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 21, 2009
The Key Moment: Mark Martin chose the outside lane and managed to hold the lead on the final three restarts to assert his claims as a legitimate title contender.
In a Nutshell: It wasn’t as bad as the NHMS race where Jeff Burton led flag to flag… but it wasn’t much better, either.
Dramatic Moment: The double file restarts throughout the event featured the afternoon’s only real racing.
What They’ll Be Talking About Around the Water Cooler This Week
NASCAR trotted out the twelve Chase contenders for media events in New York City this week again. I scanned online coverage from major news outlets, the network sites, and major sports sites not affiliated with the sport — and found the coverage was virtually nil.
Want to know why the Hendrick cars are dominating at the same time that the Roush cars are struggling? Look at the attitude of the front tires. The Hendrick teams and their associates have apparently found a new front end geometry with the new coil-bound suspension, while the Roush cars are still dialing in huge amounts of negative camber to crutch their Fords.
Starting off the Chase at NHIS is sort of like playing the World Series in the dark. Somebody turn out the lights, I don’t want to see any more….
Is there any more question as to whether NASCAR is about sport or entertainment? When A.J. Allmendinger got spun on the final lap and was sideways on the track, the officials in the tower swallowed their whistles, refusing to throw a caution until the leaders were almost on top of Allmendinger’s stricken car. Ironically enough, it was Dale Jarrett sitting sideways in traffic at this same track that caused NASCAR to change the rules banning racing back to the yellow.
Who were those other 31 guys running out there amidst the Chasers?
Stock car racing on a Sunday afternoon? What a novel idea. I hope it catches on. And maybe, just maybe, they’ll move the starting time back to one o’clock on the dot the way God and Junior Johnson intended it to be. After all, why spot the NFL game and an hour and ten minutes to catch viewer interest before the race even starts?
I wonder what Kevin Harvick went over to discuss with his driver Ron Hornaday after Saturday’s truck race? My guess is it wasn’t the annual Employee of the Year award.
I don’t know if someone at NASCAR decided they didn’t want a guy that looked like Yoda in the Chase or if his PR guy thought it was a good idea, but Mark Martin showed up this week sporting prematurely brown hair in place of that gray buzz cut he’s had for decades.
The Hindenburg Award For Foul Fortune
Kasey Kahne blew an engine just 66 laps into the race, the same week that 60 members of the RPM shop learned they’d be out a job next season. What a coincidence, huh?
Dale Earnhardt, Jr. was having a fine run in fourth when David Reutimann took him out. Hopefully, NASCAR was able to spirit the No. 00 driver out of New Hampshire under cover of darkness in an armored car before he was torn limb to limb.
Tony Stewart seemed to have one of the cars to beat before the axle retainer on the rear of the No. 14 car became askew. (To be honest, that’s a new one for me.) The resultant 55-second pit stop harpooned Stewart’s chances at a win.
Jeff Gordon had a far better car than his fifteenth place finish might indicate.
If Kevin Harvick was unhappy with a third place finish on Saturday, he must have really been pissed after struggling to a 32nd place finish on Sunday.
The “Seven Come Fore Eleven” Award For Fine Fortune
After suffering overheating issues following hard contact on pit road, Kurt Busch was still able to finish sixth.
Problems in the pits sent Kyle Busch back in the field, but he recovered well enough to finish fifth. Busch was also fortunate to narrowly avoid the spinning car of A.J. Allmendinger under the ninth caution period. Editor’s Note: The No. 18 car did fail post-race inspection for reportedly being too low. Expect penalties to be forthcoming sometime this week.
Brian Vickers lost a few lugnuts in the pits, but recovered from falling as far back as 30th to finish eleventh.
What’s the Points?
What’s the points? The points are all screwed up because of the realignment travesty after last week’s race at Richmond. Mark Martin retains his points lead by 35 points over Jimmie Johnson and Denny Hamlin, who are tied for second. Juan Pablo Montoya moves up seven spots to fourth in the standings, while Kurt Busch jumped up two spots to fifth.
Tony Stewart fell four spots to sixth in the standings, while Ryan Newman climbed two spots to seventh and Brian Vickers held serve in eighth. Greg Biffle now holds ninth outright, but is already 92 points behind Martin one race into the Chase.
Further back, Jeff Gordon also fell four spots to tenth in the standings, while Carl Edwards dropped two spots to 11th. The big loser was Kasey Kahne, who stumbled seven spots to 12th.
Kyle Busch maintains his “best of the rest” status, 13th in the points.
Overall Rating (On a scale of one to six beer cans with one being a stinker and a six pack an instant classic) — We’ll give this one three cans of six, about average for a NHMS race. The late-race cautions spiced things up just enough to wake fans from their stupor.
Next Up: It’s off to the White Cliffs of Dover, sort of a supersized Bristol. You want fries with that?
©2000 - 2008 Matt McLaughlin and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
If you didnt like that race, I dunno what to tell you. It wasnt an instant classic, but it certainly was no snoozer, either. And I agree with you on NASCAR’s failure to throw the caution flag soon enough after Almendinger spun at the finish line. Obviously, they were hoping he would get the car fired up and going in time so they could have a green flag finish. But they should have thrown the yellow as the cars entered turn 3, not turn 4. The racers were still going way too fast and might have hit Almendinger or other cars who were swerving to avoid him.
In other news, I purchased my Fontana tickets on Saturday. I have three friends going with me, and we’ll be sure to stop at Bed Bath and Beyond on the way to the track to stock up on pillows. LOL!
I agree with Kevin in Socal. There are some races Matt has his mind set that he will not like no matter what. It had all the things he praises Darlington for, but because of the location it’s instantly “boring.”
Have fun in Fontana next year. Don’t worry, Matt already has his review written for the race. He just has to fill in some names and dates and it’s set.
I’m with Kevin on this one as well. It wasn’t an edge-of-your-seat thriller, but there was some pretty good racing going on, just not for the lead. Watching Hamlin and Montoya duel it out for lap after lap was pretty exciting, especially when you consider the fact that neither of those drivers will hesitate to move someone out of the way.
We can scratch our first driver, Kasey Kahne, from the Chase. No big surprise there.
These mystery debris cautions are just too frequent to be legit. A shadow is not debris. However, A.J. Allmendinger’s car WAS debris, and that caution flag, as Matt pointed out, was thrown way too late.
Keep Rollin’, Mark. Old Guys Rule!
Nice conspiracy theory on the shop blowing up the 9’s engine. How come they forgot to do the 19? Maybe you can expound upon that after you’re finished looking for the black helicopters.
Hey, Kevin, have a great time in Fontana. I was at NHMS yesterday (along with a totally jammed grandstand of 101,000 friends)and had the usual awesome time.
Of course Matt and the slugs that march in lockstep with his slam-the-sport viepoint haven’t been to a race in years, so they are clueless of what they are missing.
It’s interesting to read the responses to articles and then relate them to conversations I have with some of our much youngers car club friends. We think Robin Williams is hysterical, they don’t. They think Drew Carey is hysterical, we don’t. We like Boston Legal, they like The Office. I realize we’re in the minority because guess which one is still on the air. Just because someone doesn’t find a race you liked interesting or isn’t enthralled with a track you think is awesome doesn’t make them any more or less than you. It’s an opinion. We went to the Southern 500 at Darlington every year. It was wonderful. We loved it and we miss it. Because of that, any other track that carries a race on that weekend will suck in my book.
And Jim, I am not a slug if I agree with Matt’s point of view. I have been to races every year, so I do know what I’m missing. I miss it first-hand. I don’t understand why readers can’t comment without name calling or trashing those they disagree with. Didn’t your parents raise you better than that?
Sorry for the crosspost, but a few points I made should go here.
I was at the race…
I wish TV would show the debris when these cautions come out so the conspiracy fans would get a grip. Though I’m sure they’d probably then say NASCAR put it there.
Having been there to see all of the cars whenever I wanted to, I can tell you there was a fair amount of exciting racing going on, though from time to time things got strung out. Nothing beats being there. TV just can’t capture it. Or at least ESPN/ABC can’t. We got plenty of updates and shout-outs about the non-Chasers too. Matt, have you ever actually BEEN to NHIS/NHMS to see a Cup race? I’m curious because what you post is generally the complete opposite of the opinions of those of us who go to races there.
As for a sellout – from what I could see, it was close, maybe they did sell or comp away all the tickets, but I saw a few empty seats. There weren’t empty patches though, the folks were spread out fairly thick with empty sets sprinkled through the crowd. I along with a few groups around me had extra tickets that we didn’t give away so we had room to spread out in the stands! :)
I can say that after the race, walking for a mile through the huge crowds of folks, I heard a lot of happy and excited people and no griping (that seems to stay on the Internet). And one of my group, a first timer, can’t wait to go again – she loved the colorful yet friendly crowd, the exciting racing, the general atmosphere. It was a beautiful day, and I had a blast too. And no amount of Internet whining can top that.
Sorry, Ann, but Matt’s “opinions” are preconcieved slams at NASCAR in general and all tracks that are not located within 250 miles of Charlotte in particular.
He (and his followers) trash the competition on the track ad nauseum, while failing to acknowledge that the racing today is so much closer and better than in the days gone by that he pines for…check out the “this day in NASCAR history” page in NASCAR.com sometime, and look at the races won back in the day with one car on the lead lap…wasn’t all that long ago.
He complains bitterly about the newer tracks near population centers. He doesn’t say that if the sport was still confined to the Rockinghams, Wilkesboros and yes, Darlingtons of the world, then there would be no TV contracts. Which would mean he wouldn’t be able to see the races. Which means he wouldn’t be able to write a column every week.
Is the sport perfect? Of course not. All I ask for is a little fairness and look at each week with a fresh set of eyes instead of the preconceived notions.
I don’t think I was specifically referring to you, but I’m sorry I called you a slug. Have a nice day
Mike in NH – sounds like you had a blast. I gotta say, watching it on TV, the middle part of the race was a bit boring, but the end of the race had me on the edge of my seat, much like the CWTS race on Saturday.
Kevin in SoCal – I got my Fontana tickets too. But first, this weekend, heading out to Vegas for the Truck race with my father-in-law. Going to be a fun couple of weeks!
Any race where Jr is running up front is a good race and yesterday was a very good race.
That’s not true. All the races WERE being televised (mostly on espn) while the Rockinghams, Darlingtons and North Wilkesboros were still on the schedule. I understand where you are coming from but I believe by 1990 all the races were being televised. Therefore, whatever the NASCAR racing world looked like in 1990 was the minimum requirements needed for broadcasting interest.
Sorry for hogging all the space here, I have the day off…
I like to think about what would have happened if NASCAR had stayed east of the Mississippi and between Daytona and Pocono/Watkins Glen.
I know that most of the races were televised in 1990 or so, (TNN used to do a good job, too), but look at ESPN then(no NFL, no MLB and very little NCAA)and look at them now. At best, I think the series would be televised on something like Versus at best if the geographic expansion never happened.
Nationwide/Busch would be dead, and the trucks would never have gotten off the ground.
Guys like Schrader and Elliot and Marlin would probably still be racing (not a bad thing), because they never would have been able to cash in on a big payday, but guys like Hamilin probably would not have been able to crack the series because the old timers would be hanging on.
Just my opinion, it’s fun to think about…
Usually, I agree with about 75% of your commentary. Not on this one. This was WAY better than any other NH race I’d ever seen. It wasn’t classic (or “epic” as my kisd like to say), but thought overall, this race was pretty darn good.
The much-maligned track up in Loudon is a fantastic track that puts on a great show from time to time. I’m glad that a lot of the fan response here has been good; although New Hampshire isn’t prone to “instant classics,” (although Nemechek beating out Stewart for the first win comes close and Hamlin holding off Gordon by a couple of feet was memorable) it’s able to put on a pretty good race more often than it gets credit for. Mike in NH, you’re lucky to get up there from time to time, as Loudon is just a nice track in a great part of the country; going up there as a kid more than ten years ago made me the fan I am today.
I usually agree with you, Matt, but you tend to be dead wrong twice a year. Maybe you think racetracks should have high banking, and if that’s the case, I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt. I think the racing is best when all the drivers are sliding around on a flat track, and seeing moves like Montoya using Burton’s car to help him turn out of 4, both cars sideways, and both guys saving the car… it doesn’t get much better than that.
What race were you watching? There was plenty of action, lots of side by side and passing. I guess you think they should runonly on 1.5 mile cookie cutter tracks? And their decision on the Dinger spin was right on! I wish they would try harder to get green flag finishes.
Uh, Bill B. that was Baseketball, not Dodgeball.
The race had plenty enough exciting moments to keep the casual fan (me) occupied and interested, and keeping ABC as my main channel, surfing away only to check the NFL scores.
And who can resist the story of the season – will the “old guy” git ‘er done?
Going to the race and scanning 10+ drivers changes your perspective on how good the race is. You get to see and hear all the action TV misses. If Mike’s right, it’s only about the TV, because being there was great. And New England has some of the most hardcore grassroots fans anywhere!
In the same way some fans don’t understand or like road courses, flat track racing is a breed of it’s own. It takes as much throttle and brake control as a road course. This doesn’t always lend itself to great high speed passes but watching what the drivers are doing to control their cars, outside of a high banked punchbowl, is great racing. It’s what sets itself, like road courses, apart from all the other tracks. That’s why I love Martinsville. Two dragstrips connected by four corners with very little banking. It puts it more in the drivers hands. Unfortunately, ya gotta be there. Television will ever be able to capture the true racing.
The Problem with NHMS is TV. I go twice a year to the Cup races and from the stands, where you can watch what you want, it is a great place. Most of the boring in NHMS comes from the drivers themselves. Most just phone in the first half of the race. Yesterdays included. But take this past June, with the black clouds in the North East sky all day the drivers where racing every lap knowing the race would not go full term, and the racing was fantastic. So you can’t blame the track that much. Matt is just a nattering nabob of New Hampshire Negativism. He does not even know Montoya was 3rd and Hamlin 2nd. But he is the expert. I can fix TV cover in an instant, have PRN cover it and have the cameras point at whatever they are talking about because they are stellar.
Is Spiro Agnew in the house??? Calling Mr. Agnew!!!!