Kurt Busch to Attempt The Indianapolis-Charlotte Double
posted by Phil Allaway
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Andretti Autosport announced this morning that Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet in the Sprint Cup Series, will attempt the Indianapolis 500 in a fifth entry for the IndyCar Series team. Once the Indianapolis 500 is completed, Busch will fly from Indianapolis to Charlotte, jump in his No. 41 Chevrolet and compete in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Busch considers the opportunity to do the double as an old-school throwback moment.
“This is really to challenge myself within motorsports,” Busch said in Andretti Autosport’s press release. “Perhaps I am a bit of an old-school racer; a throwback, I guess. I enjoyed the era of drivers racing different cars and testing themselves in other series. It is tough to do now for a variety of factors, but when the opportunity is there, I want to do it. While NASCAR is my home, I have been fortunate to compete in Pro Stock on the NHRA circuit a number of years ago and test a V8 Supercar. This opportunity was a talk with Michael [Andretti] over dinner one night, a “What if,” and now it’s becoming a reality for me to drive in the Indy 500 with Andretti Autosport. It’s literally a dream come true. To go to the famous Brickyard with the iconic Andretti name, it doesn’t get much cooler or better than that.”
Busch will be doing the Indianapolis-Charlotte double as a Memorial Day mission to men and women serving in the U.S. Military via the Armed Forces Foundation. Fans can contribute to the cause by texting AFF to 50555 to donate $10.
Busch, who has never raced an IndyCar, passed Rookie Orientation at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last year during a test session. At the time, Busch was more or less testing the Dallara DW12 for fun.
Busch will be the fourth driver to attempt the Indianapolis-Charlotte double. John Andretti was the first driver to attempt it in 1994. After finishing four laps down in tenth in Indianapolis, Andretti crashed and had engine problems in the 600. Robby Gordon has attempted the double five times, most recently in 2004. However, Gordon failed to make it to Charlotte on time and did not start the 600 in 2000 (P.J. Jones started Gordon’s No. 13 Ford in that instance). Finally, Tony Stewart has attempted the double twice (most recently in 2001) and is the only driver to ever complete all 1100 miles. Neither of the three drivers has won either leg of the double. The best finishes are Stewart and Gordon’s sixth-place finishes at the Indianapolis 500 (although Gordon’s came in 2000, the year he didn’t make it to Charlotte in time to start the Coca-Cola 600), and Stewart’s fourth-place finish in the 2001 Coca-Cola 600.
Danica Patrick, Justin Allgaier Talk About Phoenix Incident
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
A disappointing start to the year for Danica Patrick won’t include continued conflict. Patrick met with rookie Justin Allgaier Sunday, shortly after the Phoenix Cup race after a wreck ruined both drivers’ days. Patrick, who was critical of the No. 51 car on the radio, claiming Allgaier was “driving all over the track” appeared receptive to a conversation that quickly settled differences over what will be a long season.
“She was just upset because she got involved in the crash that we had,’’ said Allgaier to the Motor Racing Network. “She says she’s been through this and that she felt like I needed to settle down at that point. I explained my position on why everything happened. I think she understood where I was coming from. It doesn’t fix either one of our racecars. It doesn’t fix either one of our days. Unfortunately, we were both having pretty decent days.’’
Allgaier wound up 30th due to the incident while Patrick was 36th. The incident, which was caused by Allgaier’s spin also involved the No. 32 team and Travis Kvapil, which wound up 38th after sustaining heavy damage.
Camping World Close to Extending Title Sponsorship of NCWTS
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Marcus Lemonis, CEO of Camping World, Grand Marshal of Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway, and star of CNBC’s “The Profit,” made the announcement over the weekend that the retailer is very close to announcing a deal that would continue its title sponsorship of NASCAR’s Truck Series. The original agreement with NASCAR is scheduled to conclude after the 2015 season.
According to the sanctioning body, no formal contract has been signed, but “the agreement between the two parties has proven to be a beneficial one.”
“In about a month, we’ll be announcing a significant extension to that contract. It’s been great for us,” said Camping World’s Lemonis in a statement. “The NASCAR relationship has worked well for Camping World. When we started, we had 35 stores. Now, we’re up to 120 stores. As we travel the country and we meet new customers in stores, they always are very appreciative of our relationship with NASCAR. It’s been good.”
Gaining a long-term commitment from Camping World to sponsor the Truck Series would be a relief for NASCAR, which is set to lose Nationwide Insurance as title sponsor for the NASCAR Nationwide Series at the end of the 2014 season. The sponsorship of the Cup Series by Sprint runs through 2016.
The NCWTS is back in action on March 29th at 2:30 PM (ET) when the trucks visit Martinsville Speedway in the Kroger 250, which can be seen on Fox Sports 1. Ratings for the season opener were up 11 percent.
Harvick Takes Win At Phoenix In Second Race With New Team
posted by Justin Tucker
Monday March 3, 2014
Phoenix International Raceway has become Kevin Harvick’s home away from home. Sunday Afternoon was no exception as Harvick charged to the front early and would dominate for much of the day, leading 224 of the scheduled 312 laps to record his record fifth win on the one mile oval and his third win in the last four races at Phoenix.
Harvick, coming off of a disappointing Speedweeks which was capped by a last lap crash in the Daytona 500 in his debut with Stewart-Haas Racing, set the tone on Saturday by winning both practices while having the best 5 and 10-lap averages in the first practice of the day on Saturday. On Sunday, Harvick and his No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet was nothing short of flawless as he was able to hold Dale Earnhardt, Jr. by .489 seconds after a late race restart to claim his 24th career Sprint Cup Series victory.
“Man, this is awesome,” Harvick said after his dominant victory on Sunday. “Man, this just solidifies so many things and so many decisions. It’s been so much work with all the time and effort that these guys (the crew) have put in—but what a race car.”
Stewart Haas Racing co-owner Gene Haas shared in Harvick’s excitement after the race.
“It took long enough,” Haas joked. “This is phenomenal. I think there was a lot of skepticism last year about what myself and Tony (Stewart) what we were up to, was there a lot of madness to this. Quite frankly, it’s a great team, there’s a lot of synergy at the shop, people working together. I don’t know what we did, but I think we put together a great organization.”
Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt, Jr. continued his hot start to the 2014 season. Earnhardt Jr. would finish second on Sunday, marking his seventh consecutive top 10 finish since the end of the 2013 season. Earnhardt Jr. was pleased with the effort after a coast-to-coast whirlwind week after winning his second Daytona 500 and also gave great praise to the efforts of Harvick and the No. 4 team.
“I’ve got to congratulate Kevin. Those guys were two-tenths faster than everyone all weekend in practice. They were just phenomenal,” Earnhardt said. “To be able to run with them all day was a big confidence builder for us.”
Joining Harvick and Earnhardt in the top 5 of The Profit on CNBC 500K were Brad Keselowski with his second consecutive top 3 run of 2014 in third. Keselowski’s Team Penske teammate Joey Logano would finish fourth, and Jeff Gordon would come home fifth in his No. 24 Pepsi Max Chevrolet.
Jimmie Johnson finished in sixth, followed by Ryan Newman with a nice rebound after Daytona in seventh. Carl Edwards would carry the banner for Roush Fenway Racing by finishing eighth, Kyle Busch was ninth, and Jamie McMurray would finish tenth.
A look at the Profit on CNBC 500K by the numbers. There were 14 lead changes among eight different drivers, there were eight cautions for 39 laps which slowed the race pace to 109.229 MPH.
Next Sunday, the Sprint Cup Series heads to Sin City and the Las Vegas Motor
Starting Lineup: The Profit On CNBC 500K
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday March 1, 2014
Drivers in RED (i) are those ineligible to collect Sprint Cup points
Daytona 500 TV Ratings Down
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Wednesday February 26, 2014
What was the longest weather delay in Daytona 500 history turned out to bring NASCAR lower ratings and TV viewership Sunday night than expected. According to a report Monday from FOX Sports, the 56th running of the Daytona 500 airing at 8 PM (ET) posted a 5.6/10 national household rating/share which averaged 9.3 million viewers. That’s down 44 percent from last year’s 9.9, easily making it the least-watched Daytona 500 of all-time.
Due to the six-hour, twenty-two minute rain delay in Daytona, the race was up against the primetime coverage of the Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony from Sochi, Russia on NBC (15.25 million viewers). FOX also reported that 69% of the pre-rain delay viewers of the race, which began at 1 PM (ET) kept tuning in.
In comparison, the 2013 Daytona 500 on FOX was the most-watched race in five years, posting a 9.9/22 rating/share, commanding 16.7 million viewers. The Daytona 500 in 2012, the first to ever be run on a Monday and in the primetime slot did a 7.7/13 overnight rating/share which resulted in 13.67 million households viewing the race according to Nielsen TV ratings data.
Earnhardt, Jr. Claims Second Daytona 500 Victory
posted by Justin Tucker
Wednesday February 26, 2014
Ten years is a long time. For Dale Earnhardt, Jr., it felt like an eternity. NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver endured many near misses and close calls at the Daytona 500 since his only win in the Great American Race in 2004. Earnhardt had finished second in two of his last three Daytona 500s coming into Sunday’s race. He was also riding the tail of a 55-race winless streak, dating back to Michigan in 2012.
However nothing would stop Dale Jr. on Sunday, not even a 6 hour and 22 minute rain delay from capturing his second Daytona 500 win. Earnhardt Jr. led a race-high 54 laps on the evening and used some timely drafting help from teammates Jimmie Johnson and, on the final restart, Jeff Gordon to separate from the pack and secure the victory.
“Winning this race is the greatest feeling that you could feel in this sport besides accepting the trophy for the championship,” said a jubilant Earnhardt after pulling into Victory Lane. “We could fight off battle after battle. We got a little help at the end there from Jeff to get away on the restart. This is amazing. I can’t believe this is happening. I never take this for granted, man because it doesn’t happen twice, let alone once.”
Aside from the race itself the big story of the race was the 6 hour and 22 minute red flag, which threatened to move the race to Monday evening (had the race been postponed, FOX Sports’ Chris Myers had tweeted that the race would resume at 5:00pm EST). However, Mother Nature would cooperate and would allow the race to be run under different conditions from which they practiced this week. Once the race resumed, the intensity picked up from the changing track conditions. This allowed the pack to race side-by-side and at times 3-wide up to seven rows deep.
Joining Earnhardt Jr. in the top 5 for the 2014 Daytona 500 were: Denny Hamlin who closed out a spectacular Speedweeks in second, Brad Keselowski in third, Jeff Gordon in fourth, and Jimmie Johnson who overcome two wrecks leading up to the 500 in fifth.
Rounding out the top 10 in the Daytona 500 were Matt Kenseth in sixth, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. in seventh and Greg Biffle would bring his No. 16 Ford home in eighth. Austin Dillon would come home ninth in his first Cup Series race in the iconic No. 3 for Richard Childress Racing, while Casey Mears would round out the top 10.
A couple of major contenders for the Daytona 500 win would see their hopes dashed early on as Martin Truex, Jr. would blow up just 30 laps into the race, relegating him to a 43rd-place finish in his debut for Furniture Row Racing. Crew chief Todd Berrier was already in Nashville for a test session before the race was even over. Kyle Busch, meanwhile would have a pit road violation just before halfway and would spend much of the race battling back from that mistake. Busch would eventually finish 19th after leading 19 laps.
Danica Patrick would also be bit by bad luck as she was caught up in a multi-car wreck on lap 145. Patrick would lead her second consecutive Daytona 500, but wouldn’t have the finish to show for it finishing 40th. Tony Stewart would encounter a frustrating evening as well, with a fuel pickup problem derailing his quest for his first Daytona 500 win. Stewart would finish 35th.
A look at the Daytona 500 by the numbers. There were 42 lead changes among 18 drivers, while seven cautions for 39 laps would slow the race pace to 145.290 MPH.
Next week, the Sprint Cup Series heads to the “diamond in the desert,” Phoenix International Raceway for The Profit on CNBC 500K. The Green flag is scheduled for 3:15pm EST.
Nationwide Series Post-Race Quotes: Drive4COPD 300
posted by Thomas Bowles
Tuesday February 25, 2014
Frontstretch Interviews – Courtesy Mike Neff
ELLIOTT SADLER – FINISHED 4th
Thoughts on the race?
It’s definitely a lot different racing than what we’re used to.
Comfortable with it?
Yeah, it’s just different. You’re worried about what you’re doing, but you’re also worried about what everyone else is doing and they’re not doing more than you’re doing. Physically pushing a guy is way better than just riding so you just gotta time it right and push it to the edge.
Happy to start the year with a top 5?
Yeah. Hell, that was the worst we ran all day, I think. I have no idea how they put the 3 car in front of us on that last restart. I hadn’t seen the 3 car hardly all day. When they put us from fifth to sixth, on the outside line, it just really boxed us in. I would have really restarted behind my teammate and given him a good push to the front. Anyways, it is what it is; we’ll take it and move on.
Looked like you were up front all day.
The guys did a good job. We had a fast race car. Great pit stops, just really proud of these guys. The car’s in one piece and we can take it to Talladega now. Great job by my guys. A lot of effort came into coming down here to Daytona and giving ourselves a shot to win. We had that chance to be up front and make some things happen. Fifth is not what we want, but we’ll take it and move on.
Bumping vs Pushing?
It’s way harder. You don’t want to lay on the guy in front of you, so it’s tough racing. A lot different than what we’re used to, ‘cause you gotta go. You gotta drag the brake too ‘cause you don’t want to hit the guys and you don’t want to stay on him. It’s a lot harder mentally than what we’ve done in the past.
Car was strong all day. Pushing vs. Bumping, is that harder to do than just getting on somebody and pushing them?
Yeah, it is a little bit. When you bump ‘em, you jar ‘em, it kinda jacks ‘em a little bit. It’s a little more abrupt, obviously. I thought it was OK there at the end. It was certainly fun and hopefully entertaining. But a little bit of a struggle in the early part of the race and the midpart of the race to see a good race. And that’s unfortunate for the fans. You can’t do that the whole race, you can’t tear up your stuff, knock your grill in, overheat your motor, all that stuff so there’s no sense in doing all that until you get down to the last lap. The 7 and the 6, they did a good job. Man, the 7 really held the 22 and I tight on the bottom. I was rubbing his door and hitting the apron at the same time, no room whatsoever. So it was good; wish we were the ones who could have won but a lot better now than what we were last year.
Going home in one piece makes it a lot better, right?
Yeah. My back feels good. My foot feels good. Past years here, I’ve been going home with pain so I’m alright.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Truck Series Post-Race Quotes: Daytona (Exclusives)
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday February 22, 2014
When you’re on the outside like that, how frustrating is it?
It’s so hard. Timothy Peters has won here. Kyle Busch has won everywhere. Ron Hornaday has been running Trucks forever, probably before I was even born. I was surrounded by veterans there, and like I told them I don’t have a rookie stripe but I’m a rookie. This is only my fourth Truck race ever, my fourth superspeedway race, and man, I figured out when the 17 got up in front of me, I pushed him. And as soon as I pushed him, he took off. And I went with him. And I just kept doing it, and before I knew it, he was leading. And I saw Ron in my mirror, backed up to him, and if it wasn’t for him, I don’t know what would have happened. I gotta thank him big time for that. That was a true teammate move right there. I really appreciate that. He just bounced off me and we got to the front. I tried my hardest to sidedraft Kyle. I was probably touching his door.
Top 5 in the No. 30 truck. This deal come together at the last minute, but you had a heck of a truck. Tell us about your night.
Yeah, I’ve got to thank Turner Scott Motorsports. The guys worked so hard on this Rheem Comfort Products Chevrolet. Exciting! Just got hung up on the outside and had to wait for my teammate there to catch up. And then he got to the bottom, so… I got the old 32 and started pushing ol’ Ryan to the front. So, it’s not bad. We’ll take it. You just don’t want to step over that boundary. You don’t know how far to push and shove. We bumped about six times down the straightaway without latching onto them. Hopefully, that was OK and we came home with a top 5.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Budweiser Duels Post Race Quotes
posted by Matt Stallknecht
Friday February 21, 2014
BUDWEISER DUELS POST-RACE QUOTES
They’re saying the wheel bearing burned up in it. I don’t know what caused it, they’re taking it all apart to figure out what the heck happened. Something abnormal that’s for sure I don’t think I’ve ever had that happen at all. Hopefully, we made the race and hopefully we can fix the problem before Sunday.
WHAT WAS THAT LOUD BOOM ONCE YOU TURNED INTO THE GARAGE?
Loud pop was a tire… thankfully, it popped, hopefully it didn’t hurt anybody. All the heat created in the left front that popped was pretty weird.
REALLY GOOD RUN. WHAT DID YOU THINK OF IT?
Yeah, it was good. We have a car we can work with for the 500. Got a good starting spot, so we’re going to rest easy, fluff and buff our car for a couple of days and get ready for Sunday.
ANY DIFFERENCE ON WHETHER THE TOP OR BOTTOM LANE WORKED?
Yeah, I was just moving around, trying to stay with the flow. For me, this car works on all parts of the racetrack. So I’m pretty happy with it.
DALE EARNHARDT, JR.
GOT SHUFFLED BACK, AFTER PIT STOPS AND THEN COULDN’T GET BACK UP TO THE FRONT. WHY?
Nah, we were just sitting there waiting until the last few laps to make a move. You didn’t want to pull down and get sent to the back. Seen a couple of guys get sent to the back really quick so we were just kind of waiting for the end. I felt like we had a good situation there with Ambrose behind us — we had a good run off Turn 2 and I went. It was the last lap, time to go do something, nobody went with us but hopefully Sunday is a different story.
We got a great car. We don’t have to work hard. We learned, we got a good race car. Got a car in one piece, ready to go so we’ll try and get through the next couple of practices, deliver it to the starting group this Sunday and we’ll be real happy.
YOU’RE IN THE DAYTONA 500!
Yeah, it’s pretty awesome. This Whitetail Chevrolet was so fast that I knew all I had to do was stick it behind smart, intelligent drafters and we could have a good finish. That’s what we did in the Duels and I’m excited. I’m excited to go do some stuff with the Nationwide car and have some more practice with this. But to know that we’re locked in the Daytona 500’s pretty cool.
YOU WERE OBVIOUSLY IN FRONT OF THAT MELEE AT THE END. WHEN YOU WERE UP FRONT THERE IN THE BEGINNING, WERE YOU HOPING TO JUST STAY IN LINE AND LET YOU FINISH TOP 5?
I was pretty content to ride and luckily I knew a lot of people around us were. It was nice to have a little calm and not really have to be racing hard the whole time. I knew that the pit stop was going to shake everything up and that’s exactly what happened. Fell back a little bit there but made the right moves at the end to get a good finish.
HOW STRONG ARE THESE RCR CARS?
They’re very strong! They definitely have the capabilities to be winning one of these races.
YOU’RE IN THE TOP 5 FOR YOUR HEAT IN THE DAYTONA 500. YOUR PRIMARY CAR IS SITTING RIGHT IN THE GARAGE, KIND OF WADDED UP. DID YOU THINK THIS ONE HAD IT IN IT?
Yeah, it’s a brand new car also. It’s just not quite as good as the primary but still a damned good car. I’m just proud of everybody at RCR for building such fast race cars. All of our cars have been fast, ECR motor’s been strong, even our affiliate teams have been qualifying really good and racing good. So… excited about 2014! It’s going to be a good year.
WELL MAN, YOU STARTED IN THE BACK BUT WORKED YOUR WAY TO THE FRONT WHEN IT COUNTED MOST. WERE YOU JUST BIDING YOUR TIME THROUGHOUT THE RACE?
Eh, you never know if you’re going to get back up there or not. We had to start at the back, we had to make a run early and see what we could do. We drove right to 10th, or something like that and then it got stagnant. We tried to make something happen, and went to the back again. Drove back up to the front. Again, just really proud of my guys. Matt Kruder did a hell of a job on that pit stop getting just enough gas in to gain some spots there.
RCR CARS SEEM PRETTY DARNED STRONG. DO YOU THINK THE RCR CARS HAVE SOMETHING FOR THEM ON SUNDAY — ESPECIALLY THE THREE JOE GIBBS RACING CARS THAT SEEM TO BE THE CLASS OF THE FIELD RIGHT NOW?
Oh yeah. The 20 car was extremely fast. The 11 didn’t qualify that good, but he’s a good drafter. I think he won. We definitely have something for him.
Check in with Matt and Jay on their site at CareyandCoffey.com.
Matt McLaughlin · Monday October 27, 2008
The Key Moment: Leader Denny Hamlin spun his tires on the penultimate restart, allowing Carl Edwards to power by him on the outside exiting Turn 2.
In a Nutshell: The new car and an old race track… a combination that goes together like peanut butter and spinach.
Dramatic Moment: Watching Jimmie Johnson roar from eleventh to second in the final three laps, taking advantage of fresh tires.
What They’ll Be Talking About Around the Water Cooler This Week
What are people going to be talking about around the water cooler this week? The presidential race, the economy, Wall Street, the World Series, the NFL, and just about anything but the Chase, an ill thought-out gimmick that hasn’t raised the pulse of the general population one iota.
Perhaps it’s fitting with Halloween coming up at the end of the week. Atlanta was notable as a B Grade horror film… Return of the Crab Cars! I thought NASCAR had limited the amount the teams could skew the bodies on the chassis, but some of the front cars were really dog-tracking at Atlanta.
Wow! While most tracks have struggled to sell tickets this season, the amount of empty seats at Atlanta was flat out embarrassing.
Drivers weren’t as eager to toss Goodyear under the bus as they were after the first Atlanta race this season, but they were quite subdued in their enthusiasm for the “new and improved tire.” When ten lap fresher tires allow a driver like Johnson to advance all those spots, it’s a clear indication the folks from Akron still have some work to do.
Qualifying was rained out for the third weekend in a row, the fourth time in the Chase and the tenth time this Cup season. Is this a sign of a benevolent and loving but thoroughly irritated God weighing in the Chase? Seriously, after many qualifying washouts the weather was fine the next day and the track sat vacant for hours. Can’t NASCAR at least try to get qualifying in if a window presents itself? The advantage the points leader gets in starting out front and the first pick of pit stalls is a huge bonus in an era where passing has become so difficult.
Next year, this race and the Fontana Labor Day travesty swap dates, so the Cup tour will spend three straight weekends out West prior to the season finale in the Republic of Florida.
The drumbeat is growing louder that automakers GM and Chrysler will merge, possibly even before the presidential election. Nobody knows what that could do to the two automakers’ NASCAR and other racing involvement. Personally, I’m reminded of the three-legged races at the old county fair wherein two participants roped together stumbled along at a speed greatly reduced from what they could have run on their own. But if GM is intent on shuttering Chrysler, just let me know if there’s any leftover black Challenger SRTs taking up space. I’d be happy to store one in my driveway for them…
Carl Edwards seemed blissfully unaware that Jimmie Johnson had finished second while he was in Victory Lane. In response to a TV commentator’s question in that regard, Edwards took a quick look at the scoring pylon — and the look of shock on his face was priceless.
Some want to treat it as a joking matter or pure head games, but when a fellow competitor accuses a driver of being “juiced” (on steroids), it’s time for the first real test of NASCAR’s supposed new drug testing policy to set the record straight in order to exonerate the accused and ensure fans of the purity of the sport. The accused, and the names have been deleted to protect the presumed innocent, surely has shown some of the erratic behavior symptomatic of “‘Roid Rage” over the past two seasons.
Is it just me and my eternal optimism, or does it seem there’s actually a battle in the Nationwide and Truck Series for the title under the old style points system while this year’s Cup championship seems a foregone conclusion under the Chase?
Who’d have thunk it? Toyota is poised to claim the manufacturer’s title in all three of NASCAR’s top three touring series this year. The old saw that there’s no substitute for cubic inches in racing is about to be disproved. There’s no substitute for cubic dollars…
A MWR press release this week assures me that Michael Waltrip started his 1,000th race in NASCAR’s top touring series this weekend when considering his combined Cup, Nationwide/Busch, and Truck starts. In that period, Waltrip has won fourteen races for a lifetime batting average of .014. Let’s compare that to Jimmie Johnson’s 15.54% record of wins to starts in the Cup series. No wonder the TV media gives Waltrip so much face time; they’re practically running neck and neck. On the other hand, when it comes to running home in his stocking feet after rolling his SUV to avoid a possible DUI arrest, Waltrip is currently batting 1.000. Yes, there are Michael Waltrip fans out there. God bless ‘em. After all, Charlie Brown remained a Joe Shlabotnik fan even after Joe was released after one game as manager of the Waffletown Syrups.
The Hindenburg Award For Foul Fortune
Dale Earnhardt, Jr. got hit on both sides of his Chevy trying to exit the pits, and that eliminated his chances at a Top 5 finish.
Juan Pablo Montoya ran in the Top 10 most of the day, and was moving towards the front when a pit road collision and subsequent repairs dropped him back into the “least common denominator” pack. A subsequent wreck ended his day.
Jeff Burton struggled all day, but wound up wrecking his car after Dave Blaney drifted down into him. Burton finished eighteenth and watched any far-flung title hopes evaporate away.
Michael Waltrip had actually made his way into the Top 10 when he popped a tire and slapped the wall. He probably should have parked the car at that point, as most of the subsequent cautions in the race were caused by Waltrip spinning on stuff falling off his car.
The “Seven Come Fore Eleven” Award For Fine Fortune
Early in the event, Carl Edwards had a bad karmic moment and insisted over the radio that his engine was self-destructing. Well, that old mill held together well enough to power him to a race win Sunday. Combined with his Nationwide victory on Saturday, it was a pretty fair weekend for Edwards.
Jimmie Johnson had an eventful day. A slip up on the start of the race nearly put the No. 48 into the side of the No. 16 car, which could have triggered a field-decimating wreck and left Johnson dead last. Then, a pit road penalty dropped Johnson off the lead lap and down to 30th position, but neither the driver nor the team panicked. Johnson got the free pass and began working his way back up towards the front of the field. A gamble to take fresh rubber during the final pit stop paid off in a big way, with Johnson able to power his way to a second place finish. If the Championship chase was over after Martinsville, it’s “overer” now…
It hasn’t been much of a season for Kurt and it hasn’t been much of Chase for Kyle, but the Busch brothers did OK by themselves at Atlanta, finishing fifth and sixth.
The way Greg Biffle floundered most of the day, I’m sure he was satisfied to leave Atlanta with a Top 10 finish.
What’s the Points?
Jimmie Johnson maintains his points lead and is now 183 ahead of Carl Edwards in second. If Johnson finishes ninth or better in the remaining three races, he’ll be champion even if Carl Edwards wins all three events and leads the most laps in each. If Johnson leads even a single lap at Texas next week, he’ll only need to finish tenth or better in the final three races to claim the title.
Carl Edwards moves up two spots in the standings to second, but he’s got a Quixotic challenge ahead of him catching Johnson. Greg Biffle and Jeff Burton each slid down a spot and they are currently third and fourth, respectively. The last interesting points battle might be for runner-up honors this year. Edwards leads Biffle by two points and Burton by 35 with Texas, Phoenix, and Homestead to go.
Kevin Harvick and Jeff Gordon each advanced a spot to fifth and sixth in the standings, respectively. Clint Bowyer backslid two spots to seventh. Further back, Matt Kenseth advanced a position, wresting ninth place in the standings from Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
David Ragan now leads Kasey Kahne by 224 in their battle over the less than coveted 13th place in the points.
Overall Rating (On a scale of one to six beer cans, with one being a stinker and a six pack an instant classic) — We’ll give this one two cans of lukewarm generic stuff. For the most part the field, circled the track at well spaced intervals just waiting for the monotony to be over.
Next Up: The Cup series spends the next two weeks in Texas and Arizona for their annual Mild, Mild, West tour.
©2000 - 2008 Matt McLaughlin and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
Can anyone tell me why Michael Waltrip seemed to be the most important driver during the Atlanta race ? The breathless announcements that Waltrip was one of the fastest cars on the track , hes driven into the top 20 . Of course 19 other drivers were faster , but the Waltrip name was mentioned repeatedly . Then he puts it into the wall all by himself , then the tire blows , and for the rest of the race he refuses to park the car , choosing instead to shower the track with sheetmetal . Why won’t he face reality , get out of the car and let someone good drive it .
I think you meant to say A.J. Allmendinger finished 14th. Riggs finished 43rd.
i think michael waltrip is on the na$car payroll so that when his car gets wrecked, they permit him to stay on track to justify “debris cautions”, espcially after jr threw na$car under the previous week.
Waltrip is a joke, but hey, at least he’s managed to make a career out of being a joke. You can’t blame him for that.
Is it just me, or are the cars still crab-walking excessively down the straightaway? I thought NASCAR cracked down on that in the rules… God these cars look stupid.
And yes, there’s a better points battle in Nationwide than Cup, but it’s involving two Cup drivers so what does it matter. As usual, the Craftsman Truck Series is putting on the best show, and by far the closest points battle, doing it the good ol’ fashioned way. It really is the best stockcar racing on the planet right now.
But then again, ARCA’s points battle was pretty exciting right til’ the end too—no Chase there either!
I’m not so sure that Driver X is on steroids or anything else . And the fact that a fellow competitor says he is carries no weight whatsoever , unless he is a doctor , and we all know he isn’t . Using the media to do your backstabbing for you is a time honored tradition in the sport . Take for example the shamefull railroading of Tim Richmond by Richard Petty . The best thing any driver with legitimate concerns can do is tell NASCAR , not the media . Because if it turns out not to be true , a drivers career is often finished anyway .
Thanks for pointing out the error! It was a mistake from an old template, and we’ve removed it accordingly. Matt didn’t mean to say Allmendinger, though — he’s had a handful of Top 10 finishes at non-restrictor plate tracks this year (Kansas, Watkins Glen).
Thanks for writing and reading the Frontstretch!
Even though it was another COT/Chase snoozer, I like worn pavement tracks and tire strategy.
Had any of the cars in front of JJ changed tires prior to the final restart, they may have won the race (assuming they beat JJ and his gift-wrapped pit box off of pit road)
Some of the best racing over the years has come on tire eating tracks at Darlington, Rockingham, etc.
However, as Matt said, the COT and a worn race track are no match. It was a shame to see the normal multi-grooved racing in the corners be an act of survival as every driver was truly driving on the “edge”.
Thanks to Fantasy Racing (no Chase format), to keep my interest in the sport.
What in the wide wide world of sports happened to Hotlanta? Cripes that was boring…with empty seats on a nice day to boot. I flipped between the race and a documentary on A&E about Jose Canseco. How bad do I have it? Apparently, not “bad” enough.
Did’t watch any laps last week, and only about 10 this week. Weekends are so much better now. Yes, good ole Waltrip. Quite a joke. Both him and Kyle need to face the music, and these sponsors need to wake up and move on. I never go to Napa.
Under the old points system (listed as Classic on Jayski) the points race would actually be closer!
At least this article was interesting.
I’m not going to pick on Waltrip (why bother) but I will say that NASCAR should have a 3 strike policy. You cause 3 cautions, you’re parked.
i wonder if bruton smith is waiting to see how atlanta on labor day weekend racing does before he goes and spends any money on the asphalt. they built all those suites and tore down weaver grand stands (cheap seats) for motorhome parking after tornado touched down a few years ago, and they’re having all kinds of difficulty filling those suites. and now the stands, that’s the worst attendance i’ve seen at that track in a very long time. almost looked like a monday rain out race. with 2 auto plants closing down in georgia in the past 2 years, plus layoffs all over the place, people are holding onto their money. plus foreclosure rates in georiga are high as well. i normally go to ams, but i can sleep at home on the couch don’t have to spend money for gas or deal with traffic or weather. now i am making plans to attend labor day race, as friends are coming in from out of town that weekend. saving now for it.
Don’t understand how anybody can think that Sunday’s race wasn’t exciting. Yes, it’s football season, election time, etc., etc., but to a NASCAR fan whose favorite driver is in the running for the championship, it’s pretty exciting. And even though many people think it’s a runaway for Jimmie Johnson, he and Chad aren’t taking anything for granted, so why should we?
I’d like to nominate Bill Elliott for the Hindenburg Award for Foul Fortune. This was probably his final Cup race at his home track, and to be taken out early in the race by a rookie driver was indeed unfortunate.
Do you really think Greg Biffle was satisfied with a top 10 finish after talking smack all week about Jimmie Johnson needing to bring his A-game to Atlanta because he had something for him? Biffle sure changed his tune after the race.
I haven’t watch a single chase race this year. And I haven’t missed it. In fact, I don’t recall watching any 1.5 mile tracks this year except charlotte and that’s enough.
And it doesn’t help that I absolutely HATE espn.
Can we start a write-in campain to get the truck races on sunday afternoons instead of these boring cup “races”?
Thank God there’s the NFL to provide some excitement.
And ain’t it sad that the 17 doesn’t get the slightest of mentions for leading the most laps at a track where he’s never dominated. Figures. My God…I’m so damn sick of the 48 and 99 already. Give us fans of other drivers somethin’ once in a while would ya?!?!
Oh wait, you musta been friggin’ asleep when he led all those laps.
Well, WAKE the hell UP!!!
I don’t know what’s happening to me. I’m beginning to think like you. LOL Less fans in the stands, less fans watching on TV, less fans giving a darn about anything Nascar, one pycho-erratic driver, one driver with the personality of a beer left out in the sun all weekend, and what do you have? A weekend at Atlanta. Now we have a Monday full of stale-beer Jimmie and Mr Ed on the net which I refuse to read. The economy has tanked, and Brian is doing just swell with his COT. I just can’t say enough about that darling splitter and the lovely bump stops. The gorgeous wing adds the finishing touch. Just three to go. After 55 years of being involved in racing, I surely can find something more interesting.
Apparently you have no idea what is going on, Napa wants the car on the track.. Michael Waltrip has earned some respect , just how many junk cars has he had to sit in, before getting a good ride. If Jimmy would have to of worked his way up he sure as hell would not be where he is to day.
Gerry-I’m assuming you mean if JimmIE had worked his way up…which is a ridiculous comment. Jimmie never had a thing handed to him. He probably worked harder to get to where he is than many, if not most of the drivers out there. He didn’t have a three-time champion brother’s coattails to ride. You don’t have to like the guy, but give him his due. He has worked his tail off since he was 14 and never had anything handed to him.
As boring and uninteresting as I find Johnson, he definitely didn’t have anything handed to him. He ran roughshod over the competition in offroad trucking, ran great in the ASA, and was very consistent in the Busch series driving for an underfunded team in Herzog Motorsports, even winning once. He deserves the seat he’s in.
Amy , you only have one note . Its okay for people not to be a constant cheerleader for Johnson . There is no law that says everyone must be a fan of the 48 . We all know you are . We get it . But others have just as much right to post against JimmIIEEEEE as you do to carry the torch for him .
Cubic dollars has always been the only way to beat cubic inches
Hey Amy, Jimmy may come to a motor home near you with a roll of toilet paper, and fall off his golf cart, too. How terribly boring.
Personally, I like the idea of new tires being faster than old ones (so long as the tires last a fuel stop without blowing). Don’t we want to see more passing?
And I like a track that’s worn – beats one-groove follow-the-leader boredom on new pavement. Reminds me of Darlington/Rockingham.
If NA$CAR wants good racing, they need to ditch the bump stops and cut engine horsepower by a third (via reduced displacement, not restrictor plates/tapered spacers).
so who’s the accused, and who’s the accuser?
If Napa wants the car on the track, then they are a bunch of idiots.