is up (the RYR way of doing things)? Gee, where do we sign up??
Tom, keep up the good work. Ren, stick to publishing.
Well, there are a few I agree with here today. Too bad it’s not the participants in your article. They’re Clint and Phyllis who left feedback on your insulting article. You all have sunk to a new low. I’ve just deleted your website from my bookmarks. Kudos to Clint and Phyllis for saying what I felt when I read this. The Frontstretch is out of touch!
Cami: I just donâ€™t understand why everyone is so hot for Ward now. There are plenty of equally talented drivers still racing, even if itâ€™s Busch or Trucks. You know, can Yates even find a sponsor for Ward? Oh Boy ..did you open a can of worms ..you will find out shortly ..he has legions of fans ..very , very loyal fans ..because of the person he is and his ability to drive …I still can’t believe you goofy people are stuck on the Yates thing ..get past it . Well this was it for me here , the last time I waste my time reading anything that is recyled from other columns to make it look like you are informed …you guys are about two weeks behind in NASCAR time
Tony is not on the verge of a breakdown. I have been following him for many years now and have seen when he has had those breakdowns and right now he isen’t even close. If he was on the verge of a breakdown he would not have been able to keep his head on straight and finish Pocono in 7th place. I think this week off from Cup racing did him alot of good. He also should be much more relaxed coming into Indy now that he has finally won that race.
Michael Waltrip didn’t forget how to drive because he never learned. He’s an average racer at best, the only reason he won the plate races because he was driving a DEI car that was head and shoulders above the rest. My grandmother could have pulled into Daytona victory lane driving that car when we has winning. The only drama watching him race is to see how many laps he completes before he wrecks or goes to the garage. Occasionally he’ll suprise me and finish a race, albeit 3 laps down.
“Your favorite columnists” are neither in my book. If Ward Burton were to ‘coach’ anyone he should start with some of the people on this website. He could teach a little humility and class to a few of you. It is so boorish and sophomoric to resort to the old line about how Ward Burton verbalizes that it shouldn’t bother his fans, but it does. It insults the good people of Virginia and of the south or any of us that speaks with any kind of accent, drawl or otherwise. Ward Burton has forgot more about racing than a majority of the current drivers in Nextel Cup will ever learn. Most of these greenhorns trying to break into Nextel Cup racing, as well as about 95% of the current crop of drivers wouldn’t make a patch on Ward Burton’s shirt when it comes to class, professionalism, and dignity on and off the track. There isn’t a more honest driver out there today than Ward. You all just keep sitting there at your keyboards and spit out words to see where they splat, because that’s all they are—spit.
And, none of it is worth a damn.
For the record, I can understand Ward perfectly. It’s you, with your childish remarks that I don’t understand. I’m very disappointed in this article. Most of you here should be ashamed of yourselves.
Ren if you put any loser in a team that is loaded. They will win example: M. Waltrip, E. Sadler, and J. Mcmurry. The point is put Ward on a team the has money and he will win. Bill Davis is as much as a fool as you are!
If you guys truly think that there are alot of equally qualified drivers besides Ward left out there, you should give up discussing NASCAR until you get a clue about this sport. Ward may not be of the caliber of a Jimmy Johnson but he is not far behind. He had some nice runs and season top ten finishes in mediocre equipment and didn’t become an “also ran” until BDR lost their manufacturer support and had Ward riding around in horrible cars that the great Dale Earnhardt himself wouldn’t have placed in the top ten.
Had Ward, in his prime, been given top shelf cars, he’d had have several more top ten season finishes and the win total would be much higher. Go back and research how many times he had DNFs from equipment failure when he had been running up front earlier in the race.
I agree that he probably was not one to win a points championship, but to say he was average is insulting. He may not be in his prime now, but put him in a decent car and he could still wheel it around the track better than most of the 43 car lineup
I read this article this morning, and I can’t tell you how mad it made me! I started to write to all of you at that moment, but thought it best to just give it some time & go from a rolling boil down to a simmer before I tell you exactly how I feel. Then I figured…it won’t do any good to try to explain logic to imbeciles.
WARD BURTON is a proven racecar driver…with years of experience and several wins during his career, which included driving pure JUNK disguised as racecars. He may not be your “typical young gun – -pimple faced, still wet behind the ears kid” but the knowledge & experience he has, doesn’t compare to the “unknown” kids being invited to drive on tracks and in races they are not prepared for. I’m so afraid that a young and inexperienced kid will find out the hard way how unprepared he really is when he starts running with the big dogs!
As far as the comments comcerning WARD’s accent…..let me tell you one thing….I’m from the south, and I still live in the south….I wouldn’t trade it for NOTHING!!! All of us at one time or another get ridiculed for our accents, or the “way we talk”, but I can guarantee you this…WARD doesn’t have to “talk” to show his racing ability. And he has more class than all of you combined!
When I am asked who I am of fan of, I very proudly answer – WARD BURTON! and the response is almost always the same….”WARD BURTON…good old WARD…I just love to hear him talk…he’s a great guy….we sure do miss him out on the track….hope he gets a ride again very soon!”
WARD has a fan following like you wouldn’t belive – then again, after this ridiculous article, you all may find out how dedicated his fans are.
Thanks to all good and deesent people who has spoken up for Ward Burton. the columnists can all take a hike the crap they written this time are under my dignity to coment futher on.
Ren, your a jerk, make fun of how people talk.
Wow!! It amazes me that simple comments about ones feelings for a particular driver has caused such a reaction. After reading the article and the responses it has generated so far, I have a few thoughts. First, I donâ€™t see where what was said by the writers was anything more than Iâ€™ve heard from other media/fans/people in general about any other driver at any given time. Obviously, most of you are huge Ward Burton fans and you are very passionate about your driver. Ward is lucky to have fans that believe that strongly in him. However, I canâ€™t believe some of the responses here. For one, EVERYONE makes fun of the way Ward talks, even his brother. Why does Ren get ridiculed for making one very small statement about it? And so he doesnâ€™t think heâ€™s that good of a driver and would make a good mentor for a struggling team that has to rebuild. Isnâ€™t he entitled to his opinion, just as much as you are? I also read people talking about some of the writers not having class, etc. Why? Because they donâ€™t agree with you? Because they donâ€™t think Ward Burton could save RYR? Thatâ€™s ridiculous.
There are those on our site who believe Ward could be an asset, and those who believe he wouldnâ€™t. I understand all of you wanting to defend your driver, but it seems some of you are going a bit overboard. My opinion (which Iâ€™m sure means nothing to some of you if I donâ€™t say that Ward is the greatest driver available) is that Ward definitely has talent and in his last couple seasons, at BDR and Haas, he wasnâ€™t given the proper equipment or proper support to go out there and win. Is Ward the best driver available? Probably not, but a team could do a heck of a lot worse. To Keara, who responded to Camiâ€™s comment about can Yates find a sponsor for Ward: It was supposedly Doug Yates who made the comment about how Yates could be a 3 car team if Ward comes up with his own sponsor. Their thoughts, not ours. That would leave me to believe that the two sponsors they have arenâ€™t interested in Ward, and there arenâ€™t a plethora of sponsors out there.
The passion you all have for your driver is commendable, however, the way you are going about it is not. As many of you have said, Ward IS a true class act. Unfortunately, the way some of you have handled yourselves in defending your driver, you arenâ€™t representing him very well.
“Ren: They need to stay away from Ward Burton. If they are going to rebuild, rebuild. Donâ€™t use a guy who has proved that he canâ€™t win a championship.”
You mean so they can hire drivers like the ones they have now who will give all the young girls hot flashes but haven’t proven they can even finish a Cup race with all fenders in tact let alone win the Daytona 500 and the other 4 races Ward pulled out of his hat in equipment I wouldn’t feel safe driving to church on Sundays? Those qualified drivers?
With your kind of logic we can fire more than 1/4 of the field of Cup drivers right now because they haven’t even won a single race in their entire Cup careers.
The only thing Ward Burton has proven about winning championships is that it can’t be done in 4th rate equipment from an owner who only backs the team with sponsors who couldn’t fund my Jeep’s monthly gas bill.
I love it! What a great job by such a great publisher! Ren you are doing a GREAT job! It makes me smile anytime I see someone who steps up and does exactly what they are hired to do to uphold the standards for which they are employed! There is no dought in my mind that you will go far in the world of Nascar reporting with such informed comments as the ones you made about Ward Burton! With such insite you may someday surpass the level of dare I say Marty Smith over at Nascar.com! After reading your above comments I took a look over on this sites â€œAbout Usâ€ page and read the following â€œFrontstretch.com was founded back in 1998 by Butch Bellah as a site to publish his humorous look at the world of NASCAR. Having spent ten years on the standup comedy circuit, Bellah was looking for an outlet to write about the sport he loved, and the internet seemed the perfect place to startâ€.... Well Ren you have over done yourself upholding these standards! Your are more than just being humorous, you are just a clown! Hopefully this site will never decide to be a serious Nascar site and post actual educated comments because you will have to go work with your twin Marty Smithâ€¦. keep up the good work because I just canâ€™t help from laughing at you!
Thanks, Mike. Coming from you, that means a lot!
Point of order! The comments directed at all of the columnists are not accurate. I did not demean Ward and I said I think he is a heck of a wheel man.
You say that Jeremy Mayfield is a better fit than Ward Burton and I quote:
Really last time I checked Ward and Jeremy both have 5 wins. Ward is the one with more prestigeous wins. Jeremy has also driven for Penske and Evernham. Thats a lot better equipment than Ward Burton had. And you people call yourselves experts, you must be some new punk fans like most of the drivers in NASCAR today.
Ren & Co.- you are clueless. Ward has won at Darlington and Daytonaâ€¦among others. Your comments about his accent arenâ€™t funny or in good taste. Others have poked fun at Wardâ€™s accent but at least they were funny. â€œWhatâ€™s Ward going to teach them? How to talk funny?â€. I know funny and thatâ€™s not funny.
Imagine though how Yates feels having to go with two basically unknown drivers with little experience over someone like Ward. This sadly is how it works with sponsors..they want the fresh face over experience. Gilliland, while he has one Busch win competing with a few Cup guys hasn’t proven much more beyond that..somewhat a sad commentary on NASCAR that a guy with a Busch win is hot property nowadays. I’m glad he won, glad he beat the Buschwhackers but is that enough to make the jump to the big show? Can’t see it..
Not to worry! Doug hasn’t asked me my opinion on Ward so I don’t think it hurt his chances.
I’m not saying that Ward shouldn’t be racing, just that there are better choices out there for that team.
RYR doesn’t need a guy who’s 45 years old who has never been near a championship team to be a mentor.
They might as well put Jimmy Spencer in there. He’s comparable.
Well actually, he’s not. He’s taken a lap in a Nextel Cup car during the past two seasons.
Maybe Wally Dallenbach can help out. He’s run more laps than Ward too.
Maybe Geoffrey Bodine would like to come back. He’s won a ton more races and finished in the top ten a few more times too.
Ward’s retired. He just hasn’t figured it out yet. Let him get out with his dignity instead of coming back and leaving a legacy like DW.
You want comments..and then take offense ..My goodness ..first someone from the site lectures..and now this …believe me this didn’t help …you should have just let people voice their opinions and then move on ..to your next column on Yates .
Ren do you honestly believe the stuff you are writing? Ok let’s talk stats here…
Nikki, in what way did the people that left comments today go overboard? They’re just stating their opinions just like you all were doing. I just feel it’s a little low to make fun of the way someone talks. I can only speak for myself, but I’m hoping that Ward finds a ride other than Yates. Yates comments about Ward bringing a sponsor are just as insulting to me as some ot the comments of some of the writers here voiced in the above article.
Folks, you’re all guilty of long-winded responses that are short on relevance. Let’s be blunt—Ward Burton was, at one time, a very good driver in bad equipment. To bring him back now would be a HUGE mistake—he’s missed too much seat time in recent years and is out of the loop, much like a Bill Elliott or Ricky Rudd. For these men, their time has come and gone. In fact, the whole discussion of whether or not Burton will drive for Yates next year is pointless—he will NEVER secure the sponsorship that Yates insists on. Ward is a great guy, but a very average driver at this stage of his career. Stop thinking emotionally and focus on being realistic—Yates will go with unproven youth for both of his rides, as well as a potential third ride, because that is the NASCAR blueprint nowandays. Just look at Kyle Busch and Hendrick Motorsports….
Like I said before, personally, I really don’t want Ward to go to Yates. And I don’t think that’s the problem many of the Ward fans are having that read your article. Some of you were trying to be funny, and many must not have thought you were.
I think that Steve Park has had enough time to fully heal and deserves another shot in the Cup. He has not been in a good Truck ride but I feel he still has some talent left. I wish someone would pick him up again as we have had the pleasure to meet him a few times and he is such a nice guy.
I hesitate to even comment on here again, but I will say this much. For all of us who disagree with Renâ€™s ignorant statements, weâ€™re only giving this web site more hits by coming back here and commenting. Itâ€™s time to retreat and let them continue on with their groundbreaking journalism.
Ren, all of your remarks about Geoff Bodine, Wally Dallenbach, Jimmy Spencerâ€¦.why is it that you give these guys more credibility for running in the back of the field and embarrassing themselves than you give Burton for sitting out during that time and not taking the same low-quality rides? Itâ€™s almost as if you are questioning his talent as a driver simply because he hasnâ€™t driven. Isnâ€™t that something you should wait to comment on until you see him drive again?? The truth is, none of us knows how he will do, but he doesnâ€™t deserve the unsubstantiated, disrespectful comments leveled by you. And yes, lots of people imitate or comment on his thick accent, but somehow it doesnâ€™t seem nearly as funny when you couple it with a comment like, â€œWard is not a savior and heâ€™s not a mentor. Heâ€™s never won anythingâ€ or â€œThey need to stay away from Ward Burton. If they are going to rebuild, rebuild. Donâ€™t use a guy who has proved that he canâ€™t win a championship.â€ See where Iâ€™m going with this, Ren?
Iâ€™m not some rabid Ward Burton fan. I am a fan of competitive racing, and I am fed up with these homogenized, hair gel pimping, boring, mediocre young drivers being stuffed into these cars. It has become such an accepted thing that even people who have been writing about this sport for years are getting sucked into wondering out loud which one of them is best for what ride, when theyâ€™ve forgotten the real talent still standing there waiting to be picked like some shrimp of a kid on a playground. These guys are ugly ducklings in the eyes of sponsors, but they make the sport worth watching with grit and determination. People like you crucify them because theyâ€™re not out there racing right now, but if they swallowed their pride and got behind the wheel of the #49 or #34 and failed to make the race, youâ€™d crucify them and question their talent because of that too. These guys want to raceâ€¦.not ride around just so they can say they are Cup drivers or so they can drive 20 laps, park it in the garage and collect their $60K on the way out. They are competitors.
I love the way Ward talks, that’s why I picked him as my favorite driver. I’ve missed him on the track so much and cannot wait until he returns. When you tell people you are an avid Ward fan, no matter who their favorite driver is, 99.9% always say “I like Ward”. I cancelled my MBNA card, picked up NetZero and dropped them the day he was fired. Hopefully you’ll eat your words Ren, and the sponsers will realize who spends the money and hire Ward.
I disagree with a lot of the Ward discussion. It seemed somewhat positive in nature starting off but then Ren’s negative view was expressed, and most of the group jumped on the “beat up Ward” bandwagon. Thanks Clint for your comment above, well-thought out and well-stated. Seems that the group doesn’t forget during Ren’s presence at the roundtable that he’s their boss.
Ok, so now I have read the comments and I am compelled to post again. First of all, let me restate that Ren’s position as “publisher” clearly gives his opinions more weight around the discussion table. I don’t think this helps to accomplish the intent of getting the writers together for a open discussion of issues. And Ren’s belligerence clearly was meant to “win” the discussion. Kudos to Mike and Tom for not changing their opinions for the Boss.
I came to be certain of this fact when reading Nikki’s “comment”. OMG. Truly, truly sophomoric and UNPROFESSIONAL. Nikki, being taken seriously in your profession requires more than kissing publisher a$$. It requires formulating and defending an original (even if unpopular) position. Then, when the criticism comes (as it invariably will), try not to wilt under it or worse yet, counter-attacking in a rage. I mean, to suggest that the Ward fans were an embarrassment to Ward is just, well, sophomoric. Are you trying to hurt their feelings? I don’t think they care and it just seems so…lame…and um, juvenile. (Decided not to use “sophomoric” again). Ren, though I strongly disagreed with his opinions and the undue weight given them, well at least his comment post stuck to analysis and further discussion and didn’t degenerate into a string of accusations and snippy attacks.
Time to get yourself an asbestos suit or get out of the kitchen.
For anyone to say that Ward can’t compete with todays young guns, I say give him a decent ride and watch! He will win a few. Also he has more class then 90% of the Bozo’s driving. Boy it sure is nice, people are talking him up.
Just for the record, my title of Publisher means that I handle the site design and also make sure the bills get paid.
The Frontstretch is operated by a board of editors, including Tom Bowles, Nikki Krone, Kim DeHaven, Toni Heffilfinger and myself. I have very little editorial input on the content though, other than to assist in choosing writers when they apply.
Believe me when I say that no one who writes for this site will tell me something that they donâ€™t believe to be true simply because my name is on the domain registry. Especially not the two writers who were on the same side of the issue as me in this INFORMAL CONVERSATION.
Dennis Michelsen publishes his own very successful site, stockcarpitpass.com while Jeff Meyer has never been known to be politially correct.
The Frontstretch is a commentary and editorial feature based site. it is NOT a news site. We are NOT reporters. If you want to know what happened, read a newspaper. If you want to know our opinion on what happened, come here. Sometimes youâ€™ll agree with it, sometimes you wont. If we all thought the same way, there really wouldnâ€™t be any point in voicing an opinion.
Thanks for the comments, though. This articleâ€™s comments are closed now. Feel free to post at the message board if you still have something to say.
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