Kurt Busch to Attempt The Indianapolis-Charlotte Double
posted by Phil Allaway
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Andretti Autosport announced this morning that Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet in the Sprint Cup Series, will attempt the Indianapolis 500 in a fifth entry for the IndyCar Series team. Once the Indianapolis 500 is completed, Busch will fly from Indianapolis to Charlotte, jump in his No. 41 Chevrolet and compete in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Busch considers the opportunity to do the double as an old-school throwback moment.
“This is really to challenge myself within motorsports,” Busch said in Andretti Autosport’s press release. “Perhaps I am a bit of an old-school racer; a throwback, I guess. I enjoyed the era of drivers racing different cars and testing themselves in other series. It is tough to do now for a variety of factors, but when the opportunity is there, I want to do it. While NASCAR is my home, I have been fortunate to compete in Pro Stock on the NHRA circuit a number of years ago and test a V8 Supercar. This opportunity was a talk with Michael [Andretti] over dinner one night, a “What if,” and now it’s becoming a reality for me to drive in the Indy 500 with Andretti Autosport. It’s literally a dream come true. To go to the famous Brickyard with the iconic Andretti name, it doesn’t get much cooler or better than that.”
Busch will be doing the Indianapolis-Charlotte double as a Memorial Day mission to men and women serving in the U.S. Military via the Armed Forces Foundation. Fans can contribute to the cause by texting AFF to 50555 to donate $10.
Busch, who has never raced an IndyCar, passed Rookie Orientation at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last year during a test session. At the time, Busch was more or less testing the Dallara DW12 for fun.
Busch will be the fourth driver to attempt the Indianapolis-Charlotte double. John Andretti was the first driver to attempt it in 1994. After finishing four laps down in tenth in Indianapolis, Andretti crashed and had engine problems in the 600. Robby Gordon has attempted the double five times, most recently in 2004. However, Gordon failed to make it to Charlotte on time and did not start the 600 in 2000 (P.J. Jones started Gordon’s No. 13 Ford in that instance). Finally, Tony Stewart has attempted the double twice (most recently in 2001) and is the only driver to ever complete all 1100 miles. Neither of the three drivers has won either leg of the double. The best finishes are Stewart and Gordon’s sixth-place finishes at the Indianapolis 500 (although Gordon’s came in 2000, the year he didn’t make it to Charlotte in time to start the Coca-Cola 600), and Stewart’s fourth-place finish in the 2001 Coca-Cola 600.
Danica Patrick, Justin Allgaier Talk About Phoenix Incident
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
A disappointing start to the year for Danica Patrick won’t include continued conflict. Patrick met with rookie Justin Allgaier Sunday, shortly after the Phoenix Cup race after a wreck ruined both drivers’ days. Patrick, who was critical of the No. 51 car on the radio, claiming Allgaier was “driving all over the track” appeared receptive to a conversation that quickly settled differences over what will be a long season.
“She was just upset because she got involved in the crash that we had,’’ said Allgaier to the Motor Racing Network. “She says she’s been through this and that she felt like I needed to settle down at that point. I explained my position on why everything happened. I think she understood where I was coming from. It doesn’t fix either one of our racecars. It doesn’t fix either one of our days. Unfortunately, we were both having pretty decent days.’’
Allgaier wound up 30th due to the incident while Patrick was 36th. The incident, which was caused by Allgaier’s spin also involved the No. 32 team and Travis Kvapil, which wound up 38th after sustaining heavy damage.
Camping World Close to Extending Title Sponsorship of NCWTS
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Marcus Lemonis, CEO of Camping World, Grand Marshal of Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway, and star of CNBC’s “The Profit,” made the announcement over the weekend that the retailer is very close to announcing a deal that would continue its title sponsorship of NASCAR’s Truck Series. The original agreement with NASCAR is scheduled to conclude after the 2015 season.
According to the sanctioning body, no formal contract has been signed, but “the agreement between the two parties has proven to be a beneficial one.”
“In about a month, we’ll be announcing a significant extension to that contract. It’s been great for us,” said Camping World’s Lemonis in a statement. “The NASCAR relationship has worked well for Camping World. When we started, we had 35 stores. Now, we’re up to 120 stores. As we travel the country and we meet new customers in stores, they always are very appreciative of our relationship with NASCAR. It’s been good.”
Gaining a long-term commitment from Camping World to sponsor the Truck Series would be a relief for NASCAR, which is set to lose Nationwide Insurance as title sponsor for the NASCAR Nationwide Series at the end of the 2014 season. The sponsorship of the Cup Series by Sprint runs through 2016.
The NCWTS is back in action on March 29th at 2:30 PM (ET) when the trucks visit Martinsville Speedway in the Kroger 250, which can be seen on Fox Sports 1. Ratings for the season opener were up 11 percent.
Harvick Takes Win At Phoenix In Second Race With New Team
posted by Justin Tucker
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Phoenix International Raceway has become Kevin Harvick’s home away from home. Sunday Afternoon was no exception as Harvick charged to the front early and would dominate for much of the day, leading 224 of the scheduled 312 laps to record his record fifth win on the one mile oval and his third win in the last four races at Phoenix.
Harvick, coming off of a disappointing Speedweeks which was capped by a last lap crash in the Daytona 500 in his debut with Stewart-Haas Racing, set the tone on Saturday by winning both practices while having the best 5 and 10-lap averages in the first practice of the day on Saturday. On Sunday, Harvick and his No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet was nothing short of flawless as he was able to hold Dale Earnhardt, Jr. by .489 seconds after a late race restart to claim his 24th career Sprint Cup Series victory.
“Man, this is awesome,” Harvick said after his dominant victory on Sunday. “Man, this just solidifies so many things and so many decisions. It’s been so much work with all the time and effort that these guys (the crew) have put in—but what a race car.”
Stewart Haas Racing co-owner Gene Haas shared in Harvick’s excitement after the race.
“It took long enough,” Haas joked. “This is phenomenal. I think there was a lot of skepticism last year about what myself and Tony (Stewart) what we were up to, was there a lot of madness to this. Quite frankly, it’s a great team, there’s a lot of synergy at the shop, people working together. I don’t know what we did, but I think we put together a great organization.”
Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt, Jr. continued his hot start to the 2014 season. Earnhardt Jr. would finish second on Sunday, marking his seventh consecutive top 10 finish since the end of the 2013 season. Earnhardt Jr. was pleased with the effort after a coast-to-coast whirlwind week after winning his second Daytona 500 and also gave great praise to the efforts of Harvick and the No. 4 team.
“I’ve got to congratulate Kevin. Those guys were two-tenths faster than everyone all weekend in practice. They were just phenomenal,” Earnhardt said. “To be able to run with them all day was a big confidence builder for us.”
Joining Harvick and Earnhardt in the top 5 of The Profit on CNBC 500K were Brad Keselowski with his second consecutive top 3 run of 2014 in third. Keselowski’s Team Penske teammate Joey Logano would finish fourth, and Jeff Gordon would come home fifth in his No. 24 Pepsi Max Chevrolet.
Jimmie Johnson finished in sixth, followed by Ryan Newman with a nice rebound after Daytona in seventh. Carl Edwards would carry the banner for Roush Fenway Racing by finishing eighth, Kyle Busch was ninth, and Jamie McMurray would finish tenth.
A look at the Profit on CNBC 500K by the numbers. There were 14 lead changes among eight different drivers, there were eight cautions for 39 laps which slowed the race pace to 109.229 MPH.
Next Sunday, the Sprint Cup Series heads to Sin City and the Las Vegas Motor
Starting Lineup: The Profit On CNBC 500K
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday March 1, 2014
Drivers in RED (i) are those ineligible to collect Sprint Cup points
Daytona 500 TV Ratings Down
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Wednesday February 26, 2014
What was the longest weather delay in Daytona 500 history turned out to bring NASCAR lower ratings and TV viewership Sunday night than expected. According to a report Monday from FOX Sports, the 56th running of the Daytona 500 airing at 8 PM (ET) posted a 5.6/10 national household rating/share which averaged 9.3 million viewers. That’s down 44 percent from last year’s 9.9, easily making it the least-watched Daytona 500 of all-time.
Due to the six-hour, twenty-two minute rain delay in Daytona, the race was up against the primetime coverage of the Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony from Sochi, Russia on NBC (15.25 million viewers). FOX also reported that 69% of the pre-rain delay viewers of the race, which began at 1 PM (ET) kept tuning in.
In comparison, the 2013 Daytona 500 on FOX was the most-watched race in five years, posting a 9.9/22 rating/share, commanding 16.7 million viewers. The Daytona 500 in 2012, the first to ever be run on a Monday and in the primetime slot did a 7.7/13 overnight rating/share which resulted in 13.67 million households viewing the race according to Nielsen TV ratings data.
Earnhardt, Jr. Claims Second Daytona 500 Victory
posted by Justin Tucker
Wednesday February 26, 2014
Ten years is a long time. For Dale Earnhardt, Jr., it felt like an eternity. NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver endured many near misses and close calls at the Daytona 500 since his only win in the Great American Race in 2004. Earnhardt had finished second in two of his last three Daytona 500s coming into Sunday’s race. He was also riding the tail of a 55-race winless streak, dating back to Michigan in 2012.
However nothing would stop Dale Jr. on Sunday, not even a 6 hour and 22 minute rain delay from capturing his second Daytona 500 win. Earnhardt Jr. led a race-high 54 laps on the evening and used some timely drafting help from teammates Jimmie Johnson and, on the final restart, Jeff Gordon to separate from the pack and secure the victory.
“Winning this race is the greatest feeling that you could feel in this sport besides accepting the trophy for the championship,” said a jubilant Earnhardt after pulling into Victory Lane. “We could fight off battle after battle. We got a little help at the end there from Jeff to get away on the restart. This is amazing. I can’t believe this is happening. I never take this for granted, man because it doesn’t happen twice, let alone once.”
Aside from the race itself the big story of the race was the 6 hour and 22 minute red flag, which threatened to move the race to Monday evening (had the race been postponed, FOX Sports’ Chris Myers had tweeted that the race would resume at 5:00pm EST). However, Mother Nature would cooperate and would allow the race to be run under different conditions from which they practiced this week. Once the race resumed, the intensity picked up from the changing track conditions. This allowed the pack to race side-by-side and at times 3-wide up to seven rows deep.
Joining Earnhardt Jr. in the top 5 for the 2014 Daytona 500 were: Denny Hamlin who closed out a spectacular Speedweeks in second, Brad Keselowski in third, Jeff Gordon in fourth, and Jimmie Johnson who overcome two wrecks leading up to the 500 in fifth.
Rounding out the top 10 in the Daytona 500 were Matt Kenseth in sixth, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. in seventh and Greg Biffle would bring his No. 16 Ford home in eighth. Austin Dillon would come home ninth in his first Cup Series race in the iconic No. 3 for Richard Childress Racing, while Casey Mears would round out the top 10.
A couple of major contenders for the Daytona 500 win would see their hopes dashed early on as Martin Truex, Jr. would blow up just 30 laps into the race, relegating him to a 43rd-place finish in his debut for Furniture Row Racing. Crew chief Todd Berrier was already in Nashville for a test session before the race was even over. Kyle Busch, meanwhile would have a pit road violation just before halfway and would spend much of the race battling back from that mistake. Busch would eventually finish 19th after leading 19 laps.
Danica Patrick would also be bit by bad luck as she was caught up in a multi-car wreck on lap 145. Patrick would lead her second consecutive Daytona 500, but wouldn’t have the finish to show for it finishing 40th. Tony Stewart would encounter a frustrating evening as well, with a fuel pickup problem derailing his quest for his first Daytona 500 win. Stewart would finish 35th.
A look at the Daytona 500 by the numbers. There were 42 lead changes among 18 drivers, while seven cautions for 39 laps would slow the race pace to 145.290 MPH.
Next week, the Sprint Cup Series heads to the “diamond in the desert,” Phoenix International Raceway for The Profit on CNBC 500K. The Green flag is scheduled for 3:15pm EST.
Nationwide Series Post-Race Quotes: Drive4COPD 300
posted by Thomas Bowles
Tuesday February 25, 2014
Frontstretch Interviews – Courtesy Mike Neff
ELLIOTT SADLER – FINISHED 4th
Thoughts on the race?
It’s definitely a lot different racing than what we’re used to.
Comfortable with it?
Yeah, it’s just different. You’re worried about what you’re doing, but you’re also worried about what everyone else is doing and they’re not doing more than you’re doing. Physically pushing a guy is way better than just riding so you just gotta time it right and push it to the edge.
Happy to start the year with a top 5?
Yeah. Hell, that was the worst we ran all day, I think. I have no idea how they put the 3 car in front of us on that last restart. I hadn’t seen the 3 car hardly all day. When they put us from fifth to sixth, on the outside line, it just really boxed us in. I would have really restarted behind my teammate and given him a good push to the front. Anyways, it is what it is; we’ll take it and move on.
Looked like you were up front all day.
The guys did a good job. We had a fast race car. Great pit stops, just really proud of these guys. The car’s in one piece and we can take it to Talladega now. Great job by my guys. A lot of effort came into coming down here to Daytona and giving ourselves a shot to win. We had that chance to be up front and make some things happen. Fifth is not what we want, but we’ll take it and move on.
Bumping vs Pushing?
It’s way harder. You don’t want to lay on the guy in front of you, so it’s tough racing. A lot different than what we’re used to, ‘cause you gotta go. You gotta drag the brake too ‘cause you don’t want to hit the guys and you don’t want to stay on him. It’s a lot harder mentally than what we’ve done in the past.
Car was strong all day. Pushing vs. Bumping, is that harder to do than just getting on somebody and pushing them?
Yeah, it is a little bit. When you bump ‘em, you jar ‘em, it kinda jacks ‘em a little bit. It’s a little more abrupt, obviously. I thought it was OK there at the end. It was certainly fun and hopefully entertaining. But a little bit of a struggle in the early part of the race and the midpart of the race to see a good race. And that’s unfortunate for the fans. You can’t do that the whole race, you can’t tear up your stuff, knock your grill in, overheat your motor, all that stuff so there’s no sense in doing all that until you get down to the last lap. The 7 and the 6, they did a good job. Man, the 7 really held the 22 and I tight on the bottom. I was rubbing his door and hitting the apron at the same time, no room whatsoever. So it was good; wish we were the ones who could have won but a lot better now than what we were last year.
Going home in one piece makes it a lot better, right?
Yeah. My back feels good. My foot feels good. Past years here, I’ve been going home with pain so I’m alright.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Truck Series Post-Race Quotes: Daytona (Exclusives)
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday February 22, 2014
When you’re on the outside like that, how frustrating is it?
It’s so hard. Timothy Peters has won here. Kyle Busch has won everywhere. Ron Hornaday has been running Trucks forever, probably before I was even born. I was surrounded by veterans there, and like I told them I don’t have a rookie stripe but I’m a rookie. This is only my fourth Truck race ever, my fourth superspeedway race, and man, I figured out when the 17 got up in front of me, I pushed him. And as soon as I pushed him, he took off. And I went with him. And I just kept doing it, and before I knew it, he was leading. And I saw Ron in my mirror, backed up to him, and if it wasn’t for him, I don’t know what would have happened. I gotta thank him big time for that. That was a true teammate move right there. I really appreciate that. He just bounced off me and we got to the front. I tried my hardest to sidedraft Kyle. I was probably touching his door.
Top 5 in the No. 30 truck. This deal come together at the last minute, but you had a heck of a truck. Tell us about your night.
Yeah, I’ve got to thank Turner Scott Motorsports. The guys worked so hard on this Rheem Comfort Products Chevrolet. Exciting! Just got hung up on the outside and had to wait for my teammate there to catch up. And then he got to the bottom, so… I got the old 32 and started pushing ol’ Ryan to the front. So, it’s not bad. We’ll take it. You just don’t want to step over that boundary. You don’t know how far to push and shove. We bumped about six times down the straightaway without latching onto them. Hopefully, that was OK and we came home with a top 5.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Budweiser Duels Post Race Quotes
posted by Matt Stallknecht
Friday February 21, 2014
BUDWEISER DUELS POST-RACE QUOTES
They’re saying the wheel bearing burned up in it. I don’t know what caused it, they’re taking it all apart to figure out what the heck happened. Something abnormal that’s for sure I don’t think I’ve ever had that happen at all. Hopefully, we made the race and hopefully we can fix the problem before Sunday.
WHAT WAS THAT LOUD BOOM ONCE YOU TURNED INTO THE GARAGE?
Loud pop was a tire… thankfully, it popped, hopefully it didn’t hurt anybody. All the heat created in the left front that popped was pretty weird.
REALLY GOOD RUN. WHAT DID YOU THINK OF IT?
Yeah, it was good. We have a car we can work with for the 500. Got a good starting spot, so we’re going to rest easy, fluff and buff our car for a couple of days and get ready for Sunday.
ANY DIFFERENCE ON WHETHER THE TOP OR BOTTOM LANE WORKED?
Yeah, I was just moving around, trying to stay with the flow. For me, this car works on all parts of the racetrack. So I’m pretty happy with it.
DALE EARNHARDT, JR.
GOT SHUFFLED BACK, AFTER PIT STOPS AND THEN COULDN’T GET BACK UP TO THE FRONT. WHY?
Nah, we were just sitting there waiting until the last few laps to make a move. You didn’t want to pull down and get sent to the back. Seen a couple of guys get sent to the back really quick so we were just kind of waiting for the end. I felt like we had a good situation there with Ambrose behind us — we had a good run off Turn 2 and I went. It was the last lap, time to go do something, nobody went with us but hopefully Sunday is a different story.
We got a great car. We don’t have to work hard. We learned, we got a good race car. Got a car in one piece, ready to go so we’ll try and get through the next couple of practices, deliver it to the starting group this Sunday and we’ll be real happy.
YOU’RE IN THE DAYTONA 500!
Yeah, it’s pretty awesome. This Whitetail Chevrolet was so fast that I knew all I had to do was stick it behind smart, intelligent drafters and we could have a good finish. That’s what we did in the Duels and I’m excited. I’m excited to go do some stuff with the Nationwide car and have some more practice with this. But to know that we’re locked in the Daytona 500’s pretty cool.
YOU WERE OBVIOUSLY IN FRONT OF THAT MELEE AT THE END. WHEN YOU WERE UP FRONT THERE IN THE BEGINNING, WERE YOU HOPING TO JUST STAY IN LINE AND LET YOU FINISH TOP 5?
I was pretty content to ride and luckily I knew a lot of people around us were. It was nice to have a little calm and not really have to be racing hard the whole time. I knew that the pit stop was going to shake everything up and that’s exactly what happened. Fell back a little bit there but made the right moves at the end to get a good finish.
HOW STRONG ARE THESE RCR CARS?
They’re very strong! They definitely have the capabilities to be winning one of these races.
YOU’RE IN THE TOP 5 FOR YOUR HEAT IN THE DAYTONA 500. YOUR PRIMARY CAR IS SITTING RIGHT IN THE GARAGE, KIND OF WADDED UP. DID YOU THINK THIS ONE HAD IT IN IT?
Yeah, it’s a brand new car also. It’s just not quite as good as the primary but still a damned good car. I’m just proud of everybody at RCR for building such fast race cars. All of our cars have been fast, ECR motor’s been strong, even our affiliate teams have been qualifying really good and racing good. So… excited about 2014! It’s going to be a good year.
WELL MAN, YOU STARTED IN THE BACK BUT WORKED YOUR WAY TO THE FRONT WHEN IT COUNTED MOST. WERE YOU JUST BIDING YOUR TIME THROUGHOUT THE RACE?
Eh, you never know if you’re going to get back up there or not. We had to start at the back, we had to make a run early and see what we could do. We drove right to 10th, or something like that and then it got stagnant. We tried to make something happen, and went to the back again. Drove back up to the front. Again, just really proud of my guys. Matt Kruder did a hell of a job on that pit stop getting just enough gas in to gain some spots there.
RCR CARS SEEM PRETTY DARNED STRONG. DO YOU THINK THE RCR CARS HAVE SOMETHING FOR THEM ON SUNDAY — ESPECIALLY THE THREE JOE GIBBS RACING CARS THAT SEEM TO BE THE CLASS OF THE FIELD RIGHT NOW?
Oh yeah. The 20 car was extremely fast. The 11 didn’t qualify that good, but he’s a good drafter. I think he won. We definitely have something for him.
Check in with Matt and Jay on their site at CareyandCoffey.com.
Matt McLaughlin · Monday May 26, 2008
The Key Moment – Tony Stewart cut down a tire with three laps to go, allowing Kasey Kahne to streak by him for the win.
In a Nutshell – It might sound like damning it with faint praise, but the World 600 was nowhere near as awful as last week’s All-Star race hinted it might be.
Dramatic Moment – Tony Stewart looked to be cruising to the checkers when he began slowing dramatically, handing the race to Kahne.
With the new car making passing so difficult, every restart caused an all out land rush for positions in the first five laps after the green.
What They’ll Be Talking About Around the Water Cooler This Week
Does anyone else think that with this new car, the World 600 ought to be run as two full, points-paying 300-mile events?
NASCAR keeps saying they’re going to crack down on the driver in the lead if he brake checks the field coming to a green flag, but they continue to swallow their whistle even when a driver does exactly that — like Stewart did Sunday.
What’s it going to take for stock car racing fans to be able to enjoy the same side-by-side coverage during commercial breaks open wheel racing fans get?
Is there anything more frightening than watching a tire / wheel combination separate from a race car and head into an area populated with fans? Once again, we dodged a bullet Sunday night.
Is anyone else hearing increased rumors Sprint would like to bail on NASCAR?
Farewell and thanks to Humpy Wheeler, the sports’ leading prophet and visionary, not only an extraordinary businessman but an extraordinary gentleman as well. Wheeler’s decision to leave came about awfully quickly, and there’s rumors of some sort of discord between Wheeler and his former boss, Bruton Smith. But I doubt that discord tells the whole story. Wheeler has always been blessed with a clear vision of where our sport is heading. It may just be the prophet sees what’s coming down the road and doesn’t want to ride along for the downhill slide.
Speaking of Smith, ol’ Bruton raised some eyebrows this week with the purchase of the Kentucky Speedway. Before the ink was even dry on the contract, Smith told those on hand he planned to hold a Cup race there — potentially as soon as 2009. Not so fast, NASCAR officials responded, claiming no such race is in the cards. But what Bruton Smith wants, Bruton Smith typically gets. Smith is also allegedly interested in purchasing two of the last three independent race tracks to hold Cup races — Pocono and Dover — and is said to still be interested in opening a track in the New York City area. Hmm… seems to me with all the race tracks this guy owns, he could conduct his own stock car racing series very easily and not have to go to NASCAR and the France family looking for race dates.
I’ll say this for Danica Patrick: She sure does know how to throw a major league hissy fit. Nobody is even suggesting that Tony Kanaan might switch to stock cars, but this Memorial Day weekend he gets the nod for showing class in the face of overwhelming disappointment.
Team owners and drivers have pleaded with NASCAR officials for some changes to the new car to make them handle better and improve the quality of racing. But NASCAR officials have refused to budge, stating the car “is what it is,” and it’s up to those teams to find a way to make them handle better — there weren’t going to be any rules changes. So, some teams found that messing with the rear wheel alignment made their cars faster and handle better, even if they did look a bit odd dog-trotting down the straights. So, what do NASCAR officials do? They go ahead and change the rules, like they said they wouldn’t, to limit the off-kilter rear alignment. You know, maybe a new stock car racing series isn’t such a bad idea after all.
Tony Stewart was forced to get rid of his pet monkey recently, as the animal was growing more aggressive (like owner, like pet, I guess). Hey, who knew primates made poor pets? But now, can we say Stewart finally has the monkey off his back?
Some people ask me why I keep commentating on this sport when it so clearly annoys me sometimes. My landlord and buddy showed up Sunday at the wheel of a Grumman Kurbside step van he won on eBay this weekend. Johnny, you are now officially insane (and need to get that roach coach out of my yard). Being a race fan keeps me out of trouble.
The Hindenburg Award For Foul Fortune
Dale Earnhardt, Jr. led 76 laps and was leading the race when an apparent cut tire put him hard into the wall.
Jimmie Johnson led the race with less than one hundred miles to go, but lost an engine in dramatic fashion while running second.
Brian Vickers clearly had one of the fastest cars in the first half of the race, but a broken wheel on lap 185 put him hard into the wall. David Gilliland was unable to avoid the loose wheel and wrecked as well.
Carl Edwards ran out of gas on the final lap and had to coast to a frustrating ninth place finish.
Kurt Busch led laps early in the race, but saw his chances at a win evaporate when he and the wall had a close encounter of the wrong kind.
The “Seven Come Fore Eleven” Award For Fine Fortune
With a win in the All-Star race and the World 600, it was a pretty good week for Kasey Kahne.
Kyle Busch had electrical problems, and made an unscheduled pit stop mistakenly thinking he had a flat tire — but still managed to pull off a third place finish. Apparently, Busch also had to dodge several beverage cans thrown at his car; even if you loathe the guy, that crap has got to stop.
When Dale Earnhardt, Jr. slapped the wall, it looked like his night was over — but fuel strategy in the final segment allowed him to escape Charlotte with a Top 5 finish.
Jeff Gordon’s car looked like a garbage scow once again, struggling to stay on the lead lap for much of the event — but he left Charlotte with the fourth place check in his pocket.
What’s the Points?
Kyle Busch maintains his points lead, and is now 94 ahead of Jeff Burton, who remains second in the standings. Actually, the Top 5 hold serve with Earnhardt, Hamlin, and Bowyer maintaining their positions.
Jimmie Johnson’s blown engine cost him big time in the points standings; he fell three spots to ninth. Behind him, David Ragan fell out of the Top 12, dropping a spot to thirteenth behind Kasey Kahne.
Kevin Harvick advanced two spots to seventh in the standings, while Carl Edwards moved up a spot to sixth. Matt Kenseth moved up four spots to sixteenth.
Kyle Busch is now at least a full race worth of points ahead of everyone from fourth place Denny Hamlin on back. If the new points system costs Busch a title, it might just be NASCAR’s last chance to get the fans to Embrace the Chase.
Michael Waltrip really needs to step things up at Dover next week. The No. 55 team only has a three point advantage over the No. 77 outfit clinging to 35th place, which guarantees teams automatic entry into each race.
Overall Rating (On a scale of one to six beer cans, with one being a stinker and a six pack an instant classic) : Frankly, I thought this was going to be an incredibly putrid race, but it was only a minorly putrid race. A lot happened over the final ten laps, so I’ll give it four cans of icy cold Colorado Kool-Aid for exceeding expectations.
Next Up – The series heads north for a race at Dover next Sunday afternoon. Racing on Sunday afternoon! What will they think of next? Maybe Harley Davidson will develop a motorcycle with a V-twin engine?
©2000 - 2008 Matt McLaughlin and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
I’m glad I watched the last 20 laps or so. Seems like I got the best part of the race. I wonder why the FOX boys made such a big deal out of the “huge crowd” at the race? I saw a lot of empty seats along with those ticket sales ads on TV last weekend. I guess they were following NASCAR’s instructions. Also, since when do the FOX dunces keep refering to the “Sunoco” racing fuel? Why not just fuel? Is Sonoco paying them too? I laughed at Jeff Hammond talking about the “wallered” out lug holes on the tire that got away. Sounded like my old maid aunt.
Can somebody explain to me why NASCAR restarted the race after a caution, only to immediately throw thw Yellow again for “debris”? Why didn’t they clean the track properly the first time? I forget who the “lucky dog” was, but i’m sure he’s grateful.
The reason guys are brake checking on these restarts is because you have guys trying to roll these restarts and you have guys trying to lag back to get these nice runs going. If NASCAR stops that you wont have guys brake checking on the restarts.
Jeff Hammond- wallered out
Darrell Waltrip- marred in traffic
Okay we all get it, Matt … you hate Tony Stewart (did he steal your girlfriend in high school or something?)!
Everything that involves him is a plague on the series in your opinion. He must have brake checked the field (when it was well documented that he spun the tires; a mistake even the best race car drivers make) because he’s that kind of a jerk, right? The misfortute of losing a tire with THREE laps to go when he had a commanding lead is apparently not MISFORTUNATE enough to compare to Jr, Jimmie, KB or Brian Vickers (I agree that these drivers had bad luck, but Smoke’s misfortunate was clearly heartbreaking and he didn’t have time to recover from it like Jr or KB did). Then the cheap shot at his behaviour when he obviously realized that a local Zoo could provide better care for his cherished pet than he could (a smart and compassionate thing to do).
You’re total bias and lack of respect for one of the best drivers to grace the series is getting old and bordering on pathetic!
I had to laugh when Mike Joy showed he belonged with the Fox yahoos at the end of the telecast.
No matter what Max says, Tony checked the field on that restart. The truck left the track at 65 MPH; Tony dropped to 53 mph at the green flag.He accelerated exactly when Kasey tagged his back bumper, then spun his tires. He brake-checked.
On a lighter note…How, in this terrorist age, did anyone allow Humpy to amass so many pipers in one spot? A small IED could have taken out more than half of the US arsenal of bagpipes. Not that it would have, neccessarily, been a bad thing.
Hey Max! Did you REALLY call the incident of Stewart’s tire going down a “Misfortune”? HAHA
Tony and his crew can blame GY all they want—-but for this one, they really need to look in the mirror.
Can’t blame them though, it was their only chance to win.
What na$car meant when they said no rule changes during the season was NO changes that would take away the distinct advantage toyota paid for !! Anything that relates to teams trying to cut into that advantage is fair game
Well um..let’s see. When I was in high school Tonhy Stewart was four to eight years old. If he had in fact stolen my girlfriend they’d have been in jail. I pissed em away normally by insisting that they serve thier primary function of fetching beers from the rridge wole me and my buddies worked on our street racers in the garage. So no, me and the Great Pumpkin have not had a romatic dustup quite yet.
Yes, Tony’s arrogance, sense of entitlment and attacks on folks of my profession for trying to do thier job, however humble our calling is compared to his of being the next big thing that ought to be worshiped as a God, inclne me towards thinking he is an infecterd bunghole crawling with worms. But your mileage may vary, objects in the rearview mirror may be closer than they appear and please keep your hands and feet inside the car because this is a dark ride. And for the love of God keep your left foot on the brake pedal when TS leads the field to the green flag because he’s so Bush leauge he doesn’t care if he cripples you for life just as long as he has a four car length advantage going into turn one.This is the end of my rant. We now return you to your normally scheduled programming.
You act as if no other driver brake checks on a restart. So he’s an a-hole to reporters. Is that a new revelation? I don’t remember Ironhead having the best demeanor toward you guys either, (but all of you guys were afraid of Earnhardt) or AJ Foyt, Dan Gurney, hell most all of the old schoolers aside from maybe the King. Granted the media coverage borders on ridiculous now moreso than even 2001, but I digress. Bottom line, he’s a heck of a driver going through a drought by his standards. Doesn’t excuse his behavior by any stretch, hell Jeff Gordon is pretty gracious when the cameras are on and he’s slumping, but EVERYONE knows Tony’s MO. It seems as if they are sometimes baiting him to see him snap. They know all it takes is a slap or shove and they’ve got the lawyers on retainer at the ready.
As for Danica Patrick, I was hoping that she’d have wrecked into Larry Foyt in the pits and see if she was brave enough to chew out old AJ. That would have been well worth the price of admission. I’m really tired of her act.
I don’t think Larry Foyt raced in the Indy 500…you might want to look into that. Going to Roger Penske’s pit is bold enough.
You are SO right about Stewart! I get so tired of everyone using the excuses of “that’s just Tony.” So because a person has a bad attitude and is one-way on the track, we’re just suppose to accept that? What about acting like a professional to your peers and the media?
Larry Foyt drove for A.J. Foyt racing (BIG SURPRISE!) for 3 Indy 500’s from 2004 – 2006. He was supposed to run a car this year, but he was replaced by Jeff Simmons.
I meant AJ the IV. Sorry for the mix up Clint.
I do think I’d probably put money on AJ not taking crap off Danica versus Roger Penske. I guess you forgot the initial Texas IRL race where AJ jack slapped Arie Luyenduyk in victory lane after he contended that his driver I think it was Billy Boat, won the race.