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
Tuesday March 4, 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 March 21, 2011
The Key Moment – Kyle Busch’s team got the No. 18 car off pit road first on the final stop and while Carl Edwards and Jimmie Johnson kept him honest at the end there was no catching Busch.
In a Nutshell – Sunday’s race struck a nice balance between “traditional” Bristol (wreckin’) and “new” Bristol (racin’).
Dramatic Moment – While there was some good racing throughout the event my nod goes to the first fifteen laps after the tenth restart with some of the sport’s biggest stars all seemingly in contention for the win until Busch checked out.
What They’ll Be Talking About Around the Water Cooler This Week
So maybe this is why NASCAR used to run mainly on the short tracks and not the super-speedways? Tear down Fontana and turn it into a moderately banked three quarter mile tri-oval.
It sure did seem Jimmie Johnson got away with moving awfully fast down pit road during that last sequence, didn’t it?
Sunday’s race length (just under three hours) was just about perfect. I feel that’s the target NASCAR should be shooting at most weekends. Now if we could just get FOX to present a race that started on time and didn’t basically serve as a “Tribute to DW.”
Man, what’s with Mark Martin running into the back of people this season? He used to race so clean.
Tires, tires and more tires. It doesn’t seem fair that teams should practice and qualify on one type of tire, then be forced to race that same weekend on a completely different sort with very limited practice to feel out the new rubber. On the other hand the “new” tires that were scrapped weren’t rubbering down the track. Instead they were being ground to dust bringing back memories of that debacle at the Brickyard a few years back. In one of those “damned if they do, damned if they don’t” situations,, Goodyear at least tried to rush rubber to the track that would allow fans to see some decent racing. But with the tires run Sunday at Bristol originally slated for use at Fontana next weekend, will there be enough to go around (no pun intended) next week?
It’s a little worrisome when drivers including Jimmie Johnson are saying that clean air up front makes all the difference…at a short track!
Yeah, I know it’s the fourth biggest sport’s facility in the country and that many people didn’t attend every basketball tournament game held today combined but the crowd at Bristol looked pitiful to be kind. Mike Mulhern of Mikemulhern.net is reporting some area hotels were asking 385 dollars a night. That’s sort of a deal killer for race fans right now.
Jennifer Jo Cobb and the Nationwide team she was driving for, Second Chance Motorsports, spilt Saturday after a bizarre disagreement shortly before the race began. Cobb said she was told about ten minutes before the race that she was to start and park the car. She refused to start the car and walked off with her crew chief and other crew members who were on her payroll, not the team’s. While edgy, I think Cobb made the right call career-wise. It was a bit unusual to see a fully prepared race car sitting there ready to go but with no driver as a race began. Unsubstantiated rumors on Twitter claim some of the team members leaving the pits when Cobb decided to withdraw were threatened with a jack handle.
The Irish will have to live without Saint Patrick’s day for another year, and ESPN will have to live without their Saint Danica Patrick, patron saint of Saturday ratings, until Chicagoland in June. Ms. Patrick exited the scene with yet another wrecked race car and some angry gesturing towards another driver whom she felt was at fault. Frankly the replay was inconclusive and while Ryan Truex might have drifted down a few feet it surely appeared Patrick’s car had lost front end grip and she was moving up the track when the collision occurred.
The Hindenburg Award For Foul Fortune
Brad Keselowski had a miserable day, wrecking twice in the first 140 laps.
It was bad enough Tony Stewart had to run into a wreck not of his own making spoiling his day, but the car he ran into was one he also owned.
Clint Bowyer didn’t just lose an engine, he reduced it to bite size bits smaller than breakfast cereal.
The “Seven Come Fore Eleven” Award For Fine Fortune
It was a pretty good weekend overall for Busch with victories both days and the announcement of an extension with his sponsor.
Bobby Labonte had a strong run going until Paul Menard spun him. Labonte kept the car off the wall and rallied back to a thirteenth place finish.
Edwards looked great in Friday qualifying and at the start of the race but at the midpoint his car was badly off-song. He returned strong in the closing segments to finish second.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. got nabbed speeding on pit road (maybe he was trying to keep up with Johnson?) and lost a lap. He managed to get it back and drove on to an eleventh place finish, narrowly missing a third straight top 10 finish. He had to miss the lap 28 wreck just to finish the race.
Kevin Harvick got plowed into from the rear during the eighth caution period and his car suffered extensive damage. He was able to rally back to a sixth place finish.
What’s the Points?
Kurt Busch remains atop the points standings. Carl Edwards rose a spot to second and trails Busch by a mere point.
Teammates Ryan Newman and Tony Stewart are tied for third, twelve points out of the lead. Paul Menard rounds out the top 5 two points behind Stewart and Newman.
Kyle Busch’s win propels him forward eight spots to sixth while Jimmy Johnson rose five spots after Bristol to seventh.
Denny Hamlin’s tough day dropped him nine spots to seventeenth.
While it is insanely early to be worried about points at the top, some name teams have got to sweating a little this week. After California next week any team not in the top 35 in owner’s points will have to qualify with the go or go-home outfits at the end of qualifying sessions. Given an early exit at Fontana and unexpectedly good luck by some smaller outfits, they may find themselves in an embarrassing predicament. Teams that should be sweating it include the 31, the 7, the 20 and the 83.
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 four and a half cans. With side by side racing, passes for the lead and an outcome that was uncertain up until the last fifteen laps it was a good ‘un.
Next Up – Insomniacs rejoice! The Cup series heads back to Fontana, a less than compelling track but according to the track’s GM, a premiere shopping destination. You ought to be well rested next Monday morning.
©2000 - 2008 Matt McLaughlin and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
All hail King DW. Thank God for the mute button.
It’s nice to know I can get tickets to Bristol anytime I want. It looked like only 60% of the seats were filled. Oh how the mighty hath fallen.
The race was OK. If you compare it to races on 1.5+ mile tracks it was a “5”. If you compare it to classic Bristol races before the repaving it was a “3”. Either way, I’ll take Sunday’s race without complaining.
Bristol is definitely overpriced. I stopped going this year, over $400 to set up the camper for a week (with no sewer) even though you are only there 2 or 3 days and the tickets are ridiculous. I am going to Martinsville for a 1/5 of the cost for the weekend. People are getting tired of bending over for Bruton to go to his over-hyped track.
While I’m under no illusion that he will remain there, it sure is nice to see Bobby Labonte in 14th place in the points. Other than you, Matt, nobody else has mentioned him much at all.
I don’t think Robby Gordon is sweating falling out of the top 35 in points because he isn’t planning on running all the races this year. If Robby is worried about anything, it’s probably over the fact that he’s tearing up all his equipment.
What was with Ryan Truex taking all the blame for the wreck that ended Danica’s day? Replays clearly showed that Patrick came up the track into Truex moreso than Truex came down on her. Would he have been so apologetic if it had been any of the other racers? Has Ryan got the hots for the GoDaddy girl?
Finally…. I have a tremendous respect for Jennifer Jo Cobb. Whatever amount of money 2nd Chance Motorsports was paying Cobb, no way was it worth her dignity.
You we sure that was not Danica in the Go Daddy car?
Attendence was AWFUL this was probably the prettiest weekend in Bristol in over 15 years.
I enjoy the new Bristol and believe that it takes a lot more talent to race side by side for many laps without contact to make the pass, then having to use the bump and run. I also like to see green flag racing instead of caution filled laps.
I also agree with you and Matt
Friends and I quit going to bristol after the change and broke a 9 yr streak..Went there last spring, was in the area for work..Camped for $140(primitive) Busch Tic $10- Cup Tic $40(start/finish , 40 rows up…..never buy tics in Advance!
Oh, not the race. The race was awesome. I’m talking about Matt’s crappy column.
And really people, all we have to discuss on here is the price of tickets and how many people are in the stands. Did any of you even watch the race?! Pathetic!
Yeah a pretty much boring race, there is a reason why the stands were like they were, duh!!
I was surprised at how many empty seats there were on Sunday. I was at Sebring on Friday and Saturday for the 12 Hours, and it was the biggest crowd I’ve seen there in the 12 years I’ve been going (along with 54 cars, the biggest car count in a long time with big manufacturer support). This tells me the economy is starting to come back, but something is wrong in Nascar land.
Is there an implication that Johnson gets special treatment from NASCAR?
I watched an ESPN special on Tim Richmond a couple of weeks ago. I wonder if the same thing happened to another Hendrick driver, say Johnson, how NASCAR would react? Like Tim or like Magic?
It’s too bad they don’t use real race cars in Cup. It would be nice to have them race Modifieds or wedges or topless.
During the first set of pit stops the leader at the time Paul Menard had his car slip off the jack and lost 10 spots. Fox had the camera on him at the time and none of the 3 brainiacs in the booth ever mentioned why he fell back.
It’s been 25 years since Richmond’s era. I doubt that NASCAR could get away with the negativity that they did back then. First of all in was a new disease that no one understood and there was a greater level of fear associated with it as a result. Secondly, NASCAR wasn’t as worried about being pollitically correct as they are now. They might still react the same way and not let him race but they would talk a way better game and posture themselves to be much more supportive and empathetic (even though behind the camera’s eye there might not be much difference).
Like Edwards said in his interview after the race… I wish he would have paid back the favor he owes Busch from the deal at Phoenix. That would have made for a 6 pack or “instant classic”.
I was at the race this weekend. I have been to the spring race every year since 1995. They have ruined Bristol racing with the progressive banking. If you recall, the first race for the reconfigured track was the same year, the Car Tomorrow ran its first race at Bristol. Everyone left that day knowing something was definitely wrong. Was it the car or the track? I think the answer is the track.
So in 2007 we saw the first race on the reconfigured track. In 2009 while it was deemed a sell out, anyone that was there saw the writing on the wall (empty seats). Last year, 2010 was even worse, and was the first non sell out at Bristol in 55 straight races. Now in 2011, there entire sections that were empty. I am certain in the nearly 20 years now I have been going to Bristol, I have witnessed bigger Busch (yes Busch back then) crowds than the crowd there yesterday. Nascar, SMI and Darrell Waltrip can continue to blame the economy, gas prices, the weather and any thing else they can think of, but the problem with Bristol’s attendance has nothing to do with those things.
Love it or hate it, tight close quarter racing, beating and banging and the aftermath of a such a race, is what filled the seats for 55 races straight. Once those things went way, so did the fans.
Let me make it clear, I havent been going to Bristol for years to see wrecks. I went to see good hard nosed close quarter racing on a fast high banked one groove track. It made for exciting racing. Unfortunately a bi-product of that, was a lot of wrecks.
A trip to the track cost a lot of the money when figure, food, lodging, gas, tickets, etc… When the checkered flag drops and you feel like you didnt get your moneys worth, you start weighing the cost vs the entertainment value. Right now any fan investing in a weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway is NOT getting the best return on their investment.
This said, our group of 4 may be the last 4 in the stands if things continue to decline, because thankfully the weekend is not just about the race. Its a nice weekend away with my Dad and Son.
Bristol used to be one of the tracks you would want to take a someone that was not a fan of our sport to show them why we love racing. But now, if I took someone that asks, how can you sit and watch cars go in circles for hours, to Bristol, I wouldnt be able to defend that.
For those that dont follow DW on facebook or Twitter let me offer these quotes from DW yesterday.
“Bristol now produces “good” racing,old Bristol produced “bad” racing,more side by side racing,you can pass someone without wrecking them !” -DW
“gas is $3.75 a gal.we don’t have the extra cash laying around to spend on attending a race,its not the racing,its not Nascar,its the economy” -DW
“weather man saying it was going 2 rain all weekend hurt the walk up crowd today,those that were there say great racing and coverage was good” – DW
“let’s keep everything in perspective,the place holds a 166,000 people,today there was probably 100,000 people there,still a hugh crowd “ – DW
“Ive watched a bunch of basketball games this weekend,and I haven’t heard anyone complain about empty seats and bad camera angles,just sayn’” -DW
What’s that saying about opinions?
Matt guess you don’t understand timing lines. That probably explains why CHad picked what appeared to be a terrible pit box.
To each their own.
I personally love the progressive banking. There are now 2-3 grooves, and racers can “race” without knocking others out of the way to pass. “Racing” takes more skill than, “see car in front>hit car in rear bumper> move them/spin them>repeat. I realize the knuckle-draggers want wrecks and more wrecks, but multiple grooves separates the racers from the posers. If you want wrecks go to the demo derby at your county fair. A 2-3 grove track is superior to a 1 groove track. Green flag racing is better than a wreck-fest.
People forget that before the concrete was poured Bristol had side by side racing. It was the original concrete paving that turned it into a single line track.
We looked into going to Bristol this year but rooms were just rediculous. Rick (see above) is going to Martinsville. We are going to Nashville (yes we know it’s trucks and nationwide) It’s still good short track racing (although I would love to see them back at the fairgrounds.
i let my tickets go after the night race last year this is the first BMS i have missed in 32 years, reason the racin just aint the same and with a $1300.00 price for my 4 seats it just ain’t worth it
I guess I’m a knuckle dragger but I’m a proud one. I used to look forward to Bristol because even if your driver was caught up in a wreck, he could still win the race. It was exciting to see such close racing and watch the drivers use such finesse to pass cars.
Bump drafting didn’t mean you wrecked the car in front of you — well, not if you knew what you were doing.
Bristol is now just another track. I used to turn down invitations, even to family events, if Bristol was scheduled at the same time. I really miss that track. I’m glad the new fans enjoy it but I didn’t see their butts in the seats yesterday.
Progressive banking is like restrictor plates. It produces side-by-side racing, but it’s fake. For my money, I’ll take fake Talladega over fake Bristol any season. Of course, I’d prefer them taking the plates off and keeping a constant banking in the turns.
Dramatic move of the race: Kevin Harvick coming from the tail end of the lead lap to finish sixth in fifty or so laps with a wrecked racecar. Unfortunately, we didn’t see any of that drive except for crossing the stripe.
There was a lot of good racing yesterday. True it’s not like the old Bristol with the exciting finishes and short tempers. That’s why the stands are empty.
RandyGoldman is another Matt hater like Susan (or are they one and the same?). Good read Matt but I really miss psycho Susan … she really kept your column “alive” all week. Still time to chime in sweetie.
OMG this going to be another great week! Susan is back and she’s repeating her last post on Matt’s column from last week (which means she posted it earlier today). Someone’s yanking my chain. Susan can’t be a real person.
I think Dyno loves women (most likely his wife). He just doesn’t like pigs. Keep posting baby, you’re the best.
Careful what you wish for Gary, as you can see calling her sweetie got her so excited she had to copy/paste the same rant she posted at 12.30 this am on Matt’s AK story from last week, I think you made her feel liked..Anyway as my buddy aj said a couple comments ago, we stopped going after 9 years because the track got ruined when they re-did it, not even close to the same racing, but I do believe yesterdays race had its exciting moments its just too bad the TV coverage is getting worse each year or we might acually see some of the excitement as it happens, good read like usual Matt, I think 3 1/2 cans might have been more deserving for this one.OK suzie, get that keyboard a smokin !!!
LMAO, good one Gary…
I was wondering who the hell Dyno was when I couldn’t find any comment above Susan’s.
By any chance were you ever a teacher? Just wondering because you always seem to talk down to everyone (like you are the only adult in the room and the only one whose opinion matters) and, more importantly, you are always “right”.
BTW, thanks for the biology lesson. Can you explain genes and chromosome alignment so everyone can be bored some more?
Too much give and take…No one wants to watch a bunch of guys who race like they might take one…
we didn’t go to Bristol for the first time in about 10 years…the season tickets for Bristol cost more last year than my 3 Charlotte races, both Atlanta, fall dover and darlington…and that is just too much! Usually Bruton’s tracks are the least expensive and it is time for bristol to follow suit.
that being said…I agree with whoever posted that there was side by side before the concrete…watch any of Jr’s show “back in the day”??? Those big old boxes got 3 wide…AT BRISTOL!
Matt, I read your article and again I was enlightened and informed. I never want to see a driver or one of those magnificent machines hit the wall. The new track at Bristol allows for skilled race car drivers to show what they have with out doing someone wrong. I stopped going to Bristol in the late 80’s simply because every race was won by a Junior Johnson owned car. Old DW, that everyone seems to have an issue with, won the race so many times in a row that even Kyle’s success is pale in comparison. Bristol goes through different cycles. In the 60’s people in the top of the stands would throw their glass beer bottles down to the bottom of the stands with glass flying everywhere, and that was accepted behavior. If you don’t love Bristol now just be patient. Things will change for sure.
Not normally one to comment on another staff members’ article, but one particular comment about a tweet DW made caught my eye… he said gas was $3.75 a gallon? Maybe in Nashville, but I filled up in Baileyton (30 min. or so southwest of Bristol on the way home) and it was a mere $3.29. Where Bristol has screwed fans has been hotel prices and campground prices. Some of the hotels have reduced rates, but some are still price-gouging and NONE of the campgrounds are reducing rates… so as much as people want to blame the economy, it really has little, if anything, to do with it. It’s about 45% progressive banking, 45% campground and hotel price-gouging, and MAYBE 10% economy (and that’s being as generous as the listed attendance yesterday.) If they had 120,000 fans, then my aunt is my uncle…
I believe that if the 48 is discerning timing lines & getting away with passing others on pit road, then the others teams would be doing it too. Which asks the question, I believe the purpose of a pit road speed law is for the safety of and to protect the crews on pit road. So, if you can cheat using the ‘lines’ it is OK to risk the lives of crewmen…?
Using the lines is not cheating it’s using the rules to the fullest, neither is it blatant cheating if you don’t cover the distance between those lines in a time that equals greater than the speed limit for pit road.
Marybeth if you were actually watching the races, you would know they all do it. The TV points it out frequently. The last one I remember was JR complaining about Harvick speeding past him. It is not cheating when you are abiding by the rules. NASCAR makes the rules, the teams take full advantage. Some are just better than others.
Susan: No one here want’s to read your book and care less about what happened last week. Go crank up your vibrator and you’ll feel better. Jeez, get a grip.
I was thinking the exact same thing about Mark Martin. He used to be regarded as the cleanest driver on the track. But the past season and a half, he’s changed. Then again, he joined the dark side at HMS, so even the good guys can go bad! LOL
A lot of people here seem to be understandably disappointed with NASCAR racing lately—I too was a long-time fan who finally got disgusted enough with it to quit watching (still like to read Matt’s column though). Here’s a friendly suggestion: check out a Super Late Model race at a near-by short track. The racing is exciting, the prices are reasonable, and the drivers are genuine.
For instance, this past December’s Snowball Derby. Four days and three nights of great local-class and late model action ending with an awesome Super Late Model 300-lapper. Reserved seats for the entire event: $75. On-site RV spot with water: $125. There was more real racing action that weekend than in an entire Sprint Sup season.
There’s a big Super Late Model 300-lapper coming up next month at North Wilkesboro—how could that not be great? Just because the modern NASCAR has turned into a watered-down version of automotive rasslin’ doesn’t mean there’s no good stock car racing left. Try a SLM event—you won’t be disappointed.
Fairlane 63: good idea. I plan to go to Slinger Speedway in WI and catch some short track racing on the “mini-Bristol” during the summer. Just wished they raced on Sat night instead of Sunday night.
Well said Annie Mack!!
Where else can we read about primates, pigs, rapists, choking, sperm ‘n eggs, vibrators, Alcoholics Anonymous and placentas on a Nascar site? Why, right here on the FS.
You folks are fantastic, I love you all!
I need more popcorn.
Have to agree with Annie Mack too. Bristol was my weekend. No plans, no company, didn’t go anywhere – just Bristol. Not so anymore. But that attitude slowly came to be as the points racing mentality took over. It is more the points/ chase thing than the reconfiguation.
If more people went to a local short track, either dirt or pavement, and saw real racing instead of this crap NA$CAR feeds fans no one would watch NA$CAR.
I too quit watching NA$CAR years ago but do love MATT’s column.
Count me in as one who prefers races were you have to drive around the guy in front of you, not bump him out of the way.
“Paul Menard had his car slip off the jack and lost 10 spots. Fox had the camera on him at the time and none of the 3 brainiacs in the booth ever mentioned why he fell back.”
They also gave mention about the tire situation, but then never followed up about it towards the end of the race. Typical FOX. Never following up on stories unless it involves their favorites. And supposedly, Truex (Toyota) was the fastest car on the track yesterday according to DW.
Sounds to me like there was alot of price gouging going on in the Bristol area this weekend. That includes race tickets. No wonder the place looked half empty.
DW saying the coverage was good is laughable. The incar camera shot of Harvick in the last wreck took the cake. Cars are piling up behind him and we get a live incar shot of Harvicks car. Great production.