Kurt Busch to Attempt The Indianapolis-Charlotte Double
posted by Phil Allaway
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Andretti Autosport announced this morning that Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet in the Sprint Cup Series, will attempt the Indianapolis 500 in a fifth entry for the IndyCar Series team. Once the Indianapolis 500 is completed, Busch will fly from Indianapolis to Charlotte, jump in his No. 41 Chevrolet and compete in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Busch considers the opportunity to do the double as an old-school throwback moment.
“This is really to challenge myself within motorsports,” Busch said in Andretti Autosport’s press release. “Perhaps I am a bit of an old-school racer; a throwback, I guess. I enjoyed the era of drivers racing different cars and testing themselves in other series. It is tough to do now for a variety of factors, but when the opportunity is there, I want to do it. While NASCAR is my home, I have been fortunate to compete in Pro Stock on the NHRA circuit a number of years ago and test a V8 Supercar. This opportunity was a talk with Michael [Andretti] over dinner one night, a “What if,” and now it’s becoming a reality for me to drive in the Indy 500 with Andretti Autosport. It’s literally a dream come true. To go to the famous Brickyard with the iconic Andretti name, it doesn’t get much cooler or better than that.”
Busch will be doing the Indianapolis-Charlotte double as a Memorial Day mission to men and women serving in the U.S. Military via the Armed Forces Foundation. Fans can contribute to the cause by texting AFF to 50555 to donate $10.
Busch, who has never raced an IndyCar, passed Rookie Orientation at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last year during a test session. At the time, Busch was more or less testing the Dallara DW12 for fun.
Busch will be the fourth driver to attempt the Indianapolis-Charlotte double. John Andretti was the first driver to attempt it in 1994. After finishing four laps down in tenth in Indianapolis, Andretti crashed and had engine problems in the 600. Robby Gordon has attempted the double five times, most recently in 2004. However, Gordon failed to make it to Charlotte on time and did not start the 600 in 2000 (P.J. Jones started Gordon’s No. 13 Ford in that instance). Finally, Tony Stewart has attempted the double twice (most recently in 2001) and is the only driver to ever complete all 1100 miles. Neither of the three drivers has won either leg of the double. The best finishes are Stewart and Gordon’s sixth-place finishes at the Indianapolis 500 (although Gordon’s came in 2000, the year he didn’t make it to Charlotte in time to start the Coca-Cola 600), and Stewart’s fourth-place finish in the 2001 Coca-Cola 600.
Danica Patrick, Justin Allgaier Talk About Phoenix Incident
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
A disappointing start to the year for Danica Patrick won’t include continued conflict. Patrick met with rookie Justin Allgaier Sunday, shortly after the Phoenix Cup race after a wreck ruined both drivers’ days. Patrick, who was critical of the No. 51 car on the radio, claiming Allgaier was “driving all over the track” appeared receptive to a conversation that quickly settled differences over what will be a long season.
“She was just upset because she got involved in the crash that we had,’’ said Allgaier to the Motor Racing Network. “She says she’s been through this and that she felt like I needed to settle down at that point. I explained my position on why everything happened. I think she understood where I was coming from. It doesn’t fix either one of our racecars. It doesn’t fix either one of our days. Unfortunately, we were both having pretty decent days.’’
Allgaier wound up 30th due to the incident while Patrick was 36th. The incident, which was caused by Allgaier’s spin also involved the No. 32 team and Travis Kvapil, which wound up 38th after sustaining heavy damage.
Camping World Close to Extending Title Sponsorship of NCWTS
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Marcus Lemonis, CEO of Camping World, Grand Marshal of Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway, and star of CNBC’s “The Profit,” made the announcement over the weekend that the retailer is very close to announcing a deal that would continue its title sponsorship of NASCAR’s Truck Series. The original agreement with NASCAR is scheduled to conclude after the 2015 season.
According to the sanctioning body, no formal contract has been signed, but “the agreement between the two parties has proven to be a beneficial one.”
“In about a month, we’ll be announcing a significant extension to that contract. It’s been great for us,” said Camping World’s Lemonis in a statement. “The NASCAR relationship has worked well for Camping World. When we started, we had 35 stores. Now, we’re up to 120 stores. As we travel the country and we meet new customers in stores, they always are very appreciative of our relationship with NASCAR. It’s been good.”
Gaining a long-term commitment from Camping World to sponsor the Truck Series would be a relief for NASCAR, which is set to lose Nationwide Insurance as title sponsor for the NASCAR Nationwide Series at the end of the 2014 season. The sponsorship of the Cup Series by Sprint runs through 2016.
The NCWTS is back in action on March 29th at 2:30 PM (ET) when the trucks visit Martinsville Speedway in the Kroger 250, which can be seen on Fox Sports 1. Ratings for the season opener were up 11 percent.
Harvick Takes Win At Phoenix In Second Race With New Team
posted by Justin Tucker
Monday March 3, 2014
Phoenix International Raceway has become Kevin Harvick’s home away from home. Sunday Afternoon was no exception as Harvick charged to the front early and would dominate for much of the day, leading 224 of the scheduled 312 laps to record his record fifth win on the one mile oval and his third win in the last four races at Phoenix.
Harvick, coming off of a disappointing Speedweeks which was capped by a last lap crash in the Daytona 500 in his debut with Stewart-Haas Racing, set the tone on Saturday by winning both practices while having the best 5 and 10-lap averages in the first practice of the day on Saturday. On Sunday, Harvick and his No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet was nothing short of flawless as he was able to hold Dale Earnhardt, Jr. by .489 seconds after a late race restart to claim his 24th career Sprint Cup Series victory.
“Man, this is awesome,” Harvick said after his dominant victory on Sunday. “Man, this just solidifies so many things and so many decisions. It’s been so much work with all the time and effort that these guys (the crew) have put in—but what a race car.”
Stewart Haas Racing co-owner Gene Haas shared in Harvick’s excitement after the race.
“It took long enough,” Haas joked. “This is phenomenal. I think there was a lot of skepticism last year about what myself and Tony (Stewart) what we were up to, was there a lot of madness to this. Quite frankly, it’s a great team, there’s a lot of synergy at the shop, people working together. I don’t know what we did, but I think we put together a great organization.”
Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt, Jr. continued his hot start to the 2014 season. Earnhardt Jr. would finish second on Sunday, marking his seventh consecutive top 10 finish since the end of the 2013 season. Earnhardt Jr. was pleased with the effort after a coast-to-coast whirlwind week after winning his second Daytona 500 and also gave great praise to the efforts of Harvick and the No. 4 team.
“I’ve got to congratulate Kevin. Those guys were two-tenths faster than everyone all weekend in practice. They were just phenomenal,” Earnhardt said. “To be able to run with them all day was a big confidence builder for us.”
Joining Harvick and Earnhardt in the top 5 of The Profit on CNBC 500K were Brad Keselowski with his second consecutive top 3 run of 2014 in third. Keselowski’s Team Penske teammate Joey Logano would finish fourth, and Jeff Gordon would come home fifth in his No. 24 Pepsi Max Chevrolet.
Jimmie Johnson finished in sixth, followed by Ryan Newman with a nice rebound after Daytona in seventh. Carl Edwards would carry the banner for Roush Fenway Racing by finishing eighth, Kyle Busch was ninth, and Jamie McMurray would finish tenth.
A look at the Profit on CNBC 500K by the numbers. There were 14 lead changes among eight different drivers, there were eight cautions for 39 laps which slowed the race pace to 109.229 MPH.
Next Sunday, the Sprint Cup Series heads to Sin City and the Las Vegas Motor
Starting Lineup: The Profit On CNBC 500K
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday March 1, 2014
Drivers in RED (i) are those ineligible to collect Sprint Cup points
Daytona 500 TV Ratings Down
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Wednesday February 26, 2014
What was the longest weather delay in Daytona 500 history turned out to bring NASCAR lower ratings and TV viewership Sunday night than expected. According to a report Monday from FOX Sports, the 56th running of the Daytona 500 airing at 8 PM (ET) posted a 5.6/10 national household rating/share which averaged 9.3 million viewers. That’s down 44 percent from last year’s 9.9, easily making it the least-watched Daytona 500 of all-time.
Due to the six-hour, twenty-two minute rain delay in Daytona, the race was up against the primetime coverage of the Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony from Sochi, Russia on NBC (15.25 million viewers). FOX also reported that 69% of the pre-rain delay viewers of the race, which began at 1 PM (ET) kept tuning in.
In comparison, the 2013 Daytona 500 on FOX was the most-watched race in five years, posting a 9.9/22 rating/share, commanding 16.7 million viewers. The Daytona 500 in 2012, the first to ever be run on a Monday and in the primetime slot did a 7.7/13 overnight rating/share which resulted in 13.67 million households viewing the race according to Nielsen TV ratings data.
Earnhardt, Jr. Claims Second Daytona 500 Victory
posted by Justin Tucker
Wednesday February 26, 2014
Ten years is a long time. For Dale Earnhardt, Jr., it felt like an eternity. NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver endured many near misses and close calls at the Daytona 500 since his only win in the Great American Race in 2004. Earnhardt had finished second in two of his last three Daytona 500s coming into Sunday’s race. He was also riding the tail of a 55-race winless streak, dating back to Michigan in 2012.
However nothing would stop Dale Jr. on Sunday, not even a 6 hour and 22 minute rain delay from capturing his second Daytona 500 win. Earnhardt Jr. led a race-high 54 laps on the evening and used some timely drafting help from teammates Jimmie Johnson and, on the final restart, Jeff Gordon to separate from the pack and secure the victory.
“Winning this race is the greatest feeling that you could feel in this sport besides accepting the trophy for the championship,” said a jubilant Earnhardt after pulling into Victory Lane. “We could fight off battle after battle. We got a little help at the end there from Jeff to get away on the restart. This is amazing. I can’t believe this is happening. I never take this for granted, man because it doesn’t happen twice, let alone once.”
Aside from the race itself the big story of the race was the 6 hour and 22 minute red flag, which threatened to move the race to Monday evening (had the race been postponed, FOX Sports’ Chris Myers had tweeted that the race would resume at 5:00pm EST). However, Mother Nature would cooperate and would allow the race to be run under different conditions from which they practiced this week. Once the race resumed, the intensity picked up from the changing track conditions. This allowed the pack to race side-by-side and at times 3-wide up to seven rows deep.
Joining Earnhardt Jr. in the top 5 for the 2014 Daytona 500 were: Denny Hamlin who closed out a spectacular Speedweeks in second, Brad Keselowski in third, Jeff Gordon in fourth, and Jimmie Johnson who overcome two wrecks leading up to the 500 in fifth.
Rounding out the top 10 in the Daytona 500 were Matt Kenseth in sixth, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. in seventh and Greg Biffle would bring his No. 16 Ford home in eighth. Austin Dillon would come home ninth in his first Cup Series race in the iconic No. 3 for Richard Childress Racing, while Casey Mears would round out the top 10.
A couple of major contenders for the Daytona 500 win would see their hopes dashed early on as Martin Truex, Jr. would blow up just 30 laps into the race, relegating him to a 43rd-place finish in his debut for Furniture Row Racing. Crew chief Todd Berrier was already in Nashville for a test session before the race was even over. Kyle Busch, meanwhile would have a pit road violation just before halfway and would spend much of the race battling back from that mistake. Busch would eventually finish 19th after leading 19 laps.
Danica Patrick would also be bit by bad luck as she was caught up in a multi-car wreck on lap 145. Patrick would lead her second consecutive Daytona 500, but wouldn’t have the finish to show for it finishing 40th. Tony Stewart would encounter a frustrating evening as well, with a fuel pickup problem derailing his quest for his first Daytona 500 win. Stewart would finish 35th.
A look at the Daytona 500 by the numbers. There were 42 lead changes among 18 drivers, while seven cautions for 39 laps would slow the race pace to 145.290 MPH.
Next week, the Sprint Cup Series heads to the “diamond in the desert,” Phoenix International Raceway for The Profit on CNBC 500K. The Green flag is scheduled for 3:15pm EST.
Nationwide Series Post-Race Quotes: Drive4COPD 300
posted by Thomas Bowles
Tuesday February 25, 2014
Frontstretch Interviews – Courtesy Mike Neff
ELLIOTT SADLER – FINISHED 4th
Thoughts on the race?
It’s definitely a lot different racing than what we’re used to.
Comfortable with it?
Yeah, it’s just different. You’re worried about what you’re doing, but you’re also worried about what everyone else is doing and they’re not doing more than you’re doing. Physically pushing a guy is way better than just riding so you just gotta time it right and push it to the edge.
Happy to start the year with a top 5?
Yeah. Hell, that was the worst we ran all day, I think. I have no idea how they put the 3 car in front of us on that last restart. I hadn’t seen the 3 car hardly all day. When they put us from fifth to sixth, on the outside line, it just really boxed us in. I would have really restarted behind my teammate and given him a good push to the front. Anyways, it is what it is; we’ll take it and move on.
Looked like you were up front all day.
The guys did a good job. We had a fast race car. Great pit stops, just really proud of these guys. The car’s in one piece and we can take it to Talladega now. Great job by my guys. A lot of effort came into coming down here to Daytona and giving ourselves a shot to win. We had that chance to be up front and make some things happen. Fifth is not what we want, but we’ll take it and move on.
Bumping vs Pushing?
It’s way harder. You don’t want to lay on the guy in front of you, so it’s tough racing. A lot different than what we’re used to, ‘cause you gotta go. You gotta drag the brake too ‘cause you don’t want to hit the guys and you don’t want to stay on him. It’s a lot harder mentally than what we’ve done in the past.
Car was strong all day. Pushing vs. Bumping, is that harder to do than just getting on somebody and pushing them?
Yeah, it is a little bit. When you bump ‘em, you jar ‘em, it kinda jacks ‘em a little bit. It’s a little more abrupt, obviously. I thought it was OK there at the end. It was certainly fun and hopefully entertaining. But a little bit of a struggle in the early part of the race and the midpart of the race to see a good race. And that’s unfortunate for the fans. You can’t do that the whole race, you can’t tear up your stuff, knock your grill in, overheat your motor, all that stuff so there’s no sense in doing all that until you get down to the last lap. The 7 and the 6, they did a good job. Man, the 7 really held the 22 and I tight on the bottom. I was rubbing his door and hitting the apron at the same time, no room whatsoever. So it was good; wish we were the ones who could have won but a lot better now than what we were last year.
Going home in one piece makes it a lot better, right?
Yeah. My back feels good. My foot feels good. Past years here, I’ve been going home with pain so I’m alright.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Truck Series Post-Race Quotes: Daytona (Exclusives)
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday February 22, 2014
When you’re on the outside like that, how frustrating is it?
It’s so hard. Timothy Peters has won here. Kyle Busch has won everywhere. Ron Hornaday has been running Trucks forever, probably before I was even born. I was surrounded by veterans there, and like I told them I don’t have a rookie stripe but I’m a rookie. This is only my fourth Truck race ever, my fourth superspeedway race, and man, I figured out when the 17 got up in front of me, I pushed him. And as soon as I pushed him, he took off. And I went with him. And I just kept doing it, and before I knew it, he was leading. And I saw Ron in my mirror, backed up to him, and if it wasn’t for him, I don’t know what would have happened. I gotta thank him big time for that. That was a true teammate move right there. I really appreciate that. He just bounced off me and we got to the front. I tried my hardest to sidedraft Kyle. I was probably touching his door.
Top 5 in the No. 30 truck. This deal come together at the last minute, but you had a heck of a truck. Tell us about your night.
Yeah, I’ve got to thank Turner Scott Motorsports. The guys worked so hard on this Rheem Comfort Products Chevrolet. Exciting! Just got hung up on the outside and had to wait for my teammate there to catch up. And then he got to the bottom, so… I got the old 32 and started pushing ol’ Ryan to the front. So, it’s not bad. We’ll take it. You just don’t want to step over that boundary. You don’t know how far to push and shove. We bumped about six times down the straightaway without latching onto them. Hopefully, that was OK and we came home with a top 5.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Budweiser Duels Post Race Quotes
posted by Matt Stallknecht
Friday February 21, 2014
BUDWEISER DUELS POST-RACE QUOTES
They’re saying the wheel bearing burned up in it. I don’t know what caused it, they’re taking it all apart to figure out what the heck happened. Something abnormal that’s for sure I don’t think I’ve ever had that happen at all. Hopefully, we made the race and hopefully we can fix the problem before Sunday.
WHAT WAS THAT LOUD BOOM ONCE YOU TURNED INTO THE GARAGE?
Loud pop was a tire… thankfully, it popped, hopefully it didn’t hurt anybody. All the heat created in the left front that popped was pretty weird.
REALLY GOOD RUN. WHAT DID YOU THINK OF IT?
Yeah, it was good. We have a car we can work with for the 500. Got a good starting spot, so we’re going to rest easy, fluff and buff our car for a couple of days and get ready for Sunday.
ANY DIFFERENCE ON WHETHER THE TOP OR BOTTOM LANE WORKED?
Yeah, I was just moving around, trying to stay with the flow. For me, this car works on all parts of the racetrack. So I’m pretty happy with it.
DALE EARNHARDT, JR.
GOT SHUFFLED BACK, AFTER PIT STOPS AND THEN COULDN’T GET BACK UP TO THE FRONT. WHY?
Nah, we were just sitting there waiting until the last few laps to make a move. You didn’t want to pull down and get sent to the back. Seen a couple of guys get sent to the back really quick so we were just kind of waiting for the end. I felt like we had a good situation there with Ambrose behind us — we had a good run off Turn 2 and I went. It was the last lap, time to go do something, nobody went with us but hopefully Sunday is a different story.
We got a great car. We don’t have to work hard. We learned, we got a good race car. Got a car in one piece, ready to go so we’ll try and get through the next couple of practices, deliver it to the starting group this Sunday and we’ll be real happy.
YOU’RE IN THE DAYTONA 500!
Yeah, it’s pretty awesome. This Whitetail Chevrolet was so fast that I knew all I had to do was stick it behind smart, intelligent drafters and we could have a good finish. That’s what we did in the Duels and I’m excited. I’m excited to go do some stuff with the Nationwide car and have some more practice with this. But to know that we’re locked in the Daytona 500’s pretty cool.
YOU WERE OBVIOUSLY IN FRONT OF THAT MELEE AT THE END. WHEN YOU WERE UP FRONT THERE IN THE BEGINNING, WERE YOU HOPING TO JUST STAY IN LINE AND LET YOU FINISH TOP 5?
I was pretty content to ride and luckily I knew a lot of people around us were. It was nice to have a little calm and not really have to be racing hard the whole time. I knew that the pit stop was going to shake everything up and that’s exactly what happened. Fell back a little bit there but made the right moves at the end to get a good finish.
HOW STRONG ARE THESE RCR CARS?
They’re very strong! They definitely have the capabilities to be winning one of these races.
YOU’RE IN THE TOP 5 FOR YOUR HEAT IN THE DAYTONA 500. YOUR PRIMARY CAR IS SITTING RIGHT IN THE GARAGE, KIND OF WADDED UP. DID YOU THINK THIS ONE HAD IT IN IT?
Yeah, it’s a brand new car also. It’s just not quite as good as the primary but still a damned good car. I’m just proud of everybody at RCR for building such fast race cars. All of our cars have been fast, ECR motor’s been strong, even our affiliate teams have been qualifying really good and racing good. So… excited about 2014! It’s going to be a good year.
WELL MAN, YOU STARTED IN THE BACK BUT WORKED YOUR WAY TO THE FRONT WHEN IT COUNTED MOST. WERE YOU JUST BIDING YOUR TIME THROUGHOUT THE RACE?
Eh, you never know if you’re going to get back up there or not. We had to start at the back, we had to make a run early and see what we could do. We drove right to 10th, or something like that and then it got stagnant. We tried to make something happen, and went to the back again. Drove back up to the front. Again, just really proud of my guys. Matt Kruder did a hell of a job on that pit stop getting just enough gas in to gain some spots there.
RCR CARS SEEM PRETTY DARNED STRONG. DO YOU THINK THE RCR CARS HAVE SOMETHING FOR THEM ON SUNDAY — ESPECIALLY THE THREE JOE GIBBS RACING CARS THAT SEEM TO BE THE CLASS OF THE FIELD RIGHT NOW?
Oh yeah. The 20 car was extremely fast. The 11 didn’t qualify that good, but he’s a good drafter. I think he won. We definitely have something for him.
Check in with Matt and Jay on their site at CareyandCoffey.com.
Matt McLaughlin · Monday June 1, 2009
The Key Moment: Coming up on two laps left to race, Jimmie Johnson powered around the outside of Tony Stewart to retake the lead.
In a Nutshell: Ever hear of a Cow-patty sandwich on whole wheat bread? The top and the bottom of the race weren’t bad… but everything in the middle was pretty tough to swallow.
Dramatic Moment: Those final ten laps watching Johnson storm back to the front were about as good as it gets.
What They’ll Be Talking About Around the Water Cooler This Week
The race is not always to the swift, nor the battle to the strong (Ecclesiastes)… but sometimes it is. Just don’t tell Kyle Busch that.
Cynics might guess that Rick Hendrick decided to fix Dale Earnhardt’s problems by repainting Jeff Gordon’s cars in AMP Energy green and giving Gordon the mutts of the litter at Dover.
You have to wonder if NASCAR hadn’t been so liberal throwing those debris cautions, Jimmie Johnson might not have lapped the field.
Doesn’t it seem that all of NASCAR’s severest penalties lately (drug use (Jeremy Mayfield), oversized engine (Carl Long), and toed out rear end (Robby Gordon)) all seem to be aimed at the small teams — not the major players with big dollar sponsors? I’m sure the top drivers and teams are all running squeaky clean programs this year. And I’m sure that Santa is going to bring me a Dodge Challenger RT and an Ultra-Glide for Christmas…
The implications and ramifications of Rick Hendrick’s decision to sack Tony Eury, Jr. as Dale Earnhardt, Jr.’s crew chief this week continue to be the big story. On a personal level, I feel the decision was long overdue and probably should have been made back in the DEI days. The relationship between a driver and crew chief is akin to marriage, and marriage isn’t an institution cousins should enter into unless you want the result to be six-fingered offspring or Brian France. I will say that I don’t admire the position that Brian Whitesell or Lance McGrew find themselves thrust into. It’s like being the first lieutenant off the landing craft in a beachfront invasion … your life expectancy is under a minute. Let’s face it; NASCAR and the networks need Junior to be winning races on a regular basis to restore the sport’s waning popularity. If it doesn’t work out with the new crew chief, it’s never going to be Earnhardt’s fault despite his forthright admissions this week that he’s part of the problem. You can replace crew chiefs dozens of times, nay dozens upon dozens of times, and it will never be Junior’s fault even if they find him passed out at the entrance of his Whiskey River eatery an hour before the race. The bottom line is that those crew chiefs can be replaced… but the sport’s Most Popular Driver can’t be. I continue to think that Rick Hendrick needs to find a way to beg, cajole, or buy Ray Evernham’s acceptance of a spot atop the No. 88 team’s pit box in order to make this experiment work.
Throughout my so-called writing career, I’ve made a conscious decision not to refer to individual races by their sponsored name. It’s the World 600, not the Coca-Cola 600; or the Phoenix Spring race, not the Subway 500 kilometers. I even had to go to the mat with the editors here at Frontstretch to keep that tradition alive. Well, this weekend’s official race title, “The Autism Speaks 400 Presented by Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips and Cheese,” should make it obvious why I do that. Now that’s just silly. Can they even fit a title that long on the trophy?
There’s apparently a move in the works to adopt the system of double-file restarts (wherein the second place driver starts alongside the leader rather than behind him) in the next few weeks. I am excited by the idea, and think it will provide for better racing in the interim period between now and when NASCAR finally fixes or eliminates the New Car. But I’d add a codicil to the rule which I believe is already on the books, at least at the start of the race. The leader should have the choice to start on either the inside or the outside lane on any restart. At a lot of tracks, a driver on the inside line has a decided advantage over a driver on the outside lane where that leader traditionally restarts.
OK, game on. Jeremy Mayfield has filed a lawsuit against NASCAR specifically naming Brian France and Doctor Black and alleging grievous career harm. The suit in fact alleges “malicious” conduct on the part of both defendants in wishing to make an example of Mayfield to further the goals of NASCAR’s drug testing policy. (Which I find personally laudable.) In reading over the lawsuit’s statement of fact, I see a lot of merit in the case, especially when it comes to the method in which the test was conducted and the handling of the “backup B sample.” There’s also a lot of serious questions about how Mayfield was informed of the “failed” results and in comments made by NASCAR employees in the aftermath of this debacle. Once again, I see a lot of the typical NASCAR arrogance in their statements that amount to “it is as we say it is, because we say it is.” There’s a lot more evidence that Brian Zachary France shouldn’t be allowed to run a driveway lemonade stand much less a major race sanctioning body because nepotism isn’t a legitimate business model for succession. Well, friends and neighbors, this one is out of our hands now. The merits of the lawsuit won’t be decided in this column or on an internet message board; it will be decided in a court of law. Keep your hands inside the car, gentle readers — this is going to be a dark ride.
Related to the above, at least the issues are suddenly becoming clearer. The text of NASCAR’s vaunted drug testing policy is now readily available, and it is clearly ambiguous when it comes to over-the-counter and prescribed medications. It recognizes the legitimate use of prescribed drugs while noting that some of them (codeine in cough medicine is cited) can render a driver unfit to compete. I have no argument there. Again, reading between the lines it seems to be that the substance that triggered the positive result in Mayfield’s urine test is a maintenance drug that he takes for Adult Attention Deficit Disorder, a recognized and even somewhat prevalent medical condition. Drugs used to combat AADD contain tiny amounts of amphetamine, more colloquially known as speed. It seems counterintuitive that doctors would give a person who is already hyper speed to calm them down, but due to a history of the childhood version of this disease in my nephews I know this to be the case. The therapy works, and none of my nephews have excelled in track and field or Little League due to their medications. Oddly enough, I do recall AADD drugs being advertised during NASCAR broadcasts as well…
Jeff Burton emerged from last week’s “Town Hall” meetings with NASCAR on how to better the sport, saying that he feels the racing is better than ever and in fact better than the racing in what fans and scribes like to call ‘the good old days.’” I’m reminded of a quote by the inestimable Curtis Turner regarding drag racing. He compared drag racing to masturbation (not the term he used) saying it’s a lot of fun to do but not much fun to watch.
In these troubled times, it’s sometimes a struggle to see the positive side of life. Even the worst pessimists have to give thanks that this year’s aural assault that is the FOX portion of the NASCAR season is finally over. They say this is their ninth season in the sport, though sometimes it feels like this stupidity makes the 100 Year Wars seem like a food fight at a frat house. With FOX’s final signoff, hopefully Digger can finally retire and be inducted into the Animation Hall of Fame as the least loved drawn character ever, DW can continue his perpetual campaign for the position of Village Idiot of Franklin, TN, and Jeff Hammond can finally find his calling as the morning DJ of WKRP out of Helena, MT. Unfortunately, like the swine flu FOX’s season might have left us sickened — but it’s going to be back worse than ever next winter.
By the time you read this, it will be June 1st and sometime today General Motors will file for bankruptcy. What implications that will have for Chevy’s continued involvement in NASCAR racing will have to play out in the next few months. But while June 21st is officially the longest day of the year, I recall another date, June 6th, often referred to as the “Longest Day.” That was the date allied forces stormed ashore at Normandy Beach in a desperate and dangerous landing to preserve democracy for the free world. I have a personal stake in that invasion, having lost three relatives I never met to the slaughter. So what does any of this have to do with racing? We live in troubled economic times. Things are pretty bleak right now, but nothing nearly as bad as what Americans were dealing with one Sunday morning after the attack on Pearl Harbor and the massive damage that attack inflicted on our Pacific fleet. America was thrust into a World War on two fronts, and the bad guys had a decided advantage. Almost overnight GM, Ford, Chrysler and a host of other automakers no longer in business went from peacetime production to a wartime scenario wherein they built the Jeeps, trucks, planes, ships, and bombs that won World War II in support of the citizen soldiers that marched across Europe and went island to island in the Pacific to restore democracy to the free world in the face of tyrants. We as a nation have a debt that needs to be repaid right now. Either that, or the next time the crap hits the fan we’ll have to count on the Koreans and Japan to gear up and produce the materials to win the next World War. Frankly, that prospect makes me sick to the stomach…
When he’s winning, Kyle Busch can be a pretty loquacious guy; and when it comes to getting his digs in on Dale Earnhardt, Jr. who supplanted him at Hendrick Motorsports, the Vile One has a lot to say. But when he finishes a race poorly, suddenly Mr. Busch is in his golf cart and gone without a word spoken. Time to grow up and face the fact that sometimes you win and sometimes you lose, Mr. Busch. To stretch my allotted rock and roll analogies for the week, in the words of the incalculable Mr. Dylan: “Once upon a time you dressed so fine, did the bump and grind in your time, dinchu? People called hey, beware, you thought that they were all kiddinchu… how does it feel?”
The Hindenburg Award For Foul Fortune
Fourth generation driver Jeffrey Earnhardt failed to qualify for this weekend’s Nationwide race in a DEI entry. It couldn’t be his fault. Teresa Earnhardt is at fault! Fire his crew chief! Maybe Tony Eury, Jr. is looking for a new full-time gig? In case you’re wondering, Jeff is Kerry Earnhardt’s son. Kerry was the product of Dale Senior’s first marriage which ended in divorce. His mom later remarried, and his stepdad adopted Kerry. For most of his life, Kerry went by his stepdad’s last name up until the point that he decided to give racing a go. That Earnhardt last name opened a bunch of doors…
Kyle Busch dominated in Saturday’s races, but cut down tires allowed him to once more snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.
It was bad enough a caution flag shortly after he pitted left Jeff Gordon a lap down, but losing another lap under green couldn’t have improved his mood much. Add in the qualifying wreck, and it was a pretty long weekend for Jeff Gordon and his fans. That pain in his back had apparently migrated south a few inches.
It had been a pretty good week for David Reutimann, with his win in the rain-delayed World 600 and a pole at Dover on Friday. He had a decent run going during the race, too, before spinning out late to avoid David Stremme’s stricken Dodge. As it stands written in the Book of Bruce: “Well, they came so far, and waited so long, just to reach the part of the dream, where everything goes wrong…”
Denny Hamlin watched his chances at a win go up in a cloud of smoke when a Goodyear blew so badly the tire manufacturer tried blaming Al Qaeda.
The “Seven Come Fore Eleven” Award For Fine Fortune
Jimmie Johnson fought electrical problems all afternoon, but came away with the victory at Dover anyway.
A pit road collision with Kyle Busch could easily have ended Carl Edwards’ day, but he drove on to a seventh place finish.
It was another good day for Stewart-Haas Racing, with Tony taking over the points lead by finishing second and Ryan Newman posting another top 10 finish.
After a trying weekend of wet weather at Charlotte and the truck race being rain-delayed on Friday, Mother Nature finally showed her benevolent side with spectacular weather on Saturday and Sunday. WPVI’s weather witch must have accidentally locked herself in the basement.
After the disaster at Charlotte, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. must have been pretty well satisfied with a twelfth place finish on the lead lap. You have to learn to walk before you run…
What’s the Points?
Tony Stewart assumes the points lead and has a 46-point gap on former top dog Jeff Gordon, who fell to second.
Jimmie Johnson’s win helped him wrest third spot from Kurt Busch, who now finds himself fourth in the standings, a still manageable 91 points out of the lead.
Ryan Newman had a good points day, bobbing up two spots to fifth. Denny Hamlin had a poor points day, submerging two spots to seventh. Matt Kenseth and Greg Biffle each rose a spot in the standings to find themselves eighth and ninth in that tally right now. They displaced Jeff Burton, who fell two spots to tenth. Carl Edwards and Mark Martin round out the final two spots in the Chase as of now, while thirteenth place David Reutimann is 31 points outside one of those vaunted top 12 points positions.
Halfway through this year’s regular season, the point standings continue to be dominated by the multi-car giants. Rick Hendrick and Jack Roush each have three drivers in the top 12 in points. Both Stewart-Haas drivers, a satellite team for Hendrick, are also in the top 12. Joe Gibbs also has two drivers in it, while the remaining spots belong to Roger Penske’s Kurt Busch and Richard Childress’ Jeff Burton.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. is now eighteenth in the standings, a daunting 215 points out of the top 12. But as Kenny Mayne might remind us, he remains popular. Tony Eury, Jr. … well, not so much.
Overall Rating (On a scale of one to six beer cans, with one being a stinker and a six pack an instant classic) — The final laps of the race were worth a six pack, but enduring the middle 300 laps of the race lowers the event’s overall average to three cans of Natty Bo…a curse Baltimore has foisted on beer drinkers since about the Bronze Age.
Next Up: Cue up the Rod Sterling prologue, because the circuit enters the Twilight Zone in the infamous Pennsylvania Triangle — where a lot of good cars enter but never come back.
©2000 - 2008 Matt McLaughlin and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
Matt, never would i thought i’d be reading an article on NASCAR and stumble across the word “masturbation”, yet when i did i laughed like a grade schooler
i blame the time (5am, est)
Let the rejoicing begin . FOX is gone !!!!
As for Kyle Busch , if it weren’t for bad luck … The guy drives the wheels of of a race car , dominates the races , and then has some stupid problem keeping him from winning . How many races has he led this year only to have a car problem drop him out of the running ? I really don’t have a problem with a driver walking away instead of doing interviews . I watched the race , i saw what happened , i don’t don’t need to hear a sound byte manufactured by the interviewer to hopefully stir up controversy . When the driver is angry , disapointed , frustrated , or all of the above , leave him alone . The choice of whether or not to do an interview should be left entirely to the driver .
The story of the Dover race was Stewart Haas . Tony fighting for the win , both cars in the top five , an incredible feat for any team , much less a new one .
There was one high point in the pre race show . We got to see DW with what appeared to be pigeon poop on his nose during the Homestead nonsense . Now thats a perfect picture to remember him by .
Matt, Another well written article, to bad NA$CAR won’t read it or care.
Hey Matt! So funny!
Yep, NA$CRAP’S “directive” to the media on how to “describe” those “inferior race tire failures”, has done it’s job very well!
Your comment “Kyle Busch dominated in Saturday’s races but cut down tires allowed him to once more snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.”
Are you yet another NA$CRAP schill? (boy that’s an admitted low blow, sorry)
“cut down tires”??
How about telling it like it is?
BLOWN, FAILED, DEFECTIVE, LOUSY!, etc.!
Would be more like it, and glossing over the multitude of “cut down tires” on Sunday cost at least two drivers a good finish!
And a competition yellow because NA$CRAP/GOODYEAR did not trust the tires on the cars?
(from GOODYEAR at least)
Just like calling it like it is!
Can’t wait until INDY!
And as NA$CRAP dictates, just keep repeating “cut down tires”, “cut down tires”, and pretty soon it is in everyones vocabulary!
I love how the press decided that Kyle Busch was way out of line in his Junior comments. Makes one wonder why they can’t stop talking about it. I know that’s not what you were saying Matt, but what’s really out of line? Why was Kyle even asked about it other than to get something for TV?
So Jeff Burton says the racing today is “better than ever”? You know, I remember watching an episode of Glenn Beck’s former show on CNN when he had Burton on as a guest. During the show, Burton said that he had plans to enter politics when his racing days were over. Well, I’m convinced he’s a natural for it. No one but a politician could lie that easily to the public.
Am the only one who is a bit underwhelmed by all the talk about Tony being the first owner -driver to be in the points lead since ’92?
Great driver, and maybe a good owner, but really, comparing Stewart Hass to somebody like Ricky Rudd or Alan Kulwicki’s situations is really disingenous.
Tony simply bought into an existing team and essentially became the 5th & 6th Hendrick outfits on the circuit.
That being said, I was still rooting for him in those final laps yesterday.
Thank goodness FOX is gone. I can ignore Digger, but those Waltrip brothers are so bad they really get under my skin. Thankfully I can MUTE them, but us fans should not have to mute that kind of stupidity!!I can’t believe FOX cannot see this , it’s obvious, and make the changes for us poor fans.
I also noticed Jeff Gordon restarting ahead of cars only one lap down. I too would like an explanation of that.
It happens every week, you just noticed because it was the 24. Most often we don’t know the status of the lapped cars.
Scott Speed/Red Bull, Big Money on the outside looking in is one reason for the seemingly large fines for the smaller teams. Oldsmo Bill, I believe in the laps down lane it does not matter if you are only one or numerous laps down it is the first car out of the pits. As for Mayfield, nascar has implied this was with a recreational drug that he was abusing, if it was for a prescription drug and within “limits” I believe nascar may have a big problem. Is Nascar saying that Jeff Gordan used no prescription pain med’s during or after his back procedure after Darlington (not picking on Jeff).
The argument that we need to ‘repay the debt’ for what GM, Chrysler and Ford (etal)did during WWII is lame.
JMO of course!
All I can say about GM and bail outs is: sooner or later China or some other country is going to start a war with us and our ability to manufacture needed war goods is down the drain! Whom to blame? Corporate incompetent leaders and American people buying foreign products. And it seems to me that ANY company too big to fail, should never have been allowed to get that big!!
WCfan has it right. The lap down cars have their own race off pit road, and whoever exits the pits first gets to line up first in the inside lane. Ken Schrader mentioned that on Inside Nextel Cup a few years ago.
That God Fox is done, but now we move on to the lap by lap reminders or the next episode of The Closer and Saving Grace, and the same commercials for those shows running at least twice during every commercial break. Lather, Rinse, Repeat.<sigh>
TNT…We Know Redundancy!
Dood!? Natty Boh is the shit! How you gonna knock BMore for one of the greatest brews ever made!? You must be a Beast fan…
“General Motors will file for bankruptcy. “
They could have done this last year without taking BILLIONS of taxpayers money.
Good ‘ole GM and apple pie huh?
GM and congress just did a MAJOR “screw you” to America. Thanks.
Glad to be driving my Tundra to work today.
Did anyone notice that, even with those HUGE banners like the Sunoco ones on either ends of the grandstands taking up empty seats, there was still a lot of leg room at Dover.
People buying Toyotas are (one of the many) the reason GM and Chrysler have to file bankrupty, and why Toyota is racing in NASCAR. That, and the unions demanding more and giving back less, and the piss-poor management. Etc, etc.
“The relationship between a driver and crew chief is akin to marriage, and marriage isn’t an institution cousins should enter into unless you want the result to be six-fingered offspring or Brian France.”
“People buying Toyotas are (one of the many) the reason GM and Chrysler have to file bankrupty”
HA! Now THAT’S funny!
“there was still a lot of leg room at Dover.”
Oh, man did it look BAD on TV. Hello? Uh…Nascar?
I’ve been to the past five Dover races (2 a year since ’07) and man, the stands were empty yesterday! I was lucky enough to get a skybox ticket from one of my boss’s clients. You could have sat anywhere you wanted in turn 3. Even with half the seats covered in that turn, there were still a ton of empty seats.
The Unions are finally getting the fruit of their “You owe me more” attitude.
Has Tony really bought into Haas or did he simply lend his name. I was under the impression that he was a de facto owner and not the one writing the checks.