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 July 4, 2011
The Key Moment – David Ragan, with an essential assist from teammate Matt Kenseth, got some sweet redemption after his miscue shifting lanes prior to a restart at the Daytona 500.
In a Nutshell –
There they went marching in their packs of two,
Dramatic Moment – Well the last five laps of the race were pretty unpredictable and equally violent. I guess some people like that.
What They’ll Be Talking About Around the Water Cooler This Week
Bread and circuses, right? Presumably a bunch of carnage, inducing late-lap wrecks after a relatively sedate and uninteresting race is what the fans paid to see. It’s a philosophy that will attract new people to the sport both on TV and in person… right? Um, good luck with that. Seen any roller derby on the TV lately?
Don’t you hate hearing that drivers had agreed to “go steady” in two-car packs days before the race? Or about how Hendrick management wanted Jeff Gordon to push Mark Martin to the win, just so they could try to get the No. 5 car in the Chase, too? Whatever happened to the elbows out, every man for himself style of NASCAR racing, the type where drivers would hook up in marriages of convenience on just the final lap… and only if it was in both their best interests to do so?
Well, if nothing else I think this race is going to force the Hendrick strategists to rethink how long they can afford to hang at the back of the pack before making a charge at the end. Simple answer… not as long as they did Saturday night.
All indications are that the HMS and RCR teams are experimenting with ways to get all four of their team cars to be able to hook up rather than running in tandem and they might just get it figured out by the Talladega race. I’m growing increasingly disgusted with these multi-car outfits dominating the sport.
Daytona doesn’t even try to sell the backstretch seats for the July race and they must not have tried too hard to sell out the frontstretch seats, either.
I still don’t get NASCAR’s reluctance to throw a caution on the white flag lap of a race; it’s a delay that’s happened several times this year, Saturday included. If they’d thrown a caution after the first final lap wreck (as was clearly warranted by the severity of the situation) maybe another dozen race cars already clearly out of contention wouldn’t have been torn to scrap, too.
I miss the kinder, simpler days when the Firecracker 400 was run on the Fourth of July, started at around 11 AM and was over by 2 PM so everyone could hit the beach or the motel pool to escape the brutal heat of a Florida July afternoon. Maybe the air conditioning in their million dollar motor coaches didn’t work as well back in the 1980s?
What does it say about the health of the sport when a driver (Matt Kenseth) who has already won two races this year and is a lock for the Chase loses his primary sponsor in July? It’s perhaps ironic that the No. 17 team was running “Affliction” decals at this weekend’s race.
There’s been a long standing argument over whether race car drivers are athletes. (Naturally, I think they are.) But when you add into the debate a second driver in a tandem is running at 180 MPH plus without being able to see anything ahead of them other than the other driver‘s rear spoiler, it’s hard to argue that they’re too smart.
If Trevor Bayne’s win in February established his career, Ragan’s win Saturday at the same track may have saved his.
In a bit of irony, “Bubba the Love Sponge”, a radio DJ, drove the pace car during the warm-up laps at Daytona. Mr. Sponge may be best remembered by NASCAR fans as the guy who overdosed on an allergy medicine and produced the same failed drug test results NASCAR cited to suspend Jeremy Mayfield. Was Bubba given a drug test prior to operating the pace car?
The Hindenburg Award For Foul Fortune
Former points leader Carl Edwards lasted only 24 laps before his teammate Greg Biffle shoved him into the wall. A knocked out crush panel actually had Edwards getting physically sick in his car a few laps later. Fortunately, I haven’t personally experienced the dynamics of vomiting in a full face helmet but I’d guess it is isn’t pleasant. Sneezing is bad enough.
Trevor Bayne was the Cinderella story of the Daytona 500 but his chariot turned into a pumpkin on lap 5 of Saturday’s race. He failed to finish in 41st.
Danica Patrick had a credible run going at Daytona in Friday’s Nationwide race up until the final lap, where she fell to 10th. One could argue that her inexperience with an out of control race car (compare and contrast to Kevin Harvick earlier in the event) also caused a whole lot of drivers to have a bad finish to the evening, triggering a multi-car accident heading towards the checkered flag.
The “Seven Come Fore Eleven” Award For Fine Fortune
With three laps left to go in regulation Jeff Gordon was sideways in a pack of cars looking like he was going to trigger a monster wreck. But Gordon made a great save and somehow rallied on to a sixth-place finish.
Kyle Busch recovered nicely from some hard impact with the outside wall to somehow finish fifth. Of course, that’s a lot easier when two-thirds of the field gets wiped out in the “overtime” portion of the race.
Joey Logano got tangled up with Mark Martin as the duo attempted to partner up late in the race (causing quite the merry mess) but drove on to a third-place finish. Ironically, it was Martin whose recommendation helped get Logano into Cup to begin with.
Montoya’s ninth-place finish wasn’t too bad – especially for a fellow who got a piece of the action in two wrecks in the final eleven laps.
What’s the Points?
Kevin Harvick takes over the points lead from Edwards, who had held the top spot since after the Texas race in April. Harvick has a five-point lead over his Ford rival. Kyle Busch moves up two spots into third, a further five points behind Edwards while brother Kurt and Matt Kenseth round out the top 5.
Jimmie Johnson’s bizarre decision to pit without his wingman Earnhardt cost him; he fell two spots to sixth in the standings. Of course, he’s only 22 points out of the lead while Earnhardt in seventh is fully 52 points behind.
Gordon and Bowyer swapped eighth and ninth spots, with Gordon now holding the advantage. Ryan Newman sits tenth, while Denny Hamlin (courtesy his Michigan victory) holds the first Wild Card spot sitting eleventh.
Uneasy lays the head that consumes mass quantities of Whoppers. Tony Stewart is technically twelfth in the standings, but if the Chase were to start tomorrow (I think I just vomited into my nose) Ragan would get that twelfth spot based on Saturday night’s win and the Wild Card scenario.
Overall Rating (On a scale of one to six beer cans with one being a stinker and a six pack an instant classic) — Quite frankly, I’m tired of waiting two hours to see drivers really get up on the wheel for the final ten laps. This new plate track format licks the sweat off a dead wombat’s scrotum. One can.
Next Up – The Cup series heads off to the uncharted territory of Kentucky.
©2000 - 2008 Matt McLaughlin and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
Completly boring race for 155 laps. I taped the race and then fast forwarded to the last 5 laps hoping Ambrose might get lucky along with AJ. Better luck next time.
I’m sick of seeing so many perfectly good race cars getting taken out during restrictor plate races due to one driver’s mistake. To be honest, it was the same way before then tandem racing when the drivers ran in huge packs. This won’t change until the restrictor plates are gone. I’m not advocating taking the plates off and having cars run 215 mph or more, but this madness is ridiculous. If Nascar is bound and determined to continue this crap-shoot style of racing, the drivers ought to get a mulligan during the season. This isn’t racing, it’s survival of the luckiest.
See, Matt, that’s why I like you. You make old fart comments just like I do and you see the obvious. Like, for instance, Danica. I was there watching and I replayed the Nationwide wreck back at the portion of a million dollar motor coach. What was pretty clear to me was she overcorrected. She is not yet up to snuff in terms of her understanding of the center of gravity of a stock car. I could go into a discussion here of the parallels between that and fun and games on a pillow topped bed, but I will spare you.
As for Mr. Sponge, you did not note but I will, he is running for County Commission or something in the Tampa area. Why that is of any matter at all here I cannot possibly comment.
Watching the so called race at Daytona was about as interesting as watch 42 people play high card draw. Some one is going to win, but who will it be and the most important reason WHY did they win. Very little about the race Saturday night that I enjoyed or would make me look forward to the race there next year.
i woke up with 10 laps to go. got on phone with friend of mine and told her over and over they were going to wreck. then when they did and g/w/c, told her they’d wreck again. why can’t na$car eliminate g/w/c at plate tracks as they create more carnage. more sheet metal, equipment and money in engineering went home on the wrecker with 10 laps to go than the entire race.
drive me nuts when they were talking in pre-race that martin had decided his “partner” was going to be jeff gordon the tuesday before the race. what’s with dragging brake so team mates/partners could catchup. that’s not racing. that’s f1 and team orders.
someone asked me why front stretch was so full…cause they didn’t open up back stretch seats for sale. they kept frontstretch packed for tv, i.e. advertisers.
kentucky has sold out….good for them, first race there. see how interesting the race really is next weekend.
Matt said: “Denny Hamlin (courtesy his Pocono victory)”
Uhhh, what? Denny Hamlin didnt win at Pocono, Jeff Gordon did. Denny Hamlin won at Michigan.
I agree Kevin. I didn’t write that. The editors inserted it.
Absolute carnage! That’s not racing. Some suggestions:
You’re “Getting increasingly fed up with multi-car teams…?” O
I want to comment on the on the new rule about the pole sitter choosing the inside or outside. During restarts ain’t quite so bad, because it gives the leader an advantage. But I totally disagree with pole winner chosing the outside at start of race. If he won the pole, that’s where he should start. In a sport that’s trying to get more fans, all this does is confuses the new casual fan as to who actually won the pole. This may not be so relevant to some, but in race pools,etc…where people draw a #1 for instance, unless they see the starting lineup, they do not know who they actually have. Maybe if NASCAR would quit fudging rules, then maybe it would be more interesting to new fans. What do you think, Matt…or comments from others.
I like the polesitter being able to choose his lane. If the outside line is preferred, he’s earned it!
And Matt, I wouldn’t worry about the four Hendrick cars trying to work together. That team hasn’t worked well together successfully on plate tracks since 1997.
That there was Anti-Racing. The other forms of racing must be shaking their heads – as I am. That was more confusing than Fathers Day at Arnold’s house.
good column, Matt. Typical nonsense at another RP track. I hate the tandem racing but hate the multiple GWC attempts even more. We made the trip from NJ to Daytona a couple of times for the 500. That was plenty. At least at home I can get something done while they are out there making laps until the last 10 laps or so when all hell will break loose.
I was actually impressed with Danica managing her car with Tony and others pushing her in the nationwide race, but once things went bad, well, there were wrecked race cars, gee, what a surprise!
Very happy that Jeff Gordon was able to save his car and come back to 6th by teaming with (gasp) Kyle Busch – who’d have thought it? LOL I thought it was pretty funny that Voldemort aka Chad left the MPD without a partner at the end — Johnson’s twitter account must have been lighting up with angry Jr fans. Guess the PR firm he hired still hasn’t been able to make Weasley popular.
This year’s plate racing is obviously just a cheap American knock-off of Top Gear’s double decker racing. I’d rather watch the original
If I heard correctly, as the race started the announcers said that according to Nascar Rules no pushing would be allowed on the last lap…? Did anyone else hear that?
RP racing sucks donkey dongs!!! Crap-shoot, crap-shoot, crap-shoot. Wonder if the owners could just give the money they spend on the wrecked cars straight to NASCAR and just take those races off the schedule. Between the RP races and the double file restarts at the other tracks NASCAR has found the key to scripting exciting finishes. I ask, if someone has led 90% of the race and has a 5 second lead before that final caution comes out, why should that final restart have so much weight as to render the rest of the race pointless.
The only smile I got from the whole weekend of racing was imagining the comments Smoke must have been thinking while being behind Danica around the track. Always sounds like that’s where he’d like to be.
Joe Nemechek gets sponsors, runs his most competitive race since last fall, LEADS, runs in the top 10 for a good chunk of the race, and doesn’t even get mentioned?? Come on!
Was that supposed to be a race or a test session?
And I thought plate racing couldn’t get any worse.
Why is Danica even mentioned in a “Cup” article?
the friday night race wasn’t a cup race? sorry. hard to tell the difference.
Simple solution……..Run the road race course……NO tandem racing and NO restrictor plates……Problem solved
I still don’t understand some people. Yes, Danica still has some learning to do. However, she didn’t cause the wreck and anyone who doubts that hasn’t looked closely at the video or is simply allowing their bias/jealousy to cloud their vision.
That is not to say one can’t be critical of Danica. She clearly is not comfortable being the pushing car. She doesn’t like not being able to see. If she wants to gain the respect of her competitors she’ll need to work on that in order to have people to work with.
With that being said, the wreck at the end of the race was not Danica’s fault and had nothing to do with a lack of talent or car control on Danica’s part. Mike Wallace tried to get up in front of her and misjudged making contact with Danica’s car. This pushed Danica off the front of Almirola’s car. When she brought the car back, the #88 had moved up a bit & as she came across to get back in position it started to turn the #7. As she came down the track attempting to catch the car she made contact with Wallace’s car. As the two cars attempted to straighten out they made contact again and then everybody wrecked. If there is any blame to be placed as to the origins of that wreck, it is on Mike Wallace and his spotter. It isn’t on Danica Patrick.
Side note/question: With EFI coming into the sport next year, is that not going to do away with the restrictor plate?
The “alleged“races at Daytona and Talladega have degenerated into the longest demolition derbies on record. Imagine running “carefully controlled pairs” (Great for skating competitions) for 98% of the race. Suddenly the drivers become Mr. Hyde and the race turns into a demolition derby with the survivors finishing. The rest of the field SCRAP!
The only difference is that in a true demolition derby there is only one survivor/winner.
It wasn’t that Gordon and Martin were planning to match up earlier in the week that caught my ear – so much as they decided it was “Mark’s turn to win”! Really?!
Maybe Cup racing has been flailing for a few years now; but, I can’t recall feeling that disappointed in the sport all at once before.
mkrcr – what makes you think Smoke is interesed in following Danica – in any sense that term might be used? Smoke talks like a stud, but may be deeper in NASCAR’s closet than any driver has ever been.
And Gina, thank your lucky stars for Kyle blazing his way through traffic AND wrecks and delivering a 6th place finish for Jeffie. No way Jeffie could have done it without him. He already admits Kyle is the best driver on the track and the one he would most like to beat.
Get on board with your lover boy, Ms. 24.
And more blah, blah, blah, everything sucks according to Matt. Seriously, why do you write ANY columns? They are all the same. Someone could easily fill in the blanks for you to name the villains of the week.
Take your retirement savings and drink it to death. Do us all a favor.
I just think Joe deserved a little bit of a mention or something. For what he was able to do, with losing a couple crew guys, especially was amazing. Joe Nemechek is the true racer. I don’t care if Mears, and Cassill and Lally were up front at one point. Those teams have pretty major sponsorship, and Joe has close to nothing. And leading ANY CUP race is worth mentioning, no matter where it is. It’s hard to lead one… and look what it got Dave Blaney and TBR!!!
Racing at Talladega and Daytona has become so boring. Instead of driving 40 miles to watch the October Talladega race, I have decided to fly to Ontario, CA to watch an international figure skating competition: Skate America. At least I know that I will actually see world class athletes compete instead of watching drivers do a two-car tango for several hours.
Hendrick Rules NASCAR!!! YEAH BABY!! What he says Brian does! RICK will always rule! Don’t ever forget it or else!! All will bow down to Rick! LOVE IT!! That is how it must be! Don’t EVER think it will change! It will never change. What Rick says is law!
“Mark Martin is now 0 for 53 at Daytona, a record of futility that rivals Charlie Brown’s field goal kicking percentage.”
I like Mark Martin, but that made me laugh out loud!
I still think the tandems are better than one 35-car pack. At least the tandems pass each other instead of looking like a 190 mph rush hour traffic jam.