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 · Tuesday February 26, 2008
The Key Moment: Carl Edwards took the green flag third on the final restart behind Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson. He made quick work of Gordon, then set sail after Johnson, finally overtaking the No. 48 car with thirteen laps to go. From that point forward, Edwards took off into the sunset on cruise control.
In a Nutshell: Waiting that long for a race that bad isn't going to improve fans’ moods any.
Dramatic Moment: When Johnson leapt out to a big lead on that final restart, there was some question as to whether Edwards had time enough to catch him. He did.
What They'll Be Talking About Around the Water Cooler This Week
Why was the race allowed to start with water still seeping up through the track, dirt all over the place, and oil dry kicking up in thick clouds? (Thanks, Michael Waltrip!) Yes, the network and fans wanted to get the race in — but safety has to be an overriding priority. Brian France said prior to this season that the post-race discussion would be about the racing, not the off-track issues. Yeah, good luck getting around that this week. Despite NASCAR's assurances (parroted by FOX) that the drivers all said the track was ready to go prior to the abortive first attempt at racing, Kevin Harvick and several others broke the party line and said they protested the track was still wet before the green flag dropped.
Honestly, I don't know who made the call to try to restart the race at 2 AM ET. But whoever it was, nobody has stubbornly ignored more disaster since Pharaoh refused to let Moses and his people go despite a plethora of plagues.
For the record, the weather in Rockingham, NC Sunday (where the second race of the season used to be held) was partly cloudy, topping out at a high of 51 degrees with no precipitation. However, it's doubtful that Tom Cruise would have showed up in the Carolinas to try to convert Gordon and Johnson to Scientology.
FOX couldn't wait to announce that ratings for all the Speedweeks events at Daytona were up slightly. Well, I can't wait to see this week's ratings. My guess is half the TV sets on the East Coast that tuned in when racing resumed were triggered by restive housecats accidentally treading on the remote.
I'm not sure where all that side-by-side racing was that the FOX team claimed was taking place this weekend — unless it was the drivers in their golf carts trying to get back to the motor coach lot around 11:00 PM PST last night. To me, the racing looked fairly similar as with the “old model.” Jeff Gordon's Chevy was dominant when he led the race; but once that car got behind, the No. 24 couldn't pass hardly at all when mired in traffic. That sounds remarkably like the same old story to me; the car up front always seemed to have the advantage, while the ones behind the leader struggled with grip on the front end. The only exception would come with a dominant car like Edwards, who could drop by a ways and make a hasty pass at a track as wide as California with clean air on the nose.
Bottom line, passing was at a premium once again at this two-mile facility. When the cars were on fresh tires, there was the usual wild scrambling just after the restarts — but then the field got strung out. If this is the sort of racing we're going to see in 2008, it's going to be a long season.
Does it seem that Tony Stewart is going out of his way not to mention his car is a “Toyota” the first few weeks of this season? It's the “Home Depot Car” or “my car;” but if he's used the word Toyota yet during a TV interview after or during a race… I've missed it.
The whole Robby Gordon penalty issued after the Daytona 500 has me scratching my head. On one level, it does seem like an honest mistake. Gordon switched from Ford to Dodge at the last moment prior to the season, so perhaps some bumbling warehouse worker with a rush order did indeed send the team the wrong nose. Either way, since the error was caught prior to any competitive racing, I can't see any advantage gained, so perhaps a 100-point, 100,000 buck penalty is a little over the top. (In comparison, that's the same penalty the No. 55 team got last year for doctoring their fuel, which was clearly an attempt to gain a competitive advantage post-inspection). I never thought I'd be in the position of defending Robby Gordon; but hey, this time send me the petition and I'll sign it.
But here's what's really got me confused. With the new "Car of Tomorrow" bodywork, aren't all the noses on all four makes supposed to be the exact same? If that’s the case, why then would Dodge be developing a new nose for 2008 — a nose said to be submitted to NASCAR for approval? What was the issue, an unapproved set of headlight decals? I don't get it. And Robby might be playing the violin a little too loud saying that the penalty endangers the future of his team. Here’s an easy fix, Rob; go to that Gillett dude and tell him you need another few zillion bucks. In the end, he may need to, for my guess is that the appeals board will rule against Gordon; and when it does, they might recall his bizarre and violent behavior after taking out Marcos Ambrose in the Montreal Busch Series race last August.
Rain at a race track is never pleasant; but as long as races are held out of doors, there's no preventing the occasional bout of lousy weather. Over the years, NASCAR has spent a lot of time and talent trying to perfect ways to dry race tracks, if even a small window of opportunity presents itself. Unfortunately, at the race track formerly known as the California Speedway a real challenge did present itself. While track drying efforts were monumental on Friday, the track officials’ best efforts were hampered by what's known as “weepers,” cracks in the track that allow water to rise up from the ground below onto the racing surface. NASCAR could park a jet dryer aimed right at one of those weepers; but given water’s inherent ability to find the path of least resistance, their drying was all in vain. The last race track to feature such weepers was Texas way back in 1998; and after that problem became clear, an incensed Bill France told track owner Bruton Smith to fix the track or risk losing his race date. Well, considering that precedent it ought to be interesting to see what NASCAR tells the ISC to do with their own track — an order which amounts to the France family talking to themselves.
The "Car of Tomorrow" is admittedly a work in progress, but some new issues seem to arrive each time those ugly mutts of race cars are trotted out. It seems that each car must be rebodied or at least heavily tweaked after each event, because the normal flexing of the chassis during a race distorts the cars' bodies to the point they will no longer meet the stringent templates applied to them before each race. And while the less aerodynamic bodies were supposed to slow the cars down, testing at Fontana and Vegas saw several drivers able to flatfoot it around the track. That resulted in speeds peaking at or over 210 MPH Monday down the front straightaway; that’s ten miles per hour higher than the figure NASCAR has told us they’ll allow a car to go airborne in a wreck. Whoops; now, I'm having nightmares of restrictor plates being required at any track longer than a half mile in length by season's end.
You have to wonder if right about now the folks at Nationwide — the new title sponsor of NASCAR's AAA level product formerly known as the Busch Series — are wondering what they bought into. The track set to host the second race of the Nationwide Series announced this week they've sold naming rights to the joint, creating the Auto Club of Southern California Speedway. Now, those dear friends at the Auto Club would like to sell race fans onâ€¦ well, um, car insurance. And for the record Allstate, another provider of auto insurance, is the "Official Insurance Company of NASCAR.” That’s not including Geico, either, who is one of the leading advertisers during FOX race broadcasts. But then again, that's the NASCAR way; take money from ‘em all, and let them sort it out later amongst themselves.
If they call Las Vegas “Glitter Gulch,” maybe they ought to call Fontana “Litter Gulch.”
Is there something peculiar to the Toyotas that makes them more susceptible to overheating than the other makes when the grilles get blocked?
You just know when it rains in California, a lot of folks are suddenly going to remember the "groovy" AM radio hit "It Never Rains in Southern California." But a bar full of my fellow imbibers was unable to recall the artist who sang that lame little ditty so I looked it upâ€¦ it’s Albert Hammond. He’s got no known relationship to Jeff Hammond, in case you’re wondering — but both are equally annoying nonetheless.
Honest to God, one more word about that stupid gopher cam in the pre-race show and I was would have launched a size nine-and-a-half workboot through the TV screen!
This week's warning from Darrell Waltrip's sponsor Just For Men hair coloring: Warning: Continued use may make your head look like a Chia Pet.
The Hindenburg Award For Foul Fortune
Dale Earnhardt, Jr. was simply along for the ride when his teammate Casey Mears hit a slick spot, caromed off the wall and slammed into the side of the No. 88. Earnhardt had some rather pointed words for NASCAR after that wreck; for a moment there, he almost sounded like his old man.
Before the Junior/Mears incident, Denny Hamlin was the first driver to provide graphic documentation that cars with slick tires shouldn't race on wet race tracks.
Daytona 500 winner Ryan Newman led this race briefly and was still running second when his car lost control enough to slap the outside wall.
Michael Waltrip had an engine oil line come loose prior to the green flag on Sunday night, then backed his car into the wall on Monday as he matched the ineptitude of his “Not Ready For Prime Time Players” squad during their second season of competition.
DJ's retirement tour is going about as well as DW's.
The "Seven Come Fore Eleven" Award For Fine Fortune
Jeff Gordon had the engine in his Chevy expire just as the yellow flag flew on the final lap of the race; still able to coast it home, he finished third.
Matt Kenseth was forced to the pits early in the race with a car that was overheating due to trash on the grille. He lost a lap in the process, and with the amount of water the car spit out, it seemed unlikely the engine would survive 500 miles. But the parts and pieces endured, and Kenseth staged a furious comeback to finish fifth in the race.
After an agonizing Daytona 500, it had to feel good for Ford and Jack Roush to score a dominant win at Fontana. Roush watched all four of his five cars finish inside the Top 15.
After a frustrating 2007 season, an eleventh place finish was a second straight solid run to start 2008 for Brian Vickers and Team Red Bull.
Nobody wants to end up wrecked forty miles into a 500-mile race, but both Casey Mears and Sam Hornish, Jr. were lucky to walk away from the tail end of Mears’ violent wreck. Hornish slammed the outside wall, was unable to stop, and pushed hard into the still spinning car of Mears, causing the No. 5 car to overturn while Hornish’s engine caught fire.
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 cup of watery Amstel Light — which is pretty much water to begin with.
Next Up: It's off to Lost Wages, a town whose nickname seems to be a pretty good summary of what's going on with both the team owners and the New Cars these days.
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WOW! Casey Mears just has a way of screwing up Jr’s flow, huh? Last week his ill handled lane change in front of Smoke resulted in his wrecking and totally disrupting the full head of steam Jr and Smoke had on the outside once they finally hooked up. This week his car seemed to have a magnet in the nose attracted to the #88. This is worth nothing…just a JR fan with nothing better to talk about after another Car of Yesterday type race. ALSO…what is this stupid song by this horrible chick singer we are subjected to each commercial break? Is this supposed to be one of those “throwback” things getting us in touch with our roots? The only good thing was that they seem to cut it off just before she quotes DW’s “Let’s go racing, boys.” Next year on the second race weekend I am going to Rockingham and just sit in the parking lot and drink for 4 hrs. Anyone with me?
Looks like I didn’t miss much. I’ll watch Bristol…maybe.
FAVORITE DW QUOTE FROM CALIFORNIA: “I’ll tell you one thing about this rain…it’s wet.” I’ll try to include one every week. Although, sometimes the frequency of his voice is received by my ears as nothing more than audible mud so I can’t make any promises.
Fox should be ashamed of themselves with the gopher cam questions to the drivers. Was it me, or did the drivers seem very annoyed by the questions. Please, oh please fire all of these imbeciles.
Everybody complains about the TV broadcast with good reason – it’s downright insulting! Again, turn the volume down and tune into MRN. If that doesn’e work, turn the TV off and let the radio take you back to the day when races were not on TV. Of course, imagination is required – and rewarding!
Since the race was rain delayed on Sunday, I spent the afternoon doing my taxes instead. I had to work Monday and missed the rest of the race as well.
Never have I enjoyed working and paying taxes as much as the last two days.
Quote:“Is there something peculiar to the Toyotas that makes them more susceptible to overheating than the other makes when the grilles get blocked?”
I don’t know ask Dodge and Chevy. It’s their engine design
Friggin Gopher. You know once FOX has to have a name for the damn thing we’re stuck with it. Evidence: The Hollywood Hotel. Why can’t they learn that we tune in (when we bother) for the racing, and not their hokey, corn-pone hosts and skits and Q&A routines. Myers, Hammond and Waltrip need to go. Put ‘em in weeknight prime-time on some goofy reality show like all the rest I don’t watch.
Could the FOX NASCAR production folks PLEASE walk across the office hall to the FOX NFL production room? They cover that sport in a first rate manner with first rate articulate announcers & color guys, & they continually introduce new innovative technology without goofy fanfare or stupid names. Also, at least DJ’s farewell tour is going better than the yet-to-be-announced-but-long-overdue-retirement of one of my faves, Kyle Petty.
I loved Mark Martin’s response to the ridiculous gopher question. With a solidly annoyed look on his face, he came back “If I run over the thing, it’ll be the STUPID cam.”
Can anyone say something good about California for once? If NASCAR hadnt tried to start the race, you would have complained that they didnt do enough.
One good thing about California and NASCAR. They started Monday’s follow-up racing at 10:00 AM local time, 1:00 PM eastern. NASCAR should start all day races at 1:00 PM, no matter the location.
Should have known that Kevin was going to chime in with a complaint about us not saying anything good about California. Are you sure that you don’t work for either NASCAR or California (Auto Club) Speedway, Kevin?
Fox won’t do it , so to save our sanity all of the fans need to chip in and buy out the contracts of Joy , Hammond , Waltrip , McReynolds , and Meyers . That seems to be the only way we’re going to get rid of them . What is Fox thinking by ignoring the tens of thousands of angry fans every single week who can’t stand any of the so-called talent in the booth , yet they keep them , and even encourage them to say ever more idiotic things .
Matt, if your serious about signing the petition for Robby, you can do so on-line at JimBeam.com.
I’m quite surprised there was no mention of the absolutely laughable attendance yesterday for the rest of the “race”. They said that Rockingham lost its races due to poor attendance? The crowd yesterday was far worse than what Busch/Nationwide races at Rockingham had!
I am sure if Bruton Smith owned the track, Fontana would either have to be fixed or would lose its dates. He fixed Las Vegas even though it sells out twice as many seats routinely.
You’re going to complain about attendance on a MONDAY after a rainout? Good god man, you guys WILL complain about anything against California. How many people were at Dover in June or Michigan in August after their rainouts? About as many, I would say. Most people have to work on Monday and just cant take the day off because of a race.
Kevin, Kevin, Kevin, take a look at how many races are actually run in the Southeast and get back to us. There are too many 1.5 to 2 mile tracks with 2 dates that are total snoozers. I say keep your race, cut it to 400 miles, start it at 10am your time and I know I’d be happier with it. The idea of high banks and restrictor plates is awesome too.
What was wrong with the nose of Robby’s car verses the approved nose you ask? Simply put, the new nose has a stencil, (not sure of its “Dodge” or what it is..), the approved nose does not have the stencil. While the logic could be that it was indeed an unapproved part, which I can see that side of it, at the end of the day we are talking about a nose that is the same in every sense of the word as the approved one except it has a new stencil on it which causes it to have a new stock number. Its not as if, as said we found tainted fuel in the tank, or, as far-fetched as it sounds a rear window that was altered so that it could be jacked during the race to allow for cutting through the air better. NASCAR, for their part did say when this new COT came around that they were taking a hardline stance on infractions as they did not want anyone messing with the COT and give them their credit, they are doing exactly what they said they would..pretty much a zero-tolerance policy on it. The nose that was sent to Robby is supposedly in the stages of being approved by NASCAR. As one poster pointed out, which also confuses me is why, if these are basically spec cars Dodge would be making a nose instead of say “Bob’s House of Noses”. My guess would be maybe that its due to the only thing Dodge can do is..well, stencil their name on it which I’m not sure gains you any horsepower on the track. I’ll be curious as to how his plays out but I really don’t see NASCAR backing down from this one…they rarely do and as its Robby to boot that just is one more reason that they may not back down.
I seem to recall last season that Atlanta and Talladega both had rain outs and the Monday races had somewhat decent attendance considering. Atlanta definitely had more fans in attendance than the Otto Klubb Speedway did on Monday.
A little more info on the nose problem is that the parts number on the Charger nose that Robbie got was the same parts number as was on the Avenger used on the whatever you want to call that wheeled thing they raced last season. Chrysler stepped up and admitted to their mistake. But even with that, Robbie will lose in the Kangaroo Court of NASCAR.
I think they should name the Gophercam “Shove It” because that’s how a lot of fans feel about the stupidity of Fox and they’re questioning of the drivers for a name for that infernal thing.
If this is great coverage as compared to ESPN, we’re in for a long race season folks.
The problems with the trash getting sucked up by the cars was blamed on the track design, not the design of the box on wheels by DW despite him saying last year that it was a problem.
Mike, thanks for clearing up the Robby issue..
I just ran across Matt’s articles after reading several years back on speedfx.com. One of the best. I agree, about Fox. What a joke. Not so sure they do totally wonderful job with NFL though, Terry B is a little like this group. Opening camera at Hollywood Hotel Sunday had DW and pal laughing and joking from first shot, with Chris on intro, I knew we were in trouble. DW’s constant “one time I had such and such happen to me”, honestly I don’t care DW. Get a clue FOX!!
Bring back the Rock!!!!
Wow, Champ Car and the IRL merge and Matt defends Robby Gordon!
What times we live in! :^)
Devo, I finally looked it up. There are four racetracks in the West. There are nine in the Southeast, not including the ones that are Nationwide/Truck only, which would add to that total. So you guys have a lot more tracks to visit than I do.