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 · Monday March 3, 2008
The Key Moment: On lap 237, Carl Edwards powered around Matt Kenseth to take the lead for the final time, eventually scoring his second consecutive win.
In a Nutshell: Oh well, at least it didn't rain.
Dramatic Moment: When Jeff Gordon got into the rear quarter panel of Matt Kenseth's car at the front of the pack with four to go, a field-decimating wreck was narrowly averted.
What They'll Be Talking About Around the Water Cooler This Week
Carl Edwards wins two in a row three races into the season? If nothing else, it proves the futility of pundits making preseason predictions.
During pre-race inspection, the cars of Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Jimmie Johnson and Matt Kenseth were found to have issues that the NASCAR inspectors didn't like. The teams were told to fix the problem areas, and get back into the inspection line. Yeah, there's that option; or they could have fined them a hundred grand, deducted 100 points, and suspended their crew chiefs for six weeks. Somehow, the officiating doesn't seem very even-handed these days.
How long do we have to wait before every track has SAFER barriers around the entire track inside and out? Jeff Gordon described his hit Sunday as the hardest of his career.
How weird did it have to feel for Dale Earnhardt, Jr. to be congratulating Mark Martin on Saturday in Victory Lane? Martin took the wheel of Junior's old No. 8 car at DEI after Junior moved on. He drove Junior's car to victory; but in doing so, wrecked out the JR Motorsports car of Brad Keselowski.
When did Jeff Gordon develop this speech impediment where he interjects "you know" two and three times a sentence?
Why is it only 300 miles separate Fontana and Las Vegas, yet Bruton Smith can sell more tickets for Saturday's Busch race than the ISC can peddle for the Sunday Cup race? It's called "promotion." Please don't blame the weather last week in L.A.; most race tickets are sold well in advance of the event.
Bruton Smith said this week a deal is in the works for Fontana and his Atlanta venue to swap race dates next year, with Atlanta receiving the Labor Day Weekend slot and Fontana receiving Atlanta's traditional Fall date. Like we used to say in that kid's game, "You're getting warmer." The Labor Day date would only be one state away from where it belongs in Darlington, South Carolina. If the ISC would sell Bruton the Darlington track, maybe we could get the September holiday race back where it belongs.
In another hint of next year's schedule, Smith also said he is reluctant to take a race date from the New Hampshire track he bought last year. He says he has big plans to reconfigure the track into an oversized Bristol and notes both race dates at NHIS are almost sold out. (As was Las Vegas this weekend.) Thus, he puts the onus on NASCAR to find a way to give Las Vegas a second date without penalizing fans in New England, while promising to dramatically improve racing at the currently sedate track in New Hampshire through massive investment of funds. The ball is now in NASCAR's court, but the solution seems obvious; give one of Fontana's dates to Vegas.
Talk about getting cut off at the knees by your bosses! After last week's debacle at Fontana, track president Gillian Zucker went on record saying that the ISC would spend whatever money necessary to fix the weeping track problem. Since the track was going to have to be dug up, anyway, she even threw her support behind Michael Waltrip's insane notion to increase the banking to 32 degrees and make Fontana a plate race. If necessary, she said, the track might even postpone or cancel events to allow for the massive reconstruction. The words were barely out of her mouth when her bosses denied that any such major makeover was in the cards. Their solution is apparently simpler; just hope it doesn't rain again in September. That's the cheapest option. Ms. Zucker might want to contact Bruton Smith to see if that job offer is still open.
Eddie Gossage, head honcho at Texas, said this week he will pay $15,000 dollars to any driver who throws his helmet at a fellow racer in anger prior to the Texas spring race. The offer comes with one caveat; the tossed helmet will be added to Gossage's collection. It'll be interesting to see if anyone takes Gossage up on his offer and if the fine for tossing the helmet exceeds the payoff, what with NASCAR's new "Show a Little Emotion" campaign. If Eddie gets his helmet, would somebody please throw a six pack of brew and ice inside it to remind him of his one major misstep since taking the reins at Texas — a campaign to get the politicians to allow beer sales at the track that would have cost the fans their rights to bring coolers to the facility.
Robby Gordon said this week that if he loses his appeal and isn't in contention for the Chase come May, he plans to run the double, participating in both the World 600 and the Indy 500 on the same day. With the later starting time for Indy, that's going to be a logistical nightmare worthy of running the Dakar Rally. Note to Robby Gordon fans: Start booking those hotel reservations in Indy now.
Note to Self: Action item No. 1. Cancel Allstate insurance on cars in hopes loss of income will keep the company from making any more "Kasey and the Kreepy Chicks" ads. I don't want to see where the next one is going.
Sprint/Nextel stock prices have declined precipitously lately, leading to rumors on Wall Street that the company is ripe for a hostile takeover. Among the companies said to be interested in acquiring the floundering cell phone provider is AT&T. You know somewhere, Jeff Burton is laughing.
The Hindenburg Award For Foul Fortune
Tony Stewart's dream season hit a major road bump at Vegas this weekend. He crashed hard out of both the Saturday and Sunday events, and the lick he took on Sunday in the Cup event clearly left Stewart aching. Teammate Kyle Busch also suffered through an off song weekend, wrecking hard in Saturday's race and finishing outside the Top 10 on Sunday — causing him to relinquish the points lead.
Jeff Gordon took a wicked hit late in the race after tangling with the No. 17 car while battling for second. It was Gordon's second DNF in this season's three points races.
Jimmie Johnson arrived at Las Vegas a prohibitive favorite, having won the last three Cup races at the track. The car was clearly out to lunch from the moment it was unloaded Friday, and no changes the team threw at it seemed to make it any better.
Scott Riggs ran inside the Top 10 most of the day before wrecking to bring out the sixth caution.
Brad Keselowski seemed to have a legitimate shot at winning Saturday's race until Mark Martin got into the back of Carl Edwards, eliminating both Edwards and Keselowski in the process.
The "Seven Come Fore Eleven" Award For Fine Fortune
Carl Edwards lost a lap after being penalized for a tire getting away from his crew on pit road. He fought his way back onto the lead lap, only to have another tire get away from his team. Fortunately for Edwards' sake, NASCAR judged a photographer not connected to the team had interfered with the crewman trying to retrieve that tire, and Edwards was not penalized. After restarting the race third, he made quick work of all potential challengers.
Kasey Kahne had an eventful weekend, having to start the race in his backup car, battling the flu, and going a lap down early. Still, he managed to rally back to a seventh place finish.
Greg Biffle had to overcome an early pit road speeding penalty to put himself back in contention for a win. He just barely avoided Jeff Gordon's spinning car to finish third.
Denny Hamlin rallied from a lap down by tenaciously racing the leaders to stay on the tail end of the lead lap. A well timed caution got him back the lap he needed, and Hamlin drove to a ninth place finish.
If an eighth place finish on a day when many of the big dogs faltered doesn't help the 28 Yates team land a sponsor — nothing will.
What's the Points?
It's still too early in the season, and points standings are so volatile that there's no sense in any driver celebrating or panicking yet.
Carl Edwards assumed the points lead, and is the third different driver to lead the points this season.
Dale Earnhardt, Jr. moved up eleven spots to tenth in the standings. David Ragan and Denny Hamlin each moved up eight spots to nineteenth and twentieth in the standings.
Tony Stewart, Kurt Busch, and Jeff Gordon all fell eight spots in the standings. They are now ninth, tenth and 22nd in the standings, respectively. Jimmie Johnson fell six spots to fourteenth.
The Top 10 drivers in the points compete in five Chevys, two Fords, two Dodges, and a lone Toyota.
Given the right circumstances and finishing order, any driver from sixteenth place Bobby Labonte on up could leave Atlanta at least tied for the points lead.
While it's too early to worry about being in the Chase, with two more races to go before this year's Top 35 in owner points determine who gets a bye into races, some drivers just outside the Top 35 currently need to step it up. They include Dario Franchitti, Robby Gordon, and Sam Hornish. In the unlikely occurrence NASCAR overturns Gordon's penalty Wednesday, he would move up to 21st in the standings, safely above the cutoff. Dave Blaney, Casey Mears, and Michael Waltrip are one bad race away from falling outside the Top 35.
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 two cans of lukewarm generic stuff. Two weeks into the regular season, the new car has failed to live up to the hype.
Next Up: The stock car series returns to its spiritual home in the Southeast. Tune in for Atlanta, and pray for better weather across the Rio Grande-o.
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Since I’m a simple person, I need your input to help me sleep at night over all this!
How is it that Carl Edwards team broke a NASCAR rule Sunday and was not penalized?? A cameraman (NOT a Fox cameraman!!!)caused one of his tires to roll onto pit road during a pit stop, but his pit crew were not held accountable. I guess Roush Racing is not responsible for who may “wander“into their pit, and can be right on the wall during a critical pit stop??
Remember, I’m just a dumb old guy that keeps buying tickets, staying up way to late at night to see the finish of a race, buying way too much Bud Light, Shell gasoline, (hard to find that Sunoco stuff around here)M&M’s, and I love to go to The Home Depot, and Lowes……
Oh, well, I know YOU can help me Matt. Please make me feel like I want to use my Atlanta tickes next week.
I’m counting on you buddy!
“Two weeks into the regular season, the new car has failed to live up to the hype.”
Really? In what way? The racing has been markedly better (weather permitting) in the New Car than the old one. It’s certainily safer (I’d have hated to see Gordon’s hit last year in the old car). And, it looks better doing it. (I know that’s the subject of much debate, but I think it’s a much better looking car)
Can’t wait for Texas :D
My only complaint so far this season is not related to how the cars perform: Robby getting the shaft, and apparently everyone else gets a free pass. Nascar has the opportunity to even fix that tomorrow.
You have the top ten manufacturers off just a little. There are actually three Dodges and four Chevys.
“Carl Edwards wins two in a row three races into the season? If nothing else, it proves the futility of pundits making preseason predictions.”
Yeah, I guess life can get a little complicated when you “predict” near total domination by Toyota based on some mythical notion of their alleged extra horsepower.
In what way has the COT failed to meet expectations? Well that’s probably a column into and of itself but I’ll give it another few weeks to see if things get better as the teams get acclimated to the new cars.
But here’s my initial accessment.
The old bugaboo, the aero push was supposed to be eliminated by the new car, ugly as it is. Put aside asthetics for a second though. These cars were supposed to be able to race side to side like the “old days” Ask Jeff Gordon how these cars react racing side by side.
Just like the last couple years a car that looks unbeatable up front in clean air suddenly becomes a dog in traffic. Just like the last few years Edwards led Earnhardt to the line by several seconds and with the exeption of the sixth and seventh place battle all the cars were separated by a several second gap, more of a parade than a race.
Compare that to the waning laps of the AAA race on Saturday. With four laps left to go there was a five car, side by side battle for the lead and it was setting up to be a finish for the ages when Mark Martin made a rare mistake and triggered that wreck which ended our chances of a classic finish.
Hmmmm…new car…boring finish.
Old car….5 car battle for the lead….
Like I said I’ll wait a few more weeks but so car I’m not impressed with the CoT on the intermediate tracks.
Not only did the #17, #48, and #24 have those issues – did you hear about the winning #99 car from Cali that had some enhancement around the wheel wells? No penalty – NASCAR just told them not to do it again. Zero tolerance, huh? I didn’t agree with Robby getting that penalty, but understood that they were trying to be consistent with COT infractions. Now I call BS.
Whoops – that was supposed to be #17, #48 and #88.
Matt – “Ask Jeff Gordon how these cars react racing side by side.”
Why don’t we ask Dale Jr? “We need more time with it,” Earnhardt said. “I think you’ll keep getting better and better the more time you have with it. They need to explore softening the left-side tire. Just a tiny bit of left-side grip would help out a bunch and keep people from complaining so much.”
All the teams are complaining about having less travel in the turns… Seems to me NASCAR needs to make an adjustment somewhere with the CoT..
And I’ll answer for Matt, yep, NASCAR (never ever will they admit it) was behind Matt getting Das Boot from Racingone. Them and that jackarse Pistone… Haven’t bothered with that website since I’m proud to say..
Glad you jumped off that Ship of Fools, yes I am….
Right on Matt. Funny how some feel the need to be the defenders of all that is official Nascar. If the COT is all they say it is why are they so quick to jump on someone saying otherwise? If it’s all that the ratings will shoot up and the stands will be overflowing with fans eagerly anticipating the great side by side racing the COT will deliver.
Maybe they are not secure enough in their Nascarhood to let the on track action speak for itself.
Hey, I remember Matt’s column’s from “Speedworld”… pre-RacingOne. Matt’s not afraid to speak his mind, and it ain’t always pretty, but but no one can complain that Matt’s opinions aren’t based on careful observation and his love for the sport. Keep writing, Matt, and we’ll keep reading.
My only comment about the race last Sunday is Thank the Lord for good weather. Darrell, Larry, and Jeff with extra air time to kill is just plain torture.
“If Eddie gets his helmet, would somebody please throw a six pack of brew and ice inside it to remind him of his one major misstep since taking the reins at Texas â€” a campaign to get the politicians to allow beer sales at the track that would have cost the fans their rights to bring coolers to the facility.”
- Eddie quietly got this accomplished last year and fans can buy beer at Texas or bring it in. No problem. Thanks, Eddie.
Skid Marc “Right on Matt. Funny how some feel the need to be the defenders of all that is official Nascar. If the COT is all they say it is why are they so quick to jump on someone saying otherwise?”
Who might you be talking about? Just who is defending “of all that is official Nascar?
Pretty sad leap of logic based on one, or maybe two comment threads.
Threads I might add where there was no defending of NASCAR but countering blatant mis-statement of facts, ignorance of facts and misrepresentation of what had been said.
“If itâ€™s all that the ratings will shoot up and the stands will be overflowing with fans eagerly anticipating the great side by side racing the COT will deliver.”
If you haven’t noticed ratings have been up with the exception of cali’s rain delay.
As for attendance figures… well a question. You’re not one of those that ascribe to the notion empty seats equate to being all NASCAR’s fault are you?
If so, you’re blind to reality.