Kurt Busch to Attempt The Indianapolis-Charlotte Double
posted by Phil Allaway
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Andretti Autosport announced this morning that Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet in the Sprint Cup Series, will attempt the Indianapolis 500 in a fifth entry for the IndyCar Series team. Once the Indianapolis 500 is completed, Busch will fly from Indianapolis to Charlotte, jump in his No. 41 Chevrolet and compete in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Busch considers the opportunity to do the double as an old-school throwback moment.
“This is really to challenge myself within motorsports,” Busch said in Andretti Autosport’s press release. “Perhaps I am a bit of an old-school racer; a throwback, I guess. I enjoyed the era of drivers racing different cars and testing themselves in other series. It is tough to do now for a variety of factors, but when the opportunity is there, I want to do it. While NASCAR is my home, I have been fortunate to compete in Pro Stock on the NHRA circuit a number of years ago and test a V8 Supercar. This opportunity was a talk with Michael [Andretti] over dinner one night, a “What if,” and now it’s becoming a reality for me to drive in the Indy 500 with Andretti Autosport. It’s literally a dream come true. To go to the famous Brickyard with the iconic Andretti name, it doesn’t get much cooler or better than that.”
Busch will be doing the Indianapolis-Charlotte double as a Memorial Day mission to men and women serving in the U.S. Military via the Armed Forces Foundation. Fans can contribute to the cause by texting AFF to 50555 to donate $10.
Busch, who has never raced an IndyCar, passed Rookie Orientation at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last year during a test session. At the time, Busch was more or less testing the Dallara DW12 for fun.
Busch will be the fourth driver to attempt the Indianapolis-Charlotte double. John Andretti was the first driver to attempt it in 1994. After finishing four laps down in tenth in Indianapolis, Andretti crashed and had engine problems in the 600. Robby Gordon has attempted the double five times, most recently in 2004. However, Gordon failed to make it to Charlotte on time and did not start the 600 in 2000 (P.J. Jones started Gordon’s No. 13 Ford in that instance). Finally, Tony Stewart has attempted the double twice (most recently in 2001) and is the only driver to ever complete all 1100 miles. Neither of the three drivers has won either leg of the double. The best finishes are Stewart and Gordon’s sixth-place finishes at the Indianapolis 500 (although Gordon’s came in 2000, the year he didn’t make it to Charlotte in time to start the Coca-Cola 600), and Stewart’s fourth-place finish in the 2001 Coca-Cola 600.
Danica Patrick, Justin Allgaier Talk About Phoenix Incident
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
A disappointing start to the year for Danica Patrick won’t include continued conflict. Patrick met with rookie Justin Allgaier Sunday, shortly after the Phoenix Cup race after a wreck ruined both drivers’ days. Patrick, who was critical of the No. 51 car on the radio, claiming Allgaier was “driving all over the track” appeared receptive to a conversation that quickly settled differences over what will be a long season.
“She was just upset because she got involved in the crash that we had,’’ said Allgaier to the Motor Racing Network. “She says she’s been through this and that she felt like I needed to settle down at that point. I explained my position on why everything happened. I think she understood where I was coming from. It doesn’t fix either one of our racecars. It doesn’t fix either one of our days. Unfortunately, we were both having pretty decent days.’’
Allgaier wound up 30th due to the incident while Patrick was 36th. The incident, which was caused by Allgaier’s spin also involved the No. 32 team and Travis Kvapil, which wound up 38th after sustaining heavy damage.
Camping World Close to Extending Title Sponsorship of NCWTS
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Marcus Lemonis, CEO of Camping World, Grand Marshal of Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway, and star of CNBC’s “The Profit,” made the announcement over the weekend that the retailer is very close to announcing a deal that would continue its title sponsorship of NASCAR’s Truck Series. The original agreement with NASCAR is scheduled to conclude after the 2015 season.
According to the sanctioning body, no formal contract has been signed, but “the agreement between the two parties has proven to be a beneficial one.”
“In about a month, we’ll be announcing a significant extension to that contract. It’s been great for us,” said Camping World’s Lemonis in a statement. “The NASCAR relationship has worked well for Camping World. When we started, we had 35 stores. Now, we’re up to 120 stores. As we travel the country and we meet new customers in stores, they always are very appreciative of our relationship with NASCAR. It’s been good.”
Gaining a long-term commitment from Camping World to sponsor the Truck Series would be a relief for NASCAR, which is set to lose Nationwide Insurance as title sponsor for the NASCAR Nationwide Series at the end of the 2014 season. The sponsorship of the Cup Series by Sprint runs through 2016.
The NCWTS is back in action on March 29th at 2:30 PM (ET) when the trucks visit Martinsville Speedway in the Kroger 250, which can be seen on Fox Sports 1. Ratings for the season opener were up 11 percent.
Harvick Takes Win At Phoenix In Second Race With New Team
posted by Justin Tucker
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Phoenix International Raceway has become Kevin Harvick’s home away from home. Sunday Afternoon was no exception as Harvick charged to the front early and would dominate for much of the day, leading 224 of the scheduled 312 laps to record his record fifth win on the one mile oval and his third win in the last four races at Phoenix.
Harvick, coming off of a disappointing Speedweeks which was capped by a last lap crash in the Daytona 500 in his debut with Stewart-Haas Racing, set the tone on Saturday by winning both practices while having the best 5 and 10-lap averages in the first practice of the day on Saturday. On Sunday, Harvick and his No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet was nothing short of flawless as he was able to hold Dale Earnhardt, Jr. by .489 seconds after a late race restart to claim his 24th career Sprint Cup Series victory.
“Man, this is awesome,” Harvick said after his dominant victory on Sunday. “Man, this just solidifies so many things and so many decisions. It’s been so much work with all the time and effort that these guys (the crew) have put in—but what a race car.”
Stewart Haas Racing co-owner Gene Haas shared in Harvick’s excitement after the race.
“It took long enough,” Haas joked. “This is phenomenal. I think there was a lot of skepticism last year about what myself and Tony (Stewart) what we were up to, was there a lot of madness to this. Quite frankly, it’s a great team, there’s a lot of synergy at the shop, people working together. I don’t know what we did, but I think we put together a great organization.”
Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt, Jr. continued his hot start to the 2014 season. Earnhardt Jr. would finish second on Sunday, marking his seventh consecutive top 10 finish since the end of the 2013 season. Earnhardt Jr. was pleased with the effort after a coast-to-coast whirlwind week after winning his second Daytona 500 and also gave great praise to the efforts of Harvick and the No. 4 team.
“I’ve got to congratulate Kevin. Those guys were two-tenths faster than everyone all weekend in practice. They were just phenomenal,” Earnhardt said. “To be able to run with them all day was a big confidence builder for us.”
Joining Harvick and Earnhardt in the top 5 of The Profit on CNBC 500K were Brad Keselowski with his second consecutive top 3 run of 2014 in third. Keselowski’s Team Penske teammate Joey Logano would finish fourth, and Jeff Gordon would come home fifth in his No. 24 Pepsi Max Chevrolet.
Jimmie Johnson finished in sixth, followed by Ryan Newman with a nice rebound after Daytona in seventh. Carl Edwards would carry the banner for Roush Fenway Racing by finishing eighth, Kyle Busch was ninth, and Jamie McMurray would finish tenth.
A look at the Profit on CNBC 500K by the numbers. There were 14 lead changes among eight different drivers, there were eight cautions for 39 laps which slowed the race pace to 109.229 MPH.
Next Sunday, the Sprint Cup Series heads to Sin City and the Las Vegas Motor
Starting Lineup: The Profit On CNBC 500K
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday March 1, 2014
Drivers in RED (i) are those ineligible to collect Sprint Cup points
Daytona 500 TV Ratings Down
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Wednesday February 26, 2014
What was the longest weather delay in Daytona 500 history turned out to bring NASCAR lower ratings and TV viewership Sunday night than expected. According to a report Monday from FOX Sports, the 56th running of the Daytona 500 airing at 8 PM (ET) posted a 5.6/10 national household rating/share which averaged 9.3 million viewers. That’s down 44 percent from last year’s 9.9, easily making it the least-watched Daytona 500 of all-time.
Due to the six-hour, twenty-two minute rain delay in Daytona, the race was up against the primetime coverage of the Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony from Sochi, Russia on NBC (15.25 million viewers). FOX also reported that 69% of the pre-rain delay viewers of the race, which began at 1 PM (ET) kept tuning in.
In comparison, the 2013 Daytona 500 on FOX was the most-watched race in five years, posting a 9.9/22 rating/share, commanding 16.7 million viewers. The Daytona 500 in 2012, the first to ever be run on a Monday and in the primetime slot did a 7.7/13 overnight rating/share which resulted in 13.67 million households viewing the race according to Nielsen TV ratings data.
Earnhardt, Jr. Claims Second Daytona 500 Victory
posted by Justin Tucker
Wednesday February 26, 2014
Ten years is a long time. For Dale Earnhardt, Jr., it felt like an eternity. NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver endured many near misses and close calls at the Daytona 500 since his only win in the Great American Race in 2004. Earnhardt had finished second in two of his last three Daytona 500s coming into Sunday’s race. He was also riding the tail of a 55-race winless streak, dating back to Michigan in 2012.
However nothing would stop Dale Jr. on Sunday, not even a 6 hour and 22 minute rain delay from capturing his second Daytona 500 win. Earnhardt Jr. led a race-high 54 laps on the evening and used some timely drafting help from teammates Jimmie Johnson and, on the final restart, Jeff Gordon to separate from the pack and secure the victory.
“Winning this race is the greatest feeling that you could feel in this sport besides accepting the trophy for the championship,” said a jubilant Earnhardt after pulling into Victory Lane. “We could fight off battle after battle. We got a little help at the end there from Jeff to get away on the restart. This is amazing. I can’t believe this is happening. I never take this for granted, man because it doesn’t happen twice, let alone once.”
Aside from the race itself the big story of the race was the 6 hour and 22 minute red flag, which threatened to move the race to Monday evening (had the race been postponed, FOX Sports’ Chris Myers had tweeted that the race would resume at 5:00pm EST). However, Mother Nature would cooperate and would allow the race to be run under different conditions from which they practiced this week. Once the race resumed, the intensity picked up from the changing track conditions. This allowed the pack to race side-by-side and at times 3-wide up to seven rows deep.
Joining Earnhardt Jr. in the top 5 for the 2014 Daytona 500 were: Denny Hamlin who closed out a spectacular Speedweeks in second, Brad Keselowski in third, Jeff Gordon in fourth, and Jimmie Johnson who overcome two wrecks leading up to the 500 in fifth.
Rounding out the top 10 in the Daytona 500 were Matt Kenseth in sixth, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. in seventh and Greg Biffle would bring his No. 16 Ford home in eighth. Austin Dillon would come home ninth in his first Cup Series race in the iconic No. 3 for Richard Childress Racing, while Casey Mears would round out the top 10.
A couple of major contenders for the Daytona 500 win would see their hopes dashed early on as Martin Truex, Jr. would blow up just 30 laps into the race, relegating him to a 43rd-place finish in his debut for Furniture Row Racing. Crew chief Todd Berrier was already in Nashville for a test session before the race was even over. Kyle Busch, meanwhile would have a pit road violation just before halfway and would spend much of the race battling back from that mistake. Busch would eventually finish 19th after leading 19 laps.
Danica Patrick would also be bit by bad luck as she was caught up in a multi-car wreck on lap 145. Patrick would lead her second consecutive Daytona 500, but wouldn’t have the finish to show for it finishing 40th. Tony Stewart would encounter a frustrating evening as well, with a fuel pickup problem derailing his quest for his first Daytona 500 win. Stewart would finish 35th.
A look at the Daytona 500 by the numbers. There were 42 lead changes among 18 drivers, while seven cautions for 39 laps would slow the race pace to 145.290 MPH.
Next week, the Sprint Cup Series heads to the “diamond in the desert,” Phoenix International Raceway for The Profit on CNBC 500K. The Green flag is scheduled for 3:15pm EST.
Nationwide Series Post-Race Quotes: Drive4COPD 300
posted by Thomas Bowles
Tuesday February 25, 2014
Frontstretch Interviews – Courtesy Mike Neff
ELLIOTT SADLER – FINISHED 4th
Thoughts on the race?
It’s definitely a lot different racing than what we’re used to.
Comfortable with it?
Yeah, it’s just different. You’re worried about what you’re doing, but you’re also worried about what everyone else is doing and they’re not doing more than you’re doing. Physically pushing a guy is way better than just riding so you just gotta time it right and push it to the edge.
Happy to start the year with a top 5?
Yeah. Hell, that was the worst we ran all day, I think. I have no idea how they put the 3 car in front of us on that last restart. I hadn’t seen the 3 car hardly all day. When they put us from fifth to sixth, on the outside line, it just really boxed us in. I would have really restarted behind my teammate and given him a good push to the front. Anyways, it is what it is; we’ll take it and move on.
Looked like you were up front all day.
The guys did a good job. We had a fast race car. Great pit stops, just really proud of these guys. The car’s in one piece and we can take it to Talladega now. Great job by my guys. A lot of effort came into coming down here to Daytona and giving ourselves a shot to win. We had that chance to be up front and make some things happen. Fifth is not what we want, but we’ll take it and move on.
Bumping vs Pushing?
It’s way harder. You don’t want to lay on the guy in front of you, so it’s tough racing. A lot different than what we’re used to, ‘cause you gotta go. You gotta drag the brake too ‘cause you don’t want to hit the guys and you don’t want to stay on him. It’s a lot harder mentally than what we’ve done in the past.
Car was strong all day. Pushing vs. Bumping, is that harder to do than just getting on somebody and pushing them?
Yeah, it is a little bit. When you bump ‘em, you jar ‘em, it kinda jacks ‘em a little bit. It’s a little more abrupt, obviously. I thought it was OK there at the end. It was certainly fun and hopefully entertaining. But a little bit of a struggle in the early part of the race and the midpart of the race to see a good race. And that’s unfortunate for the fans. You can’t do that the whole race, you can’t tear up your stuff, knock your grill in, overheat your motor, all that stuff so there’s no sense in doing all that until you get down to the last lap. The 7 and the 6, they did a good job. Man, the 7 really held the 22 and I tight on the bottom. I was rubbing his door and hitting the apron at the same time, no room whatsoever. So it was good; wish we were the ones who could have won but a lot better now than what we were last year.
Going home in one piece makes it a lot better, right?
Yeah. My back feels good. My foot feels good. Past years here, I’ve been going home with pain so I’m alright.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Truck Series Post-Race Quotes: Daytona (Exclusives)
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday February 22, 2014
When you’re on the outside like that, how frustrating is it?
It’s so hard. Timothy Peters has won here. Kyle Busch has won everywhere. Ron Hornaday has been running Trucks forever, probably before I was even born. I was surrounded by veterans there, and like I told them I don’t have a rookie stripe but I’m a rookie. This is only my fourth Truck race ever, my fourth superspeedway race, and man, I figured out when the 17 got up in front of me, I pushed him. And as soon as I pushed him, he took off. And I went with him. And I just kept doing it, and before I knew it, he was leading. And I saw Ron in my mirror, backed up to him, and if it wasn’t for him, I don’t know what would have happened. I gotta thank him big time for that. That was a true teammate move right there. I really appreciate that. He just bounced off me and we got to the front. I tried my hardest to sidedraft Kyle. I was probably touching his door.
Top 5 in the No. 30 truck. This deal come together at the last minute, but you had a heck of a truck. Tell us about your night.
Yeah, I’ve got to thank Turner Scott Motorsports. The guys worked so hard on this Rheem Comfort Products Chevrolet. Exciting! Just got hung up on the outside and had to wait for my teammate there to catch up. And then he got to the bottom, so… I got the old 32 and started pushing ol’ Ryan to the front. So, it’s not bad. We’ll take it. You just don’t want to step over that boundary. You don’t know how far to push and shove. We bumped about six times down the straightaway without latching onto them. Hopefully, that was OK and we came home with a top 5.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Budweiser Duels Post Race Quotes
posted by Matt Stallknecht
Friday February 21, 2014
BUDWEISER DUELS POST-RACE QUOTES
They’re saying the wheel bearing burned up in it. I don’t know what caused it, they’re taking it all apart to figure out what the heck happened. Something abnormal that’s for sure I don’t think I’ve ever had that happen at all. Hopefully, we made the race and hopefully we can fix the problem before Sunday.
WHAT WAS THAT LOUD BOOM ONCE YOU TURNED INTO THE GARAGE?
Loud pop was a tire… thankfully, it popped, hopefully it didn’t hurt anybody. All the heat created in the left front that popped was pretty weird.
REALLY GOOD RUN. WHAT DID YOU THINK OF IT?
Yeah, it was good. We have a car we can work with for the 500. Got a good starting spot, so we’re going to rest easy, fluff and buff our car for a couple of days and get ready for Sunday.
ANY DIFFERENCE ON WHETHER THE TOP OR BOTTOM LANE WORKED?
Yeah, I was just moving around, trying to stay with the flow. For me, this car works on all parts of the racetrack. So I’m pretty happy with it.
DALE EARNHARDT, JR.
GOT SHUFFLED BACK, AFTER PIT STOPS AND THEN COULDN’T GET BACK UP TO THE FRONT. WHY?
Nah, we were just sitting there waiting until the last few laps to make a move. You didn’t want to pull down and get sent to the back. Seen a couple of guys get sent to the back really quick so we were just kind of waiting for the end. I felt like we had a good situation there with Ambrose behind us — we had a good run off Turn 2 and I went. It was the last lap, time to go do something, nobody went with us but hopefully Sunday is a different story.
We got a great car. We don’t have to work hard. We learned, we got a good race car. Got a car in one piece, ready to go so we’ll try and get through the next couple of practices, deliver it to the starting group this Sunday and we’ll be real happy.
YOU’RE IN THE DAYTONA 500!
Yeah, it’s pretty awesome. This Whitetail Chevrolet was so fast that I knew all I had to do was stick it behind smart, intelligent drafters and we could have a good finish. That’s what we did in the Duels and I’m excited. I’m excited to go do some stuff with the Nationwide car and have some more practice with this. But to know that we’re locked in the Daytona 500’s pretty cool.
YOU WERE OBVIOUSLY IN FRONT OF THAT MELEE AT THE END. WHEN YOU WERE UP FRONT THERE IN THE BEGINNING, WERE YOU HOPING TO JUST STAY IN LINE AND LET YOU FINISH TOP 5?
I was pretty content to ride and luckily I knew a lot of people around us were. It was nice to have a little calm and not really have to be racing hard the whole time. I knew that the pit stop was going to shake everything up and that’s exactly what happened. Fell back a little bit there but made the right moves at the end to get a good finish.
HOW STRONG ARE THESE RCR CARS?
They’re very strong! They definitely have the capabilities to be winning one of these races.
YOU’RE IN THE TOP 5 FOR YOUR HEAT IN THE DAYTONA 500. YOUR PRIMARY CAR IS SITTING RIGHT IN THE GARAGE, KIND OF WADDED UP. DID YOU THINK THIS ONE HAD IT IN IT?
Yeah, it’s a brand new car also. It’s just not quite as good as the primary but still a damned good car. I’m just proud of everybody at RCR for building such fast race cars. All of our cars have been fast, ECR motor’s been strong, even our affiliate teams have been qualifying really good and racing good. So… excited about 2014! It’s going to be a good year.
WELL MAN, YOU STARTED IN THE BACK BUT WORKED YOUR WAY TO THE FRONT WHEN IT COUNTED MOST. WERE YOU JUST BIDING YOUR TIME THROUGHOUT THE RACE?
Eh, you never know if you’re going to get back up there or not. We had to start at the back, we had to make a run early and see what we could do. We drove right to 10th, or something like that and then it got stagnant. We tried to make something happen, and went to the back again. Drove back up to the front. Again, just really proud of my guys. Matt Kruder did a hell of a job on that pit stop getting just enough gas in to gain some spots there.
RCR CARS SEEM PRETTY DARNED STRONG. DO YOU THINK THE RCR CARS HAVE SOMETHING FOR THEM ON SUNDAY — ESPECIALLY THE THREE JOE GIBBS RACING CARS THAT SEEM TO BE THE CLASS OF THE FIELD RIGHT NOW?
Oh yeah. The 20 car was extremely fast. The 11 didn’t qualify that good, but he’s a good drafter. I think he won. We definitely have something for him.
Check in with Matt and Jay on their site at CareyandCoffey.com.
Matt McLaughlin · Sunday July 29, 2007
The Key Moment: With ten laps to go, Tony Stewart muscled his way under Kevin Harvick. The two skirmished for a lap, but Stewart quickly emerged ahead and drove off to an uncontested win.
In a Nutshell: All of the sizzle and none of the steak for the world's most overhyped sporting event.
Dramatic Moment: There was some good racing with the Top 5 over the final fifteen laps as a clearly irritated Harvick slid backwards.
What They'll Be Talking About Around the Water Cooler This Week
Fortunately, the Brickyard 400 still pays fairly well, because a profanity uttered live on ESPN's first Cup broadcast of the season ought to set Stewart back about $50,000 later this week.
OK, was Harvick mad at Stewart after the race or just horsing around? My guess is the latter, and Harvick's actions don't merit any penalty. The rub against the No. 20 car left a tire mark, but no major damage, and it did not occur on pit road. If that’s the case…let’s just say I hate seeing all the emotion taken out of stock car racing.
OK, it was ESPN's first stab at a Cup race in a long while, so no final judgments can be made. What was excellent was the return of Dr. Jerry Punch to the broadcast, Neil Goldberg's production work, the camera work, and the post-race show, though missing Kevin Harvick's thoughts was disappointing. Rusty Wallace put in a solid performance calling his first Cup race, and the respectful interchanges between the boys in the booth and in the production center were impressive, even though Andy Petree seemed to have fallen out of the picture by the end of the race. The broadcast also lacked any of the tortured and failed attempts at comedy FOX is known for attempting poorly. What could use some improvement? About everything else. What needs to go? The Draft Track.
How about what ESPN can fix before next week? For starters, the scroll showing the running order belongs on the bottom of the screen. That was an ESPN trademark in the golden era. Also, as silly as it seems, I really missed the familiar old ESPN music used to introduce their NASCAR broadcasts, and that welcomed fans back from commercials. The sound of that song used to bring everyone running from the porch to the couch…please bring it back.
Kyle Petty started his 800th race in NASCAR's top division, an amazing milestone in a long and storied career. Each year, it seems like there are fewer and fewer fans left who recall when Petty was a legitimate contender for both race wins and championships driving the Mello Yello Pontiac for Felix Sabates Racing (Now Chip Ganassi Racing.) As one of the most forthright and erudite interviews in the garage, this week Petty was asked his take on the recent wave of mergers between Cup teams and what it meant for the sport. Replied Petty, “What it says about the sport is ‘You’re missing the point. It’s not a sport any more; it’s a business.’ It's moving closer and closer and closer to becoming a total business.” Ouch. Well, you can't blame Petty for admitting that's the case, but I for one just wish it wasn't so.
The relationship between the media and the real stars of the show, the drivers, has never been a rose garden picnic, but some drivers seem about fed up with the scribes. This week, Tony Stewart not only pointedly refused to answer some questions, he let the askers know their questions were incredibly dumb. After finishing second in Saturday's Busch race, Greg Biffle fulfilled his TV and radio obligations, but decided against visiting the press box as required after the race. Hey, finishing second is frustrating; as the late Dale Earnhardt used to say, that means you're "first loser." Hey, I can understand not wanting to verbally dissect what went wrong in detail with a bunch of folks…most of whom have never driven a race car in anger. But NASCAR thinks differently, hinting that there will be penalties for Biffle for his non-compliance. I really don't think that's necessary. When a driver cooperates, nice things are written about him and his sponsor’s name gets lots of ink. When a driver doesn't cooperate, writers point out he can be a bit of a jerk and doesn't give his sponsor any mentions. That, in turn, upsets the sponsor, who then tells that driver to go and play nice. It's a self-healing wound that needs no NASCAR intervention.
This is the story, of a man named Bobby, who started four race teams of his own, all of them in financial difficulty, the youngest one shut down. This is the story of a woman named Teresa, absentee mother of three teams of her own, the most noted of her drivers already having found a shocking new home. Until one day this man met this lady and they decided in and of their own, that the two must somehow merge their race teams, and that's how they becameâ€¦
Apparently, UPS's new slogan is “Everyday is race dayâ€¦.except Sunday.”
Let it be noted this weekend that Toyota won their first Busch Series race…and the second Angel of the Apocalypse has blown his trumpet. Woe to those on earth for what soon must follow.
Looking at qualifying results from Saturday and seeing the Chip Ganassi and Penske teams vying for the title made it seem more like May than July. Of course, the newly found Newman/Haas/Yates consortium didn't match their open wheel results, needing a pair of provisionals just to make the field.
The Hindenburg Award For Foul Fortune
It's bad enough for the defending champion of the race to wreck twice, but Jimmie Johnson had to bail out of a burning car as well after the second incident. His slump continues.
Dale Earnhardt, Jr. looked to have a solid lock on a much needed Top 5 finish when his engine expired late in the race.
Once again, Denny Hamlin lost a potential win in the pits. His crew seemed flustered and unsure what to do next when the car ran out of gas and stalled on pit road, as no attempt was made to push it. Stop by the shop one day this week, guys, and I'll give you a case of starting fluid.
Ray Evernham saw all three of his cars reduced to scrap during the race. None of them turned enough laps to validate whether the new front end sheetmetal on the Dodges has been his Achilles' Heel this season; the team was running 2006 versions of the car at Indy.
The "Seven Come Fore Eleven" Award For Fine Fortune
A pit road collision could easily have ended Kurt Busch's day, but he wound up eleventh instead.
Martin Truex, Jr. was running up front prior to a pit road speeding penalty, but still managed a reasonable twelfth place finish.
With the team's future in question, a very credible fourteenth place finish by Ward Burton helps hope remain alive.
Mark Martin drove to a sixth place finish…without second gear. Hardly anyone noticed.
His Brickyard victory, coupled with his win at Joliet before the off week, marks the seventh time Stewart has posted back-to-back wins in his career.
The Top 10 finishers drove six Chevys, two Dodges, a Toyota (Dave Blaney in ninth), and a Ford (Matt Kenseth in tenth).
Obviously, Juan Pablo Montoya was top rookie of the race, as he scored his best Cup finish on an oval. It was also his first Top 5 on an oval track since Atlanta.
Jeff Gordon scored his eighth consecutive Top 10 finish. He now has Top 10 finishes in fifteen of the last sixteen races, with four wins in those sixteen events.
Kyle Busch has Top 10 finishes in five of the last seven races. That will look good on his resume…
Reed Sorenson scored his best finish since the World 600, the third Top 5 result of his short Cup career.
Mark Martin had his best finish since Las Vegas.
Dave Blaney scored his first Top 10 finish of 2007 and his first such finish since Loudon last Fall.
After a bit of a slump of his own, Jeff Burton now has Top 10 finishes in four of the last five races, as does his teammate Kevin Harvick.
Matt Kenseth scored his fourteenth Top 10 finish in nineteen races this season. Only Jeff Gordon has more Top 10s this year.
Jimmie Johnson, Ryan Newman, and Kasey Kahne all endured their fourth DNFs of 2007.
What's the Points?
Once again, Jeff Gordon remains atop the standings, opening his gap over second place Denny Hamlin to 371; that’s nearly two full races worth of points. In the meantime, Hamlin's pit stop from hell dropped him to within six points of third place Matt Kenseth, running 377 behind the top two.
Off the podium, Jeff Burton remains a solid fourth. Behind him, Tony Stewart’s win moves him up a spot to fifth in the standings, dropping Carl Edwards back to sixth. Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch advance a spot to seventh and eighth, respectively, while Johnson's slump drops him two more positions to ninth.
Despite his blown engine, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. remains twelfth in the standings. But Kurt Busch is now just thirteen points out of the Chase in thirteenth place, and NASCAR and ESPN executives are reaching for jumbo-sized containers of Maalox, considering a scenario with Busch in the Chase and Earnhardt on the outside looking in. Ryan Newman is also closing in on a berth, 59 points behind Earnhardt.
Back behind the Chasers, rookie Juan Pablo Montoya moved up two spots to eighteenth, while Casey Mears fell two spots to nineteenth after getting collected in a wreck.
Overall Rating (On a scale of one to six beer cans, with one being a stinker and a six-pack an instant classic) We'll give this one two cans of lukewarm Stroh’s. Racing stock cars at Indy is praying at somebody else's church; it's a one groove parade.
Next Up: It's back off to Pocono for Poco-Two. And it's a good feeling to knowâ€¦
©2000 - 2008 Matt McLaughlin and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
I’m sure the writers will do everything they can to make something out of the bumping between Stewart and Harvick. After all there weren’t any other “incidents” and there has to be a WWE-like story to bring fans in for the next race. I slept through most of the race and woke up in time to see what was apparently the only racing at the end. I agee. “Stock cars” at Indy are booorrring!
I agree that the “Draft Track” needs to go. That has to be the lamest, most pathetic attempt at providing a useful on-screen enhancement I’ve ever seen. Even John Madden would be embarrassed to draw squiggly lines on TV like that. They have literally tried to make something out of thin air, and it’s obviously not based on any kind of real underlying data. When they were demonstrating the draft between Kevin Harvick and Tony Stewart, apparently Kevin Harvick’s car created a draft, but Tony’s didn’t? Hmm.
ESPN should be ashamed they they would try and think people are going to be dumb enough to believe they are actually looking at useful information.
Ahem. Sorry about my rant there…
The Draft Track reminded me of the old “artist conception” used in the Apollo missions during the re-entry where you basically just saw the command module at a 45 degree angle with red flames surrounding the bottom. Very hoaky for NASCAR. If they want to prove something show me how that draft changes between a normal car, a COT, an aero-damaged car and a regular passenger car. Bet they would all pretty much look the same which is why this is pointless and done more for the oohs and aaahs. I predict this will be shelved in about two more races.
Boring race? Heck with all the clean up work being done, I was able to tevo a full hour catch up. Then it got boring. Tony and the BS word should be ok due to the race being on ESPN. Actually he will get in more trouble for not going to Victory Lane. I really cracked up over the fake draft track. What a joke. I thought JJ should have punched his crew chief and crew for sending him into the wall at 160mph, talk about stupid. As a veteran of many Indy 500’s its really painfull to watch stock cars going 150mph thru the turns instead of 220mph. Yawn. I really am glad for DVR’s because I now dictate my NASCAR and IRL and watch on my schedule not thiers. Goodness can they start any earlier and leave any quicker?
If it wasn’t for the wrecks, it would have been total snoozefest.
I don’t know where Musburger got his figures from, but I thought it was hilarious when he said there were 250,000 fans there and no empty seats as they’re showing a lot of empty seats in Turns 3 & 4.
The Draft Track is just an attempt to keep the short attention span crowd amused. It’s like the glowing hocky puck from a couple eyars back. it serves no useful or real purpose.
The coverage wasn’t that great either. there were 43 drivers who started the race, not just the 12 they showed or the one who crossed the finish line first.
ESPN’s coverage is nothing more than a copy of the Fox coverage since they were both done by the same guy.
Yeah, I miss a few things from the old days of Cup on ESPN, too. Like the class and dignity of Parsons, Jarret, and Baker, the competence of Kernan, and the racing coverage, instead of watching Kasey Kahne saying over and over “I don’t know what happened” while 20% of the field is wrecking on lap 45. And not hving to wait for the marathon of commercials to end so we can see the replay of the wreck that we missed. They shouldn’t allow them to list the coverage as “Live”. At least we didn’t get Darrel Waltrip and his Quad-50 mouth, but the others are catching up. Yeah, ESPN was better before. So was the racing.
“The sound of that song used to bring everyone running from the porch to the couch”
Hey, Matt, what was everyone doing on the PORCH?!? Hehehehe…
Love reading your stuff, buddy.
Man… I think I got the wrong feed on my cable because I thought the Brickyard 400 was a classic for the ages.
Indianaplois isn’t the track where teams are gonna put a hot car under a young foot and score a win like Kansas or California; the dang blasted place has demanded the best performances from the best drivers for close to a century and it sure looked like that yesterday! Patience, skill, strategy, and guts dominated that race throughout.
I’m 49… yeah; an old geezer. I’ve seem more truly great drivers than most of NASCAR’s newest johnny come lately fans have seen drivers in total, so, either I’m senile, or know my stuff about racing; you pick ‘em!
Matt… 2 beers out of 6 huh? You mighta thrown in a couple few more if NASCAR had tossed in a “debris yellow” so there’d be a messy wreck at the end, with umpteen drivers having a shot at winning a race that only about 4 or 5 cars had a legitimate claim to?
I saw gobs and tons of passing… guys making high side passes, under and over moves… stuff that took both, or sometimes all three drivers involved to use excellence and guts.
Matt… when it comes to NASCAR, I can easily accuse you of becoming a cheerleader for the “NASCAR show”, but I can’t say you’re the racing fan that I once knew. Tim Richmond would slap you silly after the comments you made about this Brickyard 400. You can kid yourself, but I don’t have to buy it!
But… I save the best for last and give the race Saturday night out at ORP the whole keg! Jason Leffler stuck it to the big boys with a setup and strategy that paid off! One of the best races I’ve ever seen in my life!
A little hint to ya’ll… dial up a timing link to races while they’re on TV and find out what’s really happening lap by lap, driver by driver. Ignore the fact that whatever network is putting the race on, they cannot show the whole race like being there. What happens is, they get some live footage with someone on fresh tires dusting off 7 cars in 5 laps, someone else slipping in trash and oil, and then fabricate a storyline to match their “view” of what they’re showing you.
And about Tony Stewart saying, <cover your eyes people because you’ve never heard, read, nor seen the word> “Bullshit”! All the namby-pamby fans that wanna use that to criticize Tony… g’head; I don’t think he cares. I don’t care; if you do… tell me why! When I was about 10, my momma washed my mouth out with soap because I said something at the wrong time… It wasn’t the fact that I used a “You shalt rot in hell” word, but because I used it at the wrong time! Soon, my Momma had me cussin’ to a tea; taught me to say just the right word at the right time! (Here’s the mind-blower… Momma’s a teacher and has a phd in liertature!)
A great baseball game is 4 hits total, a great football game ends up 7-6; a great race has only 3-4 leaders… that’s what happens when great drivers go out and drive with greatness!
NASCAR is televised entertainment; look closely and you might find the race!
PS Think Jimmy Johnson is eager to do Goodyear spots just for fun about now? I know yesterday’s blowout was because the car was junk, but, he’s gotta be gunshy about now when he hears a tire exploding.
Mommaâ€™s a teacher and has a phd in liertature?? Hmm, apparently no specialist in grammar or spelling. A classic race?? Hardly. A snoozer?? Well, not entirely. A slightly above average race in my opinion. As far as the coverage, ESPN was a step up (if you could ignore the lame and inaccurate Draft Track) from FOX. I agree – the “BS” quote is pure driver emotion. As was the Harvick deal, and his comments after the race indicated a lot of anger, not a congratulatory “love tap” as he pussy-footed to NASCAR. Anyway, leave them alone, Matt is right – the writers have their hayday and then the sponsors come down on the drivers when they screw up. It self-corrects, so Mr. France, let them be humans and show emotion. It might actually do the sport some good for a change.
heya bob-doubleB… please pardon my typos; it is “literature”; I made a mistake!… I also got “Indianapolis” wrong, and a couple others as I hammered at the keyboard.
Nice petty nit-picking there…. it’s a style to have! It’s YOU!
Try to be nice to bob-doubleB! It’s his (probably a her?) way to being “superior”. We all do it but most of us grow out of it by high school.
Love your comment about the two-four! There’s something about going to Mosport that changes you forever, “eh”?