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 · Sunday March 25, 2007
The Key Moment: Jeff Burton got to Kyle Busch's rear bumper but declined to knock him out of the way on the final lap. The finish of the Vegas Busch Series race probably had something to do with that.
In a Nutshell: Good old track, good ol’ boys, and bad new cars.
Dramatic Moment: Anytime they restart a race at Bristol with two laps to go, the tension in the air is so thick you need a Sawzall to slice it.
What They'll Be Talking About Around the Water Cooler This Week:
The winner's take on the new Car of Tomorrow? “These things still suck.” Succinctly put, Kyle, but that comment will likely earn you a terse sitdown with the NASCAR brass this week.
Should Burton have laid a bumper to Busch? This is NASCAR racing at Bristol, after all…not croquet on the rear lawn of the royal family's summer estate.
The big story all week has been this misshapen gnome of a race car called the Car of Tomorrow. (Or CoT…unfortunate acronym, huh?) Frankly, I loathe the look of the thing, so it’s only natural to start the criticism by doing a styling analysis of the vehicle. Well, the car's greenhouse looks like it was pirated from an AMC Pacer, and the front end is pure nineteenth century steam locomotive cowcatcher. The slab sides conjure up nightmarish memories of a Buick Rendezvous, a Pontiac Aztek stripped of its birthday cake decoration. The rear end, well; to put it delicately, it looks like a bulldog bitch in heat raising her hindquarters in preparation of being mounted. And that rear wing? It looks like it was pirated off a slammed and primered Acura Integra outside the Los Angeles County Center Prison's Technical Institute. In thumbing through decades worth of Car and Driver back issues, the closest car I can find stylistically to the CoT is the first generation Infiniti M45, a sales dog that never hunted. Another friend compared it to a stretched limo version of a Renault Alliance involved in a runway collision with an Air Force A10 Warthog.
What the CoT doesn't look like is a Camry, a Fusion, a Five Hundred (erâ€¦Taurus), an Avenger, a Charger, an Impala, or a Monte Carlo. No, not even if you're on acid; it’s a completely different animal, and that's a good thing, too. If a production car this ugly were to be released, no amount of rebates and extended warranties could move the iron off the agency lots. As far as that old "Win on Sunday, sell on Mondayâ€¦" philosophy goes, I guess it only applies to beer and home improvement centers now.
Here's one to debate among conspiracy theorists. NASCAR buys their way to dominance in the diecast stock car replica industry, and now they can save money by only producing one body for all four makes of cars. Of course, the looks of the thing ought to be the final nail in the coffin of the ailing toy car market.
Yes, NASCAR stock cars were last downsized back in 1981, at which point Buicks won all but nine of that year's races; Chevy scored just one victory that season, their worst performance in years. In 1982, Buicks won all but five of the thirty races on the schedule, at which point Ford was forced to release the new Thunderbird for 1983 to start winning races again. While not quite as cutting edge as the Taurus, the new Thunderbird was actually quite lovely by the standards of that era. Chevy responded with the Monte Carlo SS with its more aerodynamic nose, and an entire generation of Dixie shade tree mechanics had a new hot rod of choice. See, back in those days, there was at least some "stock" in stock car. You look at photos from that era, and even a casual fan can say "That one's a Buick, that one's a T-bird, and that one's a Chevy." Trust me. I was there back then.
Back to the present day, or should I say the future? This "Car of Tomorrow" name really has to go now that it’s here, untimely afterbirth that it is. Fans need to dream up a new name, so to get the ball rolling, here's some of my suggestions:
While we're changing names, it's time for the National Association of Stock Car Auto Racing to confront the new reality with a name change to "The National Association of Standardized Car Auto Racing."
Hmmm. NASCAR introduces the Car of Tomorrow, and five Toyotas make the race for the first time. I guess we know what one manufacturer has benefited the most from the standardized body. While on this topic, the PR types keep saying the new car design is a lot safer for tall drivers like Michael Waltrip. Yeah, like he's ever going to qualify for a race again. How'd you like to be a fly on the wall the next time NAPA execs discuss their sponsorship of the No. 55 team. If I was the guy who suggested NAPA leave D.E.I., I'd stay away from any open windows. Oddly enough, there weren't many NAPA ads run during today's race.
I hear Tony Stewart compared the CoT to “a green Oldsmobile station wagon with wood sides.” I take that personally. I had a green Olds wagon with wood sides, a 1970 Vista Cruiser 455, and it was a pretty car that was a joy to drive. Just wish I still had it.
So if this is the Car Of Tomorrow, how come it still has pushrods and a carb, unlike anything that's rolled out of Detroit or Tokyo in about two decades? Oh, that’s right; the standardized NASCAR Engine of Tomorrow is still in development.
OK, I'm done now, I promise. Did I mention I don't care for the Car of Tomorrow?
I guess there was really no way NASCAR could fix things fairly once they messed up opening the pits during Saturday's Busch race. Once you've screwed the pooch, you can only pay to support the puppies.
It surely was good to see and hear Junior Johnson at the track again; but for the record, Johnson doesn't have any “Nextel Cup” wins at Bristol. In fact, he has never even entered a car in a Nextel Cup race. Johnson's entries ran in the Grand National and the Winston Cup series, as it was called back then. In fact, it was Johnson that arranged the long term marriage between Winston and NASCAR, back in the days when drivers had to be distracted by AM radio in their street cars, not those dang cell phones.
It's hard to overlook the preponderance of red garb in the grandstands at Bristol. Thunder Valley is still Earnhardt Country even if the T-shirts have changed from black to red.
Well now, there's a new career opportunity for retired NBA stars; Cup car catch can man.
OK, so Nextel Cup has two rookies named David Ragan and Regan Smith. Which one took over Mark Martin's Chevy and which one took over Mark Martin's Ford?
Last year, it snowed at Bristol during spring race weekend. This year, it was in the eighties. Note to Al Gore: A little global warming can be a nice thing.
Greg Biffle finished fifth, but found out this weekend that his primary sponsor wants to bail on the No. 16 team. Has he considered talking to NAPA? This might be a good week after the NAPA car stayed home while the Carquest car won the race.
The Hindenburg Award for Foul Fortune:
Tony Stewart dominated the first half of the race, only to have his chances at a win end with fuel pump drive problems.
Denny Hamlin appeared to have victory in hand when Jimmie Johnson blew a tire and NASCAR was slow to throw a caution. Unfortunately, that was when his car started “blowing up.”
Dale Jarrett was the first driver to turn a Car of Tomorrow into a Car Of Yesterday today. He had help.
It wasn't a great day for the three Ray Evernham drivers. Scott Riggs nailed the wall while running fourth. A pair of loose wheels cost Elliott Sadler a chance at a win, and Kasey Kahne cut down a tire and backed his car into the wall.
Shortly after clawing his way into the Top 10, a flat tire and contact with the wall dropped Jimmie Johnson to sixteenth.
Give Robby Gordon the "Cole Trickle" award because he hit dang near everything but the pace car. And if he'd been close enough, I bet he'd have hit that, too.
The "Seven Come Fore Eleven" Award For Fine Fortune:
As bad as Jeff Gordon's car was the first half of the race, I thought he'd throw up his hands in disgust and drive it to the garage area. The team kept working on the car and making it better, though, and Gordon finished third after having a legitimate shot at the win late.
Jeremy Mayfield and A.J. Allmendinger qualified for their first race of 2007. That led to logistical problems in the Bill Davis camp; Mayfield's transport driver had only packed one pair of underwear.
When you start 40th and finish fourth at Bristol like Kevin Harvick did, you know you had your work boots laced up tight all day.
Casey Mears finished tenth despite an incident early in the race.
After the start to the season Ward Burton and the No. 4 team have had, an 18th place finish may provide a morale boost.
Jeff Green finished sixth. I have no idea how. Seriously, Green tends to run pretty well here.
Carl Edwards had a good weekend, winning Saturday's Busch race and finishing 12th on Sunday.
The win was Chevrolet's 600th win in NASCAR's top division. That’s impressive, especially considering the fact Chevy sat out the period from 1963 to 1971.
The Top 10 finishers Sunday drove eight Chevys and two Fords. The cars change, but the results stay the sameâ€¦Chevy teams have locked up a lot of talent at the wheel and in the pits. The top finishing Dodge was David Stremme in 13th, and the top finishing Toyota was Brian Vickers in 15th.
David Ragan was the top finishing rookie in 26th.
Jeff Burton leads all drivers with four Top 5 finishes in the season's first five races. He also has four Top 10 finishes, tying him with Mark Martin and Jeff Gordon.
Rick Hendrick has three drivers in the Top 10 in points; ditto for Richard Childress. Jack Roush has two drivers in the Top 10.
Kyle Busch scored his first win since Loudon last July and his first Top 5 finish of 2007.
Jeff Burton's second place finish was his best of the season.
Jeff Gordon has finished in the Top 3 in three of the last four races and hasn't finished worse than twelfth this season.
Kevin Harvick scored his first Top 10 since he won the Daytona 500. He hadn't finished better than seventeenth in the three races between the 500 and today's event.
Greg Biffle scored his first Top 10 finish of the season.
Jeff Green scored his best finish since Talladega in the Fall of 2002.
Dale Earnhardt, Jr. scored his first Top 10 of the season. No, seriously.
Clint Bowyer scored his third top 10 in the last four races.
Jamie McMurray scored his best finish since Watkins Glen last August.
Casey Mears scored his first Top 10 of the 2007 season and his first since Texas last fall.
What's the Points?
Mark Martin falls out of the points lead down to seventh; taking a weekend off will do that to a guy. Jeff Gordon takes over in his place and finds himself three points ahead of Jeff Burton, who takes over second spot. Jimmie Johnson and Matt Kenseth each move up a spot to third and fourth, while Kevin Harvick advanced two spots to fifth.
Kyle Busch had a great points day, advancing eight spots to sixth; winning a race will do that for you. Greg Biffle had an even better points day, advancing 11 spots to 16th. Dale Earnhardt moved up nine spots to 17th, while Jamie McMurray moved up six spots to 18th, but had to go home and eat organic food, so he still had a lousy day. What the heck does a guy on an organic diet have for breakfast? Are Pop Tarts organic?
Tony Stewart took a hard hit in the points, falling six spots to 12th. Juan "Is the Pablo optional?" Montoya fell four spots to 19th. Robby Gordon fell five spots to 21st, and Ryan Newman also fell five spots to 23rd.
Kasey Kahne can relax this week. He's guaranteed a spot in next week's race even if those three (didn't it used to be four) creepy chicks in the Durango run into him during qualifying. Meanwhile, all seven Toyota teams find themselves outside the Top 35 in points; Dale Jarrett needs to start considering how he is going to make races if he uses up his six previous champion Mulligans.
Overall Rating (On a scale of one to six beer cans with one being a stinker and a six pack an instant classic): We'll give this one four icy cold cans of Colorado's finest. The first half of the race, all one could do was marvel at Stewart's prowess and cringe looking at the new cars, but things heated up nicely there at the end.
Next Up: The Car of Tomorrow heads for the Track From Yesterdayâ€¦Martinsville.
©2000 - 2008 Matt McLaughlin and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
Way to go Matt!! NASCAR might as well bite the bullet and call them â€œ(Your car manufacturer choice) poweredâ€ cars. They are NOT Fusions, Camrys or Impalas. This is the first Bristol race in a while that I did not watch in its entirety. The enthusiasm continues to wane. By the way, in the IRL race Sat. night Danica Patrick spun out entering pit road. Her car came to rest against pit wall, and no caution was thrown. NASCAR could surely learn something there. I guess the IRL doesnâ€™t care who wins and whether they have gotten in enough commercials.
matt, you are a true national asset. your comments and observations strip away all of the corporate na$car crap. keep on goinâ€™.
For a Bristol race, this was pretty tame compared to past races. As to the name of the car, The Flying Brick, POS, Can of Tuna, Can of Tomotoes, Camry of Tomorrow, or Kit Car all seem to fit. I think Tony Stewartâ€™s initial description of â€œbutt uglyâ€ definitely applies.
As to the new meaning of NASCAR, it should be â€œNational Association for Spec Car Auto Racingâ€ since thatâ€™s the direction theyâ€™re heading with the mandated gears, common body, common engine which is coming, and everything that youâ€™d find in either IROC or a spec car racing series.
And itâ€™s not a coincidence Toyota got in as many cars as they did. The Flying Brick or whatever name you want to use was purposely designed to get them into NASCAR. All the safety modifications couldâ€™ve been incorporated into the current â€œcommon templateâ€ style car.
great article, as usual, matt!! thanks for the ward burton mention!