NASCAR Changes Qualifying Format
posted by Summer Bedgood
Tuesday March 11, 2014
Following safety concerns regarding NASCAR’s new qualifying format, the sanctioning body is introducing some changes in preparation for this weekend’s race at Bristol Motor Speedway. According to the Associated Press, NASCAR is banning teams from cool-down laps after their qualifying attempts, but will instead be allowed to hook up cool-down units to the engine through hood flaps.
Late Tuesday afternoon, a release from NASCAR fully detailed the changes. Teams will be allowed a single cool down unit to be connected through the right or left side hood flap, however the hood must remain closed. Additionally, two crew members will be allowed over the wall while cooling down.
“The qualifying is new to all of us and as we have said over the past several weeks, we are looking at it from all aspects,” said Robin Pemberton, vice president of competition and racing development. “Following discussions, both internally and with others in the garage area, we moved quickly to make a few revisions that will be effective starting with our two national series events at Bristol Motor Speedway this weekend. We believe this will only enhance and improve what has demonstrated to be an exciting form of qualifying for our fans, competitors and others involved with the sport. Moving forward we will continue to look at it and address anything else that we may need to as the season unfolds.”
The move comes after three weeks of NASCAR’s new knockout qualifying system, where multiple cars are allowed to make qualifying attempts at the same time instead of the traditional one-car-at-a-time procedure. Drivers and teams had complained that the new rules didn’t allow them to cool their engines down on pit road, and the cool-down laps caused a dangerous situation with slower cars staying on the track at the same time that other cars were running by them at much higher speeds.
The rule will begin this weekend in Bristol, a track that has a much narrower racing surface than Daytona, Phoenix, and Las Vegas.
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!
Check in with Matt and Jay on their site at CareyandCoffey.com.
Matt McLaughlin · Monday June 14, 2010
The Key Moment: Denny Hamlin got a huge jump on the final restart, then drove off into the sunset like the rest of the field was on tricycles.
In a Nutshell: A pathetic if predictable parade. Almost utterly devoid of any moments that could cause even mild amusement.
Dramatic Moment: Waiting to see if it was going to rain.
What They’ll Be Talking About Around the Water Cooler This Week
When the race leader admits he’s slowing down in the final laps to save his tires, knowing there’s going to be a bogus debris caution to amuse the fans, we have a real problem. NASCAR is there to officiate, not orchestrate a race. The fact a driver who lost a nine-second lead to a bogus debris caution seemed more amused than enraged is a telling sign of where we are with this issue.
In a sad irony as the stock car circuit visited Michigan, the home of America’s Big Three automakers, Toyotas swept the ARCA, Truck, and Cup races. (A Toyota also won the Nationwide race Saturday at Kentucky.) Once fans get over celebrating somebody is finally beating the Hendrick cars, maybe we need to focus on whether Toyota’s recent dominance is good for the sport?
Front Row Motorsports received a $100,000 fine, a loss of 150 owner and driver points, and a 12-race suspension for the crew chief and two other team members in the aftermath of last week’s bleeder valves discovered on the car after a Pocono rain delay. (Isn’t it odd the No. 2 team also got penalized for a missing valve stem cap?) Yeah, the fine seems pretty draconian, but it’s in line with precedent. There are four things you don’t mess with in NASCAR racing: tires, fuel, engine displacement, and the drug policy.
“When we get back, we’ll start up the injuries…” Perhaps the most unfortunate slip of the tongue in pre-race programming ever.
Already, the NASCAR message boards are buzzing (and the tom-toms will grow louder as fans who lulled off for a nap wake up). Their general consensus about the Michigan race? It was terrible. I wonder how many folks would have liked it better if there was another huge wreck on the final (unnecessary) restart? Don’t count me among those who would have preferred to see a big wreck. We’re looking for our Goldilocks moment: Pocono was too hot, and Michigan was too cold. What I’d have loved to see was the Nos. 9 and 2 teams make great adjustments on that final pit stop, enough that Busch and Kahne could run side-by-side with Hamlin off the fourth corner, drag racing to the start/finish line on the final lap. You’re not always going to have that sort of finish, though. Sometimes a driver just stinks up the show; but that doesn’t mean I have to like it.
Sometimes, you’ve got to wonder if there was any sense in spending all those billions of dollars bailing out General Motors. This week, apparently the brain trust at GM felt that one key to marketing their products was to have folks (at least internally) refer to “Chevys” as “Chevrolets.” No sale here at Eyesore Acres. Don McLean drove his “Chevy” to the “levy.” (Had McLean written “drove my Chevrolet to the ballet” the song would have lost its purity.) Bruce Springsteen street-raced a “‘69 Chevy with a 396.” (Though he did, in fact, haunt those dusty old beach roads littered with the frames of burned out “Chevrolets.” ) Bob Seger used to get it in his fabled “‘60 Chevy”. Let’s face it. It’s Coke, not Coca-Cola. Folks want to go out to the “old ball game,” not the “Major League Ball Game.” “Chevy” as a noun has become an affectionate and accepted term, and it’s always going to be “Chevy” for car guys just as it’s always going to be “jeans,” not “dungarees.” In fact, General Motors would probably have been wiser to drop the “Chevrolet” and make a name change to “Chevy.” After all, it’s ’55 Chevy and 1980 Chevrolet Citation. Let the call of freedom ring out through this land… this is our Chevy.
OK, so let’s see here. Joey Logano doesn’t like Kevin Harvick. Jeff Gordon doesn’t like Jimmie Johnson. Matt Kenseth doesn’t like Jeff Gordon. Kyle Busch doesn’t like Denny Hamlin. Denny Hamlin doesn’t like Brad Keselowski. Neither does Carl Edwards. In fact, nobody likes Brad Keselowski. Or Kyle Busch. And Kyle Busch doesn’t like anybody. Tony Stewart is hot with unnamed “idiots on restarts,” and is looking to make the highlight tapes soon. Kasey Kahne doesn’t like A.J. Allmendinger. A.J. says he’s terribly sorry about what happened, but he’d do the same thing all over again, which has got to have Richard Petty tearing his hair out. The King doesn’t think much of wrecked race cars. Somewhere in this mess, we just have to have the seeds for a genuine rivalry.
While watching the Audi and Peugeot diesel prototype cars race for the top spots at Le Mans, it occurred to me that maybe this is a way to breathe some life into the increasingly comatose Truck Series. Imagine the green accolades for having the teams switch over to Power Strokes, Duramaxes, and Cummins. The catch would be the teams could build all the power they wanted from their diesels, but they would have a set allotment of fuel for each race. Run out of diesel fuel, and you’re out of the race. Talk about racing technology leading to more powerful and economical street vehicles. What’s that, you say? Toyota doesn’t manufacture diesel-engined trucks? Oh, rats. I guess they’d just have to leave the series.
We’ll give the Ford FR9 engine a solid B in its first full field rollout. Kahne was stout, and there were four Fords driven to top-12 finishes without a single mechanical DNF.
So what do you think Joey Logano is going to get his dad Tom for Father’s Day next weekend… a restraining order?
I’m no fan of stock car racing on road courses, but I will admit I’m intrigued by next week’s Nationwide race at Road America, one of the best road courses in this country. Just don’t listen to the misinformation being disseminated that it will be NASCAR’s debut at Elkhart Lake. On August 12th, 1956, Tim Flock won the equivalent of one of today’s Cup races at Road America in a Stroppe-prepared Mercury. It was sweet revenge for Flock, who had recently left the all-conquering Carl Kiekhaefer Chrysler team. In another historical footnote, the majority of that event was run in the rain on street tires, with windshield wipers flailing wildly about. Yeah, back in 1956 NASCAR was still “stock” car racing.
Kudos to TNT for a well done pre-race piece on Davey Allison, one of the most respected and beloved competitors in this sport’s rich history. It’s hard to believe that come July 13th, it will be 17 years since Allison’s fatal helicopter wreck. That’s longer than some of you reading this have been alive, but the pain and shock of that day are still vivid in my memory, occasionally releasing a few tears. But then every morning, when I get out of bed I see that diecast of the black, white, red, and gold No. 28 Havoline car on the shelf in my office. (I still think that was the best-looking Cup car ever to compete.)
If they’re really going to switch to fuel injection in the Cup series for 2011, shouldn’t there be running prototypes and some specifications for the teams to start working on by now?
Having circular-filed the rear wings fans so despised, NASCAR is apparently now studying the possibility of getting rid of the cattle-catcher front splitters that fans also aren’t very fond of. Ford is at least hinting that if they put a little more “stock” back in stock cars, they might replace their Fusion race cars with Mustang-appearing entries. No offense to the Fusion, which I’m sure is a very fine street car, but I’d welcome that idea like a two dollar prime rib and Corona dinner at Burger King.
The Hindenburg Award For Foul Fortune
David Ragan was solidly in the top 10 when he suffered a pit road collision with Casey Mears as he exited his pits at halfway. He ended the day two laps down in 34th.
Kyle Busch’s race started out poorly when he was forced to start from the rear of the field after an engine change. It got worse when he tagged the wall, and Busch struggled home to a twentieth-place finish after that final caution.
It’s hard to decide whether to classify Kevin Harvick’s day as good or bad luck. Harvick was never up to speed all day, but he still finished ahead of Kyle Busch (19th) and maintains his point lead.
Jamie McMurray was unable to capitalize on a second-place starting position, dropping back right from the start. He struggled home to a 24th-place result, one lap off the pace.
The “Seven Come Fore Eleven” Award For Fine Fortune
While pitting under green early in the race, Denny Hamlin’s car stuttered leaving pit road because he’d been so low on fuel before stopping. But the car cleaned itself out in quick order, and Hamlin easily drove from fourth back to the lead.
Kasey Kahne’s engine looked like it was overheating most of the event, especially in the pits, but the new FR9 powerplant held together long enough for the No. 9 team to finish second. She’s real fine, my four speed, positraction, FR9…
Jeff Gordon slapped the wall early in the event, but didn’t bend anything vital. While he could never run with Hamlin, Kahne, and Kurt Busch, Gordon remained in the top 5 most of the day and ended it a strong fourth.
After an awkward week, Joey Logano did manage to come away from Michigan with a top-10 finish (10th). That was nine spots ahead of his buddy Harvick.
What’s the Points?
Harvick maintains the poins lead, and is now 22 ahead of Kyle Busch, who holds on to second in the standings. Denny Hamlin remains third, but really narrowed the gap on the drivers ahead of him with his victory. He trails Harvick by a mere 47 points.
Kurt Busch and Matt Kenseth swapped fourth and fifth spots, with Busch now having the advantage. Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, and Jeff Burton held on to sixth, seventh, and eighth, all well over 160 points clear of thirteenth. Teammates Greg Biffle and Carl Edwards swapped ninth and tenth places in the standings, with Biffle having the advantage.
Tony Stewart advanced two spots, into the top 12 and up to eleventh. Mark Martin fell a spot to twelfth, while Clint Bowyer fell a spot to thirteenth. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. moved up two spots to fourteenth, and is now 87 points out of the top 12.
Overall Rating (On a scale of one to six beer cans, with one being a stinker and a six pack an instant classic) – I wouldn’t trade you a cup of warm mule spit for that sorry excuse of a race.
Next Up: Jiminy Crickets, it’s off to Sonoma… and then Loudon. You know what? I’m going to take the next couple weeks off to prepare the Trans Am for the Guthriesville car show. I’ll be back for the Firecracker to remind you all of the inherent evil of plate racing.
©2000 - 2008 Matt McLaughlin and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
the allison piece on pre-race was great…..hard to believe it’s been 17 yrs. when they were talking to yates, it was very apparent he still misses davey. just like rcr and earnhardt.
If you couldn’t enjoy the race on Sunday then you have no appreciation for what NASCAR truly is, a team sport. I’m not talking about Gibbs vs. Hendrick vs. Roush, but the individual car # teams themselves.
Sure Denny Hamlin didn’t have to do anything dramatic to win the race on Sunday, but he’s only one man on a large team. The engineers and chassis builders put him in position to win, the crew set the car up to dominate and made flaw-less pitstops (minus one small fuel pick-up issue) all Denny had to do was drive it to Victory Lane.
Just because Drivers are the most visual and identifiable entity on a team doesn’t make them the ONLY part of a team. Racing is a team sport, and the #11 team dominated on Sunday, and it was impressive.
As for the “bogus“ debris cautions. NASCAR still has way more validity than the other big name team sport going on in the world right now.
World Cup stars – supposedly the best in teh world – are flopping around worse than Paul Piece on a good day! How embarassing to be yellow carded for “faking” an injury. And what is UP with those noise makers. I can’t watch a game with surround-sound on, all I’m doing is wondering when that heard of locusts is going to descend upon the field. it’s OBNOXIOUS.
Note to the world: You can take your World Cup. I’d take DW, debris cautions, and a GWC or two over those god-awful noisemakers, yellow carded-flailing “superstars”, and a DRAW anyday.
How does a sport than can end in a TIE have any fans?
Also, 13 Days to DanicaMania.
It’s a she’s not returning a week earlier to show her stuff at Road America. Her IRL experience would translate well.
YoooooooooooooOOOOOoooOOOooooooooooooOOOOooooooOOOOooooo(fat man dacing like he ran over a beehive with a lawnmower)ooooooo000000000000000OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOre
I may be charitable, but I will give the race 2 cans of Hires Root Beer if for no other reason than the race did NOT turn out to be a fuel mileage effort.
that got on my nerves big-time! what idiots.
Boring races at Michigan are nothing new; they even pre-date the COT. But I agree with Bill B… better boring and clean than more manipulated excitement.
How does Richard Petty Motorsports field the only Ford that’s truly competitive in Michigan? Roush’s cars weren’t exactly out to lunch, but none of them were a threat to win.
If Adam Sandler and Kevin James’ pre-race command was any indication of how good their new movie is, I’ll pass on it. I’m sure the Beavis & Butthead set got a kick out of their antics, though.
You know it’s a boring race when no drivers felt the need to trash their teammate or another driver’s wife.
Why is it that all of the trying out of exciting tracks, the smart version of the CoT, and restraint from radical rule changes are in the Nationwide Series that has a fraction of the audience, but the cookie-cutter tracks, an undriveable car and an idiotic playoff take over the Cup series?
If Dan Patrick had the record of that other Patrick, he’d probably be out of a ride. Unless he had beefcake videos on GoMommy.com, in which case Hendrick would be trying to hire him.
I can only speak for myself, but since the big-money Cup drivers and their big-money Nationwide budgets consistently dominate the Nationwide races, it takes the luster off of the series as far as I’m concerned. I still watch some of the Nationwide races, but not as many as I used to, and not with the same passion. If Nascar were to stop the double dipping by Cup drivers, with the car and track advantages you mention in the Nationwide series, it would easily be the more exciting series.
you know, I hear all this bemoaning of boring races, but if memory serves in the 80’s and before, often there were races where the winner was the only guy on the lead lap. In our subconscious, we see Pearson and Petty battling it out every week with Cale and Bobby brawling after a wreck and Buddy Baker and Dale Earnhardt long in the garage after blowing yet another engine. That simply was not so.
I for one did not watch the race, hell I didn’t even know one was going on, which is sad because about 9 years ago, I used to write for a website and handicap the races. Apparently I saw all I needed on the local news highlights.
Michigan used to be a Roush track and used to provide some good racing. Everyone brought their A game to Michigan because of the auto industry. Not the case anymore. What’s going to be telling is I bet the race at Sears Point is better than the “highlight” I saw of Michigan. Sears Point has provided some great races, such as Ricky Rudd and Davey Allison tangling at the end of the first Sears Point race if memory serves. Probably the only time I saw Davey get in a wreck where he did not flip 17 times. Honestly, Funky, if I did watch the race, I’d rather it turned into a fuel mileage race. At least with fuel mileage you have real drama versus fabricated drama of the debris caution. Hell at Sears Point, I wish they’d throw a deer on the course or something, at least make the debris cautions interesting. With the current crop of candyass prima donna drivers only about 5 of them would even know what a deer was.
The Adam Sandler/Kevin James thing was moronic. Why didn’t they just break wind into the microphone and be done with it? The sad thing is those guys are funny, but if that crap is what passes for funny nowadays, I guess I’m an old curmudgeon like Matt.
Gordon82 just made the best point I’ve ever read on this website.
I think DansMom wears the firesuit on this forum.
Matt , you sound like a casual fan when you’re bemoaning the bogus debris cautions . You know for a fact that NASCAR has manufactured race finishes for 50 years .
Toyotas’ recent dominance good for the sport ? First , it isn’t Toyotas’ dominance you’re witnessing , it’s Gibbs’ dominance . They have always been an excellent team .
Ignoring the statement about USA Beating England 1-1…
Jr in the top ten really affirms the old saying “Even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while.”
I think my distain for Denny Hamlin has as much to do with his attitude as his sponsor. I had to get a new cell phone shipped to me, signature required for deliver, and when is the only time Fed Ex can deliver it? 2:35 p.m.!!! I’m sorry, I have a job!I can’t be home at 2:35 p.m. SO obnoxius. Why don’t they work evenings and avoid rush hours all together?
Side note, I did check out the new Intimidator ride at Kings Dominion this weekend. THAT is the kind of attraction that will bring attention to the Sport. I even rode it, and, was please to find it did not result in death.
na$car has no VALIDITY AT ALL compared to any sport anywhere
I’m just glad that NASCAR is around, otherwise I’d have nothing to do for the next few months. NOTHING AT ALL.
HVHS… you could play golf. Or some variation thereof.
Another pathetic nascrap race!! dan’s mom is a moronic idiotic asinine fool!!! Give me World Cup Soccer any day over the crap nascrap has become!!!
EZ… I hope you didnt watch the race this weekend then. God know’s I wouldnt watch a sport that I thought had no validity.
God I can’t wait until Danica comes back to Nascar! The sport isn’t the same without her.
So some suit decides calling it Chevrolet instead of Chevy is a bright move?
What about calling the “Michigan 400” the “Helluva Good! Sour Cream Dips 400 Presented By Who Ever” or calling “The Firecracker 400” “The Pepsi Firecracker 400” Looks to me like Chevy is following Nascars lead.
Matt, the spec cars with Toyota decals are catching up to the spec cars with Chevy and Ford decals, while everybody acts like it has some connection to what is on the street.
The paradigm has changed, and now the drivers know to save their equipment for the last three lap double file restart-shootout style after the bogus caution. To hear Hamlin call them out on it puts an exclamation point on the fallacy.
Why do people even respond to what’s her name. She’s just trying to get your (baaaa) goat.
I’d rather watch the race at Michigan than that trash they put on last week at Pocono.
Found this funny “In fact, nobody likes Brad Keselowski.”
Really? People are complaining about the “start your engines” command now? This website is filled with people that have nothing better to do except complain about NASCAR (yet watch it religiously?) and dansmom (which makes more sense)
That caution was inevitable. Brian France peered up from his stack of money and glass of wine long enough to say, throw the mandatory 20 to go caution, we need excitement here. If not for the caution Dale Jr would’ve finished 17th and everyone would be up in arms.
I’m one of the few on this site that doesn’t complain about NASCAR, just the people who bash it. That’s why I get bashed all the time.
some weeks what you say i understand people complaining. This week your comments aren’t bad
I completely agree with the World Cup comments
Well…. i guess we could always use one complaint to cure another . To eliminate boring races , just throw a mandatory debris caution flag every thirty laps . Bunches up the field , everyone gets to work on their car , a close race and finish is guaranteed .
Most boring race I have seen in a LONG time. But I did switch to the Speed Channel and watch the Continetal Challenge from Watkins Glen! Now that was a race, Mustangs, Camaros, BMW, Porsches and they all looked like production cars!!! And they were racing side by side the whole race!! Sort of like Nascar use to be………………..
I guess you missed the fact that Kasey Kahne saw a large piece of debris on the track before the caution was thrown. Of course, facts can often screw up a good story. When in doubt, bash NASCAR.
DoninAjax – I don’t know who Dan Patrick is but that was some funny sh&% right there!
Dan is a male version of Danica.
Strike two. I haven’t missed a Michigan race since June of 1990 (glad I missed that one….I NEVER wanted to see the #3 car win anyway). If I have to sit thru another asian slant car win at my beloved Ford track, I’m cashing in my tickets…40 consequetive races. Seen many non-Fords win here before, but how on God’s green earth does na$car think this is good for the sport. As I walked out of the track I looked for anyone wearing an asian slant driver shirt…. none to be found. Who roots for such disgracefull teams. WWII vets alive today would be appalled. the France & gibbs family are a disgrace to America. This sport sucks now. I enjoy my weekend in Norwlak next week so much more now. Can’t wait for the New Detroit Dragstrip to be completed. then I’ll have two exciting races each summer again. Matt, hows your ’90 T-bird doing? five more years and its a classic, time to paint it black gold and silver.
It wasn’t a great race but I liked it. He has some growing up to do but I also like Brad Keselowski.
Hey great column! Frontstretch is always a must read on Mondays for me!
Toyota actually owns Hino Heavy trucks which competes against Mitsubishi, Isuzu, Nissan and Freightliner in cab over trucks and other big trucks. They have great diesel technology and that would really breathe new life into the CWTS!
I like Brad K. What I don’t like – manipulated endings and Toyota everywhere. Tired of being told what I should like. I enjoy my racing and Nascar’s version of racing falls short of any reasonable expectation these days.
Hahahahahahaha…. I think its hilarious that some of you hate toyotas simply because they arent crappy fords or chevys. News flash people, its just a symbol on the hood of the car. All of these cars are built and researched in the US! They arent even street legal cars. Its not like you could take Denny’s kick-a$$ toyota down to the grocery store.
I love it… its the ultimate example of people being suckered by advertising.
Bill, yes I suspect Kasey was paying a lot more attention to the race than most of the media.
Terrible, terrible race. Michigan is prone to do that though. Jarrett’s win in ’99 was a snoozer too.
That was pretty sad how they threw the caution at the end to try to make it closer. Hamlin just drove away again and the drivers didn’t oblige with a huge crash like Pocono the week before.
I think people can watch and complain about the terribleness of the event, if they want to. I’ve never liked the ‘if you dislike it so much don’t watch it’. Then there would be nobody left keeping NASCAR’s recent awfulness honest.