NASCAR Changes Qualifying Format
posted by Summer Bedgood
Tuesday March 11, 2014
Following safety concerns regarding NASCAR’s new qualifying format, the sanctioning body is introducing some changes in preparation for this weekend’s race at Bristol Motor Speedway. According to the Associated Press, NASCAR is banning teams from cool-down laps after their qualifying attempts, but will instead be allowed to hook up cool-down units to the engine through hood flaps.
Late Tuesday afternoon, a release from NASCAR fully detailed the changes. Teams will be allowed a single cool down unit to be connected through the right or left side hood flap, however the hood must remain closed. Additionally, two crew members will be allowed over the wall while cooling down.
“The qualifying is new to all of us and as we have said over the past several weeks, we are looking at it from all aspects,” said Robin Pemberton, vice president of competition and racing development. “Following discussions, both internally and with others in the garage area, we moved quickly to make a few revisions that will be effective starting with our two national series events at Bristol Motor Speedway this weekend. We believe this will only enhance and improve what has demonstrated to be an exciting form of qualifying for our fans, competitors and others involved with the sport. Moving forward we will continue to look at it and address anything else that we may need to as the season unfolds.”
The move comes after three weeks of NASCAR’s new knockout qualifying system, where multiple cars are allowed to make qualifying attempts at the same time instead of the traditional one-car-at-a-time procedure. Drivers and teams had complained that the new rules didn’t allow them to cool their engines down on pit road, and the cool-down laps caused a dangerous situation with slower cars staying on the track at the same time that other cars were running by them at much higher speeds.
The rule will begin this weekend in Bristol, a track that has a much narrower racing surface than Daytona, Phoenix, and Las Vegas.
Kurt Busch to Attempt The Indianapolis-Charlotte Double
posted by Phil Allaway
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Andretti Autosport announced this morning that Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet in the Sprint Cup Series, will attempt the Indianapolis 500 in a fifth entry for the IndyCar Series team. Once the Indianapolis 500 is completed, Busch will fly from Indianapolis to Charlotte, jump in his No. 41 Chevrolet and compete in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Busch considers the opportunity to do the double as an old-school throwback moment.
“This is really to challenge myself within motorsports,” Busch said in Andretti Autosport’s press release. “Perhaps I am a bit of an old-school racer; a throwback, I guess. I enjoyed the era of drivers racing different cars and testing themselves in other series. It is tough to do now for a variety of factors, but when the opportunity is there, I want to do it. While NASCAR is my home, I have been fortunate to compete in Pro Stock on the NHRA circuit a number of years ago and test a V8 Supercar. This opportunity was a talk with Michael [Andretti] over dinner one night, a “What if,” and now it’s becoming a reality for me to drive in the Indy 500 with Andretti Autosport. It’s literally a dream come true. To go to the famous Brickyard with the iconic Andretti name, it doesn’t get much cooler or better than that.”
Busch will be doing the Indianapolis-Charlotte double as a Memorial Day mission to men and women serving in the U.S. Military via the Armed Forces Foundation. Fans can contribute to the cause by texting AFF to 50555 to donate $10.
Busch, who has never raced an IndyCar, passed Rookie Orientation at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last year during a test session. At the time, Busch was more or less testing the Dallara DW12 for fun.
Busch will be the fourth driver to attempt the Indianapolis-Charlotte double. John Andretti was the first driver to attempt it in 1994. After finishing four laps down in tenth in Indianapolis, Andretti crashed and had engine problems in the 600. Robby Gordon has attempted the double five times, most recently in 2004. However, Gordon failed to make it to Charlotte on time and did not start the 600 in 2000 (P.J. Jones started Gordon’s No. 13 Ford in that instance). Finally, Tony Stewart has attempted the double twice (most recently in 2001) and is the only driver to ever complete all 1100 miles. Neither of the three drivers has won either leg of the double. The best finishes are Stewart and Gordon’s sixth-place finishes at the Indianapolis 500 (although Gordon’s came in 2000, the year he didn’t make it to Charlotte in time to start the Coca-Cola 600), and Stewart’s fourth-place finish in the 2001 Coca-Cola 600.
Danica Patrick, Justin Allgaier Talk About Phoenix Incident
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
A disappointing start to the year for Danica Patrick won’t include continued conflict. Patrick met with rookie Justin Allgaier Sunday, shortly after the Phoenix Cup race after a wreck ruined both drivers’ days. Patrick, who was critical of the No. 51 car on the radio, claiming Allgaier was “driving all over the track” appeared receptive to a conversation that quickly settled differences over what will be a long season.
“She was just upset because she got involved in the crash that we had,’’ said Allgaier to the Motor Racing Network. “She says she’s been through this and that she felt like I needed to settle down at that point. I explained my position on why everything happened. I think she understood where I was coming from. It doesn’t fix either one of our racecars. It doesn’t fix either one of our days. Unfortunately, we were both having pretty decent days.’’
Allgaier wound up 30th due to the incident while Patrick was 36th. The incident, which was caused by Allgaier’s spin also involved the No. 32 team and Travis Kvapil, which wound up 38th after sustaining heavy damage.
Camping World Close to Extending Title Sponsorship of NCWTS
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Marcus Lemonis, CEO of Camping World, Grand Marshal of Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway, and star of CNBC’s “The Profit,” made the announcement over the weekend that the retailer is very close to announcing a deal that would continue its title sponsorship of NASCAR’s Truck Series. The original agreement with NASCAR is scheduled to conclude after the 2015 season.
According to the sanctioning body, no formal contract has been signed, but “the agreement between the two parties has proven to be a beneficial one.”
“In about a month, we’ll be announcing a significant extension to that contract. It’s been great for us,” said Camping World’s Lemonis in a statement. “The NASCAR relationship has worked well for Camping World. When we started, we had 35 stores. Now, we’re up to 120 stores. As we travel the country and we meet new customers in stores, they always are very appreciative of our relationship with NASCAR. It’s been good.”
Gaining a long-term commitment from Camping World to sponsor the Truck Series would be a relief for NASCAR, which is set to lose Nationwide Insurance as title sponsor for the NASCAR Nationwide Series at the end of the 2014 season. The sponsorship of the Cup Series by Sprint runs through 2016.
The NCWTS is back in action on March 29th at 2:30 PM (ET) when the trucks visit Martinsville Speedway in the Kroger 250, which can be seen on Fox Sports 1. Ratings for the season opener were up 11 percent.
Harvick Takes Win At Phoenix In Second Race With New Team
posted by Justin Tucker
Monday March 3, 2014
Phoenix International Raceway has become Kevin Harvick’s home away from home. Sunday Afternoon was no exception as Harvick charged to the front early and would dominate for much of the day, leading 224 of the scheduled 312 laps to record his record fifth win on the one mile oval and his third win in the last four races at Phoenix.
Harvick, coming off of a disappointing Speedweeks which was capped by a last lap crash in the Daytona 500 in his debut with Stewart-Haas Racing, set the tone on Saturday by winning both practices while having the best 5 and 10-lap averages in the first practice of the day on Saturday. On Sunday, Harvick and his No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet was nothing short of flawless as he was able to hold Dale Earnhardt, Jr. by .489 seconds after a late race restart to claim his 24th career Sprint Cup Series victory.
“Man, this is awesome,” Harvick said after his dominant victory on Sunday. “Man, this just solidifies so many things and so many decisions. It’s been so much work with all the time and effort that these guys (the crew) have put in—but what a race car.”
Stewart Haas Racing co-owner Gene Haas shared in Harvick’s excitement after the race.
“It took long enough,” Haas joked. “This is phenomenal. I think there was a lot of skepticism last year about what myself and Tony (Stewart) what we were up to, was there a lot of madness to this. Quite frankly, it’s a great team, there’s a lot of synergy at the shop, people working together. I don’t know what we did, but I think we put together a great organization.”
Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt, Jr. continued his hot start to the 2014 season. Earnhardt Jr. would finish second on Sunday, marking his seventh consecutive top 10 finish since the end of the 2013 season. Earnhardt Jr. was pleased with the effort after a coast-to-coast whirlwind week after winning his second Daytona 500 and also gave great praise to the efforts of Harvick and the No. 4 team.
“I’ve got to congratulate Kevin. Those guys were two-tenths faster than everyone all weekend in practice. They were just phenomenal,” Earnhardt said. “To be able to run with them all day was a big confidence builder for us.”
Joining Harvick and Earnhardt in the top 5 of The Profit on CNBC 500K were Brad Keselowski with his second consecutive top 3 run of 2014 in third. Keselowski’s Team Penske teammate Joey Logano would finish fourth, and Jeff Gordon would come home fifth in his No. 24 Pepsi Max Chevrolet.
Jimmie Johnson finished in sixth, followed by Ryan Newman with a nice rebound after Daytona in seventh. Carl Edwards would carry the banner for Roush Fenway Racing by finishing eighth, Kyle Busch was ninth, and Jamie McMurray would finish tenth.
A look at the Profit on CNBC 500K by the numbers. There were 14 lead changes among eight different drivers, there were eight cautions for 39 laps which slowed the race pace to 109.229 MPH.
Next Sunday, the Sprint Cup Series heads to Sin City and the Las Vegas Motor
Starting Lineup: The Profit On CNBC 500K
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday March 1, 2014
Drivers in RED (i) are those ineligible to collect Sprint Cup points
Daytona 500 TV Ratings Down
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Wednesday February 26, 2014
What was the longest weather delay in Daytona 500 history turned out to bring NASCAR lower ratings and TV viewership Sunday night than expected. According to a report Monday from FOX Sports, the 56th running of the Daytona 500 airing at 8 PM (ET) posted a 5.6/10 national household rating/share which averaged 9.3 million viewers. That’s down 44 percent from last year’s 9.9, easily making it the least-watched Daytona 500 of all-time.
Due to the six-hour, twenty-two minute rain delay in Daytona, the race was up against the primetime coverage of the Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony from Sochi, Russia on NBC (15.25 million viewers). FOX also reported that 69% of the pre-rain delay viewers of the race, which began at 1 PM (ET) kept tuning in.
In comparison, the 2013 Daytona 500 on FOX was the most-watched race in five years, posting a 9.9/22 rating/share, commanding 16.7 million viewers. The Daytona 500 in 2012, the first to ever be run on a Monday and in the primetime slot did a 7.7/13 overnight rating/share which resulted in 13.67 million households viewing the race according to Nielsen TV ratings data.
Earnhardt, Jr. Claims Second Daytona 500 Victory
posted by Justin Tucker
Wednesday February 26, 2014
Ten years is a long time. For Dale Earnhardt, Jr., it felt like an eternity. NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver endured many near misses and close calls at the Daytona 500 since his only win in the Great American Race in 2004. Earnhardt had finished second in two of his last three Daytona 500s coming into Sunday’s race. He was also riding the tail of a 55-race winless streak, dating back to Michigan in 2012.
However nothing would stop Dale Jr. on Sunday, not even a 6 hour and 22 minute rain delay from capturing his second Daytona 500 win. Earnhardt Jr. led a race-high 54 laps on the evening and used some timely drafting help from teammates Jimmie Johnson and, on the final restart, Jeff Gordon to separate from the pack and secure the victory.
“Winning this race is the greatest feeling that you could feel in this sport besides accepting the trophy for the championship,” said a jubilant Earnhardt after pulling into Victory Lane. “We could fight off battle after battle. We got a little help at the end there from Jeff to get away on the restart. This is amazing. I can’t believe this is happening. I never take this for granted, man because it doesn’t happen twice, let alone once.”
Aside from the race itself the big story of the race was the 6 hour and 22 minute red flag, which threatened to move the race to Monday evening (had the race been postponed, FOX Sports’ Chris Myers had tweeted that the race would resume at 5:00pm EST). However, Mother Nature would cooperate and would allow the race to be run under different conditions from which they practiced this week. Once the race resumed, the intensity picked up from the changing track conditions. This allowed the pack to race side-by-side and at times 3-wide up to seven rows deep.
Joining Earnhardt Jr. in the top 5 for the 2014 Daytona 500 were: Denny Hamlin who closed out a spectacular Speedweeks in second, Brad Keselowski in third, Jeff Gordon in fourth, and Jimmie Johnson who overcome two wrecks leading up to the 500 in fifth.
Rounding out the top 10 in the Daytona 500 were Matt Kenseth in sixth, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. in seventh and Greg Biffle would bring his No. 16 Ford home in eighth. Austin Dillon would come home ninth in his first Cup Series race in the iconic No. 3 for Richard Childress Racing, while Casey Mears would round out the top 10.
A couple of major contenders for the Daytona 500 win would see their hopes dashed early on as Martin Truex, Jr. would blow up just 30 laps into the race, relegating him to a 43rd-place finish in his debut for Furniture Row Racing. Crew chief Todd Berrier was already in Nashville for a test session before the race was even over. Kyle Busch, meanwhile would have a pit road violation just before halfway and would spend much of the race battling back from that mistake. Busch would eventually finish 19th after leading 19 laps.
Danica Patrick would also be bit by bad luck as she was caught up in a multi-car wreck on lap 145. Patrick would lead her second consecutive Daytona 500, but wouldn’t have the finish to show for it finishing 40th. Tony Stewart would encounter a frustrating evening as well, with a fuel pickup problem derailing his quest for his first Daytona 500 win. Stewart would finish 35th.
A look at the Daytona 500 by the numbers. There were 42 lead changes among 18 drivers, while seven cautions for 39 laps would slow the race pace to 145.290 MPH.
Next week, the Sprint Cup Series heads to the “diamond in the desert,” Phoenix International Raceway for The Profit on CNBC 500K. The Green flag is scheduled for 3:15pm EST.
Nationwide Series Post-Race Quotes: Drive4COPD 300
posted by Thomas Bowles
Tuesday February 25, 2014
Frontstretch Interviews – Courtesy Mike Neff
ELLIOTT SADLER – FINISHED 4th
Thoughts on the race?
It’s definitely a lot different racing than what we’re used to.
Comfortable with it?
Yeah, it’s just different. You’re worried about what you’re doing, but you’re also worried about what everyone else is doing and they’re not doing more than you’re doing. Physically pushing a guy is way better than just riding so you just gotta time it right and push it to the edge.
Happy to start the year with a top 5?
Yeah. Hell, that was the worst we ran all day, I think. I have no idea how they put the 3 car in front of us on that last restart. I hadn’t seen the 3 car hardly all day. When they put us from fifth to sixth, on the outside line, it just really boxed us in. I would have really restarted behind my teammate and given him a good push to the front. Anyways, it is what it is; we’ll take it and move on.
Looked like you were up front all day.
The guys did a good job. We had a fast race car. Great pit stops, just really proud of these guys. The car’s in one piece and we can take it to Talladega now. Great job by my guys. A lot of effort came into coming down here to Daytona and giving ourselves a shot to win. We had that chance to be up front and make some things happen. Fifth is not what we want, but we’ll take it and move on.
Bumping vs Pushing?
It’s way harder. You don’t want to lay on the guy in front of you, so it’s tough racing. A lot different than what we’re used to, ‘cause you gotta go. You gotta drag the brake too ‘cause you don’t want to hit the guys and you don’t want to stay on him. It’s a lot harder mentally than what we’ve done in the past.
Car was strong all day. Pushing vs. Bumping, is that harder to do than just getting on somebody and pushing them?
Yeah, it is a little bit. When you bump ‘em, you jar ‘em, it kinda jacks ‘em a little bit. It’s a little more abrupt, obviously. I thought it was OK there at the end. It was certainly fun and hopefully entertaining. But a little bit of a struggle in the early part of the race and the midpart of the race to see a good race. And that’s unfortunate for the fans. You can’t do that the whole race, you can’t tear up your stuff, knock your grill in, overheat your motor, all that stuff so there’s no sense in doing all that until you get down to the last lap. The 7 and the 6, they did a good job. Man, the 7 really held the 22 and I tight on the bottom. I was rubbing his door and hitting the apron at the same time, no room whatsoever. So it was good; wish we were the ones who could have won but a lot better now than what we were last year.
Going home in one piece makes it a lot better, right?
Yeah. My back feels good. My foot feels good. Past years here, I’ve been going home with pain so I’m alright.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Truck Series Post-Race Quotes: Daytona (Exclusives)
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday February 22, 2014
When you’re on the outside like that, how frustrating is it?
It’s so hard. Timothy Peters has won here. Kyle Busch has won everywhere. Ron Hornaday has been running Trucks forever, probably before I was even born. I was surrounded by veterans there, and like I told them I don’t have a rookie stripe but I’m a rookie. This is only my fourth Truck race ever, my fourth superspeedway race, and man, I figured out when the 17 got up in front of me, I pushed him. And as soon as I pushed him, he took off. And I went with him. And I just kept doing it, and before I knew it, he was leading. And I saw Ron in my mirror, backed up to him, and if it wasn’t for him, I don’t know what would have happened. I gotta thank him big time for that. That was a true teammate move right there. I really appreciate that. He just bounced off me and we got to the front. I tried my hardest to sidedraft Kyle. I was probably touching his door.
Top 5 in the No. 30 truck. This deal come together at the last minute, but you had a heck of a truck. Tell us about your night.
Yeah, I’ve got to thank Turner Scott Motorsports. The guys worked so hard on this Rheem Comfort Products Chevrolet. Exciting! Just got hung up on the outside and had to wait for my teammate there to catch up. And then he got to the bottom, so… I got the old 32 and started pushing ol’ Ryan to the front. So, it’s not bad. We’ll take it. You just don’t want to step over that boundary. You don’t know how far to push and shove. We bumped about six times down the straightaway without latching onto them. Hopefully, that was OK and we came home with a top 5.
Connect with Mike!
Check in with Matt and Jay on their site at CareyandCoffey.com.
Matt McLaughlin · Monday March 7, 2011
The Key Moment – On the final pit stop, Carl Edwards was able to take two tires and the lead heading into the homestretch. Tony Stewart, who took two on his previous stop to make up track position lost after a penalty in the pits, was forced to take four and could never make up the gap.
In a Nutshell – It’s back! (Let’s hope it’s for a limited time only.) We’ve got McRacing, at a mile-and-a-half McTrack courtesy the “dreaded” aero push…
Dramatic Moment – When Kurt Busch went spinning on lap 102 near the front of the field, we could have seen a huge wreck that would have made Phoenix’s Big One look like a Smurf’s picnic.
If you ignored the No. 99 car Juan Pablo Montoya, Stewart, and Marcos Ambrose did have a fairly engaging little scrap right after the final stop for second place.
What They’ll Be Talking About Around the Water Cooler This Week
Daytona is a plate track. Phoenix was a mile track. But a huge percentage of races this season will be run on mile-and-a-half ovals. Uh-oh. The problem on these tracks is a driver in a faster car can run down the driver ahead of him, but once he gets four or five car lengths behind that other car, he loses air off the nose and his car stops handling. Apparently, the new noses on Cup cars won’t address this issue though they are, in fact a whole lot better looking than last year’s cowcatchers.
We’ve traveled this road together before, but here’s this year’s first Matt’s “real passes” report. You will read this week there were fourteen passes for the lead between seven different drivers. But I discount passes made for the lead on pit road, along with passes made as the leader peels off the track to pit during the normal green flag sequence of stops. What I call a “pass for the lead” is one driver jockeying his way past the leader under green flag conditions. That’s what we all come to see. So how many passes for the lead were there at Vegas? As best I can count them, and even I can count this high, there was one. On lap thirteen, Tony Stewart passed Jeff Gordon. Stewart had fresh tires while Gordon didn’t pit and was on worn rubber. If you blinked, you missed it…
As part of the promotion for this weekend’s Vegas Cup date, Carl Edwards did a freefall, tether jumping for a distance of 800 feet not once but twice. To me, that doesn’t sound like an adventure. It sounds like the opening shot of a new episode of CSI. Catherine: Well, the lab boys are going to be using vacuums to clean up what used to be this guy’s internal organs. Brass: One of my guys says the victim was goaded into the jump by his friend… one Brad Keselowski. The two of them have had issues in the past, but the victim was sure the bad blood was over. Gil: Looks like he decided on the wrong time to make a leap of faith.
How many angels can dance on the head of a pin? I don’t know. But it sure is unseemly to watch eight broadcasters trying to dance around an obvious issue with right front tires without putting any blame on Goodyear.
Was Brad Keselowski purposely trying to block Edwards for the last few laps as Stewart reeled in the No. 99 car?
Darrell Waltrip is just never going to admit that Bobby Allison had one more Cup victory than him, is he?
Mr. Stewart, as always I’m here to help. How did you lose that race? You had a real fast car in the clean air at the front of the pack most of the day. Then you left pit road with an airgun still attached to your left rear wheel, at which point you fell back in the pack after your “Drive-Thru” penalty. On the next stop, your crew chief made an enlightened gamble to go with two tires which put you back out front. Once again, with clean air on the nose you were untouchable even while you had only two new tires and the rest of the pack had four. But that two-tire call forced your hand on a long green-flag run, making four tires a necessity for your final stop. That dropped you to fourth, without the clean air your car craved meaning a surge back to second was a pretty fair accomplishment – certainly nothing to pout about. Anything else I can help you with?
Wow, Robby Gordon is really getting impatient. He couldn’t even wait to get out on the track before hitting something this weekend.
We’d been told the new FR9 Ford engine was going to help even the tables of parity this year, particularly because of its efficient cooling traits. When Sunday’s weather was a bit cooler than predicted, the No. 99 team was able to add more tape to the grille and gain their driver some speed and front downforce.
As the battle lines between the electronic (internet) media and the old school (“journalism majors”) media covering NASCAR heated up this week, my favorite quote by a local (Philly market) trained professional and in this case a journalism professor for three decades was… “I suspect many of those cheering and clapping for Bayne are dot.com reporters and bloggers who’ve had none or little training in journalism.” None? Really. I’d have gone with “little to no” but then I’m just a fan of the English language, Bill. Oh, and by the way I read the column on a website that has little to none name recognition. My second favorite moment was someone who works for FOX trying to teach us punks anything about a lack of bias.
The Hindenburg Award For Foul Fortune
It was a miserable weekend for Las Vegas native Kyle Busch. On Saturday, he had a quick car but after a pit stop problem made an unwise move on a restart, diving from the top groove of the track to the apron with nary a glance in the rear-view mirror. Afterwards, Busch actually admitted he drove into the grass and wrecked himself. On Sunday, he suffered a cut down right front tire (hardly an exclusive club) and hit the wall. The car was able to continue, albeit at reduced speed before suffering terminal engine meltdown in spectacular fiery fashion shortly thereafter. En route to a DNF, landing 38th in the final running order it was hard not to notice the fans were cheering as Busch drove the No. 18 to the garage. I’d say it’s official; Busch has inherited the mantle of the black hat from Jeff Gordon, who was cheered wildly last week at Phoenix. Gordon had inherited it from Earnhardt, who in turn was handed the hat by Darrell Waltrip back in the mid-1980s.
Speaking of Gordon, a right front tire failure of his own put him hard into the wall as the No. 24 team was enjoying a decent run. Last Sunday’s winner wound up 36th this time around.
Greg Biffle led 11 laps early, but then experienced some bizarre fueling issues on pit road due to the new refueling rig. Even with some lengthy stops, the team was failing to get the fuel cell full and the No. 16 Ford ran out of gas at one point. A normally taciturn Biffle was clearly boiling over, mouthing off at the crew on the radio en route to 28th, three laps down.
The “Seven Come Fore Eleven” Award For Fine Fortune
Denny Hamlin had to start shotgun on the field after an engine change but drove his way to a respectable seventh-place finish.
Pole sitter Matt Kenseth had the fastest car in every practice session as well as very early in the race. But then came another ugly Goodyear tire failure; he fell two laps off the pace, then had to wait nearly 170 circuits to get back on the lead lap. An eleventh-place finish is OK, but dreams of what might have been are tough on a driver with the fastest car in the field. There’s a lot of that going around lately…
Dale Earnhardt, Jr.’s car looked hopeless during most of the practice sessions, but his team found the magic for Sunday afternoon, allowing Junior to charge up to eighth.
Kurt Busch’s day took a decided turn for the worse when he spun out on lap 102 on cold tires. He rallied back to a ninth-place finish.
Race leader Edwards thought he heard something funny in the engine those last few laps, but it held on well enough to win the race.
What’s the Points?
Kurt Busch and Tony Stewart are now tied atop the standings. Carl Edwards and Juan Pablo Montoya are tied for third, seven points behind the leader. Ryan Newman rounds out the top 5, ten markers back from first.
It’s still early yet, but here’s some notable names needing to make up some ground: Jeff Gordon (19th), Kevin Harvick (20th), Jamie McMurray (29th), Greg Biffle (31st) and Jeff Burton (32nd). But if any of these are your favorite driver, do not panic. I repeat: do not panic. The season is three races old. Move along, people; nothing to see here in this section. Return to your homes and think warm, fuzzy thoughts. We’ll deal with the points maybe twelve races deep into the season.
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 one two and a half cans of adequately chilled generic stuff. The race gets an extra half can because I was fully expecting NASCAR to reach back into their bag of tricks and throw a debris caution with ten laps to go to spice things up.
Next Up – For reasons inexplicable to me, three dates deep into the season the series takes a weekend off. Racing resumes at Bristol a week from Sunday.
©2000 - 2008 Matt McLaughlin and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
Heard the DW triple B schtick in the house, turned the race on the tv while in the shop working and pretty much ignored the race all day. I would have been better off listening to “The Boneyard” on Satellite radio instead of putting up with the clowns on Fox.
It’s getting to the point this decades long fan doesn’t even want to come here anymore to see what I missed. I guess it will be up to RG and freinds to turn out the lights when they realize they have won, and find that what they were defending really is a steaming pile.
Rock on Matt, I’ll be here in two weeks, Same Matt time, Same Matt channel to get your take on this years spring edition of the “New and Improved” Bristol spring race. I predict all sizzle and no steak, with poopsicles for desert.
I watched the race from flag to flag, except for the 30 minutes in the middle when I washed the dishes. I do hate these aero races where the only opportunity to pass for the lead is on a restart or in the pit. What kept me watching was Tony leading and Junior in the top 5-10. It seems Junior was passing people for the third race in a row instead of being passed. Toward the end of the race my wife asked me why I was watching. She opined that nothing seemed to be going on. After a little thought I realized she was right. The good news for NASCAR is they compete with basketball and golf in the Spring, both of which seem even more boring and predictable than 13 lead changes in the pits.
Remember when they tried to sell the COT by saying it would solve the aero problem? LOL
I agree that there was very little passing on the track once the cars got strung out and you were right Matt, there were no passes for the lead (I don’t even count Stewart passing Gordon, that was on a restart).
The horror… the horror…
i got tired of hearing mcreynolds talk about trends. i was very surprised, also, that a mystery debri caution wasn’t thrown to tighten up the field and give stewart a chance to win, or even earnhardt.
wow matt, i expected you to crucify robby gordon this week in lieu of his indefinitate probation status.
Sorry, Matt: I know it’s a pretty sore subject anymore, but I just hafta comment on the journalist issue: “professional” vs. “citizen” (or whatever): I guess this bozo you mentioned would have us go straight to the horse’s a$$ (Oops, excuse me: horse’s MOUTH) at NA$CAR.com for the “Proper” information; just like we should go to Dan Rather, Anderson Cooper and Keith Olberman for the “Real” news without spin. I think the so-called “sports journalists” are now running scared just like their counterparts in the lamestream media. (sob, sob. poor fellows) Wake up, Gentlemen! We are finally fed up with your crap! We’ll now go somewhere we can TRUST for our news!
I really can’t complain about this race. It was so boring I fell asleep and missed most of it, so I didn’t see much to complain about.
“Was Brad Keselowski purposely trying to block Edwards for the last few laps as Stewart reeled in the No. 99 car?”
I said last week that on about lap 165 that when Jr. said to Steve that he was too loose on the start, & that Steve fixed it. Lance could not fix his car. This week Steve fixed it on lap 57, a much shorter amount of time to fix it. This is going the right direction. Jr. raced his way into the top ten from starts in the 30s for 2 weeks in a row. No one can say that he lucked into it or that Nascar gave him breaks. He raced his way up front! This is why I have said all along that he hasn’t forgotten how to drive! That is why I have been so upset that Rick didn’t use some of the money Jr. is bringing in to hire Addington or someone like him as his cc.
After JG spun out in this afternoon’s practice, when SPEED interviewed him, he said that that he has all new cars this year. Jr. had a new car for Daytona and it was wrecked. So all they could get for him was the car JG drove at Talladega last year. The HMS publicity department said in their race previews for Jr. that the car Jr. drove in Phoenix was the latest driven by JG last year in Phoenix. The car Jr. has this weekend in LV was last driven by JG in Dover last fall. Jr. is getting JG’s leftovers, including cc. This swap was all about making JG better, Jr. is just incidental. I also believe that since Jr. is bringing in the most money and JG only has an AARP charity, & the money Jr. is bringing in is going to fund JG’s new cars & cc.
Another Gem of an article Matt insert extreme sarcasm here
On a more important note, we need to talk about my girl Danica having her best ever finish in the Busch race and setting yet another historic record. Can we finally all admit that she is the greatest female driver to ever grace the sport and in time, she will prove to be one of the best ever?
So, for the record, are you happIER with Latarte or not?
On “this year’s first Matt’s “real passes” report.”
DW will NEVER admit he is one behind Bobby and will probably cry when Gordon passes him
Now Matt you know the tires blowing wasn’t a Goodyear problem…as RG would say insert extreme sarcasm here
I also watched only bit and pieces even tho the TV was on the whole race…too much effort for not enough payoff.
Danica Patrick is a good, competent journeyman race car driver. I enjoyed seeing her do well this weekend and hope she continues to improve at what she does. She still has not reached the level of Janet Guthrie who finished in the top 12 some ten times in her rookie season in Nascar…at the Winston Cup level, not in Busch. Time will tell.
Matt, I read your articles because of the way you break a race down. The definition you have of passing is a good one, and it does illustrate what is wrong with most of the NASCAR racing these days. NASCAR is getting closer to Formula 1 with no passing and the race is won by the research and development staff not the on track racing. I don’t buy into the tire problem this weekend being a Goodyear problem. I think a tire problem that results in a mandatory caution every 10 laps as was the case in the past is a Goodyear problem not what happened this past weekend. Ford will be unstoppable on the mile and one half tracks this year and could be enough to make Carl Edwards the champion. This next week being an off week is a mistake.
Last I checked, top 4 is higher than top 12.
I dunno, I’m not a doctor though.
RG you weekly show what an ass you are with your asinine comments. NO SARCASM needed.
Thank you for using “McTracks,” Matt.
Now, as Susan suggested, I shall have a drink because I am convinced there is a conspiracy to steal my booze a bit at a time whilst I am not looking. It is the only way I can figure it keeps disappearing like it does. :)
And, if you are going to point out that you’re not a doctor at least follow it with “but I did stay in a Holiday Inn last night”.
Oooh… nice… asinine. Someone got a word of the day calendar for his birthday.
Matt writes you personal notes?! That’s awesome! How come he doesnt write me any? Is it because you are a chick (we will leave all speculation about Matt’s sexuality alone for now… although I have a few opinions if anyone wants to hear them).
It is nice to hear that someone other than myself realizes that Matt hates the sport that he covers. Like I said before, that sounds like a pretty crappy job to me. That’s like being allergic to peanuts and working for planters all your life.
GO DO SOMETHING ELSE!
On a related note, I guess Matt’s job at FS is safe. With his distaste for everything Nascar related, there seems like there is very little possibility that he will get caught clapping or cheering when someone wins a race.
You don’t need to be a doctor to come up with an explanation for that… because there is a significant percentage of long-time fans that feel the same way.
RG…is that for Robby Gordon or Randy Goldman? Oh, don’t matter they probably are the same. And I don’t think Danica would admit to being YOUR girl! By the way Matt, if your article is so bad, why would anyone read it continuously?
Always brightens my day to see newbie fans making fools of themselves. Keep up the good work Matt.
To clarify the Danica 4th place finish, FUEL STRATEGY. Last I checked that aint real racing.
Awful race coverage yesterday. One car, in car, seeing most things happen in replay.
Sad news – DW just got a contract extension through 2014. He and rusty can annoy me on their respective networks unless I finally give up watching races on Fox or ESPN.
I’ve been thinking of just keeping my high speed internet access and following the races via trackpass and twitter. I get better information on what’s happening and I wouldn’t need to wear out my mute button PLUS I’d save money on the cable side of things.
Oh, I didnt know that fuel strategy didnt count. Thanks for the clarification. So I take it Nascar has a plan in place to take back all of the trophies previously given out to drivers that have won races because they gambled on fuel?
I think they should take all of that prize money and do something useful with it, like donate it to the Victory Junction Gang.
Or better yet, we can help put Matt M. through culinary school so he can move on to a different vocation.
Matt, you’re right on again.
Oh Lordy, I just saw the dreadful news about DW’s contract extension. What is FOX thinking? Sigh, another two years of his and Larry Mc’s incessant droning. On the bright side, it doesn’t take as long to watch a race when you fast forward through their chatter and the commercials too.
Time to overhaul the mute button on my remote. Mr. “Reason for the Past Champs Provisional” signed a 2-year contract extension. That means BBB til 2014. GAG
Danica was a top ten finish that became a 4th on fuel strategy.
Last time I checked that is real racing
Please tell me the info about DW signing an extension on his contract is not true. I was sure in my mind that the people at FOX would see that by far the most POLARIZING person on TV had run it’s course. I don’t dislike him as a person but as a broadcaster I can’t stand him anymore. His many shortcomings and arrogant, abrasive persona,has alienated a huge number of fans.Evidently Mr. Hill never watches his own broadcasts, listens to the fans, or reads these type of articles or bogs. It’s a very SAD day!!!
One top 4 versus 10 top 12s. Busch versus Cup…even the village idiot can figure that one out…..then again, maybe not.
DW thought Carl was snapping a 70-something winless streak.
That shows right there what the reality is.
And poor O’le DW can’t figure out why he didn’t make Na$crap’s hall of fame last year. Maybe the fan vote had something to do with it, and will again this year. He’s as delusional as MaryBeth, and her delusional excuses for Dale Jr.
Who is the “better” broadcaster, DW or Mikey Waltrip?
PLEASE take both Waltrips out of the broadcast booth. My mute button gets a workout when they are on the air. And a contract extension – dear God in Heaven…..
Dw is a legend in his own mind. Maybe ratings are down and have been going down because of that a-hole.
I fear for the Phoenix repave/reconfigure after Sunday’s single file parade. I’ve got tickets to the Nov race, and it will be disappointing if it too is a snooze fest. I went to Vegas in 2007, and it was a decent show…I guess rule changes are the culprit.
Good article Matt, the race was just as bland as you described it, 1 pass for the lead in a race that long is exactly whats wrong with nascar, theres just no racing at most of 1 1/2 mile tracks. Is it just me or does it seem like the worse the race is the more we see randi & his little gang in the comments section telling us how great nascar is ? Not jmo, Danica is not even an average driver yet, her record speaks for itself.