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 October 11, 2010
The Key Moment – Tony Stewart got enough of a push from Clint Bowyer to solidify his lead on the final restart, coasting to victory over Jimmie Johnson in a green-white-checkered finish.
In a Nutshell – It wasn’t a bad race, and it wasn’t a bad crowd either. It’s just too bad it took Fontana twenty races to stage a race that was at least mildly interesting.
Dramatic Moment – When you restart a race with two laps to go on a track that wide, there’s bound to be some racing.
What They’ll Be Talking About Around the Water Cooler This Week
Is Bowyer going to get a secret $50,000 penalty (on top of his NHMS penalties) for pointing out there was no need for the final “debris” caution? Said debris had been there for most of the final run, which was well documented by ESPN footage.
You have to wonder if Clint Bowyer’s second-place car will be dragged back to NASCAR’s R & D center (especially in light of the comments Bowyer made noted above) and if it will pass this time.
It certainly was inspiring to listen to Kyle Busch’s motivational speech to his team after he lost an engine late in the race. Knute Rockne he’s not. In all seriousness, though, I’ve never liked watching drivers remove their helmets prior to parking the car. I’ve seen a lot of incidents on pit road and in the garage area that occurred outside the field of play and left local drivers badly hurt.
ESPN has a major quandary on their hands. How can it be that the first three races of the Chase have drawn some of the worst ratings the network has ever seen for stock car racing? It’s gotta be the economy, right? Hmmm. NFL ratings are through the roof. I guess football fans have found a way to pay the cable bill in tough times while us dumbass stock car fans are spending all our money on firearms, beer, and beef jerky. It’s interesting; in recent polls I’ve seen, somewhere between 75 and 88 percent of fans say they don’t like the Chase. Could that have anything to do with declining ratings? No, ESPN is pretty sure that it’s the earlier 1 PM start time for races (which fans asked for and which every fan I know of delights in.) Yep, move the start time of races to 3 PM ET and the ratings will fix themselves overnight. If they start races at 3 PM, I think we all know within a couple years the NFL will be eating NASCAR’s dust, as stock car racing attempts to reel in the Big Kahuna of television ratings, Timber-sports!
In somewhat related news, the ISC has announced a belt-tightening austerity program to increase profits that involves laying off twenty percent of the staff at their corporate headquarters, which conveniently enough shares office space with NASCAR corporate headquarters. I think perhaps one layoff alone would do enough to return both firms to firm financial footing… give Brian France the ax. (Not literally… he’s not allowed to play with sharp objects.)
Speaking of ESPN, enough is enough. It’s time to let the pre-race crew get it out of their system by tossing ‘em an inflatable Jimmie Johnson love-doll (with realistic kia-beard) and letting them consummate their man-love for the reigning four-time champion. It’s not going to be pretty, particularly with Darrell Waltrip beating and screaming at the door of the booth to gain entrance, but if one more pre-race show becomes a love sonnet to the No. 48 team and its driver, there might have to be special warnings issued that the following program might put diabetics into shock.
RCR and Bowyer’s team lost their second appeal of the penalty they were charged with after the New Hampshire race. Anyone who is surprised should be told not to leave milk and cookies out for Santa this year; he isn’t coming.
They’re poorly drawn, they’re foul-mouthed and offensive as hell, but South Park’s recent season-opening episode devoted to NASCAR was more entertaining than most of this year’s Cup races… even if the damn No. 48 car did win again.
Out of work and running out of hope in this economy? Looking for a drastic career change, a huge paycheck, and a chance to work for an organization that was once highly respected? ESPN has an immediate need for a full-time Danica Patrick apologist to explain away her latest miserable race finish as “absolutely not her fault.” It wasn’t Alabama’s fault they lost Saturday night, either. The NCAA just puts too much emphasis on the team that scores the most points rather than concentrating on fine plays made earlier in the game and which one has more overall enthusiasm to score a win.
Sorry, Danica. This is stock car racing. This is a cruel game. Your results define you…
The Hindenburg Award For Foul Fortune
It wasn’t a good afternoon for the Jack Roush organization, the standard bearers of Ford’s title hopes. Greg Biffle lost an engine early in the race while running eighth. Carl Edwards had mechanical issues and wound up 34th in the final rundown. Matt Kenseth’s engine was preparing to puke its innards over the final laps of the race and he wound up thirtieth. David Ragan tangled with Kurt Busch late in the race to end his day.
Kurt Busch had an evil-handling car most of the event but had scratched, clawed, and fought his way back up to the top 10 until David Ragan cut across his bow. The two-car wreck and resulting damage knocked Busch down to 21st.
I suppose the kindest way to describe Marcos Ambrose’s day is “eventful.”
Mark Martin appeared to have the fastest car on the long runs but a plethora (nay, a virtual cornucopia) of cautions at the end of the race doomed his chances. He wound up sixth.
The “Seven Come Fore Eleven” Award For Fine Fortune
Jimmie Johnson made hard contact with Paul Menard late in the race and got his car sideways, but not only managed to gather it back in, he did so without losing any positions on the track en route to a third-place finish.
Denny Hamlin had to start shotgun on the field after a transmission change, but he worked his way determinedly forward to finish eighth after too many close calls to enumerate.
Kevin Harvick overcame a pit road speeding penalty to finish seventh. Speeding has been an issue for Harvick this season, but a non-issue for his pit crew.
A late race pit road speeding penalty seemed to doom Jeff Gordon to a finish somewhere in the twenties, but a late-race call for two tires helped reassert himself all the way to ninth.
What’s the Points?
The top three in the points hold serve, with Jimmie Johnson now leading Denny Hamlin by 36 points and third-place Kevin Harvick by 54.
Jeff Gordon advanced a spot to fourth in the standings. Somehow, this guy has mastered the magic of taking horse apples and turning them into applesauce and ponies.
His win, coupled with other driver’s miserable days, propelled Tony Stewart forward five spots in the standings to fifth position.
Kurt Busch maintains sixth in the standings and is the last driver within one race’s worth of points of Johnson. Realistically, everyone from seventh place on back is left to race for pride, not a title.
Carl Edwards’ ignition woes dropped him three spots to seventh, with Jeff Burton moving up a spot to eighth. Kyle Busch and Greg Biffle each fell two spots; they are now ninth and tenth in the standings, respectively. Matt Kenseth and Clint Bowyer round out the 12-man field with six races left.
Who needs some newfangled elimination system to parse drivers from the Chase? They seem to be able to do it all by themselves, thank you very much.
Side note: if Ryan Newman had made the Chase, he’d be fourth in the standings and not thirteenth. But if Heather Locklear had married me, I’d be driving a Ferrari not a GMC…
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 Fontana’s final Fall foray four cans of adequately cooled Colorado Kool-Aid.
Next Up – The Cup circuit heads off to Charlotte, presuming the giant sinkhole hasn’t swallowed the place up entirely by then. I’m sure they’ll get it fixed. Anyone else been around long enough to remember the ruptured sewage line at Charlotte that spilled onto the track, causing the infamous “Wall of Doo-doo” red flag? I think Bruton Smith still owes me a new pair of boots for that one.
©2000 - 2008 Matt McLaughlin and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
hey,there were actually quite a few race fans at Fontana!Ain’t it funny,the three chase tracks before had bare seats!The Chase track,that will not be in 2011,was practically full! Go figure!
“Hmmm. NFL ratings are through the roof. I guess football fans have found a way to pay the cable bill in tough times while us dumbass stock car fans are spending all our money on firearms, beer, and VAGASIL”.
Fixed it for you, Matt.
Sorry I missed the 4 beer racing out in California, but I did see some real racing action at “The Rock” on Speed Channel.
Yup, bought another deer rifle just the other day. And I don’t buy beef jerky, just more ammo!
Wow, hell has frozen over. The California race was actually a good one. I agree with the 4 cold beer rating. Possibly even 5 warm cans of piss beer. The law of averages must have caught up.
Randy, I disagree. I think NFL ratings are boosted by the fact that the 32 largest metropolitan areas in the US all have HOME teams. This creates interest and pulls in lots of casual fans that don’t want to be in left field when everyone at the office is talking about the game on Monday. There is no home team in NASCAR.
what race? yesterday was a day when everytime the phone rang i found out a friend lost a parent.
spent most of the day trying to comfort two close friends who lost parents yesterday, and the one’s mother-in-law was removed from life support as well.
maybe someone needs to remove brain fart france from life support.
For the record, there were 7 field goals and one (late) touchdown scored in the Colts/Chiefs game. There wasn’t a receiver that could catch a football even when the QB managed to get the ball within a zip code of them. It was as if Brian France had taken over the NFL for 3 hours.
The decision to keep David Ragan and send Jamie McMurray packing last year has to be keeping Jack Roush up at nights. Ragan definitely earned the “Best Stevie Wonder Impersonation in a Racecar” award yesterday.
Someone other than Chad Knaus could still win the championship this year. A giant sinkhole could open up at Charlotte next weekend and devour the 48 car.
Loved the “South Park” episode last week. All of poor and stupid people were at Rockingham on Saturday. I was hoping Menard would have put JJ in the wall…maybe next week.
Matt: Regan Smith won the 2008 Talladega chase race, but was penalized a lap by na$car for NOT sending Tony Stewart airborne into the stands on his way to victory.
I was shocked! Shocked! The race was actually good and the Producer/Director — not Goldberg, but another person, a female person who is/was his boss was on top of it. Girls CAN race. I, Matt, like you, do not care for Fontana at all. But it exceeded my expectations.
Did I just say something that might be damning by faint praise? Mayhaps, but I shall stand by it because even a blind Squirrel named Gillian finds an acorn once in awhile.
Still, I’ll take the ARCA Race on Sat. over it or, if you please the final, Sunday, of the European Late Model Series at Warneton, Belgium over it.
Cheers and Thanx! Another super column.
without the fake debris caution late in the race…this was looking like a 1 or 2 can race…at best.
Hey, Janice…with an idiotic comment like that about France,I can only imagine the comfort that you provided to your friends.
You certainly have a way with words.
Shayne — I just received this text from Eric Cartman, who is, this morning “All by Himself”.
“You are a tool! I am as poor and as stupid as anyone! I defy anyone to prove me wrong! I won the Denver 300! I loved the ARCA race! You are a tool! tool! tool! I can spell Shayne!I can spell tool! If you were there you are as poor and as stupid as me! If you watched on TV you are in debt for the TV and will be poor and stupid soon! I need some more sample packs of Vagisil! I will share! I am poor and stupid, but I am clean!”
Well, Shayne, there you go. Give Cartman a bit of Glory and he just carries on and on and on….
SERIOUSLY, PEOPLE, PLEASE PRAY FOR SHANE HMIEL. IN THIS SPORT WE LOVE PEOPLE CAN DIE. THAT FACT MAY MAKE IT INTERESTING, BUT IT IS A SERIOUS THING.
I agree, we need to keep Shane Hmiel in our thoughts. And pray for a full recovery.
Is it just me or does ESPN try harder not to show the stands and empty seats at ISC tracks, while having no problem showing the stands and empty seats at NON-ISC tracks. Yes ACS had a good crowd yesterday. I believe the best in years, but there were lots of empty seats in the turn one area.
They did a good job of hiding it, but they’re were tons of empty seats. ESPN went out of their way not to show head on shots of the grandstand. I saw some photos on twitter that show mostly bear seats near the turns. Can we just not run the rest of the races and give the 48 the trophy, this is getting old.
ESPN’s blatant and shameless promotion of Danica disgusts me. Dale Jarrett was particularly fawning.
haha.. i read that as jimmie johnson finished first, second and third in the last cup race.
I stabbed a man with a trident.
Seriously though, is it just me or has Dale Jr officially not mattered this entire year? Wasnt this supposed to be his year? Its going to be tough for Nascar to extend the chase to the top 20 cars so that Jr can make it.
OK everyone, repeat after me…the ratings are down because more and more fans think the chase itself is totally bogus as are the spec cars that are nothing more than decal specials. You can rationalize all you want about the reasons for that; no fantasy leagues, no home town loyalties but lets cut out the nonsense. I dont bother watching the races anymore. Im content with the highlights on Speed’s news program on Sunday evening. Thats enough for me. Besides, on a picture perfect fall day like the one we had yesterday in New England, going for a motorcycle ride seemed a hell of a lot more interesting than another boring Nascar race.
Words we’d like to hear from Mike Helton:
“We’ve lost Brian France… and no one wants to look for him.”
Nice article Matt!
Can’t resist, Matt.
If Heather had married you, you’d be divorced by now and with the pre-nup you’d still be driving the GMC. But you’d be smiling…a lot.
Biff blew a motor; Carl – bad fuel pump; It seems as though the racing gods have yet again chosen to anoint the 48. The string of Chevys that have walked on water goes back over two decades. It was Waltrip, then Earnhardt, then Gordon, and now Johnson. Others win occasionally to help make it look legit. But look at the success those 4 drivers have had since 1984 and tell me they were “just that good.” Balderdash! Not only is that unreal and unbelievable, its also now unwatchable.
I switched over to the F1 race from Japan. Yeah, NASCAR sucks THAT bad now.
And the typical anti-Fontana bias shows up in the comments. The main parts of the grandstands were full, and only the edges were empty. While at other race tracks, entire SECTIONS were empty. And Fontana still gets slammed. Admit it folks, this race had more than the usual 60,000 fans in the stands for once. And I wasnt even there. It was even a decent race for once, too. Much better than Dover. I’m glad to see Matt watched the race objectively instead of turning in his usual “Fontana sucks, move along, there’s nothing to see here” article.
Wintergreen, I dont know which race is the fourth Chase race next year, but I do know we get Chicago as a Chase race to replace Fontana. That’s like asking if you want arsenic or cyanide with your breakfast. I’m pretty sure Jayski.com has next year’s schedule posted. I’ll let you check it out.
How many free tickets did the track give away this year?
Bears! Beats! Battlestar Galactica!
The JJ lovefest makes the race unwatchable. Throw in the fawning over Danica and it is ridiculous. It feels like I’m watching a stupid 3 hour reality show.
Prayers out to Shane Hmiel for full recovery.
I watched football all day. Whenever I switched over to check on the race, they were in commercial. I did catch the last 7 laps and prayed for Smoke to stay ahead of Johnson, which of course he did. I have always like football but since the racing became so bad, I’ve actually come to love it. I just love watching a sport and seeing every single minute of action! It was hard not to watch the races at first, but I’m over it now. I come here for my update about what happened and I’m almost always happy I didn’t waste an afternoon. Great article, Matt! Randy, go smoke yourself!
“The JJ lovefest makes the race unwatchable.”
Im no rocket surgeon but doesn’t it make the most sense to spend a good deal of time talking about the 4-time consecutive champion who is poised to make it a record 5th straight? If I worked for any major network I would spend as much time as humanly possible covering the obvious front-runner for best Nascar driver ever. That’s like saying, “Man I dont get it why they keep talking about the Yankees during the MLB post season.”
Who is this DANICA person that the announcers are always talking about? Has she won any races? She must be very important because she gets a lot of air time even though she never seems to finish higher than 30th. Very few drivers that finish that low ever get their name mentioned on TV. So she must be a TV celebrity or something.
Stop complaining and sign up. I even bought a t-shirt.
Bears! Beats! Battlestar Galactica! — JimDwight is a happy man right now!
Matt,I was sitting in Turn 2 at the UAW Doo Doo 500.
Shayne, That website www.blackflagbzf.com is run by a lawyer friend of Brain’s ex in-laws.
Its getting more interesting everyday….
Maybe the reason the seats were fuller this time is because it is not as hot as Labor Day weekend.
Why are we trying to compete with the NFL?
“In a surprise development in the Jeremy Mayfield case, a third, private citizen is corroborating claims Brian France ordered Mayfield black-flagged during a dispute with then-owner Ray Evernham. A retired business attorney, Michael J. Miller, says he was told by former France in-laws the NASCAR CEO gave the order while drinking scotch during a race at Indianapolis in August, 2006.”I heard it here first. Let’s see if the media (those that don’t bow to NA$CAR) will run with these allegations.
I don’t watch full races because of the JJ lovefest, too. Clicking over briefly between NFL timeouts, ESPN had about 4 errors in the 15 minutes I watched. 200mph down the ‘backstretch’? 24 car going low – was actually the 48 car, 24 was high….and can you believe that when the one caution came out, a car had completely spun, tire smoke and all, and ESPN was like ‘we are trying to find out why there is a caution’!!! How can DOZENS of ESPN crew/cameramen/commentators not know a car just spun. GIMME A BREAK!!!! They have become a complete joke. Oh, and crew chief commentator had to be corrected that the leader HAD actually already cycled through the pitstop sequence, HE MISSED IT? HE MISSED THE LEADER PITTING? WHAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHAAAAATTTTTT!!!!! NFL. NFL. NFL….NFL…NFL.
THOUGHT I WOULD BE A LIFELONG FAN,
WHAT A STUPID SPORT.
THANKS TO MATT, I CAN GET A 2 MINUTE RECAP OF SKIMMING HIS ARTICLE.
OH, I don’t play fantasy NFL, but would be TOTALLY PISSED RANDY, when the fake debris caution would change the outcome of the race, and thus my ‘fantasy’ results. Talk about pouring salt on the wound.
welp..so much for later start times being the issue…ratings were down -26% (per jayski site)…scratch start times off the list of excuses
Marybeth, the alien from planet Amp, what’s the matter, can’t find any more lame Jr. is the greatest driver in na$crap history articles on the internet lately? Since you average at best driver is offially a field filler now, just above start & park status, why are you posting your delusional JR. BS here, when this article didn’t even mention JR.?
All Sunday afternoon races should begin at 12:00 PM EST. If these stupid networks wouldn’t waste so much times with vapid, idiotic pre-race shows, we would be able to see races when they should be shown, as early as possible. The Speed Channel can do itself a big favor and cut NASCAR Raceday to just a half-hour show instead of two hours. Shut up and race, that’s what I say.
Also, the thing that Fontana can do to redeem itself is to up its banking to about double the size it has now, which would make it go from 14 to 28 degrees in the turns. In addition, the track should host a Saturday Night race in mid-March.
So, Marybeth, when are you gonna answer my question? Is Junior just stupid and doesnt realize what Hendrick is doing to him, as you say? Or is he just content to sit in a race car and drive around for 300-500 miles and collect a fat million dollar paycheck so he can go off and play with his toys the rest of the week?
They won’t penalize Bowyer for his comments as they were on his own radio. If he says it to media outside car, then he’ll get it for sure. If they start to penalize for in cr communications, teams will scramble them and no one will be able to hear. That’s been hashed through by the media already.
As for the racing at Cali, A+++. 400 miles is perfect, puts the edge on! Great race, I hope the spring race next year stays at 400 miles.
If JJ was leading in the final 20 laps instead of Bowyer, there wouldn’t have been a debris caution and JJ would have won in a snoozefest again and it would not have been given 4 beers on the scale.
Nascar throws these yellows, especially when someone is leading that they don’t want to win, to make these boring azz tracks exciting. Guess it worked this time, but too bad everyone knows its coming.
For the most part I’ve stopped watching the races. The only race that I’ve watched all the way through lately was the night race at Bristol. I’ll check in on them every so often to see who’s leading. I did that on Sunday and was so bored that I went back to watching the horse racing. Yes, I’d rather watch horses than horsepower. More interesting and shorter. They actually talk about all of the horses and jockeys.
Since this is a site run by and for the haters in NASCAR, I will add my own dislike of the Ford camp to the discussion. The BEST part of the race Sunday was seeing all FOUR of the Roush Fords bite the dust. (Take that Buzz.) Felt a little sorry for Kenseth, but Biffle and Edwards are jerks (like Roush himself) and Ragan is simply incompetent.
Here’s hoping that HMS is well on its way to another championship, hopefully with JJ making you all barf your beer.
And Matt, that would be a chia-beard, not a Kia- beard. Get with the program – the Chia pet has been in existence for at least 40 years. Are you that far behind the times?
been going to nascar races, since,back in the 60’s but the races are so boring, and a love-fest for jj and kyle, i tape all the races and when thosebutt-kissing announcers, start on jj, kyle,denny and carl, i fast- forward. the chase and the fake cauions are a joke. nascar has gone to the dogs!!!