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 · Monday July 12, 2010
The Key Moment – On lap 213, David Reutimann finally prevailed after a protracted battle for the lead with Jeff Gordon. Reutimann drove on to an easy win while Gordon faded to third.
In a Nutshell – Well, there’s one way to waste a perfectly good summer’s Saturday night. Maybe they should have called this race the Lifeless 400.
Dramatic Moment – In an otherwise uneventful three hours, I guess that battle between Reutimann and Gordon was the best action of the evening, hard-fought but clean. Unfortunately, the key pass occurred while fans at home were watching commercials.
What They’ll Be Talking About Around the Water Cooler This Week
They made a good move shifting Joliet to a night race. Now, to make things less tiresome for fans, NASCAR should just run the event with the lights out. Turn out the lights, I don’t want to see anymore… Mama told me not to come…
Does it seem Jimmie Johnson and the No. 48 team are beating themselves more this season than their competition is beating them?
OK, I’ll admit it. When I saw David Reutimann passing Jeff Gordon to take the lead in a Cup race, I was wondering what was in that tea Alice and the Mad Hatter were serving before the show. I was wagering with my buddies on what lap NASCAR would throw another unnecessary debris caution to tighten up the action (the over/under was with eight laps to go). However, it turns out officials seem a bit more circumspect about these mystery cautions lately – especially since a certain race winner called the sport out on them on national TV.
Oh, yes indeedy TV race broadcasters, Goodyear makes the best tires in the whole wide world. But something was bad wrong with that right front excuse for rubber that put Jimmie Johnson into the wall, and it wasn’t a matter of camber or suspension damage from the previous spin. That was just ugly.
A note to my old bud Robby Gordon: You might want to review yellow flag protocol. You’re supposed to hit the brakes, not a competitor.
Color me confused. In Friday night’s Nationwide race, Joey Logano was leading coming to the final restart. He chose the inside lane, as is the leader’s right to do. Brad Keselowski was second, so he was to line up to the outside of Logano. Kyle Busch was posted as fourth, so he was to line up behind Keselowski. Unfortunately for the Brad-barian, he finally ran out of gas and coasted down to the apron dead-stick heading to the green flag. So for the restart, Busch lined up to the outside of Logano, pinched him down in the first corner and took the lead. I get that part. What I’m wondering is why the third-place driver restarted the race ahead of the second-place driver? I know that’s how they do things at the start of a race if a driver has to drop out of line because of using a backup car or engine, but it seems counterintuitive to hand anyone an advantage like that with two laps to go. I understand another driver suffered misfortune late in the caution period, but it would have made more sense to see NASCAR call off the restart to sort things out. After all, they’ve done so numerous times to settle important arguments like which driver is going to restart 26th and which driver is 27th. If they did, I feel there’s no question they’d realign the field so the driver restarting second was on the outside of the front row. Also, keep in mind if Keselowski had stalled out on the apron, he would have been in harm’s way during a green-white-checkered finish, as evidenced by Daytona last week. Of course, if any of us could get a copy of the NASCAR rulebook or review it online, we might know if proper procedures were used for the restart… but alas, that’s not possible.
So the Toyota Cup teams have a new intake manifold that increases both power and torque? It’s odd I don’t recall reading anywhere such a piece had been approved by NASCAR.
What a week for uber-star/celebrity spokesperson Danica Patrick! Not only did she finish better than anyone of her chromosomal makeup (and Danica without makeup is Eddie Munster in a green flame retardant jumpsuit), in Friday night’s race she was a mere two laps off the pace at the end. Her home state fans, who failed to show up in droves on Friday, could not have been more proud, particularly those of them who derive their income directly or indirectly from the Danica-mania freight train. Not only that, but Friday she managed to avoid hitting not only stationary but also moving objects hard enough to render her car beyond repair, a trait shared with many legendary and successful race car drivers over the decades – and one loudly lauded by race team owners everywhere. As I see it, at New Hampshire Patrick finished five laps down. This week, she was only two laps down. Statistically speaking, that means next time out, she ought to finish the race a lap ahead of the field. It’s time to cash in your 401K and buy up Danica Patrick diecasts, T-shirts, caps, and coffee mugs. A decade down the road, they’ll be going for zillions on eBay when Patrick wins her eighth Cup title. It’s in the cards. Now, look at the first three letters of “title;” let’s just say that could make you very, very, rich with little effort or talent, like a certain female race car driver I could name. Seriously, it’s interesting that Sam Hornish, Jr., who won three IRL titles and not just a fuel mileage race overseas, is a mere asterisk on most Cup race broadcasts. If Danica Patrick was Daniel Patrick, you’d never have even heard of him.
Is there going to be anyone left to drive for RPM next season? Kasey Kahne and Elliott Sadler are gone, while A.J. Allmendinger is looking for gainful employment elsewhere. I’m figuring it’s time the King rings up Bobby Labonte and arranges a homecoming.
The Hindenburg Award For Foul Fortune
Jimmie Johnson had the dominant car at Joliet, prior to missing the pit road entrance during a green-flag sequence of stops, spinning out on a restart, then finally blowing a tire and hitting the wall. When the smoke cleared, a possibly winning car wound up 25th, one lap off the pace. At least he has his new daughter, Genevieve, to head home to and ease the pain…
Kurt Busch has been on a bit of a roll as of late, but Saturday night in Joliet his car was awful enough the crew even tried swapping the front shocks on a pit stop to see if they could keep the No. 2 car from getting passed by its own shadow. It didn’t work, leaving the Miller Lite Dodge languishing in 26th.
Kevin Harvick’s RCR entry suffered fuel delivery issues, taking him behind the wall and leaving the No. 29 car 34th in the final running order.
Greg Biffle sounded confident going into this weekend’s event, and ran well for much of the race before the engine expired to leave him 35th.
Joliet wasn’t a particularly impressive outing for the Joe Gibbs team. Kyle Busch qualified poorly and could never really advance. He wound up seventeenth. Joey Logano appeared to be floundering out there all evening and finished nineteenth. A month ago, the Gibbs team seemed to have the Hendrick outfit’s number, but not so much on Saturday night.
The “Seven Come Fore Eleven” Award For Fine Fortune
Nobody is ever going to be able to say David Reutimann lucked into his second Cup victory. He passed no less a driver than Jeff Gordon to take the lead and drove on. It should also be noted that during previous races where Reutimann was running strong, his efforts were negated by slow stops in the pits. Saturday night, his crew rose to the occasion every single time.
Saying Carl Edwards needed a good run is like saying perhaps Lindsay Lohan could use a couple weeks in rehab. He got it with a strong second-place finish, but admitted wistfully he might have been able to get up there and make a race of it if he didn’t have to worry about points so much.
What’s the Points?
Kevin Harvick retained the point lead, but after an off-song night his margin dropped to 103 over second-place Jeff Gordon. Jimmie Johnson remained third, while Denny Hamlin moved up a spot to fourth in the standings. Johnson and Hamlin, it should be noted, have five wins apiece this season. Harvick has two, while Gordon has none – his winless streak is now at 48 races, the longest of a seventeen-year Cup career.
Kurt Busch fell a spot in the standings to fifth. Brother Kyle held steady in sixth, while Jeff Burton moved up a spot to seventh. Matt Kenseth dropped a spot to eighth, and Tony Stewart stayed ninth after his ninth-place finish in the race.
Further back, Carl Edwards’ second-place finish moved him up two spots in the standings to tenth, giving him 74 points worth of breathing room over the Chase cutoff. Greg Biffle fell a spot to eleventh after his DNF, while Clint Bowyer advanced two spots, back into a Chase berth in twelfth. He’s now got a narrow fifteen-point margin over Dale Earnhardt, Jr., who drops a spot to thirteenth.
Overall Rating (On a scale of one to six beer cans, with one being a stinker and a six pack an instant classic) — Give it a beer and a half, decidedly lukewarm, then pack the cooler and head for the Jersey Shore. We’ve got an off week ahead. Ocean City, New Jersey, the Anchorage (actually in Somers Point), V-twin motorcycles, and girls in their summer clothes earn a six-pack every time.
Next Up – What’s this? A week off in the Cup schedule. This gives NASCAR’s marketing types a two-week period to try to (probably unsuccessfully) whip up some PR hysteria about the upcoming Brickyard 400. The Brickyard is a perennial winner of the Clara Peller “Where’s the Beef?” award – a whole lot of sizzle with not much steak.
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Hmmm, I actually thought it was a pretty good race for a 1.5 track. Short of removing all the 1.5 milers (which would be fine with me) and given the fact that NASCAR contrived “exciting” finishes aren’t fooling us and don’t add to the overall race rating, what is your definition of a good race at a 1.5 mile track?
Was there a race Saturday? hmm didn’t even notice…….
I was surprised the TNT crew in the booth did not follow up more on the bad tire that came off the 48 car for no apparent reason. I was hoping that Kyle and Wally would have been their normal selves and not a bland touch and smile broadcast team. Was it indeed a bad tire or was the 48 car set up to wear the inside of that tire? The 48 is the 4 time and most recent champion and I still don’t know the truth about the tire two days after the race. Maybe next week a caution flag will come out with two laps to go and the people in the booth will have time to tell us about the tire problem on the 48 in the last race. Do you think!!!????
Jimm-i-e-not-y didn’t name his baby Danica?
No need for the last phantom debris caution because Johnson didn’t need it.
When a car falls out of line at the start or on a restart the cars just move up in line. NASCAR says its easier (faster)than realigning the cars.
I thought the race was pretty good. Lots of side by side racing and passing. Just because they don’t show the racing doesn’t mean it isn’t there. Check the scroll at the top and see who is running close together. Watch the race again on SPEED on Wednesday at noon. But I still would rather watch the LPGA for obvious reasons.
Matt you’re the one who can’t let a column go by without talking about Danica Patrick. All she does is show up to race , then the hack writers/tv personalities take over and make her the focus of attention .
I’ve been reading MM articles for a really long time. It is usually the first read on Monday. I, too am disillusioned with the path of Nascar. The recaps are getting increasingly difficult to read. “(and Danica without makeup is Eddie Munster in a green flame retardant jumpsuit)” is one example. Really ?!?!? She had a mediocre finish. So do most rookies. The remark about Robby Gordon. Look at the replay – he was standing on the brakes and could not turn the wheel. The whole tone of the article is just damn disappointing. Childish references are getting old. Where is the snappy wit and sarcasm?
Yeah, Mark just forget about all of the talk show appearances. Also, forget about the sponsor ads with Danica, usually wearing something tight and low-cut. Danica is just out there to race! (Insert sarcastic laughter here.)
It doesn’t make a difference if she was a man or woman. If she looked butt-ugly, she would not be getting the attention that she is getting. I like to compare her to Anna Kournikova.
Your remark about the first three letters of “titles” in regards to Danica was offensive and uncalled for. Don’t forget there are almost as many female fans as male.
And Bill B, your remark was lewd as well. Remember big boy, You wouldn’t be walking this earth without the benefit of a female.
“So the Toyota Cup teams have a new intake manifold that increases both power and torque? It’s odd I don’t recall reading anywhere such a piece had been approved by NASCAR.”
Media cannot be pleased. You have said after almost every other race this year you would be perfectly fine with a race thats boring as long as Nascar doesn’t mess with the race. They didn’t. They did a great job with the cautions but you still complain. I thought it was a good race
I’ve never liked Chicagoland. And this is the first mention I’ve seen about tires. Goodyear brought new ones, and IMO teams did not get enough time to adjust their cars to them. Plus back to spoiler & big fin? Previous notes were useless.
Much the way you feel about NASCAR, I feel about your recaps. There was a time when I really enjoyed digging into these recaps to find bright spots of humor and analysis from someone located outside the mainstream bubble. Sadly, the weekly recap has become nothing more than a running diatribe against the evil empire that is NASCAR. Just as drivers go on too long after their prime, it appears that you have also Matt. Your recaps are the rantings of a washed up once great “scribe” as you would say. I long for the days of “yore” where objective commentary was the way of MM. The further away we get from 2001 and into the After Earnhardt Sr. era, the more bitter you have become. People can blame NASCAR for the empty seats but let’s take a hard look at the REAL reality in this country. The working class, blue collar people that made this great sport what it is today are suffering greatly in this country and that has more do do with the empty seats than anyt other factor. The quality of racing is not much different than any time in the past. Sr. is not coming back so you may want to move on. Bitterness is not healthy for anyone…
No more night races. Short track racing in America is dying and Nascar isn’t helping. Leave Sundays for the big boys and let the locals have Saturday night. You would think Nascar would do more to promote grass roots racing, but they only pay a little lip service. I was at a local track in Florida a few weeks ago on a Saturday night, no more than 400 people there, 4 years ago it would have been 4000.
Both races at Chicago were a bore, the Cup lite version on Friday night was only half as boring because it was only half as long.
TNT was into total commercial overload for the Cup race. Of course there was so little action that even racebuddy battle cam couldn’t find it. So even though I prefer TNT’s booth and camera work to Fox, they really missed it on Saturday. Of course, I’m not expecting much better from ESPN when they go into their “if the race finished now” and “all chase/jimmie johnson” coverage either.
Maybe it was better being at the track but for me, it would be too far to travel to see a high speed parade.
Well, I’m not into the offensive comments about Danica, but you can’t really say she is just any rookie. She has been touted as a special race car driver and hasn’t lived up to the hype. Maybe that is the fault of the media for doing the whole feeding frenzy deal and there have been a lot of other IRL drivers who have failed miserably at driving the “taxi cabs”. Ain’t as easy as it looks, is it?
@Mac, I think they put it on Saturday night because it was just too hot & humid to run on Sunday aft.
wow…guess i didn’t miss too much. i woke up periodically during the race, and at end of race when 00 was crossing s/f line. saw jimmie johnson spinning in the grass. i did see the elliott/gordon wreck. matt you’re wrong. gordon’s breaks were smoking he had them on so hard. robby did textbook driving, wreck in front of you, keep going straight. robby gordon could provide matt mclaughlin the winning powerball numbers and he’d bet the only winner and matt would still find something to complain about.
Danica..i forget she’s racing. Had storm come through Friday night so Nationwide race was a moot point. she’s struggling like rest of open wheelers have struggled. she’s struggling just as much as her “veteran car owner” is in the cup series.
see where martin will probably be odd man out, again. funny how his results aren’t like what they were when he was welcomed with open arms into the hendrick fold. kind of interesting how the 5 and 88 teams are in the same shop and basically same boat.
matt and women…i’m surre the comment about him hating women will go over big with his sisters. but then the only positive woman he usually talks about is heather locklear and she’s aging and having her own problems with rehab.
maybe i’ll sleep though the revamping and changes to the chase that everyone is talking about. doubt that will put more butts in seats.
indy coming – yawn…“taxi cabs on flat track”. espn/abc coverage and hopefully ho rain delay to deal with. mother nature has been a bit prickly lately. maybe she doesn’t like matt’s viewpoint of women.
Not really into parades.
I thought that the ARCA race was decent. It seems like the track in Iowa provides for some decent racing.
Matt, some people just don’t get North Eastern humor. They read your stuff and then complain. But they keep reading even though most of them apparently have never heard of you. Keep the Robby Gordon jokes coming!
“People can blame NASCAR for the empty seats but let’s take a hard look at the REAL reality in this country. The working class, blue collar people that made this great sport what it is today are suffering greatly in this country and that has more do do with the empty seats than any other factor.”
So how do you explain the ratings drop on TV? If you can’t afford to go you watch for free on TV. Your synopsis is flawed.
We all know how Danica got where she’s at, Matt you don’t have to be such a blatantly rude/sexist/disgusting/jack-ass. It sounds as if your jealous of her accomplishments.
@24Crazy – it’s “you’re”, not “your”. Have you been swappin spit with DansMom or something?
“•Like General Francisco Franco, Dale Earnhardt, Jr.’s career continues fighting valiantly to remain dead.” Now that there’s funny, I don’t care who ya are…