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 June 7, 2010
The Key Moment: On lap 188, Denny Hamlin, who dominated the second half of the race, reasserted himself by retaking a lead he wouldn’t relinquish.
In a Nutshell: After three hours of tiresome triangular tedium, folks are sure going to be discussing those last 35 laps for awhile.
Dramatic Moment: Due to a cornucopia of strategies during the final caution periods, the fastest cars ended up mired in traffic in the waning laps. The fastest of them won, but a bunch of the rest ended up scrap on the final lap.
What They’ll Be Talking About Around the Water Cooler This Week
Where was the caution when Kasey Kahne’s car got in the grass and hooked hard right into the wall on the final lap? Hamlin had the race won. Because there was no caution thrown immediately, drivers like Jeff Gordon and Ryan Newman ended up running wide open into the carnage. It is flat out amazing to me there were apparently no serious injuries in that melee.
What has relative newcomer Denny Hamlin got figured out about Pocono that has eluded even talented veterans like Mark Martin? (Who has finished second here six times, but never won.)
Wow, do you think Joey Logano is a bit miffed at Kevin Harvick? I don’t know about commenting on another driver’s wife like that, especially if you’re single. And I doubt we’ll be seeing Kahne and A.J. Allmendinger enjoying a few laughs and a game of paper triangle football at the local Waffle House after Monday’s team meeting at RPM.
Psst. I’ve got a secret for you. Want to see some of the old school style racing me and the other old folks are always going on and on about? Order up coverage of Tony Stewart’s All-Star dirt track race Wednesday night from Eldora. As an added bonus, profits help a variety of good causes.
Class, compare and contrast… Darrell Waltrip’s incessant irritating self-promotion in the booth, and Kyle Petty’s more laid back self-deprecating humor. I know which I prefer. Welcome back, TNT.
Was it just me, or was there more passing under the rain delay than there was for the first hundred laps at Pocono? What a sorry-ass snoozer most of this race was.
The “Gillette Profusion Whatever the Hell the rest of the official title was” ended a charming anachronist trend that dated back to 1997 wherein the two Pocono races were simply known as the “Pennsylvania” and “Pocono” 500. Yeah, it’s a minor issue, but I guess track management at Pocono needed a few bucks to pay the note on the “World’s Largest Restroom.”
Only three drivers chose to do the weekend double, flying from Pocono to Nashville to compete in the Nationwide series race. Those drivers finished 1-2-3 in Saturday’s event. Draw your own conclusions as to what that says about the health of NASCAR’s AAA division.
Kyle Busch chose to shut down one of his truck teams this week. Busch is the latest in a long series of Cup drivers who have found that this owner/driver scenario is tough. In Busch’s case, it was a litany of sponsorship woes, wrecked race vehicles, and unpaid bills that caused his current problems. Somehow, these guys just aren’t getting the message that the best way to make a small fortune in race team ownership is to start with a large one. It makes what Kevin and DeLana Harvick have been able to accomplish as team owners that much more remarkable.
Denny Hamlin did a burnout that would have made John Force proud to celebrate his win, but lost a ton of style points for nosing the car hard into the wall to finish his freestyle exercise.
Hey, did you hear that the Pocono race track property now includes a 25-acre solar farm, a hotel, and a restaurant just in case this racing thing doesn’t work out? Track owner Dr. Joe Mattioli professes that he’s “scared to Hell” when he sees the number of empty seats at some tracks this Cup season. That ought to set some bells to ringing down at the NASCAR headquarters in Daytona Beach.
I don’t know what to make of this, but I’m hearing that this week MLB umpire Jim Joyce was offered a job with NASCAR to officially determine if debris cautions have to be thrown in the final ten laps of a race.
Did former Cup champion Bobby Labonte really just start-and-park a car? What happened to ending your career with some small measure of grace and class?
The Hindenburg Award For Foul Fortune
Clint Bowyer dominated the first half of the race, but he joined the multitude of drivers slapping the third turn wall and his Chevy was never the same again.
Kasey Kahne took one hell of a lick in that final lap wreck. Jeff Gordon, Mark Martin (who had the front end of his Chevy shorn clean off), Martin Truex, Jr., and Greg Biffle were all lucky to escape that incident unscathed.
Joey Logano probably deserved a top-5 finish. Certainly, he deserved a chance to speak to Harvick after the race to clear the air after winding up 13th. (I do want to say Logano did a nifty bit of driving to keep the No. 20 car out of the wall after getting tagged. He just about had it saved, too.)
When Jeff Gordon won’t even accommodate the TV cameras long enough to plug his sponsors, you know he’s well and truly pissed off. His 32nd-place day was a struggle with a particularly bad ending… and this is a track where he used to dominate!
Mark Martin’s midseason slump continued with a 29th-place finish at Pocono.
The “Seven Come Fore Eleven” Award For Fine Fortune
Sam Hornish, Jr. probably raised a lot of eyebrows and earned some respect with his dogged drive to retain the top spot late in the race.
There was nothing about the way Tony Stewart’s car was running most of the day that indicated it might be capable of a top-5 finish. In fact, it looked like one of those race cars that was destined for show duty at mall openings in a few years, but Stewart went on to finish third.
If you looked at the radar images just prior to the race, it seemed there was no way they were going to get 500 miles in on Sunday. NASCAR did a remarkable job drying a two-and-a-half mile track after the band of showers passed through the area.
It’s hard to consider a fourteenth-place finish fine fortune, but it was flat out cool to watch Ryan Newman just run his car up into the wall and keep it wide open to finish the race after he apparently lost steering in the final lap wreck.
What’s the Points?
Kevin Harvick retains his points lead, but is now just 19 ahead of Kyle Busch in second. Hamlin’s fourth win of the season advanced him forward two spots to third in the standings. Matt Kenseth is fourth, while Kurt Busch rounds out the top 5. Hendrick teammates Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon are now sixth and seventh.
Jeff Burton, Carl Edwards, and Greg Biffle round out the top 10. Mark Martin is eleventh, while Clint Bowyer returns to the top 12 in points, advancing a spot to twelfth.
Ryan Newman fell out of the top 12, down two spots to fourteenth. Tony Stewart advanced three spots to thirteenth in the standings, and is now just a single point out of a playoff berth.
Overall Rating (On a scale of one to six beer cans, with one being a stinker and a six pack an instant classic) — The first 150 laps of the race were about as awful an occurrence as I can imagine that didn’t feature live kittens being fed into a chipper. But things got pretty hot there in the last 35 laps, perhaps even a bit too spicy on the last lap, so we’ll give this one three cans. At least they got it in on Sunday.
Next Up: The Cup circuit heads off to Michigan to start that stretch of the season I call the Summer Doldrums… a spate of typically somnolent races that drags on until Bristol in late August.
©2000 - 2008 Matt McLaughlin and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
First off a Huge Shout Out to Jayski for Honoring the Veterans on the 66th Anniversary of D-Day. Thank You Jayski and THANK YOU VETERANS.
Nice piece on Richard Petty with Kyle during rain delay. Sure is nice to watch a Cup race that is not being dumbed down.
Did I hear Kyle Petty say that Kurt Busch got a penalty for not having a valve stem cap on(safety issue), that cow catcher is way more of a safety issue then a valve stem cap could ever be.
I also was wondering about Bobby Labonte and if he start and parked (heard they may start doing this). Its bad enough when you have past “racers” like Joe Nemeckek and Dave Blaney doing this, but a past champion. Where is his pride.
Good to see Joey have a little fire even though I believe the contact was just a racing incident with 2 laps to go. I do not mind the GWC but this is at least the second time, the first being Martinsville where they threw a VERY quick caution so that we would have a GWC.( not a Jeff or Denny fan, but they had the races won before nascar manipulated the out come of these races).
Where was Kasey brain, yes A.J. blocked him but Kasey had plenty of time to hit the brake before going into the grass. Could it be the team “all-star” does not like being in 3rd place in team points?
Looking forward to Wednesday Night at Eldora for the Prelude, good hard racing with no points and for good charities. Will be in turn 1. Go Rowdy
According to the “unofficial” results on nascar.com, Jimmy Johnson finished 5th and Mark Martin 29th.
I was reading Mulhern and he had a piece on teams switching drivers to gain more owner points, which dropped Robby Gordon from 34th to 36th and caused him to miss the race. Now that’s BS.
Agreed on the switch from Fox to TNT. How refreshing to not hear the pre green flag schtick of Larry and Darrel, and no self promotion and schilling. I also thought the piece on the Petty’s during the rain delay was great. Does Fox make Larry Mac act like a country bumpkin buffoon on purpose? He’s much better in his role on TNT.
Jimmie Johnson’s mid-season slump continued with a 29th place finish at Pocono.
Found it hard to follow the race Sunday – TV coverage didn’t show the leaders as much as usual.
Also, did DW have a cold or something? Commentary was severely lacking.
Glad the start of the race got postponed – 1:00 is too early. Give us time to get home for church and have lunch!!!!
The wave around rule once again guarenteed that no one fell off the lead lap and that the first 180 laps meant nothing. Then it was followed by the obligatory crapshoot at the end ensuring that even guys that kept their now clean all day had to draw a number to see where they finished. What a joke of a racing series.
Oh yeah, what a pleasure it was not to hear “reach up and pull those belts tight one more time” followed by “boogity, boogity, boogity”.
“ It is flat out amazing to me there were apparently no serious injuries in that melee.”
Thank you CAR OF TOMMOROW
“Want to see some of the old school style racing me and the other old folks are always going on and on about? “ – No.
As for TNT – I really liked Kyle’s analysis of the cars coming through turns three and four at pocono. He must have said it 5 times yesterday.
“What happened to ending your career with some small measure of grace and class?” – Who was the LAST driver to do this? Mark Martin? Terry Labonte? Kyle Petty? Sterling Marlin? Dale Earnhart? Ward Burton? No one does this.
Couldn’t have said it better myself , WELCOME BACK TNT !! . What a difference after having to endure clusterfox . No agenda , no pre-race stories followed relentlessly while ignoring everything else ( though Lary tried to , the others refused to play along ) , cars besides Johnson and Gordon actually get on tv with TNT . Alexander was a little weak , Wally and Kyle were good as usual .
I agree , TNT did a very good job . They covered the race instead of covering the pre-race story lines . I do think the after race interviews were a bit much . Some of these pit reporters are only interested in creating a story rather than reporting on one . Trying to goad the drivers into insulting each other is pretty low rent .
Ok, how about this: Delana Harvick vs Joey Logano in a no-holds-barred cage match. I don’t know about anyone else, but my money’s on Delana…
i had read a few weeks ago that bobby labonte would be start-n-park cause his team lacked sponsorship.
what no comment about the bubba-repair of the pothole? i thought it quite interesting how they used cardboard to smooth out the epoxy.
i was surprised with g/w/c cause i thought hamlin had taken the white flag before the caution came out. don’t they get it…g/w/c = major wreck.
during rain delay, was it logano that phil parsons was talking with and something was said about phil needing to eat and phil said he was wearing his brother benny’s uniform. driver looked clueless.
GWC = Big Wreck
GWC = DRAMA!
@ WCFan: I agree with you whole heartedly. Kasey had every opportunity to avoid wrecking his car. It was just plain stupidity to keep going all the way to the grass.
@ Matt: It’s kind of ironic, isn’t it? If not for NASCAR’s “debris” cautions, Pocono would have gotten a 1 can rating. The mis-management of the racing sucks, but it is the only reason the end of the race was as competitive that it was. It’s depressing that one of the last independently owned race tracks on the circuit produces such uninspired racing.
@ DansMom: lmao and you had the audacity on Friday to claim that you are not an idiot!
@ Slander: I’m with you, and it wouldn’t even be a close fight. Delana would score a first round knock-out on Joey.
Nice reporting in your “What’s the Point’s” section, Ace.
The #2 and #48 each gained a spot, and did not lose a spot as your wrote.
Someone also pointed out that Johnson finished a tad better than 29th…try 24 spots!
You have been mailing this column in a long time…now I guess you are just cutting and pasting from old columns!
Hey, did you hear that the Pocono race track property now includes a 25 acre solar farm
Wait…aren’t all farms solar farms??
GWC = DRAMA!”
I guess anyone can learn to type but not everyone can learn to think.
Jim – Matt hasn’t writen a good column since 2001
Noel – can’t we be ladylike? Why do you insist on bashing me without backing up your claims!?!?!
The last driver to retire with class was probably Harry Gant… that guy oozed class.
As for Labonte start & parking, he has a contract and I guess he has to honor it, but it will be cold day in hell before I wear one of my many Bobby Labonte t-shirts or ball caps.
Joey’s tantrum was fun to watch. I still think Delana could take him in a fistfight, though.
bobofthemtns…. good point, although I have heard stories of plants being grown indoors with artificial lights
Anyone else notice how long it took for the caution to come out after that big wreck?
All day long cars were barely spinning, or just running through the grass and the caution comes out immediately. Are NASCAR officials watching these wrecks in awe or something?
“Matt hasn’t writen a good column since 2001”
And yet you keep coming back. I think you’re secretly his biggest fan. Come on out of the closet, Darlin’
to DansMom…i believe Rusty Wallace definately finished his career with grace and class…he had a win in his final year (i believe) and definately was in the ‘chase’.
You think Kasey made a rookie mistake???? Rewatch the video! It shows Kasey had the run & it also show AJ himself went all the way to the grass to put Kasey there. Kasey had no other choice. AJ made a deliberate move to block Kasey even though Kasey had the faster car. Just how do you think he could have avoided this at this speed? Lifting? Braking? Yep you try it & let me know the results!
DansMom: I can’t be lady like, I AM A MAN! Dale Jarrett, Ricky Rudd, and even Michael Waltrip retired with (some) class.
Oh yeah, and DansMom, if you were looking for me to back up my statement about you being a brainless idiot, see Kurt’s article from Friday, it’s there for the whole world to see.
Dan’sMom — this is TNT, not Fox — DW is now shilling on the Racdeday program on Sunday’s not in the booth, thank goodness.
TNT did a lot better with their coverage than the Fox crowd. The PXP needs work, I’d rather Ralph Sheheen was in the booth instead of Alexander, but Wally & Kyle are better to listen to than DW & Larry Mac. Did you notice – there was NO cheerleading.
I still think Pocono needs to cut the length of the races by 100 laps and shouldn’t have more than 1 race per season particularly not 2 events in a 6 week span.
In case NASCAR is interested – I’m not a fan of manipulating the races for “excitement” purposes. The GWC restarts at the end of the races have all resulted in a bunch of wrecks and are in Tony’s words “stupid”.
I secretly think that this column is written by a team of retarded monkeys in a bouncy-castle.
Matt’s errors have been corrected and the points totals have been updated. Mark Martin, not Jimmie Johnson was 29th; we sincerely apologize for the errors.
I agree with Tony Stewart’s comments about ‘stupid’ racing. That wreck yesterday at the end was dumb and was an indirect result of Harvick’s contact with Logano.
Also, that was pretty embarrassing that Hamlin wrecked his car celebrating his victory.
I agree that it was good to see Logano show some fire but I wish one time the drivers could confront each other without a million people between them on pit road. The crewmen always start acting like they are bodyguards for rappers when someone like Harvick is confronted. Can he not speak for himself anymore?
If Harvick had shown some patience he would have passed Logano cleanly within the next two laps and the ridiculous huge wreck at the end could have been avoided.
The comment about Harvick’s wife was a funny cheapshot by Logano. I would think that Kevin Harvick believes that he has a co-partnership with his wife. Maybe it is in name only but I think she owns the Nationwide Series and Truck Series vehicles for Harvick. She is also one of the few wives that wears a fire suit on pit road.
As President Harry Truman once said, “If you can’t stand the heat then get out of the kitchen.”
Wait wait wait… Wouldnt Mikey Waltrip have to RETIRE first before he could do it with SOME class? And I’m not a doctor but I don’t consider what Mikey did the past few years as classy. I can field a junk car and spin out every 50 laps. That doesnt take a classy driver.
I cant wait until Danica shows up in Cup series and starts dating Joey Legano. With her hot body and pure skill combined with his hot temper and growing driving talent they would be god’s gift to NASCAR.
One more small error – there was a fourth driver who did the Pocono-Nashville double (McDowell). That is, if you can call S&Ping doing the double.
Anyway, did anyone else think NA$CAR’s track inspectors need to step it up? How long after the track was dry did it take them to even find that pothole, much less fix it? Do they not have enough personnel to run the dryers and check the track at the same time? It just seemed to me that they could have gotten started a lot quicker than they did.
And one more observation – trees do not a catch fence make. I wonder if Pocono will look at that when they install the SAFERs on the infield wall later this year? Eh, probabaly not.
You’ve gone new-school on us, Matt! The beginning of this race had faster cars moving to the front, cars passing for the lead (not many, but if only two teams came to play, that’s not their problem), and plenty of green flag stops! Then it descended into un-necessary cautions to give half the field a lap back followed by a shameful wreck-fest at the end. Maybe your “two races at Pocono” idea was a good one: a 450-miler with no debris cautions, and a demo derby in the infield afterward because apparently it’s not exciting unless there’s a pile of wrecked racecars.
And I love that Tony puts on the Eldora race, but he has a tendency to stink up the show if he’s driving in it. At least during this race’s “boring” start we had two teams stinking it up together!
Mom, the short bus is here.
This wasn’t the first race Labonte parked it at. He parked at Dover too.
They’ll park until they fall out of the T35. With Labonte’s Champion’s Provisional (he has 5 left) they won’t miss any races, and all he has to stay ahead of are cars that have missed races this year anyway. Besides, he’s “competing” against Front Row (Back row?) Motorsports for the last spot in the T35 anyway.
“ but it will be cold day in hell before I wear one of my many Bobby Labonte t-shirts or ball caps.”
That about sums it up for me to. I was once the biggest Labonte fan in the country, growing up rooting for Terry and later Bobby. To see Bobby throw his career away the way he has was just too much for me. I understood the attempt to help the Petty’s, and I went along with it, right up till he turned down the obvious overtures from RCR to save his career which told me he had no interest in competing anymore…and now he’s down to start-n-park. It’s nothing short of sad.
I’m a conspiracy theorist. I think Hamlin ran into the wall on purpose messing up the frontend. This way the Na$car inspectors wouldn’t be able to properly inspect the front end. Just like they stopped drivers from jumping on the roof, they should keep the winning car in order. Dam, he is too good there.
Bob that’s a great theory, but what if he didn’t win the race? It would be rather suspect (or montereal Nationwideish) for a random top 5 car to burn-out and hit the wall.
Reminds me of that scene in Dumb and Dumber “But Harry… what if he’d shot you in the face?”
Harry: “Lloyd… Peety didnt even have a head!”
Lloyd: “Harry, I took care of it.”
Please start posting the points standings as they really matter… according to the chase:
Scruffs, it’s not rediculous. Since when has a driver 13th in points EVER made up enogh gound to win a championship?
The umpire could never work in NASCAR. He admitted he made a mistake and that never happens under Emperor Brian and his toadies.
Grace and class are not areas in which the media has exhibited any expertise – like the media outlet that reported the death of Coach Wooden the day before it occurred.
Larry Mac and the English Language? Mutually exclusive. I still cringe when I recall his comment during the first All Star Race – then the Winston – he worked as an announcer. Nearing the end of an admittedly exciting event he exclaimed, causing English teachers everywhere to run for cover, “They ain’t nobody here what hadn’t went home yet.”
My wife an English teacher, almost passed out.
I wrote to FOX trying to point out that NASCAR was trying to appeal to a broader audience and this sort of spoken prose did nothing to help that cause. Clearly that note fell on deaf ears.
Don’t even get me started on either Waltrip.
Paul – THANK YOU! I enjoy racing. In fact, I love it. However, I swear my IQ drops about 1.5 points every time I watch a broadcast or read the comments posted by other “fans”.
People – LEARN TO READ, SPELL, and WRITE! It’s OK, the English language will not bite you. You can learn it … I think!?!?!?
BTW, if I see “rediculous” one more time I am going to throw up. The only thing that could possible mean is to “diculous” again. If you are not smart enough to figure out what I am talking about then stop posting and spend your time with some badly needed learning tools.
Paul – thank you and your wife. I nearly pass out on a weekly basis but for sure would have fallen had I actually heard Mac’s butchered sentence live on the air.
WAIT, WAIT, WAIT. . . Does that mean there is no more Digger! CRAP, only 8 more months until FOX returns to racing. I hope Mikey is in the booth next year for FOX. Are the digger cartoons on DVD yet?