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.
2007 Bristol Night Race Recap
The Key Moment - Carl Edwards used the No. 55 car as a pick to pass Kasey Kahne on lap 335, and from there, he drove off into the night.
In a Nutshell - A kinder, gentler Bristol? How are fans going to react to that?
Dramatic Moment - There was an extended battle between Carl Edwards, Kasey Kahne, and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. just after the 300-lap mark that provided the best action of the evening.
What They'll Be Talking About Around the Water Cooler This Week
OK, so it was a kinder, gentler Bristol…or maybe even Bristol Lite. And some fans who came expecting to see the usual carnage aren't going to be happy. But as I see it, while two drivers dominated in the pack, there was some great side-by-side racing and a whole lot of passing…two things rarely seen at Bristol. Give the concrete a couple of years to age, have Goodyear bring some racier rubber, and my gut tells me the new Bristol configuration is going to be the greatest thing since Pop-Top beer cans.
What have Carl Edwards and his Cup and Busch teams figured out about these concrete tracks that nobody else has?
Note to the ESPN boys in the booth and their pit rat counterparts; enough with the bogus Chase hype. The field is set: Junior is not going to make it, neither is Newman, and a driver like Bobby Labonte certainly isn't “on the bubble.” Most fans are savvy enough to know how things stand, and dishonesty and hype diminish your professionalism.
The finish to Friday night's Busch race was a barnburner, but fans at home really got fired up when their TV screens went blank right at the crucial moment. The issue was blamed on a satellite feed problem, and I guess those things happen; but ESPN needs to look into what went wrong and have a backup in place for next time. It seems that there have been a lot of audio and video snafus since they took over the schedule.
What in hell was Michael Waltrip thinking battling hard with the leaders in his chronically slow Toyota? Well, I guess that's one way to get the sponsors some camera time, but as I see it, blocking the leaders when you're already two laps down is dirty pool.
A NASCAR spokesperson said this weekend that the organization is getting "fed up" with the AT&T lawsuit to change the decals on the No. 31 car. RCR was warned their car would not pass tech inspection with AT&T branding on it, so the car arrived at Bristol shorn of primary sponsor decals. With the sport now holding the latest victory in a bitter court battle, the NASCAR spokesperson went on to say AT&T was being dishonest with fans. Well, speaking as a fan, I'm getting a bit tired of NASCAR being dishonest with me, and fed up with this whole sorry mess. I prefer to see battles decided on the track and not in a court of law. Frankly, the whole thing would seem a bit more palatable if Nextel wasn't changing their name to Sprint and rebranding the sport to a new logo at the same time. For the record, I still refuse to carry a cell phone and support any law that would make it illegal to use one of the damn things in a car, restaurant, movie theater, store, or sporting event.
Most fans aren't going to work up a lot of sympathy for a blown call by NASCAR that likely cost Kyle Busch a Busch Series win on Saturday, but the situation and how it was handled are emblematic of the sport's current credibility problem. Late in the race, Busch postured like he was headed to pit road to “trick” fellow competitors, but then swerved back onto the track. NASCAR officials said he had committed a "commitment cone" violation; however, TV video showed clearly that not only had the infraction not taken place, it wasn't even particularly close. Still, Busch was ordered to the end of the longest line, and while enraged, he was perhaps mindful of Robby Gordon's recent suspension for ignoring orders from the control tower. Reluctantly dropping to the back of the pack, Busch took his punishment and the race resumed. In the end, he clawed his way from 25th to fourth, then argued after the race – and quite reasonably – that since the call was in dispute, NASCAR should have continued to run under yellow until they sorted the mess out. That's not how things usually work, but longtime fans might recall an incident with the late Dale Earnhardt and the No. 3 car back in Rockingham. In that instance, a pit official claimed that a tire changer had not gotten all five lug nuts on a wheel, while the tire changer argued he had. Earnhardt was ordered to pit to have the fifth lug nut installed, but when he came to a stop, it was clear that that all five lugs were in place and tight. At that point, NASCAR threw a caution flag and allowed the No. 3 car to resume its rightful place in the running order. So, it does happen, but only for select high profile drivers, and that's not how the rules of a sport are supposed to be implemented.
Who's the programming genius who decided next weekend's Busch race should start after 10 PM ET? I'm just glad I'll be at a barbecue not covering that mess.
I don't know who developed the color changing graphics on the No. 42 Texaco car, but that was one of the coolest paint schemes I've ever seen. It's almost enough to make me buy another diecast car again. Almost.
The Hindenburg Award For Foul Fortune
Denny Hamlin was running in the Top 5 when his engine began laying down; it finally expired in fiery fashion on lap 210. For Hamlin, it was his first DNF since Martinsville in the early Spring of 2006, and only the second in his 67 Cup starts to date.
Matt Kenseth had won the last two Bristol night races, but couldn't avoid hitting the spinning No. 88 car late in the race, a wreck which ended his evening.
Martin Truex, Jr. had a car that seemed to be a contender until lug nuts left loose on a pit stop forced him to the pits for a second time, and he had to restart at the back of the line of lead lap cars. I guess his eleventh place finish was decent in retrospect.
Maybe David Ragan ought to be sponsored by Maytag, because he was in the spin cycle all night. Three of the night's nine cautions were caused by solo spins involving the No. 6 car.
Jeff Gordon ran up front early, but pitted late in a green flag sequence of stops just before a caution flag flew. That trapped Gordon a lap down, and while he eventually regained that lap, he was mired in traffic and hit from behind while slowing for the Ricky Rudd / Martin Truex, Jr. wreck.
The "Seven Come Fore Eleven" Award For Fine Fortune
The fans on hand got to see the entire race, which even started on time. Considering the grim weather forecast that made it seem unlikely they'd be able to get the race in this month…that's amazing. And, I might add, a huge relief after Michigan.
While he'll probably remember this race as "one that got away," second place finisher Kasey Kahne was lucky to finish the race at all after nearly driving into the stalled car of Johnny Sauter. That was a masterful piece of driving on Kahne's part. Coupled with a win in the Busch race, it was a great weekend for a driver who had been in danger of becoming irrelevant.
Carl Edwards came close to wrecking himself after getting bumped by Juan Pablo Montoya early in the race, but Edwards also did a masterful job of driving to keep control.
After being a backmarker most of the night, Tony Stewart and the No. 20 car came alive late in the race to score a fourth place finish. The Top 5 result helped Stewart take over second place in the point standings.
Doug Randolph took over as Bobby Labonte's crew chief prior to Michigan, and the No. 43 team has Top 10 finishes in both races since. Just don't tell Kyle. He might break his other hand.
What's the Points?
Jeff Gordon still leads the points despite three consecutive disappointing finishes. The night's big winner was actually Tony Stewart, who leaps two spots into second…although he’s still a sobering 349 points behind Gordon. For the record, even if Stewart wins the next two races and Gordon finishes last, the No. 24 will finish out the regular season as the points leader.
Denny Hamlin and Matt Kenseth each fell a spot to third and fourth, respectively. Behind them, the rest of the Top 12 held position. If twelfth place Kurt Busch finishes fifteenth or better in the next two races, he will be in the Chase even if Dale Earnhardt Jr. wins both events and leads the most laps.
Beyond the circle of Chase contenders, Bobby Labonte and Juan Pablo Montoya each moved up a spot to seventeenth and eighteenth, respectively, while Jamie McMurray fell two spots to nineteenth. J.J. Yeley took over the twentieth spot from Mark Martin, who did not race this weekend.
Overall Rating (On a scale of one to six beer cans, with one being a stinker and a six pack an instant classic) I'll give this one four cans of icy cold Coors Light. Watching real racing rather than wrecking at Bristol left me feeling less dirty than the usual Bristol Night race…even if it wasn't as much fun.
Next Up - Here's what I know. Next weekend is Labor Day weekend, and the Cup series should be heading to Darlington for the Southern 500. Tragically, that won't be happening. They tell me there will be a race somewhere out in Southern California. I plan to ignore it. But on a brighter note, if Brian France gets a DUI charge out there, the jail sentence for rich, white, famous people is apparently 83 minutes.
Hey, wait a minute! Before you take off for the day, don’t forget to vote in the weekly Frontstretch poll by letting us know who you think will be the highest finishing rookie at California! Get busy outsmarting our very own Tony Lumbis in the process by letting him know who YOU think will rule the roost out West.
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This years Bristol night race should have been called “The Milqtoast 500 Presented by No-Doze” I used to look forward to this racing tradition, but after the last 2 years I think the magic is gone. I could just as well sit in the dark drinking milk and eating ricecakes while listening to Kenny G. on the stereo and be just as excited.
Well ESPN has done the impossible. They made me miss FOX coverage. ESPN missed the green flag for the race and came back from one of their own commercials at lap 2. How many times do we have to see Big Papi spit on his hands?
What can one really say about Saturday night’s Bristol race? Well, what I can say is that it was not worth watching. It may have been if there weren’t 3 hours of commercials, but without being able to watch more than 7 or 8 minutes of the race at a time, I really couldn’t tell you if it was a race worth watching!
Also, I have to say that the small amount of respect that I had gained for Michael Waltrip (after his own fun loving bashing commercials), I once again lost any respect for the man after what he did to Kasey Kahne. MW, being 3 laps down and still fighting the lead lap cars. What was THAT all about?
Lastly, and I’ll say this right off the top, I am a huge Jeff Gordon fan. But what was he or Steve Latarte thinking when he stayed out on the track, just to lead a lap, before pitting? That bone-headed call gave Jeff his 3rd consecutive sucky-ass race. I couldn’t believe he was staying out while everyone else was pitting, and then the unthinkable happened when he finally did pit…the dreaded caution. Well, I certainly hope that his luck, and his crew chiefs calls, get better..and quickly.
I’m seeing a lot of sympathy for Kyle on various message boards. I think people know that it could happen to their guy too.
Judging by what I saw on the Fox Trax that never made it to the TV and by reports from people who were there, ESPN managed to lose a decent race under a rotten TV broadcast. Maybe not a fabulous race like the truck and Busch races, but a decent one.
The fans love Bristol, short track bumping and racing. Oh my goodness, that won’t do! Let’s change it! Typical Bruton Smith and NASCAR. Atlanta was a great track for 30+ years, but Smith changed it too. Bristol may improve over time. I’ll wait and see, but this one was boring. As for MW. What do you expect? He’s a prima donna, who craves attention. Someone should have booted him into the wall. No racing next week. I’ll look at the schedule and see when the next “race” will be. I might watch unless there’s a good water polo game on.
I give this race a snooze fest two beers. One more thing, Michael Waltrip is a jerk period! He showed his true colors and turned on his wanna be a race car driver when the race was nearly over “three laps down”, holding up the top drivers and costing Kasey Kahne his #1 spot. Get out of the car Mikey your racing days are over!
I thought the race at Bristol was GREAT! I’m sick of races being determined by bumping a guy out of the way. Racing is racing, not wrecking to win period!
Never before have I fell asleep during a Bristol race. Somehow I felt cheated, like this was a cookie cutter track. Shame on Goodyear for continuing to stink up races with too hard of a tire. What can I say, I was NASCAR before NASCAR was cool, but after this race I am really glad it’s football season.
Yes, I am glad the drivers were having fun actually racing one another and Yes, there was some good racing going on in the pack—But , did I enjoy a Bristol race enough to go back and spend my money again??? After a lot of years, and a lot more money, the party is over!!!! Nascar and their everchanging format has finally won >>>> we really need to find a new hobby!!!
I agree with Dennis Murphy, I miss FOX ( and I hate the 3 nitwits in the booth at FOX ) compared to ESPN. Mikey (the pole dancer )Waltrip, please just go away. I miss the old Bristol. At least the Packers start soon. I’ll keep my Martinsville tickets till they screw that place up too.NASCAR, you win, you wrecked racing finally.
What do you people want? Wrecks? I’d be happy to get the tickets you fans that were there want to give up next year. I’ve only been there once and that was 1977. Its still the only place I’d go back to. It just so happens 2 drivers dominated this race, hit the set up, and others were maybe taking it some what easy.
I cut my NASCAR teeth at Bristol in the early 80’s. Th night race was the most awesome race in NASCAR…was. Between the Chase, the COT and the new surface this was the worst race I have seen in quite some time. I usually hate road courses, but they are exciting compared to that piece of trash we saw Saturday night.
I recognize that I’m in the minority, in that I really enjoyed the side-by-side racing at bristol, and normally don’t have alot of appreciation for the wreckfest typically. This was one of the better races at bristol…and I think that a softer tire that allowed more cars (other than 2) to hook up would have made this a great race. I’m really looking forward to Bristol races next year.
3-wide! At Bristol! how cool is that?
I suspect that the COT had a lot to do with the boredom of the cup race. The teams still haven’t figured out how to put on a good race with these cars at certain tracks. They just don’t have the adjustability of the former cars. But they’ll improve. Concerning the AT&T vs NASCAR fiasco, NASCAR PR department sent a fax out to all media outlets that they were not to mention AT&T during the tv or radio broadcast on Saturday night. Burtons’ car was to be refered to as the RCR Chevrolet only. That tops the chart on arrogance. I’m sorry to say that the media did as they were told. When an overzealous underling in the PR department can tell all broadcasters what can and can’t be said during a race, you have to wonder how many other things the media has been told to keep quiet about over the years concerning NASCAR and its’ dealings. It was a disgrace for ESPN and PRN to cave in to NASCARs demands.After hearing about that, i now know for sure who i back in the lawsuit. Nextel/Sprint, you have lost my business.By the way, without the mobile towers that are brought into the Daytona Speedway only during races, you cannot get a signal on a NEXTEL phone in the parking lot. Ironic.
The Shrub call was a bad one. And NASCAR did the right thing by apologizing for it. But I also think its reaching to NASCAR was going to bend over backwards to make things right for the guy who said the COT sucked just a few months ago at the same track.
I’m with PUK. Watching a race for a couple of hours just to see who’s going to bump somebody out of the way on the last lap is pathetic. If anyone doesn’t like real racing, try watching Figure 8.