Kurt Busch to Attempt The Indianapolis-Charlotte Double
posted by Phil Allaway
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Andretti Autosport announced this morning that Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet in the Sprint Cup Series, will attempt the Indianapolis 500 in a fifth entry for the IndyCar Series team. Once the Indianapolis 500 is completed, Busch will fly from Indianapolis to Charlotte, jump in his No. 41 Chevrolet and compete in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Busch considers the opportunity to do the double as an old-school throwback moment.
“This is really to challenge myself within motorsports,” Busch said in Andretti Autosport’s press release. “Perhaps I am a bit of an old-school racer; a throwback, I guess. I enjoyed the era of drivers racing different cars and testing themselves in other series. It is tough to do now for a variety of factors, but when the opportunity is there, I want to do it. While NASCAR is my home, I have been fortunate to compete in Pro Stock on the NHRA circuit a number of years ago and test a V8 Supercar. This opportunity was a talk with Michael [Andretti] over dinner one night, a “What if,” and now it’s becoming a reality for me to drive in the Indy 500 with Andretti Autosport. It’s literally a dream come true. To go to the famous Brickyard with the iconic Andretti name, it doesn’t get much cooler or better than that.”
Busch will be doing the Indianapolis-Charlotte double as a Memorial Day mission to men and women serving in the U.S. Military via the Armed Forces Foundation. Fans can contribute to the cause by texting AFF to 50555 to donate $10.
Busch, who has never raced an IndyCar, passed Rookie Orientation at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last year during a test session. At the time, Busch was more or less testing the Dallara DW12 for fun.
Busch will be the fourth driver to attempt the Indianapolis-Charlotte double. John Andretti was the first driver to attempt it in 1994. After finishing four laps down in tenth in Indianapolis, Andretti crashed and had engine problems in the 600. Robby Gordon has attempted the double five times, most recently in 2004. However, Gordon failed to make it to Charlotte on time and did not start the 600 in 2000 (P.J. Jones started Gordon’s No. 13 Ford in that instance). Finally, Tony Stewart has attempted the double twice (most recently in 2001) and is the only driver to ever complete all 1100 miles. Neither of the three drivers has won either leg of the double. The best finishes are Stewart and Gordon’s sixth-place finishes at the Indianapolis 500 (although Gordon’s came in 2000, the year he didn’t make it to Charlotte in time to start the Coca-Cola 600), and Stewart’s fourth-place finish in the 2001 Coca-Cola 600.
Danica Patrick, Justin Allgaier Talk About Phoenix Incident
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
A disappointing start to the year for Danica Patrick won’t include continued conflict. Patrick met with rookie Justin Allgaier Sunday, shortly after the Phoenix Cup race after a wreck ruined both drivers’ days. Patrick, who was critical of the No. 51 car on the radio, claiming Allgaier was “driving all over the track” appeared receptive to a conversation that quickly settled differences over what will be a long season.
“She was just upset because she got involved in the crash that we had,’’ said Allgaier to the Motor Racing Network. “She says she’s been through this and that she felt like I needed to settle down at that point. I explained my position on why everything happened. I think she understood where I was coming from. It doesn’t fix either one of our racecars. It doesn’t fix either one of our days. Unfortunately, we were both having pretty decent days.’’
Allgaier wound up 30th due to the incident while Patrick was 36th. The incident, which was caused by Allgaier’s spin also involved the No. 32 team and Travis Kvapil, which wound up 38th after sustaining heavy damage.
Camping World Close to Extending Title Sponsorship of NCWTS
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Marcus Lemonis, CEO of Camping World, Grand Marshal of Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway, and star of CNBC’s “The Profit,” made the announcement over the weekend that the retailer is very close to announcing a deal that would continue its title sponsorship of NASCAR’s Truck Series. The original agreement with NASCAR is scheduled to conclude after the 2015 season.
According to the sanctioning body, no formal contract has been signed, but “the agreement between the two parties has proven to be a beneficial one.”
“In about a month, we’ll be announcing a significant extension to that contract. It’s been great for us,” said Camping World’s Lemonis in a statement. “The NASCAR relationship has worked well for Camping World. When we started, we had 35 stores. Now, we’re up to 120 stores. As we travel the country and we meet new customers in stores, they always are very appreciative of our relationship with NASCAR. It’s been good.”
Gaining a long-term commitment from Camping World to sponsor the Truck Series would be a relief for NASCAR, which is set to lose Nationwide Insurance as title sponsor for the NASCAR Nationwide Series at the end of the 2014 season. The sponsorship of the Cup Series by Sprint runs through 2016.
The NCWTS is back in action on March 29th at 2:30 PM (ET) when the trucks visit Martinsville Speedway in the Kroger 250, which can be seen on Fox Sports 1. Ratings for the season opener were up 11 percent.
Harvick Takes Win At Phoenix In Second Race With New Team
posted by Justin Tucker
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Phoenix International Raceway has become Kevin Harvick’s home away from home. Sunday Afternoon was no exception as Harvick charged to the front early and would dominate for much of the day, leading 224 of the scheduled 312 laps to record his record fifth win on the one mile oval and his third win in the last four races at Phoenix.
Harvick, coming off of a disappointing Speedweeks which was capped by a last lap crash in the Daytona 500 in his debut with Stewart-Haas Racing, set the tone on Saturday by winning both practices while having the best 5 and 10-lap averages in the first practice of the day on Saturday. On Sunday, Harvick and his No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet was nothing short of flawless as he was able to hold Dale Earnhardt, Jr. by .489 seconds after a late race restart to claim his 24th career Sprint Cup Series victory.
“Man, this is awesome,” Harvick said after his dominant victory on Sunday. “Man, this just solidifies so many things and so many decisions. It’s been so much work with all the time and effort that these guys (the crew) have put in—but what a race car.”
Stewart Haas Racing co-owner Gene Haas shared in Harvick’s excitement after the race.
“It took long enough,” Haas joked. “This is phenomenal. I think there was a lot of skepticism last year about what myself and Tony (Stewart) what we were up to, was there a lot of madness to this. Quite frankly, it’s a great team, there’s a lot of synergy at the shop, people working together. I don’t know what we did, but I think we put together a great organization.”
Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt, Jr. continued his hot start to the 2014 season. Earnhardt Jr. would finish second on Sunday, marking his seventh consecutive top 10 finish since the end of the 2013 season. Earnhardt Jr. was pleased with the effort after a coast-to-coast whirlwind week after winning his second Daytona 500 and also gave great praise to the efforts of Harvick and the No. 4 team.
“I’ve got to congratulate Kevin. Those guys were two-tenths faster than everyone all weekend in practice. They were just phenomenal,” Earnhardt said. “To be able to run with them all day was a big confidence builder for us.”
Joining Harvick and Earnhardt in the top 5 of The Profit on CNBC 500K were Brad Keselowski with his second consecutive top 3 run of 2014 in third. Keselowski’s Team Penske teammate Joey Logano would finish fourth, and Jeff Gordon would come home fifth in his No. 24 Pepsi Max Chevrolet.
Jimmie Johnson finished in sixth, followed by Ryan Newman with a nice rebound after Daytona in seventh. Carl Edwards would carry the banner for Roush Fenway Racing by finishing eighth, Kyle Busch was ninth, and Jamie McMurray would finish tenth.
A look at the Profit on CNBC 500K by the numbers. There were 14 lead changes among eight different drivers, there were eight cautions for 39 laps which slowed the race pace to 109.229 MPH.
Next Sunday, the Sprint Cup Series heads to Sin City and the Las Vegas Motor
Starting Lineup: The Profit On CNBC 500K
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday March 1, 2014
Drivers in RED (i) are those ineligible to collect Sprint Cup points
Daytona 500 TV Ratings Down
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Wednesday February 26, 2014
What was the longest weather delay in Daytona 500 history turned out to bring NASCAR lower ratings and TV viewership Sunday night than expected. According to a report Monday from FOX Sports, the 56th running of the Daytona 500 airing at 8 PM (ET) posted a 5.6/10 national household rating/share which averaged 9.3 million viewers. That’s down 44 percent from last year’s 9.9, easily making it the least-watched Daytona 500 of all-time.
Due to the six-hour, twenty-two minute rain delay in Daytona, the race was up against the primetime coverage of the Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony from Sochi, Russia on NBC (15.25 million viewers). FOX also reported that 69% of the pre-rain delay viewers of the race, which began at 1 PM (ET) kept tuning in.
In comparison, the 2013 Daytona 500 on FOX was the most-watched race in five years, posting a 9.9/22 rating/share, commanding 16.7 million viewers. The Daytona 500 in 2012, the first to ever be run on a Monday and in the primetime slot did a 7.7/13 overnight rating/share which resulted in 13.67 million households viewing the race according to Nielsen TV ratings data.
Earnhardt, Jr. Claims Second Daytona 500 Victory
posted by Justin Tucker
Wednesday February 26, 2014
Ten years is a long time. For Dale Earnhardt, Jr., it felt like an eternity. NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver endured many near misses and close calls at the Daytona 500 since his only win in the Great American Race in 2004. Earnhardt had finished second in two of his last three Daytona 500s coming into Sunday’s race. He was also riding the tail of a 55-race winless streak, dating back to Michigan in 2012.
However nothing would stop Dale Jr. on Sunday, not even a 6 hour and 22 minute rain delay from capturing his second Daytona 500 win. Earnhardt Jr. led a race-high 54 laps on the evening and used some timely drafting help from teammates Jimmie Johnson and, on the final restart, Jeff Gordon to separate from the pack and secure the victory.
“Winning this race is the greatest feeling that you could feel in this sport besides accepting the trophy for the championship,” said a jubilant Earnhardt after pulling into Victory Lane. “We could fight off battle after battle. We got a little help at the end there from Jeff to get away on the restart. This is amazing. I can’t believe this is happening. I never take this for granted, man because it doesn’t happen twice, let alone once.”
Aside from the race itself the big story of the race was the 6 hour and 22 minute red flag, which threatened to move the race to Monday evening (had the race been postponed, FOX Sports’ Chris Myers had tweeted that the race would resume at 5:00pm EST). However, Mother Nature would cooperate and would allow the race to be run under different conditions from which they practiced this week. Once the race resumed, the intensity picked up from the changing track conditions. This allowed the pack to race side-by-side and at times 3-wide up to seven rows deep.
Joining Earnhardt Jr. in the top 5 for the 2014 Daytona 500 were: Denny Hamlin who closed out a spectacular Speedweeks in second, Brad Keselowski in third, Jeff Gordon in fourth, and Jimmie Johnson who overcome two wrecks leading up to the 500 in fifth.
Rounding out the top 10 in the Daytona 500 were Matt Kenseth in sixth, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. in seventh and Greg Biffle would bring his No. 16 Ford home in eighth. Austin Dillon would come home ninth in his first Cup Series race in the iconic No. 3 for Richard Childress Racing, while Casey Mears would round out the top 10.
A couple of major contenders for the Daytona 500 win would see their hopes dashed early on as Martin Truex, Jr. would blow up just 30 laps into the race, relegating him to a 43rd-place finish in his debut for Furniture Row Racing. Crew chief Todd Berrier was already in Nashville for a test session before the race was even over. Kyle Busch, meanwhile would have a pit road violation just before halfway and would spend much of the race battling back from that mistake. Busch would eventually finish 19th after leading 19 laps.
Danica Patrick would also be bit by bad luck as she was caught up in a multi-car wreck on lap 145. Patrick would lead her second consecutive Daytona 500, but wouldn’t have the finish to show for it finishing 40th. Tony Stewart would encounter a frustrating evening as well, with a fuel pickup problem derailing his quest for his first Daytona 500 win. Stewart would finish 35th.
A look at the Daytona 500 by the numbers. There were 42 lead changes among 18 drivers, while seven cautions for 39 laps would slow the race pace to 145.290 MPH.
Next week, the Sprint Cup Series heads to the “diamond in the desert,” Phoenix International Raceway for The Profit on CNBC 500K. The Green flag is scheduled for 3:15pm EST.
Nationwide Series Post-Race Quotes: Drive4COPD 300
posted by Thomas Bowles
Tuesday February 25, 2014
Frontstretch Interviews – Courtesy Mike Neff
ELLIOTT SADLER – FINISHED 4th
Thoughts on the race?
It’s definitely a lot different racing than what we’re used to.
Comfortable with it?
Yeah, it’s just different. You’re worried about what you’re doing, but you’re also worried about what everyone else is doing and they’re not doing more than you’re doing. Physically pushing a guy is way better than just riding so you just gotta time it right and push it to the edge.
Happy to start the year with a top 5?
Yeah. Hell, that was the worst we ran all day, I think. I have no idea how they put the 3 car in front of us on that last restart. I hadn’t seen the 3 car hardly all day. When they put us from fifth to sixth, on the outside line, it just really boxed us in. I would have really restarted behind my teammate and given him a good push to the front. Anyways, it is what it is; we’ll take it and move on.
Looked like you were up front all day.
The guys did a good job. We had a fast race car. Great pit stops, just really proud of these guys. The car’s in one piece and we can take it to Talladega now. Great job by my guys. A lot of effort came into coming down here to Daytona and giving ourselves a shot to win. We had that chance to be up front and make some things happen. Fifth is not what we want, but we’ll take it and move on.
Bumping vs Pushing?
It’s way harder. You don’t want to lay on the guy in front of you, so it’s tough racing. A lot different than what we’re used to, ‘cause you gotta go. You gotta drag the brake too ‘cause you don’t want to hit the guys and you don’t want to stay on him. It’s a lot harder mentally than what we’ve done in the past.
Car was strong all day. Pushing vs. Bumping, is that harder to do than just getting on somebody and pushing them?
Yeah, it is a little bit. When you bump ‘em, you jar ‘em, it kinda jacks ‘em a little bit. It’s a little more abrupt, obviously. I thought it was OK there at the end. It was certainly fun and hopefully entertaining. But a little bit of a struggle in the early part of the race and the midpart of the race to see a good race. And that’s unfortunate for the fans. You can’t do that the whole race, you can’t tear up your stuff, knock your grill in, overheat your motor, all that stuff so there’s no sense in doing all that until you get down to the last lap. The 7 and the 6, they did a good job. Man, the 7 really held the 22 and I tight on the bottom. I was rubbing his door and hitting the apron at the same time, no room whatsoever. So it was good; wish we were the ones who could have won but a lot better now than what we were last year.
Going home in one piece makes it a lot better, right?
Yeah. My back feels good. My foot feels good. Past years here, I’ve been going home with pain so I’m alright.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Truck Series Post-Race Quotes: Daytona (Exclusives)
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday February 22, 2014
When you’re on the outside like that, how frustrating is it?
It’s so hard. Timothy Peters has won here. Kyle Busch has won everywhere. Ron Hornaday has been running Trucks forever, probably before I was even born. I was surrounded by veterans there, and like I told them I don’t have a rookie stripe but I’m a rookie. This is only my fourth Truck race ever, my fourth superspeedway race, and man, I figured out when the 17 got up in front of me, I pushed him. And as soon as I pushed him, he took off. And I went with him. And I just kept doing it, and before I knew it, he was leading. And I saw Ron in my mirror, backed up to him, and if it wasn’t for him, I don’t know what would have happened. I gotta thank him big time for that. That was a true teammate move right there. I really appreciate that. He just bounced off me and we got to the front. I tried my hardest to sidedraft Kyle. I was probably touching his door.
Top 5 in the No. 30 truck. This deal come together at the last minute, but you had a heck of a truck. Tell us about your night.
Yeah, I’ve got to thank Turner Scott Motorsports. The guys worked so hard on this Rheem Comfort Products Chevrolet. Exciting! Just got hung up on the outside and had to wait for my teammate there to catch up. And then he got to the bottom, so… I got the old 32 and started pushing ol’ Ryan to the front. So, it’s not bad. We’ll take it. You just don’t want to step over that boundary. You don’t know how far to push and shove. We bumped about six times down the straightaway without latching onto them. Hopefully, that was OK and we came home with a top 5.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Budweiser Duels Post Race Quotes
posted by Matt Stallknecht
Friday February 21, 2014
BUDWEISER DUELS POST-RACE QUOTES
They’re saying the wheel bearing burned up in it. I don’t know what caused it, they’re taking it all apart to figure out what the heck happened. Something abnormal that’s for sure I don’t think I’ve ever had that happen at all. Hopefully, we made the race and hopefully we can fix the problem before Sunday.
WHAT WAS THAT LOUD BOOM ONCE YOU TURNED INTO THE GARAGE?
Loud pop was a tire… thankfully, it popped, hopefully it didn’t hurt anybody. All the heat created in the left front that popped was pretty weird.
REALLY GOOD RUN. WHAT DID YOU THINK OF IT?
Yeah, it was good. We have a car we can work with for the 500. Got a good starting spot, so we’re going to rest easy, fluff and buff our car for a couple of days and get ready for Sunday.
ANY DIFFERENCE ON WHETHER THE TOP OR BOTTOM LANE WORKED?
Yeah, I was just moving around, trying to stay with the flow. For me, this car works on all parts of the racetrack. So I’m pretty happy with it.
DALE EARNHARDT, JR.
GOT SHUFFLED BACK, AFTER PIT STOPS AND THEN COULDN’T GET BACK UP TO THE FRONT. WHY?
Nah, we were just sitting there waiting until the last few laps to make a move. You didn’t want to pull down and get sent to the back. Seen a couple of guys get sent to the back really quick so we were just kind of waiting for the end. I felt like we had a good situation there with Ambrose behind us — we had a good run off Turn 2 and I went. It was the last lap, time to go do something, nobody went with us but hopefully Sunday is a different story.
We got a great car. We don’t have to work hard. We learned, we got a good race car. Got a car in one piece, ready to go so we’ll try and get through the next couple of practices, deliver it to the starting group this Sunday and we’ll be real happy.
YOU’RE IN THE DAYTONA 500!
Yeah, it’s pretty awesome. This Whitetail Chevrolet was so fast that I knew all I had to do was stick it behind smart, intelligent drafters and we could have a good finish. That’s what we did in the Duels and I’m excited. I’m excited to go do some stuff with the Nationwide car and have some more practice with this. But to know that we’re locked in the Daytona 500’s pretty cool.
YOU WERE OBVIOUSLY IN FRONT OF THAT MELEE AT THE END. WHEN YOU WERE UP FRONT THERE IN THE BEGINNING, WERE YOU HOPING TO JUST STAY IN LINE AND LET YOU FINISH TOP 5?
I was pretty content to ride and luckily I knew a lot of people around us were. It was nice to have a little calm and not really have to be racing hard the whole time. I knew that the pit stop was going to shake everything up and that’s exactly what happened. Fell back a little bit there but made the right moves at the end to get a good finish.
HOW STRONG ARE THESE RCR CARS?
They’re very strong! They definitely have the capabilities to be winning one of these races.
YOU’RE IN THE TOP 5 FOR YOUR HEAT IN THE DAYTONA 500. YOUR PRIMARY CAR IS SITTING RIGHT IN THE GARAGE, KIND OF WADDED UP. DID YOU THINK THIS ONE HAD IT IN IT?
Yeah, it’s a brand new car also. It’s just not quite as good as the primary but still a damned good car. I’m just proud of everybody at RCR for building such fast race cars. All of our cars have been fast, ECR motor’s been strong, even our affiliate teams have been qualifying really good and racing good. So… excited about 2014! It’s going to be a good year.
WELL MAN, YOU STARTED IN THE BACK BUT WORKED YOUR WAY TO THE FRONT WHEN IT COUNTED MOST. WERE YOU JUST BIDING YOUR TIME THROUGHOUT THE RACE?
Eh, you never know if you’re going to get back up there or not. We had to start at the back, we had to make a run early and see what we could do. We drove right to 10th, or something like that and then it got stagnant. We tried to make something happen, and went to the back again. Drove back up to the front. Again, just really proud of my guys. Matt Kruder did a hell of a job on that pit stop getting just enough gas in to gain some spots there.
RCR CARS SEEM PRETTY DARNED STRONG. DO YOU THINK THE RCR CARS HAVE SOMETHING FOR THEM ON SUNDAY — ESPECIALLY THE THREE JOE GIBBS RACING CARS THAT SEEM TO BE THE CLASS OF THE FIELD RIGHT NOW?
Oh yeah. The 20 car was extremely fast. The 11 didn’t qualify that good, but he’s a good drafter. I think he won. We definitely have something for him.
Check in with Matt and Jay on their site at CareyandCoffey.com.
Matt McLaughlin · Monday September 7, 2009
The Key Moment – Kevin Harvick seemed poised to run away with an upset win until a late caution (caused ironically enough by Harvick’s teammate, Clint Bowyer) reshuffled the deck and handed Kasey Kahne the winning hand.
In a Nutshell – On Labor Day weekend within a sport where fans have labored to believe that we’d ever see a good race again, just for one day we all enjoyed a moderately exciting old school race.
Dramatic Moment – When the field took the green flag with eleven laps to go, there were at least a half-dozen drivers who could have won the race; and oddly enough, it wasn’t the Usual Suspects.
What They’ll Be Talking About Around the Water Cooler This Week
How great was it seeing drivers have to manhandle loose race cars and actually drive them again? Kudos to the much-maligned Goodyear rubber company for finally bringing a safe and competitive tire to the track.
Remember that little kiddies’ game where someone hid an object and others searched for it, the player would give hints by saying “you’re getting colder” or “you’re getting hotter” to direct the searchers? Well, NASCAR is getting at least warmer rescheduling the Labor Day weekend race to Atlanta in the Southeast and away from California, where it was an annual disaster and embarrassment. But they still haven’t found the hidden thimble. Always and forever, the Labor Day race weekend deserves to be at Darlington as it had been for over five decades. It deserves to be at Darlington the way Christmas deserves to be observed on December 25th annually rather than moved to the last weekend in May to ensure Snowbelt shoppers better weather and a chance to cash their tax rebate checks to spur shopping. Frasier Crane, once a bit character on the wildly popular Cheers TV program held on to TV superstardom for another decade with his tagline “Hello, Seattle, I’m listening.” The embattled current management team at NASCAR corporate headquarters could send no clearer message they are finally willing to listen to race fans than to move the Southern 500 back to the Sunday afternoon in Darlington where it belongs. This concludes my annual diatribe about the Southern 500, and we now return you to your regularly scheduled programming.
Fans planning to watch next weekend’s Richmond race on TV might consider wearing crash helmets on the couch because ESPN is apparently going to try to beat ya’ll senseless with the “Race to the Chase” sledgehammer. Better yet, head out to the race live. It promises to be a real good race and a real bad broadcast.
A quick note to Kurt Busch: the term “bummer” left the lexicon about the time the dope smoke cleared at Woodstock.
The careers of Matt Kenseth and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. are permanently entwined after their battles for Busch Series titles and Cup Rookie of the Year honors. But there’s a big difference between the 17 team and the 88 outfit (and Earnhardt’s former 8 team.) The 17 team can start a race with a car that’s junk and adjust it to become competitive at the end of the race. The 88 bunch has a habit of taking a competitive car and adjusting it into an also ran. A big part of that is how the two drivers communicate what they need over the radio.
Looks like Doug Yates harvesters are having a little trouble sorting the wheat from the Darnell.
Denny Hamlin’s personal car, a Lexus LS, was stolen from his Lake Norman garage earlier this week. Man, times have changed. I remember a day when a rich, successful, single, young man wouldn’t be caught dead in a four door car that looked like he’d borrowed it from his aging chiropractor.
Race car drivers tend to live on the edge of the envelope. Otherwise, they’re just taking up space or driving the 55 car. (Which might sound a bit redundant.) Occasionally, they might engage in such high risk behaviors as playing Frisbee, which is what Carl Edwards was doing when he busted his foot this week. Tongue in cheek, Edwards even noted what a dangerous sport Frisbee can be and added that his car owner, Jack Roush, told him, “You just can’t go a day without showing everybody how dumb you are, can you?” (I guess it beats Kyle Busch breaking his foot and blaming the manufacturer of Frisbees for his injury.) I’m going to write this one off to karma. Edwards noted he rode a “motorcycle” to the playground where his injury occurred. Usually when one notes that they rode a “motorcycle” that means the two wheeler in question was not a Harley Davidson. After all you have “bikes” and you have “Harley Davidsons.” The latter are produced to stir a good man’s soul to near ecstasy on a perfect late summer’s afternoon while the former are produced to put young people into pine boxes at an early age.
Somebody send Bobby Labonte a can of sterno: I hear it gets cold in the evenings on the scrapheap of history. Anyone else recall that old hippie ballad about staying too long at the fair? Yeah, I’d love to see B-Lab win a race in the 71 car. I’d also like to buy a winning Powerball ticket, I’m just not planning my retirement on either event. (For the record Labonte finished 18th and Eric “Who?” Darnell finished 30th in Labonte’s former Yates ride. David Gilliland who vacated the seat in the 71 car to make room for Labonte finished 19th.)
It would appear that IRL racer Danica Patrick’s “people” are finally talking seriously about their girl dabbling in stock car racing, but the conditions seem to include that she’d only run some events in the Nationwide, truck and possibly ARCA series prior to and after the IRL schedule and she‘d be incredibly well compensated for her hobbyist approach to NASCAR racing. Note to Ms. Patrick. That’s not going to work. This isn’t a little pond like the IRL. This is a great big lake. You can’t dip your toes in here. You either dive in head first and learn to swim or you stay on the porch. Or the Porsche as the case might be.
Yeah, summertime sure has come and gone, my oh, my. This weekend, the jolly fat man in a red suit with a beard made an appearance at Atlanta. Oh, wait a second, that was points leader Tony Stewart promoting artery clogging Whoppers. Santa doesn’t wear sunglasses.
The Hindenburg Award For Foul Fortune
Jimmie Johnson typically hits his stride in the last couple events leading into the Chase but problems with an axle and his differential proved to be a pain in the rearend for the 48 team Sunday night.
One set of tires clearly didn’t agree with the 18 car and its driver later in the event. It didn’t help any that Busch did the usual when confronted with a challenge and became his typical whiny, boy-bitch self on the radio. As hard as his pit crew worked all night they deserved a bit more gumption from their man-child driver. This is Radio Nowhere. Is there anybody alive out there?
First he breaks his foot during the week. Then debris punches a hole through his engine oil cooler. This just wasn’t Carl Edwards’ week.
Kevin Harvick aside, it was another frustrating night for the other three RCR teams.
The “Seven Come Fore Eleven” Award For Fine Fortune
Early in the event, it didn’t look like Matt Kenseth could keep his evil-handling car confined to a 50 acre briar patch. Contact with the wall tore part of the bumper of the 17 car clean off. But the team and driver kept battling and adjusting until they got Kenseth back up into the top 10 though he ultimately backslid to twelfth. At this point he’s still in a points position that will allow him to battle for the title though in an underdog role.
Tony Stewart seemed en-route to another lackluster finish after a dropped lugnut in the pits sent him to the rear of the field. He battled back to a respectable eleventh place finish.
It was a pretty fair weekend for Harvick, with his Nationwide win and a competitive second place finish in the Cup race, especially since the team seemed to indicate that his car was overheating and might not finish Sunday’s race.
Brian Vickers’ chances at making the Chase seemed doomed when he broke an axle exiting pit road. Somehow his team was able to replace the axle without losing a lap and Vickers went on to finish seventh keeping his fleeting title aspirations afloat for one more week.
What’s the Points?
Tony Stewart remains the points leader heading into the regular season finale. Jimmie Johnson’s driveline woes allowed Jeff Gordon to bypass him to take over second in the standings.
Further back, the win propelled Kasey Kahne forward five spots to sixth in the standings and barring an early lap meltdown of Chernobyl proportions by the No. 9 team next week, safely into the Chase.
Greg Biffle tumbled three spots in the standings down to eleventh, 68 points ahead of the cutoff mark. Ryan Newman fell two spots to ninth in the standings.
Juan Pablo Montoya bought himself a little more breathing room, moving up a spot to eighth.
Matt Kenseth continues to be the Chase Cellar Dweller. Call him the Atlantic City Gambling Commission, because he’s hanging on by the skin of his teeth. He’s got a twenty point lead over Brian Vickers, who advanced a spot to thirteenth in the standings and a 37 point lead over Kyle Busch, who fell a spot to fourteenth.
Overall Rating (On a scale of one to six beer cans with one being a stinker and a six pack an instant classic) – I’ll give this one five cans of union produced Peachtree Lager. The last few laps were a bit of an anti-climax but this was arguably the most entertaining Cup race of the summer stretch.
Next Up – The Cup series heads off to Richmond for what used to be one of the finest races on the schedule on what is arguably NASCAR’s best track, the perfect combination of a short track and speedway with three lanes to pass. My fear is that we’ll be listening to the reverse lights of some of the sport’s brightest stars trying to back their way into playoff contention rather than racing for a win and that the blatant corporate bleating on ESPN about the All Singing, All Dancing Chase might ruin an otherwise fine race for the folks at home next Saturday night.
©2000 - 2008 Matt McLaughlin and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
It was Denny Hamlin’s car that was stolen.
last i checked unions weren’t welcomed here in the south.
i think my tv received a different signal. i though the race seemed eternally long. oh well….maybe my attention span is shortening with each passing day. wonder how many of the fans are just waking up at ams. they better hurry up or they’ll be caught in the return home from long weekend traffic that will be hading up i-75 north in a few hours.
matt, i’m so surprised you didn’t mention your heartbreak since your “favorite driver” won’t be at richmond. i know you’re secretly crying cause robby won’t be there.
I definitely think that was a great race, and September is a better fit for Atlanta – the weather was good and the crowd was definitely there and upbeat. But Darlington should definitely still be Labor Day weekend (even if only one race a year there). IMO, this race should go where New Hampshire is now (or Richmond, backing it up a week), and if NHMS deserves two races (attendance-wise it definitely does), the second race could go where Kansas is now and Kansas takes Darlington’s spot in the spring.
I do think an earlier start time – like 7 pm – should be considered for next time though.
As for California, we will find out in October if it deserves 1 race or 0 races. I’d give one of them to Iowa Speedway, and the other I’d send up to Canada (a new track? an Rockingham-like oval in eastern Ontario would be best IMO) after their excellent crowd for the Nationwide race last week.
You ramble too much. Your column looks more like a gossip column for a small town newspaper, than an editorial for Frontstretch. Stay to the point.
The point is Matt’s ‘Thinkin’ Out Loud’. I’d say he stayed to the point perfectly.
Tony’s team isn’t panicking because they’ve been in the typical pre Chase R&D mode since he’s clinched.
Your Next Up comments reminded me of a quote that I read a while ago.
“Ultimately, the Chase for the Sprint Cup has been successful,” NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said. “We had three different winners in five years and it’s fair to say the best team has won each year.
King Brian had this to say.
Politician-to-be? Jeff Burton had this quote.
Here’s a story from a newspaper up here for the DW fan.
Waltrip Threatens To Sue
WOODSTOCK, N.B.—A New Brunswick businessman and long-time fan has been forced to change the name of his tiny memorabilia shop under the threat of a lawsuit by NASCAR legend Darrell Waltrip.
Randy Nicholson, who’s sold NASCAR merchandise since 2001, has been accused of infringing on a trademark that wasn’t registered until 2005.
Borrowing from a catchphrase issued by the Fox Sports commentator at the start of every race, Nicholson called his business Boogity Boogity Racing, then later changed Sportswear.
“I used to like Darrell Waltrip, but I think if I had him hee now, I”d tear out his windpipe,” he said yesterday.
“I’d love for all 11 drivers to be within 25 points of (the leader) myself,” France said. “The reality of it is, that’s sports. There are World Series that are not as exciting as others, that’s just the nature of a dominant performance quite frankly.”
I was so glad to see Bobby Labonte finish way ahead of that no-talent idiot Darnell! Once again, Roush screws over someone (Labonte) by forcing Yates to pull Bobby in favour of a driver that has no business being on the track, and come’s off looking like the total moron he is! When will “The jerk In The Hat” realise that every fan of NASCAR hate’s his guts and want’s him and all his stupid, no-talent drivers gone from the sport! I hope Edwards finnishes last at Richmond and, along with Kenseth and Biffle, misses the Chase! No Roush drivers in the Chase will be perfect! Only Hendrick drivers or a certain Gibbs Driver deserves to win the Championship anyway!
You heard it here first (I think). How’s this for a prediction? HOF racing will align with TRG for the 2010 season. Bobby Labonte looked pretty impressive (relatively speaking) in the 71. It seems that the “new upstart team” TRG has a better program “going-on” than the “used-to-be greats” over at Yates! Since TRG are real pro’s at sports car racing, they can probably “deliver the goods” in Cup, given the right funding. HOF would probably “get the best of everything” from TRG, instead of the “left-overs” like they have gotten at JGR and Yates! If I were TG, I would give it a lot of consideration!
KEEP RAMBLIN my friend, KEEP RAMBLIN!
Heck, your just supplying information, not writing a mystery novel!
Came in from outside, turned on the TV, located the “race” (if one calls it that anyway), a series of ads were on, they went on and on, I then checked the channel once again to make sure I had it right, it was, more ads, THEN they went to a “side by side”, WITH MORE ADS, NOTHING ABOUT THE ON-TRACK “ACTION” (a stretch, but all know what I mean), so after watching this channel for what seemed hours, I simply turned it OFF! And waited until this morning to find out the results!
I mean it was so bad, the commercials were so long (under green flag run), that I ACTUALLY THOUGHT I HAD THE WRONG CHANNEL!
Now what’s wrong with this picture?
And as far as Danica, I just love the fact she is in the IRL, adds some spice to the series, and running what, 5th in points, not to shabby.
BUT! If she joins the “vanilla boys” in NA$CRAP, I see her at about the same talent level, and results level as Jr. (what a backhanded slap at Jr.), around a 20th, or worse driver in the CoT!
Of course, if you could sign a multi-million dollar contract you would jump also! (aren’t there names for people that do things for money?)
And as we all know, it is not about the results, it is how good you look getting into and out of the race car!
(that’s a take off on an old joke)!
Just got home from Atlanta…sorry to those of you that had to watch it at home…GREAT RACE. loads of side by side racing and actually green flag passes for the lead. The track acted like Darlington, chewing up tires…all along turns 1 & 2 was a “Darlington Stripe” In my opinion the best race of the season and the best race since they rolled out the spec car on a 1.5 tri oval…and while it wasn’t Darlington it will do…
Yaknow, in Junior’s defense early in the race he ran..ok.. he was up to something like 20th or 17th at one point then back down in the weeds when they made the changes to the toe(i missed something, did he hit the wall?)
After the changes the car was awesome. Lance and Junior discussed very minor changes on the car(HotPass FTW!) and a minor change made a HUGE difference. last change just didnt work
Hey Mike, your the idiot. What is your problem with a kid who just got his first cup ride? what he should of told Jack, I’m not worthy of taking over for Bobby Labonte. Erik Darnell is a hell of a good racer and he should of had all of David Ragan’s rides. He beat Ragan in his first race when Ragan has had 75 of them.
Mike is always so quick to point out when other people make mistakes, but yet his recaps are always filled with mistakes. Denny finished 6th not 7th. Do you even watch the races anymore Mike?
Sigh..you mean all these years I’ve been riding my BMW on a “perfect late summers afternoon” Ive been missing out on achieving ecstasy by not riding a hog. What a fool ive been!!! Mea culpa!
Bobby hasn’t looked impressive in years.When it’s time to go it’s time to go.His time has come and passed. What’s really sad is to many great drivers hang around way to long and tarnish what was a great career.And none of them seem to learn from even recent examples right before their eyes.