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!
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 · Tuesday February 28, 2012
The Key Moment – Matt Kenseth drifted high on the final restart to pick up teammate Greg Biffle, who never made a move on his teammate down the stretch. While Biffle and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. battled for second, Kenseth drove to his second Daytona 500 victory in four years.
In a Nutshell – And the hits just keep on coming…
Dramatic Moment – When the field hit turn three for the first time after the cleanup of the jet dryer fire, I wasn’t sure any of the drivers would make it to turn four.
What They’ll Be Talking About Around the Water Cooler This Week
The Daytona International Speedway…..putting the “car” back in “carnage.”
Think the NASCAR officials were just a tad slow in throwing the caution flag at the end of the Nationwide race? Sure, they want to the fans to see an exciting finish but the safety of the drivers involved (and about to get involved) in that savage wreck, along with the ability to get rescue crews to them quickly should have taken precedence. And speaking of precedent, NASCAR needs to set one for what happens when there’s a violent multi-car wreck on the final lap of the race. Are we going to use the last scoring loop at the time caution is displayed, review videotape to decide who was running where when the yellow lights came on, or are we going to wait to throw the flag until someone takes the checkers, as happened on Saturday?
While the teams gear up to run the first season with fuel injection in the Cup Series it appears that some of the parts and pieces needed for EFI are in short supply. When a team as big and wealthy as Hendrick Motorsports rolls a backup car off the rig for Kasey Kahne and it doesn’t even have an engine inside, that should tell you something.
It’ll be interesting to see the TV ratings for the 500 later this week (overnights had them at a 7.7, down six percent from last year). However inadvertently, the race became the first broadcast on a weeknight in primetime, and right in the middle of the February Sweeps. If the ratings are good, might we see some NASCAR races moved to weeknight slots? Will America choose Two and a Half Men or 42 Men and Danica?
I’m told after Daytona Speedweeks, the price of scrap metal has dropped ten cents a pound. The supply now greatly exceeds demand.
If Dave Blaney had, in fact, won the Daytona 500 could Tommy Baldwin have sold the win to Danica?
The penalties for the unapproved C-pillars on the No. 48 car won’t be announced until sometime this week, but car owner Rick Hendrick has already said whatever penalties are levied against Johnson and Co., he will appeal them. He claims that the No. 48 car that failed pre-practice testing last week was the same car that had been entered in all four plate races in 2011, and as a result it was inspected and approved countless times. I’m not following the logic here. It’s like telling a store clerk, hey I passed four counterfeit fifty dollar bills here last month so you have to take this one, too.
John King might have won Friday night’s Truck Series race, but the last portion of that event looked like it was scripted by Stephen King.
What sort of “handout” did Rick Hendrick give the FOX broadcasters? Should race broadcasters be taking handouts from team owners they are paid to cover? Editor’s Note: Hendrick flew the entire FOX broadcasting crew to California, for free in order for them to attend Chris Myers’ son’s funeral. Yes, it was a classy gesture; but however nice it was, Matt’s question still definitively applies.
And now, for the latest installment in As The Keg Turns: None of us realized it last Saturday night, but we were watching the final Bud Shootout (nee Busch Clash) this year. Starting in 2013, Budweiser will no longer be the sponsor of the quasi All-Star Race that kicks off the season. Why? Well, it’s gotten to be a rather awkward state of affairs for an event originally limited to pole winners from the previous season now that Coors Light is the official sponsor of the weekly contest for the pole in Cup and Nationwide Racing. You can’t very well have a Bud Shootout limited to the winners of the Coors Light Pole Award, now, can you? But this changing of the guard should be no big deal. In theory, Coors Light would just take over sponsorship of the quasi All-Star race for winners of Coors Light Pole Awards (and any other driver born on a day of the week that ends in “Y” if history bears witness to the declining eligibility standards.)
Not so fast, Bubbalouie. Bud has also signed on to be the exclusive beer sponsor of next year’s Speedweeks (leaving very much in question what they’ll call the pole winner; it sure won’t be the Coors Light Pole Award winner, right?) In addition, Bud will replace Gatorade as the official sponsor of the Twin 150s (now Budweiser Dual Duels, presumably.) And the ultimate irony would be if the Miller/Coors Dodge wins one of them, which would probably lead to a shooting war between Missouri and Colorado. How did this whole sorry state of affairs come to be? Simple. NASCAR wants to dig their fingers deep into the wallet pocket of both breweries. And if another brewery wants to be the Official Imported Beer of NASCAR, doubtless the France family would want their snouts in that trough as well. It’s enough to make you want to go have a Corona.
The Hindenburg Award For Foul Fortune
Juan Pablo Montoya was lucky to escape injury in the most bizarre incident I’ve ever seen during a race. He was accelerating to catch back up to the field under caution when something in the steering linkage broke. The No. 42 car then ran into the back of a jet dryer truck, igniting nearly 200 gallons of jet fuel in a hellish inferno. Fortunately, both Montoya and the truck’s driver Duane Barnes, escaped relatively unscathed from the frightening-looking wreck, which caused a two-hour red flag for cleanup. (Montoya ended the race 36th.)
Danica Watch 2012: Edition One. 150-mile qualifier: a wreck and a 16th-place finish. Nationwide Race: a wreck and a 38th-place finish. Daytona 500: a wreck on lap 2 and finished 38th again. During the red flag period, she also got confused and started taking her clothes off yet again. I also hear FOX’s experiment to have Danica walk across Lake Lloyd was a dismal failure as well…
This weekend’s big losers, as in any rain-delayed race, were the fans. Thousands held tickets to the 500, NASCAR’s Super Bowl for months but – due to work or family obligations – weren’t able to stay over until Monday for the race.
If that storm cell had held together a little better or the track had fallen apart a little bit more, Dave Blaney would have won the race. Instead, he finished 15th but that had to feel like 40th considering the circumstances.
Barely a lap into the race, Jimmie Johnson got turned into the wall. As he slid back across the track, Johnson took a savage hit to the driver’s side of the No. 48 car. That Chevy got hit so damn hard it probably bent both C-pillars, so tell Chad not to worry about post-race inspection this week. The No. 48 team… putting the “car” back in Karma. (He wound up 42nd.)
Things didn’t go much better for Johnson’s teammate, Jeff Gordon. The No. 24 had its engine expire in a fireball on lap 81; unofficially, it broke a crankshaft as Four-Time wound up 40th.
When Ryan Newman lost a wheel in the pits, A.J. Allmendinger drove into the back of the No. 39 car, ruining his debut at Penske Racing. He wound up 25 laps down in 34th place.
Rick Hendrick had six cars destroyed during Speedweeks. James Finch saw three of his cars totaled. My unofficial count lists 68 race vehicles (and one jet dryer) totaled during Speedweeks. But like John Prine used to sing, “If heartaches were commercials, we’d all be on TV.”
The “Seven Come Fore Eleven” Award For Fine Fortune
Matt Kenseth’s No. 17 car began overheating badly early in the event. He experienced fuel pickup problems, a failed tachometer and a broken radio. Yet, somehow, Kenseth still won the race.
Earnhardt, Jr. started off the season well with a second-place finish. His was also one of the few Hendrick cars that could be driven back onto the truck after a race.
While he finished 12th, Martin Truex, Jr. did bank two hundred grand for leading at the halfway point.
Carl Edwards got sent to the back of the field after the red flag period for removing a windshield tearoff under the red. He got a piece of the ninth caution of the day but still soldiered on to an eighth-place finish.
James Buescher found himself running eleventh exiting the final corner of Saturday’s Nationwide race, but all ten cars ahead of him wrecked in that final dash to the checkers. A clearly surprised Buescher swerved his way through the carnage to take his first Series win. They may still be debating who finished second…
After a five-year absence, Ward Burton returned to NASCAR racing in Friday night’s Truck event. While he suffered mechanical issues, Burton’s experience in Daytona allowed him to survive the carnage and post an eighth-place finish.
You’ll note in four of his five championship seasons, Johnson started the year poorly at Daytona but won a title anyway.
What’s the Points? – Not surprisingly, the points look a whole lot like the the finishing order of the race. Kenseth is atop the standings, by five over Greg Biffle, Earnhardt, and Denny Hamlin. Jeff Burton, after a horrific 2011 season starts off this one sitting fifth. Paul Menard is sixth, Kevin Harvick is seventh, and then there’s a tie between Carl Edwards and Joey Logano for eighth. Mark Martin rounds out the top 10, while Clint Bowyer and Martin Truex, Jr. would be the “wild cards.” Of course, it’s “wild” to be thinking about points after just one race.
Overall Rating (On a scale of one to six beer cans, with one being a stinker and a six pack an instant classic) — I’ll give this one three cans of well dented Bud with a slight aftertaste of jet fuel and smoke.
Next Up – The circuit heads off to Phoenix for what many people consider the start of the “real” racing season. Last Fall, the newly redesigned track out West sold out. It’ll be interesting to see what sort of crowd they draw this time.
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huh… so why didn’t anyone stick a mic in danika’s potty mouth face after she drove down into the 34 killing her third car at daytona? KB got wise and stayed in the car to finish the race to avoid a repeat performance? DW credits Danika for JJ taking his hands off the wheel? really? I wonder why they didn’t stick a mic into the post race “conference” between Jr and the Biff? did crashcar make some “suggestions” to the media concerning post wreck interviews? fire up those black helicopters!
I couldn’t believe that DW failed to give Danica credit for putting out the fire, and repairing the track. He gave her credit for darn near everything else that happened at Speedweeks.
Nice Article. One small correction,it is Dale Jr.‘s 6th runner-up finish since his last win, his 3rd in the last 12 months.
As referred to by Brazzy, the DW praise of Danica was truly annoying, won’t have to hear it again until Darlington. Luckily I’ll be at that race and not listening to Fox.
And did you notice now that Tide is not paying DW that those orange boxes on the track were detergent and not Tide. I guess they think all of us Nascar fans are idiots and can’t read. I guess I am showing my love of DW here, but also bothered me that after the 1st wreck right after they showed JJ moving in his car looking pretty OK that DW gave us his sad voice saying “hope Jimmy is OK”. Don’t the Fox announcers ever watch the race or at least have someone explain what is going on? I saw many things last night that made me say what was that, and nothing from the Fox “experts”.
Danica, Danica, Danica. Danica this. Danica that. Danica WHO? My poor ears can’t take much more Danica. Please make it stop. I beg you.
I’ll give the race 4 cans just because that jet dryer “blew up real good”.
I didn’t hear anyone mention how perfect the weather was the week before. For over 50 years it was often said that Big Bill made a deal with the devil to have no rain on the 3rd weekend in February. Looks like Brian broke that deal.
Anybody notice..Six or Seven $60,000 jet dryers and only one water hose to wash the track!
Danica coming to NASCAR is a big story…get over it. And none of those wrecks were her fault, period. As a friend of mine said on facebook….“2.5 miles of track and Montoya’s car broke at the perfect spot to hit something the length of 2 pickup trucks: those odds are million to Juan!!!”
I’m all for the 500 to be on primetime from now on.
I’ve been wanting to see cup races on weeknights for a long time.
And I loved how as soon as the broadcast came on it was time to race and not an hour of filler.
I’m so glad Larry Mac pointed out the fact that the rear end housing is housed under the rear end of the car!
“If Dave Blaney had, in fact, won the Daytona 500 could Tommy Baldwin have sold the win to Danica?”
I wonder how many television sets were turned off within seconds of Matt Kenseth crossing the finish line this morning.
I’m no Jimmie Johnson fan, but it’s gotta suck to spend a week and a half in Daytona to get taken out on lap 2 in an accident that’s not your fault. Then again, my Mom alway told me “cheaters never win”.
Watching Ryan Pemberton walking down the turn 3 banking in a coat and tie only added to the whole surreal feel of this year’s Daytona 500.
Finally, with apologies to “Days of Thunder”, Juan Pablo is now “perfect”.
Rick, I agree 100% about NASCAR on primetime, but I agree 200% with getting right to the race without useless filler!!
Ha ha ha, you know damn well that even when the race is scheduled for prime time (weekday or weekend) there will be an hour long pre-race show. The only reason we were spared last night was because the originally scheduled time was rained out. Get real guys!
I think I’m done here. Bad on you Matt and worse on the managing editor who added the note under the “handout”. Why does Matt always assume the worst about Hendrick? I am a RCR fan, which clearly means I haven’t been pleased with the cup champ since about ’94. However, let’s get real here for a second. Hendrick lost his SON and brother and some employees to an accident. Do you REALLY think his intention in flying the crew to the funeral was publicity? That makes me sick. I can’t stand Jack Roush, for various reasons. However, if he had done this, my instant reaction would have been “good on you, Jack”. That speaks to their character. You bash Hendrick all the time. Yet, what I hope irritates you the most .. is ask any Hendrick employee why that team is the best. The answer? Because of the atmosphere and desire to do well for Rick and the whole team. They all love Rick. Must he be the bad guy you constantly make him out to be? I’m moving on. Just tired of the biased reporting here. Call a good deed a good deed, regardless of the doer.
Why wasn’t NASCAR smart enough to let the drivers go back to their pit area during the red flag. I am no driver, but I would think being stuck having to sit on the backstretch for 1 1/2 hours is like waiting on the tarmac in a plane. How stupid. Unless they did this after I turned out the lights for the night?
Sucks listening to DW, but I have a feeling most of us on here aren’t your average Joe. When flags are flown at half staff for Whitney Houston, and one of the headline shows at the Superbowl weekend is a group with the name of LMFAO, you know we are a screwed up country when it comes to what most people think is good entertainment and personalities.
What was Montoya doing going so fast with the dryers out during a yellow anyway?
KIR, Leave if you wish but you’re always welcome back. Yes, Rick’s gesture was magnaimous and no I haven’t forgotten he lost a son too. It’s interesting you cite “biased” journalism. Let me give you an example. Later today or tomorrow the 48 team is likely going to face a large fine aqnd perhaps even a suspension for Knaus. That’s going to be highly embarrassing to the team and its sponsors.It’s also newsworthy. So how are the FOX broadcasters going to cover the story? Surely they don’t want to further embarass Hendrick after he did them such a solid last week. The story will likely get swept under the rug. Perhaps DW will even say in his expert opinion Knaus didn’t knowingly cheat, it was just one of those gray areas. Do you really think that Joy, Waltrip or McReynolds couldn’t afford a plane ticket to California?
“the engineering in the FR9 engine, reeferring to one car as Edwards”
Matt, are you implying Edwards failed a drug test?
Were you wondering why Danica was taking off her fire suit during the red flag? She was contractually obligated. Find out what happened next at GoDaddy.com.
She took her firesuit off because the Hopper was the only thing left at the track she had not SMASHed into.
There has always been far too much shilling in Nascar. “he took a tankful of Sunoco fuel”, “new goodyear tires”. The Waltrips, (waltons? ) are among the worst offenders. Its simply modern day payola.
Carl D. …. Great comment about Danica and Ho.daddy.com!
Translation of “Boogity, boogity, boogity” is “ I’m ignorant, I’m ignorant, I’m ignorant”. I now stream the races on MRN to get away from the dopey Waltrips, except during the dual when Dopey jr crashed by himself,I had to mute MRN to listen to the excuses. One was miscommunication, yes no communication between the pea brain and his body. No doubt, FOX is clueless having those two self promoting bufoons ruining the telecasts.
Is it Me or why couldn’t
I’ve a question… Did Hendrick fly just the announce crew out to the funeral or were other FOX employees included? My first thought is, why fly those guys? They can afford their own flights. Now the operator of camera 2 or the grip or the audio guy in the truck, maybe not so much. Just curious who the “favor” was extended to?
Everytime I read Matt’s comments I just wonder how often he calls home to let them know their village idiot is well.
Gunadoo – I don’t think the guys in the outside lane tried enough side drafting. They mostly maintained their line up top. I think if they tucked down closer more often they would have moved up faster.
I was going to say something about Elliot Sadler but he has already said it himself, so that is that.
JPM added to his list of hitting everything on the track. I know his car broke, but if he wasn’t doing a buck fifty or more past the safety equipment, he might not have lost the car and we wouldn’t have had to wait for that mess to be cleaned up.
The commercial fest got real tiresome. I came real close to shutting the TV off all together. If Fox does that again, running commercials 3 to 4 laps apart, or whatever it was, (way too close) I will shut it off. That is bull****.
One small correction about the white elephant in the room. nascar did not clean up the fuel spill, they made it a 1000 times worse, they swept it under the carpet of infield grass. they added at least a 1000 gallons of soapy, fire retardant material mixed in water to the spill. No spill containment, whatsoever and Lake Lloyd within a couple hundred yards, I betcha they will be having a fish kill in the next week. All this on national TV. so much for nascar going green!!Nascar continues to teach any kids watching go for the money, to hell with everything else. Everybody should be calling the DEP for that area to complain. 1-407-897-4100.
I’m surprised that no one mentioned anything about Carl Edwards pass below the yellow line that was not penalized at the finish.