Kurt Busch to Attempt The Indianapolis-Charlotte Double
posted by Phil Allaway
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Andretti Autosport announced this morning that Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet in the Sprint Cup Series, will attempt the Indianapolis 500 in a fifth entry for the IndyCar Series team. Once the Indianapolis 500 is completed, Busch will fly from Indianapolis to Charlotte, jump in his No. 41 Chevrolet and compete in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Busch considers the opportunity to do the double as an old-school throwback moment.
“This is really to challenge myself within motorsports,” Busch said in Andretti Autosport’s press release. “Perhaps I am a bit of an old-school racer; a throwback, I guess. I enjoyed the era of drivers racing different cars and testing themselves in other series. It is tough to do now for a variety of factors, but when the opportunity is there, I want to do it. While NASCAR is my home, I have been fortunate to compete in Pro Stock on the NHRA circuit a number of years ago and test a V8 Supercar. This opportunity was a talk with Michael [Andretti] over dinner one night, a “What if,” and now it’s becoming a reality for me to drive in the Indy 500 with Andretti Autosport. It’s literally a dream come true. To go to the famous Brickyard with the iconic Andretti name, it doesn’t get much cooler or better than that.”
Busch will be doing the Indianapolis-Charlotte double as a Memorial Day mission to men and women serving in the U.S. Military via the Armed Forces Foundation. Fans can contribute to the cause by texting AFF to 50555 to donate $10.
Busch, who has never raced an IndyCar, passed Rookie Orientation at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last year during a test session. At the time, Busch was more or less testing the Dallara DW12 for fun.
Busch will be the fourth driver to attempt the Indianapolis-Charlotte double. John Andretti was the first driver to attempt it in 1994. After finishing four laps down in tenth in Indianapolis, Andretti crashed and had engine problems in the 600. Robby Gordon has attempted the double five times, most recently in 2004. However, Gordon failed to make it to Charlotte on time and did not start the 600 in 2000 (P.J. Jones started Gordon’s No. 13 Ford in that instance). Finally, Tony Stewart has attempted the double twice (most recently in 2001) and is the only driver to ever complete all 1100 miles. Neither of the three drivers has won either leg of the double. The best finishes are Stewart and Gordon’s sixth-place finishes at the Indianapolis 500 (although Gordon’s came in 2000, the year he didn’t make it to Charlotte in time to start the Coca-Cola 600), and Stewart’s fourth-place finish in the 2001 Coca-Cola 600.
Danica Patrick, Justin Allgaier Talk About Phoenix Incident
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
A disappointing start to the year for Danica Patrick won’t include continued conflict. Patrick met with rookie Justin Allgaier Sunday, shortly after the Phoenix Cup race after a wreck ruined both drivers’ days. Patrick, who was critical of the No. 51 car on the radio, claiming Allgaier was “driving all over the track” appeared receptive to a conversation that quickly settled differences over what will be a long season.
“She was just upset because she got involved in the crash that we had,’’ said Allgaier to the Motor Racing Network. “She says she’s been through this and that she felt like I needed to settle down at that point. I explained my position on why everything happened. I think she understood where I was coming from. It doesn’t fix either one of our racecars. It doesn’t fix either one of our days. Unfortunately, we were both having pretty decent days.’’
Allgaier wound up 30th due to the incident while Patrick was 36th. The incident, which was caused by Allgaier’s spin also involved the No. 32 team and Travis Kvapil, which wound up 38th after sustaining heavy damage.
Camping World Close to Extending Title Sponsorship of NCWTS
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Marcus Lemonis, CEO of Camping World, Grand Marshal of Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway, and star of CNBC’s “The Profit,” made the announcement over the weekend that the retailer is very close to announcing a deal that would continue its title sponsorship of NASCAR’s Truck Series. The original agreement with NASCAR is scheduled to conclude after the 2015 season.
According to the sanctioning body, no formal contract has been signed, but “the agreement between the two parties has proven to be a beneficial one.”
“In about a month, we’ll be announcing a significant extension to that contract. It’s been great for us,” said Camping World’s Lemonis in a statement. “The NASCAR relationship has worked well for Camping World. When we started, we had 35 stores. Now, we’re up to 120 stores. As we travel the country and we meet new customers in stores, they always are very appreciative of our relationship with NASCAR. It’s been good.”
Gaining a long-term commitment from Camping World to sponsor the Truck Series would be a relief for NASCAR, which is set to lose Nationwide Insurance as title sponsor for the NASCAR Nationwide Series at the end of the 2014 season. The sponsorship of the Cup Series by Sprint runs through 2016.
The NCWTS is back in action on March 29th at 2:30 PM (ET) when the trucks visit Martinsville Speedway in the Kroger 250, which can be seen on Fox Sports 1. Ratings for the season opener were up 11 percent.
Harvick Takes Win At Phoenix In Second Race With New Team
posted by Justin Tucker
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Phoenix International Raceway has become Kevin Harvick’s home away from home. Sunday Afternoon was no exception as Harvick charged to the front early and would dominate for much of the day, leading 224 of the scheduled 312 laps to record his record fifth win on the one mile oval and his third win in the last four races at Phoenix.
Harvick, coming off of a disappointing Speedweeks which was capped by a last lap crash in the Daytona 500 in his debut with Stewart-Haas Racing, set the tone on Saturday by winning both practices while having the best 5 and 10-lap averages in the first practice of the day on Saturday. On Sunday, Harvick and his No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet was nothing short of flawless as he was able to hold Dale Earnhardt, Jr. by .489 seconds after a late race restart to claim his 24th career Sprint Cup Series victory.
“Man, this is awesome,” Harvick said after his dominant victory on Sunday. “Man, this just solidifies so many things and so many decisions. It’s been so much work with all the time and effort that these guys (the crew) have put in—but what a race car.”
Stewart Haas Racing co-owner Gene Haas shared in Harvick’s excitement after the race.
“It took long enough,” Haas joked. “This is phenomenal. I think there was a lot of skepticism last year about what myself and Tony (Stewart) what we were up to, was there a lot of madness to this. Quite frankly, it’s a great team, there’s a lot of synergy at the shop, people working together. I don’t know what we did, but I think we put together a great organization.”
Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt, Jr. continued his hot start to the 2014 season. Earnhardt Jr. would finish second on Sunday, marking his seventh consecutive top 10 finish since the end of the 2013 season. Earnhardt Jr. was pleased with the effort after a coast-to-coast whirlwind week after winning his second Daytona 500 and also gave great praise to the efforts of Harvick and the No. 4 team.
“I’ve got to congratulate Kevin. Those guys were two-tenths faster than everyone all weekend in practice. They were just phenomenal,” Earnhardt said. “To be able to run with them all day was a big confidence builder for us.”
Joining Harvick and Earnhardt in the top 5 of The Profit on CNBC 500K were Brad Keselowski with his second consecutive top 3 run of 2014 in third. Keselowski’s Team Penske teammate Joey Logano would finish fourth, and Jeff Gordon would come home fifth in his No. 24 Pepsi Max Chevrolet.
Jimmie Johnson finished in sixth, followed by Ryan Newman with a nice rebound after Daytona in seventh. Carl Edwards would carry the banner for Roush Fenway Racing by finishing eighth, Kyle Busch was ninth, and Jamie McMurray would finish tenth.
A look at the Profit on CNBC 500K by the numbers. There were 14 lead changes among eight different drivers, there were eight cautions for 39 laps which slowed the race pace to 109.229 MPH.
Next Sunday, the Sprint Cup Series heads to Sin City and the Las Vegas Motor
Starting Lineup: The Profit On CNBC 500K
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday March 1, 2014
Drivers in RED (i) are those ineligible to collect Sprint Cup points
Daytona 500 TV Ratings Down
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Wednesday February 26, 2014
What was the longest weather delay in Daytona 500 history turned out to bring NASCAR lower ratings and TV viewership Sunday night than expected. According to a report Monday from FOX Sports, the 56th running of the Daytona 500 airing at 8 PM (ET) posted a 5.6/10 national household rating/share which averaged 9.3 million viewers. That’s down 44 percent from last year’s 9.9, easily making it the least-watched Daytona 500 of all-time.
Due to the six-hour, twenty-two minute rain delay in Daytona, the race was up against the primetime coverage of the Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony from Sochi, Russia on NBC (15.25 million viewers). FOX also reported that 69% of the pre-rain delay viewers of the race, which began at 1 PM (ET) kept tuning in.
In comparison, the 2013 Daytona 500 on FOX was the most-watched race in five years, posting a 9.9/22 rating/share, commanding 16.7 million viewers. The Daytona 500 in 2012, the first to ever be run on a Monday and in the primetime slot did a 7.7/13 overnight rating/share which resulted in 13.67 million households viewing the race according to Nielsen TV ratings data.
Earnhardt, Jr. Claims Second Daytona 500 Victory
posted by Justin Tucker
Wednesday February 26, 2014
Ten years is a long time. For Dale Earnhardt, Jr., it felt like an eternity. NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver endured many near misses and close calls at the Daytona 500 since his only win in the Great American Race in 2004. Earnhardt had finished second in two of his last three Daytona 500s coming into Sunday’s race. He was also riding the tail of a 55-race winless streak, dating back to Michigan in 2012.
However nothing would stop Dale Jr. on Sunday, not even a 6 hour and 22 minute rain delay from capturing his second Daytona 500 win. Earnhardt Jr. led a race-high 54 laps on the evening and used some timely drafting help from teammates Jimmie Johnson and, on the final restart, Jeff Gordon to separate from the pack and secure the victory.
“Winning this race is the greatest feeling that you could feel in this sport besides accepting the trophy for the championship,” said a jubilant Earnhardt after pulling into Victory Lane. “We could fight off battle after battle. We got a little help at the end there from Jeff to get away on the restart. This is amazing. I can’t believe this is happening. I never take this for granted, man because it doesn’t happen twice, let alone once.”
Aside from the race itself the big story of the race was the 6 hour and 22 minute red flag, which threatened to move the race to Monday evening (had the race been postponed, FOX Sports’ Chris Myers had tweeted that the race would resume at 5:00pm EST). However, Mother Nature would cooperate and would allow the race to be run under different conditions from which they practiced this week. Once the race resumed, the intensity picked up from the changing track conditions. This allowed the pack to race side-by-side and at times 3-wide up to seven rows deep.
Joining Earnhardt Jr. in the top 5 for the 2014 Daytona 500 were: Denny Hamlin who closed out a spectacular Speedweeks in second, Brad Keselowski in third, Jeff Gordon in fourth, and Jimmie Johnson who overcome two wrecks leading up to the 500 in fifth.
Rounding out the top 10 in the Daytona 500 were Matt Kenseth in sixth, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. in seventh and Greg Biffle would bring his No. 16 Ford home in eighth. Austin Dillon would come home ninth in his first Cup Series race in the iconic No. 3 for Richard Childress Racing, while Casey Mears would round out the top 10.
A couple of major contenders for the Daytona 500 win would see their hopes dashed early on as Martin Truex, Jr. would blow up just 30 laps into the race, relegating him to a 43rd-place finish in his debut for Furniture Row Racing. Crew chief Todd Berrier was already in Nashville for a test session before the race was even over. Kyle Busch, meanwhile would have a pit road violation just before halfway and would spend much of the race battling back from that mistake. Busch would eventually finish 19th after leading 19 laps.
Danica Patrick would also be bit by bad luck as she was caught up in a multi-car wreck on lap 145. Patrick would lead her second consecutive Daytona 500, but wouldn’t have the finish to show for it finishing 40th. Tony Stewart would encounter a frustrating evening as well, with a fuel pickup problem derailing his quest for his first Daytona 500 win. Stewart would finish 35th.
A look at the Daytona 500 by the numbers. There were 42 lead changes among 18 drivers, while seven cautions for 39 laps would slow the race pace to 145.290 MPH.
Next week, the Sprint Cup Series heads to the “diamond in the desert,” Phoenix International Raceway for The Profit on CNBC 500K. The Green flag is scheduled for 3:15pm EST.
Nationwide Series Post-Race Quotes: Drive4COPD 300
posted by Thomas Bowles
Tuesday February 25, 2014
Frontstretch Interviews – Courtesy Mike Neff
ELLIOTT SADLER – FINISHED 4th
Thoughts on the race?
It’s definitely a lot different racing than what we’re used to.
Comfortable with it?
Yeah, it’s just different. You’re worried about what you’re doing, but you’re also worried about what everyone else is doing and they’re not doing more than you’re doing. Physically pushing a guy is way better than just riding so you just gotta time it right and push it to the edge.
Happy to start the year with a top 5?
Yeah. Hell, that was the worst we ran all day, I think. I have no idea how they put the 3 car in front of us on that last restart. I hadn’t seen the 3 car hardly all day. When they put us from fifth to sixth, on the outside line, it just really boxed us in. I would have really restarted behind my teammate and given him a good push to the front. Anyways, it is what it is; we’ll take it and move on.
Looked like you were up front all day.
The guys did a good job. We had a fast race car. Great pit stops, just really proud of these guys. The car’s in one piece and we can take it to Talladega now. Great job by my guys. A lot of effort came into coming down here to Daytona and giving ourselves a shot to win. We had that chance to be up front and make some things happen. Fifth is not what we want, but we’ll take it and move on.
Bumping vs Pushing?
It’s way harder. You don’t want to lay on the guy in front of you, so it’s tough racing. A lot different than what we’re used to, ‘cause you gotta go. You gotta drag the brake too ‘cause you don’t want to hit the guys and you don’t want to stay on him. It’s a lot harder mentally than what we’ve done in the past.
Car was strong all day. Pushing vs. Bumping, is that harder to do than just getting on somebody and pushing them?
Yeah, it is a little bit. When you bump ‘em, you jar ‘em, it kinda jacks ‘em a little bit. It’s a little more abrupt, obviously. I thought it was OK there at the end. It was certainly fun and hopefully entertaining. But a little bit of a struggle in the early part of the race and the midpart of the race to see a good race. And that’s unfortunate for the fans. You can’t do that the whole race, you can’t tear up your stuff, knock your grill in, overheat your motor, all that stuff so there’s no sense in doing all that until you get down to the last lap. The 7 and the 6, they did a good job. Man, the 7 really held the 22 and I tight on the bottom. I was rubbing his door and hitting the apron at the same time, no room whatsoever. So it was good; wish we were the ones who could have won but a lot better now than what we were last year.
Going home in one piece makes it a lot better, right?
Yeah. My back feels good. My foot feels good. Past years here, I’ve been going home with pain so I’m alright.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Truck Series Post-Race Quotes: Daytona (Exclusives)
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday February 22, 2014
When you’re on the outside like that, how frustrating is it?
It’s so hard. Timothy Peters has won here. Kyle Busch has won everywhere. Ron Hornaday has been running Trucks forever, probably before I was even born. I was surrounded by veterans there, and like I told them I don’t have a rookie stripe but I’m a rookie. This is only my fourth Truck race ever, my fourth superspeedway race, and man, I figured out when the 17 got up in front of me, I pushed him. And as soon as I pushed him, he took off. And I went with him. And I just kept doing it, and before I knew it, he was leading. And I saw Ron in my mirror, backed up to him, and if it wasn’t for him, I don’t know what would have happened. I gotta thank him big time for that. That was a true teammate move right there. I really appreciate that. He just bounced off me and we got to the front. I tried my hardest to sidedraft Kyle. I was probably touching his door.
Top 5 in the No. 30 truck. This deal come together at the last minute, but you had a heck of a truck. Tell us about your night.
Yeah, I’ve got to thank Turner Scott Motorsports. The guys worked so hard on this Rheem Comfort Products Chevrolet. Exciting! Just got hung up on the outside and had to wait for my teammate there to catch up. And then he got to the bottom, so… I got the old 32 and started pushing ol’ Ryan to the front. So, it’s not bad. We’ll take it. You just don’t want to step over that boundary. You don’t know how far to push and shove. We bumped about six times down the straightaway without latching onto them. Hopefully, that was OK and we came home with a top 5.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Budweiser Duels Post Race Quotes
posted by Matt Stallknecht
Friday February 21, 2014
BUDWEISER DUELS POST-RACE QUOTES
They’re saying the wheel bearing burned up in it. I don’t know what caused it, they’re taking it all apart to figure out what the heck happened. Something abnormal that’s for sure I don’t think I’ve ever had that happen at all. Hopefully, we made the race and hopefully we can fix the problem before Sunday.
WHAT WAS THAT LOUD BOOM ONCE YOU TURNED INTO THE GARAGE?
Loud pop was a tire… thankfully, it popped, hopefully it didn’t hurt anybody. All the heat created in the left front that popped was pretty weird.
REALLY GOOD RUN. WHAT DID YOU THINK OF IT?
Yeah, it was good. We have a car we can work with for the 500. Got a good starting spot, so we’re going to rest easy, fluff and buff our car for a couple of days and get ready for Sunday.
ANY DIFFERENCE ON WHETHER THE TOP OR BOTTOM LANE WORKED?
Yeah, I was just moving around, trying to stay with the flow. For me, this car works on all parts of the racetrack. So I’m pretty happy with it.
DALE EARNHARDT, JR.
GOT SHUFFLED BACK, AFTER PIT STOPS AND THEN COULDN’T GET BACK UP TO THE FRONT. WHY?
Nah, we were just sitting there waiting until the last few laps to make a move. You didn’t want to pull down and get sent to the back. Seen a couple of guys get sent to the back really quick so we were just kind of waiting for the end. I felt like we had a good situation there with Ambrose behind us — we had a good run off Turn 2 and I went. It was the last lap, time to go do something, nobody went with us but hopefully Sunday is a different story.
We got a great car. We don’t have to work hard. We learned, we got a good race car. Got a car in one piece, ready to go so we’ll try and get through the next couple of practices, deliver it to the starting group this Sunday and we’ll be real happy.
YOU’RE IN THE DAYTONA 500!
Yeah, it’s pretty awesome. This Whitetail Chevrolet was so fast that I knew all I had to do was stick it behind smart, intelligent drafters and we could have a good finish. That’s what we did in the Duels and I’m excited. I’m excited to go do some stuff with the Nationwide car and have some more practice with this. But to know that we’re locked in the Daytona 500’s pretty cool.
YOU WERE OBVIOUSLY IN FRONT OF THAT MELEE AT THE END. WHEN YOU WERE UP FRONT THERE IN THE BEGINNING, WERE YOU HOPING TO JUST STAY IN LINE AND LET YOU FINISH TOP 5?
I was pretty content to ride and luckily I knew a lot of people around us were. It was nice to have a little calm and not really have to be racing hard the whole time. I knew that the pit stop was going to shake everything up and that’s exactly what happened. Fell back a little bit there but made the right moves at the end to get a good finish.
HOW STRONG ARE THESE RCR CARS?
They’re very strong! They definitely have the capabilities to be winning one of these races.
YOU’RE IN THE TOP 5 FOR YOUR HEAT IN THE DAYTONA 500. YOUR PRIMARY CAR IS SITTING RIGHT IN THE GARAGE, KIND OF WADDED UP. DID YOU THINK THIS ONE HAD IT IN IT?
Yeah, it’s a brand new car also. It’s just not quite as good as the primary but still a damned good car. I’m just proud of everybody at RCR for building such fast race cars. All of our cars have been fast, ECR motor’s been strong, even our affiliate teams have been qualifying really good and racing good. So… excited about 2014! It’s going to be a good year.
WELL MAN, YOU STARTED IN THE BACK BUT WORKED YOUR WAY TO THE FRONT WHEN IT COUNTED MOST. WERE YOU JUST BIDING YOUR TIME THROUGHOUT THE RACE?
Eh, you never know if you’re going to get back up there or not. We had to start at the back, we had to make a run early and see what we could do. We drove right to 10th, or something like that and then it got stagnant. We tried to make something happen, and went to the back again. Drove back up to the front. Again, just really proud of my guys. Matt Kruder did a hell of a job on that pit stop getting just enough gas in to gain some spots there.
RCR CARS SEEM PRETTY DARNED STRONG. DO YOU THINK THE RCR CARS HAVE SOMETHING FOR THEM ON SUNDAY — ESPECIALLY THE THREE JOE GIBBS RACING CARS THAT SEEM TO BE THE CLASS OF THE FIELD RIGHT NOW?
Oh yeah. The 20 car was extremely fast. The 11 didn’t qualify that good, but he’s a good drafter. I think he won. We definitely have something for him.
Check in with Matt and Jay on their site at CareyandCoffey.com.
Matt McLaughlin · Monday March 30, 2009
The Key Moment: Jimmie Johnson ran down Denny Hamlin with fifteen laps to go. He then moved the No. 11 car aside, with both cars getting sideways and smoking the tires before Johnson pulled ahead to take the lead.
In a Nutshell: There’s nothing so wrong with the new NASCAR racing the sport’s oldest race track can’t fix it. Cars and drivers running side by side and nose to tail? Can I get a hallelujah, brothers and sisters?
Dramatic Moment: In addition to the key pass for the lead, mention must be made of Denny Hamlin’s kamikaze lap 455 pass on Johnson going into turn one on a restart. That was classic stuff, the likes of which we don’t see often enough in this era of points racing.
What They’ll Be Talking About Around the Water Cooler This Week
Some of the best racing of the day involved a four way battle for the lead around lap 350. That great run was ended when the caution was thrown once some numbskull I won’t call a fan tossed a can of Coors Light out on the track. Thanks for ruining it for the rest of us, moron.
Maybe that chat Rick Hendrick had with Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Tony Eury, Jr. on Wednesday yielded some quick dividends? There’s a reason Hendrick has been winning races in motorsports’ toughest arena for the last 25 years while other teams have fallen by the wayside in hard times.
In just another sign of the changing times, the Wood Brothers didn’t enter a car at Martinsville for the first time since 1953, well before even Mark Martin was born. The Wood Brothers had always considered Martinsville their home track, and ran there even during those seasons with David Pearson where they focused their attention on the superspeedways. Some say change is inevitable… but nobody can tell me I have to like it.
If NASCAR is bound and determined to stick with the new cars, maybe we can change over to a season that runs all 36 races at Martinsville?
A once extinct species is apparently making an unexpected comeback in these tough economic times. Some NFL stadiums will be reintroducing the dollar hot dog this year to try to lure more fans to the stands by reducing the overall cost of attending a game. Could the dollar dog make a comeback at NASCAR tracks, venues where it hasn’t been sighted since the early eighties? If it does happen, you can bet it won’t be at an ISC track (although a Martinsville hot dog remains just two dollars). Now, if someone would reintroduce the dollar 12 ounce Cup of cold beer…
Call it a Freudian slip. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. was quoted this weekend saying that racing at Martinsville was a headache and a pain in the butt at the same time. For most of us, those two areas of discomfort are separated by at least several feet.
Exactly 25 years ago on Sunday, Rick Hendrick enjoyed his first Cup victory as a team owner when Geoff (pre-Geoffrey) Bodine won at Martinsville. Hendrick was not at the track that day, as he was attending church services, but was glad to be in attendance Sunday for career victory No. 176. Remember that while Martinsville has been the scene of numerous triumphs for Hendrick — particularly with Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon as of late — it was also the scene of his greatest tragedy. Mr. Hendrick lost his son, two nieces, a brother, and other employees / friends in a plane crash outside of Martinsville in 2004.
As a devout fan of this sport’s rich history which far too many fans know far too little about (one day, I will find a way to convince this site’s editors to let me re-run the history series I wrote back in 1998), it was nice to see Geoff Bodine back at the track and getting some recognition for his breakthrough win for the Hendrick organization — even if he was wearing a fruity hat. But it’s sad nothing was said of the veteran crew chief, Harry Hyde, who called the shots for Bodine’s historic win. Hyde was an irascible old dude who shot from the hip, the main reason why, despite their success, Hyde and Bodine never got along. It took until 1986, when Hendrick moved Hyde over to call the shots for Tim Richmond in the Folgers car, for Harry to finally get his moment in the sun. The two men were polar opposites, but they made their peace and went on to win seven races, contending for that year’s title late in the season in an era when men were men and racing was racing.
Tim Richmond is now finally getting some of the respect he deserves with the yellow journalism that labeled him a murder suspect long since debunked. This year, an ARCA event is named in his honor, and I’m told that the Pocono race track where Tim enjoyed such success has some special things in store to honor Richmond this June 7th, which would have been Tim’s birthday. That’s great, and it’s long overdue. For years, people have been debating whether Jeff Gordon (and by association, Jimmie Johnson) would ever have gotten a shot at HMS if it wasn’t for Tim Richmond. Folks can go on debating it forever, but let there be no doubt; if there was no Harry Hyde, Hendrick Motorsports would never have survived or possibly even gotten off the ground. As my Irish ancestors might say, Good on ya, Harry and Godspeed. I bet you’re sitting atop the No. 25 team’s pit box at whatever short track lays beyond those Pearly Gates.
There’s no doubt that technological excess has compromised the competition in Formula One racing, but a new rule in that series this season fascinates me. This year, the teams may use what the Grand Prix folks are calling the KERS system, which basically uses wasted energy from braking to either power up a battery system that powers an add on electric motor in the cars or a flywheel that stores the energy. We’re talking a Prius on steroids here. Packaging the battery motor (and in this case it genuinely is a motor, not an engine) is a challenge because of the additional weight of the components. All F1 cars must meet a minimum weight standard, but the weight of the batteries and motor gives the team less ability to distribute ballast weight where it can best be used to improve handling. Rules mandate that the electric engines most teams using KERS systems have adopted be limited to 80 horsepower. As with any new technology, there are safety concerns about the batteries and the electrical system, not only for the drivers strapped into the cars but for the fire and rescue crews that might have to respond to a wreck involving a KERS-equipped car.
Still, it occurs to me if the F1 folks can adopt and perfect such a system for their lightweight open wheel cars, it ought to be a piece of cake to add such a system to a vastly heavier and full-fendered Cup car. At a brake-intensive track like Martinsville, that added power would probably make for exciting new race strategies. Add in the idea of appeasing environmentalists who take a dim view of auto racing to begin with, and this looks like a win/win situation from where I sit.
Did anyone else feel seeing Jeff Hammond eat a hot dog smacked of cannibalism?
The Hindenburg Award For Foul Fortune
Denny Hamlin seems to be able to lead a lot of laps and lead races late without ever sealing the deal. Kudos to Hamlin for his classy post-race comments, though.
After starting the season hotter than the Fourth of July, Matt Kenseth just can’t seem to get out of his own way lately. A pit road penalty for a runaway tire just added to his misery.
The race might have been powered by the Home Depot (FOX’s way of ignoring race sponsor Goody’s for not buying ads during the race broadcast) but Joey Logano was pretty much deflowered by the tricky track on his first visit here in a Cup car.
Kyle Busch is hardly the humblest guy in the series, but he freely admitted entering this weekend that he can’t run worth a lick at Martinsville. Sunday’s race offered ample evidence that was the case.
Problems on pit road sent Carl Edwards back deep into the pack, where incidental contact cut down his left rear tire and ended the day for the only Ford entry that seemed competitive.
Considering how many times he went into the spin cycle at Martinsville, Robby Gordon might want to seek sponsorship from Maytag.
The “Seven Come Fore Eleven” Award For Fine Fortune
Jeff Gordon’s winless streak continues, but he did score another solid top 5 finish. To do so, he had to avoid the stricken cars of Elliott Sadler and Aric Almirola as they dove for the pits with flat tires.
Martinsville is Mark Martin’s least favorite track, and Martin was forced to start 31st Sunday after qualifying was rained out Friday. To rally back to a solid and competitive top 10 finish had to be a morale booster for a No. 5 team which has clearly been struggling this season.
Ryan Newman’s year is off to a less than stellar start, but a sixth place finish gives the No. 39 team something to build on.
Clint Bowyer’s efforts could have been done in early after contact with the No. 55 car bent up his right front fender, but he persevered to finish fifth.
In addition to a great race, NASCAR fans got to cheer the second consecutive FOX pre-race show without a Digger and Friends animated segment. Now, if they’d just get rid of the other rodents in the Hollywood Hotel, FOX might really be onto something.
It’s not NASCAR-related, but Brawn Racing became the first F1 team to sweep the top two spots at a Grand Prix in their debut race since 1954, when the incomparable Juan Manuel Fangio at the helm of the Mercedes streamliner took the win in the French Grand Prix. Of course, there’s still the possibility that the win Sunday in Australia will be overturned given some protests of the Brawn cars’ rear diffusers. I hate it when race results get decided in a courtroom rather than on a race track…
Also not NASCAR-related, but cheers to the folks of Fargo, North Dakota and surrounding towns along the Red River who took matters into their own hands under brutal conditions to erect those sandbag walls and save their own towns rather than waiting for the federal government to ride in and save the day. There’s a lesson there for the rest of us.
What’s the Points?
Jeff Gordon retains the points lead and is now 89 ahead of second place Clint Bowyer, who bypassed Kurt Busch to take over the runner-up slot.
Jimmie Johnson had the best day in the points (winning races will do that for a fellow), moving up five spots to fourth in the standings. Denny Hamlin also had a good points day, moving up three spots to fifth.
Meanwhile, Carl Edwards and Kasey Kahne took it on the chin at Martinsville, falling three spots each in the standings to wind up eighth and ninth, respectively. All drivers from eighth place Edwards on back are already more than a full race’s worth of points out of the lead.
Despite winning the first two races of the season, Mart Kenseth fell two more spots to 12th in the standings. Jeff Burton finds himself knock, knock, knockin’ on Heaven’s Door and a top 12 points position after moving to 13th, just seven points behind Kenseth.
Other drivers making notable forward progress at Martinsville include Dale Earnhardt (up three spots to 16th), Michael Waltrip (back up four spots to 17th), and Ryan Newman, up a notable nine spots to 18th.
Overall Rating (On a scale of one to six beer cans, with one being a stinker and a six pack an instant classic) — I’ll give this one all six icy bottles of Corona served up by a Russian supermodel with the morals of a minx. I know some of you will take exception at this high rating, but as tepid as the racing has been this year, Martinsville stands out as a classic.
Next Up: Expect the usual stampede of clichéd western puns as the series heads west to Texas.
©2000 - 2008 Matt McLaughlin and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
Why all the adulation for Tim Richmond?
How does he differ, in any significant way, from Shane Hmiel — who likewise threw away a potentially brilliant career in pursuit of hedonistic pleasures?
Except, of course, that Hmiel was caught before he managed to kill himself and Richmond died from the effects of his lifestyle choice.
Glad you didn’t let Bodine’s “fruity hat” slip by without a comment.
Great race at Martinsville and one of the reasons it’s one of my favorites. Is Martinsville now the new Bristol?
Now THAT is what NASCAR racing should be. I was actually entertained by a NASCAR race for the first time this season. Why can’t they just build more short tracks? * sigh *
M.B. Voelker – You fight a loosing battle with Tim Richmond and Matt.
Yes!! No digger cartoon. However, they do make sure they show the trinket hauler in the paddock every week, and mention DW’s website for purchasing of digger merchandise. I wonder how their sales are going? Would you be caught dead in a digger hat and t-shirt?
What’s up with Hammond. Did he forget his bottle of “Just for Men”….saw some grey hair at his temples yesterday. I wished we could get rid of Meyers. He just is beyond annoying.
Jr. says that racing in Martinsville is a headache and a pain in the butt…well, the race is sponsored by Goody’s!
Also, attention editors. Let Matt run the history series. We (your readers) would love to read it.
Matt- i have an idea. 12 races at martinsville, 12 races at bristol and 12 races at darlington. think the france’s would listen?
Sex is a hedonistic pleasure? My my..wonder what else he thinks. Must be tough being perfect and passing judgement. Guess he never saw Richmond drive a race car. If he had, he would know that had he lived, Earnhart’s championship total would be a few less.
M. B. and if you add Rick Hendrick (a convicted felon) into the mix you will really confuse Matt. He has a hard time seeing the forest for the trees!!
Matt, forgot to mention that the win at Martinsville was Chevy’s first win of the season. Last week you were speculating as to when the bowtie gang would win this year. Wonder how the new, amended bailout to GM will impact those teams.
Was it me, or was too much focus being put on Michael Waltrip and then the fact that Reutemann had “franchise” on his roof?
“Why all the adulation for Tim Richmond?
How does he differ, in any significant way, from Shane Hmiel — who likewise threw away a potentially brilliant career in pursuit of hedonistic pleasures?
Except, of course, that Hmiel was caught before he managed to kill himself and Richmond died from the effects of his lifestyle choice.”
you are going to comapare a person who died from aids, to a person who used heroin during races?
Jeff, you want to win a race this year? Get a pit crew. Get a pit crew that can beat other teams out of the pit. How can jj’s crew consistently beat other teams out of the pits and your crew with the number one stall can’t beat anybody.
M.B., I think this is a racing sight. Did you ever see Tim Richmond race? He was a GREAT driver, not just good. He made some very poor decisions in his personal life but he paid the untimate price for them. I do not see how you compare him with Shane Hmiel. I respect Shane’s father Steve and his accomplishments in racing but Shane was never much of a driver. You are comparing someone who won a race while suffering from a horible disease, AIDS, to someone who never won a race in cup and used drugs while racing in the Busch series? Would I want to pattern my life or more importantly would I want my son to pattern his life after either of them? No, not in thier personal lives, but I would want him to go after his personal dreams like Tim Richmond went after his on the track. I loved watching him race and still miss him along with Dale Sr. As for this Sunday’s race a Martinsville. It was really good and I know have a new found respect for Jimmie Johnson. Great win for him. Good job J.J.
Gee! No mention of the ABSOLUTE TERRIBLE TIRES GOODYEAR BROUGHT ONCE AGAIN TO A RACE TRACK!
Had the tires lasted as they are supposed to do, then the results of this race would have been different, much different!
Lets stick to the facts please!
And not think this was a “good race”, ask those that had tires explode!
“Kyle Busch’s 24th place finish was his worst since the Daytona 500”.
Come on now M. B. , we’ve had this discussion with you many times before . You must let an adult look at these ruminations before you make a fool of yourself by posting them .
Hendrick owes 95 % of his success to the people who raced for him over the years . The drivers , the crew chiefs , the engine builders , the marketing people , and all of the others involved . His contribution was mainly money and a kindly father routine . And of course we know where a lot of the money came from . He was convicted for it . Its about time that the fans get reminded of the people who really are responsible for Hendricks’ success .
It didn’t take much talent for Johnson to move Hamlin over , any Saturday night racer can do that . But what a driving display by Hamlin on the re-start diving in under Johnson . That was great .
The KERS system could certainly be adapted to NASCAR , and should be . The one drawback is the very real chance of fatal electrocution if a crew man or track worker touches the wrong area .
Once again , a race that wasn’t dictated by crappy tires . The blow outs were caused by brake heat , not the tires themselves . Maybe there is hope for Goodyear after all .
So Douglas, you think a race where Kyle Busch finishes 24th is bad? I think it was a great race and I was at the track. Kyle Busch’s car was not a contender yesterday. He ran bad from the start. He is not Superman. He is just not good at Martinsville. So please no excuses for him. I think any race he is not in the top 10 is GREAT!!! Now the # 8 car, that car had tire problems, but with that many on one car I tend to think it was a set up issue. Oh and Ryan I thought Johnson’s move was great. He did it by himself without lapped trafic blocking for him like Hamlin.
I thought the tires were adequate. They weren’t superb, but they didn’t affect the race negatively.
I’m not a defender of Goodyear. They could do a better job recently.
In the end, all the teams using the tires race using the same group of tires. It’s a crap shoot as to who ends up with a tire that falls apart… but that is the same for who runs over the bolt laying in the groove.
Goodyear messed up at Indy last summer; they didn’t yesterday at Martinsville.
Let me lead you people by the hand!
So, quote: “Hey Douglas,
So, GOODYEAR supplies tires for the CoT! Right?
And the CoT is of a “fixed” design! Right?
So, knowing these “parameters”, GOODYEAR is totally responsible for supplying a tire that works on the CoT! Right?
So, does one think the GOODYEAR has a disclaimer somewhere that says “the use of brakes on the CoT may influence the life of said tires. If you want these tires to last for an entire fuel run please do not put brakes on your race car”!
Or! Better yet, a GOODYEAR disclaimer “please note that the use of these tires in close competition on a race track where the cars may make physical contact could cause these tires to fail. Please instruct all drivers to stay at least one full car length away from each other in all directions so these tires will not get cut down”!
Just an example and it is not a matter of “doing the research”, it is a simple matter of “thinking”!
Nowhere! Absolutely nowhere, have I EVER read anything published by GOODYEAR that tells NA$CRAP the CoT is a piece of sh*t and they, GOODYEAR, will no longer supply tires for this car!
So, the dilemma becomes, tires vs. CoT!
Lately the CoT has been winning this battle!
And GOODYEAR stays mum about the situation!
And with this type of thinking, then all tire problems are either, splitters, brakes, track surfaces, heat, down-force, camber, etc! Right?
But isn’t that simply racing?
I guess the INDY fiasco last year was simply bad car set-ups, at least the way this line of thinking plays out anyway!
And Bobb says: “but they didn’t affect the race negatively”!
HUH? Please go ask the multiple drivers whose tires blew throughout the course of the race where they might have finished without the tire problems. Probably a good ten cars finishing positions were negatively influenced by BLOWN TIRES!
And all they were trying to do was race!
Tim Richmond was the victim of a terrible disease, NOT a lifestyle choice. And he was probably the most talented driver of his era. Add to that the fact that NASCAR blackballed him, and you do have the makings of a legend. Matt is not always right, but he is right about Tim.
Wow, I actually sat up and watched this race. Kinda felt like old times. I’m sure those who think the old Bristol’s bumper to bumper, move ‘em out of the way style wasn’t racing, just wreckin’, won’t agree. Martinsville and the old Bristol seem to be where the Car of Sorrow is at it’s best. If you’re going to build a tank for a race car, then put them on tracks that fit.
M.B.V. thumps the Good Book every chance he gets. He’d prefer the rest of us wait until 3:00 pm every Sunday for the green flag so he can listen to preachin’ and practice with the choir.
Martinsville was the best race I’ve seen in at least the past three years.
Tim Richmond was one of the best and would have won more that one championship had he lived.
I saw him race and met him several times. He was always a super nice guy.
As they say, “Only the good die young”
Anyone that has to ask such a stupid question about Tim Richmond reveals without any doubt their complete lack of racing knowledge.What a joke