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.
Key Moment – Kyle Busch had another motor issue which relegated him to also-ran status and allowed Denny Hamlin to pass him for the lead with 206 laps to go. From that point on, barring a major mechanical failure or strategic blunder, Hamlin was just logging laps until he did a tremendous burnout.
In a Nutshell – Hamlin’s crew forgot to add extra air to his tires before he went out for qualifying on Friday which resulted in him starting the race from the 32nd position. From the drop of the green flag, Hamlin was on a mission to get to the front. Once he got there, he just drove away with the race.
Dramatic Moment – Hamlin had a serious amount of trash on his car’s front grill with 70 laps to go in the race. His temperatures were beginning to climb and there was a distinct possibility that he might have to pit before he could make it to the finish on fuel to get it off of the grill. Lucky for Hamlin, his teammate in the No. 18 was struggling; so Hamlin was able to pull up behind Busch’s wounded car and the debris blew off.
What They’ll be Talking About Around the Water Cooler This Week
After last week, in which there was only one on-track pass for the lead, we saw several this week. In fact, there were five passes for the lead that took place with both cars on the race track at speed this week. Although hardly a record in stock car racing, there was at least a small amount of racing at the front of the pack. Deeper in the pack, there was plenty of racing with cars three- and four-wide and a large amount of traded paint.
Hamlin’s car was simply that much better. Hamlin started the race in 32nd (28th after two cars in his line had to drop to the back) but he was on a mission from the drop of the rag. Looking at the NASCAR box score that breaks down the race in segments for every car, Hamlin’s charge to the front is easy to see. Twentieth on lap 15, 16th on lap 30, 9th on lap 45 and 4th on lap 60. That is getting it done on a track that puts a premium on getting around on the bottom while there was only the competition caution on lap 42 to help him.
Kyle Busch has been snake-bitten this season but is some of it of his own making? Busch’s efforts succumbed to engine issues again this week. Last season, when Joe Gibbs Racing was changing from their own engine shop to TRD engines, Hamlin was the most vocal about making the change, while Busch was supportive and didn’t seem to see a need to make the change. This season, while engine woes have repeatedly plagued JGR, they have seemed to be most prominent with the No. 18. Whether it is just a throw away season or if there is really something to how Busch pushes a car, it seems as though he’s just harder on equipment than his JRG teammates.
Fords stink Ok, so they don’t stink all of the time and they have won a manufacturer’s championship in the last decade (just barely, but they did win it in 2002). However this weekend was not a shining accomplishment for the blue oval crowd. Matt Kenseth was the best-performing Ford on the track; he came across the finish line in 14th. The FR9 engine may give them an advantage on Intermediates and plate tracks; but on short and flat tracks, the Fords are not showing well this season.
Johnson is just toying with them at this point. Although Jimmie Johnson couldn’t do anything with Hamlin at New Hampshire, he had everyone else covered to come home second for the second straight week. Johnson commented during the weekend that his team was focused on finishing top three in the first six races of the Chase and then they’d evaluate where they are. Other teams focus on top 10s, the No. 48 focuses on top 3s. That’s why they’re going to be really hard to beat for the title in 2012.
Caution flags for debris are still the most frustrating things in NASCAR today. Four caution flags flew over the race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and three of them were for debris. The first flag was a competition caution, but the other three were for the infamous debris that is so elusive for the television cameras. After seeing Danica Patrick run over a tennis shoe at speed in Montreal without it having a negative impact on her car, it is time for NASCAR to rethink the liberal use of yellows for debris. If the debris isn’t big enough to lift the cars wheels off of the ground when it is run over, lets keep the green flag out.
The infraction list at Loudon might be the shortest in the history of NASCAR. The Nos. 22 and 55 were sent to the back before the race started for unapproved adjustments. Other than that, the only offense of the entire race was that the No. 33 had a pit crew member over the wall too soon on lap 43 which caused them to have to go to the rear for the restart after the competition caution. Not a single “too fast entering,” not a solo “equipment outside of the box.” Either the teams are just tired of the season and are playing out the string, or no one is pushing it because penalties during a race when track position is everything are just too costly.
Prize money still doesn’t make sense. There are a myriad of things that are rolled into the prize money that is paid to drivers for their race finishes, but when Landon Cassill gets more money for starting 28th and finishing 27th than Joey Logano, who started 18th and finished 8th, it is just stupid. NASCAR shouldn’t even bother posting prize money per race because so little of it is dependent on what actually happens on the track.
The Hindenburg Award for Foul Fortune
Kyle Busch led 48 laps and looked like the only car on the track that could potentially hold off Hamlin but an engine issue caused him to lose the lead to the eventual race winner and finish the race in 28th, two laps down. Like the rest of Busch’s season, this race left him singing “What Might Have Been.”
The vendor that sells speedy-dry to New Hampshire Motor Speedway, because they didn’t use a bag all weekend on the race track.
The ginormous lobster that they make the driver and crew chief pose with in Victory Lane after winning the race at New Hampshire. Assuming it ended up on a plate somewhere with a large container of butter alongside, it was a bad day for the crustacean.
”The Seven Come For Eleven” Award For Fine Fortune
The tire specialist on the No. 11 just might have lost his job if Hamlin had not made it up through the field to take the win after he went out on air pressures that were too low to qualify.
Jimmie Johnson, Brad Keselowski, Kasey Kahne, Matt Kenseth, and Brian Vickers all managed to lead laps after Hamlin made it to the front of the field. Although Vickers was the only one who actually got in front of Hamlin on a restart the rest of them just held on to get a bonus point during pit stops.
Denny Hamlin and Darian Grubb, on the opposite end of the fork from the aforementioned gigantic lobster.
What’s the Points
Jimmie Johnson finished second in the race, four spots ahead of Brad Keselowski. As a result, he is now one point ahead of the Kes in the point standings in the top spot. This isn’t Johnson’s first rodeo and his comments after the race about focusing on top three finishes should have the rest of the competitors wondering if they are actually racing for second place.
Denny Hamlin vaulted into third by virtue of his winning the race and leading the most laps. Hamlin lost roughly seven spots on the last lap at Chicago thanks to running out of gas or he would be tied with Johnson, who is now seven points ahead of him, for the top spot.
Tony Stewart led early, slipped a little during the middle laps but came back for a solid seventh place finish. That leaves Stewart 10 points out of the top spot but still within shouting distance.
After Chicago, Clint Bowyer and Kasey Kahne were tied for fourth, 15 spots out of the lead. After Bowyer finished fourth without leading a lap and Kahne finished fifth while leading a lap, they are now tied for fifth, 15 points out of the lead. Mathematically they’re far from out of it; but realistically, they can’t afford to slip any more and still have a shot.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. is now 26 points out of the top spot which is more than half of a race. For him and the other five drivers below him, the Chase is already slipping quickly out of reach.
In the total meaningless and generally irrelevant “battle” for the 13th position in points, Kyle Busch’s foul luck dropped him to 24 points ahead of Ryan Newman for that cherished spot.
Tommy Baldwin’s No. 36 is now 119 points ahead of the Wood Brothers’ No. 21 for the 35th spot in the point standings.
Overall Rating: After the complete and total boredom of the Chicago race to open the Chase, most anything had to be an improvement. While Loudon was far from an instant classic, there was plenty of excitement back in the pack at Loudon and more than one on-track pass for the lead. Denny Hamlin charging through the pack and taking it three-wide with Jimmie Johnson en route while Juan Pablo Montoya was bouncing off anyone and everyone who was near him definitely make things more interesting. Brian Vickers scored a top 10 in a spot start for MWR while Kevin Harvick ran into Kyle Busch after Busch’s motor started going south. In the end we’ll give this one three somewhat chilly cans of Michelob Light. One driver leading nearly 2/3 of the race is going to detract from the overall rating of any event but at least it wasn’t Jeff Burton leading every lap with restrictor plates on the cars. Also in the plus column is seeing the driver hold onto the giant lobster in Victory Lane. That is much better than the total dorkness of the cowboy hat/six shooter debacle that is post race at Texas.
Next *p: The traveling circus heads just down the road to Dover, Delaware, for another go with Miles the Monster. The treacherous concrete, self-cleaning mile can dramatically impact the title hopes of anyone caught up in a mess, even if it isn’t of their own making. Jimmie Johnson has won seven races at Dover, and four of the last seven, including the spring race. Expect to see another strong showing by Johnson and a possible defining race in this year’s run to the title.
Connect with Mike!
©2000 - 2008 Mike Neff and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
sorry, the most frustrating thing is boring races. this one was just one notch above chicago and still well into the unwatchable range (even if the 11 put on a clinic.)
god’s gift to nascar fans? f1 and the dvr.
NASCAR has got to stop throwing the fake cautions. They undermine the sport. That was my only gripe with this race. I called both debris cautions before they went to commercials. Then when the commercial was over, imagine that, another debris caution with no debris shown. How stupid do they think we are?
How about the debris caution when the 88 was about to go a lap down? Like Bill B said, how stupid do they think we are?
guess the hendrick check to brain fart cleared in time this week for the caution flag to benefit jr.
i need denny hamlin to pick lottery numbers for me so i can win a jackpot and not have to worry about the ongoing search for work.
so i guess the 48 team took back the equipment they gave the 88 team earlier in the season so jr would at least make the chase. wonder how many articles will be written this week about jr and his chance for championship. i only hope that brad can keep 1 pt between him and the 48 so it’s a battle.
what little of the race i saw, i was already bored with johnson professing his love of dover. did someone give jimmy a calculator, cause he sure was spouting number a lot in the post race interview i saw.
Where is the outrage among fans and the media? This is blatant manipulation of a sporting event.
Feel so sorry for ya’ll who watched that race and missed all the awesome NFL games yesterday.
That Titans-Lions game was history making and surreal.
Boy the Chase, and the 48 in the points lead again, really has helped nascar right?
What I found interesting was the difference in racing with the Modifieds at NHMS vs. the Cup cars. The Modifieds had side-by-side racing, and with the Cup cars, ten laps into a run it was single file boredom. Glad we had places to go and bands to see yesterday. Finished watching the DVRed last half of the race in about five minutes on fast forward when we got home.
NASCAR meets the NRA…ready, aim, deliver slug directly into your own foot. Repeat. Starting the Chase at Joliet and NHMS, two of the circuits most notoriously boring tracks, mean the 2012 Chase is stillborne. There’s no saving it now.
If the NFL officiating has been questionable with the scab zebras to date this season, at least it gives fans something to talk about. What is the pox popular talking about in NASCAR? Well….Jeff Gordon shaved off his moustache.
Wonder how long it will be before PETA causes a stink over the giant lobster? Will we one day see a required photo op as the NHMS winner releases the giant lobster back into the ocean the Monday after the race just as every year the US president “pardons” the White House turkey at Thanksgiving?
Below the surface there are already troubling signs for the 2013 season? Most teams still don’t have the new sheetmetal for the 2013 cars justs weeks before testing of those cars is set to begin. What you’re seeing when you see the “new gen” cars are actually fiberglass mockups which are useless for testing. Meanwhile NASCAR is still in a state of flux over rules for those new cars particularly in the area of rear end geometry.
RCR’s Dillon win’s the Saturday race for Pop Pop. Harvick, Burton and Menard suffer through listless runs on Sunday. Anyone else sensing a patern here?
Wherefore art thou Ford. So far the Blue Oval bunch is a non-entity in the Chase despite the 17 and 16 leading the points most of the season. On a brighter note, no shocks fell off on Sunday.
Under the traditional points system Greg Biffle would be leading by 2 points over some guy named Dale Earnhardt. And people might actually be watching the races thinking Jr. might win the title. Smooth move Brian.
Since I now work Sundays I think I have developed the proper formula for watching a Cup race with minimum angst. Step 1: DVR the race. Step 2: Buy a cold 40 of Bud or Coors Light on the way home from work. Step 3: Fast forward 17 minutes from the start of the broadcast so you see the green flag drop, not a bunch of idiotic speculation on what is about to happen. Step 4 Pour a 12 ounce Red Solo Cup worth of beer, light a cigarette and nurse your beer for the first third of the race. Over consumption will invariably lead to napping. Step 5…fast forward through commercials, Sprint promos and infield recaps of the race. Pour another beer at the 1/3rd mark. Step 6, pour your third beer at the 2/3rd mark. With ten laps to go you may pour your final four ounces into the Cup. Step 7- Remember that drinking 3 and a third beers has been fun even if watching the race wasn’t. Time expended approximately one hour and 35 minutes leaving you with two hours or so more time to do things you enjoy than fans who watched these parades live. So maybe you ought to pick up a second forty on your way home from work.
Never knew a race could have over three hundred parade laps. Oh, I forgot the phantom debris caution that kept Jr from going a lap down. Sadly that’s the perception now, real or not. When I watch football and golf and check on the race during commercials, something’s wrong. nas$car is dying from self inflicted wounds.
matt…..thought you quit smoking, ala chantax taylor swift dreams!?
Actually, they did have to refill the speedy-dry truck on Saturday. Plenty of action then! So, don’t feel too sorry for them.
Did not watch. Each year I cut it off when their chase starts.
Watching that race made me wish I hadn’t stopped drinking 35 years ago. Thank goodness for DVR and fast forward.
Bring back testing! These races are boring as hell because the teams can’t prepare their cars to race any longer. With Goodyear switching tire compounds by the minute, I’m surprised several teams haven’t just thrown up their hands and quit already.
On the bright side, the Modified race was outstanding, and the Truck race at Kentucky was entertaining. Even the Nationwide race had its moments. It’s the “premiere” motorsport in North America that’s stinking up the joint.
Recent articles from Mike Neff:
Infographic for the West Coast Nationals for the Mini Outlaws
Want to find out more about Mike Neff? Maybe see all the articles he's written here at the Frontstetch? Check out his article archive and bio page then!