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 11, 2011
The Key Moment – Kyle Busch aced the final restart, then had time to relax and watch the mayhem behind him in the rear-view mirror while cruising to victory.
In a Nutshell – Busch let loose on the field most of the night with an old-fashioned butt-whoopin’.
Dramatic Moment – Well, there sure weren’t a lot of them to select from, were there? I’d say the last two laps were the only part of the race that got my pulse rate up.
What They’ll Be Talking About Around the Water Cooler This Week
As dominant as Busch’s No. 18 car was, when he got behind Brad Keselowski his Toyota seemed powerless to pass. Confused? That’s just another product of the aero push phenomenon that’s destroying racing. (Hold on; I’m being told that for the record, it’s no longer “the dreaded” aero push. It no longer officially exists and shouldn’t be talked about. The racing is great. It’s never been better. Ignore the man behind the curtain…)
As bad as most of that race was, you have to wonder how many fans left early to beat the horrifying traffic? In fact, the backup was so bad – reported to be 20 miles long, by some – you have to wonder if those who left early were heading past drivers still trying to make it to the race. (In fact, they must have. Before some fans could reach the entrance for the track, their cars were turned away so local law enforcement could prepare for people exiting. If those fans shut out from attending aren’t offered a full refund for their tickets, I hope that Kentucky is shuttered up at this time next year.) Track GM Mark Simendinger, as well as everyone’s favorite Brian France promises traffic improvements are being planned for 2012 and beyond. My guess is there will be a whole lot less fans trying to make the trip, anyway.
Lucas Oil Raceway, the former IRP short track near Indianapolis has become a fan favorite for tight, close quarters action. A staple for the Nationwide Series since its inception in 1982, the Truck Series also runs there on the same weekend as the Cup stars descend on Indianapolis. Across town, their event at the Brickyard has quickly gone from one of the high-profile events on the schedule to a flop, evidenced by this year’s difficulty in selling even heavily discounted seats. (Sorry, but racing stock cars at Indy is praying in somebody else’s church.) So, in a brilliant move NASCAR has decided to switch next year’s Nationwide race from the IRP short track to the Brickyard, a move I’m pretty certain can only yield disaster. If nothing else, it will be perceived as one because a Nationwide Series crowd in an arena that large is going to look like a Foghat reunion concert at Wembley.
Oops. Apparently, the organizational planning at Kentucky didn’t go so well. Even Friday night, with the smaller Nationwide crowd there were still long lines of traffic trying to reach the stadium forty laps into the event. The ever colorful Bruton Smith, owner of the facility, labeled a nearby highway, I-71, the worst road in the world and urged fans to avoid it. He felt if they picked any other road at random to get to and from the track, they’d fare better. Tongue in cheek, he went on to say he hoped to get all Saturday’s fans out of the area and home by Tuesday.
Let’s see; horrific traffic, a track surface that looked like a motocross course, a garage area the track’s owner professed to be embarrassed by, no SAFER barriers along the frontstretch inner wall… did track management not get the memo that the Cup Series was finally arriving in town? Again, though, let’s be fair. When Texas and Las Vegas held their inaugural Cup events, there were massive traffic jams and mass confusion amongst track management on how to fix things. Oddly enough, both those tracks are owned by Smith’s SMI corporation as well. You think maybe they should have anticipated this mess?
The “wave around” rule has never really bothered me. Honestly, I prefer it to the old method of having cars on the tail end of the lead lap, lining up ahead of the leaders which was always a recipe for mayhem and confusion on a restart. But the email I am getting in increasing volume from fans is vitriolic and states they simply don’t like this type of “free pass.” Saturday night’s alleged race is going to add more fuel to the fire, with fans already telling me they feel the rule was designed to help some of the sport’s big names (the HMS bunch are most frequently mentioned) make chicken salad out of chicken crap.
Here’s the “wave around” consensus amongst my readers (and know I may be a bit of a lightning rod for the disaffected): If a team is that slow, they should restart behind the faster cars anyway, still a lap down. Changes to make things better should come at the shop that week and not as a result of NASCAR corporate largesse.
Sounding a bit more like Marie “Let them eat cake” Antoinette then he probably meant to, Jimmie Johnson tweeted (where do these drivers find all this time to Tweet?) he felt bad for the fans caught in traffic. Johnson noted he had traveled home for his daughter’s birthday Friday, but when returning for the race was advised of the traffic issues so he decided to use a helicopter to make the trip to Kentucky. You know, if more fans would take their helicopters or walk to the track we could avoid these messes in the future…
The Hindenburg Award For Foul Fortune
He wasn’t running that well to begin with (again) but Dale Earnhardt, Jr.’s exploded tire exiting the pits turned his night from bad to worse. He ended the night in 30th.
It’s been awhile since I’ve seen an engine expire quite as dramatically as Jamie McMurray’s. That smoky mess ended his night early; the No. 1 car finished 36th.
Clint Bowyer was having trouble just staying out of the way most of the race, but his lap 261 crash ended a bad night on an even more sour note. In fact, none of the RCR cars ever really seemed up to speed (Best Finish: 16th) which is unusual at a mile-and-a-half track – even one that’s bumpier than an artillery range.
Brad Keselowski and team experienced radio problems that kept them from being able to communicate about the car and strategy during a crucial period of the race. That may have helped take a winning car and left it seventh by the checkered flag.
The “Seven Come Fore Eleven” Award For Fine Fortune
It was a pretty good weekend for Kyle Busch with a win in Thursday’s Truck race, a third-place finish in the Nationwide race and a dominating Cup win in Saturday’s main event.
Jeff Gordon’s car was simply horrendous for the first half of the race, so slow in fact that he lost a lap. Considering the circumstances, a tenth-place finish had to feel like a gift; as it is, if not for another terrific save after getting sideways the night might not have ended on such a merry note.
Last week’s winner, David Ragan, got his car sideways in the oil that brought out the third caution but he did a nice job to save it. One week after winning Daytona, the driver of the No. 6 Ford was a consistent top-10 runner and came home eighth.
Kyle Busch now assumes the championship lead, taking over from Kevin Harvick. He’s ahead of second place Carl Edwards by four points while Harvick drops to third, ten markers back.
Kurt Busch lies fourth, while Jimmie Johnson and Matt Kenseth swap the fifth and sixth spots in the standings, with Johnson having the advantage. At 19 and 22 points out of the lead, they are the final two drivers with a realistic shot of winning the regular season title. Jeff Gordon, sitting seventh is 71 points out of the lead although, with two victories in hand he appears to be a Chase lock.
Dale Earnhardt, Jr. falls another spot to eighth after a thoroughly futile month of racing for the No. 88 bunch. Ryan Newman, Denny Hamlin, and Tony Stewart all moved up a spot in the standings and are now ranked ninth through eleventh, respectively. Under the law of Conservation of Points Positions, someone had to surrender those spots and it was Clint Bowyer who fell three notches to twelfth.
But a winless Stewart, now back in Chase position can’t afford to be complacent. Coming off that Daytona win, David Ragan (up two spots to fifteenth in the standings) currently holds the twelfth slot for the Chase, while Brad Keselowski sits 21st in points, has a win and is just three points out of possible title contention – and taking Stewart’s spot.
One other driver to consider: Juan Pablo Montoya, who sits thirteenth in the standings with the series heading to Watkins Glen next month, where he’s a favorite to win. Would that shake things up or what? (To be fair, Stewart usually runs pretty well at the Glen, too.)
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. Move along, folks, nothing to see here.
Next Up – The Cup circuit heads northeast to New Hampshire, so I’m heading due east to the Shore. See ya for Indy.
©2000 - 2008 Matt McLaughlin and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
Bruton,nascar and everyone involved with this track should be embarassed at the traffic CLUSTERPHUCK this track has hosted Busch and Trucks series for 10 years and an extra 40,000 fans back up traffic for 7hrs and people still missed the event. Bruton, nascar and track management all had a wosre showing then the poor racing on the track.
If not for the debris cautions and wave around there would have only been a handful of cars on the lead lap. Even with previous wave arounds at last caution only 7 cars on lead lap and approx 15 take wave around.
I’ve been railing against the wave-around rule since it started. Here is a question…. before the wave-around rule was in place, how often were there cars lined up ahead of the leaders on the tail end of the lead lap? My recollection is that maybe once in 5 races that would happen and it usually occured during a round of green flag pitstops that were interupted by an untimely caution. In any case it was an exception and not the rule.
What this rule does is undermine the legitimacy of the entire race. Between the wave arounds and the double file restarts the first 80% of the race doesn’t matter anymore. You can show up with a car that’s out to lunch and still get a good finish when the cautions and crap-shoot restarts occur in the last 15 laps. To me this is like watching on football team run up a 30 point lead in the first 3 quarters and then have it reduced to a 3 point lead to make the ending exciting. Why did I just watch the first 3 quarters if they really didn’t matter?
Hey, I know a lot of people that would go to a Foghat concert!
FYI, having driven down I-71 past the track back in early June, I can vouch for Burton Smith’s comment. All of that highway is 2-lane that has been reduced to 1 lane for construction. And it was nowhere near done when I went through there a month ago. I’m sure it will be great next year….
So there are three Hendrick cars a lap down with one in position for the free pass. I guess Brian phoned in for a debris caution. Then the other two get the wave around to get them on the lead lap at the back of the field. Then there is another caution for “oil” in seven laps and they’re back with the lead pack. Gordon really earned his lap back.
I liked the helicopter part. I guess it would be a good idea to hang around the heliport and “thumb” a ride.
Sounds like the first event at Kentucky was about as well-planned as the first Car of Tomorrow race on the newly paved Indianapolis speedway. No refund for that; don’t expect one here. I’m glad I missed it, and I’m sure as heck glad I’m not a Kentucky NASCAR fan.
All of the lawsuits and crap to get a race at another aero speedway, maybe they could spend some of that energy doing some real planning to make it as little of a CF as possible.
I’ll bet there are enough people saying “never again” that this track won’t have a Cup race for very long.
Unacceptable, that Kentucky didn’t have enough parking. Bad traffic is one thing, it’s part of the NASCAR landscape, but turning people away is another. I can see why NASCAR refused to give that place a race. On the waive around, I like it. I remember Kansas 2007 when lappers in front of the leaders caused a huge pile up that took out several chasers. The wave around rarely works out for those that take it. They usually end up getting burned by a long run.
I gave the race one beer, only because it would have been impossible to make it through to the end without any alcohol.
Buzz: The construction on I-71 was suspended a week ago for the race.
I’ve been to KY speedway for the Busch, Truck and ARCA races and parking and traffic was pretty bad with those smaller venues.
Traffic is almost always a problem getting to a track, not having enough parking because you overbuilt the stands is another issue. although from a PR point of view it would be a good idea for Bruton to refund the money to fans who couldn’t make it to the race, I expect it will be a cold day in you know where before THAT happens.
It was a terrible race to watch on TV – LOL, Matt I love your comments about the aero push issue. That’s right, if no one talks about it, all the problems will magically disappear on their own – along with the continued loss of the fanbase.
Based on what I saw on TV, I wouldn’t even consider going to a race at Ky.
Bruton runs races in various other locations without this nightmare, common denominator is KY. poor management on Everyone from the hiway Patrol to track management. If there is justice, they will be half full next year.
I’m pretty sure more series around the world use the wave-around rule than anything else. IndyCar uses it. The problem with NASCAR using it is that they throw way more cautions than any other sanctioning body does. If they threw cautions only when cautions were necessary, then the wave-around rule would be fine.
Having BOTH wave-around and lucky dog seems asinine to me however. Pick one. I’m actually okay with either, but not both. They’re both vast improvements over leaders slamming on the brakes letting 20 cars past to let their teammate(s) back on the lead lap…
Once again we have the Bruton carney game. He gets breaks from the State and instead of improving parking as the State was led to believe, he adds more seats (and screw the parking). He then lies about the cooler regulations so he can make a few extra bucks (he didn’t even get that right). Not to mention the shortage of porta-potties.
If Bruton’s comment about 15-20,000 people being turned away is true, he had better explain why they oversold the seats. They claimed 97,000 people were there (do the math).
That highway is overcrowded one weekend a year. Why should the people of Kentucky pay for highway expansion that only benifits one person? If Bruton wants the highway expanded, let him pay for it. He’s the one that will benifit from it most.
I hope the people in that area get smart and let this carney man sit alone at the track next year.
I DVR’d the race and then fast-forwarded through the dull parts. I think I watched the entire race in less than 20 minutes. One thing is for sure, you’ll never have to worry about me getting stuck in traffic on the way to a race at that track.
I was there. I-71 had nothing to do with the backup. The bottleneck was the inadequate parking and inadequate parking staff to handle the numbers of cars trying to get to the race.
Making I-71 ten lanes wide won’t speed up the parking process at the track.
Both the wave around and the lucky dog need to go by the wayside.
It’s amazing how many cautions come out when a Hendrick car needs one. They don’t come out for Roush, Gibbs or Childress and they sure won’t come out for Robby Gordon.
How many people other than me predicted the caution for Mark Martin before it came out?
Another piss poor race at a boring dual-use (nascar / Open Wheel) track. I guess one plus with all the tracks and the crappy racing is that I’m having a lot more open weekends now that I’ve given up locking down my weekends for Nascar races. If the race is at a track with good racing, then I’ll watch. If not, I’m heading outside, or to a movie, or taking a nap.
And who are the jokers that gave this race a six pack rating??? It probably would take ten six packs to make this race any good.
And all the issues with traffic and parking are ENTIRELY Bruton Smith’s fault. He needs to fun the highway improvements, and then get enough parking for the 107,000 seats he put in.
Nascar must be run by the same rumbs in washington.
Move NW races to Indy? Raise taxes in this recession? Insane.
Oh Dali-bama where art thou with thy magic wand?
Using football as a parallel, I have never watched a game where I didn’t think the refs were screwing my team. That I chalk up to human nature.
mikeGH, NASCAR’s management and race teams are almost exclusively made up of conservative, right wing, Republican voting people. Sorry, you can’t pin this crap on Obama. Brian France and Bruton Smith are perfect examples of what happens when you let big business have its way. A few people get rich and a lot of the rest of us make due with the product they produce.
17 minutes of fast-forwarding and 3 minutes watching McMurray’s car blow up.
Isn’t selling the same seat twice fraud? Nascar and Bruton Smith = Bear Stearns?
NASCAR fans sure can be dumb. Sparta is a teensy town in a poor county and one weekend a year it swells to the size of the state’s 3rd largest city. And their infrastructure is supposed to handle it? Really? Those who got screwed in this deal ought to wake up and see how fat cats like Bruton are bending you over daily, not paying their fair share of taxes, creating only minimum wage jobs, taking corporate welfare, etc. He doesn’t GAS about inconveniencing you, he just wants your tax $.
Matt, your “Move along, folks, nothing to see here.” covers most of what’s wrong with NASCAR. There is not much to see anymore in NASCAR—bummer.
I’m OK with the wave around … But that race = NO …Dull & as earlier stated “get out front & your untouchable” …No we didn’t need this (or any more) Dull D’s…they just keep doing dum things without seeing whats happened to a once thriving sport. & While we go to a few race’s …We will never be @ that track as I can get this at any Dull D …Sorry Kentucky . You know where else the passing is done in the pits …F1 zzzzz
“bumpier than an artillery range”, another Matt classic. Maybe next year, they will let the cars run with two shocks per corner!!!
A BIG shout-out to Summer Dreyer. Less than 2 days after she wrote a column that said Kyle Busch’s season had taken a fatal down turn, Kyle won THREE RACES in FOUR DAYS, with a third-place thrown in for good measure! WOW! I am sure there are at least 40 drivers in the garage who would love to be enduring THAT slump!
Trucks, Cup, and Slinger Speedway made it a 3 for 4 weekend for poor washed-up old Kyle!
Summer, you are probably too young, but didn’t people say that the 1980 and 1984 Presidential races were going to be too close to call, because who is gonna vote for a 70-year old actor?
Only the biggest electoral college sweeps in history! You missed your calling, Summer! The political analysts need your keen perception!
bud sudz, in 1997-2000 the gentleman’s agreement had already broken down. What nobody seems to remember is that before the field was frozen and the lucky dog was introduced FREQUENTLY the leader would slam on the brakes coming to the caution to let a lapped teammate back on the lead lap. In the 1997 summer Michigan race, Jeff Burton was leading and Mark Martin was two laps down due to a cut tire. Martin gained one of those laps back when Burton and the other leaders pitted, but to gain the other lap back, Burton slammed on the brakes coming to the caution, let literally 20 or 25 cars past just so Martin could get back on the lead lap, and Martin eventually won the race. I don’t think the old system was very pure at all. Considering how many cautions there were at Bristol and how many drivers were playing these kind of games, even many of the Bristol races by the time of frozen fields had up to 15-20 cars on the lead lap. In my opinion, lucky dog was actually an improvement.
Only way to fix KY Speedway is to bulldoze it and build a 3/4 mile Rockingham clone or a 1/2 mile Wilkesboro. Its the only way that track will have any staying power long-term. The track sucks as it exists now. I know, I’ve been and “watched” a “race” there. IF the action on-track was worth seeing, the fans wouldn’t complain so much about the parking/traffic/sh!tty service that SMI venues consistently provide.