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.
Matt McLaughlin · Monday March 23, 2009
The Key Moment: Kyle Busch was able to hold off teammate Denny Hamlin in the final two lap shootout that decided the race.
In a Nutshell: Geographically, it’s in the same place, but this joint just doesn’t seem like Bristol anymore, does it?
Dramatic Moment: Jamie McMurray and Juan Pablo Montoya actually got annoyed with each other and did a little rooting and gouging. Relatively speaking, everybody else acted like choirboys on a field trip to a basilica.
What They’ll Be Talking About Around the Water Cooler This Week
You know, if you look at it dispassionately the racing at Bristol is actually way better as far as side-by-side racing and passing rather than a constant series of wrecks — but it’s just not as much fun, is it?
So, what’s really changed at Bristol? Is it the new track configuration, the new cars, the new tires, or the new points system?
Did I miss it, or was there no Digger cartoon Sunday? Editor’s Note: There wasn’t. Maybe someone at FOX is finally getting the picture. Certainly, there were far less mentions of the annoying little rodent when he popped up on the screen, and the attempts to sell Digger merchandise seemed almost desperate at times. Given the state of the economy and the number of people laid off, we could do a lot worse than to find Digger on the dole.
Fame is fickle. Matt Kenseth was the hottest thing since nuclear fusion after he won two races to start off the season, but his terrible run at Bristol earned nary a comment from the broadcast crew other than a quick note (without visuals) stating he was in the pits with a broken splitter.
Dale Earnhardt, Jr. says he wants to finish his career with Tony Eury, Jr. as his crew chief. If his last name was something other than “Earnhardt” he likely already would have finished his career at least a couple of years ago. The 88 team just can’t seem to get it together. It seems like an eternity since Earnhardt pulled off a weekend sweep here back in 2004.
Is Chevy ever going to win a race again? (My gut tells me either Johnson or Gordon will win next week.)
Apparently, Mark Martin would like to compete again full-time in 2010. Color me surprised. Cue up that old Lynyrd Skynrd LP, because I’ll take the word of a liar…one more time. Don’t get me wrong; Martin is a class individual, and his name belongs on any top 5 list of the greatest drivers never to win a title alongside Junior Johnson and Tim Richmond. But I feel he owes anyone who bought his “Salute to You” retirement gear what seems like a decade ago a refund.
Why would NASCAR open pit road with a safety vehicle (the yellow Ford Super Duty during the third caution period) parked sideways in front of the energy-absorbing barrels at the entrance of pit road? They didn’t put those barrels there because nobody ever hits there.
NASCAR’s three short tracks steal a page from Goldilocks. Bristol might be too much and Martinsville might be too little, but Richmond is just right.
Sadly, I must report the demise of the Yates Racing number 28 team. With no sponsorship now and none on the horizon, the operation will shut down for the foreseeable future after Sunday’s race. Those who recall Davey Allison’s charge at the 1992 title and Ernie Irvan’s dramatic Loudon win after nearly dying in that car can’t help but mourn the team’s passing. Back in the day, the No. 28 team came to play, each and every weekend.
Well, that’s troubling. Jack Roush’s sponsorship guru Geoff Smith (who was trying to find backing for the 28 team mentioned above) also noted that Carl Edwards’ primary sponsor AFLAC is looking for “relief.” That doesn’t mean the Duck people want to bail on the team. They just want other sponsors to step up to the plate and pay to run the car at some select events to ease the financial burden on the insurer. If Carl Edwards can’t find a full-time sponsor willing to pay the freight, that doesn’t speak well of the financial situation in today’s Cup garage.
Perhaps not unexpectedly, Sunday’s Bristol Cup race sold out, continuing the trend of a sold out race followed by one with lackluster attendance this season. Hmmm. It almost seems if NASCAR would cut down on the number of races on the schedule, they’d get better attendance and ratings for the remaining races. Nah. Too much of a good thing is never enough… though too much of a mediocre thing is just too much.
For all the hot air expended reminding people what a great driver Darrell Waltrip was at Bristol (and to be fair, he won a ton of races here) wouldn’t it have been nice for DW to put his money where his ever-ratcheting mouth is and run that Saturday night All-Star race?
In the comments section of my column last week, someone took exception to my comments on Joey Logano, noting that nobody expected him to be racing in the Cup series this year — least of all Mr. Logano. Really? How’d that come to be?
(The morning of the 2009 Daytona 500)
Yes, folks did expect Logano to race in the Cup series this year. He just hasn’t so far; not to any meaningful degree, anyway.
Maybe it’s time Michael Waltrip wakes up and smells the coffee? With his team cars running notably better with the exception of the No. 55 car, maybe he’d be doing himself and the team a favor concentrating on running the team and putting somebody else in the car? That’s not being cruel; a lot of good drivers who were a lot smarter than Waltrip found out that they couldn’t do both.
Yes, I know that it has absolutely nothing to do with racing, but I’m from Philly where we’ve endured a yearlong string of losses of our brave police officers in the line of duty. My heartfelt condolences go out to the families, friends, and co-workers of the four Oakland, CA police officers murdered this weekend while doing their jobs. This crap has got to stop now, or convicted felons need to start shooting the judges who gave them lenient sentences rather than cops.
The Hindenburg Award For Foul Fortune
Kevin Harvick’s Cup car just wasn’t up to speed all weekend, and getting caught up in an early race caution not of his own making just made his afternoon that much longer.
Despite a pretty spirited run peppered with an occasional flash of brilliance (18th), Travis Kvapil finds himself without a ride next weekend.
Greg Biffle started the race with a rack of bruised up ribs (but no beat up old Buick and certainly not dressed like dynamite), then ended his day in 39th with a whole bunch of expensive engine bits reduced to rubble in his oil pan. On a brighter note, nobody called him “The Biff.”
It had to irk Jack Roush to see four of his five drivers finish outside the top 25.
The “Seven Come Fore Eleven” Award For Fine Fortune
Marcos Ambrose scored his first top 10 finish on an oval track despite having dropped a cylinder while running in the top 10.
Kurt Busch’s day seemed over when he ran into the back of Kevin Harvick’s car after Michael Waltrip ran into Todd Bodine. Busch soldiered on to finish eleventh.
Jeff Gordon barely drove around the spinning car of Jamie McMurray en route to a fourth place finish.
Ryan Newman finished seventh, which moved him all the way up to 27th in the standings. Sucks to be him, but it pays good.
The good news for Mark Martin is his sixth place finish, which buys him a little breathing room in the that top 35 deal. The bad news is next week the circuit heads off to Martinsville, which oddly enough is Martin’s least favorite track. In fact, Mark Martin once threatened to run naked through the grandstands if he won at Martinsville. I think we can all agree that that’s something (like the movie 12 Rounds) we don’t want to see.
What’s the Points?
You’re already worried about the points? How do you sleep at night worrying about a flaming chunk of space debris crashing through your bedroom window and beaning you in the noggin?
For the record, Jeff Gordon still leads the points. (And he still hasn’t won a race in well over a year. Maybe these F-1 folks are onto something? Tune in Thursday, when I’ll discuss just that.) Kurt Busch advanced a spot to take over second place in the standings, 76 behind Gordon, displacing Clint Bowyer who fell to third, four points behind Kurt.
Kyle Busch moved up three spots to jump to fourth in the standings. If he didn’t get wrecked out at Daytona, he’d be leaving the field in the dust.
Further back, Jimmie Johnson moved up four spots to ninth in the standings. Kasey Kahne moved up three spots to sixth.
Matt Kenseth, who won this year’s first two points-paying races, fell five spots to tenth in the standings. Under the new F-1 system he’d be tied with Kyle Busch for the lead. We’ll talk about it Thursday, same Matt-time, same Matt-station…
Kevin Harvick tumbled four spots to twelfth in the standings. Greg Biffle really took it on the chin (and in the ribs) at Bristol, tumbling eight spots from tenth to 18th in the points.
Fellow rookies Joey Logano and Scott Speed find themselves 34th and 35th in the standings, respectively. They’ve also got razor thin points margin gaps over that dreaded 36th spot, which means a driver actually has to qualify for races on speed (the way God and Dale Earnhardt intended) rather than counting on corporate largesse and welfare to make the races.
If the Chase were to start right now… a whole lot of wasted Sunday afternoons better spent drinking beer or riding motorcycles could be avoided. But it’s not going to be, so don’t worry about points… be happy.
Overall Rating (On a scale of one to six beer cans, with one being a stinker and a six pack an instant classic) – Yeah, there was some racing back in the pack and an occasional swap of the lead, but this one won’t go down on the Bristol highlight reel. We’ll give this one three cans because of unfulfilled expectations.
Next Up: Next week, the series takes a step back to yesterday with a trip to Martinsville, NASCAR’s at least partially preserved anachronism of racing the way it used to be back when Cale Yarborough wouldn’t have been caught dead wearing a “Honda” hat.
©2000 - 2008 Matt McLaughlin and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
Matt, if the felons start shooting the judges then who’ll give then lenient sentences, just wondering? I see Kyle Busch just couldn’t let it go. Saturday, after telling his crew they sucked he threw them under the bus again in his victory lane interview Sunday. So much talent and so little class. His Nationwide crew ought to take out behind the hauler and give him whatfor!!! See you Thursday
For the first time in recent memory , Goodyears’ tires DIDN’T ruin a race !
There were as usual a great many teams and drivers who got little or no mention from the clowns in the booth . How many times did they say “ we haven’t talked about him much today “ . Can anyone tell me what possible purpose the Hollywood Hotel serves . If Chris Meyers and Jeff Hammond were never heard from again , would it be a bad thing . The best entertainment is listening to Larry Mac murder the pronunciation of almost every word and driver name he utters .
Again , the reason for the nonstop barrage of Joey Logano hype , is NASCAR , and to a lesser extent Home Depot . Joey is a pretty low key guy .
I’m not sure i’d take Bristols’ word for it when they declare a sell out . I sure noticed some empty seats . Or in the words of Fontana “ the fans were at the concession stands .
Frank, It didn’t surprise me. The American people no longer have pride in their country, and it shows. Drivers are just people so they react about the same way as the general public. This is not a political forum, so won’t mention the causes of this, just that it goes on at ball games in every sport from kids leagues to the pros. Nothing surprises me anymore! Just my opinion based on what I see.
I thought it was a very good race overall but it wasn’t everything we have come to expect from Bristol. Probably all of the factors mentioned contribute to it not being “classic Bristol” but I’d have to say the track reconfiguration is most responsible.
Home Depot and NASCAR might be responsible for some of the Logan hype but it really is the media in general that have overhyped the young driver. Starting last year at mid-season a week didn’t go by where he wasn’t the subject of a couple of articles.
How can anyone be surprised at people’s behavior during the national anthem. Have you seen the way people dress to go to church lately. Same downward spiral.
Matt…..We had a felon in court shoot a judge, court reporter, deputy and then a federal agent several years ago here in Atlanta. His name is Brian Nichols. 3 yrs later he went to trail for those charges (after pub defenders office went into millions of debt), and the yellow belly jury here didn’t give him death. so us taxpayers get to support him for the rest of his life.
I’m just glad it was over by dinnertime!
Yesterday’s race made me miss the old Bristol. I kept noticing that the track was much wider. Maybe it was perspective from laying on the couch from working in the yard Sunday after church. Sure not as much wrecking but it just looks so much different.
Personally, if Jr wants to race with Eury Jr as his ownly crew chief, then I guess JR Motorsports will end up field a cup team in a few years. I laughed when they kept saying “if the 88 could get to front he’d have something for the leaders”.
I thought it odd that no moment of silence for Hal Marchman before yesterday’s race. I thought is was horrible that the track announcer told people to put their hands on their hearts for the anthem. And shame on the drivers who do not do so week after week, and for not showing any respect during opening ceremonies week in and week out.
I will miss the 28 car. Another piece of the past fading away.
I notice how no one wonders how this convicted felon out on parole got a gun in a state that has the toughest gun control laws in the Nation.
As to Lagono, he is nothing but another Casey Atwood. 2 years from now he will be “Joey who”?
As much as I hate the Car of Sorrow it is quite obvious the 18 and 11 teams got a handle on it.
Frank, When I was in grade school we were taught to cover our hearts during the pledge and to stand in military at ease during the National Anthem
Dale Jr is the only driver to fly the American flag over his pit. I see it every year at the Brickyard 400 and at Daytona 500. He also drives for National Guard and Ihave never seen him not show respect for this country. Pick on someone else OK?
Teams fall by the wayside due to lack of funding. While the sanctioning body sits on a mountain of cash, from companies being the “Official Whatever of NA$CAR” A start, & park, pocket picker team parks in 43rd. After an “Oh my God, they might actually damage my car” moment. They get paid 82,968. A team that actually came to race. Finishes in 16th place, & is paid 91,225. Am I missing something here? There seems to something wrong with this picture. As for Mark Martin, I think you’re missing the point. His Farewell Tour merchandise could become quite collectable. As in “I’ve got the ’05 shirt, as well as the ’07-10, but I’m missing the ’06. I mean, come on. When a driver sticks aroung long enough to be sponsored by Viagra, that ought to tell you something. Maybe AARP, in ’10.
“What They’ll Be Talking About Around the Water Cooler This Week
You know, if you look at it dispassionately the racing at Bristol is actually way better as far as side by side racing and passing rather than a constant series of wrecks but it’s just not as much fun is it?”
An accurate comment, if there ever was one! In other words, we didn’t have 20-some caution periods to pick up junked out racecars pieces.
If constant wrecks and cautions make a fun race… most every autumn, there’s a demo-derby at the local county fairgrounds.
I quit watching Bristol when over a 100 laps were run under the yellow flag (Call THAT exciting and fun!).
For the most part, the finishing order reflected the racing. Before the track got fixed and allowed for the new side by side racing and multiple grooves, the finishing order was more of a lottery decided by who got caught up in what wreck when. Like plate races, Bristol had become a crap shoot to see who got lucky and survived the carnage.
Over the years, Bristol has been repaved/resurfaced and presented into new configurations several times. This current version seems like something the drivers can race on without using various foul words, throwing helmets at each other, and can walk away from without meeding valium to sooth frazzled anger.
The new Bristol begs the question: do you watch racing to see racing or because you like wrecks?
Matt, you stated that “Dale Earnhardt Jr. says he wants to finish his career with Tony Eury Jr. as his crew chief.”
Seems to me that if Dale Jr., keeps Eury Jr. as his crew cheif, his career will be finished, and sooner than he realizes!
Was really disapointed when Larry Mac said they were in the garage trying to “fix” the 66 car! First of all, they hadn’t been hit, or hit anything – all they needed were 4 new tires! They started – they spun, and were thanking God that no one hit them – and they parked it. Come on Larry – tell it like it is!!
Keep the new configuration, just bring back the old car and the bump and run.
I for one enjoyed the race at Bristol. I always hated the single file, bump someone out of the way to pass them, demolition derby that the old Bristol was. Yesterday we saw side by side racing, and multiple 3 wide passes through the middle. That’s the type of racing that I want to see. If real racing is boring then NASCAR isn’t for you. If a wreckfest is what you want to see then go watch a demolition derby.
Mark Martin is not a liar and he doesn’t owe me a penny for the Salute to You t-shirt I put carefully away before it got too faded to wear anymore.
Mark NEVER said he was retiring. Fans and media falsely put those words in his mouth and he’s corrected them time and time again.
The liars are you people who refused to listen to what Mark actually said at the time and who continue to refuse to listen to the corrections.
In a Nutshell: Geographically it’s in the same place but this joint just doesn’t seem like Bristol anymore does it?
Matt, you couldn’t have said it better. I agree with a lot of people it is nice to see side by side race now. But I sure do miss some of that bumping and banging, temper flares. Maybe a helmet tossed at a car, somebody stomping on a hood. And some emotion from some drivers after the race.
It would be nice if there was a happy medium? Cause I do think Matt is right, it just didn’t feel like a Bristol race?
Personally, I prefer the multi-groove racing to the bristol wreckfest. So, while not an “instant classic” the race yesterday was better than the races were before the resurfacing/new car.
I have to agree with so many others here who thought the race was boring; it really was. And I also have to agree with those here who think that if you want to watch a demolition race, then go to your local track. However, what I have an issue with is how ‘safe’ the drivers are racing in each and every race. Until the last 10 laps there is extremely little hard racing by the drivers. I want to see Tony Stewart fight for a 15 place finish. I do not want to see any driver go high or low to let someone else drive by just because it’s early in the race. There’s just so little agressiveness at the tracks and I miss it. Not to see anyone get wrecked, but to see the determination Jeff Gordon or Jeff Burton or Joey Logano has to get as many points as possible in a race. Yes, 3 wide racing and the numerous times a driver made it thru a pack of cars without getting into any kind of trouble is great but to me, when the tracks are redesigned to allow 3 or 4 wide racing then when do the drivers have to use their God given talents to actually win a race? If we’re going to have to wait till the last 10 laps every race, then why not just start with the last 10 and get it over with? JMO …
Let me get this straight – all the cool kids like the crashes at Bristol, but not at Talledega?
I think the race got boring when Kyle Busch took the lead. I can not stand him or his equally smart aleck teammate Denny Hamlin. Any race they lead stinks for me. Legano is partially responsible for the hype. I have never heard him say “hey I’m not sliced bread, I’m just a driver”. No, he played into the hype. I remember Joe Gibbs tried to rush another driver into the seat of a cup car. That driver told Gibbs he wanted to run the Busch Series 1st. That driver did just that and when he came to cup was the best rookie of all times. His name is Tony Stewart. He was older and more experienced than Legano, but wanted to get the seat time in a stock car. I think things worked out pretty well for him. Now the saddest part of the season for me. I am a long time fan of the 28 car. Ernie Irvin was my driver. I sure miss him. I miss that black and orange # 28 Ford, and now it is gone completly. That STINKS. The more things change, the more disconnected some of us become with this sport.
I understand where a lot of people are coming from but remember this is supposed to be a sport first and entertainment second (well to some of us at least).
I admit that a large attraction of the old Bristol was seeing lots of wrecks and temper tantrums and I enjoyed that as much as the next guy.However you have to ask if those attributes really qualify as racing or if it’s just good entertainment for tv.
Everyone loves to see someone have a meltdown on national television but that is what TMZ is for and, as others have mentioned, if you want to see carnage then go to a demolition derby.
It sounds like a lot of people want stupid drivers – someone that races for the moment but not for the big picture. For instance, it’s lap 100 of a 500 lap race and someone behind is faster than you, do you race hard to the point of ruining your own equipment or do you play it smart and let them go. I think the answer is obvious if you want to win the race, make the chase and win the championship. So why are people faulting the drivers for being smart… just because they want to see wrecks?
As for the desire for people to want drivers to throw things or punches at other drivers to settle their differences… is that how you solve problems in your day to day life? Then why do you wish the drivers to do what you yourself would not?
Like I said, I enjoy watching drivers do stupid things and make asses out of themselves too but it’s not why I watch the races.
Well , concerning crashes vs racing , you’ll notice that ALL tv adds for racing , whether from NASCAR , FOX , ESPN , or the individual tracks , feature crashes very prominantly . At least half of every tv ad is wrecks . So they obviously feel that crashes are what draw fans to auto racing .
I think the racing at Bristol is better NOW than it used to be.
What kind of skill does it take to hit the car in front of you and put them in the wall?
And…if there were no Jr. or “Jr. Nation”…Kyle Bush would be the new fan favorite.
I laugh my tail off because it’s SO ironic that “Jr. Nation” hates Kyle…when Kyle is SO much like Dale Sr.
Keep goin’ Kyle…this sport needs you!
Number 1 and I never thought I’d be saying this, The last few Bristol races have been on the boring side. Number 2, Joey Lagano should habe been put in a nationwide car for a year or two. Do I see another Casey Atwood scenerio here?
i don’t want to see wreck-fest, but when jp montoya got a bit aggressive, na$car warned him for aggressive driving. what is na$car going to do next weekend at martinsville, closer quarters on track, and turns notorious for bump out of the way. and enough of this g/w/checker crap. i mean, has any race ran longer than 10 green flag laps at the end of the race this year? i remember more g/w/c endings than anything else this year.
i wonder how many times next weekend will the martinsville ‘dogs be discussed?!
Granted the Bristol race wasnt the best, but common it wasnt all that bad either. I think fans need to look at racing vs. demolition derby style wrecking. Call it what you may but smashing someone out of your way isnt racing. It certainly requires no skill.
What yesterdays race was called “DOMINANT” when other teams step up to the plate maybe the racing will be more exciting. Kyle Bush and team simply go for the gusto not settle for a 14th place finish and feel good about it.
Im not a Kyle Bush fan but I’ll tell you this his balls to the wall racing style makes for a better race.
I only wish more of the other drivers had his attitude than you would see stand on your feet races.
All this talk about Jr. this and Jr. that yeah he is #1 selling souvenirs but would someone let it be known this is called “racing” for 1st place.
Any kind of competition regardless if its checkers if your not out to win and feel good about loosing your a looser and will never be a champion of anything.
One more thing thank you to the powers to be…the digger thing is slacking off, I can live with this.
I do want to be entertained when I watch a race or attend one live. I think the difference is where people define “entertained”, if you were entertained watching yeasterday race, that is fine that’s the racing your looking for. Some people enjoyed Bristol pre the track be reconfigured and the COT. And thats fine also.
I think the biggest misconception is that fans who think the race may have been a bit boring to watch Sunday are some how looking for a demolition derby. I don’t want to watch a wreakfest. But a little more bumping and what have you might have been nice, and if a wreak ensued, so be it. But yes, all in all it was good racing
And maybe there was more bumping and banging and hard racing going on and I just missed it cause of Fox’s poor coverage of the race. I can’t count the times I heard them say there was some good racing going on in the back or on the track somewhere but failed to cut to it?
Yesterday’s race WAS boring. There were 5, count ‘em FIVE green flag lead changes. The people who thought yesterday’s race was exciting are the same people who wet themselves and brag about 4-wide racing at NASCAR’s two worst tracks – Fontana and Michigan.
I can’t figure out what the deal is with concrete race tracks. The track was fine when it was asphalt but apparently that wasn’t good enough for management.
At least it’s good to see some actual passing at Bristol rather than the push-shoving that had become commonplace on the other concrete configuration.
The #1 problem with NASCAR right now is that the drivers suck.
While a long series of crashes doesn’t make a good race, I think it’s tough to have a good race when there aren’t any wrecks. It’s not the crashes themselves that make the race exciting, it’s knowing that they might/can crash that adds suspense to all the actual racing and battling.
With cars that handle great, the drivers get more confident, make more risky moves, and put themselves in more positions to screw up. Or even if no one screws up, they’re willing to swerve and dart around each other more so it’s more likely two guys go for the “same piece of real estate” on corner entry and, well, wreck. On short tracks especially.
Yeah, they race three-wide but they don’t change lanes like they used to. I’d rather see two guys confident enough in their cars to fight for that chunk of track they need going into the corner rather than one guy not being totally sure about his machine and giving in.
Then again, it could just be the nonsensical playoffs that prevent people like Matt Kenseth from points racing because, you know, it’s easy to run 7th every week.
According to the Neilson ratings this years spring race was 18% less exciting than last year, as that’s how much lower the ratings were this year compared to last year.
You know what I loved about Cale Yarborough? (And I’m old enough I’ve seen him win races live at the track). He was a tough little fire hydrant of a guy back in the era when the cars lacked power steering and cooling vents. He’d get out of his JJ Chevy with his face as bright red as a tomato, black rings on his face around where the goggles sat, his thinning blonde hair a mess and he’d rip cord a brew and chug it down. Back in the day men celebrated a signifigant acheivement like winning a Cup race having a beer with thier boys, not drinking a soft drink to appease thier sponsors and the soft drink company who pays them to do so.
Kyle Busch got me curious. I like NOS. Back in my street racing days those folks helped me earn a lot of cash. So I tried this energy drink of thiers, BLEECH!
In my younger years (dirt bike afficianados this was during the Honda Elsinore period)I used to race motocross. After forty minutes of max eretion I learned that nothing will make you cramp up and retch like a sugary soft drink. Back in those days water was avaialable io only one brand (tap) so I used to chug a beer to cool off.
It might sound simplistic to say but NASCAR lost its way when soft drinks replaced beer in victory lane and cars wound up getting sponsored by home improvement stores rather than car part companies.
I was at Bristol for the first time, and the seats weren’t all filled by a long shot.They may have been sold, but there was plenty of space for those who got there.
Say what you will,Bristol lost something with this “new” track.And no I didn’t mind a push or two on the old Bristol.Wrecks are part of it or use to be.But most of all it was seeing the drivers at the rear of the pack trying to stay in front of the leader as he came up on them,pushing the guy in front doing whatever it took not to go down a lap.
That’s gone now if you’re bad and he’s good you just get passed either high or low,no way to protect your position now.
Drivers have lost their fire or the guys driving now are so afraid of Nascar they choose just to “race” for the money and settle for a nice finish twenty something finish in the race.
It has taken some time but Nascar is in my mind about as PC as you can get right now.
“Back in the day men celebrated a signifigant acheivement like winning a Cup race having a beer with thier boys, not drinking a soft drink to appease thier sponsors and the soft drink company who pays them to do so. “
Yeah and back in the day I could drive around at night polishing off a six pack (or more). If I got pulled over and they didn’t find anything other than beer all was cool. I would be sent on my merry way with a warning. Yeah, things have changed since back in the day haven’t they.
I hope more people than I suspect, comprehend the passing of the 28. Another passing of rich history. Sorry for your loss Robert, and Davey, some of us still remember.
Hey, If you want to be entertained, watch WWE. Well, anyway, I see a joint match coming where John Cena and Kyle Busch team against Triple H and Carl Edwards for the
Matt- i agree the passing(hopefully temporary) if the 28 car is a sad thing. The old black/gold/white Havoline T-Bird may have been the best looking car ever, and Yates has always been a class organization. Oh Davey, what could have been!
A few thoughts:
Hurrah for Newman having a good race, finally.
Kyle Busch is the best there is right now, like him or not.
I had to miss being at Bristol this year, and watching it on TV is a sad excuse for the real thing.
I really like some of his drivers, but a bad day for Jack Roush at the racetrack is a good day for me.
Next week is going to be tough to watch without Davy’s car, the 28, in the show. How can it not get a sponsor when a start-and-park car can?
How can Joey Logano be called “sliced bread” while Mr. Bland, Jimmy Johnson, is around? Talk about dull!
The 28: RIP
jwcalla, concrete is a better race surface. It stays much cooler then asphalt. It is a lot easier to clean up oil etc.
Sorry folks this isn’t racing and I’m not sure why its brought up with Matt’s fine column but..
The general accepted etiquette for the National Anthem is to stop what your doing and stand quietly, face the flag if possible.
Not remove your cover(hat), not place your hand over your heart(thats for the Pledge of Alligence).
Diplomatic and Military ceremony may be more formal. Good grief people, I read something every week (Obama did something at his inauguration?) Enjoy the anthem, reflect on the good fortune we have to be in the USA. Quit looking around for something to cry about.