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 August 1, 2011
*The Key Moment *– With three laps to go Paul Menard had saved enough fuel he could relight the afterburners and hold off a hard-charging Jeff Gordon for the final few laps.
*In a Nutshell *– A popular first time win by a young man whose family is inextricably linked with the Speedway helps mask the fact this was yet another race decided by fuel strategy, not racing.
Dramatic Moment – With all their collective racing experience I’m not sure how Matt Kenseth, Jimmie Johnson and David Ragan decided going four-wide into the corner with rookie Landon Cassill was going to be a good idea. It wasn’t. Drivers like Kasey Kahne and Carl Edwards paid the price.
Yes, it was intriguing over those last twelve laps to see if Gordon could run the leaders down but it was more likely those leaders were going to run out of gas anyway. If my notes are correct, every Cup race since the World 600 has been determined by fuel mileage.
What They’ll Be Talking About Around the Water Cooler This Week
I’m sorry. I just don’t get it. Kyle Busch scrapes the wall, keeps the car straight and continues on. NASCAR immediately throws the fourth caution. Not too long afterwards, Cassill is sideways across the track with half the field bearing down on him and for several agonizing seconds no yellow flag flies, greatly compounding the severity of the wreck.
Speaking of cautions, if an empty drink bottle on the track surface is enough to warrant a caution, why aren’t drivers penalized for tossing them out the window? It’s often shown on TV as it was today when Kyle Busch’s errant toss bought out the yellow.
They must have had hard liquor for breakfast in the control tower this morning. Who came up with the brilliant idea to open pit road with a track safety truck and crew parked right there, resetting the commitment cone at the pit entrance.
Remember back when the Brickyard 400 used to draw a standing room only 300,000 fans? (Overly optimistic reports estimate Sunday’s “crowd” at 130,000 but my guess it was well less than 100,000). Those days are gone. Of the course the economy isn’t helping but I truly believe that travesty of a 2008 race here was the final straw. If you’ll recall, NASCAR had to throw competition cautions about every 15 laps because that’s as long as the Goodyears would last and they needed to see to it someone actually finished the race. The ‘08 Brickyard is considered by many the worst stock car race ever run (the NHIS restrictor plate race in 2000 was a close second). After the race, fans felt ripped off and angry. A lot of them asked for a refund; they never got one and guess what? Those folks never came back. Is there a lesson here for the folks that run Kentucky?
The Nationwide drivers were almost universal in expressing their disappointment next year’s event will be held at the Brickyard rather than the short track. Most went on to add they hoped eventually they’d be back to the old IRP. Based on what I saw this weekend, maybe it’s time to move the Cup cars to the short track, too.
It was a treat to hear Ned Jarrett in the broadcast booth again, albeit briefly. Even while he was there as an honoree, he seemed to be keeping a better eye on the action than the three individuals paid to do so. Back in that magical ESPN era of the 1980s and ’90s, Jarrett would pay such close attention to the track he’d often be able to predict a wreck laps before it happened and direct the camera crews to keep an eye on the situation as it developed.
Are they running a demolition derby or a road race at Watkins Glen this month? Based on the promotional commercial being aired to try to sell tickets, someone unfamiliar with the sport might think none of these drivers ever make a corner.
Ten dollars for parking? In this day and age? You’ve got to be kidding me.
I’ve already gotten three emails on the topic, so here’s the 411 on ESPN’s so called “Side by Side” coverage that allows fans to continue watching the race during commercials. The improved coverage doesn’t start until the Chase (the final ten races) and it will only be featured in the second half of those races.
I can’t imagine kneeling on diamond ground asphalt is too comfortable even for a quick smooch of the bricks. Having to stay down there to do all the hat changes as well? Sorry, not at my age.
The Hindenburg Award For Foul Fortune
Kasey Kahne had a clearly dominant car early in the event but a botched pit stop and the eventual spin that tore up the nose of his car ended his chances at a decent finish.
Barely two laps into the race, Kurt Busch put his car hard up against the outside wall.
For such a big track, Indy’s pit road is awfully narrow. Among those suffering pit road collisions Sunday: Kyle Busch, Tony Stewart, Kevin Harvick, Johnson and Brian Vickers.
With passing at such a premium at Indy, Denny Hamlin’s blown engine in the final practice caused him to enter the race with one hand tied behind his back.
David Reutimann took the hardest hit of the event after a blown tire sent him hard into the wall; he wound up 36th.
The “Seven Come Fore Eleven” Award For Fine Fortune
Menard must not have been too close on gas after all. He had plenty left over after the race to do burnouts and victory laps.
Stewart survived his pit road entrance incident with Harvick well enough to finish sixth in a car that was clearly not the pick of the litter.
Mark Martin was nearly spun by Juan Pablo Montoya earlier in the race but kept it one piece to finish eighth.
It was a pretty fair weekend for young James Buescher, who finished third in the ARCA race, second in a truck, and third in the Nationwide Series race.
What’s the Points?
Edwards and Johnson remain one-two in the standings. They are now separated by 11 points. Behind them, Kurt Busch had a tough day, that bout with the outside wall costing him three spots. Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch and Matt Kenseth jumped ahead, moving to third, fourth, and fifth in points respectively.
Behind Kurt Busch in sixth sits Jeff Gordon, with Ryan Newman holding serve in eighth, Tony Stewart advanced two spots to ninth in the standings, while Dale Earnhardt, Jr. fell to tenth. And, while Junior gained ground on the 11th-place driver in the standings his points position grows increasingly more precarious. He is now in the tenth and final spot that locks into the Chase, 19 ahead of Denny Hamlin but still has zero wins. Uh-oh; I’m just waiting for Brian France to announce that the thirteenth driver in the Chase will be voted in by the fans this fall.
If the regular season were to end right now (and incidentally it won’t) Menard would grab one “wild card” spot based on Sunday’s win and his fourteenth place standing in the points. David Ragan, with his win at Daytona has a shot from sixteenth if he can bypass Menard in points.
Overall Rating (On a scale of one to six beer cans with one being a stinker and a six pack an instant classic) — Two cans of warm, generic stuff that smells kind of skunky. This race used to be all sizzle and no steak. Now, it doesn’t even sizzle much.
Next Up – We’re just getting cranked up on the seventeen-consecutive-week stretch to crowning a champion at Homestead. This week’s round is at Pocono… again.
©2000 - 2008 Matt McLaughlin and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
Damn, I missed all the excitement.
With all these fuel mileage “races”, I wonder if NA$CAR will need to adjust their minimum speed rule so that they don’t have to blackflag the leader?
I was wondering the same thing about Kyle Busch’s water bottle. Usually, bringing out a caution by throwing something out on the track is a penalty. I guess NASCAR was thankful for the opportunity to throw another debris caution and bunch the field up. If I’m not mistaken there were 5 or 6 cautions, only two of them were legitimate.
Some days I just get so fed up with NASCAR’s manipulation of the races that I just want to go cold turkey and stop watching altogether.
The fuel mileage thing has gotten too pervasive. At least Menard couldn’t limp to the finish line yesterday. Jeff kept him honest.
There’s finally something the Cup car is good for…mowing grass.
I heard the words “clean air” way to often again yesterday. Even if the 24 would have caught Menard he probably wasn’t going to pass him because of the non-exsistent(per Nascar) aero push. Glad to see Menard win, he is a better driver than he gets credit for.
In ’08 they had to throw a “competition” caution every ten laps, not fifteen. Yes, I was there, and haven’t been back since. I didn’t leave the track shaking my fist and vowing never to return though. I’ve just had other things going on every year since then.
I find that I often have other things going on that keep me from watching races on the weekends too. That never seemed to happen ten years ago, but maybe my life was just less interesting back then. It certainly couldn’t have anything to do with the quality of the races these days.
I think you should start grading the race as follows: 5 beers for the all but the last 10-20 laps, and one final beer for the finish. If that was the case for this race, I’d give it 5 cans of warm skunk spit, and one cold wine cooler for Jeff Gordon’s attempt to catch Menard (we all know Jeff prefers wine over beer).
The “clean air” advantage is such that Nascar has to throw a caution for anything that could possibly be construed as debris in order to bunch the cars up for a restart. The race was so boring at times that if Nacsar had thrown the yellow for a feather on the track, I wouldn’t have complained.
Not too much to brag about as far as the racing was concerned, but it was nice seeing a 1st time Cup winner and Richard “Slugger” Labbe win.
good recap, I really wanted Gordon to win it, but Menard certainly drove a good race and won it fair and square.
I didn’t understand why NASCAR didn’t call a penalty for Busch throwing stuff out of his car – except that they needed the caution to close up the field so we could have the artificial excitement of double file restarts for 2 or 3 laps.
Oh heavens, Matt, I hope NASCAR doesn’t read your column and decide that the fan vote is THE way to get Jr into the playoffs? That would make the chase even more of a joken than it is.
Not that I don’t appreciate the sentiment Gina, but there’s no way the Chase could be a bigger joke than it is. I read Matt’s column more than I watch races these days, and it’s all because of the grand idiocy that is the Chase.
They always throw water bottles out of the cars. It just happened that Kyle’s bounced back onto the track.
I bet you would find tons of bottles if you walked along the edge of a race track after a race.
Wait – isn’t NA$CAR all about the environment now (fuel injection, ethanol, etc)? Yet they allow the drivers to litter like crazy on the backstretch?
NASCAR should make it illegal to throw anything out of the car at any time once they are out of their pit box. The only exception should be if there is something on fire or that presents an immediate danger (like a live hand-grenade).
I think you mean Regan Smith finished third. Ragan finished 23rd.
A couple of things here…
Montoya and Burton had contact on pit road too.
It was Regan Smith who came in third yesterday, and who also won at Darlington earlier this year. David Ragan won at Daytona.
Why not mandate some sort of trash can in the car so that water bottles can be stored until the end of the race as opposed to thrown out so that Nascar can call a debris caution?
I guess I’m in the minority because I thought it was a good race. ESPN did a stellar job, the folks in the booth didn’t play favorites, and I stayed awake for the entire race. Artificial or not, I thought the last 10 laps were pretty darn good.
Thanks for noting it was Regan Smith not Ragan that finished 3rd, SouthJerseyGirl. As a big fan of Regan Smith, he deserves accolades for doing so much with a one car team.
The last 10 laps were very exciting. The other 150 were terrible since nobody could pass except for restarts.
Having Allen Bestwick in the booth really helped save ESPN & save this race from the click of the remote.
I was at the debacle that was the 2008 Brickyard and haven’t been back since. Not so much because of the tire issues…I’m just tired of spending all of that money to see one corner of the track. I have, however, been back to IRP (I don’t care who owns it now…it will always be IRP) for the Truck and Busch (same goes) races. Brainless France is going to bring down NA$CAR from the inside out if he keeps making stupid decisions like moving one of the best short track races of the season to one of the most boring tracks.
So, if a driver saves his tires, he’s a racer.
Wasn’t Robby Gordon shown throwing something (roll bar wrapping?) out of his car? It’s a good thing it wasn’t Robby who threw out the water bottle, not that anything different would have happened to him.
Thanks for giving props to Allen Bestwick. ESPN isn’t what it used to be back in the day, but having Bestwick on board is a step in the right direction.
I agree totally with your drink bottle comment. I said exactly the same thing to my husband – if it warrants a caution, why isn’t there a penalty? Deliberately tossing a water bottle = deliberately causing a caution.
Having Allen Bestwick in the both was very nice. ESPN just needs to rehire Bob Jenkins and John Kernan, and ESPN is back in business.
Honestly, I think it’s time for a Stock Car competitor to NASCAR to emerge from the shadows. With all the small teams falling away and start-and-parkers, there must be enough cash to buy some 2011 Cameros, Challengers and Mustangs, safety ‘em up and throw ‘em out there at IRP, Rockingham and other short/mid tracks of note.. I mean, COME ON… people would watch, yknow, actual racing even if they streamed it online and put ads on the screen… it’s time for someone with money to use some sense and fill the market gap NASCAR is leaving…
namely, the desire for entertaining, hard-nosed, racing.
Once again NASCAR has manipulated the race throughout with its phony cautions. Early race strategy is jumbled up for most with cautions that seem to benefit a few. Tires that last through more than one fuel run encourage the fuel saving gamble. It is paying off this season for several teams who have nothing to lose and take that gamble. The wave around and the lucky dog make it hard for faster cars to keep the lapped cars a lap down. NASCAR just keeps finding ways to make watching these races harder. The Brickyard is touted as a premier race – why??? I am really trying hard to remain a fan. Again why???
I think Nascar should mandate a compulsary “Trash stop” at the halfway point of each race. Allow an extra crewman over the wall to collect water bottles, gum wrappers , etc while the cars are taking on fuel and tires.
Wasn’t the last car that JGo had to pass in his charge to the front the #32 driven by Mike Bliss? Did it look to you like Bliss held up Gordon just barely enough to break his momentum just barely enough to allow Menard to get away and get the win? Could this be a form of subtle payback for an altercation some years back between Gordon and Bliss at an airport?