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.
The Key Moment: A ten car wreck on the white flag lap drew a caution and sealed the win for Kyle Busch just as the outside line was mounting a challenge.
In a Nutshell: It’s contrived excitement, but you just can’t look away.
Dramatic Moment: The last thirty laps of the race were all nailbiters.
The 20 and 88 car tangled to set off the customary Talladega smoking pig pile of a wreck on lap 173.
Had Tony Stewart not been able to keep his car up against the wall after cutting down a tire on lap 143 while leading, he almost certainly would have triggered a wreck that would have eliminated most of the field.
What They’ll Be Talking About Around the Water Cooler This Week
Was Kyle Busch’s winning pass made with two tires beneath the yellow line? If so, was he forced out of bounds?
Dario Franchitti’s fractured ankle once again highlights the other side of the equation for the Buschwhackers. It’s tough to explain to your Cup sponsors why you can’t race on Sunday after getting hurt in the Little League race on Saturday. In Franchitti’s case — while he can use all the laps he can get in a stock car trying to hasten his learning curve — the two plate tracks shouldn’t be part of his schedule on Saturdays.
With three Cup wins this season, Carl Edwards has become NASCAR’s head cheerleader for the new Fat Car. But other drivers are seemingly far less enamored of these pigs. Ryan Newman speculated this weekend that Michael McDowell’s barrel roll crash at Texas was a result of the new car’s higher center of gravity. When asked why he chose to run in the Nationwide Series races, Tony Stewart was typically blunt. “They’re designed to handle good,” he explained, “So for at least for 50 percent of the weekend, you get to drive a car that feels like a race car instead of a car that feels like a dump truck. “
If you want some clue as to why Tony Stewart is posturing as if getting ready to leave Joe Gibbs racing, review the video of Stewart in Victory Lane. While he thanked the Old Spice people, he once again failed to mention Toyota. And yes, Tony Stewart fans, I too was touched by his interaction with that Make-A-Wish child. He isn’t all bad.
With Stewart, Newman, Biffle, Truex, and Edwards all considering their options, it looks like this year’s Silly Season game of musical chairs could get as interesting as last year’s Battle of the Earnhardts.
Today’s obscene gas prices seem to be cutting into ticket sales at most tracks. Perhaps that explains the uptick in the TV ratings this year? NASCAR’s not alone in facing the challenge of rising fuel prices. Despite spectacular weather, the crowd at the Carlisle Swap meet I attended last week was the thinnest I recall in decades. Friday and Saturday’s crowds seemed about the same as last year, in part due to the auction, but the number of RVs parked in and around the fairgrounds also seemed to have declined dramatically.
For those of you keeping score at home, Joe Gibbs-prepared Toyotas have now won six of the ten Nationwide series events this season, including the last four consecutive races. There is no challenge so large that throwing cubic acres of cash at it can’t solve.
Is Jeff Gordon ever going to win one of these things again? Think Rick Hendrick is beginning to think a Busch in hand is worth two in the bird?
What was the point of FOX’s “All You Can Eat” segment with one of their production assistants? Was anybody else waiting to see the fat man hurl? FOX with an extra half-hour to fill in a prerace program is more dangerous than a toddler with an automatic weapon.
The Hindenburg Award For Foul Fortune
Dale Earnhardt Jr. looked poised to finally win a race again until he got run over from behind.
Michael Waltrip went from leading the race with four to go to a 27th place finish.
Carl Edwards was plagued by right front tire issues all day, and finally managed to hit the wall. Combined with his hard crash on Saturday, it was a pretty lousy weekend for the young man.
Matt Kenseth’s race had barely begun before a tire problem put him into the wall.
Tony Stewart cut down a tire, triggered the big wreck, and ended the day in the garage.
Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon lost seemingly solid shots at a Top 10 finish in the final laps of the race.
The “Seven Come Fore Eleven” Award For Fine Fortune
Winner Kyle Busch had an eventful day, losing a lap after problems getting to his pit and barely hanging onto his car after hard contact with the No. 26 car got both of them sideways.
Travis Kvapil showed up at Talladega with a new sponsor and managed a decent sixth place finish to show for it.
Casey Mears got off to a rough start this season, but managed a decent seventh place finish Sunday ahead of all three of his teammates, who had been considered among the favorites going into the race.
Last year, Brian Vickers was struggling just to qualify for races. Sunday he might have had a shot at a win had the race ended under the green flag.
While the weather forecast looked pretty dire on Friday, NASCAR managed to get both races in at Talladega with no delays or interruptions.
When Juan Pablo Montoya tangled with Paul Mernard, sending the No. 15 car spinning, he was able to drive on with only a stern warning from NASCAR to a second place finish.
What’s the Points?
Jeff Burton maintains the points lead but Kyle Busch has narrowed the gap to just 22 points. Dale Earnhardt Jr. remains third, 79 out of the lead while Jimmie Johnson remains fourth, 102 points behind.
Kasey Kahne had the worst day in the points, falling two positions out of the Top 12 to 13th after finishing 23rd.
Five drivers in the Top 12 advanced at least one spot today; Denny Hamlin (now fourth), Clint Bowyer (now seventh), Greg Biffle (now eighth), and Ryan Newman (now eleventh).
Three drivers in the Top 12 lost at least one spot today: Kevin Harvick (now sixth), Tony Stewart (now ninth), and Carl Edwards (now tenth).
Drivers of note making progress in the points include Juan Pablo Montoya (up five spots to twelfth, now clinging to the final spot in the Chase by a point), Brian Vickers (up three spots to 15th), David Ragan (up three spots to 16th), and David Gilliland (up three spots to 18th).
Drivers riding the downbound train after Talladega include Matt Kenseth (down four more spots to 19th), Kurt Busch (down four spots to 20th), and Martin Truex, Jr. (down a further three spots to 17th).
Overall Rating (On a scale of one to six beer cans, with one being a stinker and a six pack an instant classic): We’ll give this one four well dented and worn out cans of generic stuff with a flaming Jack chaser. At least no one got hurt on Sunday.
Next Up: It’s Saturday night under the lights at Richmond, the first of four straight night races on the Cup schedule.
Did you know that Frontstretch has a weekly Driver Diary with some of your NASCAR favorites! Check out the schedule here to figure out when your driver’s stopping by; and if he’s not, take the time to gain a new one by reading these entertaining reports that talk about the drivers’ off-track lives as well as their on-track performance!
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Hey Matt, long time no see. First off had the TV muted and if Stewart did not mention Toyota the closed captioning did.
Attendance at York which is the place to be if your into Lionel trains had a low attendance this year. We did not go because of fuel prices but are going to Norwalk for the NHRA.
I managed to watch about 40% of the race between switching channels. Typical restrictor plate junk. Larry McReynolds continues to talk about NASCAR in terms of “we.” I wish someone at FOX, if they cared about impartiality and we know they don’t, would tell him he isn’t NASCAR. I also get tired of the “cut-down tire.” references. Cut to the chase and call it what it is…a blown tire. But Larry in his infinite, NASCAR mouthpiece wisdom has to put in an apology to Goodyear for the “tire controversies.” Even after it was pointed out that Matt Kenseth’s tire failure was probably the result of car set up, they continued to refer to Kenseth’s “cut tar.” Good recap Matt, but I’m sure someone will point out an inaccuracy. Mike, I didn’t see the interviews, but who knows? FOX may have been prepared for Stewart’s response and made sure Toyota got put in the CC. How’s that for conspiracy rumors?
Re: Franchitti (or Turncoatti as I call him)
After surviving unscathed in two UGLY flips in IRL cars last year, Dario breaks his ankle and is laid-up for at least a month after an accident in NASCAR. Wonder if his goofy wife “Starchild” Judd (who pushed him into NASCAR over fears for his safety) has second thoughts about his decision now?
P.S. I was actually hoping Michael Waltrip WOULD win yesterday, just to see announcers and fans asking “How did THAT happen?”
On the Race to the Airport, Dale Junior is trying to do a huge sell job to Matt Kenseth in getting him to join Hendricks in the #5 team (Mears History). Looks like Matt has an out in his contract and could take Robbie Reiser with him. Matt is not too happy with Chip Bolin right now and is questioning the equipment he’s getting compared to the two free agents Roush has (Biffle/Edwards). He figures they are getting more resources to hope to get them to stay and secure sponsors. Other than the Kenseth to the new Childress team (plus since he has a Championship provisional) what has you heard?
Yeah, Stewart said in the Nationwide victory lane that his Toyota Camry had lots of power.
I’ve finally reached my limit of Matt’s downbeat attitude towards the racing. If he didn’t find Sunday’s exciting race anything better than generic than maybe he’s burnt out on NASCAR. Paycheck aside, there’s nothing wrong with admitting it and moving on to a subject he cares about. Over the years, the best of Matt has been very funny, but now it’s just “bitter.” Matt—liberate yourself and quit!
I was also touched by Tony’s inclusion of the Make-A-Wish girl in victory lane. People can say whatever they want about Tony Stewart – the guy has heart. While life probably hasn’t been easy for that little girl, she probably felt like the luckiest person in the world on Saturday!
If NA$CAR is so very interested in making their sport so safe!
Then why not drop Talladega off the schedule?
Or is NA$CAR all talk but no action when it comes to REAL driver safety?
Hey Pete, Maybe it’s time YOU stopped reading Matt instead of telling him to stop writing. He feels the same way many fans feel. Get rid of the restrictor plates and you will have exciting racing, not big, exciting crashes.
Did you see the big one in the Busch (Nationwide) race and notice how all the drivers walked away except for Dario’s ankle? Funny how the bozo’s in the booth did not point out all day just how safe the old cars are.
Pete, if you don’t like Matts opinions don’t read them. I do not read your stuff anymore and never go to your site as it is a Nascar Pom Pom fest.
I like the way you now have to put disclaimers in your articles about finishing positions so as to not get called out for not having every jot and tittle in place. Keep up the great work Matt, and I’ll keep reading.
If Dario sustained the same exact hit at the same exact speed in open wheel, he would be an amputee right now or worse. Refer to Alex Zanardi. The ESPN crew did a damn fine job of explaining in the cutaway car the open area near the driver’s feet. Notice how Dario walked away, with help, but still walked away. Also, I wouldn’t say he was unscathed last year as he did have a pretty bad concussion. You can’t put a cast on your brain and heal it up.
Ed – “Hey Pete, Maybe it’s time YOU stopped reading Matt instead of telling him to stop writing. He feels the same way many fans feel. Get rid of the restrictor plates and you will have exciting racing, not big, exciting crashes.”
Ed, was this exciting, from the pre-restrictor plates days?
If you truly think so may I suggest you offer to 1) take NASCAR’s flagman’s job and 2) pay the insurance bill for Talladega and Daytona so both tracks can feature 225mph laps.
Maybe you’d like to watch this one too
That’s Neil Bonnett tearing down the catch fencing in the black 31 Chevy with a restrictor plate installed atop the manifold at speeds somewhat under 225 MPH. (Note to those with delicate sensibilities, this is NOT the fatal crash at Daytona…this is the 1993 Talladega wreck)
If I had time to find it I’d also highlight Tony Stewart’s airborne wreck at Daytona where the car almost went up and over the catch fencing into the crowd or the wreck that launched Ernie Irvan’s hood into the crowd at Daytona.
Daytona was designed in the late 50s and Talledega in the late 70s. They are out of date.
The problem with the pile up plates is that they all but ensure massive pileups and eventually that’ll put a car through a fence though of course the roof flaps help keep them from flying as easily.
The ultimate solution is to lower the banking at the tracks to allow unrestricted cars to run at reduced speeds without the driver having to flat foot it the whole way around the track.
But thanks for submitting your video. It reminds me how relieved I am NASCAR finally banned racing back to the caution.
Matt – “In Franchitti’s case — while he can use all the laps he can get in a stock car trying to hasten his learning curve — the two plate tracks shouldn’t be part of his schedule on Saturdays.“
Wouldn’t that be a disadvantage by not allowing him more track time on arguably two of the toughest tracks that need as much or more time to learn that any other on the circuit?
Matt – “Ryan Newman speculated this weekend that Michael McDowell’s barrel roll crash at Texas was a result of the new car’s higher center of gravity.”
No doubt, a lower center of gravity would help, you can’t beat physics, except in this case you can. Add 50-100lbs to the cars total weight allowed and allow it to be used when and where within the car the teams see fit.
The end result would be 99.999% of the teams would use the extra “movable” weight to lower the center of gravity and a secondary effect would be to slightly slow the cars.
One note on Newman’s comments, he also said this: “I remember last year the spring race I was so frustrated: I had a good car, sitting 12th or 14th, and if I made a move I’d lose two or three spots. If I made another move, I’d lose another two or three spots. It becomes frustrating. You almost want to give up. You almost say, ‘Let’s just ride and wait until it all happens in front of me.”
Note what event he’s talking about, spring at Talladega, an event run with the “old car”
Matt – “Despite spectacular weather, the crowd at the Carlisle Swap meet I attended last week was the thinnest I recall in decades. Friday and Saturday’s crowds seemed about the same as last year, in part due to the auction”
WOW, you do have the ability to see the light, as opposed to blaming empty seats at events all on the CoT, poor management or NASCAR leaving behind its “core fan base.”
Congrats, and welcome to the real world.
“With Stewart, Newman, Biffle, Truex, and Edwards all considering their options”
DEI picked up Martin’s option for 2009, he’s off the market for the time being. And note that’s DEI exercised option and in no way is a clue as to what Truex wants for his future, with the option as part of the original contract he has little to no say in the matter.
“When Juan Pablo Montoya tangled with Paul Mernard, sending the No. 15 car spinning, he was able to drive on with only a stern warning from NASCAR to a second place finish.”
Could that be because he was pushed into Menard?
Could be, pull up the replay.
Matt – “Maybe you’d like to watch this one too”
Now why would I want to do that?
To remind me that cars regardless of the restrictor plates can and have hit not only catch fencing at Daytona but at Talladega also?
Sorry, no reminder needed. But if you or anyone else believes the chances of it happening are NOT reduced by utilizing restrictor plates OR reducing the size of the current engines you’re living in Lala Land.
Matt “or the wreck that launched Ernie Irvan’s hood into the crowd at Daytona.”
And that has what to do with restrictor plates?
Those type of events can and do happen at local bull rings at 80 mph. You’re stretching guy, slow down and think.
Matt – “The ultimate solution is to lower the banking at the tracks to allow unrestricted cars to run at reduced speeds without the driver having to flat foot it the whole way around the track.”
But…but, but that would be leaving “NASCAR tradition” behind. It would alienate “long-time fans” and they wouldn’t attend races. (or is that because of gas prices I forgot which)
Snark aside you’re living in a dream world it will never happen.
Oh, and about those “reduced speeds,” how reduced were they in 1960?
My point about the Irvan hood incident…and I do have one…relates to the nature and strategy of plate racing.
When the incident began to unfold the field was running the normal double wide, tightly packed sort of formation typical of the plate tracks where the plates reduce the pack to the least common denominator. Everyone is hero fast in the draft and nobody can afford to get off the gas because if a driver does he’s going backwards post haste. No Irvan, Jarrett and others kept thier boot in it and the wreck went from two cars to the usual pig pile with the 3 car taking a wild tumble. The 28 car’s hood went into the stands where tragedy was narrowly averted.
Plate racing has gone on a long while but I’d hardly call it a “tradition”. When it was implemented in the wake of the Allison crash it was a “temporary measure” until a better solution could be found. And yes, the racing was just fine without the plates. In May of 84 there were 75 official lead changes at Talladega. That July there were only 68 lead changes but it took three finish line cameras to sort out the finishing order as a ten car pack swept across the finish line.
Matt, here hate on this – “I look at the quality of my team — they keep impressing me. My equipment and my motors show me every week that they help to make my job easier. And Tony Jr. does a good job of setting up the cars and making them fast. He made that car really good today. I thought it was the best car on the track even against the Toyotas that were very strong, I thought we had the best car on the track.”
“I feel for the first time in my life that I can go everywhere and run like that each week. We should be in the top 10. If we don’t have a significant incident or a mechanical situation, there’s no reason why we shouldn’t finish in the top 10 every week. I don’t think I ever felt like that, much less been able to say it.”
“But when it comes to the new car at Talladega, Earnhardt gave it a glowing review.”
““Guys are trying to win and everyone has a shot with the way the cars are drafting. Anyone can win. You can tell, everyone thinks they’re going to win the race. You can see how they’re all running into each other. It’s just awesome to see cars banging and sliding. One thing I’ll hand to this car that you couldn’t say about the last model is that guys run into each other hard at the end and get crossed up and straighten right back out. There were three incidents within the last four laps if not the last two laps that would have been crashes — five, six-car pile-ups — and guys were just banging off of them and straightening ‘em out. That car has that ability. Just like when I got turned sideways, I thought I was done — too many degrees sideway to be able correct it — but the way the car catches the air when it goes sideways, the air straightens it right back up.”
Get out your umbrella, your parade is getting rained on.
Matt – “In May of 84 there were 75 official lead changes at Talladega. That July there were only 68 lead changes but it took three finish line cameras to sort out the finishing order as a ten car pack swept across the finish line.”
Now that’s hilarious!
Didn’t you just post something about not believing NASCAR lead change stats?
Why yes, you did. Now what makes you believe that stat. Because it just happens to fit your agenda? Possibly yes, possibly no.
And sorry, you had no point on bringing up the hood, parts fly off on virtually every track in America and other venues outside the states and some end up in the grandstands and parking lots crushing someone’s go-mobile they got to the track with.
I have said this for years, if you don’t like what Matt writes don’t read his stuff.
I never liked what that NA$CAR suck up Pete “I am related to a guy who knows someone who had a neighbor that raced in NA$CAR” Pis something. My point is I do not read his crap and there for do not get upset. Works that way for anybody I do not like. I mute the TV so I do not have to listen to those NA$CAR suck ups Waltrip and the butcher of the english lanquage. McReynolds.
SS Mike – I have said this for years, if you don’t like what Matt writes don’t read his stuff.
Well good for you, but that’s you not me.
And BTW, it’s not your place to tell me what to read or not to read or comment on.
As as you say, and to paraphrase you, if you don’t like what I write don’t read it.
You know Marc, the one thing I take away from the Bobby Allison wreck is that there was no pack and therefore no major carnage aside from Allison’s automobile. Now yesterday they drove 3, 4, and 5 wide all day long it seemed. There was no separation of the haves and have not’s. Put plates into the Talladega 1987 race and Allison would have likely collected the 40th place stroker in the same wreck.
They are a necessary evil, and with the new car, the incident where Kyle and McMurray got into each other would have triggered the big one 2 years ago. Heck you need look no further than Saturday’s race and LePage to see what a fit of dumbness will cause with the restrictor plate and the old car. I remember Tony Stewart running top 5 and landing on the 17th place Bobby Labonte at Daytona in 2001. Plates my friend.
Also, with the pre restrictor plate car versus the plate cars now, it is a different era of NASCAR. For one 1987 still used bias ply tires if memory serves.
I am sure you will correct me, Marc, if I am wrong.
Don’t think they ran inner liners either which propelled Allison like a rocket into the fence. Seems like a typical react for the sake of acting to me, but then again in 1987 they couldn’t even come up with an honest drug testing program so how the hell would they come up with an R and D center? Conclusion: It just blowed up on us.
Bottom line, NASCAR runs these races so they have a cool intro with Bowyer on fire, Waltrip or Casey Atwood flipping, and Ricky Craven clinging to the wall at Talladega. Fans love it and the drivers accept it.
Joe – “Also, with the pre restrictor plate car versus the plate cars now, it is a different era of NASCAR. For one 1987 still used bias ply tires if memory serves.”
No need to, you’re spot on radials came into use during the ’89 season.
To be specific at North Wilkesboro Speedway in April and the winner Dale Sr. had this to say: “The more I drove on them, the better I liked the radials.”
On the subject of inner liners, you’re just a wee bit off they came into use in 1966.
“but then again in 1987 they couldn’t even come up with an honest drug testing program so how the hell would they come up with an R and D center? Conclusion: It just blowed up on us.”
And neither could anyone else, up to and including the most preeminent doctors at the time.
As a side note, did you get the email on the drug subject that was resent to you?
got it Marc. Great reply. Thanks for answering.
Hey, if they’re not giving to fix the place I’m all for dumping Talladega and Daytona from the schedule.
But Matt (he types dropping his voice low like Darth Vader Marc from the scary little coal sized moon of Know-It-All he tries to use to orbit this site) YOU CAN’T DUMP THE DAYTONA 500! You’re a goonytunes! Well, why the Hell not? We dumped the Southern 500 which was a much better race and had in fact been contested before the Daytona track was even pocket wood competing for space with a revolver in Big Bill’s front pocket.
When NASCAR dumped the Southern 500 they declared no tradition so sacred it it could not be offered up on the alter of expediency to further line the bank accounts of the France family. So dump the plate tracks already. If they don’t want to spend the money to fix the tracks, why should the team owners keep having to spend all this cash annually, and we’re talking millions, to prepare a platypus of a car for just four races a year. Why should that money come out of the pockets of the team owners and not the track owners who have near forty and fifty years of profits from thier archaic monuments to Big Bill’s ego already in hand? Why indeed. Because the same people who run NASCAR own Talladega and Daytona and they don’t like spending money. If Bruton Smith owned either track it would have lost both dates or been updated by now.
Meanwhile on the scary dark moon of Marc the amoebic warlord prepares his response as he slithers out of the primordial ooze formed by the ejaculatory fluids of the cosmic camel. He must do so because he is programmed only to destroy not to create. He is the slithering viper’s brood working their way down into the caverns of the Happy Gophers jamming along to Gracie Slick belting out the closing lines of White Rabbit while toking on the cannabis thrown out the window of the Austrailian V8 driver banned for two years. I used to run in some pretty wild circles and I never knew anyone who smoked “cannabis” They all smoked “dope”, Marc. Which reminds me of another classic line from a Who song, “Go to the mirror boy!” But Marcy doesn’t know what day it is, he doesn’t know who Jesus is,what praying is, how can he be saved, from the eternal grave?
Why isn’t anyone talking about Bush’s illegal pass for the lead/win? I could see that he was under the line before he was forced further down, why couldn’t Nascar?
Marc, I would never tell someone what to read or not to read or comment on.
You missed my point. If you dislike what Matt says just ignore him.
I could see that he was under the line before he was forced further down, why couldn’t Nascar?
Because Toyota paid millions to Brain Fart France to let Toyota into the series. And this was not the first time this has been done. Bill France did this crap 40 years ago.
Matt – “We dumped the Southern 500 which was a much better race and had in fact been contested before the Daytona track was even pocket wood competing for space with a revolver in Big Bill’s front pocket.”
Sorry, no comparison the Darlington event may have preceded the Daytona 500 but it never reached near mythical status and was never recognized as NASCAR’s “Super Bowl.”
As far as it being a better race, good glad you feel that way, but that’s subjective opinion and has nothing to do with the reality of dropping either Daytona, Talladega or both.
Nice try at confusing the issue though.
“Meanwhile on the scary dark moon of Marc the amoebic warlord”
Aside from your continued use of factless bits and pieces in many of your posts (that you’re not honest enough to edit) it’s childish nonsense like that is why you have been singled out in the past.
Can we get back to debating the issue or do you really feel the need to “converse” at a level far below your chronological age?
SS Mike – “Because Toyota paid millions to Brain Fart France to let Toyota into the series. And this was not the first time this has been done. Bill France did this crap 40 years ago.”
That’s some detailed concoction on your part.
Setting aside any possible payouts to Big Bill in the past due to complete non-relevance to now, just what proof do you have that BF received any under the table cash from Toyota?
Got any, please. lets all hear.
In fact I’d even let you flesh out the story, with provable facts of course not something pulled from an overactive imagination, and let you post it under your own byline.
Soooo, whatcha got?
Crickets along with the silence of any fourth coming proof?
And BTW Matt, now that I’m not distracted by other things…
Your powers of observation are commiserate with your apparent inability to turn out a post that contains no factual errors.
The driver busted on a drug test was an New Zealand V8 Driver not an Australian V8 Driver.
Geesh, and he was id’d as such in the first 4 words of the post.
Guess for you it was more important to take a cheap uncalled for shot at someone rather than skillfully debate the issue at hand and your mind just glossed over the first 4 words.
4 words that are linked and in an obviously far different color than the rest of the post.
Hard to miss that, except for you.
Car Ornamented Tank
Amen about the segment by FOX about “ All you can eat “. Good grief, is that the best of the ideas they can come up with? Don’t forget, they went back to him twice. Sure better to do a segment on that than interview someone from the Alabama Gang.<g> Also, seeing two fat guys wearing the “ Digger “ shirts made my day too.
SS Mike… thank you, I was thinking along the same lines. And to Marc, you missed the point. Bush was warned by Nascar to stay above the line, then did nothing about the clearly illegal pass. Selective rule enforcement? Do you have an explination? You seem to have all the other answers…
Craig Rebeor “And to Marc, you missed the point. Bush was warned by Nascar to stay above the line, then did nothing about the clearly illegal pass. Selective rule enforcement? Do you have an explanation? You seem to have all the other answers”
I missed nothing, however you apparently did I never asked about or remarked on Kyle Busch.
So, what else you got beside some smart-alec remark about me knowing all the answers.
And for the record no I haven’t frickin’ clue why Kyle did it or why NASCAR allowed it.
Do you? Or are your powers at mind reading on par with mine. Which would be at zero.
Marc… You may not have remarked on Kyle Bush directly, however you did remark on SS Mike’s Toyota comment, which was in direct relation to Kyle Bush winning the race on an illegal pass. I am not going to banter wits with an obviously closed minded baffoon whom has nothing better to do than try to degrade everyone and their opinion on this web site. You make so many comments that you can’t even remember what u said. You HAVE heard the last of me.