Kurt Busch to Attempt The Indianapolis-Charlotte Double
posted by Phil Allaway
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Andretti Autosport announced this morning that Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet in the Sprint Cup Series, will attempt the Indianapolis 500 in a fifth entry for the IndyCar Series team. Once the Indianapolis 500 is completed, Busch will fly from Indianapolis to Charlotte, jump in his No. 41 Chevrolet and compete in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Busch considers the opportunity to do the double as an old-school throwback moment.
“This is really to challenge myself within motorsports,” Busch said in Andretti Autosport’s press release. “Perhaps I am a bit of an old-school racer; a throwback, I guess. I enjoyed the era of drivers racing different cars and testing themselves in other series. It is tough to do now for a variety of factors, but when the opportunity is there, I want to do it. While NASCAR is my home, I have been fortunate to compete in Pro Stock on the NHRA circuit a number of years ago and test a V8 Supercar. This opportunity was a talk with Michael [Andretti] over dinner one night, a “What if,” and now it’s becoming a reality for me to drive in the Indy 500 with Andretti Autosport. It’s literally a dream come true. To go to the famous Brickyard with the iconic Andretti name, it doesn’t get much cooler or better than that.”
Busch will be doing the Indianapolis-Charlotte double as a Memorial Day mission to men and women serving in the U.S. Military via the Armed Forces Foundation. Fans can contribute to the cause by texting AFF to 50555 to donate $10.
Busch, who has never raced an IndyCar, passed Rookie Orientation at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last year during a test session. At the time, Busch was more or less testing the Dallara DW12 for fun.
Busch will be the fourth driver to attempt the Indianapolis-Charlotte double. John Andretti was the first driver to attempt it in 1994. After finishing four laps down in tenth in Indianapolis, Andretti crashed and had engine problems in the 600. Robby Gordon has attempted the double five times, most recently in 2004. However, Gordon failed to make it to Charlotte on time and did not start the 600 in 2000 (P.J. Jones started Gordon’s No. 13 Ford in that instance). Finally, Tony Stewart has attempted the double twice (most recently in 2001) and is the only driver to ever complete all 1100 miles. Neither of the three drivers has won either leg of the double. The best finishes are Stewart and Gordon’s sixth-place finishes at the Indianapolis 500 (although Gordon’s came in 2000, the year he didn’t make it to Charlotte in time to start the Coca-Cola 600), and Stewart’s fourth-place finish in the 2001 Coca-Cola 600.
Danica Patrick, Justin Allgaier Talk About Phoenix Incident
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
A disappointing start to the year for Danica Patrick won’t include continued conflict. Patrick met with rookie Justin Allgaier Sunday, shortly after the Phoenix Cup race after a wreck ruined both drivers’ days. Patrick, who was critical of the No. 51 car on the radio, claiming Allgaier was “driving all over the track” appeared receptive to a conversation that quickly settled differences over what will be a long season.
“She was just upset because she got involved in the crash that we had,’’ said Allgaier to the Motor Racing Network. “She says she’s been through this and that she felt like I needed to settle down at that point. I explained my position on why everything happened. I think she understood where I was coming from. It doesn’t fix either one of our racecars. It doesn’t fix either one of our days. Unfortunately, we were both having pretty decent days.’’
Allgaier wound up 30th due to the incident while Patrick was 36th. The incident, which was caused by Allgaier’s spin also involved the No. 32 team and Travis Kvapil, which wound up 38th after sustaining heavy damage.
Camping World Close to Extending Title Sponsorship of NCWTS
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Marcus Lemonis, CEO of Camping World, Grand Marshal of Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway, and star of CNBC’s “The Profit,” made the announcement over the weekend that the retailer is very close to announcing a deal that would continue its title sponsorship of NASCAR’s Truck Series. The original agreement with NASCAR is scheduled to conclude after the 2015 season.
According to the sanctioning body, no formal contract has been signed, but “the agreement between the two parties has proven to be a beneficial one.”
“In about a month, we’ll be announcing a significant extension to that contract. It’s been great for us,” said Camping World’s Lemonis in a statement. “The NASCAR relationship has worked well for Camping World. When we started, we had 35 stores. Now, we’re up to 120 stores. As we travel the country and we meet new customers in stores, they always are very appreciative of our relationship with NASCAR. It’s been good.”
Gaining a long-term commitment from Camping World to sponsor the Truck Series would be a relief for NASCAR, which is set to lose Nationwide Insurance as title sponsor for the NASCAR Nationwide Series at the end of the 2014 season. The sponsorship of the Cup Series by Sprint runs through 2016.
The NCWTS is back in action on March 29th at 2:30 PM (ET) when the trucks visit Martinsville Speedway in the Kroger 250, which can be seen on Fox Sports 1. Ratings for the season opener were up 11 percent.
Harvick Takes Win At Phoenix In Second Race With New Team
posted by Justin Tucker
Monday March 3, 2014
Phoenix International Raceway has become Kevin Harvick’s home away from home. Sunday Afternoon was no exception as Harvick charged to the front early and would dominate for much of the day, leading 224 of the scheduled 312 laps to record his record fifth win on the one mile oval and his third win in the last four races at Phoenix.
Harvick, coming off of a disappointing Speedweeks which was capped by a last lap crash in the Daytona 500 in his debut with Stewart-Haas Racing, set the tone on Saturday by winning both practices while having the best 5 and 10-lap averages in the first practice of the day on Saturday. On Sunday, Harvick and his No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet was nothing short of flawless as he was able to hold Dale Earnhardt, Jr. by .489 seconds after a late race restart to claim his 24th career Sprint Cup Series victory.
“Man, this is awesome,” Harvick said after his dominant victory on Sunday. “Man, this just solidifies so many things and so many decisions. It’s been so much work with all the time and effort that these guys (the crew) have put in—but what a race car.”
Stewart Haas Racing co-owner Gene Haas shared in Harvick’s excitement after the race.
“It took long enough,” Haas joked. “This is phenomenal. I think there was a lot of skepticism last year about what myself and Tony (Stewart) what we were up to, was there a lot of madness to this. Quite frankly, it’s a great team, there’s a lot of synergy at the shop, people working together. I don’t know what we did, but I think we put together a great organization.”
Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt, Jr. continued his hot start to the 2014 season. Earnhardt Jr. would finish second on Sunday, marking his seventh consecutive top 10 finish since the end of the 2013 season. Earnhardt Jr. was pleased with the effort after a coast-to-coast whirlwind week after winning his second Daytona 500 and also gave great praise to the efforts of Harvick and the No. 4 team.
“I’ve got to congratulate Kevin. Those guys were two-tenths faster than everyone all weekend in practice. They were just phenomenal,” Earnhardt said. “To be able to run with them all day was a big confidence builder for us.”
Joining Harvick and Earnhardt in the top 5 of The Profit on CNBC 500K were Brad Keselowski with his second consecutive top 3 run of 2014 in third. Keselowski’s Team Penske teammate Joey Logano would finish fourth, and Jeff Gordon would come home fifth in his No. 24 Pepsi Max Chevrolet.
Jimmie Johnson finished in sixth, followed by Ryan Newman with a nice rebound after Daytona in seventh. Carl Edwards would carry the banner for Roush Fenway Racing by finishing eighth, Kyle Busch was ninth, and Jamie McMurray would finish tenth.
A look at the Profit on CNBC 500K by the numbers. There were 14 lead changes among eight different drivers, there were eight cautions for 39 laps which slowed the race pace to 109.229 MPH.
Next Sunday, the Sprint Cup Series heads to Sin City and the Las Vegas Motor
Starting Lineup: The Profit On CNBC 500K
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday March 1, 2014
Drivers in RED (i) are those ineligible to collect Sprint Cup points
Daytona 500 TV Ratings Down
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Wednesday February 26, 2014
What was the longest weather delay in Daytona 500 history turned out to bring NASCAR lower ratings and TV viewership Sunday night than expected. According to a report Monday from FOX Sports, the 56th running of the Daytona 500 airing at 8 PM (ET) posted a 5.6/10 national household rating/share which averaged 9.3 million viewers. That’s down 44 percent from last year’s 9.9, easily making it the least-watched Daytona 500 of all-time.
Due to the six-hour, twenty-two minute rain delay in Daytona, the race was up against the primetime coverage of the Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony from Sochi, Russia on NBC (15.25 million viewers). FOX also reported that 69% of the pre-rain delay viewers of the race, which began at 1 PM (ET) kept tuning in.
In comparison, the 2013 Daytona 500 on FOX was the most-watched race in five years, posting a 9.9/22 rating/share, commanding 16.7 million viewers. The Daytona 500 in 2012, the first to ever be run on a Monday and in the primetime slot did a 7.7/13 overnight rating/share which resulted in 13.67 million households viewing the race according to Nielsen TV ratings data.
Earnhardt, Jr. Claims Second Daytona 500 Victory
posted by Justin Tucker
Wednesday February 26, 2014
Ten years is a long time. For Dale Earnhardt, Jr., it felt like an eternity. NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver endured many near misses and close calls at the Daytona 500 since his only win in the Great American Race in 2004. Earnhardt had finished second in two of his last three Daytona 500s coming into Sunday’s race. He was also riding the tail of a 55-race winless streak, dating back to Michigan in 2012.
However nothing would stop Dale Jr. on Sunday, not even a 6 hour and 22 minute rain delay from capturing his second Daytona 500 win. Earnhardt Jr. led a race-high 54 laps on the evening and used some timely drafting help from teammates Jimmie Johnson and, on the final restart, Jeff Gordon to separate from the pack and secure the victory.
“Winning this race is the greatest feeling that you could feel in this sport besides accepting the trophy for the championship,” said a jubilant Earnhardt after pulling into Victory Lane. “We could fight off battle after battle. We got a little help at the end there from Jeff to get away on the restart. This is amazing. I can’t believe this is happening. I never take this for granted, man because it doesn’t happen twice, let alone once.”
Aside from the race itself the big story of the race was the 6 hour and 22 minute red flag, which threatened to move the race to Monday evening (had the race been postponed, FOX Sports’ Chris Myers had tweeted that the race would resume at 5:00pm EST). However, Mother Nature would cooperate and would allow the race to be run under different conditions from which they practiced this week. Once the race resumed, the intensity picked up from the changing track conditions. This allowed the pack to race side-by-side and at times 3-wide up to seven rows deep.
Joining Earnhardt Jr. in the top 5 for the 2014 Daytona 500 were: Denny Hamlin who closed out a spectacular Speedweeks in second, Brad Keselowski in third, Jeff Gordon in fourth, and Jimmie Johnson who overcome two wrecks leading up to the 500 in fifth.
Rounding out the top 10 in the Daytona 500 were Matt Kenseth in sixth, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. in seventh and Greg Biffle would bring his No. 16 Ford home in eighth. Austin Dillon would come home ninth in his first Cup Series race in the iconic No. 3 for Richard Childress Racing, while Casey Mears would round out the top 10.
A couple of major contenders for the Daytona 500 win would see their hopes dashed early on as Martin Truex, Jr. would blow up just 30 laps into the race, relegating him to a 43rd-place finish in his debut for Furniture Row Racing. Crew chief Todd Berrier was already in Nashville for a test session before the race was even over. Kyle Busch, meanwhile would have a pit road violation just before halfway and would spend much of the race battling back from that mistake. Busch would eventually finish 19th after leading 19 laps.
Danica Patrick would also be bit by bad luck as she was caught up in a multi-car wreck on lap 145. Patrick would lead her second consecutive Daytona 500, but wouldn’t have the finish to show for it finishing 40th. Tony Stewart would encounter a frustrating evening as well, with a fuel pickup problem derailing his quest for his first Daytona 500 win. Stewart would finish 35th.
A look at the Daytona 500 by the numbers. There were 42 lead changes among 18 drivers, while seven cautions for 39 laps would slow the race pace to 145.290 MPH.
Next week, the Sprint Cup Series heads to the “diamond in the desert,” Phoenix International Raceway for The Profit on CNBC 500K. The Green flag is scheduled for 3:15pm EST.
Nationwide Series Post-Race Quotes: Drive4COPD 300
posted by Thomas Bowles
Tuesday February 25, 2014
Frontstretch Interviews – Courtesy Mike Neff
ELLIOTT SADLER – FINISHED 4th
Thoughts on the race?
It’s definitely a lot different racing than what we’re used to.
Comfortable with it?
Yeah, it’s just different. You’re worried about what you’re doing, but you’re also worried about what everyone else is doing and they’re not doing more than you’re doing. Physically pushing a guy is way better than just riding so you just gotta time it right and push it to the edge.
Happy to start the year with a top 5?
Yeah. Hell, that was the worst we ran all day, I think. I have no idea how they put the 3 car in front of us on that last restart. I hadn’t seen the 3 car hardly all day. When they put us from fifth to sixth, on the outside line, it just really boxed us in. I would have really restarted behind my teammate and given him a good push to the front. Anyways, it is what it is; we’ll take it and move on.
Looked like you were up front all day.
The guys did a good job. We had a fast race car. Great pit stops, just really proud of these guys. The car’s in one piece and we can take it to Talladega now. Great job by my guys. A lot of effort came into coming down here to Daytona and giving ourselves a shot to win. We had that chance to be up front and make some things happen. Fifth is not what we want, but we’ll take it and move on.
Bumping vs Pushing?
It’s way harder. You don’t want to lay on the guy in front of you, so it’s tough racing. A lot different than what we’re used to, ‘cause you gotta go. You gotta drag the brake too ‘cause you don’t want to hit the guys and you don’t want to stay on him. It’s a lot harder mentally than what we’ve done in the past.
Car was strong all day. Pushing vs. Bumping, is that harder to do than just getting on somebody and pushing them?
Yeah, it is a little bit. When you bump ‘em, you jar ‘em, it kinda jacks ‘em a little bit. It’s a little more abrupt, obviously. I thought it was OK there at the end. It was certainly fun and hopefully entertaining. But a little bit of a struggle in the early part of the race and the midpart of the race to see a good race. And that’s unfortunate for the fans. You can’t do that the whole race, you can’t tear up your stuff, knock your grill in, overheat your motor, all that stuff so there’s no sense in doing all that until you get down to the last lap. The 7 and the 6, they did a good job. Man, the 7 really held the 22 and I tight on the bottom. I was rubbing his door and hitting the apron at the same time, no room whatsoever. So it was good; wish we were the ones who could have won but a lot better now than what we were last year.
Going home in one piece makes it a lot better, right?
Yeah. My back feels good. My foot feels good. Past years here, I’ve been going home with pain so I’m alright.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Truck Series Post-Race Quotes: Daytona (Exclusives)
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday February 22, 2014
When you’re on the outside like that, how frustrating is it?
It’s so hard. Timothy Peters has won here. Kyle Busch has won everywhere. Ron Hornaday has been running Trucks forever, probably before I was even born. I was surrounded by veterans there, and like I told them I don’t have a rookie stripe but I’m a rookie. This is only my fourth Truck race ever, my fourth superspeedway race, and man, I figured out when the 17 got up in front of me, I pushed him. And as soon as I pushed him, he took off. And I went with him. And I just kept doing it, and before I knew it, he was leading. And I saw Ron in my mirror, backed up to him, and if it wasn’t for him, I don’t know what would have happened. I gotta thank him big time for that. That was a true teammate move right there. I really appreciate that. He just bounced off me and we got to the front. I tried my hardest to sidedraft Kyle. I was probably touching his door.
Top 5 in the No. 30 truck. This deal come together at the last minute, but you had a heck of a truck. Tell us about your night.
Yeah, I’ve got to thank Turner Scott Motorsports. The guys worked so hard on this Rheem Comfort Products Chevrolet. Exciting! Just got hung up on the outside and had to wait for my teammate there to catch up. And then he got to the bottom, so… I got the old 32 and started pushing ol’ Ryan to the front. So, it’s not bad. We’ll take it. You just don’t want to step over that boundary. You don’t know how far to push and shove. We bumped about six times down the straightaway without latching onto them. Hopefully, that was OK and we came home with a top 5.
Connect with Mike!
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 10, 2008
The Key Moment: As Carl Edwards coasted to the pits with his car spewing smoke, Kyle Busch reasserted himself as the leader in a race he'd dominated. Greg Biffle gave it a shot, but there was no catching the No. 18 car on this day.
In a Nutshell: It's kind of sad when folks are going to remember more about what the second place finisher said after the race than the race itself.
Dramatic Moment: Edwards and Busch put on an intense — if brief — race on the restart after the seventh caution flag.
What They'll Be Talking About Around the Water Cooler This Week
How will Toyota's winning a Cup race have an effect on interest in the Cup series, a-hem, going forward? My guess is that ratings will spike briefly, as we now have a legitimate fight between the good guys (The Big Three) and the Bad Guys (Toyota). But long-term, I think Toyota beginning to dominate an American stock car racing series is going to start eroding the fan base. I never said a Toyota winning would be the end of the world — just the end of some folks’ interest in the sport.
Will there ever come a day when NASCAR officials think enough of the value of integrity in our sport that they'll actually take away a win from a driver whose car is found illegal in post-race inspection? This whole song and dance about not wanting to surprise fans who thought they saw some driver win on Sunday is getting old. We're all Big Boys and Girls; we've seen the results of Olympic events and bicycle races changed hours, days, and even months after the event. Whoever coined the term "Cheaters never win" apparently didn't watch stock car racing.
Was Tony Stewart blocking for teammate Kyle Busch in the waning stages of the race to ensure a Toyota win? A Joe Gibbs win, perhaps… but not Toyota. As it is, I think Stewart is just riding out his contract with JGR; he sure doesn't mention what sort of car he drives in many interviews.
What was the deal with Dale Jarrett blocking Kyle Busch there on the final lap of the race? Had Busch wrecked trying to get around Jarrett on that final lap, they'd have been falling on their swords in the boardroom back in Tokyo.
When Carl Edwards suggested everybody head back to Vegas Monday to restage the race, do you think the exhausted rig drivers began planning a blanket party for him?
Four races into the season, it’s hard to justify talk of a "Hendrick Slump" but the fact remains that Ford, Dodge, and Toyota have all won points races this season, while Chevy has not. If this keeps up, they'll have to change the new slogan to "Built to finish last, built to lose."
What is the deal with all the empty seats at Atlanta? Atlanta seldom sells out, but Sunday's crowd looked particularly sparse. Today's race isn't going to help sell many tickets to future events, either.
What is it with Junior on restarts? He looks like he's dragging an anchor.
Does it seem that Ryan Newman and Juan Pablo Montoya have had more than their fair share of run-ins together on the track?
Is Goodyear ever going to bring a tire the drivers are happy with to the track again? Tony Stewart surely doesn't seem to think so. Given his physique as of late, you might call this feud "the Battle of the Blimps."
Resolved: This whole Daylight Savings Time nonsense is a pain in the neck, but it sure is good to see a race start in the early afternoon again.
Resolved: In car camera shots should be used to show the on-track action, not to show who wrote FOX the big sponsorship checks.
The Hindenburg Award For Foul Fortune
Carl Edwards was leading and pulling away when his chances at the win went up in smoke, thus ending his shot at scoring a third consecutive win. The mechanical issue dropped Edwards to a 42nd place finish.
Elliott Sadler hit everything but the lottery Sunday afternoon. His spins were responsible for three of the day’s caution flags, and Sadler sounded relieved when he finally managed to finish off his ill-handling Dodge during the third wreck.
Ryan Newman was running fifth when a fender rubbing a tire — caused by an old friend, Montoya — forced him to the pits and off the lead lap. He finished 14th.
The Wood Brothers and Bill Elliott failed to qualify for another race when Dale Jarrett needed the previous champion's provisional. The No. 21 car has now failed to make three of four races this season.
For a second straight week, Jimmie Johnson and team appeared to have shown up poorly prepared for a race. It's not often you'll see Johnson getting lapped in an undamaged car; but the No. 48 needed the help of not one, but two Lucky Dogs before finishing as the last car on the lead lap in 13th.
Jacques Villenueve will have a buddy to help with yard work next weekend. A.J. Allmendinger was "temporarily" relieved of his ride in the No. 84 this week; substitute Mike Skinner brought the car home 27th.
The "Seven Come Fore Eleven" Award For Fine Fortune
Kyle Busch and the No. 18 team seemed to have thrown away a win when he didn't stop during the sixth caution period. Cars on four fresh tires quickly dispatched Busch, but a quick caution allowed him to get fresh rubber and fix a possible mistake. Busch also survived a pit road bumping incident with the No. 88 and numerous close calls to score his win. Combined with his Truck Series victory on Friday and a dominant performance in Saturday's Nationwide race, it was a pretty decent weekend for the young man.
Matt Kenseth had to start out back after an unapproved transmission change prior to the race. He went a lap down early, but managed to get back on the lead lap and drive to a Top 10 finish (8th). Combined with his win Saturday, it was also a pretty good weekend for Kenseth.
Dale Earnhardt, Jr. had an eventful day on pit road. Tony Stewart ran into the back of the No. 88, putting Earnhardt sideways into his pit. Then, Kyle Busch and Earnhardt rubbed fenders battling off pit road, and it's amazing the No. 88's front fender wasn't knocked into the tire. At another point in the event, Junior was ready to pit thinking he had a flat tire, but was eventually saved by the yellow flag. Considering all that, a third place finish was a pretty decent result.
A year ago, Brian Vickers was struggling to qualify for races. This year, he's finished twelfth or better in three of four Cup points races run to date.
It looks like the majority of the Cup team's bodymen have a light work week ahead of them, unusual after Atlanta. Those guys ought to be hard at work after Bristol, though…
What's the Points?
Kyle Busch retook the points lead from Carl Edwards midweek when the No. 99 team's penalties were announced. He opened that lead up to 73 points over Greg Biffle, who moved up four spots to second in the standings.
Brian Vickers and Matt Kenseth both advanced four spots in the points to ninth and 12th, respectively. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Tony Stewart each advanced three spots to eighth and ninth, while Kevin Harvick and Jeff Burton ahead of them moved up one spot to third and fifth.
On the down side, Carl Edwards tumbled ten spots to 17th after his mechanical problem. Kasey Kahne fell three spots to sixth, while Martin Truex also fell three spots to 11th. Ryan Newman dropped a spot to fourth.
OK, I get it with the penalty and all, but how is it a driver who has won two of four races this season is 17th in the standings and Kevin Harvick, who is third in the points, has just one Top 5 result in those four events? In most racing series, a win counts for a lot more than it does in NASCAR.
If the Chase were to start next week (which I am reasonably certain it will not), among the big name drivers currently outside the Top 12 in points are Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Clint Bowyer, and Carl Edwards.
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 it two cans of rice beer. There was damn little passing, not much action, and a runaway victory unlike the Atlanta of old. The CoT flunked its first test on the high banked superspeedways.
Next Up: It's off to Thunder Valley of Bristol, TN, for the first short track race of the season.
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Matt “I think Toyota beginning to dominate an American stock car racing series is going to start eroding the fan base.”
You mean like your assertion it’s already happened in NCTS?
Oh wait… that was proven to be false.
Matt “The CoT flunked its first test on the high banked superspeedways.”
Ahem… Atlanta ia considered to be an intermediate track. The CORN passed with flying colors at it’s only Superspeedway test this year with near record number of green flag passes at Daytona.
I don’t know what race you were watching, Marc. That was the worst race I have ever witnessed. When the leader of the race has to struggle to keep the car from swapping ends when he is in clean air, says a lot about the car and the tire. After 35 years, I’ve about had my fill of NASCAR and am seriously considering other interests to pursue on Sunday afternoons.
Your anti-Toyota bias is laughable, Matt. I know, I know, they along with illegal aliens are destroying the economy…
Love him or hate him, Kyle Busch has probably been the class of field in each race only to have some gremlins keep him out of Victory Lane. I don’t remember all this anti Daimler sentiment when Dodge came back into NASCAR. Hell, you put all 4 makes together and cover the front grille, you can’t tell which is which. You knew that Toyota was going to win a few once they got a real team in the fold and I contend that Toyota was using the second half of last season for testing purposes only as the only real viable driver seemed to be Blaney.
As for Stewart, there was another guy who used to gripe after plate races even though he was pretty good at them and we know how that story ended. NA$CAR needs to listen to Stewart or we may have a Neil Bonnett/Rodney Orr replication. Of course that is what it will take for NASCAR to act.
All Toyota needed was a real team. Wonder what they think about Miserable Mikey now? I agree, I think the only fans who are going to finally stick with NASCAR as Toyota begins to dominate over the next year or two, will be the fickle “newbies” who think a hot car is a civic with big wing and a muffler that sounds an electric razor.
In the good old days, anything 1 mile or larger was defined as a superspeedway. Charlotte, The Rock, and Darlington were all considered to be superspeedways. So, since Atlanta is 1.54 miles, it fits the originial definition of a superspeedway. It wasn’t until the advent of the cookie cutter tracks that the term “intermediate” track really started getting used.
The only real passing was either a rare lead swap, through pit stops, or cars getting lapped by the leaders.
If there was some passing going on, they sure didn’t show much of it on TV, but by golly DW was sure leading the cheerleaders for Busch. He’ll replace Junebug as DW’s favorite if this keeps up.
I think the drivers have a legitimate complaint about the tires. It took NASCAR how many years to develop the Car of Tedium and they’re still working on the tires?
I’m not a Tony Stewart fan but he did bring up a good point on Goodyear’s track record. It’ll be interesting to see if he gets to keep his opinion under the new “back to basics” thing or if he’ll be fined under “actions detrimental to stock car racing”.
The complaints about the aero problems from last season seem to be holding true this season also. Didn’t the original PR release about the Car of Tedium say that the design would eliminate the dependency on aero? It definitely isn’t living up to it’s hype. So far it’s shown that it’s more aero dependent than the previous car was.
And if you think it’s bad now, just wait. They still have an engine downsizing to go through before 2010 according to the “grand plan” from Daytona.
“Given his physique as of late, you might call this feud â€œthe Battle of the Blimps.â€”
What are you twelve? Resorting to fat jokes to sell your case is completely juvenile! Your article lost all creditibility with one sentence!
With all the racing experience and success Tony Stewart has had in ALL forms of racing, his opinion should be respected, whether you agree with him or not, regardless of how much he weighs. Real journalists can write great columns without belittling the greats of the sport. You should take a lesson from some of them
“I think Stewart is just riding out his contract with JGR; he sure doesnâ€™t mention what sort of car he drives in many interviews.”
Well, Smoke can come over and drive in the new “mergified” IRL, where they race on Firestones, when his contract is up. There he can try to win the Indianapolis 500 he’s never gotten. And perhaps I’ll be made the King of England.
“I never said a Toyota winning would be the end of the world â€” just the end of some folksâ€™ interest in the sport. “
I have to admit, Matt, that I came here today to see if your brain went supernova and exploded when Kyle won yesterday. As I rhetorically asked my wife when we tuned in to the end (last 30 laps) of the race: “What’s going to be harder for the old time NASCAR fans to take: A Busch brother winning a race, a Toyota winning a race, or a Toyota driven by a Busch brother winning a race?”
The way I look at it, it’s just a “Toyota”, “Ford”, “Chevrolet” or “Dodge” engine in a NASCAR approved generic body anyway. It’s as close to a stock engine as the “Honda” engines used in the IRL.
No giant clap of thunder and the sky turning black . No frogs falling the the sky . Not the end of everything as we know it . Gee Matt , the first win by Toyota wasn’t as dire as you have led us to believe .
After being a NA$CAR fan for over 40 years i could give numerous reasons why this sport is going in the crapper. I’ll just give one here, Darrell Waltrip. I saw the respone from Mike posted here today and he is dead on. Waltrip was about to wet himself when a toyota was coming to the line. Just like his comment on the last lap at Daytona when he was boasting that it was a “toyota dragrace’. On trackside friday i noticed this speed shirt had a toyota logo on it. It’s not hard to see his bias. It becomes painful to have a race on with him announcing with his blatant bias. Maybe all that hair dye seeped into his head and ruined what brain there was left. toyota will do to this series what it has done to others, it’s only a matter of time.
Matt, you wrote;
“I think Toyota beginning to dominate an American stock car racing series is going to start eroding the fan base”
So Chevy can win 2/3rds of the season and everythings ok? No thanks.
I think if Matt had any “creditability” he’d be engaging in actual journalistic endeavors instead of slumming around offering his pennies’ worth of reactionary hogwash. I guess “Aces and Eights” didn’t sell very well, mm? Here’s irony for you – the NASCAR Matt rhapsodizes nostalgiac about isn’t as good as he remembers… and it never was. The sport has changed a thousand times in so many different ways since it was born in that first 1948 meeting – and it will keep changing. The day it STOPS changing to cater to curmudgeons like Matt and the “fans” who will go off in a huff because of a (gasp!) Toyota victory is the day the sport will wither and die. There are folks still around, Matt, who are STILL grousing about your Utopian version of NASCAR being a crappy, pale version of the real thing – you’re just one whittle and chair rock away from joining them.
dr “I donâ€™t know what race you were watching, Marc. That was the worst race I have ever witnessed.”
dr, let me paraphrase that for you: “I donâ€™t know what” comment you were reading but I never mentioned the quality of, or lack of same of the Atlanta event. Try reading next time.
dr “After 35 years, Iâ€™ve about had my fill of NASCAR and am seriously considering other interests to pursue on Sunday afternoons.”
Your choice dr, but may I suggest the PFL as an alternative form of entertainment?
It might be a bit closer to your speed consider you claim to be a fan of such long standing yet have zero since of history and can’t remember the days of 2-4 lap victories in days gone by.
A special note to all you “old schoolers” who haven’t a clue about or have forgotten what old school was. You wanna whine and complaint about Atlanta Sunday, it’s your choice, but it was far better than many in the past.
Atlanta Spring 1998, Bobby Labonte wins with only 8 on the lead lap with another five a lap down.
Atlanta Spring 1988, Dale Sr wins, only two on lead lap, three a lap down.
Atlanta Spring 1978, Bobby Allison wins and is the only car on the lead lap, next four are a lap down the the rest of the field is 3 or more laps behind. Brother Donnie Allison is declared the winner of the November event after the crowd of 40,000 thought Richard Petty had nipped Dave Marcis in a race to the finish. NASCAR scorers failed to notice that Allison had passed both Petty and Dave Marcus with three laps remaining. Donnieâ€™s Hawaiian Tropic Chevy was one of only three on the lead lap.
Atlanta Spring 1968 the winner Cale Yarborough and second place finisher LeeRoy Yarbrough are only two on lead lap.
And BTW Matt… here’s another nail in YOUR Toy/NCTS hating coffin:
Television ratings for the Atlanta NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race were up 31 percent according to Nielsen Media Research. Friday night, the race scored a 1.05 (753,000 households), a significant increase over last yearâ€™s .80 (565,000 households).
Did they announce “Free Beer at the Concession Stands” over the loudspeakers right when Busch crossed the finish line? I was watching the crowd right after Toyotas historic first win and there appeared to be a stampeed for the exits. No fist pumping and celebrations from the crowd as far as I could see, but just a mass exit.
Remember when Toyota first came to the truck series and the first thing they did was to give a team to both Dee Double U and Mc Reynolds? Nothing like buying some good press from the announcing booth. To this day DW still pulls on the Toyota Pom Poms on race day.
Enjoy your good old new days Marc. Nascar looks to me like open wheel circa 1992, and I know because I was there as a fan during those days and still remember it well. Those were the halcion days of the great Ford vs Chevy vs Mercedes battles with a few V6 Buicks thrown in for dramatic effect. Hopefully with the reunification those days will be here again.
Cooperhead “Remember when Toyota first came to the truck series and the first thing they did was to give a team to both Dee Double U and Mc Reynolds? Nothing like buying some good press from the announcing booth.”
And your implication is what, that NASCAR shouldn’t allow it? Or NASCAR should intervene and dictate who, how and why it’s TV partners select their on-air talent?
That aside, Toyota hardly needed it did they. The brand has done very well and as demonstrated at the box office and via those sitting in front of their idiot boxes the NCTS has prospered.
You have a problem with DW’s pom-poms, call Fox they pay his salary.
And perhaps the “mass exit” (sic) you speak of was partially to blame for Kyle Busch’s relative unpopularity rather than any mass hatred for Toyota or it’s win on Sunday.
Somehow I doubt if you’ll ever concede that point.
Or did you take a exit poll at Atlanta to prove otherwise.
Want to improve
Television ratings for the Atlanta NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race were up 31 percent according to Nielsen Media Research. Friday night, the race scored a 1.05 (753,000 households), a significant increase over last yearâ€™s .80 (565,000 households).
Hmmm. Let’s look at this logically. What’s different this March than last. Well for one thing, network TV is still suffering from the ill effects of an extended writers strike so there is little to no new fare on the big four networks. So perhaps some folks gave the truck race a shot rather than watch a repeat episode of a sit-com or crime drama for the third time. In fact much original programming on the cable networks has been enjoying great ratings for exactly that reason.
Secondly, Friday night the mid-section of the country and the northeast were battered by a record breaking winter storm Friday night. Traveling on the highways was forbidden in some states. That sort of situation often boosts TV ratings. Witness the 1976 Daytona 500.
Finally it seems that each year the regular “March Madness” NCAAM playoffs start later and it takes longer to reach the money rounds. In fact I think this year they are calling it the “Spring Tournament” so the networks have some original programming to fill in the gaps.
Can we take the above into account or in your infinite wisdom can you cite references that say that isn’t the case. The three truck races viewership to date doesn’t equal an episode of “Cavemen” which is considered a ratings disaster. Oh, and a typical episode of Pinks on the same network draws more fans.
Finally as to the point that Toyota owners will become NASCAR fans I know some Toyota owners. In fact two of my sisters or thier husbands have Toyotas. In my experience folks who drive Toyotas buy them because they are reliable, economical and well made cars available at a decent price. They do not feel passion for thier cars. How can you feel passionate about a Camry, a Sienna or a Prius? The Toyota owners I know look at thier cars like they look at thier fridges or washing machines. They don’t think about them much as long as they are operating properly. Perhaps you are passionately in love with a Camry…or a Frigidaire for that matter. Me I can’t even tell you what brand fridge or washing machine I own. They do the job so I don’t care nor do I feel any affection towards them. When they quit doing the job they’ll be pushed to the curb.
Contrast that to guys and gals who are into Mustangs, Camaros, Challengers. or any classic American iron. They feel passionately about thier cars. Same with the American truck guys. If you’re born a Ford truck man, you’ll probably die a Ford truck man. Same with Chevy and Dodge loyalists. It’s almost a religous thing and the big three and Toyota have found limited success gathering converts from other denominations. So be it. If you own a car, any car, that you don’t look over your shoulder as you walk away from it and smile I feel sorry for you. I don’t care if it’s the Ford truck, the 76 Trans Am, the Harley, any of the old Chevys or the triple black 88 Town Car I always look back and smile. I work hard to pay for my toys and I enjoy playing with them. (Buy the way Eights and Aces paid for the Monte and the mods to it..thanks!) As it stands written, he who dies with the most toys win. He dies with the most Toyotas has misspent his life.
“Well for one thing, network TV is still suffering from the ill effects of an extended writers strike so there is little to no new fare on the big four networks. So perhaps some folks gave the truck race a shot rather than watch a repeat episode of a sit-com or crime drama for the third time.”
Perhaps they did, but that fails to explain a couple things. The storms were only in the central and eastern part of the US, and secondly the NCTS being on Speed, and Fox for the Fontana event impacts viewership as it relates to rating numbers.
Your hypothesis also fails to explain why both Cup and NCTS ratings are up across the board. Was there massive snow/rain storms during the other events already run?
Not only not likely, but factually incorrect.
Both Speed and Fox are not part of every basic cable package and both get far less penetration than network tv.
“The three truck races viewership to date doesnâ€™t equal an episode of â€œCavemenâ€ which is considered a ratings disaster. Oh, and a typical episode of Pinks on the same network draws more fans.”
There you go with another “patented by Matt” disingenuous argument again.
There is no valid comparison between network and cable TV and the same for any between vastly different shows, i.e. the NCTS and Pinks.
From that point to the end of your treatise is nothing but more than a demonstration in confusing the issue with anecdotal “evidence” of passion or lack thereof over Americans feelings towards Toyota.
Wanna try again… really?
This time with something that resembles reality.
And BTW Matt, you’ve had yet another Homer-like D’OH moment.
“That sort of situation often boosts TV ratings. Witness the 1976 Daytona 500.”
It was the 1979 Daytona 500 that was broadcast live in it’s entirety and had high ratings because of a large East Coast snow storm.
So once again facts and Matt fail to converge.
Is it any wonder why you got the bums rush out of Racing One’s door?
If you can find me a basic cable plan that doesn’t include FOX we’ll discuss this matter futher.
What’s so different about Pinks and the NCTS. Same amount of homes can watch each. Both involve racing cars. You can watch either. Or both. But more people watch pinks.
Put down that knife son. You gone poked yourself in the eye again.
Let me try to find a example simple enough for you to understand when discussing truck TV ratings. Let’s say you have a diner that seats 100 folks but only ten people show up on a typical evening. Then one night a large party stops in and you have fourteen guests. Then I suppose you could say that you had a forty percent larger crowd that night because it’s easier than explaining why you have 86 empty seats. So maybe you try changing the menu from sushi to burgers?
You are correct. It was the 1979 Daytona 500 that got the ratings boost from the snowstorm. Which incidentally didn’t effect California, the Southwest etc.
Is it any wonder why you got the bums rush out of Racing One’s door?
Yes, I often lay awake at night feeling like I was rushed from the Titanic to a lifeboat as the once proud SpeedFX/RacingOne site became the house schill for the ISC that bought them. Like Jerry’s song of so many years ago went “if I were to tell you all that went down, it would talk off both of your ears…goes to show you don’t ever know, watch each card you play, and play it slow, then wait until that deal goes down….” If it weren’t for the money those whores still owe me I’d have forgotten they existed.
As a matter of fact Marc, there was a major winter storm across the Midwest on the day of the Daytona 500 this year. I know because it affected me.
In my opinion guys who constantly cut and paste are annoying, but hey, that’s just me.
Matt “If you can find me a basic cable plan that doesnâ€™t include FOX weâ€™ll discuss this matter futher.”
That very debatable at this point your usual MO is to go off on some tangent unrelated to the point.
Why talk Fox…Speed covers the NCTS events. If one had the slightest bit of intellectual interest they could go to Speeds home page and find out.
Of you could have a partial list handed to you via silver platter.
Of course that would also entail you going thru said list and noting some of the most expensive “all inclusive” cable packages fail to include SpeedTV.
P.S. you will also note FoxSports in also missing on some systems.
Funny how that works.
“Whatâ€™s so different about Pinks and the NCTS. Same amount of homes can watch each. Both involve racing cars. You can watch either. Or both. But more people watch pinks.”
So what your saying is the audience for Pinks, a show dedicated to non-professionals drag racing, equates to a highly professional racing series.
Your choice, but highly doubt you’d find many to agree with you, least of all advertisers who I suspect pay a higher rate for the NCTS than Pinks.
“Let me try to find a example simple enough for you to understand when discussing truck TV rating”
You were saying… Oh that’s right, nothing, because once again you make a sad attempt at confusing the basic issue. The ratings increase flys in the face of everything you’ve posted within the last two weeks and has zero to do with percentage of increases but the simple fact they have.
“Yes, I often lay awake at night feeling like I was rushed from the Titanic to a lifeboat as the once proud SpeedFX/RacingOne”
Could be… but I suspect you could search that site from now til next Speedweeks and find less factual errors than you’ve posted in just the last two weeks.
I.E. purposefully posting the NCTS ratings and leaving off those of 2007 because they had increased and didn’t fit your agenda. Or did I miss something, if so point me to the site that also did the same and also datelined after say Dec, 2007. Because frankly I never saw one site that listed NCTS ratings from 2004 thru 2007 where ’07 wasn’t included yet shocker of all shockers you did. (got a link there guy?)
Being a “shill” or not being one for any network, website has nothing to do with accuracy in reporting.
Opinions obviously differ, facts? Sorry it doesn’t work that way.
Cooperhead “As a matter of fact Marc, there was a major winter storm across the Midwest on the day of the Daytona 500 this year. I know because it affected me. In my opinion guys who constantly cut and paste are annoying, but hey, thatâ€™s just me.”
Oh yeah.. they kinda P.O. me too can you point to a recent example?
Or would you rather ignore what was discussed before and move on?
“On the Broken Wings of Badyear…”
But I digress.
Matt, why waste your hard-earned letters on a guy who thinks he knows absolutely everything there is to know about the entire universe?
Susie “Matt, why waste your hard-earned letters on a guy who thinks he knows absolutely everything there is to know about the entire universe? He doesnâ€™t.”
And who might that be Susie? Too timid to name names?
you’re destroying your credibility by incessantly cutting and pasting and thus dissecting each and every point someone makes.
As for Matt and the passion that Toyota drivers don’t feel for their vehicles, some of us don’t define ourselves by our vehicles, probably to make up for inadequacy in some other facet of life.
I have owned Toyotas because I like a car that gets 30 plus miles per gallon. I am a NASCAR fan for the sport. If I had the disposable income I’d buy a Monte Carlo decked out in Kelloggs colors circa Terry Labonte 1996, but I don’t.
Joe “Marc, youâ€™re destroying your credibility by incessantly cutting and pasting and thus dissecting each and every point someone makes.”
Really? Well lets talk about your “credibility,” first you overstate your case. I haven’t been “dissecting each and every point” someone or everyone.
I’ve been very selective, guess you didn’t notice.
Overstating your case at times means you have no other point. Is that the case Joe?
Secondly, a little instruction is in order. I’ve been blogging for five years, four on NASCAR and racing in general.
It is common practice on racing blogs and most political blogs and in an aid to understanding, when commenting on something specific in a thread to quote what is in dispute or needs ref to.
The fact of the matter is many blog aps include himl buttons including italics, boldface, blockquote etc. for just that purpose.
Now, do you feel better, you’ve learned something?
Or was my first impression correct, you have zero to counter what I’ve posted or that of others and you just tossed that ill advised remark out there to see if it would stick?
congrats, Marc. You have successfully hijacked this thread. I could go on and on about how I’ve written for NASCAR websites for the past 10 years but why bother, you’ll just go to the cut and paste routine then give me a dissertation on blog etiquette.
It’s your world my man. We just pay rent.
Oh and it’s Dave MARCIS, not MARCUS. I hate it when people go to the grammar and spelling card.
Joe “congrats, Marc. You have successfully hijacked this thread. I could go on and on about how Iâ€™ve written for NASCAR websites for the past 10 years but why bother”
Yeah you could, but what’s the point? What possible relevance would it have?
Forgive me for asking but just who was it that inappropriately complained about “cut & pasting” something that had ZERO to do with the thread.
That would be you my man, then you have the audacity to complain about hijacking the thread when it is explained in very plain language why it is not only permissible to cut and paste but it is a common feature.
I could have been a real dick and pointed you in the direction of the “Formatting Tips” just to your left that explains how to do just what you are crying about.
Just what do you think that’s it used for, decoration?
“Oh and itâ€™s Dave MARCIS, not MARCUS. I hate it when people go to the grammar and spelling card.”
Then why go that way? Trying to hijack the thread?
Do you work for Goodyear by any chance. You certainly are Tire-some.
Matt “Marc, Do you work for Goodyear by any chance. You certainly are Tire-some.”
Keep your day job, as a comedian you wouldn’t have a paycheck large enough to pay attention.