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 June 13, 2011
The Key Moment – Jeff Gordon’s team elected to go with four tires during the fourth caution period while Juan Pablo Montoya’s team took two. Shortly after the restart Gordon was able to dispatch Montoya and drove off into the distance.
In a Nutshell – Yeah, oh well; but at least it didn’t rain and nobody ran out of gas on the last lap.
Dramatic Moment – Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick provided some amusing if tense moments early in the race running each other hard. Apparently this whole Busch/RCR rivalry really isn’t over despite what the PR people make those involved say.
What They’ll Be Talking About Around the Water Cooler This Week
What can they do to get back some of the excitement of the Pocono races of yore? I’ll discuss that with you later this week. Yeah, it’s my home track but I won’t try to call Sunday’s race a classic. Watching first Hamlin, then Montoya, then Kurt Busch and finally Gordon dominate wasn’t even as exciting as checking the weather scan to see when heavy weather was going to move in.
You have to wonder how many drivers and teams will still decide to shift in Pocono’s August race after a rash of failed transmissions, clutch issues and reports of markedly decreased fuel mileage for those drivers who shifted aggressively.
I’ve known this day was coming but now it has finally arrived. Some media types will write that Gordon is now tied with Darrell Waltrip and Bobby Allison for third in overall wins in NASCAR’s top division. Gordon is now, indeed tied with DW, but in my opinion (and several others) he needs one more win to match Allison’s career mark. NASCAR record books are simply wrong on this issue and despite decades of folks trying to show them the facts they simply refuse to correct their error. Turns out Allison won a race at Winston-Salem on August 6th, 1971 but because of a shortage of cars in the wake of the factory pullout that year, both the Grand National cars and Grand American (pony cars) were allowed to compete. Allison, in a Ford Mustang beat Richard Petty in a Plymouth Road Runner but the stats don’t give him credit for the win despite the fact other drivers got wins added to their total for similar victories. Nor did Petty get credit for the win in official records. That night at Winston-Salem, apparently nobody won the race…
Why do so many NASCAR drivers insist on wearing sunglasses in the rain? Do they think nobody will know who they are?
For such a soft-spoken guy who rarely exhibits any real temper meltdowns in public (as compared to his boss) Ryan Newman sure does seem to have become a burr under NASCAR’s saddle. Reportedly, Newman received another $50,000 “secret” fine for his actions in the sanctioning body’s hauler while discussing his now infamous on-track actions with Montoya. Personally, I don’t believe in any “secret” fines. A secret fine is like one of those old unmarked Mustangs the PA State Police used to use for speed enforcement. The driver who got nailed gets the message and slows down. But if you park a fully marked patrol unit beside the highway… most everybody slows down, right? Even more troubling are rumors that NASCAR felt compelled to issue the fine because Montoya brought a lawyer with him to the meeting. There are not too many ways to further screw up NASCAR officiating, but allowing trial lawyers to enter the process? That would be one of them.
There’s more evidence that Danica Patrick is moving full-time to Cup next year, as GoDaddy.com is leaving the No. 5 team whose car is currently driven by Mark Martin. Farmer’s Insurance is slated to sponsor the No. 5 team next year when Kasey Kahne takes over, a little weird given his longtime association with Allstate and those three creepy chicks. Farmers will also apparently be an associate sponsor with Martin for the rest of this season, while as for Danica? The latest rumors this website is hearing surround a two-year deal: one for Nationwide in 2012 and then Cup the following year (Nationwide would be with JR Motorsports, of course).
Pocono has probably grasped the concept of being environmentally green and sustainable more so not only than any other racetrack but any sporting venue. The only problem is, you’ll have lots of time to consider the wonders of that 25-acre solar field while sitting in gridlocked traffic trying to exit the track — breathing in all those auto emissions. .
On the plus side, give Pocono track management some style points for having a sense of humor. Traditionally, the track has been considered to have three corners though some media types who can’t get their minds around the concept have labeled the exit of turn 3 “turn 4.” All the corners are numbered in black letters against the white wall at Pocono for drivers with Adult Attention Deficit Disorder, I suppose. So this year, through some creative use of blue tape the exit of turn three is now marked: “What Turn 4?”
How did the Canadian Grand Prix and Pocono end up on the same weekend? It’s not a big deal for those of us here in the U.S. but if you’ve ever been to Pocono, you know there’s a ton of Canadian fans who attend the race. (There’s even a Canadian flag flying at the track to welcome them.)
As deeply involved with Mopar as his family was, you’d think Kyle Petty would realize that the Dodge equivalent of the Plymouth Superbird was the Daytona, not the Super Bee. (Actually, the Daytonas were 1969s and the Superbird was built in 1970. The Dodge Daytona was introduced at Talladega and the Ford Talladega was introduced at Daytona.)
The Hindenburg Award For Foul Fortune
Denny Hamlin looked ready to dominate yet another Pocono race. A slow pit stop dropped him back some positions, but the merriment was just getting started; he led 76 of the first 101 laps of the race. However, another stop down the stretch left Hamlin exiting the pits with a flat tire, leaving the carcass of that tire wrapped around the rearend of the car and damaging a brake line. He eventually struggled home 19th.
Carl Edwards had his usual top-5 run going when his Roush Fenway Ford dropped a valve. The failure dropped Edwards to a 37th-place finishing position and eroded his former forty-point lead in the standings down to just six.
In what’s becoming a recurring problem, Greg Biffle’s team failed to fill the fuel cell. In another recurring problem, a frustrated Biffle continuously slapped the wall trying to catch up and finally spun himself out. He wound up 27th.
Tony Stewart struggled early and fell back well outside the top 30, only to rally back and climb to as high as sixth by Lap 120. For a moment, all was good in the No. 14 camp… and then, he blew out third gear. Stewart was notably unamused, “thanking” NASCAR for rules promoting shifting in a terse radio response en route to 21st.
Jeff Burton, having a nightmare of a season ran out of gas while running thirteenth. And at Pocono, when you run out of gas you have a very long way to coast back to the pits; Burton fought hard simply to climb back to 20th by the finish.
The “Seven Come Fore Eleven” Award For Fine Fortune
Kurt Busch wrecked in his primary car in practice but managed to stick his backup car on the pole. He went on to finish second in the race in that backup.
It was a pretty good day for Rick Hendrick with one of this drivers winning, another finishing fourth and another sixth. Only Mark Martin (18th) ruined the mojo.
Jimmie Johnson had to overcome an overtime pit stop, his young guys struggling with a left-front tire to fight his way back up to a fourth-place finish.
Ryan Newman was able to nurse a failing transmission to a ninth-place performance.
For Harvick, earning a 34th-place starting spot was no way to begin the weekend. He then had his little run-ins with Busch and soon thereafter had a piece of metal pierce the grille of his car, a problem that could easily have punctured the radiator. Somehow, those lengthy repairs were avoided, leaving Harvick and team to trudge on to a fifth-place finish.
The spectators at Le Mans who were behind the guard ail when Allan McNish crashed his Audi early in the event (and almost cleared that guardrail) were among the luckiest people on this planet this weekend. The car disintegrated on impact at an estimated 180 miles per hour and showered debris, including one tire/wheel assembly over the guardrail – but there were no major injuries. What’s the French term for “SAFER barriers?”
What’s the Points?
As noted above, Edwards now leads Johnson by just six points. Earnhardt remains third, a further four points behind Johnson. Earlier this year, I wondered aloud if the new points system just made it more likely NASCAR would finally crown a titlist who hadn’t won a race that year and debated what it would do to interest in the sport. Well, if Junior is Cup champion even if he never wins a race, my guess is there’d be dancing in the streets.
The drivers fourth through seventh in the standings: Harvick, Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch and Kenseth all held serve. They are all within one race’s worth of points of Edwards after the No. 99 team’s troubles Sunday.
Clint Bowyer and Tony Stewart swapped the eighth and ninth spots with Bowyer now having the advantage. Ryan Newman rounds out the top 10.
In the “wild card” scenarios, Gordon advanced two spots to eleventh in the standings and is just six points out of the top 10. If the No. 24 driver can make up one more position in the final twelve regular season races, all this talk about a second win having granted him a lock on one of the “wild card” spots will be out the window though it’s a nice ace to keep up your sleeve. Right now, Denny Hamlin holds the final spot in 12th despite zero wins on his resume; Brad Keselowski, armed with his Kansas victory remains 13 points outside the top 20.
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 it a single can of not-so-cold generic stuff.
Next Up – The series heads west to Michigan. Gas strategists for the teams may want to bring a spare set of batteries for their calculators.
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It was nice of you to mention the Canadian Grand Prix. It took 4 hours and 5 minutes to run because of a rain delay and finished after the Pocono race. There is something inherently wrong when a two hour and five minute rain delay is more interesting than the “race” at Pocono. It was the best F1 race in years with Button passing Vettel halfway through the last lap. I don’t think I missed much by skipping the 3 and a half hour Pocono show. What was it like without DW?
By the way, one ticket for each of the front straight Grandstands for the F1 race was $647 for the weekend.
And could someone explain to me how a man in Palm Springs getting a lap dance can get poked in the eye by the dancer’s shoe and get a $650,000 settlement?
1) Is anybody else pleasantly shocked that NASCAR didn’t immediately throw the caution when Biffle spun it? I just knew for sure that they were going to throw it. They finally made the right call (though the excitement factor of the race may have benefitted) and I applaud them for it.
2) I know everybody has their own opinions, and I don’t really have a horse in the race, but is it not awesome that Harvick and Busch continue to mess with each other. And then when Harvick said something along the lines of he’s just getting started… Call it wishful thinking, but, Matt, do we have the makings of a REAL rivalry on our hands? One that the beloved “casual” fan would actually watch the race just to see what happens with? I hope so!
Absolutely the worst race of the year! Worst than Phoenix and Talladega! And I’m not saying that because it was won by the biggest whining, sniveing cry-baby in NASCAR! In fact, more jerks finished in the top-7 to make this race positively nauseating! Proof positive that (1) the race should be shortened to 400 miles, and (2) Pocono should lose one, if not both, of their dates!
There were 3 or 4 debris cautions, did we ever actually see a piece of debris for any of those cautions.
I agree with Country, I would have bet money they’d have thrown a caution for the Biffle spin. I was glad they didn’t and not just because I am a Gordon fan.
Really happy with the result, but that race stunk. Why on earth don’t they shorten races at Pocono. The only reason I’ve heard the Matiolis say is people “pay for 500 miles”. I’ve been there and I think it’s so it’s not so obvious that it takes longer to get back to the highway then it is to run the race. Please, NASCAR shorten those Pocono races. They should lose a date but won’t unless a NYC area track is built. I did like TNT’s Race Buddy site though. I’m glad the F-1 race kept the rain. They need massive rain at every race, that seems to make it easier to pass than that crazy DRS system they use.
Ken- The only thing NASCAR needs to lose in Pocono is you; Go back to monster trucks, they fit your attention span.
NASCAR Cup racing has always been a marathon. Why would someone advocate taking something out of the race? I agree Pocono needs to have 1 race, but I think EVERY track oughta be 1 race. But to shorten The racing because you can’t wait to be done? Go outside and play. Leave the adults to watch the race.
I don’t agree that Busch and Harvick continue to mess with each other. Alothough no one affiliated with FS will ever admit it, Kyle continues to take the high road and Harwreck continues the grudge match alone. NASCAR warned them both, but only Harvisuks needed the warning. I am beginning to think there is something wrong with that guy. Rivalry is one thing; blood lust is another. And the two of them cannot ever really be classic rivals, because the age difference puts them in totally different places in their careers. One on the way up; the other on the way down. Yeah, it is wishful thinking on your part, those of you who want this foolishness to continue.
The only way Kyle will participate is in the way he did at the end of last season when he was out of Chase contention and decided to make Homestead pure hell for Harvick in support of teammate Denny Hamlin.
Again, the thugs in this sport all seem to have one thing in common – RCR. Newman should probably think about joining up, since he is of the same juvenile mindset.
And as the season unfolds, the dreaded SIX-PACK looks more and more likely to prevail.
Please do discuss what can be done to make Pocono Races “exciting again,” and if exciting is too far to realistically reach, simply interesting will suffice. For a track as unique as Pocono the racing there puts me to sleep. Literally. I made it to around lap 20 before I winked out.
I take a week off for vacation and you guys run Susan off… I’m gonna miss her like I miss my ex-wife. In fact, My ex-wife’s name is Susan. Hmmm…
I used to like Ryan Newman before he decided that it was his job to tell the media how they should cover Nascar. I find it ironic that he has drawn two 50K fines from Nascar, yet he’s the guy telling the media they need to be “more positive” in their reporting.
Bill B…. I also noticed that we never got to see the debris that caused all those cautions. I wonder what constitutes debris in Pocono. Boredom?
Ken… I’m confused. I know you didn’t like the winner and some of the top finishers, but is that why you want to see the races shortened? I’m having trouble following your argument.
One can of warmed-over generic beer sounds about right. I actually drank a couple of cold PBR’s while on vacation, and this race wasn’t nearly as good.
Ken – Denny Hamlin won?
boring race, but i would have given it 6 cans of the warm generic stuff since we didn’t have to listen to DW
As a long, long time Burton fan, It befuddles me as to why he’s making so many mistakes and week after week having a 15th to 20th place car to boot. Running out of fuel at Pocono is akin to a death sentence in na$car. Time to shake up the team. I missed the first 90 laps of the race and judging from the action on the track (or lack thereof)I didn’t miss much. As for Danica, here comes the QOH again>
Matt, I have only one thing to clarify in a race that you reviewed very succinctly. The legendary 85th race that Bobby Allison won but didn’t win according to Nascar was at Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston Salem. You may know the distinction but many others will not. Bowman Gray was one of the great Nascar racing venues and one sadly missed by longtime Nascar racing fans.
DW may have been gone, but Kyle Petty was awful. How many times did he have to say, “I don’t know anything about this, but…..” If you don’t know anything Kyle, give the mike to sombody who does.
Back to the old mute button.
I agree with Ken if Pocono lost one date I would not cry. All 500 mile races should be chopped to 400, the 600 back to 500 and others 300 miles. One of the few things positive about Pocono is the track is not owned by Bruton Smith or the France family.
Hey Matt! Thank goodness for Harvick messin’ with the shrub. It was the only excitement of the race and kind of reminded you of the Intimidator himself. Nascar should have left them alone to “have at it.”
While Kyle Petty is funny, his annoying stutter at the beginning of sentences is as bad as DW’s “back in the day” and self-promotion. And we still have Larry Mac to put up with.
The only intelligent race comments came from Carl Edwards after he came off the track.
Camera work was horrible, too. I’m happy to have DVR to get me through these things in quicktime.
Yeah, Katie, Harvick messed with Kyle so bad that Kyle finished third. And Kevie obviously didn’t care that he was putting his teammates all around him at risk as well. Or maybe Kevie just knows that Kyle is such a good driver that even being pushed into the water on the apron would not make him lose control.
Kevie and Dickie sitting in a tree….
Ken, you’re a whiney idiot that no one cares about! That’s all that needs to be said! You fool! Go away please never to be heard from again! Asinine moron!!!
Personally, I like Kyle Petty in the booth. I find him quite knowledgeable, professional, and unassuming. Plus, the fact that he doesn’t act like a self-promoting buffoon is a welcome change from the Waltrip brothers and Jeff Hammond.
bill s why is it everytime kyle busch does something stupid you gotta try to bash kevin harvick and rcr
Kevie and Dickie sitting in a tree….
really showing how smart you are there dumbass
another good read Matt
4 mystery debris cautions were a minus but no DW was a plus. It’s rate it as one cold can of the generic non-alcoholic stuff.
To be fair, the spectators were behind a catch fence. However, media types were allowed in the area between the fence and the wall (which looked to be at least as soft as a SAFER barrier). However, a photographer nearly got creamed by a flying tire complete with an A-arm assembly that could have impaled someone. Those folks were quite lucky indeed!
Tim-According to Bill it is Ok when Kyle messes with Kevin but not if Kevin messes with Kyle.
Hmmmmmm – I thought Kevin Harvick was the whining sniveling crybaby of NASCAR.
Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick— two tough guys for sure…. Maybe they’ll have a little girl fight and pull each other’s hair before it’s over with.
In his prime, Cale Yarborough would have pounded both of those little twerps into the ground like tent stakes without even setting down the chicken drumstick he was munching on. Heck, he probably still could now.
Those two punks having a hissy? That’s what passes for a rivalry today? That’s a long way from Petty and Allison…
Tim, just what did Kyle do that was stupid at Pocono? Kevin put him into the water on the apron and Kyle simply drove away from Kevie. Only one party needed a warning, and it was the one who was putting not only Kyle at risk, but also his own teammates who were stuck back there at the same time. Initially, it looked like Jeff Burton would come to Kevin’s aid, but he apparently thought better of it and also backed off. Take one for the teammate? Not if the teammate is Kevin Harvick!
Sharon, I never said what Kyle did at Homestead last year was right, only that he did it. And would probably do it again in the same circumstances. But then Kevin’s retaliation was completely beyond the level of harassment – he simply put Kyle out of the race. Whatever “evil” Kyle has ever done or been accused of doing, Kevin has always gone a step further into destructive behavior.
Kevin and Richard are both thugs who deserve each other.
And Fairlane, my two fondest memories of Cale are him blowing his engine in the 1985 Daytona 500 and losing his power steering the same year in the Southern 500. Proof that there is a God and He wants one of the good guys to win a million bucks now and then.