NASCAR Changes Qualifying Format
posted by Summer Bedgood
Tuesday March 11, 2014
Following safety concerns regarding NASCAR’s new qualifying format, the sanctioning body is introducing some changes in preparation for this weekend’s race at Bristol Motor Speedway. According to the Associated Press, NASCAR is banning teams from cool-down laps after their qualifying attempts, but will instead be allowed to hook up cool-down units to the engine through hood flaps.
Late Tuesday afternoon, a release from NASCAR fully detailed the changes. Teams will be allowed a single cool down unit to be connected through the right or left side hood flap, however the hood must remain closed. Additionally, two crew members will be allowed over the wall while cooling down.
“The qualifying is new to all of us and as we have said over the past several weeks, we are looking at it from all aspects,” said Robin Pemberton, vice president of competition and racing development. “Following discussions, both internally and with others in the garage area, we moved quickly to make a few revisions that will be effective starting with our two national series events at Bristol Motor Speedway this weekend. We believe this will only enhance and improve what has demonstrated to be an exciting form of qualifying for our fans, competitors and others involved with the sport. Moving forward we will continue to look at it and address anything else that we may need to as the season unfolds.”
The move comes after three weeks of NASCAR’s new knockout qualifying system, where multiple cars are allowed to make qualifying attempts at the same time instead of the traditional one-car-at-a-time procedure. Drivers and teams had complained that the new rules didn’t allow them to cool their engines down on pit road, and the cool-down laps caused a dangerous situation with slower cars staying on the track at the same time that other cars were running by them at much higher speeds.
The rule will begin this weekend in Bristol, a track that has a much narrower racing surface than Daytona, Phoenix, and Las Vegas.
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!
Check in with Matt and Jay on their site at CareyandCoffey.com.
Matt McLaughlin · Monday October 1, 2007
The Key Moment – Clint Bowyer was trying to reel in Greg Biffle when Juan Pablo Montoya slapped the wall and blew a tire, forcing the race to end under caution.
In a Nutshell - Grand Theft Auto Race. Biffle was unable to maintain the pace car's speed, but was still awarded the win.
Dramatic Moment - Two field-decimating wrecks badly damaged the title hopes of several championship contenders shortly after the race restarted following the second rain delay.
It's been a few weeks since we've seen three drivers racing hard for the lead, but that happened several times earlier in the race. Hmmmâ€¦.they run the old cars, and fans see some good ol’ racing. There's got to be a correlation there.
What They'll Be Talking About Around the Water Cooler This Week
How on earth could NASCAR say Biffle won that race? Apparently, he was out of gas and unable to maintain the pace car speed. Yet, as recently as the Montreal Busch Series race, NASCAR ruled that Gordon was not the leader despite having been up front when the caution flew because he spun (off the front bumper of Marcos Ambrose) and didn't maintain the minimum required speed. What a farce.
You've got to be kidding me! After fans sat out two lengthy rain delays and monsoon-like conditions, NASCAR decides they won't restart the race after the final caution. They said it was too dark. Well, how much darker was it going to get in the two minutes required to complete two more laps? I'm surprised there wasn't rioting in the grandstands.
I guess it's easy to be a Monday morning armchair quarterback, but the decision to leave Tony Stewart out with a badly damaged left front fender was clearly a poor one in retrospect. My guess is Carl Edwards would agree.
The next high income job in the garage areaâ€¦*team meteorologist.*
OK, this is getting ridiculous. Carl Edwards wins the Cup race at Dover but doesn't pass post-race inspection. Ryan Newman takes the outside pole at Kansas, but his car fails post-qualifying tech. Kyle Busch wins the Busch event at Kansas, but his car is found to have an illegal (or to be politically correct, unapproved) intake manifold in post-race tech. Whatever credibility NASCAR has left is rapidly eroding away, and a series of slaps on the wrist doesn't seem to be doing the job. It's time to start disqualifying drivers and teams whose cars are illegal and sitting them out for a week. In the Busch race Saturday afternoon – with the finish between Busch and Kenseth so close – any performance advantage that manifold gave Busch clearly determined who won, even if it yielded only one or two horsepower. At this rate, something tells me this year's title won't be decided on that final Sunday in Homestead, but rather on the following Tuesday once NASCAR hands down more penalties…
When there's threatening weather in the area, why not move the starting time up? It would make sense to get the race underway before both the NFL games and this weekend's ball games that will determine the National League East began.
Wait a second! NASCAR is allowing Jacques (That's French for Jack) Villenueve to attempt to make his first Cup start at Talladega? Several drivers, notably Jeff Gordon and Kyle Busch, have expressed their dismay at the idea. Frankly, I can’t disagree with them; you don't toss a lad into shark-infested waters to teach him to swim. The problem at Talladega is one rookie driver's mistake caused by inexperience can set off a field-decimating wreck that sweeps up title contenders in its wake. In the past, NASCAR always mandated drivers make their first starts on short tracks, then work their way up through the intermediate speedways before getting approval to run at the plate tracks. But NASCAR says since Villenueve won the F1 title and the Indy 500, he's ready for Talladega. Which, if you think about it, seems to say "If you can make it in those leagues, you'll be just fine here in hick racing." It would seem that NASCAR is so desperate to try to win Canadian fans to bolster sagging TV ratings that they'll nod, wink, and hope for the best in this case.
According to Jeff Gordon, these new Cars of Horror (the ones with the wings) flex enough during the normal running of a race, the sides of the car need to be completely redone after each race so that they fit the templates before competing in the next event. Tell me again how the new car is supposed to save teams money?
A lot of fans like Tony Stewart's fiery personality and his willingness to speak his mind. On the other hand, he is a highly compensated athlete who knows there are standards that have to be met. Look at it this way: a race team spends enormous sums of money to build cars capable of winning a race and a championship. To take a car that is capable of finishing sixth and turning it into a race winning mount, or to give a driver equipment good enough to claim a title, not just make the Chase, costs hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars. Teams hire new engineers, buy those seven-post shakers, and spend countless hours in the wind tunnels improving their cars. But if Stewart had lost 25 points this week because he can't open his mouth without cussing, and he went on to lose the title by less than 25 points, he'd have just blown millions of Joe Gibbs’ and Home Depot’s dollars by his childishness. Maybe it's time Tony takes a hard look in the mirror and ponders how his actions affect others working hard and spending the big bucks on his behalf.
Luckily for Smoke, NASCAR won't fine Stewart 25 points for cursing. They say the curse wasn't clear enough on nationwide TV, yet another decision that goes against precedent. Who is running the sport right now, the Three Stooges?
There are no big changes to next year's Phone Company Cup schedule…other than the fact it will be branded by another phone company. The Chicagoland date will move from Sunday to Saturday night, with new lights installed at the track. Repeat after me: we hold these truths to be self-evident, no stock car race should be held on a day other than Sunday, and the event should go green about noon so as to have it end if at all possible by four o'clock EST, with the fading hours of sunset in the fall that would allow fans to still have enough time to go for a thirty-mile putt on their Harleys after the race and prior to sun glare and white tail deer's suicidal road crossings in the pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness.
Weren't NASCAR officials saying one of the key benefits of the Car of Tomorrow was the fact the boxier cars would eliminate the need for the pileup plates at Talladega and Daytona. Yet, when the CoT debuts at Talladega next week, they'll be running slightly larger plates, not sans plates. Color me surprised. If the Car of Tomorrow has achieved any of its intended design goals, I am not aware of them. It's the least successful new car rollout since Malcolm Bricklin's Yugo.
Three drivers – Jeff Gordon, Matt Kenseth and Kurt Busch – are running three-wide for the lead, and ESPN decides to go to commercial? Something is terribly wrong there.
Within a week of John Force's horrific accident at Texas, the NHRA community was dealt another terrible blow. The founder of the NHRA and the grandfather of organized drag racing Wally Parks died in California this week from complications involving pneumonia. Parks was one of auto racing’s true pioneers and the guy who turned kids drag racing hot rods in the streets into an organized sport. He was also involved in the founding of Hot Rod magazine, a staple of my misspent youth.
The Hindenburg Award For Foul Fortune
It's pretty hard for a lot of us to think Clint Bowyer didn't get robbed tonight.
Had the rains continued, Tony Stewart would have won the event. As things turned out, he got into the back of the No. 1 car during the big wreck and badly damaged the front end of his own No. 20 car. Not surprisingly, a tire blew shortly after racing resumed – Stewart wrecked, and he wound up 39th.
Carl Edwards was caught up in the mess when Kurt Busch was unable to avoid the rapidly slowing car of Stewart.
Martin Truex, Jr. had to claw his way back up through the field after hitting the wall on lap 32 and blowing a tire. He did just that… only to get collected on the first lap of green flag racing after the rain delay.
Kyle Busch got run into from behind on the straightaway and put hard into the wall. I have no idea what Junior was thinking.
Jeff Burton probably didn't realize ESPN had a camera trained on him when he decided to try to adjust his fender under caution; he got caught with his hand in the cookie jar and lying about it afterwards. But it didn't matter much in the grand scheme of things, as Burton later lost a fuel pump drive cable.
The "Seven Come Fore Eleven" Award For Fine Fortune
Jimmie Johnson had to start at the back of the field after wrecking his primary car in Happy Hour. He rocketed to the front of the pack, but was caught a lap down when rain started falling shortly after he pitted. He still finished third, or if you prefer, second among those cars able to maintain minimum speed on the final lap.
Kevin Harvick just missed the big wreck en route to a sixth place finish.
Jeff Gordon would have had a miserable finish if the rain never restarted, but he left Kansas with a fifth place result.
Contrast the No. 20 team's decision-making with that of fellow Chase contenders Kurt Busch and the No. 2 team. Busch bent up the front end of his Dodge (ironically enough, plowing into the back of his old buddy Tony's car) and the team decided to pit for emergency repairs and to replace four tires. Busch left Kansas with an eleventh place finish.
Ray Evernham had a pretty decent day, with all three of his drivers finishing thirteenth or better.
What's the Points?
Jimmie Johnson moves up two spots into the points lead, while former points leader Jeff Gordon is just six points behind Johnson. Clint Bowyer moves up two spots into third and is nine points out of the lead. Tony Stewart's problems dropped him two spots and 117 points out of the lead. Kevin Harvick moves up a whopping four spots to fifth, but is 126 points back.
Elsewhere in the Top 12, Kurt Busch moved up two spots to ninth. Kyle Busch fell two spots to sixth, while Jeff Burton fell two spots to tenth. Carl Edwards, Martin Truex, Jr. and Matt Kenseth all fell a spot; they are now seventh, eighth and eleventh respectively.
Also, all drivers from ninth place Kurt Busch on back now trail Johnson by more than a full race’s worth of points.
Outside the Top 12, Greg Biffle moved up a spot to 14th, while Casey Mears moved up a spot to 15th. Ryan Newman fell two spots to 16th.
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 Colorado Kool-Aid a bit diluted by torrential rain waters. If nothing else, we'll be talking about this one awhile. And I have to admit, as the asphalt ages Kansas is providing a lot better quality of racing. Now, if only the weather didn't suck today!
Next Up - It's off to Talladega for NASCAR's version of high speed roller derby. Sooner or later – it's a stone cold fact – 43 ride out and only 42 ride back.
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What a farce! Who cares anymore? NASCAR is such an incredible joke! Enough said.
It’s ridiculous that any Chase race is ran at a track without lights in the event of bad weather, especially considering there are no open dates in the schedule should there be a multiple day storm front that hangs over the track. Of course, Kansas is an ISC track which will part with a nickel the minute someone offers them a dime for it.
A few thoughts on your Kansas “Race” Recap:
1) The concern over Villeneuve at Talladega: Since the best Bill Davis racing entry is 36th in points, $5 says “Jack” falls victim to the Top 35 rule and fails to make the field.
2) Chicagoland at night, under the lights. An article in the Sun Times said the move was intended to boost sagging ticket sales, since this was the first year since the track opened in 2001 that tickets did not sell out. I share your skeptical nature on the move to Saturday night racing, especially in the summer months. On Saturday nights in the summer most people in the Chicago area are out and about enjoying the nice weather, not sitting inside watching racing on TV. I’d bet it’s the same in other parts of the country as well.
3) The race itself. I only saw a small amount of the race, but from your recap it’s hard to tell what’s the bigger disaster: The Kansas race or the Bears in the fourth quarter of the Bears – Lions game.
With the debris cleanup and the running of a couple more laps, it would have taken more than just a couple of minutes. One thing you need to keep in mind is that not only does the track not have lights (which is a huge mistake in my opinion) but the parking lots dont, either. The way it was, it was already almost completely dark by the time we got to the car and we left before the checkered flag even flew. I can’t imagine what it would have been like in another 10 minutes of darkness. NASCAR did the right thing.
A few thoughts on your thoughts . The Tony Stewart “ bad word “ issue is over , because it was a non-issue to begin with except for the ESPN boys who love to create a story where there isn’t one . No Tony didn’t get fined . Nor did 95 % of the people in the stands, or the viewers at home when they used the same or worse words . Neither did Mike Helton when he used worse words than Tony after Biffle stoped in the grass and nascar had to figure some way to cover up the mess they made . . We really need drivers like Tony .
Overall Kansas was by far frustrating for fans as well as the drivers. Nascar knew they could not finish the full length of the race, yet knowing that it was going to be basically a shoot out set up all the drivers for disaster. Im sure had I been at Kansas after the second rain delay I would have packed my things and headed home. I hope that today Nascar is playing Monday quarterback to themselves and questioning their ability to make sound decisions based on what is good for the sport. I hope they all went home with their tails between their legs. All anyone wants are clear rules with no exceptions. I hope that Nascars pencil broke yesterday.
Typically a farce like the race in Kansas would have gotten some national media attention questioning NASCARs “Rule Interpretation of the Day”. I believe they came up with at least (4) yesterday. Unfortunately they have already made so many inconsistent calls this year that nobody even cares anymore. The sport is a joke. My friends and I used to really enjoy the racing but now it’s nothing more that a conversation about the ridiculous calls and coverage.
We were at the track yesterday. IMO Nascar did the right thing by not calling the race after the 2nd red flag. It was clearly a line of showers that was blowing through at 45 MPH. As a fan, I would have been ticked. At Kansas, you have to buy season tickets even if you only want to go to the Cup race.
The problem here is they should not start the races so late at a track that doesn’t have lights. When the track first opened, the race was started at 12:00 CDT. Had they started this race then, almost the entire race would have been ran before the rain hit the 2nd time.
Nikki…..you are so right about the parking lot. It was so dark by the time we got out.
With all the complaining after NASCAR stopped the first Pocono race I am surprised at all the complaining about NASCAR restarting the Kansas race. You people are tough to make happy.
So, NASCAR determined that Biffle was, in fact, “maintaining a reasonable speed under caution” so he is declared the winner.
If that’s the correct ruling, then Boyer, Johnson, and Mears should expect penalties to be handed down to them on Tuesday, right? The rest of that “reasonable speed” rule states that “THERE WILL BE NO PASSING UNDER CAUTION”, so those three clearly broke the same rule that NASCAR used to justify Biffles win.
They just keep digging themselves deeper and deeper, don’t they?
The more Saturday night racing the better.
Biffle didn’t win that race.
If I was a new driver, I would just get behind Jimmy or Jeff’s car and stay there all race every race. If they’re gonna be the darlings of the empire then just follow them. At least you should get a good finish…especially in rain finishes.
“Caution! Caution! Now! NOW!”
Unlike the movies, you’re not gonna beat the nascar empire.
Next Up â€“ Itâ€™s off to Talladega for NASCARâ€™s version of high speed roller derby. Sooner or later â€“ itâ€™s a stone cold fact â€“ 43 ride out and only 42 ride back.
What you hinting at, Matt?
Jimmy spencer never forgets
I remember back-in-the-day when ESPN did races that if there was a possibility of rain that when the broadcast came on the air (at Noon!) the cars were on the pace laps and at 12:05 the Green flag flew.
Dale Sr. would be appalled at the current state of NASCAR.
That’s kinda what I feared, bro. And I’ve had a really bd feeling about this weekend all week. Haven’t even read any racing news until today.
I hope you’re wrong, buddy. But you aren’t.