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.
Unless you spent the last week recovering from the bends in a hyperbaric chamber, by now you’ve seen or heard of Kyle Busch’s outrageous and unwarranted behavior during last Friday night’s truck race. Thus, I will only sum up what happened quickly to remind casual fans of the salient points. On lap 13, Ron Hornaday found himself in the middle of a three-wide racing pack. The air was taken off his rear spoiler and Hornaday got crossed up and into the side of Busch’s truck. Those two vehicles both made contact with the wall, though damage appeared minimal after the initial incident. Given the race was barely underway, both trucks could probably have been repaired in the pits and returned to the event with a viable shot perhaps even at a win.
But whatever low-amp circuit breaker that supplies the electricity to Kyle Busch’s brain was once again tripped. Another driver, albeit it a full-time competitor in the Truck Series two decades plus his senior had dared to thwart the efforts of the Great and Powerful KYBU who by birth is entitled to win every race he enters. Even while his spotter and crew chief begged, then finally demanded, that Busch calm the hell down, Vile Kyle unleashed went back after the driver he felt had wronged him – an affront that could not be tolerated – with evil intent. Had Busch decided to tap the rear bumper of Hornaday’s truck a few times, even under caution, I’d have been OK with that. That’s typical procedure to let the other driver involved in an incident know you aren’t happy with how he was racing that early in an event. But once Busch latched onto Hornaday’s bumper, he was like a terrier on a rat. He just wasn’t letting go. He kept right at his dirty task until he’d managed to stuff Hornaday hard, nose-first into the wall.
It wasn’t a spur of the moment bad call. Busch did so with aforethought, malfeasance and premeditation. And that’s when the bad-tempered little punk went from a race vehicle driver to a felon wielding a 3,600 pound, 190 MPH, 700 horsepower weapon deadlier than any handgun I’ve ever fired (and I’ve shot with some real cannons). Fortunately, Hornaday wasn’t injured in the wreck, but Busch couldn’t have known that was going to be the outcome when he sent that other truck into the wall. Luckily, Busch’s tactics have a way of backfiring on him and that was the case Friday night. In the process of wrecking Hornaday, he sent his own mount hard into the wall, destroying it. Even if he hadn’t, NASCAR probably would have parked him for the night anyway, so blatant and egregious was his offense.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, Matt I can hear one of the limited number of fans Busch has left after Saturday muttering, this is stock car racing. You’re the verbose idiot who is always saying this is racing, not lawn croquet. But what happened Friday night wasn’t a routine racing incident. It’s in no way comparable to Dale Earnhardt’s dumping Terry Labonte at Bristol way back when. Those two drivers were battling for a race win late in an event and they were both going for the championship. Busch’s day job is as a Cup driver who happened to qualify for the Chase, though he’s done what he’s done annually and suffered a late-season meltdown in that series which has stripped him of any legitimate title hope. Still, you’d think that a driver still mathematically in contention for a championship would show a driver in a series where Busch was only moonlighting a bit more respect. Or perhaps even the tiniest modicum of respect. Or that he just wouldn’t be a total and complete asshole and wreck him under caution, for goodness’ sake. But I doubt that Busch can even spell “respect.” His definition of the term is respect is what is due him, but not deserved by others who sully the race tracks where he’s supposed to win because he is, after all, Kyle Busch. This is his world, and the rest of us just live here. Screw that noise. If Hornaday did show up at Casa De Busch to deliver a proper ass-kicking on the punk, I’d have been happy to have held Ron’s watch while he did so. Even in this era of “Boys, Have At It” it’s clear some of the boys have had it with Busch.
Hornaday is one of the stalwarts of the Truck Series, having been around since the series’ first race. He was one of the carpenters of that series that built the table where Busch now digs his filthy little piggish hands into the dinner bowl, snorting to keep others away from the modest feast. Kyle Busch should be racing in the Truck Series about as much as Cliff Lee needs to be pitching Little League ball. At least Lee wouldn’t be throwing brushback balls at third graders. Hornaday, who’d once been considered out of the title chase had driven to a remarkable set of four straight first or second-place finishes to put himself back into contention for a fifth Truck title. But that all ended when Busch came to shove.
Keep in mind that it wasn’t just Hornaday who Busch screwed on Friday night. As a successful racer and multi-time champion, Hornaday probably lives quite comfortably if not affluently like the jug-eared bitch that took him out. But team members on Hornaday’s team don’t earn such lavish wages, especially in the Truck Series. There are bonuses team members get for winning races and especially for winning titles that they really could have used, especially with the team shutting down at the end of the season. Busch reached into those men’s pockets and stole from them as surely as if he were a low-life pickpocket.
And what of the employees of owner/driver Kyle Busch? They had invested a tremendous amount of time and talent into building a very fast truck that gave Busch a chance to compete for yet another win. They won’t be seeing any bonus money for a race win this week, either, despite their efforts. How anyone could work for that dumb bastard I’ll never figure out. In his self-righteous indignation at having one of his trucks wrecked, Busch wondered aloud who was going to pay for his demolished race vehicle. Well, as it should be, Kyle it’s the loathsome idiot that wrecked the car… you.
To a degree, I’ve tried to back off Busch a bit this season. He did, after all, seem to be trying to reinvent his image this year by being less petulant and less of a smartass with the media. Maybe Gibbs was lacing his meals with Ritalin. Busch is undeniably a hugely talented driver that’s a threat to win every weekend. I might feel that he’s pond scum because of his actions Friday night, but I won’t deny this guy is a tremendous race car driver. And it’s not his fault that he’s one of the ugliest son of a bitches ever to turn a wheel in NASCAR going up against the more marketable pretty boys over at Hendrick. But Friday night, Busch clearly not only crossed the line, he sped through the next three counties and rammed into a gathering of Make-A-Wish kids. His conduct was completely inexcusable and whatever penalties he has faced or will face as a result are solely of his own making and richly deserved.
Having read Busch’s apology, I am not impressed. Clearly, some PR person wrote “Kyle’s” I’m sorry note. It lacked Busch’s tortured syntax, use of the third person in referring to himself, misuse of multi-syllable words, and at least a hint of blaming somebody else. The statement I read instead stunk of committee-speak, with heavy input from Gibbs and Mars as well as a crisis management team Gibbs assembled back in the days when Tony Stewart was the thorn in his side. I wonder if they even let Busch read it over before releasing it. It’s telling there was no way Gibbs was going to let Busch speak publicly live until they were sure he’d ingested the Kool-Aid.
My initial thoughts on Friday night were that Busch’s punishment should have involved being lowered by fishing hooks through his scrotum into a vat of boiling battery acid. NASCAR’s decision to park Busch for the Nationwide and Cup races last weekend was appropriate, but not severe enough for the loathsome thing that he did. I feel that NASCAR should have parked him in all three series for the remaining events of the year. And if I was in charge, he’d have started next year’s Cup series at negative 48 points, forced to catch up a full race’s worth of points from the start. That would force him to study the points standings after each week’s race in 2012, seeing how much his lack of basic human decency had cost him as he struggled to even make the Chase.
NASCAR’s “Boys, Have At It” policy has garnered a positive reaction by and large from the fans. But at some point, a line has to be drawn and a driver who isn’t even competing for the title wrecking a series regular who is very much in title contention due to a temper tantrum worthy of a three-year old spoiled brat has to be dealt with. The “Have At It” policy was supposed to give the drivers a chance to police their own ranks and Busch has felt the wrath of the “Live by the sword, die by the sword” policy from his peers more than once. Most notably, revenge occurred this season when Kevin Harvick tried to punch him out on pit road and an owner twice his age did, in fact, take off his watch and attempt to beat some sense into Busch “old school” style. For whatever reason, and I’d guess its his sense of entitlement coupled with the fact he’s dumb as an acre of mud the lessons haven’t sunk in for Busch, so it’s time to go medieval on his ass. In order for punishment to be effective it must be swift, severe and certain but sometimes there’s no getting a donkey to go down a trail it has no interest in traveling and the only recourse left is to take a stick to it. If that doesn’t work, get a bigger stick. And for a jackass like Busch, you might as well fire up the cattle prod as well.
If that, too, fails well I’m sure Joe Gibbs isn’t going to put up with much more and Mars, the parent company of M&Ms, surely isn’t. My Dad was a VP at a Mars division and he always told me that the Mars brothers who run the ship are of high moral character and didn’t put up with any shenanigans. If a loading dock worker was going to be docked for showing up late on a Friday morning, so was a Vice President who just returned from an overseas trip Thursday evening. How a company that with those standards, especially one that markets their primary products to children, is going to continue to put up with Busch’s hooliganism is beyond me.
For all his self-delusional thinking that Kyle Busch is somehow vital to NASCAR’s future, this sport got along fine without him before he arrived and it will continue on after.
©2000 - 2008 Matt McLaughlin and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
I agree with NASCAR’s ruling and have no love for Kyle Busch since his driving 120 in a 45 zone. I’m not complaining about Matt’s sentiment, but using one’s car as a weapon at full speed should be a bigger crime, as should using one’s car on pit road as a weapon. Tony Stewart, Carl Edwards and Kyle’s brother could all have been suspended for a race too.
Great column Matt! Lots of truth in today’s column…
if memory serves me, didn’t nascar dock mwr points and they started with a negative balance when they had one of their cheating episodes at daytona?
i think busch could be on early vacation, as roush did with his brother a few years ago.
Pretty good synopsis Matt. Not much else to say. We’ll probably hear some big announcements today.
I had been looking forward to this piece all week, since you hinted of it coming in your Monday recap.
It was worth the wait, great piece as usual Matt!
While I thought NASCAR might park him for the rest of the season, I think what they did is pretty good. Can Kyle keep his inner demon in check for two races? I think every driver on the track in any series he starts the next two weeks, should take a shot at him. Make him cross that line! LOL
Maybe he should just start his winter vacation now, better safe than sorry. Any thing he does that can be perceived as bad behavior equals indefinite suspension!
If the race is boring, maybe they can focus on Kyle for the whole race, seeing if he can finish each event without losing his cool. Wonder if there is a Vegas line on that?
Good column. One thing that is worth mentioning is that this “have at it” crap is going to see someone get killed one of these days. It hasn’t happened yet thanks to soft walls and the Hans device. That shot into the wall might have been fatal a few years back. Until NASCAR is willing to empower a Race Director or chief Referee with the authority to park a competitor immediately and/or ban him from the next event, nothing will change.
More fallout coming Friday morning it seems… Z-Line Designs has reportedly asked that Hamlin drive their NW car at Homestead.
I wouldn’t say Kyle Busch is evil incarnate, but he’s definitely, as Brad Keselowski said, an ass. I really don’t know if he deserves to be fired by JGR or even parked for the rest of the year; that’s Gibb’s call, but whatever happens, Kyle brought this on himself. He’s had opportunity after opportunity to get his act together, and has failed to do so. However severe any additional penalties turn out to be, it’s not because Nascar or Joe Gibbs or M&M’s has it out for Kyle, it’s because of Kyle’s actions. I have no sympathy for Kyle Busch; he’s made his own bed.
Matt, that is without a doubt the most spot on, truthful article I’ve ever read. Bravo for telling it like it is. When scrub didn’t have the cajones to congratulate his own brother on a rain shortened win a few years back, I knew there were more than a few screws loose in his pumpkin. Also agree with you 110% – the jerk is talented (I watch him more than any driver at a race), but the attitude and sense of entitlement is horrendous. Keep up the great work!
Great write-up Matt, calling a spade a spade and not white washing JERKS antics. Thank you for expressing most of my feelings towards an act of unlawful behavier on the track.
while i agree mostly with matt and completely agree with carl d. i still say the community is over reacting and i will continue to point towards the similar incidents of carl edwards and kevin harvick. the punishment is fair and enough. kb will either learn (probably not grow) from this or he will not at his own peril. the more important thing is the more sponsors are allowed to dictate anything other than picking what color the car is the worse racing becomes… i don’t think i need to illustrate that fact any more than to point to the current state of the sport.
Kyle Busch has been traveling this road since he came into the Busch series. The guys in the booth, especially DW and LarryMac have praised and exalted the little SOB to the point he thinks he is the center of the universe. Everybody from the announcers to the media to Nascar has excused his thuggish behavior, and now we have come to this. Remember his father altered his birth certificate at the beginning to illegally enter him into the Truck series. With that auspicious kind of start we might have foretold the future of this punk.
Now some in the media think Nascar would be stiffled without Kyle. It survived the death of a hero (Dale Earnhardt), and could sure as hell survive the booting of this particular varmint.
The part of racing today that’s missing is isn’t a Richard Petty, a Dale Sr, a DJ, to get in the face of these young drivers and tell them about respect and their need to earn it.
It’s racing. Where were all of you when the seemingly perfect Edwards got lucky & didn’t physically disable Brad K. for life when he punted BK into the catch fence? I really don’t remember anyone whining then about Edwards being banned, fired, etc.—except from BK’s dad.
Oh, yeah, I forgot—Carl’s a “good guy.” My bad.
I have a rather strong hunch that KB will still be around.
It’s a real shame that you whiners and bitchers are not running NASCAR so you could get rid of anyone you don’t like. But you are not, so suck it up & live with what really goes on rather than what you think should go on.
In the meantime, GO 14!
Right On Matt. I couldn’t agree more.
The only thing missing from Kyle’s life is Lyndsay Lohan. I think he married the wrong girl.
PS: Old Farmer, you call what KB did on Friday racing??? Wow.
One of your best articles ever Matt!!
I hope somebody sends it to KyBu. But you did use a lot of those gosh darn big words that Kryle will have to look up in the dictionary.
Kyle is a punk and needs to be parked for the rest of the year and the first race of next season, Daytona. Then maybe it’ll sink into his thick skull that it’s not all about him. I’m 60 and have been going to NASCAR races since 1964. KyBu is undoubtedly the dumbest SOB I’ve seen in all my years of being a race fan.
There were plenty of folks who wanted Edwards suspended after that Atlanta incident. That was far more premeditated. Since Edwards got no more than a wrist slap I boycotted Subway for a year.
It was hard getting through this article though because Matt’s anti-Busch bias is so strong. Busch hasn’t done anything to help his case, and I agree that he is a self-entitled pompus a__. But he’s also one hell of a wheelman when he isn’t foaming at the mouth. I think the penalties he has already received are plenty, though I wouldn’t disagree with the #18 Truck being suspended from Homestead. I also believe that if that behavior continues the penalties should get more severe, as they already have.
Congrats to Z-Line for dumping that psyco Kyle and getting him off a race track for awhile!Now let’s hope M&M’s and JGR follows their lead.
You know, I keep hearing over and over about how talented Kyle is. I acknowledge he has talent but personally, I don’t see him having any more talent than most of the drivers in the top 15 in any given week. If you ignore his Truck and NW wins and just look at his Cup wins, it isn’t that impressive when compared to most others. He isn’t the Michael Jordon of NASCAR. His talent isn’t that above and beyond a lot of the other drivers and (Harvick and Edwards aside) most of those other drivers don’t constantly have a s%$tstorm of controversy swirling around them. So yeah, he’s talented, but it just isn’t worth the BS when there are other guys that will do the same thing without all the BS.
Old Farmer, I think your memory is a bit short. Go back to the Frontstretch recaps of that Atlanta race, and there were MANY people calling for Edwards to be parked and/or suspended for his actions that day.
I have one thing to say, GO ROWDY!
You have to admit he leads all drivers in doing stupid things, saying contraversial things, etc.,. So, you have to admit, he is the cause of that predjudice in most cases and therefore it has been earned. He’s not the poor victim of everybody’s hatred. He’s done everything he can to make people not like him just by being himself.
Pretty much summed up everything I’ve said about it all week, including the fact that he HOOKED him rather than bumping/spinning him—if it weren’t for SAFER barriers we might be talking about Kyle Busch killing Ron Hornaday.
I say ban him from Trucks. Let him keep racing the other two series. It’s his own team anyway, and he was going to race it in Nationwide anyway… So ban him. It’s just his own personal sandbox anyway, beating up on the little guys and underfunded teams.
I think that you said it all pretty clearly. One thing that I’ll add is that both NASCAR and JGR bear blame in this too. Both groups could have done something sooner, and should have.
I’m impressed when a columnist who routinely complains about the vanilla nature of the sport calls for the least vanilla driver’s head. Guess what, if you only say “..xxx sponsor car ran good today” you aren’t ever going to say anything stupid, but it makes for a boring interview.
Matt can claim righteous indignation all he wants but if the roles had been reversed and Hornaday had punted Kyle under caution after Kyle wrecked him, Matt would be writing about how Kyle got what he deserved.
Not to beat a dead horse, but Carl E. didn’t get parked (beyond the duration of the Atlanta race) for the much worse WOT wreck with Kes. Also you can describe Hornaday as a “truck series veteran” to your hearts content, but it doesn’t change the fact that he has certainly been involved/caused more than his share of on track incidents over the years in both trucks and his brief Cup career (not to mention winston west incidents).
I am not sure Kyle is still so much better than the other drivers. Last year, it seems very few drivers could or would go toe to toe with him – meaning side by side lap after lap until someone passed. But this year a handful of drivers have done that. Kyle is still more talented than most drivers, but I think some of the other drivers are catching up. A bad day for Kyle when he is not so much better than others.
Matt, I am not clear on your feelings toward this Kyle Busch fella.
TheGoodDoctorsaid: “Matt can claim righteous indignation all he wants but if the roles had been reversed and Hornaday had punted Kyle under caution after Kyle wrecked him, Matt would be writing about how Kyle got what he deserved.”
This is exactly what I’m talking about when I say people’s prejudices are getting in the way. If Hornaday had done this to Busch, people’s attitudes about the incident would be wildly different than they are now.
Aw shucks Matt, tell us how you really feel. That was probably the most straight forward non-pc article this year, can’t wait for the next wreck!!!
Gooddoctor: The wreck with Edwards/Keselowski BECAME much worse, but it most certainly was not worse. He punted him a) under green b) with a Right-Front to Left-Rear bump intended to spin him out and c) on a straightaway where he likely WOULD have spun into the grass harmlessly and hurt no one. The fact that the car got airborne was something no one, including Edwards, wanted or expected. The two wrecks couldn’t possibly be more different.
As far as asking for “colourful” drivers and then complaining about them, Kyle goes far, far beyond what one could describe as a “heel”. This was far from his first incident, and it probably won’t be his last. It’s been a longtime pattern, this was just the last straw.
- Under caution
- In a series he doesn’t get points in
- 13 laps into a race
- wrecking a points contender
- wrecking him buy using a left-front to right-rear hook move
- at 160 mph at Texas, as opposed to 40 mph at Martinsville
- did it to retaliate for what was a simple racing mistake
- did it despite both cars being easily repairable and still capable of top 5s or wins
There’s a heel, there’s “driver you love to hate”, and then there’s loose cannons who are a danger to everyone around them.
Pretty amazing synopsis, Matt and one I pretty much agree with – although I think you may have confused the Busch boys – the one with the tortured syntax is the Keebler elf – Shrubby is just a jerk.
And now we all know why most fans weren’t outraged with Childress taking his watch off. I know there were some who felt that Childress assaulted Busch, in my mind, it was a well deserved corrective measure.
I would like to see NASCAR not let him compete in the trucks or Nationwide at the very least for the rest of the season, although that probably penalizes his employees more than KyBu
Isn’t it funny how everyone remembers what Edwards did to Brad Keselowski at Atlanta, but nobody can remember that Brad nearly put Carl into the grandstands at Talladega for having the audacity to protect his position (the lead of the race), and showing absolutely no remorse for doing what he did. Further, I seem to recall lots of members of the media and most of the NASCAR fans applauding Brad for his actions and saying Carl got what he deserved. At the time. I sincerely believed that NASCAR should have called Brad’s victory back (thus giving it to Junior) and placed Brad in 43rd position. Oh, my bad for thinking that! I forgot who was all involved. I guess the old saying, “what goes around comes around” only applies to certain drivers. Now, in no way am I defending Kyle Busch, as I can’t stand the little turd, nor am I defending Carl Edwards, despite being a fan of Carl’s, and one who also thought he should have sat out the next couple of races at the time. But everyone here is only bringing up what Carl did to Brad, and forgetting what Brad pulled first. Yes, Brad got flipped by Carl at Atlanta. But! Brad flipped Carl at Talladega, and the consequences were a lot more catastrophic. If you are going to attack one driver, then please remember ALL the facts before launching that attack.
John, so turning someone at 200+MPH is worse than than less than 150? I’m not sure Kyle could predict where Hornaday would end up any better than Carl could.
At least that’s the way I remember it.
Gooddoctor: Physics? No one is perfect and anything can happen, but overwhelming odds are that if you hit someone in the left-rear they’ll either slide sideways and catch it, or spin out, either down to the grass or ass-end into the wall. You hook them on the R/R, you go nose-first into the wall. In most racing circles, a hook maneuver among drivers is an unspoken no-no. It rarely even happens in NASCAR.
The intent is completely different. What Carl did at Atlanta was stupid, and over-aggressive, but it was done on the straightaway, with no other cars around, and in MOST cases that move just results in a spin down into the grass.
John, I agree with you 100%. The car flipped because of the wing. Carl did it with 3 laps to go. All he wanted was a Keselowski to spin because there wouldn’t have been time for him to move up.
I usually agree but KHI drivers have made a habit of roughing bushie up this year and I think he just had enough of it.
John, go back and watch the KB vs Hornaday wreck again, I just did. I think KB was just pushing Hornaday into the corner and his own truck got a little squirrelly and then was essentially wrecking himself. That is what happens once you initiate a wreck you can’t always control the outcome. I think it is a stretch to say he drove into the corner intending to put Hornaday head first into the wall.
A little consistency from NASCAR would be nice. A driver should be parked for retaliation on the track regardless of which one we like better — the hitter or the hittee. Carl should have been parked for the hit on Brad, Kyle should have been parked (and for once, was), heck, Matt Kenseth should have been parked for hitting Brian Vickers.
Folks, while Edwards, Harvick, Kesolowski, and some others have had their moments, none of them compares to the amount of moments that Kyle has had since he has been racing in the truck, nationwide, and cup series. And, Kyle is a talented driver who has padded his record with wins in the truck and nationwide series. Would he have all those wins if Jeff Gordon, Edwards, Hamlin, Johnson and some others had been moonlighting in those series? Of course not. He runs the truck and nationwide series with the best crews, equipment, etc. Frankly, I have said for years that nascar needs to quit letting this cup drivers moonlight in these series and I still believe it. Also, I do strongly believe that Nascar and Joe Gibbs are responsible for Kyle being out of control. You can’t fine a multi-multimillionaire $50,000 and place him on probation for a few weeks and expect to get him under control. How many fines has Kyle gotten and how many probations has he been on in his career? Do you see any change in him? No. Nascar and Gibbs should suspend him for the remaining race weekends and put him on probation for the entire year of 2012. Matt, good article and I pretty much agree with everything you have written.
Matt – You have outdone yourself – Bravo! Edwards himself said that BK, holding his line was the thing to do…..how short/selective some memories are.
Good article Matt
A couple of random thoughts on some of the fan reactions to controversy in Nascar.
1) What happened to the probation from the KyBu-Harvick incident? Wouldn’t this qualify as a probation violation?
2) Why don’t they use the Touring Series penalty for spinning out another driver? I believe it’s called “tailback” or restart dead last after the caution.
3) I think everyone needs to stop referring to “what would Dale Earnhardt have done/said” about everything that happens in Nascar. Stock car racing will never again become the sport it was back in the day until everyone realizes that the man is dead, buried, and he’s not coming back. The hero worship is so bad that the entire sport is still trying to revive his legacy through Kyle, Brad, Tony, Jr., etc. Honestly, most “racing” fans are sick of it. For God sakes let the man rest… and move on!!
4) Ever wonder how much “technical” support Stewart is getting from Hendrick Motor Sports? I wonder if he’s using some of Chad’s “special” setups.
5) Every article I read has some reference to the Edwards-BK incident(s) as a comparison to the latest perceived wrong. On the other hand the principals that were involved seem to have moved on and forgotten about it. Unfortunately, fans can’t seem to. This harkens back to the earlier Earnhardt comment, “move on for Christ’s sake”!
6) Fix the tires and you’ll fix the racing. Tires that wear out before a full fuel run create better racing.
7) Why on earth would you take the biggest race of the year to a track that has no competitive racing laps on it? That’s just stupid. I feel another Indy fiasco coming.
Okay, I’ve said my piece. Time to move on…
does anyone have the e-mail adress of mars main office? i have tried everything an cannot get my e-mail thru! thanks
You’re nothing more than a whiny little bitch. I don’t recall getting the message that you’ve been declared the oracle of stock car racing. There have been plenty of similar incidents and you’re a shallow minded bigot.
I’m still amazed at Joe Gibb’s comments from their news conference. In it he said something like “firing Kyle was never an option” and “I really like Kyle”. This just goes to show what a hypocrite Joe is. The fact as has already been said is Kyle hasn’t got any meaningful punishment for all his transgressions except for sitting out last weeks races. And, I think Joe said something about they were going to punish Kyle some more but it would be monetary. You see, Kyle making the money he is making a year probably in excess of $10,000,000 a $50,000 fine is nothing so unless you up the fine to say $1,000,000 money is not going to change anything. Same thing with probabtion. Kyle was given probabtion for the next two races. You can bet Kyle will try and control hisself for the next two weeks. But, beginning in 2012 he will be off the hook and can pull another stunt if the circumstances present themselves. Frankly, I don’t think Joe really likes Kyle. What he does like is him winning races and making money for him. You can bet money if Kyle was not winning some races he would have been fired. Just goes to prove the saying “money is the root of all evil”.
Come on Matt.
Tell us how you REALLY feel about Kyle..