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 October 6, 2008
The Key Moment: The race was decided in NASCAR’s control room almost a minute after the event itself ended.
In a Nutshell: Yogi Berra once said, “It ain’t over until it’s over.” Apparently, sometimes it’s not over even when it is over.
Dramatic Moment: With fifteen laps to go, Carl Edwards got Greg Biffle’s car sideways and set off a field-decimating wreck that may have doomed a lot of contender’s chances at a championship.
What They’ll Be Talking About Around the Water Cooler This Week
Yes, there’s a rule that states a driver may not advance his position at the plate tracks by passing under the yellow line. There’s also a rule that states a driver may not force another driver “out of bounds.” But more than once, NASCAR has stated a de facto “anything goes” policy on the last lap of the plate races. Should Stewart have been penalized? Should Smith have been given the win? If Smith had lifted out of the gas to let Stewart back by and drifted back up the track, it might have set off another huge wreck and we’d have likely seen only one car finish the race (the 20). After the Daytona Truck Series race last February, a NASCAR spokesperson defended Johnny Benson’s “below the line” pass to take second by saying, “if you can see the checkered flag on the last lap, anything goes.” Anything but passing the driver of the “Official Home Improvement Center of NASCAR,” it would seem…
Jimmie Johnson himself stated that the drivers were told at their pre-race meeting on Sunday that with the checkers in sight, “anything goes.” I can’t help but feel Regan Smith got robbed. Being demoted to the last driver to finish on the lead lap (at least, that’s how the results read as this is being written) just rubs salt in that wound.
After messes like Sunday’s race, I’ll get a ton of emails asking me why NASCAR’s rulebook isn’t available to fans so they can figure out whether what happened was fair or not. The reason seems to be that Brian France is only half done coloring the rulebook in. His favorite color, to paraphrase my old pal Jerry, is a Touch of Gray. Whistle through your teeth and spit, but it’s all right.
All right, so you needed any more evidence of the contrived stupidity of plate racing and the validity of the Chase? Sunday provided it. Jimmie Johnson sounded like he’d browned his shorts avoiding the big wreck. With his two primary championship contenders sidelined, Johnson made it clear he wasn’t interested in mixing it up any more going for the win, and would be content to ride safely to the best finish he could manage instead. That’s not what race fans pay their hard-earned dollars to see.
With DEI having been placed on the most studied “death list” since General Francisco Franco, the finish at Talladega had to convince some the doors there will still be open next year.
Read my lips: “No More Plate Races!” Stop the madness before someone else gets killed.
Did it seem like an awful lot of teams were actually working on their cars during the final red flag period?
I’m not sure what was up with the tires this weekend. Given Goodyear’s unenviable record this season (Remember Indy… or better yet, don’t.) It would be easy to toss them under the bus, but the fact remains that the Hoosier tires used in Saturday’s ARCA race were blowing out as well. You’ve got to feel it must have something to do with the new track surface at Talladega.
Wow! All season, the Top 10 finishers have tended to be a “Who’s Who” of the racing elite driving for the four power-teams. Sunday’s finishing order was a “Who’s That?” result.
You’ve got to guess the folks at the Home Depot had to be delighted watching Stewart finally win a race running the Subway colors.
There’s never been any love lost between Matt Kenseth and teammate Carl Edwards, but my guess is Edwards officially fell off Kenseth’s Christmas card list on Sunday.
What the devil happened to Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s right rear tire during the second practice session? That thing exploded so violently it looked like Al Qaeda had been involved. Stunned by the video evidence before them, two of Goodyear’s chief cheerleaders, Larry McReynolds and Jeff Hammond, actually took several moments to announce Junior had to have run over something because there’s no way Goodyear could manufacture a defective tire that failed with less than fifteen laps on it. Hey, guys, remember Indy?
Is this “temporary” restrictor plate rule implemented two decades ago in the aftermath of Bobby Allison’s horrific crash into the catchfence about over yet? NASCAR did indeed say the measure was “temporary” until they could find a way to slow the cars down. Oh, right. We were told the Car of Sorrow was going to eliminate the need for the plates. Whoops. Just another failure for the new car. As it stands written in the Book of Bruce, “Is a dream a lie if it don’t come true, or is it something worse.” (Or for you more traditional types, as it stands written in the Book of Ecclesiastes: “It’s all madness, toil, and chasing the wind.”)
While the man is dead and gone, a victim of plate racing, some track promoters surely aren’t shy about using the image of Dale Earnhardt to sell race tickets to upcoming events. Here’s a hint: Earnhardt won’t be there. Bill France killed him.
I know some drivers have bizarre pre-race rituals, but someone please explain to me why Carl Edwards was dumping a bottle of cold water into his lap prior to the start of the race. My only theory is he’s trying to camouflage any embarrassing lapses of personal hygiene during the race.
Oh, good! ABC/ESPN analyst Brad Daugherty announced this week that his fledgling NASCAR team has signed a deal with Michael Waltrip Racing for next year. That’s just what the fans need, another supposedly unbiased journalist with strong ties to a manufacturer, a team, and sponsor out there on the track it’s in his best interest to promote. Waltrip already has his brother Darrell in his corner during race broadcasts, and it seems half the broadcast teams for both networks owe some level of allegiance to Toyota. Well here in the real world, journalists are supposed to avoid conflict of interest in the arenas they cover, and any implication that they are beholden to a dog in the fight is enough to end a career. But this isn’t the real world — this is NASCAR.
It looks like former Formula One driver Scott Speed all but has the ARCA title wrapped up going into the season finale, with an 85-point lead over Roush’s Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. Speed had a chance to wrap up the title at Talladega after Stenhouse wrecked heavily, but then Speed wrecked as well.
On a related ARCA note, when the smoke and carnage cleared after the Talladega ARCA event it was Justin Allgaier in a family team car who took the win. Allgaier’s now won at a dirt track, a speedway, and a superspeedway this season en route to third in the championship standings. If those in the know would stop writing love sonnets to Joey Logano as the “Next Big Thing,” they might want to have a look at Allgaier as a potential NASCAR star. This kid can flat out drive, and Roger Penske has recently signed Justin to run in some Nationwide Series races next year. Keep an eye on him.
Seven years ago Saturday, Blaise Alexander died in a tragic last lap crash at Charlotte while battling with Kerry Earnhardt for the win. Like Dale Earnhardt, Alexander died after his brain stem was torn from his brain, the same cause of death that claimed Adam Petty, Kenny Irwin, and Tony Roper. It seemed that Alexander’s death was the tipping point that finally forced NASCAR to mandate head and neck restraints. The sanctioning body also finally sucked it up and decided maybe those SAFER barriers weren’t such a pipe dream after all. Though Alexander died in an ARCA race, in death he has probably spared many NASCAR stars their lives. Please don’t tell me Dale Earnhardt’s death spurred NASCAR into action. Alexander died almost eight months after the tragedy at Daytona. The HANS device was already on the market, available and being used in other series prior to that dark day in February, 2001. On a side note, nobody is really sure who won that ARCA race. I believe official records show Kerry Earnhardt took the win; but he refused the trophy, saying Alexander had won, and had it shipped to his family.
I’m a huge fan of Helio Castroneves, but his biggest battle now isn’t in the IRL, it’s with the IRS. Look for him to debut soon in Dancing Behind Bars. In today’s world with the hugely unpopular Wall Street bailout, the case of a multi-millionaire who might have tried to dodge paying his fair share of taxes is going to be a slam dunk conviction. A note to Castroneves – climbing the fence for practice at a federal prison is going to draw gunfire.
You need any more proof green race cars are bad luck?
The Hindenburg Award For Foul Fortune
Let me put it simply: Regan Smith got robbed.
Denny Hamlin was far from the only driver to wreck hard at Talladega, but he was the only one carted to the hospital in a meat-wagon after his wreck. That was the sort of hit that often leaves a driver groggy for several weeks after the fact. On a brighter note, in the era before the HANS device and SAFER barriers, that was the sort of wreck that often saw drivers arrive home in a hearse.
Jeff Gordon suffered the twin indignities of getting caught up in a crash that wasn’t his fault and having an engine meltdown. Sometimes, it just isn’t your day.
Dale Earnhardt, Jr. looked to have a race-contending car, but found himself caught up in the big wreck — leaving a mass of humanity headed for the Talladega exits with their heads hung low.
At the plate tracks, other drivers’ bad decisions are going to cost the PIVs (poor innocent victims) around them a good a finish and a bad wreck. But for Matt Kenseth and Greg Biffle to be eliminated by a teammate has to sting that much more.
Ryan Newman didn’t even have to get caught up in a boneheaded wreck to finish dead last with terminal engine problems.
Juan Montoya’s strongest run in recent memory was all for naught after he got swept up in the Big One.
The “Seven Come Fore Eleven” Award For Fine Fortune
Jimmie Johnson dodged both big wrecks and a tire carcass slamming the front of his car to go on and finish the race… however chicken-heartedly. Talladega didn’t hand the title to Johnson; but going forward, it’s his to lose.
Jeff Burton has never been a fan of plate racing, but his fourth place finish at Talladega renews his title hopes for 2008.
For fans of the embattled Petty organization and Bobby Labonte, a sixth place finish had to be a shot in the arm.
As badly as his day went, his 15th place finish (first survivor) was actually Kyle Busch’s best result in the Chase.
Mark Martin was lucky enough to have the common sense not to compete in this farce of a race.
What’s the Points?
Jimmie Johnson remains in the points lead and is now a formidable 72 ahead of Carl Edwards and 77 ahead of third place Greg Biffle. Jeff Burton is fourth, a more manageable 99 points out of the lead.
Clint Bowyer moves up two spots in the standings to fifth. Race-winner Tony Stewart leap-frogged four places into seventh, a sobering 207 points behind Johnson. Kyle Busch moved up a spot to eleventh in the standings.
Denny Hamlin takes over the “cellar-dweller” position in the Chase. Dale Earnhardt Jr. fell two spots to tenth and Simon and Garfunkel are ready to write a reprise to “Mrs. Robinson” about him. Kevin Harvick fell one spot to sixth in the standings and hates that even more than gunky engine buildup.
David Ragan, who would like to remind you all he’s not Regan Smith, now looks to have a lock on the 13th place position just outside the Chase. He’s now 117 points ahead of 14th place Kasey Kahne.
Overall Rating (On a scale of one to six beer cans, with one being a stinker and a six pack an instant classic) — I feel guilty for watching this stupidity. It’s sort of like a former girlfriend dropping by on Saturday night and catching you watching COPS in sweatpants. I guess I’ll give it three cans, mainly because nobody got seriously hurt and we’ll all be talking about this one awhile.
Next Up: It’s back off to Charlotte for next week’s Saturday night event…if anyone can find the gas to get there. Ain’t it funny how the night moves, with autumn moving in?
©2000 - 2008 Matt McLaughlin and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
Gee, I guess Matt’s a big Tony Stewart fan, huh?
Dale Jarrett said it best after the race: NASCAR cannot have one rule for all but the last lap & another for that last lap. Smith broke the no passing under the yellow line rule & got busted for it, pure & simple. If he’d been given the “win” for breaking a rule, then there’d have been a travesty. It was reported during the race—long before the illegal pass—that this rule had specifically been addressed during the drivers meeting.
Stewart won the race; get over it & move on.
jaymatt, I think most would agree with you that there shouldn’t be a special set of rules on the last lap. But Regan was forced below the yellow line. He got jobbed big time by the NASCAR random-rule-generator this week.
The fact that a lot of drivers apparently believed that making a yellow-line move was legal on the last lap is worrisome too. Who is telling them this?
Matt , dry your eyes , calm your indignation , and pay attention to what we all know are the facts . The rule very clearly states that a driver cannot make a pass of another driver by going below the yellow line . Smith could have ridden right along side of Tony and finished second . The very first this rule was used in fact was at the July Daytona race in 2001 . So its been around long enough for drivers , even Mensa member Johnson ( rumours swirling around the garage area , oh brother ! ) , to be well aware of it .What Poston or Hunter said or didn’t say about it doesn’t make the slightest difference . Those two are not responsible for rules administration . And NASCAR has stated no such thing as anything goes on the last lap . EVER . So whether or not Smith was forced out of bounds was never the issue . In bounds or out of bounds , a driver cannot pass another driver below the yellow line .
Hmmm. I watched the truck race on Saturday and I thought I heard them say something about anything goes, including going below the yellow line, on the last lap. I know the things they say aren’t gospel but wonder why they would make something like that up. That whole yellow line rule just gives NASCAR another gray area in which to play god. My personal opinion is that Smith got robbed.
While the man is dead and gone, a victim of plate racing, some track promoters surely aren’t shy about using the image of Dale Earnhardt to sell race tickets to upcoming events. Here’s a hint: Earnhardt won’t be there. Bill France killed him.
thank you….i’m sick and tired of still seeing dale being used as the selling point to fill seats. i wonder how much teresa gets from this?! enough to keep tei going?
i’m glad you mentioned Blaise. Everyone seems to forget Blaise. And yes, Kerry won the race, but shipped the trophy to Blaise’s family. Kerry has never really gotten over 2001.
I just can’t make myself watch a plate race anymore. It’s almost scripted. There will a a bad wreck during the last 20 laps. A red flag will be thrown… You know the drill. It’s the dumbest so-called racing in the world.
Quit your whining Matt. Tony Stewart won that race. Regan Smith broke the rules. Simple as that. He wasn’t even forced down there. yes Tony blocked Regan but Regan wasn’t blocked to the point that he HAD to go below the yellow line.
Do all of you Stewart fans realize that if Smith did what you say “he was supposed to do”, Tony would have been in the wall.
This was pure and simple another case of NASCAR once again arbitrarily enforcing and arbitrary rule. Here’s a simple solution, if you don’t want people driving on it, don’t pave it.
The reason the fans don’t have a “rule book” is because they don’t exist. The rules aren’t written in a book, they are written on an etch-a-sketch…….makes it easier that way if you know what I mean.
Regan Smith won this race, it is just that Brian France found an opportunity to make sure that one of the big name drivers won instead of him. Regan had two choices: he could either back off and place second or he could have wrecked Tony after Tony forced him below the yellow line. It is the last lap of the race, you name any driver who will willingly back out of the gas to finish second. If he had wrecked Tony, then everyone would have been bad-mouthing him this morning. NASCAR needs to apply the rules the same way every time.
One other thing that I noticed was the two “debris cautions” that allowed Jimmy Johnson to get his lap back after that stupid strategy of his. Apparently, on the first one Robby Gordon did not cooperate with NASCAR and he jumped ahead and got the Lucky Dog, so they had to do it again. I just wish that ESPN/ABC would do like Fox did and make it a point to show us the debris that they are calling the caution for.
Yes, the rules seem to be inconsistently enforced. Personally, I knew who the winner would be when they crossed the line: whichever driver Nascar wanted to get the win. On the other hand, had Nascar given the win to Smith, there would always be the criticism that he won it dirty.
In the end, it was a race where no one was seriously injured, and that’s all that really matters at Talledega and Daytona.
Smith won the race if nothing else on precedent. This has happened at three other races in recent memory and no penalty was given because it was the last lap. This is bullshit, pure and simple.
Take that NA$CRAP fans and shove it! If one wonders why I continually rag on how inept NA$CRAP is, I hope you watched the fiasco called Talladega!
1. GOODYEAR TIRES! Need any more be said?
2. ABC sports, and their cover-up of GOODYEAR!
Oh, he must have “cut a tire down”! Oh, he must have ran over something!
Sounds like the track at Talladega had as much debris on it as I-94 in downtown Detroit!
Oh, and all the debris was only on the right side of the car! (with one exception)
3. In the drivers meeting, as verified by JJ & others, on the last lap “anything” goes! Well, that really depends on “who” I guess!
4. Also CLEARLY STATED in the drivers meeting, as they always say: “bump drafting is not allowed in the corners”!
So? Just who bump-drafted in EVERY corner of almost every LAP?
Why! None other than “Golden Boy” Jr. himself! Of course it must also be mentioned that it was at this track that Jr. was awarded a win simply because NA$CRAP did not want a riot on their hands if they did the right thing and take the win away from Jr.! The fans have spoken! Win by popularity!
5. Restrictor plates! How sick and outdated is this theory of making races “safer”!
7. The CoC, err, I mean the CoT, “not the car-of-crap”! Maybe NA$CRAP could hold bathtub races! Be about the same, less money for sure!
BUT!! The good news is, I am becoming a NA$CRAP convert at these restrictor plate races! And you say “WHAT”???
Sure, since this is what NA$CRAP wants, I simply watched this thing to see how many cars could be turned into junk at the same time!!
OH! OH! A nine (9) car pileup! WOW!! Too bad it wasn’t 15!
OH! OH! An eleven (11) car pileup! WOW! Too bad it wasn’t 20!
Come on NA$CRAP! I want to see the ultimate 30 car pile up!
See, I am a NA$CAR convert!
Bring it on drivers!
Flying thru the air, smoke, fire, body parts (car parts that is, up to now anyway), slamming the wall at 200MPH!
WOW! How exciting, how very exciting!
As it turns out, the smartest fan was th one that did not buy a ticket to see this thing live, did you see ALL the empty grandstand seats! Must have been 40,000 EMPTY seats! Folks are learning for sure!
Note: Sorry for the mixed print! Not exactly sure how this happened, but I am like NA$CAR, I make the rule as i go!
I will try to do better, sorry again!
Not a problem Douglas, that happens if you leave a space at the front of the sentence. Easy fix from this side -- Ren
The same rule that states Drivers may not go below the yellow line and pass (unless forced) also states Drivers may not willfully force others below the yellow line.
Smith should turn Tony Stewart into a wall the first chance he gets next week and take him out of the Chase run for good. He would win the respect of millions for not taking this in the cheeks.
I am no Smith fan, I am a racing fan, and that move yesterday was pure horseshit.
No wonder NA$CAR leadership does not have e-mails posted anywhere on their site. Their server would be swamped.
Oh! And “In a Nutshell: Yogi Berra once said, “It ain’t over until it’s over.” Apparently, sometimes it’s not over even when it is over”.
It apparently ain’t over until NA$CAR re-writes the rules! On-the-spot!
Once again I agree with you one hundred percent Douglas! I only watched the last 50 laps, the rest was a bore as I read it.
You know what would have really been interesting to watch? What would have happened if it was Jr. in Smith’s position… now that would have been fun to watch NA$CAR wiggle that one around. They are just hokey!
I agree with Mark. If it was Jr. in Smith’s place Jr. would have been awarded the win. Can’t wait for that to happen and see what NA$CAR says.
Scott , very observant ! Debris : a French word meaning our poster driver needs help to catch up . If you had been listening to NASCAR control when they threw the first caution , you would have heard loud swearing and anguished cries when they discovered they had helped Robbie Gordon by mistake . No problem though . Wait a few laps so its not quite so obvious and try again . Again folks , Smith made a mistake . No matter who said what at some mythical race in the past , or during the truck race the day before , A driver cannot pass under the yellow line !!! Driving down under the yellow line was not Smiths infraction . Passing another car while below the yellow line was his infraction . That rule has been in the books for many years , and other drivers have been caught before including Tony Stewart .
STAR POWER! NASCAR Lives and Breathes on Star Power! Most people know that if the roles were reverse, (if it was Tony in second behind Regan Smith) and Tony was forced below the yellow line coming to the checker and he passed Smith, Tony would still get the win. Why? Because Regan Smith doesn’t have a large fan base, sells very few tickets and little merchandise.
I agree with Dennis 100%. Tony should have been put in the wall yesterday because of that blocking, and he should have been black-flagged for forcing below the line. This is the 1st and last race in the chase I am going to watch. No more NASCAR for me this year.
And generally I like Tony Stewart, but you can’t race like that and not expect to end up in the hospital with your team-mate, what an idiot. You can’t block across a track that has 5 to 6 lanes on it. BLACK FLAG, and give the penalty for passing, and the win to MENARD.
And how does NASCAR expect a person to watch the event for 5 1/2 hours – which was 1 to 6:30pm. Take some hints from the NFL. 3 hours max. Why do I want to keep tuning into football year after year? I am not sure exactly why I like it so much? How many Dega races can I watch and hear the same one or two liners from the announcers – let’s ask Junior about the mental toll the event takes on the driver – I have only heard that described 20 times in the last 10 years, how exciting. And football is the same, too, as it was 10 years ago, but I don’t keep hearing the EXACT same crap, over and over and over. Dale Jarret just brings more of the same to the booth. And boy was he rooting for Stewart after the checkered, defending him for the fine job of blocking!!!
AAAAGGHGHHGHGHGHGH!!!! ENOUGH NASCAR FOR ME!!!
you know, i think na$car knew stewart would have thrown the mother of all hissy fits if they hadn’t given him the win. when tv was showing stewart in the car just as they cross start finish line, stewart knew he was 2nd. he started tossing his gloves in digust. i turned it off after that. i also agree with dennis…sure seemed like a long race.
i also voted with my $$ yesterday and stayed away from the track. all weekend long those seats were empty. i’ve never seen cup race with as many empty seats as was there yesterday. at least ‘dega didn’t try to camouflage the empty seats with advertising banners.
NASCAR really has become WWE. They have no “cut and dry” rule book. They really make it up as they go. A “spokesperson” represents his employer, right?? I can accept any rule, but at LEAST inforce it equally.. We all read about what happened last year at the Daytona truck race, and what a “spokesperson” had to say about Johnny Bensons pass.
OK, I’m a 55 year old fan that ATTENDED my first NASCAR race when I was 8 years old. I saw a lot of the great races over the years in person…
It even seems to me that all todays drivers are only puppets to NASCAR. (I guess if you get paid 10 to 20 million a year you can be anything)
Yesterday’s race made me finally feel sad.. It was a joke. I mean a flat out JOKE!! From the TV commentators, to the pre-race activities, to the comments from the poor (RICH) little puppets (DRIVERS).
The “good old day’s” are long gone…..
I didn’t care who won, but it was the WORST thing I EVER saw to be called a race. Just a bunch of guys running in a big pack waiting for someone to wreck half the field. NO skill as a driver needed at all.
I love it when they actually used their “skill” to race each other…
Oh well, days gone by.. never to return..
Thanks Jeff G! And well stated!
And for the record, I am over 55 and also have seen “great racing”, and more importantly, like you, know what “great racing” really is!
Not today’s crap!
Jeff G, so you think these drivers have no skill? I think it take more skill to drive now a days! Give me a close race like this anyday! I’m 50, I liked the old days but I do like races like this at Talladega. Throw away the 1 1/2 mile tracks.
For those that say take away the plates, just what would you propose to use in place of them? Huge sails on the roof? The bigger COT did allow NASCAR to open up the plate a little bit, you know. But with today’s technology, I dont know what else to do to slow the cars down. Running 43 cars at 220 MPH isnt the answer, no matter what you think.
Put a chicane in the tri-oval. That would slow them down.
Remove the banking. Or better yet, make it negative banking. That would also slow them down.
What a joke. A few years ago when junior was awarded the win, because Kenseth forced him down, the irony is Kenseth actually left jr the bottom lane, jr had room and still chose to dive below the yellow advancing his position under the line. Nascar didn’t hesitate for a second saying Kenseth forced him down. There was no difference in the two events, except Kenseth left jr room, Stewart left Smith none. Nascar chose the winners in both of these events. Two almost identical incidents, two different rulings
I also thought the cot or pos was supposed to do away with the plates ,if nothing else put a smaller carb on them and let them run 210 or 220 as much as they harp about how safe the new cars are 10 to 20 more mph shouldnt hurt.I live less than 2 hrs away from dega and didnt go.I have been a fan for 20+ years and have only missed a few degas in between but no more for me.
All they need at ‘Dega is “Nerve”..
BTW, looks like JJ decided he didn’t have the “nerve”…
You forgot the exception to The Yellow Line Rule: Unless it is Junior!
Douglas, I agree with you on the state of NASCAR. But, sometimes, the stupidest things come out of your keyboard. It seems Jr is the blame for everything. It seems to me that you thought you had a pretty good deal in drag racing, but never fully succeeded, so now you are jealous of Jr’s celebrity. Now, before you jump on me, that probably is not the case, but you seem to have a lot of pent up anger you are unleashing at NASCAR and at Junior.
After watching my Seahawks getting their A** handed to them, I left the game in the second quarter to watch the race. I thought it couldn’t be any worse. Boy, was I wrong.
scott, like you. I would have like to have seen. the debrie, that helped, the cheaters! what a joke, nascar has become!!!