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 August 2, 2010
The Key Moment – Greg Biffle and the No. 16 team chose to go with two tires on their final stop, made with 30 laps to go under a yellow flag. Shortly after the restart, Biffle was able to get his car into the lead – and clean air – then drove off from the pack.
In a Nutshell – What’s worse than a tedious race? A tedious race delayed and interrupted by rain.
Dramatic Moment – With passing at a premium at Pocono and, in fact, in most Cup races, drivers tended to let their knuckles drag and threw couth out the window during the restarts, scrambling to make up whatever positions they could.
What They’ll Be Talking About Around the Water Cooler This Week
What I hope everyone is talking about and what needs to be discussed is safety at the racetrack. Elliott Sadler’s late-race wreck was about the worst-appearing incident since Geoff Bodine’s Truck Series crash in that series’ inaugural Daytona event. Track management at Pocono had already stated they intended to install SAFER barriers on the inside of the Long Pond straight after Kasey Kahne’s nasty wreck here in June. But the frightening and oddly laid out inside of that straightaway didn’t first come to light in June, either. Remember Steve Park and Dale Earnhardt, Jr.’s first lap wreck a few years back? I recall people calling for the grassy areas at Pocono to be paved in the wake of Davey Allison’s frightening accident here in 1992 – one that almost took out a pair of corner workers. Safety is a moving target, and it’s easy for folks to get complacent after a long lull between deaths at the track.
My Thursday column will be devoted to the revelation NASCAR has been secretly fining drivers for talking trash about our sport and the folks who run it. Here’s a preview; I don’t like the notion. I’m sure that doesn’t surprise most of you. Here’s the deal. As of late, I expect very little of NASCAR, and week after week I accept they probably won’t even meet my diminished expectations. I have a pretty fertile imagination, but every couple months, despite my low expectations and general dislike of those in charge of the sport, NASCAR still manages to plumb to depths of depravity and abject stupidity even I could never have conceived of after all these years. One of these days, NASCAR, one of these, bang, pow, zoom, straight to the moon.
I guess what bothers me most about the above is if a driver were to have addressed the dangers of the back straight at Pocono on Saturday and chose to accuse NASCAR of not being properly concerned about safety, he’d probably have earned himself a 50,000 dollar secret fine. (They’re a little touchy on that issue. Ask Ryan Newman.) There’s times you have to step up to the plate and talk real loud, and damn to Hell those who object.
I don’t even need a driver to tell me this is frightening. Want a barometer of where Cup racing is at? Tickets are available for purchase to the Bristol night race less than a month away. You used to have to inherit tickets to that race.
The latest piece of the Silly Season puzzle to fall into place is bittersweet. Bobby Labonte will be driving for the No. 47 team next season, a team that plans to actually race for wins, not start and park, as befits a driver of Labonte’s championship talent. But to make room for Labonte, JTG-Daugherty Racing had to terminate their relationship with Marcos Ambrose, one of the most personable journeyman drivers currently on the Cup roster. I’d like to think some other competitive team can find room to provide Ambrose with a seat for next season.
Saturday night’s crowd at the Iowa Nationwide event appeared to be sold out, a rarity in NASCAR racing these days. Unfortunately, Kyle Busch dominated the event and stunk up the show. Let’s see how many of those fans return next year. If they do, is it time to start discussing a Cup date in Iowa?
In the wake of last weekend’s disappointing crowd at the Brickyard 400, track management has decided to lower ticket prices for next year’s event and will promote the race more aggressively. In a related marketing note, Coca-Cola has declined to reintroduce New Coke.
Maybe it’s time to slip an Amtrak schedule in Jack Roush’s briefcase rather than having him fly destination to destination?
NASCAR has told Speedway Motorsports that they’ll allow them to move one of their race dates from a track currently on the schedule to Kentucky next year. Let the speculation begin. Which track will lose a date? New Hampshire? Atlanta? My pick would be Sonoma.
After contentedly cruising around, separated by four second gaps, the drivers finally got up on the wheel when it appeared likely that rain would bring the race to a premature end. Let me again suggest Pocono be split into two 250-mile races run the same day. Four hours is too much time for the average fan to spend waiting for a ten minute payoff.
Great moments in race telecasts: During the rain delay, an ESPN broadcaster asked a black crew member if he could tap dance. Oddly enough, I can’t recall any white crew members being asked to do so.
Due to weather delays, some wags will doubtlessly tag Sunday’s race “The 24 Hours of Pocono.” But the real 24-hour endurance race at Pocono is staged by fans trying to get back to I-81 or the Northeast Extension.
The Hindenburg Award For Foul Fortune
Jeff Gordon once again seemingly had a race victory easily in hand when a decision to go with four tires on the final stop dropped him back in the pack. Once in dirty air, the No. 24 car was a shadow of its former self and could only salvage sixth.
Had it rained just a little bit harder and longer, Sam Hornish, Jr. would have been a surprise winner at Pocono. As it was, he faded to eleventh in the final laps.
Kurt Busch had the audacity to delay four-time Cup champion Jimmie Johnson’s drive back to the front. That unwise decision earned Busch a doubleheader crash, first into the outside wall then even harder into the inside wall. Elliott Sadler was also caught up in the mess, hit by A.J. Allmendinger as he attempted to check up and avoid Busch’s stricken Dodge.
Speaking of Johnson, he so thoroughly dominated the first half of the race that the deafening thunder of remote keys being used to switch channels or turn off the TV echoed coast-to-coast. In the end, though, the No. 48 team could only salvage a tenth-place finish after fading following a Lap 122 caution for debris.
Pit strategy put Dale Earnhardt, Jr. into the lead, and the crowd went wild. Not for long; minutes later, Earnhardt spun out in an unforced error and wound up 27th with engine trouble. It was another dreadful ending to what could have been a promising afternoon.
The “Seven Come Fore Eleven” Award For Fine Fortune
It’s hard to consider a driver who wrecked so hard, his engine was left laying on the backstretch fortunate, but it’s amazing after one of the worst hits I’ve ever seen Sadler was able to exit the car under his own power. Not only that, but after a short time spent regrouping and catching his breath, he walked away from the track.
Early in the race, Greg Biffle was vocally very unhappy with his car, but all’s well that ends well.
Tony Stewart started from the pole, then faded quickly when the race began. But the No. 14 Chevrolet was a top-10 car from start to finish, and rallied by the end of the event to work back to second.
Mark Martin had to survive a few close calls on pit road en route a seventh-place finish.
What’s the Points?
Kevin Harvick remains atop the point standings, now 189 ahead of Jeff Gordon, who remains second. Denny Hamlin and Jimmie Johnson maintain third and fourth place, respectively.
Jeff Burton takes over fifth in the standings, displacing Kurt Busch, who drops down two spots to seventh. Tony Stewart and Matt Kenseth swapped eighth and ninth spots, with Stewart now having the advantage.
Mark Martin remains thirteenth, now 34 points behind twelfth-place Clint Bowyer. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. remains fourteenth, but he’s a daunting 129 points out of the Chase. Sorry DEJ fans, it’s just not going to happen this year – so decide now if you want to blame Rick Hendrick or Lance McGrew.
Overall Rating (On a scale of one to six beer cans, with one being a stinker and a six pack an instant classic) — We’ll give this one two and a half cans of warm funky stuff, found behind the front seat of your brother-in-law’s pickup in the pockets of his hunting overalls. There were some good battles, but only occasionally, and the race gets an extra can solely because Elliott Sadler was able to walk away.
Next Up – It’s off to Watkins Glen for the second stop on NASCAR’s abbreviated Northern Tour that was once a staple of the summer season. Like Michael Nesmith once wrote; “And the hits just keep on coming…”
©2000 - 2008 Matt McLaughlin and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
I forgot about ESPN asking the black guy to dance. Wow. I wonder if ESPN will apologize for stereotyping.
It seems JJ causes most of the big wrecks, (except for Carl always wrecking K-lo, trying to kill him). Sure did not stop JJ from taking everyone 3 wide into 1 later in the race, you think he would learn. The odd thing is about all the big ones he has caused, he usually drives through them and continues on.
The real cause of that wreck was NASCAR throwing an unneccesary caution when Junior spun but didn’t hit anything.
Once again the significance of the first half of the race was negated by all the wave arounds.
Two points about yesterday’s race at Pocono. Point one is the distance. This is the one and only track where I agree with distance shortening from the present 200 laps to 160, but no shorter! This business of catering to the short-attention span crowd is rediculous! What next, the 2.4 Hours of LeMans?
Point number two proved me wrong as a consiracy theorist, and I’m happy about that! I thought for sure that when Tony Stewart got passed Hornish for second that NASCAR would through one of their ever-so-famous debris cautions to give Stewart, an unofficial Hendrick driver (How many times have you heard Tony refer to Jeff Gordon and Jimmie-The-Sleeze as teammates? Too often!), a chance to ovetake Biffle and give The Felon another rigged win! And don’t hand me any bovine fecal matter about sympathy for Jack Roush! I’ll bet the NASCAR brass are hoping Roush’s plane crash forces the Cat-In-The-Hat to retire! NASCAR has never liked Roush, so the sympathy notion is a non-issue!
Go Greg! I hope you come back big and win the title!
My favorite part of this weeks sleepfest was the talking heads from ESPN claiming, “Look at the infield not one person has left yet”…..maybe they should inform them that the people in the infield can’t leave becaue to leave you have to cross the track!!!!!
Oh and my heart goes out to Elliot Sadlers wife, that was horrible crash to watch, and to see him crawl out of that car and hit the ground…I just hope he’s ok today.
Rick Hendrick=convicted felon
Chad Knauss=convicted cheater
Jimmie Johnson=certified bonehead
Hope Elliott heals well and quickly.It is unfortunate that an organization cannot tolerate criticism. Nascraps reaction,“secret fines” is right out of “zero one’s transparency playbook”. They obviously want to kick a.. rather than address the problems. Glad I didn’t waste time watching the “show”.
Childress announced maybe a 4th car for next year. First step for Jr. Hint, hint. Make everybody happy. He gets a lot of HMS run offs.
Ken, I thought the same thing you did! I was expecting an appearance by “Ms. Terry DeBris”, as “Mad Mikie” at Laidback calls her! After all, all B.S. aside, Tony drives for Hendrick! Everybody knows this! I could see it coming! Guess Brainless Brian won’t be getting his weekly “gift” from Rick Hendrick today!
As for the race distance(s), I agree! There is nothing wrong with any race distance! I’ll bet the short-attention crowd is complaining about the length of baseball games too! Cut them back to 5-innings! It’s like the season. Too long? No! I remember the season going pretty much all year! Go and look at the site “Racing Reference”! Heck, the cut drivers went to The Glen in the mid-60’s, and that race was the conclusion of an 8-race northeastern 8-races-in-two-weeks tour! if the drivers are complaining that the season is too long, well, nobody is holding a gun to their head to race every race! Back when there were 50 races a year, only a few drivers drove almost all of them! Guys like Petty, Ned Jarrett, and David Pearson ran maybe 45 of the 50! Stars like Lorenzen maybe would run 20 races! The sport still grew!
Opps! I’m showing my age! Where is “DansMom” to tell old-school fans like me to go away!
“Kurt Busch had the audacity to delay four-time Cup champion Jimmie Johnson’s drive back to the front. That unwise decision earned Busch a doubleheader crash…” Wow and this from a JJ supporter….Heck if Carl had done that you would be screaming for his head…..its ok for JJ and not for Carl….what a bunch of hypocrites!! He shouldn’t have been fines etc. and neither should have Carl….another just racin’ thing!! Sadler is one tough cookie, safer car or otherwise….many would NOT have been able to get out of that car on their on, crawling or otherwise!!
Bill B: “Once again the significance of the first half of the race was negated by all the wave arounds.”
I said the exact same thing about halfway through the race, and indeed that’s what happened. Why even bother to race hard early on if you know you can most likely get one or even two laps back? I’m pretty sure Hornish was 2 laps down at one point, and he nearly won the thing…
It seemed to me that they asked him to dance because they knew he could tap dance…always assuming the worse like always
Easiest way to fix it is all is forecast rain every race and throw a caution the minute the leader gets a 2 second advantage. Once rain threatened, the action on the track was some of the best I’ve seen in a long time for the first 5 laps. Afterwards, clean air won. 3 and 4 wide into the turns and slingshot moves out of the corners was great racing.
Yes, I’d love to see a Cup race at Iowa. Take one of Fontana’s dates, please. But alas, Iowa is not owned by ISC so it wont happen.
You sound as disillusioned as I am. I watched this sport grow from nothing to something to be proud of. It has started it’s descent downward and is picking up speed. Nascar has been and is being mismanaged out of existence. They could start giving tickets away and people wouldn’t come. We’re just tired of too many things to name. Just tired of it all.
Seeing Elliot’s car reminded me of Don MacTavish at Daytona who wasn’t so lucky.
This is what could have been the result of Jimmie going brain dead again. This is not for the faint of heart.
It’s been about 7 years since I quit wasting my money going to the Cup “Show”, but give a date to Iowa and I will be there. If not for having to get work out of the shop last weekend I would have went to the Busch race.
As for Bristol, they are reaping what they have sown. You don’t tug on Supermans cape, spit into the wind, pull the mask of the ‘Ol Lone Ranger and you dont mess around with a perfectly great Bristol racetrack. They tore the heart and soul out of Bristol with the reconfigure and turned it into a 1/2 mile 1 1/2 mile cookie cutter.
Why does The Weather Channels viewers increase when Kyle Busch or Jimmy Johnson take the lead.
The difference between Iowa and Pocono is only rivaled by the difference between O’Reilly Raceway Park and the Brickyard. Note to those in charge of inmproving the Nationwide Series… it ain’t the racetracks. While I admit ORP isn’t Cup material, Iowa is a jewel. The races there remind me of why I started watcing Nascar to begin with. To the newer fans… what you saw at Iowa when one car moved ahead of the other is what we used to call “passing” back in the glory days.
Tickets are still available to the Bristol night race? Unacceptable. Tear the place down, build a casino, and put a 2-mile tri-oval track next to it to give the gamblers something extra to wager on. Problem solved.
Couldn’t agree more Pepper. Nascar needs a complete revamping : classes, rules, management, economics and on and on and on.
Kentucky for Sonoma? Really? You dislike road racing that much more than cooke-cutter racing? Seems to me we’d be better off with unique tracks rather than copy-cats.
Leo, there are 2 tracks in California – the race move suggested is from the Cali-boring track which is an oval, not Infineon, which is the road course. I love road courses myself — unique. Glad I got to Bristol BEFORE it was ruined and I agree, Johnson is a bonehead. I hope that all the drivers take note that he gets upset when they get physical with him on the track — get inside his head during the chase and somebody else might win! Yes!
Yesterday’s race was a total hoax! Anyone who doesn’t think NASCAR let Biffle win out of sympathy has their head where it wasn’t meant to be! I’m surprized that NASCAR didn’t make it a total farce by telling Stewart to slow up to let the nimrod in the 99 take second! That was Stewart’s race! In fact, it should have been jeff Gordon’s! As for Jimmie making a slight mis-que and accidentally tagging Kurt Busch in the rear, that was just a racing accident! Calling for him to be punished like the previously mentioned nimrod in the 99 was two weeks ago is just plain stupid! Johnson has lost more class than Edwards ever had! Don’t insult everyone by comparing the two!
Why wasn’t Tony Stewart chosen as “the old spice guy” instead of the guy in the commercials?
Depravity and stupidity – glad to see you’re going to write about something about which you have a demonstrated expertise.
Matt, thanks for mentioning the rain delay. Albeit rain is an uncontrollable factor, Pocono seems to be synonymous with rain delays year in and year out. NASCAR can’t seem to figure that out and schedule those races when that part of the country is not in their rainy season. They compound that ignorance by scheduling their two races 6 weeks apart.
The weather problems though pale in comparison to the safety problems that have not been addressed over the years, and on Sunday Elliot Sadler paid a price for that lack of attention. Pocono deserves to loose a date just for their lack of concern and attention to safety. They’ve known about these problems for years and have chosen to invest in solar energy rather than track safety.
In the battle of opinions sector, I’ve gotta go with Leo on the Sonoma for Kentucky trade off – Too many cookie cutters as it is, and I for one like road courses.
@Ghost of Curtis Turner
“My favorite part of this weeks sleepfest was the talking heads from ESPN claiming, “Look at the infield not one person has left yet”…..maybe they should inform them that the people in the infield can’t leave becaue to leave you have to cross the track!!!!!
“The evil plan of RH to destroy what was DEI has been completed. Maybe you can go back to the Busch, (oops sorry) Nationwide Series and win some. ….Quick tell Kasey Kane not to drink the Cool Aid…”Couldn’t agree more!!!
Jr. was driving the R&D car for the 48 & 24 again. How often has the 24 & 48 blown an engine in the past 2 1/2 years? How often has Jr.? Jr. has one mechanial problem after another. A couple of weeks back they put the rear end gear in backwards! 93 races down at HMS and only 87 to go. :) A few weeks back I read a comment that some reporter needs to investigate what is going on, but that a Nascar reporter would not dare. Maybe this is something that National Enquirer could do. They like to do articles on Jr. :)
How is it that Matt gets the honor of writing the race recap every week and for some reason always forgets to actually talk about the race?
FS Staff, can we please get another writer for mondays? I’ll take anyone other than matt. Heck, give a chip a keyboard… they cant do any worse.
*Correction, lets go ahead and give a chimp the keyboard. I’m starting to write like Matt.
Safety at Pocono? Absolutely unacceptable. Been along time since I’ve seen boiler plate welded at a track. NA$CAR is lucky that Sadler is (possibly) walking around today. For all their talk about safety, NA$CAR should have forced Pocono to make improvements long ago or pull the dates. But hey, at least they can be assured that Sadler won’t be vocal with his complaints.
I thought the tap dancing tire changer was over the top. I’m surprised they didn’t ask him to sing or tell some jokes. Even if he is a great tap dancer some producer needs a remedial course in American media history.
Have another Amp with a Bud chaser MaryBeth, you’re finally partially right. Jr. WILL be driving the Hendrick R&D after 2 more races, by then JR, will have missed the chase yet again. No surprise there, right MaryBeth? Jr. won’t be driving R&D chasis though, since he doesn’t give ANY crew chief good feedback.Instead, Jr. will testing parts for the Elite HMS drivers Gordon, Johnson, and, Martin in their quest to win a Cup title. Jr. admitted after his “fixed” win at Daytona, that he was drinking again on mondays. Maybe a reporter should expose this story more, since no Na$crap reporter will. But that’s “Old News” MaryBeth, the National Enquirer exsposed this in a story in 2009! FYI, the “88 RACES WITHOUT A WIN” T-shirts will go on sale in September!
So…the races are boring and cars spread out and action is hard to find. SMI gets approval to give Kentucky a date…and your solution is to lose Sonoma?
That’s inexplicable. If you took both races from Michigan, Both races from Fontana, both races from KC, Chicago and Miami…and put them all at Sonoma, it would improve the on-track product dramatically.
Seriously folks…Sonoma frequently produces one of the most interesting races on the schedule.
After watching Saturday’s truck race…I think that there’s just something wrong with the Cup cars. Races too long(at Pocono of course they are)? Cars are maybe too aerodynamic? Too fast? Too “on edge”? Too something for sure. The trucks were capable of running hard, side by side, back and forth, and drafting, for entire runs. The race was so short they had to actually race from lap 1 to lap 50, with no “riding”.
I like Pocono (the track)…but 500 miles? Make it 250 miles, bring tires that wear out in 20 laps, and put 8 gallon gas tanks in the cars.
MaryBeth… please explain to the world how it’s possible to install a 9” Ford rear end gear BACKWARDS! NOT POSSIBLE!Just more delusional JR. Nation BS!
They just thought they had it installed backwards. Then they discovered it was Jr. driving in reverse.
JerseyGirl, you are mistaken. The second Cali race is in Fontana which is quite a distance from Sonoma. Matt has a long history of despising road racing and here its even clouding his long term judgement.