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 September 22, 2008
The Key Moment: With eight laps to go, Greg Biffle finally got around the outside of teammate Matt Kenseth to take the lead.
In a Nutshell: If you surfed away to catch a local football game, you missed the greatest finish to a Cup race this season — the stuff of legends.
Dramatic Moment: The last 45 laps were gripping stuff, with three and sometimes as many as five drivers going after it hammer and tongs for the lead. There were fenders banging, tires smoking, and fans on their feet… if only the magic could have lasted for the final five laps.
What They’ll Be Talking About Around the Water Cooler This Week
So, how come disgruntled fans still tune in every week if they’re so dissatisfied, some of the newer fans want to know? A day like today is why. Every once in a great while, things still work out like they’re supposed to — I just wish it happened more often. All together now: “Like back in the good old days…”
I’m not ready to completely write off Kyle Busch’s chances at a title yet, but after two terrible races, it’s going to take a Herculean effort that people would be discussing for decades.
NASCAR took a tentative step forward into the 21st century this weekend with their announcement of a random drug testing policy to be implemented next year. Those subject to random tests include drivers, crew members, and NASCAR officials at most racing events throughout the ’09 schedule. My gut tells me the first to fail will be Brian France, who will then flee into his condo and deny he ever peed in a cup despite the obvious evidence of the Car of Sorrow. It seems curious that NASCAR won’t release the list of banned substances they’ll be testing for — and as a reminder to Cup drivers and crew members, Nyquil is on it.
For those of you who, with varied levels of amusement, still think Dover Delaware is some backwards hole in the wall outpost kept alive by an air base and soy beans, try thinking of Dover Downs as the Philadelphia-land speedway instead. Oh, and about those allegations of boring, one lane racing at Dover…
I’m local, so I have to say given the absolutely perfect weather on Saturday, the attendance at the Nationwide race on Saturday was absolutely pitiful. NASCAR really needs to revamp their Triple A series before it flatlines.
I may be guilty of commenting on it myself too often the last few weeks, but when it comes to scanning team transmissions during a race, motorsports fans enjoy an immediate access not available in other sports. So, when drivers and crew chiefs get a bit snippy or profane over the radio during an event, I suppose that’s their right to do so. I remember back in the day on the warmup laps, a member of the 3 team driven by Dale Earnhardt would welcome fans scanning the team’s frequency to the race, but then add that the conversations would be rated R and perhaps unsuitable for the kids in the stands.
With that in mind, I think NASCAR should never consider penalizing a driver or team member for cussing over the radio if that comment is inadvertently broadcast on TV. After all, it’s the network’s responsibility to have someone with a quick finger on the bleep key. And to those drivers complaining about what’s being said about their radio comments in the media, yes, you are free to say whatever you want — but we’re free to say whatever we want about those comments as well.
I think maybe I am beginning to understand the madness behind the actions of the NASCAR brass. Perhaps they’re thinking that if, in their greed, they screw things up so badly they start losing money, the Federal Government will step in with a billion dollar bailout to save them.
Doesn’t it seem that when a NASCAR commercial features fans in Jeff Gordon garb they’re all either female or under the age of six years old? It must be tough to be an adult male Jeff Gordon fan.
Two NASCAR officials suspended after the Mauricia Grant racial and sexual harassment suit was filed have now been fired. Initially, NASCAR said there was no substance to Ms. Grant’s allegations, which makes this development curious. A separate lawsuit has now been filed by a former black male employee of NASCAR saying he was discriminated against due to his race and marital status. But in the suit, this fellow admits he got into a heated argument with a fellow employee and threatened to stab him in far more colorful terms. OK, I support the Grant lawsuit, but this fellow has no real gripe. I don’t care how heated the argument — and I’ve been in some pretty nasty ones with fellow employees over the years — you simply cannot threaten to do them grave bodily harm. The race, religion, gender, or sexuality of the two combatants has nothing to do with it. You simply can’t threaten to “cut” someone and not lose your job. We’ve seen too many workplace tragedies in recent years to allow that.
Speaking of Jeff Gordon, I no longer see that there’s any question he’ll compete for this year’s title (he won’t) but the question is whether he can win a Cup race this season to keep his fourteen year victory streak alive (he might).
Speaking of commercials, with their direct involvement in killing the first muscle car boom and their stressing of safe driving, does anyone else find it odd a new commercial for a car insurance company features Kevin Harvick doing doughnuts in a quiet suburban cul-de-sac in front of impressionable children? Just get caught doing that in your old Trans Am by the cops, and guess what would happen to your insurance rates…
The Hindenburg Award For Foul Fortune
The way he was driving, you just knew Robby Gordon was eventually going to take out one of the leaders. He finally got around to running into Jamie McMurray, who had a Top 5 car much of the race and desperately needed a good run. Someone desperately needs to run Gordon out of the sport.
Kyle Busch’s title hopes took a hard hit when he lost an engine before the halfway point of the race. It was only the second engine failure for one of the JGR teams this Cup season.
Denny Hamlin’s chances went awry with a leaking rear end, and we all know how embarrassing that can be.
David Reutimann enjoyed a strong run until he was hit with a one lap penalty for pitting out of the pit box late in the race on his final stop.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. spent another long afternoon floundering around after blowing a tire and damaging his right side quarter panel.
The “Seven Come Fore Eleven” Award For Fine Fortune
After a lackluster season, back-to-back wins by Greg Biffle to start the Chase has to be considered a major shock. It does indeed still appear to be a three way battle for this year’s title — only Biffle might be in the mix instead of Kyle Busch.
Radio transmissions by the No. 16 team midway through the race seemed to indicate that Biffle was seeing smoke from Carl Edwards’ car that indicated a potential imminent engine failure; but in the end, no mechanical gremlins spoiled Edwards’ third place run.
Jimmie Johnson found himself right in the midst of other drivers’ wrecks several times, but managed to steer clear of the mayhem on his way to a fifth place finish. A timely caution flag on lap 291 also put Johnson back in the hunt when it appeared he might have to make one more stop than his competitors.
Michael Waltrip enjoyed a strong tenth place finish. No, I’m not sure how that happened, either — but I bet NASCAR checked the intake manifold on the No. 55 car after the race.
Jack Roush enjoyed a good day at Dover with cars he owned finishing first, second, and third. Richard Childress also had to be pretty happy, seeing all three of his title contending cars finished ninth or better. Joe Gibbs… well, at least the Redskins won.
Mark Martin had a stellar run on Sunday. Even while the TV network involved was trying to paint the finish of the race as a three man battle between teammates, Martin was there in the mix right until the end.
What’s the Points?
Carl Edwards now leads the standings by ten markers over Jimmie Johnson and Greg Biffle. Johnson and Biffle are tied as far as a points total, but Johnson has the advantage with four wins compared to Biffle’s two.
Kevin Harvick had a great day in the points, moving up five positions to fifth in the standings. His teammate Jeff Burton advanced one spot to fourth. Jeff Gordon climbed three spots to eighth, while Matt Kenseth took two steps out of the cellar to tenth.
On the other end of the spectrum, Kyle Busch tumbled four spots in the standings to 12th despite having won the most races this season. He’s gone from first to last in just two weeks. His teammate Denny Hamlin fell five spots to 11th, while Dale Earnhardt Jr. also fell five spots to wind up ninth in the standings.
Outside the Chase, Kasey Kahne holds onto 13th place, just 35 points ahead of David Ragan.
Overall Rating (On a scale of one to six beer cans with one being a stinker and a six pack an instant classic) — I’ll give this one five and a half bottles of icy cold Corona with a Captain Morgan chaser. The race loses half a bottle for a long, drawn out middle section with not much happening, and the anti-climax of the final five laps.
Next Up: Hey, Toto, it’s back off to Kansas for an event most fans look forward to like a prostate exam. But hey, they’re getting a casino on the premises, so maybe soon we can look forward to two Kansas events a year where the Cup drivers make like Keebler Elves and tackle the cookie cutter.
©2000 - 2008 Matt McLaughlin and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
Now that was what NASCAR racing should be like. Dover and Richmond so far were the best races of the year.
NA$CAR must be regurgitating in it’s own rhetoric right now!
NA$CAR wants the drivers to be “vanilla”, smile for the cameras boys,, say only good things about the sick CoT boys, no fighting boys! No throwing the helmets boys, no temper tantrums boys, show no emotions boys!
Now having stripped their “bad boy” of all his points, he who now sits in 12th place in the Chase, you know, the driver you could stand around the water cooler all day long discussing his antics and driving ability, and how much people may hate him!
NOW! We have the “vanilla” in the spotlight, yep, REAL vanilla, as in “oh, Greg Biffle won the race, oh, well, I have to get back to work”!
(now, now, don’t be jumping to conclusions, this is not a knock on Biffle, thank you)
BUT! It is a knock on NA$CAR because when their fan base is dwindling, and they try to introduce “funny” & “strange” things to the sport, I.E., the CoT, The Chase! They, NA$CAR now must put up with the mundane and un-exciting! And thus we the fans suffer greatly!
Sure, Greg Biffle deserved to win the race! Sure Greg Biffle is a good driver!
BUT! Greg Biffle is not going to create conversation and excitement enough to draw more fans to the track each and every weekend!
“You want me to spend $500 to go see if Greg Biffle can win three in a row”??
Are you serious?
I have suggested to my local ice cream parlor that they need to offer a “NA$CAR SUNDAE”! The owner asked what it would be?
I responded, plain vanilla with just a couple of nuts on top!
NASCAR stripped the #18 of all his points?
I think it was the Gibbs chassis department in Loudon and their engine department in Dover that stripped him of his points, not NASCAR.
Fine race, and a good column, Matt.
Hey Jim, now, now!
You know full well what I meant when I said “they stripped him of all his points”!
When the “chase” started, the playing field was leveled, and brought the most exciting, win or nothing driver, “back in to the fold” with their phony, positively PHONY Chase points system!
Oh, great, really great 28 races into the season and we FINALLY have a thriller!
Does Indianapolis ring a bell?
You know, 8 laps at a time, then throw the yellow!
So at seasons end, the hardest charging, most exiting driver, the driver with the MOST WINS, is not even on the scoreboard!
THAT’S MY POINT!
Hey Bill B, no, controversy is NOT what I was talking about or even referring to! It is “HARD DRIVING GO FOR THE WIN” is what motor racing usually (until the chase that is)is, or should be, about!
So in your mind it is indeed proper that a driver with EIGHT, count’em, 8 WINS, is no longer on the scoreboard because in essence those “wins”, or the points anyway, have been stripped from that driver? So now we (they actually) are going to crown a “seasons” chumpion, based on the taking away valid points, and creating a very short “season”, that will ultimately decide who ends up on top?
Certainly not the best “season long” car/driver for sure!
And, lest I forget, “The way he was driving, you just knew Robby Gordon was eventually going to take out one of the leaders. He finally got around to running into Jamie McMurray, who had a Top 5 car much of the race and desperately needed a good run. Someone desperately needs to run Gordon out of the sport.”
Isn’t Robby running as hard as he can to “qualify” for NEXT YEARS DAYTONA 500?
In yet another sick NA$CAR scenario, the starting field for the next years Daytona 500, you know, the race they call their “SUPER BOWL” of racing, (and gee, I thought the chumpionship was decided the last race of the year, not the first, boy, am I ever confused)!
So each and every point gained by Robby, & others, is VITAL to making “THE BIG SHOW?
How funny is that one!
No, lets give Robby and all the others in a similar position their due, because he knows what happens this year reflects on the starting field NEXT YEAR!
HUH! I even have a hard time writing about that scenario I am laughing so much!
As long as those ricer motors keep on grenading, it will be a good day for NASCAR.
As usual, the REAL racetracks bring out the REAL racing. That was one of the best I’ve seen in a long time.
I was there…. thanks goodness for the occaisional breeze that blew through the stands. I was at Richmond too, and that was HOT. But, those were 2 of the best races this year. Too bad they can’t all be that way. The stands were about 85% full, there were tons of tickets on sale outside the track, and we saw the whole race and were out and away from the track in under 30 minutes. Great day.
And this was the 2nd race for my two boys – 10 and 15. The said… “they had a great time” – “was so much better than on TV” – “would love to go to another” Are you listening NA$CAR… there are young and upcoming fans out there….. don’t blow it for them – or me!
I am a 24 fan. Knowing that what do you think my opinion is of the Chase? I’ll give you a hint (6 time champion).
OK, Douglas, have it your way.
But even if we were operating under the old format, your boy would still be 33 points down and falling like a rock….check our Jayski’s “Classic Points” for verification.
Loved watching the Roush Guys gang up on the convicted felons car, watching him go from 1st to fourth in a heartbeat…. But I really enjoyed watching Traitor joe gibbs Asian car puff its way to 43rd. joe, kyle & his fans are a disgrace to America.
I’ll take all of the Robby Gordons i can get in NASCAR . Theres way too many “ Ken Dolls “ already . If Robby wants to race hard against every car on every lap , bless him for the effort .
Douglas, You contradict yourself so obviously that it’s actually pretty funny. On the one hand you complain about Nascar introducting ‘funny’ and ‘strange’ things into the sport and how it’s coming back to bite them. I agree.
Yet on the other hand you complain about the so-called vanilla drivers. That puts you squarely in the demographic that Na$car is targeting when they come up with lame ideas like The Chase and the Lucky Dog rule. Na$car panders to the fans who need WWE-style gimmicks and ‘controversial’ drivers to hold their very limited attention spans.
Vanilla, chocolate or strawberry, who cares?? Real fans want to see good hard racing. I’m not interested in whether or not a driver fits your definition of entertaining.
Plenty of fans are capable of appreciating the more subtle yet equally passionate and determined personalities of a Greg Biffle or a Matt Kenseth. Kenseth in particular has a hilarious dry wit which evidently you are oblivious to or don’t have the mental acuity to appreciate. There is a depth to their personalities, it’s not all “in your face”. But if it’s not loud and obvious it’s not going to appeal to the water cooler set. So much the better for the rest of us.
I like Kyle, and I hate the Chase. So we’re basically on the same page. But you lose me when you start mocking class acts like Biffle and Kenseth.
According to Jayski, if we were still using the classic point system, we’d have a barn burner of a championship on our hands without the need of the effing Chase.
Hey Jim, minor correction to your numbers: tied at the top with 3978 “classic” points would be Kyle & Cousin Carl, followed by Johnson with 3916, & Jr. with 3739. Just for the record, maybe Jayski changed something? who knows?
But the real crux of the matter is the format for the “chase” itself. Of all the really great possibilities of creating excitement for a “playoff” format, Brian and his band of drunks sure missed the boat on this one! BIG TIME!
First, don’t really think anything special needed to be done in the first place!
Second, why on earth couldn’t the “original”, or classic points system be tweaked, rather than just thrown out?
The whole idea of 12 cars racing for the chumpionship over a 10 race schedule might have been good IF!! And I say IF? They only raced themselves, 12 cars, the best wins the chumpionship!
That would be a real playoff format, not “contaminated” by having 31 other cars on the track at the same time! Have two races on a Sunday!
(then we won’t have people blaming Robby Gordon for taking points away from them)
What other sport “eliminates” teams from the championship rounds, through the regular season, BUT then still allows those non-qualifiers to continue playing in the playoffs?
How sick would that be?
In “normal” playoff systems, as the playoffs progress, teams are simply dropped from competition as they lose! The winners survive and the champion decided on head to head competition between two (2) teams/drivers!
Not in our beloved NA$CAR! No sirree sir! Even at the VERY LAST RACE, ALL TEAMS ARE STILL COMPETING, and a “back-marker”, one who had been “eliminated” some 10 races ago, can still help determine who the chumpion might be! Either by taking finishing points away, or by causing/being involved in an accident!
“THE CHASE” makes no sense whatsoever! NONE! ZERO! NADA!
And so we have a driver, driven to win, and actually winning 8 races thus far, sitting last in chase points, and actually sitting in the points behind FOUR (4) drivers who have not won a race!
And for Arriana, I am not mocking anyone, (Brian France excepted), and thoroughly appreciate the talents of the Kenseth’s & the Biffles! My point is, NA$CAR is trying to ‘attract” more fans (to replace those finally giving up on the sport) and are (they, NA$CAR) introducing “gimmicks” to try and attract newer fans!
So, my point is, if a “newer” fan was to watch a Biffle, or a Kenseth, win a couple of races, would this be enough to grab that fan’s attention and get him hooked for life?
Me thinks not! why do you think Dale Sr.s legacy is still alive and kicking? Because he was a “vanilla” driver?
Why do you think in the old days, the stands were packed with fans? To see “vanilla” drivers?
Oh sure, everyone loves Mark Martin, good stuff, but did he ever pack the stands? NOPE! Good? Yes, but way to “vanilla”!
Gee, I hope that made sense of things, at least my way of “sense”!
Nice also to have a column you can get your arms around and “discuss”!!
As Douglas mentioned, Robby was racing hard for the future of his team. It was really McMary’s spotter who was at fault. Robby had been running the high line all day, and was consistently loose off of the corners. Anyone who had payed any attention at all to him could have seen it. There’s no way McMary’s spotter should have had him passing Robby on the outside.
Douglas, I still don’t understand your point. You said that Na$car is resorting to stupid gimmicks to attract more fans. Check.
Then you go on and on about drivers like Earnhardt who put fans in the stands. Check.
OK, now what would you like to see happen — have NASCAR give the ‘colorful’ drivers special equipment or some other competitive advantage over the so-called vanilla drivers? I mean, what is your remedy? Have only ‘colorful’ drivers compete in cup?
The cup drivers represent all personality styles, and that’s the way it should be. Should Na$car hold back the low-key guys who don’t seek the spotlight?
I really think that the word ‘vanilla’— used in this context — is very subjective. I don’t find Biffle and Kenseth vanilla at all. I find them smart and interesting. And I find the Tony Stewart’s of the world obnoxious and boring. So there you have it. One person’s trash is another’s treasure.
I think the single most important thing Na$car needs to change is its image as a pseudo-sport. It has lost a great deal of credibility and respect due to unequal enforcement of rules, blatant driver favoritism (which apparently, you would support as long as the favored driver were a headline grabber)…idiotic ideas like the Lucky Dog rule and of course the hated Chase…mystery cautions, scripted endings…I could go on. Outside of Nascar’s fan base the sport is viewed very much with the same degree of respect as WWE. And that is Nascar’s biggest problem, not lack of headline grabbing personalities.
Douglas, My driver (Kahne)did not make the chase while others with no wins get continue on. Was I mad? You bet I was, did it make a difference? No, Kahne would be sitting 9th in points right now had he made the chase. Complain all you want but the fact is there are others out here that feel we have been cheated too, so cry in your own beer. It won’t do any good.
You’re right , there aren’t very many Jeff Gordon fans who aren’t under 12 years old and/or female . Most of us are fans of real drivers .
Let’s add to the excitement of the Chase for Douglas. When you go a lap down, park it!!! Only lead lap cars can run the Chase races. How exciting would Dover have been to be sitting there watching 16 cars race at the end?!? Suit you Douglas?
MilChad, three drivers in contention for the championship is a “barn-burner” to you, instead of 12 drivers (well, 10 realistically now) ? I guess my definition of barn-burner is different than yours. I like the idea of the Chase, I just dont like the way its implemented. And it certainly would not have been a barn burner last year. Jeff Gordon would have locked it up with three races to go. That’s only exciting if you’re a Jeff Gordon fan.
Lets see now, how to respond to the various points (which are well taken by the way, well mostly well taken anyway).
First, to Arianna, “OK, now what would you like to see happen — have NASCAR give the ‘colorful’ drivers special equipment or some other competitive advantage over the so-called vanilla drivers? I mean, what is your remedy? Have only ‘colorful’ drivers compete in cup?”
Nope, but let the “colorful” drivers speak their piece, and show emotion at times! Don’t threaten them in drivers meetings “shut up about the CoT” as happened in Michigan, or “off to the NA$CAR Hauler” for your tirade!
These drivers put their life on the line each and every weekend, BUT the powers to be at NA$CAR disallow ANY comments even after a driver hits the wall at 200MPH! Or just “vanilla” comments anyway! Isn’t driving a race car at times “emotional”, either good or bad?
And what did NA$CAR tell Tony Stewart, your favorite driver, after he criticised GOODYEAR BOMBS, ERR, TIRES, that were used at Atlanta!
SHUT UP TONY!
And then along came Indianapolis! BINGO! 5 lap tires, 10 if you went slow!
But oh no, Tony is called on the carpet for criticizing GOODYEAR, AFTER being on a track with tires that would simply, and without warning EXPLODE! Please, watch the races!
BUT! The real point of using the term “vanilla”, is this does not fill the stands, never has, never will! It takes the Dale Sr.‘s of the world, and the DW’s, and the Cale Yarbroughs to show the emotion, to fight for their rights each and every Sunday. This is what brings the fans in, good racing, tough racing, racing with emotions! And showing same!
And your, “not lack of headline grabbing personalities”! HUH?
NA$CAR lacks “headline personalities”, big time! Sure, we the old “core” fan hate the “CHASE”, and the “COT”! But add to that, drivers not allowed to speak their mind,drivers that go out each and every Sunday and just find a comfortable place to race, (kinda like Jr. does) collect all the “safe” points he can, and we have a formula for disaster!
And, for Graceann, I use Kyle as an example, not because I am a fan of his. I am just pointing out the fallacy of the current “chase” format.
I think most fans (at least in my mind anyway) want a champion that drives hard & wins races! No matter the name! Lets not throw out the baby with the bath water!
And further, if we have 12 cars in the chase, racing against each other, then how can the 12th place “chase finisher”, (i.e., Kyle Busch) only end up with 43 place points? Because “non=chase” cars are continuing to run and influence the championship!
And for Rocky, that’s something I stated not long ago! It is like the old “australian pursuit” races, once passed, your out! But seriously, does it really make sense that NA$CAR selects 12 cars to compete for a championship, but EVERYONE is still on the track?
And in closing this fine segment, do you find it strange, that it is the 28th race of the year before anyone see’s a “good race”?? What happened to the other 27 races?
Well, I guess if your a Brian France fan, one (1) good race out of twenty-eight (28), ain’t bad!
We have certainly waited a long, long time for one!
Maybe NFL players should still be wearing leather helmets, maybe modern hockey goalies are wimps because they wear safety masks. NASCAR changed the rules a few years ago to the chase format and everyone knew after race 26 the points were reset and they were seeded with 10pts for every win. If Nascar went down last race and took a hammer and broke the heim joint or dropped a screw down the carb yesterday to damage the engine then maybe you could blame them but they didn’t. NE Patriots had a killer season but too bad so sad NY beat them. On the issue of Robby Gordon, last I look he was racing, not skiing, not bowling, not ballroom dancing but racing the other people on the track. Yes he got loose and got into Jamie, not like Jamie should be complaining since he has taken people out left and right. I guess it is like Kyle racing JR and getting loose and taking JR out, it’s called racing, you are supposed to be racing all the others on the track. Bradshaw once said if you can’t tackle the QB put a dress on them, should be make the chase drivers wear dresses!!!
Yeah Michael and Matt. Explain how Gordon is 2nd in merch sales and tends to finish 2nd in the popular driver standings every season. Must be a lot of 6 year olds using their Visas and clicking that website.
I still think if this Chase has to exist that Nascar should split the races in half and have two races. The 1st being the Chase Drivers only and then the 2nd race the non chase drivers. That would force the chase drivers to race hard at all times and not have to deal with the non chase drivers. It could get pretty interesting.
What other sport has the teams who didn’t make it in the playoffs, world series, Super Bowl and etc.?
Now the rookies will be thrown in also to see how much damage they can do. What a joke. The Championship drivers deserve to have their own race. (If we must have the Chase.) Your local tracks have heat races and then only the best move on.
I have also read KB would be 2nd in points somewhere besides in Jayski.
Amazing how a track designed for stock cars (not Indy cars) makes for better racing, isn’t it? As to why disgruntled fans keep watching? Well, it’s like the little kid digging thru the pile of horse manure in his front yard on his birthday saying, “There’s got to be a pony under there somewhere!” At Dover, race fans found the pony.
1. The only thing “colorful” about “Junior” is the fact that he is Dale Earnhardts’ son.