Kurt Busch to Attempt The Indianapolis-Charlotte Double
posted by Phil Allaway
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Andretti Autosport announced this morning that Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet in the Sprint Cup Series, will attempt the Indianapolis 500 in a fifth entry for the IndyCar Series team. Once the Indianapolis 500 is completed, Busch will fly from Indianapolis to Charlotte, jump in his No. 41 Chevrolet and compete in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Busch considers the opportunity to do the double as an old-school throwback moment.
“This is really to challenge myself within motorsports,” Busch said in Andretti Autosport’s press release. “Perhaps I am a bit of an old-school racer; a throwback, I guess. I enjoyed the era of drivers racing different cars and testing themselves in other series. It is tough to do now for a variety of factors, but when the opportunity is there, I want to do it. While NASCAR is my home, I have been fortunate to compete in Pro Stock on the NHRA circuit a number of years ago and test a V8 Supercar. This opportunity was a talk with Michael [Andretti] over dinner one night, a “What if,” and now it’s becoming a reality for me to drive in the Indy 500 with Andretti Autosport. It’s literally a dream come true. To go to the famous Brickyard with the iconic Andretti name, it doesn’t get much cooler or better than that.”
Busch will be doing the Indianapolis-Charlotte double as a Memorial Day mission to men and women serving in the U.S. Military via the Armed Forces Foundation. Fans can contribute to the cause by texting AFF to 50555 to donate $10.
Busch, who has never raced an IndyCar, passed Rookie Orientation at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last year during a test session. At the time, Busch was more or less testing the Dallara DW12 for fun.
Busch will be the fourth driver to attempt the Indianapolis-Charlotte double. John Andretti was the first driver to attempt it in 1994. After finishing four laps down in tenth in Indianapolis, Andretti crashed and had engine problems in the 600. Robby Gordon has attempted the double five times, most recently in 2004. However, Gordon failed to make it to Charlotte on time and did not start the 600 in 2000 (P.J. Jones started Gordon’s No. 13 Ford in that instance). Finally, Tony Stewart has attempted the double twice (most recently in 2001) and is the only driver to ever complete all 1100 miles. Neither of the three drivers has won either leg of the double. The best finishes are Stewart and Gordon’s sixth-place finishes at the Indianapolis 500 (although Gordon’s came in 2000, the year he didn’t make it to Charlotte in time to start the Coca-Cola 600), and Stewart’s fourth-place finish in the 2001 Coca-Cola 600.
Danica Patrick, Justin Allgaier Talk About Phoenix Incident
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
A disappointing start to the year for Danica Patrick won’t include continued conflict. Patrick met with rookie Justin Allgaier Sunday, shortly after the Phoenix Cup race after a wreck ruined both drivers’ days. Patrick, who was critical of the No. 51 car on the radio, claiming Allgaier was “driving all over the track” appeared receptive to a conversation that quickly settled differences over what will be a long season.
“She was just upset because she got involved in the crash that we had,’’ said Allgaier to the Motor Racing Network. “She says she’s been through this and that she felt like I needed to settle down at that point. I explained my position on why everything happened. I think she understood where I was coming from. It doesn’t fix either one of our racecars. It doesn’t fix either one of our days. Unfortunately, we were both having pretty decent days.’’
Allgaier wound up 30th due to the incident while Patrick was 36th. The incident, which was caused by Allgaier’s spin also involved the No. 32 team and Travis Kvapil, which wound up 38th after sustaining heavy damage.
Camping World Close to Extending Title Sponsorship of NCWTS
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Marcus Lemonis, CEO of Camping World, Grand Marshal of Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway, and star of CNBC’s “The Profit,” made the announcement over the weekend that the retailer is very close to announcing a deal that would continue its title sponsorship of NASCAR’s Truck Series. The original agreement with NASCAR is scheduled to conclude after the 2015 season.
According to the sanctioning body, no formal contract has been signed, but “the agreement between the two parties has proven to be a beneficial one.”
“In about a month, we’ll be announcing a significant extension to that contract. It’s been great for us,” said Camping World’s Lemonis in a statement. “The NASCAR relationship has worked well for Camping World. When we started, we had 35 stores. Now, we’re up to 120 stores. As we travel the country and we meet new customers in stores, they always are very appreciative of our relationship with NASCAR. It’s been good.”
Gaining a long-term commitment from Camping World to sponsor the Truck Series would be a relief for NASCAR, which is set to lose Nationwide Insurance as title sponsor for the NASCAR Nationwide Series at the end of the 2014 season. The sponsorship of the Cup Series by Sprint runs through 2016.
The NCWTS is back in action on March 29th at 2:30 PM (ET) when the trucks visit Martinsville Speedway in the Kroger 250, which can be seen on Fox Sports 1. Ratings for the season opener were up 11 percent.
Harvick Takes Win At Phoenix In Second Race With New Team
posted by Justin Tucker
Monday March 3, 2014
Phoenix International Raceway has become Kevin Harvick’s home away from home. Sunday Afternoon was no exception as Harvick charged to the front early and would dominate for much of the day, leading 224 of the scheduled 312 laps to record his record fifth win on the one mile oval and his third win in the last four races at Phoenix.
Harvick, coming off of a disappointing Speedweeks which was capped by a last lap crash in the Daytona 500 in his debut with Stewart-Haas Racing, set the tone on Saturday by winning both practices while having the best 5 and 10-lap averages in the first practice of the day on Saturday. On Sunday, Harvick and his No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet was nothing short of flawless as he was able to hold Dale Earnhardt, Jr. by .489 seconds after a late race restart to claim his 24th career Sprint Cup Series victory.
“Man, this is awesome,” Harvick said after his dominant victory on Sunday. “Man, this just solidifies so many things and so many decisions. It’s been so much work with all the time and effort that these guys (the crew) have put in—but what a race car.”
Stewart Haas Racing co-owner Gene Haas shared in Harvick’s excitement after the race.
“It took long enough,” Haas joked. “This is phenomenal. I think there was a lot of skepticism last year about what myself and Tony (Stewart) what we were up to, was there a lot of madness to this. Quite frankly, it’s a great team, there’s a lot of synergy at the shop, people working together. I don’t know what we did, but I think we put together a great organization.”
Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt, Jr. continued his hot start to the 2014 season. Earnhardt Jr. would finish second on Sunday, marking his seventh consecutive top 10 finish since the end of the 2013 season. Earnhardt Jr. was pleased with the effort after a coast-to-coast whirlwind week after winning his second Daytona 500 and also gave great praise to the efforts of Harvick and the No. 4 team.
“I’ve got to congratulate Kevin. Those guys were two-tenths faster than everyone all weekend in practice. They were just phenomenal,” Earnhardt said. “To be able to run with them all day was a big confidence builder for us.”
Joining Harvick and Earnhardt in the top 5 of The Profit on CNBC 500K were Brad Keselowski with his second consecutive top 3 run of 2014 in third. Keselowski’s Team Penske teammate Joey Logano would finish fourth, and Jeff Gordon would come home fifth in his No. 24 Pepsi Max Chevrolet.
Jimmie Johnson finished in sixth, followed by Ryan Newman with a nice rebound after Daytona in seventh. Carl Edwards would carry the banner for Roush Fenway Racing by finishing eighth, Kyle Busch was ninth, and Jamie McMurray would finish tenth.
A look at the Profit on CNBC 500K by the numbers. There were 14 lead changes among eight different drivers, there were eight cautions for 39 laps which slowed the race pace to 109.229 MPH.
Next Sunday, the Sprint Cup Series heads to Sin City and the Las Vegas Motor
Starting Lineup: The Profit On CNBC 500K
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday March 1, 2014
Drivers in RED (i) are those ineligible to collect Sprint Cup points
Daytona 500 TV Ratings Down
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Wednesday February 26, 2014
What was the longest weather delay in Daytona 500 history turned out to bring NASCAR lower ratings and TV viewership Sunday night than expected. According to a report Monday from FOX Sports, the 56th running of the Daytona 500 airing at 8 PM (ET) posted a 5.6/10 national household rating/share which averaged 9.3 million viewers. That’s down 44 percent from last year’s 9.9, easily making it the least-watched Daytona 500 of all-time.
Due to the six-hour, twenty-two minute rain delay in Daytona, the race was up against the primetime coverage of the Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony from Sochi, Russia on NBC (15.25 million viewers). FOX also reported that 69% of the pre-rain delay viewers of the race, which began at 1 PM (ET) kept tuning in.
In comparison, the 2013 Daytona 500 on FOX was the most-watched race in five years, posting a 9.9/22 rating/share, commanding 16.7 million viewers. The Daytona 500 in 2012, the first to ever be run on a Monday and in the primetime slot did a 7.7/13 overnight rating/share which resulted in 13.67 million households viewing the race according to Nielsen TV ratings data.
Earnhardt, Jr. Claims Second Daytona 500 Victory
posted by Justin Tucker
Wednesday February 26, 2014
Ten years is a long time. For Dale Earnhardt, Jr., it felt like an eternity. NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver endured many near misses and close calls at the Daytona 500 since his only win in the Great American Race in 2004. Earnhardt had finished second in two of his last three Daytona 500s coming into Sunday’s race. He was also riding the tail of a 55-race winless streak, dating back to Michigan in 2012.
However nothing would stop Dale Jr. on Sunday, not even a 6 hour and 22 minute rain delay from capturing his second Daytona 500 win. Earnhardt Jr. led a race-high 54 laps on the evening and used some timely drafting help from teammates Jimmie Johnson and, on the final restart, Jeff Gordon to separate from the pack and secure the victory.
“Winning this race is the greatest feeling that you could feel in this sport besides accepting the trophy for the championship,” said a jubilant Earnhardt after pulling into Victory Lane. “We could fight off battle after battle. We got a little help at the end there from Jeff to get away on the restart. This is amazing. I can’t believe this is happening. I never take this for granted, man because it doesn’t happen twice, let alone once.”
Aside from the race itself the big story of the race was the 6 hour and 22 minute red flag, which threatened to move the race to Monday evening (had the race been postponed, FOX Sports’ Chris Myers had tweeted that the race would resume at 5:00pm EST). However, Mother Nature would cooperate and would allow the race to be run under different conditions from which they practiced this week. Once the race resumed, the intensity picked up from the changing track conditions. This allowed the pack to race side-by-side and at times 3-wide up to seven rows deep.
Joining Earnhardt Jr. in the top 5 for the 2014 Daytona 500 were: Denny Hamlin who closed out a spectacular Speedweeks in second, Brad Keselowski in third, Jeff Gordon in fourth, and Jimmie Johnson who overcome two wrecks leading up to the 500 in fifth.
Rounding out the top 10 in the Daytona 500 were Matt Kenseth in sixth, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. in seventh and Greg Biffle would bring his No. 16 Ford home in eighth. Austin Dillon would come home ninth in his first Cup Series race in the iconic No. 3 for Richard Childress Racing, while Casey Mears would round out the top 10.
A couple of major contenders for the Daytona 500 win would see their hopes dashed early on as Martin Truex, Jr. would blow up just 30 laps into the race, relegating him to a 43rd-place finish in his debut for Furniture Row Racing. Crew chief Todd Berrier was already in Nashville for a test session before the race was even over. Kyle Busch, meanwhile would have a pit road violation just before halfway and would spend much of the race battling back from that mistake. Busch would eventually finish 19th after leading 19 laps.
Danica Patrick would also be bit by bad luck as she was caught up in a multi-car wreck on lap 145. Patrick would lead her second consecutive Daytona 500, but wouldn’t have the finish to show for it finishing 40th. Tony Stewart would encounter a frustrating evening as well, with a fuel pickup problem derailing his quest for his first Daytona 500 win. Stewart would finish 35th.
A look at the Daytona 500 by the numbers. There were 42 lead changes among 18 drivers, while seven cautions for 39 laps would slow the race pace to 145.290 MPH.
Next week, the Sprint Cup Series heads to the “diamond in the desert,” Phoenix International Raceway for The Profit on CNBC 500K. The Green flag is scheduled for 3:15pm EST.
Nationwide Series Post-Race Quotes: Drive4COPD 300
posted by Thomas Bowles
Tuesday February 25, 2014
Frontstretch Interviews – Courtesy Mike Neff
ELLIOTT SADLER – FINISHED 4th
Thoughts on the race?
It’s definitely a lot different racing than what we’re used to.
Comfortable with it?
Yeah, it’s just different. You’re worried about what you’re doing, but you’re also worried about what everyone else is doing and they’re not doing more than you’re doing. Physically pushing a guy is way better than just riding so you just gotta time it right and push it to the edge.
Happy to start the year with a top 5?
Yeah. Hell, that was the worst we ran all day, I think. I have no idea how they put the 3 car in front of us on that last restart. I hadn’t seen the 3 car hardly all day. When they put us from fifth to sixth, on the outside line, it just really boxed us in. I would have really restarted behind my teammate and given him a good push to the front. Anyways, it is what it is; we’ll take it and move on.
Looked like you were up front all day.
The guys did a good job. We had a fast race car. Great pit stops, just really proud of these guys. The car’s in one piece and we can take it to Talladega now. Great job by my guys. A lot of effort came into coming down here to Daytona and giving ourselves a shot to win. We had that chance to be up front and make some things happen. Fifth is not what we want, but we’ll take it and move on.
Bumping vs Pushing?
It’s way harder. You don’t want to lay on the guy in front of you, so it’s tough racing. A lot different than what we’re used to, ‘cause you gotta go. You gotta drag the brake too ‘cause you don’t want to hit the guys and you don’t want to stay on him. It’s a lot harder mentally than what we’ve done in the past.
Car was strong all day. Pushing vs. Bumping, is that harder to do than just getting on somebody and pushing them?
Yeah, it is a little bit. When you bump ‘em, you jar ‘em, it kinda jacks ‘em a little bit. It’s a little more abrupt, obviously. I thought it was OK there at the end. It was certainly fun and hopefully entertaining. But a little bit of a struggle in the early part of the race and the midpart of the race to see a good race. And that’s unfortunate for the fans. You can’t do that the whole race, you can’t tear up your stuff, knock your grill in, overheat your motor, all that stuff so there’s no sense in doing all that until you get down to the last lap. The 7 and the 6, they did a good job. Man, the 7 really held the 22 and I tight on the bottom. I was rubbing his door and hitting the apron at the same time, no room whatsoever. So it was good; wish we were the ones who could have won but a lot better now than what we were last year.
Going home in one piece makes it a lot better, right?
Yeah. My back feels good. My foot feels good. Past years here, I’ve been going home with pain so I’m alright.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Truck Series Post-Race Quotes: Daytona (Exclusives)
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday February 22, 2014
When you’re on the outside like that, how frustrating is it?
It’s so hard. Timothy Peters has won here. Kyle Busch has won everywhere. Ron Hornaday has been running Trucks forever, probably before I was even born. I was surrounded by veterans there, and like I told them I don’t have a rookie stripe but I’m a rookie. This is only my fourth Truck race ever, my fourth superspeedway race, and man, I figured out when the 17 got up in front of me, I pushed him. And as soon as I pushed him, he took off. And I went with him. And I just kept doing it, and before I knew it, he was leading. And I saw Ron in my mirror, backed up to him, and if it wasn’t for him, I don’t know what would have happened. I gotta thank him big time for that. That was a true teammate move right there. I really appreciate that. He just bounced off me and we got to the front. I tried my hardest to sidedraft Kyle. I was probably touching his door.
Top 5 in the No. 30 truck. This deal come together at the last minute, but you had a heck of a truck. Tell us about your night.
Yeah, I’ve got to thank Turner Scott Motorsports. The guys worked so hard on this Rheem Comfort Products Chevrolet. Exciting! Just got hung up on the outside and had to wait for my teammate there to catch up. And then he got to the bottom, so… I got the old 32 and started pushing ol’ Ryan to the front. So, it’s not bad. We’ll take it. You just don’t want to step over that boundary. You don’t know how far to push and shove. We bumped about six times down the straightaway without latching onto them. Hopefully, that was OK and we came home with a top 5.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Budweiser Duels Post Race Quotes
posted by Matt Stallknecht
Friday February 21, 2014
BUDWEISER DUELS POST-RACE QUOTES
They’re saying the wheel bearing burned up in it. I don’t know what caused it, they’re taking it all apart to figure out what the heck happened. Something abnormal that’s for sure I don’t think I’ve ever had that happen at all. Hopefully, we made the race and hopefully we can fix the problem before Sunday.
WHAT WAS THAT LOUD BOOM ONCE YOU TURNED INTO THE GARAGE?
Loud pop was a tire… thankfully, it popped, hopefully it didn’t hurt anybody. All the heat created in the left front that popped was pretty weird.
REALLY GOOD RUN. WHAT DID YOU THINK OF IT?
Yeah, it was good. We have a car we can work with for the 500. Got a good starting spot, so we’re going to rest easy, fluff and buff our car for a couple of days and get ready for Sunday.
ANY DIFFERENCE ON WHETHER THE TOP OR BOTTOM LANE WORKED?
Yeah, I was just moving around, trying to stay with the flow. For me, this car works on all parts of the racetrack. So I’m pretty happy with it.
DALE EARNHARDT, JR.
GOT SHUFFLED BACK, AFTER PIT STOPS AND THEN COULDN’T GET BACK UP TO THE FRONT. WHY?
Nah, we were just sitting there waiting until the last few laps to make a move. You didn’t want to pull down and get sent to the back. Seen a couple of guys get sent to the back really quick so we were just kind of waiting for the end. I felt like we had a good situation there with Ambrose behind us — we had a good run off Turn 2 and I went. It was the last lap, time to go do something, nobody went with us but hopefully Sunday is a different story.
We got a great car. We don’t have to work hard. We learned, we got a good race car. Got a car in one piece, ready to go so we’ll try and get through the next couple of practices, deliver it to the starting group this Sunday and we’ll be real happy.
YOU’RE IN THE DAYTONA 500!
Yeah, it’s pretty awesome. This Whitetail Chevrolet was so fast that I knew all I had to do was stick it behind smart, intelligent drafters and we could have a good finish. That’s what we did in the Duels and I’m excited. I’m excited to go do some stuff with the Nationwide car and have some more practice with this. But to know that we’re locked in the Daytona 500’s pretty cool.
YOU WERE OBVIOUSLY IN FRONT OF THAT MELEE AT THE END. WHEN YOU WERE UP FRONT THERE IN THE BEGINNING, WERE YOU HOPING TO JUST STAY IN LINE AND LET YOU FINISH TOP 5?
I was pretty content to ride and luckily I knew a lot of people around us were. It was nice to have a little calm and not really have to be racing hard the whole time. I knew that the pit stop was going to shake everything up and that’s exactly what happened. Fell back a little bit there but made the right moves at the end to get a good finish.
HOW STRONG ARE THESE RCR CARS?
They’re very strong! They definitely have the capabilities to be winning one of these races.
YOU’RE IN THE TOP 5 FOR YOUR HEAT IN THE DAYTONA 500. YOUR PRIMARY CAR IS SITTING RIGHT IN THE GARAGE, KIND OF WADDED UP. DID YOU THINK THIS ONE HAD IT IN IT?
Yeah, it’s a brand new car also. It’s just not quite as good as the primary but still a damned good car. I’m just proud of everybody at RCR for building such fast race cars. All of our cars have been fast, ECR motor’s been strong, even our affiliate teams have been qualifying really good and racing good. So… excited about 2014! It’s going to be a good year.
WELL MAN, YOU STARTED IN THE BACK BUT WORKED YOUR WAY TO THE FRONT WHEN IT COUNTED MOST. WERE YOU JUST BIDING YOUR TIME THROUGHOUT THE RACE?
Eh, you never know if you’re going to get back up there or not. We had to start at the back, we had to make a run early and see what we could do. We drove right to 10th, or something like that and then it got stagnant. We tried to make something happen, and went to the back again. Drove back up to the front. Again, just really proud of my guys. Matt Kruder did a hell of a job on that pit stop getting just enough gas in to gain some spots there.
RCR CARS SEEM PRETTY DARNED STRONG. DO YOU THINK THE RCR CARS HAVE SOMETHING FOR THEM ON SUNDAY — ESPECIALLY THE THREE JOE GIBBS RACING CARS THAT SEEM TO BE THE CLASS OF THE FIELD RIGHT NOW?
Oh yeah. The 20 car was extremely fast. The 11 didn’t qualify that good, but he’s a good drafter. I think he won. We definitely have something for him.
Check in with Matt and Jay on their site at CareyandCoffey.com.
Matt McLaughlin · Monday July 7, 2008
The Key Moment: Kyle Busch had Carl Edwards by a fender when half the field finally got around to wrecking behind them.
In a Nutshell: While some fans revel in the unpredictability of plate racing, it all seems all too predictable to me, with a flurry of late race cautions and a blizzard of bent sheetmetal always defining the closing laps.
Dramatic Moment: The final twenty circuits resembled a hooligan’s race at a local dirt track on ten cents a mug keg night.
What They’ll Be Talking About Around the Water Cooler This Week
Maybe it’s time for a little rules alteration. If the yellow flag flies on the final lap of the race, NASCAR ought to give fans one more shot at a green-white-checkered finish. Of course, as wild as things got on the final lap of this year’s Firecracker, if they’d lined them up and tried again it’s likely nobody would have finished the race.
What better way to celebrate America’s birthday than watching a foreign car pull into Victory Lane at Daytona after a Cup race for the first time? Courtesy of the red, white, and sushi, I suppose. Let’s just be glad NASCAR doesn’t race on December 7th.
Related to the above, with their stock price falling to its lowest level since the Eisenhower administration, General Motors announced this week they will not renew any of their track sponsorship contracts for next year. (Stuff like providing pace cars, signage at the track, etc.) Something tells me this is the start of a troubling trend that will eventually lead to one or more of the Big Three withdrawing from the sport of stock car racing.
It’s not perfect, but the limited commercial interruption coverage is simply a must for every NASCAR race going forward.
OK, it surely wasn’t boring there at the end if you’re the type that appreciates seeing the destruction of a few million dollars worth of equipment, but every time I watch this plate race madness, I can’t help but remember the words of the most notable victim of least common denominator racing, the late Dale Earnhardt: “This ain’t real racing, I don’t care what they say.”
Yeah, Mark Martin is nearly 50 and he wants to run a full Cup schedule next year. So what? John McCain is 71, and he wants to be the leader of the world’s greatest Democracy. Life doesn’t end at fifty anymore.
So Brian France thinks everything is going splendidly with NASCAR right now, and there’s no reason to correct the course. That’s the same mindset that saw Captain Edward Smith run the Titanic into an iceberg.
Look for extraordinary penalties to be issued against DEI’s No. 1 car this week. Messing with the new car is a big no-no, and messing with the aero at a plate track is another cardinal sin. Combine the two, and the penalties ought to reset the bar. Even a one hundred point penalty will likely remove Truex from Chase contention this deep into the season.
Will the last person to leave DEI kindly turn out the lights?
Apparently an old buddy of mine in the biz is ready to turn in his media credentials, notebooks, laptops, and microphones because some folks think I’m a journalist. Best of luck in your new career, whatever it is, and I hope this time you find something you’re actually good at. You’d be an instant hit in a summer stock production of Amadeus…
The Hindenburg Award For Foul Fortune
Jeff Gordon went from contending for the lead to an apparent 30th place finish on the final restart.
Jeff Burton has made a career out of being in the right place at the right time, but Saturday night, he seemed to be in all the wrong places at all the wrong times.
Michael Waltrip saw a much needed Top 10 finish go up in a cloud of tire smoke on the final lap.
Jimmie Johnson looked to be contending for a win when he got caught up in a mess not of his own making. A subsequent pit stop put Johnson in the eye of the storm when the poop hit the oscillating blades.
As much as Tony Stewart loves to race, getting out of a competitive car at a track where he traditionally runs well had to be tough for him. You have to wonder if the carbon monoxide is getting to Stewart.
At a track where his teams typically dominate, Rick Hendrick watched three of his cars post finishes outside the Top 20.
The “Seven Come Fore Eleven” Award For Fine Fortune
Kyle Busch got crossed up and sideways in traffic, yet somehow made a miraculous save on the apron and got back onto the track with no real damage. He then went on to win the race.
Kurt Busch wrecked his primary car in the weekend’s only practice session and started deep in the field. Yet at the end, he emerged out of nowhere to snag a fourth place finish.
David Ragan overcame a questionable pit road penalty and several fender benders en route to another Top 5 at Daytona.
No koi were injured in Carl Edwards’ bumpy ride to a runner-up finish.
After the No. 40 team closed down this week, the only ride rookie Dario Franchitti has left is Ashley Judd. If only unemployment were as good for the rest of us…
Editor’s Note : As with all restrictor plate races, keep in mind some adjustments can be made between the end of the event and the posting of the final results. The official finishing order is expected to be posted by NASCAR around noon EST on Monday.
What’s the Points?
Kyle Busch extended his lead to 182 markers over Dale Earnhardt, Jr. who displaced Jeff Burton on the second rung of the championship standings. Carl Edwards, Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, and Denny Hamlin remained in positions fourth through seventh, respectively.
Matt Kenseth had the best points night, advancing four spots to ninth. Kasey Kahne advanced two spots to eighth, while Clint Bowyer moved up a spot to tenth.
An ailing Tony Stewart abandoned ship and fell three spots to 12th in the standings, just two points ahead of the cutoff line for the Chase. Greg Biffle also tumbled three spots to 11th after finishing dead last; now, he’s just eight points ahead of Stewart.
Kevin Harvick fell a spot to 13th, once again becoming the odd man out. For now, Martin Truex remains a distant 14th, but that will probably change later in the week.
Overall Rating (On a scale of one to six beer cans, with one being a stinker and a six pack an instant classic): We’ll give this one four cans of icy cold brew tossed over the fence at the eventual race winner. (Seriously, y’all gotta cut that stuff out.)
Next Up: It’s 106 miles from Chicago, we’ve got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it’s dark… and we’re wearing sunglasses. Hit it!
©2000 - 2008 Matt McLaughlin and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
Good recap. I continue to agree with you and Earnhardt. It ain’t racin’. Of course there was the standard booth comment, “…but the fans love it.” They and naXcar continue to believe that. I don’t know any racing series that allows a race to end as this one did. What a mess! But naXcar loves it because it gives them plenty of “exciting” trailers to use for race ads. I guess they like to see the teams spend millions to repair or replace cars, not to mention the risk to the drivers and fans. More sponsor money needed. Any new gullible sponors out there?
why don’t y’all just give up on NASCAR and move on to the newest fad. it’s obvious you spit in the face of the sport that seems to pay your bills! biting the hand that feeds you, or just trying to get some hits to your article?! please stop the pessimism, the doom-and-gloom that everything wrong with NASCAR is France’s fault … much like the nation blames Bush. childish, yes; called for, no!
Oh, what an enlightening person you are Kyle!
“After the No. 40 team closed down this week, the only ride rookie Dario Franchitti has left is Ashley Judd. If only unemployment were as good for the rest of us…”
Save this quote and bronze it, it’s THAT good!
In Matt’s defense, I like the fact that he doesn’t sugarcoat everything, and it’s why I read his stuff. I like getting different perspectives, and the entire Frontstretch.com staff seems to be more in-touch with what fans are saying than any other racing-related website that I know of. The current state of NASCAR is not the best because of multiple factors, the economy is making it even harder, and Matt’s simply pointing that out. He’s not the only one. Hell, even the official NASCAR.com has been more doom and gloom lately.
There are a few people in this sport (Brian France, et al.) that have the power to change things, and now is the time for them to step up. Will they try to ride it out, or will they take action? I hear many fans ask those questions, and Matt and the rest of the Frontstretch crew have the vehicle to speak on our behalf. Maybe somebody at the top will listen.
Is it possible that that the boring racing for the first 2/3 of the race is due to the “racers”, and not the race car, track, tires or whatever?
What did we have, 3 race leaders in the first half of the race on Saturday? At Daytona?
That indicates to me that these guys-Kyle Busch excluded-are just happy to ride around, protecting their top-12 status, until the real season starts in September.
Here’s a proposal: Eliminate the 5 point bonus for leading a lap under caution, unless you pit crew gets you out first. Then, give a 10 point bonus for passing under the green flag and leading a lap.
We need a reason to watch the early part of the race, and maybe this would help.
Foreign car? What foreign car?
You mean the only model represented in Nascar that is actually built in the US?
I have to say up front that I can’t stand Tony Stewart but he is a great racer. So for him to pull out of that car he must have been sick as hell.
As for the attendance it is unfortunate that NA$CAR has the economy to blame to delude them into thinking the loss has anything to do with anything other than their changes.
As for Toyota, to be accurate Foreign decals one the race. Stuck to NA$CARs abortion.
Woops, Won not one.
I also forgot about the beer can throwing. It was so obvious that TNT was showing the same replay and blabbing along in a effort to hide the fact a bunch of idiots were once again throwing full beer cans.
I was hoping at least one driver in a post interview was going call these jerks for what they are.
I’d hope one decent fan next to one of these morons would punch them down the grandstands.
A full can flying through the air is a dangerous thing. Most don’t make the fence and hit people below it.
4 cans of icy cold brew of sounds about right to me. This race was much better than the last few snoozers, even if the excitement was a bit contrived. The Wide Open Coverage made watching the race at home much more enjoyable as well.
In closing, would, the last person off the spotters’ stand please wake up the narcoleptic working for the #26 team? Two weeks is long enough nap for anyone.
wouldn’t be a Matt McLaughlin article without a shot at Toyota.
Xenophobia is kind of sad, Matt, and you’ve been beating the dead horse for a few years now. I don’t know that Toyota is dominating the sport so much as Joe Gibbs Racing is having a stellar year. I mean if Bill Davis and Red Bull were chase threats I see your point, but give credit where it’s due. Gibbs has assembled a heck of a team this year. We’ll see how it goes next year when they likely will get someone in the 20 ride (Newman/ one of the Yates guys?) and bring up Logano for a 4th team.
Stewart hasn’t looked good for a few months. Wonder if he’s not burning the candle at both ends with trying to start his Haas/CNC team, rub his dirt tracks and drive the 20 car as well as sponsor commitments. Every time I see him on tv, which he’s not exactly what high def tv had in mind, he looks like ass.
I think this was the first Firecracker 400 I haven’t watched in 20 years. No interest at all, and from the looks of the crowd dressed up as empty seats on the Superstretch, I wasn’t the only one. Could be the first time I remember I-95 being driveable between Jacksonville and Daytona. Didn’t even have to go up A1A to avoid traffic.
Xenophobia? I’m guessing that’s… an irrational fear of Lucy Lawless? Say it ain’t so, Matt!
Just funnin’ ya, Joe. In fact, I kinda agree that it’s the JGR teams that are enjoying success more so than the Toyota teams in general, but how much more money and technical support are they getting from Toyota than Michael Waltrip and Bill Davis are? None of us can say for sure, but JGR didn’t switch to Toyota for the corporate Sushi dinners. And as bad as the Toyota advantage is in the Cup series, it’s even worse in the Nationwide series. In the past NASCAR has made adjustments to keep one manufacturer from dominating the sport. I’m not sure we’re there yet, but I am sure that if the Toyotas keep dominating, Rick Hendrick and Jack Roush will be knocking down Brian’s door for help.
The first of the not so big anymore 3. To pull out of NA$CAR, will only make it easier for the other 2 to follow.
You’re always quick to slam Robby, & in all fairness. I have to admit that it’s sometimes warranted.
In fairness I did note Robby’s accomplishment in the worth noting section, without any snide remarks. He did have a good run. I’ll also admit Gordon made the race more exciting to watch. Everytime they mentioned he was in the top 10 I was sure he was about to trigger the big one but I was pleasantly surprised. It seems over the last couple years Robby is driving smarter. My guess is that’s because he’s got to pay for it when he wads up a car.
I’m not “in the know” when it comes to NASCAR, but you have to think the guys at Toyota specifically JGR have taken full advantage of the common bodies moreso than GM, Ford, and Dodge. Playing Devil’s advocate, how many wins do you think JGR would have if they were still in the GM camp compared with now? I think they’d have the same number honestly.
It’s looking like NASCAR will turn into Formula One sooner than later with only 3 to 4 superteams winning things.
From what I see this could be the first year we have fields under 43 cars in over a decade unless the Morgan Shepherd’s Carl Long’s and others get the park and ride money to enter the races and cover their transportation costs and tire bill.
Unfortunately I don’t see this weekend’s race bring that good either as the 1.5 milers are usually a restart race where the race is won and lost in pit strategy vice on the track. Our only hope is that one of those inflatable oranges falls from the grandstands and causes a competition yellow during a pivotal moment of the race. Oh well, looks like I’ll be playing softball again instead of watching the Sheetrock 500
I agree with Joe. If you look at last year with the Hendrick domination, the JGR cars (Hamlin in particular) were just as dominant in those races but had problems with fuel pickups or pit stop mistakes, so it’s not surprising to see them slot into the ‘dominant’ position with Hendrick regressing a little this year.
People can talk about Toyota domination and whatnot but to me the most surprising thing is how inconsistent the rest of the Toyota teams are. I think Lee White or Jim Aust was saying that even before JGR was added they were running basically at capacity, so it’s not too much of a stretch to say they’re spread out a little too thin aside from the JGR camp. That’s the only way one can explain how the 96 car misses two plate races (where the Toyota motor supposedly has a huge advantage) and how the 84/44/00 teams seem to be blowing motors every other week.
Great run for Robby. However, can someone tell him that it’s generally not a good idea to make your car number the same color as the flames? When I initially started watching the first Cup practice I couldn’t tell if that was his car or if one of the Front Row or John Carter teams had run out of the budget for paint.
I can’t think of one item on the Gibbs cars , or the Toyota trucks in Craftsman series that is made by Toyota . So lets get over this ridiculous “ foreign “ hatred . By the way Matt , get ready for a whole new batch of foreign hating . The new RO7 Chevrolet race engine soon to be approved for use by NASCAR , will have the engine blocks cast by a company in the UK . I’ll eagerly await your hate filled columns toward GM and their NASCAR teams .
To quote Matt Kenseth: “This race is maddening.” But hey, when you pull in third, how maddening can it be.
On to Jolietland…where as a night race, it can only go up from there.
Hey Matt, at least Joey Chestnut did his part to defeat the Japanese Empire this weekend. Let’s put him in a race car…
Hey, another questionable penalty against a Roush car! What are the odds?
Fine work as always, MMcL
To all the people who thinks toyota isn’t a foreign make think about where all the profits go
Phil, that may be true, but ask the fellas in Detroit where the JOBS go. Toyota employs quite a few Americans too ya know.
I think they’d take jobs over profits.
Apparently Stewart is so sick he will not be on his radio show on Sirius tonight.
“To all the people who thinks toyota isn’t a foreign make think about where all the profits go”
Well, seeing as how Toyota is a publicly owned company, their profits are either paid out as dividends to shareholders (of which there are many Americans, in fact they have an American on the board of directors), or kept as retained earnings which are put towards, among other things, opening plants in the U.S., advertising in the U.S., helping motorsports programs in the U.S., etc. Hell, they’re even considering building Prius’ at the Toyota-GM NUMMI plant in the near future.
Matt, apparently that “old buddy of yours” is getting to be quite bitter. It must be the aftereffects of drinking too much of the NA$CAR corporate Kool-Aid.
Thanks to my podunk cable company, I didn’t see the race, but apparently didn’t miss much. The best thing NA$CAR can do is ditch little boy brian. Bill Jr. kept the NA$CAR ship afloat through some rough economic times in the 70s. I don’t think little boy brian has what it takes.
There is one reason why Toyotas are built cheaper in the United States and GM, Ford, and Dodge are built in Canada and Mexico: Toyota doesnt have to pay inflated union salaries nor inflated union pensions. If you want to save the Detroit Three automakers, its time to bust up the unions and put those hard-working, high-quality Americans back to work on American cars instead of Toyotas and Hondas.
And if you want to eliminate plate racing, we either have to stop going to Daytona and Talledega, or knock down the banking and build them as flat tracks. Technology has caught up so fast that the only way to keep the cars under 200 MPH is to restrict them. Its obvious the new car isnt enough of an ugly brick to keep them slow.
Let them go over 200 mph. The racing would be better and couldn’t be any more dangerous than the Indy cars going over 200.
>>Let them go over 200 mph. The racing would be better and couldn’t be any more dangerous than the Indy cars going over 200.<<
Ring a bell?
Indy cars are built to go over 200 m.p.h. Stock cars—even the NA$CAR thalidamyde version P.O.S., with roof flaps—are not.
One small thing that can be done at the plate tracks is for The Brian to tell Mike “Fat Bastard” Helton to cough up that whistle he swallowed the night Ironhead punted Terry LaBonte into the fence. NA$CAR yammers about restarts, but when was the last time they actually black-flagged somebody? I recall Rusty getting nailed for jumping a restart, but that must have been close to a decade ago. The Daytona Beach braintrust (feel free to snicker) needs to make it clear that if the leader jams up the field (or jumps the start at a track where that yields an advantage), or if cars behind the leader lay back for a run, there will be a yellow flag thrown and a black flag for the violator.
You know, consistent, fair enforcement of clearly explained rules. What a concept!
One thing about plate racing that folks seem to forget is that the restrictor plate is only a temporary measure.
Also, if you remember the hype during the unveiling of the Car of Tedium,it was designed to be run without a restrictor plate.So why are they using restrictor plates on it? Money. If they remove the restrictor plates at Daytona and Talladega, their insurance premiums will go into orbit. It’s not for the safety of the drivers or fans. It’s for the almighty greenback. Whenever NASCAR says something, always follow the money trail.