Kurt Busch to Attempt The Indianapolis-Charlotte Double
posted by Phil Allaway
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Andretti Autosport announced this morning that Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet in the Sprint Cup Series, will attempt the Indianapolis 500 in a fifth entry for the IndyCar Series team. Once the Indianapolis 500 is completed, Busch will fly from Indianapolis to Charlotte, jump in his No. 41 Chevrolet and compete in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Busch considers the opportunity to do the double as an old-school throwback moment.
“This is really to challenge myself within motorsports,” Busch said in Andretti Autosport’s press release. “Perhaps I am a bit of an old-school racer; a throwback, I guess. I enjoyed the era of drivers racing different cars and testing themselves in other series. It is tough to do now for a variety of factors, but when the opportunity is there, I want to do it. While NASCAR is my home, I have been fortunate to compete in Pro Stock on the NHRA circuit a number of years ago and test a V8 Supercar. This opportunity was a talk with Michael [Andretti] over dinner one night, a “What if,” and now it’s becoming a reality for me to drive in the Indy 500 with Andretti Autosport. It’s literally a dream come true. To go to the famous Brickyard with the iconic Andretti name, it doesn’t get much cooler or better than that.”
Busch will be doing the Indianapolis-Charlotte double as a Memorial Day mission to men and women serving in the U.S. Military via the Armed Forces Foundation. Fans can contribute to the cause by texting AFF to 50555 to donate $10.
Busch, who has never raced an IndyCar, passed Rookie Orientation at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last year during a test session. At the time, Busch was more or less testing the Dallara DW12 for fun.
Busch will be the fourth driver to attempt the Indianapolis-Charlotte double. John Andretti was the first driver to attempt it in 1994. After finishing four laps down in tenth in Indianapolis, Andretti crashed and had engine problems in the 600. Robby Gordon has attempted the double five times, most recently in 2004. However, Gordon failed to make it to Charlotte on time and did not start the 600 in 2000 (P.J. Jones started Gordon’s No. 13 Ford in that instance). Finally, Tony Stewart has attempted the double twice (most recently in 2001) and is the only driver to ever complete all 1100 miles. Neither of the three drivers has won either leg of the double. The best finishes are Stewart and Gordon’s sixth-place finishes at the Indianapolis 500 (although Gordon’s came in 2000, the year he didn’t make it to Charlotte in time to start the Coca-Cola 600), and Stewart’s fourth-place finish in the 2001 Coca-Cola 600.
Danica Patrick, Justin Allgaier Talk About Phoenix Incident
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
A disappointing start to the year for Danica Patrick won’t include continued conflict. Patrick met with rookie Justin Allgaier Sunday, shortly after the Phoenix Cup race after a wreck ruined both drivers’ days. Patrick, who was critical of the No. 51 car on the radio, claiming Allgaier was “driving all over the track” appeared receptive to a conversation that quickly settled differences over what will be a long season.
“She was just upset because she got involved in the crash that we had,’’ said Allgaier to the Motor Racing Network. “She says she’s been through this and that she felt like I needed to settle down at that point. I explained my position on why everything happened. I think she understood where I was coming from. It doesn’t fix either one of our racecars. It doesn’t fix either one of our days. Unfortunately, we were both having pretty decent days.’’
Allgaier wound up 30th due to the incident while Patrick was 36th. The incident, which was caused by Allgaier’s spin also involved the No. 32 team and Travis Kvapil, which wound up 38th after sustaining heavy damage.
Camping World Close to Extending Title Sponsorship of NCWTS
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Marcus Lemonis, CEO of Camping World, Grand Marshal of Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway, and star of CNBC’s “The Profit,” made the announcement over the weekend that the retailer is very close to announcing a deal that would continue its title sponsorship of NASCAR’s Truck Series. The original agreement with NASCAR is scheduled to conclude after the 2015 season.
According to the sanctioning body, no formal contract has been signed, but “the agreement between the two parties has proven to be a beneficial one.”
“In about a month, we’ll be announcing a significant extension to that contract. It’s been great for us,” said Camping World’s Lemonis in a statement. “The NASCAR relationship has worked well for Camping World. When we started, we had 35 stores. Now, we’re up to 120 stores. As we travel the country and we meet new customers in stores, they always are very appreciative of our relationship with NASCAR. It’s been good.”
Gaining a long-term commitment from Camping World to sponsor the Truck Series would be a relief for NASCAR, which is set to lose Nationwide Insurance as title sponsor for the NASCAR Nationwide Series at the end of the 2014 season. The sponsorship of the Cup Series by Sprint runs through 2016.
The NCWTS is back in action on March 29th at 2:30 PM (ET) when the trucks visit Martinsville Speedway in the Kroger 250, which can be seen on Fox Sports 1. Ratings for the season opener were up 11 percent.
Harvick Takes Win At Phoenix In Second Race With New Team
posted by Justin Tucker
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Phoenix International Raceway has become Kevin Harvick’s home away from home. Sunday Afternoon was no exception as Harvick charged to the front early and would dominate for much of the day, leading 224 of the scheduled 312 laps to record his record fifth win on the one mile oval and his third win in the last four races at Phoenix.
Harvick, coming off of a disappointing Speedweeks which was capped by a last lap crash in the Daytona 500 in his debut with Stewart-Haas Racing, set the tone on Saturday by winning both practices while having the best 5 and 10-lap averages in the first practice of the day on Saturday. On Sunday, Harvick and his No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet was nothing short of flawless as he was able to hold Dale Earnhardt, Jr. by .489 seconds after a late race restart to claim his 24th career Sprint Cup Series victory.
“Man, this is awesome,” Harvick said after his dominant victory on Sunday. “Man, this just solidifies so many things and so many decisions. It’s been so much work with all the time and effort that these guys (the crew) have put in—but what a race car.”
Stewart Haas Racing co-owner Gene Haas shared in Harvick’s excitement after the race.
“It took long enough,” Haas joked. “This is phenomenal. I think there was a lot of skepticism last year about what myself and Tony (Stewart) what we were up to, was there a lot of madness to this. Quite frankly, it’s a great team, there’s a lot of synergy at the shop, people working together. I don’t know what we did, but I think we put together a great organization.”
Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt, Jr. continued his hot start to the 2014 season. Earnhardt Jr. would finish second on Sunday, marking his seventh consecutive top 10 finish since the end of the 2013 season. Earnhardt Jr. was pleased with the effort after a coast-to-coast whirlwind week after winning his second Daytona 500 and also gave great praise to the efforts of Harvick and the No. 4 team.
“I’ve got to congratulate Kevin. Those guys were two-tenths faster than everyone all weekend in practice. They were just phenomenal,” Earnhardt said. “To be able to run with them all day was a big confidence builder for us.”
Joining Harvick and Earnhardt in the top 5 of The Profit on CNBC 500K were Brad Keselowski with his second consecutive top 3 run of 2014 in third. Keselowski’s Team Penske teammate Joey Logano would finish fourth, and Jeff Gordon would come home fifth in his No. 24 Pepsi Max Chevrolet.
Jimmie Johnson finished in sixth, followed by Ryan Newman with a nice rebound after Daytona in seventh. Carl Edwards would carry the banner for Roush Fenway Racing by finishing eighth, Kyle Busch was ninth, and Jamie McMurray would finish tenth.
A look at the Profit on CNBC 500K by the numbers. There were 14 lead changes among eight different drivers, there were eight cautions for 39 laps which slowed the race pace to 109.229 MPH.
Next Sunday, the Sprint Cup Series heads to Sin City and the Las Vegas Motor
Starting Lineup: The Profit On CNBC 500K
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday March 1, 2014
Drivers in RED (i) are those ineligible to collect Sprint Cup points
Daytona 500 TV Ratings Down
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Wednesday February 26, 2014
What was the longest weather delay in Daytona 500 history turned out to bring NASCAR lower ratings and TV viewership Sunday night than expected. According to a report Monday from FOX Sports, the 56th running of the Daytona 500 airing at 8 PM (ET) posted a 5.6/10 national household rating/share which averaged 9.3 million viewers. That’s down 44 percent from last year’s 9.9, easily making it the least-watched Daytona 500 of all-time.
Due to the six-hour, twenty-two minute rain delay in Daytona, the race was up against the primetime coverage of the Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony from Sochi, Russia on NBC (15.25 million viewers). FOX also reported that 69% of the pre-rain delay viewers of the race, which began at 1 PM (ET) kept tuning in.
In comparison, the 2013 Daytona 500 on FOX was the most-watched race in five years, posting a 9.9/22 rating/share, commanding 16.7 million viewers. The Daytona 500 in 2012, the first to ever be run on a Monday and in the primetime slot did a 7.7/13 overnight rating/share which resulted in 13.67 million households viewing the race according to Nielsen TV ratings data.
Earnhardt, Jr. Claims Second Daytona 500 Victory
posted by Justin Tucker
Wednesday February 26, 2014
Ten years is a long time. For Dale Earnhardt, Jr., it felt like an eternity. NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver endured many near misses and close calls at the Daytona 500 since his only win in the Great American Race in 2004. Earnhardt had finished second in two of his last three Daytona 500s coming into Sunday’s race. He was also riding the tail of a 55-race winless streak, dating back to Michigan in 2012.
However nothing would stop Dale Jr. on Sunday, not even a 6 hour and 22 minute rain delay from capturing his second Daytona 500 win. Earnhardt Jr. led a race-high 54 laps on the evening and used some timely drafting help from teammates Jimmie Johnson and, on the final restart, Jeff Gordon to separate from the pack and secure the victory.
“Winning this race is the greatest feeling that you could feel in this sport besides accepting the trophy for the championship,” said a jubilant Earnhardt after pulling into Victory Lane. “We could fight off battle after battle. We got a little help at the end there from Jeff to get away on the restart. This is amazing. I can’t believe this is happening. I never take this for granted, man because it doesn’t happen twice, let alone once.”
Aside from the race itself the big story of the race was the 6 hour and 22 minute red flag, which threatened to move the race to Monday evening (had the race been postponed, FOX Sports’ Chris Myers had tweeted that the race would resume at 5:00pm EST). However, Mother Nature would cooperate and would allow the race to be run under different conditions from which they practiced this week. Once the race resumed, the intensity picked up from the changing track conditions. This allowed the pack to race side-by-side and at times 3-wide up to seven rows deep.
Joining Earnhardt Jr. in the top 5 for the 2014 Daytona 500 were: Denny Hamlin who closed out a spectacular Speedweeks in second, Brad Keselowski in third, Jeff Gordon in fourth, and Jimmie Johnson who overcome two wrecks leading up to the 500 in fifth.
Rounding out the top 10 in the Daytona 500 were Matt Kenseth in sixth, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. in seventh and Greg Biffle would bring his No. 16 Ford home in eighth. Austin Dillon would come home ninth in his first Cup Series race in the iconic No. 3 for Richard Childress Racing, while Casey Mears would round out the top 10.
A couple of major contenders for the Daytona 500 win would see their hopes dashed early on as Martin Truex, Jr. would blow up just 30 laps into the race, relegating him to a 43rd-place finish in his debut for Furniture Row Racing. Crew chief Todd Berrier was already in Nashville for a test session before the race was even over. Kyle Busch, meanwhile would have a pit road violation just before halfway and would spend much of the race battling back from that mistake. Busch would eventually finish 19th after leading 19 laps.
Danica Patrick would also be bit by bad luck as she was caught up in a multi-car wreck on lap 145. Patrick would lead her second consecutive Daytona 500, but wouldn’t have the finish to show for it finishing 40th. Tony Stewart would encounter a frustrating evening as well, with a fuel pickup problem derailing his quest for his first Daytona 500 win. Stewart would finish 35th.
A look at the Daytona 500 by the numbers. There were 42 lead changes among 18 drivers, while seven cautions for 39 laps would slow the race pace to 145.290 MPH.
Next week, the Sprint Cup Series heads to the “diamond in the desert,” Phoenix International Raceway for The Profit on CNBC 500K. The Green flag is scheduled for 3:15pm EST.
Nationwide Series Post-Race Quotes: Drive4COPD 300
posted by Thomas Bowles
Tuesday February 25, 2014
Frontstretch Interviews – Courtesy Mike Neff
ELLIOTT SADLER – FINISHED 4th
Thoughts on the race?
It’s definitely a lot different racing than what we’re used to.
Comfortable with it?
Yeah, it’s just different. You’re worried about what you’re doing, but you’re also worried about what everyone else is doing and they’re not doing more than you’re doing. Physically pushing a guy is way better than just riding so you just gotta time it right and push it to the edge.
Happy to start the year with a top 5?
Yeah. Hell, that was the worst we ran all day, I think. I have no idea how they put the 3 car in front of us on that last restart. I hadn’t seen the 3 car hardly all day. When they put us from fifth to sixth, on the outside line, it just really boxed us in. I would have really restarted behind my teammate and given him a good push to the front. Anyways, it is what it is; we’ll take it and move on.
Looked like you were up front all day.
The guys did a good job. We had a fast race car. Great pit stops, just really proud of these guys. The car’s in one piece and we can take it to Talladega now. Great job by my guys. A lot of effort came into coming down here to Daytona and giving ourselves a shot to win. We had that chance to be up front and make some things happen. Fifth is not what we want, but we’ll take it and move on.
Bumping vs Pushing?
It’s way harder. You don’t want to lay on the guy in front of you, so it’s tough racing. A lot different than what we’re used to, ‘cause you gotta go. You gotta drag the brake too ‘cause you don’t want to hit the guys and you don’t want to stay on him. It’s a lot harder mentally than what we’ve done in the past.
Car was strong all day. Pushing vs. Bumping, is that harder to do than just getting on somebody and pushing them?
Yeah, it is a little bit. When you bump ‘em, you jar ‘em, it kinda jacks ‘em a little bit. It’s a little more abrupt, obviously. I thought it was OK there at the end. It was certainly fun and hopefully entertaining. But a little bit of a struggle in the early part of the race and the midpart of the race to see a good race. And that’s unfortunate for the fans. You can’t do that the whole race, you can’t tear up your stuff, knock your grill in, overheat your motor, all that stuff so there’s no sense in doing all that until you get down to the last lap. The 7 and the 6, they did a good job. Man, the 7 really held the 22 and I tight on the bottom. I was rubbing his door and hitting the apron at the same time, no room whatsoever. So it was good; wish we were the ones who could have won but a lot better now than what we were last year.
Going home in one piece makes it a lot better, right?
Yeah. My back feels good. My foot feels good. Past years here, I’ve been going home with pain so I’m alright.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Truck Series Post-Race Quotes: Daytona (Exclusives)
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday February 22, 2014
When you’re on the outside like that, how frustrating is it?
It’s so hard. Timothy Peters has won here. Kyle Busch has won everywhere. Ron Hornaday has been running Trucks forever, probably before I was even born. I was surrounded by veterans there, and like I told them I don’t have a rookie stripe but I’m a rookie. This is only my fourth Truck race ever, my fourth superspeedway race, and man, I figured out when the 17 got up in front of me, I pushed him. And as soon as I pushed him, he took off. And I went with him. And I just kept doing it, and before I knew it, he was leading. And I saw Ron in my mirror, backed up to him, and if it wasn’t for him, I don’t know what would have happened. I gotta thank him big time for that. That was a true teammate move right there. I really appreciate that. He just bounced off me and we got to the front. I tried my hardest to sidedraft Kyle. I was probably touching his door.
Top 5 in the No. 30 truck. This deal come together at the last minute, but you had a heck of a truck. Tell us about your night.
Yeah, I’ve got to thank Turner Scott Motorsports. The guys worked so hard on this Rheem Comfort Products Chevrolet. Exciting! Just got hung up on the outside and had to wait for my teammate there to catch up. And then he got to the bottom, so… I got the old 32 and started pushing ol’ Ryan to the front. So, it’s not bad. We’ll take it. You just don’t want to step over that boundary. You don’t know how far to push and shove. We bumped about six times down the straightaway without latching onto them. Hopefully, that was OK and we came home with a top 5.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Budweiser Duels Post Race Quotes
posted by Matt Stallknecht
Friday February 21, 2014
BUDWEISER DUELS POST-RACE QUOTES
They’re saying the wheel bearing burned up in it. I don’t know what caused it, they’re taking it all apart to figure out what the heck happened. Something abnormal that’s for sure I don’t think I’ve ever had that happen at all. Hopefully, we made the race and hopefully we can fix the problem before Sunday.
WHAT WAS THAT LOUD BOOM ONCE YOU TURNED INTO THE GARAGE?
Loud pop was a tire… thankfully, it popped, hopefully it didn’t hurt anybody. All the heat created in the left front that popped was pretty weird.
REALLY GOOD RUN. WHAT DID YOU THINK OF IT?
Yeah, it was good. We have a car we can work with for the 500. Got a good starting spot, so we’re going to rest easy, fluff and buff our car for a couple of days and get ready for Sunday.
ANY DIFFERENCE ON WHETHER THE TOP OR BOTTOM LANE WORKED?
Yeah, I was just moving around, trying to stay with the flow. For me, this car works on all parts of the racetrack. So I’m pretty happy with it.
DALE EARNHARDT, JR.
GOT SHUFFLED BACK, AFTER PIT STOPS AND THEN COULDN’T GET BACK UP TO THE FRONT. WHY?
Nah, we were just sitting there waiting until the last few laps to make a move. You didn’t want to pull down and get sent to the back. Seen a couple of guys get sent to the back really quick so we were just kind of waiting for the end. I felt like we had a good situation there with Ambrose behind us — we had a good run off Turn 2 and I went. It was the last lap, time to go do something, nobody went with us but hopefully Sunday is a different story.
We got a great car. We don’t have to work hard. We learned, we got a good race car. Got a car in one piece, ready to go so we’ll try and get through the next couple of practices, deliver it to the starting group this Sunday and we’ll be real happy.
YOU’RE IN THE DAYTONA 500!
Yeah, it’s pretty awesome. This Whitetail Chevrolet was so fast that I knew all I had to do was stick it behind smart, intelligent drafters and we could have a good finish. That’s what we did in the Duels and I’m excited. I’m excited to go do some stuff with the Nationwide car and have some more practice with this. But to know that we’re locked in the Daytona 500’s pretty cool.
YOU WERE OBVIOUSLY IN FRONT OF THAT MELEE AT THE END. WHEN YOU WERE UP FRONT THERE IN THE BEGINNING, WERE YOU HOPING TO JUST STAY IN LINE AND LET YOU FINISH TOP 5?
I was pretty content to ride and luckily I knew a lot of people around us were. It was nice to have a little calm and not really have to be racing hard the whole time. I knew that the pit stop was going to shake everything up and that’s exactly what happened. Fell back a little bit there but made the right moves at the end to get a good finish.
HOW STRONG ARE THESE RCR CARS?
They’re very strong! They definitely have the capabilities to be winning one of these races.
YOU’RE IN THE TOP 5 FOR YOUR HEAT IN THE DAYTONA 500. YOUR PRIMARY CAR IS SITTING RIGHT IN THE GARAGE, KIND OF WADDED UP. DID YOU THINK THIS ONE HAD IT IN IT?
Yeah, it’s a brand new car also. It’s just not quite as good as the primary but still a damned good car. I’m just proud of everybody at RCR for building such fast race cars. All of our cars have been fast, ECR motor’s been strong, even our affiliate teams have been qualifying really good and racing good. So… excited about 2014! It’s going to be a good year.
WELL MAN, YOU STARTED IN THE BACK BUT WORKED YOUR WAY TO THE FRONT WHEN IT COUNTED MOST. WERE YOU JUST BIDING YOUR TIME THROUGHOUT THE RACE?
Eh, you never know if you’re going to get back up there or not. We had to start at the back, we had to make a run early and see what we could do. We drove right to 10th, or something like that and then it got stagnant. We tried to make something happen, and went to the back again. Drove back up to the front. Again, just really proud of my guys. Matt Kruder did a hell of a job on that pit stop getting just enough gas in to gain some spots there.
RCR CARS SEEM PRETTY DARNED STRONG. DO YOU THINK THE RCR CARS HAVE SOMETHING FOR THEM ON SUNDAY — ESPECIALLY THE THREE JOE GIBBS RACING CARS THAT SEEM TO BE THE CLASS OF THE FIELD RIGHT NOW?
Oh yeah. The 20 car was extremely fast. The 11 didn’t qualify that good, but he’s a good drafter. I think he won. We definitely have something for him.
Check in with Matt and Jay on their site at CareyandCoffey.com.
Matt McLaughlin · Monday April 16, 2012
The Key Moment – With 31 laps left to run, Greg Biffle made a banzai pass on Jimmie Johnson for the lead. Johnson had been struggling with lapped traffic, most notably in the person of one Ryan Newman which gave the driver of the No. 16 car the opening he needed. The pass caused such a stir amongst the nearly dozens of fans left awake in the grandstands it woke up several others in their respective rows. Sixteen laps later, Johnson slapped the wall to all but seal the deal for Biffle.
In a Nutshell – I’ve seen better racing contests between amphibians. Putrid, utterly and relentlessly putrid to a degree that redefines putridity.
Dramatic Moment – Biffle slowly stalked and ran down Johnson over thirty laps by a tenth or so a circuit before making that final pass. Other than that, it was just waiting to see if the lights would go out again in turn three or if the track would be hit by hail the size of softballs.
What They’ll Be Talking About Around the Water Cooler This Week
Any more questions as to whether these 1.5-mile cookie cutters are destroying a once exciting sport?
Humpy Wheeler, NASCAR visionary and ex-head honcho at Charlotte, spoke about his own unique ideas on how to fix the racing at the intermediate tracks this week. Wheeler proposed that the field compete in several heat type races with the best finishers heading to the main event, a format used at most local short tracks. (And, of course, a “consolation” race for those not qualified for the main after the heats.) Run the main event for a short distance for all the marbles and let them have at it, basically ensuring four or five good races at an event rather than one long boring one like Saturday night’s debacle. I’m not sure how that would work as far as the points system, but I’m willing to try anything to avoid another “race” as monotonous as what we endured Saturday. Feel free to agree or disagree in the comments section below.
There were two caution flags during Saturday night’s entire race and one of them was because a ball cap ended up out on the track well above the groove where any of the drivers were running anyway. No, come on, seriously? I guess with all those high winds, a car hitting that ball cap could have sent it spinning like a Frisbee into the grandstands and put somebody’s eye out.
What is up with Richard Childress Racing? The team’s three drivers (Kevin Harvick, Paul Menard and Jeff Burton) have combined to score just three (of a possible 21) top-5 results this season. That equals the top-5 count of Joe Gibbs Racing’s trio. By this point last season, the two organizations had combined to win three of the 2011 schedule’s seven races.
Rick Hendrick announced this week that the infamous No. 48 car from this year’s Daytona 500 and last season’s fall Talladega race has been “retired.” Hendrick said he didn’t want to risk another thirty days of “agony” if the car was found suspect again at Talladega next month. Well, there’s that… and the fact the car in question was destroyed in a lap 2 wreck during the 500. Oh, and coincidentally I’m sure NASCAR announced this week they’ll be debuting a new C-pillar template at Talladega too. If the template don’t fit, you must eject it.
So what happens to a retired race car like that No. 48? It now resides in Dale Earnhardt’s outdoor museum of wrecked race cars he refers to as “lawn art.” “Lawn art,” huh? If I call some of my project cars, tractors, trucks and field cars “lawn art” think my obnoxious neighbor with his delicate sensibilities will leave me alone?
Well, thank goodness it was windy at Texas Saturday night. If not, the FOX announcing team would have been rendered virtually mute for three quarters of the race. Not that silence would have been such a bad thing in retrospect… I particularly liked DW’s insane notion that wind resistance in the pits was to blame for all the mistakes the crews made Saturday. So what was actually worse, the breezes at Texas or the hurricane of idiocy emerging from Waltrip’s mouth as he kept right on talking after having run out of anything to say?
The Hindenburg Award For Foul Fortune
Marcos Ambrose had a solid top-10 run going before running out of gas on the last lap and falling to 20th.
Tony Stewart’s weekend was over almost before it began. Very early in the first practice, he wrecked his primary car. While the team painted a brave face on the situation, stating the backup was actually a better mount prior to the race, the “new” No. 14 ran like one of Ward Burton’s “three-legged lambs” in the main event. He wound up 24th, two laps off the pace.
Early in the race, it appeared that Kevin Harvick could run with anyone, but a fumbled pit stop (dag-nab those gusty breezes) set him back in the field and he could only recover well enough to finish ninth.
I feel for any fan who paid good money for a ticket and traveled a long distance to see Saturday’s race. I can sympathize with your pain. I once bought a Chiklet blue Edsel Bermuda woody wagon at a bar thinking it would be a cool surf-rod. It was bad “lawn art,” as I recall.
For the second time this season, fuel pickup problems related to the new fuel injection system hampered the efforts of Brad Keselowski and the No. 2 team. Keselowski was in the top 10 when his Dodge began cutting out on him. He struggled home 36th.
It didn’t appear that it was going to be Kyle Busch’s night, anyway but a miscue in the pits that dropped the right front tire on the tire changer’s air hose sealed the deal. (Maybe the wind blew the hose under there?) Busch went on to finish eleventh.
Pole-sitter Martin Truex, Jr. showed a lot of strength during the Texas event. At this point last year, a solid sixth-place finish would have been seen as a miracle for the MWR team, but getting trapped in his pit combined with the Herculean effort needed to pass a single car derailed his effort.
The “Seven Come Fore Eleven” Award For Fine Fortune
Johnson parked the right side of his car fairly hard into the outside wall with fifteen laps left to go. But he was able to drive undaunted, if not un-dented, on to a second-place finish, a decided improvement over his result at Martinsville a couple weeks ago.
On a night where passing seemed all but impossible, Jeff Gordon started 34th and rallied his way to a fourth-place finish.
Carl Edwards did pretty well making passes, too. He made an extra pit stop thinking the crew had left lug nuts loose during the second caution period (they hadn’t) and he fell back to 30th for the restart. Somehow, this season’s “Invisible Man” rallied back to an eighth-place finish.
Matt Kenseth also mistakenly thought his team had left lug nuts loose (I don’t know if you heard, but the No. 17 crew was battling wind resistance in the pits) and was ready to fix it when the potentially deadly ball cap brought out the first caution. That saved him from potentially going laps down en route to a fifth-place finish. (Did anyone see if that mystery ball cap had a No. 17 on the lid?)
While they’re still searching for that elusive 200th win, the four HMS Chevys finished in the top 10 Saturday. So did all three Jack Roush Fords.
What’s the Points?
Naturally, with a win Biffle remains atop the championship standings. He’s now 19 points ahead of both Kenseth and Earnhardt. Kenseth is listed as second in the standings because of his win in the Daytona 500.
Truex moves up two spots to take over fourth in the points. Harvick remains fifth. The top 10 is rounded out by Denny Hamlin (+1), Tony Stewart (-4), Johnson (+2), Ryan Newman (-1), and Clint Bowyer (-1).
Carl Edwards is eleventh in the standings, while Paul Menard is twelfth, up two spots compared to last week. But if the regular season were to end now, Keselowski would start the Chase twelfth based on his victory at Bristol. Of course, if the regular season were to end right now, there’d be a bunch of confused fans at Kansas next Sunday wondering where the Hell everyone else was.
Among other notables, both Jeff Gordon and his HMS teammate Kasey Kahne advanced four spots this week. Gordon is now 17th in the standings while Kahne is mired in 27th. Yikes. They don’t print your picture on ball cards for those sort of stats.
Whither the brothers Busch? Kyle is up two spots to fourteenth whilst Kurt holds steady at 26th. Meanwhile, David Reutimann’s 26th-place finish moves the No. 10 team up two spots to 34th in the standings, with a four-point gap over 36th. Who the heck cares, right? Danica Patrick.
Finally, for all the doomsday critics who feel Johnson will win this year’s title because of the 25 points restored to him by John Middlebrook’s surprise overturning of the Daytona penalties, here’s the 411. Johnson is eighth in the points; absent the penalty reversal, he’d still be twelfth. Like Bill Murray taught us in “Meatballs,” “It just doesn’t matter…”
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 race one can of tepid Lone Star you have to share with a dying cowboy in the backseat of a Greyhound bus out of Abilene. (Few people outside of Texas may realize that Lone Star is the only product to be marketed both as a beer and a paint thinner.)
Next Up – The Cup circuit heads off to Kansas, where they’ve opened a new casino. So what’re the odds that the race itself will be another big bore-fest?
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That “race” was an utter POS. I literally fell asleep sometime after the 100 lap mark and couldn’t bear to watch the dvr yesterday and deleted the recording. That place is in dire need of a CAT D5 facelift.
Nothing ever happens any more. No one spins out, no one races hard against anyone else, hardly ever does anyone blow a motor. The cars are too fast for the tracks they run, and too aerodynamically dependent. It doesn’t matter what you do to the tracks (Bristol, I’m talking to you), unless you fix the cars.
That race was just as bad as California or worse. Went to the Rock yesterday, saw more racing in 200 laps than I saw all year in Cup excluding Martinsville.
Long after the checkers fell, my wife woke me up off the couch. First thing I muttered was “who won the race?” She says “Hell if I know, I fell asleep, too”. NASCAR: nature’s natural sleep aid…
I was at the track and it sounds like it was boring on tv. I thought it was good in person, but that’s usually how it is. I prefer long green flag runs and few cautions though.
There was a time when Texas was a decent race, had some problems with the transition out of turn 4, which added to some of the drama. But I have to agree with Matt saturday night was horrible racing, nearly unwatchable.
the wind disturbing the pit crew comment was priceless.
The Hindenburg Award For Foul Fortune:
rock and the F1 race were good though.
…and then nas#car wonders why fans have been leaving in droves. After the California race, I stated that it was up there on the list of the worst races I’d ever seen. This race topped that one easily. I fell asleep during the race. I give this race no beers. And Kansas is next? Oh boy!
About the only thing I enjoyed was watching Jeff move up from 34 to the top 5, but that didn’t take all that long…
I was watching real racing at The Rock. I would recommend moving this event to Richmond County next year.
I find Texas boring, and even though I live 20 miles from it, I’m pretty sure I’ll never attend in person. Plus the traffic is horrible on 114 (or I-35) on normal days, can’t imagine what it’s like on race day.
Yes – bring back heats. This stuff is unwatchable and Kansas next – yikes!!
Two 50 lap heats, come one come all. Then a 100 lap final. Done. If the big boys wreck in the heat tough. Gives the little guys a chance once in awhile. Think of the added excitement. Give points throughout, but it make it harder to points race. (If possible)
The big boys and sponsors will never allow it though.
These guys are counting points from Daytona.
Oops sorry got to go – it is really windy in here – my typing is getting boiskdsad.
I recorded the race and fast-forwarded through the boring parts. Saw the whole thing in less than 10 minutes, plus I had the added benefit of no Waltrip commentary and no Waltrip commercials.
Is Kyle Busch still racing? A runner-up finish in Fontana and 6th place finish in Phoenix are his only top 10’s in seven races this year. The brash, obnoxious Kyle Busch was a real jerk, but Kyle Lite just ain’t getting the job done.
What’s happening to Childress and Gibbs is what will happen to Roush eventually…they are all being swallowed up by the Hendrick monolith, and I say that as a Jeff Gordon fan.
NASCAR came down hard on Jack Roush for having the nerve to run five cars, how is Hendrick getting away with their four, plus Stewart-Haas’s two (three when the overhyped swimsuit model is racing), plus all of the other teams they’re making engines for?
NASCAR should drop the four car per team rule already. It’s ridiculous and unenforceable.
Glad I missed this race. Watched something like four sporting events Saturday and deliberately avoided NASCAR.
I love the heat races idea Matt, but it will never happen. NASCAR would consider it too radical a change, unlike the Chase to the Ratings Nosedive.
>Carl D: Yes, Kyle is still racing and you can expect to see him in the Victory Lane soon. And it will be more times than you will care for. Kyle is too talented to not win soon. GO ROWDY!!!
Didn’t The Rock lose a race so we could have two at Texas…or was that Crapafornia??? Either way watching the Trucks run around there yesterday was awesome and I just hope that in my lifetime someone at NASCAR pulls their head out of their ass for a brief moment and we get to see the big boys run around The Sandhills one more time.
BTW…it is Abilene, TX and the only reason I know that is because I spent a very long year there back in the 80’s attending ACU.
First of all did not turn the race on. Can’t stand the commentators or commercials not counting the boring race. I have noticed a strange thing about Nascar and North Korea. The leaders of both look alike,each have had dictators for three generations and neither care about world opinion.
knowing it was gonna be “one of those races” I took a sleeping pill and went to bed by 8:30 so I could get up at 4 to go see a real racetrack…THE ROCK!!!!
i really thought mystery debris caution was going to come out once biffle passed johnson. how dare na$car not let hendrick get his 200th win this weekend, considering how much money he’s forked over to them.
with all the wind talk i kept wishing that the wind would blow away the 3 stooges, waltrip, hammond and waltrip.
it was good seeing racing at the rock. thanks andy hillenberg for being the steward of the rock.
You mean that was a race Saturday night? I thought I was watching a 3 hour practice session because of the piss poor coverage, non-stop gum flapping by the Motormouth brothers, and constant flow of commercials.
NASCAR!!! Better than Sleep_Aids!!!Having trouble sleeping? Just turn on a Nascar race and be lulled to sleep by the dulcet tones of the brothers Waltrip!
Gordon85… I agree with you to a point about HMS, but Roush and Childress voluntarily downsized to three teams this year due to the lack of funding, a situation that even Hendrick has had to deal with. The whole business model is failing because it just cost too much to be competitive. That’s something Nascar could do something about, but their collective head is in the sand. It’s like they believe that once Danica Patrick moves to Cup, TV ratings will skyrocket, money will start pouring in, and there won’t be an empty seat at the tracks.
Shoeman… Believe it of not, I actually like seeing the Shrub contend for wins. Like you said, he’s talented and he’s exiting to watch. However, his average finish so far this year is 18th, and he just hasn’t been a lead dog since the neutering last year.
I guess a car could suck up a cap and knock off the oil pump belt or something, but probably not … … … However, several years ago at Atlanta they pulled a caution because a large black garbage sack blew out of the infield onto the track. I’ll given them that one (pulling a caution) because it could have easily blocked someone’s windshield. But, for a cap??
Turned on the “race” with about a hundred laps left. Saw Johnson leading and a camera followed him lap after lap after lap after… Even during side by side pit stops it was Johnson lap after lap after lap after…. Watching the scroll Edwards was a tenth behind Kyle around fourteenth. Then Edwards was ahead of him . Did anybody see it? No, but Johnson was still the focus. Edwards made steady progress the rest of the race but none of the broadcast crew said anything. When will the idiot producers show the racing instead of following a script?
And thank God for Newman.
And if any template doesn’t fit, you must convict. But there is always the appeal process which can be very expensive.
I must have watched a different race, as I thought the race was pretty good overall. I watched the whole thing and sat patiently through the middle half waiting for Jimmie to implode. And when he did and Biffle got around him, there were a lot of cheers at my house! Glad to see one of Jack’s drivers deny The Felon that illusive 200th win! The only down side was that all four of the Felon’s cars finished in the top-10, while on the up-side, all three Roush drivers also finished in the top-10. Personally, I hope Felon-Rick has to haul that bag of hats around for the next 10-years! That would be true justice!
I’m a minority of one apparently, I like Fontana’s races. Multiple lines and the ability to change them mid corner. The only track where cars seem to go in different directions during the corner. Every year people complain about that race, but always say, yeah but this year was actually pretty competetive. Then they go back to trashing it.
I think the Texas Motor Speedway should increase banking in all 4 turns from 24 degrees in 31 degrees. That would make Texas Motor Speedway an outstanding, unique, 1-of-a-kind race track, but most importantly, an extremely exciting race track.
What do you people want?? First all the writers and fans bitch about NA$CAR throwing cautions all the time to change the race and now a race is run with only two at a record pace and you bitch. Oh i thought racing was about the fastest car winning and the others changing to catch the leader. Gordon did pretty good I’d say without cautions for your favorites to get a break. Now if you wanna sleep watch F-1.
Although I agree there are way too many races run at the 1 1/2 mile “cookie cutter” tracks throughout the season (bring back The Rock, North Wilkesboro, 2nd race at Darlington, add Iowa, etc.), the tracks themselves are not to blame for the bad racing. Indycar has run some incredible races on the 1 1/2 mile tracks. The problem is that POS known as the COT. Until NASCAR fixes the aero problems with this car, the racing will suck. Better yet, remove all aerodynamic “aids” that generate downforce (i.e. aero grip) and let the cars just get by on mechanical grip (and let NASCAR build a tire better suited to the COT). This will remove the dreaded “aero push” encountered by the second car and allow some actual passing (and thus racing).
Whoops, I meant let Goodyear build a better tire, not NASCAR.
Dunno what was so exciting about the Rockingham Truck race. One guy led most of the race and then screwed up in the pits during a caution. I didnt see a whole lot of side-by-side action at Texas or Rockingham, but I enjoyed the lack of cautions at Texas and watching the drivers actually race instead of parade under yellow.
SpacemanSpiff, you hit it right on the money. Would it hurt to ask for your full name and if you have a Facebook page? I would love to meet you.
The Busch / Nationwide race was pretty good. Is it just the lower HP and newer bodies that makes better racing? I also would like to see heat races or something like AMA supercross. Only 20 -25 start the main event and you have to race your way in. Takes care of the lousy top 35 start rule.
Wow. After condemning the fans who want the ‘old’ Bristol back, I thought this track would be your idea of perfect. Lots of room to race, multiple lines, and very few laps ‘wasted’ under caution. If it isn’t exciting at Texas, why do you think it’s any more exciting at Bristol? Just askin.
If you want assembly line race cars, ass-kissing,kool-aid drinking yes men, politics, pomp and ceremony, fake cautions and drama faked of course and worn out singers and stars and maybe a few who push the rules and get spanked by the dorm momma. then by all means watch NA$CAR. But if you like racing and action, good prices for two day tickets and cheap hotel rooms,then follow WOO,ASCS,or any top line late model dirt show and you won’t fall asleep or miss any action. And you can see and talk to a real driver too. NA$CAR was great twenty years ago but sadly the big boys and money have taken it down to something that passes for racing.
@EB—You are right. The NW race was entertaining with multiple grooves, side by side racing and passing. (AND A BIG PLUS—ESPN showed wide shots that allowed you to see the more than one car in the screen, which adds to the presentation of the race)
@SB—Multiple Grooves in the Cup Race? It was a single file parade until the very end of the run.
Maybe the answer is to put the Cup drivers in NW cars for 500 miles and see what unfolds.
Carl D. …..Na$crap also believes that “TV ratings will skyrocket, money will start pouring in, and there won’t be an empty seat at the tracks”, when their Most Popular Loser, Dale Jr., actually wins a race sometime in the next decade.
Does anybody know if Chad Knaus told JJ to “crack the rear end” in case they won the race?
Sure am glad I play in Fantasy Racing leagues. It makes it at least somewhat more exciting than watching grass grow, which is about the same as watching this race was!
Matt, I sure do feel sorry for you. Being a writer and covering the sport you pretty much are required to watch the race. At least I can just turn on ESPN, see who won and then read your column on the day after. I have been following you for a number of years, keep up the good fight, hopefully things will change for the better at some point in time.
Nascar is dying a slow death. It really is. It’s amazing how far it’s fallen in the last 10 years.
I have followed nascar since 1978, watching it become the fastest growing spectator sport. But these days there is very little, if any, nascar talk on local radio, very few kids, teens, or young adults care about the sport. And more and more old timers like myself are leaving. It’s very sad to see what’s become of nascar.
@Tyler I don’t doubt it was better in person. It’s so boring watching it on TV because of how the tv networks present the race. They will zoom in and focus on one car like it’s qualifying, they stubbornly refuse to show mid-pack racing, they basically follow the leaders even if they are single file. Despite being consistently in the top 15-20 all evening, i think Kurt Busch was mentioned only 2-3 times at the most.
On a scale of one to six beer cans, I give the Texas race a 30-Pack…because the resultant next-day Chinese Disease (DragonAss) hangover was more rewarding than watching this sitcom garbage. Too many wasted Sundays (and Saturday nights) anymore with Cup. Thanks NASCAR for freeing up my time to pursue other more important interests…such as watching paint dry, watching grass grow, or collecting beer cans…30 at a time.
Heat racing sounds better than that snoozefest but you left off the most important part of the old Friday night heat races, the powderpuff races! Wouldn’t you love to see Delana(since she wears the firesuit in the family) and the rest of the wives put on a show for several laps? Might be worth the price of admission by itself.
I usually laugh when people say they fell asleep since I never do. I always watch the practices, qualifying and races.
I fell asleep watching the recording also! Woke up for a bit with about 20 laps to go saw Biffle leading and passed back out!
I agree, bring this race to The Rock next year!