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 October 19, 2009
The Key Moment: Jimmie Johnson prevailed in a spirited side-by-side battle with teammate Jeff Gordon after the final restart.
In a Nutshell: This is getting rather formulaic. Three and a half hours of mind-numbing tedium with the driver up front running away with the race, a flurry of late cautions, and twenty minutes of excitement.
Dramatic Moment: That final battle between Johnson and Gordon was the sort of stuff that makes the highlight reels.
What They’ll Be Talking About Around the Water Cooler This Week
If the drivers are only going to race wide open for the final 25 laps, why not condense all the races to 25 lap shootouts?
Jimmie Johnson doesn’t have this title in the bag yet (Talladega might tell the tale) but it sure as Hell is his to lose. Meanwhile, Johnson might want to spend some of the big bucks he earned Saturday night to take his pit crew to dinner. Their lightning fast stop to get him off pit road ahead of Kasey Kahne by a few inches probably cemented the win.
Now that Lowe’s isn’t the title sponsor at Charlotte anymore, will they allow someone other than Johnson to win a race?
Want to help your first-grader learn to be a NASCAR writer down the road covering the Chase? Spend this week teaching them to spell “anticlimactic.” Then advise them to get a real job.
Denny Hamlin was the latest driver to give a less than glowing review of the Chase championship format. It seems only the drivers who are leading in the points seem to like it much. Go figure.
Was Chad Knaus really expressing frustration when the eighth caution flew while Jimmie Johnson was leading, or had he joined a majority of fans and fallen asleep watching the race?
Since so many folks commented on the crowd at Fontana last week, it’s only fair to take note of the huge swaths of empty seats at Charlotte, some of them hidden beneath advertising banners. Temperatures in the 40s and a threat of rain didn’t help out with the walk-up ticket sales, but when a track in the very heart of stock car country can’t sell a decent amount of tickets something is bad wrong with the sport.
The first NASCAR Hall of Fame class didn’t include David Pearson and Cale Yarborough, but did include two members of the France family that owns the joint, as announced by another member of the France family. If it’s any consolation, by the time Brian France is voted into the Hall it will be cockroaches casting the votes. As far as I’m concerned, the initial class destroys the legitimacy of the Hall as a legitimate Hall of Fame and leaves it, with all due apologies to Tom Robbins, Just Another Roadside Attraction. I’ve crossed it off my travel plans until they have Hooters girls washing Harleys in the parking lot free.
How to tell you’re an aging NASCAR fan – You hear Martin Truex is running the “DJ Hero” car at Charlotte and think it’s a tribute to former champion Dale Jarrett. (Apparently, it’s actually a video game – the less said about that, the better.)
This whole Transformers promotion is over now, right? Every time they mentioned that whole deal I felt a little barf trying to exit my nose. I guess this whole Optimus Prime thing appeals to folks who still express their occupation as somethingth grade.
I doubt it’s an honor he’ll covet, but apparently Casey Mears is going to be the first driver ever to be let go by Chip Ganassi, Rick Hendrick, and Richard Childress. Mears has driven for Target, Texaco, the National Guard, Carquest, Kellogg’s, and Jack Daniel’s.
There was some talk a few years back when NASCAR and the tracks couldn’t keep up with ticket demand or the TV ratings about splitting the Cup series into two divisions, one running on the Left Coast and the other on the Right Coast. How about this? We have one division for the Rick Hendrick-owned and affiliated teams, and another for everyone else. That ought to restore some drama to at least one series title fight annually.
The Hindenburg Award For Foul Fortune
Juan Pablo Montoya had top 5 finishes in the first five Chase races. Saturday night, he certainly did not. (He, in fact, finished 34th, his worst result of the 2009 Cup season.) Montoya had a strong car that might have contended for the win and almost certainly would have had a top 5 result before he got caught up in a chain reaction crash with Mark Martin on a restart that shredded the right rear quarterpanel. And for future reference, his team might want to reconsider their strategy of affixing a replacement quarterpanel to the car with library paste (it later fell off, causing another caution and a second set of repairs). Thankfully, he was sponsored by Lysol because Montoya’s weekend at Charlotte stunk.
The contact with Montoya didn’t do Mark Martin’s Chevy any favors, either. Martin’s outside pole-sitting competitive car had a hole punched into the grill area that had to be battle-field surgery repaired to a degree the barbarian bodymen at Earl Sheibs would have been embarrassed to sign off on.
A transmission failure ended a thoroughly frustrating night for Dale Earnhardt, Jr., who must be considering running off to join a cloistered monastery after this season.
Denny Hamlin had a competitive car before the engine went south. Combined with last weekend’s wreck while leading, Hamlin’s title chances are now officially off life support. Hopefully, Hamlin’s Consolation Prize Chase check will arrive by Fed Ex so he can spend the offseason on his front porch, chasing away car thieves determined to abscond with his new Lexus.
You have to wonder if Carl Edwards clutched his engine just to blow up the No. 99 car, as hapless as his efforts were Saturday night. He ran better when he was on crutches.
Greg Biffle got caught up in a late-race wreck not of his own making for the second weekend in a row. With the amount of time the No. 16 car has spent in the grass lately, maybe Jack Roush ought to try to renew the John Deere sponsorship deal.
It must be a tough year to be a Blue Oval fan. It’s now been 29 Cup races since a Ford posted a victory. I think the last time that happened, they were still starting the race cars with hand cranks in the radiator.
The “Seven Come Fore Eleven” Award For Fine Fortune
Jimmie Johnson won the pole, led both practices, led the most laps, won the race and obviously held onto the points lead. It’s hard to have a much better weekend than that without having Heather Locklear invite you to room with her for the Monterey Historics.
Kasey Kahne suffered an ignition failure exiting the pits, but had the presence of mind to switch to his backup ignition box instantly. He never even gave up the lead. Smooth. Last week, all four Richard Petty Motorsports cars were wiped out in a single wreck and failed to finish the race. This week, Kahne looked like he might win the race. That’s one nice thing about our sport: the elevator from the outhouse to the penthouse is express. Unfortunately, the ride back down can be just as quick.
Last week at Fontana, Kyle Busch had the flu. This weekend, he flew to a dominating win in Friday night’s Nationwide race. Some folks were worried that Busch had the swine flu. I figure that’s like a hen coming down with chicken pox. On Saturday, Busch spun his ill-handling car to bring out the fifth caution, but he rallied back to finish in eighth.
When Joey Logano overshot his pits, it looked like another long night for the sometimes hapless rookie. Somehow, he maintained his composure, missed all the wrecks, and went on to finish fifth.
With the kind of season RCR has been enduring, having two drivers in the top 10 (Bowyer in sixth and Mears in seventh) offered a rare glimpse of sunshine during a night race.
What’s the Points?
Pretty obviously, Johnson is still leading the points. He’s now gapped second place Mark Martin by 90 markers.
Jeff Gordon advanced two spots to third, but is now 135 points behind Johnson. Tony Stewart holds serve in fourth. Of note, perhaps, is the fact that currently the top four teams in points are all either owned by Rick Hendrick or affiliated with his organization. And these are the last four drivers with any legitimate title aspirations this year.
Kurt Busch moved up a position in the points to fifth.
Juan Pablo Montoya took the biggest hit at Charlotte, tumbling three spots to sixth in the standings. Greg Biffle stays seventh, while Ryan Newman and Kasey Kahne each advanced two spots to eighth and ninth, respectively. Conversely, Carl Edwards and Denny Hamlin each fell two spots to find themselves tenth and 11th in the standings, with Brian Vickers bringing up the proverbial Chase rear in 12th.
Matt Kenseth once again wrested away “Best of the Rest” honors from Kyle Busch and is now 13th in the standings.
Overall Rating (On a scale of one to six beer cans with one being a stinker and a six pack an instant classic) — This one gets a single can for the majority of the evening, and three hastily guzzled Coronas at Closing Time. Closing time, every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.
Next Up: NASCAR’s near future includes a blast from the past, the tiny Martinsville Speedway, short on asphalt but long on history. A valid argument could be made that Martinsville is the last real stock car race of the season.
©2000 - 2008 Matt McLaughlin and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
Matt, There has not been a Chevy, Ford, Dodge or Toyota to win a race in the Cup series since the inception of the COT. Please stop the lie that the Nascar spec car has anything to do with the manufacturers, other than a set of decals and an engine built by the manufacturer to a set of Nascar specs.
I had a buddy here at college catch the end of the race with me and luckily for him it was the part where…ya know, there was racing. Anyway, he commented on the Fords “…not really being Ford Fusions…” and laughed at the idea that the Chevys were “…actually Impalas…” and scoffed at the idea of “…a Dodge Charger is actually racing?…”. I explained to him how they used to actually race stock cars and he, having never seen a stock car race, said, “Now THAT would be sweet to watch.” Anyway, thanks again for the commentary and wit Matt.
Boy this Chase format really makes for a close championship race. The way I see it, we’d be in about the same position now as we would have been without resetting the chase. Although I am sure Tony Stewart would disagree.
your “ it’s only fair to take note of the huge swaths of empty seats at Charlotte,”, I was actually thinking maybe the printer of the tickets made a mistake and printed Sunday’s date on them!
IF I WAS NA$CRAP I WOULD BE EMBARRASED! (darn, guess we have been down that silly road before), you have to have pride in the first place to ever be embarrased! Sorry!
Ahh yes, what can one say about “The Chase”?
After all the hullabaloo about “re-setting” the points, and after only five (5) chumpionship races, there are only two (2) cars still in the hunt!
WOW! What an idea, lets re-set the points after 26 races to make things “tighter”!
And your comment: “by the time Brian France is voted into the Hall it will be cockroaches casting the votes.”
MMMMM, can one vote for himself?
The endless stupid argument I always hear in defense of the Chase is that “it’s boring when someone gets a big lead!” Well, it looks like we need to add a second Chase with five races to go now, because it’s boring when someone gets a big lead. And if that doesn’t work, add another points reset with two to go.
guess i’m an old fan…i was trying to figure out why truex was having dj on his car. took me a bit to figure out it was some game.
so by turning off tv at 10:30 i missed the only “race” of the race. but alas, it was between two hendrick cars.
i would have been a walk up attendee. i was going to head to charlotte saturday am, but georgia was cold enough, and showers were forecasted. i’ve spent too many cold rainy days/nights at tracks over the past 30 years. glad i didn’t go. of course discovering who was on pole was major factor i didn’t go. sure wished i could pick the winning mega million lottery numbers like i can winners of these races.
do you seriously think jr knows what a cloistered monastery is?! so what else is new, he has no confidence in his team. wonder what the team says about him behind his back. at least they don’t air their laundry on national tv and print.
nice to see the widow earnhardt make her annual visit to a track. i’m sure she left by time the first caution came out. sorry, i feel they elected dale to the hof to sell tickets and have folks spend their hard earned coin on that place. even in death dale has influence over na$car, and the money hungry france family knows that.
Well, for two weeks in a row LARGE numbers of people forgot there was a race. I was surprised when I tuned in for a short while and saw that the Charlotte grandstands, like Fontana, were virtually empty. NASCAR is in a downward spiral from which it may never recover. Someone go ahead and shoot it.
Spec. racing killed ASA,spec. racing killed IROC, spec. racing is and will kill nascrap!! Enough said!!
Another boring race won by the same boring, cardboard driver, driving for a convicted felon. All of this prefaced with the France family crowing themselves with being kings of the sports entertainment industry with two of their family members in their hall of fame. I can’t wait for next year when J.C. France (recently arrested for drug charges) beats out Cale Yarborough and David Pearson. It will further legitimize the family business. As for the race, I guess I can consider myself lucky as I was driving home and could not pick it up on the radio until the last seventy laps or so. On the bright side, we are only a few races away from when super bone-head himself, Michael Waltrip, finally gets out of the car. Do you think he will ever realize he was only in cup racing because of his brother? Also, are we getting closer to clearing out some other drivers who should not be in cup cars? McMurry, Mears, Stremme, and Sorenson all appear to be on the way out. Elliot Sadler can’t be far behind. I guess he would of already been given the boot if he did not have a good lawyer in dealing with Gillette before the start of the season. Sorry to be so euphoric and positive but we have so much to look forward to the rest of the season.
Let’s see…..to sum it all up….I bet..there are 42 teams out there who can’t wait for the season to end so they can contact NASCAR and see if there’s a chance they might lift the 4 car rule..so they can ALL race for Hendrick! There is one team who can’t want to see the season end (before NASCAR finds another over the top tolerance and ACTS on it this time)! There are at least 8 start and park teams who hate to see the season end (thus an end to their cash cow). There are scads of reporters and media types who can’t wait to end this..coming up day after day trying to get us all to “go ahead..drink the kool aide” and running out of ANYTHING interesting to say. There are track owners who want this infernal season over..the loss of income has to be killing them..they can make more by opening up their track for weekend flea markets. AND how about the television coverage..I know ESPN and ABC must be thinking..“and we bypassed football for this??!!”. And FOX must be thinking..hmmm how do we get out of next season’s coverage?? There are people who didn’t lose their jobs this year who are thinking..“geez this isn’t looking good for next year..maybe I should plan ahead and get that GED or college degree or job at the A&P or the Quickie Lube so I will have a job next year”. AND then there are us fans..the ones who watch each week..the prerace coverage..the race..and the postrace coverage..and when it’s over..and on to the next race..we wonder…“geez..I’ll never get that wasted time back”! The sad thing in this all is I really enjoy the races..well I did..and now I find myself flicking channels back and forth during a race..and I know I am not alone. So..my question to all my “summing up” the season is to NASCAR…“How’s this working for you?”….for me..and lots of fans…not so good…
Quote from “Janice: “nice to see the widow earnhardt make her annual visit to a track. i’m sure she left by time the first caution came out. sorry, i feel they elected dale to the hof to sell tickets and have folks spend their hard earned coin on that place. even in death dale has influence over na$car, and the money hungry”!
MMMM, was that a slap at theresa? have you seen what her “ex-driver” has accomplished this year? You know, the very same driver that dissed DEI because they (APPARENTLY) could not supply said driver with decent equipment?
You know the one I’m talking about, the guy in what 21st/22nd place in points? The NON-PERFORMER! The one that said he was being held back by DEI?
And you still rag on Theresa?
And are you saying the Sr. does not deserve to be in the HOF? (such as it is anyway)
Hey Turnip, you have to admit Ms Teresa has not gotten the 42 car into the chase, I believe it is HER co-owners that now put out the cars in THEIR buildings not hers. She is now the sole proud owner of the DEI museum, hadn’t you heard?
Hey Marilyn, the 42 car is still a DEI car. So in my estimation She, Theresa, did what it took to make things better at DEI! After all, the 42 car is in the chase! A DEI car.
Come to think about it, so are teamates of the under-achiever called Jr. those cars are the 24, the 5, the 48, ALL identical to what the playboy drives!
But then again, all Jr. wants to do is complain, rather than drive the silly race car!
Jr. HAS the VERY BEST in equipment, has had for a few years now! He just can’t drive em’!
I decided to watch the Alabama/South Carolina Football game Saturday night. It was actually a pretty good game. I switched over to the race during the halftime, and guess what? Jimmie Johnson was leading. So I went and made myself a plate of nachos to enjoy with the second half of the football game. I heard Jimmie Johnson won the race. What a surprise.
my comment about the widow earnhardt is the only time we see her is when she’s hawking something. before hof was the movie “DALE”. she comes out to sell more stuff . she owns the licensing to dale’s image and whatnot. i knew dale would make it into hof, but i honestly thought older racers, guys from 50’s & 60’s like pearson, fireball or flock bros, even ned jarrett, would had made it into hof before dale. i just see that first class as a $$$.
dei and ganassi merged, you see chip and felix at track, but never the other owner. she showes up when she needs something or na$car needs something. by the way, just where is the “precious 8 team?” without sponsorship. apparently the “earnhardt” name couldn’t pull sponsorship. (apparently jr has hit the same roadblock when it comes to his nationwide team, 88 team has had several primary sponsors this year). Truex is going to MWR next year, so where are the “dei” drivers in the ganassi equation?
i don’t give a flip about jr. he’s dug his own hole. jr’s head isn’t in the sport, he’s got too many diversions. just as the widow earnhardt said, can’t race and be a popular “superstar”. i agree with her on that part. and until hendrick forces jr to do that, he ain’t going anywhere. jr’s problem is himself and his ego. i’ll spare you my thought about the jr/hendrick relationship…
i just get tired of na$car playing the emotion card when it comes to Dale (not jr).
sorry that’s how i see the hof fame announcement. na$car wants to guarantee a good first year attendance rate. they did the same thing with Daytona USA.
let’s see if she shows up at the banquet as an owner for a chase team (42). you know ganassi and felix will be in vegas.
Three years ago I gave up my Lowes’ tickets. Two years ago I tossed in the Brickyard tickets and this year will be my final trip to Pocono. To paraphrase the immortal Jimmy Buffett, “If the seat ain’t filled, its ME!
Janice , my god where do you find all that hatred for a woman you’ve never even met ? As far as i can see , the only thing Teresa ever did was marry Dale Earnhardt . Then her husband was killed and she carried on the family business , without much help from her step-children . And since Dale was the first to admit that Teresa was the brains behind every business deal he ever made , why would it be so surprising that she still keeps a close eye on the people who want to use her husbands name . By the way , Chip isn’t at the track as much as you might think , at least not the NASCAR track . He prefers to go to the IRL races , and is often at the Grand American races as well . Felix ?.. who cares ?
Did anyone notice that Target / Energizer had banners between each pit box on Saturday night? Funny thing was the the banner next to the 5 pit box had a big red X through it. Maybe Mark Martin saw a big red X on the back of Montoya’s Chevy on that restart when he rammed into him. I’m joking about that – MM hit the 42 because a couple cars in front spun the tires and those behind got stacked up. Still thought it was funny to see Montoya’s sponsor crossed out next to the 5 pit stall. Just a little gamesmanship by someone on Mark’s pit crew.
Also, I swear I saw Logano run over the rear tire changer’s air hose as he backed into his pit stall after missing it. Shouldn’t that have been a penalty? Anyone else see that?
Hey Janice, your “i knew dale would make it into hof, but i honestly thought older racers, guys from 50’s & 60’s like pearson, fireball or flock bros, even ned jarrett, would had made it into hof before dale. i just see that first class as a $$$.”
MOST of as agree 110% of course. And frankly, who cares which owner shows up and which not? I certainly don’t! I have been in big business, and when I hired someone to do a job for me, does CREW CHIEF come to mind, then tha ball is in their court to run the event! At times, the owners only get in the way! So, once again, who care whether Theresa show at the track!
And I don’t think her “appearance” the other night had anything to do with anything except honor Sr.!
And going a step further, how can you support NA$CRAP when IT’S owner NEVER goes to the races?
And I like your comments about Jr.!
More whiners about “boring” racing… Matt that line is getting old. There was passing throughout, cars worked their way front to back and vice-versa. I guess you have to be a racing fan and not a journalist looking for a sensational story. It is amazing that people complain and then long for the “good ole days”. Yeah when the winner would win by laps instead of inches and there would be only 3 or 4 competitive cars. I was there fro the 70s and 80s, the racing now is much better, it is just popular to be a complainer right now.
Great article, Matt. I didn’t spend time flipping channels. I simply didn’t watch the race. David Pearson and Cale Yarborough nat making the Hall of Fame. The Francy pants members did. Makes me want to barf. nas$car as we know it is done. R.I.P.
bill france jr use to be at races. now you do see pres. mike helton there and john darby. brain fart is there occassionally. since the reign of brain fart the racing has become hohum and i haven’t been to many races. been 3 years since i stepped foot in any race track, and i use to go to 5-6 races a year. i can watch at home in comfort, not pay inflated prices for food, and no line in bathroom. i miss the track, but it’s not the same. and if brain fart is at track, he knows not to show his mug to the fans in the stands. someone might roll him up and shove him into one of those tubes that are on the back of the mini coopers painted with red bull logo that launch t-shirts into the stands.
watch out nationwide will be the same once they switch to cot next year.
There is a real race on espn classic for the next hour 1990 Rockingham
C’mon Matt you have been around long enough to know you Can’t compare Charlotte with California or Kansas. Charlotte has 156,000 seats to fill and even with the empty seats it still had twice as many people as California did the week before.
“A valid argument could be made that Martinsville is the last real stock car race of the season.”
Season? How about one of the last REAL racing tracks nascar runs on? It’s blasphemy to even THINK about taking a date away from this track. Yet people are doing just that.
For what? Another cookie-cutter track?
Nascar – don’t take one of Martinsville’s races away for Kansas, Kentucky, Nashville or even Iowa. If it comes time for one of those tracks to get a Cup race (or a second date for Kansas) Iowa would be the best track to get a race. And California, Michigan and Pocono all have 2nd dates that wouldn’t be missed too terribly. Some of the mile-and-a-half tracks with two dates could do with one date as well.
Key moment? There none………….as usual.
All races have their wrecks for whatever reason but why the hell can’t someone wreck in front of Jimmy Johnson or J Gordon? I don’t mean a fender bender but take them OUT early in the race. Looks like JJ will win 4 in a row. Variety is the spice of life and new champ every year would be better for the sport.
No one mentioned watching the Tony Stewart dirt track race alternatly while the JJ show was on. I was hoping Mark Martin would win the championship. He deserves it. I won’t bet on it but “It ain’t over untill the fat lady sings”. It might just be whoever Rick Hendrick wants to win.
I remember I used to watch every lap of the race. Now I just watch the start(till JJ gets a 6 second lead) and I turn over to the NFL and I turn back for the end. I think the COT is mostly to blame because it’s the most boring “race car” Ive ever seen in my years of watching racing.
Hey Turnip its obvious you drink the Earnhardt Kool-Aid. Fact of the matter is that Theresa ruined DEI, and its now pretty much Chip Ganassi w/ an Earnhardt logo. Think of all the money Theresa could have from merchandise sales. Why do you think Hendrick hired Junior? It definitely wasn’t for his driving talent. Who do you think paid for the new chassis and shaker rigs? Jr’s T-shirts worn by shmucks like you. I’m willing to bet you have an Earnhardt room in your trailer.
Keith said: “even with the empty seats it still had twice as many people as California did the week before.”
You better go back to grade school there, as 105,000 at Charlotte is NOT twice as many as 70,000 at Fontana. As Matt said, if the home of NASCAR cant even fill up the race track, then NASCAR better wake up and smell the roses, if its not already too late.
You’re right about one thing Kid Lightning, if David Pearson ain’t in the initial hall class, the whole thing is a big joke. I live in NC and I won’t be going either.
Matt calling Kyle Busch a pig is something like Minnie calling Mickey a rodent. Takes one to know one.