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 14, 2008
The Key Moment: Second place Kyle Busch timed the final restart perfectly and ambushed leader Jimmie Johnson with two laps to go.
In a Nutshell: When watching the sunset is more spectacular than the first three hours of a stock car race, there’s a problem.
Dramatic Moment: Well, there’s not a lot of question here, is there? That winning pass Busch completed over the last two laps will be shown on highlight reels for a decade. Good stuff. Bad race.
What They’ll Be Talking About Around the Water Cooler This Week
Call me crazy, but becoming a co-owner and business partner with a team owner sentenced to prison for fraud might not be the wisest career move Tony Stewart could have made.
Once again, the fans didn’t seem too happy Kyle Busch won another race, but they seemed absolutely delighted that he managed to get the race winning car stuck in the mud celebrating afterwards. On a more serious note, I was wincing watching his crew run out to free the No. 18 car from the mud. None of them were wearing helmets, and I was afraid one of them was going to get bonked by an errant tossed beer can. Fortunately, fans in (or at least not really all that far from) Chicago don’t seem to have the same throwing skills as the Cubs.
Well, isn’t that just dandy? Mike Helton, the day-to-day head of NASCAR’s in-trench operations, participated in the celebration of Richard Petty’s 50-Year anniversary as a driver by taking a ride with the King around Joliet — and the head of an organization that claims safety comes first chose to wear an open face helmet and no HANS device for his ride. No, Petty wasn’t racing 42 other drivers at top speed on the “ride” but debris (and Helton should know debris can pop out of nowhere on a racetrack… nod, nod, wink, wink) could have cut down a tire and put the car into a wall. Way to set an example, Big Mike! Even the King — who is so old school we’re talking about the one room wooden schoolhouse here — wore a full-face helmet for the ride.
SPEED’s “live coverage” of the Tony Stewart announcement this week was such a disaster it made Custer’s day at Little Big Horn look like the Invasion of Grenada. Maybe rather than running a show called “A Hundred Cars You Must Drive,” they need to work on a new one called “A Hundred Patch Cables You Must Check.” TNT’s audio problems during the Invocation and Anthem were just about as bad… I haven’t heard that much reverb during the Star Spangled Banner since Jimi Hendrix (no relation to Rick) bought down the house at Woodstock.
If NASCAR’s core demographic is graying, the way statistics indicate we are, wouldn’t it behoove them to have all Saturday night races end by 10 PM on the east coast?
I’ve noticed an interesting new trend: races selling out but stands left empty by ticket purchasers; or at least, that’s what I’m hearing. I don’t get someone laying out more than a Benjamin for a race ticket and not showing up; given the blue collar core of the constituency, that seems unlikely. But if, in fact, fans with tickets are staying home because of the price of gas (remember, many of these tickets were purchased last year or early this year) that’s a pretty telling barometer of the problems promoters will have selling seats next year.
Who is finally going to win a race first; Jeff Gordon or Tony Stewart?
There were rumors earlier this week that Barack Obama’s campaign was considering sponsoring a Cup car at Pocono. Then, it was announced the campaign decided to pass on the idea. Well, it’s nice to see some passing again in NASCAR racing. Could this be fallout from the Mauricia Grant affair? Or, maybe Senator Obama and his camp finally got the memo that the No. 49 team campaigns Toyotas?
Fans couldn’t help but notice the photo of Bozo the Clown in the broadcast during the pre-race show. It sounded at times like Bozo was running the show Saturday night, especially when fans were subjected to Larry McReynolds’ really lame “magic” trick during green flag racing.
Troubling quote from the booth: “Matt Kenseth is trying to get inside of Dale Earnhardt, Jr.” And here, I thought they were just good friends. Not that there’s anything wrong with that…
The Hindenburg Award For Foul Fortune
Denny Hamlin had a fast car, but electrical issues early in the race dropped him laps off the pace.
Carl Edwards was leading the race when an issue he believed to be a flat tire sent him to the pits. The problem was actually a broken brace that allowed the front splitter to drag on the track… and that was enough to drop Edwards right out of contention.
What didn’t happen to Jeff Burton Saturday night? He was nailed for speeding on pit road, penalized for entering before the pits were open, missed his pit and collided with Jamie McMurray on pit lane, then got a piece of Patrick Carpentier’s wreck on track en route to an 18th place finish.
Jeff Gordon led the race and ran at the front of the pack for a portion of the event, but faded to an 11th place finish at the end.
The No. 88 team just couldn’t seem to get a handle on their car all weekend, and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. floundered his way to a 16th place finish in the final running order.
The “Seven Come Fore Eleven” Award For Fine Fortune
Another two wins… a miracle on the white flag lap. It’s Kyle Busch’s world. We just live here.
Matt Kenseth was leading the race when he had a tire equalize. He lost a lap, but got it back with a free pass en route to a seventh place finish.
The body men at the various race shops might actually get to enjoy a few days on the lake during the off week as other than a few tweaked right sides, a damaged splitter, and a missing rear bumper, there was little physical carnage during the race.
Martin Truex, Jr. needed a good night after the team was penalized 150 points earlier this week, and he got one with a ninth place run. But he’s still 233 points out of the Chase — so put out the fires and call in the dogs, Dude. It’s over.
What’s the Points?
Obviously, Kyle Busch is still leading the points. He’s now 262 ahead of Dale Earnhardt, Jr. who remained in second spot following his ho-hum finish at Chicagoland. In fact, the rest of the Top six (Burton, Edwards, Johnson, and Gordon) held serve on Saturday night.
Behind them, Clint Bowyer fell out of the Top 12 and is now 25 points out of the Chase. An electrical problem caused Denny Hamlin to drop a sobering five spots to 12th, while Kasey Kahne dropped three spots to 11th and is just 36 points ahead of Bowyer.
On the flip side, Greg Biffle rebounded four spots to seventh, while Kevin Harvick also rose four spots to re-enter the Top 12 — he finds himself ninth. Tony Stewart advanced two spots to tenth with a 49-point cushion over Bowyer, while Matt Kenseth rose a spot to eighth.
Overall Rating (On a scale of one to six beer cans, with one being a stinker and a six pack an instant classic) — Well, the ending was worth a cold six pack of Corona, but my guess is a lot of fans had drifted off to sleep an hour before the race ended … so we’ll give it four cans of semi-chilled Bud.
Next Up: The Cup Tour takes their last weekend off this year … and I’m headed for the beach. See ya’ll at Indy, unless I find a cheap bungalow and a cheaper little surfer girl while I’m down there.
©2000 - 2008 Matt McLaughlin and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
Kyle ambushed Jimmie? More like Kyle ran over Jimmie. AND Kyle totally screwed up what the announcers were saying right before the restart about how the leader was the rulesetter for restarts. When is someone (like NASCAR) going to put a damper on this loose cannon or have they already decided that Kyle Busch will win the cup? Hmmmmm?
Just when you thought the networks could’nt possibly do a worse job of covering racing , along comes Speed and gives the all time worst performance . What can you expect from a network that thinks Bob Dillner is worth keeping on the air .
And just why do I love reading your columns??
QUOTE: “Troubling quote from the booth: “Matt Kenseth is trying to get inside of Dale Earnhardt, Jr.” And here, I thought they were just good friends. Not that there’s anything wrong with that… “!!
At least NA$CAR provides a good forum for comedy! And no, I don’t mean on the track either!
And here we FINALLY have a driver that tries to actually go for the WIN! And people criticize him for his “style”!! (are you reading this Sonny?)
How refreshing to watch someone actually race his car!
And is Chicago a preview of what is to come? Kyle the great has so many points built up he can go for the win every single weekend and still not jeopardize his first place position in the points race!
And with the infinite wisdom that Dear Brian provides us with, when the chase starts Kyles huge points lead will disappear! Which then makes his desire to gain the 10 chase points for a win stronger, every win he collects right now, adds points in the chase, points he will have taken away! (or maybe the average race fan does not understand how stupid that scenario is)!
Also, A friendly reminder to the “JR. NATION”!!!
KYLE = 7
JR. = 1
How sick is that for the Golden Boy? He is getting his a** whipped but good!
No major comments this week. I couldn’t make myself watch more than a minute of a Chicago race on a lame racetrack. I stayed with the rain shortened IRL. I do like the Kenseth/Jr. comment. Good one!
If anyone else in NASCAR had made that move, Sonny would have been showering them with accolades.
Kyle Busch = 7
Jr. = 1
Even better than that.
Kyle Busch = 7
HMS = 1
On Saturday night, KB simply out-smarted JJ.
I can help but wonder if Rick Hendrick is feeling a bit like the Guy In Boston who traded Babe Ruth to the Yankees. ;))
I actually enjoyed the race this week. It was better than most have been, except for the fact TV guy can’t get enough of Kyle Busch.
And you never really have anything positive to say. Also, David Reutimann finished 10th at Charlotte in the 600, so 14th wasnt’ his best finish of the season.
Please Mr. Producer , how much do we have to pay , who do we have to sleep with , who do you want whacked . Just tell us what needs to be done to guarantee that Larry McReynolds never appears on our television screens again . Whatever it is , believe me it will be worth it .
“Or, maybe Senator Obama and his camp finally got the memo that the No. 49 team campaigns Toyotas?”
My thoughts exactly. “oops.”
This race, except for the end, defined “boring”. Worse than NHMS, and that’s saying something (if you buy that the NHMS race was boring, which is was from time to time, but less often than this one!). And why is it only AFTER NHMS that you buy into the “tickets bought but not showing up” argument I made a couple of weeks ago? My guess, your anti-NHMS bias wouldn’t let you admit it at that point. Did the same “bought but not there” thing happen at Daytona, where there were legions of empty seats, or did Daytona not sell out?
I would have laughed if they missed something big on the track happening while Larry was doing his lame magic trick – I actually switched over during that to see what was happening with the IRL race at that point (rain and interviews, more palatable than that magic trick).
I figure most of those booing Kyle Saturday were Junior Nation members. Why? Because on Friday, when he also won, there were a lot fewer boos – Junior wasn’t in that race so his cult of personality didn’t show up for it.
Yes, Kyle pushed Jimmy on the restart. It was brilliant. I’m not sure what you meant by the leader being the “rulesetter”, but Jimmy Johnson pulled the patented “slow-the-field then drive-off” restart tactic that Nascar officials say you’re not supposed to do. Kyle wasn’t playing that game, and even JJ admits he got out-maneuvered. Personally, I think Kyle is a jerk, but credit where credit is due here.
Bump-drafting on restarts is legal, as long as you dont pass the leader before the starting line. Kyle did nothing wrong.
Bud: Kyle has 7 wins, but HMS has 2 wins. JJ at Phoenix and DEJ at Michigan.
The magic trick during green flag racing should result in someone in the truck getting sawed in half for real. That had no business being on the TV during green flag racing.
Matt Kenseth has a son, and is married. Dale Jr has no kids, and hasnt even been linked with a woman in 10 years of NASCAR racing. What, is the guy asexual or something?
Hey now.. Junior even said he’d love to meet the right lady, but he also doesn’t feel like putting her through the magnifying glass being his gf/wife would make her. Another words, he’s a gent more concerned about the lady than himself. Which is why he’ll make a great bf/husband to some lucky lady.
Besides, it’s not like he can just go out to a bar or some other event to meet women – unless the place is in Australia or Europe where people haven’t heard of him..
Kyle did nothing technically wrong. Neither did Johnson-the leader controlls the restart. If NASCAR had had a problem with either of them, they probably would have done something about it.
That said…Kyle ran into Jimmie about as hard as you can and kept him from getting a clean restart. I’ll stop short of calling it a dirty move, because dirty would have been hitting the 48 on a corned instead of dead center and thereby wrecking him. BUT, he didn’t exactly race cleanly either-he didn’t HAVE to run over Johnson, he CHOSE to run over Johnson. If Busch is as good as everyone says he is, he should be able to race clean and still win. Surely he could race cars back in the pack cleaner than he does if he’s so much better than they are anyway.
For the record, HMS has 2 wins, not one. Johnson won Phoenix, Earnhardt won Michigan. Which is about as many races as Kyle won at HMS last year without the Toyota HP advantage.
Matt, the Kenseth/Earnhardt comment had me about rolling on the floor! Good one!
Yes sir, The Phoenix win by JJ just didn’t stick in my memory for some reason.
I was at the race and Kyle was booed both Fri. and Sat. nights the T.V. must not have picked up on it. When the booing was going on I looked around to see who was actually doing the booing. That is the closest track for M. Kenseth fans to go to so his fan base was large and they were booing. M. Martin fans (still in the #6 gear even the 2 gray hair ladies by me), Edwards and Biffle. Roush (MI shop??) seemed to have a good following there also as well as T Stewart (IN fans) had a lot of fans there. J Gordon, J Johnson and Dale Jr and Harvick fans all these fans were booing. there were alot of thumbs down and a few finger salutes. Over the whole weekend I saw only 2 people wearing Kyle Busch shirts one Fri. and one on Sat. and saw no-one cheering Kyle in my area (except later for a lead change because they were bored). Kenseth had the lead in fans in their gear and flags flying in the parking lots. Strong 2nd I think was Stewart but close with J Gordon.
The race started becoming sooo boring with the cars all strung out and no cars even trying to pass another car, that the fans were glad to see anyone battling for a lead change including Kyle at one time. Making this a night race did not improve the racing. We have gone to this track since it opened and most likely will not renew for next year. If it looked boring on T.V. don’t put the blame on the network they didn’t have much to work with.
As far as the stands they seemed to have a few empty seat here and there but no to bad.
As far as Jr nation being the only Kyle haters everyone is WAY off base. I saw it with my own eyes and heard with my own ears. Kyle has made his bed and seems to be quite happy in it.
Last but not least I will not boo any driver. We were at Daytona when Sr. was killed and from then on I decided that I would not boo a driver. It may be the last thing he hears besides his crew chief and spotter.
Michael Waltrip had a comment on last years Inside Nextel Cup about hitting someone. He said you can hit someone but as long as they dont spin out, there’s no foul. Busch committed no foul. He anticipated the green flag and got a great jump on Jimmie Johnson. Amy is just upset that her “disgusting little puke” got another win and will do anything to discredit it. LOL
As for Kyle’s “style”, yea the guy has talent but he doesn’t have respect for any of the other drivers. As for his questionable start, right before the restart all of the announcers were talking about his questionable restart from the last race where he hung back and all of the other drivers respected his place as the leader. I see that what is good for the other drivers isn’t good enough for him. And as for an organization, I could care less for HMS or for JGR. I cheer for a driver not the whole team.
Sonny, what you said here: “As for Kyle’s “style”, yea the guy has talent but he doesn’t have respect for any of the other drivers. As for his questionable start, right before the restart all of the announcers were talking about his questionable restart from the last race where he hung back and all of the other drivers respected his place as the leader. I see that what is good for the other drivers isn’t good enough for him,” sums up EXACTLY why I have no respect for Kyle Busch. He’s selfish and disrespectful-but expects everyone else to respect him. He needs to grow up and realize that’s not the way life works.
Sonny, your “style” comment shows the nature of NA$CAR today. No true racer should ever “hold back and respect the leader”. This isn’t F1 for God’s sake. The true nature of this sport used to be every driver fighting for every position they could and that included the lead. I don’t like Kyle because of his spoiled cockiness, but that move he put on JJ was what real racing is supposed to be. For someone who was criticized for telling the truth about the Crap Of Today after delivering it’s first win, he’s certainly made the most of it. Maybe the other 42 ought to quit respecting the leader and friggin’ race.
I almost called 911 while watching the race.
Suddenly nothing made sense. I could not focus, I was hallucinating, nothing was making sense. I just knew I was having an aneurysm.
As I reached for the phone it rang. It was my Dad, he was watching the race too and he also saw a magic act.
I was not slipping into brain death. TNT was.
Well…I think that quote from the booth is a little better than, hmmm…let’s see, “Johnson is trying to get inside Busch.”