NASCAR Changes Qualifying Format
posted by Summer Bedgood
Tuesday March 11, 2014
Following safety concerns regarding NASCAR’s new qualifying format, the sanctioning body is introducing some changes in preparation for this weekend’s race at Bristol Motor Speedway. According to the Associated Press, NASCAR is banning teams from cool-down laps after their qualifying attempts, but will instead be allowed to hook up cool-down units to the engine through hood flaps.
Late Tuesday afternoon, a release from NASCAR fully detailed the changes. Teams will be allowed a single cool down unit to be connected through the right or left side hood flap, however the hood must remain closed. Additionally, two crew members will be allowed over the wall while cooling down.
“The qualifying is new to all of us and as we have said over the past several weeks, we are looking at it from all aspects,” said Robin Pemberton, vice president of competition and racing development. “Following discussions, both internally and with others in the garage area, we moved quickly to make a few revisions that will be effective starting with our two national series events at Bristol Motor Speedway this weekend. We believe this will only enhance and improve what has demonstrated to be an exciting form of qualifying for our fans, competitors and others involved with the sport. Moving forward we will continue to look at it and address anything else that we may need to as the season unfolds.”
The move comes after three weeks of NASCAR’s new knockout qualifying system, where multiple cars are allowed to make qualifying attempts at the same time instead of the traditional one-car-at-a-time procedure. Drivers and teams had complained that the new rules didn’t allow them to cool their engines down on pit road, and the cool-down laps caused a dangerous situation with slower cars staying on the track at the same time that other cars were running by them at much higher speeds.
The rule will begin this weekend in Bristol, a track that has a much narrower racing surface than Daytona, Phoenix, and Las Vegas.
Kurt Busch to Attempt The Indianapolis-Charlotte Double
posted by Phil Allaway
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Andretti Autosport announced this morning that Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet in the Sprint Cup Series, will attempt the Indianapolis 500 in a fifth entry for the IndyCar Series team. Once the Indianapolis 500 is completed, Busch will fly from Indianapolis to Charlotte, jump in his No. 41 Chevrolet and compete in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Busch considers the opportunity to do the double as an old-school throwback moment.
“This is really to challenge myself within motorsports,” Busch said in Andretti Autosport’s press release. “Perhaps I am a bit of an old-school racer; a throwback, I guess. I enjoyed the era of drivers racing different cars and testing themselves in other series. It is tough to do now for a variety of factors, but when the opportunity is there, I want to do it. While NASCAR is my home, I have been fortunate to compete in Pro Stock on the NHRA circuit a number of years ago and test a V8 Supercar. This opportunity was a talk with Michael [Andretti] over dinner one night, a “What if,” and now it’s becoming a reality for me to drive in the Indy 500 with Andretti Autosport. It’s literally a dream come true. To go to the famous Brickyard with the iconic Andretti name, it doesn’t get much cooler or better than that.”
Busch will be doing the Indianapolis-Charlotte double as a Memorial Day mission to men and women serving in the U.S. Military via the Armed Forces Foundation. Fans can contribute to the cause by texting AFF to 50555 to donate $10.
Busch, who has never raced an IndyCar, passed Rookie Orientation at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last year during a test session. At the time, Busch was more or less testing the Dallara DW12 for fun.
Busch will be the fourth driver to attempt the Indianapolis-Charlotte double. John Andretti was the first driver to attempt it in 1994. After finishing four laps down in tenth in Indianapolis, Andretti crashed and had engine problems in the 600. Robby Gordon has attempted the double five times, most recently in 2004. However, Gordon failed to make it to Charlotte on time and did not start the 600 in 2000 (P.J. Jones started Gordon’s No. 13 Ford in that instance). Finally, Tony Stewart has attempted the double twice (most recently in 2001) and is the only driver to ever complete all 1100 miles. Neither of the three drivers has won either leg of the double. The best finishes are Stewart and Gordon’s sixth-place finishes at the Indianapolis 500 (although Gordon’s came in 2000, the year he didn’t make it to Charlotte in time to start the Coca-Cola 600), and Stewart’s fourth-place finish in the 2001 Coca-Cola 600.
Danica Patrick, Justin Allgaier Talk About Phoenix Incident
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
A disappointing start to the year for Danica Patrick won’t include continued conflict. Patrick met with rookie Justin Allgaier Sunday, shortly after the Phoenix Cup race after a wreck ruined both drivers’ days. Patrick, who was critical of the No. 51 car on the radio, claiming Allgaier was “driving all over the track” appeared receptive to a conversation that quickly settled differences over what will be a long season.
“She was just upset because she got involved in the crash that we had,’’ said Allgaier to the Motor Racing Network. “She says she’s been through this and that she felt like I needed to settle down at that point. I explained my position on why everything happened. I think she understood where I was coming from. It doesn’t fix either one of our racecars. It doesn’t fix either one of our days. Unfortunately, we were both having pretty decent days.’’
Allgaier wound up 30th due to the incident while Patrick was 36th. The incident, which was caused by Allgaier’s spin also involved the No. 32 team and Travis Kvapil, which wound up 38th after sustaining heavy damage.
Camping World Close to Extending Title Sponsorship of NCWTS
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Marcus Lemonis, CEO of Camping World, Grand Marshal of Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway, and star of CNBC’s “The Profit,” made the announcement over the weekend that the retailer is very close to announcing a deal that would continue its title sponsorship of NASCAR’s Truck Series. The original agreement with NASCAR is scheduled to conclude after the 2015 season.
According to the sanctioning body, no formal contract has been signed, but “the agreement between the two parties has proven to be a beneficial one.”
“In about a month, we’ll be announcing a significant extension to that contract. It’s been great for us,” said Camping World’s Lemonis in a statement. “The NASCAR relationship has worked well for Camping World. When we started, we had 35 stores. Now, we’re up to 120 stores. As we travel the country and we meet new customers in stores, they always are very appreciative of our relationship with NASCAR. It’s been good.”
Gaining a long-term commitment from Camping World to sponsor the Truck Series would be a relief for NASCAR, which is set to lose Nationwide Insurance as title sponsor for the NASCAR Nationwide Series at the end of the 2014 season. The sponsorship of the Cup Series by Sprint runs through 2016.
The NCWTS is back in action on March 29th at 2:30 PM (ET) when the trucks visit Martinsville Speedway in the Kroger 250, which can be seen on Fox Sports 1. Ratings for the season opener were up 11 percent.
Harvick Takes Win At Phoenix In Second Race With New Team
posted by Justin Tucker
Monday March 3, 2014
Phoenix International Raceway has become Kevin Harvick’s home away from home. Sunday Afternoon was no exception as Harvick charged to the front early and would dominate for much of the day, leading 224 of the scheduled 312 laps to record his record fifth win on the one mile oval and his third win in the last four races at Phoenix.
Harvick, coming off of a disappointing Speedweeks which was capped by a last lap crash in the Daytona 500 in his debut with Stewart-Haas Racing, set the tone on Saturday by winning both practices while having the best 5 and 10-lap averages in the first practice of the day on Saturday. On Sunday, Harvick and his No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet was nothing short of flawless as he was able to hold Dale Earnhardt, Jr. by .489 seconds after a late race restart to claim his 24th career Sprint Cup Series victory.
“Man, this is awesome,” Harvick said after his dominant victory on Sunday. “Man, this just solidifies so many things and so many decisions. It’s been so much work with all the time and effort that these guys (the crew) have put in—but what a race car.”
Stewart Haas Racing co-owner Gene Haas shared in Harvick’s excitement after the race.
“It took long enough,” Haas joked. “This is phenomenal. I think there was a lot of skepticism last year about what myself and Tony (Stewart) what we were up to, was there a lot of madness to this. Quite frankly, it’s a great team, there’s a lot of synergy at the shop, people working together. I don’t know what we did, but I think we put together a great organization.”
Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt, Jr. continued his hot start to the 2014 season. Earnhardt Jr. would finish second on Sunday, marking his seventh consecutive top 10 finish since the end of the 2013 season. Earnhardt Jr. was pleased with the effort after a coast-to-coast whirlwind week after winning his second Daytona 500 and also gave great praise to the efforts of Harvick and the No. 4 team.
“I’ve got to congratulate Kevin. Those guys were two-tenths faster than everyone all weekend in practice. They were just phenomenal,” Earnhardt said. “To be able to run with them all day was a big confidence builder for us.”
Joining Harvick and Earnhardt in the top 5 of The Profit on CNBC 500K were Brad Keselowski with his second consecutive top 3 run of 2014 in third. Keselowski’s Team Penske teammate Joey Logano would finish fourth, and Jeff Gordon would come home fifth in his No. 24 Pepsi Max Chevrolet.
Jimmie Johnson finished in sixth, followed by Ryan Newman with a nice rebound after Daytona in seventh. Carl Edwards would carry the banner for Roush Fenway Racing by finishing eighth, Kyle Busch was ninth, and Jamie McMurray would finish tenth.
A look at the Profit on CNBC 500K by the numbers. There were 14 lead changes among eight different drivers, there were eight cautions for 39 laps which slowed the race pace to 109.229 MPH.
Next Sunday, the Sprint Cup Series heads to Sin City and the Las Vegas Motor
Starting Lineup: The Profit On CNBC 500K
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday March 1, 2014
Drivers in RED (i) are those ineligible to collect Sprint Cup points
Daytona 500 TV Ratings Down
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Wednesday February 26, 2014
What was the longest weather delay in Daytona 500 history turned out to bring NASCAR lower ratings and TV viewership Sunday night than expected. According to a report Monday from FOX Sports, the 56th running of the Daytona 500 airing at 8 PM (ET) posted a 5.6/10 national household rating/share which averaged 9.3 million viewers. That’s down 44 percent from last year’s 9.9, easily making it the least-watched Daytona 500 of all-time.
Due to the six-hour, twenty-two minute rain delay in Daytona, the race was up against the primetime coverage of the Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony from Sochi, Russia on NBC (15.25 million viewers). FOX also reported that 69% of the pre-rain delay viewers of the race, which began at 1 PM (ET) kept tuning in.
In comparison, the 2013 Daytona 500 on FOX was the most-watched race in five years, posting a 9.9/22 rating/share, commanding 16.7 million viewers. The Daytona 500 in 2012, the first to ever be run on a Monday and in the primetime slot did a 7.7/13 overnight rating/share which resulted in 13.67 million households viewing the race according to Nielsen TV ratings data.
Earnhardt, Jr. Claims Second Daytona 500 Victory
posted by Justin Tucker
Wednesday February 26, 2014
Ten years is a long time. For Dale Earnhardt, Jr., it felt like an eternity. NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver endured many near misses and close calls at the Daytona 500 since his only win in the Great American Race in 2004. Earnhardt had finished second in two of his last three Daytona 500s coming into Sunday’s race. He was also riding the tail of a 55-race winless streak, dating back to Michigan in 2012.
However nothing would stop Dale Jr. on Sunday, not even a 6 hour and 22 minute rain delay from capturing his second Daytona 500 win. Earnhardt Jr. led a race-high 54 laps on the evening and used some timely drafting help from teammates Jimmie Johnson and, on the final restart, Jeff Gordon to separate from the pack and secure the victory.
“Winning this race is the greatest feeling that you could feel in this sport besides accepting the trophy for the championship,” said a jubilant Earnhardt after pulling into Victory Lane. “We could fight off battle after battle. We got a little help at the end there from Jeff to get away on the restart. This is amazing. I can’t believe this is happening. I never take this for granted, man because it doesn’t happen twice, let alone once.”
Aside from the race itself the big story of the race was the 6 hour and 22 minute red flag, which threatened to move the race to Monday evening (had the race been postponed, FOX Sports’ Chris Myers had tweeted that the race would resume at 5:00pm EST). However, Mother Nature would cooperate and would allow the race to be run under different conditions from which they practiced this week. Once the race resumed, the intensity picked up from the changing track conditions. This allowed the pack to race side-by-side and at times 3-wide up to seven rows deep.
Joining Earnhardt Jr. in the top 5 for the 2014 Daytona 500 were: Denny Hamlin who closed out a spectacular Speedweeks in second, Brad Keselowski in third, Jeff Gordon in fourth, and Jimmie Johnson who overcome two wrecks leading up to the 500 in fifth.
Rounding out the top 10 in the Daytona 500 were Matt Kenseth in sixth, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. in seventh and Greg Biffle would bring his No. 16 Ford home in eighth. Austin Dillon would come home ninth in his first Cup Series race in the iconic No. 3 for Richard Childress Racing, while Casey Mears would round out the top 10.
A couple of major contenders for the Daytona 500 win would see their hopes dashed early on as Martin Truex, Jr. would blow up just 30 laps into the race, relegating him to a 43rd-place finish in his debut for Furniture Row Racing. Crew chief Todd Berrier was already in Nashville for a test session before the race was even over. Kyle Busch, meanwhile would have a pit road violation just before halfway and would spend much of the race battling back from that mistake. Busch would eventually finish 19th after leading 19 laps.
Danica Patrick would also be bit by bad luck as she was caught up in a multi-car wreck on lap 145. Patrick would lead her second consecutive Daytona 500, but wouldn’t have the finish to show for it finishing 40th. Tony Stewart would encounter a frustrating evening as well, with a fuel pickup problem derailing his quest for his first Daytona 500 win. Stewart would finish 35th.
A look at the Daytona 500 by the numbers. There were 42 lead changes among 18 drivers, while seven cautions for 39 laps would slow the race pace to 145.290 MPH.
Next week, the Sprint Cup Series heads to the “diamond in the desert,” Phoenix International Raceway for The Profit on CNBC 500K. The Green flag is scheduled for 3:15pm EST.
Nationwide Series Post-Race Quotes: Drive4COPD 300
posted by Thomas Bowles
Tuesday February 25, 2014
Frontstretch Interviews – Courtesy Mike Neff
ELLIOTT SADLER – FINISHED 4th
Thoughts on the race?
It’s definitely a lot different racing than what we’re used to.
Comfortable with it?
Yeah, it’s just different. You’re worried about what you’re doing, but you’re also worried about what everyone else is doing and they’re not doing more than you’re doing. Physically pushing a guy is way better than just riding so you just gotta time it right and push it to the edge.
Happy to start the year with a top 5?
Yeah. Hell, that was the worst we ran all day, I think. I have no idea how they put the 3 car in front of us on that last restart. I hadn’t seen the 3 car hardly all day. When they put us from fifth to sixth, on the outside line, it just really boxed us in. I would have really restarted behind my teammate and given him a good push to the front. Anyways, it is what it is; we’ll take it and move on.
Looked like you were up front all day.
The guys did a good job. We had a fast race car. Great pit stops, just really proud of these guys. The car’s in one piece and we can take it to Talladega now. Great job by my guys. A lot of effort came into coming down here to Daytona and giving ourselves a shot to win. We had that chance to be up front and make some things happen. Fifth is not what we want, but we’ll take it and move on.
Bumping vs Pushing?
It’s way harder. You don’t want to lay on the guy in front of you, so it’s tough racing. A lot different than what we’re used to, ‘cause you gotta go. You gotta drag the brake too ‘cause you don’t want to hit the guys and you don’t want to stay on him. It’s a lot harder mentally than what we’ve done in the past.
Car was strong all day. Pushing vs. Bumping, is that harder to do than just getting on somebody and pushing them?
Yeah, it is a little bit. When you bump ‘em, you jar ‘em, it kinda jacks ‘em a little bit. It’s a little more abrupt, obviously. I thought it was OK there at the end. It was certainly fun and hopefully entertaining. But a little bit of a struggle in the early part of the race and the midpart of the race to see a good race. And that’s unfortunate for the fans. You can’t do that the whole race, you can’t tear up your stuff, knock your grill in, overheat your motor, all that stuff so there’s no sense in doing all that until you get down to the last lap. The 7 and the 6, they did a good job. Man, the 7 really held the 22 and I tight on the bottom. I was rubbing his door and hitting the apron at the same time, no room whatsoever. So it was good; wish we were the ones who could have won but a lot better now than what we were last year.
Going home in one piece makes it a lot better, right?
Yeah. My back feels good. My foot feels good. Past years here, I’ve been going home with pain so I’m alright.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Truck Series Post-Race Quotes: Daytona (Exclusives)
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday February 22, 2014
When you’re on the outside like that, how frustrating is it?
It’s so hard. Timothy Peters has won here. Kyle Busch has won everywhere. Ron Hornaday has been running Trucks forever, probably before I was even born. I was surrounded by veterans there, and like I told them I don’t have a rookie stripe but I’m a rookie. This is only my fourth Truck race ever, my fourth superspeedway race, and man, I figured out when the 17 got up in front of me, I pushed him. And as soon as I pushed him, he took off. And I went with him. And I just kept doing it, and before I knew it, he was leading. And I saw Ron in my mirror, backed up to him, and if it wasn’t for him, I don’t know what would have happened. I gotta thank him big time for that. That was a true teammate move right there. I really appreciate that. He just bounced off me and we got to the front. I tried my hardest to sidedraft Kyle. I was probably touching his door.
Top 5 in the No. 30 truck. This deal come together at the last minute, but you had a heck of a truck. Tell us about your night.
Yeah, I’ve got to thank Turner Scott Motorsports. The guys worked so hard on this Rheem Comfort Products Chevrolet. Exciting! Just got hung up on the outside and had to wait for my teammate there to catch up. And then he got to the bottom, so… I got the old 32 and started pushing ol’ Ryan to the front. So, it’s not bad. We’ll take it. You just don’t want to step over that boundary. You don’t know how far to push and shove. We bumped about six times down the straightaway without latching onto them. Hopefully, that was OK and we came home with a top 5.
Connect with Mike!
Check in with Matt and Jay on their site at CareyandCoffey.com.
In a sport that’s become so homogenized it makes Romper Room look risqué, Sunday’s Cup race from Texas was notable in that three drivers in particular showed some genuine, if not entirely polite, displays of emotion. Yeah, yeah, Denny Hamlin won the race and took over the points lead with just two races left in the season. That’s notable to established fans of the sport and we’ve chatted about it a bit in the on-line forums where our decimated numbers still gather around the electronic hearth to chat about our long time passion. Within the ranks of the devoted, Hamlin’s win has elicited a lot of emotion. Some are still hoping Jimmie Johnson wins his record setting fifth consecutive title. Others worry that the swap of the No. 48 and No. 24 pit crews is a sign the good ship JJ LLC is heading for the same fate the Edmund Fitzgerald many years ago today as this is written. (Not published.)
Others are dearly hoping Hamlin will beat the No. 48 bunch confident a new champion can only help rekindle interest in the sport. A lot of us agree that it was heartening to see a driver like Hamlin competing for a title go B2TW to make a last lap pass to garner maximum points with a win rather than cruise to a top 5 finish. And the diehards still seem to be hoping through outrageous fortune to Hamlin and Johnson over the next couple weeks Kevin Harvick can still pull off a title. After all, how appropriate would it be for RCR’s lead driver to arrive at Daytona next February on the tenth anniversary of the passing of Dale Earnhardt with the re-badged No. 3 team once again the reigning champions?
But that sort of intrigue, debate and such is reserved for the still engaged fans of the sport. For former fans (and according to a ating about a million of them who watched last year’s Texas Chase race failed to tune in this year) casual fans and neophytes to the sport of stock car racing two storylines jumped off the page in this week’s sport’s section. Oops, I’m sorry, practically nobody reads newspapers anymore. But if you watched SportsCenter or logged onto YouTube this week to catch Texas race highlights there were two videos you surely saw. The first was Jeff Gordon and Jeff Burton having a physical altercation after a wreck. The second was Kyle Busch getting held two laps for flipping a NASCAR official the bird following a pit road speeding penalty. Yet, the fans reacted to those two different incidents in very different manners.
OK, let’s admit it. The “fight” between Gordon and Burton was lame, nothing like the full on, knockdown, fists clenched, blood-drawn brawl between the Allison brothers and Cale Yarborough after the 1979 Daytona 500. Gordon still needs to figure this whole “fight” scenario out. As I see it, if you want to get in somebody’s face you don’t give them a two handed shove to push them away from you. You grab hold of their uniform and pull them in closer while using the other hand to make a fist and hit them to make a point. The two Jeff’s are wee little lads by the standard of stock car racing and I doubt either would have been dehabilitated by a genuine fistfight. TV ratings might have been rehabilitated but I doubt either party would have suffered permanent damage.
Still it was heartening to see Gordon spend all that time striding across and down the track to make his point. Burton and Gordon have a few things in common. Despite lackluster seasons by their own lofty standards and long winless streaks both drivers made the Chase, but have seen their championship hopes hit the crapper since the title bout began. Both of them have been racing week in and week out through NASCAR’s insanely grueling and lengthy season and tempers are frayed as a result. I can tell you by this point of the season even most media members are frustrated, tired and cranky. I can’t imagine how much worse it is for the drivers who are under pressure every week to win and haven’t been able to do so. If Gordon and Burton aren’t exactly ready to launch their first retirement tour in their minds both men must know they are closer to the end of their careers than they are to the start. When you’re 21 and fail to win a title it’s a lot easier to be philosophical about it and confidentially proclaim “next year.”
There are also decided differences between the two Jeffs. Gordon has accomplished some remarkable things over his career. He’s already won four titles and tasted the champagne (or milk) at the head table in New York. There was a time when it seemed fate had to intervene for anyone but Gordon to win. Now it seems he needs a Bon Jovi sized miracle to ever win a Cup race again, now that he’s snatched defeat out of the jaws of victory so many times. In the interim his younger protégé Jimmie Johnson has claimed four titles and twelve race wins since Gordon last visited Victory Lane. If Jeff Burton is one of the younger members of the old guard that used to race Dale Earnhardt and Bill Elliott in their primes, Jeff Gordon is one of the older members of the new guard who never raced a full season against Richard Petty.
For Burton, he’s accomplished some remarkable things during his career as well. Certainly he is one of the most respected drivers in the garage area both because of his hard but clean racing style and his ability to articulate intelligently his opinions on all matters concerning the sport. He came up through the ranks the old fashioned way racing for lesser competitive teams to get a foot in the door before moving into the sport’s top echelon. But were his career to end tomorrow there will always be a footnote attached to his statistics. Burton will be mentioned as “the best driver” never to win a championship alongside the likes of Mark Martin, Fred Lorenzon and Junior Johnson. Despite 21 Cup series wins (six in 1999 alone), 27 Busch series wins and a Truck Series victory, Burton has never finished higher than 3rd in the points.
So there you have it, the perfect storm. Two drivers who have endured long frustrating seasons, long winless droughts and a long afternoon with bad handling cars at Texas, watching another chance for victory ebb away, and all of a sudden these two drivers in not such great moods are trying to occupy the same piece of real estate to the considerable detriment of both. I’m not sure I completely buy Burton’s “the sun got in my eyes as I was trying to pull alongside him to apologize” explanation, but given this is Jeff Burton we’re discussing, I will give him a reasonable amount of doubt.
Wrecking race cars isn’t pleasant. I’m sure both drivers were sore and aching the next day. It didn’t look like that hard a hit on TV, but television disguises just how violent things get when a car hit’s the wall (SAFER barriers…not soft walls) while traveling at three miles per minute. I’ve hit 180 MPH in the driver’s seat only once in my life and I do recall thinking in the back of my mind, “Gosh and golly, I really hope I don’t run into anything right now. That wouldn’t be good.” (Of course there was nothing but denim between my ass and fiberglass in a late model ZR1 Vette at the time.) It was a day ending wreck for both (Burton did return briefly but in a car so beat up they had to spray paint a number on the driver’s side door) and both were thoroughly irritated as a result. Neither declined comment or waited for their PR lady to tell them what to say. There was no, “I just don’t understand what he did” or “Gosh, I hate that that happened” statements.
For an all too rare moment two Cup drivers got in each other’s faces and had a frank exchange of views while the crowd roared. I’d have liked to see the NASCAR officials wait until things actually got violent before stepping in, but in the future I’d remind Mr. Burton and Mr. Gordon something I learned during my brief and spectacularly unsuccessful racing career in a glorified cow pasture. Leave your helmet on until after the post-wreck discussion if you don’t have good dental insurance.
Kyle Busch’s single finger salute to the NASCAR official has drawn almost as much ire as the “epic” Burton/Gordon battle has drawn hosannas. It’s tough understanding why as a dispassionate observer. But there’s a lot of key differences especially taken in the light of Busch’s continuously boorish, obscene, profane and childish behavior since he arrived in the sport. In saying that I mean to take nothing away from the remarkable things Busch has accomplished already during his racing career, but by and large fans are tired of Busch displaying his ass and then trying to say the next day, that choc lately thing in the center was a rose he was trying to toss to the fans when he farted. In fact I think it’s time for the “Wild Thing” nickname to be discarded and “The Chocolate Rose” to be painted above the driver’s side door of the No. 18 car. Maybe it’s time for a confectionery company that markets primarily to (fat) kids to step aside and let Charmin bathroom tissue sponsor Busch even if “charming” isn’t among the first dozen adjectives that anyone who has ever had the misfortune to encounter young Master Busch in one of his moods would ascribe to him.
Like Gordon and Burton, Busch was having a rough time of it at Texas despite a very quick car. Certainly he felt he’d been spun out and he had in fact done a remarkable job keeping the car out of the wall during that spin just as other drivers back there in the pack did a remarkable job to avoid the No. 18 car once it all went catawampus. Hooray, a glove save and a beauty! Busch ducked into the pits for new tires with a whole lot of laps left to make up for the miscue. We’ve all seen Busch rally back from worse deficits than that to win races.
Busch’s first mistake was excusable. After his crew changed two tires he attempted to stay on the lead lap by beating the pace car. Apparently he pushed the envelope just a little too hard trying to stay on the lead lap and got nailed for speeding leaving the pits. Lights in his tachometer surely indicated to Busch that he’d pushed too hard. By his own admission Busch later admitted he might have been speeding but “just a little” and “not on purpose.” Well Busch has been a part of this sport long enough to realize that since NASCAR went to electronic speed monitoring on pit road to end the complaints of trigger happy prejudiced officials with stopwatches in the tower it doesn’t matter if you’re half a mile per hour over the limit or fifty miles per hour over the limit you’re going to be penalized.
I may not agree with that, but I understand it, and I’m just a dumb scribe. Advised of his penalty Busch returned to form like a dog returns to its vomit and launched into a profanity laced tirade over the radio. Convinced to return to the pits by his crew chief Busch then made the now infamous single finger salute to a NASCAR official sent to enforce the one lap penalty. That in turn cost Busch, and more importantly the No. 18 team that had worked all week, and in fact all season, to provide their driver with exceptional equipment, two laps in an additional penalty. Despite Busch’s protests his First Amendment rights were being infringed upon, the middle finger salute remains a hot button issue here in the States. A baseball player can get tossed from the game for a similar gesture towards an umpire. The same gesture has cost NFL players up to 250,000 dollars in fines. And these guys are frustrated, want to win the game and are caught up in the heat of the moment.
I got my big lesson in First Amendment rights when I flipped off a driver who almost ran me over taking a right turn on red and a cop who decided he didn’t like my field jacket, the diamond in my left ear and my long hair beat the tar out of me in addition to writing me a $150 ticket for “disorderly conduct.” I took the case to court and the judge doubled the fine when I repeated the gesture to put it into evidence.
What Busch did at that moment was to deny the team members who work for his benefit a chance at a win and the bonus moneys that JGR pays to those crew members for wins, top 5 finishes, and top 10 results. His crew chief clearly was at his wits end with his volatile young driver in asking him to calm the hell down before they were parked for the day. In fact given the way Busch has continuously castigated his crew over the radio all season long I wouldn’t be surprised if a day is coming Busch enter the pit and finds nobody left to go over the wall to service his car. If I worked for that crew I’d have packed up and gone home early on Sunday.
Yes, genuine emotion still has a place in this sponsor driven sport and its been sadly lacking for years. But when continuously the only emotion you can demonstrate is childishness, petulance and a lack of class maybe its time that you sit down and reconsider whether the sport needs you more than you need the sport.
©2000 - 2008 Matt McLaughlin and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
Rebecca Casten was leading a Late Model Stock Car event at North Wilkesboro on October 30.She jumped the flag on a restart and on the next lap given the black flag.On the next lap by,she gestured to the flagman the number ! sign and was disqualified immediately!The officials at North Wilkesboro deemed her actions as unsportmanlike conduct and the results deem her as if she was never there.
Maybe if Nascar would totally DQ someone when they break the rules instead of pay a fine and take away points things would be different.
“If Jeff Burton is one of the younger members of the old guard that used to race Dale Earnhardt and Bill Elliott in their primes, Jeff Gordon is one of the older members of the new guard who never raced a full season against Richard Petty.”
Kind of weird since Gordon preceded Burton full-time in Cup. Burton seems like more of a veteran because he hung around in Busch several more years and is older, but your statement still strikes me as kind of weird. They’re both new guard, and Mark Martin’s the only old guard left.
Jeff Gordons winning streak came to an end after Nascar took away the magic box he had hidden in his car.
Shoot, two weeks left in the season and here I was hoping Matt would turn in his two weeks notice. Matt, it feels like it will take a Bon Jovi miracle for you to write a decent article.
Please keep in mind that your articles are published on THURSDAY, this topic has been cover ad naseum and better by countless other writers.
Let’s see how many people will praise this article (written about folks who speak their mind) – then turn around and bash me.
As for the content, let’s amend one sentence and research the results: who’s the best driver never to win a chase?
Oh, and Jacob not everyone who makes fun of your overuse of fonts is me. Although today – for the. FIRST time, I’ll make some other names… See if you can find me… It’ll be FUN
Am I mistaken? Wasn’t it you on Monday, Matt, that said Happy and Juan should look at Jeff & Jeff as an example how of real men remove their helmets before they fight? Now the advice is to for the Jeffs to look to Juan and Happy as an example of the way to protect their craniums when they want to play pat-a-cake?
Kyle’s petulance is what it is. He is an example of just how disastrously wrong the American mindset of sheltering a child, spoiling them, and making sure their emotional integrity is never threatened has gone.
Randy “Need One More?” Nacho:
It would be a fun little game to play, but since everybody on this site knows that you use multiple screen names, it starts off under false pretenses.
Now in all seriousness, you need to get over your obsessive little boy-love crush that you have with me. I am most assuredly NOT gay. I couldn’t care less about your orientation, but it is a hopeless cause from your point of view.
Wait… I thought Matt M. was going all Big Brother on us and log our IP addresses so he could point out who was posting what. What ever happened to that?
Maybe Jacob could come over later and check my IP address personally if ya get my drift. Wink Wink. Nod Nod.
@Jacob – Your assessment of Kyle Busch (and a vast majority of his generation) is right on. These kids are being raised to think they are owed something. Or that they deserve a reward for doing what they are paid to do.
It has become disastrous in the workplace as well. I’ve honestly heard a Generation Y’er upset that they didn’t get some sort of bonus for showing up to work on time. And another who, on casual Friday, actually wore pajamas and slippers.
These kids are totally lost because our society doesn’t let kids lose anymore, doesn’t let kids feel hurt or get insulted, doesn’t let kids settle conflicts. We’ve made them into spoiled brats that are emotionally stunted. It’s not every kid, but the percentage grows all the time.
Haha… so to sum it all up… “Kids these days.”
Didnt parents in the 60s and 70s say the exact same thing?
geez guys… enough with the childish jackassery.
After reading this article, I was wondering who would be the best champion for nascar. Then I got to thinking that it probably makes no difference who ends up with the championship. At best it will be no more than a quickly forgotten side note in the general public’s eye. Let’s face it, Nascar’s popularity doesn’t stand a chance of any real regrowth until “the product” is seen as worth the “investment” or the price of people time and money. The championship will only matter only to about 4 million people by tv’s (probably) overblown ratings count and most of those people will be angry that either their guy didn’t win or that the championship itself is a contrived farce. And that in turn got me to asking myself “sponsors are shelling how much money for exposure to the same 4 million people every week?” companies are paying how much for tv air time for the same thing? Doesn’t it look like companies are doing the math on this one and walking away as Nascar racing continues to slide from any relevance in the public’s eye? Is one of the biggest problems that it takes too much money to feed the monster that NASCAR now is? Is this all just a badly needed self correction?
So keep up the petty bickering and the continual bringing nothing but hate and negativity to the board while the sport that brought us here burns to the ground around us.
Actually, I had an experience similar to the one you describe with the finger and the guy who almost ran you over. However,I did not get the cop in the bargain. I just had to talk really fast to the fellow in an effort to explain why my lineage was so very much the way he described it. After that I ran like hell. Wish I had had a Corvette, but a 1972 Pinto wagon, I found, could move quite quickly and had other driving qualities I had not expected….
You, in other words, were lucky.
Ive told you people a hundred times, the way to deal with a boring, self important a****** is to totally and completely ignore him or her and get on with whatever adult discussion you were having. The lack of attention makes them crazy. I know it’s difficult but just think in terms of the average 5 year old.
I had a similar experience with the finger, minus the cop, but I dotted both of his eyes so that I’m sure it was awhile before he could even see the finger again.If I give the finger I’m riled to the point of not running.
From the Great White North; the proper expression is, “kick save and a beauty”.
Has anyone noticed that Dansmom hasnt been around lately? Am I the only one that misses her and her probable sweet @$$?
Trust me; it’s you Tuna…everyone else misses her about as much as we miss the Bubonic plague.
That so called “fight” between the Jeff’s? I’ve seen better fights during recess at my elementary school years ago, and that was between two GIRLS!
As for Kyle, IMO his new sponsor should be who ever makes douche bags. Nascar should have immediately parked him after flipping off the official.
I looove Jamie MacMurray . And typing his name in italics makes me think of him in a sparkly figure skater costume. mmmmm
Hey Matt – I am not fully understanding the “Chocolate Rose” thing but I like it!
Happy Veterans Day and Remembrance Day to all the troops alive and dead – Thank you all!
Nascar should make a 10 race “chase” to get into the the real chase.