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 May 23, 2011
The Key Moment – Carl Edwards’ crew got him off pit road first after the final mandatory four-tire stop with ten to go. The No. 99 cruised to an All-Star Race victory from there.
In a Nutshell – For all the pre-race hype concerning bad tempers, revenge, no remorse, paybacks and the gloves being off it was a pretty sedate date at Charlotte Saturday night.
Dramatic Moment – This event was devoid of drama… utterly soulless without a hint of excitement.
What They’ll Be Talking About Around the Water Cooler This Week
How in the Hell did we allow the All-Star race to become such a bloated mess? Four hours? You’ve got to be kidding me. The first two Winstons lasted less than an hour. The original concept was simple: Drivers who won a points race the previous season qualified. That’s it; there were no “qualifier” races, past champion provisionals, or Fan Votes to take pity on others. Yet over the years, we have endured such gimmicks as field inversions, a do-over when Jeff Gordon wrecked in the rain, and giant pachinko machines. Can we trim the fat, please, and get back to a single 50-lap race for drivers who won a race the previous season that’s over in ninety minutes? Either that, or let’s just enjoy another weekend off.
Can you imagine if Edwards had actually managed to get his car over on the roof, as he felt it might end up while celebrating a victory? You know there’s something to be said for just driving to Victory Lane without the histrionics as if you expected to end up there.
Maybe they should have had *another fan vote Saturday night:*seeing what percentage of people wanted to use the giant remote to watch something else on the giant TV by the midway point of the All-Star Race.
An absolute minimal rule change I’d recommend if they want to continue this silliness next year: abandon the rule that requires all teams to stop for four tires prior to the final ten-lap segment.
I think I’ve had meaningful relationships that lasted a shorter period of time than driver introductions Saturday night.
So why wasn’t there more physical racing, fist fights and other such hooliganism Saturday night? As a crew chief once explained to me the afternoon before a Winston, “We don’t need that car next week, but I gotta have my driver in one piece and ready to go.”
Wow, what were the odds? Somehow Dale Earnhardt, Jr. made the field for the main event based on the fan vote. That was twice I was shocked out of my boots on Saturday. First, Junior made the field. Secondly that right-wing, media savvy nut job was wrong and the world, in fact, did not end; it just felt like it during driver introductions. (For the record, had the world ended at 6 PM Saturday the Motor Company would have been providing the Sweet Chariot to carry me home. I was somewhere north of Eagle on 100 at the time.)
The tedium wasn’t confined to Saturday, either. Friday, Kyle Busch won another Truck race with ease. If you didn’t see that coming, seek a second opinion from a passenger before driving through any railroad crossings. Clint Bowyer’s frustrated comments over the radio after the race were priceless.
Though it was a SPEED event (though it was hard not to notice all the cameras said “FOX” on the side) Saturday night’s event might have been a preview of on the on-air and pre-race lineup for FOX going into the future. That just makes me shudder in horror. We’re stuck with these Bozos through at least 2014.
OK, I’m off topic (and that’s never happened before) but this drives me nuts. Why doesn’t that moron cowboy in the Viagra ad just engage four-wheel drive in his Dodge to pull out of mud that is barely rim deep? Sure, unloading the horses is a more practical solution. Absolutely. And don’t even get me started on the idea of pouring ice cold water into the radiator of a badly overheated Camaro. It’s not like that would crack a head or blow a head gasket. And there’s no sense in checking for a blown hose, leaking water pump or stuck thermostat while you’re under the hood, right? You’re only driving back into the desert in a 42-year-old car, vulture-bait.
The Hindenburg Award For Foul Fortune
So Edwards wins the race with nary a scratch on the No. 99 car, but still manages to tear the front end completely out from underneath it with a celebratory spin through the grass after the win?
Kasey Kahne had a solid run going when he slipped up and nailed the wall.
Brad Keselowski lost his brakes early in the main event and was forced behind the wall.
Kurt Busch endured yet another one of those nights with a bad pit stop and a penalty for having his crew come over the wall too early. At one point, Busch was suggesting to his spotter he go have a boat drink. (I think a lot of folks at Penske South better hope the Captain wins the Indy 500. If he doesn’t, he’s likely to be in a bad mood this June and clean house in his stock car racing organization.)
A fat lot of good the fan vote did for Dale Earnhardt Jr. His car continued wallowing like a wounded walrus trying to get back to the sea all night long.
The “Seven Come Fore Eleven” Award For Fine Fortune
Kyle Busch didn’t win the All-Star race but he finally finished one. And the entire Busch family ought to be able to spend a much more pleasant Thanksgiving weekend this year as a result.
David Reutimann was able to capitalize on a spectacular effort by his pit crew on the final stop to drive on to a notable third-place finish.
Greg Biffle skated through several close calls en route to a fifth-place finish.
Jack Roush saw all four of his drivers manage a top 10 result in the big show. (And, as icing on the cake watched Nationwide driver Ricky Stenhouse claim his first win at Iowa on Sunday.)
What’s the Points? – This race is an exhibition and is pointless… increasingly so each year.
Overall Rating (On a scale of one to six beer cans with one being a stinker and a six pack an instant classic) — Give this one two cans for a thoroughly ordinary race. No race was going to live up to the network’s pre-event hype but this one was more sedate than most. Nice TV they built there at Charlotte, though. Will they tune it to Indy for early arrivals next weekend?
Next Up – From one of the shortest events of the year to the longest, the World 600 presented by some soft drink company or another. Oh, and I hear they’re having an open wheel race of some sort in the Midwest as well. Then there’s another open wheel race over in Europe on the streets of some ancient tax haven principality. Yep, Memorial Day weekend is the best weekend to be a race fan. Ladies and gentlemen, start your coffee makers.
©2000 - 2008 Matt McLaughlin and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
I don’t agree that the All Star race should only include the winners from the previous year. How many cars would that be? 12? Plus, the showdown was the better race. Keselowski’s pass between the grass and Ragan’s #6 was the best move of either race. Giving the knuckleheads a chance to get in the $1,000,000 show creates enough desperation to create some interesting drama.
I do agree with the rest of what you wrote. The All Star was damn boring and the mandatory 4tire at the end eliminated a race winning gamble or other questionable pit strategy. Charlotte is a good track for a long race but doesn’t lend itself to the 25 lap short runs of the All Star, at least with the COT. I’m surprised that the marketing geniuses working for Bruton Smith haven’t developed a more compelling format. 4, three lap shoot outs at the end might produce a more compelling event and give the histrionics that the media and the fans seem to want.
You are probably right that the race needs to go away, although I think there is still a compelling reason to have a few non points races per year.
Boring? Two cans for a thorouthly ordinary race? I must have been watching another race then! I thought that race was one of the best All-Star races since 2005. Don’t condemn the race just because your precious Kyle and Jimmie didn’t win and NASCAR’s most hated driver did. It was clean and full of honest racing. This despite that Brainless Brad did his best to wreck David Ragan in the Showdown with his aggressive move. And I think that even Edwards backed off when he came up on the moron when said moron was multi-laps down. Even Carl knew what was on the line. It also shows how much mistrust there is for particular drivers. For the record, I rated this event a full six cans of Rickart’s Red! (One of the best beers available here in Canada).
Overall, Jack Roush has every reason to be smiling right now. One of his drivers won the Showdown, won all four segments of the All-Star Race, AND his Nationwide-only driver won the Nationwide race in Iowa. Way to go Roush-Fenway!
I said the same thing over that overheating Camaro ad. The guy pours 20 ounces of ice cold water in it and he’s good to go back out in the desert. No looking for a bad hose or anything. I just chalked it up to him being a typical Chevy driver.
That’s what I want to see for the 36 points races. For the allstar race I want mayhem!
PS- I was glad Kyle and Jimmie did NOT win.
Not the best All Star event by far. The mandatory 4 tire stop before the end eliminated any need for gambling. The winning move was staying out as much as possible before the last segment because you have to take 4 tires anyway. I like making the pit crews part of the race, but make the mandatory stop between segment 2 and 3. The Showdown was the best race of the weekend.
It was an extremely boring race, but that was because Carl Edward’s car was easily the class of the field. Sometimes a team is just so much better than everyone else that it stinks up a race. I can live with that.
Thank God for the driver introductions. That gave me time to change the oil in my Mustang, balance my checkbook, and read Stephen King’s “The Stand” between races. Plus, now I know the driver’s names.
I hate to put this in print, but Michael Waltrip wasn’t too bad in the booth. In fact, he was better than Darrell. Maybe Larry Mac should lobby for Michael to take Darrell’s place in the booth.
Ken… going three-wide for the lead is what a driver is supposed to do. No one got wrecked; Brad’s pass was daring but it was clean. If a driver can’t handle three wide racing, then hey… McDonald’s is always hiring fry cooks.
The Showdown was a good race, but I can’t give it best race of the weekend honors. Apart from Kyle Busch taking the lead with a few to go and winning yet another minor league race, the truck race was the race of the weekend for me. Side by side all action all night, going three and even four wide at times. I was riveted until Busch took the lead with less than 10 to go. Though it was no surprise that he won, it put an asterisk on what, for my money, was a fantastic race. I’ll take that kind of action with a winning pass with pass with less than 10 to go and a half second margin of victory any day over a 300 lap snoozer with a .010 second finish. All Star Race put me to sleep though. On a side note, because I know you all care, Sunday is my birthday and the plan goes something like this: 9 am- Wake up. 10am – 11pm: Racing or racing coverage of some sort (mixed with food and perhaps a cold beverage…)
If I have to hear Jimmie Johnson referred to as “5 time” again…
I thought the Rapture did happen, both Waltrips in the booth. Only thing that would have confirmed that we did in fact have the Rapture would have been if instead of Junior winning the Fan Vote, Todd Bodine won it.
On another note, anyone know who’s going to run the 21 this week? Will it be Stenhouse? Sad deal for Bayne as he is the new Steve Park of this era of NASCAR, as a guy who was on his way to doing some great things only to be derailed by illness or injury.
Two cans? It wasn’t even worth one. And yes. Just take the drivers with at least one win from the previous year and let them have it. And how about a heat with no changing of tires. The only thing that happened that was exciting was watching a “cup lite” regular win a race.
The hour and a half wait to get the All-Star race started, pretty much ruined my interest in watching the race. The format ruined the rest of it. What a JOKE!
The only THE WINSTON I have seen in person was the very first one (1985) and only because we already had tickets to the “Grand National Series” race (as it was called then) … yes, THE WINSTON was only announced and added about a month before the race and was run after the GN race the day before the 600! It was a “freebie” if you already had Saturday tickets! … … It also had the best format … just the drivers who won in 1984 and ’85 (to that point) … 70 laps (because they wanted everyone to have to make a gas stop, but didn’t require WHEN!) … the only “gimmick” was a tire change pit stop was required between laps 30 and 40 — and obviously the drivers planned in advanced because they spread their stops over the entire 10 laps; never were there more than two (of the 14) cars on pit road at the same time. … … Yes — I would be very much IN FAVOR of reinstating this format!
Matt, I didn’t have a problem with either race. I like Kyle Busch winning and I just approached the All-Star race as the carnival it is supposed to be.
But what DOES bother me is that nobody, but me, seems to appreciate, or even mention, the big variable that is now in play: The FR-9 engine. Roush is learning how to get more and more out of that power plant and neither GM or Chrysler has anything to match it. It reminds me of what happened when Junior Johnson came up with his “secret” engine way back when.
Thank god I’m not alone with the Viagra spots hatred. They act as though they’re catering to “real men” by showing utter moronic content, which no “real man” would be stupid enough to do in the first place. Course if you need pills in the first place, perhaps your time in the manly department has come and gone? Nature just might be tellin ya something…
Message to Carl D.
Roush did have some stout cars Saturday. Biffle led quite a bit too. I remember when every mile and a half track was pretty much the Bobby Labonte invitational and then Gordon would come out of nowhere and win it.
Don’t get me wrong. I’d rather there be no Waltrips in the booth as well. I’m just saying Mikey was better than Darrell. Like how flies are better than mosquitos.
Hey Ancient racer you must be a Chevy guy. Ford fans have been waiting for this kind of engine. We endured some bad years watching Chevy and even toyota win. Now we have the 1st ever race only Ford engine and it’s a beast. Now you guys want to complain about it? Figures. didn’t hear any of this crap when Chevy dominates. Go Ford Racing!! It’s worth it to mention that A.J. and Marcos were pretty good in the open too and could be a threat in the 600. Makes me actually want to watch again.
The Truck event was a great race and even though KB won again, I’m alright with it. I’m no fan but the guy spun earlier in the race and saved it. Then fought back through the rest of the race for an earned win. That’s racing.
Well, why should I have crabbed when we were winning? And, yeah, I am mostly GM (except I like Kyle Busch — though I wish Coach had stuck with Chevy). Not really Chevy, btw. Oldsmobile. But Olds is dead, so Chevy is left. But if Olds was still around someone there would be about the business of coming up with something. :)
Is anyone else as ticked off as me that the All Star race didn’t get started until almost 10pm Eastern time. The showdown was done at 8:30. That’s 90 minutes of talking heads and WWE introductions. It took longer to set up the damn introductions stage than it did to run the actual event. Then the racing didn’t live up to the hype…or should I say overhype. Bad all around.
What is the deal with Joy and all his nicknames. 5-time (JJ), big daddy (Gordon). I usually like Joy, but his nicknames are starting to wear on me.
Like someone else said, the best racing of the night was the Showdown.
So Jr wins the fan vote and does absolutely nothing with it. You wonder how well Ambrose or Allmendinger might have done with a spot in the field instead.
A lot of good points here. I am glad it’s not just me that the Viagra ad bugs…That and bathtubs for the other drug. NASCAR and it’s “partners” have gotten really good to draggin this thing out longer and longer every year. It’s just downright carny and boring to wait that late to fire um up. Maybe they are trying to give “the fans” more for their money I dunno. But to keep on draggin it out for such lame racing is just pissin on your fans. But we want to thank the fans though. thankye thankye thankye fans for being fans oh those fans thank um well. it’s so insincere it’s pathetic. If the powers that be were for the fans so much they would not have allowed 1000% inflation on tickets trinkets and food over the last 10 years. ticket prices may be decent now but when “dem fans” git doze credit cards back in their pockets and tix sales go up, we will see how fast these people drop that “thank the fans” shtick
Steve, For Saturday night Rick gave Jr. a car that was last driven by JG at last July’s Indy. It was generations old. SInce Jr. was their only driver that still had to race his way in, you would think that Jr. would get the newst & best, especially with all of the money he puts in Rick’s pockets. Rick keeps trying to tell us that his drivers have equal equipment. Hogwash.
Mary Beth, and you know that Jr had an “old” car how? somehow I just don’t believe that Rick would deny his cash cow in the 88 anything that would help him win a race – including a non points one. that simply makes NO sense to me.
I was at the race – I think that it’s way too long. The race should start no later than 9 p.m. and although it’s nice to acknowledge the team aspect, intros are way too long, too. And I’d like the see that last mandatory pit stop go away too. the last 10 laps were a lot of letdown and no showdown at all.
I’d also like to know why no one has mentioned that Weasley ran over one of the 24 pit crew on that last stop? Sounds like Alan tore Voldemort a new lower body orifice, too! good for him!
OK marybeth, I just read an article about Jr using an old car, so I apologize.
However it sounds like Letarte made the call to do that, not Rick
I had to take my wife to the ER with what we thought might be appendicitis (thankfully it wasn’t), but from reading this column, a night spent in the ER waiting room seemed to be about as exciting as the 2011 All-Star Race.
NASCAR is another example of something good that the government screwed up. The tobacco settlement forced Winston out and allowed Nextel/Sprint to come on board. Couple this with BFrance running the show and we end up with the mess that we have now. The media used to cover the race now they are broadcast partners. I used to be loyal to the sponsors. I always chose a NASCAR sponsor when choosing a product. I would never buy Sprint. I actually signed up with ATT when Jeff Burton drove that car because ATT was the anti-Sprint.
Congradulations to Dale Jr. for winning the first PITY PASS Trophy for HMS after finishing 6th in a race for Losers. It will look so cool in Jr.‘s little corner in one of the massive trophy cases in the 48/88 shop. Right next to the checkered flag JJ gave Jr. after JJ won Talladega, and right along the 3 Na$crap Most Popular Loser trophies. It’s a shame Dale Jr. didn’t want to win at Martinsville. Could have had a trophy for actually winning a race. But Jr. Nation can only delusionally dream what might have been. Right Marybeth?
That was the nearest nothing race I have seen in years.
I’m sure fans would have appreciated to switch the big television to “TOP GEAR” or a CMT rerun of the Dukes of Hazzard! I’d rather have watched the General Lee than that rubbish!!
I’m glad I’m not the only one annoyed by those Viagra commercials. C’mon, who really carries a singletree, collars, and long reins in their horse trailer, just in case they have to hitch up the horses to the 4WD pickup? And who really doesn’t just lock out the hubs and drive in 4WD?
I enjoyed what racing I saw. Hated the crap that went on in-between. This is the God’s honest truth…after the first race I did a load of wash, cleaned up the dinner dishes, pots & pans, changed the sheets on the bed, updated my Facebook page, and ran to the store for bread and milk. I STILL had to sit through crap before the All-Star race happened. It was so freaking late that I went to bed and read. I had lost all interest. Had they gone from the qualifying race to the main event, I would have been very happy to stay and watch the whole thing. What the hell are they thinking?
Bill B — yes, that’s why the pit stop was so bad. Apparently the 5/48 hit the tire carrier or actually the tire, but it threw him up onto Gordon’s car and obviously screwed the pit stop up. Apparently Alan went over and yelled at Knaus – it should have been covered on TV. The booth would rather talk about nothing than what is actually happening.
Gordon confirmed it when he was on Wind Tunnel on Sunday. Fortunately the crew man wasn’t injured
However, IMO, the last 10 laps were a total waste of my time, the fuel for the cars and money!
Steve and AnnieMack – yes, I was in the stands and at the end was thinking the same thing that has come to mind the last 3 years – this event should NOT last until midnight.
I think one can of warm horse spit for the 4 hour infomercial is about the best I can muster.
Jersey girl, The official HMS race preview for JR. said that he was driving the car last driven by JG in July at Indy last year. After the race a many sites quoted Jr. saying in quotes that the car was generations old but was being run by him as a benchmark to test against the newer cars. Hogwash!
the Rapture did happen Saturday.
But only Macho Man Randy Savage went! Go figure.
hey bruton. ASTROTURF THE FRONT STRETCH INFIELD AREA PLEASE.!!!