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.
Matt McLaughlin · Monday February 21, 2011
The Key Moment – Trevor Bayne got a great jump on the final restart and Bobby Labonte offered a vital assist, pushing the No. 21 car before Bayne blocked Carl Edwards coming to the stripe and pulled the upset.
In a Nutshell – They said with the new surface and rules, this 500 was going to be unpredictable. Well, it was all that and then some. About the only predictable part was an all-time record 16 cautions that yielded the second-slowest Daytona 500 ever.
Dramatic Moment – With each restart shuffling the deck and potentially separating drafting partners, all sixteen of them were pretty intense.
What They’ll Be Talking About Around the Water Cooler This Week
Trevor Bayne? Where did he come from? (Though to be fair, he’d been running well all of Speedweeks.) Bayne isn’t even competing for Cup points under this system as he only has (had?) a part-time ride in the top series and thus opted to compete for the Nationwide title instead. Will NASCAR let him recheck that little box on his license after Sunday?
Editor’s Note: Jenna Fryer is reporting through her Twitter feed NASCAR would let Bayne switch eligibility going forward; however, no points would be earned from Sunday’s Daytona 500 if he does so.
A lot of fans I’ve spoken to don’t like this new tandem racing at Daytona. I will say this much: I prefer it to the old snarling packs of 34 cars running centimeters apart. Of course, somehow we still ended up with the “Big One” that decimated a third of the field. Plate racing has got to go. Friday night’s Truck race, while exciting, was a glimpse of the old style “pileup plate” racing and at points I wasn’t sure anyone was going to finish the event.
To sum up, I’m left feeling, “Nice result, but not a great race.” Agree? Disagree? Use the comments section below to respond. Yes, I want to hear from you and I care about your opinion… unless your initials are RG.
NASCAR has become decidedly politically correct. Since Bayne isn’t yet 21, the “Coors Light” contingency sticker on the side of his Ford is black with white lettering and the logo “21 means 21.” There was also no champagne in Victory Lane.
Will a more worn track surface and higher temperatures at Daytona in July yield less grip and eliminate the “tandem” effect?
Editor’s Note: Based on what we’re hearing from the drivers … probably not. One crewman said this type of racing, with the plates is what we’ll see at Daytona for the next ten years.
There were a lot of nice tributes to the late Dale Earnhardt this week at the track and on TV. Most were well made and respectfully done, though they still hurt to watch sometimes. But some media types and other folks need to get over this insane notion that Earnhardt’s death led NASCAR to immediately start to try making the sport safer. They fought SAFER barriers on banked tracks as a “cure worse than the disease” and didn’t require the HANS device until the week after Blaise Alexander was killed in a late race ARCA crash at Charlotte that October. Of course, that came after two drivers died from the same basalar skull injury in NASCAR during the 2000 season.
Did you realize some teams ran the entire race on one set of left side tires?
What was Robby Gordon thinking trying to bully his way back onto the track after getting crossed up on the next-to-last lap of the race? My guess is Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Ryan Newman would like to discuss the move with him.
Did Jeff Gordon get away with jumping the start of the race?
Are we seeing a kinder, gentler Kyle Busch or do they finally have him on Ritalin?
It wasn’t a sellout by any means, but track owners and promoters have to be enthused by the crowds at Daytona much of the week.
Does anyone else feel that Saturday’s hour and a half of pre-race programming and pageantry is a bit excessive for a two-and-a-half hour race? Not that Sunday’s pre-race programming was a paragon of brevity, clarity and information. Looks like we’ve got the annual battle between DW and Hammond to see who can speak the most and say the least.
Am I correct that Phoenix’s new ticket promotion commercials can be termed the “come here and drink beer” campaign? Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but some of those coolers look too big to get into the track and at least one young lady holding a Bud in the spot appears to be somewhat underage to these elderly eyes.
Again, maybe I’m just getting old(er) and cranky but I sure hope FOX doesn’t do the pre-race show in the infield grass again. One of my pet peeves is supposed adults making idiots of themselves and waving signs around so they can be “on TV.” Hey, any idiot can be on TV; Jeff Hammond and Chris Myers even get paid for it.
The Hindenburg Award For Foul Fortune
David Ragan led a late restart but got black-flagged for changing lanes coming to the green flag. Otherwise, he’d likely have won the race.
Earnhardt Jr. seemed to be able to work his way to the front anytime he chose, but cut down a tire and then got caught up in the wreck that caused the sixteenth caution flag to fly in “overtime.” It had to be a nasty shock for fans of his late father to see the No. 88 car run into a section of the outside wall that STILL doesn’t have the SAFER barrier installed. (He wound up 24th)
Current Cup champion Jimmie Johnson didn’t have a great Daytona 500; he got caught up in the lap 30 debacle and wound up 27th. But before you go writing off his title hopes for 2011, recall Johnson has finished outside the top 20 in seven of the last nine 500s, including a 35th-place finish in last year’s event. Maybe next year they’ll let him run the Transformer car with the armor and the weapons?
Kevin Harvick blew an engine and finished 42nd. It was the first mechanical DNF for Harvick and the No. 29 team since Dover in the fall of 2006.
Harvick’s teammate Jeff Burton also suffered a powerplant meltdown. It’s the first “double engine” failure for Richard Childress Racing in the same event since Michigan in August, 2006.
The “Seven Come Fore Eleven” Award For Fine Fortune
Tony Stewart won his fourth straight Daytona Nationwide race on Sunday. He’s now won six of the February AAA races there since 2005.
Mark Martin also tore up his car badly in the lap 30 wreck and had numerous other on-track skirmishes only to rally to a tenth-place finish, the best of the HMS quartet. At one point, Martin had been three laps down.
Kyle Busch was sent spinning off the front bumper of Michael Waltrip’s car just five laps into the race, igniting a series of contact with other cars while getting fully sideways in a huge pack. Eventually, that led to a flat tire, but despite it all he rallied back to finish eighth.
Juan Montoya spun to bring out the eighth caution, then tangled with Greg Biffle to produce the eleventh yellow but went on to finish sixth.
Kurt Busch made a pretty nice Speedweeks debut in his new colors, winning the Bud Shootout, his 150-mile qualifying race and finishing fifth.
What’s the Points?
For the first time since the Daytona 500 became the first race of the season, the winner of the race isn’t the points leader. Since Bayne signed on to compete for points in the Nationwide Series (a new rule this year says a driver can only run a for a title in one division), he earned no points (but big bucks) for winning the 500.
Carl Edwards leads the points with 42. David Gilliland, who never led a lap, and Bobby Labonte, who did, are tied for second with 41.
I feel silly, almost dirty, discussing points after the first race. Let’s give it a few weeks before we start wringing our hands over points, OK?
Overall Rating (On a scale of one to six beer cans with one being a stinker and a six pack an instant classic) — We give this one four and a half cans of Near Beer in honor of the winner’s age and the return of the Wood Brothers to Victory Lane at Daytona.
Next Up – After the pageantry and foolishness of Daytona, the series heads off to Phoenix where many folks feel the “real” season begins.
©2000 - 2008 Matt McLaughlin and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
Ok, loved the race. Yes it was different, but isn’t that what made it good and interesting to watch? As an aside, since Martin is going back to a part time schedule again next year, and I need a new driver that I like, Trevor may just be the ticket I need to stay interested in Nascar.
This was way better than the 30 car parade we normally see. But it’s still lipstick on a pig. Plate racing sucks, but this sucked less.
I had no idea what a nice guy Bayne is. Of course, its awesome to see WBR back in victory lane. Too bad Pearson wasn’t there to thrust some homespun wisdom upon the ditzy blonde with the microphone.
And what’s with all the angry and bitter Bill Elliott fans? They’re chanting that Ford dropped Bill and screwed him out of the 21 ride. Hey folks, remember 2000? The year Bill sold out his Ford team to Ray Evernham and bolted for the Dodge camp? Right or wrong, who left who first?
This was “Pro Wracelin” at it’s finest, and tied the 2008 Brickyard 400” for excitment. Sixteen cautions, and about half of them were called for cars barely tapping the wall or having a tire going down. It seemed to me that the call went out to throw the caution at any chance to keep the engines from expiring from the heat, caused by the insane rules implimented by the high command at Nascar.
Is it just me, or does the Fox broadcast remind anyone else of Happy Days (Post jumping the shark) when Jr. takes the lead? Back in the day whenever “The Fonz” would walk on set the sound guy would crank up the pots of the live studio audience cheering. During the “Race” whenever Jr. took the lead Fox cranked up the audio of the cheering hord and DW got a tingle down his leg.
Pretty telling that the sports guy on our local station called todays race “The Great Spectical” instead of “The Great Race”.
How long before we see trailers for Michael Waltrips new movie, “Leathal Weapon”?
It was good to see the retro painted Wood Brothers 21 in victory lane, and I congratulate Trevor Bayne, but this was not my stock car racing. I used to say the real season would start next week in Rockingham, but Rockingham is gone, and so is stock car racing.
Loved the feel-good win, thought the race itself was awful. 150 miles out of 500 were run under yellow! 12 cautions for wrecks… and these are the best drivers in the world? Somehow the packs were broken up, and they still managed to tear up just as much sheet metal. At least with the old “pileup-plate” style races, we had green flag racing for at least 30 laps, something that couldn’t be said in this one.
An even nastier shock came for this fan on Friday night, when a black #3 turned into a SAFER-less wall… and TV crews didn’t show that the driver was okay for quite a few minutes. A lack of SAFER-less walls is inexcusable, and I don’t think it’s too much to ask of the TV crew to let us know that the drivers are okay after a wreck. Show them getting out, or putting the window nets down, or something.
>Does anyone else feel that Saturday’s hour and a half of pre-race programming and pageantry is a bit excessive for a two and a half hour race? Not that Sunday’s pre-race programming was a paragon of brevity, clarity and information. Looks like we’ve got the annual battle between DW and Hammond to see who can speak the most and say the least.<
Nice, Matt. Totally on top of it this evening! What an interesting weekend on so many levels. Lots to ponder…
Good to see you got your first Robby bash right out of the gate. Of course Robby is at fault for wrecking Jr. Heaven forbid we point out that it was Stewart who moved down to block a line of 4 cars going 15 mph faster than him and Robby got knocked sideways from the freight train, made a miraculous save that didn’t wipe out the remaining 20 something cars. Damn that Robby! Trying to merge back into the pack on the last lap of the Daytona 500 after getting knocked out of a top 10 finish that might keep his crew back at the shop employed for a few more weeks. Yeah, multi-millionaire Jr and multi-millionaire Newman should “have a talk with him.”
— Loved the race, watched some live, had to follow some with internet commentary, but it was all the way excitement. There’s nothing wrong with racing at Daytona.
— Will I tune in for Phoenix? Definitely.
— Did my indifference to the 2011 season change and am I all exited about it now?
— Michael Waltrip, Tony Stewart & Trevor Bayne win the 3 races over the weekend but Clay Rodgers, Landon Cassill & Carl Edwards are the respective points leaders: Would someone please issue a press release to inform the general public out there that this is the Nascar Way and that we are not really affiliated with the WWE.
Not a fan of the 2 car tandem, yes this was a small improvement over the large packs. While not a big fan of the Fox broadcast team, I liked that once or twice they were correct in announcing both drivers that were leading the race, because it did take both of them to lead.
Ain’t it funny! Finally! A nationwide driver comes up to the Cup Series and rains all over their parade for a change! hehe!
Sure is ironic,how all three races this past weekend produced a winning driver who didn’t earn a single point for their efforts. Something tells me they could care less.
I loved the race so much, I didn’t even flip to CBS to watch any of the PGA, and only went to the bathroom and refrigerator during the commercials. What a day for NASCAR and The Woods Brothers! Haven’t had such a feel good race like that in years and years! The only bad thing was the 3 Stooges in the the broadcast booth. Oh man, they make me wanna barf!!! Fox needs to send these 3 away and let take their big self imposed egos with them!
I watched the whole thing and it kept me on the edge of my seat at the end. The tandem grew on me as the race went on, but I would be happy to go back to large packs.
What driver(s) get credit for this racing style? Was it Keselowski and Edwards at Talladega? I remember they came from nowhere to take the lead, although I guess Junior was pushing Newman, too. Is this something they figured out while riding around in the back trying to avoid the big one?
The downside to the broadcast was at the end. I didn’t mind the Junior interview, but I wanted to hear what happened to Stewart and Martin and Busch and Montoya. They were both making charges and then faded. Stewart finished so poorly I wondered if he had a parts failure or something. This was the aspect of the racing I found interesting. Who is going to push who? Who leads driver X out to dry? Will pushers become cars for hire?
Also, a lot of people believed before Daytona that Bayne was the heir apparent to the UPS car. Was Bayne really going to push Ragan to a Daytona 500 win? Talk about a conundrum. Lucky, for Bayne he didn’t have to make a choice after Ragan’s boneheaded move. Do you reckon UPS has been on the phone with Jack Rousch in the last 12 hours?
Looks like we’ve got the annual battle between DW and Hammond to see who can speak the most and say the least. You got that right.
I still don’t quite understand why we get hours of pre-race hype and practically no post-race commentary. I kept waiting for someone at Fox to interview Bobby Labonte (4th) but they never got to him or to David Gilliland (3rd). Instead we heard from Kurt Busch (5th), Kyle Busch (8th), And Dale Earnhardt (24th). I know that no story could even come close to Trevor Bayne and the Wood Brothers winning the race, but Labonte’s push was a big part of that and he didn’t even earn a mention by the Fox broadcast crew. I would like to have heard his take on the final two laps.
Matt, I’m like you… I enjoyed the race and it was certainly better than the pack racing, but it still feels like something from bizarro world. I guess we need to get used to this tandem racing at Daytona because it looks like it’s here to stay.
@StevenHOOD…. Tell UPS to hold that call. Based of David Ragan’s performance last year, I believe Jack Roush would have replaced him if he could have. However, David Ragan is what UPS wanted, and for better or worse David Ragan is what they have.
I liked it, I bet seening the Wood Brother back in Victory Lane must be giving Brian Farce a heart attack. He thought he got rid of those pesky red neck Southern Race Team Owners.
Ohh and isn’t it time to put DW. Mikey and the rest of the Human Shills out to pasture?
Kinda surprised that Matt didnt touch on this, but I think the thing in this race that stood out the most was the drivers being able to talk to drivers from the other teams. That just seemed totally bizarre to me. I was sitting there trying to picture Cale Yarborough back in the day calling Bobby Allison under caution to ask if he would “push” him, or Richard Petty apologizing to David Pearson because Buddy Baker “asked him first.”
I didn’t care for the racing. Even the best driver and/or the best car could win. Seems the second place finisher is the true winner.
Instead of 43 driving for the win we have 21 1/2 “pairs” going for the win.
No pit strategy either.
It was good to see a new driver win and to see a non “super-team” win.
However this type of racing will grow old and quickly.
The only problem I had with the weekend was the announcement of pushing back the start of the 2012 season to a weekend that is not President’s Day.
I like having the holiday after the race, just kind of a tradition.
Matt, if you don’t want to discuss points after the first race, don’t do it..it’s your column…never saw the reason why you need to stick to the boilerplate format anyway…
All I am saying is… 2+1 = 3
What was Robby Gordon thinking?
The only thing that would have made the ending better would have been Purolator (filters) on the side of the 21 car. It already had David Pearson written on the car.
I enjoyed the ending since Bayne seems like a nice guy, other than that, the race didn’t excite me much. I thought it was hilarious that the drivers set it up so they could talk to their dance partners through the event.
I did like the fact that the 2 car pairs made them have to use wider shots so we got to see a bit more racing than the favored bumper cam shots.
DW is DW — I don’t like it that he cheerleads and shills for certain drivers and makes, but he is what he is. Mike Joy did a good job with the PXP and what a relief it was to have Chris Myers finally drop the stupid act. It made the pre-race more watchable.
I did a lot of chores from lap 30 to lap 190 but I was happy that Bayne won it and that Bobby Labonte was able to keep his car in place long enough to keep krazy karl from punting the kid into the stands.
That was the best 500 since 2007, and in the end it will go down as one of the best ever. NASCAR needed a great 500 after the last two were ruined by rain and potholes. This is a really transcendent win. It will appeal to young fans with Trevor Bayne, and old school fans seeing the Wood Bros. 21 in victory lane. Bayne is just what NASCAR needs a young guy from the South that can appeal across a broad spectrum. I hope they get the sponsorship now to run the full season. I’m still not sold on this two car draft thing, but it does seem to guarantee a great finish. It’s really a problem when people don’t know how to do it right in the middle of the pack, (e.g. Waltrip and ‘Beak). As Bowyer said in 2008, “Michael Waltrip is the worst driver in NASCAR.” I feel bad for David Regan because the bullseye is clearly on his back. If he doesn’t really do well this year, no doubt Bayne will be in the 6 car next year. In, summary a great 500 and I hope this creates positive vibes and momentum all season.
The race definitely was a Cinderella story with the 21/Bayne winning. That will affect how people rate/view the overall race.
It is kind of suspicious that we had a record number of cautions. Does that say something about this style of racing? I don’t know.
Just a couple of quick thoughts…
Not particularly a fan of the pairs racing. It was very strange watching the cars break into their formations after each green flag.
The ‘Pizza Hut Fan Favorite’? Really – is it ever not going to be Jr.? This sport has definitely turned into a money whore.
Congrats the Trevor Bayne and the Wood Brothers – it was a nice win.
Thermal cameras were used by ESPN 10 years ago – in both NASCAR and NHRA coverage; so, FOX wasn’t breaking new ground with this like they’d have you believe.
I am very happy for Lenord Wood and family for getting the # 21 back into Victory Lane at the Daytona 500. Congraduations to Trevor for running a great race and keeping the car like new. This young driver has a good attitute and I do believe that he will be popular like some of the past National Champions in his up coming years. I wish him good luck in his racing career. May God bless him and all other drivers in this sport.
Regarding the Coors “21 Means 21” sticker – they’ve had those for the under 21 drivers back to the Bud days with an “Anheuser snacks” logo in place of the beer ones. Also when Logano ran in the Busch East Series, his uniform patch & car sticker said NASCAR East Series. So however politically correct you deem it, it’s not a recent phenomenon. Great win for a Camping World East alum!
Your comments about DW and Hammond are right on target. It’s obvious David Hill never watches his own race broadcasts or he would change things.I cringe when those guys speak.
Exactly right! The wider view has been missing for quite a while. TV has fixated on the drivers and cars so much that the racing got lost. There’s nuances in the flow of the cars that define the races, and we haven’t been able to follow them. For so long has it been unshown that many viewers have not learned to see them.
The in-cars, speed shots, bumper cams, and the like has dominated the coverage, and we haven’t gotten the big picture. I hope this tag-team racing (though, only for 4 races) teaches the broadcasters the value of the long shot. It would be nice to see a whole race again.
I believe I still am perplexed as to what I feel about the do si doe racing I have experienced during this Speedweeks. It is bizzaro as one poster stated, but I do know this was the first 500 in some years that I couldn’t leave the television for worry I would miss something. Every segment seemed to have a twist or turn. The ending had my husband and I grabbing each other and shouting at the tv, “C’mon on 21 car!” I loved the idea of an unknown, but personable 20 year old winning in the venerable and beloved Wood Brothers car. It could not have been scripted better.
Boogity Boogity Boogity. If Fox would just replace all Waltrips, McReynolds and Hammond, they might have something. The dumbing down of these broadcasts is killing the ability to watch. It was a fairly entertaining event, but didn’t have much to do with real racing. After having no desire to drive over to Daytona the last few years, this one was good enough to make think I’ll go next year.
Its a freakin miracle! Finally a race that Matt doesnt think sucked. Woohoo!
Wonder if he watched it or just read everyone’s hype after?
Perhaps YOUR pretty boy Jeff Gordon should attend the same Church as Trevor.
Since he lost his religion he hasn’t been the same driver as he once was.
The Daytona 500 was yesterday?
All I saw all weekend was a bunch of people crying about Dale Earnhardt.
While I agree that I really don’t like plate racing either, I thought this was much better than before. As a Ford fan and an East Tennessean myself this was a win I love!!! Keep up the good work Trevor, Wood Brothers and Roush Yates engines. Hopefully we will see A.J. and Marcos win this year too!!
I didn’t see anything exciting about yesterday’s race. It was long and boring. You generally had the same 8 cars in 2 car tandems pull away from the field on every restart. You very seldom got to see who was in the “pack” 20 seconds behind. I even missed the checkered flag due to not having the recording set long enough. I cannot watch a race live with the fox morons.
DW and the other mutts should be embarrassed by the amount of pre race work they did finding out about Bayne and Brian Kes. 2 weeks to research and all DW had was blank paper? I thought the heads were supposed to research the drivers, so if they happen to do good, they won’t look stupid. I guess they missed that memo too.
Anyone that claims that they saw Bayne winning this thing is full of you-know-what (in keeping with our new clean language them on this forum, I will refrain from using words like Jacob used to).
Dont fault Fox or DW or anyone for not having in-depth knowledge of T. Bayne (thats what I call him personally). The kid won a race and now people know who he is. Thats how it works.
Carl D.=8:29, go back and watch the post-race coverage. Fox DID interview Bobby Labonte and Frontstretch has the quotes in today’s emailed newsletter.
The only problem I have with Trever Bayne, is not really against him but that he is not elligable to be rookie of the year. I don’t think Andy Lally will be more deserving. NASCAR needs to rethink the qualifications for it, so we have deserving Rookies of the year, not just to get into the Bud Shootout.
The worst part about watching any NASCAR race these days is the constant Jr. love fest.
The best races are races he’s out early so they aren’t talking about him every 3 seconds…and if you look at the replay from yesterday…Jr. wrecked himself! Noone touched him. he freaked out and overcorrected.
@Kevin – Maybe I missed the interview w/ Labonte. I was watching pretty closely, or so I thought. I wonder if you folks on the west coast get more post race coverage than those of us on the east coast. I did catch Labonte’s (and Gilliland’s) comments on Frontstretch’s “Running Their Mouth” column this morning. Thnks for the head’s up, though.
Bob, DW never does any pre race preparation and it often shows. But that is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to DW’s many things that alienate fans. And Mac the highly IGNORANT Boogity thing and the dumbing down of NACAR broadcasts is a HUGE insult to us fans. FAUX should be ashamed of what they are doing to us.
DW must go! Did anyone catch the start of the truck race where DW couldn’t get the title sponsors name correct ( it’s the Camping World DW) first calling it the Craftsman series then quickly calling it the Nationwide series before giving up all together. NASCAR wants the male 18 – 34 demographic but its never going to happen with FOX’s current on screen clown act. They are unbearable to listen to for any age demographic.
I thought maybe if they wanted to be football people, that they prepared like football people, my bad.
I’m not sure what it was…but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t racing.
Tag team demolition derby would be a fair description.
I thought the race had plenty of action with an excellent finish.
I am a Robby fan so I have to disagree with you Matt, I thought any driver that got knocked out of line without a partner was immediately 10 – 15 miles per hour slower than the herd. I thought the 14 and the 78
PS: Did digger get covered by the new paving job?
I’m gonna shoot the next person that says “dancing partner” Should have started a drinking game. Take a shot every time the announcers said it.
@ Kevin and Carl D.. The only Bobby Labonte interview I saw was not on FOX and the post race show but on the Speed show later on. California time might have allowed for more post race coverage than I saw.
A bizarre form of racing to be sure. Even the drivers looked and sounded totally confused at times. It was GREAT to see the Wood Bros. back in victory lane. They surely deserve it!
I caught the last 20 laps and was so happy to see Bayne win! He really does seem like a nice kid. The younger drivers seem so full of themselves and obnoxious that I hate hearing them speak. Trevor was a joy to hear interviewed!
I, too, wish they’d add more coverage after the race instead of the ridiculous circus before the race.
I think Digger should announce on FOX. He is the best part.
I’m sorry, didn’t like much of what I saw. Glad the Woods made it to victory lane though. Never thought there would be a Daytona 500 that I would leave before the end, but this was it. Watched the final wrecks/laps on the DVR.
CincyLady, you’re probably right in that I saw Speed’s Victory Lane interview of Bobby Labonte, not Fox.
Normally, my wife doesn’t pay much attention to the race on TV (at daytona or otherwise)…She was absolutely transfixed for the 2nd half of the race. She ended up yelling at the TV through both GWCs “Go 21!!!”. No, she doesn’t know anything about the Woods or Pearson. She just wanted to see the underdog win. Yes, this is exactly the sort of thing that Nascar needs to interest the casual passerby. Yes, DW is just about intolerable. Robby doesn’t have to do anything to generate internet editorial abuse. Haters gonna hate.
@laxbro – if you took a drink each time they said ‘dance partner’ – you’d have passed out long before the finish.
I did Sunday chores then tuned in to watch the last 15 laps. That was enough. I was thrilled to see an old-time underfunded single car team beat the crap out of the super $$$ teams; Hendricks, Roush, Childress etc. Bayne’s victory reminded a lot of the Pete Hamiliton’s 1970 unexpected victory in the Petty team car, when many of the favorites dropped out.
If that was Nascar’s idea of entertainment then they had better go back to REAL racing. Worst excuse for a race that ever was. I have been a fan for many many years and I can’t imagine anyone sitting and watching more than 25 laps of that performance.
HUMmmm largest audiance since ’08, wow, is the elephant in the room ANY more apparent. No 48 and hendrick-felon cars and no threatening tayoytas. Now thats good exciting racing. Be even better if both were gone completely
Did Fox pretty much ignore who got the lucky dog? Digger must die. He insults my intelligence. Would Dale Jr win any fan pole posted? He kept being shown as the pit crew fan favorite or something absurd like that. I have not yet tried the radio broadcast with the TV turned down, but it is coming soon.
I wonder what a first time viewer would think of Sunday’s race? Hell, what I watched on Sunday was a first for me. Tandem racing. An ealier comment mentioned something about a movie trailer. Why not have the Cup cars pull an actual trailer? Look at all the sponsorship space available for sale. The race sucked. I love the “record lead changes” stat. There was no way a “pusher” was going to try to pass the “pushee” for a lead change. Set your DVR and forget it. You only need to watch the final ten laps. That’s when lead changes and battles for the lead are actually taking place. The broadcast sucked, as usual. DW is progressively getting worse with his antics. I like the new noses on the cars. There, I said something nice.
I didn’t care much for the style of racing; but I liked the outcome. It’s always nice to see the unexpected occur in what has become a fairly predictable “sport”. I agree that all Waltrips need to go, along with Chris Myers, Hammond and Digger. And it looks like we’re in luck this week, Randy is heckling Bryan Keith instead of Matt this time around.
Kevin in So Cal – pathetic fan votes have to be the cheapest ploy to get a sponsors money, er, logo on a TV.
Junior is apparently in good company with these contrived fan gimmicks – I heard Justin Bieber was voted the MVP of the NBA Celebrity All Star game last Friday…
Great results…lousy race.
Best thing that could happen to the sport?…more owners like the Wood brothers and the Keslowski family.
Next best thing?…all entertainers come from Nashville, not LA.
Final best thing?…the Waltrips heed a calling and retire to a monastery