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 20, 2011
The Key Moment – Denny Hamlin emerged first from the pits on the final caution and held off a determined Matt Kenseth for the final five laps.
In a Nutshell – It was a long wait for a brief payoff there at the end.
Dramatic Moment – Those final five laps the drivers finally seemed to disengage cruise control and get up on the wheel.
What They’ll Be Talking About Around the Water Cooler This Week
First off, thanks to Junior for sparing us yet another fuel mileage finish.
What’s all the fuss about Ford having an unfair advantage this year? The last four races have been won by two Chevys, a Toyota and a Dodge. Yes, the Ford teams are more competitive this year after a few years of having their noses rubbed in it. Does that mean they have an advantage or the playing field is somewhat more level?
Don’t you hate it when the race leader allows his teammate by for a lap to earn a bonus point?
Yeah, Matt Kenseth has some right to feel annoyed with his pit crew after some problems today, but they have a right to be feel disappointed with his buzzing the tires on the final restart with victory within their grasp. You win as a team, you lose as a team. (Someone forward this memo to Kurt Busch.)
It appears that Joe Gibbs Racing is interested in retaining Carl Edwards’ services if he doesn’t re-sign with Roush Racing. I can see why J.D. Gibbs is interested; it would be nice to have a driver the team doesn’t have to make excuses for, send to a sports psychologist after a loss or flat out apologize for.
Thirty pound oil pans on the JGR cars? I don’t see a rule against that in the nebulous book someone sent me during the offseason. The trick to racing cars on ovals (and in general) has always been to get the weight down low on the car and use the weight savings to reduce heft higher on the car to lower the center of gravity.
How is a six point penalty on Kyle Busch and the No. 18 car fair? (The M&M’s Toyota was found to be too low under the measuring sticks after last Sunday’s race.) That’s a reduction of six finishing positions. Last year, Clint Bowyer and the No. 33 team got hit by a 150-point penalty and the loss of their crew chief for four weeks just as the Chase started for a similar infraction. Yes, the points system was different last year, but the loss of 150 points dropped him not six finishing spots but down around to forty-something.
Obviously, Darrell Waltrip needs new eyeglasses. During Tuesday’s announcement of the five new inductees into the Hall of Fame, he accidentally kissed Brian France on the cheek rather than the ass as he’s been doing since he became a broadcaster. Of course, given the usual proximity of France’s head and his ass it was perhaps an easy mistake to make.
I was truly thrilled to see Richie Evans, nine-time NASCAR modified champion, make the cut to enter the Hall of Fame. I was blessed to see Evans race many times as a youngster growing up in the Northeast and there was never anyone finer at the wheel.
The Hindenburg Award For Foul Fortune
Jimmie Johnson spun (a rare unforced error) and fell two laps off the pace as the team repaired a sway bar mount. He never really recovered and finished 27th, handing back a big chunk of that points lead Carl Edwards handed him last week.
Junior ran in the top 10 for the first half of the race but then began to fade. The final insult was having his teammate pinch him up into the wall en route to 21st.
Kasey Kahne not only ran out of gas, he had his starter lockup trying to refire the car. He slumped to 28th.
Regan Smith fought all day to get up to the top 10. only to cut down a tire with two and a half laps to go. That left him 33rd.
Greg Biffle dominated sections of the race, but had just pitted when a caution flag flew. While he was able to get his lap back, in dirty air the No. 16 car lost its magic, a common occurrence for the Roush Fords as Biffle could only battle back to 15th.
Cale Gale was running away with Friday’s ARCA race until he blew a right front tire and stuffed his car into the concrete. Between hitting the wall or running out of gas while dominating a race, there seems to be a lot of that going around lately.
The “Seven Come Fore Eleven” Award For Fine Fortune
Edwards missed the weekend sweep but his finish could have been much worse. The No. 99 car had a tire going down just as a timely caution flag saved the day.
Landon Cassill enjoyed the best run of his fledgling Cup career, finishing twelfth.
After a hot start to the season, Paul Menard faded from the spotlight. But a fourth-place finish at Michigan seems to indicate the team has the laces on their work boots pulled up tight again.
Kyle Busch finished third despite complaining of chest pain and shortness of breath early in the event, so much so the team had Scott Riggs on standby as a relief driver. That’s rather alarming in a man Busch’s age.
While his sixteenth-place finish won’t grab the headlines, it was nice to see Trevor Bayne back in a Cup car after an extended and mysterious leave of absence due to illness.
What’s the Points?
Edwards remains atop the points standings by 20 over Kevin Harvick, who moved up two spots despite a pedestrian 14th-place finish. Dale Jr. holds on to third.
Meanwhile, Johnson tumbled three spots to fifth in the standings while Kyle Busch advanced a spot to fourth. Technically, he is tied with Johnson, 29 points out of the lead but Busch gets the nod with two wins to Johnson’s one.
Matt Kenseth and Kurt Busch are now tied for sixth in points, while Ryan Newman moved up two spots to eighth. Hamlin’s win springboards him ahead three spots to ninth, now with a win as backup in case he falls outside the top 10.
Clint Bowyer and Tony Stewart each fell two spots in the standings. They are now tenth and eleventh, respectively. Jeff Gordon’s two wins now loom even larger, as he falls a spot to twelfth in the standings, but a pair of wins probably makes him a lock for the Chase.
Greg Biffle moves up a spot to thirteenth in points, thirteen points behind Gordon. Mark Martin and Juan Pablo Montoya round out the top 15.
One minor note: I’m a little curious as to why NASCAR stats have Bayne listed as 46th in the championship race. Bayne signed up to compete for points in the Nationwide Series, making him ineligible to earn Cup points the rest of the 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 it two cans with one earned in the final five laps for those who hadn’t drifted off for a summer’s afternoon nap by then.
Next Up – The series heads west to Sonoma for the road course race. Enjoy it ya’ll. I’m taking the week off. Racing stock cars on a road course is like racing garbage trucks in a gymkhana.
©2000 - 2008 Matt McLaughlin and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
The race might have been boring but at least it was quick. I will give TnT kudos for finding the action on the track whether it was for 1st, 8th, or 15th. At least at Michigan they don’t line up in single file except at the front.
thought we’d get through an article without a Darrell Waltrip bashing comment..no luck..try again next week … “roll my eyes“.
matt…the “Darrell Waltrip needs new eyeglasses” comment almost made the coffee come out of my nose
I guess Matt would see no reason to apologize for a driver who forces his crew to spend 179 laps behind the wall fixing a damaged race car just to so said saintly driver can punt his nemesis into the retaining fence, risking not only Brad K‘s life, but the safety of the any spectators in a twenty-mile radiue.
Life is simple when you apply Matt’s Rule: Kyle, bad; Carl, good. It eliminates all but the caveman thinking and hypocrisy Matt is famous for.
I’ll give DW his due for being inducted into the Nascar HOF. He was heck of a driver in his day and he has the stats to back that up. Unfortunately, he’s a total embarrassment in the booth.
Bill S… I don’t buy the ‘aw-shucks’ Carl Edwards personna either, but that doesn’t mean Kyle Busch isn’t an ass.
Matt, I usually see eye to eye with you…except when it comes to road courses. The road course races are consistently some of the best of the year. Second to Martinsville and… well, Martinsville. Now it would certainly be interesting if JGR picked up Edwards. Here’s a question. If JGR does pick up Edwards, do they dump Busch or Logano or run a 4th car (I don’t see them getting rid of Hamlin anytime soon). A few weeks ago, I would have said you were crazy for even suggesting that Roush wouldn’t give Edwards whatever he wanted. But with Bayne and now Stenhouse lighting up NW and both looking for Cup rides, and JGR’s affinity to sign guys who seem to focus on beating up the guys on Saturday instead of trying to beat Jimmie Johnson on Sundays… it wouldn’t be that surprising to me.
We had plans for Sunday so we DVR’d the race and watched after dinner. We started watching at 7:30pm and after fast-forwarding through commercials, the race was over by 9:30. I’m not sure how long the race lasted, but we zipped right through what seemed to be over an hours worth of commercials. It actually seemed like more than Fox and I didn’t think that was possible.
Also, kudos to TNT for placing Kyle Petty’s microphone so that we couldn’t hear a word he was saying. It was wonderful.
“My Wranglers were to tight and cut off circulation to my right (gas) foot.” Dale Jr.‘s excuse for not winning next week’s race.
A couple of comments here…
I totally agree with your assessment of the 18s penalty for being too low. How does the 6 point penalty equate with Bowyer’s 150 point (plus a fine and crew chief suspension) penalty last year? Oh yeah, it doesn’t.
How was Biffle not penalized for a tire going outside of his pit box on his last pit stop? There was no team member there to grab the tire, and when it left the pit box, the official stopped it. I understand the official stoppng the tire for safety reasons, but that should have been penalized. Way to be consistent Nascar.
Lastly, so if you run over an airhose on pit road you get penalized. But if you hit a crew member (as Hamlin did leaving his pit stall) it’s all good??? WTF?!?
I forgot to mention the lack of paying spectators in the stand. I actually do feel sorry for the track owners but they dug their own graves when building all the seats and jacking up the prices. It still breaks my heart to see it.
I really wish they’d cut the paychecks for the millionaires and put the tickets prices and concessions at a price that is reflective of today’s economy and unemployment rate. It is human nature for fans to WANT tickets when they see the tracks are sold out and it’s also human nature to shrug off buying tickets when you see the stands are empty.
The commercial situation in yesterday’s race was ridiculous. It seemed we spent more time watching commercials than the race. Someone has got to be smarter and realize that there is a tipping point. If you overload the broadcast with too many commercials you force people to rely on the DVR instead of watching it live. Once that happens, none of the commercials get seen. I’m just saying that they really beat us over the head with commercials yesterday.
Kyle Busch even admitted the springs sagged under the heat and weight of the race car, which to me seems a bit strange.
Has anybody else but me noticed how much cash Edwards is making now? And he wants more? Give me a break. Matt, I disagree on Infineon. It’s a nice break from ovals and always gives the fans exciting racing. Which, by the way, doesn’t happen on very many of the “cookie cutter” tracks.
Matt…..the BEST quote ever regarding dumb ass DW! “ he accidentally kissed Brian France on the cheek rather than the ass as he’s been doing since he became a broadcaster. Of course, given the usual proximity of France’s head and his ass it was perhaps an easy mistake to make”! ha ha ha! Hey Phil….see what at least one of your colleagues thinks of the Toyota shill?
*I forgot to mention the lack of paying spectators in the stand. I actually do feel sorry for the track owners but they dug their own graves when building all the seats and jacking up the prices. It still breaks my heart to see it.
I really wish they’d cut the paychecks for the millionaires and put the tickets prices and concessions at a price that is reflective of today’s economy and unemployment rate. It is human nature for fans to WANT tickets when they see the tracks are sold out and it’s also human nature to shrug off buying tickets when you see the stands are empty.*
I couldn’t agree more. This is the first year in a decade where we did not attend the MIS June race. It had become a Father’s Day tradition, even though the last two years the race was held the week before Father’s Day, but increasing ticket prices and increasing fuel mileage endings to Michigan, finally made us admit our $110 a seat for Grandstand could be put to better use. 4 years ago the price of our seats was bumped up $11 a seat. Last year in the 3rd year of the “derecession” and yes that is the word, I choose to call it, we were offered a $5 a seat, valued season ticket holder reduction. Hhhhmmm…
Carl D., I made no comment on Kyle’s assiness or lack thereof, only that Carl’s felonies are bad enough without any comparisons needed.
I have also heard, because I read other info than FS biased rants, that Carl is slated to be the new Home Depot driver, with Joey getting the 4th car or the boot. No f’ing way are you getting rid of Kyle, who has recently been named the most-valuable driver in TV sponsorship worth during the first 12 NASCAR telecasts this season. Sorry, you and Matt lose again.
Finally, the typical points penalty in the previous points system was 25, which equates almost exactly to six in the new system. Bowyer’s punishment was unusually punitive and severe because RCR had been warned before about cheating – another in a series of black eyes for the dirtiest team in NASCAR, bar none.
Sorry matt,like the road courses but don’t like infineon, its like racing on a parking lot.Would like to see the stock cars on Road America. Check out the Nationwise race. Great facility and a real road course.
LOL, Matt,this column just cracked me up. Loved the BZF comment esp.
“Obviously, Darrell Waltrip needs new eyeglasses. During Tuesday’s announcement of the five new inductees into the Hall of Fame, he accidentally kissed Brian France on the cheek rather than the ass as he’s been doing since he became a broadcaster. Of course, given the usual proximity of France’s head and his ass it was perhaps an easy mistake to make.”
I don’t care who you are, that is damn funny.
I made no comment on Edwards’ or Busch’s talent level or marketability. I merely repeated what Brad Keselowski said last year at Bristol… Kyle Busch is an ass. That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t hire him to drive my racecar. I just wouldn’t invite him dinner.
Well, Brad is hardly an authority. He probably chews with his mouth open. And Kyle has never come close to killing anybody, which puts him way ahead of Carl.
I actually came over here looking for Matt’s annual Father’s Day column. Not to be this year, I guess? It is and will always be my favorite NASCAR words written.
Otherwise, I was at the race yesterday – I thought it was pretty damn good. Even for a 17 fan. There was a decent size crowd (ok, no it wasn’t sold out…blah, blah, blah – and the T3 seats were only about 1/2 full as opposed to when I was there in June ’08 and they were full – oh well, we’re in a recession, blah, blah, blah…I do tire of everyone making judgement about the quality of NASCAR based on race attendance. Everybody has a choice what they do with their hard earned cash – if it ain’t on a NASCAR race, so be it. I really don’t care what you spend that money on, NASCAR race or not.)
Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, MIS yesterday. Matt Kenseth is gettin’ damn sick of racing his fuel tank and not race cars. Apparently, his gas man can’t pack a fuel cell. Hopefully, they’ll get that figured out and we can get back to the job at hand…racing at full throttle and not half.
The Father’s Day column ran last week because the auto parts store that I deal with gave me a calendar that mistakenly noted last Sunday as Father’s Day.
If you go to the top of the page and select “Staff” then my name it will be in my archives.
Thanks for the kind words,
count my vote as “for” road courses, too. I like them as a change from the regular overabundance of D shaped ovals.
MATT-Just finished your annual Father’s Day article, which is always delightful reading. I’m assuming that, sometime in your career, you’ve actually met your hero Richard Petty. What was that like? I met my NASCAR hero a few years ago and I was so shocked to come face to face with him that I literally almost fainted like a silly schoolgirl! I’m betting that your rendering of meeting up with the King the first time would make a great read! Thank you for continuing to take risks in sharing your treasured memories.
Isn’t it amazing how the 48 car gets a caution when they need it. It’s amazing what Hendrick money will do.
First a comment on commercials. I don’t think there are more, I think the issue is TNT did a lot more 1 commercial breaks instead of running 5 or 6 in a row like Fox so it seemed like more.
Second, I enjoy the TNT announcers just because they actually watch the race. Sitting with my neighbor there were many time one of us would comment on something in the backround and Wally or Kyle would then mention it. It would never happen on Fox as the race is a sidebar to DW’s life story and none of the announcers have a clue to what is happening on the track.
Poor DW, always getting criticized ! He has 100% power to change all that. Try watching tapes of how Ned Jarret conducted himself on air. Watch the TNT guys and ACTUALLY PAY ATTENTION.Stop the bragging, schilling, do some preparation for telecasts so you know what’s going on.Stop thinking your a comedian, when your not even close. THINK, I say THINK, before you speak and don’t talk over the others on the broadcast. Change these things and the criticism would change dramatically. I really don’t hate DW, but I do hate how he approaches the on air part of his job. Lose the arrogance and start with these changes.
Let us not forget that Matt’s hero, Richard Petty, was arrested and charged with reckless driving and hit and run after a road rage incident in 1996. This was AFTER he had terrorized NASCAR with his incompetent driving for the last 10 years of his career. On the bright side, the incident ended Richard’s budding political career as a redneck gun-toting diversity-oppposing conservative.
As for Matt’s heroes, he is more fickle than the bachelorette. In other words, being Matt’s hero is worth about a week’s adulation, followed by a lifetime of vitriol and bitterness.
Keep your stories to yourself, Matt. I know you too well and for too long to believe anything you pretend to.
Hey, Bill, what does “S” stand for. Susan perhaps. (Go ahead and deny it. I can see the IP addresses ya’ll can’t.
But keep your hateful rants coming. It’s great for the rest of us to remember how blessed we are not to be mentally ill.
At least Richard Petty didn’t “run all over the other drivers” during his career like someone else did. While Richard was not competitive during his last years, he was FAR from incompetent.
You should watch the race at Infineon Sunday, Matt. It’ll be some of the best racing all season. You are really missing out. You should love NASCAR road racing. Your all time favorite Tim Richmond won a road course race once.
Matt, foiled again. My first name is Bill, but my last name does not begin with “S.” Only a complete fool would use any identifying characteristics in posting on an Internet forum, especially one as fraught with hostility as Frontstretch. In fact, I would bet a week’s pay that “Susan” is not even a woman. He just uses that name to poke you with a stick (very effectively) over your obvious misogyny.
As to IP addresses, those belong to the server, not the individual computer. For example, all of AOL’s servers are located in Virginia, even though their clients are worldwide. So what are you trying to prove?
As to the driving skill of Richard Petty, Iowa Guy. Just off the top of my head, I remember him causing the first accident known as “the Big One” at Daytona in July, 1990 when his little OOPS took out 22 cars on LAP ONE. He also wrecked in his final race at Atlanta in 1992, in a huge fireball. His crew managed to repair the car so that Richard would not have the dubious distinction of having a DNF in his (thankfully) final start. And he was charged in 1996 with reckless driving and hit and run on the Interstate. How admirable.
Bad comeback, Matt.