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!
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.
The Key Moment –
Race 1- Regan Smith knew better than to advance his position after the debacle at Talladega two years ago, handing the win to his drafting partner Kurt Busch.
Race 2- Jeff Burton with wingman Clint Bowyer were the best duo on restarts and a late race caution fell directly into their hands.
In a Nutshell – Maybe they should hand out twin trophies at Daytona Sunday like they do with gold medals to ice-dancing partners at the Olympics.
Dramatic Moment – There was a lot of intensity but not much drama.
Here’s what worries me about Sunday. When two drivers running in tandem need to swap positions to keep the rearward driver’s car from overheating they need two plus lanes to make the swap effectively. If two pairs of drivers decide to make the shift at the same time, we’ve seen before that four-wide racing at Daytona (with the added bonus of the third group behind them closing at 20 MPH faster than the swappers) doesn’t work too well.
What They’ll Be Talking About Around the Water Cooler This Week
Some people have asked me this week why the uproar over two drivers hooking together to get away from the pack? Isn’t that the sort of strategy that set up all those classic Petty-Pearson battles (like the 1976 Daytona 500) or Donnie Allison and Cale Yarborough in the infamous 1979 500? Not quite. Back in those days with the draft (well we used to call it the “slingshot” ), the driver in second place had the advantage running into turn three on the final lap.
Remember when the twin qualifying races still mattered? Way back when in 1961, three-time champion Lee Petty, his son, rising star Richard Petty, and Johnny Beauchamp, second place finisher in the first Daytona 500, all missed the race after wrecking in the Qualifiers. The elder Petty and Beauchamp both suffered serious injuries when their cars sailed into the parking lot while the King, who also left the ballpark, wasn’t seriously injured in the second Qualifier. But back then you raced to make the 500 and if you wrecked you went home. With only four drivers actually racing to see if they made the 500, Thursday’s “action” was less than compelling. So how do we fix this? Seems to me back in the days of yore the Twin Qualifiers were points paying events.
Speaking of the days of yore, was Thursday the most bizarre day in the qualifying race history? Not hardly. Back in 1968, the hours leading up to the twin races were plagued by rain. The rain let up and Bill France Sr. ordered the drivers who were to start the first qualifier to their cars to start the race. As the track was still soaked, all the drivers refused the order. Incensed by the insubordination, France jumped in his daily driver Cadillac and announced he was going on track to start the race and the full purse and points (see above) would be awarded. Keep in mind this Caddy of France’s was lacking such required equipment as a roll bar and was in no way legal to race. France asked the drivers who was with him and only then rookie Dave Marcis agreed to start the race. Fortunately or unfortunately the rain began falling again and the races had to be scrubbed, the only NASCAR races at Daytona ever to be canceled due to rain.
Will Jeff Gordon and the No. 24 team have to go to a backup car for Sunday after their late race wreck? If so, both drivers who qualified on the front row last Sunday will be starting shotgun on the field. Ouch.
What is it the Fords, those of Jack Roush in general, and Matt Kenseth in particular, have found that allows them to push another car so many laps without overheating? Is it the FR9 engine or has Roush found another trick?
Who to watch out for on Sunday? Matt Kenseth and anyone he is pushing, any duo of RCR cars, and Jamie McMurray and Kyle Busch if they get nose to tail.
Did NASCAR try to orchestrate Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s Daytona 500 pole as a reporter on ESPN claimed with “sixty percent” certainty to spice up human interest on the tenth anniversary of Dale Sr.’s tragic death? I doubt it. Why bother? Winning the pole at Daytona means almost nothing other than a good pit stall. A lot of drivers who qualify well will drop to the back of the pack once the green flag drops to try to avoid the big wrecks. In all actuality only the last fifteen laps or so really matter. The Daytona 500 pole is sort of like the “Miss Congeniality” award at the Miss America pageant. Basically it’s the equivalent of being told, “You don’t sweat much for a fat chick.” So why was Earnhardt even out there on Thursday when he couldn’t advance his starting position?
Betty McCollum, US Congressperson from Minnesota, has called for a bill that would ban the US military from sponsoring race cars. (The Army currently sponsors cars in both the NHRA and NASCAR series.) Oddly enough, military recruiters claim the racing sponsorships are among the most effective recruiting tools they have ever had at their disposal, generating nearly 50,000 qualified leads last year alone to young people interested in serving their country. Give the military back a million bucks and what are they going to do with it anyway? Buy a couple toilet seats and a hammer. Interestingly, the first US military sponsorships I recall in Cup racing were shortly after the outbreak of the first Gulf War at Daytona. Winston actually picked up the tab to have four unsponsored drivers, including Alan Kulwicki, run the Army, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard colors.
David Hill (no relation to Hank), FOX network head programming honcho said Thursday that most NASCAR races need to be shortened. I tend to agree with him in most instances but not in the case of the World 600 he singled out for a length reduction. The 600 mile length is what makes the World 600 unique. Yeah, Hill would like to see the 600 shortened. And I’d like to see FOX returned to a UHF channel that shows Kung Fu movies with really bad lip syncing for stoners on Saturday afternoons.
Last place in this year’s 500 pays almost a quarter million dollars. Anyone seen the keys to Bill France’s Caddy?
The Hindenburg Award For Foul Fortune
Dale Earnhardt Jr. wrecked his pole winning entry early in Wednesday’s practice trying to stay off of teammate Jimmie Johnson. Because he was forced to a backup car not only did Earnhardt have to start his qualifying race out back, his finishing position in that race means nothing. He’ll have to start the 500 out back because he qualified on the front row. Meanwhile Martin Truex Jr.‘s car, collected in the same wreck that took out the No. 88 car, could advance his starting position for Sunday. No, I don’t get it either. I’m tired of trying to explain NASCAR’s more arcane rules. Stick a tube of model glue up each nostril, inhale deeply and come up with the most ridiculous set of rules you can. NASCAR’s actual Daytona 500 qualifying is more insane than yours.
Trevor Bayne in the Wood Brothers car was off to a fine start to his first Speedweeks until that wreck late in the second race.
Casey Mears will miss the 500 after blowing his second engine in three laps at speed Wednesday and Thursday.
Joey Logano took the hardest hit in the 150s, slamming the inside wall hard enough to get the front wheels of his car off the ground.
The “Seven Come Fore Eleven” Award For Fine Fortune
Kurt Busch’s Speedweeks could hardly be off to a better start with a win in the Bud Shootout and a win Thursday in his qualifying race.
After all these years Jeff Burton finally won a Cup race at Daytona.
Michael Waltrip knew starting the second race that he was in the 500 because Bill Elliott raced his way into the field in the first event rather than needing to fall back on his qualifying speed.
Brian Keselowski in a five-year-old Dodge prepared by Ray Evernham back in the day raced his way into the Daytona 500 with the help of a little Brotherly Shove.
What’s the Points? No points were awarded Thursday so we saw more pointless racing.
Overall Rating (On a scale of one to six beer cans with one being a stinker and a six pack an instant classic)
First Race- Well give it two cans since you need to have a pair to run fast.
Second Race- We’ll give this one three cans because it offered a better preview of what we’ll likely see Sunday….four abreast two car deep packs scrambling to the finish.
Next Up – It’s time for the Daytona 500 on Sunday. Or I presume it will still be a 500 mile race. NASCAR has changed about everything else since the racers arrived. My guess is this will be the most unpredictable 500 since 1981 when the “little” cars were introduced.
©2000 - 2008 Matt McLaughlin and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
It is a technicality that allows Martin Truex Jr. to advance his position in a back-up car, while Dale Jr. could not. Dale had already qualified for the race by sitting on the pole. Martin Truex had not qualified, but only earned his starting position in the qualifying race. So when Wednesday’s wreck occurred, Jr. destroyed the car he would have started the 500 with. Truex didn’t. He could take his back-up car out (and presumably he went to the rear of the field to start his 150, I didn’t watch them, and you didn’t say) and race his way to whatever starting position he could because come Sunday, he will start the same car that he actually qualified.
This new Pro Wracing tag team thing has got to go.
Cup Racing or High Speed Ice Dancing? I dont like pairs, and I dont like packs, just get rid of the damn plates already! 20+ year temporary fix that is never going away I guess.
I think we will see a caution filled race, but unless someone messes up on the restart, I dont think you will see “the big one”(not a bad thing). With the closing rate so fast, and the guy pushing not being able to see in front of him, I think there are going to be a lot of guys inadvertently spun just like in the twins. Only thing is its going to happen more often with double the cars, I mean double the pairs, out there.
After watching the Duels, I agree, the 2nd one was better. Not a real big fan of the pair racing. It was good to see there at the end that a train of about 6 cars could catch up to a pair, but there was no passing the leaders. Gonna make for a boring finish I have a feeling.
RG: The World 600 is what the Coca-Cola 600 in Charlotte used to be called back in the day. I’ll be happy to answer any other questions you may have about the history of the sport. I’ve been helping Nascar newbies overcome their ignorance for decades. Let me help you.
Matt, good to see you back this year. This Sunday we will see a high pressure race for the drivers. Trying to keep their car cool while rataining their position, and trying not to run over the teams of drivers in front of them. On the last few laps of the 500 when the drivers are teamed up closing very very fast on the front runners, do you think the front runners are just going to pull over and let them through? There will be a very big pile up sometime at the end of the race. I just hope no one else hits the wall in turn 3 on the last lap at Daytona. Hasn’t restrictor plates, I can not call it racing, cost NASCAR fans enough already. Ten years and I still tear up when I think of him. I’m glad you are back Matt.
RG: I’ve probably been to more “Coke 600’s” than you’ve been on dates. I was there in 1994 when Jeff Gordon won his first race and a year later when Bobby Labonte got his. In fact, I attended just about every Coke 600 as well as the fall races at Charlotte from 1989 thru 2006. I saw Matt Kenseth get his first win there, and Jamie McMurray get his first win in Sterling Marlin’s ride, all from my customary infield spot by the fence in turn 2. And I was there for a few All-Star races as well, most notably the year Dale Earnhardt Junior scorched the field, which was also notable as the year the walkway over Hwy 29/49 collapsed after the race, injuring quite a few fans, some seriously. Fortunately, I wasn’t one of them. And that’s just the stuff from the last 20 or so years; I’ve been attending races since I was a kid watching Richard Petty race at the old Columbia Speedway. Bottom line: I’ve probably forgotten more than a newbie like you could possibly know about the sport. But I’m still willing to share my knowledge in the hopes that the ignorant can become informed.
If no-one is in the forest to listen when a tree falls, is there really a noise? Time to ponder the great issues of the day and the meaning of life.
@ Randy Goldman Sachs
Respect your elders son.
While a keyboard allows anyone to be an “expert”, in reality most, i.e YOU, have yet to attain that status. While I applaud your enthusiasm for NA$CAR, realize that you’re the equivalent of 3-year old rot-gut, and guys like Carl D. are 15-year old single barrel. You are entitled to your “opinion”, however, it just doesn’t carry much weight to those in the know. But you make up for that in sheer saturation of the comment board…
And before you shoot me down, consider that I’ve been a fan since the days of TNN broadcasts, when Bill Elliott was owning everyone. I’ve watched and/or attended (mostly watched) 80% of the races since then. Some changes since then very good, some very bad.
Now that I’ve watched the Shootout and both 150s I can say that I do not like this two car racing. There is something wrong with needing a partner to race well. Is this square dancing or racing?
@ RETARDED randy:
Am I related to brian france? That is a hilarious question. I have NOTHING good to say about him, meanwhile, you are so busy kissing his ass, you can’t tell the difference in taste between french fries and his crap.
Critic? Surely you jest!!! I only critique people whose opinions may have some validity and a semblance of logic,though I might disagree with them. No my friend, there is absolutely nothing else you can say that would make me respond to you. I simply consider your comments to be the ravings of a petulant child in desperate need for attention from his betters. I’ll not mention your name if you will extend me the same courtesy. LOL! Helen Keller!! I LOVEit!!!
Jeff Burton won the summer Daytona race in 2000, so this wasn’t his first Daytona win; it was his first Speedweeks win.
i can never tell anymore which JACOB is which. Is there a new JACOB this year as well? Their views of NASCAR are so close. I’m so confused! Maybe the old and new JACOB can start every post for now on with the word OLD or NEW. This will help all of us out.
“Respect your elders son.”
Since when does being older mandate respect? Congrats on not dying?
Respect is earned, not guaranteed.
Hey matt, do you know if Gordon got his car fixed? I think i read that he might of run the second practice today.
The children called, and they want their table back.
Great to see you back Matt. I agree that military money should not be sponsoring race teams. The money spent for racing is better to be spent on protective vests and kevlar shields in the bottom of Humvee’s for our troops.