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 · Tuesday May 26, 2009
The Key Moment: David Reutimann stayed out when a caution flew for rain. The precipitation never stopped, and Reutimann reigned at Charlotte.
In a Nutshell: After 24 hours plus at Charlotte, Mother Nature turned a stock car race into a high dollar game of musical chairs.
Dramatic Moment: Waiting to see if the weather would relent enough to allow even ten more laps of racing which would have dramatically altered the results of the race.
What They’ll Be Talking About Around the Water Cooler This Week
To quote Ben Blake, formerly of SpeedTV.com, the only thing worse than rain at a race track is rain at a race track with lights. I’m getting older, Blake. Now I understand…
Folks are going to debate whether NASCAR called the race too quickly, after too long a delay, or about the right time. I was looking at the radar and I think they should have pulled the plug at least an hour earlier.
Does the World 600 have to continue with its 600-mile length? Does Spring have to follow Winter? Does Harley Davidson really need to continue making V-twin motorcycles? Is beer best served cold? Is there still a place left for the Ford Mustang in the auto industry? Do bears bear, do bees be? Should teenage boys continue falling in love with teenage girls come springtime, and occasionally make horses’ asses of themselves trying to court their desired? There are some questions so stupefyingly stupid that they need to be answered not only with a “Yes” but with a “HELL YEAH!” Oh, but every other race on the schedule ought to be reduced to 2/3rds its current length starting next week. And we need to get rid of the Car of Tomorrow and revamp the current points system real soon. Sorry, there’s nothing I feel strongly about this week, so I’ll just bang out a column about the changing color of Jeff Gordon’s hair, OK? It’s all an attempt to prove my perspicacious-ness about the sport.
There’s been some discussion as to whether NASCAR ought to start using side-by side-restarts (wherein the second place driver starts either inside or outside the leader at that leader’s discretion, while laps down cars restart at the tail end of the lead lap cars). This procedure was used in the Winston (sue me) last week with some degree of success. Yes, I agree with those who believe that will make for more exciting racing. Lately, the race leader tends to bog down restarts so that the second place driver is left battling lap down cars while that leader drives off into the sunset.
Some question whether the proposed rule would keep a driver in a fast car from making up a lap he lost due to a flat tire or a botched pit stop. (And we haven’t seen many of them lately, have we?) Well, given the free pass rule there’d be good racing at the back of the pack while that driver tried to become the first driver a lap down… but that racing would take place without interfering with the lead pack. Better racing at both the front and back of the pack? Sign me up, Chumpie.
By all accounts, there’s going to be a crucial meeting this week at NASCAR’s research and development facility. NASCAR has all but ordered the sport’s leading proponents, team owners, drivers, and crew chiefs to assemble to discuss how to salvage what’s left of the sport by improving the racing. I’ve got my own usually subtle solution to NASCAR’s dilemma, though my invite must have gotten lost in the mail. It’s simple: Blow this whole mother up, cancel the rest of the season, and start over in 2010 with cars that are, in fact, “stock cars” racing on tracks that are real race tracks… not coliseums. And give Brian France a Rubik’s cube that’s the same color on all six sides to play with, so he’s befuddled and distracted while the whole lifesaving process goes forward.
As far as improving TV coverage, I’d think a great place to start would be introducing the same “Side by Side” racing coverage Indy car fans got to enjoy on Sunday. With Side by Side coverage, fans get to keep an eye on what’s going on out on the track even during commercial breaks. Commercials are a necessary evil, but auto racing is unique in that it doesn’t have any planned timeouts or breaks during an event. Allowing Side by Side coverage would help fans keep up with the rhythms and trends of the race while keeping their eyes glued to the screen during commercials rather than heading to the kitchen or the bathroom.
It’s sad that this weekend’s 50th anniversary celebration of the World 600 had to be marred by bickering between Bruton Smith and Humpy Wheeler, the two chief architects of the Charlotte track’s success. For fans like me, it’s like watching the fallout of an acrimonious divorce of two friends. For those of us concerned with the future of the sport, it was a lot more reassuring back when the mercurial Smith and the polished Wheeler worked side by side to reign in the worst excesses of the Brian France Regime. Together we conquer… apart we fail. I’ll give the ever colorful Mr. Smith this much, though. When most have given up the fight and decided that this whole Car of Sorrow concept is a done deal, he’s still fighting the good fight. But it’s time for Smith and Wheeler to bury the hatchet. C’mon guys, can’t we all just get along?
Likewise, this whole Jeremy Mayfield scandal just isn’t going to go away anytime soon, as much as a growing number of fans wish it would. We’ve got an independent driver fighting to salvage his career and investment butting heads with NASCAR officials who have botched the fallout from Mayfield’s suspension so badly, the Little Rascals would be rolling in the aisle laughing at their ineptitude. Now it turns out the practitioner, Dr. Black, who is administering NASCAR’s drug testing might have ulterior motives. In Tennessee legislation, it has been proposed that any recipient of government assistance, be it welfare, unemployment, etc., would be subject to random drug testing. Black’s wife, a state senator, is a leading proponent of the law, and Black’s firm stands to benefit financially from it.
Well, what better way to show his firm’s competence while bidding on the drug testing contract than to show off Mayfield’s scalp as a trophy, the first well-known NASCAR driver to be suspended for drug use in the sport’s top series? Fans, please keep your hands inside the car because this is going to be a dark ride. On a lighter note, I can’t help but be encouraged that Mayfield’s lawyer has suddenly relegated me to second place amongst the competition for a really bad haircut on an aging hippie. In fact, this whole mess features more bad haircuts than a Foghat reunion tour. Meanwhile, France might have once again stumbled in his comments, saying that interested parties could ask him for a list of the substances banned under the new drug test program. Well Mr. France, please email me a copy via the Frontstretch. After all, unlike the folks that work for NASCAR, I like to know what I’m talking about before speaking.
The NAACP would like to see NASCAR help ban use of the Confederate flag at race tracks. I, in turn, would like to see the NAACP help ban the use of violent, sexist, and obscene lyrics in rap music blaring from the radios of cars beside me at traffic lights because I find them offensive. But when it comes right down to it, I guess I’m going to have to roll up my windows, turn on the AC, and tune out those drivers blaring their preferred sort of music because that’s a right afforded to them under freedom of expression; and as much as I don’t like it, I am not the final arbiter of taste. Too many good men and women have sacrificed their lives to defend our freedom of expression…
Here’s something I hadn’t realized. Because of environmental concerns, the massive amount of balloons that are released prior to the Indy 500 are now made of Latex, meaning they are biodegradable. OK, I’m sorry, but if your environmental extremism has become so hysterical you don’t dig the balloon release at Indy, you need to go the whole way and head off to the Arctic to nurse ailing polar bear cubs with a steak tied around your neck. I’ll drive you to the airport in my ’76 455 Trans Am and give you the catalytic converter I removed from the car as a keepsake.
Judging by the fans still waiting in the stands, soaked to the skin, as Chris Myers made the official announcement Sunday night’s race was postponed until Monday it would seem NASCAR told the networks about the postponement before they let the fans know. What’s wrong with that picture?
Maybe GoDaddy.com ought to go for an arranged marriage between Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Danica Patrick. They could raise a brood of well-compensated and popular kids who don’t win much of anything.
Two Pro Motor employees, Dennis Borem and Darrell Hoffman, won this week’s Engine Builder challenge, assembling an engine from a bare block and getting it to run in a mind-numbing nineteen minutes and 27 seconds. I’m not quite that quick. Let’s see; a beer and a smoke before starting, 5 minutes, trying to remember where I left the piston rings, five minutes, calling Jegs to reorder the piston rings I lost, two minutes, another beer and smoke cussing my stupidity, five minutes, waiting for the Big Brown truck to arrive with the rings, two days, a trip to Sears to replace my missing 7/16th combo wrench, forty-five minutes…
Was anyone else ready to scream listening to Darrell Waltrip’s cheerleading for his brother and his team during the final rain delay?
Do you think Helio Castroneves is going to mail the IRS a check return receipt requested on Monday once he cashes in that big check for winning Indy?
They have to do something to fill the airtime during rain delays, but the look on Chris Myers face as he confronted a table full of race car parts was priceless. Myers looked like one of those apes staring at the obelisk at the start of 2001: A Space Odyssey. He even seemed clueless as to what a roll of duct tape might be.
The Hindenburg Award For Foul Fortune
In both of this weekend’s races, Kyle Busch had the dominant car, but bad weather ended his chances of claiming the pot metal.
Kevin Harvick’s race had barely begun when he got together with Sam Hornish, Jr.. Shortly thereafter, Harvick blew a tire and contact with the wall tore up the right side of the No. 29 car.
Kasey Kahne seems to have things figured out at Charlotte in May. He had a competitive car and was going for a third 600 victory in four years before the rain hit. Apparently, Kahne has everything figured out at Charlotte in May other than the weather… poor pit strategy dropped him to eighth at the finish.
Dale Earnhardt, Jr.’s car was so bad that apparently the driver and the team just threw in the towel. If changes aren’t made to the No. 88 team after this week’s debacle, Rick Hendrick’s sanity must be called into serious question.
Kurt Busch had another top 10 finish going at Charlotte before lugnuts left on his Dodge dropped him to the rear of the field shortly before the final bout of rain.
Mark Martin was running solidly in the top 5 until a loose tire got away from his crew during a pit stop. He wound up 17th.
It was another rough weekend for Richard Childress Racing, with none of their four cars finishing inside the top 20. The way things are going for RCR, Childress might have to turn to Teresa Earnhardt for advice… and that’s a scary thought.
The “Seven Come Fore Eleven” Award For Fine Fortune
David Reutimann had a win fall into his lap, but an old truism applies to this finish as well. To be the beneficiary of good luck, you have to put yourself in a position to have one handed to you.
Robby Gordon is fighting to stay in the top 35 in owner points so he’s got a gimme into the field each week. A third place finish is going to give that effort a major boost.
The way his season is going, I’d suppose that Carl Edwards will take a top 5 finish any way he can get one.
Bill Elliott and the Wood Brothers have been struggling as of late despite their glory days in the past. Watching Elliott make his 800th career start and come away from Charlotte with a 15th place finish was gratifying for the old school fan.
What’s the Points?
Jeff Gordon maintains the points lead and is now 44 ahead of Tony Stewart, who remains second in the standings. Kurt Busch, Jimmie Johnson, and Denny Hamlin remain third, fourth, and fifth in the points respectively.
Kyle Busch and Ryan Newman each moved up a spot and find themselves sixth and seventh in the standings. Jeff Burton fell two spots to eighth, while Matt Kenseth displaced teammate Greg Biffle to take over ninth spot.
Carl Edwards edged out Mark Martin to take over 11th in the standings, with a difference of three points between them. Meanwhile, his win moves David Reutimann up two spots to 13th in the standings, six points out of the top 12.
Further back, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. now finds himself 19th, a full 197 points outside the top 12. Put out the fire and call in the dogs, Boys. This one is over.
Overall Rating (On a scale of one to six beer cans, with one being a stinker and a six pack an instant classic) — Talk about a bad case of Competition Interruptus? We’ll give this one two Cups of rainwater.
Next Up: It’s off to Dover for a battle with the Monster Mile on Sunday afternoon. Hmmmm. Stock car racing held on a Sunday afternoon? It’s a radical concept, but it just might catch on. And for fans as sick of Digger and DW as I am, praise be to God, the Dover race will be the Swan Song for NASCAR on FOX this season.
©2000 - 2008 Matt McLaughlin and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
I predict a steep ratings drop next week after Michael “Billy Mays” Waltrips driver stole the win, and after having to listen to Darrel “ShamWow Vince” Waltrip shill for MWR and Toyota. I go out of my way to not buy any product from NAPA just because of these clowns, and I do thousands of dollars of business at the local auto supply shops each year.
What a refreshing change being able to watch a race where they showed all the action, kept us informed on pit road and had knowlegable announcers in the booth instead of pitchmen. Hats off to ABC on their Indy coverage. I don’t get Versus so this was the first IRL race I got to see this year, and was glad to hear the race is on ABC again next week. Note to ShamWow Vince at Fox; Tune in and take notes, especially where they have the 2 ways on at the start and we hear GREEN GREEN GREEN instead of the stoopid “Pull dem belts tight, BLAAAA BLAAA BLAAA crap the Clown Prince and all his Jesters are so fond of. Notice they had no childish cartoons either.
Bad Wolf, I couldn’t have said it any better.Try reading that Jester, Daley Planet. He is a FOX, DW, MW, Larry Mac cheerleader and if he watched the Indy 500 he would have seen great coverage. Plus he has a vedetta against Jerry Punch and continuosly criticizes him, while praising Jeff Hammmond, the worst TV broadcaster in any sport, and the rest of the FOX people for what he says is great work.FOX has major issues that really irritate many more people than they know, and they need to fix their coverage before next season.
WOW! What an outstanding column, start to finish!
And your: “It’s simple: Blow this whole mother up, cancel the rest of the season, and start over in 2010 with cars that are, in fact, “stock cars” racing on tracks that are real race tracks… not coliseums. And give Brian France a Rubik’s cube that’s the same color on all six sides to play with, so he’s befuddled and distracted while the whole lifesaving process goes forward”!
Best summation of the season EVER WRITTEN!
Or, instead of a Rubik’s cube, maybe we just buy King Brian some sex lube and let him pleasure himself, because that’s all he seems to be doing anyway all season long!
Oh, and the only downside to your column is your knock on Danica, her 3rd place finish in a REALLY competitive event totally outdistances Jr.s yet again dismal finish near the back in his event!
What position did Jr. finish in? 40th???
What a bust the 600 was. I feel like I waited two days for a race that never materialized. Can’t blame this one on NASCAR though, it was mother nature’s fault this time.
At least Danica finished third at Indy. Dale Jr. hasn’t been able to finish third very often. I’ve never see him around a woman except in commercials. I guess they get in way of his “career.” Great column. I agree, blow the COT up, start anew in ’10 with N. Wilksboro and The Rock back on the schedule, sans California, Chicago, Las Vegas, NH….
I couldn’t be more happy for Reutimann, the guy deserves it, he’s worked hard and busted his ass for years to get where he is. Shame he’s driving for Michael Waterlips.
I agree that the race should’ve been called much earlier. But, considering it was a Monday and no one was watching, NASCAR probably didn’t care about the five fans who were watching, being bitchy about constant drying and restarts.
By the way, if they had called it before halfway and been forced to wait until today – the weather forecast is – you guessed it – more rain. They were doomed from the start with this one. The only way they could have surely got 600 miles in is if they postponed the entire weekend (the next off-week is August 29).
Yeah, let’s blow the whole thing up now!
Go back to strictly stock, with none of them damn HANS devices or carbon fiber seats, and let’s get back to them tracks with none of them candy-ass soft walls, so we can kill off a driver or two every week.
Forget about them tracks near the population centers like Loudon and Fontana. Then no network would pick up a race and we wouldn’t have to listen to them dopey broadcasters.
Then guys like Matt, who publish their internet columns based entirely from what they saw on the TV, wouldn’t have a forum anymore.
Great thinking as usual, brainiac.
Danica may be somewhat overrated, but lets be honest here… If you didn’t drive for Roger Penske or Chip Ganassi, you had ZERO chance of winning the Indy 500. That said, third wasn’t too bad for Danica.
Yeah, the Nascar honchos waited too long to call the race, but remember that they had to get the OK from Lowes first. I was there in 2003, and believe me, if there was any way at all that they could have restarted yesterday’s race to give Johnson one more chance to get to the front, they would have.
Definitely, safety needs to always be paramount. But they could have redesigned the interior of the “old” car with extra crush zones and the driver’s compartment closer to the middle. But they need to do that with an otherwise “stock” car. No one was killed in the last 6 years of the “old” car either (despite some harrowing accidents), so the COT is not entirely responsible for safety. Have they even considered modernizing the engines to fuel injection?
As for the SAFER barrier, it should be installed all the way around all the oval tracks, including on the straightaways.
P.S. Hey Matt… Leave poor Foghat out of this. Most of the classic lineup is dead anyway; only the bassist is still alive. Besides, “Slow Ride” is the perfect ode to the COT.
The best news we got all weekend was that the FOX broadcasts are ALMOST OVER !!!! HOORAY !! . Only one more week of those idiots . When FOX decided to do Nascar , they had to find the least expensive on air and production persons possible . And the result is the mess we’ve been forced to endure . And this weekend was proof positive of how terrible the Waltrip , Joy , Mac , Hammond , Myers really is . There was direct , side by side competition from Monaco and Indy . The difference was staggering . The Monaco and Indy broadcasts were so superior to the FOX debacle , i’m not even sure FOX should be allowed to call their mess a race broadcast . And boy didn’t the cheerleading reach new hights during this weekends Hiindrick lovefest . I’ve heard that Mike , Larry , and Darrel have to hold a book in front of themselves when they stand up after talking about the Hiindrick organization .
As actual racing, F1 is pretty much a bust. Most races seem to be won during qualifying, or in the pits. ( remind you of anything else?) As for coverage, that’s another story. Even tho the broadcast team is not in control of the TV coverage, they manage to work around this.They come across as peolpe who know their sport, & who are having a good time covering it. This translates to the viewers as well. They set the bar for what coverage is supposed to be. Not a cheer leader, or paid shill in the bunch. No one even remotely annoying. It’s like a breath of fresh air. Way too much class to be pushing some reviled rodent. Faux has a lot to learn, & according to Mr. Hill. They aren’t learning anything.
Your a moron. Were did Matt say anything about eliminating the soft walls? Or get rid off all the safety stuff?
Proper usage is “You’re” a moron, not “Your” a moron.
You’ll never see the side by side coverage in NASCAR because of the enormous rights fees that the networks have to pay to NASCAR. ABC, Versus, etc. don’t have to pay rights fees to the IRL, or if they do it’s very minimal compared to what FOX, TNT and ABC pay NASCAR.
The only way that the networks can make that money back is by charging the most that they can to their advertisers and advertisers aren’t going to pay that much for half a screen on a NASCAR broadcast.
I flew 500 miles to see the race. I get to see one per year. Very dissapointing.
Some of us have to work Tuesday and couldn’t spend another few hundred on changing flights.
I got home in time for the Monday rain delay, and NASCAR couldn’t even give me a real race.
I don’t blame David Reutimann. Come on, he used pit strategy. Nothing wrong with that, especially in light of NASCAR’s new obsession with declaring a winner while cars are parked in the rain.
Here’s an idea: why not make it so all races have to, at least, END ON THE TRACK.
You can’t get in 150 more laps? Fine, when the rain stops tell everyone you’ll run 20, 30 more laps and that’s it.
You know, if they didn’t have the season so choked with races, they could have postponed the race and run it on a different weekend. It’s one of the few races I actually enjoy. As to Reutimann, he and Mike Waltrip hardly ‘earned’ or ‘deserved’ that win. Having enough fuel to stay out when most of the drivers pit isn’t earning a damn thing. He was lucky, that’s all.
The finest words ever written concerning NA$CAR:
Keep up the Good Work!
Oh, and as regards the “very important meeting”, or “crucial” as NA$CRAP calls it, HUH?
Last year NA$CRAP called a meeting and told all involved: SHUT UP ALLREADY! DON’T CRITICISE US OR ELSE!
Now, they want to call a meeting to discuss why the sport is failing?
HOW STUPID AND ARROGANT!
But, that’s King Brian and his stooges, (and there’s more than three in NA$CRAPLAND!)
Sure bet no one attending will “tell-it-like-it-is”!
NA$CRAPS revenge is brutal!
Sunday, I watched the only F1 race that I ever watch and also the Indy 500. What a treat the broadcasts were, professional start to finish. No cheer leading, shilling, idolizing, blatant huckstering, rodents, favouritism or any of that nonsense. No cutaway car being fondled by a washed up ex crew chief. The Pros of F1 and IRL broadcasts actually think some of their viewers may have seen a car with its hood up and can tell the difference between a coil spring and a drive shaft. What an absolete treat to listen to professionals.
Larry, Darrel and the other Darrel should be banished to the carnival where they belong.
No mention at all of the memorial day salute NASCAR did? I’m shocked.
If there is going to be a meeting of the minds to “solve” Nas-WWE-Car’s problems, then I could suggest a few qualified drivers, ex-drivers, owners, crew-chiefs and a few old-time retired broadcasters who could make short work of the issues.
Everyone who knows racing and has followed Nascar in the “BB” (Before Brian) years, pretty much knows what needs to be done to fix things and make the sport healthy and restore credibility in the “stock” portion of the Nascar name.
Alas, the only obstacle to getting this done is Brian France.
Don’t worry about Helton and the rest, the right folks in charge could make those stooges dance any way they wanted them to. They are just tools for Brian.
As long as Brian France has anything to do with Nascar, expect more ineptitude, loss of credibility and idiocy.
You can’t expect a party-boy to fill a business-MAN’s shoes.
Too many brain cells down for the count……
Top 10 Things that MUST be Mentioned in a Matt McLaughlin Column:
10. COT Sucks
9. A word that sends you to the dictionary
8. Harley Davidson
7. Brian France’s lack of sharpness compared to the other tools in the shed
6. Beer. Cold beer
5. Goodyear: Not aptly named.
4. A classic rock band. Preferably the Dead, but special appearances by any band that will help draw the picture.
3. Would someone please get matching ball-gags for the Waltrip boys?
2. The unsponsored, like God and Bill France meant it to be, race name.
1. Matt’s Trans Am
Congrats on another perfect column Matt!
With all the rain delays, I was very worried we’d get a Digger cartoon marathon.
Jr, pathetic. I am at a loss of words for him and I’m tired of trying to figure out why Hendrick hasn’t done anything about it. In the pre-race on Sunday, when the interview Jr, his body language told me he really didn’t want to be there. Kept hearing things would change at Charlotte races, maybe they meant the fall Charlotte race.
Hopefully mother nature will be in better mood this weekend at Dover. I’m so sick of grey, rainy days, even not on race day.
Here is something interesting. I have Hot Pass on Direct TV, and during one of the rain delays when it started sprinkling, FOX cut to commercial. On Hot Pass, I watched as Tony Stewart pulled down pit road, and then stopped. He then pulled off his helmet and gloves as the crew tarped the car. Well, by now, FOX comes back from commercial and shows the logo on the infield, then goes to the Hollywood Hotel for a few minutes. Then they showed in-car of 3 different drivers as they were driving during what gave you the impression was a yellow flag. If you didn’t know like I did, you would have thought that the race had not been red-flagged. So they were showing three TAPED drivers during a previous yellow flag. Then they went to commercial. After about 4 more minutes of ads, they came back and then Mike Joy told us about the red flag and showed the cars tarped. So that was deliberate misleading coverage!
This is on top of the fact they will NEVER show a radar or anything that would allow the viewer to determine if the race will be delayed much longer until the very end.
Hammond had the audacity to say Saturday night he thought they would get the race in………this as it was raining and about 9-10PM at night. Jeez dude! How long do you think all the workers can take doing their jobs out in the elements?
MMMM, no mention at all recently about “how Theresa screwed over Golden Boy”!
Or how about my take?
JR.SUCKS! Theresa knew that and understood Jr.‘s lack of serious commitment to racing!
All one has to do is take a look at how Jr. performs his task, week in, week out, in a top five (5) machine!
PATHETIC! ABSOLUTELY PATHETIC!
You know your stuff!
What up with the harsh comments about Dale Jr.? Did he steal your girlfriend or something? The guy is just doing his job to the best of his abilities given the equipment and people he’s been surrounded with. If he’s not getting the job done acceptably, that’s between him and Rick Hendrick. I’m not a huge Dale Jr. fan, but I don’t hate the guy, and no matter how badly he finishes in a race, it doesn’t cost me one thin dime nor do I loose a minute of sleep over it. Give the guy a break already; unless your name is Rick Hendrick, he doesn’t work for you so no need to be so vicious.
Carl D: Foghat’s original drummer, Roger Earl is still alive and rocking with the rest of the band. Your point is well taken though..“Slow Ride” is well suited for the COT..
Carl(without the D),
Also, since the “scrap the season” tidbit is getting a lot of attention…I haven’t watched 4 races this season now, with this past race being the fourth. This is the first season I’ve missed a race I could have seen since I was 5 years old and I’m 23 now. I’m just apathetic to the whole thing. I have a few Saturday nights booked at a few local short tracks which I am excited about but as far as NASCAR goes I can’t find myself caring.
With all the retro muscle car designs coming out recently, I’ve had fantasies in my head of them racing on the short tracks I’m going to be visiting. I thought about how cool it would be to see a buncha regular guys like myself banging fenders in cars my neighbors have for a trophy. Then I realize that’s what NASCAR was at one point.
At most short tracks they run street stocks and late models among other more racing-oriented divisions, but one track here had a “run what ya brung” night where people would race their street cars. It was always a huge thrill seeing what people could do with a “strictly stock” car. There was nothing to sell for the promoters. We all just wanted to see what our street cars could do and we did. It was quite the show.
Paul F: It was just an observation, however the top ten list was presented in only the most complimentary manner.
Hey Carl D.
Jr., Jr., Jr., all you hear about is Jr.!
Jr. want to “take over” DEI!
Jr. want to be the hero!
Jr. jumps ship to get “good equipment”! (isn’t that his excuse for leaving DEI?)
And what does he do with “good equipment”?
RUN IT AT THE BACK OF THE PACK!
Your: “The guy is just doing his job to the best of his abilities given the equipment and people he’s been surrounded with.”
“Given the equipment and people he’s been surrounded with”?
What the he** is that supposed to mean?
Jr. HAS TOP NOTCH EQUIPMENT!
Jr. insisted that Eury Jr. be his team manager!
Jr. stated that DEI was behind times! (wrong)
Jr. “ruined” DEI because of his attitude! Thankfully Theresa recognized his lack of commitment to racing and let him bail out!
No! I will not let the Jr. thing die! 43+ plus some, drivers out there, and every day you have to read about Jr.!
Remember, Danica = 3rd
Jr. = 40th!
The real talent comes out!
Ain’t this fun?
You left out his Monte Carlo LOL.
Why do you read his column if you dislike him so much? I can’t stand Pete Pistone and do not read anything that NA$CAR suck up writes.
have watched only 2 races front start to finish this year daytona and tally only because i went to daytona for 15 years straight untill the year before dale won and then i quit cause in my book it was overpriced. now i dont watch cause the cot sucks( and yes it does)lead car takes off no one can catch him.go back to stcok cars or before the cot. matt you write a great column contrary to what others say in here. give me classic cars like you say especially mopar cars(cudas, challenegers, etc.) as for jr get rid of tony jr.
Matt said: “my ’76 455 Trans Am and give you the catalytic converter I removed from the car as a keepsake.”
Call me a hippie tree-hugger all you want (I’m not), but by removing the catalytic converter from your street car, you are telling the real enviro-nazis that the current laws are not tough enough to stop you, and so they must write tougher laws that affect the rest of us. Thanks a lot.