Kurt Busch to Attempt The Indianapolis-Charlotte Double
posted by Phil Allaway
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Andretti Autosport announced this morning that Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet in the Sprint Cup Series, will attempt the Indianapolis 500 in a fifth entry for the IndyCar Series team. Once the Indianapolis 500 is completed, Busch will fly from Indianapolis to Charlotte, jump in his No. 41 Chevrolet and compete in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Busch considers the opportunity to do the double as an old-school throwback moment.
“This is really to challenge myself within motorsports,” Busch said in Andretti Autosport’s press release. “Perhaps I am a bit of an old-school racer; a throwback, I guess. I enjoyed the era of drivers racing different cars and testing themselves in other series. It is tough to do now for a variety of factors, but when the opportunity is there, I want to do it. While NASCAR is my home, I have been fortunate to compete in Pro Stock on the NHRA circuit a number of years ago and test a V8 Supercar. This opportunity was a talk with Michael [Andretti] over dinner one night, a “What if,” and now it’s becoming a reality for me to drive in the Indy 500 with Andretti Autosport. It’s literally a dream come true. To go to the famous Brickyard with the iconic Andretti name, it doesn’t get much cooler or better than that.”
Busch will be doing the Indianapolis-Charlotte double as a Memorial Day mission to men and women serving in the U.S. Military via the Armed Forces Foundation. Fans can contribute to the cause by texting AFF to 50555 to donate $10.
Busch, who has never raced an IndyCar, passed Rookie Orientation at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last year during a test session. At the time, Busch was more or less testing the Dallara DW12 for fun.
Busch will be the fourth driver to attempt the Indianapolis-Charlotte double. John Andretti was the first driver to attempt it in 1994. After finishing four laps down in tenth in Indianapolis, Andretti crashed and had engine problems in the 600. Robby Gordon has attempted the double five times, most recently in 2004. However, Gordon failed to make it to Charlotte on time and did not start the 600 in 2000 (P.J. Jones started Gordon’s No. 13 Ford in that instance). Finally, Tony Stewart has attempted the double twice (most recently in 2001) and is the only driver to ever complete all 1100 miles. Neither of the three drivers has won either leg of the double. The best finishes are Stewart and Gordon’s sixth-place finishes at the Indianapolis 500 (although Gordon’s came in 2000, the year he didn’t make it to Charlotte in time to start the Coca-Cola 600), and Stewart’s fourth-place finish in the 2001 Coca-Cola 600.
Danica Patrick, Justin Allgaier Talk About Phoenix Incident
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
A disappointing start to the year for Danica Patrick won’t include continued conflict. Patrick met with rookie Justin Allgaier Sunday, shortly after the Phoenix Cup race after a wreck ruined both drivers’ days. Patrick, who was critical of the No. 51 car on the radio, claiming Allgaier was “driving all over the track” appeared receptive to a conversation that quickly settled differences over what will be a long season.
“She was just upset because she got involved in the crash that we had,’’ said Allgaier to the Motor Racing Network. “She says she’s been through this and that she felt like I needed to settle down at that point. I explained my position on why everything happened. I think she understood where I was coming from. It doesn’t fix either one of our racecars. It doesn’t fix either one of our days. Unfortunately, we were both having pretty decent days.’’
Allgaier wound up 30th due to the incident while Patrick was 36th. The incident, which was caused by Allgaier’s spin also involved the No. 32 team and Travis Kvapil, which wound up 38th after sustaining heavy damage.
Camping World Close to Extending Title Sponsorship of NCWTS
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Marcus Lemonis, CEO of Camping World, Grand Marshal of Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway, and star of CNBC’s “The Profit,” made the announcement over the weekend that the retailer is very close to announcing a deal that would continue its title sponsorship of NASCAR’s Truck Series. The original agreement with NASCAR is scheduled to conclude after the 2015 season.
According to the sanctioning body, no formal contract has been signed, but “the agreement between the two parties has proven to be a beneficial one.”
“In about a month, we’ll be announcing a significant extension to that contract. It’s been great for us,” said Camping World’s Lemonis in a statement. “The NASCAR relationship has worked well for Camping World. When we started, we had 35 stores. Now, we’re up to 120 stores. As we travel the country and we meet new customers in stores, they always are very appreciative of our relationship with NASCAR. It’s been good.”
Gaining a long-term commitment from Camping World to sponsor the Truck Series would be a relief for NASCAR, which is set to lose Nationwide Insurance as title sponsor for the NASCAR Nationwide Series at the end of the 2014 season. The sponsorship of the Cup Series by Sprint runs through 2016.
The NCWTS is back in action on March 29th at 2:30 PM (ET) when the trucks visit Martinsville Speedway in the Kroger 250, which can be seen on Fox Sports 1. Ratings for the season opener were up 11 percent.
Harvick Takes Win At Phoenix In Second Race With New Team
posted by Justin Tucker
Monday March 3, 2014
Phoenix International Raceway has become Kevin Harvick’s home away from home. Sunday Afternoon was no exception as Harvick charged to the front early and would dominate for much of the day, leading 224 of the scheduled 312 laps to record his record fifth win on the one mile oval and his third win in the last four races at Phoenix.
Harvick, coming off of a disappointing Speedweeks which was capped by a last lap crash in the Daytona 500 in his debut with Stewart-Haas Racing, set the tone on Saturday by winning both practices while having the best 5 and 10-lap averages in the first practice of the day on Saturday. On Sunday, Harvick and his No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet was nothing short of flawless as he was able to hold Dale Earnhardt, Jr. by .489 seconds after a late race restart to claim his 24th career Sprint Cup Series victory.
“Man, this is awesome,” Harvick said after his dominant victory on Sunday. “Man, this just solidifies so many things and so many decisions. It’s been so much work with all the time and effort that these guys (the crew) have put in—but what a race car.”
Stewart Haas Racing co-owner Gene Haas shared in Harvick’s excitement after the race.
“It took long enough,” Haas joked. “This is phenomenal. I think there was a lot of skepticism last year about what myself and Tony (Stewart) what we were up to, was there a lot of madness to this. Quite frankly, it’s a great team, there’s a lot of synergy at the shop, people working together. I don’t know what we did, but I think we put together a great organization.”
Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt, Jr. continued his hot start to the 2014 season. Earnhardt Jr. would finish second on Sunday, marking his seventh consecutive top 10 finish since the end of the 2013 season. Earnhardt Jr. was pleased with the effort after a coast-to-coast whirlwind week after winning his second Daytona 500 and also gave great praise to the efforts of Harvick and the No. 4 team.
“I’ve got to congratulate Kevin. Those guys were two-tenths faster than everyone all weekend in practice. They were just phenomenal,” Earnhardt said. “To be able to run with them all day was a big confidence builder for us.”
Joining Harvick and Earnhardt in the top 5 of The Profit on CNBC 500K were Brad Keselowski with his second consecutive top 3 run of 2014 in third. Keselowski’s Team Penske teammate Joey Logano would finish fourth, and Jeff Gordon would come home fifth in his No. 24 Pepsi Max Chevrolet.
Jimmie Johnson finished in sixth, followed by Ryan Newman with a nice rebound after Daytona in seventh. Carl Edwards would carry the banner for Roush Fenway Racing by finishing eighth, Kyle Busch was ninth, and Jamie McMurray would finish tenth.
A look at the Profit on CNBC 500K by the numbers. There were 14 lead changes among eight different drivers, there were eight cautions for 39 laps which slowed the race pace to 109.229 MPH.
Next Sunday, the Sprint Cup Series heads to Sin City and the Las Vegas Motor
Starting Lineup: The Profit On CNBC 500K
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday March 1, 2014
Drivers in RED (i) are those ineligible to collect Sprint Cup points
Daytona 500 TV Ratings Down
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Wednesday February 26, 2014
What was the longest weather delay in Daytona 500 history turned out to bring NASCAR lower ratings and TV viewership Sunday night than expected. According to a report Monday from FOX Sports, the 56th running of the Daytona 500 airing at 8 PM (ET) posted a 5.6/10 national household rating/share which averaged 9.3 million viewers. That’s down 44 percent from last year’s 9.9, easily making it the least-watched Daytona 500 of all-time.
Due to the six-hour, twenty-two minute rain delay in Daytona, the race was up against the primetime coverage of the Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony from Sochi, Russia on NBC (15.25 million viewers). FOX also reported that 69% of the pre-rain delay viewers of the race, which began at 1 PM (ET) kept tuning in.
In comparison, the 2013 Daytona 500 on FOX was the most-watched race in five years, posting a 9.9/22 rating/share, commanding 16.7 million viewers. The Daytona 500 in 2012, the first to ever be run on a Monday and in the primetime slot did a 7.7/13 overnight rating/share which resulted in 13.67 million households viewing the race according to Nielsen TV ratings data.
Earnhardt, Jr. Claims Second Daytona 500 Victory
posted by Justin Tucker
Wednesday February 26, 2014
Ten years is a long time. For Dale Earnhardt, Jr., it felt like an eternity. NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver endured many near misses and close calls at the Daytona 500 since his only win in the Great American Race in 2004. Earnhardt had finished second in two of his last three Daytona 500s coming into Sunday’s race. He was also riding the tail of a 55-race winless streak, dating back to Michigan in 2012.
However nothing would stop Dale Jr. on Sunday, not even a 6 hour and 22 minute rain delay from capturing his second Daytona 500 win. Earnhardt Jr. led a race-high 54 laps on the evening and used some timely drafting help from teammates Jimmie Johnson and, on the final restart, Jeff Gordon to separate from the pack and secure the victory.
“Winning this race is the greatest feeling that you could feel in this sport besides accepting the trophy for the championship,” said a jubilant Earnhardt after pulling into Victory Lane. “We could fight off battle after battle. We got a little help at the end there from Jeff to get away on the restart. This is amazing. I can’t believe this is happening. I never take this for granted, man because it doesn’t happen twice, let alone once.”
Aside from the race itself the big story of the race was the 6 hour and 22 minute red flag, which threatened to move the race to Monday evening (had the race been postponed, FOX Sports’ Chris Myers had tweeted that the race would resume at 5:00pm EST). However, Mother Nature would cooperate and would allow the race to be run under different conditions from which they practiced this week. Once the race resumed, the intensity picked up from the changing track conditions. This allowed the pack to race side-by-side and at times 3-wide up to seven rows deep.
Joining Earnhardt Jr. in the top 5 for the 2014 Daytona 500 were: Denny Hamlin who closed out a spectacular Speedweeks in second, Brad Keselowski in third, Jeff Gordon in fourth, and Jimmie Johnson who overcome two wrecks leading up to the 500 in fifth.
Rounding out the top 10 in the Daytona 500 were Matt Kenseth in sixth, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. in seventh and Greg Biffle would bring his No. 16 Ford home in eighth. Austin Dillon would come home ninth in his first Cup Series race in the iconic No. 3 for Richard Childress Racing, while Casey Mears would round out the top 10.
A couple of major contenders for the Daytona 500 win would see their hopes dashed early on as Martin Truex, Jr. would blow up just 30 laps into the race, relegating him to a 43rd-place finish in his debut for Furniture Row Racing. Crew chief Todd Berrier was already in Nashville for a test session before the race was even over. Kyle Busch, meanwhile would have a pit road violation just before halfway and would spend much of the race battling back from that mistake. Busch would eventually finish 19th after leading 19 laps.
Danica Patrick would also be bit by bad luck as she was caught up in a multi-car wreck on lap 145. Patrick would lead her second consecutive Daytona 500, but wouldn’t have the finish to show for it finishing 40th. Tony Stewart would encounter a frustrating evening as well, with a fuel pickup problem derailing his quest for his first Daytona 500 win. Stewart would finish 35th.
A look at the Daytona 500 by the numbers. There were 42 lead changes among 18 drivers, while seven cautions for 39 laps would slow the race pace to 145.290 MPH.
Next week, the Sprint Cup Series heads to the “diamond in the desert,” Phoenix International Raceway for The Profit on CNBC 500K. The Green flag is scheduled for 3:15pm EST.
Nationwide Series Post-Race Quotes: Drive4COPD 300
posted by Thomas Bowles
Tuesday February 25, 2014
Frontstretch Interviews – Courtesy Mike Neff
ELLIOTT SADLER – FINISHED 4th
Thoughts on the race?
It’s definitely a lot different racing than what we’re used to.
Comfortable with it?
Yeah, it’s just different. You’re worried about what you’re doing, but you’re also worried about what everyone else is doing and they’re not doing more than you’re doing. Physically pushing a guy is way better than just riding so you just gotta time it right and push it to the edge.
Happy to start the year with a top 5?
Yeah. Hell, that was the worst we ran all day, I think. I have no idea how they put the 3 car in front of us on that last restart. I hadn’t seen the 3 car hardly all day. When they put us from fifth to sixth, on the outside line, it just really boxed us in. I would have really restarted behind my teammate and given him a good push to the front. Anyways, it is what it is; we’ll take it and move on.
Looked like you were up front all day.
The guys did a good job. We had a fast race car. Great pit stops, just really proud of these guys. The car’s in one piece and we can take it to Talladega now. Great job by my guys. A lot of effort came into coming down here to Daytona and giving ourselves a shot to win. We had that chance to be up front and make some things happen. Fifth is not what we want, but we’ll take it and move on.
Bumping vs Pushing?
It’s way harder. You don’t want to lay on the guy in front of you, so it’s tough racing. A lot different than what we’re used to, ‘cause you gotta go. You gotta drag the brake too ‘cause you don’t want to hit the guys and you don’t want to stay on him. It’s a lot harder mentally than what we’ve done in the past.
Car was strong all day. Pushing vs. Bumping, is that harder to do than just getting on somebody and pushing them?
Yeah, it is a little bit. When you bump ‘em, you jar ‘em, it kinda jacks ‘em a little bit. It’s a little more abrupt, obviously. I thought it was OK there at the end. It was certainly fun and hopefully entertaining. But a little bit of a struggle in the early part of the race and the midpart of the race to see a good race. And that’s unfortunate for the fans. You can’t do that the whole race, you can’t tear up your stuff, knock your grill in, overheat your motor, all that stuff so there’s no sense in doing all that until you get down to the last lap. The 7 and the 6, they did a good job. Man, the 7 really held the 22 and I tight on the bottom. I was rubbing his door and hitting the apron at the same time, no room whatsoever. So it was good; wish we were the ones who could have won but a lot better now than what we were last year.
Going home in one piece makes it a lot better, right?
Yeah. My back feels good. My foot feels good. Past years here, I’ve been going home with pain so I’m alright.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Truck Series Post-Race Quotes: Daytona (Exclusives)
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday February 22, 2014
When you’re on the outside like that, how frustrating is it?
It’s so hard. Timothy Peters has won here. Kyle Busch has won everywhere. Ron Hornaday has been running Trucks forever, probably before I was even born. I was surrounded by veterans there, and like I told them I don’t have a rookie stripe but I’m a rookie. This is only my fourth Truck race ever, my fourth superspeedway race, and man, I figured out when the 17 got up in front of me, I pushed him. And as soon as I pushed him, he took off. And I went with him. And I just kept doing it, and before I knew it, he was leading. And I saw Ron in my mirror, backed up to him, and if it wasn’t for him, I don’t know what would have happened. I gotta thank him big time for that. That was a true teammate move right there. I really appreciate that. He just bounced off me and we got to the front. I tried my hardest to sidedraft Kyle. I was probably touching his door.
Top 5 in the No. 30 truck. This deal come together at the last minute, but you had a heck of a truck. Tell us about your night.
Yeah, I’ve got to thank Turner Scott Motorsports. The guys worked so hard on this Rheem Comfort Products Chevrolet. Exciting! Just got hung up on the outside and had to wait for my teammate there to catch up. And then he got to the bottom, so… I got the old 32 and started pushing ol’ Ryan to the front. So, it’s not bad. We’ll take it. You just don’t want to step over that boundary. You don’t know how far to push and shove. We bumped about six times down the straightaway without latching onto them. Hopefully, that was OK and we came home with a top 5.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Budweiser Duels Post Race Quotes
posted by Matt Stallknecht
Friday February 21, 2014
BUDWEISER DUELS POST-RACE QUOTES
They’re saying the wheel bearing burned up in it. I don’t know what caused it, they’re taking it all apart to figure out what the heck happened. Something abnormal that’s for sure I don’t think I’ve ever had that happen at all. Hopefully, we made the race and hopefully we can fix the problem before Sunday.
WHAT WAS THAT LOUD BOOM ONCE YOU TURNED INTO THE GARAGE?
Loud pop was a tire… thankfully, it popped, hopefully it didn’t hurt anybody. All the heat created in the left front that popped was pretty weird.
REALLY GOOD RUN. WHAT DID YOU THINK OF IT?
Yeah, it was good. We have a car we can work with for the 500. Got a good starting spot, so we’re going to rest easy, fluff and buff our car for a couple of days and get ready for Sunday.
ANY DIFFERENCE ON WHETHER THE TOP OR BOTTOM LANE WORKED?
Yeah, I was just moving around, trying to stay with the flow. For me, this car works on all parts of the racetrack. So I’m pretty happy with it.
DALE EARNHARDT, JR.
GOT SHUFFLED BACK, AFTER PIT STOPS AND THEN COULDN’T GET BACK UP TO THE FRONT. WHY?
Nah, we were just sitting there waiting until the last few laps to make a move. You didn’t want to pull down and get sent to the back. Seen a couple of guys get sent to the back really quick so we were just kind of waiting for the end. I felt like we had a good situation there with Ambrose behind us — we had a good run off Turn 2 and I went. It was the last lap, time to go do something, nobody went with us but hopefully Sunday is a different story.
We got a great car. We don’t have to work hard. We learned, we got a good race car. Got a car in one piece, ready to go so we’ll try and get through the next couple of practices, deliver it to the starting group this Sunday and we’ll be real happy.
YOU’RE IN THE DAYTONA 500!
Yeah, it’s pretty awesome. This Whitetail Chevrolet was so fast that I knew all I had to do was stick it behind smart, intelligent drafters and we could have a good finish. That’s what we did in the Duels and I’m excited. I’m excited to go do some stuff with the Nationwide car and have some more practice with this. But to know that we’re locked in the Daytona 500’s pretty cool.
YOU WERE OBVIOUSLY IN FRONT OF THAT MELEE AT THE END. WHEN YOU WERE UP FRONT THERE IN THE BEGINNING, WERE YOU HOPING TO JUST STAY IN LINE AND LET YOU FINISH TOP 5?
I was pretty content to ride and luckily I knew a lot of people around us were. It was nice to have a little calm and not really have to be racing hard the whole time. I knew that the pit stop was going to shake everything up and that’s exactly what happened. Fell back a little bit there but made the right moves at the end to get a good finish.
HOW STRONG ARE THESE RCR CARS?
They’re very strong! They definitely have the capabilities to be winning one of these races.
YOU’RE IN THE TOP 5 FOR YOUR HEAT IN THE DAYTONA 500. YOUR PRIMARY CAR IS SITTING RIGHT IN THE GARAGE, KIND OF WADDED UP. DID YOU THINK THIS ONE HAD IT IN IT?
Yeah, it’s a brand new car also. It’s just not quite as good as the primary but still a damned good car. I’m just proud of everybody at RCR for building such fast race cars. All of our cars have been fast, ECR motor’s been strong, even our affiliate teams have been qualifying really good and racing good. So… excited about 2014! It’s going to be a good year.
WELL MAN, YOU STARTED IN THE BACK BUT WORKED YOUR WAY TO THE FRONT WHEN IT COUNTED MOST. WERE YOU JUST BIDING YOUR TIME THROUGHOUT THE RACE?
Eh, you never know if you’re going to get back up there or not. We had to start at the back, we had to make a run early and see what we could do. We drove right to 10th, or something like that and then it got stagnant. We tried to make something happen, and went to the back again. Drove back up to the front. Again, just really proud of my guys. Matt Kruder did a hell of a job on that pit stop getting just enough gas in to gain some spots there.
RCR CARS SEEM PRETTY DARNED STRONG. DO YOU THINK THE RCR CARS HAVE SOMETHING FOR THEM ON SUNDAY — ESPECIALLY THE THREE JOE GIBBS RACING CARS THAT SEEM TO BE THE CLASS OF THE FIELD RIGHT NOW?
Oh yeah. The 20 car was extremely fast. The 11 didn’t qualify that good, but he’s a good drafter. I think he won. We definitely have something for him.
Check in with Matt and Jay on their site at CareyandCoffey.com.
Matt McLaughlin · Sunday March 21, 2010
The Key Moment: Chad Knaus’ questionable call to outfit Johnson’s No. 48 with four tires on the final stop paid off. Miraculous holes appeared before his Chevy like nothing I’ve heard of since Moses parted the Red Sea.
In a Nutshell: Good ol’-fashioned NASCAR racing with prolonged side-by-side battles for the lead and throughout the top 10, fenders rubbing, tires smoking, and the fans on their feet. Yeah, this is why even us cynical old son of a bitches keep watching every week.
Dramatic Moment: If your heart wasn’t pounding for those final ten laps, you may want to make an appointment with a cardiologist.
It was fun to watch Brad Keselowski and Carl Edwards race side-by-side, lap after lap without contact after the mess at Atlanta. My guess is a whole lot more was said in the NASCAR trailer than fans will ever hear about.
What They’ll Be Talking About Around the Water Cooler This Week
Before the usual merriment, tsunami of cynicism, and general written mayhem, I must pass along my genuine and sincere get well wishes to Larry Pearson, who was seriously injured in a savage wreck during the “Old Timers” event at Bristol Saturday evening. The former two-time champ in NASCAR’s AAA series blew a tire, hit the wall, then got hit broadside in the driver’s side numbers by Charlie Glotzbach. Both drivers were knocked out cold by the incident, but Pearson suffered the more severe injuries, including a broken pelvis. This “Legends” race is supposed to be fun, but the severity of the wreck was sobering. If competitors from days of yore are to put on a show for the fans at a NASCAR-sanctioned track, there ought to be rules in place to help protect them including requirements for full-face helmets, HANS devices, and the energy-absorbing foam between the roll cages and the door sheetmetal on these cars.
Yeah, that’s what I’m talking about! There was a lot of discussion if the extension of the SAFER barriers was going to ruin racing at Bristol, but Sunday fans were treated to a Goldilocks moment. The racing wasn’t too hot, with an endless string of wrecks, nor too cold with single-file racing. It was just right. The track at Bristol has undergone countless revisions, but I think they’ve got it about perfect right now.
Empty seats and vast tracts of them at Bristol, once the toughest ticket in all of sports to score? OK, it’s time to hit the panic button. Among those who weren’t in attendance were smokers who have been banned from the grandstands. This used to be called Winston Cup racing, right? As you reap, so shall you sow…
Carl Edwards, possessing a wry sense of humor, stole a classic line from movie reviews after emerging from his closed door meeting with NASCAR officials, Brad Keselowski, Roger Penske, and Jack Roush. “We laughed, we cried…” Edwards noted. But something tells me that when the moving picture is coming to an end, newly-minted best buds Edwards and Keselowski are still going to get in a fistfight over the last handful of popcorn.
At the site of the first “Car of Tomorrow” race (wherein winner Kyle Busch memorably said the car sucked) next week, the much maligned “new car” will debut in a new configuration minus its controversial rear wing, with that eyesore being replaced by a traditional “blade style” rear spoiler. But don’t get too excited just yet: the newest of the new cars will still feature that cowcatcher front end that has proven to be such a disaster for side-by-side racing. You can put makeup on a gorilla, but it’s still not going to look like Faith Hill…
Do you get the feeling if it wasn’t for the Edwards/Keselowski incident, the FOX pre-race show would have been sixty minutes of the three denizens of the Hollywood Hotel rendered fortunately mute, staring at each other muttering, “I got nothing… cue the gopher.” And any discussion of great NASCAR rivalries without mention of the Richard Petty-Bobby Allison feud that dominated the early ’70s in our sport is just a bunch of self-serving chatter. Those two cats flat out hated each other, seemingly at times more intent on wrecking one another than winning races. The fussing and feuding often continued off the track as well, in Victory Lane, in the garage area, and away from the track. It was two proud sons of the South refusing to back down an inch; and watching Allison and Petty heading for the checkers as the afternoon sun faded over the fourth turn, fenders bent, tires smoking, and steam coming out from under their hoods and helmets and was about the best racing this sport has ever seen.
Having had an exclusive deal with NASCAR for over a decade and a half, wouldn’t you think that Goodyear could finally bring safe, competitive tires to every track?
Some unexpected fallout from the Carl Edwards/Brad Keselowski incident this week included Kevin Harvick saying Edwards was a “fake.” Edwards responded that he felt Harvick was “a bad person.” Jezum Crow, Auntie Em, I’m all for drivers settling disputes amongst themselves without NASCAR stepping in to slap wrists, but do they have to sound like two dumb kindergarteners fighting over a tasty cat turd in the sandbox?
You’ve got to love Jeff Hammond’s latest attempt at a column on the FOX sports site blasting internet writers for their take on the sport. This is the same guy who memorably appeared with Chris Myers in a hot tub during a pre-race segment, and he thinks we give a crap about his goat-roping abilities and offseason facelift so awful, he now looks Asian to complement his dime store tanning booth pigmentation? Yeah, that’s entertainment – sort of like root canal surgery without anesthesia in a Third World country. Hammond seems to think it’s high time that NASCAR internet writers have a Goldilocks moment and decide if they want “too hot” or “too cold” instead of “just right” (see above) when even his booth boy cohorts weren’t quite sure what to make of Carl Edwards’ move live on the air at Atlanta. Well, it does seem certain that most fans and internet writers would rather spend a night at the Bates Motel showering then spend another afternoon at the Hollywood Hotel listening to Hammond and his cohorts prattle on like a bunch of drunken men taken leave of their senses. I kid because I care.
For those of you anxiously awaiting the debut of the new Ford Mustangs and Dodge Challengers in the Nationwide Series, apparently the rolling out of the new cars is on hold until July at Daytona – not next weekend at Martinsville as originally planned.
Did I really hear Chris Myers, about the damnedest Yankee ever to be involved with the sport, use the term “Ya’ll” in his signoff?
Do you think presumably retired Ward Burton ever resents his brother Jeff ending up with the CAT sponsorship?
Far be it from me to suggest the fates would favor the driver who chose the coolest song for driver intros at Bristol in the race, but Jimmie Johnson’s selection of Led Zep’s “Ramble On” was clearly the best. Tony Stewart, who finished second, selected Eastbound and Down (better known as the theme song from the original Smokey and the Bandit movie) as his intro tune. Now, let’s see Stewart race a black car with a big screaming gold chicken on the hood, and maybe he’ll win another race. (Mine is available if the insurance coverage is right, and he can sneak the 462 cubic engine through tech.)
The Hindenburg Award For Foul Fortune
Clint Bowyer hadn’t suffered the indignity of a DNF since Darlington last May, but a blown powerplant ended his day early at Bristol.
Kurt Busch had the dominant car all day, and just like Johnson, his team chose to go with four tires on the final stop. But the breaks just didn’t fall his way in traffic, and Busch wound up finishing third.
Joey Logano won the pole, but right front tire issues ruined his day by Lap 100.
Marcos Ambrose had a competitive car, but kept falling afoul of the speeding cops on pit road. Maybe his tach is calibrated in the metric system? (For the record, Tasmania is a separate entity from Australia.)
Mark Martin had a contending car before getting hit by Greg Biffle, his former teammate and (presumably) friend.
Juan Pablo Montoya keeps threatening to win on an oval track but he, too, got caught up in Greg Biffle’s mess.
Kasey Kahne just couldn’t keep a right front tire under his car. Camber is like war. Too much of it isn’t good for children or other living things.
Robby Gordon’s team is now 36th in owner points, and will have to race their way into the field until such a time they re-enter the top 35 this season. Gordon has never been a great qualifier, so this is going to be quite a challenge.
The “Seven Come Fore Eleven” Award For Fine Fortune
Jimmie Johnson’s car was great on short runs but not so good on long runs. But he got a nice short stretch to the checkers there at the end and scored yet another win.
Given the radar screen, it’s a near miracle NASCAR and fans on hand got to see the entire 500 laps of racing at Bristol.
Kyle Busch won both Cup races here last year, but a blown right front tire just past the halfway point of the race put him hard into the wall. He still drove a severely damaged car to a top 10 finish (ninth).
Tony Stewart was barely mentioned all day, or in fact for most of this season, but he powered his way to a respectable second place finish in the final laps. He might have forgotten how to shave, but Stewart hasn’t forgotten how to drive when the chips are on the table.
Greg Biffle caused the big 13-car wreck that brought out the eighth caution, but drove away relatively unscathed to a fourth place finish. My guess is the line of drivers waiting to congratulate him after the race wasn’t too long… and most of them were swinging tire irons.
Despite being sickened by flu and fumes, Jamie McMurray scored a top 10 finish. Sickened by the smell from the jet dryers? That’s a new one for me.
Dale Earnhardt, Jr. had to overcome a pit road speeding penalty and a tiff with crew chief Lance McGrew on the radio en route to an all-too-rare top 10 finish.
Justin Allgaier joined the ranks of Nationwide winners on Saturday, and was added to an even more select group of drivers… those Brad Keselowski hasn’t wrecked trying to advance his position late in the race. This is the guy I want to pick my lottery numbers this week.
What’s the Points?
Kevin Harvick remains atop the standings, leading Matt Kenseth by just one point. If we were heading into the final race of the season, that would surely be “sumpin‘” but as it stands, the numbers are just a statistical anomaly. Jimmie Johnson, who has won three of this season’s five points-paying races, is third. Sorry, I don’t get it. Don’t bother trying to explain it to me. Consistency… yada, yada, yada.
Dale Earnhardt, Jr. moved up five spots to eighth in the standings, and a lonely nation rejoices. Kyle Busch moved up five spots to tenth, but still had to endure a sitdown with Chris Pizzi, the most annoying non-rodent FOX has ever force-fed fans. Brother Kurt also got a nice bump, jumping from tenth to sixth despite those horribly yellow wheels. But Carl Edwards gained the most positions this weekend out of anyone, moving up seven to end up thirteenth – just 26 points out of the top 12.
Clint Bowyer’s engine woes dropped him seven spots to twelfth in the standings. Scott Speed dropped out of the top 12 and down six spots to eighteenth. Mark Martin was the biggest loser, falling nine spots to sixteenth.
If you’re really concerned about points this early in the season, I’ve got one word for you: “Prozac.”
Overall Rating (On a scale of one to six beer cans, with one being a stinker and a six pack an instant classic) – We’ll give this one five icy cold bottles of Corona served by a fetching lass of a bartender with the morals of a minx. It might have been a full six pack if Goodyear had managed to bring a decent tire to Bristol.
Next Up: Mr. Peabody, set the Wayback Machine for 1949 because the circuit heads back to the virginal short track at Martinsville next weekend. Gather your hot dogs whilst you may, because time, it is a fleeting…
©2000 - 2008 Matt McLaughlin and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
Jezum Crow, Auntie Em, you said TWO nice things about Tony in one article. You feeling alright Matt?
damn empty seats at bristol when they said they were going to the brickyard in 94 a buddy and me managed to get 6 tickets on a renewal basis in 94 our tickets were 75 dollars a seat not too bad once they brought f1 there our tickets went to 150 dollars a seat and they had to be renewed for next year a couple weeks after that years race then not only are they gouging you for ticket prices but you cant afford to eat or drink anything at a track either because they at least triple the price of everything then motels which are normally 40 a night jump to 200 a night if you are within 50 miles of the track this year i was going to try to get bristol night tickets but i had to buy spring tickets too so i decided no to that didnt want a set of tickets to a race i couldnt go to so instead of going to any cup race this year just gonna pick good dirt late model race to attend and will save alot of money and probably see a better race any way now as far as the race broadcast i dont know what happened to dw and hammond at some point in the past i used to really respect these guys now with the way they act on fox i have lost all respect for them every year i look forward to espn taking over so i dont have to hear about digger and boogity boogity boogity and whats up with a intro song are we in big time wrestlin well im done venting this week lol good article matt
Say what you want about Hendrick dominance, the chase, and NASCAR “rules” but in the era of the COT winged car – Jimmie Johnson flat out dominated. 23 wins, that’s something no one can take away.
That Green White Checker rule was instituted back in the days of single file restarts. Now that we have DOUBLE FILE RESTARTS (shoot-out style) maybe they should revisit the GWC policy instead of cramming multiple attempts down our throats. How about a 5-lap attempt to end the race under green. If atleast 3 clean laps are provided that will be the race. But let the drivers win a race – not a restart!
Note to DW: IBS stands for Irritable BROADCASTER syndrome.
good one dansmom about dw and ibs.
so jr and his crew chief had a spat. i was shocked to see where he finished. this man never looks happy.
race was ok, be interesting to see how dominant the 48 team is with the spoiler back.
i sure wished kyle busch would have taken the pizza and pied pizzi.
What is the writer talking about..saying the Nationwide mustangs..etc were to debut this week in martinsville?…Nationwide doesnt EVEN race in martinsville..Huh?
Best wishes to both Larry Pearson and Charlie Glotsbach. I sure am glad they put sponsership on Phil Parson’s car, would have hated to see a start and park in a celebrity race. I thought Martin was smarter then trying to run that fast with a blown tire. With the amount of empty seats maybe nascar will finally realize they have a major problem and should have been listening to the older fans who have followed the sport for YEARS and spent our money at the track, I live in middle TN and have been bombarded with commercials about the “tickets you never thought you could get” still being available. The weather was some of the problem, but for years BRISTOL WAS SOLD OUT in NOVEMBER not on raceday.
Tim- This raising prices and adding races to raise prices even more, caused us to give up season ticket to Texas and we have never gone back. In fact, we have given up attendance due to prices at most tracks.
I think it was a okay race definitely not a great one. I think it was in the 3 cans area.
Darrell Waltrip is one of the most annoying announcers in the history of broadcasting and he helps bring every race that he covers down a couple of notches.
It would have been neat to see a little closer finish as Johnson pretty easily scooted away while Busch got caught up in that traffic.
NASCAR can’t seem to catch a break in any substantial coverage as the Bristol cup race was swamped by the NCAA tournament and Tiger Woods (again).
As far as I’m concerned, along with thousands of other nascrap fans, every single race is a zero!!! What a joke nascrap has become! It gets worse every single week!
I just like the Jeff Hammond part. I never saw that column of his (can you blame me?), but I just had to follow the link. Jeff did a great job. What better way for him to get a point across than to alienate and patronize the people who his job depends on, because he expects us to let NASCAR’s sorry excuse for a racing series be shoved down our throats without complaint. What a class act.
Matt , i have to say i’m shocked . You DID mention Tony Stewart ! Of course by doing so , you are the automatic enemy of FAUX Sports who are still nursing some real or supposed snub by Tony .
Matt was being sarcastic with that statement … he’s indicating that everyone WANTS those new cars in the Cup Series, not just some silly new spoiler, but we’re not going to get them until the Nationwide Series proves they’re better over the next year or so.
Matt, correct me if I’m wrong but that’s how I read it!
Well Tim… Still haven’t master the fine art of punctuation or capital letters, have we?
I had a couple of friends watching the race with me , and they commented on the empty seats . I have a feeling we can no longer blame the economy , the weather , the ticket prices , etc . I think the fans have simply lost interest in the current Nascar , or maybe auto racing in general . Its officially time to panic if you are a racing series in America .
trust me i wished i could get a mrn station here in atlanta that carries the race. the radio stations here don’t carry racing any longer, and the one that did last year, was, i swear, a basement set-up in someone’s house. signal was so weak.
i thought i did good myself, i fell asleep during the pre-race stuff this weekend and woke up when they were already 50 laps into the race. for a good part of the race i didn’t think earnhardt jr was even running, as no one made the obligatory comments about him on tv. saw more of his nationwide commercials with his sister and tony eury sr., than i did of race coverage of him. maybe they showed him when i was asleep.
i knew johnson was going to win cause he was fastest in happy hour and leading up to the race kept hearing how he hadn’t won at bristol.
wcfan said: “I sure am glad they put sponsership on Phil Parson’s car, would have hated to see a start and park in a celebrity race.” That was some funny stuff right there!
Matt said: You can put makeup on a gorilla, but it’s still not going to look like Faith Hill…
No, instead it looks like Nancy Pelosi…
Matt said: •Kyle Busch (third) has strung together back-to-back top 5 finishes for the first time since Loudon and Daytona last summer.
Shouldnt that be Kurt? Kyle finished 9th.
Matt said: •Justin Allgaier’s Nationwide win at Bristol was not only his first series victory, but the first by any Dodge pilot since Kasey Kahne won there in August of 2007.
The first by a Dodge in the Nationwide series, or at Bristol? If you mean at Bristol that was only 5 races ago.
I not a fan of goodyears and do not like the blown tires anymore then anyone else, but is it really goodyears problem when the same teams have trouble every week while other teams have no problems? If everyweek it was different teams I would say it was goodyears problem. These guys are suppost to be the best of the best, being able to identify and fix this problem helps separate the good teams from the rest.
Amen on using the MRN broadcast for the audio instead of Fox. Too bad for me that there isn’t an MRN affiliate in Baltimore. Last week I watched the IRL race and was jealous of the professional broadcast. I never realized how much the tone of the coverage could make a difference. I’m tired of the yuk, yuk, folksy, buffoon approach that Fox takes. I want the race covered in detail from 1st to 43rd and to lose the BS banter that adds nothing but frustration.
I thought this was a very good race 4 1/2 cans could have been a 5+ if JJ and HMS had not won. lots of side by side racing with few cautions, not the demo derby I was expecting.
Is THAT what happened to Hammond’s face???? Yikes…
Kevin in SoCal…
In my scariest nightmares Nancy Pelosi is a GoDaddy girl.
Michael Waltrip must have a massive headache today….Ambrose has a top 10 car even after multiple speeding penalties,and gets taken out in the Biffle/Martin mess.. Reutimann was running 2nd and running down the 2 when his engine gives out. Not a good day considering MWR had great cars at bristol.
No smoking is the reason for low attendance at Bristol? That is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. I was at Sebring again this last weekend, and it was the smallest crowd I’ve seen there in well over a decade. It’s the economy, not very complicated. I’ll be at the St. Pete Grand Prix this weekend, real racing, real speed and no fake caution flags.
for the comments on the smoking..i think it could be ‘part’ of the reason ‘casual’ fans stop attending..im a non-smoker (but, actually feel govt. should stay out of it and let business decide)..anyway..many of my friends (casual fans) i used to take to the races for the ‘party’ atmosphere…will not go with me now…because of the smoking ban at various tracks (Michigan being the latest)…tho i think this would not stop any ‘hard-core’ fans from attending.
To me the biggest point is how FOX can treat the NFL and MLB so professionally and then DUMB DOWN it’s NASCAR coverage so much. DW leads the bunch but Meyers and Hammond are right behind. NASCAR will never reach higher levels like the NFL as long as FOX continues to insult it’s NASCAR fans with this type of coverage.
Hey JimBob, maybe we could all chip in and buy Tim a new keyboard. I must admit that that was the longest sentence I have even seen.
Matt, NWide doesnt run Martinsville so uh whatcho talkin’ bout Willis?
Also, why in the name of everything reasonably sane were these legends in crappy late model cars? What do you have against saftey? I understand this wasnt NASCAR sanctioned but FFS half the field DNF’d due to their crappy car breaking. Get this race NASCAR sanctioned. HANS, full face helmet, driving gloves..and for petes sake let them break in the new NWide COT if they say it sucks then im sure it does suck
I guess Matt was watching a different race than I was. Either that or maybe his race was going on when I fell asleep. I’m just glad I went to Bristol back in the 80’s.
Joe , i had exactly the same reaction . Why can’t the legends race be run with top shelf race cars ? Year old Cup cars , or Nationwide cars or even ARCA cars . There is no excuse for having those guys compete in cars that aren’t top of the line in safety . I realize that the cars they were in are well constructed , but ex Cup cars and the like are far safer construction . Why not give them the best . Now they don’t need Cup car engines to put on a good show , but they sure deserve the safest cars possible .
Biffle’s excuse was his headset came unplugged and he couldn’t hear his spotter. Yea, right. How about it’s more like he couldn’t see with the brown colored face shield. The one stained from having his head up his ass. Typical “Biff”, just McGooing it around the track and never catches crap for it. Would love to see Mark man up at Martinsville and give him the ‘ole “NA$CAR gloves off” move.
Well Jimbob didnt know I was being graded on my ability a form a sentence.I will try harder from now on with my english class skills.
“I got nothin’…cue the gopher”
Classic, Matt! Bravo!
The old fans may hate the new NASCAR, and that might explain the empty seats at Bristol. But, when I looked at the forecast on Thursday, the weather service was predicting a 90% chance of rain. Any chance that the speedway had of selling out was rebuked by a smart fan looking at the weather. I’m not shelling out $95 at the last minute to possible have to wait until Monday to see a race from the TV at work.
I also think the economy is still a big factor. Has anyone looked at the unemployment statistics for the counties within a 500 mile radius of Bristol. Here in Birmingham we’re pushing 12%. I know the Atlanta metro area isn’t doing much better, and eastern Tennessee has been hit especially hard as well. Plus, the average NASCAR fan is the poster boy/girl for job loss in the new economy. Maybe NASCAR should add jobs for the working man to its litany of prayers for the drivers and the “troops” at the beginning of NASCAR events.
I always enjoy D. Waltrip when he’s on Wind Tunnel or does a long form interview, but I’m with many of you that I cannot stand him on the Fox broadcast. When Daryl has time to think, interesting things come out of his mouth, but when he’s forced by the medium to speak off the cuff, he is hard to endure.
I was at the race, lots of side by side racing through the field. But, if TV coverage was like usual the people at home probably saw none of it.
Carl D “In my scariest nightmares Nancy Pelosi is a GoDaddy girl.”
In my scariest dreams she’s speaker of the house… oh wait she is… someone wake me up.
speaking of naps.. heh. NAPSCAR…
I’m with Wayne. Bristol was the 1st race I’ve watched live in about a year. It’s also my last. We all seem to agree that the coverage is less than desirable, the commentators are usually either biased, boring or just plain incompetent but what about the repeated bombardment of asinine commercials? Next Sunday Afternoon I’ll be off doing something other than having my intelligence assaulted by talking Jack-asses. Again, thank God for DVR.
I agree that Waltrip, Myers and Hammond are a bunch of bozos. I really miss the professional job that was done in the past by Ned Jarret and Buddy Baker. Fox should hire these two guys and s—-can the three stooges they have broadcasting now.
FOX does not care about the quality of their broadcast. It’s not just NA$CAR, MLB and NFL coverage is just as full of commercials and boobs (not the good kind) in the booth. Try listening to Joe Buck during baseball season. It’s all about the $$$$ for FOX.