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 November 9, 2009
The Key Moment: Kyle Busch ran out of gas with two laps to go, handing the lead to his brother Kurt, who used extraordinary mileage to drive to his second win of the season.
In a Nutshell: Terrible television timing, Busch brothers battle, Jimmie Johnson in a jam, fans feel frustrated, NASCAR necessitates No-Doz. (Or, if you prefer: frustratingly unwieldy cars keep torpedoing historically interesting sport. Someone help! It‘s terrible.)
Dramatic Moment: I dunno. I guess watching race cars run out of gas just isn’t to my liking. With the Brothers Busch leading all but 13 laps, and the leader and second place drivers often separated by a straightaway, I was nearly lulled comatose Sunday. But, like they say, your mileage may vary.
What They’ll Be Talking About Around the Water Cooler This Week
Those of you who follow what I do for a living know I don’t take this sport or myself too seriously. After all, ultimately it’s just a pastime that provides us with a few thrills and chuckles. But one thing I do take seriously is the sacrifice of our men and women in uniform to protect the freedoms most of us take too much for granted. By coincidence, this week’s racing took place a couple hours down the pike from Fort Hood, where twelve soldiers and a civilian were killed with many others wounded in a barbaric attack earlier this week. Whether they died on foreign soil or here at home, though, these patriots died protecting our freedoms. They were killed not for anything they did, but simply because of the uniform they wore and the sacred tri-colored flag they wore on their shoulders.
At times like these, it’s easy to give in to anger. The deranged shooter in this instance was a Muslim of Palestinian background. But what fewer people consider is the amount of Muslim-Americans who have sacrificed their own lives in defense of our freedoms. Some folks born under the harsh rule of dictatorships in the Middle East appreciate the freedoms our heritage afford us more than most of us who’ve had it all our lives. So, don’t hate. Extend your love to the families of those who have died, and your prayers to those who paid the ultimate price this week.
It’s Chapter XXXIIIX in Tony Stewart’s stormy and sometimes contentious relationship with the media. (Though, to his credit, he hasn’t actually assaulted a reporter lately… Ritalin is a beautiful thing.) Sayeth Mr. Stewart, the racing is really exciting these days, and the fact fans think it’s boring is because that’s what the media is telling them. This whole “boring race” thing is just a myth. Without meaning to, I’m sure, once again a NASCAR driver is insulting the intelligence of the very fans that support him. He’s insinuating that fans are too dumb and ill-informed to form an opinion until they read what one of us demigods of the media write about the race. That’s odd. After Talladega, before I’d committed a single word to paper (or giga-whatever these computers use) my email box was flooded with notes from fans protesting what a boring race Talladega had been and urging me to let NASCAR have it with both barrels. Message boards where fans interact absent the media were also stuffed with less than kind critiques of the race. So if anything, the media might be guilty of taking cues from the fans. And wasn’t it the driver of the No. 14 car who said over the radio at Talladega the concession stands should be selling “No-Doz?” (Which I’m sure had to delight the race’s title sponsor, Amp Energy Drinks.) Tony Stewart is pretty good at this driving a race car deal, but he’s never really understood the fans or the media … and in this case, he’s badly myth-taken. The races are boring.
I can’t help but wonder about the safety of clipping the front half of the No. 48 front end together again mid-race. So, how come they can’t replace the engines anymore?
What are you doing out there, Jimmie? Wrecking, Chad, wrecking. By the way, there’s a problem for NASCAR with the technological glut fans have available to them these days on their computers and even their cell phones. It was readily apparent Johnson and the No. 48 car weren’t meeting minimum speed through such technology… but no black flag was thrown.
Honestly, was anyone surprised when Jeff Gordon was seconds from going a lap down and all of a sudden a debris caution flew at the halfway point? They’re so desperate to promote some sort of title fight, NASCAR doesn’t even try to hide their motives anymore. The WWE would have been blushing with shame.
Economy got you down? Would a few free drinks help you out? Find out where Brian France and ABC executives are taking David Reutimann and Sam Hornish for dinner this week. Brian ought to be buying rounds for the house after the lap three incident at Texas. Just make sure not to accept a ride home in his Lexus!
A note to NASCAR and track General Managers everywhere: in this day and age, it’s simply an embarrassment that there are any concrete walls left not protected by the SAFER barrier. Anytime you’re sure there’s no way an out of control car can hit a certain part of the wall, some driver will prove you wrong.
The ratings are in the toilet, fans are leaving the sport in droves, sponsors are leaving as well, and there are vast swathes of empty seats in the grandstands. The Chase has failed to grab the general public’s attention, and the COT may be the most loathed vehicle since Pontiac rolled out the Aztek. But hang in there everybody, everything is going to be all right! Danica’s coming, Danica’s coming! That’ll fix everything, even if Ms. Patrick intends to keep her day job in the IRL and just dangle her tootsies in stock car racing. Reportedly, Ms. Patrick will get paid 50 to 100 grand to compete in each stock car race she lends her good name and stellar image to. That’s a pretty nice payday, especially considering Kyle Busch won $68,270 bucks in purse money by winning Saturday’s NW race (and Texas is actually one of the better paying tracks on the circuit.) Yep, Danica’s coming. Maybe. Remember when everyone was all atwitter on their twitters that Ashley Judd was coming to the NASCAR garage area? Anyone seen Ashley lately? How about Dario? Jacques? By and large, with the notable exception of Juan Pablo Montoya and the certain exception of myth buster Tony Stewart, these open wheel sorts haven’t amounted to much in stock car racing lately. But at least Danica’s arrival will signal that the NASCAR driving ranks are open to women…
You have to give a pat on the back to ABC for their Wiley Coyote-like persistence in the face of repeated failure. These late afternoon start times have typically yielded horrid ratings, and my guess is they will do so again over the course of the next three weeks.
A Canadian gentleman by the name of Rob Brush claims he’s invented a better mousetrap, or in this instance a better track drying truck. Rather than blowing hot air on the track to dry it, Mr. Brush’s truck sucks up the water like a giant mobile shop-vac. He claims eight of his rigs could dry Daytona in under an hour. I have a few questions, though. How much water can the storage tanks contain? It would seem to me they’d need to be emptied near constantly after a heavy rain. And wouldn’t all that water sloshing around in the storage tank make such a truck prone to rollovers at a place like Daytona? Absent more information, I’m not buying the vacuum truck concept. We already have enough things in this sport that suck.
Wow. Brad Daugherty does a commercial for a grocery store during NASCAR Countdown. Nah, that couldn’t possibly be a sign that the networks have too little material to fill an hour long pre-race show.
Miller Lite being served in what looked like a Nestle Quik bottle in Victory Lane? I’m not buying it. Anybody else remember the joke about why Miller Lite is like making love in a canoe?
Did anyone else note that absent the decals and paint, the front end of the new cars (like the No. 48 Sunday) look more like a mid-‘80s BMW 7 series two door than anything the Big Three produce today?
Mike Skinner, who finished 43rd, was officially listed as 328 laps off the pace but finishing the race “in pit.” Damn, that is one long pit stop.
The Hindenburg Award For Foul Fortune
Kyle Busch certainly seemed to have the race in hand prior to running out of fuel with two laps to go. Oddly, he left the race track without comment after the race and his flirtation with history, leaving his new crew chief to handle the post-race comments. Welcome to the Bigs, Mr. Rogers.
Three laps into the race, Jimmie Johnson tangled with David Reutimann and Sam Hornish. He almost caught the car but then nosed in hard to an unforgiving and unprotected section of the concrete wall, reducing the 48 car to scrap. Johnson has now gone from an insurmountable points lead to a probably not surmountable points lead, but ABC/ESPN is going to ride this nag for all its worth and claim we’re at the rodeo.
Dale Earnhardt, Jr. cruised comfortably inside the top 5 most of the race, only to run out of fuel in the final laps of the race and have trouble re-firing the car. He finished all of thirteen positions ahead of Jimmie Johnson as a result, who spent over an hour in the garage area to wind up 38th.
Jeff Gordon and the No. 24 team squandered a major opportunity to make up some serious ground on the No. 48 bunch Sunday. You have to kick ‘em while they’re down to beat the Big Boys… and while Gordon made up a few spots in the final laps as other drivers ahead of him ran out of gas, whatever was wrong with the No. 24 car, that dog just wouldn’t hunt. Hellfire, what did they do, give Gordon one of the No. 88 team’s cars?
Wow. Brian France admitted this week he couldn’t comment on the ABC booth crew’s less than stellar opinion of last week’s Talladega race because he didn’t watch the whole thing. If he can’t endure watching the tedium, why should the fans?
Marcos Ambrose was having a good day, mate, when he entered the pits third and left nineteenth. Right then. Can’t be helped.
The “Seven Come Fore Eleven” Award For Fine Fortune
For Pat Tryson, who is leaving the No. 2 team, a victory borne atop the box had to be sweet.
How close was Kurt Busch on fuel? In the end, his team ended up pushing the winning car to Victory Lane.
Mark Martin and the No. 5 team used a strategy more conservative than Rush Limbaugh, but left Texas with a fourth place finish.
Despite being the primary cause of the lap 3 melee that ABC set a record for re-showing Sunday, David Reutimann drove on unscathed to a sixteenth place finish. Hopefully, he was also able to drive unscathed to the airport before Chad Knaus caught up with him, or the “The Franchise” might have ended up “The Fractured.”
Denny Hamlin’s Camry got out from underneath him and he slapped the wall hard. That forced him to run just slowly enough that he had enough gas to drive to a second place finish.
Kevin Harvick ran out of fuel and fell from second to fifth on the final lap, but the way his season is going, that was actually a finish for the highlight reels. I guess it beats having another car land on your hood…
A.J. Allmendinger finished tenth at the wheel of a car that bore some passing if casual resemblance to a Ford Fusion out of the RPM shops. I just couldn’t get my mind around the Ford logo in the center of the hood of what looked like one of the STP Dodges the King drove with such success in the early ’70s. Holy Juxtaposition, Batman!
Jeff Burton drove from a 42nd place starting position to a ninth place result.
What’s the Points?
You might find this hard to believe due to the amount of times ABC replayed Jimmie Johnson’s wreck, but he’s still leading the standings. His gap over second place Mark Martin is down to a still considerable 73 points, but if you’re willing to bet the farm against the No. 48 team — leave the keys in the combine.
Jeff Gordon remains third in the standings, but is doubtless polishing off any hope for a fifth title after the way he ran at Texas Sunday. Kurt Busch’s win propels him up two spots to fourth. Juan Pablo Montoya’s unforced error drops him two spots to sixth. Tony Stewart occupies the spot between them.
Further back, Greg Biffle sits seventh in the standings. Denny Hamlin rocketed up three spots to eighth, while Ryan Newman fell a spot to ninth. He is the last driver to have a mathematical shot at winning this year’s title. Of course, he’d have to win the next two races and lead the most laps in each, while Johnson would have to finish 43rd in both events. (Pssst… I don’t think that’s going to happen.)
Kasey Kahne fell a spot to tenth. Carl Edwards fell a spot to 11th, as last season’s most prolific winner still hasn’t won a Cup race yet this year.
Finally, like that unemployed uncle who wears a tin foil lined colander on his head to keep space aliens from reading his mind, Brian Vickers remains in the cellar of the Chase, emerging only occasionally in stained underwear and a threadbare robe to filch a six pack from the fridge.
13th place Kyle Busch is now 32 points ahead of 14th place Matt Kenseth. But they mean nothing to you, and I don’t know why…
Under the old points system, Johnson would now be 93 points behind Tony Stewart with two races left to go. That’s a bigger gap than we currently see in the Chase, but it would still feel more legitimate, and it would be the second time in two weeks the lead would have changed hands. Jeff Gordon would be a single point behind Johnson in third.
Overall Rating (On a scale of one to six beer cans, with one being a stinker and a six pack an instant classic) — About what I expected but I wasn’t expecting much. We’ll give it three cans because nobody ended up on their lid this week.
Next Up: It’s off to Phoenix for the penultimate race of an ultimately bad season. (Pssst… don’t tell Tony I told you you have to feel that way. Or that I think his comments this weekend indicate he‘s dumber than a sack of hammers.)
©2000 - 2008 Matt McLaughlin and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
Because I have nothing else to do, and this is the last day of my vacation in Tucson, AZ, here again are the point standings if NASCAR changed the Chase to be five drivers over the last five races:
After last week it seemed like there was not any point system in the world that would keep Johnson from winning, but as they say, anything can and does happen.
Honestly, was anyone surprised when Jeff Gordon was seconds from going a lap down and all of a sudden a debris caution flew at the halfway point?
It’s f’ing close to water?
I was visiting with my in-laws and we sat down for dinner with 20 laps to go…and we ate late. I’m happy as hell that they at least fixed the start times problems for next year. I’m sick of having to go to bed almost right after the race is over.
When I saw Gordon about to go a lap down (and I’m a Gordon fan), I told my wife, “Here comes the debris caution.” About 20 seconds later, out came the yellow. No shame.
Kevin, with your system a DNF would be too costly. It already is. Only the 48 team can afford one at this point.
I’ve finally had enough . These tv broadcasts are beyond terrible . I tune in at lap 10 , only to find out that Johnson has crashed . I waited for a replay , an update on the repairs , an update on the points . Why didn’t ESPN give us any more info on the Johnson crash , or at least one replay of the wreck ? And why no points update durig the entire race ? Its no wonder the tv ratings are falling .
It appears that Tony Stewart must have hurt your feelings at some point Matt . He certainly has had problems with dopey writers asking idiotic questions . As for the fans , Stewart has far more fans than Johnson does , so he must be doing something right .
Geeeeezzz Michael…you must have only waited for the replay of JJ’s wreck for only 60 seconds..they actually replayed and updated and hashed over and rehashed over and checked on the wreck and the ensuing repairs NO LESS THEN 16 times!!! Even though JJ wasn’t a factor in the race after lap 3…with the coverage the wreck over and over and over and the rebuilding in the garage over and over and over and the “the 48 is back on the track round and round and round (maintaining minimum speed” which I question) one would have thought JJ was challenging for the win!!!!
Hey lydia, I think he was being facetious. I found it quite humorous.
That’s funny Tony has soooo gotten under your skin! I have listened to alot of the interviews .. and I have to stand up with Tony. ALOT of the questions asked of the drivers are so dumb I wonder does the person asking the question even watch racing? As far as what Tony has said about the racing being exciting..I would think he is giving his view from inside the car..and it would seem exciting to a driver..heck I would have a heart attack! Sorry Matt..but Tony has consistently been one of the more “truthful” drivers when it comes to his answers. When he gives his “no nonsense” answers you don’t like him..when he gives his “stepford wives” answers you don’t like him…so the bottom line is…maybe you just don’t care for him? And that’s fine. It’s really pretty funny!
Michael T..maybe it was supposed to be humorous unlike the coverage yesterday… Between the replays of the replays and updates on the updates and watching JJ going round and round the track with the patched up car..and the commercials..I had alot of time to leave the tv and do “real” stuff that was more interesting then the race. (I am including making dinner, laundry, cleaning and just standing outside looking at the sky.)
A friend of ours has just had a baby. The baby at present is very ugly, so everyone is just saying “oh you have a baby”, as not to hurt her feelings. After Sunday’s NASCAR race I think, “oh NASCAR has a race”. The race was a whole lot to do about nothing. Boring, and the season is over already.
I was glad Kyle Busch didn’t win the race. I was so sick of hearing about how he was going to “make history” if he won all three races this weekend. To me, that would have been about as historical as A-Rod hitting a home run in Major League, Minor League, and Little League in the same weekend. Unimpressive.
I like the subliminal message in the 2nd half of your “In a nutshell”
I lost interest early on. Was sick of hearing about Johnson’s points loss and the repairs going on. Did they interview Kyle Busch after the race? Media made so much of hype about a weekend sweep. Saw everyone running out of gas. Sorry Jr, 6 laps short, I wouldn’t gamble. You could have finished higher if you had come in, but again, we didn’t have the standard wreck with 5 laps to go, so I guess that’s what they were all waiting for. Guess na$car couldn’t help someone else, so a mystery debris caution wasn’t thrown with 5 laps to go.
You know, I think Penske should approach Maytag or Whirlpool about sponsorship of the 77 car. Seems like every weekend he’s going for a spin cycle.
They’re already hyping spring race at AMS here in Atlanta. Saw 3 commericals for it and tickets start at $39. Wow….
Do you think that it is fair that Team members of the 88 and the 24 where able to help the 48 team fix there repairs? I believe that is an unfair advantage compared to the single teams and smaller organizations. Nascar wants to do things to help lower costs but if I was a smaller team trying to survive and lost positions because the 48 came out and hour earlier I would be pissed. I would have lost money!
Did anyone notice the cheering crowd when Johnson wrecked? Unfortunately, if they had been forced to watch it what seemed like hundreds of times, they wouldn’t have been so happy. I tuned away for the football game, was going to check back, and forgot. I am a 46 year NASCAR fan who would never have committed such heresy only a few years ago. No more.
Much of whats wrong with the press coverage of NASCAR Cup might be illustrated by an article Ed Hinton wrote for ESPN .
FYI, that muslim was in contact with al-qaeda. It WAS a terrorist act. Don’t give me this PC crap.
Sooner or later, the people will get tired of this and take matters into their own hands. If our government won’t take care of it WE will.
i am so mad! i have been watching nascar since the 50’s and i am done! this was my last race! i am a huge jimmie johnson fan but after na$crap screwed him yesterday i am finished with a sport i have loved for 50 years! brian fran$e and his henchmen purposely had jimmie wrecked yesterday just to spice up the cha$e. the race was so boring too. doesn’t chairman fran$e know that when jimmie isn’t out front leading laps people don’t want to watch. if it wasn’t for the almighty cha$e jimmie would be celebrating his world record setting 4th title this $unday. $orry for venting.
I didn’t watch the race yesterday, yet the sun still came up this morning. I didn’t even know who won until I pulled up this column a few minutes ago. Without anything race-related to contribute to this discussion, let’s turn our attention to a more serious matter. Miller Lite is f-ing close to water? This coming from someone who drinks the alcoholic tap water from silver cans?
That was a pretty long green flag run at the end there wasnt it?
It isn’t really the fault of the announcers , well… except for Punch who has no business being on tv . Its all about the producers and directors of these shows . The director tells Punch to keep slobbering over Johnson and the other Hendrick teams . The producers tell the announcers which stories to concentrate on during their Thursday afternoon pre-race meeting . The pit reporters go only where the directors tell them to go , and the inane questions and observations they make are scripted in advance .
I tuned away for the football game, was going to check back, and forgot.
So, Ed, which game did you see? I alternated between the Giants self-destructing for the fourth consecutive week, and the Saints managing to pull out a strong finish against a surprisingly good looking Panthers. I did manage to catch the last 10 laps of the race – and that was still enough time to get up to speed on what happened to the 48 about 325 laps earlier.
I swore I wasn’t gonna turn my television on yesterday… now I wish I had. The Panthers looked “surprisingly good”? I missed it… Damn!
oh yeah…i forgot…..
NO DANICA PLEASE!!!!
she’s just being used for $$$$ to fill the coffers.
Did anyone notice that the race yesterday was actually worse than Talledega? There was way more lead changes at Talledega than Texas. And, How is it that Kyle Busch beats everyone out on pit stops and gains several seconds each time? Even the annoucers mentioned it. Reckon he was speeding on pit road but NASCASH was letting him go so he could make history? I can understand how you can be fast out of the pits but Kyle was gaining several seconds so something had to be going on. I know his pit crew wasn’t several seconds faster than anyone else yesterday but he sure was gaining time in the pits. Again, this race was more boring than Talledega yet there doesn’t seem to be anyone much complaining about it. Why?
I’ve met Tony a few times and trust me he understands his fans. What he said at Indy a few years ago after he won proved that.
Got an idea for brainless Brian. Since you refuse to fix the the lousy COT or the cookie cutters, fix the race format. With 25 laps to go bring the cars in for a 10 minutes, gas, tires and anything the crew wants to do. Garage all the lapped cars and wrecked cars. Run the last 25, yellows don’t count. The last 25 laps are for the money and points. This way I can set my DVR and fastforward to end of the race.
What does a nascar race and a bowel movement in the stool have in common?
You know you shouldn’t watch cuz they are just gonna go round and round, but you do anyway! or..
The difference between a bm and a nascar race?
They are essentially the sam, but you feel better after a bm.
So Tony defends the boring races and Jeff Gordon also defended the racing in a pre-race interview. Sounds to me like NASCAR got to these guys. Or they are all deaf, dumb and blind.
Yeah Johnson wrecked. Now he’s only got 70+ point lead. All it means is he can’t have another catastrophe or there might be a close finish at Homestead.
quote: “(Or, if you prefer: frustratingly unwieldy cars keep torpedoing historically interesting sport. Someone help! It‘s terrible.)”!
Well, I know first hand how the POS handles. I just drove my wife’s PRIUS from Michigan to Florida, some 1400+ miles. (now first, the car is nice, obviously because of the fuel mileage, 45MPH+) but with that said, I relate it to the way the POS drives cause it simply FLATFOOTED on the highway. Not much suspension at all, and wanders unexpectedly side to side down the highway on it’s own wim.
And I do mean FLATFOOTED! WHEW! I made it!
And one (1) more, your “Three laps into the race, Jimmie Johnson tangled with David Reutimann and Sam Hornish.”
The FALLACY of having a “playoff” for twelve (12) drivers, BUT INCLUDING ANOTHER 31 CARS IN THE PLAYOFFS!
As stated so many time! How can the “playoff’s” also include everyone who has been eliminated?
Is there ANYTHING in NA$CRAP that makes sense?
Me thinks not!
(and by the way, thanks for your little statements about Muslim’s, we, american’s, white americans at that, always seem to want to categorize a single incident into a much larger non-sensical argument that says all on one ethnic group is bad. We kinda forget about all the previous mass murders who are of the white persuasion. Unfortunately, it is humanity in general, not one lone specific ethnic group. hope I said that right)
“frustratingly unwieldy cars keep torpedoing historically interesting sport” – hahahahahahahahahahahaaaaaaaa…
“The COT may be the most loathed vehicle since Pontiac rolled out the Aztek.”
Great analogy Matt. Although now every time I see a race I going to think of the Aztek. Maybe it was Pontiac’s former employee’s who helped design the COT?
I got busy working outside and completely forgot about the race until it was over. Sounds like I made the right call.
This from a guy that had four season tickets to TMS once upon a time…
Kyle’s team had a string of sub-13 pit stops. He usually pitted before his brother, and since the tires would fall off about a second and a half over the course of a fuel run, he’d gain three seconds by pitting two laps before Kurt even with the same pit time. Of course, Kurt should then have slowly eaten away at Kyle’s lead with two- or three-lap fresher tires, which was exactly what happened.
by far, the funniest line in here, which made me laugh out loud at work
“What are you doing out there, Jimmie? Wrecking, Chad, wrecking.”
Classic, can’t wait for the season to be over. I used to hate this time of year, now, eh, it is what it is. And, yes, I too had the expectation of the caution coming out when Gordon was about to go a lap down…
Jeff, how can it be that your teammate can come to the track with a front running car every week and your crew chief can take a pole winning car and turn it into junk every race. Did it ever occur to you that maybe steve letart doesn’t have a clue?
Matt- Thank you. Yours is the first column I read today that mentions the lack of SAFER barrier where Jimmie hit the inside wall. If you look at the track as he was heading towards the wall, there were a lot of skid marks. He obviously wasn’t the first driver to make that trip this weekend. At that point it’s not that the drivers are going to wreck where you don’t think that they will, but they ARE wrecking there. Get it fixed!
As for Daugherty’s piece, I thought it was neat to see that there was a grocery store on site. I forgive ABC for that since most probably had no clue that it was there and it might be a feature that would draw fans to Texas. What I had a problem with was that it was a commercial for Bush’s Baked Beans, who just happen to sponsor the JTG-Dugherty car. Are they paying ESPN for the air time?
Trent – Smaller teams wouldn’t have been able to repair the car at all. They wouldn’t have had the money to replace everything but the engine.
Recorded the race and watched the last few laps later, only to see it was a fuel milage race. Caught the highlights and watched Wind Tunnel with Despain. Thats all I needed to see.
Turnip, I was getting 40mpg back in the early ’80s in my Chevette. Yes, it was a POS and sounded like it was going to blow parts out of the engine over 70mph, but I could put 10 gallons in the tank and go 400 miles on the highway.
One of “Francy Pants” achievements was reducing the fuel tank capacity from 22 to 17 gallons. And we wonder why there are so many “fuel” races. Another one of the France Family blunders that have made the sport unwatchable. I missed Johnson’s wreck cause I was watching football once again and switching over to check on cash$car once in a while. Yea Brian, you’re a real “fart smeller”.
Just call me when Danica goes all the way with a full spread in Playboy. (after she gets the boob job with all the money she’s rippin’ Jr./Hendrick for)
Maybe even with the GoDaddy girls. Got to get the sponsors in there, you know.
isn’t every race a fuel mileage race?
Scott Speed finished one position higher than Logano this week for RotR… thought I’d mention it
Just a quick note to say “enough” on the Brian France impersonations. It doesn’t matter if it’s Tony Stewart, Matt McLaughlin, or France, you just can’t come on here and sign your name impersonating someone you’re not.
I was hoping the joke would go away on its own, but we have to draw the line moving forward. The last post signed by “Brian France” was moderated, and that’s how it’ll be moving forward … thanks!
“DALE EARNHARDT JR.
…with all the money Jr. is bringing into HMS they can hire a top tier crew chief for him, like Addington, and pay him what he deserves…
If nobody else is going to say it, I will…I LOVE REUTIMANN! I LOVE RUETIMANN! I LOVE RUETIMANN! And I’d like to see NA$CAR take Knaus’s car to tech this time and announce the results. 38th or not, they’ve busted cars in postrace tech with a lot less damage than that. No way that car was close to legal and should have been parked, minimum speed or not. Hope they didn’t bust any tech seals on that engine in the swap. Just a little harder the next time David.