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 August 5, 2007
The Key Moment – On lap 154, Kurt Busch assumed the lead yet again, and the rest of the field couldn't pedal fast enough to keep him in sight.
In a Nutshell - See Kurt run. Run, Kurt, run. Nap, fans, nap.
Dramatic Moment – Other teams gambled on two tires or no tires during the fifth caution period on lap 140, getting out ahead of the No. 2 team, who went with four. That dropped Busch back to ninth for the restart, and he did have to pull some hard driving to regain the lead over the next ten laps.
What They'll Be Talking About Around the Water Cooler This Week
Anyone who has ever tried to get to I-81 or the PA Turnpike after a Pocono race knows the sad irony of the event being named for a movie called Rush Hour 3.
Did NASCAR put the cars on the engine dyno after Pocono? It looked like Busch's Penske Dodge engine was in a class of its own.
Who should have won at Montreal; Robby Gordon, Marcos Ambrose or Kevin Harvick? Here's how I saw it on TV: Kevin Harvick triggered the big wreck shortly after the penultimate restart. If you look at the video of that incident and keep your eyes ahead of the pig pile, at that same instant Robby Gordon was laying a bumper to the right rear corner of Ambrose's Ford. Ambrose maintained the lead, but was all crossed up. (To paraphrase Smokey Yunick, he looked like a monkey trying to hump a football in there). Sensing opportunity, Gordon took to the grass to complete the pass, even though the yellow was already flying. At that point, Ambrose retaliated and left Gordon sideways across the track unable to maintain minimum speed. According to NASCAR, that was the key factor in their decision. Oh, well; so much for all these scoring loops deciding the running order at the time of caution. Maybe they didn't have them in Canada? Anyway, a decision was made by the NASCAR powers that be; Robby Gordon had to restart the race in fourteenth place. Well, like the marching band in Don McLean's "American Pie," Robby Gordon refused to yield.
With Gordon's known temper and dastardly tactics, the race should never have been allowed to restart with the No. 55 car in second…at least on the track. Heck, the pace car should have wrecked him if it came down to it. A less dramatic solution would have been to halt the race and have Gordon removed if he would not restart in his ordered position. But the race did restart, and as expected, Gordon punted Ambrose and Harvick drove his Chevy to the levy. It was exciting to watch, but it leaves fans of the sport scratching their heads and wondering if NASCAR has plumbed to new depths in ineptitude when it comes to officiating races. I've seen better officiated Jello-wrestling matches at local bars…and some blame must be placed on ESPN, too, for failing to highlight the key moment of the supposed pass for the lead when Gordon knocked Ambrose sideways while the caution was flying just ahead of the big wreck. At least Canadian fans got a new villain worthy of Dudley Dooright's old nemesis Snidely Whiplash.
One more thing…if Robby Gordon was banned from the garage area on Sunday, why was he interviewed behind his hauler?
Kasey Kahne is going to be the next driver of the Bud car? Is it just me, or has anyone else noted this year Kahne is running like a three-legged lamb? Reports this week claim Kahne ran into well known waste of protoplasm Paris Hilton while out partying in L.A. She told him "God, you're cute" and kissed him. Hopefully, it ended right there. The last thing NASCAR needs is a tabloid romance between two folks who get a lot more attention for anything but their actual accomplishments – at least this year.
So, 124 employees and three drivers are out of work as a result of the recent DEI / Ginn Racing “merger.” Somewhere, J.D. Stacy is laughing himself hoarse. Look for the EBay auction on the Ginn blimp soon.
I thought that familiarity might lessen contempt for ESPN's ill-conceived “Draft Track.” I was wrong. But the piece on the Allison family in the pre-race show proves ESPN can still produce classics. Rusty Wallace's line of the race: “He's gone from ‘here kitty, kitty,’ to kitty litter.” The one Rusty probably regrets: "There ain't no catching Busch now."
NASCAR said that Tony Stewart called the legitimacy of the sport into question a couple of months back, saying they used "debris cautions" to orchestrate the outcome of races. Oddly enough, since Stewart made his comments, the number of debris cautions has dropped dramatically. I was expecting a late race spate of them Sunday, and it never happened. But that's just a coincidence, I'm sure…
The Hindenburg Award For Foul Fortune
Marcos Ambrose was deprived a hard earned win in Montreal when he was purposely parked by a car that had no business being in the same area code as him. The fact he was able to be so upbeat in his post-race interviews was amazing. "Marcos Ambrose”: It's how you say "Carl Edwards" in Australian. On a related note, my guess is the Ford folks were less than happy to see Robby Gordon, in a Ford, wreck another Ford on its way to a high profile win, handing victory to the Chevrolet set in the process.
There were only seven cautions all day, but Jamie McMurray found himself in the midst of three of them, finally ending his race by limping his thoroughly trashed Ford towards the garage after totaling it with 20 to go.
David Gilliland had a credible run going before getting swept up in a wreck to end his day. And here's the truly odd part: he didn't cause it.
All three MWR racing cars made the field for the first time this season, but it didn't matter much. Dale Jarrett and David Reutimann had DNFs due to fuel pump problems, and were credited with 41st and 42nd place, respectively. The illustrious leader of the organization did manage to finish the race…but Michael Waltrip wound up 38th, six laps off the pace.
The "Seven Come Fore Eleven" Award For Fine Fortune
Dale Earnhardt, Jr.'s car was clearly not to his liking for the first part of the race, and he was vocal in his displeasure on the radio – the handling got so bad Junior actually spun out on his own on lap 124. To compensate, his team gambled on changing a shock under that caution rather than taking tires. Junior went on to finish second.
After several weeks of foul fortune, Jimmie Johnson finally got another Top 5 finish to all but seal his spot in the Chase.
Clint Bowyer had to start at the rear of the field after an unapproved engine change, but he still left Pocono with an eighth place finish.
Ricky Rudd provided the struggling Yates organization with a decent finish, coming home thirteenth. Not far behind him, fellow fifty-something veteran Bill Elliott came home eighteenth.
What's the Points?
Jeff Gordon is still leading the standings, though his gap narrowed infinitesimally to 366 over second place Denny Hamlin. The rest of the Top 5: Matt Kenseth, Tony Stewart, and Jeff Burton hold serve as well. Gordon now needs only to start the next five races to make the Chase, even if he finishes 43rd in each.
Behind the Top 5, only two drivers swapped positions in spots six through ten. Jimmie Johnson moved up two spots to seventh, while Kevin Harvick fell two spots to ninth.
Further back, Kurt Busch moves into the last Chase position in twelfth, knocking Dale Earnhardt, Jr. at least temporarily out of title contention. Junior now trails Busch by seven points, while fourteenth place Ryan Newman trails the driver of the No. 8 by 83 points.
Overall Rating (On a scale of one to six beer cans with one being a stinker and a six pack an instant classic) – I can only give this one two pony bottles of Pennsylvania's own Genesee Cream Ale. We used to use the stuff for "pony races" back in college, and some of those races were more exciting than Sunday's event.
Next Up - The circuit heads off to Watkins Glen – but I head off to Ocean City, New Jersey for the last annual family vacation, the end of a 36-year tradition that has been the centerpiece of my summer since I was in middle school. Mom had paid for the place prior to her death, and my sisters and I have decided to honor her by gathering the entire clan for the last time. It's likely to be a week with a lot of laughter, some tears, and the occasional dinner table arguments, with some sunburns suffered, many novels read and passed on to the next sibling, wine and beer consumed in a fashion worthy or our Irish heritage, and a final sad goodbye to beachfront accommodations. Yes, to keep my habit of annoying my sisters, I'll probably lock myself in the back bedroom to watch the race as I have done all these years; my sisters would expect nothing less of their older brother.
But I won't be writing about it. See you for Michigan.
©2000 - 2008 Matt McLaughlin and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
Who says a race without wrecks and yellows that artificially bunches the competition is a “Nap fans nap” event? I mean, other than little boys that crash their toy cars in the dirt and their adult counterparts that never matured… who wants to see a wreck?
Something tells me an event filled with lots of “kewl crashes” and everybody leading a lap is a 6-pack award winner? Hmmm… racing, or NASCAR TV entertainment…. what IS being judged?
I guess I’m being naive, silly, a purist… elitist… but in the spirit of admiring sporting performances, I find it delightful to see someone kick butt and take no names! I know David Pearson did the same thing often… he’s a 2 out of 6 beers kinda hero too?
I don’t buy into the modern era of NASCAR “racing”. I don’t have to, I know better!
Someone explain to me why They ripped 25 points away from Tony Stewart for something that had NOTHING to do with racing! Oops… it insults the spirit of NASCAR “entertainment”? I think penalties for something non-competition related are B U L L S H I T!
A lot of things went nuts in Montreal… I’ve seen crap like that before (usually on a dirt track on the edge of some place like Hoooterville), but at some point, NASCAR, as the legitimate promotor of the entertainment event has to come forward and has a lot of ‘splainin to do! And
Yes, it was a real snoozer — and I’m a fan of Kurt’s. The only excitement to be had was my nervousness that Kurt’s recent luck would reassert itself and something weird would happen to take it all away from him.
I ended up spending more time watching the “Fox Trax” on the internet trying to figure out if Kyle Busch and Greg Biffle were getting ahead or falling behind than watching the TV.
I used to really enjoy Pocono — before they took the gears away.
If I want to see a parade I’ll watch a parade. Racing is about competition. When there’s no competition its boring.
If you wanted to see a race yesterday, the IRL was the place to be. A real race can really be held at Michigan. It was wheel to wheel at 220 mph the entire race. It’s too bad NASCAR won’t figure out a way to let it’s drivers really mix it up, and they have fenders to lean on. The IRL boys and girls don’t seem at all timid about the fact that there are no fenders. Of course only 8 cars finished the race because of it, but what a race!
Pennsylvania’s own Genesee Cream Ale? The pride of Genesee NY? Wouldn’t Schaefer have been a better choice? Beer relate trivialities aside, keep up the good work.
I can relate to what you’re saying… but, let me offer this idea and tell me why I’m wrong to be excited about it.
Sometimes the lead of the race isn’t contended. Indianapolis and Pocono really seem to reward teams and drivers that lock-up a good setup.
The networks know all this, but translating it and showing it has been the bane of TV coverage of racing forever!
So… if I suggest that the race from Pocono (and Indy) were both excellent, but the network presented a boring coverage of the great racing, would you accept some of that argument?
Anyone else recall seeing Kinser driving the Genesee Beer Wagon?
I’ll never forget watching him start on pole in it at the Indiana Fairgrounds and leading every corner only to be passed on the homestretch by Pancho Carter (who started dead last) for the victory! Pretty sure it was 1976… Sadly, Opperman got dinged up yet again in that event; the original outlaw!
Another great summary Matt. I was hoping to hear your opinions on Kurt’s victory circle commercial for Lite Beer. Did you notice how many fake swigs of beer he took? (that is, the beer can was never opened).
Regarding the lack of debris cautions since Tony’s statement, I want a t-shirt that simply states “Tony Stewart is right.”
I totally agree. There was a lot of Racing that is still very important to many drivers. Just becuase ESPN focused their cameras on the top 5 all day doesn’t mean that there was no action anywhere else on the track.
Furthermore, I actually kind of enjoyed seeing Kurt run away with this one. It was remeniscent of the good ole’ days….beore restrictor plates…..when the team that had the best car, best set-up, etc., walked the dog with the rest of the field
Ditto to the comments about the IRL race @ Michigan! I was there! It was awesome to watch! Talk about your death defying acts! WOW!
The purest form of actual motor racing we have in this country! NASCAR pales in comparison! Actually, there is no comparison!
Re: Robby Gordon! Go Robby! Someone has to have NASCAR read their own rule book and understand what it says!
NASCAR is getting way to high handed in blaming their mistakes on the drivers and crews!
Do a flashback to the NASCAR Indy race a week ago! Who punted who out of first and NASCAR promptly declared them a winner!
LONG LIVE BOTH THE IRL & ROBBY GORDON!
Matt, Genesee is born in Rochester, NY. Unfortunately it tastes like the Kodak waste that is dumped into the Genesee River!
Ah yes Bobb, the Genesee Beer Wagon. That would have been Sheldon Kinser at the wheel. Just thought I would add that since many new race fans only think of Steve when they hear the name Kinser. Those were some good ole days of racing. To attend that race and watch Pancho come from last to first had to have been poetry in motion. Add to the fact that the race was probably Friday nite before the Indy 500. Most of the boys raced at IRP Saturday night, Salem on Memorial Day and managed to put on a good show at Indy that Sunday too. That was 3 years before the initial fall of Indy racing as we know it today.
I only mention that because Brian France and the TV networks are well on their way to cause history to repeat itself with their precious Nascar.
I agree with you that there had to be plenty of exciting racing going on back in the field. Just because Kurt Busch lined up in the front row and dominated the race didn’t dictate the finishing order of the other 42 cars. Dale Jr. came back from 26th to finish 2nd, Bowyer started at the back, Edwards lost a lap early and I’m sure had to race hard to finally earn the “Lucky Dog”. Those are just a few examples of racing that ESPN chose to not show us. Instead we saw their version of entertainment while a race was going on that they did not want us to see.
I think it is time to retire my soapbox for now. Thank you Bobb, for the trip down memory lane.
Yeah; Sheldon Kinser! But the event I’m talking about was an odd show. It was in July or August… and started around 2pm. They ran a pair of 33 lap qualifying heats and took the top 12 from each to make the starting 24 cars for the 34 lap “feature”. Pancho had a mechanical failure in his heat so he was either offered a car or paid to drive a car of one of the traditional backmarkers… who had made it thru to the feature. Pancho was the first to “push-off” even tho he had to line up dead last… took one hard corner and pulled right back into the pit area while the rest of the cars were push-started. They jacked like 7 rounds of wedge into the right front corner and those of us in the pits watching that thought, ‘Ain’ no way that’ll do any good! He’s so far off the setup…” Who’d have known he’d pick ‘em off one by one and snag the win in the last 100 yards!
I agree about your diagnosis and post mortums. The evidence of the disease is everywhere as NASCAR grasps at straws to assure their demise!
Many forget that it was Robbie Gordon who brought about the end of the “Geltlemen’s Agreement” leaving us with the “Lucky Dog”. I was there in Loudon (2004) when RG was all set to cut the stalled Dale J. car in half while racing to the yellow. The only thing that stopped him was the smart drivers in front of him who checked up to protect themselves and a driver they didn’t want to kill.
As Matt said: look at his history. What change is this going to bring? The black/red flag?
When you can get Tony Stewart AND Jeff Gordon to take a shot at you, perhaps it’s not the world that has the problem…
Re: Wolfman’s comments about the gentleman’s agreement and Robby Gordon.
I agree with you entirely. Robby Gordon has a long history of on the track antics that make it hard for me to simply think of him as a “hardnosed driver that wants to win”. I don’t care at all what the drivers do off the track… but when it’s racing, I do expect them to display some sense of sporting as drivers have for decades before!
Ya know, you bring up something that I think is absurd anyhow, but another tool that NASCAR emplys as part of their entertainment policies… now known as the “lucky dog”.
I hate rules that create artificial competition… someone a lap down had to race back to the lead lap for decades… it’s time NASCAR cure their rectal cranial inversion on this whole concept. This insanity would seem more appropriate in Formula One than in American oval racing.
I still hear everyone trying to make sense of what happened in Montreal… the last few laps of competition there had problems from every regard. Drivers, scoring, NASCAR… I think either nobody talks about their role in it as a victim, or everyone does.