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.
The Key Moment: It took Kasey Kahne a few laps after the final restart to get around the No. 88 and 83 cars; but once he got back to the lead, there was no catching him.
In a Nutshell: Since passing was all but impossible on the track, crew chiefs had to engineer various strategies to get their boys to the front in the pits.
Dramatic Moment: The two fastest cars, those of Kasey Kahne and Denny Hamlin, did get to battle briefly for the lead.
With passing so difficult, Kahne’s run from 38th to the lead after a pit road mishap was the highlight of the race.
What They’ll Be Talking About Around the Water Cooler This Week
What in blazes (pun intended) were the safety crew members thinking as they ambled over to the burning No. 42 car (with its driver still aboard) as if they were heading for a post-race clambake? Truthfully, the track crews at Pocono have rarely cloaked themselves in glory. Even back in the early ’80s, Tim Richmond had to pull Dale Earnhardt from his overturned race car after a nasty wreck at the speedway. OK, we were told that those two indifferent individuals were responsible for the driver — not the car — but the driver was still in the car as they stood there. What, exactly, does their job entail then? Giving the driver a hug and a kiss to make him feel better once he gets out of the car under his own power?
OK, I get it — and I’m sure most of you get it. With this new mutt of a car, the driver up front with clean air on his nose has the advantage. It’s difficult for a driver with a fast car to cleanly pass a slower car ahead of him, and it’s ruining racing. When is someone at NASCAR going to figure this out?
Did it look like the No. 9 car of Kasey Kahne and the two Red Bull cars were still dog-trotting a lot more than the rest of the cars? Didn’t NASCAR order the teams to limit this?
ESPN tried a brave new concept in race broadcasting Saturday night, as they joined the Texas IRL race already in progress. They had live audio of the race, which was on lap 49, while the video showed the pre-race program. Overall, it was about the stupidest thing I’ve ever witnessed. See you in seven weeks, ESPN.
It sure was nice to see some side by side racing even early in an event, with drivers using the draft to blow by their competitors while some excitement at a race track stirred up again. Unfortunately, this all happened Saturday night in the IRL race at Texas — not at Pocono in Sunday’s Cup race. With that type of competition rising, NASCAR’s corporate complacency ill behooves the organization. After all, a couple decades ago nobody ever thought stock cars would eclipse open wheel racing to become this country’s top rated racing series.
Note to Kyle Busch: You might want to concentrate on your day job. The whole Triple Crown thing didn’t work out too well for Kyle Busch or Big Brown. While the two have a lot in common — particularly the horse’s hindquarters and Busch’s personality — there are also some key differences. Fans don’t boo Big Brown and while the horse suffered a hoof injury, Busch suffers from hoof in mouth disease.
Did it seem the former open wheel racing stars at Pocono seemed to run into each other a lot on Sunday? Dario Franchitti, who is still healing from a fractured ankle, didn’t need to get beat around any more; that’s tossing a man into the river who don’t need to be swimming.
It’s kind of a sad commentary on the slow start that Tony Stewart has gotten off to this season when he has to host his own race to finally win an event. Seriously, though, the Prelude to a Dream raised over one million dollars for the planned Victory Junction Camp in Kansas City, and any event that raises that sort of money for such a worthy cause should be applauded. (But I couldn’t help but wonder about that big bowtie on the front of Stewart’s race-winning car. The folks at Toyota had to be delighted…)
Twins separated at birth? Larry McReynolds and Charlie Brown. Maybe FOX tells McReynolds they want him to play the cornpone bit for all it’s worth, because Larry’s diction and demeanor seemed to move from the third grade level to the middle school level in one week. And who would have guessed? The drivers knew to start racing on Sunday when the green flag dropped — even without somebody screaming “Boogity, boogity, boogity” at them.
The pre-race piece on Bobby Allison, respectful without becoming maudlin, was the highlight of the broadcast. But the first time somebody tries selling me a Race Buddy T-shirt, plush toy, or drinking vessel, I’m leaving for the summer.
With the big three Detroit automakers shuttering truck factories and emphasizing cars rather than trucks, will any of them support the Truck Series next year? Only Toyota still seems to be pushing big trucks, though Tundra sales are tumbling too. With no title sponsor for the series, will the trucks even be back next year? In an era of four dollar a gallon gas, trucks are suddenly not very PC.
Once again, I am forced to go out of character and ask a personal favor. Please extend your prayers or good thoughts to my nephew Shane, who was seriously injured in a single vehicle late night motorcycle accident on Saturday night. He faces a long uphill battle to recover. As most of you know, I am a devoted motorcyclist myself. His dad (who has ridden for decades) and I taught Shane to ride at a very young age on an old XR75 I found at Carlisle, but he had limited street riding experience. The kid decided with gas at four dollars a gallon and a teenager’s salary he couldn’t afford to drive his truck anymore, so he got a bike. That’s not a unique story lately. I urge any of you who decide to start motorcycling or return to the saddle after a long layoff to take an AMA-approved Rider Safety course, and to select a mount that reflects your experience level to start out on. Unfortunately, Shane was on one of those laydown Japanese rockets that dealers and individuals are all too happy to sell to a kid with a permit. He’s a good kid who made some bad decisions; and ultimately, responsibility is his. But to whichever salesperson sold the kid that bike, if you want what’s left you can have it cheap — but first you and I are going to have a very unpleasant talk that might wind up with you in intensive care as well.
The Hindenburg Award For Foul Fortune
Cracked mirrors are supposed to be seven year’s bad luck, and his missing right side mirror sent Kyle Busch to a last place finish. A second spinout late in the race just put icing on the cake, as did a practice crash that sent Busch to the rear of the field at the start.
Greg Biffle and Tony Stewart both saw decent finishes go out the window when they got caught speeding on pit road late in the event.
Carl Edwards clearly had a strong car, but had to pit again under caution with an equalized tire. He recovered to finish ninth, but never had a chance to gun for the win.
The “Seven Come Fore Eleven” Award For Fine Fortune
A botched last second call on pit road forced Kasey Kahne back to the pits and dropped him to 38th place… but he still rallied back to win.
Jeff Burton had to overcome a pit road incident with David Ragan (and his own ill-considered if rare retaliation afterwards) along with a late race shoving match with Earnhardt to post a Top 5 finish.
Denny Hamlin knocked in his left front fender in the pits (see: Michael McDowell) and the required repairs dropped him well back into the pack; but he recovered well, coming back to finish third by race’s end.
Kurt Busch decided to damage his car the old fashioned way, out on the track instead of on pit lane. After the No. 2 car went bounding through the grass like a wounded gazelle, the front splitter was all but torn off; but his crew managed to McGyver a hasty fix that let Busch roar back to seventh.
What’s the Points?
Second place Jeff Burton took a huge bite out of points leader Kyle Busch’s advantage on Sunday, closing to within 21 points of the Irritator. Earnhardt Jr. remains third in the standings and is now a more reasonable 145 points behind Busch, who he doubtless hopes will keep trying to rack up Frequent Flyer miles. Carl Edwards remains fourth in the standings, but is a more distant 228 points out of the top spot.
Denny Hamlin had the best day in the points, advancing four spots from ninth to fifth. Behind him, winning races still proved to have some nice perks for a driver; Kahne advanced three spots, from twelfth to ninth in the standings. Jimmie Johnson also moved up a spot to sixth.
An unforced error dropped Clint Bowyer three spots to 11th in the standings. Greg Biffle and Jeff Gordon each dropped two spots and are now seventh and eighth, respectively. And after his second straight poor finish, Tony Stewart fell a spot to 12th; more importantly, he’s now only seven points ahead of 13th place David Ragan and ten points ahead of 14th place Ryan Newman. Yes, typically Stewart gets stronger in the summer, but one has to wonder if the distractions about his future are dooming his chances at making the Chase this year — just as they did for Earnhardt last year.
Outside the Top 12, Matt Kenseth moved up a spot to 15th, bypassing Martin Truex, Jr. in the process.
Overall Rating (On a scale of one to six beer cans, with one being a stinker and a six pack an instant classic) — While it was more a chess match than a race, at least this week’s race wasn’t as bad as Dover last week. We’ll give it two cold bottles of the Sly Fox’s Helles Golden Lager microbrew.
Next Up: It’s off to Michigan on Father’s Day for what will probably be one boring mother of a race. If you prefer pit strategy to side by side racing on the track, it looks like this summer might be the time of your life.
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You covered some really great topics today, While I did not watch very much of the Pocono fiasco, a lap here, and a lap there, maybe Kyle Busch’s problem was he was just plain tired from all the traveling back and forth and the misjudgement was simple brain fade! Guess my way of thinking is that if your a CUP driver, your total allegiance is to the CUP series.
I think the bottom line is that the CUP series has become so routine and mundane, that a driver does not have to be “up” to race a CUP race, just strap in, and see where we finish, week, after week, after week!
Speaks volumes for NA$CAR!
I thought my TV had a misfeed when they tried showing the IRL race, boy was I confused listening to the race going on, but the screen was on the preliminaries to the race!
And what more can be said about the CoT??? What a disaster!
Just what kind of fan pays good money to watch this piece of trash go round and round a race track? Gee, did I say “race” track?
“RACING” & the “CoT” in the same sentence just ain’t right!
And finally, I will head to MIS this weekend, err, I mean Friday for the ARCA race! Bout the only real racing going on there this weekend!
Oh, I remember saying that sometime last year I drove by MIS, noticed the stands were empty, so I pulled in, thought there was a SPRINT CUP race going on! (in reference to all the empty seats that now exist there on “race” day)!
Our prayers are with your family and your nephew Matt. Good recap of the race. Like Douglas, I watched a lap or two here and there and the last 20 or so laps. It looked like another parade with a dearth of people in the stands. Typical of NASCAR and the CoT. I also watched the IRL race, and as I have been saying for a few years now, the IRL and the truck series are where oval track racing is today on a national level. Heck, the F1 race in Canada was better than what I saw of Pocono.
the pocono race is over?? ok, bad joke. i managed to read a 300 page book in the duration of the pre-pre-race, pre race and broadcast of the race. if not for pit road who knows how this race would of been. cleaning my gutters in 100 degree heat was more interesting. i noticed the stands emptying near the of the race. guess the fans had enough of the heat and the parade. yeah, i was thinking about michigan race when it was 5 pm and pocono was still going, thinking about how that race will be.
hope shane improves.
As usual, Matt’s right on target. An odd and boring race, unusual strategies to keep the cars up front.
And, Larry Mac is much more tolerable in small doses. He has more time to consider what he wants to say before he gets on camera, instead of babbling whatever comes into his head to counter DW’s non-stop motormouth.
Hey Ed! I am not sure what day it was, I think during a Saturday practice for the CUP cars, but one of the announcers said that “the infield at Pocono was packed and it looked like a full house” for the weekend!
And then!!!! I watch a few laps on Sunday, it looked like the infield was literally EMPTY! A mere sprinkling of campers/motor-homes!
And the overhead shots of the cars on the main straight, just TONS OF EMPTY SEATS! Whole sections in fact!
What a mess NA$CAR is these days!
Gee’s, thanks Brian!
I also noted during the race that it was a bad day for the former open wheel drivers. While I don’t like to see anyone get in a wreck and don’t have anything against the open wheel drivers, I do hope some car owners took notice. I hate to see the limited rides available to up-and-coming STOCK CAR drivers go to open wheel drivers just because they’ve made a name for themselves in a different series.
Did anyone else miss Digger this weekend? I didn’t think so. Still, ESPN’s coverage was subpar at best. There were quite a few times when the technical people seemed to be completely out to lunch. And Kyle Petty, who I think is a natural for the booth, seemed to want to hear himself talk more than usual. Can ESPN get a producer, please?
I somehow missed the Bobby Allison pre-race story, but hey, I got to see that Allstate commercial where Kasey Kahne dances for the girls in their daydreams. Somehow, I just don’t picture Bobby Allison ever making a commercial like that.
I thought TNT broadcasted the Pocono race.
Why they have to go to this track twice, in 6 weeks at that, is beyond me. This race is soooooo boring! It is worse that the cookie cutters, at least there is usually some excitement at those tracks. The other issue is when will Nascar finally wake up that they need to do something with the car to make it competitive! You hear drivers say week after week that when they get next to another car the car is unstable. You also hear that when they start to catch a car in front of them, it seems like you hit a wall. Wasn’t this car supposed to fix all these areo issues?
I have been watching Nascar for many years, the last few years though I watch less and less and go to few races. I find I watch Formula 1 and Indy car now more than Nascar. Those series at least can provide excitement at somepoint during the weekend. Qualifiying for F1 has become one of my favorite racing events to watch, Indy cars are able to race each other. Nascar is just a parade with announcers that will defend Na$car officials decisions.
Oh and about the race coverage! TNT was horrible! How many times did they go to commercial, then come right back as it was obvious someone messed up!
Prayers to your family and nephew. Hope he gets well quick. Been reading your column all year, it’s the only interesting view(s) on all of Jayski’s. Take care.
I love that..“With this new mutt of a car, the driver up front with clean air on his nose has the advantage. It’s difficult for a driver with a fast car to cleanly pass a slower car ahead of him, and it’s ruining racing.”
…but it’s actually slightly less of a problem with the new car than it was with the twisted dishrag.
At Pocono, it has seemed like in recent history that a couple cars (the 11 and the 2, and now the 9) figure it out and just run roughshod over everyone else. They have no problem passing. I think some folks need to get some perspective. This race looked just like the races last year…and the year before…etc…at Pocono. Except the cars look better doing it.
Beyond that, I don’t entirely disagree with the article. I was at the Truck and IRL race. Both were very entertaining. I’m not really certain why it doesn’t seem like it is a priority to get the cup racing with as much side-by-side as the Trucks. I hope it is, and it’s just not outwardly visible.
Due to the large number of cautions (for Pocono at least) the race wasn’t as bad/boring as it could have been. Still, these cars just aren’t good for passing or making better. If you ask me the best racing at Pocono was taking place when everyone was running gears that allowed them to shift. Maybe NASCAR should relax the rules to allow that again.
TIVO hs announced that recent NASCAR races are causing a boom in sales, saving the viewer at least a couple hours per lousy race.
I was watching the race and when they started talking about red flags for rain I had no idea what they were talking about.
But then I figured it out. I fell a sleep and did not even notice till I looked at the clock.
I am so glad I did not drive to PA for a 4th time.
You know, its not like the leader in clean air didn’t have an advantage in the aero-monstrosity either. Seems to me that people have been complaining about that for as long as I’ve been watching Nascar and I’m in my 10th year.
Until someone repeals the laws of physics race cars are going to react to clean air differently than they react to dirty air.
May God be with your nephew in his recovery.
We are finding we are seeing better racing in the Nationwide Series than the Cup. To bad it sounds as if Nascar is going to replace these cars with a CoT car also. That will ruin that series also. We have never really followed the truck series at all but my be forced to.
My mistake, it WAS TNT, not ESPN. My upmost apologies to ESPN. Hey, it’s Monday, my rear view mirror is missing, and my spotter never told me it was TNT.
i watched part of the Canadien GP this weeked and most of the time , at least after the race was 2-3 laps old ,there was hardly ever more than a couple of cars in sight. If you guys thinks thats excitement please watch F1 and keep all of your carping to an F1 websight. You guys blaming the COT for aero issues have a very short memory. The aero problems with the COY are 1 of the reasons the COT was developed. The COT is not perfect but the guys will figure those things out. Matt, your thinking out loud is for the most part so negative that you should find another sport to write about. You too seem to have a very selective memory as to the overall quality of Nascar racing in the past. I can recall many less than exciting races in the past,however, I think that’s true of every sport. Every type of game, race, or competition has great, competitive events and then some are a drag. Either find a way to enjoy or watch something else. Just spare the rest of us all this whining.
Well, since people always go off on how Kyle Busch is arrogant and a jerk, but never point out when he does something good, I’ll point out the something good. He took full responsibility for hitting the 26 car on Sunday and apologized for it. He also mentioned the broken rearview mirror, and anyone paying attention noticed that his spotter didn’t tell him where the 26 car was until it was too late (love the sarcastic “Not clear maybe?!” comment he made right after the accident, too – pretty funny).
Did ya notice no mention of Mikey or his pathetic team until he slapped the wall! Thank God for the return of TBS!
Ya’ll ought sit down and reflect on the races of yesteryear, where Pocono was a l-o-n-g race and noone could pass and nothing really happened ‘til the end. And its only memory was the end of Bobby Allison’s career.
You folks also need to watch the race. It’s boring? You aren’t looking. There’s racing on the track, you have to find it. They can put on a race, but you, grasshopper, must watch for it.
God speed for your nephew in his recovery and strength to your family in their ordeal.
My thoughts and prayers are with your nephew.
And honestly, as I get ready to take a Motorcycle safety course at our local H-D shop in a few weeks, I’m getting nervous.
When I passed the written test for the permit, the guy behind the desk says, “Are you sure you want to do this?” What the hell am I supposed to say to that? “No.”
Umm, Sir…“Hell yeah, I’m sure.”
Then he says, “90 deaths in the state last season to bikers.” So I say, a little more quietly, “Yeah, I’m sure.” While thinking…“And just maybe you should be tellin’ that to all the idiots in cars out there…”
So here I am…Mom of 3, pushing 29 for like the 10th year, in the market for a bike (Sportster not Specialized).
I’lI be careful. But I do HATE to hear stories like the one about Matt’s nephew, Shane.
Get better soon, buddy!
P. S. Kyle Busch is a dork. I just can’t get past that fact when I watch him race cars. Dork first. Race car driver second.
Hey Susie! You will enjoy biking! There are probably ten (10) things you need to always remember when riding, but never let your mind wander while on the bike!
That car or SUV at the next intersection or stop sign, is after you!
ALWAYS consider the vehicles around you as dangerous to your health.
I take cross country trips on a regular basis, but am absolutely scared to death driving in the city with all the nut cases on their cell phones!
But riding is fun!
I too, am concerned for truck racing. Where will the former Cup drivers turn to once they get pushed out due to their turning over the hill at 35? Then again it may benefit the Nationwide Series to a degree or the Busch East/West Series. The latter would be a win situation for us local short track fans.
To those who think you can’t pass in the COT (especially at Pocono).
How did Carl Edwards get from 35th to 9th in the last 20 laps of green flag racing?
Did he teleport?
No, he PASSED 26 drivers!
I’ve got a novel idea to take care of the areodynamics, dirty air, etc. Let Ford design a car, Chevy, Dodge, Toyota, whoever wants to race, in production models, and the ones with the best aerodynamics have an advantage. If Chevy wants a faster car, it makes a more aerodynamic model. Thats the way it used to be and everything from a Hudson Hornet to an AMC Matador to a Torino Talladea to a Monte Carlo, was a threat to win every week. Now, its just, put a bow tie on that contraption, or an oval, or whatever, and its brand de-jour. But I guess thats just dreaming of a simpler, more competitive day.
Let the teams make some body changes and they could lose the aero—push and the wall of air. My hat is off to everybody in the field except Kyle Busch, who looked like an amateur yesterday, and Michael Waltrip, who runs as he always has, even with a gazillion dollars to build cars on.
Thanks for the tips, Douglas. I appreciate your input. When you’re a novice like me – you hear all these horror stories. So I appreciate your candid and positive take.
Back to Matt’s post: The COT…and this God awful passing problem. Um, it’s pretty easy to pass much slower traffic in a car race. It’s passing the guys running up front and as fast (if not faster) that counts. So big whip if you pass 20 slow pokes on your way to catch the leaders.
Everyone says a softer tire will help. I don’t buy it. Maybe that’ll mix up the pit stops a little (wear faster) but from a grip and aero standpoint, I don’t think softer tires are the answer to the COT ills.
Saftey aside, I thought the primary objective of the COT was to dispel the dreaded aero push??? To create better racing by reducing the aero dependencies of the car…enable more passing on the track. But it clearly hasn’t. More clearly 15 races into this thing, NASCAR messed up. Maybe that phased approach wasn’t such a bad idea after all.
Go back to the drawing board, NASCAR, and try harder to get it right next time. That is, if you’re lucky and there is a “next time.”
Hey Susie!! More bike hints!
WEAR BRIGHT CLOTHING! Although I have thousands of dollars in “biker black”, you know, the jackets, the helmets, the chaps, etc! They are NEVER worn except to toy runs and such.
On the highway, and in the city, I feel GREAT when I have my red jacket and red helmet on, very visible for people to see! And then that is not 100% either!
I call bikers that wear black for general riding “suicidal”!
GET BRIGHT! Give yourself a chance!
It’s a comment on our society’s fixation with instant gratification that so many people think that right out of the box the new car should race just as well or better than the car that had been in use to for the last 15-20 years. And when it doesn’t they want to go whole hog and toss the whole thing and start over. It doesn’t work that way folks, no matter how they tested it, it was gonna take a couple of years to get this car working near as well as the car they had tons of data for. I do believe NASCAR needs to make SOME changes to the car, in the offseason – for one thing, bring the splitter up an inch or two like on the Truck (which races fine with a splitter that doesn’t drag on the ground). Get input from the crews on what would help them to get the car to race better and implement some of them (but not too many at once, because the more changes you make at once the harder it is to figure out what’s not working right when it doesn’t act as expected, as any engineer will tell you). But there isn’t anything here that can’t be fixed.
Oh, I don’t remember seeing a lot of passing at Pocono with the old car, either. I don’t think that issue is one caused by the new car. It’s always been a complaint with Pocono. But having watched the race, I didn’t see it as all that bad – though it could be shorter.
Hey Mike in NH!!
Introducing a bad car and then saying it will take years to fully develop is a slap-in- the-face to the race fan!
What makes you think that the average fan is going to pay good money to watch a “car developmental series”???
With all the money Brian and company have, the very least they could do is to give the teams a car that really works! Do the development in private, don’t do it in front of 100,000 paying fans!
SHAME ON NA$CAR!
And shame on you for buying NA$CAR propaganda!
Got it, Douglas!
I’m thinkin’ bright DeWalt yellow with a big ol’ black 17 slapped on my back.
The Shrubs post-incident interview came about an hour after he parked his car – much later than the norm. Just enough time to come up with a broken mirorr excuse perhaps? I, for one, didn’t believe him. He and his spotter screwed up. No excuses, please!
Mike in NH Kyle knew he had a broken mirror and should NOT have moved up until his spotter cleared him which he did not. Why would he when wasn’t clear? There is no way it is his spotters fault at all.
Susie, that’s a great idea. At least you won’t be tempted to push it and run out front!
Double dip…Matt, many prayers. Agree on the sales people.
Yeah…and if there was a wreck in front of me, I’d quietly (yet skillfully) avoid it.
But if some new guy was yelling at me out his window to take 2…I’d quickly pull over and dial 1-800-ROBBIE-REISER.
(Sorry to hijack the thread, Matt.)