Kurt Busch to Attempt The Indianapolis-Charlotte Double
posted by Phil Allaway
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Andretti Autosport announced this morning that Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet in the Sprint Cup Series, will attempt the Indianapolis 500 in a fifth entry for the IndyCar Series team. Once the Indianapolis 500 is completed, Busch will fly from Indianapolis to Charlotte, jump in his No. 41 Chevrolet and compete in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Busch considers the opportunity to do the double as an old-school throwback moment.
“This is really to challenge myself within motorsports,” Busch said in Andretti Autosport’s press release. “Perhaps I am a bit of an old-school racer; a throwback, I guess. I enjoyed the era of drivers racing different cars and testing themselves in other series. It is tough to do now for a variety of factors, but when the opportunity is there, I want to do it. While NASCAR is my home, I have been fortunate to compete in Pro Stock on the NHRA circuit a number of years ago and test a V8 Supercar. This opportunity was a talk with Michael [Andretti] over dinner one night, a “What if,” and now it’s becoming a reality for me to drive in the Indy 500 with Andretti Autosport. It’s literally a dream come true. To go to the famous Brickyard with the iconic Andretti name, it doesn’t get much cooler or better than that.”
Busch will be doing the Indianapolis-Charlotte double as a Memorial Day mission to men and women serving in the U.S. Military via the Armed Forces Foundation. Fans can contribute to the cause by texting AFF to 50555 to donate $10.
Busch, who has never raced an IndyCar, passed Rookie Orientation at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last year during a test session. At the time, Busch was more or less testing the Dallara DW12 for fun.
Busch will be the fourth driver to attempt the Indianapolis-Charlotte double. John Andretti was the first driver to attempt it in 1994. After finishing four laps down in tenth in Indianapolis, Andretti crashed and had engine problems in the 600. Robby Gordon has attempted the double five times, most recently in 2004. However, Gordon failed to make it to Charlotte on time and did not start the 600 in 2000 (P.J. Jones started Gordon’s No. 13 Ford in that instance). Finally, Tony Stewart has attempted the double twice (most recently in 2001) and is the only driver to ever complete all 1100 miles. Neither of the three drivers has won either leg of the double. The best finishes are Stewart and Gordon’s sixth-place finishes at the Indianapolis 500 (although Gordon’s came in 2000, the year he didn’t make it to Charlotte in time to start the Coca-Cola 600), and Stewart’s fourth-place finish in the 2001 Coca-Cola 600.
Danica Patrick, Justin Allgaier Talk About Phoenix Incident
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
A disappointing start to the year for Danica Patrick won’t include continued conflict. Patrick met with rookie Justin Allgaier Sunday, shortly after the Phoenix Cup race after a wreck ruined both drivers’ days. Patrick, who was critical of the No. 51 car on the radio, claiming Allgaier was “driving all over the track” appeared receptive to a conversation that quickly settled differences over what will be a long season.
“She was just upset because she got involved in the crash that we had,’’ said Allgaier to the Motor Racing Network. “She says she’s been through this and that she felt like I needed to settle down at that point. I explained my position on why everything happened. I think she understood where I was coming from. It doesn’t fix either one of our racecars. It doesn’t fix either one of our days. Unfortunately, we were both having pretty decent days.’’
Allgaier wound up 30th due to the incident while Patrick was 36th. The incident, which was caused by Allgaier’s spin also involved the No. 32 team and Travis Kvapil, which wound up 38th after sustaining heavy damage.
Camping World Close to Extending Title Sponsorship of NCWTS
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Marcus Lemonis, CEO of Camping World, Grand Marshal of Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway, and star of CNBC’s “The Profit,” made the announcement over the weekend that the retailer is very close to announcing a deal that would continue its title sponsorship of NASCAR’s Truck Series. The original agreement with NASCAR is scheduled to conclude after the 2015 season.
According to the sanctioning body, no formal contract has been signed, but “the agreement between the two parties has proven to be a beneficial one.”
“In about a month, we’ll be announcing a significant extension to that contract. It’s been great for us,” said Camping World’s Lemonis in a statement. “The NASCAR relationship has worked well for Camping World. When we started, we had 35 stores. Now, we’re up to 120 stores. As we travel the country and we meet new customers in stores, they always are very appreciative of our relationship with NASCAR. It’s been good.”
Gaining a long-term commitment from Camping World to sponsor the Truck Series would be a relief for NASCAR, which is set to lose Nationwide Insurance as title sponsor for the NASCAR Nationwide Series at the end of the 2014 season. The sponsorship of the Cup Series by Sprint runs through 2016.
The NCWTS is back in action on March 29th at 2:30 PM (ET) when the trucks visit Martinsville Speedway in the Kroger 250, which can be seen on Fox Sports 1. Ratings for the season opener were up 11 percent.
Harvick Takes Win At Phoenix In Second Race With New Team
posted by Justin Tucker
Monday March 3, 2014
Phoenix International Raceway has become Kevin Harvick’s home away from home. Sunday Afternoon was no exception as Harvick charged to the front early and would dominate for much of the day, leading 224 of the scheduled 312 laps to record his record fifth win on the one mile oval and his third win in the last four races at Phoenix.
Harvick, coming off of a disappointing Speedweeks which was capped by a last lap crash in the Daytona 500 in his debut with Stewart-Haas Racing, set the tone on Saturday by winning both practices while having the best 5 and 10-lap averages in the first practice of the day on Saturday. On Sunday, Harvick and his No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet was nothing short of flawless as he was able to hold Dale Earnhardt, Jr. by .489 seconds after a late race restart to claim his 24th career Sprint Cup Series victory.
“Man, this is awesome,” Harvick said after his dominant victory on Sunday. “Man, this just solidifies so many things and so many decisions. It’s been so much work with all the time and effort that these guys (the crew) have put in—but what a race car.”
Stewart Haas Racing co-owner Gene Haas shared in Harvick’s excitement after the race.
“It took long enough,” Haas joked. “This is phenomenal. I think there was a lot of skepticism last year about what myself and Tony (Stewart) what we were up to, was there a lot of madness to this. Quite frankly, it’s a great team, there’s a lot of synergy at the shop, people working together. I don’t know what we did, but I think we put together a great organization.”
Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt, Jr. continued his hot start to the 2014 season. Earnhardt Jr. would finish second on Sunday, marking his seventh consecutive top 10 finish since the end of the 2013 season. Earnhardt Jr. was pleased with the effort after a coast-to-coast whirlwind week after winning his second Daytona 500 and also gave great praise to the efforts of Harvick and the No. 4 team.
“I’ve got to congratulate Kevin. Those guys were two-tenths faster than everyone all weekend in practice. They were just phenomenal,” Earnhardt said. “To be able to run with them all day was a big confidence builder for us.”
Joining Harvick and Earnhardt in the top 5 of The Profit on CNBC 500K were Brad Keselowski with his second consecutive top 3 run of 2014 in third. Keselowski’s Team Penske teammate Joey Logano would finish fourth, and Jeff Gordon would come home fifth in his No. 24 Pepsi Max Chevrolet.
Jimmie Johnson finished in sixth, followed by Ryan Newman with a nice rebound after Daytona in seventh. Carl Edwards would carry the banner for Roush Fenway Racing by finishing eighth, Kyle Busch was ninth, and Jamie McMurray would finish tenth.
A look at the Profit on CNBC 500K by the numbers. There were 14 lead changes among eight different drivers, there were eight cautions for 39 laps which slowed the race pace to 109.229 MPH.
Next Sunday, the Sprint Cup Series heads to Sin City and the Las Vegas Motor
Starting Lineup: The Profit On CNBC 500K
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday March 1, 2014
Drivers in RED (i) are those ineligible to collect Sprint Cup points
Daytona 500 TV Ratings Down
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Wednesday February 26, 2014
What was the longest weather delay in Daytona 500 history turned out to bring NASCAR lower ratings and TV viewership Sunday night than expected. According to a report Monday from FOX Sports, the 56th running of the Daytona 500 airing at 8 PM (ET) posted a 5.6/10 national household rating/share which averaged 9.3 million viewers. That’s down 44 percent from last year’s 9.9, easily making it the least-watched Daytona 500 of all-time.
Due to the six-hour, twenty-two minute rain delay in Daytona, the race was up against the primetime coverage of the Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony from Sochi, Russia on NBC (15.25 million viewers). FOX also reported that 69% of the pre-rain delay viewers of the race, which began at 1 PM (ET) kept tuning in.
In comparison, the 2013 Daytona 500 on FOX was the most-watched race in five years, posting a 9.9/22 rating/share, commanding 16.7 million viewers. The Daytona 500 in 2012, the first to ever be run on a Monday and in the primetime slot did a 7.7/13 overnight rating/share which resulted in 13.67 million households viewing the race according to Nielsen TV ratings data.
Earnhardt, Jr. Claims Second Daytona 500 Victory
posted by Justin Tucker
Wednesday February 26, 2014
Ten years is a long time. For Dale Earnhardt, Jr., it felt like an eternity. NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver endured many near misses and close calls at the Daytona 500 since his only win in the Great American Race in 2004. Earnhardt had finished second in two of his last three Daytona 500s coming into Sunday’s race. He was also riding the tail of a 55-race winless streak, dating back to Michigan in 2012.
However nothing would stop Dale Jr. on Sunday, not even a 6 hour and 22 minute rain delay from capturing his second Daytona 500 win. Earnhardt Jr. led a race-high 54 laps on the evening and used some timely drafting help from teammates Jimmie Johnson and, on the final restart, Jeff Gordon to separate from the pack and secure the victory.
“Winning this race is the greatest feeling that you could feel in this sport besides accepting the trophy for the championship,” said a jubilant Earnhardt after pulling into Victory Lane. “We could fight off battle after battle. We got a little help at the end there from Jeff to get away on the restart. This is amazing. I can’t believe this is happening. I never take this for granted, man because it doesn’t happen twice, let alone once.”
Aside from the race itself the big story of the race was the 6 hour and 22 minute red flag, which threatened to move the race to Monday evening (had the race been postponed, FOX Sports’ Chris Myers had tweeted that the race would resume at 5:00pm EST). However, Mother Nature would cooperate and would allow the race to be run under different conditions from which they practiced this week. Once the race resumed, the intensity picked up from the changing track conditions. This allowed the pack to race side-by-side and at times 3-wide up to seven rows deep.
Joining Earnhardt Jr. in the top 5 for the 2014 Daytona 500 were: Denny Hamlin who closed out a spectacular Speedweeks in second, Brad Keselowski in third, Jeff Gordon in fourth, and Jimmie Johnson who overcome two wrecks leading up to the 500 in fifth.
Rounding out the top 10 in the Daytona 500 were Matt Kenseth in sixth, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. in seventh and Greg Biffle would bring his No. 16 Ford home in eighth. Austin Dillon would come home ninth in his first Cup Series race in the iconic No. 3 for Richard Childress Racing, while Casey Mears would round out the top 10.
A couple of major contenders for the Daytona 500 win would see their hopes dashed early on as Martin Truex, Jr. would blow up just 30 laps into the race, relegating him to a 43rd-place finish in his debut for Furniture Row Racing. Crew chief Todd Berrier was already in Nashville for a test session before the race was even over. Kyle Busch, meanwhile would have a pit road violation just before halfway and would spend much of the race battling back from that mistake. Busch would eventually finish 19th after leading 19 laps.
Danica Patrick would also be bit by bad luck as she was caught up in a multi-car wreck on lap 145. Patrick would lead her second consecutive Daytona 500, but wouldn’t have the finish to show for it finishing 40th. Tony Stewart would encounter a frustrating evening as well, with a fuel pickup problem derailing his quest for his first Daytona 500 win. Stewart would finish 35th.
A look at the Daytona 500 by the numbers. There were 42 lead changes among 18 drivers, while seven cautions for 39 laps would slow the race pace to 145.290 MPH.
Next week, the Sprint Cup Series heads to the “diamond in the desert,” Phoenix International Raceway for The Profit on CNBC 500K. The Green flag is scheduled for 3:15pm EST.
Nationwide Series Post-Race Quotes: Drive4COPD 300
posted by Thomas Bowles
Tuesday February 25, 2014
Frontstretch Interviews – Courtesy Mike Neff
ELLIOTT SADLER – FINISHED 4th
Thoughts on the race?
It’s definitely a lot different racing than what we’re used to.
Comfortable with it?
Yeah, it’s just different. You’re worried about what you’re doing, but you’re also worried about what everyone else is doing and they’re not doing more than you’re doing. Physically pushing a guy is way better than just riding so you just gotta time it right and push it to the edge.
Happy to start the year with a top 5?
Yeah. Hell, that was the worst we ran all day, I think. I have no idea how they put the 3 car in front of us on that last restart. I hadn’t seen the 3 car hardly all day. When they put us from fifth to sixth, on the outside line, it just really boxed us in. I would have really restarted behind my teammate and given him a good push to the front. Anyways, it is what it is; we’ll take it and move on.
Looked like you were up front all day.
The guys did a good job. We had a fast race car. Great pit stops, just really proud of these guys. The car’s in one piece and we can take it to Talladega now. Great job by my guys. A lot of effort came into coming down here to Daytona and giving ourselves a shot to win. We had that chance to be up front and make some things happen. Fifth is not what we want, but we’ll take it and move on.
Bumping vs Pushing?
It’s way harder. You don’t want to lay on the guy in front of you, so it’s tough racing. A lot different than what we’re used to, ‘cause you gotta go. You gotta drag the brake too ‘cause you don’t want to hit the guys and you don’t want to stay on him. It’s a lot harder mentally than what we’ve done in the past.
Car was strong all day. Pushing vs. Bumping, is that harder to do than just getting on somebody and pushing them?
Yeah, it is a little bit. When you bump ‘em, you jar ‘em, it kinda jacks ‘em a little bit. It’s a little more abrupt, obviously. I thought it was OK there at the end. It was certainly fun and hopefully entertaining. But a little bit of a struggle in the early part of the race and the midpart of the race to see a good race. And that’s unfortunate for the fans. You can’t do that the whole race, you can’t tear up your stuff, knock your grill in, overheat your motor, all that stuff so there’s no sense in doing all that until you get down to the last lap. The 7 and the 6, they did a good job. Man, the 7 really held the 22 and I tight on the bottom. I was rubbing his door and hitting the apron at the same time, no room whatsoever. So it was good; wish we were the ones who could have won but a lot better now than what we were last year.
Going home in one piece makes it a lot better, right?
Yeah. My back feels good. My foot feels good. Past years here, I’ve been going home with pain so I’m alright.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Truck Series Post-Race Quotes: Daytona (Exclusives)
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday February 22, 2014
When you’re on the outside like that, how frustrating is it?
It’s so hard. Timothy Peters has won here. Kyle Busch has won everywhere. Ron Hornaday has been running Trucks forever, probably before I was even born. I was surrounded by veterans there, and like I told them I don’t have a rookie stripe but I’m a rookie. This is only my fourth Truck race ever, my fourth superspeedway race, and man, I figured out when the 17 got up in front of me, I pushed him. And as soon as I pushed him, he took off. And I went with him. And I just kept doing it, and before I knew it, he was leading. And I saw Ron in my mirror, backed up to him, and if it wasn’t for him, I don’t know what would have happened. I gotta thank him big time for that. That was a true teammate move right there. I really appreciate that. He just bounced off me and we got to the front. I tried my hardest to sidedraft Kyle. I was probably touching his door.
Top 5 in the No. 30 truck. This deal come together at the last minute, but you had a heck of a truck. Tell us about your night.
Yeah, I’ve got to thank Turner Scott Motorsports. The guys worked so hard on this Rheem Comfort Products Chevrolet. Exciting! Just got hung up on the outside and had to wait for my teammate there to catch up. And then he got to the bottom, so… I got the old 32 and started pushing ol’ Ryan to the front. So, it’s not bad. We’ll take it. You just don’t want to step over that boundary. You don’t know how far to push and shove. We bumped about six times down the straightaway without latching onto them. Hopefully, that was OK and we came home with a top 5.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Budweiser Duels Post Race Quotes
posted by Matt Stallknecht
Friday February 21, 2014
BUDWEISER DUELS POST-RACE QUOTES
They’re saying the wheel bearing burned up in it. I don’t know what caused it, they’re taking it all apart to figure out what the heck happened. Something abnormal that’s for sure I don’t think I’ve ever had that happen at all. Hopefully, we made the race and hopefully we can fix the problem before Sunday.
WHAT WAS THAT LOUD BOOM ONCE YOU TURNED INTO THE GARAGE?
Loud pop was a tire… thankfully, it popped, hopefully it didn’t hurt anybody. All the heat created in the left front that popped was pretty weird.
REALLY GOOD RUN. WHAT DID YOU THINK OF IT?
Yeah, it was good. We have a car we can work with for the 500. Got a good starting spot, so we’re going to rest easy, fluff and buff our car for a couple of days and get ready for Sunday.
ANY DIFFERENCE ON WHETHER THE TOP OR BOTTOM LANE WORKED?
Yeah, I was just moving around, trying to stay with the flow. For me, this car works on all parts of the racetrack. So I’m pretty happy with it.
DALE EARNHARDT, JR.
GOT SHUFFLED BACK, AFTER PIT STOPS AND THEN COULDN’T GET BACK UP TO THE FRONT. WHY?
Nah, we were just sitting there waiting until the last few laps to make a move. You didn’t want to pull down and get sent to the back. Seen a couple of guys get sent to the back really quick so we were just kind of waiting for the end. I felt like we had a good situation there with Ambrose behind us — we had a good run off Turn 2 and I went. It was the last lap, time to go do something, nobody went with us but hopefully Sunday is a different story.
We got a great car. We don’t have to work hard. We learned, we got a good race car. Got a car in one piece, ready to go so we’ll try and get through the next couple of practices, deliver it to the starting group this Sunday and we’ll be real happy.
YOU’RE IN THE DAYTONA 500!
Yeah, it’s pretty awesome. This Whitetail Chevrolet was so fast that I knew all I had to do was stick it behind smart, intelligent drafters and we could have a good finish. That’s what we did in the Duels and I’m excited. I’m excited to go do some stuff with the Nationwide car and have some more practice with this. But to know that we’re locked in the Daytona 500’s pretty cool.
YOU WERE OBVIOUSLY IN FRONT OF THAT MELEE AT THE END. WHEN YOU WERE UP FRONT THERE IN THE BEGINNING, WERE YOU HOPING TO JUST STAY IN LINE AND LET YOU FINISH TOP 5?
I was pretty content to ride and luckily I knew a lot of people around us were. It was nice to have a little calm and not really have to be racing hard the whole time. I knew that the pit stop was going to shake everything up and that’s exactly what happened. Fell back a little bit there but made the right moves at the end to get a good finish.
HOW STRONG ARE THESE RCR CARS?
They’re very strong! They definitely have the capabilities to be winning one of these races.
YOU’RE IN THE TOP 5 FOR YOUR HEAT IN THE DAYTONA 500. YOUR PRIMARY CAR IS SITTING RIGHT IN THE GARAGE, KIND OF WADDED UP. DID YOU THINK THIS ONE HAD IT IN IT?
Yeah, it’s a brand new car also. It’s just not quite as good as the primary but still a damned good car. I’m just proud of everybody at RCR for building such fast race cars. All of our cars have been fast, ECR motor’s been strong, even our affiliate teams have been qualifying really good and racing good. So… excited about 2014! It’s going to be a good year.
WELL MAN, YOU STARTED IN THE BACK BUT WORKED YOUR WAY TO THE FRONT WHEN IT COUNTED MOST. WERE YOU JUST BIDING YOUR TIME THROUGHOUT THE RACE?
Eh, you never know if you’re going to get back up there or not. We had to start at the back, we had to make a run early and see what we could do. We drove right to 10th, or something like that and then it got stagnant. We tried to make something happen, and went to the back again. Drove back up to the front. Again, just really proud of my guys. Matt Kruder did a hell of a job on that pit stop getting just enough gas in to gain some spots there.
RCR CARS SEEM PRETTY DARNED STRONG. DO YOU THINK THE RCR CARS HAVE SOMETHING FOR THEM ON SUNDAY — ESPECIALLY THE THREE JOE GIBBS RACING CARS THAT SEEM TO BE THE CLASS OF THE FIELD RIGHT NOW?
Oh yeah. The 20 car was extremely fast. The 11 didn’t qualify that good, but he’s a good drafter. I think he won. We definitely have something for him.
Check in with Matt and Jay on their site at CareyandCoffey.com.
The Key Moment: Patrick Carpentier’s last lap spin and the resultant caution sealed the win for Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and the No. 88 bunch.
In a Nutshell: His fans might have preferred Junior barreling around the Nos. 18 and 48 on the outside — drag racing to the finish line with tires smoking and paint being swapped — but after 76 long races, Junior and his fans will take a win anyway they can get one.
Dramatic Moment: Waiting to see if the No. 88 car could complete that final lap, even under caution as it ran on fumes.
What They’ll Be Talking About Around the Water Cooler This Week
On a weekend that featured closed door machinations and serious bias allegations, can even a win by the sport’s most popular driver restore order to the universe?
What’s the typical penalty for passing the pace car under caution?
Mike Helton called a closed door meeting Friday to tell drivers and team owners it was time to shut up and race. Their complaints about the new car and the quality of racing lately might be affecting ticket sales. Here’s what I find curious: most fans have already figured out that both the new car and the racing lately sucks based on what they’ve observed, not on what Dale Earnhardt, Jr. (or Jeff Gordon or Tony Stewart or Kyle Busch or Carl Edwards) had to say on the matter. I mean, for any fan who watched the tedium at Dover a couple weeks back to its conclusion, it was fairly obvious it wasn’t a very good race. NASCAR’s contention seems to be that the new car is a work in progress, it is not fatally flawed, and eventually we’ll see some good racing again. I guess meanwhile they’ll start charging half price for tickets to races, seeing as how fans are watching a developmental series and not top-notch automobile racing. NASCAR is sick of the complaints? Hey, for 225 million, I’ll shut up and go away too. Until then, they’re fair game.
Yeah, it would be easy to point out the huge tracts of empty seats at Michigan, but given the obscene price of gas and the horrific condition of the Michigan economy, one is amazed anyone at all showed up. Here’s to the ninety thousand some odd fans who made the trip.
In an ironic twist, on the same weekend they were called on the carpet and told to always look on the bright side of life, several drivers seemed to be damning the current state of affairs in Cup racing with faint praise. Jeff Gordon and Carl Edwards pretty much admitted that while they enjoy winning races, winning is secondary to making sure that they are in the Chase come September. What that amounts to is an admission that none of the races this summer really matter to drivers who are currently in the Top 12, and they’re willing to stroke to be sure that they don’t lose hold on one of those twelve spots by throwing caution to the wind and gunning for a race win. So to sum up, NASCAR faces two major hurdles in making races more exciting; the new car and the new points system, both of which can be classified as self-inflicted injuries with Brian France’s fingerprints all over them.
OK, it’s no longer bashing. What in heck is wrong with the No. 24 team and its driver?
Seriously, I was going to give NASCAR the benefit of the doubt on this whole sexual-racial discrimination lawsuit filed by a former Nationwide Series race official. Anytime somebody drags lawyers into a situation and starts asking for hundreds of millions of dollars, it raises red flags in my mind. But then I watched Brian France’s news conference and I changed my mind. Grant is telling the truth. Write her a big check and make this go away. What she alleges happened happened. It seems Brian France can’t open his mouth without lying, and unfortunately for him, he’s the worst liar since Richard Nixon. That “deer in the headlights of an oncoming semi” look on his face when he knows he’s lying has got to be the most awkward thing I’ve watched since Mary Tyler Moore’s performance at Chuckle the Clown’s funeral. As a side note, France says his email address is readily available to all of his employees and they can contact him at any time. I’d sure like him to publish that email address, because I know a lot of fans would like a chance to pass along their thoughts to Brian these days.
Add Kevin Harvick and Ron Hornaday to the rapidly expanding Kyle Busch non-fan club. Hornaday hinted he was so upset with the younger Busch brother, he might throw away a chance at a championship to teach Busch a lesson. As my niece might say, “Dude, that’s just harsh.”
Saturday racing phenom Joey Logano won the Nationwide series race from the pole, proving all the accolades claiming that he’s the next big thing might just be true. By winning the race, Logano became the youngest winner ever in NASCAR’s AAA series. But on a cautionary note, the previous youngest winner in the Saturday series was Casey Atwood, who was once “the next big thing” himself. The fact a lot of you are asking yourselves “Casey Who?” should serve as a warning to Logano and other young developmental drivers. Play the cards you’re dealt carefully, or risk going from shooting star to asterisk. Cue up the Bad Company. (Yeah, yeah, kids, ‘Who?‘”)
The Hindenburg Award For Foul Fortune
Matt Kenseth saw his chances at a win evaporate when a portly NASCAR official got in the way of the No. 17 car as it tried to exit the pits. You know, maybe it’s not just the drivers who need a more regimented fitness routine?
Robby Gordon took the hardest hit of the day off the bumper of David Ragan’s Ford.
Ryan Newman’s blown engine left him 42nd in the final rundown.
Jeff Gordon’s penalty for speeding on pit road just put the icing on the cake of a disastrous afternoon.
Greg Biffle watched his pit crew throw another good finish away.
The “Seven Come Fore Eleven” Award For Fine Fortune
Earnhardt had just enough fuel to coast over the start finish line.
He won’t generate the headlines that Kyle Busch or the Junior get, but Brian Vickers posted his second consecutive Top 5 finish. Last year, he struggled just to qualify for two consecutive races.
Jimmie Johnson thought he had a gearbox blowing up, but it held together well enough to power the No. 48 car to a sixth place finish.
What’s the Points?
Kyle Busch remains atop the points table and opened his lead over second place Jeff Burton to 32 points. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. remains third, but closed the gap to Busch down to 84 points. Carl Edwards remains fourth in the standings.
Kasey Kahne continued his climb up the ladder, advancing two more spots to seventh. He’s the only Dodge pilot currently in the Top 12. Jimmie Johnson advanced a spot to fifth, while Tony Stewart also moved up one position to 11th.
Denny Hamlin, Jeff Gordon and Greg Biffle all lost a spot in the standings Sunday. They are currently sixth, eighth and ninth, respectively. Clint Bowyer also fell a spot to 12th in points, just ten ahead of David Ragan in 13th and fourteen points ahead of Matt Kenseth in 14th.
The fortunes of Penske Racing were mixed. Ryan Newman fell three spots to 17th in the standings, a daunting 173 points out of twelfth; but Kurt Busch continues his Quixotic quest to make the chase, rising two spots in the standings to 19th.
Overall Rating (On a scale of one to six beer cans, with one being a stinker and a six pack an instant classic) – Truth be told, it wasn’t a very good race, but the result ensures it will be a very popular one. We’ll give it two cold cans of Bud, then step back and allow the Green Nation to celebrate all week long.
Next Up: The Cup series heads off to Granola-ville, California, the land of fruits, flakes, and nuts. Enjoy it, loyal readers. My distaste for taxi cab racing on road courses has risen to such a level that I’ve decided to take the weekend off to do two local car shows debuting the Bandit car. See you in two weeks for… New Hampshire? Color me thrilled… with a big damned gold screaming chicken on the hood. (Oh, and my nephew Shane is going to be fine. Thanks for your prayers and well wishes).
©2000 - 2008 Matt McLaughlin and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
As an option to Dear old Brian’s e-mail addy, I have been sending him e-mails via “email@example.com”!
Gee, I hope he passes them along!
And, my letter to MIS will go out today, I don’t care if your optimistic: “the stands were half full”! Or pessimistic: “the stands were half empty”!
Unfortunately, HALF IS HALF! No matter how you count it!
If we, the fans, cannot get the CoT DUMPED!! Maybe the tracks can!!
Be rest assured, something has to change! It should be the most embarrassing moment in NA$CAR history that the stands at MIS were virtually EMPTY!!!
The fans, myself included, do not need the drivers to tell us we are watching a bunch of junk cars running the tracks! Actually, my spin is that the drivers are trying to look out for their fans by stating their dis-like of the CoT because they (the drivers) know that we, the core fan, WANT TO WATCH REAL RACING!
Thanks drivers for your attempts at making things better, now, put your muzzles on!
Or Dear Brian & Company will be after you!
WHAT A SICK ORGANIZATION NA$CAR IS TODAY!
Want proof??? Just ask the fans that were absent from MIS!!
Oh, sure, some fans did not go because of the economy, but that did not keep away some 80,000 fans for sure!
But I can assure you the CoT kept the fans away!
Some 80,000 fans that did not go to MIS have spoken!! Now, lets all do our part and get your/our comments and letters going to NA$CAR!!!
We have their attention!!
I think the fans missing at Michigan spoke more to the really awful state of the economy out there – lots of plant closings, don’t forget, as the automakers retrench – than the CoT. I’m pretty convinced that most fans don’t see much difference in the racing, versus those of us that post here who are the big aficianados of the sport. And excuse me for being a glass half full type of guy rather than a chronic pessimist, but 90k people at a sporting event still makes it the biggest single event in the Detroit metro area each year.
They’re not gonna dump the new car, they’ll tweak it. They won’t get rid of the safety improvements in favor of better racing. As I said last week, they need to lift that splitter a couple of inches like they do on the trucks, just for starters.
Right on Matt. The COT and Chase SUCK and are sucking the life out of the series. Brian France should move to China where the population is used to be told what the “truth” is even when a even an idiot knows differently. Stop telling us how everything is great and expecting us to believe it. Last time I checked this is the US and freedom of speech is part of the deal. The drivers should be able to speak their mind. In conclusion you suck Mr France. BF reminds me of Bush, he’s never wrong and he never admits to making mistakes. Arrogant ba$+ard.
MMMMM, the wonders of “numbers”!!
Oh, sure, some 90,000 attended the race! On the surface, that really looks good! When you compare it to say a High School Baseball game!
BUT! Lets compare “APPLES TO APPLES”!!
MIS has packed as many as 180,000 “FANS” into the track! Of course, that was when REAL RACING was going on!
And now all the “spin artists” are trying to say that each and every one of those missing fans simply were “no-shows” because of the economy??
You need to send your application into Brian, he is looking for people like you!
Isn’t it ironic that Jr. broke a 76 race losing streak today? How many wins did his old man have? 76, Go figure.
“What’s the typical penalty for passing the pace car under caution?”
In a REAL racing series, it’s a one lap penalty. You could ask Jacques Villeneuve, who got a TWO lap penalty for doing it TWICE at Indianapolis in the 1995 Indy 500, but Jacques is unavaliable for comment to reporters who cover NASCAR since he didn’t have the $$$$$$$$$ for a ride.
Okay, so no one else wants to say the obvious. A cup race ends under caution and were no, not even one, (let me repeat, not any) beverage cans or coolers thrown on to the track. I guess we can now confirm whose fans are the ones who are such poor sports that they throw things on the track. But then again, I think we all already knew that!
Empty seats due to empty suit:
Michigan has economic issues for years and gas prices have been on the climb for months. Yes, perhaps a few of the empty seats are due to these current conditions but the number of non-occupied seats has been on the climb for the last number of years. The real reason is brian france. This phony liar is the problem and has been since he was given the family business. He is just another worthless kid from parents and grandparents who built a business and then had it destroyed by offspring. I hope napcar takes a severe hit from this phony lawsuit and uncle Jim wakes up and gives worthless brian a boot to the face.
I am sure the napcar officials (france and helton) got to the track on Sunday, saw all the empty seats and said we got to do something about this (i.e.: an earnhart victory).
The Bri-guy speaks with loin in mouth. In his press conference he said “alleged claims”. The claims are not alleged, they’re real. The crime is alleged. He is such an idiot.
Boy, if Gordo is sandbagging for the chase, that would blow. That ain’t good for competition. Maybe I’ll just sand-bag my viewership.
Toyotas have more HP, I don’t care what anyone says. The start of the race proved it. All the cars had the same amount of fuel and the same amount of tire wear (if any) and the Shrub took off like the field was standing still.
Jr finally won one. Now we don’t have to listen to the winless streak “week in and week out”. I wonder what the next mind-numbing useless story-of-the-week will be. I hate soap operas.
I thought that the racing this weekend was fantastic! Every lap was door to door excitement. You realize that I am referring to a local dirt track here in upstate New York and not the homogenized yet curdled product in Michigan.
Mindcrime, “freedom of speech” and the first amendment applies only to keeping the federal, state, and local governments from silencing our speech. It does not apply to a private entity such as NASCAR.
Marshall, you hit the nail on the head.
And finally, if fans want to watch real racing, why doesnt the Craftsman truck series and the Nationwide series see as good of ratings numbers as the Cup racing still does? The truck series is growing in viewership in leaps and bounds, but the Nationwide series is stagnant or only slightly rising. Both those series have the same racecars they did last year, and arguably some of the best racing due to their shorter length and more variety in the tracks.
About passing the pace car. Why did it take JR doing it 3 or 4 times before he got the warning? Anybody else would have been warned after the 1st time.
Kevin in SoCal,
Amazing how baseball, basketball, football, and even golf players can complain about equipment, playing surfaces, and rules and none are penalized or told to shut up by their sanctioning bodies. All of these are considered to be professional sports. And yet NASCAR, which is also supposed to be a professional sport, doesn’t allow the drivers or team owners to state what is so obvious to all fans who have the ability to watch the races.
Some states do have their own version of the 1st Amendment which does prohibit employers from muzzling their employees. I’m guessing Michigan isn’t one of them. Too bad they didn’t do it at Sears Point.
As to the rules not being enforced, it’s nothing new. We’ve seen the rules bent or not enforced in the past for several drivers from big name teams just so The Big B can get his media coverage to try to cover-up the bad press from other things going on with NASCAR. It’s not the first time and it won’t be the last time.
We’ve gotten back to basics alrighty. Brian won’t stand any criticism of himself or his ill conceived car. Don’t be surprised when somebody who does say something bad about it gets some mysterious penalties during tech inspection or gets a speeding penalty on pit road.
Everyone wants to know what ‘s wrong with NASCAR — it was all right here in this race.
Golden Boy Dale Junior gets to pass the pace car at will with zero consequences, while Matt Kenseth loses valuable positions due to an official getting in the way, and that’s perfectly OK? Anyone care to speculate what a commotion would have erupted if this had happened to Junior in the pits?? They would have had the official’s head on a stick.
This is why stock car racing will never be considered a true sport. The rules are bent to line the pockets of NASCAR powers-that-be and that means making the fans happy even if the favorite son gets away with cheating.
NA$CAR is not racing. It is entertainment. Brain Fart said this a few years back. Thank God for Saturday night short tracks. Now thats real racing.
I agree, Brain Fart is killing NA$CAR. Guess thats what happens when you play with yourself too much while watching midget porn and killing a fifth of vodka.
Matt, thank God your nephew is gonna be okay.
I can’t think of a racing series that would allow someone to pass the pace car without a penalty. Of course, naXcar racing is a “show” not a real sporting event. It is like pro “wrassling” which many naXcar fans, I’m sure, think is a real sporting event. As for the fans, or lack thereof, I agree with many above. I don’t think all of the empty seats can be attributed strictly to finances. Many people are so fed up they won’t waste the money it takes to go to a race. I wouldn’t pay today’s prices to see junk like I saw Sunday. I surely am glad that I didn’t waste my time watching the entire race, to have a driver be allowed break the rules several times with no consequence in order to win. Don’t tell me naXcar isn’t capable of rigging races.
So many of you presume to know the rules. Has anyone checked? No>>>>>
I looked in the Nascar rulebook under section 12 paragraph 5 subsection C3 and it states the following “Dale Earnhardt Jr. shall be allowed to interprete any and all rules in this rulebook; Anything less would be detrimental to Nascar and the entertainment that is Nascar.”
Looks to me like Jr. called up Danica in desperation asking how to win a race, and she filled him in on the fuel stratagy play.
Matt, the real racing will be in Newton Iowa next Sunday.
I knew some clowns would come up with a conspiriacy theory when Jr. won again. Get a life. Do you think the officials saw Kenseth as the biggest threat to Jr. and blocked his pit exit on purpose? Man, wake up. This was a typical Michigan fuel-mileage race and the team with the best strategy won. Period. End of story. Deal with it.
Its no different than all the conspiracy theories last year (some from Jr’s fans) about how Hendrick was stinking up the show and Junior’s cars were sabotaged.