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 July 30, 2012
The Key Moment – On the final restart with two fresh tires, Greg Biffle got to battling with Kyle Busch (on four fresh tires) for second. By the time Busch prevailed, leader Jimmie Johnson was in a different area code.
In a Nutshell – The Brickyard 400… the ultimate example of sizzle over steak.
Dramatic Moment – One lazy evening this week, I painted a model car body for a project I’m working on. Watching the paint dry was more exciting than Sunday’s “race.”
What They’ll Be Talking About Around the Water Cooler This Week
They’ll likely be talking about the Olympics, not Sunday’s farce of a race. How bad was this event? By lap 18, there was a 17-second gap between the leader and the tenth-place driver.
It might not have been a great race, but Indy certainly earned the award for the most ridiculous name of a race this year. The event was officially The 19th Annual Crown Royal Presents the Curtis Shaver 400 at The Brickyard Powered by Big Machine Records. Oh, and if you watched at home, thanks to our buds at ESPN they were showing the 19th Annual Crown Royal Presents the Curtis Shaver 400 at The Brickyard Powered by Big Machine Records telecast presented by Golden Corral.
Any more questions why I just call races like this “The Brickyard?” I wear out two keyboards a season as it is. (No disrespect intended towards Mr. Shaver, who is a local hero, not a brand of electric razors. Don’t know why, but the title Big Machine Records also gives me the shakes. She’s out there somewhere.)
I’ve seen more passes made at an Amish ice cream church social.
Attendance at the Brickyard 400 is officially listed as 125,000 souls. Cue up the Foreigner because I think whoever is issuing these counts has Double Vision.
Who says the drivers were more manly and tough back in the days of yore? Well anyway, who watched the No. 48 team lay pillows down for Jimmie Johnson (and others) for them to kneel on when they kissed the bricks after Sunday’s victory lest they scrape their dainty knees. C’mon, seriously?
Editor’s Note: The pillows were part of a Crown Royal promotion. But still…
Wasn’t the new “parallel” sway bar links rule supposed to eliminate the cars “dog walking” around the track? Johnson’s No. 48 car looked like a bloodhound hot on the trail of an escaped convict.
Talk about a one-groove track! Having to restart the race in the outside lane was basically a death sentence for a driver’s chance at winning or even advancing.
Does the Brickyard 400 still matter? In this writer’s opinion, it doesn’t and frankly never has. The Indy 500 was and still is a big deal, but the track configuration has never lent itself to stock car racing. Attendance is way off at a place where the 400-miler once sold out and I’d guess that’s because of the tire debacle in 2008. The Formula One series had a similar tire-related disaster, one that saw most of the field pull off after the parade lap, but at least they were wise enough to know the red was done licked all off their candy and they never returned.
OK, let me get this straight. It was OK for Kyle Busch to pass Kasey Kahne at the start of Saturday’s Nationwide race because Kahne buzzed the tires, but it’s not OK for Elliott Sadler to pass Brad Keselowski on a late restart after Keselowski spun his tires. Where’s the logic there? I figured this issue was going to happen after Carl Edwards got black-flagged for jumping a restart at Richmond. This is what you get when the sanctioning body had a rulebook written in pencil. ESPN gave us a taste of things to come, too by hurrying off the air Saturday without as much as a follow-up interview with a clearly dejected Sadler. As for NASCAR officials, it’s one thing to have egg on your face. It’s another to wear a hen as a hat.
Details of AJ Allmendinger’s failed substance test are still emerging. Frankly, I think the PR people on both sides have bungled this one badly, letting things drag on so long. These sorts of secrets used to be easily kept in the insular garage area but the Internet pried that door open a scoosh and social mediums have kicked it wide open.
Here’s what I’ve learned during my brief foray with Twitter. (Follow me at @mcmatt76) Twitter, like nature, abhors a vacuum when it comes to information. In the absence of hard information, speculation and rumor flourish. In this instance, let’s say someone tweeted (Twit?) “Is it possible this was from an energy drink?” As that question hurtles from cell phone, to laptop to PC, someone will eventually say, “It might have been an energy drink,” which then morphs to, “It was probably an energy drink,” and eventually to, “It was just an energy drink.”
Fill in “dietary supplement” and repeat and retweet. So eventually, what we have is a “new truth” without a scrap of veracity to back it up. Even the mainstream media gets in on the game by writing things like, “It’s been widely speculated on Twitter that the source of the failed test was a dietary supplement.” Notice they’re not saying it’s a fact, just that some folks are saying that’s the case. So in this instance, Allmendinger would have been better served just fessing up and telling folks what he tested positive for. Supposedly, NASCAR says he was informed of what the substance was the day he was suspended at Daytona. Or, at least I think they did. I read it on Twitter, so it’s got to be so. (As it stands written in the Book of Bruce, “No Re-tweet, and no Re-sender”)
Editor’s Note: Allmendinger has tested positive for amphetamines; we just don’t know the specific type of drug that triggered that test. Could be anything from “meth” to some crazy energy drink Twitter speaks of.
One casualty of the declining attendance at Indy was the short track down the street, Indianapolis Raceway Park. That oval once hosted the Nationwide (nee Busch) and Truck Series races; while the Cup cars typically put on predictable parades at the big track, the racing at IRP was usually hot and heavy on the bullring Fridays and Saturdays. Apparently, NASCAR thought staging three races in one weekend at the home of the 500 would centralize focus and fan interest. Good luck with that. Why buy tickets to three boring races rather than just one? Like they say, “Good seats are still available.” Too bad good racing is not.
Yes, there was a horrific motorhome fire outside of Indy on Friday. No, there is no evidence it was caused by Juan Pablo Montoya hitting the coach while driving too fast in the rain-soaked parking lot trying to get to the infield. Later in the day, JPM was indeed involved in a controversial incident, competing part-time in the Rolex race and just happening to wreck out a Ford that’s a prime competitor to his team’s, Chip Ganassi Racing, overall championship title chase. Let’s just say Montoya’s brief stint in the Rolex Series was about as well received as Mitt Romney’s recent visit to the London Olympics.
Rain at Indy? Well it hasn’t rained there in seven weeks – the Midwest is stuck in a terrible drought that is decimating farmers in the area – but bring NASCAR racing to a city and it surely looks like rain.
Chevy unveiled their new entry for next year’s Nationwide races and it’s the Camaro. So next year, the Camaros will be battling it out with their longtime nemesis the Mustang and hopefully a few Challengers — if teams can be found to run them. While maintaining a lot of the styling cues of the street legal Camaro, I’ll contend that the race car is actually better-looking with an airier greenhouse rather than the gun-turret look of its street counterpart. I’d suggest Chevy follow that lead in redesigning their next Camaro. This first car was built by RCR and they, too, missed a trick. If they’d chosen a little deeper color of blue and added yellow stripes, the Camaro would have looked like a tribute to the Penske/Donahue Trans Am racers that ran with such success from 1967-69.
The Hindenburg Award For Foul Fortune
It was a tough weekend for former points leader Matt Kenseth. He hit the wall in practice and qualifying, then got wrecked out of the main event on Sunday en route to 35th. I’m not sure about the wisdom of tossing an expensive crash helmet into a burning car, though.
Kurt Busch actually ran within the top 10 early in the event but a botched pit stop cost him a lap. In the end, it didn’t matter much because later in the day he lost an engine.
Carl Edwards qualified for the outside pole under the watchful eye of new crew chief Chad Norris. But early in the event, the No. 99 car began losing power leaving Edwards to endure a long afternoon finishing four laps off the pace in 29th.
Brad Keselowski and his team were playing a strategy game in the pits, but it all went awry when Keselowski was consigned to that outside line for a restart and he slid up the track and out of contention. The No. 2 car wound up ninth, while Regan Smith (who was on the inside line for said restart) earned a one-on-one conversation filled with choice words for sometime this week.
The “Seven Come Fore Eleven” Award For Fine Fortune
Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Busch made hard contact on a restart but the No. 48 car ran on undaunted – to another country.
It looked like Kyle Busch’s car had suffered day-ending failure when the No. 18 car slowed leaving pit road, belching heavy black smoke out the tailpipes. But whatever gremlin had infected the car at that point never reared its ugly head again for the rest of the race allowing Busch to finish second… though he’d have needed to find a set of binoculars to see Johnson take the checkers.
As bad as Tony Stewart’s No. 14 car ran for much of the race, he’ll probably leave Indy counting a tenth-place finish as a gift. Racers also learned that blocking doesn’t get you on Stewart’s good side.
What’s the Points?
For the first time since 2004, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. holds the points lead. Kenseth is down one spot to second and fourteen points out of the top spot. Biffle, Johnson, Hamlin and Harvick hold serve in positions three through six, respectively.
Martin Truex, Jr. sits seventh, while Tony Stewart hangs tough in eighth. Keselowski and Bowyer swapped ninth and tenth spots, with the Dodge driver now having the advantage.
Further back, Kyle Busch advanced two spots to 11th, albeit 55 points behind Bowyer. More importantly, he retains one of the Wild Card spots with a win earlier this year.
Carl Edwards fell a spot to twelfth in the standings. If the Chase field were set on Sunday, he’d find himself on the outside looking in. I wonder if that notion scares him more than racing a car full of clowns? (Is that thing Mel Gibson’s old ride from the Mad Max movies?)
Kahne fell a spot to thirteenth in the points but would still get a Wild Card spot based on having won twice this season. Jeff Gordon jockeyed his way up two spots to fifteenth, but his winless streak has him on the outside looking in at any possible title hopes.
Of note: Harvick and Martin Truex, Jr. are the only drivers inside the top 10 in points who haven’t won a race this season.
Overall Rating (On a scale of one to six beer cans, with one being a stinker and a six-pack an instant classic) — Zero cans for a race enjoyed by zero fans.
Next Up – The circuit heads back to the Keystone State for Poc-o-two, the second 400-mile version of the summer races at the track. With any luck, it might be another good race there as well.
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This was the worst Brickyard 400 ever, and not just because it was won by Team Sleeze! Indy has lost its luster, and if justice is served, the track and its pathetic excuse for racing will be deleted from the 2013 schedule.
When I saw Kyle Busch’s car belching out black smoke I thought they filled the tank with diesel instead of race fuel.
sure hope the people that count butts in seats at races this year won’t be the one’s monitoring the ballot box this fall!
olympics are also having difficulty putting butts in seats so they’re giving tickets to the military who are there to provide security. at least romney looked halfway enthusiastic at opening ceremonies than the queen did!
got a nice 1.5 hr nap in on sunday afternoon, thanks to the brickyard. i was kind of hoping i’d read where johnson’s car failed post race inspection, but i guess hendrick has banned knauss from his tricky engineering for the remainder of the season after daytona this past feb.
so we’ll hear about 6th championship for the remainder of the season from espn?! blah…. an hour long pre-race show is 45 minutes too long.
worst Brickyard ever? Apparently you forgot the tire race.
Unfortunately the race ain’t going away even if the people do.
I must give props to ESPN for making sure they never showed the empty grandstands. That must have been some difficult camera work. Oh and was there a race going on? I’ll i saw was a bunch of cars going in a single file.
“Sizzle over steak” sums up this farce perfectly. The Nationwide cars seemed a bit better suited for the track than the cup cars, but not by much. And even as a die-hard Brad Keselowski fan, I’ll admit that Elliott Sadler was robbed of a victory by horrible officiating.
P.S. – On the plus side, Raul Malo did one of the best jobs of singing the national anthem in recent memory. Unfortunately it was all downhill from there.
Carl D- yes he did. i also enjoyed the invocation.
Do we still need this race? Also, can it still be considered a “big time race” when no one shows up and the on-track product is awful?
Spent most of the afternoon working on the old Corvette in the garage. Popped in a few times to check on the “race”, finally decided to turn the sound off because I am REALLY sick of hearing “Joe Racer is leaving the pits now with new tires and a fresh tank of SUNOCO fuel”. Do these idiots get a bonus evry time they say Sunoco?
Agree Raul’s “Star Spangled Banner” was the best part of the telecast. There did seem to be some compelling racing going on, but ESPN did not seem to be aware of it. Why weren’t the cameras following Junior moving from 24th to 10th early in the race or Gordon racing from 12th to 5th at the end of the race. I’ve watched enough Indy races to know that no one is going to pass the leader unless she runs out of gas or hits the wall, so why not show some of the racing deeper in the field where there does seem to be some actually passing?
As for the empty seats, ESPN did show the empty seats on a number of occasions, especially in their shots from the blimp. I actually believe the 125,000 number. What is hard to believe is there were 240,000 fans in the stands 4 years ago.
It’s a boring track for full sized Nascar cars. I really don’t know why they won’t make a roadrace out of it. The attendance or racing couldn’t be any worse than it already is.
Two high points in Sunday’s race: Raul Malo singing the National Anthem at the beginning and Little Genevieve Johnson refusing to give up her lips to those oily, dirty old bricks.
Worst race ever? I’d say that would be a toss-up between the dust bowl that provided a caution every 15 laps, but a wreck every 12, and the very first one back in ’94. How can she say that? Easy! We never belonged there in the first place, and obviously, we still don’t .
There can never be wedded bliss between 3400 lb. stock cars and a completely flat track any larger than little Martinsville. That combo will always end in divorce… or should.
Jimmie Johnson and Rick Mears will now have something to talk about? Only if they are discussing how much Jimmie would charge to shine Rick’s shoes… or maybe Borg-Warner trophy replicas.
Great take on the state of the sport as always Kid! BZF should hire you to do his press conferences. Now THAT would be interesting.
I was pleasantly surprised with the racing and TV coverage on SATURDAY. They actually showed some of the racing back in the pack. While SUNDAY was the usual, AB giggling like little kid, and follow the leader racing.
Would still have liked to see Busch and Trucks at IRP. Had BEST RACE of weekend Fri. Night at IRP with ARCA. Good tight racing with outcome not decided until the very end.
Always such a pleasure to read the happy, upbeat comments of NASCAR reporters and fans.
The best racing this weekend – the 2 hour Senna special on ESPN 2 last night and the rerun of sprint cars from Eldora…the rest of it this weekend wasn’t racing.
Enough with trying to make this race somehow “equivalent” to the prestige associated with the 500. Different animal completely. I understand it’s special to win, or even participate in a race at IMS, but you don’t really become anymore than a footnote in the storied history of the Speedway. Go to the museum and see how much of the display is dedicated to stock cars…
At the famed Indianapolis Speedway yesterday, no bunnies or baby kittens were run over during the Nascar race that was held there yesterday. The weather was nice, and Rusty Wallace didn’t swear once during the broadcast. And, winner Jimmie Johnson seems like such a nice young man.
Yep, it’s another Happy, Shiny People day here at the Frontstretch.
the tire debacle was actually one of the better 400’s since the outcome was in doubt. Positions would actually change because people would hit the wall.
I drove from Wisconsin to Indy for Fridays two road races. That was fun. Never checked on any of the NASCAR stuff the rest of the weekend.
Actually Matt, you got the lines that Keselowski and Smith were on that restart backwards. Keselowski was leading because he didn’t pit on that particular caution, so he was on the inside line, and Smith, first out of the pits as a result of a two-tire change, was on the outside. As the field was in turn two, the air from Smith’s car sucked Keselowski around and only Smith’s car prevented it from going all the way around. The sea parted for Johnson, and he was gone from there.
And as for the event and the crowd, the luster was bound to wear off sooner or later, and the Brickyard 400, more than any other race, has been adversely affected by the Chase. And Indy never was designed for competitve racing. It was built in 1909 as test track for the cars of that time, so IMS is not that good a track for racing, but it was never really designed for it, either.
In fact, the legacy of the Brickyard 400 on NASCAR may be the aero-push, because the 1995 Brckyard 400 is where the aero-push problems in NASCAR really started.
How strange…the 48 once again can outrun every other car on the track with ease. Even his teammates. I’m SURE there’s nothing fishy going on there…..right?
Just ask John Middlebrook.
I’m just laughing at the arrogant and ignorant Junior fans on social media cheering for their boy who hasnt led the points in 8 years. Tell me again, how many drivers leading the points have gone on to win the Chase? For these fans, they’re hoping Brian France and Mike Helton find some obscure rule to end the season now and declare Junior the winner.
I did not see nor hear any racing from Indianapolis this weekend and this morning I woke up in a good mood thinking about what an incredibly good show “Breaking Bad” is and how I am sure that the end of this final season most everyone will die.
You may draw your own conclusions from my experience. ;)
Was there a race on Sunday? Between the commercials and all of the gimmick shots from the cameras, who would know? The best race was off pit road for the lead – and the cameras actually caught it. ESPN was bragging that they went commercial free for the last 23 minutes & into the post-race coverage. They fail to mention that for a good part of that time, there was ONE car in the shot – the 48. I get that he was in a country of his own, but how about a split screen so we could see the field – obviously Gordon moved up after that first restart, but if I didn’t have trackpass, I wouldn’t have known that from the TV coverage.
I actually laughed over those pretty purple pillows that they put down for them to kneel on.
Vicki, if there wasn’t some reason to BE happy about the racing and/or the broadcasts, we’d enjoy talking about it. As long as this garbage is what the fans are going to get, well, garbage in, garbage out.
I just wonder when NASCAR will realize they have a huge problem. I don’t expect them to admit it, but at this point they seem incapable of believing that a problem even exists.
As for NASCAR officials, it’s one thing to have egg on your face. It’s another to wear a hen as a hat.
LMAO. So true and yet so refreshing…
It was what you would expect from Indy (with this car) there was racing (in pack) & was better than the great tire fiasco & any fontana/las vegas/chicago/race..Guess you folks just watch for crash’s lol
Sunday was pathetic. The racing has become substandard because of this joke of a car but the TV coverage continues to be moronic. Wake up NASCAR.
I kinda thought the best racing on the tube this weekend was the World of Outlaws Kings Royal on SPEED Saturday afternoon.
The Sprint Cup racing schedule needs to be contracted – one of the issues that is killing this sport is racing at venues where no one gives a damn whether they race there or not – for obvious reasons.
I swear that Nascar and the TV networks have attended some sort of PR/propaganda school in the defunct Soviet Union based on the outlandish BS that comes out of their minds – such as racing in places where the actual racing is obviously a farce.
I go to 4 races a year (Bristol & Dega) but I know longer watch on tv.
after doing a little reading, i am soooooo glad i didn’t watch it. Matt takes the road courses off… me? i take indy and pocono.. i’ll watch the glen then i’ll be back after the fuel milage race. i just couldn’t take any more after the saTURDay show.
I went to the races this weekend. I had a great time. You go to Indy knowing you aren’t going to see a plate-track type finish. Other than Johnson running away at the end, the racing was pretty good for Indy. On attendance, I don’t think any race outside the Daytona 500 will draw 200,000+ for the foreseeable future. It just looks worse at Indy because the place holds 250,000. 125,000 is still more than most of the other races will draw this year.
I love the history of Indy. From a visiting stand point, parking was easy, it was easy to get in and out, and prices were reasonable. On a more general note, no one should be complaining about the cost of NASCAR when you compare it to all the major team sports. It’s the only major sport I’ve been to where they let you bring your own food and drinks in. All in all, Indy was fun and I would go back again. I wish the support races were still at the short track, but I enjoyed both the Nationwide race and the Grand-Am race.
I watched alot of in car feeds on sattelite and there was some great racing in the pack.The TV broadcasts only want to show the first couple spots and that can make for a boring race or Jr. gets up front that’s all you hear.The Indy track has lost it’s appeal over the years as Nascar went to the car of tragedy.The invisable ink Nascar uses in the rule book doesn’t help the sport.They should have never brought the Busch series to the Brickyard ,the race was much more interesting.Great Article by the way.I would give this one a can of warm Old Boheimian if I could find one.
The pillows for JJ’s knees was almost as funny as him in that Brokeback cowboy hat in Texas.
Racing in the pack? Except for the restarts where the hell was the pack? I just saw a line of cars as far as the eye could see.
I too painted this weekend. With the TV in the other room, I kept thinking I was missing something exciting but everytime I checked the 48 was on screen or a commercial.
Funny was I the only one to notice that during qualifying JJ’s sideways car was the only one that didn’t have the lap time tracker working but still put up a good time?
The restart issue was a joke but I have come to expect that from nascar. I am just surprised they let the HMS car get screwed on the first one.
The cupcake race was a total waste of time. I went there once in 96 and vowed to never return as you can’t see any of the race.
IRP is the real track in Indy, at least if you got fenders.
I watched the first 15 minutes and then deleted the whole race off my DVR. I caught the finishing order on NASCAR.com and then read about the race in this column, thank you Matt. It sure frees up some time to enjoy a sunny sunday.
HEAT RACES PLEASE!