Kurt Busch to Attempt The Indianapolis-Charlotte Double
posted by Phil Allaway
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Andretti Autosport announced this morning that Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet in the Sprint Cup Series, will attempt the Indianapolis 500 in a fifth entry for the IndyCar Series team. Once the Indianapolis 500 is completed, Busch will fly from Indianapolis to Charlotte, jump in his No. 41 Chevrolet and compete in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Busch considers the opportunity to do the double as an old-school throwback moment.
“This is really to challenge myself within motorsports,” Busch said in Andretti Autosport’s press release. “Perhaps I am a bit of an old-school racer; a throwback, I guess. I enjoyed the era of drivers racing different cars and testing themselves in other series. It is tough to do now for a variety of factors, but when the opportunity is there, I want to do it. While NASCAR is my home, I have been fortunate to compete in Pro Stock on the NHRA circuit a number of years ago and test a V8 Supercar. This opportunity was a talk with Michael [Andretti] over dinner one night, a “What if,” and now it’s becoming a reality for me to drive in the Indy 500 with Andretti Autosport. It’s literally a dream come true. To go to the famous Brickyard with the iconic Andretti name, it doesn’t get much cooler or better than that.”
Busch will be doing the Indianapolis-Charlotte double as a Memorial Day mission to men and women serving in the U.S. Military via the Armed Forces Foundation. Fans can contribute to the cause by texting AFF to 50555 to donate $10.
Busch, who has never raced an IndyCar, passed Rookie Orientation at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last year during a test session. At the time, Busch was more or less testing the Dallara DW12 for fun.
Busch will be the fourth driver to attempt the Indianapolis-Charlotte double. John Andretti was the first driver to attempt it in 1994. After finishing four laps down in tenth in Indianapolis, Andretti crashed and had engine problems in the 600. Robby Gordon has attempted the double five times, most recently in 2004. However, Gordon failed to make it to Charlotte on time and did not start the 600 in 2000 (P.J. Jones started Gordon’s No. 13 Ford in that instance). Finally, Tony Stewart has attempted the double twice (most recently in 2001) and is the only driver to ever complete all 1100 miles. Neither of the three drivers has won either leg of the double. The best finishes are Stewart and Gordon’s sixth-place finishes at the Indianapolis 500 (although Gordon’s came in 2000, the year he didn’t make it to Charlotte in time to start the Coca-Cola 600), and Stewart’s fourth-place finish in the 2001 Coca-Cola 600.
Danica Patrick, Justin Allgaier Talk About Phoenix Incident
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
A disappointing start to the year for Danica Patrick won’t include continued conflict. Patrick met with rookie Justin Allgaier Sunday, shortly after the Phoenix Cup race after a wreck ruined both drivers’ days. Patrick, who was critical of the No. 51 car on the radio, claiming Allgaier was “driving all over the track” appeared receptive to a conversation that quickly settled differences over what will be a long season.
“She was just upset because she got involved in the crash that we had,’’ said Allgaier to the Motor Racing Network. “She says she’s been through this and that she felt like I needed to settle down at that point. I explained my position on why everything happened. I think she understood where I was coming from. It doesn’t fix either one of our racecars. It doesn’t fix either one of our days. Unfortunately, we were both having pretty decent days.’’
Allgaier wound up 30th due to the incident while Patrick was 36th. The incident, which was caused by Allgaier’s spin also involved the No. 32 team and Travis Kvapil, which wound up 38th after sustaining heavy damage.
Camping World Close to Extending Title Sponsorship of NCWTS
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Marcus Lemonis, CEO of Camping World, Grand Marshal of Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway, and star of CNBC’s “The Profit,” made the announcement over the weekend that the retailer is very close to announcing a deal that would continue its title sponsorship of NASCAR’s Truck Series. The original agreement with NASCAR is scheduled to conclude after the 2015 season.
According to the sanctioning body, no formal contract has been signed, but “the agreement between the two parties has proven to be a beneficial one.”
“In about a month, we’ll be announcing a significant extension to that contract. It’s been great for us,” said Camping World’s Lemonis in a statement. “The NASCAR relationship has worked well for Camping World. When we started, we had 35 stores. Now, we’re up to 120 stores. As we travel the country and we meet new customers in stores, they always are very appreciative of our relationship with NASCAR. It’s been good.”
Gaining a long-term commitment from Camping World to sponsor the Truck Series would be a relief for NASCAR, which is set to lose Nationwide Insurance as title sponsor for the NASCAR Nationwide Series at the end of the 2014 season. The sponsorship of the Cup Series by Sprint runs through 2016.
The NCWTS is back in action on March 29th at 2:30 PM (ET) when the trucks visit Martinsville Speedway in the Kroger 250, which can be seen on Fox Sports 1. Ratings for the season opener were up 11 percent.
Harvick Takes Win At Phoenix In Second Race With New Team
posted by Justin Tucker
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Phoenix International Raceway has become Kevin Harvick’s home away from home. Sunday Afternoon was no exception as Harvick charged to the front early and would dominate for much of the day, leading 224 of the scheduled 312 laps to record his record fifth win on the one mile oval and his third win in the last four races at Phoenix.
Harvick, coming off of a disappointing Speedweeks which was capped by a last lap crash in the Daytona 500 in his debut with Stewart-Haas Racing, set the tone on Saturday by winning both practices while having the best 5 and 10-lap averages in the first practice of the day on Saturday. On Sunday, Harvick and his No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet was nothing short of flawless as he was able to hold Dale Earnhardt, Jr. by .489 seconds after a late race restart to claim his 24th career Sprint Cup Series victory.
“Man, this is awesome,” Harvick said after his dominant victory on Sunday. “Man, this just solidifies so many things and so many decisions. It’s been so much work with all the time and effort that these guys (the crew) have put in—but what a race car.”
Stewart Haas Racing co-owner Gene Haas shared in Harvick’s excitement after the race.
“It took long enough,” Haas joked. “This is phenomenal. I think there was a lot of skepticism last year about what myself and Tony (Stewart) what we were up to, was there a lot of madness to this. Quite frankly, it’s a great team, there’s a lot of synergy at the shop, people working together. I don’t know what we did, but I think we put together a great organization.”
Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt, Jr. continued his hot start to the 2014 season. Earnhardt Jr. would finish second on Sunday, marking his seventh consecutive top 10 finish since the end of the 2013 season. Earnhardt Jr. was pleased with the effort after a coast-to-coast whirlwind week after winning his second Daytona 500 and also gave great praise to the efforts of Harvick and the No. 4 team.
“I’ve got to congratulate Kevin. Those guys were two-tenths faster than everyone all weekend in practice. They were just phenomenal,” Earnhardt said. “To be able to run with them all day was a big confidence builder for us.”
Joining Harvick and Earnhardt in the top 5 of The Profit on CNBC 500K were Brad Keselowski with his second consecutive top 3 run of 2014 in third. Keselowski’s Team Penske teammate Joey Logano would finish fourth, and Jeff Gordon would come home fifth in his No. 24 Pepsi Max Chevrolet.
Jimmie Johnson finished in sixth, followed by Ryan Newman with a nice rebound after Daytona in seventh. Carl Edwards would carry the banner for Roush Fenway Racing by finishing eighth, Kyle Busch was ninth, and Jamie McMurray would finish tenth.
A look at the Profit on CNBC 500K by the numbers. There were 14 lead changes among eight different drivers, there were eight cautions for 39 laps which slowed the race pace to 109.229 MPH.
Next Sunday, the Sprint Cup Series heads to Sin City and the Las Vegas Motor
Starting Lineup: The Profit On CNBC 500K
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday March 1, 2014
Drivers in RED (i) are those ineligible to collect Sprint Cup points
Daytona 500 TV Ratings Down
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Wednesday February 26, 2014
What was the longest weather delay in Daytona 500 history turned out to bring NASCAR lower ratings and TV viewership Sunday night than expected. According to a report Monday from FOX Sports, the 56th running of the Daytona 500 airing at 8 PM (ET) posted a 5.6/10 national household rating/share which averaged 9.3 million viewers. That’s down 44 percent from last year’s 9.9, easily making it the least-watched Daytona 500 of all-time.
Due to the six-hour, twenty-two minute rain delay in Daytona, the race was up against the primetime coverage of the Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony from Sochi, Russia on NBC (15.25 million viewers). FOX also reported that 69% of the pre-rain delay viewers of the race, which began at 1 PM (ET) kept tuning in.
In comparison, the 2013 Daytona 500 on FOX was the most-watched race in five years, posting a 9.9/22 rating/share, commanding 16.7 million viewers. The Daytona 500 in 2012, the first to ever be run on a Monday and in the primetime slot did a 7.7/13 overnight rating/share which resulted in 13.67 million households viewing the race according to Nielsen TV ratings data.
Earnhardt, Jr. Claims Second Daytona 500 Victory
posted by Justin Tucker
Wednesday February 26, 2014
Ten years is a long time. For Dale Earnhardt, Jr., it felt like an eternity. NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver endured many near misses and close calls at the Daytona 500 since his only win in the Great American Race in 2004. Earnhardt had finished second in two of his last three Daytona 500s coming into Sunday’s race. He was also riding the tail of a 55-race winless streak, dating back to Michigan in 2012.
However nothing would stop Dale Jr. on Sunday, not even a 6 hour and 22 minute rain delay from capturing his second Daytona 500 win. Earnhardt Jr. led a race-high 54 laps on the evening and used some timely drafting help from teammates Jimmie Johnson and, on the final restart, Jeff Gordon to separate from the pack and secure the victory.
“Winning this race is the greatest feeling that you could feel in this sport besides accepting the trophy for the championship,” said a jubilant Earnhardt after pulling into Victory Lane. “We could fight off battle after battle. We got a little help at the end there from Jeff to get away on the restart. This is amazing. I can’t believe this is happening. I never take this for granted, man because it doesn’t happen twice, let alone once.”
Aside from the race itself the big story of the race was the 6 hour and 22 minute red flag, which threatened to move the race to Monday evening (had the race been postponed, FOX Sports’ Chris Myers had tweeted that the race would resume at 5:00pm EST). However, Mother Nature would cooperate and would allow the race to be run under different conditions from which they practiced this week. Once the race resumed, the intensity picked up from the changing track conditions. This allowed the pack to race side-by-side and at times 3-wide up to seven rows deep.
Joining Earnhardt Jr. in the top 5 for the 2014 Daytona 500 were: Denny Hamlin who closed out a spectacular Speedweeks in second, Brad Keselowski in third, Jeff Gordon in fourth, and Jimmie Johnson who overcome two wrecks leading up to the 500 in fifth.
Rounding out the top 10 in the Daytona 500 were Matt Kenseth in sixth, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. in seventh and Greg Biffle would bring his No. 16 Ford home in eighth. Austin Dillon would come home ninth in his first Cup Series race in the iconic No. 3 for Richard Childress Racing, while Casey Mears would round out the top 10.
A couple of major contenders for the Daytona 500 win would see their hopes dashed early on as Martin Truex, Jr. would blow up just 30 laps into the race, relegating him to a 43rd-place finish in his debut for Furniture Row Racing. Crew chief Todd Berrier was already in Nashville for a test session before the race was even over. Kyle Busch, meanwhile would have a pit road violation just before halfway and would spend much of the race battling back from that mistake. Busch would eventually finish 19th after leading 19 laps.
Danica Patrick would also be bit by bad luck as she was caught up in a multi-car wreck on lap 145. Patrick would lead her second consecutive Daytona 500, but wouldn’t have the finish to show for it finishing 40th. Tony Stewart would encounter a frustrating evening as well, with a fuel pickup problem derailing his quest for his first Daytona 500 win. Stewart would finish 35th.
A look at the Daytona 500 by the numbers. There were 42 lead changes among 18 drivers, while seven cautions for 39 laps would slow the race pace to 145.290 MPH.
Next week, the Sprint Cup Series heads to the “diamond in the desert,” Phoenix International Raceway for The Profit on CNBC 500K. The Green flag is scheduled for 3:15pm EST.
Nationwide Series Post-Race Quotes: Drive4COPD 300
posted by Thomas Bowles
Tuesday February 25, 2014
Frontstretch Interviews – Courtesy Mike Neff
ELLIOTT SADLER – FINISHED 4th
Thoughts on the race?
It’s definitely a lot different racing than what we’re used to.
Comfortable with it?
Yeah, it’s just different. You’re worried about what you’re doing, but you’re also worried about what everyone else is doing and they’re not doing more than you’re doing. Physically pushing a guy is way better than just riding so you just gotta time it right and push it to the edge.
Happy to start the year with a top 5?
Yeah. Hell, that was the worst we ran all day, I think. I have no idea how they put the 3 car in front of us on that last restart. I hadn’t seen the 3 car hardly all day. When they put us from fifth to sixth, on the outside line, it just really boxed us in. I would have really restarted behind my teammate and given him a good push to the front. Anyways, it is what it is; we’ll take it and move on.
Looked like you were up front all day.
The guys did a good job. We had a fast race car. Great pit stops, just really proud of these guys. The car’s in one piece and we can take it to Talladega now. Great job by my guys. A lot of effort came into coming down here to Daytona and giving ourselves a shot to win. We had that chance to be up front and make some things happen. Fifth is not what we want, but we’ll take it and move on.
Bumping vs Pushing?
It’s way harder. You don’t want to lay on the guy in front of you, so it’s tough racing. A lot different than what we’re used to, ‘cause you gotta go. You gotta drag the brake too ‘cause you don’t want to hit the guys and you don’t want to stay on him. It’s a lot harder mentally than what we’ve done in the past.
Car was strong all day. Pushing vs. Bumping, is that harder to do than just getting on somebody and pushing them?
Yeah, it is a little bit. When you bump ‘em, you jar ‘em, it kinda jacks ‘em a little bit. It’s a little more abrupt, obviously. I thought it was OK there at the end. It was certainly fun and hopefully entertaining. But a little bit of a struggle in the early part of the race and the midpart of the race to see a good race. And that’s unfortunate for the fans. You can’t do that the whole race, you can’t tear up your stuff, knock your grill in, overheat your motor, all that stuff so there’s no sense in doing all that until you get down to the last lap. The 7 and the 6, they did a good job. Man, the 7 really held the 22 and I tight on the bottom. I was rubbing his door and hitting the apron at the same time, no room whatsoever. So it was good; wish we were the ones who could have won but a lot better now than what we were last year.
Going home in one piece makes it a lot better, right?
Yeah. My back feels good. My foot feels good. Past years here, I’ve been going home with pain so I’m alright.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Truck Series Post-Race Quotes: Daytona (Exclusives)
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday February 22, 2014
When you’re on the outside like that, how frustrating is it?
It’s so hard. Timothy Peters has won here. Kyle Busch has won everywhere. Ron Hornaday has been running Trucks forever, probably before I was even born. I was surrounded by veterans there, and like I told them I don’t have a rookie stripe but I’m a rookie. This is only my fourth Truck race ever, my fourth superspeedway race, and man, I figured out when the 17 got up in front of me, I pushed him. And as soon as I pushed him, he took off. And I went with him. And I just kept doing it, and before I knew it, he was leading. And I saw Ron in my mirror, backed up to him, and if it wasn’t for him, I don’t know what would have happened. I gotta thank him big time for that. That was a true teammate move right there. I really appreciate that. He just bounced off me and we got to the front. I tried my hardest to sidedraft Kyle. I was probably touching his door.
Top 5 in the No. 30 truck. This deal come together at the last minute, but you had a heck of a truck. Tell us about your night.
Yeah, I’ve got to thank Turner Scott Motorsports. The guys worked so hard on this Rheem Comfort Products Chevrolet. Exciting! Just got hung up on the outside and had to wait for my teammate there to catch up. And then he got to the bottom, so… I got the old 32 and started pushing ol’ Ryan to the front. So, it’s not bad. We’ll take it. You just don’t want to step over that boundary. You don’t know how far to push and shove. We bumped about six times down the straightaway without latching onto them. Hopefully, that was OK and we came home with a top 5.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Budweiser Duels Post Race Quotes
posted by Matt Stallknecht
Friday February 21, 2014
BUDWEISER DUELS POST-RACE QUOTES
They’re saying the wheel bearing burned up in it. I don’t know what caused it, they’re taking it all apart to figure out what the heck happened. Something abnormal that’s for sure I don’t think I’ve ever had that happen at all. Hopefully, we made the race and hopefully we can fix the problem before Sunday.
WHAT WAS THAT LOUD BOOM ONCE YOU TURNED INTO THE GARAGE?
Loud pop was a tire… thankfully, it popped, hopefully it didn’t hurt anybody. All the heat created in the left front that popped was pretty weird.
REALLY GOOD RUN. WHAT DID YOU THINK OF IT?
Yeah, it was good. We have a car we can work with for the 500. Got a good starting spot, so we’re going to rest easy, fluff and buff our car for a couple of days and get ready for Sunday.
ANY DIFFERENCE ON WHETHER THE TOP OR BOTTOM LANE WORKED?
Yeah, I was just moving around, trying to stay with the flow. For me, this car works on all parts of the racetrack. So I’m pretty happy with it.
DALE EARNHARDT, JR.
GOT SHUFFLED BACK, AFTER PIT STOPS AND THEN COULDN’T GET BACK UP TO THE FRONT. WHY?
Nah, we were just sitting there waiting until the last few laps to make a move. You didn’t want to pull down and get sent to the back. Seen a couple of guys get sent to the back really quick so we were just kind of waiting for the end. I felt like we had a good situation there with Ambrose behind us — we had a good run off Turn 2 and I went. It was the last lap, time to go do something, nobody went with us but hopefully Sunday is a different story.
We got a great car. We don’t have to work hard. We learned, we got a good race car. Got a car in one piece, ready to go so we’ll try and get through the next couple of practices, deliver it to the starting group this Sunday and we’ll be real happy.
YOU’RE IN THE DAYTONA 500!
Yeah, it’s pretty awesome. This Whitetail Chevrolet was so fast that I knew all I had to do was stick it behind smart, intelligent drafters and we could have a good finish. That’s what we did in the Duels and I’m excited. I’m excited to go do some stuff with the Nationwide car and have some more practice with this. But to know that we’re locked in the Daytona 500’s pretty cool.
YOU WERE OBVIOUSLY IN FRONT OF THAT MELEE AT THE END. WHEN YOU WERE UP FRONT THERE IN THE BEGINNING, WERE YOU HOPING TO JUST STAY IN LINE AND LET YOU FINISH TOP 5?
I was pretty content to ride and luckily I knew a lot of people around us were. It was nice to have a little calm and not really have to be racing hard the whole time. I knew that the pit stop was going to shake everything up and that’s exactly what happened. Fell back a little bit there but made the right moves at the end to get a good finish.
HOW STRONG ARE THESE RCR CARS?
They’re very strong! They definitely have the capabilities to be winning one of these races.
YOU’RE IN THE TOP 5 FOR YOUR HEAT IN THE DAYTONA 500. YOUR PRIMARY CAR IS SITTING RIGHT IN THE GARAGE, KIND OF WADDED UP. DID YOU THINK THIS ONE HAD IT IN IT?
Yeah, it’s a brand new car also. It’s just not quite as good as the primary but still a damned good car. I’m just proud of everybody at RCR for building such fast race cars. All of our cars have been fast, ECR motor’s been strong, even our affiliate teams have been qualifying really good and racing good. So… excited about 2014! It’s going to be a good year.
WELL MAN, YOU STARTED IN THE BACK BUT WORKED YOUR WAY TO THE FRONT WHEN IT COUNTED MOST. WERE YOU JUST BIDING YOUR TIME THROUGHOUT THE RACE?
Eh, you never know if you’re going to get back up there or not. We had to start at the back, we had to make a run early and see what we could do. We drove right to 10th, or something like that and then it got stagnant. We tried to make something happen, and went to the back again. Drove back up to the front. Again, just really proud of my guys. Matt Kruder did a hell of a job on that pit stop getting just enough gas in to gain some spots there.
RCR CARS SEEM PRETTY DARNED STRONG. DO YOU THINK THE RCR CARS HAVE SOMETHING FOR THEM ON SUNDAY — ESPECIALLY THE THREE JOE GIBBS RACING CARS THAT SEEM TO BE THE CLASS OF THE FIELD RIGHT NOW?
Oh yeah. The 20 car was extremely fast. The 11 didn’t qualify that good, but he’s a good drafter. I think he won. We definitely have something for him.
Check in with Matt and Jay on their site at CareyandCoffey.com.
Matt McLaughlin · Monday July 28, 2008
The Key Moment: Jimmie Johnson’s pit crew got him off pit lane first during the last of a string of competition cautions, and once the No. 48 car was in clean air there was no catching it.
In a Nutshell: A complete and total unmitigated debacle that was unacceptable and unwatchable… but presented in High Definition to fans lucky enough to be home.
Dramatic Moment: Anytime the drivers had managed six entire laps without a caution, we could only sit and wait to see who the next victim of a blown right rear tire might be.
Other than that, the nod goes to Carl Edward’s quixotic charge trying to run down Johnson in the final seven laps.
What They’ll Be Talking About Around the Water Cooler This Week
When there’s a very public disaster of this magnitude blame has to be assigned. In my mind at least, NASCAR gets 60% of the blame. With the Cup cars competing at Indy for the first time in the new car, there should have been an open test during which surely this issue would have been discovered while there was time to address and correct it. If this doesn’t prove to them that the new car is a bad idea nothing will. 30% of the blame goes to Goodyear. They should have generated enough information during their three driver test to see the potential for a huge problem, and they should have moved Heaven and Hell to see it didn’t happen. 10% of the blame goes to the drivers for being willing to run at three quarters throttle most of the day while waiting for a tire to blow, rather than just parking on pit road and refusing to race under such unsafe conditions. That’s what most drivers did prior to the first Talladega race back in 1969 when a similar tire issue came up.
Naturally, there will be second guessing on NASCAR’s call to basically run a high profile race in ten lap segments. So, what should have been done? Given the circumstances, they took the most conservative and safe approach — and I’m all for driver safety. Some will say the race should have been postponed until Goodyear could conjure up a safe competitive tire. Even if there were a lot of empty seats, there were still a ton of fans at Indy and their needs had to be taken into account. Not everyone would have been able to come back and they’d burned a lot of high dollar gas to be there Sunday. From my position as armchair quarterback, here’s what I’d have done. I’d have taken the same conservative approach NASCAR did for the first three quarters of the race. As it became evident the problem wasn’t going to go away, I’d have told the crew chiefs coming up to forty laps to go I’d be throwing the last competition caution. After that, knowing what they did about their tire wear and their cars, they’d be on their own with input from their drivers whether to continue pitting every ten laps or maybe going to a Hail Mary pass for the win and leaving the car out there a few more laps.
In the end, we all fail occasionally. It’s what we learn from failure that separates success from failure in the future. To me, the lesson is obvious and I’ll type it out in all capital letters in case Brian France, Mike Helton, and Robin Pemberton left behind their reading glasses as they fled Indy to avoid being lynched: DUMP THE NEW CAR!
ESPN began their stretch of Cup broadcasts with a new look and lineup that succeeded to a degree. On the positive side, the camera work was stunning, they weren’t afraid to ask the hard questions about the tire issue to Goodyear and NASCAR officials, there were no cartoon gimmicks like “Race Buddy” or “Digger,” and they finally dumped that Surely Inept (or whatever her name was) woman from the booth. On the downside, some of the cast seemed to fawn over drivers rather than interview them, there were several long audio and video malfunctions, they began that relentless “Race to the Chase” drumbeat like they meant to cave in fans’ skulls, and they rushed off the air with the story of what had gone wrong left untold. Oh, and after mentioning or showing the “Kissing of the Bricks” incessantly, they failed to show the moment happening live.
If I recall correctly (remember I still have a Grateful Dead sticker in the rear window of the Pontiac), after their own debacle at Indy the Formula One folks offered a refund on their tickets to fans who wanted one. Ironically, it was a tire issue that caused all but six drivers to pull off the track during the formation lap and park for the day. So, is NASCAR going to offer fans at Indy a refund, too?
Maybe instead of sending trucks in from Pocono with new tires, NASCAR should have had the teams send trucks overnight with last year’s cars from the shops?
Did NASCAR award the five point bonus for leading the most laps to Brett Bodine, driver of the pace car?
Despite all the hype about a quarter million fans on hand, it appeared at least 25,000 of them failed to show up. As the farce unfolded, it also appeared that a lot of fans voted with their feet, leaving earlier than is the standard at most tracks. Were they trying to beat traffic or worried they were going to have to stop and get new Goodyears on their car every 25 miles on the ride home? The “Goodyear Get There” tagline seemed unintendedly ironic on Sunday.
Great Moments in Team Ownership, Part One (Presumably of dozens): Newly minted Cup team owner to be Tony Stewart was on hand at ORP to watch his National Midget teams compete. When a questionable call was made against his driver, Tracy Hines, Stewart went over a wall to question a race official about the call. Stewart then lost his temper and batted the official’s headphones off his head. Stewart says now he expects to be fined for his actions. The trick here is to figure that out before taking action. I don’t care what sport we’re talking about, even if it’s high school girls’ field hockey, you don’t lay hands on the officials.
Has anyone ever figured out why fans in Indianapolis pay good money to sit on the frontstretch staring across at other fans looking back at them rather than just choose to sit on the backstretch?
Well, it didn’t look like the downsized restrictors on the Toyota engines hurt Kyle Busch much Saturday night during the Nationwide race, did it? But looks might be deceiving. ORP is one of those tracks where too much power can actually be a detriment to a driver, causing him to buzz the tires off the corners. Let’s give it a few weeks to see how this change plays out. Meanwhile, I have a suggestion on how to reign in Kyle Busch. Make each driver race the following weekend with the additional ballast of all the beverage cans tossed at them aboard the car. They can crush them, of course. You have to leave room for the driver.
Jeez, even the rumor of Oprah Winfrey coming to Kannapolis, NC, caused the city fathers to quickly remove the memorial banners to Dale Earnhardt along the “Dale Trail,” as if stock car racing is some hideous Southern secret that can’t be admitted worthy of a Faulkner Southern Gothic novel. Did they make homemakers take the white sheets down off their clotheslines as well, lest they be misinterpreted as evening wear outfits rather than bedding?
I hear Ford lost over 8 billion dollars in the last financial quarter. Did they check down behind the cushions on the couch? That’s where I always find the money I lost.
Is any one else getting the idea any well intended “moment of silence” at a race track isn’t such a great idea? That fact was once again driven home by one extremely rude foul mouthed fellow during the pre-race ceremonies.
The Hindenburg Award For Foul Fortune
A lot of folks had a lot of problems at Indy, but nobody had any worse luck that that bird that had the close encounter of the wrong kind with the No. 31 car on a restart. I guess the early bird gets the worm and the slow bird gets the bumper?
Matt Kenseth’s tire failure was the most dramatic of the day, removing a large portion of the right rear body work on the No. 17 car when it let go. And yet Kenseth (like Carl Edwards) still had the class to apologize to the fans who had endured the race after the event.
Kevin Harvick was just riding when Kurt Busch’s worn right rear tire sent the No. 2 car out of control and into Harvick’s Chevy. Gunky engine buildup sucks, but sheetmetal torn asunder is worse.
No NASCAR driver puts more emphasis on winning at Indy than Tony Stewart, but his already ill-handling mount saved its worst for the final few segments of what some folks were alleging was a race.
Michael Waltrip didn’t even wait until his tires wore out in the first segment to wad up another car. At the rate he’s going, look for Waltrip to show up at the wheel of Cozy-Coupe with NAPA lettering taped to it at a race soon.
The “Seven Come Fore Eleven” Award For Fine Fortune
It wasn’t much of a race, but it still paid well to win. Call Jimmie Johnson the 2008 Brickyard 400’s First Survivor.
Carl Edwards cut over into Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s car early in the race, and the mayhem could easily have ended both their days.
A failing charging system had Jeff Burton’s even finishing the race very much in doubt early in the going, but he hung on to finish ninth.
Shortly after leading the race, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. cut down a tire and lost a lap pitting under the green flag. That could have been disastrous, but a free pass and solid strategy helped him soldier on to a twelfth place finish.
Mark Martin was fortunate enough to have his right rear tire give way just as a competition caution slowed the field — keeping him from losing a lap. Sometimes, it’s all about timing.
Kasey Kahne suffered a cracked header early in the race and lost a lap. With cautions flying every ten laps he was also able to get a free pass, get back on the lead lap, and drive onto a seventh place finish.
Denny Hamlin was leading the race when he caught a beer can to the front grille, apparently tossed by some drunken fan to protest the farce he was seeing. I’d really like to see this beverage can tossing trend stopped. First off, I have never cottoned to the wasting of a perfectly good beer. Secondly, one of these days one of those cans is going to seriously injure a fan seated in the lower rows of the grandstands when it misses its mark.
What’s the Points?
Kyle Busch still leads the points standings, with his lead over Dale Earnhardt, Jr. shrunk slightly to 253. Earnhardt and Jeff Burton remain second and third, while Jimmie Johnson’s “win” moves him up a spot to fourth. Despite finishing second, Carl Edwards drops a spot to round out the Top 5.
The day’s big loser in the points was Kevin Harvick, who dropped four spots to 13th. Harvick is now just two points out of the Chase. Matt Kenseth fell three spots to 11th, and he’s just six points ahead of Harvick.
Denny Hamlin had the best day in the points, moving up four spots to eighth. Behind him, Kasey Kahne moved up two spots to ninth, while Clint Bowyer reclaimed the 12th position in the points — albeit by a slim margin.
David Ragan took over the 14th spot in the standings from Brian Vickers, but both drivers are watching the thundering herd ahead of them leaving them in the dust.
Overall Rating (On a scale of one to six beer cans with one being a stinker and a six pack an instant classic) – I wouldn’t give Sunday’s race a warm cup of mule spit.
Next Up: It’s time to head back to the Pocono Triangle for Poco-Two. Wow, I hope Goodyear has some tires left for the race.
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Smithers, buy Nascar so I may fire Brian Z. France, then take off all the Goodyears from my limo and place them behind the manor so that I may fire a few magazines from my AK-47 into them. After getting the new set of Firestones send a bill to Tony George for $18,750,000 so that I may refund the cost of tickets to all the rubes who payed their hard earned wages to attend this pretend sporting event.
With all the jabber and backslapping NASCAR for imposing the ‘competition’ yellows for ‘safety’, everyone seems to be overlooking the pit road closures. At times, pit road was closed four laps before the scheduled yellows. With tire wear being a problem, that could have caused a disaster if some driver stayed out with bad tires because of the closure.
Sorry, I’m not buying it – this stopped being about safety and became a face-saving attempt somewhere after Kenseth’s car blew up.
I hope there is a Firestone Rep at the NASSCAR front door tomorrow morning with a proposal to supply tires at a certain track they have familiarity with….
One can of warm draino… to put the viewer out of their misery.
Re the restrictors on the NW Toyotas: as Kyle alluded to in his comments, you won’t really see an effect on the Toys on the short tracks given the speeds there – in fact, as he said, it kept him from spinning the tires, which actually helped, so expect Toys to win the remaining short track races this year – but you will see an effect on the bigger ovals. Especially on restarts.
Re beer cans: they’ve already stopped selling beer in cans at some sports events, maybe they’re going to have to do it at NASCAR races too, especially since hitting even an empty one at high speed could be disastrous. Suppose Hamlin had run it over and shredded his tire, as the leader? Imagine the crash that could have caused.
As I said elsewhere, I lost power an hour after the race started and didn’t get it back until the race was over. Someone up there must like me!
A bird in the hand is worth at least one on the bumper, but it beats hitting a deer on the backstretch at Pocono!
We had our first annual family creab feast (about 80 turned out). I was really ticked to hear that the hall we rented did not have ESPN, hell, they didn’t even have a TV…. but now I’m thinking, I may have just had the best race-day of the season.
Why didn’t Nascar take all those Pocono tires and have some cars drive around the track all Saturday night and put some rubber down for the race. They say the did everything they could, I don’t think so, the whole issue was lack of rubber on a newly ground track.
pitiful. i thought na$car starting closing pit road early when they announded when the next yellow would be so that teams couldn’t try some sort of strategy by coming in prior to the yellow and then staying out, like jr did the first time the caution flew. that would have made it a bit more competition. but nope, follow-the leader. i feel sorry for all race fans, but us at home could go and do other things while the mess was on tv. those people who spent $$$$ for tickets, hotel and food, they’re the real losers in it all.
The issue is all about NASCAR and its poor managment of a racing series. NASCAR’s primary goal is to defraud both fans and sponsors out of as much money as possible in order to line the pockets of the remaining France family brats. It doesn’t matter if the “show” stinks as it does most weeks. NASCAR is today’s old west medicine show and the “show” is the elixer.
Quote: “30% of the blame goes to Goodyear. They should have generated enough information during their three driver test to see the potential for a huge problem and they should have moved Heaven and hell to see it didn’t happen.”
100% of the blame goes to GOODYEAR!
Why? Because they failed ALL tire tests, they had major problems last year, and they knew they had problems BEFORE the race started!
The onus was totally on GOODYEAR to say to NA$CAR: “we cannot supply tires for you”!!
Tire wear has been a MAJOR issue in EVERY race involving the CoT! It, tire problems, are not a new occurrence, or even a surprise! All indications were that eventually a fiasco like Sunday was going to happen!
Oh sure, we can dilute the blame, the “grinding” of the track, the CoT, the tires themselves!
BUT! It is “GOODYEAR” that has their name on the tires!
Either they work! Or they do not!
You will never see a GOODYEAR tire on any of my vehicles!
Nor will you see me at any event that features the CoT!!
I beg everyone to stay away, it is time to send Brian the message, loud and clear!
disgruntled, I agree 100% with you on that. Fortunately for NASCAR it wasn’t Dale Jr. who blew up.
Douglas, did NASCAR do a full tire test with all drivers, or at least 2 drivers per team? There are not too many tracks like Indy out there.
On another note, wasn’t it ironic that they dedicated the race to the man who approved all of these safety innovations (HANS, SAFER Barriers, Seat belts, etc.?) Nevermind that all were a direct result of Dale Earnhardt’s death.
“The Top 10 survivors at Indy competed in three Chevys, two Fords, two Dodges and two Toyotas.” Since that only totals 9, I am guessing that the Pace Car was the 10th one?
the drivers need to pack together(see restrictor plate racing) and park the damn cars.
I think we can go ahead and say it .NASCAR needs to find suppliers who can provide a quality product . Like Sunoco with their famous water with some gasoline in it , Goodyear has also been shielded by NASCAR for too long . This is only one of many , many cases of Goodyear forcing the competitors to use an inferior tire . Why would Goodyear , Sunoco , and other suppliers bring clearly inferior products to the track ? Because NASCAR allows them to . They are the official suppliers , they pay NASCAR a great deal of money every year to be assured of having no competition . They then make tires and fuels with an eye on the cost , not on the quality . The Goodyear rep was asked if the very high rate of wear was encountered during the tire test at Indy . He said yes . But rather than fix the problem , they elected to work on the profit margin instead . Dumping all those tires that they knew would not work would be expensive .
Goodyear had this tire last year. NA$CAR had the COT last year.
Why did they not do a test last year following the Indy race in the conditions the tires would actually be seeing. That would have given both parties a year to come up with an acceptable tire.
If Firestone can develop a tire that can run nearly 220 MPH on the same surface with a lot more downforce and not have tire issues, why can’t Goodyear?
NA$CAR and Goodyear should be ashamed of themselves for promoting this farce.
Wait…so, Goodyear brings a tire that is a total disaster…after testing 3 other compounds in their tire test, and deciding to not use any of them…yet you blame the car? (that has been basically fine everywhere else.)
Goodyear is not 100% at fault, but it is definitely mostly their fault. They and Nascar should have definitely gotten together on this if the 3 compounds at the April tire test were not working.
I wonder if there’s some sort of communication issue between Nascar and Goodyear. It should have been easy enough for GY to say “hey, we’re having trouble with the Indy tire, can we schedule a test a couple weeks before the race?”
Instead…everyone just assumes that last year’s tire is gonna be fine…it was barely fine on the ugly car…what made them think it was going to be better, or even the same (which was bad enough) on a car that rolls over more on the tires?
I’ve always been more or less in the camp of “things improve over time with stability.” To a certain extent I always will be…but GY could have avoided this situation and chose not to. That is complacency, and a process failure. Might be time for a change.
FYI—F1 didn’t refund our money for the 2006 USGP debacle, the check came from Michelin. They also gave us two (albeit crappy and unsalable) tickets the race the next year.
This race was like Groundhog Day. I felt that I was reliving the “All Star” race over and over and over again. Maybe they should have reversed the field at the last caution.
Janice – Jr. pitted under caution on lap 4 after Waltrip spun. This was also after Carl came down in front of Jr causing Jr to get into him. (Carl sent msg to Jr that he was sorry he didn’t see him, that was cool)This gave Jr’s team a chance to check the damage. Jr then stayed out under the competition yellow. I think it was Mark Martin in the 8 (Jr’s old number case you didn’t know) who was first driver to start pitting before the competition yellow. And later on Bobby Latonte then Nascar started closing pit road.
“Oh, the pain, the pain…”
connie…yes i know the 8 was jr’s previous number. and yes i know jr blew a tire. but he road around the track a lap before he pitted and the lovely announcers made a big deal about jr short pitting.
Goodyear’s fault, yes. I buy Kumho, screw loyalty.
Why do they show cameras, especially pre-race, that are bouncing in the wind? Yeah, I really want to see camera swaying on 42 inch TV. Surely the truck can see, before they pull that camera up for broadcast, that the shot is not good.
I try to stay in contact with events of Nascar just to the degree of trying my best not to support them. No tickets, no t shirts, no loyalty to sponsors if I can help it.
And agree 100%, closing pit road to stop the short pitting, what a joke, that would have kept it interesting….
And how in the heck could the tire test ever have produced good results??? I just read Jack’s comments, and he is right. What is the tire test criteria? This is where NA$CAR need to be more heavily involved. Was wonderful Pemberton at the tire test?? How can cords showing after 10 laps ever be acceptable, they actually think the track would come around??
Changing topics away from the tires for a moment – can someone tell me what in the heck was up with the configuration of Victory Lane? It looked like they just designated and found that space in the last minute. That can’t be the same Victory Lane they use for the Indy cars, is it? It was just one of the strangest things I’ve ever seen because it looked like there was absolutely no room for anyone. Oh well, I guess it was appropriate given the debacle of the race itself…
Communication between Good Year and NASCAR? It’s working just as intended!
Good Year: “Hi NASCAR…here’s your $$$ for the exclusive deal”
NASCAR: “Thanks buddies!”
Then again…we’re forgetting the true highlight of the weekend…not a single “Closer” or “Saving Grace” commercial all day long! Of course that’s offset by the fact we’re stuck with Brad Daughtery’s blathering for the rest of the season. Ugh.
a question for some of you to ponder.
Do you think bias ply tires could maek the racing better? I ask because the CoT is similar to the old cars of the mid 1980’s and maybe it’s just selective memory, but I recall the racing being a lot better back then.
or maybe if the cars go straight down the track instead of going sideways. they wouldnt grind across the track down very long straightaways.
I knew I could count on Douglas’ posts on these forums today. Always entertaining.
I have to say NASCAR was stupid to increase the weight of the new car from 3400 lbs to 3450 lbs, AND make the teams put the weight on the right side. Its time to lower the weight to 3200 lbs, and just change the size of the restrictor plate to keep the speeds down at Daytona and Talladega.
Also, there was mention of “diamond cutting” the track, but nobody dared mention the word “levigating.” I guess NASCAR didnt learn from the Coca-Cola 600 in 2005.
And to those who say NASCAR should have turned the drivers loose with 20-30 laps to go and let the teams worry about the tires, do you really think the teams would police themselves? Hell no! They would stay out as long as they could and hope someone else blows a tire, then come in and change theirs. After the near accidents Montoya’s and Kenseth’s blowouts caused, NASCAR wasnt willing to let that happen again and potentially injure someone.
[sarcasm]I blame Dale Jr. He was one of the three drivers at the tire test and obviously didnt give Goodyear the right information about his car so they could bring the right tire. LOL [/sarcasm]
Been watching and listening to Nascar since mid 1960’s and must say that after attending many races at Dover and Daytona that NASCAR/FRANCE blew it big time. That race was the worst race that I ever seen in well over 40 years and I am darn glad that I have lost interest in this sport. If that is what it really is. Several years ago I said that it reminded me of the WWF and now I see that I was dead on target. All show and not much go anymore. You can’t even pay respect the the National Anthem with singers that do it justice. After 33 years in the Service, you disgust me with your “American Bandstand” attitude in that area. Shame on you for allowing it. Goodbye NASCAR. You have lost one more long term fan. NASCAR is going to be losing a lot more money in the near future once the fans realize that this sport is no longer fan oriented. Walk the walk Brian France. Forget all the BS. We have heard it all before.
Can we say “Bridgestone/Firestone?” boys and girls?
Firestone has a made for TV commercial there for thier product.
“GOODYEAR can’t handle the road”
Been a while since I waded in here, because its pretty evident that the NA$CAR brASS runs the weekly show like a monkey on a football. This however, was a new level of pitiful. I’ve seen local dirt track promoters with more sense than Brian France. Oh wait, he didn’t watch the race because he was too busy counting all the money he defrauded fans of. The point is that the major issue with the Turd of Today is that it will not turn. On a flat track with high speeds, this problem is exacerbated and extreme tire wear is to be expected. When teams run as much camber as they do , tire failure is inevitable. But NA$CAR won’t let the teams tinker with their abomination to make it handle better than a coal barge. With idiots like NA$CAR and Goodyear at the switch, you can’t expect anything short of a train wreck.
Why didn’t NASCAR “freeze” the field going into AND out of the pits during the “competition” yellow flags? At LEAST it would have allowed everyone to pick up where they left off.
I’ve been a NASCAR fan since the late 60’s. This was the WORST thing I’ve ever seen in sport.
I don’t think we have heard the end of it. A group of High School Juniors could have made better decisions during the race than NASCAR did.
“The Top 10 survivors at Indy competed in three Chevys, two Fords, two Dodges and two Toyotas.”
Yes, Brett Bodine piloted the pace car to a solid top-ten finish.
Ya’ll act like your remote control batteries were dead. I flipped around and found some CORR racing!!! Loud trucks racing sideways in the dirt, YEE HAH!!! And BTW, they ran their entire races on the tires they started with. LOL. I think I’ll attend the Nashville race on the 9th and root for Hornaday. These guys race fender to fender and only get so many tires a race. What a concept!
Did you notice that while some drivers apologized to the fans, nary a NA$CAR official uttered one word of remorse?
NA$CAR should suck it up and issue refunds of 50% of the ticket price paid by those who attended the event. Goodyear should give them a 50% discount on services performed on their next visit to a Goodyear store.
I hereby fine Brian France, Mike Helton, Robin Pemberton and Greg Stucker (Goodyear race tire director) $150000 each for violations of Section 12-4-A of the NASCAR rule book:“actions detrimental to stock car racing.”
Please deposit fine money into my PayPal account. Thank you.
THis is really the wrong place to be venting our frustrations. We should be overloading NASCAR’s email box with this stuff now
Lets see now, my comments after reading some of the above:
1. NA$CAR “allowed” three (3) tire tests at Indy, but only selected teams participated, and limited cars! My understanding is that ALL tests proved tire failures were imminent! (I seem to remember three tests anyway, might be wrong on that), but a number of test have been run)
2. At last years Indy, tire problems existed, BUT GOODYEAR brought the exact same tire this year!
3. Somewhere along the way, Indy resurfaced the track via grinding, not exactly sure of the date, but it did eliminate the validity of some of the tests ran.
4. The CoT has been very harsh on tires, more-so than the “REAL” race cars that used to be used in the Cup series. BUT NA$CAR REFUSES TO ALLOW ANY CHANGES TO THE CoT!
5. GOODYEAR & NA$CAR knew a tire problem was going to occur, that is why they actually had Pocono tires at the Indy track as backups!
6. GOODYEAR TIRES HAVE ALWAYS FAILED ON THE RACE TRACKS, remember particularly Robby Gordon on the pace lap at Daytona, 2007 I believe, his tire simply EXPLODED! No race miles, no miles at speed!! Just one example of a GOODYEAR product! Go back and reveiw all the Cup races and you will see many “cut down tires”, as the announcers are allowed to say, including those that EXPLODE taking half the car with them!
7. Sunday exonerates Tony Stewart, maybe NA$CAR owes Tony an apology for calling him the the trailer early one Sunday Morning! Remember that episode?
8. And last but not least, GOODYEAR knew fully well their exposure on Sunday! I say once again GOODYEAR is totally at fault for this fiasco and embarassment of a race! They simply need to stand up to NA$CAR and tell them they cannot supply a tire for the CoT! NA$CAR HAS NOT done their homework on this car, and we the fans are paying dearly for the development of this vehicle! It should be developed fully and then put into service!
Looks to me like Goodyear knew exactly what was going to happen. Does anyone think the trucks full of Pocono tires ready to go was just a chance. I think not. They were there because Goodyear knew they screwed up. Wouldn’t even surprise me if it wasn’t to pad their pockets by selling all those extra tires at how much per set? Goodyear made out like a bandit Sun. As far as hurting their normal sales it won’t. Most people know the tires they purchase for their cars aren’t the same as a race tire and if that is the brand they always have purchased they’ll keep buying them.
Seems to this not too smart dawg, that a decent, or at least as decent a race as these cars are capable of putting on. At one of the highest profile tracks. Would be in every one’s best interest. With that in mind, & in light of past tire issues at Indy. If I were in charge of Goodyear racing div. I think I would have asked NA$CAR to provide a couple of Cars, (it’s not like they haven’t confiscated 3 of them lately) Gotten a couple of experienced drivers. Prevailed on Tony to make the speedway available. Then done my own tests, until I got it right. It seems to me that this entire black eye was just the result of poor planning.