Kurt Busch to Attempt The Indianapolis-Charlotte Double
posted by Phil Allaway
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Andretti Autosport announced this morning that Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet in the Sprint Cup Series, will attempt the Indianapolis 500 in a fifth entry for the IndyCar Series team. Once the Indianapolis 500 is completed, Busch will fly from Indianapolis to Charlotte, jump in his No. 41 Chevrolet and compete in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Busch considers the opportunity to do the double as an old-school throwback moment.
“This is really to challenge myself within motorsports,” Busch said in Andretti Autosport’s press release. “Perhaps I am a bit of an old-school racer; a throwback, I guess. I enjoyed the era of drivers racing different cars and testing themselves in other series. It is tough to do now for a variety of factors, but when the opportunity is there, I want to do it. While NASCAR is my home, I have been fortunate to compete in Pro Stock on the NHRA circuit a number of years ago and test a V8 Supercar. This opportunity was a talk with Michael [Andretti] over dinner one night, a “What if,” and now it’s becoming a reality for me to drive in the Indy 500 with Andretti Autosport. It’s literally a dream come true. To go to the famous Brickyard with the iconic Andretti name, it doesn’t get much cooler or better than that.”
Busch will be doing the Indianapolis-Charlotte double as a Memorial Day mission to men and women serving in the U.S. Military via the Armed Forces Foundation. Fans can contribute to the cause by texting AFF to 50555 to donate $10.
Busch, who has never raced an IndyCar, passed Rookie Orientation at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last year during a test session. At the time, Busch was more or less testing the Dallara DW12 for fun.
Busch will be the fourth driver to attempt the Indianapolis-Charlotte double. John Andretti was the first driver to attempt it in 1994. After finishing four laps down in tenth in Indianapolis, Andretti crashed and had engine problems in the 600. Robby Gordon has attempted the double five times, most recently in 2004. However, Gordon failed to make it to Charlotte on time and did not start the 600 in 2000 (P.J. Jones started Gordon’s No. 13 Ford in that instance). Finally, Tony Stewart has attempted the double twice (most recently in 2001) and is the only driver to ever complete all 1100 miles. Neither of the three drivers has won either leg of the double. The best finishes are Stewart and Gordon’s sixth-place finishes at the Indianapolis 500 (although Gordon’s came in 2000, the year he didn’t make it to Charlotte in time to start the Coca-Cola 600), and Stewart’s fourth-place finish in the 2001 Coca-Cola 600.
Danica Patrick, Justin Allgaier Talk About Phoenix Incident
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
A disappointing start to the year for Danica Patrick won’t include continued conflict. Patrick met with rookie Justin Allgaier Sunday, shortly after the Phoenix Cup race after a wreck ruined both drivers’ days. Patrick, who was critical of the No. 51 car on the radio, claiming Allgaier was “driving all over the track” appeared receptive to a conversation that quickly settled differences over what will be a long season.
“She was just upset because she got involved in the crash that we had,’’ said Allgaier to the Motor Racing Network. “She says she’s been through this and that she felt like I needed to settle down at that point. I explained my position on why everything happened. I think she understood where I was coming from. It doesn’t fix either one of our racecars. It doesn’t fix either one of our days. Unfortunately, we were both having pretty decent days.’’
Allgaier wound up 30th due to the incident while Patrick was 36th. The incident, which was caused by Allgaier’s spin also involved the No. 32 team and Travis Kvapil, which wound up 38th after sustaining heavy damage.
Camping World Close to Extending Title Sponsorship of NCWTS
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Marcus Lemonis, CEO of Camping World, Grand Marshal of Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway, and star of CNBC’s “The Profit,” made the announcement over the weekend that the retailer is very close to announcing a deal that would continue its title sponsorship of NASCAR’s Truck Series. The original agreement with NASCAR is scheduled to conclude after the 2015 season.
According to the sanctioning body, no formal contract has been signed, but “the agreement between the two parties has proven to be a beneficial one.”
“In about a month, we’ll be announcing a significant extension to that contract. It’s been great for us,” said Camping World’s Lemonis in a statement. “The NASCAR relationship has worked well for Camping World. When we started, we had 35 stores. Now, we’re up to 120 stores. As we travel the country and we meet new customers in stores, they always are very appreciative of our relationship with NASCAR. It’s been good.”
Gaining a long-term commitment from Camping World to sponsor the Truck Series would be a relief for NASCAR, which is set to lose Nationwide Insurance as title sponsor for the NASCAR Nationwide Series at the end of the 2014 season. The sponsorship of the Cup Series by Sprint runs through 2016.
The NCWTS is back in action on March 29th at 2:30 PM (ET) when the trucks visit Martinsville Speedway in the Kroger 250, which can be seen on Fox Sports 1. Ratings for the season opener were up 11 percent.
Harvick Takes Win At Phoenix In Second Race With New Team
posted by Justin Tucker
Monday March 3, 2014
Phoenix International Raceway has become Kevin Harvick’s home away from home. Sunday Afternoon was no exception as Harvick charged to the front early and would dominate for much of the day, leading 224 of the scheduled 312 laps to record his record fifth win on the one mile oval and his third win in the last four races at Phoenix.
Harvick, coming off of a disappointing Speedweeks which was capped by a last lap crash in the Daytona 500 in his debut with Stewart-Haas Racing, set the tone on Saturday by winning both practices while having the best 5 and 10-lap averages in the first practice of the day on Saturday. On Sunday, Harvick and his No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet was nothing short of flawless as he was able to hold Dale Earnhardt, Jr. by .489 seconds after a late race restart to claim his 24th career Sprint Cup Series victory.
“Man, this is awesome,” Harvick said after his dominant victory on Sunday. “Man, this just solidifies so many things and so many decisions. It’s been so much work with all the time and effort that these guys (the crew) have put in—but what a race car.”
Stewart Haas Racing co-owner Gene Haas shared in Harvick’s excitement after the race.
“It took long enough,” Haas joked. “This is phenomenal. I think there was a lot of skepticism last year about what myself and Tony (Stewart) what we were up to, was there a lot of madness to this. Quite frankly, it’s a great team, there’s a lot of synergy at the shop, people working together. I don’t know what we did, but I think we put together a great organization.”
Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt, Jr. continued his hot start to the 2014 season. Earnhardt Jr. would finish second on Sunday, marking his seventh consecutive top 10 finish since the end of the 2013 season. Earnhardt Jr. was pleased with the effort after a coast-to-coast whirlwind week after winning his second Daytona 500 and also gave great praise to the efforts of Harvick and the No. 4 team.
“I’ve got to congratulate Kevin. Those guys were two-tenths faster than everyone all weekend in practice. They were just phenomenal,” Earnhardt said. “To be able to run with them all day was a big confidence builder for us.”
Joining Harvick and Earnhardt in the top 5 of The Profit on CNBC 500K were Brad Keselowski with his second consecutive top 3 run of 2014 in third. Keselowski’s Team Penske teammate Joey Logano would finish fourth, and Jeff Gordon would come home fifth in his No. 24 Pepsi Max Chevrolet.
Jimmie Johnson finished in sixth, followed by Ryan Newman with a nice rebound after Daytona in seventh. Carl Edwards would carry the banner for Roush Fenway Racing by finishing eighth, Kyle Busch was ninth, and Jamie McMurray would finish tenth.
A look at the Profit on CNBC 500K by the numbers. There were 14 lead changes among eight different drivers, there were eight cautions for 39 laps which slowed the race pace to 109.229 MPH.
Next Sunday, the Sprint Cup Series heads to Sin City and the Las Vegas Motor
Starting Lineup: The Profit On CNBC 500K
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday March 1, 2014
Drivers in RED (i) are those ineligible to collect Sprint Cup points
Daytona 500 TV Ratings Down
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Wednesday February 26, 2014
What was the longest weather delay in Daytona 500 history turned out to bring NASCAR lower ratings and TV viewership Sunday night than expected. According to a report Monday from FOX Sports, the 56th running of the Daytona 500 airing at 8 PM (ET) posted a 5.6/10 national household rating/share which averaged 9.3 million viewers. That’s down 44 percent from last year’s 9.9, easily making it the least-watched Daytona 500 of all-time.
Due to the six-hour, twenty-two minute rain delay in Daytona, the race was up against the primetime coverage of the Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony from Sochi, Russia on NBC (15.25 million viewers). FOX also reported that 69% of the pre-rain delay viewers of the race, which began at 1 PM (ET) kept tuning in.
In comparison, the 2013 Daytona 500 on FOX was the most-watched race in five years, posting a 9.9/22 rating/share, commanding 16.7 million viewers. The Daytona 500 in 2012, the first to ever be run on a Monday and in the primetime slot did a 7.7/13 overnight rating/share which resulted in 13.67 million households viewing the race according to Nielsen TV ratings data.
Earnhardt, Jr. Claims Second Daytona 500 Victory
posted by Justin Tucker
Wednesday February 26, 2014
Ten years is a long time. For Dale Earnhardt, Jr., it felt like an eternity. NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver endured many near misses and close calls at the Daytona 500 since his only win in the Great American Race in 2004. Earnhardt had finished second in two of his last three Daytona 500s coming into Sunday’s race. He was also riding the tail of a 55-race winless streak, dating back to Michigan in 2012.
However nothing would stop Dale Jr. on Sunday, not even a 6 hour and 22 minute rain delay from capturing his second Daytona 500 win. Earnhardt Jr. led a race-high 54 laps on the evening and used some timely drafting help from teammates Jimmie Johnson and, on the final restart, Jeff Gordon to separate from the pack and secure the victory.
“Winning this race is the greatest feeling that you could feel in this sport besides accepting the trophy for the championship,” said a jubilant Earnhardt after pulling into Victory Lane. “We could fight off battle after battle. We got a little help at the end there from Jeff to get away on the restart. This is amazing. I can’t believe this is happening. I never take this for granted, man because it doesn’t happen twice, let alone once.”
Aside from the race itself the big story of the race was the 6 hour and 22 minute red flag, which threatened to move the race to Monday evening (had the race been postponed, FOX Sports’ Chris Myers had tweeted that the race would resume at 5:00pm EST). However, Mother Nature would cooperate and would allow the race to be run under different conditions from which they practiced this week. Once the race resumed, the intensity picked up from the changing track conditions. This allowed the pack to race side-by-side and at times 3-wide up to seven rows deep.
Joining Earnhardt Jr. in the top 5 for the 2014 Daytona 500 were: Denny Hamlin who closed out a spectacular Speedweeks in second, Brad Keselowski in third, Jeff Gordon in fourth, and Jimmie Johnson who overcome two wrecks leading up to the 500 in fifth.
Rounding out the top 10 in the Daytona 500 were Matt Kenseth in sixth, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. in seventh and Greg Biffle would bring his No. 16 Ford home in eighth. Austin Dillon would come home ninth in his first Cup Series race in the iconic No. 3 for Richard Childress Racing, while Casey Mears would round out the top 10.
A couple of major contenders for the Daytona 500 win would see their hopes dashed early on as Martin Truex, Jr. would blow up just 30 laps into the race, relegating him to a 43rd-place finish in his debut for Furniture Row Racing. Crew chief Todd Berrier was already in Nashville for a test session before the race was even over. Kyle Busch, meanwhile would have a pit road violation just before halfway and would spend much of the race battling back from that mistake. Busch would eventually finish 19th after leading 19 laps.
Danica Patrick would also be bit by bad luck as she was caught up in a multi-car wreck on lap 145. Patrick would lead her second consecutive Daytona 500, but wouldn’t have the finish to show for it finishing 40th. Tony Stewart would encounter a frustrating evening as well, with a fuel pickup problem derailing his quest for his first Daytona 500 win. Stewart would finish 35th.
A look at the Daytona 500 by the numbers. There were 42 lead changes among 18 drivers, while seven cautions for 39 laps would slow the race pace to 145.290 MPH.
Next week, the Sprint Cup Series heads to the “diamond in the desert,” Phoenix International Raceway for The Profit on CNBC 500K. The Green flag is scheduled for 3:15pm EST.
Nationwide Series Post-Race Quotes: Drive4COPD 300
posted by Thomas Bowles
Tuesday February 25, 2014
Frontstretch Interviews – Courtesy Mike Neff
ELLIOTT SADLER – FINISHED 4th
Thoughts on the race?
It’s definitely a lot different racing than what we’re used to.
Comfortable with it?
Yeah, it’s just different. You’re worried about what you’re doing, but you’re also worried about what everyone else is doing and they’re not doing more than you’re doing. Physically pushing a guy is way better than just riding so you just gotta time it right and push it to the edge.
Happy to start the year with a top 5?
Yeah. Hell, that was the worst we ran all day, I think. I have no idea how they put the 3 car in front of us on that last restart. I hadn’t seen the 3 car hardly all day. When they put us from fifth to sixth, on the outside line, it just really boxed us in. I would have really restarted behind my teammate and given him a good push to the front. Anyways, it is what it is; we’ll take it and move on.
Looked like you were up front all day.
The guys did a good job. We had a fast race car. Great pit stops, just really proud of these guys. The car’s in one piece and we can take it to Talladega now. Great job by my guys. A lot of effort came into coming down here to Daytona and giving ourselves a shot to win. We had that chance to be up front and make some things happen. Fifth is not what we want, but we’ll take it and move on.
Bumping vs Pushing?
It’s way harder. You don’t want to lay on the guy in front of you, so it’s tough racing. A lot different than what we’re used to, ‘cause you gotta go. You gotta drag the brake too ‘cause you don’t want to hit the guys and you don’t want to stay on him. It’s a lot harder mentally than what we’ve done in the past.
Car was strong all day. Pushing vs. Bumping, is that harder to do than just getting on somebody and pushing them?
Yeah, it is a little bit. When you bump ‘em, you jar ‘em, it kinda jacks ‘em a little bit. It’s a little more abrupt, obviously. I thought it was OK there at the end. It was certainly fun and hopefully entertaining. But a little bit of a struggle in the early part of the race and the midpart of the race to see a good race. And that’s unfortunate for the fans. You can’t do that the whole race, you can’t tear up your stuff, knock your grill in, overheat your motor, all that stuff so there’s no sense in doing all that until you get down to the last lap. The 7 and the 6, they did a good job. Man, the 7 really held the 22 and I tight on the bottom. I was rubbing his door and hitting the apron at the same time, no room whatsoever. So it was good; wish we were the ones who could have won but a lot better now than what we were last year.
Going home in one piece makes it a lot better, right?
Yeah. My back feels good. My foot feels good. Past years here, I’ve been going home with pain so I’m alright.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Truck Series Post-Race Quotes: Daytona (Exclusives)
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday February 22, 2014
When you’re on the outside like that, how frustrating is it?
It’s so hard. Timothy Peters has won here. Kyle Busch has won everywhere. Ron Hornaday has been running Trucks forever, probably before I was even born. I was surrounded by veterans there, and like I told them I don’t have a rookie stripe but I’m a rookie. This is only my fourth Truck race ever, my fourth superspeedway race, and man, I figured out when the 17 got up in front of me, I pushed him. And as soon as I pushed him, he took off. And I went with him. And I just kept doing it, and before I knew it, he was leading. And I saw Ron in my mirror, backed up to him, and if it wasn’t for him, I don’t know what would have happened. I gotta thank him big time for that. That was a true teammate move right there. I really appreciate that. He just bounced off me and we got to the front. I tried my hardest to sidedraft Kyle. I was probably touching his door.
Top 5 in the No. 30 truck. This deal come together at the last minute, but you had a heck of a truck. Tell us about your night.
Yeah, I’ve got to thank Turner Scott Motorsports. The guys worked so hard on this Rheem Comfort Products Chevrolet. Exciting! Just got hung up on the outside and had to wait for my teammate there to catch up. And then he got to the bottom, so… I got the old 32 and started pushing ol’ Ryan to the front. So, it’s not bad. We’ll take it. You just don’t want to step over that boundary. You don’t know how far to push and shove. We bumped about six times down the straightaway without latching onto them. Hopefully, that was OK and we came home with a top 5.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Budweiser Duels Post Race Quotes
posted by Matt Stallknecht
Friday February 21, 2014
BUDWEISER DUELS POST-RACE QUOTES
They’re saying the wheel bearing burned up in it. I don’t know what caused it, they’re taking it all apart to figure out what the heck happened. Something abnormal that’s for sure I don’t think I’ve ever had that happen at all. Hopefully, we made the race and hopefully we can fix the problem before Sunday.
WHAT WAS THAT LOUD BOOM ONCE YOU TURNED INTO THE GARAGE?
Loud pop was a tire… thankfully, it popped, hopefully it didn’t hurt anybody. All the heat created in the left front that popped was pretty weird.
REALLY GOOD RUN. WHAT DID YOU THINK OF IT?
Yeah, it was good. We have a car we can work with for the 500. Got a good starting spot, so we’re going to rest easy, fluff and buff our car for a couple of days and get ready for Sunday.
ANY DIFFERENCE ON WHETHER THE TOP OR BOTTOM LANE WORKED?
Yeah, I was just moving around, trying to stay with the flow. For me, this car works on all parts of the racetrack. So I’m pretty happy with it.
DALE EARNHARDT, JR.
GOT SHUFFLED BACK, AFTER PIT STOPS AND THEN COULDN’T GET BACK UP TO THE FRONT. WHY?
Nah, we were just sitting there waiting until the last few laps to make a move. You didn’t want to pull down and get sent to the back. Seen a couple of guys get sent to the back really quick so we were just kind of waiting for the end. I felt like we had a good situation there with Ambrose behind us — we had a good run off Turn 2 and I went. It was the last lap, time to go do something, nobody went with us but hopefully Sunday is a different story.
We got a great car. We don’t have to work hard. We learned, we got a good race car. Got a car in one piece, ready to go so we’ll try and get through the next couple of practices, deliver it to the starting group this Sunday and we’ll be real happy.
YOU’RE IN THE DAYTONA 500!
Yeah, it’s pretty awesome. This Whitetail Chevrolet was so fast that I knew all I had to do was stick it behind smart, intelligent drafters and we could have a good finish. That’s what we did in the Duels and I’m excited. I’m excited to go do some stuff with the Nationwide car and have some more practice with this. But to know that we’re locked in the Daytona 500’s pretty cool.
YOU WERE OBVIOUSLY IN FRONT OF THAT MELEE AT THE END. WHEN YOU WERE UP FRONT THERE IN THE BEGINNING, WERE YOU HOPING TO JUST STAY IN LINE AND LET YOU FINISH TOP 5?
I was pretty content to ride and luckily I knew a lot of people around us were. It was nice to have a little calm and not really have to be racing hard the whole time. I knew that the pit stop was going to shake everything up and that’s exactly what happened. Fell back a little bit there but made the right moves at the end to get a good finish.
HOW STRONG ARE THESE RCR CARS?
They’re very strong! They definitely have the capabilities to be winning one of these races.
YOU’RE IN THE TOP 5 FOR YOUR HEAT IN THE DAYTONA 500. YOUR PRIMARY CAR IS SITTING RIGHT IN THE GARAGE, KIND OF WADDED UP. DID YOU THINK THIS ONE HAD IT IN IT?
Yeah, it’s a brand new car also. It’s just not quite as good as the primary but still a damned good car. I’m just proud of everybody at RCR for building such fast race cars. All of our cars have been fast, ECR motor’s been strong, even our affiliate teams have been qualifying really good and racing good. So… excited about 2014! It’s going to be a good year.
WELL MAN, YOU STARTED IN THE BACK BUT WORKED YOUR WAY TO THE FRONT WHEN IT COUNTED MOST. WERE YOU JUST BIDING YOUR TIME THROUGHOUT THE RACE?
Eh, you never know if you’re going to get back up there or not. We had to start at the back, we had to make a run early and see what we could do. We drove right to 10th, or something like that and then it got stagnant. We tried to make something happen, and went to the back again. Drove back up to the front. Again, just really proud of my guys. Matt Kruder did a hell of a job on that pit stop getting just enough gas in to gain some spots there.
RCR CARS SEEM PRETTY DARNED STRONG. DO YOU THINK THE RCR CARS HAVE SOMETHING FOR THEM ON SUNDAY — ESPECIALLY THE THREE JOE GIBBS RACING CARS THAT SEEM TO BE THE CLASS OF THE FIELD RIGHT NOW?
Oh yeah. The 20 car was extremely fast. The 11 didn’t qualify that good, but he’s a good drafter. I think he won. We definitely have something for him.
Check in with Matt and Jay on their site at CareyandCoffey.com.
Matt McLaughlin · Monday May 5, 2008
The Key Moment: Second place Kyle Busch spun Dale Earnhardt, Jr. out of the lead, but it was Clint Bowyer who drove through the carnage to eventually assume the win as the yellow flag flew.
In a Nutshell: It ain’t over until it’s over — and sometimes it isn’t over even when it is over.
Dramatic Moment: When Denny Hamlin’s tire started deflating, it set off a dizzying chain of events over the final twenty laps.
What They’ll Be Talking About Around the Water Cooler This Week
Kyle Busch had a pretty clever plan for winning the race. I hope he had an equally clever plan to get out of Richmond alive. But before you toss stones (or beer bottles), ask yourself this question: if Dale Jr. had wrecked the No. 18 car with the exact same move, would you have thought it was dirty pool, or just good hard racing with three laps to go on a short track?
While they may still be trying to find a way to sneak Busch out of Richmond under the cover of darkness (and I can’t imagine how ugly it would have gotten if Busch had actually won), someone might want to order a suicide watch placed on Junior. He’s sounded beyond despondent these last couple of weeks.
Did Denny Hamlin park his car up against the wall to draw the caution in order to give his Toyota teammate Kyle Busch another shot at the win?
There’s one thing about a fight between Kyle Busch and Steven Wallace; a lot of fans wish both could lose. Wallace has been trying hard to show some maturity and patience this year, with mixed results at best. Now, it’s Kyle’s turn to try and give this maturity thing a shot; his older brother Kurt has, by and large, reigned in his immature conduct, so a turnaround is possible if Busch would only try. He might want to start by reviewing tapes of how Mark Martin battled the M&M’s Toyota for second in the final two laps before settling for third.
Of course, Kyle Busch can also be his own worst enemy. In post-race comments, the 23-year-old tried to paint himself as the victim of the incident he clearly caused. He then castigated one of the No. 88 crew members for daring to come confront him after the race when, in fact, he did the exact same thing after Friday’s Nationwide event. Busch said he’s going to have to “put up” with the rage of Earnhardt Nation after this mess. Well, how about if he just tried a different approach instead: “I screwed up, and I’m sorry it happened. I’ve been screwing up a lot lately because of my eagerness to win; I’m going to learn from this mistake, and move on down the highway.” A heartfelt apology might have gone a long way towards letting Busch visit a burger joint this week without a SWAT team in tow.
The three drivers who are arguably the biggest stars in the sport — Earnhardt, Gordon and Stewart — have still failed to win a race this year.
If they handed out trophies for almost winning races, Denny Hamlin would need a bigger house.
You think these open wheel stars who decided to go NASCAR racing are ready to hitchhike back home yet?
Who are the real winners as Jack Roush and Carl Edwards signed a contract extension while Roush and Greg Biffle seem poised to do the same? The remaining potential, high profile free agents like Ryan Newman and Martin Truex, Jr. just saw their price tag ratchet up a few notches. But the true keystone to this year’s Silly Season is where Tony Stewart might or might not end up next year. Oh, and Jamie McMurray might want to start brushing up his resume if Roush is going to be limited to four teams next year.
In an apparent about face, NASCAR decided this week to appoint a committee to study potential changes to their drug testing policy. Anytime I hear the word “committee,” I think of two things; the Pontiac Aztek designed by committee rather than visionaries, and the old quote about the beach being littered with the bleached bones of those with good intentions who never moved forward.
Will the last mechanic who hasn’t worked as crew chief for Robby Gordon please turn out the lights at RGR when he leaves?
Maybe another post-race dyno test is in order? These Toyotas look all but unbeatable lately.
Why won’t FOX show what’s going on at the track when it turns ugly? And while we’re at it, how much longer is ol’ DW going to change his tune more often than a jukebox? First, Hamlin was throwing away his lead looking in the rear-view mirror and overdriving the car. Then, he was driving brilliantly, being careful with lapped traffic and running just hard enough to keep the lead as he raced the No. 18 car. Typically, Waltrip’s position in the booth is called “analyst;” but these days, he seems to be more of a “conjunctionorist.”
The Hindenburg Award For Foul Fortune
Denny Hamlin flat out dominated the race, leading 381 of the first 382 laps with ease until a soft tire ended his chance for a win.
It looked like Dale Earnhardt, Jr. was finally going to snap that two year winless streak — now at 72 races — until Busch came to shove.
Once again, the No. 17 car couldn’t seem to get out of its own way; and as a result, Matt Kenseth was caught up in the big wreck.
Jimmie Johnson’s off song season hit another sour note with a 30th place finish on Saturday.
Kurt Busch just doesn’t seem to be able to finish a race lately after a strong start to the season. Maybe Jamie McMurray can lend him a bottle of Crown Royal?
The “Seven Come Fore Eleven” Award For Fine Fortune
He had to be there to be in position to win, but that trophy practically fell into Clint Bowyer’s lap.
Michael Waltrip is lucky half the world is mad at Kyle Busch and they’ve already forgotten his thuggish behavior in parking the No. 5 car.
As bad as Jeff Gordon’s car unloaded off the truck and looked in the first half of the race, coming away with a Top 10 finish Saturday night had to feel like a win.
Despite significant damage in the incident that triggered the big wreck, Carl Edwards soldiered on to a Top 10 run.
Joe Gibbs Racing grabbed the headlines all weekend, but it was Richard Childress with the race win and all three drivers finishing in the Top 12 when they wrote the paychecks out on Saturday night.
Reed Sorenson survived a wreck and several close calls to claim a 12th place finish, his best since a Top 5 in the season-opening Daytona 500.
What’s the Points?
Kyle Busch takes over the spot atop the championship leaderboard (not to mention numerous hit lists). He is now 18 points ahead of former leader Jeff Burton, who fell to second in the standings. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. remains third, 104 markers behind Busch.
A Richmond win leapfrogged Clint Bowyer forward three spots to fourth, one spot ahead of his teammate Kevin Harvick in fifth. Tony Stewart hopped up a spot to eighth, while Kasey Kahne reenters the Top 12, up one spot from 13th place.
Along with that flat right front tire, Denny Hamlin deflated two spots in the standings to sixth, while Jimmie Johnson crunched his way down from fifth to seventh. Greg Biffle fell a spot to ninth; but the big loser in the points at Richmond was Juan Pablo Montoya, who fell four spots to 16th after wrecking on his own coming out of turn two at Richmond (he finished 32nd).
Jeff Gordon fans, don’t despair; he’s now just two spots out of the Top 12, despite a lackluster start to the season by his own lofty standards.
The Top 10 in points now consist of three Joe Gibbs Racing drivers, three Richard Childress drivers, and two drivers apiece from Hendrick Motorsports and Roush Fenway Racing.
Behind the Chasers, drivers making significant forward progress in the points at Richmond include Bobby Labonte (up four spots to 18th), Travis Kvapil (up four spots to 19th), Martin Truex, Jr. (arresting his tumble and moving up two spots to 15th), and Elliott Sadler (up two spots to 24th).
Cue up the Tom Petty CD, because some drivers are Freefalling: Kurt Busch tumbled five spots to 25th in the standings, and Matt Kenseth fell three more spots to 22nd.
Overall Rating (On a scale of one to six beer cans, with one being a stinker and a six pack an instant classic): Even the worst race at Richmond in recent memory beats the best race at some tracks. I’ll give this one the last five remaining beer cans not tossed over the catchfence at Richmond. They’ll be talking about this one for awhile.
Next Up: It’s off to the circuit’s best remaining race track, Darlington, for the most awkwardly scheduled race date, the eve of Mother’s Day. With new asphalt and speeds topping 200 miles an hour — at a track bulldozed into the Sand Hills back when new Packards and Hudsons still roamed the earth — it ought to be wild.
©2000 - 2008 Matt McLaughlin and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
Great job by the booth buffoons at being impartial during the race. First Mikey Waltrip shoves Mears down the track at full throttle and not an ill word is spoken nor do we learn that Nascar parked him for the boneheaded move. That was a rare moment when DW actually shut his mouth for a spell. If Nascar actually worries about drug use in racing they will make ‘Ol Mikey pee in a cup.
A more glaring example of Non-Impartiality was when the Danica Patrik of Nascar was leading late in the race and you could just hear from the sound of DW that his official Amp undies were getting moist, then when Jr. came down and Kyle came up the wailing and gnashing of teeth from the booth bozos was quit telling. “Noooooooooooooo, Nooooooooooo-ooooo-ooooo-oo-o, Nooooooooooooo-ooooo-oo-oo-o-o-o, Ohhh Noooooooooooooooooooo.” It was not said but implied that no one should dare race the annointed one and possibly keep him from a win. I bet the response would have been quit differant if anyone else had been in the high line above Kyle racing for the win, or if the roles were reversed the booth would have been squeeling with delight at Jrs win and ranking the move right up there with the Dale Sr. “Pass in the Grass”.
I think maybe it’s time to get announcers in the booth that will call the action according to the action and not the personalities.
“It looked like Dale Earnhardt, Jr. was finally going to snap that two year winless streak — now at 72 races — until Busch came to shove. “
LMAO!!! Nice turn of phrase there, Matt…but then again, you DO have a way with words.
re: Lil’ Busch and Junior – it wasn’t dirty pool, but it wasn’t good hard racing by any means. The dumb thing is, Busch clearly had the better car, and if he’d just kept his head and ran his line, he’d have passed and won, and we’d be seeing highlight reels of that battle come the end of the season.
As for Waltrip… well, contrary to a previous poster, they did actually mention his being parked on-air (twice), but that was all that was said about that. I don’t know if I’m disappointed Fox made a non-issue of it, or gratified. It’s not like Michael Waltrip deserves any additional airtime. Hell, he hasn’t exactly earned the airtime he currently has.
I liked the “when Busch came to shove” phrasework, too. lol!
I gotta say one thing about Dale Jr.: I really respect him for how genuine he is – it was nice that he was giving such an emotional interview, unshaven and without any sponsor plugs. If anybody was concerned that Hendrick was going to take away Junior’s personality (I’ll admit that I was afraid he was going to turn into another robot), they just need to watch the post-race interview from Saturday night again. While Dale Jr. isn’t my personal favorite driver, I have a lot of respect for him because he is simply being himself. He’ll get a win or two this year.
RCR has definitely been really impressive this year – while JGR seems to be drawing all of the attention, all 3 RCR drivers are quietly sitting in the top 5 in points.
The FOX boooooth crew just keeps on getting worse. DW continues to cheer for Toyota without fear and Larry Mac refers to NASCAR as “us.” As for Jr. and Busch, it happens in NASCAR and will continue to happen until NASCAR becomes like the road racers and drop penalties on them like lightening. BTW Jr’s daddy put people in the wall for a win on a regular basis, and I’m darned if I can remember how many penalties he got for it…none maybe? Fortunately, Jr isn’t like his dad…yet, but if he gets desperate enough, he should be able to follow in his dad’s footsteps without any worries.
I have to agree with everything Ed just said. I AM a JR. fan, but Ed “hit the nail on the head” about Earnhardt SR. JR. also showed class in that post race interview.
I think Master Braytak makes a good point in that in did look like Jr. came down as Busch was going up. Of course none of the 3 Jr. lovers in the booth could see it that way.
I’m not going to cry foul on Shrub’s racing to the inside resulting in a crash. Any more than I cried foul about the Kansas incident with these two racers last year. And if Junior had done it to Kyle instead, most of the same fans would hollering about what a great racer Junior is. So thems racing folks, get over it. Junior WILL win, and in the meantime he’s in a heck of a lot better position than this time last year.
Here’s another thought: maybe it’s because it wasn’t Jeff Gordon running into it and then whining, but Richmond is another track that doesn’t have the SAFER barrier on the inner walls, and Patrick Carpentier gave it a pretty good shot on Saturday night. However, nobody has commented on it. I have to wonder, in addition to saving impact on the driver, if the #10 would have caromed that far back into the track – and in the way of other drivers – if that SAFER barrier had been there to absorb some of that impact.
On the other hand, Patrick got t-boned in a very similar way to Dario Franchitti and walked away fine, which is another thumbs up for the new car.
Did anyone else notice that Fox missed multiple restarts throughout the race as well as many passes for the lead but didn’t miss a single section of the red flag period? That’s right, when nothing was going on at the track (except replays of the big wreck) we were treated to commercial free coverage. I loathe Fox right now.
my concerning problem with how shrub races, as i had read in an interview he gave on saturday that he’d wreck anyone and everyone to win. dale sr was aggressive, but i don’t recall him publically saying he’d wreck someone to win. heck he almost killed rusty at ‘dega, but didn’t say it was everyone elses’ fault. last driver i recall hearing that said from is mike skinner when he almost won cup race at ams several years ago. skinner said he’d wreck his own grandmother to win a cup race.
shurb’s pompous attitude also rubs me the wrong way. it’s never his fault. always someone else.
i’m beginning to think toyota has written brain fart a big check. yeah chevy won, but those toyotas, especially the jgr ones, seem to have a horsepower advantage. wonder if brain fart drives a new lexus suv? oh wait, wasn’t he driving one when he got pulled over a few years ago after an evening out with some adult beverages?
And how about Mafia Mike in the booth giving Fox a pat on the back for their awards? If this lousy coverage deserves awards, then TV here in America is in deep doo-doo.
Fox needs to make the booth buffoons give a full disclosure of who all is paying them so we’ll know who not to buy products from.
If reporters on TV have to give full disclosure, then why don’t the booth buffoons?
LOL@DW’s pants getting moist.
Fox did miss several restarts.. but passes for the lead????? what race were you watching?
It’s funny Joe, I think anyone who thinks that anyone that thinks differently than them is an idiot, so I guess we’re in some sort of sync there ;) … It’s dangerous to put someone into the wall – like what Junior did to Shrub at Kansas in 2007.
I’ve been hearing for years how dangerous Shrub is, and yet I don’t see him getting put into the wall yet by the other drivers, so I guess they’re not as mad at him as the fans are.
Janice, how about telling us what interview he said he’d wreck anyone to win in, because you’d think a comment like that would be splattered everywhere, and I haven’t been able to find it. I’ve seen him take the blame on things he’s done, like at the first truck race this year. I don’t expect him to take the blame for what amounts to a typical reason for a crash – two drivers who want the same real estate.
Hey, I don’t see the FBI being called in to stay at Shrub’s house like they had to do for Rusty that time, so I’m sure this will all blow over. And besides, NASCAR’s more fun with a couple of bad guys on the track anyway. Or do we want everyone to be Mr Manners like Jeff Burton and Mark Martin? That sounds boring to me…
Janice, are you thinking of brother Kurt Busch getting pulled over in Arizona?
Well, if Kyle really thinks he can wreck anyone to win and get away with it, he’ll have some learnin’ applied by the other racers pretty quick. Not to mention NASCAR, which will eventually step in if things get out of control, like they usually (but I admit not always) do.
Hey everyone seemed to miss that Bowyer won the race. How about talking about him!!! He deserved it!!!
My beef is with Denny Hamlin. He knew his tire was going down for 5 laps, yet ended up parked on the track, instead of pitting to bring out the caution. With Jr having a 5 second and growing lead, it certainly helped his teammate out. And not all Jr fans feel what happened was anything more than hard racing…with maybe a touch of impatience from the one driving the better car, with 3 laps still left to go.
Kyle Bush didn’t spin out Jr.
Funny how people want racers to show how they feel, like the ‘good ‘ole days’, yet Kyle is called immature. Yet if he says what others think he should say then he will be ‘mature’. And sound like Johnson and Gordon.
Stay ‘immature’ Kyle!
First off…I’m a HUGE Jr fan. HOWEVER, just as the King said, “The best you can do is put yourself in a position to win.” This 88 team is still lacking that “it” factor to get into victory lane. Now, I don’t want all of the “what do you want, he’s in the top 10” whailers to come out of the woodwork but winning is everything. Ask a driver (except Mark Martin, of course).
Something disturbing happened with JR. When it was late in the race (and Tony Eury hadn’t slowed the car down too much) Jr did not protect his team’s lead. He continued to run the high line and left the door WIDE open for Kyle. Why not go low and make your car 3 cars wide? Aren’t the last few laps of a race considered to be when blocking is socially and professionally acceptable?
I don’t consider for a moment that Kyle caused the wreck. Jr actually came down on Kyle. Now, it is undeniable at that point that Kyle took the free pass and turned th car right and finished what Jr started. I think Jr tried to bump and run from the side and forgot 2 very important things 1)his car wasn’t handling as well as Kyle’s and 2) he was trying it against Rowdy…while Rowdy was leading…in the last few laps. Poor judgement at the least.
Jr needs to get AMP’d up! (sorry_)
Wow! This guy Mike seems to have it all together. He actually KNOWS what Busch did or didn’t do! If you are that good man, then I need your help on some investments.
Listen, NONE of us fans know who was at fault (if anyone). Just remember, Busch sure has been in this position a LOT during his short career. He WRECKS people. Maybe he didn’t do it this time, but no one really knows. Remember Mike, in EVERY walk of life ones reputation precedes them. Please, never make a statement you cannot backup or prove.
The FOX clowns are one of the reasons I do not watch much anymore. Usually mute the TV. I watch the races when FOX is finished for the season.
And it does not matter if you are a Busch fan or not, the video clearly showed him with his front wheels turned right.
Speaking of the Fox Cavalcade of Broadcast Buffoons….
I found out one of the greatest things EVER for this race.
Worth every penny!
His wheels were turned right because, as any driver’s ed teacher will tell you, you steer into a skid. His front wheels didnt turn right until after his back end started sliding. Unfortunately, Jr’s car was there on the outside, otherwise he would have simply slid up the track.
Joe – “Kyle Shrub is dangerous!…and anyone who says otherwise is an idiot!!! I hope to goodness someone puts him in the wall…HARD!!!!”
WOW Joe, that’s some statement. Wishing great financial damage on someone you don’t know, will never know and more to the point haven’t clue #1 whether Busch hit Junior with ill intent.
Question, why expel so much hate his way when Michael Waltrip did in fact do something in the same event that was demonstrably intentional?
And BTW, there must be one helluva lot of “idiots” around because you seem to be in the minority on this subject.
Matt – “The remaining potential, high profile free agents like Ryan Newman and Martin Truex, Jr. just saw their price tag ratchet up a few notches.”
Just a bit behind the news cycle aren’t you?
Truex Jr’s. contract option was picked up by DEI for 2009 7 days ago.
marc, it’s not that easy. Truex Jr. has already said he has conditions HE is in control of. it AINT a DONE DEAL….
Sorry Marc, you’re the one a few fries short of a Happy Meal here.
You’ll have to read down a ways to find the info so don’t let your lips go numb.
Treux has to agree to the extension and its terms. He’s got an opt out clause where he can leave the team citing lack of performance.
If that’s the best you’ve got, this is going to be a short week. No wonder you took so long to crash the party this week. Stop me if you’ve heard this before but if anybody needs me I’ll be out….
Kyle is a younger and a lot less classier version of “Swervin Irvan”.
Why do these folks keep referring to Busch as the Shrub? A near beer maybe, but not a shrub. A shrub is a bush. A little spelling lesson here.
Matt – “You’ll have to read down a ways to find the info so don’t let your lips go numb.”
Not that I take your advice on many things (actually none) I did read it and oddly enough prior to you pointing it out.
The para you ref says this: “That leaves Martin Truex Jr. and Ryan Newman as the top remaining free agents. Dale Earnhardt Inc. holds an option on Truex that it wants to exercise, but Truex has to agree to the terms under the language of his existing deal.”
That in no way suggests he’s going anywhere no matter how or why you want to spin. The option is picked up, he’s now under contract thru the 2009 season and the only thing remaining is trivial BS details.
I won’t hold my breath waiting for Truex to move anywhere and you shouldn’t either.
uhm..i think “agree to the terms” would suggest a salary hike is possible.
Matt’s right, pretty paltry effort from you this week. I’m disappointed.
Ed, “Shrub” is the nickname given to Kyle by his older brother Kurt. Kyle is a younger Busch, hence the name shrub. It has to do with the pronunciation and not the spelling.
I just read another outstanding race analysis by my favorite Nascar writer. Matt, I keep thinking you’ll pen one of those Nascar/Harlequin books (probably have to use a pen name)so at least one of them might actually be readable. I loved your last book!
As to race attendance vs television, I usually attend the Texas races and a few others occassionally when the budget can handle it, went to Martinsville and Daytona last couple of years.
However, with all the new toys to watch the races with, those trips aren’t as attractive. I have DirecTV’s hot pass (Now in HD, yeah!)and Nascar.com’s Raceview. Between the two and Sirius radio, I never miss anything! Hot Pass continues to show the designated driver in a square at the bottom left of the screen during commercials, and Raceview gives constant timing and scoring as well as a nice “virtual” representation of the cars and their relative position on the track. Raceview had all kinds of neat gadgets now, you can zoom, change views (top, front, rear), and keep up with pit stops as they are happening. All cars pit times are accessible. I no longer have to wait on the network returning from commercial to sort out the order after pit stops. It is easy to tell who actually got two tires, etc.by checking their pit times.
Hot pass is wonderful, but they only cover 4 drivers a week now. So, I listen to the radio broadcast, watch a Chevy driver on Hot Pass, it also has the network feed in the upper right hand corner of the screen, and follow my favorite driver on Raceview. I’m also DVR’ing the network broadcast to watch later or during cautions, red flags, etc.
When the race is over, I’m sitting at home instead of fighting traffic and airport congestion. All said, it’s a good time to be a NASCAR fan!