NASCAR Changes Qualifying Format
posted by Summer Bedgood
Tuesday March 11, 2014
Following safety concerns regarding NASCAR’s new qualifying format, the sanctioning body is introducing some changes in preparation for this weekend’s race at Bristol Motor Speedway. According to the Associated Press, NASCAR is banning teams from cool-down laps after their qualifying attempts, but will instead be allowed to hook up cool-down units to the engine through hood flaps.
Late Tuesday afternoon, a release from NASCAR fully detailed the changes. Teams will be allowed a single cool down unit to be connected through the right or left side hood flap, however the hood must remain closed. Additionally, two crew members will be allowed over the wall while cooling down.
“The qualifying is new to all of us and as we have said over the past several weeks, we are looking at it from all aspects,” said Robin Pemberton, vice president of competition and racing development. “Following discussions, both internally and with others in the garage area, we moved quickly to make a few revisions that will be effective starting with our two national series events at Bristol Motor Speedway this weekend. We believe this will only enhance and improve what has demonstrated to be an exciting form of qualifying for our fans, competitors and others involved with the sport. Moving forward we will continue to look at it and address anything else that we may need to as the season unfolds.”
The move comes after three weeks of NASCAR’s new knockout qualifying system, where multiple cars are allowed to make qualifying attempts at the same time instead of the traditional one-car-at-a-time procedure. Drivers and teams had complained that the new rules didn’t allow them to cool their engines down on pit road, and the cool-down laps caused a dangerous situation with slower cars staying on the track at the same time that other cars were running by them at much higher speeds.
The rule will begin this weekend in Bristol, a track that has a much narrower racing surface than Daytona, Phoenix, and Las Vegas.
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!
Check in with Matt and Jay on their site at CareyandCoffey.com.
The Key Moment: On lap 269, Kyle Busch nudged aside Clint Bowyer to take the lead. Busch, who had won the pole for the race, was forced to start out back after blowing an engine in practice — so the accomplishment is much more impressive than it will appear in the record books.
In a Nutshell: NASCAR wraps up its early season visit to the Mild, Mild West with another less than compelling race.
Dramatic Moment: Saturday’s Nationwide race might have been the most unpredictable event in recent NASCAR history. Sunday’s race? Well, at least it wasn’t as bad as Fontana last week… and more people were on hand to catch the mediocrity.
What They’ll Be Talking About Around the Water Cooler This Week
With the two tracks located so nearby geographically, why can Las Vegas draw more people for the Nationwide race than Fontana could for the Cup race and the Nationwide-Truck races combined? We’ll chat about this later in the week, gentle readers.
It can’t just be a coincidence. One of the chief charms of stock car racing is the unpredictability of the sport. What Sunday’s Cup race lacked in drama, the Nationwide race served up in spades, with cars in the lead pack spinning out on their own, missing pit road, running into each other, getting penalized on pit road for speeding… and missing lug nuts and more simple twists of fate than a year’s worth of Bob Dylan concerts. Can it be a coincidence that the Nationwide cars still mimic the pre-CoT entries in the Cup series? I don’t think so. Given that the Nationwide cars can now run the energy-absorbing door foam and the anti-intrusion panels that were the two biggest safety innovations NASCAR tried to sell as the reason for the CoT in the bigs, I’m more confused than ever as to why the Winged Blunders are competing on Sundays…
A couple more notes from Saturday’s bizarre Nationwide event: (click here for full analysis)
OK, color me confused. Why would a Cup race start with speedy dry all over the track in the entrance to pit road? That’s just sloppy.
Las Vegas might not have entered the list of NASCAR’s most cherished tracks yet, but give them this much; it’s been a long time since any race has had a cooler pace car than this weekend’s events. I know most consumers are in an uproar about fuel mileage and emissions — which has Ford in trouble — so in the interests of helping out the home team, I hereby offer a week’s paycheck for either one of those Shelby Super Snake Mustang pace cars. This is, after all, the first time I can remember when the pace car had more horsepower than the cars it paced.
With each passing day, it seems more likely General Motors might be forced into some sort of controlled bankruptcy. Company officials are fighting the idea, claiming such a move would cost GM a huge amount of its reputation, prestige, and pride. Well, here’s a news flash: a company that once produced the Pontiac Aztek and hump-backed diesel-powered Caddy Sevilles of the ’80s doesn’t have a whole lot of reputation, pride, and prestige left.
Last year, DuPont brought a total of 17,000 guests to hospitality events it hosted at every major Cup event all year long. This year, the company will host just 2,000 guests at six Cup events, a further sign of the belt-tightening in corporate America as the recession drags on. Do you figure the bloom is off the NASCAR rose? Gather ye rosebuds while you may, Old time is still a flyin’, And this same flower that smiles today, tomorrow will be dying…
I don’t want to be left out of the annual writer’s contest to see who can come up with the most tortured NASCAR gambling analogy when the circuit visits Las Vegas… so, here’s my take. With the Car of Horror and the Chase, Brian France stepped up to the roulette wheel to wager the entire France family fortune. He bet the bouncing ball would land on a purple number…
Has anyone else ever noticed that when Mike Bliss is upset, he talks and sounds like he’s reciting a Bob Dylan song? Listen to his interview after getting wrecked out of the Vegas Nationwide race. It’s positively eerie.
Count another American legend as a victim of this recession. Crane Cams, long a fixture and cherished provider to the hot rodding community, has apparently closed its doors, leaving 200 skilled employees out of work. I bought a Crane Cam for my first car, a ’70 Cobra Jet Mustang, and have bought about a dozen bump sticks from them over the years. The Crane Cams decal on my toolbox will always remain proudly in place.
The Hindenburg Award For Foul Fortune
The hype all this week concerned Matt Kenseth going for three straight wins to start the 2009 Cup season. But his race lasted two laps before the engine expired in the No. 17 car — leaving him dead last in the field.
Dale Earnhardt’s pit road follies continued Sunday with a pit road speeding penalty. Earnhardt Nation is longing for the good old days when NASCAR would never dare penalize an Earnhardt for a rules infraction.
Pit road penalties and a late race wreck left Jimmie Johnson, who once had a dominant car, mired midpack — but what other driver would have been allowed to return to the track with the rear bumper supports dragging on the asphalt?
Tony Stewart’s Cinderella 2009 season hit a pumpkin moment, with Stewart finishing 26th and Ryan Newman 25th. That’s not going to help them find full-time sponsorship for Newman’s car.
Carl Edwards was running in the top 5 when his engine started laying down in the final laps of the race. He wound up 17th in the final rundown.
The “Seven Come Fore Eleven” Award For Fine Fortune
You have to figure that Kyle Busch was that pencil-necked geek in high school that was treated to regular scuba diving sessions in the toilet by bullies and turned down for more dates than the average guy — but he still won a race in his hometown despite that Ichabod Crane persona. It must be nice to tell every bully that ever victimized him and every girl that rejected his awkward advances, “Hey, I’m back and I’m a millionaire with a really hot girlfriend, even if she has the fashion sense of Charo. How do you like me now?” (With all due apologies to Toby Keith)
Jeff Gordon locked up his brakes and blew a tire coming onto pit road late in the race (while apparently trying to avoid his teammate Jimmie Johnson’s out of control car). The flat tire tore up the No. 24’s left front fender, but Gordon soldiered on to a sixth place finish that leaves him first in this year’s points standings.
Jeff Burton had to pit early, thinking he had a tire going flat… but he led a lot of the race en route to a third place finish. For RCR, which has had to play Vernon Dent to the Three Stooges (Roush, Gibbs, and Hendrick) this season, there has to be a sense of redemption — especially with Burton and Clint Bowyer running so well at times during the race.
Yates Racing wasn’t sure they were going to meet the answering bell this season, and Bobby Labonte was without a ride as late as January. For the team and driver to post a solid top 5 finish at Vegas after leading some laps is the sort of storyline usually reserved for Mickey Rooney movies. Sure, they have Roush-Yates engines in Labonte’s car; but that didn’t help Kenseth and David Ragan much, did it?
What’s the Points?
Jeff Gordon leads the standings for the first time since the Atlanta Fall race in 2007. Gordon is ahead of second place Clint Bowyer by 18 points. Previous leader Matt Kenseth endured his 43rd place finish at Vegas to remain third overall, 40 points behind Gordon and tied statistically with Roush teammate Greg Biffle.
Several drivers overcame early season misfortunes to enter the top 12 this week. Kyle Busch rode his race victory to gain twelve spots in the standings, and is now bumped up to sixth. Bobby Labonte also gained twelve spots, and is now tenth in the points. David Reutimann gained seven spots to take over the fifth rung of the ladder, while Kevin Harvick gained five spots to enter the top 12 in 11th position.
On the flip side, Kurt Busch and Tony Stewart each lost four spots in the standings Sunday, and now find themselves seventh and eighth, respectively. Michael Waltrip clings to the 12th spot in the points, five positions down from last week and just eight points ahead of Kasey Kahne. Nah, nah, nah, nah, nah, nah, nah, nah, hey, hey, good-bye…
Three races into the season, if you’re sweating the points already, you must have been toilet trained in your first month of life. Repeat that classic bit of Bill Murray wisdom from “Meatballs” with me… “It just doesn’t matter!”
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 the generic stuff, served lukewarm by a bartender who looks like her face belongs on the Ten Most Wanted List at the Post Office.
Next Up: The circuit returns to its spiritual cradle, the Southeast, for a race in Atlanta. And here’s the novel part: the race will actually start in the earlier hours of a Sunday afternoon. What a concept! NASCAR and FOX might be on to something here.
©2000 - 2008 Matt McLaughlin and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
Only a 2-can? Eastern Bias. If that race had been teleported to Charlotte it’d be a 4-can (OK, maybe 3). Plenty of passing. Comparatively. Of course that’s probably due to the record number of cautions bunching up the field. Like any other “intermediate” track when the runs got long the cars got strung out.
I’ll see your two cans of generic and raise you an ice cold Heineken just because I got to see Bobby Labonte get a top five. All in all, I didn’t think it was that bad a race. There was some side by side racing on occasion and few lead changes once Jimmy Johnson’s dominate ride got shuffled back and ultimately into the wall (The look on Chad Knaus’ face after JJ wrecked was priceless). And did I mention that Bobby Labonte finished fifth?
Not sure about that 2 can rating, I gave it 4 just because a lot of stuff happened to make it interesting and the racing was pretty good compared to what we are used to.
wow, guess i saw a different race. i didn’t see much passing. i need to have a talk with dish as my service returned just at 3:30 pm (est) after being out all day due to heavy snow where i live (west of atlanta). i saw beginning of race, went and dealt with snow and then watched end of race. turned on periodically during the race was was unimpressed. does jr not pay attention when they’re running at pit road speed before the the race begins? i know he wasn’t only one busted for speeding, but he’s consistent. he’d 3 or 3 so far this year.
i still don’t get this starting time time…they say 3:30, race went green at 4:47. this coming week they say 1:30 pm…does that mean 2:30pm?
we’ve got some wacky weather planned for atlanta this week. still got snow on ground teen wind chills right now and spring warmth forecasted for end of the week. tickets are still available for the race, lots of advertising on tv yesterday.
I thought it was a really good race. But did anyone expect Matt to give it a good score? C’mon.
Besides, folks, you don’t need to have someone else tell you whether a race is good enough, and you don’t need your opinion validated, either. You’re entitled to your own. That’s what makes America great! :)
For a modern race it was OK. If you want to compare it to the older races at Darlington/Rockingham/N Wilkesboro, it was a snoozer. Yeah, one can’t live in the past but lets not call this real racing either.
You can bash Waltrip all you want, but the fact is that he ran as well as Reutimann all day until his spin half way through the race. He still managed to finish within a few spots of our reigning champ and just behind Tony Stewart. Atlanta should bring another top 12 finish for both MWR cars. Bash away now because every week Michael remains in the top 12 the tougher it is going to be for you to discredit him.
Tony was running top 10 and top 5 all day long and Ryan was running in the top 15 for most of the day. Had they not had loose wheels they would have been just fine.
itsborken; Las Vegas is starting to remind me of Rockingham because… watching the lap times online, I noticed that every lap was slower than the previous as tires degraded (slower by a second within 20 laps), cars that didn’t have setups right bit the wall, odd components like transmissions and brakes were issues, and cars went down a lap easily on green flag runs; all attributes Rockingham was known for.
I thought the race was tremendous; gobs and gobs of passing although Fox failed to show the huge majority of the racing (they went to gopher cam and “speed shots” on restarts when most of the dicing was intense). I’ve learned to see what is really happening in Fox telecasted races, gotta open up the scoring link!
I see Matt’s being negative again although I’d like for him to show some evidence… i.e., direct comparisions to prior races to show dnf’s, yellows, passes, cars on the lead lap at the finish, and other meaningful, objective data rather than presenting the subjective, “I’m a grumpy ol’ timer” attitude. It takes no skill to write “it sucked” without comparing the race to a statistical standard. I remember reading Matt from years and years ago… back then, he could really write a race review!
I liked the race… better’n sitting in an unemployment line or studying my 401k statement!
Three distinct things seem to be different this year from last year, in my mind. A) The number of changed motors before the race and blown motors during the race has jumped tremendously! B) The number of pit infractions also has increased significantly, C) and last year, it seemed nearly impossible to spin the COT car out while this year, it’s biting rookies and veterans alike!
Once again , the value of having a radio next to the tv is priceless . Watching and listening to FOX will get you lots of inside jokes that no one cares about , Pre-school word usage and pronunciation , and the rather uncomfortable amount of breathless hero worship ( i fully expect a couple of FOX announcers to come out of the closet during one of these broadcasts ) aimed at a couple of drivers and a car owner .
You can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig. I fell asleep during he pre-race, (thank God), watched the first 100 laps and fell asleep again. When I woke up I changed the channel. Just like Jr., I am 3 for 3 when it comes to falling asleep during the race. But I did get to see Waltrip get up into the marbles and wreck. That was the highlight of my day.
Matt is generous giving this race 2 cans.
Ya, it was a half-decent race, I had it on in the background while I did stuff. Just having some guys you don’t always see in the top 10 makes for an interesting race, and watching Rowdy cut through the field was cool.
Mark Martin blowing yet another engine was not cool though. I see he brought his luck with him to Hendrick. :(
I’m with ya, Janice. I tuned in at 4:30, no racing. I forgot about the race until about 9 p.m., when I tuned back over to FOX. It was over, but it sounds like I didn’t miss much. About like I expected for a cookie cutter track. Bobb, if it was only better than the unemployment line, it must have been pretty bad.
Matt said: “This is, after all, the first time I can remember when the pace car had more horsepower than the cars it paced.“
Try Daytona, only a few years ago, when a new 505HP Corvette paced the field. However, that was a restricted-power race, so it probably doesnt count.
And as far as Las Vegas outselling Fontana, well duh. There’s nothing to do in Fontana but watch the race. In Las Vegas you go for the atmosphere and catch a race while you’re there. But you’ll never get ISC to give up a race date at ACS to SMI in Las Vegas. There would be a better chance of you giving a race west of the Mississsippi river a 5 can rating.
Kevin in SoCal,
I disagree, there is no better place in the world to watch a gang fight or a good drive-by. Just kidding…LOL.
Im not a big Kyle Busch fan, but I had picked him to win the race in my pool, so that was pretty cool. As far as the race itself is concerned, I think it was probably the best and most competitive, I’ve seen LATELY.Lots of passing mid pack, but the cars in clean air tend to set sail. Hey, one good way to catch the race and only the race, find out when the green flag drops, and if you don’t want to watch the pre-race show, then don’t. I don’t usually, but I have the flu and it was either that or Hours on Hours of the Waltons that my wife recently purchased. LOL
Did anyone else notice, or did it seem like Darrell Waltrip was about to ask Kyle Busch on a hand holding date to the movies? Darrell again proves that bias has no place in reporting, he was blatant about Kyle and about little brother Mikey, who, by the way, is about to see his last minutes in the top 12, the top 25, and probably the top 35. Like a rock.
I guess paying $400 a gallon for Chroma Base, $50 gallon for basemaker and $200 a gallon for clear is not enough to keep DuPont in the black anymore. I bet I can look forward to another price jump on refinish products from them. WhooHooo.
Who the hell is bob dylan? Also contrary to popular belief, the points are just as valuable now as they are in july/august.
Why do people come to these articles to brag that they DIDN’T watch the race? If you don’t like NASCAR racing anymore, stop going to NASCAR oriented websites. I couldn’t care less about baseball, but you don’t see me hitting up the mlb.com forums talking about how boring the games are and that I watched a fraction of the game. Just watch ESPN Classic if you want to relive your glory days.
I caught the ending of one of those classic races yesterday.
Talk about excitement! There were 2 cars on the lead lap at the finish and its possible that second place might have been able to see Big E as he took the checkers.
I’ve got to wonder what alternate reality the gripers and moaners were living in when the classic races I’ve seen were being run — with their 50% car attrition and winners by multiple laps.
I think it’s like high school. The more time passes, the more fun it was and the more popular you were.
Evidence suggests that NASCAR’s annual trek to Sin City is more about late-night parties and having fun, than it is about the job of racing. Neither drivers nor crews were immune from making bumbling, nonsensical-amateur hour mistakes. These highly skilled/highly paid professionals seemed to be tripping all over themselves. Was everyone hung-over, or just half asleep? Watching overpaid, pampered multi-millionare athletes screwing-up makes for great entertainment! (I think that maybe I’m just jealous!)
What, no mention of Jamie McMurray’s incredible save after being hit by Lagano? That was one of the finest bits of driving I’ve seen in a long time.