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.
The Key Moment: Kurt Busch stuck to Ryan Newman's rear bumper on the final lap as the Dodge boys repelled the Toyota invasion.
In a Nutshell: Tony Stewart might have landed a cheap shot on Kurt Busch in the trailer, but Busch got the last laugh, pushing Newman to a win over the clearly faster car of Stewart.
Dramatic Moment: You sort of knew those last ten laps were going to get ugly… and they were all of that.
What They'll Be Talking About Around the Water Cooler This Week
All week, it seemed that the battle was between the Joe Gibbs Toyotas and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. in his new ride at Hendrick Motorsports. Earnhardt took the Shootout and his 150, while the Gibbs drivers took the other 150 and the Busch â€¦ er, Nationwide race. The media, myself included, thought one team or the other was sure to take the big prize. Well, I guess that's why they run races on the track — and not in the newspapers or on the Internet. Congrats to Newman, Busch, and the whole Penske organization on the “surprise” win.
For anyone who might have forgotten, tomorrow is the seventh anniversary of the death of Dale Earnhardt on the last lap of the 2001 Daytona 500. And in case you've forgotten, it wasn't Bill Simpson or Sterling Marlin that killed him. These SAFER barriers and HANS devices have worked out pretty well, despite NASCAR's original contention they were unworkable and the cure was worse than the disease. I'm glad they were adopted — even if it was a decade too late to spare many innocent lives.
Based on the last two years here, maybe this race should be shortened to the Daytona 25… since it seems few drivers actually start racing for the win until the final ten laps, anyway.
So, why wasn't the field decimating "Big One" a part of this year's Daytona 500? To give credit where credit is due, when these new cars with the big wings on the back get out of shape — ugly as they are — they are a lot easier to gather back up than the old cars.
What in blazes happened to the left rear quarter panel of Denny Hamlin's car? You'd think with seventy cameras, FOX might have had some video evidence to show the incident.
Editor’s Note : After the race, Hamlin admitted he got the damage through pit road contact with the No. 43 car of Bobby Labonte.
The “gopher camera,” huh? If I recall, the last time such a device was used, it wound up through the radiator of a Craftsman Truck competitor named Kevin Harvick, who'd been leading the race that night.
I mean, damn, Tony Stewart can be one sarcastic SOB in his post-race interviews when things don't go his way. FOX and Krista Voda made sure his comments were brief, and didn't include any sponsor plugs.
Has NASCAR given Toyota the keys to the candy store in order to avenge their humiliation last year? Dyno tests after the 150s indicate the Joe Gibbs Toyotas had fifteen more horsepower than Hendrick Chevrolet engines, the previous horsepower benchmark.
With the open wheel wars apparently over — and the IRL the winner — can Tony George and Company make open wheel racing a legitimate contender to the NASCAR juggernaut once again? My guess is no. Too much damage has been done during the insane feud between the two open wheel organizations, and too many bankable stars have already left the open wheel ranks to run stock cars.
As Chris Myers noted, "There's plenty of good seats left" for next week's California race. Gee, I wonder why?
Isn't an hour and forty minutes a little excessive for a pre-race show? No. It's very excessive. Say the prayer, sing the Anthem, fire ‘em up, and drop the green.
NASCAR proved they weren't afraid to throw a caution for debris nobody else could see when the field got too strung out.
A record number of lead changes, huh? Has anyone else noted during races with long green flag periods where teams have to pit under green, there might be six or seven lead changes as the pit sequence cycles through — but it's not like there's any actual passing for the lead. Don't drink the Kool-Aid.
The Hindenburg Award For Foul Fortune
Wow, Jacques Villeneuve didn't get much of a chance to establish himself as a Cup driver, did he? Shortly after he crashed out of the second qualifying race and missed the Daytona 500, owner Bill Davis announced Mike Skinner will replace Villeneuve starting at Fontana next week. Jolly Jacques only chance of getting the seat back now is if he can bring a sponsor to the team.
Dale Earnhardt, Jr. was a prohibitive prerace favorite after his wins in the Shootout and his 150. But questionable pit strategy (haven't I heard this tune before?) and the loss of his key wingmen, Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson (who got turned), cost him a shot at a victory.
Jeff Gordon seemed to have the strongest Chevy, but he bent a control arm late in the race and was forced to the garage. Who knew that driving a race car with the front end coil-bound over a bumpy track at high speed for 500 miles might damage suspension components?
Matt Kenseth usually lays back and waits for the end of the race to make his run towards the front; he was doing so again when the out of control car of his teammate David Ragan put him hard into the wall. Judging by the post-wreck radio transmissions, Kenseth wasn't too pleased with the incident.
The "Seven Come Fore Eleven" Award For Fine Fortune
Kurt Busch had an eventful Speedweeks and an eventful Sunday. He started shotgun on the field, got run into the grass, penalized for speeding exiting the pits, and missed his pit box. He had to charge through the field several times; but in the end, he managed an unselfish second.
Kyle Busch wasn't happy after the 500, but he had a great Speedweeks, finishing second in the Truck Series and the Nationwide race and fourth in the Daytona 500 after leading the most laps on Sunday.
Elliott Sadler had a tough Speedweeks with several trips into the wall, and he slapped the SAFER barrier again during the race — but he came away with a sixth place finish when all was said and done.
With all the talk about the history of the Daytona 500 this week, it sure was nice to see Bobby Labonte in the King's number 43 car finish eleventh.
With all the preseason hype directed towards his foreign-born, former open wheel star teammates, it was Reed Sorenson who had the best finish of any of the Ganassi Dodges by a wide margin, finishing 5th.
P.J. Jones was fortunate to walk away unscathed from a fiery wreck in Friday Night's Truck Series race. That was just plain frightening to watch… and I’m guessing the view from inside the truck was even more intense.
What's the Points?
Oddly enough, the points pretty closely resemble the finishing order of the race.
There is one slight difference; because he led some laps, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. is listed in eighth in the standings, one position ahead of Robby Gordon — even though their finishes were the direct opposite of that on Sunday.
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 four cars of Miller Lite. There was a last lap pass for the lead, a Toyota didn't win, and nobody got hurt. That counts for a lot.
Next Up: It's off to the left coast to see if any fans show up for next week's “race” at Fontana.
©2000 - 2008 Matt McLaughlin and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
New owner, same blunders. Tony Eury, Jr will most likely have a sit down with Rick this week. Jr has to be frustrated. All those great minds on the pit box and the result is staying out? Unbelievable. Toyota’s 15 more hp? WTF?
Now, as a casual fan, I casually changed channels at 3 pm eastern, to see how the race was going. It hadn’t started yet? At 3:30 p.m., I casually checked again. It still hadn’t started? I didn’t bother to check again. Phil Mickelson was on his way to a win in California, and I didn’t have to listen to that rag tag bunch of announcers on FOX.
Pretty decent finish to a relatively ho-hum race. Can’t say much for the race coverage, though; it was downright terrible. At least twice, when some dicey side-by-side racing was going on, FOX went to the bumper cam to show us… a bumper. We were never told the reason for the first caution. The only two good things I can say for the coverage is that 1) the sound kept cutting out, sparing us a few Jaws-isms, and 2) the commercials put me on the fast track to buying a DVR or a Tivo. Nice to see Buck, Cale, and the Allison brothers get some pre-race airtime, too.
I meant Buddy, not Buck. And I even previewed… Geez.
Must have been a very uncomfortable final four laps for the Sprint brass up in the corporate skybox coming out of that last caution —-the #31 AT&T car leading the race and the #12 Alltel car ending up in Victory Circle. Time to send in the lawyers once again? Can you hear me NOW???
15 horsepower….Chevy used to be the golden child with crapcar and now they will get to feel like Ford and Dodge did . crapcar has a NEW golden kidnamed toyota. look at Fri. night’s truck race….1-4 toyota.Yep, no debris caution flags, sold out to toyota…oh yea crapcar has REALLY changed!!
I still blame Sterling Marlin. I’ll be overjoyed when he finally realizes he’s lost it and retires.
May I echo everyone’s sentiments, especially how bad the FOX broadcast team is. One time yesterday, I actually heard them say, “Kyle Bush is the only driver out there who can go three wide by himself.” I guess it must be either cloning or some sort of multiple personality thing.
I did not know that “Daytona is a 2.5 mile race” until one of the announcers said such. Sure took them a long time to run 2.5 miles.
The race coverage was pathetic at best. I was saying the same thing about the debris caution when it came out. The car definitely seems to help the drivers keep from losing it. McReynolds needs to go back to grammar school. I can’t believe that they allow someone with such poor speaking skills to do television.
“…a Toyota didnâ€™t win…”
“Questionalbe pit strategy?” Yes, we have heard that one before.
New week, it will be “we had a bad car”, after that, “I got no help from my teammates.”
The Jr. nation has said for years “A trained monkey can win races in an HMS car.”
Wonder how long it will take Jr. to become a trained Monkey?
NASCAR… Not Another Stupid Commercial All Ready!!!
Could someone tell Jaws to put down the COT Pom Poms? How many times did he state that the cars would not spin out because of the wings, and how many times do we have to hear just how great the CON (Car of Now) is? Why can’t they just call the race and let us see for ourselves. I was getting so irritated by the announcing that I was changing the channel to see what else was going on. I saw real racing in the background behind the chosen few shown on the screen, and instead of calling the action we are treated to diatribes about how great the COT is and inane blathering from the Booth Bafoons that does not pertain to the actual action on the track.
Also gotta love the new marketing approach by Fox to seperate the dollars from the sponsors with the “In Car by -Insert Sponsor Here” graphics to go along with the in car shots. No longer are the in cars dictated by action on the track, but by how many times they can get the sponsor graphics on the screen. It reminds me of the movie “The Getaway” where they had the worst product placement ever in a film when the Cop put his Tab can on the dash of the car while the shot was from the front of the car. The can looked about 3 feet tall on the screen and stayed there for what seemed like 5 minutes.
Maybe it’s just me, but I can’t wait for the day when HIGH DEFINITION (‘scuse me while I bow to the Holy Grail) is just the standard broadcast format. How many more cool, and let’s not forget awesome, angles do I have to endure before I can just watch racing in HI-DEF? Is there some Oscar for the most ludicrous way to use a camera for the “COOLEST HI-DEF SHOT OF THE YEAR”? Gopher CAM? Give me a break! At least you can’t see sponsor logos in the shots. Maybe that will help it go away. Lord knows it won’t be because it ruins a competitor’s race.
The front page today should have read Ryan “no-neck” Newman finishes head and shoulders above the competition.Just kidding , Way to go Dodge CITY!
Marshall, “Kyle Busch going three wide by himself” is a phrase called exaggeration. It means the man can drive a car and block so well it looks like he’s taking up all three lanes at once.
Sooooo sick of Waldrip and now am soooo sick of Gopher Cam. What a freakin stoopid shot! UGH! The season is gonna be a long one.
Sorry to say , Waltrip will be in the booth as long as he wants , Fox thinks he does a great job . And compared with some of the idiots they have working with him , Fox is correct .
Sick & tired of DW & company? Turn down the TV volume and tune into MRN. If that doesn’t work turn the TV off and use your imagination with the radio. Spare yourself the aqony while the season is young.
If the 88 crew had not been jawing on the radio so much, Jr. could have come in for tires on the last stop. it was clear that old tires left him in 9th and fading instead of with the win. I was listening to Jr’s radio. lets keep the chatter down, boys!
Yeah, Scott you’re right. I was listening, too. But remember, that was the second chance for Eury to bring him in. If you remember, after Eury pointed out to Jr that he would have brought him in if they hadn’t been chattering Jr fired back with “That’s what you get for waiting so late.” This was a direct reference to Eury not bringing him in the caution before. This is certainly an issue. I was worried from day 1 when it was decided Eury would come over. I truly think that Eury is the only thing that could potentially, and I repeat potentially, hinder Jr from having the Gordon and Johnson levels of success at Hendrick.
I gotta figure out how these bump stops are used with the coil bind?!?!
Apparently, the 6 had the same problem as the 24 when he took a hard right into my boy. I’m not convinced it wasn’t for lack of skill.
(Pssst…it’s a left turn, idiot.)
In regards to the coverage I was just beyond jerked…with all the dopey graphics, useless banter in the booth exactly how many laps need to be run_before they actually start to show the running order. Basic concept here..show the race, let the viewers know where the cars actually are running. Instead I watched lap after lap, a bunch of commercials, back to lap after lap of watching the front few guys (because as we all know there are indeed only 5 cars in the race, the other 38 apprently leave the track after the first lap..sigh). It should be a requirement that any network that is going to broadcast a race should look at a race from say 10 years ago and take a few notes. Instead we get too much fluff and the basic coverage is tossed out the window. Oh, also, can “Boogiety,Boogiety, Boggiety” be stricken from the english langauge..actually just send most of the booth guys home..get the guys from MRN that actually have to cover the race and create a visual for the listener to show up. At least they realize that there are 43 cars out there and that they need to explain why a car left the track, pit stops, and cautions. Best part..they don’t keep explaining “loose” and “tight” to you..
My God! You all had to listen to that drivel coming from Ken Squire’s pie hole last week and you still say that DW and the rest of the crew sucks? I mean, do we have to trot Eli Gold out so that you realize that the team we have now isn’t near as bad as some of the crap we had to listen to courtesy of ESPN. CBS and TNN back in the 90’s?
I’ll take any of the commentators today over Gold and Squire. And that unprofessional Ned Jarrett with his “It’s the Dale and Dale show” rooting for his kid to win.
You all don’t know when you have it good!
And by the way, they’ve been explaining loose and tight since they started telecasting races so get used to it. Better yet, go watch drag racing. I guarantee you’ll get to see all the cars run, the fastest cars will qualify and you won’t have to hear about loose and tight ever again.
You tell em Chandra!!
I can say, having tapes of some of those broadcasts that they were better than what we are seeing now. Of course that is my opinion, others may vary. Now that you mention it it would be nice if NASCAR learned a thing or two from drag racing like that only the fastest qualifiers run and that you recognize that the fans actually know and understand the sport so the incessant explanations of racing terms is not necessary. I would think also that while the terms “loose” and “tight” have been mentioned by broadcasters for years I’m sure if research was done it would be shown a dramatic increase of broadcasters explaining those terms in the last 6-7 years.