Kurt Busch to Attempt The Indianapolis-Charlotte Double
posted by Phil Allaway
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Andretti Autosport announced this morning that Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet in the Sprint Cup Series, will attempt the Indianapolis 500 in a fifth entry for the IndyCar Series team. Once the Indianapolis 500 is completed, Busch will fly from Indianapolis to Charlotte, jump in his No. 41 Chevrolet and compete in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Busch considers the opportunity to do the double as an old-school throwback moment.
“This is really to challenge myself within motorsports,” Busch said in Andretti Autosport’s press release. “Perhaps I am a bit of an old-school racer; a throwback, I guess. I enjoyed the era of drivers racing different cars and testing themselves in other series. It is tough to do now for a variety of factors, but when the opportunity is there, I want to do it. While NASCAR is my home, I have been fortunate to compete in Pro Stock on the NHRA circuit a number of years ago and test a V8 Supercar. This opportunity was a talk with Michael [Andretti] over dinner one night, a “What if,” and now it’s becoming a reality for me to drive in the Indy 500 with Andretti Autosport. It’s literally a dream come true. To go to the famous Brickyard with the iconic Andretti name, it doesn’t get much cooler or better than that.”
Busch will be doing the Indianapolis-Charlotte double as a Memorial Day mission to men and women serving in the U.S. Military via the Armed Forces Foundation. Fans can contribute to the cause by texting AFF to 50555 to donate $10.
Busch, who has never raced an IndyCar, passed Rookie Orientation at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last year during a test session. At the time, Busch was more or less testing the Dallara DW12 for fun.
Busch will be the fourth driver to attempt the Indianapolis-Charlotte double. John Andretti was the first driver to attempt it in 1994. After finishing four laps down in tenth in Indianapolis, Andretti crashed and had engine problems in the 600. Robby Gordon has attempted the double five times, most recently in 2004. However, Gordon failed to make it to Charlotte on time and did not start the 600 in 2000 (P.J. Jones started Gordon’s No. 13 Ford in that instance). Finally, Tony Stewart has attempted the double twice (most recently in 2001) and is the only driver to ever complete all 1100 miles. Neither of the three drivers has won either leg of the double. The best finishes are Stewart and Gordon’s sixth-place finishes at the Indianapolis 500 (although Gordon’s came in 2000, the year he didn’t make it to Charlotte in time to start the Coca-Cola 600), and Stewart’s fourth-place finish in the 2001 Coca-Cola 600.
Danica Patrick, Justin Allgaier Talk About Phoenix Incident
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
A disappointing start to the year for Danica Patrick won’t include continued conflict. Patrick met with rookie Justin Allgaier Sunday, shortly after the Phoenix Cup race after a wreck ruined both drivers’ days. Patrick, who was critical of the No. 51 car on the radio, claiming Allgaier was “driving all over the track” appeared receptive to a conversation that quickly settled differences over what will be a long season.
“She was just upset because she got involved in the crash that we had,’’ said Allgaier to the Motor Racing Network. “She says she’s been through this and that she felt like I needed to settle down at that point. I explained my position on why everything happened. I think she understood where I was coming from. It doesn’t fix either one of our racecars. It doesn’t fix either one of our days. Unfortunately, we were both having pretty decent days.’’
Allgaier wound up 30th due to the incident while Patrick was 36th. The incident, which was caused by Allgaier’s spin also involved the No. 32 team and Travis Kvapil, which wound up 38th after sustaining heavy damage.
Camping World Close to Extending Title Sponsorship of NCWTS
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Marcus Lemonis, CEO of Camping World, Grand Marshal of Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway, and star of CNBC’s “The Profit,” made the announcement over the weekend that the retailer is very close to announcing a deal that would continue its title sponsorship of NASCAR’s Truck Series. The original agreement with NASCAR is scheduled to conclude after the 2015 season.
According to the sanctioning body, no formal contract has been signed, but “the agreement between the two parties has proven to be a beneficial one.”
“In about a month, we’ll be announcing a significant extension to that contract. It’s been great for us,” said Camping World’s Lemonis in a statement. “The NASCAR relationship has worked well for Camping World. When we started, we had 35 stores. Now, we’re up to 120 stores. As we travel the country and we meet new customers in stores, they always are very appreciative of our relationship with NASCAR. It’s been good.”
Gaining a long-term commitment from Camping World to sponsor the Truck Series would be a relief for NASCAR, which is set to lose Nationwide Insurance as title sponsor for the NASCAR Nationwide Series at the end of the 2014 season. The sponsorship of the Cup Series by Sprint runs through 2016.
The NCWTS is back in action on March 29th at 2:30 PM (ET) when the trucks visit Martinsville Speedway in the Kroger 250, which can be seen on Fox Sports 1. Ratings for the season opener were up 11 percent.
Harvick Takes Win At Phoenix In Second Race With New Team
posted by Justin Tucker
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Phoenix International Raceway has become Kevin Harvick’s home away from home. Sunday Afternoon was no exception as Harvick charged to the front early and would dominate for much of the day, leading 224 of the scheduled 312 laps to record his record fifth win on the one mile oval and his third win in the last four races at Phoenix.
Harvick, coming off of a disappointing Speedweeks which was capped by a last lap crash in the Daytona 500 in his debut with Stewart-Haas Racing, set the tone on Saturday by winning both practices while having the best 5 and 10-lap averages in the first practice of the day on Saturday. On Sunday, Harvick and his No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet was nothing short of flawless as he was able to hold Dale Earnhardt, Jr. by .489 seconds after a late race restart to claim his 24th career Sprint Cup Series victory.
“Man, this is awesome,” Harvick said after his dominant victory on Sunday. “Man, this just solidifies so many things and so many decisions. It’s been so much work with all the time and effort that these guys (the crew) have put in—but what a race car.”
Stewart Haas Racing co-owner Gene Haas shared in Harvick’s excitement after the race.
“It took long enough,” Haas joked. “This is phenomenal. I think there was a lot of skepticism last year about what myself and Tony (Stewart) what we were up to, was there a lot of madness to this. Quite frankly, it’s a great team, there’s a lot of synergy at the shop, people working together. I don’t know what we did, but I think we put together a great organization.”
Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt, Jr. continued his hot start to the 2014 season. Earnhardt Jr. would finish second on Sunday, marking his seventh consecutive top 10 finish since the end of the 2013 season. Earnhardt Jr. was pleased with the effort after a coast-to-coast whirlwind week after winning his second Daytona 500 and also gave great praise to the efforts of Harvick and the No. 4 team.
“I’ve got to congratulate Kevin. Those guys were two-tenths faster than everyone all weekend in practice. They were just phenomenal,” Earnhardt said. “To be able to run with them all day was a big confidence builder for us.”
Joining Harvick and Earnhardt in the top 5 of The Profit on CNBC 500K were Brad Keselowski with his second consecutive top 3 run of 2014 in third. Keselowski’s Team Penske teammate Joey Logano would finish fourth, and Jeff Gordon would come home fifth in his No. 24 Pepsi Max Chevrolet.
Jimmie Johnson finished in sixth, followed by Ryan Newman with a nice rebound after Daytona in seventh. Carl Edwards would carry the banner for Roush Fenway Racing by finishing eighth, Kyle Busch was ninth, and Jamie McMurray would finish tenth.
A look at the Profit on CNBC 500K by the numbers. There were 14 lead changes among eight different drivers, there were eight cautions for 39 laps which slowed the race pace to 109.229 MPH.
Next Sunday, the Sprint Cup Series heads to Sin City and the Las Vegas Motor
Starting Lineup: The Profit On CNBC 500K
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday March 1, 2014
Drivers in RED (i) are those ineligible to collect Sprint Cup points
Daytona 500 TV Ratings Down
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Wednesday February 26, 2014
What was the longest weather delay in Daytona 500 history turned out to bring NASCAR lower ratings and TV viewership Sunday night than expected. According to a report Monday from FOX Sports, the 56th running of the Daytona 500 airing at 8 PM (ET) posted a 5.6/10 national household rating/share which averaged 9.3 million viewers. That’s down 44 percent from last year’s 9.9, easily making it the least-watched Daytona 500 of all-time.
Due to the six-hour, twenty-two minute rain delay in Daytona, the race was up against the primetime coverage of the Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony from Sochi, Russia on NBC (15.25 million viewers). FOX also reported that 69% of the pre-rain delay viewers of the race, which began at 1 PM (ET) kept tuning in.
In comparison, the 2013 Daytona 500 on FOX was the most-watched race in five years, posting a 9.9/22 rating/share, commanding 16.7 million viewers. The Daytona 500 in 2012, the first to ever be run on a Monday and in the primetime slot did a 7.7/13 overnight rating/share which resulted in 13.67 million households viewing the race according to Nielsen TV ratings data.
Earnhardt, Jr. Claims Second Daytona 500 Victory
posted by Justin Tucker
Wednesday February 26, 2014
Ten years is a long time. For Dale Earnhardt, Jr., it felt like an eternity. NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver endured many near misses and close calls at the Daytona 500 since his only win in the Great American Race in 2004. Earnhardt had finished second in two of his last three Daytona 500s coming into Sunday’s race. He was also riding the tail of a 55-race winless streak, dating back to Michigan in 2012.
However nothing would stop Dale Jr. on Sunday, not even a 6 hour and 22 minute rain delay from capturing his second Daytona 500 win. Earnhardt Jr. led a race-high 54 laps on the evening and used some timely drafting help from teammates Jimmie Johnson and, on the final restart, Jeff Gordon to separate from the pack and secure the victory.
“Winning this race is the greatest feeling that you could feel in this sport besides accepting the trophy for the championship,” said a jubilant Earnhardt after pulling into Victory Lane. “We could fight off battle after battle. We got a little help at the end there from Jeff to get away on the restart. This is amazing. I can’t believe this is happening. I never take this for granted, man because it doesn’t happen twice, let alone once.”
Aside from the race itself the big story of the race was the 6 hour and 22 minute red flag, which threatened to move the race to Monday evening (had the race been postponed, FOX Sports’ Chris Myers had tweeted that the race would resume at 5:00pm EST). However, Mother Nature would cooperate and would allow the race to be run under different conditions from which they practiced this week. Once the race resumed, the intensity picked up from the changing track conditions. This allowed the pack to race side-by-side and at times 3-wide up to seven rows deep.
Joining Earnhardt Jr. in the top 5 for the 2014 Daytona 500 were: Denny Hamlin who closed out a spectacular Speedweeks in second, Brad Keselowski in third, Jeff Gordon in fourth, and Jimmie Johnson who overcome two wrecks leading up to the 500 in fifth.
Rounding out the top 10 in the Daytona 500 were Matt Kenseth in sixth, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. in seventh and Greg Biffle would bring his No. 16 Ford home in eighth. Austin Dillon would come home ninth in his first Cup Series race in the iconic No. 3 for Richard Childress Racing, while Casey Mears would round out the top 10.
A couple of major contenders for the Daytona 500 win would see their hopes dashed early on as Martin Truex, Jr. would blow up just 30 laps into the race, relegating him to a 43rd-place finish in his debut for Furniture Row Racing. Crew chief Todd Berrier was already in Nashville for a test session before the race was even over. Kyle Busch, meanwhile would have a pit road violation just before halfway and would spend much of the race battling back from that mistake. Busch would eventually finish 19th after leading 19 laps.
Danica Patrick would also be bit by bad luck as she was caught up in a multi-car wreck on lap 145. Patrick would lead her second consecutive Daytona 500, but wouldn’t have the finish to show for it finishing 40th. Tony Stewart would encounter a frustrating evening as well, with a fuel pickup problem derailing his quest for his first Daytona 500 win. Stewart would finish 35th.
A look at the Daytona 500 by the numbers. There were 42 lead changes among 18 drivers, while seven cautions for 39 laps would slow the race pace to 145.290 MPH.
Next week, the Sprint Cup Series heads to the “diamond in the desert,” Phoenix International Raceway for The Profit on CNBC 500K. The Green flag is scheduled for 3:15pm EST.
Nationwide Series Post-Race Quotes: Drive4COPD 300
posted by Thomas Bowles
Tuesday February 25, 2014
Frontstretch Interviews – Courtesy Mike Neff
ELLIOTT SADLER – FINISHED 4th
Thoughts on the race?
It’s definitely a lot different racing than what we’re used to.
Comfortable with it?
Yeah, it’s just different. You’re worried about what you’re doing, but you’re also worried about what everyone else is doing and they’re not doing more than you’re doing. Physically pushing a guy is way better than just riding so you just gotta time it right and push it to the edge.
Happy to start the year with a top 5?
Yeah. Hell, that was the worst we ran all day, I think. I have no idea how they put the 3 car in front of us on that last restart. I hadn’t seen the 3 car hardly all day. When they put us from fifth to sixth, on the outside line, it just really boxed us in. I would have really restarted behind my teammate and given him a good push to the front. Anyways, it is what it is; we’ll take it and move on.
Looked like you were up front all day.
The guys did a good job. We had a fast race car. Great pit stops, just really proud of these guys. The car’s in one piece and we can take it to Talladega now. Great job by my guys. A lot of effort came into coming down here to Daytona and giving ourselves a shot to win. We had that chance to be up front and make some things happen. Fifth is not what we want, but we’ll take it and move on.
Bumping vs Pushing?
It’s way harder. You don’t want to lay on the guy in front of you, so it’s tough racing. A lot different than what we’re used to, ‘cause you gotta go. You gotta drag the brake too ‘cause you don’t want to hit the guys and you don’t want to stay on him. It’s a lot harder mentally than what we’ve done in the past.
Car was strong all day. Pushing vs. Bumping, is that harder to do than just getting on somebody and pushing them?
Yeah, it is a little bit. When you bump ‘em, you jar ‘em, it kinda jacks ‘em a little bit. It’s a little more abrupt, obviously. I thought it was OK there at the end. It was certainly fun and hopefully entertaining. But a little bit of a struggle in the early part of the race and the midpart of the race to see a good race. And that’s unfortunate for the fans. You can’t do that the whole race, you can’t tear up your stuff, knock your grill in, overheat your motor, all that stuff so there’s no sense in doing all that until you get down to the last lap. The 7 and the 6, they did a good job. Man, the 7 really held the 22 and I tight on the bottom. I was rubbing his door and hitting the apron at the same time, no room whatsoever. So it was good; wish we were the ones who could have won but a lot better now than what we were last year.
Going home in one piece makes it a lot better, right?
Yeah. My back feels good. My foot feels good. Past years here, I’ve been going home with pain so I’m alright.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Truck Series Post-Race Quotes: Daytona (Exclusives)
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday February 22, 2014
When you’re on the outside like that, how frustrating is it?
It’s so hard. Timothy Peters has won here. Kyle Busch has won everywhere. Ron Hornaday has been running Trucks forever, probably before I was even born. I was surrounded by veterans there, and like I told them I don’t have a rookie stripe but I’m a rookie. This is only my fourth Truck race ever, my fourth superspeedway race, and man, I figured out when the 17 got up in front of me, I pushed him. And as soon as I pushed him, he took off. And I went with him. And I just kept doing it, and before I knew it, he was leading. And I saw Ron in my mirror, backed up to him, and if it wasn’t for him, I don’t know what would have happened. I gotta thank him big time for that. That was a true teammate move right there. I really appreciate that. He just bounced off me and we got to the front. I tried my hardest to sidedraft Kyle. I was probably touching his door.
Top 5 in the No. 30 truck. This deal come together at the last minute, but you had a heck of a truck. Tell us about your night.
Yeah, I’ve got to thank Turner Scott Motorsports. The guys worked so hard on this Rheem Comfort Products Chevrolet. Exciting! Just got hung up on the outside and had to wait for my teammate there to catch up. And then he got to the bottom, so… I got the old 32 and started pushing ol’ Ryan to the front. So, it’s not bad. We’ll take it. You just don’t want to step over that boundary. You don’t know how far to push and shove. We bumped about six times down the straightaway without latching onto them. Hopefully, that was OK and we came home with a top 5.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Budweiser Duels Post Race Quotes
posted by Matt Stallknecht
Friday February 21, 2014
BUDWEISER DUELS POST-RACE QUOTES
They’re saying the wheel bearing burned up in it. I don’t know what caused it, they’re taking it all apart to figure out what the heck happened. Something abnormal that’s for sure I don’t think I’ve ever had that happen at all. Hopefully, we made the race and hopefully we can fix the problem before Sunday.
WHAT WAS THAT LOUD BOOM ONCE YOU TURNED INTO THE GARAGE?
Loud pop was a tire… thankfully, it popped, hopefully it didn’t hurt anybody. All the heat created in the left front that popped was pretty weird.
REALLY GOOD RUN. WHAT DID YOU THINK OF IT?
Yeah, it was good. We have a car we can work with for the 500. Got a good starting spot, so we’re going to rest easy, fluff and buff our car for a couple of days and get ready for Sunday.
ANY DIFFERENCE ON WHETHER THE TOP OR BOTTOM LANE WORKED?
Yeah, I was just moving around, trying to stay with the flow. For me, this car works on all parts of the racetrack. So I’m pretty happy with it.
DALE EARNHARDT, JR.
GOT SHUFFLED BACK, AFTER PIT STOPS AND THEN COULDN’T GET BACK UP TO THE FRONT. WHY?
Nah, we were just sitting there waiting until the last few laps to make a move. You didn’t want to pull down and get sent to the back. Seen a couple of guys get sent to the back really quick so we were just kind of waiting for the end. I felt like we had a good situation there with Ambrose behind us — we had a good run off Turn 2 and I went. It was the last lap, time to go do something, nobody went with us but hopefully Sunday is a different story.
We got a great car. We don’t have to work hard. We learned, we got a good race car. Got a car in one piece, ready to go so we’ll try and get through the next couple of practices, deliver it to the starting group this Sunday and we’ll be real happy.
YOU’RE IN THE DAYTONA 500!
Yeah, it’s pretty awesome. This Whitetail Chevrolet was so fast that I knew all I had to do was stick it behind smart, intelligent drafters and we could have a good finish. That’s what we did in the Duels and I’m excited. I’m excited to go do some stuff with the Nationwide car and have some more practice with this. But to know that we’re locked in the Daytona 500’s pretty cool.
YOU WERE OBVIOUSLY IN FRONT OF THAT MELEE AT THE END. WHEN YOU WERE UP FRONT THERE IN THE BEGINNING, WERE YOU HOPING TO JUST STAY IN LINE AND LET YOU FINISH TOP 5?
I was pretty content to ride and luckily I knew a lot of people around us were. It was nice to have a little calm and not really have to be racing hard the whole time. I knew that the pit stop was going to shake everything up and that’s exactly what happened. Fell back a little bit there but made the right moves at the end to get a good finish.
HOW STRONG ARE THESE RCR CARS?
They’re very strong! They definitely have the capabilities to be winning one of these races.
YOU’RE IN THE TOP 5 FOR YOUR HEAT IN THE DAYTONA 500. YOUR PRIMARY CAR IS SITTING RIGHT IN THE GARAGE, KIND OF WADDED UP. DID YOU THINK THIS ONE HAD IT IN IT?
Yeah, it’s a brand new car also. It’s just not quite as good as the primary but still a damned good car. I’m just proud of everybody at RCR for building such fast race cars. All of our cars have been fast, ECR motor’s been strong, even our affiliate teams have been qualifying really good and racing good. So… excited about 2014! It’s going to be a good year.
WELL MAN, YOU STARTED IN THE BACK BUT WORKED YOUR WAY TO THE FRONT WHEN IT COUNTED MOST. WERE YOU JUST BIDING YOUR TIME THROUGHOUT THE RACE?
Eh, you never know if you’re going to get back up there or not. We had to start at the back, we had to make a run early and see what we could do. We drove right to 10th, or something like that and then it got stagnant. We tried to make something happen, and went to the back again. Drove back up to the front. Again, just really proud of my guys. Matt Kruder did a hell of a job on that pit stop getting just enough gas in to gain some spots there.
RCR CARS SEEM PRETTY DARNED STRONG. DO YOU THINK THE RCR CARS HAVE SOMETHING FOR THEM ON SUNDAY — ESPECIALLY THE THREE JOE GIBBS RACING CARS THAT SEEM TO BE THE CLASS OF THE FIELD RIGHT NOW?
Oh yeah. The 20 car was extremely fast. The 11 didn’t qualify that good, but he’s a good drafter. I think he won. We definitely have something for him.
Check in with Matt and Jay on their site at CareyandCoffey.com.
Matt McLaughlin · Monday September 20, 2010
The Key Moment – Tony Stewart ran out of gas coming to the white flag, handing the race lead and win back to Clint Bowyer, who had dominated the first two-thirds of the event.
In a Nutshell – The race is not always to the swift, or the battle to the strong…
Dramatic Moment – With passing at a premium at NHIS during extended green-flag runs, action tended to get heated on the restarts. Such luminaries as Denny Hamlin, Carl Edwards, the Brothers Busch, Jimmie Johnson and Matt Kenseth, Chasers all, found themselves spinning or dodging wrecks on those restarts.
What They’ll Be Talking About Around the Water Cooler This Week
The quarterback controversy with the Eagles, the wild-card race in MLB, and what’s wrong with Tiger. In fact, they’ll be talking about just about anything but NASCAR racing because once again the sport’s New York, pre-Chase blitz barely earned a blip on the radar of popular culture. Now hold on thar, Bubba-Louie; NASCAR officials are said to be thinking about changes to the Chase… which is sort of like a fellow who has just taken off both hands in an industrial accident considering a trip to the ER. But not according to the legendary vernacular of Big Mike Helton: “We are not going to react just for the sake of reacting. At the end of the day, it is what it is.”
Remember when Bruton Smith first bought New Hampshire and had big plans for the joint? Rumors were rampant he was going to dig the place up and start over again with a one-mile version of Richmond. Then, the economy went like Patton and hit the tank, meaning we’re still stuck with the almost flat track better suited to the modified division than Cup cars. C’mon Mr. Smith, take the bulldozers to this place and fix it as you have at so many of your other tracks. Then, the folks up in those parts will figure out I don’t hate New England, I just hate this configuration of asphalt, snowmobile licensing requirements in New Hampshire, and the song “Time in New England” by Barry Manilow.
I’ve made this point before, but apparently those with the power to fix things were sniffing model glue that weekend. This whole Chase nonsense was supposed to give NASCAR some traction in the ratings war against the NFL, the most lopsided combat since the U.S. invaded Grenada. The NFL games and the race were both slated to start at one o’clock according to TV Guide. But while ESPN was re-running the same teaser that started the pre-race program, the Eagles and Lions (to cite a local market) were already on the field with two minutes elapsed in the game. The Steelers already had seven points on the board and the race had yet to start! The Eagles scored a touchdown while the pit reporters had their last round of pre-race predictions. In fact, the first quarter of most NFL games were nearly over before the green flag waved. (As helpfully noted by the ticker at the bottom of the race broadcast.) Here’s the deal: If the race is scheduled for one o’clock, by a minute after the cars should be racing. If you spot the NFL seven minutes, you’re not even going to catch up to their dust-trails.
It did seem this week that ESPN was cognizant of some fans’ complaints that they only focus on the Chasers, not the other 31 cars on the track during the final ten races. Of course, that’s a lot easier task for them when Dale Junior misses the Chase but has a top-5 run.
The New Hampshire track prides itself on an early string of sellout, standing room only crowds, and pretty healthy ones at that even during the economic downturn. Yet when compared to those measures, Sunday’s attendance can only be termed disappointing. Yes, I realize the economy is in the toilet, and New Hampshire isn’t the only track to struggle to fill the oversized grandstands they built in the salad days to rake in the cash. But it’s time for New England race fans to stop bashing me, telling me they deserve their two race dates because they sell out every year. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. In fact, I’ll probably be muttering it on my deathbed clinging to my sled “Rosebud…” “We gave up North Wilkesboro for this mess?”
Maybe he is growing up as well as growing older. Remember when back during his rookie season Tony Stewart ran out of gas leading at New Hampshire? It was the first time most NASCAR fans saw the truly petulant side of Stewart as he blamed everyone but himself for the problem. Today, he suffered the same fate, but assumed blame for his finish rather than throwing anyone under the bus.
If this week’s column seems shorter than normal, I have my reasons. I had a left rear molar go abscess on me Saturday night and I am fighting with all my might to get this column done and hang on until Monday to see a dentist rather than going bankrupt heading to the ER tonight. I’ll probably have another root canal procedure, but frankly I’m looking forward to that more than next spring’s New Hampshire race.
The Hindenburg Award For Foul Fortune
Tony Stewart ran out of gas with a lap and a few yards left to run while leading the race. He coasted home 24th.
Jimmie Johnson’s title defense got off to a less than auspicious start with a 25th-place finish after Kyle Busch got into him trying to avoid his brother’s spinning car and a wheel left loose on a pit stop. So that’s it for Johnson’s title hopes, right? Anyone else remember back in 2006 when Johnson finished 39th at Loudon and dourly reported his Chase chances as over? That was the year he drove to the first of his four consecutive Cup titles.
Apparently, it wouldn’t really have mattered if Mark Martin made the Chase. His car was off song all day and an equalized tire put the final nail in the coffin late in the race. He wound up 29th, two laps down.
Matt Kenseth became the latest victim of Brad Keselowski’s “Legend in his Own Mind” driving style en route to 23rd.
Kurt Busch’s Dodge became “the Twilight” zone for anyone running in close quarters with him. Many entered but few escaped as Busch struggled to contain his ill-handling Dodge, winding up 13th.
The “Seven Come Fore Eleven” Award For Fine Fortune
It looked like Clint Bowyer was going to have to settle for second after dominating the race and putting more people to sleep than a carnival hypnotist. But when the No. 14 car ran out of gas late, Bowyer retook the lead and was able to complete the final lap without fuel issues of his own.
Jamie McMurray was penalized for a tire that got away from the team during a pit stop, but rebounded to a third-place finish.
Denny Hamlin was spent spinning by Carl Edwards, but drove back to a second-place finish.
What’s the Points?
Due to the contrived nature of the Chase, there was a whole lot of shaking going on in the standings. Denny Hamlin, however, remains atop the heap with a 35-point lead over Clint Bowyer. Bowyer moved up ten spots to second in the standings with his win, while behind him Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch remained third and fourth, respectively.
Jeff Gordon advanced three spots to fifth in the standings, while Kurt Busch dropped to sixth. Jimmie Johnson tumbled five spots to seventh in points, 92 behind Hamlin, while Carl Edwards moved up a spot to eighth.
Greg Biffle fell two spots to ninth, while Jeff Burton held onto the tenth position after also running out of gas on the final lap. Tony Stewart fell five spots to eleventh, 124 behind after his fuel issues, while Matt Kenseth fell a spot to twelfth, as low as any Chaser can fall this season.
Just outside the top 12, Jamie McMurray in fourteenth trails Ryan Newman by just one point.
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 cans of Natty-Bo, the worst beer ever brewed. The ending offered an unexpected surprise, but the “Sixth Sense” it wasn’t.
Next Up – It’s off to the White Cliffs of Dover, and not a moment too soon. The entire Northeast is enduring a drought (great for motorcyclists, not so good for farmers and those with allergies.) There’s no surer way to ensure rain than to schedule a Cup race in these parts.
©2000 - 2008 Matt McLaughlin and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
[quote]In fact I’ll probably be muttering it on my deathbed clinging to my sled “Rosebud”, “We gave up North Wilkesboro for this mess?” [/quote]
Yeah, really. What a joke. Lousy, er, Loudon, just plain ass sucks. Newsflash to the idiots that say “we sell out” at New Hampshire. Of all the tracks Bruton Smith owns, NH has the third fewest seats, behind only Kentucky and Infineon.
Try selling out 160,000 like Bristol or Texas before you get too excited. Dumbasses. Even at that, give me Darlington, Rockingham, or North Wilkesboro ANY DAY.
Even after giving away thousands of $40 tickets the place still had empty seats. I wonder how bad it would’ve looked had they not given away all those free tickets? Have they become the new Fontana?
Stewart hasn’t grown up…he’s just realized that when he goes on a tirade he makes his owner look bad.
Smart move giving Junior all of Mark Martin’s best engineers, eh? It’s only taken Junior 27 races to score three top fives. Meanwhile Martin’s been running like crap.
I was thinking about the race starting well past 1:00 too. I don’t know how these people think sometimes.
Good stuff as usual Matt.
I thought that race was OK except for the mystery debris caution that NASCAR threw when it looked like one of their Chase boys might go a lap down. In all fairness you should have gave it at least three good beers or maybe four crappy beers.
In the words of Bart Simpson:
Pretty bad when the free seats on the back streach hill are empty….
I thought yeasterday’s race was pretty darned good. Lots of excitement, surprises, and best of all, some hard racing. I don’t like the chase, but since we’re stuck with it, what a great way to start it off and generate some interest. At least Nascar got one thing right… oh, wait… next year the chase starts in Chicago(land), one of the most boring tracks on the circuit. Could the Nascar bosses be any more inept?
One more thing…
The way I see it Matt Kenseth was just as much at fault for the contact with Brad Keselowski as Brad was. A past Championship, or even the name Matt, doesn’t mean Kenseth is beyond making a mistake. Matt came down, Brad drifted up, and Matt got wrecked. It was just the result of hard racing.
why would you even think about trying Natty-Bo?
And one more thing… there’s no QB controversy in Philly. Anyone who would start Kevin Kolb over Michael Vick is an idiot. The real controversy is whether Andy Reid is an idiot or not.
Shame on you Matt!! The Chase is working!! ESPN actually talked about the race results and the Chase standings for 30 seconds this morning!!! That is about 25 seconds more than they normally devote to NASCAR. I mean that was 30 seconds of J-E-T-S talk that they gave up just for the Chase.
Bet you feel silly now!!
Hope you get feeling better by the way.
Wasn’t the modified race on Saturday better than Cup? If you ever get a chance to see them live don’t miss it and take ear protection. God I miss Richie.
Watched football yesterday (CFL-Our balls are bigger)
The race yesterday wasn’t even mentioned in the TV program listing in the Sports pages but Soccer was.
Ghost: there are NO backstretch hill “seats”, just grass, and no free seats anywhere. That area is for the folks who paid for the premium RV spots, and they were all on their roofs since the hill is too low to see the frontstretch.
I was there and there was a lot going on and some pretty fun racing, but of course I can probably count on one or two fingers the number of you critics who’ve actually gone to the race. And as usual, while there were some empty seats, there were always lots of folks out of those seats either standing down near the track or at the bathroom or what have you. But please, don’t let me confuse you guys with the facts. Carry on.
As someone that lives in the heart of baltimore, I take offense to the Natty-Boh comments. While it is, by far, not the best beer in the world… there are definitely far worse beers. It’s also really tough to beat $0.50 happy hours!
Didnt get to watch the race, but listened to it in the car. I thought the sat radio broadcast was awesome, so I bet the TV had to be freakin sweet!
Mike in NH is right, I doubt most of these critics have ever been to Loudon. It’s been 10 years for me since I’ve been to a race at Loudon as I live in the south now, but Loudon is a great track for spectators. In person the racing is great, it’s tough to hustle a car through the corners there. The modifieds are great, but then they are Nascar’s best division. I’ll take the magic mile over Kansas, Kentucky, Chicago, Michigan, Vegas or California any day.
Hey Matt! When the race was putting me to sleep early, I was thinking the same thing about them giving up NW for this horrible track! But those of us faithful will get to see some great racing at the ProCup Race at North Wilkesboro on October 3rd. We’ll be there and it works out well that race will save us from having to watching the boring Kansas NA$CAR race on TV. Come on down!
I owe the tv viewers an apology . I have paid huge sums of money ( under the table of course ) to the booth , the pit reporters , the tv production crew , the directors , NASCAR , hell , even the tv networks themselves to make Hendrick Motorsports the ONLY thing they show or talk about . I’ve even gone to the extreme of making NASCAR hold up the start of the race until one of my ego maniac crewchiefs makes his official pre-race speech to the tv viewers… errr , i mean to the crew . I realize there are other teams and drivers in the race , but none are nearly as important or loved as my teams are .
Mad Man, are you serious with the Fontana comment? As someone who attends NH races regularly, its obvious the author and those bashing the track have never been to a race there.
Premium RV tickets are on the backstretch and NHMS holds more fans than Kentucky. While the turns (the last tickets sold) looked empty towards the bottom the frontstretch was full. And North Wilksboro can’t hold 100,000 people like NH can. Sorry.
And TV is only as good as the network covering it. Showing Matt Kenseth car by himself lap after lap with 30 laps to go will give everyone the impression that the racing sucks.
Poor babies. The drivers actually have to earn their paycheck when they go there. Just terrible. Last time I checked your local short track was flat so your comment about the track being flat as being the cause of the boringness (is that a word?) doesn’t hold water.
The racing that you think sucks is because of the car and points racing, not the track.
I was at the race yesterday (laconia Grandstand, Turn 3) and the racing was fantastic. People just don’t understand unless they’ve been there. Mike in NH knows what I’m talkin’ about. McLaughlin? Why don’t you take a seat.
And apparently the #11 team didn’t get the memo that “passing is at a premium” at NHMS. But then again, they are racing professionals, not journalists and posters….
Matt, if ANY track in NA$CAR needs a bulldozing, it is Pocono. They could build you a new North Wilkesboro, and maybe you would finally shut your mouth, or at least use an industrial saw to remove both of your hands. Then maybe somebody that can get the idea that it’s NOT 1994 anymore could have your job. By the way, just to keep you informed, New Hampshire is MUCH more “Northeast” than Delaware, which could best be described as MID-ATLANTIC!!! Maybe when the dentist does your root canal he could drill right through your cranium
@ DansMom: Denny won SIX races (so far) this season. That is more than any other driver. You should try to think about what you write before you write anything!!!
I must have been watching a different race, Matt.
Loudon’s race was about 3-4 times more exciting than last week’s Richmond race. I should know, I was at the Richmond race and was bored to tears (never though I’d say that, either).
Yesterday’s race provided some of the hardest side-by-side racing I’ve seen all season. It’s the first race in quite a while that didn’t require the DVR fast-forward button to get through!
Can your negative comments and start watching the race!
Matt, I had a root canal ache when I was at a race at Michigan Speedway around 1980. Five hours each way plus a stop at the border. The only way to ease the pain was to bite down on a toothbrush. When I told the dentist he said he’d never heard of that. Hope it’s over soon.
My favorite comments today are the attendence issues. It doesnt matter if a place holds 60,000 and they’re all full, its better than a place that holds 140,000 with “only” 100,000 full. Those empty seats are a blight on the sport and the track, and dammit, we should be racing at that 60,000 seat place. [/sarcasm]
By the way, how many seats does your typical baseball or football stadium have? 50,000? 60,000?
I’d say it was the tooth talking, but then again Matt is always grumpy!
Did anybody else notice that NASCAR RACING was listed in ABC’s schedule for the 6:30 – 10:00 P.M. SAT. night? Instead they had news and game shows broadcast. Damn the luck.
DansMom No, your point still makes no sense. The complaint about Cup drivers in Nationwide races is about Full Time Cup drivers running full or part time in NA$CAR’s development series. Denny is NOT a full time Nationwide driver coming to steal all of the wins in Cup. He IS one of the Cup regulars that does come over to dominate the Nationwide series.
Here in New England we had/have a beer called Narragansett (‘gansett for those with no taste or smell glands) it was so bad that when the catch all brewery that bought all the defunct beers names and re-brewed it, they actually made it better.
The race was great. You could tell the drivers were being tested especially at the end of their tire runs. There was quite a bit of passing mid pack. When Burton then Smoke ran out of fuel the crowd was stunned.
I gave it 5 ‘guest’ beers (beer you buy to impress your guests) as opposed to make you sufer with the ‘gansett.
There were tons of people there and they were SELLING tickets right up until the start.
Attendance ain’t racing…
so why do you even report on it?
Hey, Matt…Does your face hurt?
It’s killing me!
What time was the appointment? Tooth Hurty?
Boy, I crack mysef up.
Others made the point first…the race yesterday was waaay better than the Richmond snoozer.
But if it’s not within 125 mile of Charlotte, I guess it can’t be a good race.
I guess we should move all the races back to the Southeast. Then the networks will drop their coverage and internet columnists like Matt can go write about something else, because he won’t be able to write his column without watching on the tube.
Anyone else notice that Jr only does well when the race doesnt really matter? I mean a 4th place finish the week after the chase is decided? Talk about not handling the pressure.
Can’t wait to hear you defend Dover next week
Matt,sometimes I think you won’t be happy until Nascar is gone.Geesh,are you sure you like racing?
I was there and the attendance was excellent…don’t see this as being nothing more than something you news reporters trying to stir the pot and make something out of Nothing.
Race was excellent, that good long green stretch of racing (just over 100 laps) was even good…why cause the cars race here.
Wow Matt, I must have been watching a different race than you, because I thought that that was one of the most exciting races of the year. It certainly beat last week’s snoozer. I like the fact that NH is unique race track, not another cookie cutter. I saw lots of passing, how did Hamlin & Jr get to the front?
Matt doesnt actually watch the races. My guess is that he writes the majority of his column before the race actually happens and then fills in the specifics after he checks nascar.com. Good thing frontstretch is paying him for all his hard work.
Matt McLaughlin should think to himself rather than thinking out loud.
This column is a waste of time.
Looks like we have a whole slew of new handles from GoldMom this week, with a couple of them arguing between himself. How many seats did you have at the race, “Nascar Crusader/Dans Goldmom and the rest of your Cybilesq split personalities? Do they charge you extra because so many people live in your head?
Gee, Dansmom, I’ve usually felt that your comments were those of a corporate shill, but your comments about Nationwide regulars beating up on Cup guys shows a level of zen awareness and humor that seems to have gone right over the heads of most of the other posters,even those who recognized the sarcasm.
NFL Redzone was having a free preview yesterday.
Every time I changed the channel back to ESPN, they were in commercial.
Yeah, I was able to catch the laps that mattered (10 to go through the checkered flag, and when Jimmie Johnson spun out), but other than that? A Slate full of good football games vs. a race at New Hampshire?
Sorry NASCAR. You lose.
DansMom: I’m psychic enough to see that you are retarded. Do you also complain when college football players make it to the NFL? Denny is a CUP driver full time, and races part time in the Nationwide series. I think you are just upset that Jimmie is falling behind. How’s that for my psychic abilities?!? By the way, for the record, if you read my other posts, I think I made it clear what I think of Matt’s thoughts about the race.
Psychic, why would anyone be upset that a college football player made it to the NFL? That doesnt make any sense. I dont think you reserve the right to call anyone retarded.
Oh my god North Wilksboro closed 14 years ago. Quit crying about it. The sport outgrew it. I like the racing at NH, its a really unique track in circuit dominated by 1.5 mile tracks. The place looked pretty full yesterday, and the racing was excellent.
How did Denny Hamlin get to the front? If I am recalling correctly he got spun out and was forced to the pits to get tires and gas. Thus when a long green flag run ensued, he had fresher rubber and enough gas to finish. As other drivers peeled off into the pits, he “passed” them. At a track like NH where tire falloff is signifigant (Ie they wear out, not actually fall off the car) it’s easy to look like Superman.
Basically the same deal with Junior. It was pit strategy. (Or maybe NASCAR let him run a 502 stroker to get him back up front.
What I didn’t see was a lot of hotly contested passing. What I saw too much of us was drivers courteously waving one another by. That’s not racing. That’s lawn tennis.
When Stewart ran out of gas and Bowyer passed him do you consider that an exciting pass for the lead? I consider it shooting bass in a barrel.
How long did it take for the first “If the chase ended now…”?
hum, glad i’m not the only one that thought they saw a different race than matt. i think that quite often.
i guess i just overlook the empty seats now, unless it’s really noticeable. i know before ams race, i got all kinds of mail offering me special deals, and they gave away a ton of tickets on radio and at car dealers, that’s why elliott grandstand was so full, as those are the cheap seats now. i’m getting the email and snail mail pieces from dega and charlotte.
stewart gambled on fuel, so did bowyer, but he had enough. stewart still gets mad, he just tempers it now cause he needs sponsorship.
i wonder if the diecast will become available of the 4th place car that jr drove at new hampshire. i’m sure someone will drop $60 on it.
dover is mid-altantic….delmarva area – delaware-maryland-virginia. and they way overbuilt that track years ago. man sitting in that traffic is as bad as atlanta traffic.
naty bo…..red-white-blue worse than naty-bo. naty bo is good for steaming chesapeake bay blue crabs. sigh…can’t get them in ga either, and way too expensive to have shipped to me.
hope the root canal didn’t set you back too many $$$. when i had to have one, it was $1000 out of my pocket and $1000 from insurance. or course that included the crown as well.
Lefty Got it. Twighlight TOTALLY missed it.
I think they are giving tons of free tickets away to all the races.
Great Clips gave 20,000 tickets to its customers for the Atlanta Busch race.
Attendance and paid attendance are two different things.
You want to know why Bruton didn’t bulldoze the place? Because some drivers actually LIKE the racing here. This place is unique and Sunday it proved why it deserves a little respect. Everyone touts a place like Richmond for a great “classic” NASCAR race. The race I saw yesterday was head and shoulders above what Richmond produced last week for drama and intensity. The haters and “classic” NASCAR snobs need to get over themselves and realize the sport needs variety to survive.
So where’s the variety?
North Wilkesboro, Rockingham, a Darlington race… all unique tracks, all dropped over the years for more 1.5 mile cookie cutters… or even worse, California.
But, ISC doesn’t own unique tracks, so there we are.