Kurt Busch to Attempt The Indianapolis-Charlotte Double
posted by Phil Allaway
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Andretti Autosport announced this morning that Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet in the Sprint Cup Series, will attempt the Indianapolis 500 in a fifth entry for the IndyCar Series team. Once the Indianapolis 500 is completed, Busch will fly from Indianapolis to Charlotte, jump in his No. 41 Chevrolet and compete in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Busch considers the opportunity to do the double as an old-school throwback moment.
“This is really to challenge myself within motorsports,” Busch said in Andretti Autosport’s press release. “Perhaps I am a bit of an old-school racer; a throwback, I guess. I enjoyed the era of drivers racing different cars and testing themselves in other series. It is tough to do now for a variety of factors, but when the opportunity is there, I want to do it. While NASCAR is my home, I have been fortunate to compete in Pro Stock on the NHRA circuit a number of years ago and test a V8 Supercar. This opportunity was a talk with Michael [Andretti] over dinner one night, a “What if,” and now it’s becoming a reality for me to drive in the Indy 500 with Andretti Autosport. It’s literally a dream come true. To go to the famous Brickyard with the iconic Andretti name, it doesn’t get much cooler or better than that.”
Busch will be doing the Indianapolis-Charlotte double as a Memorial Day mission to men and women serving in the U.S. Military via the Armed Forces Foundation. Fans can contribute to the cause by texting AFF to 50555 to donate $10.
Busch, who has never raced an IndyCar, passed Rookie Orientation at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last year during a test session. At the time, Busch was more or less testing the Dallara DW12 for fun.
Busch will be the fourth driver to attempt the Indianapolis-Charlotte double. John Andretti was the first driver to attempt it in 1994. After finishing four laps down in tenth in Indianapolis, Andretti crashed and had engine problems in the 600. Robby Gordon has attempted the double five times, most recently in 2004. However, Gordon failed to make it to Charlotte on time and did not start the 600 in 2000 (P.J. Jones started Gordon’s No. 13 Ford in that instance). Finally, Tony Stewart has attempted the double twice (most recently in 2001) and is the only driver to ever complete all 1100 miles. Neither of the three drivers has won either leg of the double. The best finishes are Stewart and Gordon’s sixth-place finishes at the Indianapolis 500 (although Gordon’s came in 2000, the year he didn’t make it to Charlotte in time to start the Coca-Cola 600), and Stewart’s fourth-place finish in the 2001 Coca-Cola 600.
Danica Patrick, Justin Allgaier Talk About Phoenix Incident
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
A disappointing start to the year for Danica Patrick won’t include continued conflict. Patrick met with rookie Justin Allgaier Sunday, shortly after the Phoenix Cup race after a wreck ruined both drivers’ days. Patrick, who was critical of the No. 51 car on the radio, claiming Allgaier was “driving all over the track” appeared receptive to a conversation that quickly settled differences over what will be a long season.
“She was just upset because she got involved in the crash that we had,’’ said Allgaier to the Motor Racing Network. “She says she’s been through this and that she felt like I needed to settle down at that point. I explained my position on why everything happened. I think she understood where I was coming from. It doesn’t fix either one of our racecars. It doesn’t fix either one of our days. Unfortunately, we were both having pretty decent days.’’
Allgaier wound up 30th due to the incident while Patrick was 36th. The incident, which was caused by Allgaier’s spin also involved the No. 32 team and Travis Kvapil, which wound up 38th after sustaining heavy damage.
Camping World Close to Extending Title Sponsorship of NCWTS
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Marcus Lemonis, CEO of Camping World, Grand Marshal of Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway, and star of CNBC’s “The Profit,” made the announcement over the weekend that the retailer is very close to announcing a deal that would continue its title sponsorship of NASCAR’s Truck Series. The original agreement with NASCAR is scheduled to conclude after the 2015 season.
According to the sanctioning body, no formal contract has been signed, but “the agreement between the two parties has proven to be a beneficial one.”
“In about a month, we’ll be announcing a significant extension to that contract. It’s been great for us,” said Camping World’s Lemonis in a statement. “The NASCAR relationship has worked well for Camping World. When we started, we had 35 stores. Now, we’re up to 120 stores. As we travel the country and we meet new customers in stores, they always are very appreciative of our relationship with NASCAR. It’s been good.”
Gaining a long-term commitment from Camping World to sponsor the Truck Series would be a relief for NASCAR, which is set to lose Nationwide Insurance as title sponsor for the NASCAR Nationwide Series at the end of the 2014 season. The sponsorship of the Cup Series by Sprint runs through 2016.
The NCWTS is back in action on March 29th at 2:30 PM (ET) when the trucks visit Martinsville Speedway in the Kroger 250, which can be seen on Fox Sports 1. Ratings for the season opener were up 11 percent.
Harvick Takes Win At Phoenix In Second Race With New Team
posted by Justin Tucker
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Phoenix International Raceway has become Kevin Harvick’s home away from home. Sunday Afternoon was no exception as Harvick charged to the front early and would dominate for much of the day, leading 224 of the scheduled 312 laps to record his record fifth win on the one mile oval and his third win in the last four races at Phoenix.
Harvick, coming off of a disappointing Speedweeks which was capped by a last lap crash in the Daytona 500 in his debut with Stewart-Haas Racing, set the tone on Saturday by winning both practices while having the best 5 and 10-lap averages in the first practice of the day on Saturday. On Sunday, Harvick and his No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet was nothing short of flawless as he was able to hold Dale Earnhardt, Jr. by .489 seconds after a late race restart to claim his 24th career Sprint Cup Series victory.
“Man, this is awesome,” Harvick said after his dominant victory on Sunday. “Man, this just solidifies so many things and so many decisions. It’s been so much work with all the time and effort that these guys (the crew) have put in—but what a race car.”
Stewart Haas Racing co-owner Gene Haas shared in Harvick’s excitement after the race.
“It took long enough,” Haas joked. “This is phenomenal. I think there was a lot of skepticism last year about what myself and Tony (Stewart) what we were up to, was there a lot of madness to this. Quite frankly, it’s a great team, there’s a lot of synergy at the shop, people working together. I don’t know what we did, but I think we put together a great organization.”
Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt, Jr. continued his hot start to the 2014 season. Earnhardt Jr. would finish second on Sunday, marking his seventh consecutive top 10 finish since the end of the 2013 season. Earnhardt Jr. was pleased with the effort after a coast-to-coast whirlwind week after winning his second Daytona 500 and also gave great praise to the efforts of Harvick and the No. 4 team.
“I’ve got to congratulate Kevin. Those guys were two-tenths faster than everyone all weekend in practice. They were just phenomenal,” Earnhardt said. “To be able to run with them all day was a big confidence builder for us.”
Joining Harvick and Earnhardt in the top 5 of The Profit on CNBC 500K were Brad Keselowski with his second consecutive top 3 run of 2014 in third. Keselowski’s Team Penske teammate Joey Logano would finish fourth, and Jeff Gordon would come home fifth in his No. 24 Pepsi Max Chevrolet.
Jimmie Johnson finished in sixth, followed by Ryan Newman with a nice rebound after Daytona in seventh. Carl Edwards would carry the banner for Roush Fenway Racing by finishing eighth, Kyle Busch was ninth, and Jamie McMurray would finish tenth.
A look at the Profit on CNBC 500K by the numbers. There were 14 lead changes among eight different drivers, there were eight cautions for 39 laps which slowed the race pace to 109.229 MPH.
Next Sunday, the Sprint Cup Series heads to Sin City and the Las Vegas Motor
Starting Lineup: The Profit On CNBC 500K
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday March 1, 2014
Drivers in RED (i) are those ineligible to collect Sprint Cup points
Daytona 500 TV Ratings Down
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Wednesday February 26, 2014
What was the longest weather delay in Daytona 500 history turned out to bring NASCAR lower ratings and TV viewership Sunday night than expected. According to a report Monday from FOX Sports, the 56th running of the Daytona 500 airing at 8 PM (ET) posted a 5.6/10 national household rating/share which averaged 9.3 million viewers. That’s down 44 percent from last year’s 9.9, easily making it the least-watched Daytona 500 of all-time.
Due to the six-hour, twenty-two minute rain delay in Daytona, the race was up against the primetime coverage of the Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony from Sochi, Russia on NBC (15.25 million viewers). FOX also reported that 69% of the pre-rain delay viewers of the race, which began at 1 PM (ET) kept tuning in.
In comparison, the 2013 Daytona 500 on FOX was the most-watched race in five years, posting a 9.9/22 rating/share, commanding 16.7 million viewers. The Daytona 500 in 2012, the first to ever be run on a Monday and in the primetime slot did a 7.7/13 overnight rating/share which resulted in 13.67 million households viewing the race according to Nielsen TV ratings data.
Earnhardt, Jr. Claims Second Daytona 500 Victory
posted by Justin Tucker
Wednesday February 26, 2014
Ten years is a long time. For Dale Earnhardt, Jr., it felt like an eternity. NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver endured many near misses and close calls at the Daytona 500 since his only win in the Great American Race in 2004. Earnhardt had finished second in two of his last three Daytona 500s coming into Sunday’s race. He was also riding the tail of a 55-race winless streak, dating back to Michigan in 2012.
However nothing would stop Dale Jr. on Sunday, not even a 6 hour and 22 minute rain delay from capturing his second Daytona 500 win. Earnhardt Jr. led a race-high 54 laps on the evening and used some timely drafting help from teammates Jimmie Johnson and, on the final restart, Jeff Gordon to separate from the pack and secure the victory.
“Winning this race is the greatest feeling that you could feel in this sport besides accepting the trophy for the championship,” said a jubilant Earnhardt after pulling into Victory Lane. “We could fight off battle after battle. We got a little help at the end there from Jeff to get away on the restart. This is amazing. I can’t believe this is happening. I never take this for granted, man because it doesn’t happen twice, let alone once.”
Aside from the race itself the big story of the race was the 6 hour and 22 minute red flag, which threatened to move the race to Monday evening (had the race been postponed, FOX Sports’ Chris Myers had tweeted that the race would resume at 5:00pm EST). However, Mother Nature would cooperate and would allow the race to be run under different conditions from which they practiced this week. Once the race resumed, the intensity picked up from the changing track conditions. This allowed the pack to race side-by-side and at times 3-wide up to seven rows deep.
Joining Earnhardt Jr. in the top 5 for the 2014 Daytona 500 were: Denny Hamlin who closed out a spectacular Speedweeks in second, Brad Keselowski in third, Jeff Gordon in fourth, and Jimmie Johnson who overcome two wrecks leading up to the 500 in fifth.
Rounding out the top 10 in the Daytona 500 were Matt Kenseth in sixth, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. in seventh and Greg Biffle would bring his No. 16 Ford home in eighth. Austin Dillon would come home ninth in his first Cup Series race in the iconic No. 3 for Richard Childress Racing, while Casey Mears would round out the top 10.
A couple of major contenders for the Daytona 500 win would see their hopes dashed early on as Martin Truex, Jr. would blow up just 30 laps into the race, relegating him to a 43rd-place finish in his debut for Furniture Row Racing. Crew chief Todd Berrier was already in Nashville for a test session before the race was even over. Kyle Busch, meanwhile would have a pit road violation just before halfway and would spend much of the race battling back from that mistake. Busch would eventually finish 19th after leading 19 laps.
Danica Patrick would also be bit by bad luck as she was caught up in a multi-car wreck on lap 145. Patrick would lead her second consecutive Daytona 500, but wouldn’t have the finish to show for it finishing 40th. Tony Stewart would encounter a frustrating evening as well, with a fuel pickup problem derailing his quest for his first Daytona 500 win. Stewart would finish 35th.
A look at the Daytona 500 by the numbers. There were 42 lead changes among 18 drivers, while seven cautions for 39 laps would slow the race pace to 145.290 MPH.
Next week, the Sprint Cup Series heads to the “diamond in the desert,” Phoenix International Raceway for The Profit on CNBC 500K. The Green flag is scheduled for 3:15pm EST.
Nationwide Series Post-Race Quotes: Drive4COPD 300
posted by Thomas Bowles
Tuesday February 25, 2014
Frontstretch Interviews – Courtesy Mike Neff
ELLIOTT SADLER – FINISHED 4th
Thoughts on the race?
It’s definitely a lot different racing than what we’re used to.
Comfortable with it?
Yeah, it’s just different. You’re worried about what you’re doing, but you’re also worried about what everyone else is doing and they’re not doing more than you’re doing. Physically pushing a guy is way better than just riding so you just gotta time it right and push it to the edge.
Happy to start the year with a top 5?
Yeah. Hell, that was the worst we ran all day, I think. I have no idea how they put the 3 car in front of us on that last restart. I hadn’t seen the 3 car hardly all day. When they put us from fifth to sixth, on the outside line, it just really boxed us in. I would have really restarted behind my teammate and given him a good push to the front. Anyways, it is what it is; we’ll take it and move on.
Looked like you were up front all day.
The guys did a good job. We had a fast race car. Great pit stops, just really proud of these guys. The car’s in one piece and we can take it to Talladega now. Great job by my guys. A lot of effort came into coming down here to Daytona and giving ourselves a shot to win. We had that chance to be up front and make some things happen. Fifth is not what we want, but we’ll take it and move on.
Bumping vs Pushing?
It’s way harder. You don’t want to lay on the guy in front of you, so it’s tough racing. A lot different than what we’re used to, ‘cause you gotta go. You gotta drag the brake too ‘cause you don’t want to hit the guys and you don’t want to stay on him. It’s a lot harder mentally than what we’ve done in the past.
Car was strong all day. Pushing vs. Bumping, is that harder to do than just getting on somebody and pushing them?
Yeah, it is a little bit. When you bump ‘em, you jar ‘em, it kinda jacks ‘em a little bit. It’s a little more abrupt, obviously. I thought it was OK there at the end. It was certainly fun and hopefully entertaining. But a little bit of a struggle in the early part of the race and the midpart of the race to see a good race. And that’s unfortunate for the fans. You can’t do that the whole race, you can’t tear up your stuff, knock your grill in, overheat your motor, all that stuff so there’s no sense in doing all that until you get down to the last lap. The 7 and the 6, they did a good job. Man, the 7 really held the 22 and I tight on the bottom. I was rubbing his door and hitting the apron at the same time, no room whatsoever. So it was good; wish we were the ones who could have won but a lot better now than what we were last year.
Going home in one piece makes it a lot better, right?
Yeah. My back feels good. My foot feels good. Past years here, I’ve been going home with pain so I’m alright.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Truck Series Post-Race Quotes: Daytona (Exclusives)
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday February 22, 2014
When you’re on the outside like that, how frustrating is it?
It’s so hard. Timothy Peters has won here. Kyle Busch has won everywhere. Ron Hornaday has been running Trucks forever, probably before I was even born. I was surrounded by veterans there, and like I told them I don’t have a rookie stripe but I’m a rookie. This is only my fourth Truck race ever, my fourth superspeedway race, and man, I figured out when the 17 got up in front of me, I pushed him. And as soon as I pushed him, he took off. And I went with him. And I just kept doing it, and before I knew it, he was leading. And I saw Ron in my mirror, backed up to him, and if it wasn’t for him, I don’t know what would have happened. I gotta thank him big time for that. That was a true teammate move right there. I really appreciate that. He just bounced off me and we got to the front. I tried my hardest to sidedraft Kyle. I was probably touching his door.
Top 5 in the No. 30 truck. This deal come together at the last minute, but you had a heck of a truck. Tell us about your night.
Yeah, I’ve got to thank Turner Scott Motorsports. The guys worked so hard on this Rheem Comfort Products Chevrolet. Exciting! Just got hung up on the outside and had to wait for my teammate there to catch up. And then he got to the bottom, so… I got the old 32 and started pushing ol’ Ryan to the front. So, it’s not bad. We’ll take it. You just don’t want to step over that boundary. You don’t know how far to push and shove. We bumped about six times down the straightaway without latching onto them. Hopefully, that was OK and we came home with a top 5.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Budweiser Duels Post Race Quotes
posted by Matt Stallknecht
Friday February 21, 2014
BUDWEISER DUELS POST-RACE QUOTES
They’re saying the wheel bearing burned up in it. I don’t know what caused it, they’re taking it all apart to figure out what the heck happened. Something abnormal that’s for sure I don’t think I’ve ever had that happen at all. Hopefully, we made the race and hopefully we can fix the problem before Sunday.
WHAT WAS THAT LOUD BOOM ONCE YOU TURNED INTO THE GARAGE?
Loud pop was a tire… thankfully, it popped, hopefully it didn’t hurt anybody. All the heat created in the left front that popped was pretty weird.
REALLY GOOD RUN. WHAT DID YOU THINK OF IT?
Yeah, it was good. We have a car we can work with for the 500. Got a good starting spot, so we’re going to rest easy, fluff and buff our car for a couple of days and get ready for Sunday.
ANY DIFFERENCE ON WHETHER THE TOP OR BOTTOM LANE WORKED?
Yeah, I was just moving around, trying to stay with the flow. For me, this car works on all parts of the racetrack. So I’m pretty happy with it.
DALE EARNHARDT, JR.
GOT SHUFFLED BACK, AFTER PIT STOPS AND THEN COULDN’T GET BACK UP TO THE FRONT. WHY?
Nah, we were just sitting there waiting until the last few laps to make a move. You didn’t want to pull down and get sent to the back. Seen a couple of guys get sent to the back really quick so we were just kind of waiting for the end. I felt like we had a good situation there with Ambrose behind us — we had a good run off Turn 2 and I went. It was the last lap, time to go do something, nobody went with us but hopefully Sunday is a different story.
We got a great car. We don’t have to work hard. We learned, we got a good race car. Got a car in one piece, ready to go so we’ll try and get through the next couple of practices, deliver it to the starting group this Sunday and we’ll be real happy.
YOU’RE IN THE DAYTONA 500!
Yeah, it’s pretty awesome. This Whitetail Chevrolet was so fast that I knew all I had to do was stick it behind smart, intelligent drafters and we could have a good finish. That’s what we did in the Duels and I’m excited. I’m excited to go do some stuff with the Nationwide car and have some more practice with this. But to know that we’re locked in the Daytona 500’s pretty cool.
YOU WERE OBVIOUSLY IN FRONT OF THAT MELEE AT THE END. WHEN YOU WERE UP FRONT THERE IN THE BEGINNING, WERE YOU HOPING TO JUST STAY IN LINE AND LET YOU FINISH TOP 5?
I was pretty content to ride and luckily I knew a lot of people around us were. It was nice to have a little calm and not really have to be racing hard the whole time. I knew that the pit stop was going to shake everything up and that’s exactly what happened. Fell back a little bit there but made the right moves at the end to get a good finish.
HOW STRONG ARE THESE RCR CARS?
They’re very strong! They definitely have the capabilities to be winning one of these races.
YOU’RE IN THE TOP 5 FOR YOUR HEAT IN THE DAYTONA 500. YOUR PRIMARY CAR IS SITTING RIGHT IN THE GARAGE, KIND OF WADDED UP. DID YOU THINK THIS ONE HAD IT IN IT?
Yeah, it’s a brand new car also. It’s just not quite as good as the primary but still a damned good car. I’m just proud of everybody at RCR for building such fast race cars. All of our cars have been fast, ECR motor’s been strong, even our affiliate teams have been qualifying really good and racing good. So… excited about 2014! It’s going to be a good year.
WELL MAN, YOU STARTED IN THE BACK BUT WORKED YOUR WAY TO THE FRONT WHEN IT COUNTED MOST. WERE YOU JUST BIDING YOUR TIME THROUGHOUT THE RACE?
Eh, you never know if you’re going to get back up there or not. We had to start at the back, we had to make a run early and see what we could do. We drove right to 10th, or something like that and then it got stagnant. We tried to make something happen, and went to the back again. Drove back up to the front. Again, just really proud of my guys. Matt Kruder did a hell of a job on that pit stop getting just enough gas in to gain some spots there.
RCR CARS SEEM PRETTY DARNED STRONG. DO YOU THINK THE RCR CARS HAVE SOMETHING FOR THEM ON SUNDAY — ESPECIALLY THE THREE JOE GIBBS RACING CARS THAT SEEM TO BE THE CLASS OF THE FIELD RIGHT NOW?
Oh yeah. The 20 car was extremely fast. The 11 didn’t qualify that good, but he’s a good drafter. I think he won. We definitely have something for him.
Check in with Matt and Jay on their site at CareyandCoffey.com.
Matt McLaughlin · Monday August 13, 2012
The Key Moment – This one wasn’t over until the checkered flag was thrown. Wow.
In a Nutshell – I’m still not a fan of NASCAR road course racing but I liked Sunday’s race a whole bunch. Fenders banging, tempers flaring, the old bump and run and a wholesale change in the running order… what’s not to like?
Dramatic Moment – That entire last lap was about as wild as anything I’ve seen on a race track in many a moon.
We’ll give Kyle Busch some style points for his three-wide kamikaze pass to take the lead on the final restart as well. Ambrose’s eyes were wide as saucers when he saw what Busch did.
What They’ll Be Talking About Around the Water Cooler This Week
A few drivers were pretty hot after the race and stated categorically NASCAR should have thrown the caution when it became apparent that there was oil down all over the track. I’m not sure how that would have worked. The leaders had already taken the white flag so a green-white-checkered finish wasn’t an option. Cleaning up a race track that large would probably have taken an hour and they’d likely have missed some spots anyway. All the drivers were racing under the same adverse conditions with varying levels of success so the playing field was level.
Today, Monday, August 13th, marks the 23rd anniversary of Tim Richmond’s passing. (Don’t know who Tim is? Or want to take a trip down Memory Lane? Check out this two-parter on his career.) Anyone who ever watched Tim race on the road courses knows he was among the best ever. Richmond scored the first win of the modern era at Watkins Glen from the pole and also won the last race of his career at Riverside.
I’m not too sure what to make of AJ Allmendinger’s explanation of how he came to fail that drug test. If you missed it, Allmendinger says he was tired one evening and a friend offered him a pill he described as a “dietary supplement” to help perk him back up a little. If that’s true, the ‘Dinger is an idiot, and this fellow he was with wasn‘t much of a friend. If it’s not true, obviously he’s a liar. It reminds me of some old Bob Dylan lyrics from days of yore: “Now the rainman gave me two cures/Then he said, ‘Jump right in’/The one was Texas medicine/The other was just railroad gin/And like a fool I mixed them/And it strangled up my mind/And now people just get uglier/And I have no sense of time”
Kyle Busch might be facing some fines this weekend. Yes, Busch was 7th (NASCAR rules only require the top-3 finishers in an event to remain on pit road and make themselves available to the TV and radio networks. They are also required to address the press in the press box after the race.) But Busch was one lap from victory, positioned to win until Turn 2 of the final lap. Afterwards, he decided to get out of his Toyota and then get out of Dodge. The way I see it, any such penalty for those infractions probably would have paled compared to the penalties that likely would have resulted if he had in fact spoken his mind in the immediate aftermath of the race. And no, Kyle, that’s not the finger they had in mind for the Finger Lakes 355.
There was some confusion after the race due to Keselowski’s comments claiming that it was Busch’s No. 18 car oiling down the track. Keselowski later admitted on that Twitter thing that he was mistaken. He’d seen brake smoke from the No. 18 and it was actually Bobby Labonte’s No. 47 that was dropping fluids.
Class, compare and contrast Kyle Busch’s post-race conduct this week with Johnson’s last week. Johnson had also just lost a race he thought he had in the bag but was able to address the issue of what happened with composure and class. (Even if he wasn’t going to admit that he cut down that right rear tire body-slamming the No. 17 car on the frontstretch before they’d even reached the corner. Oddly enough, after Sunday’s race at the Glen, Johnson said when he first hit the oil he felt he had a tire going down. I think maybe somebody’s a little phobic about flats.)
With the Olympics finally over, NASCAR is ready to fall back on their old standby excuse for disappointing TV ratings next week, the NFL.
Johnson’s No. 48 was painted what was said to be Cortez Silver this weekend. Cortez Silver was one of the loveliest colors Chevy ever added to their palette, especially when gracing a ’69 Camaro Z28 with contrasting black stripes. I know that color pretty well, having owned a 70 SS Chevelle painted that hue but Johnson’s car didn’t look Cortez Silver to me. I think we used to call that color “rattle can primer.”
I noted with great sadness Dodge’s (Fiat’s?) decision to withdraw from NASCAR racing at the end of this season. While a hardcore Ford Mustang guy at heart, I appreciate Dodge’s contribution to the muscle car era wars and to NASCAR over the years. Richard Petty’s Dodge Charger was all but unbeatable in the early part of the 70s, and Dodge contributed two true works of art to the sport; the forever svelte 1969 Dodge Charger 500 and its more outrageous cousin the Charger Daytona. I’ve been mocked occasionally over the years for my heartfelt love of the Winged Warriors Mopar produced just to stay competitive in NASCAR racing and will admit they are rather ungainly from certain angles taken out of historical context. I’ve always just written off those critics as the sort who have a deep affection for their Accords or Camrys and would be just as happy doing appliance reviews for Consumer Reports as writing about racing.
It’s interesting ESPN chose not to even acknowledge last week’s lightning tragedy after the Pocono race. Had they broadcast the memorial fund on live TV it could have helped raise some much needed funds for fans and survivors who had their lives unexpectedly turned upside down. Since they didn’t, I will. You can donate funds to the PA 400 Memorial Fund, 1234 Long Pond Road, Long Pond PA, 18334.
More mechanical insights from Ms. Danica Patrick: “Water isn’t supposed to come out the tail pipes.” I wonder what grade she got in high school shop? (If DW was her instructor, no doubt an A+.) As for what grade she got in driver’s ed… well, let’s not go there.
The Hindenburg Award For Foul Fortune
Kurt Busch had driven up to 11th place when one of the wheels fell off his little red wagon.
Jeff Gordon had been complaining vehemently about his car for much of the race but a final adjustment lit the afterburners on the No. 24 and he was able to work his way into the top 10. Unfortunately, he made it to the last corner of the last lap before spinning in Labonte’s oil. That spin left Gordon 21st when the pay window opened after the race.
Earnhardt was probably well content with a solid top-10 result going late in a road course race. That’s when he spun in the oil and dropped to a 28th-place finish and from the lead to fourth in the standings. Channel you’re inner-Bill Murray and repeat after me, “It just don’t matter.” NASCAR will be re-racking the points after four more races, anyway.
Tony Stewart is always a favorite at Watkins Glen but a pit road penalty dropped him to 25th. A relentless Stewart charged all the way back to second before his car got out from under him and he spun into the inside wall at the entrance to the pits. He was able to make up some spots in his badly damaged Chevy but still finished 19th.
Pole-sitter Juan Pablo Montoya had a strong run going before breaking a lower front control arm bouncing his car over the curbs. (Sunday’s race was notable for an unusually high rate of mechanical attrition even by the standards of a road course.) While the team effected repairs, JPM was 33rd at the end of the race.
Part-time Cup competitor Brian Vickers lost an engine in his MWR car before he could complete a single lap.
Denny Hamlin suffered through yet another engine that went up in a ball of flames, ending his day. Hamlin had already wiped out his primary car in a practice wreck and took a hard hit at the end of last week’s race at Pocono. When it rains, it pours.
Edwards really needed a win Sunday and it appeared that he might just steal one on strategy until he ran out of gas entering the pits and struggled to re-fire the car. He went on to finish fourteenth.
Our Canadian friends couldn’t even watch the race live on Sunday. TSN decided to show the event via tape delay. I guess if it worked for NBC with the Olympics…
The “Seven Come Fore Eleven” Award For Fine Fortune
Keselowski slammed into the rear of the No. 18 car on that final lap and with the left front corner sheet metal on his Dodge shoved back into the tire, it wasn’t clear if he’d be able to complete it without shredding that tire. He did, and while he lost the win he did score a second-place finish.
Clint Bowyer began complaining his brakes were fading before the race even reached its halfway point. He still soldiered on to a fourth-place finish.
Sam Hornish, Jr. certainly made his case to remain at the driver of the No. 22 Penske car next season at Watkins Glen. He finished third in Saturday’s N-W race and fifth in Sunday’s Cup event.
Not a noted road course racer, Matt Kenseth is likely very happy to escape the Glen with an eighth-place finish, especially after the last lap debacle at Pocono last week.
Regan Smith managed a ninth-place finish after crafting a path through the last lap carnage.
What’s the Points?
Johnson leaps forward three positions to take over the points lead. He’s just one point ahead of Biffle and two points ahead of Kenseth.
Former standings leader Earnhardt dropped three spots to fourth and suddenly, the Happy Shiny people are hiding back in their caves. Buck up, ya’ll, he’s only 17 points out of the lead.
Keselowski advanced two spots to fifth in the standings with an unknown number of “Good guy points” to his credit. Truex dropped a spot to sixth. Bowyer advanced a full three positions to seventh. Tony Stewart dropped two rungs down the ladder to eighth, while Harvick holds station in ninth. (If he doesn’t do something quick, we’re going to need to put Harvick’s picture on a milk carton soon. He’s been all but invisible the last couple months.)
Denny Hamlin’s fiery exit from the race dropped him to tenth in the standings, the final secure spot for the Chase. In brighter news, he’s a full 40 points ahead of eleventh, which is almost a full race’s worth of points. There’s just four races to go until the seeding process.
Kahne maintains his hold on the first Wild Card slot as the only driver outside the top 10 with two wins to date. It’s in the battle for the final Wild Card slot that things get interesting. Right now Newman has wrested that spot back from Gordon. Gordon trails Newman by ten points.
Why was Kyle Busch so angry after the race? His second win of the season, which seemed in his grasp would have all but guaranteed him a Wild Card slot for the Chase. He’s currently 14th in the standings, six points behind Newman.
Overall Rating (On a scale of one to six beer cans with one being a stinker and a six pack an instant classic) — Well, I suppose it’s been about forever since I gave a race a full six-pack, but it’s time. I’m tempted to give it five beers with a Genny pony chaser because of the oil, but maybe I’m just feeling a little generous tonight looking at the week that lays ahead of me.
Next Up – It’s back off to Michigan. Anyone remember who won there last time out? I’ll have a surprise announcement later this week that will thrill some of you and disappoint a few of you. Stay tuned.
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Outside of Martinsville and (maybe again) Bristol, road courses offer the only ‘old school’ bumping and banging. How can you not love that?
Wow, who would have thought having oil on the track could produce such exciting racing. I’ll give that race 6 cans (of oil). In fact, oil for everyone!!!!
I’m no fan of Danica Patrick but I will say that the fact she was able to keep her temper and joke about oil coming out of the tailpipes is pretty commendable considering she was taken out of the race on lap 1 in an accident she had nothing to do with.
Keselowski was racing hard on the last lap when Busch came down in front of him. The way I see it, either the spin was Kyle’s fault or the oil’s fault. No way does a driver lift in a last-lap race for the win. However, if a Kyle Busch fan wants to argue the point, I’d tell them to go back and watch the finish of the 2010 Food City 250. These guys have a history of not playing nice together, and Brad didn’t do anything that Kyle wouldn’t have done if the roles were reversed.
If the race had been stopped on the last lap, the fans would have been robbed of the best finish of the season. To the drivers that complained about Nascar letting the race end under green, I suggest some cheese to go with that whine.
Of course I meant “water coming out of the tailpipes”. The #47 car even got oil all over my comments.
There was a big difference between Jimmy and Kyle not winning thier respective races. Jimmie screwed up and Kyle(along with half the field )hit oil.
Yes that last lap was exciting, but with the eagle eyes that nascar has(being able to see “debris” that no one else can find) how did they miss this oil that went all the way around the track? I have seen cautions for blown engines that didn’t drop any any oil, and full coarse caution for someone rubbing the wall.
I am probably in the minority, but I would like to see the drivers race back to the caution, as they did for most of nascars history. Yes I remember the race that caused the change from racing back to caution, and have probably seen as many close calls since they quite racing back as before.
While yesterdays finish was exciting, and I’m glad the race finished under green, what would have happened if there would have been a bad wreck caused because drivers didn’t know track had been oiled down.
I love road courses and that was a great race. I’m surprised you even watched Matt; but glad you did. I miss you Tim Richmond! And Davey and Alan.
If that’s what it takes to give me racing like that, I say they lay down a coat of oil on every other groove at Michigan this week and see if we can get that last lap action for 200 on Sunday.
Thanks for the Dylan reference. I am putting together a list of top 10 Dylan songs to give to my daughter. I am down to 18 now – including Memphis Blues.
Not a big fan of road courses either, but after so many boring boring races this years – one or two more road races plus three or four more short tracks and maybe we will have something.
I think many people are under rating the importance of Dodge leaving Nascar. They have turned the corner as a company, and are able to better compete with Ford, GM, etc., and still they feel it is not necessary to be in Nascar. One more sign of the demographic shift away from Nascar. Management better get smart quick.
I have to admit that I enjoyed the end of that race as well, even though my favorite, Gordon, was caught up in the oil spill.
I did think it was interesting that NASCAR could totally ignore the oil on the track – obviously it suited their interests for this race when they can throw a caution for a straw at other times.
I know some times they use a “local yellow” but maybe since the oil was all the way around the place, it wouldn’t have been possible.
I was surprised that Kubu maintained his composure. I wouldn’t have blamed KyBu for spouting off – although IMO I don’t think BradK did anything wrong.
Matt said: “Former standings leader Earnhardt dropped three spots to fourth and suddenly, the Happy Shiny people are hiding back in their caves. Buck up, ya’ll, he’s only 17 points out of the lead.“
Congrats to Johnson for EARNING the points lead based on a strong run in the race.
Matt said: “Channel you’re inner-Bill Murray“
That should be “your”
“Oils well that ends well.”
NASCAR pulled a NASCAR again yesterday. They gave their viewers another reason to compare them to the WWE. When Stewart spun himself off the track, he did just that, spun off the track, on to pit road, out of harm’s way, and ended up pointing straight down pit road. He got the engine fired and got moving relatively quickly, but NASCAR threw a full course caution. There really wasn’t a need for a caution at all.
On any other track, when a car blows up, they throw a caution to check for oil.
But not yesterday. Full course oil slick; no caution. I can’t figure these guys out.
I guess I’m a bit of a hypocrite though, because I liked that last lap as much as the next guy. I’m just saying that NASCAR looked a little foolish with the yellows again yesterday.
And Matt, I too am both surprised and glad that you watched the race yesterday. Take that last wild lap away and it was still better than the average cookie cutter. IMO, anyway.
NASCAR Racing used to be more like the last lap because the cars had so much less grip. They could put racing back like that every week with the help of Goodyear and aero changes. That would mean fewer 1.5 mile tracks though.
Is it awful that I was also thinking that they should always make them race on oil? That 1 lap was better than any 1 lap we’ve ever had at Kansas or Fontana.
I loved this revue and loved the salute to Tim Richmond. In his time there was no one like him.
I am a fan of road courses and wish we had a couple more, as to me to be a complete racer you have to be accomplished on ovals, short tracks, rp tracks and road courses. There are only a hand full of racers out there today who can claim such expertise. I love road courses and love Watkins Glen particularly.
Everything everyone mentioned is all true and appropriate to this discussion. One addition as Johnson has now taken over the leadership of the points standing. Beware and be afraid. I never compare Kyle Busch with Jimmie Johnson, because Kyle Busch is a true racer with all the shortcomings that go with it. Would I rather have a sponsor’s dream, always correct champion or one who drives his guts out, is not happy when things happen that prevents his winning, and who drives other forms of racing every chance he gets? You bet I would take a Kyle Busch every time. Johnson drove in the top 10 the whole race. He didn’t make charges to the front, he took his time, content to drive the course in the top 10 and hope for mistakes from those in front. That’s what many races have become. In those races where Johnson was crazy fast, he dominated, but he never pushes the car beyond what he can do with it safely. He knows his limits and if Chad gives him a car he can cruise with, he will. But Johnson, though he was handed a win at Sonoma last year by Ambrose, is not what I consider a road course racer. He won’t rub fenders and gouge his way into a turn ahead of a competitor, wrecking or being wrecked in the process. His chief concern is to get a good finish and be in contention to win if those ahead wreck each other. Its the safe and some would say, “championship” way to do it, but is there any one of us who didn’t prefer Brad K and Kyle Busch banging on one another and then Ambrose getting into the mix. That was some exciting stuff to watch. So, while Johnson may be positioning himself for championship number 6, I would rather watch any number of lesser competitors, beat and bang their way to immortality or ignominy. For me there is no comparison. We can delight in a Watkin’s Glen race or ignore it and praise the racers who are the anointed ones when they win a boring race with no real competition aside from clean air.
Glad Matt you watched. We’ll convince you yet.
Heard the comment more than once in various post-race coverage that this year’s finish is the 1st one EVER at The Glen with a last lap pass. If that is true, its truly remarkable.
The 88 spun with 7 to go. That oil must have been out there a long time?lol. Worth pointing out also the 78 ran inside the top 10 for the last 15 laps.
Dodges contibution to the muscle car era? Mopar was the muscle car era! Their Wedge and Hemi motors were giant killers!The wing cars were produced to stay competitve,what are you on? They were the class of the field!Ford got on board with the 429 torino taladega and actully had a few more wins than chrysler if i’m not mistaken.(rarely) Just a reminder,all those B body Hemi cars were handicaped,factored,and finally banned by Nascar in order to protect GM whose big block 427 was a boat anchor.GM has been carried for years!
Tim Richmond was the best.
As I recall it Ford won the 68 and 69 drivers and manufacturers titles. The 68 Charger was hampered by a tunneled rear window and a rearset grille that was terrible aerodynamically. Thus was born the Charger 500 with a flush rear window and front grille. Ford responded with the Talladega Torino, which was never offered on the street with a Boss 429 engine. (The Boss 9s were holmogated in the Mustang..talk about a beast!) Mopar responded with the 69 Charger and 70 Superbird, a car designed specifically to bring Petty back from Ford. Earlier in the era, the Ford 427 SOHC was outright banned, so both sides took thier lumps. And let’s not forget the infamous test where a Buick GS455 Stage One beat a Hemi GTX for title of fastest RPO muscle car ever!
cincylady, thank you so much for describing the way Johnson “drives” so perfectly. The chase allows this to happen and has royally, in my opinion, screwed up a lot of the good racing.
Matt, are you going to follow the Dodge example and leave NASCAR? Say it ant so!!!!!
NASCAR wants a “wow” factor? Throw oil on the track more often. With the on track action trending towards boring nine out of ten races, NASCAR better not whiff on this new chassis next year. I am perfectly content watching IndyCar and F1 only. Who would have thought we would see the day when the open wheelers consistently put on a better show than the Cup cars.
Road courses rule….always have!
I thought the clock had turned back to the seventies! I’m not a big fan of road races, but those last laps were as exciting as any I have seen in decades. Everyone in the NASCAR head-shed should be forced to watch them every single day, until they understand what racing passion is, and what we oldtimers have been longing for.