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 28, 2011
The Key Moment – Following the final restart it took Jeff Gordon thirteen laps to reel in and pass Kyle Busch.
In a Nutshell – Gordon returns to victory lane after a 66 race slump, the longest of his Cup career.
Dramatic Moment – Thirteen cars, including many favorites, were gathered up in a lap 67 wreck that looked like something out of a hobby-stock race.
While the fireworks never ignited when Busch, looking to sweep the weekend, and Gordon, looking to end his drought, were nose to tail near the end of the race it looked like things were fixing to pick up.
What They’ll Be Talking About Around the Water Cooler This Week
Let me get this straight. In a field full of rookies the truck series drivers ran 59 laps of 150 with no cautions. On Saturday they managed to run more than half the Nationwide race with no cautions. But by lap 67 of the Cup race with the “best drivers in the world” 23 of 43 cars were torn up. 41 of the best drivers in the world plus Kyle Busch and Robby Gordon, I guess.
As cleanly as Carl Edwards raced Kyle Busch for the win in Saturday’s race, might not Busch have shown a bit more patience 59 laps into Sunday’s event? Busch once again got rattled early and the KGB (Kinder, Gentler, Busch) we saw last week lost his temper. Again. Excitable boy, they all said.
Andy Lally’s hard contact with the wall brought out the eighth caution of the day. The question is what was he still doing out there running 75 laps off the pace with 27 laps left? It seems a stunning indictment of NASCAR’s new points system that penalizes a driver and team more for a bad finish while rewarding them less for a great one.
Does anyone else get a feeling as long as fans get to text their favorite to win the race in the pizza company promotion, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. is going to win every week no matter how badly he’s running?
It was hard not to notice a few things about Saturday’s Nationwide race over and above the fact Kyle Busch really stunk up the show leading every lap. Firstly only 40 cars tried to win one of 43 starting slots, a sign some of these smaller teams don’t have a full fleet of the “new” cars yet. Short fields may be a problem this year in that while the Cup regulars who dominate these races don’t earn points they still earn the big prize money, meaning less money for full time Nationwide teams to build new cars. There were also a whole lot of cars running at Phoenix sans sponsorship, an untenable business model. Has corporate America decided the costs of sponsoring a successful Nationwide team have crept too close to the cost of running an entry in Sunday’s big show? Two of Jack Roush’s Nationwide teams ran at Phoenix without a major backer including the car of Trevor Bayne who made a few waves last week at Daytona. The two un-sponsored Roush cars ran Ford and Roush-Fenway sponsorship, which is like taking your sister to the prom because you couldn’t get a date. Finally, a Toyota won. Toyota has of course not tried to enter a new style car like the Mustang or Challenger that more clearly resembles a production model. They can’t. They don’t build pony or muscle cars. They build UJAs. (Universal Japanese Appliances.) So why are they competing in a “stock car” series….and where are the Camaros?
I was curious this week when some folks wrote about how Trevor Bayne could still make the Chase, grabbing the eleventh or twelfth spot in the runoffs because he’s won a race. In order to grab one of those two spots I was told a driver also had to be in the top 20 in points. Since Bayne doesn’t earn any Cup points even when he runs the big events necessarily he won’t be in one of those top 20 spots so for the fourth straight year the Daytona 500 champion won’t make the Chase. Only in NASCAR.
I hear that this summer former F1 champ Lewis Hamilton and former Cup champ Tony Stewart will host a media event at Watkins Glen where they will swap rides. That makes sense as they both have sponsorship from Mobil One. But I want to know how much axle grease they’ll have to slather on Stewart to wedge him into an F1 car. Might want to lighten up on those Whoppers awhile, TS. So is a future F1 race at the Glen in the offing?
Since when is a one mile race course a “short track”?
Budweiser sponsorship is said to be the most lucrative deal in the Cup garage. How much clout do they have even with the networks? Did you notice when the Bud logos were being shown after a break it was the only time that annoying gopher and his graphics didn’t show up?
The Hindenburg Award For Foul Fortune
Trevor Bayne’s week of wonder came to a crashing end at Phoenix after last week’s fairy tale Daytona 500 victory. Bayne wiped out the primary car in practice and his backup early in the race. A wreck in Saturday’s race while running seventh was the icing on Bayne’s cake. What’s the old expression, “from the penthouse to the outhouse”? (Worse yet, the car Bayne destroyed at Phoenix on Sunday was to be his primary car at Vegas next week.)
Carl Edwards’ pole winning car clearly had the speed to be a race contender but he got the worst of the 18-99 combo shot into the corner.
Joey Logano’s engine began laying down early in the event leading to a long frustrating afternoon until it finally expired.
Jeff Burton’s season is off to a frustrating start with 26th and 36th place finishes in the first two events.
Burton’s teammate Clint Bowyer isn’t faring much better with seventeenth and 27th place results to start the season.
The “Seven Come Fore Eleven” Award For Fine Fortune
Kyle Busch’s chance at a decent finish could easily have gone up in smoke when he triggered that lap 67 accident. A lot of other good drivers saw their days destroyed.
Jeff Gordon made hard contact into the outside wall after Matt Kenseth’s car body slammed his Chevy but he drove off with limited damage.
Jimmie Johnson qualified 28th and was slow most of the weekend but he finished a respectable third.
Kevin Harvick went from spinning out early in the race to a fourth-place finish.
Dale Earnhardt, Jr. had to overcome a loose wheel and a speeding penalty on pit road en route to a tenth-place finish.
What’s the Points?
Kyle Busch now leads brother Kurt by three points atop the standings.
Tony Stewart and A.J Allmendinger are tied for third in the standings, eleven points out of the lead.
Jeff Gordon and Mark Martin are tied for fifth, fifteen points behind the younger Busch.
Bobby Labonte, Juan Pablo Montoya and Ryan Newman are tied for seventh, a single point behind Gordon and Martin.
It is really, really, silly to be talking about points this early in the year. I’m done.
Overall Rating (On a scale of one to six beer cans with one being a stinker and a six pack an instant classic) We’ll give this two and a half bottles of Corona from across that lazy river. The beginning of the race was sloppy and the middle portions too monotonous to carry the finish we ended up with. I can’t blame Gordon fans for rushing out to grab a six pack though. The last time Gordon won a Cup race many of them weren’t old enough to drink.
Next Up – The Mild, Mild West show continues with a stop at Las Vegas next Sunday.
©2000 - 2008 Matt McLaughlin and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
the shadowy illegal fifth and sixth HMS teams
thats funny! but true.
nitpickin’…Pearson won 105 races
Unlikely that F1 will return to the Glen (although it’d be a really nice change from the boring Tilke Tracks (yes, F1 has its cookie-cutters, too).
If the F1 USGP ever gets off the ground, it’ll be held in Austin, TX. Unfortunately, it’s going to be designed by Hermann Tilke…
A really good race after Trucks and Nationwide stunk to high heaven. Stoked to see my driver back in victory lane. Just goes to show when guys do stupid things on a restart (Kenseth) a 1 mile track can turn into Talladega. Matt you actually had small typo in the article Gordon had contact with Edwards, not Kenseth. Poor Trevor Bayne, it hit midnight for Cinderella, the coach turned into a pumpkin and went splat against the wall. Still a nice kid who will probably be Ford’s next star. I’m just happy the 24 finally won. He hasn’t shown a car that good since 2007.
Matt, in the “Seven Come Fore Eleven” section you say that Kenseth hit Gordon. Shouldn’t that be Edwards? I don’t remember Jeff and Matt getting together at all.
Being a 24 fan I was elated to see him win. I won’t say the race was good or bad this week because my objectivity has been tainted… IMO it was an awesome race because Jeff won.
I still can’t believe the wreckfest that took place in the first 80 laps of the race. These guys better settle down and get some perspective or it’s going to be a long, wacky season.
With Edwards’ history does anyone out there believe that Kyle won’t be getting sent to the wall in the next few weeks?
I said the same thing when whoever it was referred to Phoenix as a short track. Then the drivers went out raced like they were at Martinsville. It was telling that Clint Boyer expressed embarrassment at the over-aggressiveness of the drivers so early in the race.
After Kyle Busch-whacked Edwards completely out of the running early in the race, I was glad Gordon passed him for the win. Of course, it felt like half the pre-race was a commercial for Subway, so they got plenty of exposure, but you know they were still pretty P.O’d. I’m guessing Combos won’t be a part of any Subway Meal Deals any time soon.
Bobby Labonte in the top 10 in points… I know it ain’t gonna last, but it sure is nice to see.
Since when is a one mile race course a “short track”?
I guess “they” just decided that this weekend, despite the years of historical perpective that says one mile tracks are not short tracks. It surely irritated me to no end. DW and Larry Mac certainly know better.
Where was the race??
Matt, what is up with your hard on for Robby and Kyle? Funny how you to continue to pile on two of the most naturally talented drivers in the garage…
You should have a talk with Jay Busbee over at Yahoo Sports..from his mailbag:
“Hey Jay, who is the best pure driver in the sport, the one driver that can win regardless of who is on the pit box? This includes Nationwide, Trucks, Cup, even the Mods.
If you’re talking solely NASCAR, I’m going with Kyle Busch. The guy has shown that he can win every time he shows up at the track in the lower divisions, and in Sprint Cup, more often than not he’s the one who beats himself. If you expand it out to all motorsports, I’d have to go with either Tony Stewart or—surprise pick—Robby Gordon. Gordon could drive a grocery store shopping cart to a decent finish; problem is, most of his cars haven’t been much more than a shopping cart. And Stewart will manhandle anything that moves. (Cars too! Zing!)
But, yeah, pound for pound you’ve gotta go with Kyle.”
Interesting contrast of opinions here to say the least…
Nobody has picked up on NASCAR’s new definition for short track until now? No matter what network is handling the broadcasting duties, they’ve been referring to Phoenix and New Hampshire as short tracks for three years now, probably at the urging of Mad King Brian who has heard the pleading of his subjects for more short tracks.
Then I guess Dover is also a short track. LOL
“Matt, what is up with your hard on for Robby and Kyle? Funny how you to continue to pile on two of the most naturally talented drivers in the garage…”
Amen! Well, to half of it. I dont think we can rank Robby that high, unless he gets points for the number of wrecks he causes.
I’m biased since my guy won and that makes me happy. However, I, too, thought the most of the race was pretty poor and the coverage on tv even worse. ADD camera work – at one point we had a pretty shot of the sky and the clouds but no cars. I thought we were watching the race?
The booth was disjointed as heck especially at the beginning, so much so that I switched to MRN’s radio feed so I could find out what was REALLY happening on the track. They give us a through the field – instead of having to rely on the ticker to tell me the position of drivers.
I agree that it was Edwards who hit the 24 after the 99 tangled with the 18.
the ad placement was obnoxious — I get that sponsorship pays the bills but full screen ads when the green flag is out? Sorry, I have gotten so I switch the channel whenever Fox starts running the ads so I’m not watching them anyway. I wait 3 or 4 minutes and switch back. Side by side commercials people – it’s not that complicated.
Congrats to Jeff — I hope that we see him in VL again soon and often.
Matt,“41 of the best drivers in the world plus Kyle Busch and Robby Gordon…”
Hmmm. THIS after talking about the nearly error free and masterfully driven Nationwide and Truck races, which BTW Matty..uhhh….WHO WON THOSE RACES AGAIN???
HMMM? Think HARD Matty!
Ohhh thats right! None other than the “other than best” driver out there in your eyes, Kyle Busch.
That really makes the point you were trying to make there pretty silly IMHO.
“Kurt and Kyle Busch are the only two drivers to score top-10 finishes in both of this season’s Cup points races”
I wont even quote the “points” part above because I do agree, it IS stupid to be talking about points at this..err..point. Still…it must have been VERY hard for you to write ANYTHING good about Kyle. LOL
I’ll also make a guess here.
BTW I’m pretty sure a certain Mr. Stewart would disagree strongly that his team is an HMS owned team.
Speaking of the television coverage, I noticed that Fox abruptly cut from the end of the race just as winner Jeff Gordon was climbing out of the car to go to… a commercial for Nascar. That’s just mind-numbing.
I keep hearing people complain about Tony’s team being affiliated with HMS. Why is it a bad thing that when tony started his team, he had the foresight to purchase/lease the best equipment from the best vendors? Should he have, instead, wasted his cash on crappy equipment?
Im sure when all of you want a new flat screen tv you avoid the well-known, reputable, quality manufacturers and instead spring for the bargain basement stuff so that your friends wont consider you a sell-out.
Yea, that makes a lot of sense.
Now if tony worked for the federal government… I would totally understand your complaint.
Why does everyone on TV say this new point system is harder to come back from when you have a bad race? Best I can tell, if you finish dead last and never lead a lap, you will lose 46 points to the winner. Under the old point system, you’d lose 156 points.
The championship isn’t awarded on a “percentage” of points won. Its awarded on raw points. So how is it harder to come back from being 46 points down than being 156 points down?
There sure is a lot more complaining about Stewart-Haas Motorsports getting engines and equipment from Hendrick, than there was when it was just Haas-CNC Motorsports. Hrm….
Even the best drivers in the world make mistakes. They’re only human. There are crashes in Indycar and F1 racing too.
Kevin in socal,
I think it’s been well documented that Jr holds that distinction.
Or are you just talking “crap”?
Matt, you’re not going to see the Camaro because Chevy is very protective of the body style. They don’t want it bastardized just to meet NASCAR’s templates.
Word has it we’ll be seeing a redesigned Malibu instead of the Camaro.
While the appeal of a team making their own engine isnt lost on me, I disagree with the assumption that people are upset because tony doesnt do the work himself. They are upset because he leases/buys from the biggest (and best) racing team in Nascar today.
If Tony was leasing engines from the wood brothers out of their shack in Stewart, VA everyone would be commending him for supporting the little guy and getting “quality parts from guys that know what they are doing.” Blah blah blah.
you rant and rave about Bobby Allison’s win total being disputed and you have the gall to strip David Pearson of 5 wins???
Sometimes I think your hatred of DW overshadows any rational thought you might have.
EZ -02/28/2011 09:02 AM
Where was the race??
Faux neglected to show it to us. While announcers were telling us of cars hitting the walls early on, we were seeing the bumper cams or roof-tops. While the race logged miles, we saw Kyle going around WITH NO OTHER CAR IN SIGHT…for 5-8 laps at a time. Junior came out of the pits for a loose wheel and a speeding penalty neither was discussed nor shown; one lap down and just in front of the leader, but never did we see him on the screen as they focused on Gordon running
There was a race, Ez, we just never saw it. Faux Sports ignored it in favor of showing us favored sponsors and TV slight-of-hand tricks.
And NASCAR can’t figger out why the viewership is slipping… Maybe it has something to do with a lack of racing on TV.
RG: “The reason injured cars get back on the track is to maintain or earn a spot in the top 35. I really doubt Andy Lally was worried about a DNF hurting his chances to make the chase.”
You’re partially right. Andy Lally & TRG just want to stay in the top-35. Guys like Carl Edwards, though, want to get back out to get as many points as possible towards making the chase. Even in February.
Well, Matt, I tuned in today to see if you had any insight into why a 1 mile is called a short track, and I find you have the same question and no answer either. I suppose I shall continue to ponder it.
Ponder no longer. Just consider the source.
Susan – are you another persona of VolcanoNacho and Randy Goldman? Why are you here commenting on a site where you hate the writer? Matt M’s normal readers disagree with his writing all the time. But the main difference is they show some respect. And grown-ups can disagree and be respectful. Try it sometime………………
I like Susan! She realizes who Matt really is, a bitter old man.
“Why are you here commenting on a site where you hate the writer?”
I will pose a better question for you, why does a man spend all this time writing about a sport that he appears to hate? Sounds like a miserable job to me.
racing??? whining. what a mess on a mile track almost half the field gets wiped out before lap 100. ok whatever.
what i will say about the race is that is one butt ugly trophy. wonder if they put any spires on the cactus?
my hypothesis is they determined that any track less than 1.5 miles is a short track. Beats the old nomenclature of
speedway – 1 to 1.49 miles
cookie cutter 1.5 miles
superspeedway – over 1.5 miles that is not Pocono, the Glen or Sears Point
Good article Matt
What ever happened to the blimps at the races. At least that showed the entire track and ALL the cars racing. I guess Goodyear can’t afford to fly the blimp and provide all the tires at the saame time.
@ Buzz. The new points system does in fact penalize a driver for a bad finish more than the last one. Here’s how:
Under the old system, a bad finish (43rd) was still worth about 1/5 of a first place finish(185 vs 34. Now a bad finish is worth 1/43 of a first place finish(43 vs 1). Its really quite simple. Brian the idiot came up with a system that penalizes bad finishes and values wins even less than the old one.
@ all of you complaining about Matt ragging on Kyle Bush.
He wasn;t implying the guy couldn’t drive. He was implying the guy drove like an idiot for the first 75 laps or so. Running over guys has been fairly common with Kyle in the Nationwide and Truck Series over the past few years as well. The dude can wheel it, he’s just too aggressive for his own good in many cases. That’s why he’ll never win a Championship until he learns to tone it down. And why Matt called him out. You guys have thin skin and no perspective.
Kyle wrecked Carl Edwards. More specifically, Kyle turned left without checking and door-slammed Edwards into the infield. Whether he meant to do it is irrelevant. You can’t win the race on lap 60-something, but you can lose it or ruin someone else’s day, as Kyle did. Matt Kenseth did not start that accident, he started the bigger one. Matt side-tapped and crowded Vickers up the track, then proceeded to deny he had any fault in Vickers getting loose and spinning. Typical Kenseth.
I know that this article isn’t official but I’m not sure why’d they lie. Plus it includes endorsements not just souvenier sales(which kind of goes beyond you’re statement which only included souvenier sales).
Things we know:
KB apologized to Edwards 10 times because he does not want to get Brad K’d
If merchandise trailers were full of food…
Junior’s (many, many) trailers could feed the population of California for about 7 weeks.
Kyle’s – could keep Spencer in M&M’s for 7 days.
Dale Jr out sells all others by a wide margin. Some estimate his sales are around 70%, all other drivers together fight over the remaining 30%
“….and where are the Camaros?” Indeed. Thanks, robbiejr, for insight into the Camaro mystery. Compared to the Mustang and the Challenger, the Impala looks like a bug-eyed frog.
Why would you tell someone they’re an idiot for disagreeing about Allison’s win total. What difference does it really make. Maybe the real idiot is the one that’s calling someone an idiot….
Generally good and interesting columns Matt but you could lighten up a little.
Fox has gotten so annoying that I don’t bother to watch their coverage anymore. I settle for the excellent recap here and save myself hours of irritation. BTW, I dropped my Phx season tickets as the racing has gotten so repetitively boring. Not even tailgating makes it worth the time in the stands I’m sad to say. The change widening the wall out of turn 2 really trashed it and I expect the banking change will make it even worse. Sigh.