Kurt Busch to Attempt The Indianapolis-Charlotte Double
posted by Phil Allaway
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Andretti Autosport announced this morning that Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet in the Sprint Cup Series, will attempt the Indianapolis 500 in a fifth entry for the IndyCar Series team. Once the Indianapolis 500 is completed, Busch will fly from Indianapolis to Charlotte, jump in his No. 41 Chevrolet and compete in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Busch considers the opportunity to do the double as an old-school throwback moment.
“This is really to challenge myself within motorsports,” Busch said in Andretti Autosport’s press release. “Perhaps I am a bit of an old-school racer; a throwback, I guess. I enjoyed the era of drivers racing different cars and testing themselves in other series. It is tough to do now for a variety of factors, but when the opportunity is there, I want to do it. While NASCAR is my home, I have been fortunate to compete in Pro Stock on the NHRA circuit a number of years ago and test a V8 Supercar. This opportunity was a talk with Michael [Andretti] over dinner one night, a “What if,” and now it’s becoming a reality for me to drive in the Indy 500 with Andretti Autosport. It’s literally a dream come true. To go to the famous Brickyard with the iconic Andretti name, it doesn’t get much cooler or better than that.”
Busch will be doing the Indianapolis-Charlotte double as a Memorial Day mission to men and women serving in the U.S. Military via the Armed Forces Foundation. Fans can contribute to the cause by texting AFF to 50555 to donate $10.
Busch, who has never raced an IndyCar, passed Rookie Orientation at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last year during a test session. At the time, Busch was more or less testing the Dallara DW12 for fun.
Busch will be the fourth driver to attempt the Indianapolis-Charlotte double. John Andretti was the first driver to attempt it in 1994. After finishing four laps down in tenth in Indianapolis, Andretti crashed and had engine problems in the 600. Robby Gordon has attempted the double five times, most recently in 2004. However, Gordon failed to make it to Charlotte on time and did not start the 600 in 2000 (P.J. Jones started Gordon’s No. 13 Ford in that instance). Finally, Tony Stewart has attempted the double twice (most recently in 2001) and is the only driver to ever complete all 1100 miles. Neither of the three drivers has won either leg of the double. The best finishes are Stewart and Gordon’s sixth-place finishes at the Indianapolis 500 (although Gordon’s came in 2000, the year he didn’t make it to Charlotte in time to start the Coca-Cola 600), and Stewart’s fourth-place finish in the 2001 Coca-Cola 600.
Danica Patrick, Justin Allgaier Talk About Phoenix Incident
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
A disappointing start to the year for Danica Patrick won’t include continued conflict. Patrick met with rookie Justin Allgaier Sunday, shortly after the Phoenix Cup race after a wreck ruined both drivers’ days. Patrick, who was critical of the No. 51 car on the radio, claiming Allgaier was “driving all over the track” appeared receptive to a conversation that quickly settled differences over what will be a long season.
“She was just upset because she got involved in the crash that we had,’’ said Allgaier to the Motor Racing Network. “She says she’s been through this and that she felt like I needed to settle down at that point. I explained my position on why everything happened. I think she understood where I was coming from. It doesn’t fix either one of our racecars. It doesn’t fix either one of our days. Unfortunately, we were both having pretty decent days.’’
Allgaier wound up 30th due to the incident while Patrick was 36th. The incident, which was caused by Allgaier’s spin also involved the No. 32 team and Travis Kvapil, which wound up 38th after sustaining heavy damage.
Camping World Close to Extending Title Sponsorship of NCWTS
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Marcus Lemonis, CEO of Camping World, Grand Marshal of Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway, and star of CNBC’s “The Profit,” made the announcement over the weekend that the retailer is very close to announcing a deal that would continue its title sponsorship of NASCAR’s Truck Series. The original agreement with NASCAR is scheduled to conclude after the 2015 season.
According to the sanctioning body, no formal contract has been signed, but “the agreement between the two parties has proven to be a beneficial one.”
“In about a month, we’ll be announcing a significant extension to that contract. It’s been great for us,” said Camping World’s Lemonis in a statement. “The NASCAR relationship has worked well for Camping World. When we started, we had 35 stores. Now, we’re up to 120 stores. As we travel the country and we meet new customers in stores, they always are very appreciative of our relationship with NASCAR. It’s been good.”
Gaining a long-term commitment from Camping World to sponsor the Truck Series would be a relief for NASCAR, which is set to lose Nationwide Insurance as title sponsor for the NASCAR Nationwide Series at the end of the 2014 season. The sponsorship of the Cup Series by Sprint runs through 2016.
The NCWTS is back in action on March 29th at 2:30 PM (ET) when the trucks visit Martinsville Speedway in the Kroger 250, which can be seen on Fox Sports 1. Ratings for the season opener were up 11 percent.
Harvick Takes Win At Phoenix In Second Race With New Team
posted by Justin Tucker
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Phoenix International Raceway has become Kevin Harvick’s home away from home. Sunday Afternoon was no exception as Harvick charged to the front early and would dominate for much of the day, leading 224 of the scheduled 312 laps to record his record fifth win on the one mile oval and his third win in the last four races at Phoenix.
Harvick, coming off of a disappointing Speedweeks which was capped by a last lap crash in the Daytona 500 in his debut with Stewart-Haas Racing, set the tone on Saturday by winning both practices while having the best 5 and 10-lap averages in the first practice of the day on Saturday. On Sunday, Harvick and his No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet was nothing short of flawless as he was able to hold Dale Earnhardt, Jr. by .489 seconds after a late race restart to claim his 24th career Sprint Cup Series victory.
“Man, this is awesome,” Harvick said after his dominant victory on Sunday. “Man, this just solidifies so many things and so many decisions. It’s been so much work with all the time and effort that these guys (the crew) have put in—but what a race car.”
Stewart Haas Racing co-owner Gene Haas shared in Harvick’s excitement after the race.
“It took long enough,” Haas joked. “This is phenomenal. I think there was a lot of skepticism last year about what myself and Tony (Stewart) what we were up to, was there a lot of madness to this. Quite frankly, it’s a great team, there’s a lot of synergy at the shop, people working together. I don’t know what we did, but I think we put together a great organization.”
Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt, Jr. continued his hot start to the 2014 season. Earnhardt Jr. would finish second on Sunday, marking his seventh consecutive top 10 finish since the end of the 2013 season. Earnhardt Jr. was pleased with the effort after a coast-to-coast whirlwind week after winning his second Daytona 500 and also gave great praise to the efforts of Harvick and the No. 4 team.
“I’ve got to congratulate Kevin. Those guys were two-tenths faster than everyone all weekend in practice. They were just phenomenal,” Earnhardt said. “To be able to run with them all day was a big confidence builder for us.”
Joining Harvick and Earnhardt in the top 5 of The Profit on CNBC 500K were Brad Keselowski with his second consecutive top 3 run of 2014 in third. Keselowski’s Team Penske teammate Joey Logano would finish fourth, and Jeff Gordon would come home fifth in his No. 24 Pepsi Max Chevrolet.
Jimmie Johnson finished in sixth, followed by Ryan Newman with a nice rebound after Daytona in seventh. Carl Edwards would carry the banner for Roush Fenway Racing by finishing eighth, Kyle Busch was ninth, and Jamie McMurray would finish tenth.
A look at the Profit on CNBC 500K by the numbers. There were 14 lead changes among eight different drivers, there were eight cautions for 39 laps which slowed the race pace to 109.229 MPH.
Next Sunday, the Sprint Cup Series heads to Sin City and the Las Vegas Motor
Starting Lineup: The Profit On CNBC 500K
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday March 1, 2014
Drivers in RED (i) are those ineligible to collect Sprint Cup points
Daytona 500 TV Ratings Down
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Wednesday February 26, 2014
What was the longest weather delay in Daytona 500 history turned out to bring NASCAR lower ratings and TV viewership Sunday night than expected. According to a report Monday from FOX Sports, the 56th running of the Daytona 500 airing at 8 PM (ET) posted a 5.6/10 national household rating/share which averaged 9.3 million viewers. That’s down 44 percent from last year’s 9.9, easily making it the least-watched Daytona 500 of all-time.
Due to the six-hour, twenty-two minute rain delay in Daytona, the race was up against the primetime coverage of the Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony from Sochi, Russia on NBC (15.25 million viewers). FOX also reported that 69% of the pre-rain delay viewers of the race, which began at 1 PM (ET) kept tuning in.
In comparison, the 2013 Daytona 500 on FOX was the most-watched race in five years, posting a 9.9/22 rating/share, commanding 16.7 million viewers. The Daytona 500 in 2012, the first to ever be run on a Monday and in the primetime slot did a 7.7/13 overnight rating/share which resulted in 13.67 million households viewing the race according to Nielsen TV ratings data.
Earnhardt, Jr. Claims Second Daytona 500 Victory
posted by Justin Tucker
Wednesday February 26, 2014
Ten years is a long time. For Dale Earnhardt, Jr., it felt like an eternity. NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver endured many near misses and close calls at the Daytona 500 since his only win in the Great American Race in 2004. Earnhardt had finished second in two of his last three Daytona 500s coming into Sunday’s race. He was also riding the tail of a 55-race winless streak, dating back to Michigan in 2012.
However nothing would stop Dale Jr. on Sunday, not even a 6 hour and 22 minute rain delay from capturing his second Daytona 500 win. Earnhardt Jr. led a race-high 54 laps on the evening and used some timely drafting help from teammates Jimmie Johnson and, on the final restart, Jeff Gordon to separate from the pack and secure the victory.
“Winning this race is the greatest feeling that you could feel in this sport besides accepting the trophy for the championship,” said a jubilant Earnhardt after pulling into Victory Lane. “We could fight off battle after battle. We got a little help at the end there from Jeff to get away on the restart. This is amazing. I can’t believe this is happening. I never take this for granted, man because it doesn’t happen twice, let alone once.”
Aside from the race itself the big story of the race was the 6 hour and 22 minute red flag, which threatened to move the race to Monday evening (had the race been postponed, FOX Sports’ Chris Myers had tweeted that the race would resume at 5:00pm EST). However, Mother Nature would cooperate and would allow the race to be run under different conditions from which they practiced this week. Once the race resumed, the intensity picked up from the changing track conditions. This allowed the pack to race side-by-side and at times 3-wide up to seven rows deep.
Joining Earnhardt Jr. in the top 5 for the 2014 Daytona 500 were: Denny Hamlin who closed out a spectacular Speedweeks in second, Brad Keselowski in third, Jeff Gordon in fourth, and Jimmie Johnson who overcome two wrecks leading up to the 500 in fifth.
Rounding out the top 10 in the Daytona 500 were Matt Kenseth in sixth, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. in seventh and Greg Biffle would bring his No. 16 Ford home in eighth. Austin Dillon would come home ninth in his first Cup Series race in the iconic No. 3 for Richard Childress Racing, while Casey Mears would round out the top 10.
A couple of major contenders for the Daytona 500 win would see their hopes dashed early on as Martin Truex, Jr. would blow up just 30 laps into the race, relegating him to a 43rd-place finish in his debut for Furniture Row Racing. Crew chief Todd Berrier was already in Nashville for a test session before the race was even over. Kyle Busch, meanwhile would have a pit road violation just before halfway and would spend much of the race battling back from that mistake. Busch would eventually finish 19th after leading 19 laps.
Danica Patrick would also be bit by bad luck as she was caught up in a multi-car wreck on lap 145. Patrick would lead her second consecutive Daytona 500, but wouldn’t have the finish to show for it finishing 40th. Tony Stewart would encounter a frustrating evening as well, with a fuel pickup problem derailing his quest for his first Daytona 500 win. Stewart would finish 35th.
A look at the Daytona 500 by the numbers. There were 42 lead changes among 18 drivers, while seven cautions for 39 laps would slow the race pace to 145.290 MPH.
Next week, the Sprint Cup Series heads to the “diamond in the desert,” Phoenix International Raceway for The Profit on CNBC 500K. The Green flag is scheduled for 3:15pm EST.
Nationwide Series Post-Race Quotes: Drive4COPD 300
posted by Thomas Bowles
Tuesday February 25, 2014
Frontstretch Interviews – Courtesy Mike Neff
ELLIOTT SADLER – FINISHED 4th
Thoughts on the race?
It’s definitely a lot different racing than what we’re used to.
Comfortable with it?
Yeah, it’s just different. You’re worried about what you’re doing, but you’re also worried about what everyone else is doing and they’re not doing more than you’re doing. Physically pushing a guy is way better than just riding so you just gotta time it right and push it to the edge.
Happy to start the year with a top 5?
Yeah. Hell, that was the worst we ran all day, I think. I have no idea how they put the 3 car in front of us on that last restart. I hadn’t seen the 3 car hardly all day. When they put us from fifth to sixth, on the outside line, it just really boxed us in. I would have really restarted behind my teammate and given him a good push to the front. Anyways, it is what it is; we’ll take it and move on.
Looked like you were up front all day.
The guys did a good job. We had a fast race car. Great pit stops, just really proud of these guys. The car’s in one piece and we can take it to Talladega now. Great job by my guys. A lot of effort came into coming down here to Daytona and giving ourselves a shot to win. We had that chance to be up front and make some things happen. Fifth is not what we want, but we’ll take it and move on.
Bumping vs Pushing?
It’s way harder. You don’t want to lay on the guy in front of you, so it’s tough racing. A lot different than what we’re used to, ‘cause you gotta go. You gotta drag the brake too ‘cause you don’t want to hit the guys and you don’t want to stay on him. It’s a lot harder mentally than what we’ve done in the past.
Car was strong all day. Pushing vs. Bumping, is that harder to do than just getting on somebody and pushing them?
Yeah, it is a little bit. When you bump ‘em, you jar ‘em, it kinda jacks ‘em a little bit. It’s a little more abrupt, obviously. I thought it was OK there at the end. It was certainly fun and hopefully entertaining. But a little bit of a struggle in the early part of the race and the midpart of the race to see a good race. And that’s unfortunate for the fans. You can’t do that the whole race, you can’t tear up your stuff, knock your grill in, overheat your motor, all that stuff so there’s no sense in doing all that until you get down to the last lap. The 7 and the 6, they did a good job. Man, the 7 really held the 22 and I tight on the bottom. I was rubbing his door and hitting the apron at the same time, no room whatsoever. So it was good; wish we were the ones who could have won but a lot better now than what we were last year.
Going home in one piece makes it a lot better, right?
Yeah. My back feels good. My foot feels good. Past years here, I’ve been going home with pain so I’m alright.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Truck Series Post-Race Quotes: Daytona (Exclusives)
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday February 22, 2014
When you’re on the outside like that, how frustrating is it?
It’s so hard. Timothy Peters has won here. Kyle Busch has won everywhere. Ron Hornaday has been running Trucks forever, probably before I was even born. I was surrounded by veterans there, and like I told them I don’t have a rookie stripe but I’m a rookie. This is only my fourth Truck race ever, my fourth superspeedway race, and man, I figured out when the 17 got up in front of me, I pushed him. And as soon as I pushed him, he took off. And I went with him. And I just kept doing it, and before I knew it, he was leading. And I saw Ron in my mirror, backed up to him, and if it wasn’t for him, I don’t know what would have happened. I gotta thank him big time for that. That was a true teammate move right there. I really appreciate that. He just bounced off me and we got to the front. I tried my hardest to sidedraft Kyle. I was probably touching his door.
Top 5 in the No. 30 truck. This deal come together at the last minute, but you had a heck of a truck. Tell us about your night.
Yeah, I’ve got to thank Turner Scott Motorsports. The guys worked so hard on this Rheem Comfort Products Chevrolet. Exciting! Just got hung up on the outside and had to wait for my teammate there to catch up. And then he got to the bottom, so… I got the old 32 and started pushing ol’ Ryan to the front. So, it’s not bad. We’ll take it. You just don’t want to step over that boundary. You don’t know how far to push and shove. We bumped about six times down the straightaway without latching onto them. Hopefully, that was OK and we came home with a top 5.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Budweiser Duels Post Race Quotes
posted by Matt Stallknecht
Friday February 21, 2014
BUDWEISER DUELS POST-RACE QUOTES
They’re saying the wheel bearing burned up in it. I don’t know what caused it, they’re taking it all apart to figure out what the heck happened. Something abnormal that’s for sure I don’t think I’ve ever had that happen at all. Hopefully, we made the race and hopefully we can fix the problem before Sunday.
WHAT WAS THAT LOUD BOOM ONCE YOU TURNED INTO THE GARAGE?
Loud pop was a tire… thankfully, it popped, hopefully it didn’t hurt anybody. All the heat created in the left front that popped was pretty weird.
REALLY GOOD RUN. WHAT DID YOU THINK OF IT?
Yeah, it was good. We have a car we can work with for the 500. Got a good starting spot, so we’re going to rest easy, fluff and buff our car for a couple of days and get ready for Sunday.
ANY DIFFERENCE ON WHETHER THE TOP OR BOTTOM LANE WORKED?
Yeah, I was just moving around, trying to stay with the flow. For me, this car works on all parts of the racetrack. So I’m pretty happy with it.
DALE EARNHARDT, JR.
GOT SHUFFLED BACK, AFTER PIT STOPS AND THEN COULDN’T GET BACK UP TO THE FRONT. WHY?
Nah, we were just sitting there waiting until the last few laps to make a move. You didn’t want to pull down and get sent to the back. Seen a couple of guys get sent to the back really quick so we were just kind of waiting for the end. I felt like we had a good situation there with Ambrose behind us — we had a good run off Turn 2 and I went. It was the last lap, time to go do something, nobody went with us but hopefully Sunday is a different story.
We got a great car. We don’t have to work hard. We learned, we got a good race car. Got a car in one piece, ready to go so we’ll try and get through the next couple of practices, deliver it to the starting group this Sunday and we’ll be real happy.
YOU’RE IN THE DAYTONA 500!
Yeah, it’s pretty awesome. This Whitetail Chevrolet was so fast that I knew all I had to do was stick it behind smart, intelligent drafters and we could have a good finish. That’s what we did in the Duels and I’m excited. I’m excited to go do some stuff with the Nationwide car and have some more practice with this. But to know that we’re locked in the Daytona 500’s pretty cool.
YOU WERE OBVIOUSLY IN FRONT OF THAT MELEE AT THE END. WHEN YOU WERE UP FRONT THERE IN THE BEGINNING, WERE YOU HOPING TO JUST STAY IN LINE AND LET YOU FINISH TOP 5?
I was pretty content to ride and luckily I knew a lot of people around us were. It was nice to have a little calm and not really have to be racing hard the whole time. I knew that the pit stop was going to shake everything up and that’s exactly what happened. Fell back a little bit there but made the right moves at the end to get a good finish.
HOW STRONG ARE THESE RCR CARS?
They’re very strong! They definitely have the capabilities to be winning one of these races.
YOU’RE IN THE TOP 5 FOR YOUR HEAT IN THE DAYTONA 500. YOUR PRIMARY CAR IS SITTING RIGHT IN THE GARAGE, KIND OF WADDED UP. DID YOU THINK THIS ONE HAD IT IN IT?
Yeah, it’s a brand new car also. It’s just not quite as good as the primary but still a damned good car. I’m just proud of everybody at RCR for building such fast race cars. All of our cars have been fast, ECR motor’s been strong, even our affiliate teams have been qualifying really good and racing good. So… excited about 2014! It’s going to be a good year.
WELL MAN, YOU STARTED IN THE BACK BUT WORKED YOUR WAY TO THE FRONT WHEN IT COUNTED MOST. WERE YOU JUST BIDING YOUR TIME THROUGHOUT THE RACE?
Eh, you never know if you’re going to get back up there or not. We had to start at the back, we had to make a run early and see what we could do. We drove right to 10th, or something like that and then it got stagnant. We tried to make something happen, and went to the back again. Drove back up to the front. Again, just really proud of my guys. Matt Kruder did a hell of a job on that pit stop getting just enough gas in to gain some spots there.
RCR CARS SEEM PRETTY DARNED STRONG. DO YOU THINK THE RCR CARS HAVE SOMETHING FOR THEM ON SUNDAY — ESPECIALLY THE THREE JOE GIBBS RACING CARS THAT SEEM TO BE THE CLASS OF THE FIELD RIGHT NOW?
Oh yeah. The 20 car was extremely fast. The 11 didn’t qualify that good, but he’s a good drafter. I think he won. We definitely have something for him.
Check in with Matt and Jay on their site at CareyandCoffey.com.
Matt McLaughlin · Thursday February 23, 2012
The Key Moment –
Race Two – Greg Biffle dominated the race but swept up on the final lap thinking he’d hook up with teammate Matt Kenseth to seal the deal. Instead, Kenseth dove down into the lower lane Biffle had opened for him, towhttp://www.frontstretch.com/textpattern/index.php?event=article&step=edit&ID=37278ing Jimmie Johnson in his wake to take the lead and the win.
In a Nutshell –
Race Two – Having seen the carnage in the first race, it appeared the competitors in the second event decided to play nicely with one another.
Dramatic Moment –
Race One – Had the three cars driven by Juan Pablo Montoya, Paul Menard, and David Gilliland scattered rather than locking together the wreck would probably have decimated the field.
Race Two – When Jimmie Johnson drove into the side of Regan Smith battling to the line, it very nearly set off the Big One.
What They’ll Be Talking About Around the Water Cooler This Week
A Few Reasons These Races Don’t Matter Much Anymore
A Couple Reasons These Races Do Matter
Earlier this week, NASCAR raised the pop-off valve in the cars cooling systems to alleviate concerns about overheating after some cars ran hot in last Saturday night’s Shootout. You’ll recall from high school chemistry (about all I recall is the two playful piglets on Ronnie Cage struggling to break free of their pens, so I had to look it up) that as you increase pressure in a vessel, the boiling point of water goes up. At 25 psi (the original maximum allowable pressure) water boils at 240 degrees. At 28 psi (the new allowable max) water boils at 246 degrees. Big deal, huh? Look for some cars to erupt like Mount Vesuvius in Sunday’s 500-mile race.
You have to wonder if there’s some old-fashioned late 1990s politics at play here with the GM overheating issue. Back in those days, one manufacturer or another was always running to NASCAR officialdom crying they were at an unfair disadvantage and needed a rules tweak to run competitively. If Chevy can lobby NASCAR for a larger grille opening prior to the 500, that will negate all the work Ford put into their new-last-year FR9 engine to make it run cooler than the competition. Parity or parody? You decide.
To my way of thinking, the second 150-miler was the better of Thursday’s two events. There was actual racing and strategies in play as opposed to Duel #1, which was way too much wrecking and not enough racing. Yet as I look around online, it seems fans preferred the first race and by a wide margin. Maybe I’ve been wrong all these years. Maybe there is, indeed a much higher percentage of fans who do, in fact watch events hoping to see wrecks, not racing.
There were rumors in the garage area that after Michael Waltrip failed to qualify Robby Gordon, who made the race, offered to sell Waltrip his starting spot. Naturally Waltrip, Toyota’s chief mouthpiece, couldn’t drive Gordon’s Dodge, but Gordon has already hinted unless he can get a Dodge engine from the Penske organization (a rather unlikely possibility, especially given Gordon’s cash-strapped team) he’ll only run a few laps Sunday before parking his car. Editor’s Note: In the media center, Gordon clearly confirmed the ride was up for grabs. But there are no takers as of Friday, early AM…
Smokers are this generation’s lepers. For those who light up, there’s yet another place you can’t indulge your habit, the grandstands at Daytona. DIS is now on a growing list of tracks where smokers aren’t welcome. Ironically, for almost three decades NASCAR’s top division was Winston Cup. You’d think at a track as big as Daytona, NASCAR and the ISC could have found some way to accommodate smokers without forcing those who don’t smoke to sit beside them. (Hell, they don’t even sell tickets for the backstretch grandstands for the July race.) Yes, some people would like to see smoking banned everywhere, but quite frankly if you’re in an uproar about the healthy pink lungs of little Johnnie and his somewhat slow sister Susie, perhaps a race track with 43 high revving race cars and not a catalytic converter in sight might not be your ideal vacation destination, anyway.
What was going on with the synchronization of audio and film in the post-race driver interviews? The lip synching looked like something out of a Saturday afternoon Japanese Kung Fu movie.
SPEED and FOX had three chief storylines they were going to trumpet on Thursday:
The Hindenburg Award For Foul Fortune
Among the notables headed home having failed to qualify for the Daytona 500; Bill Elliott, Kenny and Mike Wallace, Michael Waltrip and J.J. Yeley.
Waltrip had been in position to make the 500 when he was forced to stop early for gas. Trying to blend back out onto the track exiting the pits, Waltrip spun himself out and went hard into the wall. That’s also a misfortune for TV viewers this Sunday who are going to have to listen to his dimwitted babbling all afternoon.
Danica Patrick took a savage hit on the last lap of the first race, stuffing her Chevy windshield deep into the SAFER barrier. Fortunately, she emerged unhurt. I understand and even applaud the tactic of taking her hands off the wheel prior to impact, protecting her thumbs and wrists but it sure did look like she was channeling Macaulay Culkin from Home Alone.
Denny Hamlin led more than half of the first race but questionable pit strategy forced him to make a green flag stop en route to a seventeenth-place finish. For those keeping score at home, that’s Steve Addington – 1, Darian Grubb – 0.
The “Seven Come Fore Eleven” Award For Fine Fortune
Things didn’t look good for Robby Gordon, whose car started smoking early in the first race. Still, when Waltrip suffered his problems Gordon edged his way into the final transfer spot.
Dale Earnhardt, Jr. was sent to the back of the pack for a pit road violation by one of his crew members. He managed to drive to the front of the pack not once, but twice with seeming ease despite reporting to the team he was running at half throttle. There’s clearly a lot of horsepower under the hood of that No. 88, so look for Earnhardt to be a factor Sunday.
I’m still wondering how Regan Smith saved his car after Jimmie Johnson body-slammed him on the final lap trying to work his way into a hole that clearly wasn’t there.
The way Johnson’s car was blowing steam for the final portion of that race, it’s a wonder he finished at all much less finished second. With the Hendrick-engined cars of Jeff Gordon, Kurt Busch, and Ryan Newman also experiencing overheating issues, it seems the guys in the Hendrick camp have their work cut out for them prior to Sunday’s big race.
Overall Rating (On a scale of one to six beer cans, with one being a stinker and a six-pack an instant classic)
Race One – Three cans of the same old stuff.
Next Up – The Great American Race (or some semblance thereof) rolls off Sunday afternoon.
©2000 - 2008 Matt McLaughlin and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
One thing I noticed was that it appeared the outside line of cars in both races was having a tough time staying with the inside line, more so in the first race than the second. I don’t know if it was because the overheating issue was making pushes a little more risky or what.
I’m no Danica fan, especially after she got a free pass into the Daytona 500, but she hit that inside wall extremely hard and I was glad to see her walk away uninjured.
But on another note….I am sooo glad I watched the Duals with the sound muted, and Track Scanner On…..Because if the Duals were a sign of things to come from FAUX on Sunday..It’s going to be The Danica and DW show, that’s if unless some shlub sells Mikey a starting spot…then heaven help us all.
That was a huge hit for Danica, and not of her own doing. It just goes to show the level of hatred most people have for her that the first thing most people said (including writers on this site) was “look at the girl take her hands off the wheel!”
Indycar drivers are trained to do that to prevent wrists being broken. Once you know there’s no saving the car, you let go and bring your limbs in to avoid losing anything. Good for her and hard luck.
And along John’s line, Indy cars are also much smaller so Danica bringing her hands up so far was pure instinct of a veteran of open wheel racing.
I wish her success, as I do any rookie driver, I just wish NA$CAR and Fox would wait until the hype is deserved.
I’m with you, Matt. The second race (caution free!) was a great race, and what a finish! The first one, and the Shootout as well, for that matter, was just a lot of senseless wrecking.
the dopes in the booth were amazed by danika taking her hands off the wheel? have they never watched any open wheel racing of any type or were they just looking for something to congratulate her on? i like the new rules package for a couple of reasons; teams don’t seem to be ganging up with each other and the actual amount of racing seems to have increased. now they can spend some energy trying fix the sleep aid tracks (aka cookie cutters!)
I’m with you, Matt. POS did run out of talent, yesterday, when, according to JAWS, he got some “dirt” on those Goodyear’s when he pitted.
Wrecking that (Bad) Dream-Machine does mean we will have to put up with both him and JAWS, for Sunday afternoon.
I could just see POS out there, driving Robby’s MoPar-ride. I wonder if POS might even have a left-over MoPar-ride, when he was getting his “junk” from Bill Davis, back in 2006! Remember how great those Bill Davis MoPar’s ran POS was leasing? That was after Bill sold all of the MoPar engine designs to that “foreign/import” manufacture, trying to get into NA$CAR and Daimler-Chrysler pulled all of his factory support. LMAO!
“Dimwitted babbling! GREAT line!! I’m going to see if I can get the MRN broadcast on my IPad sunday and turn the TV sound off. Hope it works, otherwise Ill watch it with no sound at all. As to the lady, yes she gets way too much exposure, but so does Dale Jr. Its not either ones fault. She looked damned good out there running in that leading pack.
Of course the NASCAR public preferred the first race: it had Junior in it, and he led some laps.
“Greg Biffle dominated the race but swept up on the final lap thinking he’d hook up with teammate Matt Kenseth “
That’s not the way I saw it at all. It looked to me like Biffle was trying to BLOCK Kenseth, not hook up.
Let’s be honest, if there isn’t at least a couple of LEGITIMATE cautions on Sunday the race will get pretty boring. However, I’d rather have a boring race than fake cautions. I’ll still call it boring but at least it will be an honest race.
I don’t know if Mikey can buy Robby’s ride. NASCAR made some tweaks to the 4-car ownership rule that states that if you drive it, it counts as ownership so Mikey already has the 15, 56, 56, and 40 (the one he wrecked). Adding the 7 makes 5.
What was pathetic was the Start-and-Parks in the duals. The 83, 93, 32, 26 all locked in via T35 (83,93), PC provisional (32), or qual speed (26) packed it up early. The T35 needs to go, especially for the beginning of the season. I can see guaranteeing last years Chase drivers, but that’s it.
i think that if you combine the first and second races, you pretty much got what we’ll see on Sunday. Some hard racing, a wreck, a sanity check, some good racing, and a dash to the finish. not a bad thing. the new package is great (no 2 car tandem all day), but i do hate that pack racing can decimate the field in a matter of seconds. can’t have it both ways I guess…
as for danica, that was a helluva hard hit, glad she walked away. Montoya’s hit looked pretty bad too, no one really talked about him, I guess he’s fine. And of course, can’t have racing in a pack without JJ nearly causing (or causing) a huge wreck.
sunday should be interesting. And the MRN broadcast is looking more and more favorable seeing that the brothers waltrip will be wailing away in their high pitched voices on sunday, talking about danica and kyle busch all day long, and not really talking about anything that’s going on during the race.
glad the season is back. hopefully they’ve addressed the aero push that takes place at 94% of the other races over the season.
Kevin in So-Cal…..Bravo! Several years ago my son and I attended the truck race, at Daytona. Unfortunately for us, several individuals set right behind us and blew smoke all over us the entire race, along with a few dribbles of beer. Being a musician, I use my lungs to make my living and hate smokers in public places.
We went to LVMS a couple of years later, and it was non-smoking; and, I sure didn’t see or smell any smokers in my seating area. Really appreciate that. Let them go smoke in the food court or parking lots.
The good news: We won’t have to listen to D Duhbya crow about his idiot brother Mikey for miles, or until he wrecks (most likely before lap 60).
Bad news: D Duhbya’s idiot brother will in all likelihood be in the booth, exponentially decreasing the intelligence level on the broadcast.
I don’t know what was more funny yesterday. Listening to Darryl make excuses for Mikey wrecking himself, or the fake crowd noise cheering for Jr when he took the lead late in the race.
Man, these people must really think Nascar fans are stupid. I for one am pretty upset about the fake crowd noise. You would think there were 100,000 people in the grandstands yesterday. There were so many, that FOX never showed them. That’s gotta tell you something.
First fake cautions, and now fake crowd noise. What’s next? Steel cage matches in the garage area?
Does anybody think Danica got hit accidentally?
It seems Kenseth remembered when Biffle left him high and dry earlier in the race.
I thought the 2nd race was better – I don’t tune in to see wrecks. Maybe it’s all the casual fans that Brainless has been so eager to get that prefer the “reality show” style of racing. Of course you also have every track on the circuit showing wrecks as part of their promos to get people to come. A lot like Barney & Bailey it seems. Although I’m not a fan of Danica’s I was glad to see that she wasn’t hurt since that was a hard hit. Not sure why Fox/speed thought they needed to show us the wreck via her in car – seemingly before they knew she was OK.
Ugh, Mikey in the booth – glad I have trackpass so I can mute the TV for Sunday’s race. of course I only need to watch the last 10 laps anyway.
Hey Matt – its Eric from the old ABFD Forum from years gone by —-
—totally agree with your post about Michael Waltrip. I watched 10 minutes of the pre-race this morning and I’ve already had enough of him all weekend… who is it that thinks the viewers like to watch this guy??? I may have to find MRN and shut the TV volume down.
I’m eager to see if nascar helps chevy with the overheating issue. After all, it just wouldn’t do to have those Hendrick boys blowing steam.
Would nascar help FORD?
We already know about toyota. Remember a few years back? Toyota had a better engine but nascar forced a plate on them because they were winning so much and the chevy people were crying about it. Yet the year before the chevy drivers won about 2/3’s of the races and that was fine with nascar.