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 November 7, 2011
The Key Moment – Tony Stewart was able to pass Carl Edwards on the final restart. The outside move wasn’t as impressive as passing Johnson on the outside at Martinsville, but it was still pretty nifty.
In a Nutshell – If you were watching today’s race as one tenth of the Chase, having the top two in points battle up at the front of the pack with the hunter gaining on the hunted was all you could ask for. If you were watching Sunday’s race as its own unique event, it was a long, tedious afternoon.
Dramatic Moment – Um. Well, let’s see. Waiting to see if (when) Jeff Burton ran out of gas there at the end. Sorry, there weren’t many dramatic moments to choose from. Who knew that the speedway’s “No Limit” theme was going to translate into “There’ll be no limit on how bored you’ll get watching yet another mile-and-a-half cookie cutter parade?”
What They’ll Be Talking About Around the Water Cooler This Week
All right Kyle Busch fans (both of you who are left), try to defend his actions wrecking former points contender Ron Hornaday, Jr. under caution during Friday’s truck race. I cut the punk a little slack after the uproar when he got caught doing triple the speed limit on a public road earlier this season, but wrong is wrong. For a Cup competitor running to stroke his own massive ego in a Truck Series event to destroy a respected long-term member of that series’ chances at a title was not only inexcusable, it was the most despicable thing I’ve seen occur on a racetrack in at least a decade. The Hell with parking Busch for the weekend; I feel the bad-tempered little piece of sh*t that is Kyle Busch should be suspended for the rest of the season from all three series. I’ve been asked to try to be a little more politically correct. That, my friends, is the politically correct version of what I thought about Busch’s actions Friday. Want to send along a note to the folks at Mars, the parent company of Busch’s Sunday sponsor M&M’s, to let them know what you think of that meltdown and ask them to disassociate themselves from him? Here’s the link.
Let’s see. As noted above, Kyle Busch isn’t a particularly good corporate spokesperson for a candy company that caters to kids. David Reutimann is very good with kids. He rarely has a harsh word to say about anyone. The only incident I can recall where Reutimann went into a full meltdown mode was when none other than Kyle Busch wrecked him last year. How talented is Reutimann as a driver? That has yet to be seen, given he’s been running for the hapless MWR organization in substandard equipment. Reutimann needs a job. Am I sensing a good match here and a quick way to solve a major headache for Joe Gibbs?
I’d also guess that Jack Roush’s people were on the phone to Mars Saturday letting them know they are looking for backing for Matt Kenseth, a driver every bit as competitive as Busch and a guy who has won a Cup title to boot. Plus, as an added bonus, Kenseth isn’t even psychotic.
The racing community was spared yet another tragedy this week when Rick Hendrick, his wife and their pilots escaped an aircraft incident with relatively minor injuries. (The plane’s brakes failed upon landing in Key West.) Most of you will recall that Hendrick lost his son, brother, two nieces, several employees and friends to a plane crash outside of Martinsville a few years ago. Longer-term fans will recall that Curtis Turner, Davey Allison and Alan Kulwicki also perished in aircraft accidents while Lesa France Kennedy lost her husband in a fiery plane crash that tragically also cost folks on the ground their lives. More recently, Jack Roush suffered serious injuries and lost an eye to an airplane crash last year. It seems such tragedies strike our sport disproportionately until you realize how many airplanes are put into service for every weekend’s race; heck, some airlines don’t have that many planes in the air at any given time. Meanwhile, if I were Hendrick, I think I’d be studying Amtrak schedules real carefully. People are always telling me I’m safer on a plane than I am on the drive to the airport. That might be so statistically, but if somebody sideswipes me on I-76, I’m not going to end up falling 10,000 feet ablaze screaming my lungs out into some farmer’s field.
I felt it was a classy gesture for Edwards to walk out on pit road to congratulate Stewart, but there was probably also a mind games aspect intended as well. Edwards was acknowledging a hard-driven win by Stewart but showing he wasn’t rattled by it. The other thing I noticed after the race was that Edwards looked like he’d been sitting in a recliner all afternoon while Stewart was clearly physically exhausted to the point that he was barely able to get out of the car. It’s been a long season; with two races left to run and all the commitments that go with being a title contender, Edwards’ outstanding physical conditioning regimen compared to Stewart’s habit of shoveling down sacks of slop from Burger King might be the ace the No. 99 driver has up his sleeve.
The debate goes on. Does winning races carry enough of a reward in the points standings? Elliott Sadler, who is second in the Nationwide championship, hasn’t won a race in that series this season. Until he ran out of gas or had a fuel feed issue at Texas Friday night, James Buescher was a serious contender for the Truck title despite not only not having won a race but earlier this season failing to even qualify for the Phoenix spring event. Carl Edwards currently leads the Cup points standings, but he’s only won one race. Meanwhile Stewart, who won his fourth race in the Chase Sunday, is still trailing Edwards. (Though not by much. Didn’t I tell you those positions Edwards left on the table playing it safe at Talladega were going to come back to haunt him?)
Wow, I didn’t see that one coming. It was made official this week that David Reutimann is out at Michael Waltrip Racing after this season. Reutimann is, of course, the only driver in MWR history to actually win a race (two, actually) in one of the sorry nags the team prepares. Apparently the sponsor, Aaron’s, insisted a change be made. That strikes me as odd considering how heavily they used him (and even his daughter) in their advertising campaigns this year. Yeah, good old silly looking David Reutimann, always the second banana at Aaron’s to his team owner Michael Waltrip. (It’s hard to call Waltrip a “has been.” To borrow a line from Kurt Busch, Waltrip is a “never has been.”) Suddenly that advertising angle isn’t so funny, huh?
Reutimann’s replacement will be none other than Mark Martin, another perennial underdog though doubtless an immensely talented one and a future Hall of Famer if, indeed, the NASCAR Hall of Fame has a future. Martin will run 25 races for MWR, including next year’s Daytona 500. Waltrip himself will serve as a rolling hazard at the other three plate races in 2012, along with driving at Kentucky. Drivers for the other nine or so races are yet to be announced. I just wonder what direction the Aaron’s advertising is going to take next year. I have an immense amount of respect for Martin, but I can’t be the only one who thinks with each passing week he looks more like Yoda.
Ut-oh, junko. (OK, Ancient Racer, explain that obscure cultural reference.) On Friday night ,Kevin Harvick not only won the truck race, he clinched the owner’s championship in that series and the manufacturer’s title for Chevrolet. But at the end of this season, KHI will quit the Truck Series. What does that tell you about the series’ future? KHI might also have been celebrating a driver’s championship at Homestead if not for the dastardly actions of a certain, jug-eared 24k-plated rectum at Texas Friday night. Rectum hell, he damn near killed him.
Note to TMS head honcho Eddie Gossage: in the future, you might want to avoid scheduling the race against a Dallas Cowboys home game. Those grandstands were mighty empty for a track that once reliably sold out.
When is NASCAR going to stop insulting the intelligence of fans? Rather than calling phony debris cautions like the one on lap 112, just admit it’s a “Promoter’s Option” caution to spice up a race that’s become a processional parade.
Hmm. You think Ryan Newman was told to get up there at the end of the race and run Jeff Burton hard to ensure the No. 31 car ran out of gas and Newman’s team owner Stewart won? That was a three-point swing when Burton ran out of fuel with five laps to go. Newman’s team had been communicating over the radio that they intended to try to finish the race without pitting as well, which was clearly a ruse.
Editor’s Note: There’s conflicting information on Newman. Our Managing Editor Tom Bowles, for one was listening to his radio channel and crew chief Tony Gibson was consistent the No. 39 was going to pit with 11 laps to go. So, either ESPN (and others) were listening to a different channel, Tom was hallucinating, or things weren’t quite so dramatic.
The Hindenburg Award For Foul Fortune
So Kyle, other than the Truck race, how was your weekend trip to Texas?
Brad Keselowski got boxed into his pit stall and backed into Denny Hamlin trying to escape. A potential top-10 finish evaporated into a 24th-place result; to Keselowski’s credit, he took full responsibility for the incident after the race and tried apologizing to Hamlin afterwards.
All three of the Joe Gibbs Toyotas were off-song from the drop of the green: Hamlin and Michael McDowell were 20th and 33rd, respectively while Joey Logano added the frosting to his cake with a blown engine.
Jimmie Johnson worked his way steadily into the top 10 and even the top 5 before an unforced error sent him sliding through the infield grass (he wound up 14th). When it’s not your year, it’s just not your year but when it has been your year for five straight years, it’s tough to bitch too much about a bad one.
Jeff Gordon also worked his way towards and into the top 5 and possible contention for a win before dropped lug nuts during a pit stop forced him to battle back to a sixth-place finish.
Dropping from first to 27th, Jeff Burton’s team was off by a full five laps in their calculations on fuel mileage. Only an extended caution flag period in the final twenty laps would have made that strategy work. Maybe the No. 31 team ought to throw out their coal-fired calculators?
The “Seven Come Fore Eleven” Award For Fine Fortune
Yowza. Between Kyle Busch’s cranial meltdown, the Hendrick plane incident, Jeremy Mayfield’s arrest, and Reutimann’s surprise firing, Brian Vickers’ thuggish behavior last week at Martinsville is old news. Poor Vickers had to wreck Geoff Bodine just to get on TV Sunday.
Edwards just about got wrecked out late in the race when Regan Smith’s car got out from underneath him. He still salvaged second.
At one point Martin Truex, Jr. fell a lap down, but using the wave-around rule he was able to get back on the lead lap and charge forward en route to an eighth-place finish.
What’s the Points?
Edwards maintains his lead in the standings, but his margin over Stewart is now just three points. Kevin Harvick maintains his third place position but is now 33 points out of the lead. Matt Kenseth moved up a spot to fourth, five points behind Harvick. Unless Stewart and Edwards wreck each other out on the first lap at Phoenix (or Kyle Busch gets mad at both of them early in the race), Harvick and Kenseth’s title hopes are over.
Keselowski fell a spot to fifth in the standings, more than a full race’s worth of points out of the lead. Johnson is sixth in the points, but 5-Time sits 55 markers out of the top position. No joy of six this season. Earnhardt and Gordon each moved up two spots in the standings and are seventh and eighth now, respectively. Kurt Busch, who struggled all weekend at Texas now sits ninth. Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch and Ryan Newman round out the Chase field, in order; they are now all mathematically eliminated from title contention this year.
Clint Bowyer maintains his “Best of the Rest” position (thirteenth in the standings). Bowyer is now 18 points ahead of Kasey Kahne and nineteen points ahead of Greg Biffle for the spot.
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 lukewarm Lone Star served up by a cowboy dying of lung cancer on the back of a Greyhound bus headed for Toledo.
Next Up – And then, there were two. The series heads off to Phoenix where a newly repaved track surface awaits. Nobody is quite sure what to expect, so they’re calling this a “wild card” race. Of course, they called Talladega and Martinsville “wild card” races as well…
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back in the day fans would say “put him windshield deep in the wall”!
guess Kyle was one of those.
Quick correction – Jr finished 7th at Martinsville, THAT was his first top 10 since Joliet. He now has two in a row .. and I’m sure Marybeth at least is celebrating somewhere ..
I don’t believe that setting Kyle Busch this weekend was enough of a punishment. He has plenty of money and wasn’t going to win the chase anyway. He took Hornaday’s chance at a championship away, Busch should get the same. Park him for all 3 series at Daytona next year, make him start the season 40+ points in the hole in each series so it is about impossible to win the owners/drivers championship in any of them, that would be a penalty.
Well, I am one of the remaining Kyle Busch fans, but who’s the other?
As for the race I agree it was mostly a snooze-fest. But it was a nice day so I kept going in and out of the house doing stuff and that made it bearable. End was good, though, but if I now say something like “Death to Duckboy” even though I mean it metaphorically will I get parked for the weekend?
I told my friend that as soon as Hamlin (a chase guy) went a lap down NASCAR would throw a debris caution and they did not disappoint.
I don’t know how anyone can defend what Kyle did Friday night. Not even his most devoted fans could think that was OK unless they were blind or stupid (or both).
If nothing else Tony and Carl made sure that the championship is down to two contenders. So much for NASCAR’s dream of having 4 or 5 guys battle it out until the end.
Boring race, but then again I wasn’t expecting anything better from either Texas or ESPN’s broadcast.
I understand that the field gets spread out but focusing the camera on one car and talking about it, well that’s for qualifying and practice, not for the race — ESPN chose to follow their usual script – except when they needed to deviate from it by the KyBu sightings.
I absolutely think what he did on Friday was wrong – another reason why I think NASCAR should ban the full time cup drivers from competing in the other series. Back in the day, the cup drivers ran those races once in a while, not every weekend. I’m still kind of hoping that Hornaday finds KyBu somewhere out of sight of the cameras and explains life, the universe and everything to him.
If Kyle gets the boot at Joe Gibbs Racing (which I think is unlikely), what are his options? He’s burned bridges at Hendrick. Richard Childress has already punched him in the face. Jack Roush has more talented drivers than he know what to do with and most assuredly wouldn’t hire a driver with a attitude like Kyle’s (and he’s already had to deal with his brother). Stewart-Haas Racing and Michael Waltrip Racing are already set for 2012 as well. And finally, what sponsor is going to want to back him? If Busch loses his ride at Joe Gibbs Racing, the best he could realistically hope for is 2nd-tier ride with cut-rate sponsorship. My assessment? Kyle Busch’s career, and not just his job, is in jeopardy. If he gets another chance at JGR, he better become the Mother Theresa of Nascar if he wants to continue to find success at the Sprint cup level.
This Chase I guess is Roush vs Hendricks “Lite”. My money is on the the Junior (no, not that Jr.) team. Am still surprised they sat Busch, but it didnt really affect anything.
Spot On Matt! Great observations!
with all the debris cautions this year, you would have to think that cup cars are made with shoddy materials
Matt, I also am a Kyle fan so I am the other one. I have always respected your opinions and writing and I will say what Kyle did was wrong it should have been handled a different way. But whats done is done. He should have waited and got back at him at a later time. But what in the world is Hornaday doing racing that hard on lap 13? Kyle got mad I get it and again I dont agree. What really erks me is the fact you get on here today and cuss and moan. You should havve your opinion but be objective and respectful if not you are right along the same lines as Kyle in a way! This is not the Matt I have enjoyed reading for so many years. This will be my last time. Thanks for the memories. Also remember people used to hate the greatest Dale Earnhardt! Bye Bye Matt it has been fun.
Bye Bye John!
How the hell did they count the people in the stands? 3 bodies per 1 visible body?
There is no comparison between Big E and Shrub. Drivers may have hated Earnhardt but they respected him and he was a Champion. Kyle has lost any trace of respect he might have had from other drivers in all racing communities. Well said Matt. I think Reuty would be the perfect M&M driver!
Hey John, what was Kyle doing running that hard on lap 13? Ok for him but not Hornaday? Oh never mind, you left and are not coming back…addios!
I guess I am alone now … (sigh)
“Death to Duckboy!”
Matt once again great stuff!There are a couple of comments I would like to make:
If you’re gonna send off emails to sponsors, send a big one off to DuPont. Didn’t they have money issues with Gordon? Getting out and pulling back?
DuPont was the company responsible for making a better parachute during WWII (among many other inventions and ideas, of course). Someone please explain to me why there was a big DuPont logo on the back of KyBu’s Japanese truck at Talledega?
AncientRacer & John: Matt’s wrong again (whoda thunk it)—there are three of us!
Kyle shouldn’t have done what he did, and Matt’s a whiner motormouth.
Maybe the two of them should have lunch together sometime—perhaps in a cage fight ring, or some such, where they could each share their feelings. I wonder who would come out & who would be left with his face slammed into a sandwich—just joking.
Hornaday and Busch were passing another truck that was on their inside, at full speed. Hornaday’s truck got loose and he slid up into Busch and both tapped the wall. That stuff happens all the time, because air is an unforgiving thing. Busch should be parked for the Truck series and Nationwide series at Phoenix and Homestead, but he should be allowed to drive his Cup car as long as his boss (JGR) is ok with it.
One thing about Big E, Rowdy and Ron Hornaday is they ARE/WERE RACERS that hate losing that is why all have/had such loyal fans and haters alike. They race hard and tell you what the think.
The smart thing would have been for Kyle or Ron one to back off (not go 3 wide) and complete pass down backstretch, but that is not either one of these guys style.
I was a Big E fan and am now a Rowdy fan( I did not like what he did friday and cannot defend it)
I believe in the long run this will help Kyle as it did Kevin after he was parked. My problem is with nascar saying Carls action last year were fine, but this deserves at a minimum to be parked for the Cup and Busch race with farther penalties possible
I love you Matt,after Carl that is! Great column! Don ‘t know when I have laughed so hard!Has made my day. Thank you
I can’t say I’m a Kyle Busch fan, but I do respect he is a talented driver. Since Matt has made no bones about never liking Tony Stewart either, there is no need to say that in his time Tony got into some troubles also. And many is the time the non fans’ wanted JGR to sit Tony and a great many, (at least audibly) would yell about never shopping at Home Depot again. Well, guess what, Home Depot didn’t drop Tony like a hot potato and JGR didn’t sit him or fire him. He managed to win two Championships for Joe Gibbs and actually “grew” up. I hope he never becomes a bland driver and I love the cockiness and the surliness on occasion. Its what makes him such a terrific racer. Kyle is an amazing phenomenon behind the wheel.
Another factor is this never would have happened if Johnny Chapman hadn’t been clogging up the track with a rolling roadblock Start and Park truck that was already a lap down by lap 13.
OK, that was a stretch. Hornaday made a dumb move trying to pass 2 trucks at once when he had a clearly superior truck. Busch had the top already, and was ahead. What he did AFTER Hornaday put both in the wall was inexcusable. I’s astonished NASCAR laid that kind of penalty though, as I still believe this was not as serious an offense as what Carl did to Keselowski at Atlanta last year. I don’t disagree with the parking for the weekend though. The only other penalty I would agree with though is to park the #18 Truck for Homestead. I don’t think he needs to be parked from Cup the rest of the year.
I am not a Kyle Bush fan. Not necessarily a Kyle Bush hater either. I respect his talent, but he has no respect for anyone but himself. Anyway, for all those that keep referring to the Edwards/Keselowski incident. Their is one word that spearates the two, its “HISTORY”
Kyle has much more History disrespecting NASCAR and the competitors than does Carl Edwards. Did any of you even listen to his comments after the incident? It was all about him! If Hornaday was running for a championship he should have backed off. WHO THE F** does he think he is? No one should race him hard because he is Kyle Bush? Oh yeah, he as 100 wins (with the majority of them coming in the minor leagues), but no Cup Trophy. Until he learns to respect his fellow competitors and control his emotions, he will NEVER win a Cup Championship. Parking him for the rest of this past weekend was only a good start if you ask me! I think he should start his winter vacation NOW. Dont even bother showing up at the track the next two weeks. I think he could use this time to wisely assess his past and plan his future, whether its in the driver’s seat or not.
I wonder what Kyle’s wife is thinking now. “I married your ugly ass for the life (money) we would share. Where’s that going to come from now?”
Even though I don’t like Kyle Busch, I was also trying to figure out how this was worse than what Edwards did to Keselowski at Atlanta. There were three things that I could think of. The first was history which has already been brought up by KyCupFan. The second was how Kyle pushed him through the turn under caution until he wrecked, even though his team was telling him to stop on the radio. The other thing was that Carl turned Brad through the grass. All he did was spin him. It was through a flaw in NASCAR’s car design that the 12 car turned over.
“He’s becoming the Lindsay Lohan of NASCAR.”
The main thing that NASCAR should, but won’t, do to make cookie-cutter racing great would be to eliminate all the aerodynamic complexities, like air dams & side skirts, on the Cup cars. The aeropush is the very thing that is killing NASCAR racing, & the cars need to be made to not be so aero-sensitive. It would also help to ban the wind tunnel from NASCAR. It would make the racing better, & think of all the money the Cup teams could save every year.
To: cdakost,, go to U Tube,put in Carl Edwards
Maybe Kyle should move over to Indy cars where his chance to kill a fellow driver is much better.
A lot of us on here witnessed Dale’s rise in the sport, including the moments of hate and dissention. Dale, however, had something Kyle doesn’t possess…charisma.
Mark Martin as Yoda? More like Granny Clampett. I keep waiting for him to yell “Jed, Jed!”
to Roger T: Not saying that Edwards hasn’t been in his fair share of fights, but he’s been in less than Montoya, Harvick or Busch. You’re the first person who I’ve heard say that Edwards was parked when he went back on track at Atlanta. Having not missed a minute of racing from any of the series since 2007, I always thought that I knew a lot of what happened but that comment was a first. Not sure that I actually believe you to be honest. I still maintain that the Edwards had no intention of flipping Keselowski. The wing being a design flaw in the car that caused it to go up and over. Kyle Busch Friday night clearly had an intent to run Hornaday into the wall.
As for the Atlanta wreck, Carl may not of expected the flip but he like Kyle this weekend intended to put Brad into the wall and then they go to Gateway and he does it again. That is where my problem is
I think being behind the wall and being parked are two different things. Not saying that I agree with what Edwards did at Atlanta or Gateway. I really think he got away easy at Gateway. I would have at least taken the win away. One thing I will say about Edwards is that when he fights, he doesn’t use the car. Kyle always uses the car because he’s too much of a coward to get in a real fight.
Anybody else notice how silent Matt has been on the arrest of Mayfield (indicted today)? Was he not kicking and screaming about how badly wrong NASCAR was to pick on poor Mayfield and how this was another Tim Richmond deal all over again? I assume innocent until proven guilty. But I also assume most people do things with just cause most of the time, particularly when they are legally bound to do so as NASCAR was by removing Mayfield. Anyway, found it interesting that Matt was unusually silent on this.
Nascar is dying….very slowly…but dying.
Old farts like me are leaving or have left.
Very few new, young fans getting into the sport.
I NEVER and I mean NEVER hear any nascar talk anymore in the work place or on local radio or in the grocery store or at the gas station or at the flea market…and it used to not be like that. It’s just DEAD. And this is in middle Tn!
I know of NO young kid or teen who gives a flip about nascar.
What a decline in just the last 10 years. Amazing.
I am not a Kyle Busch Fan, but as many others pointed out, I don’t see how what he did was worse than what Edwards did to Kes.
Hornaday was going much slower (under caution) than the ~200mph that Kes was going at Atlanta. Not to mention Edwards followed it up by wrecking him for a win in nationwide.
Finally, if you look at the replay the wreck that initially happened at Atlanta, it wasn’t really Kes’s fault. At Texas the initial wreck was 100% Hornaday’s fault. I’m not sure how many readers have driven in a race but someone diving inside of you and wrecking you both is infuriating to say the least. Hornaday’s truck wasn’t winning after he hit the wall the first time, so not sure how Kyle then wrecking him further cost him the championship. Hornaday ruined his own chances by racing lap 13 like it was the last lap.
Would it have hurt ESPN to put the interval between Stewart and Burton up on the screen so we had something to go by. Lap after lap they were hyping whether Jeff was going to hold on but yet very few intervals were shown. Instead we get a single car (Burtons) going around lap after lap by himself. Poor coverage to say the least.
Funny how you say Edwards might have the upper hand because he wasn’t sweating and Tony was. Using your thinking, maybe he might have won the race if he had worked a little harder?
Why don’t all you anti-Kyle Busch people just admit that you don’t care even if he was