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 September 23, 2007
2007 Dover Two Race Recap
The Key Moment - Carl Edwards and the No. 99 team elected to stay out on worn tires during the penultimate caution period, and he was able to hold off his teammate Greg Biffle on four fresh tires.
In a Nutshell - A race that had had the excitement level of a Smurf's picnic turned into a WWF event at the end.
Dramatic Moment - As with any Car of Tomorrow race, passing is at such a premium drivers root and gouge like barbarians on every restart trying to get one or two positions. Sometimes, it goes badly awry. Ask the dozen drivers swept up in Kurt Busch's wreck.
What They'll Be Talking About Around the Water Cooler This Week
The CoT concept seems to have turned Cup racing into a No Passing Zone. During extended green flag periods, the drivers get separated by intervals of several seconds, unless they were battling to get by obviously slower lapped cars. Why? The CoT was supposedly designed to eliminate the (dreaded) "aero push." (The phenomenon where a driver in a faster car can get to the bumper of the car he's trying to pass… but can't complete the pass because he loses the air off the nose of his car when directly behind the car he's trying to pass). But, if anything, it seems to have made things worse. Earlier in the race, fresh tires had proven to be .6 secs of a lap faster than old tires, but Greg Biffle still just couldn't get around the 99. Compare that to Saturday's race, where eventual winner Denny Hamlin pitted for fresh tires and restarted fifth, then quickly passed the four cars ahead of him. Clearly, the advantage still goes to the older (and prettier) cars.
People smarter than me tell me that the above challenge could be quickly fixed if NASCAR would allow the teams to run wider front fenders. (Like our friends at Pontiac used to advertise, "Wider is better…") Of course, that would negate millions of dollars of wind tunnel data collected to date, but it might improve what NASCAR likes to call “the core product,” the racing. Coming off the New Hampshire TV broadcast which drew the worst ratings in the history of the Chase, NASCAR needs to do something quick. After all, you can't count on Kurt Busch to set off a field-decimating wreck every week.
So, Carl Edwards’ car was found too low in post race inspection after the win? How many points is that going to cost him and Jack Roush. Precedent seems to say it will be 25 points and a bunch of cash. The latter is inconsequential, but the former would drop him down to seventh in the standings. And once again, fans of the sport will be forced to try to explain to non-fans and casual fans how a car that is found illegal after a race gets to keep the win and the big check. Edwards claims the rear end sheetmetal of his car was damaged when teammate Greg Biffle ran into the back of the No. 99 to offer his congratulations after the race. How ironic would it be if that damage actually earned Biffle the race win?
Speaking of Kurt Busch, has anybody else noticed he's working hard at remaining calm and reasonable even when he's frustrated? He actually showed a lot of class in his post-race interview. Hopefully, his younger brother is watching.
When are Cup drivers going to realize if you're going to hit a guy, you have to wait until he takes his helmet off. It was a rare but not unprecedented display of bad temper by Kyle Petty.
They've been promising to fix pit road at Dover for years now and it remains one of the most dangerous such places on the circuit. Hopefully a close call with one of the No. 55 team's crew members being struck by a tire today will move the renovation to the front burner. Several drivers also damaged their cars in pit road collisions. Frankly, the fact two drivers have to share a stall at the start of the race is a genuine embarrassment to the sport.
What was Tony Stewart thinking when he decided to start slamming the No. 15 car on pit road and at pit exit early in the race? It seems he damaged his own car to the point it wasn't competitive. Considering the days the drivers of the Nos. 20 and 11 cars endured, it might seem wise for Joe Gibbs racing to switch the coffee over to decaf on race mornings.
What is it about these concrete tracks that Carl Edwards has figured out? Five of his six wins in NASCAR's two top divisions have come on concrete.
Even as the University of Delaware State across the street was on lockdown after a tragic double shooting, the NASCAR nation continued to party on campus and at the track. It was a jarring disparity of cultures, to say the least. My best wishes and those of the Frontstretch staff go out to the two college students injured in the shooting.
It is widely rumored that Mars candies and its M and M brands will be the new sponsor for Kyle Busch's 18 car out of Joe Gibbs Racing next year. Talk about an opportunity for Chun King or some other mass producer of Chinese food. That's a sweet and sour pairing if I've ever heard one.
Dale Earnhardt, Jr. is probably a shoe-in for Most Popular Driver as long as he competes, but based on what I saw in Wednesday's press conference, he isn't likely to win any awards for "Best Looking Car" anytime soon. And as for the No. 9 car, I can't help but feel Budweiser and Allstate insurance are the most awkward sponsor pairing since Junior ran the Bud and Remington decals. Friends don't let friends drive drunk. They shoot ‘em.
You want to talk about ways to spice up a title drive? Look at the NHRA Funny Car championship. Funny car points leader Robert Hight failed to qualify for this weekend's event at Texas. Why? Because he didn't go fast enough, and the NHRA doesn't offer Mulligans into an event based on the point standings like NASCAR does. If the same system (the fastest 43 make the race) was used in the Cup series, Clint Bowyer would have gone home and Jeff Gordon, Jeff Burton and Tony Stewart would have been sweating bullets late in the qualifying session. Oh, but you can't have big name drivers not making the race. It disappoints their fans. Well, you know what? I have a buddy who is a Jeremy Mayfield fan, and he's pretty disappointed that he went to Dover and didn't get to see Mayfield compete.
Tragedy was narrowly avoided at that NHRA meet in Texas Sunday when Funny Car veterans John Force and Kenny Bernstein collided at the big end of the track. Force is said to have suffered two broken legs and a broken arm in what might be the worst (and final) wreck of his career. Best wishes go out to both drivers and their teams. Force's daughter Ashley was so shaken by the incident, she elected not to compete in the semifinal run she was scheduled to make. Remember, the Force team already had a driver killed this season.
If I have to endure one more Tim Brewer explanation (with graphics) of a dropped valve, I might blow one myself. My guess is that in the post-race gathering, ABC executives will ask that the term "that's the dead puppy in the litter" not be used again. Or, as Rusty Wallace might say, they will ask that that phrase not not be used not again.
The Hindenburg Award For Foul Fortune
Matt Kenseth dominated the race, leading 194 laps, but he blew an engine with 27 laps left to run.
Denny Hamlin seemed a little too wound up a little too early at Dover. An attempt to force a pass on the lapped car of Kyle Petty ended badly for both Hamlin and Petty.
Clint Bowyer was also caught up in the aftermath of Hamlin's bad decision.
Lug nuts left loose during a pit stop forced Kevin Harvick to pit under green and lose a couple of laps. A flat tire later just added insult to injury, but a pit crew can't make that sort of rookie mistake if their driver is to a championship contender.
Penske South had two cars running in the Top 10 most of the day until, on lap 485, they had two cars running into the wall. A hard luck award goes out to the dozen drivers involved in the melee.
The "Seven Come Fore Eleven" Award For Fine Fortune
Race winner Carl Edwards had to overcome a sticking throttle early in the event. Usually, a driver with a throttle stuck at Dover winds up in a Bambulance, not in Victory Circle. Edwards’ day was saved by a household can of WD40.
Defending race winner Jeff Burton's car was flat out horrible early in the race. A timely caution kept him from going a lap down. He eventually did fall off the lead lap, but another caution put him back on the lead lap. Much more competitive by then, he managed to escape the carnage and come away with a seventh place finish, one lap off the pace.
I think Mark Martin's fourth place run proves an old man can compete in the new cars.
Jamie McMurray was hit by the No. 42 car, rapped the wall and cut down a tire. He still left Dover with a Top 10 finish.
Kyle Busch slapped the wall hard and got a piece of the lap 485 wreck, but soldiered on to a Top 5 finish.
What's the Points?
Jeff Gordon remains atop the heat, but he is just two points ahead of second place Tony Stewart, three points ahead of third place Carl Edwards, and four points ahead of fourth place Jimmie Johnson. Fifth place Kyle Busch is just ten points out of the lead.
Within the Chase, there was the typical radical reshuffle the contrived points system is intended to provide. Carl Edwards moved up five spots to third. Jeff Burton moved up three spots to eighth. Tony Stewart, Kevin Harvick and Kurt Busch all moved up a single spot. They are now second, ninth, and eleventh respectively.
Hamlin's bad call led to a bad fall. He falls three spots to twelfth. Jimmie Johnson also lost three spots and is now fourth. Matt Kenseth lost three positions as well and is now tenth in the standings. Clint Bowyer fell two spots to sixth while Martin Truex Jr. fell a single spot to seventh.
Outside the Chase, Greg Biffle wrestled fourteenth spot from Casey Mears and Juan Pablo Montoya took nineteenth spot from J.J. Yeley.
Under the old points system, Jeff Gordon would still be leading… but by considerably more than one point. Tony Stewart would still be second, while Jimmie Johnson would have overhauled Denny Hamlin for fourth. Carl Edwards would have taken over fifth in the points from teammate Matt Kenseth.
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 three cans of lukewarm Lone Star. The race had its moments, but they were few and far between.
Next Up - Start crafting your "Wizard of Oz" puns because the series heads off to Kansas, a track that has often provided Toto-ally boring events.
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I know Delaware is a small state, but they have two universities… the one in lockdown is Delaware State University. The University of Delaware is in Newark, at the northern end of the state. The two schools have excellent, but different identities. The rest of your comments are certainly accurate. We all wish for a good resolution for the students at the Dover campus.
Thanks for your column. I missed…wait, I wasn’t able to see the race yesterday. Looks like I didn’t miss much. IF NASCAR throws away the “chase,” quits guaranteeing starting spots, really penalizes infractions, and goes back to a real car, I’ll be much more interested. Who am I kidding? NASCAR never does anything that makes sense.
Mary, Delaware actually has 3 universities. Wilmington University has its main campus in New Castle. We’re a small, but very learned state!
When a car does not pass post post race inspection , the car owner and driver should receive no points and no money. How hard is this ? No other sport that i have ever heard of knowingly lets a competitor keep a win when they have been found illegal . And every other sport disqualifies that person and moves everyone behind him up one place . In fact all other stock car series use this approach .
Was anyone else extremely disappointed in ABC’s post race coverage? Maybe it was only in my little neck of the woods, but I was only able to see two drivers get interviewed; Truex Jr. and Carl Edwards. Guess our local news couldn’t wait 10 more minutes. Needless to say, I’m not impressed with ABC’s coverage!
“the dead puppy in the litter” was the funniest, most brutally honest, metaphorical line spoken since the FOX/NBC/TNT/ABC/ESPN/NASCAR cartel agreement was signed 7 years ago. Far more off the cuff than Rusty’s quip about snapping at someone like a rattlesnake.
I think we might have a new contender for worst tv announcer . I heard Jamie , interviewing Kenseths’ crew chief, say “ right now “ 5 times in one sentence . Why can’t they simply cut all but three or four people on these broadcasts ? The excess analysts are inventing things to talk about so they can get their share of on air time . They aren’t usually very interesting ,and in fact are often irritating . And the ones they keep need to be much more talented than most of the current group .
I was extremely disappointed in the TV coverage.
Dr. Punch—who is one of my favorite announcers—kept telling us that there were 130,000 fans at Dover. But the place seats 140,000. And it looked to me like an estimate of 130,000 was charitable, to say the least. Wouldnâ€™t it be great to hear a group of people who know racing and have been around it for years talk frankly about why the Monster Mile didnâ€™t sell out a race in the much-ballyhooed â€œChase” on a beautiful end-of-summer day?
On lap 355, NA$CAR threw a debris caution. That was the key moment in the race. It made a shambles of the strategy that a number of teams were pursuing and set up the â€œcautions-breed-cautionsâ€ wreck-fest that followed. It may yet have a decisive impact on the Brianâ€™s bogus â€œChase.â€ ABC didnâ€™t show the debris. ABC didnâ€™t mention the debris. It was as if the debris didnâ€™t existâ€¦. Really. :o]
Fat Tony was right. NA$CAR is â€˜rasslinâ€™ on wheels.
But the â€œdead puppyâ€ comment was priceless.
Margo, at least Jamie is the hottest TV reporter. She was actually on the cover of FHM magazine a few years ago. I think she does a pretty decent job though. Granted, I am biased because I was friends with her in college and have watched her career progress from reporting at the X Games, Motocross, IRL, and now NASCAR. She also is into riding dirt bikes, so she does have an incite into what it is like to race vehicles.
Thanks Annie! There were only two when I was there… I got that old sheepskin after spending 4 yrs as a Fighting Blue Hen and haven’t lived on the East Coast since! It is a beautiful (and learned!) state and wish I could return!
Have a question here…What happens when ol’ Cousin Carl slips off the door doing his backflip and scatters his brains all over the pavement? Will NASCAR mandate that Tony Stewart wear a helmet before he climbs the fence at the flagstand? That is just the sort of knee jerk reaction that follows, not an accident trend, but peoples stupidity, ie, Dale Jarrett taking the steering wheel off his wrecked car while cars were coming by him at 200 mph
Jeremy Mayfield still has fans? Were all three of them disappointed or just your friend?
Actually in reference to the NHRA crash, the remains of John Forces shattered car crashed into Kenny Bernstein. After the chassis broke, Mr. Force was just strapped into a very open and vulnerable seat, no doubt praying. Ashley was shaken yes, but they didn’t want to chance another chassis failure, and she wanted to be in the hospital with her father. Some things are just more important than racing. Also the NHRA does not ALWAYS have provisionals, BUT if they only complete 1 of 4 qualifying sessions, the top 10 are seeded into the bottom of the field no matter what their time is.
Your “Hindenburg Award For Foul Fortune” section for each CoT race should be dedicated to every driver in the “race” for having to drive those blasted things…
Brian France is quickly turning me into a non-fan, and the CoT “races” are largely responsible…