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 · Monday June 4, 2012
The Key Moment – Jimmie Johnson aced the final restart, despite a concerted charge by Kevin Harvick to his inside to win a race he dominated for much of the afternoon.
In a Nutshell – Yeah, it wasn’t classic Dover, but sometimes a driver and team hit the right setup for a particular day and they dominate. It’s been that way since stock car racing began.
Dramatic Moment – Jeff Gordon had what might have been the best car on the track. He stalked, ran down and passed Johnson for the lead only to have to surrender it and head to the pits to have a loose wheel tightened. Were it not for a pit road miscue, we might actually have had an exciting race.
What They’ll Be Talking About Around the Water Cooler This Week
Yep, I felt that Sunday’s race was a bit better than most this season, though the ending felt preordained by the time it occurred. That’s not because there was a big old pig pile of a wreck, but in spite of that incident.
Add Jeff Gordon to list of drivers calling into question race officials decision making in calling debris cautions despite how tactfully he stated his objection. Of course, Gordon needed the race to go green for just ten more laps to overcome his pit road misfortune and get back in sequence with the leaders. In his post-race comments, it was clear that Gordon’s head is now in a bad place, and usually a driver with his head in a bad place doesn’t score good finishes. Ask Denny Hamlin.
After his latest media meltdown, the 2012 Kurt Busch Career Redemption Tour has been terminated. Ticketholders to the events can apply for refunds on an individual basis; hopefully, all three of those individuals get their refund. And any corporation considering sponsoring the No. 51 team? They can burn the cash in 55-gallon drums instead. Any penalties for Busch’s actions, in which he berated the Sporting News’ Bob Pockrass after the Nationwide race will likely be announced on Tuesday afternoon. (It’s interesting that there’s actually a rule in the book that prohibits any driver from “interfering with a member of the broadcast media” but I doubt that rule applies to mere scribes.) Busch should strongly consider buying a comfortable recliner so he has someplace to watch the Cup races next year.
Wow, shades of Stroker Ace in a rubber chicken costume. Yes, I know the brightly colored fright wig Johnson wore in Victory Lane was tied to a movie promotion advertised on his car, but it just wasn’t right. Let me tell you something, no matter what they paid him Cale Yarborough wouldn’t have donned that wig.
In the aftermath of the big Lap 9 wreck, I was left wondering if perhaps the two cross-track structures at Dover, one a stairway to get from the outside of the track to the infield and the other a suite, are somehow limiting drivers’ vision ahead and the ability of the spotters to try to guide their driver through chaos. I drove a Cup car in a school at Dover many years back and while the overhead suite wasn’t in place, the track crossover was and I seem to recall it blocked my vision for what could have been a vital few seconds during an actual race.
In an apparent coincidence, Busch’s girlfriend, Patricia Driscoll, is now saying that a media member shoved not only her but her child to get access to Kurt. She didn’t say when, where, or who but it appears that the battle between Busch and the media is about to become a shooting war.
With the broadcasting switch to TNT this Sunday, drivers will be issued a memo this week to remind them of the proper procedure at the start of the race. Contrary to what they’ve heard, the event actually begins when the green flag is displayed – not when Darrell Waltrip utters the most annoying catchphrase in the history of race broadcasting.
Yep, the NASCAR on FOX season has come to its welcome conclusion. Unfortunately, when FOX returns at Daytona next year Dr. Dick Berggren will no longer be part of the team. He’s retiring from race broadcasting to pursue other interests and I wish him well. Quick show of hands, how many of you wish Berggren would be back at Daytona and the Waltrip brothers wouldn’t be? Dr. Berggren recently stated that his favorite place to be is in the grandstands at a local short track, with a hot dog in one hand and a beer in the other. How can you not like a guy like that?
Yes, Memorial Day was last weekend. But take a few moments this Wednesday, June 6th to recall the courage and sacrifice of the troops that fought on D-Day to liberate occupied continental Europe. It was the battle that turned the tide of the war and as such, still allows us to live in freedom. But freedom came at a terrible cost. On Omaha Beach alone nearly 5,000 U.S. soldiers gave their lives that day.
Wednesday evening Tony Stewart’s annual charity event, The Prelude to the Dream, will run at Eldora Speedway. If you’re not able to attend in person, the race will be broadcast on pay-per-view. I’ve always felt that once summer begins and kids are out of school, NASCAR ought to run some midweek evening events to free up weekends for some summertime fun.
Any one else notice that Rick Hendrick didn’t hurry over to the No. 48 car for another side-saddle ride to Victory Lane? He’s probably still icing his nuts.
You think some of this year’s NASCAR races have been a mess? IndyCar trumped the worst of them Sunday. A week after a highly competitive and lauded Indy 500, that circuit headed off for self-inflicted disaster at the winding roads of Belle Isle in Michigan. About halfway to the scheduled distance, the track surface began falling apart to the point the debris launched James “Manica” Hinchcliffe skyward and into the tires outlining the course. The race had to be red-flagged for two hours while track repairs were made and shortly thereafter, it began raining. The race was reduced to 60 laps, but ABC had already bailed on their coverage of the event before it resumed. For anyone else without ESPNEWS, Scott Dixon won the race.
The Hindenburg Award For Foul Fortune
Gordon is going to have to start inventing new ways to lose races because he’s used all the conventional methods already this season. The No. 24 car was at least equal to, if not better than the No. 48 but a botched pit stop threw any chance of the win away. Then, a debris caution at the worst possible time finished him off, trapping the car in traffic and a lap down until it was far too late to make up the distance. Unfortunately, the way his luck has been running this season a resultant 13th-place finish was probably his “best case disaster scenario” this year to date.
Tony Stewart’s weekend was probably derailed on Saturday when he qualified so poorly (29th). Since Smoke started so far back, he was running in the midst of the least common denominators on Lap 9 when the big wreck took place. Landon Cassill, Stewart and Regan Smith were at the center of the melee; Smith took the blame, but Stewart deflected it and put it straight back on Cassill instead.
Juan Pablo Montoya was another driver swept up in the Lap 9 wreck. The Target car looked like it had been used for “Target Practice” after the incident. With all the smoke, I was actually wondering if there was a jet-dryer somehow involved in the incident as well.
Carl Edwards had a solid top-5 run going much of the race only to blow a right front tire and take a hard, one-way excursion into the outside wall.
Kyle Busch had to pit a second time to have a loose wheel righted. Shortly thereafter, he blew an engine to end his agony.
Jeff Burton was enjoying a rare run inside the top 10 until his motor expired in dramatic fashion.
Kurt Busch’s car was so bad that at points, he was asking if any of his team members felt like taking over driving duties. Before anyone could volunteer he, too blew an engine.
Well, you’d think winning at Daytona would at least mean your ride for the rest of the season was secure. That’s not the case for John King, the upset winner of the Daytona Truck race. This week. it was announced Red Horse Racing was shutting down his team at least until some sponsor funding could be found. (And ironically enough, King’s former RHR teammate, Todd Bodine, won Friday night’s soggy truck race at Dover. Bodine was initially signed to a one-race sponsorship deal but it was he, not King kept at the multi-car organization.)
The “Seven Come Fore Eleven” Award For Fine Fortune
Harvick missed his pit stall while trying to stop while running third, a mistake even he claimed was self-inflicted. The miscue dropped him to eighteenth, the tail end of the lead lap but team and driver rallied back to a second-place finish.
Johnson and Kenseth had an extremely close call entering pit road late in the race, a catastrophe narrowly averted once the No. 17 car darted to the inside heading towards the first timing line. Contact, should Johnson have tried to block could have upended the results of the race.
Struggling Ryan Newman drove through Clint Bowyer’s pit, actually running into the No. 15 team’s jackman in the process. While the crewman wasn’t injured, the misstep messed up Bowyer’s day – just not to the point where he couldn’t battle back to an admirable fifth-place result.
Joey Logano’s engine mysteriously switched itself off under caution, dropping him from eighth to fifteenth. Ironically, he was able to rally back to finish exactly eighth.
Despite insisting he had brake issues for much of the race, Aric Almirola managed to finish sixth.
Marcos Ambrose’s car was so loose much of the race, he was exiting some corners sideways, but his team was able to put a good enough mount underneath him under the final 100 laps that Ambrose drove forward to a 10th-place finish. It was a pretty good day for Richard Petty Motorsports, who had both their cars inside the top 10 for the first time all season.
Nobody had a Truck that could even keep Kevin Harvick’s in sight during the Friday night race. But ever mercurial Mother Nature splattered the area with just enough rain showers that Todd Bodine was able to win a mechanized game of musical chairs in the pits.
What’s the Points?
Biffle remains atop the championship race, but he now only has a one-point margin on teammate Kenseth. Earnhardt moves up a spot to third in the standings, just ten points out of the lead.
Denny Hamlin fell a spot to fourth, twelve points behind Earnhardt. Johnson, Truex and Harvick remain fifth, sixth, and seventh, respectively.
Stewart (+1), Kyle Busch (-1) and Bowyer (+2) round out the top 10. How does a driver like Stewart finish 25th in a race, the price paid after wrecking on lap 9 and still gain a position? Simple: the drivers in front of him in the standings had even worse days.
Brad Keselowski remains eleventh in the standings but has the extra insurance policy of having won two races to make the Chase. Not so fortunate is Edwards, who is listed in twelfth but has not visited Victory Lane since Las Vegas in March, 2011. If they were to start the Chase next week, he’d be displaced by 13th-place Ryan Newman, who has won a race this season. Kasey Kahne, another race winner, is listed as fourteenth in the standings, now just one marker behind Newman.
Further back, Gordon moved up a spot to 21st in the standings, just one point outside of the top 20. That’s important, because the “wild card” slots for the Chase will be determined by the driver with the most wins outside the top 10; but to be considered, those drivers need to be inside the top 20 in points. That’s all a moot point, though, unless these drivers can start kicking their slumps. Simply put, Gordon and Edwards need to start winning races if they’ve got any title aspirations this year.
Overall Rating (On a scale of one to six beer cans, with one being a stinker and a six pack an instant classic) — We’ll give this one three cans. Maybe that’s generous, but given this season to date, it was far from the runt of the litter.
Next Up – The series continues the Northern Trek with a visit to the Pocono track up the road aways from here. The triangular raceway is newly repaved and thus, scary fast; drivers were running wide open through the once-feared Tunnel Turn in testing. Additionally, next weekend’s race is only 400 miles in length, shortened by 40 laps over 2011 so expect the unexpected.
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wonder if any of Harvick’s crew members gave him a dressing down for his pit screw up the way he does when anyone makes a mistake that costs him position. damn whiny bastard
i can’t help but think that jr is getting us prepared for lousy runs, as he kept mentioning in post-race interview about heading to tracks he dislikes.
personally had another lazy sunday afternoon nap. flipped and watched the irl drivers twittling their thumbs and running from the pit reporters.
can we trade a 70 yr old dr. dick b for 2 waltrips?? i wish dr. dick b. a wonderful retirement and thank him for his years of reporting. he will be missed.
Kurt should have b-slapped that twit. Pocketass has no business getting up in the face of Kurt, he was trying to goad him and it worked. Nice story. Why did the scribe have a camera with him?
The reporter’s question was a pretty simple question actually, ‘Does being on probation make you race differently?’ or something like that. What’s the big deal? It’s real easy to see why Kurt Busch is where he is and where he won’t be.
Yeah, shame on Kurt Busch for showing some emotion.
You know what? I hope Kurt keeps this up and doesn’t get a major sponsor. His brother will give him a ride, he’s already made 10 times what we’ve all made in the aggregate in our lifetimes, and we’ll have a little bit of a reason to watch the races.
Didn’t get to watch the start, but after hearing about Tony’s wreck before I could get to the Tv, I didn’t even bother and did paperwork. When THAT is more involving than watching today’s NA$CAR, something has gone wrong. Every JJ win diminishes my interest even further.
Rate this one 1½ cans of warm Diet Pepsi with all the fizz gone.
“Start & Parks” turned into “Wreck & Park” this week.
Newman drives through Bowyer’s pit and hits the jackman?
Did Bowyer’s CC accost Newman after the race or did they have enough sense to realize the pits are tight and unfortunately sometimes bad things happen.
Why was there so much coverage when Busch did it and not when Newman does it?
Props to Berggren, one of the best reporters in motorsports. He’ll be missed. Is there a third Waltrip brother they can put in the pits to replace him?
Sounds to me like the media is trying their best to get Busch angry. He had an awful day and a reporter, who WRITES articles, as opposed to making TV clips, shows up with a video camera? For god’s sake leave the guy alone.
Dick Berggren is the ONE thing that I will miss next year when Fox returns to broadcast the races. He was a true class act and I enjoyed getting to listen to him.
Best of wishes to him in his retirement.
Like many others, I am wondering if we could trade him for both Waltrips and get them on retirement.
“Quick show of hands, how many of you wish Berggren would be back at Daytona and the Waltrip brothers wouldn’t be?”
Both hands raised, and with an appropriate gesture for each Waltrip.
I agree, not the best Dover race, but you can’t blame this one on the car, the tires, the track, the chase, or on Nascar. The blame for this one lies squarely on Chad Knause and the #48 team. This team is on a tear, and the rest better take note. I’m not ready to concede the title to them just yet, but only a fool would bet against them at this point. And by fool, I include the Waltrip brother that picked Junior to win the championship yesterday.
On the surface and the way you present it there doesn’t seem to be a difference between Newman driving through Bowyer’s pit and Busch driving through whoever’s pitbox that was last week. But there was.
Newman was forced there by an untimely coincidence of Bowyer coming in as he was trying to leave. If there was anyone to blame it was the crewchief for not making Newman aware of Bowyer coming in (or vice-versa).
Busch on the other hand drove through the pit in a fit of anger being the usual dickhead he is.
There you have it.
Glad I missed (again) the nascar “race”. I turned on the radio with about 20 laps to go only to find out that, yes, another Hendrick car, the 48, was leading. Boring.
And now nascar is heading into the boring summer races starting at Pocono. Great.
KuBu fan here. He simply called that pocketass guy out on his baiting question.
Count me in as wishing it was Dr. Dick back instead of the Waltrips.
I was at Dover. Since I was watching the 24 drive through the field with what was the best car I’ve seen him have there in years, I didn’t really care about what the rest of the field was doing.
I am, like most Gordon fans, getting really tired of stupid crap causing him to finish poorly.
Matt, I hope you’re wrong about Jeff’s head being in a bad place. He doesn’t need THAT on top of the rest.
Yes, I too, think that NASCAR is stupid about calling their debris cautions. They called the caution, sent a truck out there, which sat there for 30 seconds and drove off – no one picked anything up — there wasn’t any debris.
Quit manipulating the dratted races and if they are, how does Johnson winning all the time help them? I can’t be the only fan tired of the 48 winning so much.
Thanks Bill, I didn’t watch the race so I wasn’t sure what happened. Your explanation makes sense.
I agree with GinaV24.
Jeffrey R. Gordon MADE the race, and even with the lousy FOX coverage the damn thing was exciting … because of Jeffrey R. Gordon. Poppa was haulin’ the Mail all day.
I’m usually not a big booster of longer races, however had Jeff had some more laps (HEY! Don’t ask me how many more! Some more!) he could have taken Weasley.
And instead of feeling blue (though I am blue but that is off topic) that the DeathEaters won again I would be doing my Happy Dance which my Cats think is really kinda cool (should invite you over to see it sometime). :)
My Grade: Five. Cold. Each and every one for Jeffrey R. Gordon :)
Just remember Kurt, the First Amendment does not apply in Nascar. In Nascar
I have been reading and watching Dr. Dick Berggren ever since he was a columnist on Northeast modifieds for Stock Car Racing magazine. You will be missed Doc. Wish I could sit in the stands at the local tracks with you and talk about the good old days…
Put Berggren and Mike Joy in the booth and can the rest of the commentating colons of Faux. The things dreams are made of. I hope Berggren enjoys his retirement and can only wish him the best.
Johnson is back to passing cars like they’re standing still again and still passing inspection. Oh yeah, there’s that guy who rules on the penalties, so I guess that doesn’t prove anything.
Stewart caused the wreck-em derby and again it was somebody else’s fault.
Edward’s year is almost like Gordon’s.
No arguments with your article, as usual, but you could also point out that today marked the 70th anniversary of another turning point of WWII: The Battle of Midway. God bless our troops, past, current and future.
Probation is the only thing keeping BA Kurt Busch from “beating the #$@%” out of some reporter? Ha ha, good one. That wormy little twerp probably couldn’t stop Justin Bieber from tearing him a new body orifice.
Notice how the modern punks of NASCAR like the Busches, Stewart, Harvick, etc. always direct their little temper tantrums at people they know can’t or won’t do them any harm?