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 18, 2012
The Key Moment – On lap 108, Tony Stewart waved Earnhardt by him and allowed the No. 88 to take the lead. Earnhardt would not surrender that lead except for pit stops for the rest of the afternoon.
In a Nutshell – Junior wins again and all is sweetness and light around the globe. In fact I predict tomorrow we’ll see Romney and Obama sharing a single root beer float with two straws at the local Rexall and deciding the election by thumb wrestling. I predict the Iranians will give up their nuclear ambitions, North Korea will schedule democratic elections, the stock market will rise 5000 points and the Carpenters “Close To You” will soar back to the top of the Billboard charts. (For you non-88 fans, pssst, I agree, the end of the race was about as boring as it gets.)
Dramatic Moment – For those final 15 minutes the NASCAR nation was holding their collective breaths just waiting for the 88 to lose an engine, run out of gas or cut down a tire.
It’s always a little nerve-wracking when Juan Pablo Montoya and the jet dryers are on the track at the same time. (So what happened to the safety cars that were supposed to follow the drying trucks on the track after the disaster at Daytona?)
What They’ll Be Talking About Around the Water Cooler This Week
If someone besides Earnhardt was leading when Regan Smith blew a tire late in the race spreading chunks of rubber all over the track, you think maybe NASCAR would thrown a caution flag to make it a more exciting finish?
So if Earnhardt wins every 143 races when is he due to grab another trophy? If the NASCAR Cup schedule remains consistent it would be at Pocono in August of 2016. Good seats still available. Get yours now.
Wow, I thought this weekend’s 24 hour race was supposed to be in France not Michigan.
We had all the makings of the perfect storm; a newly repaved track featuring insanely high speeds, a mid-weekend decision to change the left side tires, questions about engine durability after the additional laps the cars ran in an emergency practice session, heavy rains the day of the race that removed what limited rubber had been transferred to the track, and the resultant two hour rain delay. But a weekend of unknowns left anybody but 88 fans with their minds un-blown.
My normal Friday night reverie was rudely interrupted by an announcement after two practice sessions that afternoon Goodyear was rushing replacement left side tires to Michigan. (Fortunately they had overstock of a tire that was developed after Charlotte was last repaved in 2006.) Apparently the Goodyear folks were concerned about blistering on some driver’s tires after that final practice session and by the results of the ARCA race which was largely determined by blistered tires. (Hoosiers, not Goodyears.) I agree with NASCAR…safety first. In fact safety, first, second and third. But the late night call sure did make a mess of the weekend with many drivers having spent the entire second practice session just scuffing in sets of the original tires to make ready for Sunday.
Saturday many car guys (and gals) must have approached sensory overload. Let’s see, you had the 24 Hours of LeMans (I’ve never understood why they’d name such a famous race after a mid-size Pontiac), IndyCar from Milwaukee, Cup qualifying at Michigan, a Nationwide race, the emergency evening Cup practice session, and the Mecum auction of the Salmon brother’s extensive car collection (on-line.)
In my mind, the 24 Hours of LeMans was the most interesting race of the weekend. There were hybrid cars, diesel powered entries and Nissan’s apparent tribute to the Batmobile, the Deltawing. Stricter rules have limited the creativity that used to make auto racing so interesting. (Particularly at Indy where they’ve run turbine powered cars, diesels and even some six wheeled race cars.) Hmmm. How about we switch the truck series entries over to diesel power?
*Latest sponsor to hastily withdraw their investigation into sponsoring the 51 team*….the Australian Vegemite Producers Association.
I’m not sure what that graphic on the hood of the 88 car was supposed to be but it looked like an errant flock of condors had pelted it with bird droppings.
There’s no truth to the rumor Brian France is considering moving all 36 race dates to Michigan next year to boost the sport’s popularity.
GoDaddy.com announced this week they’re no longer going to use commercials which amount to soft-core porn. They want to take their marketing efforts up a few notches in maturity. That’s just grand. PeeWee Herman had been out of work a long time.
The Hindenburg Award For Foul Fortune
Ours is a cruel sport. Logano won last week and Pocono and then won again in Saturday’s NW race, his fourth victory in the last five races in that series. But Sunday the driver of the No. 20 car got himself crossed up and wrecked en route to a 35th place finish. Sometimes you eat the bear and sometimes the bear eats you.
Denny Hamlin seemed to be struggling on Sunday but his travails didn’t last long. A wreck and a fiery trip down pit road got him to the airport well ahead of most other drivers.
Kyle Busch bought a big piece of the wall early in the race but in the end it didn’t matter. For the third straight week the No. 18 suffered mechanical maladies under the hood. All in all it was a pretty ugly weekend for Joe Gibbs Racing.
Trevor Bayne makes only limited appearances in the Cup series and his on-track time was even more limited on Sunday with his engine expiring before the flag man could get the green flag back in its holster.
Kurt Busch managed to bring out two of the day’s eight cautions with unaided single car spins. But other than that how was your return to competition Mrs. Lincoln? (Busch is also said to have once again crossed swords with the media after the NW race Saturday. That’s not even really worth commenting on. After a wash a sow returns to the mud, as a dog returns to his vomit.)
After a horrid start to his season it seemed that Kasey Kahne had the wheels re-bolted to his little red wagon. A strong string of top 10s ended last week at Pocono and continued at Michigan Sunday with a wreck and resultant 33rd place finish.
Apparently the boneheaded little kid on his bicycle was uninjured despite several hard run-ins with the fence. Was that lad bottle-fed leaded paint as an infant? Heck, he wrecked more times than Kurt Busch.
The “Seven Come Fore Eleven” Award For Fine Fortune
Earnhardt’s day was not without its complications. The No. 88 car was pig poor at the start of the race and he fell back as far as 37th. I’m hearing rumors he finished somewhat better than that.
Stewart was also very unhappy with his car and the tire swap prior to the race but was able to communicate well enough what his Chevy needed to the team to drive on to a second place finish, albeit a distant one.
An engine swap prior to the race forced Johnson to start at the back of the field. Good pit strategy and some hard driving got him up to the top 10 and a reasonable top 5 finish despite running out of gas coming out of the last corner on a badly blistered set of tires.
Track promoters for the next few races will probably find a pair of 8s in victory lane means a full house in the stands.
TNT only gets six races a season. What were the odds that Earnhardt’s breakthrough return to victory lane would be at one of them?
What’s the Points?
Kenseth maintains his points lead but the gap is narrowing. Earnhardt is only four points behind him.
Biffle holds steady in third 17 points behind Kenseth.
Johnson and Hamlin swap fourth and fifth spots with Johnson now holding the upper hand.
The rest of the top 10; Harvick, Truex, Stewart, Bowyer, and Keselowski, hold serve.
While Edwards is listed eleventh in the standings, if the Chase were to start next week he’d be bumped by wild-card contenders Kyle Busch (12th in the standings) and Newman (13th in the standings.)
Gordon moves up two spots to twentieth in the standings. That’s important because in order to be eligible for a wild car slot a driver must be in the top 20 in the standings. Simply put Gordon and Edwards need to start winning races and preferably bunches of them.
Overall Rating (On a scale of one to six beer cans with one being a stinker and a six pack an instant classic)
For the Junior Nation: A 30 pack of icy cold Bud, served up by a somewhat less scary looking version of Taylor Swift.
For the Rest of NASCAR fans: We’ll give this one four cans of Colorado Kool-Aid. At least they got the race in on the scheduled day, tire issues didn’t ruin the race like the ‘08 Brickyard, and nobody got hurt all weekend despite the scary fast speeds.
Next Up – The series heads west for a date on the road course at Sonoma. (And I’m one of the few writers who doesn’t have to struggle with calling the joint “Infineon” because I never did.) Me, I’m heading for the local car show in either the Trans Am or the Nova. Watching stock cars trying to race on a road course is like watching reptiles trying to sing opera.
©2000 - 2008 Matt McLaughlin and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
Somebody could have set off a small nuclear device in the turn 1 race groove with 10 to go and NASCAR would not have thrown the yellow.
PeeWee Herman is NOT out of work. He’s been driving the number 18 car for several seasons now.
Matt the picture on the hood of the 88 was bat splat,we usually robin’s splat on the windsheild cleaning it.
“Junior wins again and all is sweetness and light around the globe.”
Yep. That is pretty much it unless you want to add “and the girls are prettier and the beer is colder.” :)
It’ll be interesting to see if the Junior win equals more ticket sales and better TV ratings for NASCAR. I have a feeling the people that stopped watching NASCAR won’t ever come back regardless of Dale Jr. winning.
Also, a caution was called for styrofoam on the track? Really?
“There’s no truth to the rumor Brian France is considering moving all 36 race dates to Michigan next year to boost the sport’s popularity.” No, it just easier to have all of the cars wear the number 88, so that the 88 will win and Jr. can pick up the trophy.
i kept waiting for engine to blow or wheels to fall off the 88. glad he won to shut up everyone. really only watched last 30 laps of race. just kept flipping back and forth.
i don’t think jr’s win will put more butts in seats, people have already planned their vacations and whatnot.
jr’s win made news headlines here in atlanta on the 6 am newscasts, over the braves getting beaten again.
thought it was interesting when i read where someone thought jr’s girlfriend looked like teresa now that she’s gone back to her natural hair color. ms. reinmann wants to keep low profile cause of how the relationship started (lol).
i guess next week gordon will win on road course then all 4 hendrick drivers, and stewart and newman will have wins this year.
RickP, yes, I had to laugh at that caution, too. Heard Gordon say on the radio – did they really call a caution for the piece of foam? The piece of foam that I hit several laps ago?
Strange but true.
Janice – I hope that Gordon wins next week – it would be nice to get a win anywhere anyhow at this point but a road course win in the brick on wheels would be great.
It was great to see Junior finally get the monkey off his back, and even better that it was because he actually had the dominant car. No rain shortened win, no restrictor-plate crapshoot win. He flat out beat ‘em all, plain and simple.
I missed the news about GoDaddy not doing the soft-porn commercials any longer. It’s a good thing, though. James Hinchcliff in a mini-skirt and stilleto heels probably wouldn’t sell many domain names.
I’m amazed that Joe Gibbs Racing can’t put Kyle Busch in a car that can last a whole race. Kyle’s patience has to be running thin, and I hope he doesn’t take his frustration out on an undeserving Craftsman Truck series driver.
It was pretty painful to watch the pre-race segment where Kyle Petty talked to the former drivers about how their sons are finding success as drivers themselves. That had to be tough, especially on Father’s Day weekend.
Big hairy deal, Jr won for the second time in four years driving the preferred make, for the preferred team, and after having many races manipulated to his benefit. I have to give props to his crew for standing by him even though they know that he’s not a driver who can take a medicore car and win with it. I’m sure that even Mikey Wlatrip could have won in that car on Sunday.
Not happy about the tire thing. Only a few cars were experiencing blisters, mostly the Hendrick and Waltrip cars. Why couldn’t they adjust weight and wedge to keep their car from burning up the left rear? Because on any given weekend, that’s the tire that DW claims turns the car in the corner. Hogwash, I say. Somehow I think the change had a lot to do with Biffle and Ambrose being 3-4MPH faster than the field. I’ve seen this numerous times where the rules are changed when Jack’s cars have a “perceived” advantage (Can you say Daytona in 2011?). I notice they don’t seem too keen to change anything when the bowties win 80% of the races every year, but then again, that might be considered favoritism.
Four cans for this race? Nope, even with the 88 winning (and I’m a fan), this race gets two cans, maybe a third for not being rain-delayed to Monday. No more.
Jr. wins! And the toothless go wild!
Funny how some drivers were amazed they through a caution at the styrofoam. I was listening to Greg Biffle on Hot Pass and he was demanding in very foul language that NASCAR needed to open their f-ing eyeballs and throw the yellow. Yelled for two laps. Different perspectives of the situation.
Alos, you might want to check out what Kurt Busch’s crew members said about him coming back. They love the guy. They say they had no shot with Cassil last year, whereas this year they have a chance every week when they show up. That is actually true. But Busch will be kicked out for the season soon, it is inevitable.
So Jr just happened to win because of the “key moment” when Stewart waved him by on Lap 108. I’ve never before heard so many pigs squealing at one time.
Matt, I was looking forward to your column today. I thought you would have a few kind words to say. That’s okay. We don’t need any of your ilk to feel good about Dale Jr’s win. We will wallow in our joy while you return to wallow in the mud.
dewayne, better check your mouth. I have my teeth, but I doubt you have yours. Only the toothless would make a remark like that. Happy gumming.
Dale Jr winning is good for Nascar, plain and simple. I knew when he got the lead with the last 38 or so laps, there would be no cautions. When Regan Smith cut a tire, I was not one bit surprised there was no caution. Nascar is so transparent, but in the end they got what they wanted. Jr had a good car, the Hendrick sub car had Jr’s back and Jr did nothing to mess up the win. And now we can quit hearing about when Jr will win.
We can take care of @Dewayne’s teef. Yup.:-D
Hey! WebEditor! we will do it peaceable like and all and stuff :)
Congrats to Jr. It’s been a long time coming. He’s been close many times, glad to see him seal the deal (and I am not part of Jr nation).
The best part was that DW wasn’t in the booth and we didn’t have to hear his hyperbole and gushing.
“He was just a quiet guy who said something only when he felt he had something to say. It was going to take a while for all of us at Junior Johnson & Associates to get used to him. I liked his demeanor. He took his racing in stride. It didn’t matter what happened to him. He didn’t blame anyone for what happened to him. He took all the blame, even when I thought it wasn’t necessary. For the most part he let others do the talking.” … … that is a Junior Johnson quote about Terry Labonte found on MOTORSPORTSUNPLUGGED.COM. Terry is still driving … perhaps he should conduct a siminar for (many of) his fellow competitors on how to handle one-self with communicating with his crew and the media. Just thought it was worth mentioning!
It was funny reading all the internet boards light up with Dale Jr fans. “Dale Sr was looking down and smiling at his son’s win.” Yeah? Where was Dale Sr the other 143 races that Dale Jr didnt win? LOL!
If Dale Jr wins once every four years, I’m fine with that. Keep up the hot streak!
Wow! I didn’t realize Jr was such a polarizing guy! I’ve always liked him and I was glad to see him finally win.
Why all the negative from people anyway? The sport is competitive so it’s not easy to win for anybody!
I too am glad that Dale Junior broke the streak on TNT and not Fox. I nearly go postal every time I hear DW refer to Junior as “Junebug”. That might be an apropriate nickname for a kindergarten kiddie, but not for a grown man.
Well…well…well. Jr. wins at Mich. We all could see it was fixed. Drivers were probable told not to race him if they knew what was good for them.
Wait… Dale Jr has a girlfriend? I thought he was gay.
Remember when Earnhardt first started running in NASCAR and they called him “Little E”. That used to make me gag. Sounded like one those My Frickin’ Ponies.
Man, those Hendrick cars just keep acting like there’s more power under the hood than the other cars. Will nascar look into it? Nah…..
Hmmm….an engine change before the race for the 48?…..
Ancient – LOL, now that’s funny right thar, yes, it is!
Sherri T, you didn’t know he was a polarizing figure? Sorry, where have you been? With the name Earnhardt, people either love him or hate him. There’s not much middle ground there.
“Sounded like one those My Frickin’ Ponies.”
Oh! Like a #SparkePony then?
Everything just made sense for a second then I lost it. Like Coleridge did with *Kubla Khan” …. :)
One side of me says it good that Jr. won. The other says the result was scripted even before the season started and the race was just another WWE -I mean Nascar production.
i read something this afternoon that mentioned jr would be in the allstar race next year. glad that’s over with so the world won’t be consumed as to whether or not he’ll make that race next may.
again during the race with “hastag nascar”. that’s becoming as annoying as a waltrip.
Not a Jr fan, but not a hater either. Would probably like the guy better if he drove for another owner.
I just hate the hype around this guy, as does he I’m sure. I counted the articles on Jayski from the independent writers and there were 46 articles specifically about him. On a typical weekend there’s four or five about the winner, about 15 about Jr., 10 or so that says JJohnson is gonna win the championship, and a couple about the Hendrick plane crash, or the cancer, or the Hendrick charity stuff, or the 200th win, or …
If NASCAR decides to have a competition yellow to check tire wear, shouldn’t the teams have to change the tires and check them?
Too bad Johnson’s engine problem showed up a day early.
TNT only gets six races a season. What were the odds that Earnhardt’s breakthrough return to victory lane would be at one of them? …. Kinda like the NBA lottery.
MaryBeth… Where are you???
I’d root for Jr. except for the fact that he had absolutely zero credentials when he entered NASCAR and if his name had been Jones, we’d never have seen him in Busch or Cup.
You know I really have to wonder:
To those who think now that Jr. has won the hype is over, think again. I’ll wager the hype will just change to the Chumpionship.