NASCAR Changes Qualifying Format
posted by Summer Bedgood
Tuesday March 11, 2014
Following safety concerns regarding NASCAR’s new qualifying format, the sanctioning body is introducing some changes in preparation for this weekend’s race at Bristol Motor Speedway. According to the Associated Press, NASCAR is banning teams from cool-down laps after their qualifying attempts, but will instead be allowed to hook up cool-down units to the engine through hood flaps.
Late Tuesday afternoon, a release from NASCAR fully detailed the changes. Teams will be allowed a single cool down unit to be connected through the right or left side hood flap, however the hood must remain closed. Additionally, two crew members will be allowed over the wall while cooling down.
“The qualifying is new to all of us and as we have said over the past several weeks, we are looking at it from all aspects,” said Robin Pemberton, vice president of competition and racing development. “Following discussions, both internally and with others in the garage area, we moved quickly to make a few revisions that will be effective starting with our two national series events at Bristol Motor Speedway this weekend. We believe this will only enhance and improve what has demonstrated to be an exciting form of qualifying for our fans, competitors and others involved with the sport. Moving forward we will continue to look at it and address anything else that we may need to as the season unfolds.”
The move comes after three weeks of NASCAR’s new knockout qualifying system, where multiple cars are allowed to make qualifying attempts at the same time instead of the traditional one-car-at-a-time procedure. Drivers and teams had complained that the new rules didn’t allow them to cool their engines down on pit road, and the cool-down laps caused a dangerous situation with slower cars staying on the track at the same time that other cars were running by them at much higher speeds.
The rule will begin this weekend in Bristol, a track that has a much narrower racing surface than Daytona, Phoenix, and Las Vegas.
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
Monday March 3, 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!
Check in with Matt and Jay on their site at CareyandCoffey.com.
Matt McLaughlin · Monday November 14, 2011
The Key Moment – Kasey Kahne elected to pit early for his final stop. Meanwhile, Carl Edwards was leading the race but ran up on his old buddy Brad Keselowski, who was trying not to get lapped (and perhaps sending some subtle payback Edwards’ way.) By the time the No. 99 abandoned the effort to pass the No. 2, Edwards had given up too much time to Kahne.
In a Nutshell – At least the race wasn’t the wreckfest we all feared. Edwards and Stewart kept their respective fans on their feet most of the afternoon.
Dramatic Moment – As is typical in today’s Cup racing, the most dramatic moments followed each restart, particularly when Stewart and Edwards were side by side. The new track configuration and rain early Sunday that washed away much of the rubber from the track usually put the drivers in the outside lane at a distinct disadvantage… unless they had a big number 14 painted on the side of their car.
What They’ll Be Talking About Around the Water Cooler This Week
Given the stresses on the team members not knowing if they’ll have jobs after next Sunday, a win by the Red Bull Racing team was a notable achievement bordering on remarkable.
I also found it remarkable how well Stewart ran in a satellite Hendrick car while the home team boys (the Nos. 24 and 88 in particular) were so off-song all afternoon.
Cleared to race though not running the colors of his primary sponsor, Kyle Busch’s weekend at Phoenix didn’t get off to a good start. Before he could even get out of the garage area and onto the track for first practice, he lost an engine. After starting 43rd, Busch had driven to a remarkable third place before he lost another engine. Perhaps there’s a lesson there that it isn’t wise to let your behavior cause a week-long distraction to your team.
So if Tony Stewart does win the title next week, does the trophy get displayed at his shop or at Rick Hendrick’s? It’s a bit disingenuous to compare Stewart’s outfit to Alan Kulwicki’s when discussing the last championship won by an owner/driver. Kulwicki didn’t have Junior Johnson building his engines and chassis.
The drum beats started before Morgan Shepherd’s mangled race car had even slid to a stop. People want to compare Jason Leffler’s incident with Elliott Sadler in Saturday’s Nationwide race to last Friday’s Busch/Hornaday brouhaha at Texas. In both instances, a driver not running for a title took out a title contender, ending their chances at being a champion this year. But there’s a bunch of key differences.
A) Leffler is a Nationwide Series regular.
It was still a dumb move, and it was costly to Sadler and his team, but there’s really no comparison between what happened last Friday and what happened Saturday.
Yeah, I think Brian Vickers should be parked for next week even if Matt Kenseth was only barely mathematically still in the title hunt. I doubt NASCAR will do so, but Vickers isn’t doing much lately to see that he’s not unemployed and parked on the sidelines for next year’s Cup season.
After the race, Edwards was asked if there was any track he’d rather be heading to next week to decide the championship (he has won two of the last three Homestead season finales.) When asked Sunday, Edwards could only think of a few dirt short tracks he’d prefer, while Stewart chimed in he owns a dirt track in Eldora and would be happy to settle the score there next weekend instead of Homestead. Now THAT would be interesting.
I don’t pretend to be a physics major, but something didn’t appear right with the SAFER barriers at Phoenix this weekend. Whether it was the new track configuration or the amount of incidents, I’m not sure, but it certainly did appear the barriers were “pocketing,” catching a spinning car and bringing it to a rapid stop rather than allowing the stricken vehicle to slide along while spreading the impact over a greater period of time. Some incidents, particularly during the K and N series race, seemed to tear cars apart to a greater extent than expected. By the way, congratulations to Bill Elliott’s 15-year-old son Chase who finished third in that event. And thanks to SPEED for sticking with the TV coverage, even though a pair of red flags led the race to run over an hour beyond its scheduled time slot. Not all networks provide fans with that courtesy… ahem.
Well, the troubled honeymoon between race fans and ESPN is well and truly over. When Saturday’s Nationwide race ran long due to all the caution periods, ESPN ended their broadcast without so much as interviewing surprise winner Sam Hornish, Jr. Fans watching the race were told to switch to ESPNNEWS for post-race coverage. The coverage did, in fact, switch to that network after an interminably long delay. Blogs like the Daly Planet lit up immediately. Whatever good will ESPN bought back to the table thanks to fond memories of their classic coverage of the good old days has been squandered. (Though those with long memories might recall the good old days weren’t perfect, either. ABC once cut away from a Busch Series race before it concluded due to a contractual obligation to show a half-hour pre-race program leading up to the Kentucky Derby.)
Isn’t it a bit ironic when race fans miss live coverage of a restart because ESPN is showing a full screen graphic touting their “Non-Stop” coverage?
The Hindenburg Award For Foul Fortune
Kenseth won the pole for the event and led early. He began to fade as his brakes did the same, dropping him back into the field and into the clutches of Vickers, who apparently felt there was still some payback due after Martinsville.
Kurt Busch, who’d been complaining about his car much of the race, took a surprising turn at the lead but ran out of gas. Busch and the team had trouble refiring the No. 22 car on pit road afterwards; then, to top it all off he got nailed for speeding entering pit road. That left him plummeting to 22nd.
Jeff Gordon had brake issues but it probably didn’t matter much. He’d been slow all weekend, anyway and a 32nd-place finish was the end result. I’d guess Gordon would be more than happy to help dig up the Phoenix track surface again this year.
Geoff Bodine’s return to Cup racing has been less than stellar. He was involved in three incidents on Sunday, ending his day a disappointing 37th. And here’s the amazing part… none of those crashes involved Brian Vickers or Kyle Busch.
The “Seven Come Fore Eleven” Award For Fine Fortune
Stewart has had a remarkable run over the last three races, with two wins and a third-place finish. Despite some physical races in that stretch, Stewart’s cars have had nary a scratch on them after those events. Is there a lesson here?
Paul Menard thought he had an engine going south early, then got trapped a lap down in the pits when a caution flag flew. He got a free pass back onto the lead lap and drove on to a ninth-place finish.
A dropped lug nut on a pit stop caused A.J. Allmendinger to restart the race midpack but he was able to recover well enough to finish sixth. Coupled with an eighth-place finish by Marcos Ambrose, it was yet another good day for Richard Petty Motorsports. And to think, at this time last year few of us thought RPM would even survive to compete in the 2011 Cup season.
Former motocross wizard and current Truck series competitor Ricky Carmichael was lucky to walk away from a horrific accident on a roadway near the track Friday night. Carmichael was following a Jeep Wrangler on a two-lane highway when a vehicle coming in the other direction crossed the center line of the roadway. It struck the Jeep with such force that a tire/wheel assembly was torn off that vehicle and impacted Carmichael’s ride. Carmichael’s wife and a friend, who were passengers in the vehicle he was driving also escaped injury.
It hasn’t been easy for former open-wheel racing champion Sam Hornish, Jr. to gain a foothold in NASCAR racing, but Saturday the part-time Nationwide driver showed he belonged here with his first career win in that series.
What’s the Points?
Edwards arrived at Phoenix leading Stewart by three points and he departs Phoenix still leading Stewart by three points. The other ten Chase contenders are now all mathematically eliminated. Too bad it’s not the Chase that’s being eliminated.
Kevin Harvick remains third in the standings, but is now 51 points out of the lead. Brad Keselowski moves up a spot to fourth, while Jimmie Johnson moves up a spot to fifth. Johnson trails Keselowski by three points.
Vickers’ latest dastardly deed dropped Kenseth two spots to sixth in the standings, two points behind Johnson. And then… the thundering pack has left them in the dust. Earnhardt holds serve in seventh spot, but is a whopping 102 points out of the lead. (As an aside, Earnhardt’s teammate Jeff Gordon fell three spots to eleventh. So why is everybody discussing what a lousy season the No. 88 team has had while not noting the struggles of the No. 24 outfit?)
Kurt Busch and Ryan Newman are tied, 107 points out of the top spot. Busch gets the nod for the eighth position currently with his two victories to Newman’s single win. Hamlin is tenth, then Gordon while Kyle Busch fell another spot to twelfth in the standings.
Kasey Kahne’s late season resurgence moves him within five points of Clint Bowyer for the less-than-coveted “Best Of The Rest” spot, thirteenth in the points. Some notable drivers that have just one more race to gain any form of redemption in the standings include; Mark Martin (20th), Jeff Burton (22nd), Joey Logano (24th), and Jamie McMurray (27th).
Overall Rating (On a scale of one to six beer cans with one being a stinker and a six pack an instant classic) — We’ll give this one three bottles of Corona, still damp from having been floated across the Rio-Grande-o, across that lazy river.
Next Up – With bruised ribs and broken rhythm, the beat up old Buick that has been this year’s Cup season limps off towards Homestead gushing oil from every gasket, smoking badly, listing hard to the right and with a bad rod knock. One way or another, this interminable season ends next week so we’ll all have something to be thankful for the following Thursday.
©2000 - 2008 Matt McLaughlin and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
“(As an aside, Earnhardt’s teammate Jeff Gordon fell three spots to eleventh. So why is everybody discussing what a lousy season the No. 88 team has had while not noting the struggles of the No. 24 outfit?)”
Because Gordon was on a hot streak entering the chase and was actually highly competitive for a bunch of race wins this season, something that can’t be said for Junior.
Gordon and Kyle Busch did not run nearly as badly over the entire season as their points results will make them look, thanks to the chase. While Stewart didn’t run nearly that well…
American cars list to the left, aka Detroit lean.
watched bits and pieces of the race. i think i’m done with the sport.
i find it interesting that he only tv time that dale earnhardt jr gets is his nationwide commericals. saw where team changes coming, so his crew chief says.
i was wondering the same thing about stewart and championship since he’s a hendrick satelite organization. will hendrick be on stage with the owners?
Putting Geoff Bodine in the #36 car went about as well as the New England Patriots signing Albert Haynseworth. What was Tommy Baldwin thinking?
For a guy who’s looking for a job next year, Brian Vickers hasn’t done himself any favors lately. Then again, maybe he’s trying to catch Joe Gibbs eye.
Three bottles?!? Were we watching the same race? Whenever the race had me nodding off I flipped the channel to the one having “Stephen King day”. The action there was much more realistic.
Might it be time for NASCAR to ask Vickers to pee into a cup? What is with that guy? His erratic driving/actions surely warrant a drug test, one might think. If Robby Gordon was involved in the actions Vickers had been involved in, he (Gordon) would be driven from the sport.
No doubt they need to give the winner more points. If Edwards wins the Cup (which he probably will considering they are going to Miami) NASCAR needs to seriously consider giving the winner more points to avoid having a “1 win” Champion.
Sean – thanks, you beat me to that comment about the 24’s season vs the 88.
Obviously as a 24 fan, I’d be a lot happier if they had continued to run well in the mini-series of races for the 10 race trophy. It is still weird to me that Jr will finish higher in the points than Gordon because of the “chase”.
On another note, ESPN is a complete fail for broadcasting the races. I use trackpass to follow the action – there’s no real point in even tuning into the broadcast.
Did Kyle ruin his engine running from the back to the front? Occasionally, I’ll notice a backbencher whose car suddenly is running up front only to have the motor implode. Was Kyle pushing the motor beyond its capabilities, thus his miracle run to the front was actually a foolish move of desperation? I’ll give the guy kudos for his skill set, but managing a car is still important in these days of parity.
I watched it, but for the life of me I can’t think of anything worth commenting on…. 2 cans at most.
There’s definitely been a shortage of classic races this year, but let’s be honest… ok, I’ll be honest with me anyway: Come Sunday after Thanksgiving when I’m sitting down watching football… I’ll be wishing there was a race on that I could watch because football’s just not the same. Maybe I’m crazy but I’d just rather be watching racing. We need a NASCAR Southern winter series that runs around the South and the Southeast when the weather gets cold (and doesn’t include any Cup drivers) to tide us over until February. That way we can have racing year round.
If Carl Edwards wins the Cup with one win, that proves once and for all that this stupid “Chase” is a failure, because if I remember right, Kenseth’s 1 win Championship season was thre reason for the Chase, no?
Countray— Being Honest….I will be right there with ya in the withdrawl dept. football sucks
Earnhardt holds serve in seventh spot, but is a whopping 102 points out of the lead. (As an aside, Earnhardt’s teammate Jeff Gordon fell three spots to eleventh. So why is everybody discussing what a lousy season the No. 88 team has had while not noting the struggles of the No. 24 outfit?)
Could have something to do with the 88 having the 24’s entire crew and cars from last year. I think that tells the story about Jr.
Let’s be REALLY honest here… in the Fall, Saturdays are for college football, and Sundays are for racing. And professional football is something we watch between Thanksgiving and the beginning of Speedweeks because there’s nothing else on.
Holy commercials!! That was the worst race/ad ratio that I’ve ever seen. ESPN made a ton of money yesterday and they should be proud of themselves. They’ll milk that cow dry one more time before putting the ’11 season out to slaughter.
It would be great if Edwards wins the title without a win next week. Another Cup champ with 1 win. I thought the Chase was supposed to prevent this?
Re: vickers/kenseth these “cars” don’t handle around each other!great job na$car
ESPN’s coverage was a joke, particularly for people that don’t have 40 inch screens. Trying to watch the race on that split screen is trying for those of us who are in that category. A couple of times they went from the split screen directly to full screen commercials. I’ve lost patience with ESPN. Other then restarts after a caution, this race was another follow the leader bore fest.
Glad you mentioned the K&N race – terrific race, side-by-side, tough, tight racing – no prima donnas, no fake cautions – great to see
NASCAR should suspend Vickers for what might be his last Cup start!
For what it’s worth, Stewart’s 25th-place finish at DOVER (NOT Kansas) has got to be looming large in his rear-view mirror right now…
Homestead next week, Stewart comes in first, leads the most laps. Edwards comes in second, never leads a lap. Tie. Stewy wins! Trophy goes back to Rushville.
wonder if stewart will have a melt-down if he misses out on championship by a few points?
Please Tony, win!! Cannot stand to think about everyone fawning over Crazy Carl the rest of this year, and all of next!!!
Actually, cfool, if Stewart wins but Edwards comes in Second and leads the most laps, Stewart would score 47 points and Edwards 44 points. That’s the tie scenario. If Edwards came in 2nd and led no laps, but Tony won an led the most, Tony would win by 3 points. (Winner gets 43 points plus 3 bonus for winning, plus on for leading. That’s 47, or 48 if leading the most laps. 2nd place is 42)
If Stewart wins the race, he wins the Championship no matter what Edwards does. Same for Edwards.
The actual “clinch” scenarios:
Edwards can also win finishing behind Stewart, but it depends on laps led. If Stewart leads the most laps, Edwards must finish no worse than one position behind AND lead a lap. If Stewart leads A lap but not the most, Edwards can finish 2 positions down IF he heads a lap, and 3 down if he leads the most.
If Stewart leads NO laps, Edwards can win finishing 2 positions behind with no laps led, 3 positions behind with one lap led, and 4 positions behind with the most laps led.
Funny… After reading all the posts above I see several comments on Jr, Gordon, Stewart, and a few dissing Carl Edwards; however not a single mention of Kahne and the red Bull team’s feat in winning the race.
One can only wonder why all the pre-race, race, and post-race shows only focus on two or three drivers every week. The only people watching are all bowtie fans.
This race had its moments. Side-by-side racing, three wide, green flag lead changes, team strategy, payback, blown motors, gas mileage flubs, melted beads, brake problems, etc. You can’t ask for much more in a race, unless you’re a Stewart, Gordon, Jr, Harvick, or Johnson fan.
Lot’s of hippocracy here.
I agree with the post on the K&N Series and am glad you mentioned it. These kids are good and it was nice to see Blaney win and Elliott come in not far behind. Good racing but not long enough.
Matt – Glad to see you provided congratulations to Chase Elliott for his 3rd place finish in the K&N series. His father was my favourit for years.Just wondering why you did not congratulate young Mr Blaney who won the race? Regarding the Nationwide race – ESPN lost a vote of confidence with me when they cut to ‘another sport’ before post race interviews. Pure bush league!
Good luck SMOKE. I hope you are our next Champion. P.S. We still miss special “K”.
Boy did Kahne ruin the script for ESPN this week. Its shows pretty evident in the race coverage when someone other than their chosen ones win the race. he was leading all the 2nd half of the race and they still never talked about him until about 5 laps to go. Pitiful.
Guess Jimmie Johnson isn’t a chosen one anymore. They barely mentioned him. Funny how ESPN drops you like a bad habit when you aren’t a winner anymore.
Is this what Nascar has become that the championship is being overshadowed by the Kyle Busch crap from a week ago? This reinforces for me even more that nobody cares about the Chase. So why not get rid of it and put the focus back on the individual races like it was when Nascar what thriving.
And where the hell has Brian France been? He should be front and center at these final races. Talk about poor leadership.