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 April 18, 2011
The Key Moment – It came right down to those final few inches when Dale Earnhardt, Jr. pushed Jimmie Johnson across the line .002 seconds ahead of Clint Bowyer.
In a Nutshell – A nice payoff after a long afternoon of mediocrity.
Dramatic Moment – If Hollywood tried scripting a stock car race where eight drivers all finished within two car lengths of each other, nobody would buy the script.
What They’ll Be Talking About Around the Water Cooler This Week
If these guys aren’t going to race until the final five to ten laps, then why is the race 188 laps long?
Did it look to anyone else like Jimmie Johnson got his left front tire down below the yellow line trying to advance past Harvick in the tri-oval on the final lap?
Should drivers be able to talk to any other driver they want during a race? That seems to be the nature of the new beast. But they shouldn’t be looking down to search for a new frequency at 190 MPH anymore than you or I should be texting on the Interstate. My recommendation is the spotters haul a big old radio up to the stand and when their driver asks to speak to somebody else, let those spotters dial in the new frequency.
So which is the worse evil, the new two-by-two racing of this year’s Daytona 500 or the old 40-car pack? Oddly, while most drivers seemed to hate the old pack racing, they seem to dislike the new style even worse.
What got into Kurt Busch Sunday? Or maybe I should ask what didn’t Kurt Busch get into? He was Talladega’s Top Gun … venturing near his car was a good way to end up in the Danger Zone.
I’ll tell you what bunch of folks must really hate this new two-by-two racing: the sponsors. When a driver is pushing another driver his car, and thus the logos on it, are all but invisible.
Dale Earnhardt, Jr.’s take on this new type of racing at Talladega and Daytona? Well, he was pretty succinct: “This is a bunch of crap.” At least he can afford the 50 grand fine he’s likely to secretly receive this week.
It didn’t appear Kasey Kahne’s car got hit hard enough to trigger the sort of blaze he was forced to escape. (Oh, and where were the fire crews?) Perhaps an unintended side effect of the new fueling system is it allows gas to be pushed out the filler cap when a car is struck in that area?
Michael Waltrip is apparently slated to drive some sort of Ferrari at Le Mans later this year. Why? It can’t be based on the two top-5 finishes he’s managed in 42 Cup road course starts. The guy usually looks like a monkey trying to hump a football at the wheel of a Cup car on a road course.
The Hindenburg Award For Foul Fortune
Dave Blaney had a career run going and even led stretches of the race before getting wrecked out late by none other than Kurt Busch. He ended the day in 27th.
Trevor Bayne, Brad Keselowski, Kasey Kahne, David Ragan and Macros Ambrose (all of whom had led the race) were gathered up in the “big” wreck on lap 90 when Keselowski’s teammate Kurt Busch hooked him.
Mike Wallace took the wildest ride of the weekend on the last lap of Saturday’s Nationwide race. Wallace, who had recently led, wound up rolling over onto his roof and back onto four wheels – at which point he drove off and finished the race in 18th.
Despite a great ending to his day, Jeff Gordon sounded miserably ill after the race and eager to depart after offering Mark Martin some kudos. (Did I see Gordon putting his kids into a minivan, and a Toyota minivan at that after the race?)
The “Seven Come Fore Eleven” Award For Fine Fortune
The winning duo of Johnson and Earnhardt managed to survive a close call early in the race when they collided trying to miss Brian Vickers’ car. Earnhardt also had to overcome radio problems that plagued his team most of the day; in the end, helping Johnson left the No. 88 sitting fourth.
Ryan Newman made two incredible late-race saves after having his car knocked out from underneath him at speed in about as many laps. While he finished 25th, he did wind up still on the lead lap instead of on his roof or in the fence – what is often his fate in these type of restrictor plate events.
Jeff Burton also made a beautiful save after getting knocked sideways onto the apron.
What’s the Points?
Carl Edwards remains atop the championship standings. He’s five points ahead of Johnson, who moves up two spots to second. Earnhardt, Jr. moves up three spots to third, 19 markers behind while Harvick moves up five spots to fourth. Kurt Busch rounds out your top 5 this week.
Further back, brother Kyle Busch fell four spots to sixth in the standings after getting wrecked by his teammate Logano. Ryan Newman sits seventh, while Matt Kenseth tumbled five positions to eighth. Juan Pablo Montoya and Clint Bowyer round out the Chase spots, with Paul Menard on the outside looking in by three points. Tony Stewart remains in the doldrums and fell another two spots to twelfth.
By the way, everyone from ninth-place Montoya on back is already more than a full race’s worth of points out of the lead. That means Edwards would have to stay home, engage in a spirited game of trackside Frisbee or have his mom cook him lunch for them to catch up.
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 a four. Any plate race where nobody gets hurt and nobody gets into the fence is automatically awarded a can. The finish was a classic, but the first two hours were pretty tedious.
Next Up – The Cup series takes a week off as Christian fans celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Racing resumes at Richmond on Saturday night, April 30th.
©2000 - 2008 Matt McLaughlin and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
I was all set to actually sit in front of the big screen today and catch all the action live, but after tuning in to Saturdays race the “Oh crap, I forgot about the new rules and tag team racing” set in and I made other plans. I got back later in the day and fast forwarded to the last ten laps, but even watching the first 178 laps at 1000mph was boring as hell.
I also noticed JJ going below the double yellow line, and thought “what would Nascar do if it was Robby Gordon?
This new tandom racing is akin to making a new rule for the Olympics where the 440 will be run three legged style with tandom teams and gunny sacks. I predict a drop in ticket renewals at the plate tracks until this is fixed. Talk about monkeys playing with footballs, first they tear up Bristol then implement these new rules that make the racing even worse than the big packs, and not any safer in my opinion.
Is the trophy awarded today going to be inscribed with Jimmy Earnhardt? You could even hear the radio chatter from Hendricks after the win where someone said they both won.
Anyone else notice that they had ads covering up the empty seats today, AT TALLEDEGA!!!!! The end is nigh, Bristol and Talledega can’t draw enough fans to fill the stands, two of the three that used to be must see and attend venues. I even noticed on the home page here at Frontstretch last week that Kansas will now sell individual tickets to the Cup races. Used to be you could only buy the package deal and had to bend over and kiss the ring of the ISC boss to enter the gates, but now they are crying for people to come on down, we love you long time and will sell you one ticket. I say that I will fart in their general direction and say go pound sand. You would not sell me single event tickets in the past, so I hope your stands are half full for your 2 races this year.
OMG JJ won a race without getting a yellow flag “lucky dog” from nascar?
I really loved that mystery debris caution with 24 to go. Seemed all the Hendrick cars weren’t in the lead pack and the race was threatening to stay green to the end. Did I miss something? I really thought NASCAR had stopped that little practice because people were so vocal about race manipulation. The end was exciting but contrived.
I give it 3 cans just for the ending. But it was warm beer because I had to wait to open them until the race started on lap 180. Man, shot-gunning 3 warm beers in 8 laps is rough. Buuuurrrp.
Re: Gordon and the Toyota… I’d bet that was a driving service. I doubt he drove his own car to Talladega.
Re: Newman saving his car… it looked like he stopped on track to bring out a caution. Didn’t someone else just get penalty for that a couple of races ago?
Earnhardt nailed it – “it is a bunch of crap”.
I was never a big fan of RP racing and I didn’t think it could get much worse than it was when big packs ruled the day, but NASCAR has found a way.
And did anyone notice how prevalent driving at the back for the first 150 laps has become? It is definitely the smart thing to do with this current package and style of racing. I see nothing to be gained by mixing it up with close-quartered racing for the first 150 laps. (Of course that’s not really new, that’s always been the case at RP tracks. DJ did it an won almost a decade ago.
At least we can look forward to one of the best tracks on the circuit in three weeks.
The caution brought out by Newman’s stop was actually caused by a tire failure on Montoya’s car. Newman did stop and a caution was thrown but it was because Montoya was spilling tire debris all the way down the backstretch.
I think Johnson’s fall below the yellow line was allowed because he didn’t advance his position while below the yellow line. As I understand the rule, a car cannot advance a position below the yellow line. In Johnson’s case if he went below the line, he didn’t advance a position until he was back above it. The yellow line is only out of bounds when you advance a position.
WTH do you people want? I’m about as “old school” as anyone but if you can find fault with 88 lead changes at the line and over 1,000 for the top spot overall & .002 seconds MOV, you NEED to find something else to do. If nothing else, the skill factor and the mental toughness of those you love to hate is amazing. And I am just as critical of some of the things NASCAR does as anyone but how does a sanctioning body dictate how drivers race? It may “suck” per Jr., but I see most of you are hanging around for the finish. Must be somewhat interesting. And the Newman caution wasn’t for Newman. It was for the shreeded tire on the 42 car. Yellow line? Gimme a break! Ain’t wild about JJ and Jr. but the #5 forced what little “line” action there was. Aw shucks! Just watch the Golf Channel if you’re bored. That will surely get your motor running.
With ALL THE EMPTY SEATS it looks like the fans are voting on this new RP racing and it is WE DO NOT LIKE IT.
I would only give two cans of goat p?ss, that was a sorry excuse for 499 1/2 miles with a great last 1/2 mile.
To hear the booth talk on friday Joe Nemacheck and Kevin Conway are two of the great guys in nascar. Joe does the most with the least, no mention of him only running 10% of the race for the last 3 years. So he can qualify with and race with a qualifing engine that only has to run a lap or two on race day. And then there is Kevin who no one in the garage can say a bad word about, but who’s sponser is being sued by two different race teams for lack of payment. Sounds like one hell of a guy.
I also would like to give a shout out to Dave Blaney and Mike Wallace, both had good runs ended by wrecks. And ended up costing them more to race then the start and parks made for showing up. GO Figure.
^^^ My comment above^^^
I remember Stewi forcing the “action” on Regan Smith a few years back. How’d that work out for Regan?
JJ should not have won. Crossing the yellow is crossing the yellow, unless eveidently, you’re JJ. Six inches or the entire car, if you advance your position as a result of dipping below, you get penalized. Unless you’re JJ.
And sorry about the ^^^ My comment^^^ above. My previous comment did not post.
turned it on with 6 to go intending to watch the dvr and avoid the jackassery. watched the finish and went back to the dvr increasing the speed every couple of minutes all the way up to plaid when it was plain to see there wasn’t much to the product. This should have been a 25 lap race. For all the press that the sport is going to get for having tied the closest finish (but with 8… um.. 4..) 4 pairs of cars there’s no race next weekend. But that’s prolly ok because few people are going to sit through 3 hours of riding to watch 3 minutes of good racing.
2 cans of bitter brew.
This 2 car tango does suck for 170 laps, but man when they decided to go for it the racing was amazing. I guess they would do the same under the old pack racing too. Then you would see 40 cars going single file for 50 or 60 laps, then going crazy at the end. My biggest continuing gripes with 2 by 2 is that you really need to take 2 cars to victory lane now. You needed help before to win a plate race but this takes it to a whole new level. Also, it makes the pit crews irrelevant. I noticed all day the Hendrick cars would wait a lap to pit to guarantee they could line up next to each other on restarts. In the end, an amazing finish and this is plate racing until they change the noses.
I thought the same thing about the debris caution. It reminded me that, a couple of years ago, the hypocrites at Fox made a big deal that they were going to make sure that they showed the debris that caused each caution.
This was in response to everyone’s suspicion about the debris cautions. I then remember that it sure did not last long before they quit this.
Anyone besides me who was watching Dale Jr.‘s DirecTV channel say “what” when he radioed his crew chief with “Crew Chief”..during a caution?.. I love the guy but your telling me you don’t know or remember who the guys name is?? Just thought it was pretty funny..I also wished Menard finished better, he rode in the top 10 all day just didn’t have anyone to push him like he needed.
If they’re going to race in pairs they should qualify in pairs. Start either 42 or 44 “race” cars.
If one partner is out should the other one be out too? How do they decide who the next partner is?
Shouldn’t the pushing car get the win too? You don’t have one without the other.
The ARCA race Saturday morning used old Cup racers and looked like the old Talladega. You gotta love Maryev.
The F1 race was the best in years, the Indy race not so much.
I watched the final 12 laps. The tag team tango has got to go.
We agree with most of the remarks above,but sorry we did see the debris on the track. Was a piece of metal ,so could have caused more big time problems. Can see it is a really a ‘thinking mans ‘race. But the ending was FANTASTIC!!!!
At least with the pack racing you saw drivers individually going for the win at the end. This was a joke. I hope JJ enjoys his first plate race win because he didn’t deserve.
What we’re talking about around the water cooler this week (other than work, of course)…
The FR9 engine may be just what the Ford teams needed, but the restrictor plate is the grand equalizer. Yesterday and during qualifying, it was the Hendrick cars that had the horsepower when it mattered.
Is Dale Earnhardt Jr. merely a race apparel salesman for Rick Hendrick? It was stated that the #88-#48 tandem, with Junior in front, was faster than with Johnson in front. Yet when the final laps were run, it was Johnson who was in front. Then again, it was DW that made the comment, so maybe it was pure BS.
Great final 5 laps. The rest of the race, while somewhat entertaining, was pretty pointless unless you happened to be in the vicinity of the #22.
@Moddog: The people on this “forum” arent happy unless they have something to complain about. Dale Jr could win the race on 2 wheels while spinning out Jimmy Johnson and kissing a puppy at the same time and they would say “eh, i’ve seen better.” I guess when you get old and no one cares about your opinion you have to find some outlet. Thank god Al Gore invented the internet.
Side note: Can we all finally agree that Trevor Baine and the Wood Brothers got lucky at Daytona? The kid (and the car) has sucked ever since.
WE agree with most all of the remarks above,but did see the ‘debris’. It was a strip of metal.Could have caused more problems. Think some one called it a ‘ thinking mans’ race ,which we would have to agree with. But the ending was FANTASTIC!!!
seems easy enough to fix — make every team add a strip of Bear Bond to the front and rear bumpers
Yes Bette – The metal piece was one debris – I think everyone is talking about the un-shown debris after that one. How about those 40 second pit stops – everyone waiting for their dance partners…zzzzzzzzz
moddog – right on!!
Things change people, it’s part of life. If you don’t like it, go back to living in caves and trying to figure out how two rocks make fire when knocked together.
Matt….great comments about POS driving or trying to drive the Ferrari at LeMans. Remember, last season at Sonoma, he was wheeling that ToJo Sponsafier-ride and couldn’t even get it into the race. He did another one of his famous…“I Hit-The-Hauler”.
Loved how drafting partners, especially Reuti, wouldn’t get close to him at Dega. I guess they didn’t want to move the “wall”, once again!
Waltrip’s road course stats aren’t actually that bad. He’s good at surviving and getting a decent finish on them, which is all that’s really needed at an endurance race.
Why does NASCAR/FOX have a silly nickname for EVERYTHING? If I have to hear “2 car tango” or “dancing partner” one more time…
Am I the only one who noticed Edwards driving at the end of the race? If Harvick had not made a quick move to the left, half the winners would be wreckers at the checker.
After attending 27 straight years at Talladega I never thought I would tape the race and find something else to do on these two Sundays. Everybody has their own reason for not going but mine is I just don’t care to see a race that has more to do with a rules package than driver skill. Oh well.
Randy Goldman: of course Trevor Bayne’s win at Daytona was lucky (look at Derrick Cope in 1990) and the Wood’s Bros cars have been decent since Daytona … ya just gotta remember Bayne is a rookie.
Frank J you need to loosen up. It’s called humor. Jr didn’t forget his crew chief’s name (what was his name anyways lol). JJ was telling Chad during the race he wants to listen to Jr all the time because he’s so funny and in the post-race interviews Rick Hendrick was saying how Jr and Lance were good friends and are hanging out.
Just wondering if Kurt Busch had a really bad day punting everyone around or does it have to do with the Dodge front end. Don’t recall him spinning everyone at Daytona and he finished well there but it didn’t seem like the other Dodges (Kesolowski and R. Gordon) had a problem pushing other cars.
Yes, it was an exciting finish but I would prefer to see the plates go away and they figure out another way to slow them down and out of the fence.
PS: desperately seeking Susan and her strong opinions. Where are you babe?
I’d rather see the two-car thing than the 30-car rush hour traffic pack. Neither is great, but at least now there isn’t a parade of cars riding around in 2 lines. You gotta remember, most of the previous plate races were decided before the last lap. Nobody would pull out to pass because they were more interested in a good points finish than winning. At least this two-car crap gives some side by side by side by side racing at the end.
RP’s suck, plain and simple. But we’re never going to get rid of them.
Good Lord! My first time to this site… What a bunch of whiners! They ain’t taking off the restrictor plates, so get over it. This is only 4 races out of the 36… and the only 4 like this in the world per year, and it’s brand new. Why in the @*&^$%! would you want to change it to be like every other 1.5M race?
Author might want to take an actual survey of drivers before pronouncing that they like big pack racing better than this. The only ones who voted through the media said they didn’t like it. The ones who liked it, discussed the details of the race (probably because it was intense and enjoyable)… but at least the author’s comment ticked me off enough to post a comment, I suppose…
Lastly, I was there. Top row in the Tri-Oval Tower listening to the #29 and #36 or #33 on the scanner the entire race. And I will tell you, that was awesome… communication between the spotters and drivers was constant (vs. a place like Martinsville in the fall where there was nothing but silence). Strategies, bargaining, cursing teammate’s spotters, owners coming on breaking up arguments… Now, I might can see how the excitement doesn’t translate to TV all that well, and DW doesn’t help one bit… but don’t knock it, pal, before you try it. A lot of sports don’t televise as well as in person. This type of racing is sweet and these are the only drivers talented enough to make it happen.
I guess if you think it’s ok to give up on winning, and settle for pushing your teammate across the finish line is ok, then this 2-car pack racing is ok. But I don’t. And that’s exactly what Junior did yesterday, in my eyes. While racing like that might get you handed the checkered flag from the winner, it won’t get you a win or a championship.
And robbiejr – According to a post-race interview, it was Junior’s plan to push himself & the 48 to the front then have the two of them go at it for the checkers, it just didn’t play out that way.
If these guys aren’t going to race until the final five to ten laps, then why is the race 188 laps long? The four Hendrick cars were clearly the class of the field. They made a mockery of this type of “racing” by laying back until the final 20 lap heat race began. I have never been in favor of shortening races you could cut 450 miles from this race and not miss a thing unless you count a unnecessary Big One. It’s like the NBA all you have to do is watch the last two minutes of the game!
The new term for RP racing is “Brokeback Racing”. You don’t need to be Fellini to figure that one out.
And how about Mikey’s comment about Andy Lally “being cute”?
As slow as the qualifying and race speed were I could’ve taken Bobby Allison’s 1968 Mercury out of a museum, run that, and probably have won the race with it.
This “race” didn’t even qualify as one can of warm spit. Get rid of the RP’s, quit tinkering with the rules, and let them actually race for 500 miles instead of looking like dogs out on the track sniffing each other’s rear ends.
For you JJ fans and defenders: I watched the yellow line infraction again, and he was passing at the time of the violation. You all are as blind as NASCAR to anything JJ does.
I just want to thank NASCAR! THANK YOU NASCAR for the new rules package for plate tracks! Why Thank You? Because you have save me a GREAT amount of time and money!!! I no longer need to waste my time watching this garbage, nor will I even consider spending hard-earned money going to one of these deals. Even my 8-yr old son, a “die-hard” Earnhardt Sr (RIP) and Jr fan, told me on Sunday he’d rather watch grass grow. Sorry NASCAR, bring back real racing and you’ll bring back real fans…….
Boring, boring, boring, thats what the 1st 185 laps were, great finish to a very boring race, anybody who thinks 88 lead changes means anything in this so called racing doesn’t have a clue as to what real racing is. 1 can of warm beer for this 1, a 3 lap race doesn’t make up for 185 laps of follow your partner till your car gets too hot…