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 · Thursday April 3, 2008
In the minds of some of the media and some fans, accusations that Michael Waltrip purloined some proprietary auto parts from Jack Roush's teams seems to be causing some amusement. Count me among those not laughing. This has nothing to do with which team was stolen from and which team did the stealing; this has to do with honor, economics, and the integrity of the sport of auto racing, already much maligned amongst non-believers.
First, let's look at what limited facts have been publicly released. The sway bar in question was specifically developed for the Car of Tomorrow by Roush Racing, and went missing at Dover last Fall during the Cup race weekend. Neither side in the dispute is arguing that the sway bar in question arrived at Dover with Roush Racing and left the track with Michael Waltrip Racing. Because of the new design of the sway bar, the missing item did not fit on the back of the crash cart where teams normally store spare sway arms, and it was placed beneath the box.
The fact it went missing was not immediately noted by anyone on the Roush teams, and that was sloppy on their part. The fact it was stored differently and configured differently than the normal sway bars certainly could have been enough for someone, particularly on a team struggling mightily, to wonder what magic lay in that bar. Eventually, the piece was found to be missing, causing no end of consternation among Roush and his chassis men. A former employee of MWR hired by Roush relayed the information that the bar was in the possession of his former team. Roush, or someone in his employ, contacted MWR Racing and demanded it back. Supposedly, the bar was returned in a clandestine pre-dawn meeting, but by that point, the horse was out of the barn.
Michael Waltrip would have you believe this was an innocent mistake. Someone from his team inadvertently picked up a piece that didn't belong to his organization, and it was accidentally returned to the MWR shops. Waltrip's contention is, once they realized the part wasn't theirs, they put it aside without making any effort to find out who that sway bar belonged to or what made it special. Of course, any statement from MWR has to be taken with a grain of salt — they still haven't figured out who doctored their fuel at Daytona last February in an attempt to cheat, and such an incident allows the team’s integrity to seriously be called into question.
But dig a little deeper into the story, and some things just don't add up. Some people want to ignore that; after all, a sway bar is a relatively innocuous, if awkward looking, bent up tube, not some super secret new cylinder head or bulletproof set of transmission gears. Most sway bars look very similar, and when discussions turn to the "torsional effect" some pundits and fans eyes glaze over and they want to discuss something really important like whether Dale Junior has a girlfriend or something. I don't claim to be a suspension expert, but I do know something about sway bars from back in the era where I used to own a series of 5.0 Mustangs I would take time to drive on road courses. Replacing the stock sway bars with aftermarket units was a tuning tool to try to get those nose heavy Mustangs to stop plowing the corners. A good set of properly mounted bars made those Mustangs feel like an entirely new car. Combined with swapping set of springs, tires and tire pressures, it was possible to get those Mustangs to handle neutrally in the corner that had lesser cars going off the course nose first …even though the driver had the wheel turned to full lock. And Jack Roush has forgotten more about sway bars than I'll ever know; anyone who has ever had the pleasure to take the wheel of one of his Roush-prepared street Mustangs after driving its stock counterpart will enthusiastically agree. Unfortunately, few of us can afford to own one. Maybe Roush'll leave one laying around at Dover and we can steal it — then say it was just an honest mistake and return it when we get caught.
Keep in mind, by his own admission Jack Roush was behind the curve when the first CoT races were held. His assertion is teams from rival manufacturers broke the spirit, if not the letter of NASCAR's testing limitations by testing their new cars at non-sanctioned NASCAR tracks while Roush tried to stick to the letter of the law. Once the Hendrick cars and others started kicking his cars butts in races featuring the CoT, Roush launched his own extensive testing program to catch up. There's a limited amount of areas where a team can modify the new cars to find speed; the sway bars are one of those limited parts that don't have to meet specific criteria. With the new cars proving unwieldy and tough on right front tires, Roush used his suspension expertise to find a solution that spread the load between the four tires more efficiently. That sort of research and development doesn't come cheap. My guess is Roush spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on unsuccessful prototypes and testing before arriving at the proper solution. Now, if someone had broken into Roush's motor home and stolen a hundred grand in cash, I doubt anyone would say that the act was anything other than felonious larceny, and that the actor once caught deserved draconic punishment — including a lengthy jail sentence. But by stealing that bar and analyzing its secrets, MWR gained the advantage of all that very expensive R and D without paying a dime for it. How is that any different?
But, oh, right, sorry, MWR finally realized the sway bar wasn't theirs and sort of pushed it into the corner of the shop to wait until someone claimed it. That doesn't explain why the part in question was sandblasted to cover its identity. Nor does it explain why, according to an independent source, someone from MWR approached a manufacturer about having that new sort of sway bar replicated for their team. In my mind, that fact alone proves criminal intent no matter how much Waltrip tries to whitewash the issue behind the latest fusillade of hot air emanating from his seldom shut yap.
NASCAR's reaction to the issue has been bizarre. As far as they are concerned, this is a private matter to be worked out between Roush Racing and MWR. That isn't how the sanctioning body has looked at Roush's teams or others that have tried to slip a part that gives them a competitive advantage into the mix before. Such teams were fined, lost points, and had key members suspended. If a driver who's angry after a crash calls the offending driver a "son of a cuss,” NASCAR hasn't been shy about huge monetary fines and points deductions because such conduct is — let's all sing it together campers — "conduct detrimental to the sport of NASCAR racing." Yet, stealing parts in the garage area is an issue that the two teams will have to work out. Baloney. If someone were to steal a few French Fries off of Mike Helton's plate and get caught, they'd probably be banned from the sport for life. But on an issue that reflects the basic integrity of the sport, NASCAR has decided to swallow their whistle. Color me surprised.
Others have been equally two-faced. When Carl Edwards was caught with parts that were said to be illegal and to offer the No. 99 car a competitive advantage, they wanted to see the Roush organization crucified and said the penalties were too soft. Now that the shoe is on the other foot and it's one of Mr. White's teams caught with their hand in the cookie jar, Roush is just a cranky old man trying to make something out of nothing.
This whole situation eerily parallels last year's debacle on the Formula One circle. Ferrari alleged that arch-rival McLaren had somehow obtained secret R and D and testing documents. McLaren claimed they didn't have any such documents in their possession. Later, emails were found in which McLaren principals, drivers and test drivers clearly discussed information from the very documents that McLaren said they'd never even had a peek at. F1 didn't tell the two teams to settle it amongst themselves. They stripped McLaren of all constructor's points (their equivalent to our manufacturer's points) and fined the McLaren organization a sobering $100,000,000 dollars. No, that isn't a typo. Let me spell it out for you; they fined McLaren one hundred million (as in a tenth of a billion) dollars. (Yes, the fine was paid in Euros, not dollars, but don't quibble with the exchange rate.) In addition, this year's McLaren entries were thoroughly scrutinized to be sure that none of the tricks they'd illegally obtained had been incorporated in the cars they planned to race this year. To date, that's all Jack Roush is asking. He wants NASCAR to make sure MWR isn't running any technology he paid to develop, but even to that NASCAR says it's a private matter. I guess Jack needs to hire someone to hijack an MWR hauler en route to a race at gunpoint, so he can have a closer look at those cars and the sway bars they are using. After all, to NASCAR that would be a private matter too, I'm quite certain.
The garage area is a relatively open area. At most tracks, teams’ garage stalls have no doors that can be locked when the garage area closes at night and team members leave. Even the big team haulers aren't impervious from forced entry made by those with bad intent. Security after hours is a joke. I personally watched someone scale the fence to reenter the garage area to retrieve a forgotten set of car keys because it was easier than going through official channels. Years ago at Talladega, teams arrived race morning to find many cars are had been vandalized or tampered with overnight, in some case with clear intent to cause a brake failure in a car once the race began.
If NASCAR is going to leave this sort of issue as a private matter, they're throwing open the floodgates to more serious sorts of espionage. And once that occurs, they're going to wish they had the sense of our old pal Barney Fife to “nip it in the bud.”
©2000 - 2008 Matt McLaughlin and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
You said a mouthful, Matt! Bravo!
I’m a MWR fan, and I agree taking the dang thing was wrong. But do you remember in 98 when jeff gordon had a tire go missing after roush’s claims of tire soaking?? seems a lil fishy to me..but that’s just me.
Or how about when Bob Dilner reported that RCR had modified their rims? NASCAR denied it, RCR denied it, but the following week RCR bought 300 rims at the insistance of NASCAR.
Another good piece Matt.
Thanks for the article.
Pretty sad. I always suspected it was Nascar doing the messing.
All those mechanical failures Gordon had in 2006, I think it was.
Again..pretty damn sad.
Boy! Now that’s making a mountain out of a molehill!
Great article…the stealing, I am sure, goes on all the time. What matters is that nascrap refuses to govern the pits. So it will always be. And fans will always side with their teams. so the debate will continue. As I have said elsewhere, in years past a fight of some kind would have settled it. Now days teams and drivers, for the most part, are a bunch of sissies, cry babies, etc. no matter the team!! So the drama continues………
Sounds like you want MWR drummed out of NASCAR. Maybe they should just shut the whole cheating operation down. Make 400 pay for the sins of a few.
Actually, how about shutting down any team caught cheating or stealing? Throw all of those dirty cheaters out! Start with Cheatin Chad and his cronies!
Well said Matt,
Integrity, now there is word that Brian France knows nothing about.
I hate to say it but It’s a good thing for Brain France that Dale Sr. isn’t around, He’d have slapped that little boy silly by now.
And Poor Mikey He just doesn’t know how these things happen, that sway bar just happened to end up in his teams hands, sandblasted and repainted, so nobody could tell it it wasn’t theirs… Just like he doesn’t know how that stuff got in his fuel system at last years Daytona 500.. Oh why do theses thing just happen to Poor Mikey
Oh and Suzanne Ward,
good article. how come mwr seems to get away with stuff. to me, it seems like nascar is intent on making roush’s live difficult, and i’m no fan of roush.
i’ve never understood if the part was discovered missing last year, which did it take so long to return, and covertly?? oh yeah, nascar’s posterboy just was so busy running his mouth about how poorly his cars were running.
my question is how long will toyota put up with the owner/team who seems to continually surround itself in some type of mechanical/performance controversy?
NASCAR is either too lazy to get involved or Toyota has paid so much they are looking the other way. Either way Matt you are right, this is a very dangerous precedent to set. Teams now know that any espionage they perform will not be open to NASCAR’s penalties. At the least NASCAR could have said they investigated and claimed “insufficient evidence to prosecute” and at least teams would know that such acts/accusations would, at least, be reviewed by NASCAR. But instead NASCAR has decided to take the Pontious Pilat approach. Better get some extra hand towels.
Well done. The unvarnished truth.
Your the only Na$car article writer that makes any sense about the problem. If MWR took the part by accident they would of said something and brought the part with them to the racetrack the next week or gave it to Na$car and had it returned. When they called the manufacture and tried to have it reproduced that is where they tried to take advantage of their so called mistake. MWR suspension parts should be inspected by Na$car each race to make sure they are not using this info it would take an inspector 1 minute to see the violation.
Is it just me or is something fishy going on? Either MWR is the stupidest team out there or Roush is exaggerating the story. Why would you return the swaybar if it was sandblasted and re-painted? Why not throw the thing into the depths of Lake Norman? So much of this story seems absolutely insane that I’m not sure what to believe!
“Why would you return the swaybar if it was sandblasted and re-painted? Why not throw the thing into the depths of Lake Norman?”
Because the cat was out of the bag. You are right, they could have disposed of it but there was still someone that knew it at Roush from MWR. They had a choice, cover up or play dumb. I guess they opted for what came naturally.
There was an article posted on “Jayski” in the last couple days regarding a lawsuit against Wood Bros & Roush by the patent holder of a sway bar design, he won but Roush was dropped since he had been only involved with Woods. This seems to show the part or the means to make it exist. Roush may not want to open this can of worms again & yes he has a history going back pre-nascar of being less then honest in racing, but why does everyone think the Waltrips are honest? Cheating is a family tradition for them & when caught always act stupid. If Mikey is smart enough to get the money to own a team, why does he always claim to be so stupid about what goes on? usually that is called a “lie”. Nascar should police these issues, but they will always just be selective, like fining Robby Gordon $150,000 for jaywalking, while Waltrip robs the bank & claims stupidity.
The above mentioned article about the “inventer” was linked on “Jayski” 4-2-08 by Godwin Kelly of the Daytona Beach News Journal. Very interesting reading!!
Very good piece. I remember that Talladega garage incident from many years back. After that teams resorted to spreading baking flour over the floors at night to see if there were footprints by cars the next morning.
well said matt! finally a person whom isn t afraid to speak the truth. i d love to see toyota fined just like mclaren in F 1
This may be like a rich parent [Toyota] paying to keep one bad kid [Waltrip] out of jail, while the others [Gibbs, RB & BDR]play fair, this is NOT a Toyota theft, it was MWR stealing!!
>>His assertion is teams from rival manufacturers broke the spirit, if not the letter of NASCARâ€™s testing limitations by testing their new cars at non-sanctioned NASCAR tracks while Roush tried to stick to the letter of the law.<<
Oh please, Jack.
Rousch didn’t think it was worth the money and effort to test on non-Goodyear tires at tracks where NA$CAR didn’t run. He was wrong. Rick Hendrick was right. Rousch isn’t a big enough man to admit he screwed up and got his butt kicked. So he whines about obeying the “spirit of the rules.”
OTOH, this swaybar thing smells very, very bad. I’ll bet this is when Mikey wishes he had taken Dolly Wallenback’s advice and cut back on a few of those talk shows he’s involved with. It’s kinda hard to lay low in front of that camera.
I just realized this was matt’s article. Can’t believe I even took it seriously. Every week it’s a toyota bash.
BEFORE I GET GRILLED, I DO NOT IN ANYWAY CONDONE STEALING.
Whenever anyone is referring to Michael when discussing MWR, they need to be referring to DW. Make no mistake, DW is the brains behind MWR. Come on, who in their right mind thinks Michael has the mental capacity to do much more than goof off and clown around. He has perfected that routine for years. It is DW that has perfected the routine of garage espionage. And furthermore, DW has undoubtedly parlayed his position at Fox to gain inside knowledge of other race team’s operations, all in the name of “tv coverage”. One thing DW is not is stupid. The other thing DW is not – honest. Thus what you see with MWR (DWR) is what you get. And far be it for Nascar to shed too much light on those issues, as they prefer the public not see the cockroaches scurry.
That is the first time I ever saw DW and brains mentioned in the same sentence!
First, let me say that I am an RFR fan, though the Waltrips have a certain “good ol’ boy” charm.
Now that that’s said.
While the rest of the article may be debatable, the one point where our author, Matt, was dead on is that NASCAR or some designated arbitrator should be involved in this affair.
If we had someone investigating the claims and counterclaim and determine what are the FACTS in this case, then a sensible conclusion might be reached. But, NASCAR’s hands off approach here invites the rabid debate and speculation we’ve seen here and elsewhere.
If it was truly a mistake or mudslinging based on Jack Roush’s perception of Toyota, then an investigation should show that and we could all let it drop.
If some wrongdoing actually occurred, then the offenders should be punished accordingly.
Sadly, we’re even less likely to find out the truth here than knowing what the “mysterious substance” was that got MW in trouble at Daytona last year.
Hey Matt, when are you going to write the WHOLE story here? Why don’t you write about how many times Jack Roush has changed his story. How did he REALLY find out the part was missing? Did the manufactorer tell him or did the former MWR employee tell him? Jack needs to get his lies straight.
Bravo for that very good article!
The only reason NASCAR hasn’t done anything is because it happened to Jack. If this happened to a HMS car you better believe MWR would be gone! And you can bet your kids college fund that Panty boy wouldn’t be laughing!
I like what Dale Jr said…and no i really do not like Jr…the person/team responsible needs to have their hard card removed and never given back…no ifs, ands, or buts!
This is what Mikey the Mouth had to say last year after Hyder was fired…..
He was supposed to oversee all of the cars and the 55 was the one found to be outside of the rules. It took us a little while to understand what to do. It’s such a devastating blow, and we just decided to end the association [with Hyder]. Bobby has been with me for seven or eight years, and we’ve never gotten into any trouble for anything. I don’t know Hyder and I know Bobby. Bobby has never had that type of personality, and ultimately the crew chief is responsible for the car as NASCAR so eloquently pointed out last week.” Waltrip said Kennedy’s role has been redefined and he’s not sure what the new role will be. Waltrip, who met with NASCAR officials again last week, hopes this brings closure to ordeal. “They told us what was found in the intake was obviously a substance that was put there on purpose to enhance performance, and it had to be done by someone inside our company or inside our circle,” Waltrip said. “I don’t want to single out Hyder. I do want to say that a couple of the guys who came with him are no longer employed by us.”
So Waltrip never said it was Hyder who doctored the fuel. He never named the fellows who came over to the team with Hyder. If by inference you’ve decided that means that Waltrip said Hyder doctored the fuel, that’s exactly what Waltrip wanted you to think so the story would blow over. Had he said forthrightly that Hyder doctored the fuel or knowingly allowed the fuel to be doctored doubtless there would have been a defamation of character lawsuit. Hyder still says that he didn’t doctor the fuel and he doesn’t know who did.
Oddly enough it’s not just the crew chief who is responsible for the team….it’s the team owner.
Of course Mikey had a lot on his mind at that time. The team wasn’t making races. Oh, and he was trying to come up with a plausible excuse why he ran home in his stocking feet from a late night single car wreck near his home even after being alerted the police had been called. And why nobody answered the door when the cops knocked on his door that day and the next. (Right, right….he was taking a shower in the pool house…wow, that sure convinces me he wasn’t drunk at the time.) If Michael Waltrip tells me the sun is going to come up tomorrow I’m sleeping with a six cell Maglight under my pillow. He gets away with murder before he’s been NASCAR’s official kiss-butt for years.
How can so many people including the writer of the artical be so stupid. Jack Rouch and Micheal Waltrip have started the the only thing nascar doesnt have, a real war, how many of u fools have tuned in to read about the latest “update” in this story? These are not your sixtys drivers with a issue to settle, these are men who are running multi million dollar companys and whats the best way to stay in the lime light, fights conspiracies etc. All the while u dumb idiots are chatting about weather mwr stole a useless swaybar in dover, which by the way can be purchased at at least 30 custom shops around the country, Petty Raceing is on the verge of going out of business. if that happens, im gone from nascar not because of toyota but because from now on it will be just unloyal sponsers, and Iroc copies. Hello Dannica im your newest best fan
OK, let me try to retort n a better manner than I did last time. This article is basically a crusade against MWR, Toyota, and the owner in particular. For one, crew members swap as often as I change socks. This crew member better hope he doesn’t fall out of favor at Roush, because he committed professional hari kari (like that Matt?) Who the heck would hire this guy who seems more than willing to spill the beans on industrial espionage and/or theft? Granted, I am pretty sure MWR knew what they had and thought they got away with it. However, if it weren’t for Roush’s obvious anti- Toyota slant which is obviously shared by the author and has been his drum to bang for the last 2 years, I would probably be a little more sympathetic toward the Cat in the Hat. Now Matt, I don’t recall this dare I say, hatred toward “Mikey” when he drove for your man, Ironhead. He was the flavor of the month, restrictor plate master who just needed a chance to prove his worth. Mikey saw the writing on the wallat DEI, probably lasted longer in the #15 than he should have and went where the money was, he’s smart enough to realize that he can do more for Napa and Toyota by being goofy ole Mikey and plugging away and doing the Speed TV circuit.
One major thing this article fails to mention is a timeline. Nt to play CSI- Mooresville, but here are some questions that I don’t see asked or answered in this column.
When did Roush get his swaybar back from MWR? Why is his team manager (Goff Smih, right?)not being taken to task for allowing an obviously critical piece of the car to disappear and not know? Why is it that he only mentioned this after Edwards deal at California? When did they hire Reutimann’s crew member away from Roush? This is probably important due to the fact he had knowledge of this theft and if he did not disclose this at least at the ime of his first cashed Roush payceck, makes me wonder what else he knows? If a team steals from one owner, why wouldn’t they steal from others? I mean, yay, we arbon copied a Ford, but the Chevy’s kicked everyones tail last year.
Now Matt, you’ve sang the praises of Smokey Yunick, Boby Allison, Harry Hyde, Gary Nelson, and others in the past who were legendary in their “modifications” and “massaging” of vehicles. I’ve seen the stories of buckshot, lead radio, lead helmet, etc in your articles in the past. Granted it’s not theft, but the intent is still the same. Not to get into semantics here, but tell me other teams don’t do the same. They just were either smart enough not to get caught or at least neck enough to handle it man to man. Those latter days are obviously long gone in the NASCAR of today.
To me this is all about fear on the part of Roush. So what if Toyota dominates NASCAR, in the gand scheme of thngs, what th hell does that mean? Again, Daimler-Chrysler. I think since we seem to like to reference war when convenient, Germany did just as much atrocious stuff as the Japanese did and we did, but that’s neither here nor there.
Bottom line, MWR may have been the flag ship team when they signed on with Toyota, but they are obviously not the company car as Bobby Allison used to call Junior Johnsons fleet.
As for Mikey not stating by name that Hyder doctored the fuel tells me one of 2 things: Mikey had knowledge,or Mikey had no verifiable smoking gun on Hyder. Which means Hyder would probably be owning a Toyota dealership or 3.
What Jack needs to do is make damn sure he is above reproach. I think he has created a law of unintended consequences for his race team and his manufacturer. If I were Ford, I’d probably be upset that a security lapse happened and it took over a month into the ensuing season for the matter to come to light. Luckily for him, he’s pretty much the only game in town for Ford now as Yates, Wood Bros. and others are for all intents and purposes irrelevant.
I do agree with you though on one point you made which is the most important point of the article. NASCAR needs to get involved on this matter. At the very least they need to assign a commission to gather evidence and rule on it at the very least before the 2009 Speedweeks. If MWR was shown to have stolen and replicate the part, then Mikey needs to disappear from the sport and new owners need to be found for the team and Toyota needs to pay as well. Unless these allegations can be proven, Roush needs to clam up and quit trying his case through the media.
I totally agree with this article and with Matt’s Comments above. MWR lost all credibility when they contacted a vendor to copy this sway bar. I’m still amazed at how the deal on Michael’s Wreck last year was swept under the rug. See Matt’s comments above.
Matt, you definitely let your bias against the Waltrips show this time. I am not defending MWR, but would like to point to the article by Godwin Kelly in the Daytona Beach Journal recently that detailed a similar incident in which Rousch was the offender. Someone needs to tell Jack that his glass house is in danger from all those stones he’s casting.
Memo to self: next time cut and paste from Word. Sorry if my post is unreadable with the misspellings and all.
Got a new laptop that’s not as sensitive as the old one one.
MWR stealing a sway bar from Rousch and replicating it is on the same level as Yugo stealing from GM
And another thing, since almight King Brian has taken the throne, NASCAR has taken on the aura of WWE.