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 18, 2010
The Key Moment – Jamie McMurray took the lead from Kyle Busch on the final restart and drove off to an uncontested victory. It was ironic in that Busch had been stellar on restarts all night until the one that actually mattered.
In a Nutshell – Several drivers suffered near disasters early in the race, but the fans had to endure one there at the end.
Dramatic Moment – Well it looked like there were going to be some wild goings on during that final restart, with McMurray, Johnson, Busch, and Hamlin all having shown strength at various points of the race, but things fizzled out like a wet brick of Black-Cats shortly after the fuse was lit.
What They’ll Be Talking About Around the Water Cooler This Week
Could Jimmie Johnson have pushed harder in those final few laps, passing McMurray and Busch if he had to? (Like let’s say he was trailing the points leader by 272 with six races to go, as he would have been under the old championship system.) As I saw it, Johnson was content to keep Hamlin behind him and cruise after surviving a near disaster early in the race.
Well, as it turns out MLB ballgames are, in fact, shorter than stock car races. At least that was the case on Saturday night…
Isn’t it a little odd how vocal Kyle Busch was both about singing Jimmie Johnson’s praises and cursing his own team over the radio Saturday night? Few people picked up on the bitter irony in Busch’s post-race comments, saying he had “cost the team the race” by “not making the right adjustments.” Obviously, the team (and crew chief) make those adjustments during the race and Busch felt they’d let him down… again. He was more subtle in those post-race comments than he has been over the radio the last few events, but anyone who missed the intent of the statement was clearly still dazed by the RV wreck that was part of the pre-race show.
Well as I saw it – although I wasn’t in the car – Busch gave away the race. All night on restarts, he had simply driven away from the field, using clean air to his advantage in building an edge. But prior to the final green-flag run, he switched to his alternate radio channel to discuss restart strategy. On that one, as the leader, Kyle appeared to try an… ahem… Busch league move by accelerating hard, then letting off the gas to brake-check the field. McMurray timed his move perfectly, still behind Busch but accelerating hard enough as the green flag flew to take control of the race.
Can someone explain this trick to me? How does a beer can that brings out a debris caution appear on the backstretch when there’s nobody sitting in those sections of grandstands? (Which were, in fact, blocked off with advertising banners to hide their existence?) Whatever happened, it appears NASCAR has decided to throw caution to the wind (as in throw bogus debris cautions… Kyle Busch guessed over the radio that maybe a mouse had run across the track) again late in races in an attempt to pull the TV ratings out of the nosedive they’ve been in since the Chase began.
This just in. The Man Behind the Curtain, Brian France, says not to worry about declining ratings. Those ratings are due to fix themselves, he claims, because the racing on the track is “phenomenal.” Turns out France spent many years living in Los Angeles, where a rare dialect in the entertainment industry has “phenomenal” being synonymous with “preposterous.”
Blame it on their fuelish pride? Starting next year Cup cars will run on E15 fuel, a mixture of 85 percent gas and 15 percent ethanol (of the sort that is always giving me fits with my old cars and motorcycles.) Introducing corn liquor back into NASCAR racing as a fuel rather than a beverage? Count me in, though I’d advise the Cup teams to start buying marine grade Stabil by the 55 gallon barrel’s worth.
Secondly, the Cup Series will make a long overdue concession to modern reality by having fuel injection replace carbs starting next summer. I’m still a big fan of the Holley 4160… on old cars. But Detroit hasn’t used carbs on a production car since the mid-‘80s (I believe the Chevette Scooter was the last holdout) and we do, after all, call these things “stock cars.” Imagine a Cup car with a computer aboard more intelligent than what you drive to work (or 90 percent of you drive to work in this economy.) Of course, I still have some antique four function pocket calculators the size of a half loaf of bread that are more intelligent than Brian France.
The most competitive Cup Chase ever! How many times have ESPN and NASCAR beat you over the head with this non-statistic? As it turns out, according to research posted on Jayski’s Silly Season page, the 36-point margin Jimmie Johnson enjoyed after the fourth race of the “playoffs” (Fontana last week) was actually the third largest at this point of the season since the Chase Tragedy debuted in 2004.
OK, it’s time to rechristen the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte a reward for politics within the sport, not achievement. I can forgive the exclusion of Darrell Waltrip, three-time Cup champion, in the second year of balloting. He was a polarizing figure during his racing career and remains so during his broadcasting reign of terror. (I’d suggest to DW he dump that “boogity, boogity, boogity” nonsense and see if he makes the cut next year.) I have nothing but respect for Bud Moore, a true pioneer of stock car (not to mention Trans-Am) racing and a true American hero, a teenage kid who stormed ashore during the D-Day invasion in World War II. Ned Jarrett was not only a talented and championship driver in the sport’s roughest era, he was one of the most well-spoken competitors in that rough and tumble time in Cup racing. He did a ton to support the sport on and off the track and did the same during his storied broadcast career wherein most fans considered Ned, Benny, and Bob three dear friends they invited into their homes every Sunday afternoon. (Note to DW… watch some old ESPN tapes of Ned calling a race this winter while you lick your wounds and learn from them.) But the exclusion of Cale Yarborough? Right there in my mind, the Hall became invalid, a place that deserves all the financial turmoil they’re enduring even if the taxpayers and hotel guests of Charlotte don’t. I won’t say that Yarborough was the fastest, best, or most successful Cup driver ever, but he was the toughest. I’d like to see some of these skinny ass young corporate spokesmodels enjoying success in the Cup Series today try to wheel one of those old, Holly Farms number 11 Chevys for fifty laps around Darlington without power steering. Just make sure the medics are in place before they try…
Tuesday, NASCAR held a secret meeting in Charlotte with racers and owners to discuss the challenges facing the Nationwide Series and the future of that division. Next to nothing was written about what went on during the meeting. But during the post-race comments on Friday night, what was said during the closed door session became blatantly obvious. NASCAR wants people to face the ever-dwindling crowd on hand (and how about a call out to the last stalwarts watching these races on TV?) and say that the racing was really, really, really exciting, perhaps the best auto race ever held. If the fans hear it enough from the drivers, the media, and NASCAR, maybe they’re dumb enough to start believing it. All the members of the “loyal opposition” (the sort of writers who still call a spade a spade and don’t worship Brian’s bull calf) have been getting emails from players inside the garage area (usually those with minor league parts) reminding us to recall what side our bread is buttered on and that we’re all making big bucks at this game (why didn’t I get the memo?) so to cool it a bit. Well, you know what I’d have liked to have heard when they interviewed third-place Justin Allgaier? “Yeah, I finished third, best among the non-interlopers, but I don’t have a sponsor for next year because NASCAR sold their souls to a competitor for my current sponsor and I don’t have boobs like Danica does.”
OK, you have to admit sponsorship dollars are getting hard to come by when Michael McDowell’s car is listed as being backed by the “Conley for School Board” campaign. Wait a second. With Halloween coming up, how about a black and orange witch-themed paint scheme to promote “Christine O’Donnell for Senate?”
Mark your calendars and set the DV-R. The 30 for 30 film on the late Tim Richmond debuts Tuesday night at 8 on ESPN. Mr. Richmond was the most phenomenal Cup driver most newer fans have never heard of; and as this documentary will hopefully show, the France family did their best to try to make sure that was the case.
The Hindenburg Award For Foul Fortune
Kurt Busch arrived at Charlotte this weekend trying to become the first driver to win all three Cup events at the track in a single season. Those hopes ended when Busch spun himself out on the 24th lap en route to 30th place.
Jeff Gordon had a strong run going until electrical problems slowed his charge; he just could never get fully back up to speed after that. Having teammate Jimmie Johnson lap him as he tried to switch to the backup battery had to remind Gordon only one of them has a real shot left at scoring a fifth title this season. A late pit road speeding penalty was the icing on the No. 24 team’s cake, leaving him one lap down in 23rd and almost a full race’s worth of points behind his teammate.
Jeff Burton has developed an unfortunate habit of running a lot faster the first two-thirds of a race than he does in the final segment. To not only send himself spinning, but to do it off the right front fender of his teammate Clint Bowyer (who just can’t catch a break) makes a 20th-place pill even more bitter to swallow.
Tony Stewart’s problems started on the second lap when he was hit from behind trying to check up to avoid his teammate / employee’s (Ryan Newman’s) spinning car. Numerous problems getting into or leaving his pit box further bulloxed up an evening that led to a 21st-place result.
The “Seven Come Fore Eleven” Award For Fine Fortune
It seemed Jamie McMurray’s weekend was as good as over after he qualified 27th. Nobody had ever started that far back and gone on to win the Fall Charlotte event.
Jimmie Johnson made a rare unforced error on lap 34, spinning his Chevy, then survived a pit road collision (and subsequent extracurricular on-track discussion of such with Clint Bowyer) to finish third.
Kyle Busch conceded the race over the radio when his throttle began sticking. As it turned out, the only thing stuck wide open all race was his jaw.
While a blown engine last week probably kiboshed Greg Biffle’s title chances, a fifth-place finish this week had to offer some redemption. The Fords were a lot more reliable at Charlotte, but a whole lot slower as well. Does that have anything to do with the fact the top team’s engines were going to be confiscated by NASCAR and brought back for dyno testing after Saturday’s race?
What’s the Points?
Jimmie Johnson extended his points lead over Denny Hamlin to 41. Kevin Harvick remains third in the standings and is now 77 markers behind Johnson.
Most people will accept, barring a major miracle, being a full race’s worth of points out of the lead with five races left pretty much means a driver’s chances at a title are over. Jeff Gordon, fourth in the standings, is 156 points out of the lead while the maximum points swing during a race is 161. Draw your own conclusions.
In the battle of the Brothers Busch, Kyle walked away the victor Saturday. He advanced four spots to fifth in the standings, while Kurt fell three positions to ninth. Tony Stewart, in sixth, is technically tied with Kyle Busch in the standings, 177 points behind Johnson, but the first tiebreaker is race wins and Busch currently has three this year to Stewart’s two.
Carl Edwards sits seventh in points, while Greg Biffle advanced two spots to eighth. Jeff Burton now rounds out the top 10, already 239 points behind Johnson.
Jamie McMurray takes over the less than coveted thirteenth place in the standings and now leads Ryan Newman by a full 75 points in that contest. For the record, McMurray has three Cup wins this season, more than eight of twelve drivers who are in the Chase. Under the old points system, though, McMurray would be sitting eleventh.
Overall Rating (On a scale of one to six beer cans with one being a stinker and a six pack an instant classic) — I don’t expect much out of night races in the Brian France era Cup series. If they’re over before midnight, it doesn’t rain, a college football game doesn’t preempt the first twenty laps of the race, and nobody gets hurt, they earn two and a half cans. If it weren’t for the bogus debris caution at the end, it might have been three cans.
Next Up – Yahoo! It’s off to Martinsville for some approximation of real stock car racing the way it oughta be. The Martinsville event is genuinely the only one I eagerly anticipate on the 10-race Chase schedule every Fall.
©2000 - 2008 Matt McLaughlin and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
“All the members of the “loyal opposition” (the sort of writers who still call a spade a spade and don’t worship Brian’s bull calf.) have been getting emails from players inside the garage area (usually those with minor league parts) reminding us to recall what side our bread is buttered on and that we’re all making big bucks at this game (why didn’t I get the memo?) so to cool it a bit.”
GAWD that makes my blood boil!
OK, my Monday mantra on the chase:
It cannot be mended. It must be ended.
Good column as usual, but I was really hoping for a bit about the Bozo Orange hair Brian Duh Clueless is sporting.
Dale’s eleventh to second last lap charge at the Daytona 500 was worth $700,000. It pays to do well at big races. Hell, McMurray is only $50,000 out of first place in prize money to Jimmy Johnson.
What’s a “writere”?
Despite missing only 3 races in person in the last 30 years, I opted to go to a college football game over the Sat. night race. Didn’t miss the racing at all. Kind of sad.
In the interest of full disclosure, CMS does have a “Beer Patio” on part of the old Concrete Grandstands on the back stretch. It is possible that one of the non-race fan, party to you puke knuckleheads tossed a can out on the track.
Since they didn’t go head to head this week, Matt didn’t have his usual mention of how the NFL enjoys better ratings than NASCAR.
But, the Boston Globe had a telling fact yesterday regarding NFL ratings compared to everything else.
The Minnesota Twins, Central Division champs, were playing the Yankees in the ALDS and the average for the 3 games was 22% of the households in the Twin Cities tuning in.
Monday nite the Vikings, a very average team, played the Jets. That game was tuned into by 45% of the households in the same measuring area.
There’s the NFL, and there is everything else.
Watched football all day. Thanks for the update, Matt. Very happy to see I didn’t miss anything AGAIN.
Danica is getting her comic book published. That’s appropriate. Next is the book and then the movie. She’s probably at the point now where she takes a pay cut when she gets in a race car. DansMom and randy RandyGoldman will each buy a copy so that means one sold.
The allotted time of the race was 3:30. The actual time of race was 3:34. Just the right number of cautions. If there was no last caution the race would have ended too soon and they would have had to interview a non-Hendrick driver. The last three races have finished a total of zero minutes from scheduled time.
Hill Country Revue was playing at the Handlebar in Greenville… $11 at the door. Southern rock like they used to play it. A great show at a great price.
I used to go to Charlotte for the race every October back when it was a great show for a great price. These days it’s like throwing money in a sinkhole.
I didn’t actually bother to watch the race. But while I was practicing laps at Monaco on the F1 2010 game, I left the leaderboard at na$car.com running. When I looked over and noticed the final stops were coming under green with inside of 40 to go, I laughed and said to myself that there would be debris within 10 laps. What did I see when I next looked at the screen?
It doesn’t even seem to matter that there was actual debris this time. The fact that the inevitability of a debris caution happening at the end of a race makes na$car the auto racing equivalent of the WWE.
That paragraph about the hall of fame was spot on. I agree on all points. Why is it that everybody on the planet can see what you said about DW but DW himself? It’s too bad he doesn’t take your advice about watching how Ned carried himself on and off the air. Evidently his HUGE EGO gets in the way and seems like he will never change. I belive this hall snub would be a wakeup call for anyone else on the planet, except the arrogant DW.
Yeah, most competitive Chase ever. The only thing that will save this disaster is if the 48 wrecks at Talladega, and he always seems to have a magical halo around his car there. Good job NASCAR, 5 straight for the 48 when the old system would have at least given the 29, 24 and 99 Championships. So much for competitive balance. All the Chase has done is given the best team another bite at the apple each year.
Looked like a very good crowd to start the race and then REALLY EMPTY after halfway. Were they shopping? Once again many more aerial shots of the empty stands here then at the ISC TRACKS. Just saying.
Jamie was catching Kyle before the last caution, and had the best car at this time, Kyle did not have one of HIS GREAT RESTARTS,but he was able to still finish 2nd.
Matt, I forgot to touch upon the “Hall of $$$$” comment that you made.
I would like to float a conspiracy theory:
No REAL fan of stock car racing, or racing in general, should be able to say they never heard of Tim Richmond, if you haven’t you barely qualify as a casual observer.
EZ, Dans Mom knows who Tim Richmond is. Anyone with a brain knows that..Hmmm..maybe I better reconsider what I just said. Anyway, dont respond to ignorance or stupidity.. just ignore it.
Danica has boobs?
were in the grandstands Sat night and the best thing I can say is it wasn’t as cold as last OCT…racing was pretty boring…
And Ditto what Don Mei
I thought the race was great….stop drinking Matt’s kool aid. He says every race is bad which means he only watches the races now to get money from his job. Which also means he cares more about money than the competition, which is exactly what he thinks Brian France is doing
Dansmon, laxbro, and RandyGoldman,,,, aka Brian Frances’ triplets. Or are they just one person with split personalities.
I’m waiting to see the ’30 for 30’ piece on Tim Richmond as well; but, I wouldn’t hold out a lot of hope for NASCAR getting called out for their actions. ESPN is still a broadcast ‘partner’; so, even though these films run under the guise of being a documentary, they’re still entertainment – just like SportsCenter.
I hate to correct you on this but Danica doesn’t have big boobs. It has more to do with her face and small butt. I know what you meant, but boobs are out of the picture with her.
Matt said: “Mark your calendars and set the DV-R. The 30 for 30 film on the late Tim Richmond debuts Tuesday night at 8 on ESPN. Mr. Richmond was the most phenomenal Cup driver most newer fans have never heard of;”
News Flash: Vasoline and Kleenex factories are working overtime to ship more product to the Pennsylvania area after local stores report mass shortages of lotion and facial tissue. Local cops are stumped as to what’s causing the shortage, but several witnesses have claimed to hear the roar of a motorcycle engine and maniacal laughter shortly before the items are reported vanished.
Matt said: “Secondly, the Cup Series will make a long overdue concession to modern reality by having fuel injection replace carbs starting next summer.”
While I’m happy NASCAR is finally joining the fuel-injection era of automobiles, I’m not in favor of them doing it in the middle of the season. Its too big of a change and has the potential for too big of an impact on the racing. I would much rather see them implement it for the start of the 2012 season, and allow the teams to test the new setup in December 2011 and January 2012.
Call me a prude, but the only Danica boobs we need to be discussing on here are her fans…
I concur 100% with the Chase motto – “It cannot be mended. It must be ended.”
Dansmom, laxbro, and RandyGoldman s/b embarrassed to show their collective faces. How old are you????
My age has nothing to do with. I have problems with nascar. I hate how they let cup regulars in nationwide, it ruins the nationwide races for me. I still watch hoping beyond hope a nationwide regular will win. I don’t think danica should get by with her looks, but I would still like to see a woman do well in nascar and she is an underdog so i cheer for her.
I think 1st place finishers should get more points and get rid of the chase. I’m not completely against the chase but I don’t like the points system they run either for a whole season.
I don’t like Brian France….but that does not mean the racing is terrible. But doesn’t mean the racing is always great. I thought the Dover race was awful. I think a lot of the races were good this year. Matt lets his biases get in the way of truthfully recapping the racing.
thinking through biases = bad journalism
Talk about a candy ass. How about Kahne? He was “too sick” to get back in the race car, but went and ran a marathon on Sunday. Then, finally admitted he just flat out refused to drive the car Saturday night because it wasn’t “up to his standards.”
If Junior Johnson were his team owner, Junior would’ve beat his ass Saturday night. Kahne has laid down on the RPM team. He started this BS about a year ago, maybe even longer. But definitely since he knew they were switching back to Ford – the manufacturer he screwed over to get ahead in Cup.
He decided he was too good for Petty’s team. He’s a total prima donna and complete cry baby (and don’t argue with me unless you’ve been to the races and actually heard him on the scanner).
Adios, Kahne. Don’t let the door hit ya where the Lord split ya.
A big part of Diva Kasey’s problem could be he is not as good as he or his fans believe that he is.
If the other Casey who drove for Ray would have been given as long to learn at the Cup level as Diva Kasey has had, He would still be here.
Kevin in SoCal
Yep I’ve been to the races & Yep I listen to Kahne & Francis on the scanner every race. I also have been a Kahne fan since his dirt car days & I can tell you he DOES NOT walk away from a car that is not capable of racing. If this were the case he would not have been a single race since 06. Oh & Loomis had no problems spilling his guts today. At least Kahne had the decency to keep the names private.
“28. RacingDmp said: Oct 16, 2010 at 3:24 PM scenedaily.com Fixing to go to the track, great race last night, chilly here. Did anyone catch what Andy Petree (an accomplished cup crew chief) said about Lance’s call last week to leave Jr out on 30 lap old tire’s after staying out, leading a lap under yellow, and the field comming in for fresh rubber (and Jr’s asking Lance what do you mean stay out?). I think the exact words were “I just dont understand that call, Thats a NO BRAINER!” well welcome to the club Andy!”
Petty’s cars have been GARBAGE since the mid 1980’s. That is undeniable.
I don’t like Kahne’s diva like attitude, and I think he is only still in Cup because he is the prettiest woman available EVEN WITH Danica hanging around.
Having said that, it is about time that SOMEBODY refused to climb into one of the Petty death-traps. They have a long and well documented history of re-using parts until they fail, and cutting corners at every opportunity. They did this even during the good times when money was flowing like water around their shops.
While Adam’s death was a tragedy and not at all, the Petty team’s fault, there are plenty of other drivers that are lucky to have escaped with their lives followin an old and worn-out part having failed due to the loads imposed upon it.
LOL, Matt. I laughed to myself after the nwide race when all the competitors lined up and sang kumbya after having had their weekly dose of BZF’s koolaid.
Smile, talk happy talk and don’t worry, y’all, those stupid race fans will NEVER figure it out.
Trouble is BZF and Helton are wrong. Like you, I feel bad for Allgaier. He seems like a really solid racer and is getting shafted on this deal.
I’m so glad that Jamie showed he was smarter than KyBu on Sat. My night was in the tank when Gordon’s car lost power, so the only bright spot was that neither the 18 nor the 48 won. I know, its sour grapes, but it is an honest emotion.
DansMom, if you’ve never heard of Tim Richmond – watch the ESPN show that Matt is talking about. Perhaps you’ll learn a little bit about the NASCAR that existed before the Brainless France era. It might help since you seem to exist in a vacuum. See if you can get RandyGoldman to join you – consider it educational TV.
“Dansmom, laxbro, and RandyGoldman s/b embarrassed to show their collective faces. How old are you????”
What does age have anything to do with anything on a Nascar forum? For all you know, they are in their late 70s and just barely know how to use a computer.
“We’re mad as hell and we’re not going to take it any more.”
Thank you Peter Finch!
AncientRacer—so glad to read someone else was stupified by the orange hair! Between that and the wandering eye I couldn’t focus on a word he was saying…probably no loss…MATT—thanks for the reminder about Tim Richmond’s 30-30, got it DVR’D!
brian france said today that the ratings are going to fix themself because the racing is great lol
There goes MaryBeth the delusional alien from planet Amp posting her weekly meaningless Dale Jr. BS for an article that wasn’t even about her field-filler driver. FYI MaryBeth and other Jr. Nation FOOLS, your driver with God-given average at best talent, just passed the $4 million mark in earnings for the year, while driving the Best Equipment in nascar to back of the pack finishes, barely beating the Start & Park teams.
I am new to this article but not to NASCAR. I think it provides really good insights into the sport. I think the 48 was trying a “clean” pass on the 18 at the end because he was upset about giving up 5 points to the 33 the week before. That said, he would still rather have the 18 as a friend and not an enemy. I think JGR will replace Hendrick as champion but just don’t know when. Also the 29 is a worthy champion but really see this as his first real shot at the title and few ever get it on their first deserving shot. I think the drivers with the most wins and most regular season points should be the only ones that should be able to get the title. The Chase was devised to eliminate winless champions and give some meaning to Homestead. So far it has done that but I would hate for some year a 12th place winless driver gets hot and steals the title. I don’t think it should be a crapshoot. On the other hand, I think other teams, including the 11 use the regular season as a test session. After watching the 48 since his rookie season, I will let you know my theory. Knaus divides the season in three parts. The first 12 races, he uses old data to get firmly in the Chase. The next 12 (his summer slump)he tests all type of out of the box setups and eliminates the bad ones and keeps the good ones. The final twelve are game-on. They are like well trained troops that can deal well in survival mode. They know better that others how to stay focused on the mission. Even the 48’s save at Charlotte was the result of experience. I will say their weak link is their pit crew. If he had the 18’s or the 11’s pit crew he would probably have a couple more wins this year.
I loved the TV coverage at the green flag.
“the start of next chase in the race to the Sprint Cup championship”
Huh??? What him say?
As for the Hall of Lame. I was 10, never saw a race, was not fan of NASCAR then, but even I knew who Cale Yarborough was.
@Overated, What would my week be without you…? :)
Marybeth, try posting something factual. I’m still waiting for you to explain to the world how Jr.‘s crew installed a 9” ford rear end gear backwards, when it impossible to do! Yet you posted it weekly for 2 months all over the internet. Come on Marybeth, the crickets are chirping, tell how? Your delusional BS exposes nothing but stupidity.