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.
Mike Neff · Tuesday September 6, 2011
Burt Myers is the 2011, Bowman-Gray Stadium Modified Champion. The title is the second consecutive title for the well known driver from Walnut Cove, NC. Myers has won five championships during his Modified racing career. Myers is the grandson and great-nephew of Billy and Bobby Myers who raced at The Stadium when it was first opened in 1949. His father, Gary Myers, is ninth on the all-time career victory list at Bowman-Gray with 36 wins. Myers’ family has been synonymous with Modified racing at Bowman-Gray and Burt, along with his brother Jason, are carrying on that family tradition.
This past week, after some minor setbacks at Bristol, Frontstretch was able to catch up with Myers at his family race shop in Walnut Cove and spend a little time getting to know him. Myers was getting ready for a Southern Modified Tour race at Langley Speedway and, before we were able to sit down for the article, he actually allowed Mike Neff to assist in putting his freshened Roush Yates power plant into his car before it was loaded up to take to the race track.
Mike Neff:: Burt, you are one of five drivers who has won more than three titles at Bowman-Gray stadium. What does it mean to you to have that much success at such a historic track?
Burt Myers: We race so often that we don’t get a lot of time to reflect on what we’ve accomplished. It is pretty cool when you do take the time to reflect, especially on the history that our family has there. To be able to look and see the Myers’ family name in the history books, all of the way back to when Bowman-Gray began, when NASCAR began. It is pretty cool. This is the first year that I’ve been able to do a back-to-back. That is very cool, it is pretty special to me. It’s not just about hitting one here and there. I had ’99 and then ’01, then jumped all of the way to ’07. I think it is a testament to how hard you work and how much dedication you have when you’re able to do a back-to-back.
Neff: Speaking of back-to-back, there are only three drivers in the history of The Stadium who have managed to win three consecutive championships. Is that now the goal since you’ve accomplished winning consecutive championships?
Myers: Well yeah, of course it is. When you’re able to win races and championships you become a victim of your own success. Whether that is good or bad I don’t know, but once you go to the banquet and you get that big trophy one time it is never good enough to go back and not get the big trophy. Absolutely three in a row is my goal. If I can go over there, I mean I say this every year, we go over there to win races. The last two years we’ve been fortunate enough to go over and win races and win the championships at the same time. I’d say three in a row is my next goal.
Neff: You mention the history of the stadium and your family there and part of the reason I’m doing this is there are people who are fans of our site who don’t know about you and your family’s history there. Talk a little about your folks and your family history at The Stadium. A lot of people don’t know that before you and Jason were running at Bowman-Gray there were other Myers who raced there.
Myers: Well, my Grandpa and my Great-Uncle Billy and Bobby Myers started there when Bowman-Gray started. They were pioneers of the sport, at least I think most people consider them pioneers of the sport, back with the Flocks and Curtis Turner and people like that. My Grandpa won three championships there and Bobby won one or two (a check of the records says it was one.) but the Myers family has won 135 races over there, combined, feature wins, so like I’ve said, the Myers name goes way back over there.
Neff: That leads us into the next question I had, you’re fifth on the all-time wins list at The Stadium. Are you going to run there long enough to get to the top spot and can you keep Tim Brown from getting to that spot before you do?
Myers: Tim got about a four or five year head start on me so he’s nine or ten wins ahead of me right now. I think, if history stands true, me and Tim will be one and two before it is over with if we stay there that long. My goal has always been to progress up the NASCAR ladder, but all of my eggs are in the Modified basket. So it is hard, that is the basket that I have to carry right now. If the opportunity came up that I would have the chance to run something else I would absolutely pursue it, but you can see right here, everything I have is open wheel so it would be kind of hard for me to start over in something else, especially at the next level without some serious financial support. I think Brown and I will be one and two before it is all said and done.
Neff: Considering all-time wins, Junior Miller, the last couple of years it hasn’t seemed like he’s been that competitive, but he did win up at North Wilkesboro. Do you think he’s past his prime? Can he still get it done at The Stadium? I mean, I don’t know how old he is. He’s like 80 or something (he’s actually only 60).
Myers: (laughs) I don’t know how old he is. It’s hard to say. I try not to focus on what everybody else is doing. I try to focus on what I’m doing. When you lose focus and you start worrying about what other people are doing you get off track from where you need to be. Basically, other than Jason, everybody else over there is just another number. Y’know, Jason is not really a teammate, in my eyes he’s my brother. Me and Tim Brown race good together. The reason me and Jason and Tim get along together and race good and race hard and race clean and just have good racing together is because Tim lives the same way we do. We eat, we live, we breathe modified racing. It is a matter of respect. I think Tim respects his own equipment so he respects other people’s equipment because he knows what we have to do to put into it, the same way around with us. As far as Junior is concerned I try not to pay any more attention to him than I have to. We go over there to win races and do the best we can.
Neff: Junior, Tim and you have owned the championship at The Stadium over the last 15 years. Is there anybody else over there running now, young or old, you see coming up or has been there a while that you see knocking you guys off for a championship?
Myers: It is hard to say. Y’know there are guys coming in and out. Jason has shown some real progress the last couple of years. The thing about Bowman-Gray is you’ve got to have some luck to go along with your success. With the handicap system, with the draw races, with the choice cone, with the double-file restarts, there are so many things that play into the picture. You can have the fastest car over there and be the best driver over there and that doesn’t mean you’re necessarily going to come out on top. If you look in the history books for the last several years, me and Tim have been first or second for the last however many years, but it is really hard to say. I don’t want to call out any names, good or bad, you never know who might step up.
Neff: You ran a Late Model during the Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown at Richmond. Have you ever thought about running a Late Model at another track to try and win a championship in that kind of car and win a NC State championship in a Modified and a Late Model?
Myers: I’d love to. Like I said before, everything I have is open wheel, it is all Modified stuff. If I had the opportunity, I’ve talked to a couple of people about possibly doing some UARA races or some Late Model races but, until the opportunity, until someone can actually come to me and give me an opportunity, I’m kind of stuck where I’m at y’know, as far as physically, financially, mentally, everything I’ve got and everything I know is about Modifieds. I love running Late Models, I love driving Late Models, it is a different kind of racing. I had a ball driving the Late Model at the Denny Hamlin race. I’d love to do some more racing for Team Dillon but, like I said, unless the opportunity it presented to me, it is kind of hard for me to step out of where I am now and try and race something else.
Neff: What is it like having such a huge fan following at the Stadium? I mean, looking at that place, there are Cup drivers who would be jealous of the fan following that the Myers Brothers and Tim Brown has, for that matter.
Myers: The TV show did a lot to help that but, I think people appreciate how we treat the fans because, I think, we treat people the way we want to be treated. And people say all of the time that it’s about, they make comments about, we’re the last ones there, signing autographs and taking pictures, but when you enjoy it that makes it easy. It is our passion, it is all we know, it is what we do. So it is pretty cool to know that, when you actually take a minute to look and you see that we both have 20some thousand fans on Facebook, we’ve both won the most popular driver that last several years at the stadium, and I won it on the tour last year and I think Jason is leading it on the tour this year, so it is humbling if anything to know that maybe you’re making a difference.
Let me say this, I think one of the things that I am most proud of with the TV show is the recognition that it got for short track racing in general and especially the modified division. I think it put people in touch with people like us, and I think they can relate to us because we’re just ordinary people doing an extraordinary thing. When the turn on CMT cribs and see these Cup drivers with multi-million dollar homes and 14 vehicles and all of these toys, they can’t relate to it. They can relate to us and I think that is one of the reasons that we’ve got the following that we do.
Neff: You mentioned Tim Brown before and the guy has got 160 pole positions or something and 58 feature wins and unloads fast every week but has respect for you and seems to always race you hard. How much fun is it knowing that you’re going to have to be on you’re A-game to beat him just about every week?
Myers: Well, I think it makes it fun. Y’know, it is a challenge and you don’t mind running and racing a guy when you know what you’ve got to do is out run him. You don’t have to knock him out of the way, you don’t have to worry about him knocking you out of the way, you don’t have to worry about someone playing dirty, you know you have to be on you’re A-game as far as being fast and competitive. That is what racing is supposed to be about. It is not supposed to be about where you’re going to draw or who you have to knock out of the way or avoid. I said it on the microphone a couple of weeks ago, other than Jason, Tim is the one guy that I enjoy racing door to door with.
Neff: Have you ever thought of going up to the Northeast and running the tracks like Thompson and Stafford and Waterford to see what you could do against the drivers up there where Modifieds came from, for a full season?
Myers: Financially it is almost impossible for us. With the following we have at Bowman-Gray and the history that our family has there, it financially just makes more sense for us to go to Bowman-Gray Stadium. Actually, we can use some of our financial backing that we get because we run at Bowman-Gray to let it bleed over into our tour program, especially with the lack of TV coverage that we lost from the tour last year. It is kind of hard for us to go to sponsors when we don’t have anything to offer them other than the live fans who are in the stands. Whenever you’ve got some TV coverage you can go to a sponsor and say ‘Hey, I’m going to be on SPEED Channel or I’m going to be on Versus or I’m going to be on Madhouse TV show’ then it would entice a sponsor to help you. From talking to Christopher and Ryan Preece and a lot of those guys, Stefanik, Stafford is a place that I’m going to have to get to eventually. Of course Loudon is one of them that I’m going to have to hit before it is over with, they say they are just awesome tracks to race on. We had some good success when we went to Thompson last year for the Icebreaker. Qualified fifth and I think we had a solid top five if we hadn’t had a transmission problem. I enjoy racing with the Northern guys and there are a lot of tracks up there that I’d like to hit but financially it is just tough to do.
Neff: I was just curious. I know in talking to Patrick Reynolds, who was up there, he was saying that, while you guys were up there, the amount of Dirty South merchandise that you saw in the stands was unbelievable.
Myers:(laughs) Yeah it was really cool because, I don’t know if it was before the TV show or before I won the North-South shootout twice because it kind of fell along the same time that both of those happened in the same time period. There was always a rivalry between the North and South guys and it seems like that’s kind of vanished. I think some of it is due to when they saw the TV show they saw that we take this serious and that this is not just a game, that we take it just as serious as they do, that they gained some respect for us. Yeah, it was pretty cool. They treated me like a Dale Jr. when I went up there I mean the fans hollering and cheering and the long lines for autographs and it was pretty cool to experience that, away from your hometown. At Bowman-Gray and around this area, it is home so to experience that away from home was pretty cool.
Neff: I see you almost always wearing that No. 3 hat at the stadium. Was Dale Earnhardt you favorite driver, your idol when you were growing up?
Myers: Yeah, I really never pulled for anyone but Dale Sr. My dad grew up with Richard Childress, and with Chocolate being the gas man, and David Smith who was the jack man for years. He and daddy worked in this garage down here, this old body shop. It was just he was the guy that I always pulled for.
Neff: Are you related to Chocolate?
Myers: Yeah, he’s daddy’s first cousin.
Neff: I didn’t realize that.
Myers: He’s Bobby’s son. Billy was daddy’s dad and Bobby was Chocolate’s dad. The story behind the No. 3 hat is that when I drove the Team Dillon No. 3 car at Richmond, the guy that just walked in, Danny Culler, he spotted for Earnhardt, and that was the tenth anniversary hat that they had at Daytona. He spotted for me in the Late Model race. On the way home he gave me that hat, he said ‘here, this hat is good luck.’. So I wore it the first race at the Stadium and I won the race. I wore it all year and won the championship. So it was kind of one of those deals where I started the season with it and everything was going pretty smooth so I kept it on every week. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Neff: You’ve done some things with RCR in the past, is there any possibility that they could stick you in a Truck or Nationwide car in the future or is that more of a Team Dillon thing?
Myers: I’ve beat the bushes with them pretty hard and I’ve reminded Richard Childress on several occasions that he started over here where we’re still at. But I think, anymore, it is not about how good you are, it’s about the financial backing. I mean it is purely either politics or financial backing. Without the financial backing it is kind of hard to do anything anymore and I think it is obvious, I’m not knocking anybody but I think it is very obvious that when you watch a race on Sunday it is not about whether you can drive anymore, it’s about how much money you can bring or who is your dad. It is sad that it has come to that. Y’know, NASCAR is still great and the NASCAR racing you see on Sunday is still great NASCAR racing but, what we do, what we do here and on Saturday night is true, hard core, real racing. It’s real racing, I mean what we do is, and I don’t mean we don’t appreciate our sponsors but, we race for the trophy. We don’t race to impress somebody or to jump through hoops, we race for the trophy and I think that NASCAR is gradually getting back to that, but that is where NASCAR started and that is where we still are.
Neff: Next one is a little controversial, I’ve heard from some fans and even someone who writes for our site that the reason you don’t make the move up to Nationwide or Trucks is because you couldn’t pass a drug test. What do you say to people who say that?
Myers: (laughs) I’d say get a cup. I mean the bottom line is people are going to say things and people are going to start rumors. The only drug test I have ever taken for NASCAR is when I drove Bobby Doddard’s Truck at Martinsville and passed a drug test and I was at Martinsville, had my Camping World Truck license. I’ve never had a failed drug test of any kind, whatsoever to speak of, so people are going to say what they are going to say and, if the opportunity ever arose where I had the opportunity to drive something, I have to take a drug test to get my license, and when I did that I passed it. That’s all I can say.
Neff: Are your kids racing at all?
Myers: No, I’ve got a 10 and 11 year old girls and then my son just turned three. Which, daddy says that, when he turns four he’s going to get him a go-kart so we’ll see how that goes, but it kind of amazed my momma the other day when I made the comment that I was glad that I didn’t, I realize it now but maybe at the time I didn’t, but I was glad I didn’t start racing until I was 17 years old. The reason I say that is I can remember the last time I had on a football helmet, I can remember the last time I had a baseball bat in my hand. I think, nowadays, parents want it more for their kids than the kids want it for themselves. What happens is that kids don’t get to be kids. The thing about it is, you can either drive or you can’t. I started driving when I was 17 years old. Now I was around it my whole life, I’ve got pictures of when I was five years old, pushing a jack around in the shop, so I knew the ins and outs and I knew the things that had to go on. Not saying a kid can just step into it at 17 years old and be blind to everything about it, but being around it, knowing how it works, and paying his dues, and then getting in the car and learning from there I think that is probably, if you can drive you can pull it off. Y’know, people ask me all the time about my son, is he going to be the fourth generation of the Myers to come in and drive, I tell people all of the time that I’m going to put a football in his hand. The fact of it is that I want him to be a kid and I want him to play sports then, as he gets older, then he can drive.
Neff: Saturday night, the season finale at the Stadium was a freaking mess. How frustrating was it being in the car with the long run at the beginning and then it was like four laps of green then seven laps of caution, four laps green then seven laps of caution? Just how irritating is it to deal with that?
Myers: The track was as bad as I’ve ever seen it, the track conditions. In my mind I thought that, what would happen is, I ride around for a little while and stay out of trouble, let four or five cars fall out and then I’ve got the championship locked up, then I could go. Well with 25 to go there were still 20 cars running so, as it got down to that point I just put myself into, ok, I’ll sacrifice the little trophy for the big one, and that was kind of where I put myself for that last race. As far as being frustrated, it was very, very frustrating. It is not my style to lay back. I want to try and go win the race. I just had to suck it up and sacrifice the little trophy for the big one.
Neff: During that race the other night, one of the guys dropped a wheel off of the track coming off of two and you got inundated with water. How nervous did it make you getting all of that water inside of your car? Were you worried about electrical issues, because those things aren’t designed to get wet like that.
Myers: I don’t know that anything like that crossed my mind, I think that just the overall factor of the drama period maybe crossed my mind. I had to dodge so many bullets that night that it just all kind of ran together. Now that you say that I think about, yeah it could have flooded the carburetor or flooded the gauges or whatever and caused a problem, but I think that basically, I just wanted it to be over with. In my mind, I wasn’t really concerned with, I knew I could dodge the bullets of other cars and where other teams were concerned. The thing that worried me was a mechanical problem. Once the green flag fell, if my coil went out and I’m out of the race, I lose the championship. If I had to dodge another car or dodge a wreck, I felt like I could do that. For the most part I just wanted it over with.
Neff: Last point on that, you started on pole because qualifying got rained out and you were immediately dropping back. Watching it I thought you were just dropping back to get Jason right behind you to cover your back bumper, but on the next restart he went to the outside and left you. Did you plan on dropping back to him or did it just work out that way? Did you have it lined up to have him help you out?
Myers: It just worked out that way. No, we don’t plan anything out like that. Y’know, if it came down to the end of the race and I needed on spot I feel like he’d give me the spot, if it meant winning the championship, and I’d do the same thing for him. As far as planning it out with him riding behind me or whatever, we didn’t even talk about it. Now when I looked up and I saw that he was behind me it made me feel a little bit of comfort but never at any point during a race or during my career have I expected him to stay behind me, unless it was a last lap situation that meant the championship. We just kind of play it by ear and go race. I think, just like the very first race I ever won, at The Stadium, I started on the pole and daddy started on the outside of me. As the race got going and he was behind me, I pulled away from him and I won the race. I had to hear from people, ‘well your daddy was blocking for you, of course you won the race.’ and I wouldn’t want him to block for me. I want him to try as hard as he can because I know, if I beat him I’ve done something. Me and Jason feel the same way about each other, we want to earn it. We don’t want each other to give it to the other one, we want to earn it.
Neff: Before that race, I think it was the Browns that were talking some smack about there being no way they’d let you win the championship. Were you worried about that at all when the race went green I know one of them was right behind you?
Myers: I won the championship didn’t I? (laughs)
Neff: Yes you did. I just didn’t know, as you’re ready to take the green, are you thinking about what they were saying when one of them is in your rear view mirror?
Myers: No, the thing about it is, you go over there and you take it one piece of the puzzle at a time. You try as hard as you can and you deal with whatever is put in front of you. People are going to talk trash. It is like you said earlier, if I was running 15th or 20th every week, no one would say a thing. Just like I heard Jason say to Tim Brown, he knows that, if he beats me and Tim, he’s done something. I think, the guys who aren’t beating us, that is their goal, to beat us. I remember when I was in the reverse situation. I was chasing Junior or daddy or Philip Smith or Ralph Brinkley or whoever it might be and I knew that, if I beat those guys, I did something right. But that goes back to focusing on what I need to do and not worrying about what everybody else is doing.
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