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 October 3, 2011
The Key Moment – Kurt Busch got enough of a jump on the final restart, with 35 laps remaining that he was easily able to hold off Jimmie Johnson for the win.
In a Nutshell – Wow, what a race! Two leaders battling wheel-to-wheel, side-by-side for over twenty laps at the end. A five-car pack still in contention for the win with five laps to go and ten cars within a second of the leader. Oops! Sorry, I just described the IndyCar race at Kentucky. Oh, well; at least the Cup “show” wasn’t decided on fuel mileage.
Dramatic Moment – You know there was a good race wanting to happen between Busch, Edwards and Johnson in the final laps but the aero-push phenomenon kept it from gelling.
What They’ll Be Talking About Around the Water Cooler This Week
Did the Chase just ruin the finish of another race? I’m left wondering if Jimmie Johnson gave it all he had on that final restart or decided to preserve a top-3 finish to help himself in the points. It’s not like he and Kurt Busch haven’t already had their run-ins this season (as recently as last week) so caution might have been the better part of valor in some folks’ eyes.
Speaking of Johnson, his detractors had been celebrating all week as they wrote off his title chances. Even a lot of folks in the media wasted a lot of verbiage talking about the near-impossible task Johnson had ahead of him trying for that sixth title. Note to you all: he’s back. Be afraid. Be very afraid. Now, I’m not rooting for Johnson here. Frankly, I think it would be better for the sport to have a new champion this season, but I’m not going to write off the No. 48 bunch until they are mathematically eliminated.
Another black eye for NASCAR officiating. In Saturday’s Nationwide race, Reed Sorenson’s car sputtered and ran out of fuel just as a caution flag flew. Thus, he was forced to enter the pits before pit lane opened, drawing the standard penalty for that infraction: restarting the race at the end of the longest line. Most casual fans know that by heart; heck, even Sorenson’s crew chief admitted he knew that consequence should have been coming. But in this case, the penalty was never assessed. Why? NASCAR “forgot” to tell the team they were penalized before the race resumed. After the event, officials contended that after the restart, there was nothing they could do to correct their own glaring error. Bull-feathers! They’ve thrown another caution and rearranged the field to correct errors countless times. I recall distinctly after Dale Earnhardt was incorrectly penalized for having his team fail to install a lug nut, NASCAR threw a caution and allowed Earnhardt to move back up to his rightful position. How much did it help? We’ll never know, exactly, but considering Sorenson is third in the standings… he just got an unfair points advantage. If this “break” allows him to defeat either of the drivers up ahead for the title, somebody is going to be raising Hell and I’m going to be right behind them with a pitchfork and torch.
How close was NASCAR to another rainout? Here in Chester County, about sixty miles north of the track as the crow flies, it started raining early this morning and never stopped. Of course, the only equipment we have to dry Little Washington Road is my landlord’s kid Jack dragging a tire up and down it aboard an old Wheelhorse garden tractor with a cast iron, ten-horsepower engine. It doesn’t do crap, but it keeps him out of trouble…
Who are these other 31 drivers out on the track with the twelve Chasers? Don’t bother asking anyone at ESPN. That network’s pre-race show ought to be re-titled “The Jimmie, Junior, Carl, Jeff, Kyle and the Other Seven Chase Dwarves Show.”
Wow, there sure are a lot of crying, whining babies in the garage area lately. And many of them seem to have infant children. (Note to Mrs. Johnson – Annie Hall called. She wants her wardrobe back.)
Isn’t it amazing how much more competitive and entertaining the Truck Series races are when guys like Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick stay home? Now, if we could just get the Cup guys to forgo Nationwide events we might see some decent racing in that series as well.
OK, who is in charge of scheduling? Fans (Phans?) here in the Philadelphia market have a glut of options this weekend. On Sunday, the Phillies had a playoff game and the Iggles played game four of the NFL season at home. For car guys, this weekend was the much anticipated fall Carlisle swap meet outside of Harrisburg. (Hershey is next week.) The NHRA is in Reading for a national event. And they decided this weekend was the one to schedule a Cup race at Dover?
Robby Gordon said recently he’s begun start-and-parking his car because he’ll get the same amount of TV exposure whether he runs a few laps or the whole race. Gordon says his car is only shown during his qualifying run. But I’ve got a solution. If only the guy returned to his form of a few years ago, wrecking out drivers in the Chase, his TV exposure would rise dramatically…
The Hindenburg Award For Foul Fortune
Carl Edwards appeared to have the fastest car on Sunday but a speeding penalty on pit road ended his chances at a win. Edwards rebounded to a third-place finish but was clearly miffed with himself over the lost opportunity at the victory.
Dale Earnhardt, Jr. had a decent if unspectacular day going (after recovering from early suspension issues) until his team left the right-front wheel loose on a pit stop. That forced Junior back to get it fixed under green, late enough in the race that no amount of magical “debris” cautions or Lucky Dogs could help him recover: Earnhardt finished 24th, two laps off the pace and seemingly out of title contention at this point. Please note: there’s no truth to the rumor that the No. 88 team’s front tire changer had to be smuggled out of Dover in the trunk of a car to protect him against rabid Earnhardt fans. He was actually in the back seat under a blanket…
Tony Stewart admitted he was worried about Dover and as it turns out, he had good reason to be concerned. Stewart’s car wasn’t just bad, it was horrendous on Sunday; lapped early on, he missed a chance at getting the wavearound, never recovered and wound up two laps down in 25th.
I’m not sure what Greg Biffle needs to do to score a decent finish. He ran up front all day at Dover only to get hit with a pit road speeding penalty that left him down a lap. The No. 16 team took the wavearound, worked half the day to get back in contention as Biffle charged back into the top 10… only to wreck himself out late.
Brad Keselowski actually spent most of the day ahead of his winning teammate, but a thrown power steering belt cost him a couple laps. Eventually, he got back on the lead lap but the damage was done: Keselowski sat twentieth when they wrote out the race-ending checks.
The “Seven Come Fore Eleven” Award For Fine Fortune
A.J. Allmendinger was sent for a lurid slide just five laps into the race but kept the car off the wall, a rare save at Dover. He went on to finish seventh. All in all, it was a pretty good day for Richard Petty Motorsports with Allmendinger’s teammate Marcos Ambrose running ninth.
Kasey Kahne got into the back of Jimmie Johnson, who was slow on the final restart with 35 laps to go. It could have spelled disaster for them both, but Kahne – a future Hendrick teammate – lifted and gave Johnson room to gather up his car. Johnson went on to finish second while Kahne wound up fourth, the best ever finish of his career at the Monster Mile in 16 starts.
What’s the Points?
Kevin Harvick advanced a spot to take over the lead in the standings. He’s actually tied with Edwards in the points but Harvick has more wins than the No. 99 bunch. Stewart fell two spots to third in the standings. As badly as he ran, it’s a wonder the damage was that limited. The win advanced Kurt Busch up five positions to fourth.
A second-place finish propelled Johnson up five spots to fifth. He’s thirteen points out of the lead. Still think his chances are toast? That blown power steering belt dropped Keselowski three spots to sixth, while Kenseth holds serve down in seventh. Kyle Busch fell two spots to eighth in the standings, while Jeff Gordon fell four spots to ninth. Each of those drivers are separated by no more than 19 points heading to Kansas.
Further back, Junior dropped two spots to tenth and is now a distant 34 markers back. Someone buy the No. 88 team a jumbo size bottle of blue Loctite. Ryan Newman and Denny Hamlin continue to round out the top 12.
In the “Best of the Rest” category, Clint Bowyer is thirteenth in the standings, two points ahead of A.J Allmendinger.
For those who are curious: under this year’s method of awarding points but the traditional (non-Chase) method of totaling season-long points, Edwards would currently be leading the standings by four over second-place Johnson and third-place Kyle Busch. It just goes to show ya…
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 this one three-and-a-half cans. Hey, the result didn’t come down to fuel mileage. It wasn’t the best race of the year, that’s for sure; but it was certainly the best race of the Chase.
Next Up – The circuit heads off to Kansas, the crowning engineering achievement of the International Speedway Corporation. But hey! I hear they have a casino…
©2000 - 2008 Matt McLaughlin and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
what race??? leader took off and it was same thing different track. i was kind of hoping it would rain out. i thought your opening sentence of “in a nutshell” was a description of the two people leaving the toll gate at us 1 after the race.
yeah i was wondering how many lucky dogs jr would get. i gave up about 150 laps into it and flipped back in time to see last 30.
It was a less boring race than the spring race was – so I guess I’ll damn it with faint praise.
cold and drizzle made for an uncomfortable day in the stands, but it could have been worse. I absolutely agree that Johnson didn’t press the issue with Busch. He took the points and is moving on.
Yeah, whoever does the schedules for NASCAR needs to get a brain.
I’m already making plans for next week to be somewhere other than in front of my TV since Kansas is such a bore.
I don’t think scheduling had anything to do with the paltry attendance at Dover…the June attendance looked to be about the same, and the drop in attendance over the past few years has rival Michigan, where the economy is much worse. The need to pull a race from there, then take 40,000 or so bleachers out and put ‘em out in the sun, somewhere on Highway 61.
It’s a damn shame that NASCAR would rather tell us how great the racing is every week by reciting stats instead of fixing the aero issues. Whoever gets out front can run away, everyone else rides single file behind them. If they could find a way to fix this one issue everything else would fall into place.
The casino is open, then?Oooooooo … chips….
And Harvick is in P-1. I have been predicting him to win it all the entire season because, well, I see dead people and they tell me things. Kevin did not disappoint on Sunday. Just chugged along.
The race was not a bad one. I just wish they had showed me more on TV. The currently stylish camera choises lack enough wide shots for a good grasp of the context. You are 100% right about the IndyCar race, though. I had to be told who won. I could not tell watching it. That freakin’ close.
Matt,you got ahead of me again. I got back from a car show and a nice ride on a beautiful day to watch the latter part of both the Indy car and Nascar. Caught the last twenty laps of Indycar…good stuff, it was RACING!!!! We dont see much of that in Nascar anymore. Then I watched the end of the Nascar race. Almost no passing and very little wheel to wheel. Really, really sad and close to being boring.
One last comment. People seem to forget that before Tony George forced the Cart/IRL split back around 1995, open wheel racing outdrew Nascar on TV. Dont think it can’t happen again. Whatever the reason, aero push, the chase, gas mileage, it doesnt make a damn bit of difference. The racing is generally terrible. If things keep going this way another 2, 3 years, Nascar will become a backwater again.
Don Mei: and some people seem to forget that, while Carpenter’s win was awesome and we’re all happy for him, it’s an all-too-rare occurrence in a series absolutely dominated by two teams and three drivers. Indycar CAN surpass NASCAR in popularity again—if anyone can ever stop Ganassi and Penske from ruining the series.
And agreed Matt, once again the Truck series put on the best race of the weekend, and it’s all the better when Harvick/Busch/Edwards isn’t around. I was really pulling for Piquet but the pit strategy didn’t quite work for him.
That “race” was another reason never to compare Johnson to real racers. Can you imagine Cale or Bobby or Buddy settling for second, even with Bobby in a Mustang. Isn’t The Chase supposed to stop points racing? And the POS supposed to stop the aero push?
Harvick didn’t finish fifth like he wanted, but it got him enough POINTS to lead.
Well, the good news is that Amy Henderson was proved wrong again. Last week she declared all but the top four out of Chase contention. Now we have NINE drivers within 19 points of the lead with 7 races to go. And both Driver No. 8 and Driver No. 9 have tiebreaker wins in their back pockets if it comes down to that.
If we had an elimination format, at this point we would be saying, “Thanks for playing” to Denny, Ryan, and Junior. But everybody else is very much alive. (Except Amy and Matt who will be joining them in the Outhouse.)
The bad news is this championship may be decided by the crapshoot known as Talladega. 19 points can disappear in the blink of a timely or untimely shove there.
And the vaunted change to the points system has NOT had the consequences predicted. Bad finishes are still punished; good finishes are still rewarded, just not as much, since top-fives and top-tens no longer come with a points premium, and an average finish of 13th may be enough to take home the hardware.
Speaking of which, don’t count out the Wisconsin connection. The Wisconsin Badgers trounced Nebraska, the Milwaukee Brewers are up 2-0 in the their MLB playoff series; the Packers are simply unstoppable. Matt Kenseth, anyone? He who caused the Chase format may yet reap the benefits of it!
Want to bet on whether or not the chase guys spend the first 150 laps of the race riding at the back of the pack?
There sure were a bunch of empty seats, in addition to the tarped areas. Boring races and football season will do that you know.
I don’t hate the Chase the way most fans do, but I also don’t think it is the fairest way to pick a champion. But whoever said life was fair? It could actually be interesting this year.
John, how many teams have much chance in Nascar outside Hendricks, Roush, etc. Maybe a few more than open wheel but the independent teams have more chance in Indycar. Remember the 500??
Ancient Racer, I HEAR dead people and they tell me, no way is Harvick EVER going to win a Cup championship! Un-Happy even managed to lose a spot on the final lap. It would be funny to see it come down to that one point, or the 6 points Edwards gave away with the speeding penalty!
Don Mei: er….
Well my first argument is that not only do the “little guys” not have much chance to win in Indycar, but they barely have a chance to podium.
Secondly, here are the non-Penske and Ganassi drivers who have won at least 1 race in the last 5 years:
That’s a total of 5 drivers in 5 years that won races not driving for Penske and Ganassi. Out of roughly 80 races. And while I don’t want to take away from their wins, Danica, RHR and Justin Wilson all won with fuel mileage and/or screwed up pit strategy to win.
AND if you include Andretti as a third “big team”, that means only a couple of “lower tier” drivers have won.
The deck is stacked. And again, this season might have some new faces in victory lane, but the championship is still down to the usual 2-3 drivers.
Comparing it to NASCAR is difficult in these terms because the “big teams” actually comprise about two-thirds of the field, whereas in Indycar, the big teams only have 5-6 cars depending on the season. And I would count wins like Paul Menard’s more important, even if he is driving for RCR.
Despite this, in the last 5 years Cup still has wins by:
and of course Trevor Bayne.
I consider all those drivers as being “upsets” or “the little guy.”
Believe me I’m not disagreeing about NASCAR’s level of suckage these days, and having Jimmie Johnson win every championship is one of the big problems. So is piss-poor cookie-cutter tracks, Aeropush, fuel mileage, and Cup drivers ruining Truck and Nationwide.
But let’s keep the suckage level in perspective—Indycar’s is off the chart.
(And yes Indy was awesome this year… :P )
woops… forgot Graham Rahal’s win in 2008. Make that 6.
John you also forgot…
Mike Conway winning at Long beach this year..
Also kinda forgot a big one…Dan Wheldon won the Indy 500 running for Sam Schmidt Motorsports..
and really..penske hasn’t been all that good..Only Power has won this year.
While on the other hand…3 out of the 4 Andretti drivers have won. Conway, Hunter-Reay, and Andretti have won a race this year…while their more “touted” teammate continues to toil along being the most overrated driver since Dale Jr.
There seemed to be a bunch of fans that wore silver outfits to the track. They must have because they blended in eith the stands so well…
John…. you forgot that Na$crap’s Most Popular Loser, our beloved Dale Jr. has only 1 win in the last 5 years. Oophs! I forgot, Dale Jr. has the best equipent in Na$crap, and makes laps for the best team.
Matt, you were far too generous in giving this race 3 1/2 beers for this race I gave it a two as did a lot of other folks. Simply boring. And now we’re on to Kansas, another boring, cookie cutter track, made for bland cookie cutter drivers. This long time fan has, in the last few years, lost more and more interest in nascar. Again, the chase has gelded the cup series.
John, I think you misunderstand my point. Ive been involved in motorsports in one form or another for some 50 years. Im a fan of every kind of motorsports. The point I was trying to get across is simply that open wheel, after years in the doldrums, seems to be on an upward swing. Nascar seems to be going the other way. We can debate pros and cons; I’m simply suggesting that a complacent Nascar could find itself playing second fiddle again.
Robby: I wasn’t including this season in my examples, but I already mentioned this season has been a bit of a breath of fresh air. But it’s still an exception to the rule.
I would love for the IRL to succeed. I hope the New Car helps it do that.
I also agree that Indycar is on an “upswing” while NASCAR is on a “downswing” … But the IRL’s upswing is from absolute junk to mediocre. I dunno, I’m just pretty disillusioned with everything but the Canadian Tire Series and the Camping World Truck Series… and FINANCIALLY the Truck series is getting worse and worse, so it’s hard to be positive.
Hey on the plus side, World of Outlaws Sprints and Late Models still draw 80+ cars per event and pack the grandstands!
Robby: oh, and Wheldon didn’t win driving for Sam Schmidt, he was driving for Bryan Herta. Tags was on pole for Schmidt.
John, you are quite right about Indycar coming from absolute junk. Tony George emasculated open wheel. At its heydey, CART made Bernie Ecclestone nervous. I think they can come back. They have close races, a good mix of ovals and road courses. New chassis are coming, three manufacturers providing motors ; I think open wheel will do fine, especially once the country breaks out of the recession we are in. Im optimistic. Im very involved in vintage racing with a 71 240z. Its a participant driven sport so its a lot of fun and drawing more and more spectators who have been discouraged by the nonsense in “big time” racing. I think serious racing fans should hit the local short track event or the regional races at a road course. It keeps it all in perspective.
Amazing how the rain and mystery debris cautions fell. Despite the fact that there were rain drops being shown on the cameras just about the entire race. I guess when you’re sitting in Race Control you don’t know it’s raining outside until a team tells you it’s raining.
Yet another snoozer and Kansas will be the same. Martinsville can’t get here soon enough.
And don’t forget what Fearless Leader Brain Farce said about the COT. “It’ll stop all of the aero dependency problems we had with the old car”. And I’ve got some bridges in NYC I’ll sell you.