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 19, 2008
The Key Moment: Kasey Kahne blew past Denny Hamlin’s ailing Toyota on lap nine of the final segment and drove off into the distance.
In a Nutshell: Forget checkers or wreckers; this one was laps and naps.
Dramatic Moment: The first ten laps of the final segment featured the only real competitive action of a long evening.
What They’ll Be Talking About Around the Water Cooler This Week
You need any more evidence this Ugly Dog new car is ruining racing? Time after time at Charlotte, the lead car in clean air simply drove off into the distance. Single file racing was the norm all night, and once-dominant cars couldn’t go anywhere once they got caught back in traffic. Somewhere tonight, they’re talking Humpy Wheeler down off a ledge. If there’s going to be 600 miles of this type of racing next weekend, it’s going to be a real long night.
Is all this All-Star foolishness outlasting its usefulness? With all the convoluted rules, it’s getting harder to figure out what the Hell is going on. I mean, come on, A.J. Allmendinger in the All-Star Race? My suggestion is to prepare equal cars for the competitors and run them at the dirt track at Charlotte instead; I mean, anything has to beat the monotony of the current format with the new cars. Burnout competitions, pit crew challenges, heat races, and fans voting a driver into the show? To heck with all that; I just want to see some good racing again!
Did it seem like Greg Biffle was forcing himself to sound upbeat after losing the race? Last week, he threw his crew under the bus at Darlington, igniting a firestorm of rumors he was looking to leave Roush Fenway Racing.
What in the Hell is wrong with the No. 24 team? If they’re going to run that bad next week, they might as well stay home.
Are there going to be enough parts to fix all the cars damaged at Indy this week?
No rain at Charlotte in the month of May? Maybe there is something to this global warming thing after all.
I guess Jack Roush laid down the law after Darlington; I noticed his teams were using torque wrenches to ensure the wheels were all tight on his four cars during the ten minute break. Unfortunately for the Roush teams, you can’t do that during a race; there were rumors that the No. 16 car had another wheel left loose on its final pit stop.
Kyle Busch might have replaced the Chase as fans’ favorite thing to hate. I actually felt bad for his crew guys having to listen to those cheers as they pushed their wounded car into the garage area; it seems people forget that they aren’t the ones that wrecked Junior.
The other teams really have to be worried about this experimental Toyota motor. Even on seven cylinders, Kyle Busch was faster than most of the other cars running full song. If JGR ever finds a way to get that new engine to last, look out.
Tony Stewart driving for Dale Earnhardt, Jr. in the Cup series next year? The Silly Season has officially gone insane.
With all the sizzle leading up to the event, you had to think there had to be some steak somewhere… but it was not to be. Give SPEED some credit, though; they showed each segment in its entirety without commercial breaks. FOX normally gets at least two breaks in during 25 laps of racing…
Call it the Hammond Factor: There is no program so poorly conceived, insipid, annoying, or pointless that it can’t be made even more unendurable by bringing Jeff Hammond into the picture.
Sprint decided to use their big show to honor their loyal customers. Maybe next week they can honor those of us who refuse to own or use a cell phone for all the traffic accidents we don’t cause driving while distracted, and the all the motorcyclists we don’t kill text messaging our buds at the wheel?
They discuss what the stars show up wearing at the Oscars, so I guess we need to discuss all those special one race paint schemes used in the All Star Race. My nod for the best of them goes to the No. 88 car’s tribute to the Gray Ghost, the car that Buddy Baker used to finally won the Daytona 500 in 1980. Nothing else was even close.
The Hindenburg Award For Foul Fortune
Kyle Busch once again appeared to have the field covered, but lost an engine near the end of the second segment.
Denny Hamlin, Busch’s teammate, also gave up the lead as his Toyota’s mill expired with just sixteen laps left.
Dale Jarrett’s final ride resulted in a 22nd place finish in yet another hopelessly uncompetitive Michael Waltrip Racing entry. Maybe he should have raced that Big Brown Truck instead Saturday night.
With the old car, four tires might have been the right call — but Dale Earnhardt, Jr.’s chances of winning another All Star race evaporated in the pits due to conservative strategy, as Charlotte’s track was a no-passing zone on this night.
Richard Childress Racing’s’ three Chevys looked off song all evening. Considering Kevin Harvick won this event last year, it looks like they’ve got some work to do before next weekend.
The “Seven Come Fore Eleven” Award For Fine Fortune
Some would argue that Kasey Kahne didn’t even belong in the All Star Race, having failed to win a race the last two years or earn his way in through the heat race. But the fans voted him in, and I’m never going to run counter to the fans’ wishes. Maybe Dale Earnhardt, Jr. isn’t all that popular after all, and the fans just like the Bud car? Nah.
Sam Hornish, Jr. managed to race his way into the big snore — I mean show — via the heat race, but hit the wall a ton early in the main event. He bent up his car and lost two laps because of it, but still managed to post a seventh place finish when things were all said and done. It just goes to show the value of never giving up, especially while having a car with the body so askew on the chassis it looks like a dog-trotting ’70s Nova.
Jack Roush’s Fords didn’t win the race, but they still looked strong on a midsize track, as they have all season long. The Roush Fenway drivers now look to be the favorites heading into next week’s 600. I know what you’re about to say; but do you really think a Gillett-Evernham Dodge is going to last 600 miles? Not going to happen.
As bad as he ran in the first three segments, Jimmie Johnson has got to consider a fourth place finish in the last one as a gift.
Tony Stewart was fortunate enough to have his JGR engine expire prior to the race, allowing him to finish the night in the Top 5 instead of in the garage.
Overall Rating (On a scale of one to six beer cans, with one being a stinker and a six pack an instant classic): A skunked can of Iron City. That was absolutely pathetic. If this “event” doesn’t cause NASCAR to tweak on the new car, then it appears certain this sport is headed right down the toilet. There’s only so much of this crap fans will put up with.
Next Up: Next weekend features three of the most dramatic and high profile racing events of the year; the Grand Prix of Monaco, the Indy 500, and the nightcap, the Coca-Cola 600.
©2000 - 2008 Matt McLaughlin and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
Cars with fresh tires can’t catch/pass cars with 25-lap tires and you conclude that the problem is the car rather than the tires?
Come off it. The racing at Charlotte has been lousy ever since the repaving job. What’s needed are time and softer tires — the car has nothing to do with it.
I fell asleep during segment 3 of this stupid “event”!
And glad I did! What a snoozer!
Now I do not have anything against Kasey, actually glad he won, but when they hold an “All Star” type event, you would think the powers-to-be would let the silly race be won on the track, not in the pits!
Turns out that this Saturday night atrocity is more pit strategy than it is speed on the track!
And then you throw in the CoT!!
WHAT A DISASTER!!!
They need to trash this mess! It was a good event for years, but NASCAR always has to mess up a good thing, by “tweaking” it. It was a travesty that Bill Elliott had to try to race his way in, but Jarrett didn’t. Former winners and champions, no matter their status, should be competing. I agree with you Matt. Let’s put them on a dirt track with equal cars and see how good they really are. The silly pre-race hype can come to an end as well. I checked at one point and the countdown clock said 45 min to go until the race. That was almost 2 hours before the race began. Needless to say I didn’t tune in until time for the green flag to fall. I also agree about Hammond. I don’t guess the FOX announcers will ever learn that they aren’t the “show.” DW and Larry Mac tried their version of making the race exciting with their constant yelling, but it didn’t work as usual. Then you add the COT, which looks like a worn out jalopy going down the highway these days, and you have your basic boring race.
or… maybe Dale Jr. was already in the race and Kasey was the silver medal?
I too fell asleep after I saw Kyle go out then Biffle run away, Kenseth and Junior. Seems I didn’t miss much but it was surprising to see Kahne win.
My prediction for the World 600. Roush car will win it and 3 cars will be on the lead lap.
Also, with Jr. going retro on the last 2 races with his paint schemes (Dew Crew DW scheme) and the Gray Ghost, I hope he can incorporate a Folgers look on one of his cars this year, preferrably at Pocono or the Glen.
QUOTE: “and the nightcap, the Coca-Cola 600”.
How very appropriate to say the 600 will be the “nightcap” of the day! “Nightcaps” by definition are designed to put one to sleep!!
First off, yes Mr. SmartA**, they do have enough parts to fix A.J. Foyt IV’s car after yesterday’s accident, in which his car did its best impersonation of a Roman candle. And if they don’t, Vision Racing has a backup car, so the worst that could happen is Foyt starts 33rd (go to your backup or substitute a driver, go to the back @ Indy for the 500) So there! :^P
Secondly, I’m afraid I have to agree with Ed, Douglas, and Joe: my wife and I fell asleep on couch not once, but TWICE trying to watch this! Once during the live coverage of the All-Star race, and then later when SpeedTV showed the replays.
But the night was summed up for me when my wife asked: “So how do they decide who gets into the All-Star race?” I realized that without going to the NASCAR.COM website I couldn’t explain it, and I was too comfortable cuddled up next to her while napping to get off the couch to find out.
My wife’s take: “The most exciting thing was seeing Dale Jarrett go around the racetrack in the Big Brown Truck during the pre-race”.
Matt, what’s with that backhanded remark about Allmendinger making the show? As long as I can remember the winner of the Open has always made the big show. And Allmendinger won the thing.
I am so tired of listening to DW so far up Kyle’s butt it isn’t funny. That is ALL he can talk about. That is way to much favoritism coming from a race announcer. Sure DW is on the Toyota band wagon but come on. We were ready to mute the TV when Kyle went out of the race. That was the only way DW quit praising Kyle with his every word.
Jr. fans are NOT the only ones who dislike Kyle.
Kyle IS DW. Also, with the comment about Almendinger making the Winston, I will always call it that, one has to wonder if Matt felt the same way when Mikey won it back in the mid 90’s driving the Citgo car. When will people give the Toyota bias a rest and just accept that they are in NASCAR and not going anywhere for a while? The xenophobia is kinda ridiculous. No one cried when Daimler Chrysler re-entered the sport.
Easy on the Iron City bashing, they might not be around much longer.
What will be interesting is how they will be able to take Saturday night’s race and make a promo clip for next year that makes it look exciting. My bet is that all the clips they will use none from this year because there was no excitement.
Joe, it’s every American’s God given right to be xenophobic no matter how pointless.
iron city beats your colorado kool-aid any day! nascar’s low just reached a new high.
I really don’t care myself if Toyota is in the Cup or not. But I know LOTS of people who aren’t happy about it. I just tried to trade my Chevy Trailblazer in on a Toyota. Seems like the Toyotas can get better gas milage and produce a car that rates high in safety. Sad to say I owe to much on mine to make the deal. When I bought it the gas price wasn’t big deal, but now it is.
Yay for me…I finally got to see a race on SPEED. Absolutely thee most boring race I have ever watched. My friend, his wife, his kids and even his dog were out cold toward the end. On the other hand, what an eye-opener it was for me to see those two chicken-chokers in the booth.
Does FOX own SPEED? That’d be news to me, I thought SPEED stood on its own.
I predict the 600’s TV numbers will be down.
Horrible, horrible ‘race’. Hell, it’s not even a race anymore; the drivers and teams admit so much that all it is is a glorified test session, so it shouldn’t be any surprise that the race comes off as being one.
Barring some fuel mileage drama or an extremely high engine attrition rate, the upcoming 600 has the potential to be the most boring race in recent history (which is saying something).
Very true mindcrime, but to keep beating the same damn drum every week is kinda tired. It is what it is, deal with it and force the folks in Detroit to make a better car.
What am i missing? Where’s the Toyota bashing?
I said DJs car wasn’t competitive. Didn’t even mention the brand.
I nited that the JGR experimental engine was faster om seven clyinders then most of the other cars, Toyota included, hitting on all 8. I didn’t call for the engine to be banned. ai just said the other teams have to concerned.
I don’t care if folks take exception to what I did write, but it’s tough getting blamed for what I didn’t.
Matt, my comment was aimed toward another poster’s comments, not another poster thus hopefully no deletion. Sorry for the confusion. As for the beating the drum comment, again that was a general comment about the weekly Toyota bashing that occurs. Sorry, but it annoys me. No need to go to the way back machine and analyze the last 5 months worth of columns as that is simply my perception.
Why do you have a problem with Almendinger transferring on to the big race? It is what it is. Hell, Brett Bodine, Richard Brickhouse, Bobby Hillin Jr. and many others have happened upon a victory that is akin to the sun shining on a dog’s arse once in a while. My solution to the Winston and something that would make it more entertaining, for me anyway, is put 30 sets of rental car keys in a fish bowl and each driver picks one and they race what they get. If you drew the Aspire or the Cobalt, tough crap, make the best of it. If you draw the Hummer, good luck with the 10 miles to the gallon or whatever.
The “race” was as big a black eye to NASCAR as the wreckfest in the rain a few years back when Jeff Gordon won in a backup car. They may as well have called Saturday night the Polished Turd presented by Sprint.
One thing I did like was Hammond’s thinning hair to match his makeup. For someone who tries so hard to convey a macho, rough and tumble cowboy image, he sure does seem to spend quite a bit of time in the makeup chair. He’s absolutely horrible. Unfortunately I think he’s as much a product of the FOX hype machine as he is a self promoter like DW. I would say put Andy Petree in his spot but it’d be ashame to see Fox ruin Petree too.
Your last article really drove home the point as to what kind of fan I and probably a lot of old NASCAR fans have become. I, for one, can appreciate Kyle Busch as he has that swagger that DW, Tim Richmond, and Rusty Wallace had coupled with the talent to back it up. I was just hoping after the crowd cheered his car blowing up that he’d get on the loudspeaker at Lowes and challenge everyone in the crowd to a fight in the K Mart parking lot like DW did back in the day. I mean take out the twerpy lunch money look of Kyle Busch and go strictly by his driving and attitude and tell me you don’t see shades of the 3 drivers I mentioned. Plus the salute to Rowdy Burns during the truck race was hilarious. Free advertising for Exxon, as if they needed it. Open faced helmet with the tinted goggles and the microphone, that was classic. I think he’s the driver that many wish Tony Stewart or Kevin Harvick would have become strictly from the attitude stand point.
Great read Matt. This race sucked. We just got SPEED and for the past few days before this so called race was all the hype.
I had hoped with SPEED I would see less of DW and the butcher of the english lanquage Larry Mac but no SPEED has these buttmunchs doing the main event.
But I must add I do not think the COT was the problem. The Winston or what ever it is called has sucked for years now.
We both fell asleep and saw the finish on the late night news.
I don’t believe I said that only Junior fans dislike Kyle. As for whining about Toyota, hardly so Connie. I am simply pointing out an ongoing theme of the responses to Matt’s columns. No whining intended, I think you’re sniping and just picking out blurbs versus looking at the entire post.
When the best thing you can say about a Nascar All-Star race is that the commercial frequency is a little less than usual, something is seriously wrong. Wake up, Nascar. And that’s all I have to say, thank you.