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.
Key Moment – Martin Truex Jr. was comfortably ahead, in position to break a six-year drought since his lone Cup win when the caution flew with 21 laps to go. As the cars came off pit road, Kyle Busch screeched out in front and from there, it was all she wrote. He went on to lead the final 20 laps and take the win.
In a Nutshell – Dominance for Kyle Busch. Heartbreak for Truex. Waiting for Fontana’s action that never came.
Dramatic Moment – During pre-race inspection, both cars fielded by Penske Racing were told that the tech inspectors did not like their rear end housings. The No. 2 and 22 cars had to change their rear ends in order to pass technical inspection. After the No. 22 swapped their rear end, it took them three tries to get through a laser inspection. By the time they got to the grid, the command to start engines had been given and Joey Logano had to start at the back.
What They’ll be Talking About Around the Water Cooler
Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski’s teams should expect their “rear ends” to get beaten with the rulebook this week, as loss of points, fines, and suspensions for crew members are all possible outcomes. You have to piss NASCAR off pretty good to have them take parts from your car, to the point the beginning of the race was slightly delayed.
After Saturday’s race Terry Blount from ESPN reported Brad Keselowski let fly at NASCAR, which will most certainly draw some additional ire from the suits in Daytona. A snippet of his quotes are below… a lot of inferences are given but not a whole lot of actual information. You know, like those “secret fines” from NASCAR back in the day…
“I have one good thing to say. That’s my team and effort they put in today in fighting back with the absolute bull that’s been the last seven days in this garage area. The things I’ve seen over the last seven days have me questioning everything that I believe in, and I’m not happy about it. I don’t have anything positive to say and I probably should just leave it at that. There’s so much stuff going on … you have no f——— idea what’s going on, And that’s not your fault and that’s not a slam on you. I could tell you there’s nobody, no team in this garage with the integrity of the 2 team. And the way we’ve been treated over the last seven days is absolutely shameful. I feel like we’ve been targeted over the last seven days more than I’ve ever seen a team targeted. But my guys kept their heads on straight and they showcased why they are a winning team and championship team. We’re not going to take it. We’re not going to be treated this way.”
Texas Motor Speedway has a worn out surface that allows for all kinds of racing all over the track. While that was good for the battling back in the pack, the racing at the front of the pack was a mirror of what we’ve seen for years. Whether it was Busch or Truex, the driver in the lead had a very big advantage over the rest of the field and that doesn’t look likely to change anytime soon.
NASCAR, once again has developed the itchy caution flag finger. Between the Nationwide race having multiple cautions for debris, in locations where a car could not physically go and the Cup race, with cautions for cars that “looked like” they were blowing up, the sanctioning body was looking to find any old reason to throw the yellow. News flash: bad racing, fixed by automatic manipulation doesn’t get the fans back in their seats. It gets them to change the channel…
Fans called into the Masters on Friday to report a penalty that should have been called on Tiger Woods but wasn’t assessed until after the round. Wonder how many fans called into NASCAR to tell them that Tony Stewart’s sideways pit stop had him touching the line, like Brad Keselowski did last week and that he should be penalized just the same.
Rumors are flying around that Chip Ganassi is looking to sell off his race team. That organization has been somewhat rudderless for a few years; the last thing they need is the distraction of team selloff rumors. Hopefully, Ganassi can either quash them or make it official quickly, so that the teams can remain focused on trying to make their cars better. Jamie McMurray, at least is showing some signs of life as of late but any type of recovery is fragile at best.
The NRA sponsorship of the race this weekend was a hot topic; however, the race itself was hardly affected. Perhaps the only cave to those angry over the partnership was when FOX never showed the ceremonial “six shooter” shots of Kyle Busch in Victory Lane, firing blanks out of two silver-plated revolvers.
Someone needs to tell Jeff Hammond that his fake bake suntan makes his Dillon Brothers’ edition cowboy hat look orange.
Karl Malone showed again that he is truly a NASCAR fan with a fine effort at the command to start engines.
Hey, Sara Evans, Francis Scott Key was a good song writer. Just sing the anthem the way he wrote it, not how you think it will best show off your dynamic vocal range.
The Hindenburg Award for Foul Fortune
Hendrick Motorsports may be battling Joe Gibbs Racing for the top rung of the NASCAR team ladder but Sunday, they were battling some of their own demons. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. had a battery inexplicably die and lost four laps due to the issue, while Jeff Gordon burned up a right front hub, dropping him from the race after 306 laps. Kasey Kahne, so dominant at Las Vegas was never a factor and Jimmie Johnson had a quiet night, the only one of the foursome to wind up inside the top 10 (sixth).
Kurt Busch had another bad day at the track. He broke a fuel rail and had to go to the garage to get it fixed. At least this time, there wasn’t a fiery ending to the story although 37th is hardly a consolation prize. After back-to-back top-5 finishes, the last two races have been far from memorable for Furniture Row.
Austin Dillon put together his own deal to run the No. 51 in the race this weekend, but didn’t even make it to a lap that matched his car number. 45 laps in, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. bounced off him on the back straight to put him into the wall and make for a long day for Richard Childress’ grandson.
Jeff Burton had a bad time on Saturday when his spotter didn’t tell him to check up when Marcos Ambrose spun on the back straight. Bouncing off a couple of walls, Burton at least got on the race broadcasts, flailing his hands around in the car to show his displeasure. He ran 23rd.
Not only did Martin Truex, Jr. fail to break his winless streak, but he also failed to pass post race inspection. Truex’s shocks would not rebound which meant the nose was too low. Imagine the uproar if he’d have won the race.
Bobby Labonte had the stomach flu but his team couldn’t find a substitute driver for a bunch of laps, which resulted in his team finishing the race in 42nd place.
Matt Kenseth shot a lug nut out from under his tire on pit exit, starting a fire in some spilled fuel. The crew members played it off as no big deal and actually looked pissed that the fireman in their pit sprayed their pit stall with the fire extinguisher.
The “Seven Come for Eleven” Award for Fine Fortune
Aric Almirola was very fast this weekend and his Petty Blue No. 43 was almost conjuring up memories of the King. Only failing to make it to Victory Lane caused that delusion to fall apart but a seventh-place result, for this program must feel like a win.
Kyle Busch was going to finish second behind Martin Truex Jr. until the caution flag flew for Mark Martin almost spinning off of Turn 4. That caution gave his team the chance to rip off a sub 12 second stop and give Busch the win.
For all Joey Logano had been through Saturday night, ending the race in fifth had to feel like a minor miracle. Teammate Brad Keselowski struggled after the rear end change but received the Lucky Dog on the last caution and passed his way to a top-10 finish.
Ryan Newman and Matt Borland tried some of their old fuel mileage/tire trickeration in the middle of the race that didn’t pay off. They still managed to get a Lucky Dog after going a lap down, though and ended up 10th.
Carl Edwards had some whacky mechanical issues going on with his car this weekend. Initially, the team thought there was an engine issue, one that went away only to be followed by tire problems and poor track position. After all that, Edwards came home third and moved into the top 5 in points.
Ford – 5
What’s the Points?
Jimmie Johnson’s night was enough to keep him on top, nine points ahead of Brad Keselowski, who soldiered his way to an amazing ninth-place finish. Kyle Busch is now third, tied for the series lead in wins with two. Roush Fenway Racing drivers Greg Biffle and Carl Edwards round out the top 5 in the standings.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. came home with his worst finish of the season on Saturday after battery and pit lane issues (29th). That’s dropped him to sixth in points, 35 behind Johnson. Kasey Kahne is enjoying his sophomore season more than his freshman year at Hendrick and is now seventh in points after his 11th-place finish Saturday night. Clint Bowyer continues to battle the runner-up jinx, maintaining eighth in points after Texas. Joey Logano and Paul Menard finish off the top 10, followed by Matt Kenseth in the top Wild Card spot. Kevin Harvick, sitting 12th would round out the Chasers as of today.
For those interested, Denny Hamlin is now 17 points out of the top 20 in points, the cutoff for Wild Card eligibility. With at least three more races to miss, it is going to be a substantial hole for him to climb out of once he gets back behind the wheel of the No. 11.
Overall Rating (On a scale of one to six beer cans with one being a stinker and a six pack an instant classic) – Two flat Busch Lights. After California, it looked like the new car had found its groove and the racing was going to be great. Texas slapped the fans in the face and reminded them that having a car with the nose planted on the ground is most likely going to cause the car in front to be too much better than the cars chasing. The end result is the lead car running away from the pack and that is what happened again at Texas.
Next Up – The series heads to Kansas. Um, if you think Texas was bad, wait until you go to a track that has fresh pavement. The race will be on FOX Sunday, April 21st at 1:00 PM Eastern. You can also catch the action on MRN radio.
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This race stunk, and not just because of the jerk who won it! Despite failing post race inspection, that was Truex’s race until the bogus caution came out at the end. Maybe D.W. ran next door and sweet-talked NASCAR into the caution so his illegitimate son will win?
And regarding The Penske issue. Brad did all but call out Hendrick, and in particular the 48 team, for cheating back in August after the Michigan race. (Gee, Brad, tell us something we don’t know!) Bet that got Brian a call from The Felon! Shut that punk up! Then, Brad criticised NASCAR at the start of the year. Well, Brad, you committed two deadly sins in the NASCAR realm. You called out Hendrick as cheaters, which everybody knows they are, and you criticised the almighty NASCRAP! First, the bogus pit road penalty at Martinsville, and now they don’t like the rear end housings on you, and your teammate’s, cars. And you can bet NASCAR will hammer Penske hard! After all, Mr. Middlebrook is The felon’s friend, not Roger’s, so don’t even try to appeal it. My bet? Penske tells Brian to shove his bogus, rigged show where the sun doesn’t shine and leaves the “sport”, and I don’t blame him one bit.
As for the rating, one flat, mouldy can of the “New Coke” that came out a few years ago and has been left open since then. And I’m being kind!
It was an uninteresting race..but it normally is so ranting seems useless. Brad must’ve been dropped in Texas by the “Mother Ship” directly after leaving Martinsville! For some reason in his rant he mentioned his team had been picked on in the garage for the last 7 days..not sure who was picking on them…but shame on them! I think Penske needs to take away Brad’s access to Miller…and maybe check his water bottles…brad came out of his car spouting stories of black helicopters, spies, and conspiracies … Alittle too much towards a Twilight Zone episode for me..or maybe closer to One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest! Not sure how the Suits are going to feel about Brads derogatory comments (yet again) towards the sport…but sometimes it’s just better to keep your mouth shut!
“Truex’s shocks would not rebound which meant the nose was too low.” Guess the guy that put the stack together made a mistake. Certainly wouldn’t have been on purpose would it? Two shot penalty I guess.
S.O.S at Tex-ass as usual and knew that yellow fever would return shortly. As for Penske cars there again NA$CAR’s rules do not allow you to be creative in anyway to their bastard child. Such a shame, now Ole’ Roger will be in the same boat as the Felon and deemed a cheater!!
Fox turned cowardly PC—didn’t show Rowdy firing the pistols. I would have expected that from NBC or other networks but not FOX.
The racing at Texas isn’t consistently good enough to warrant having two races a year, and it hasn’t been for a while. I would be all for moving one of the TMS races to the Circuit of the Americas next year.
I didn’t have high expectations for this race so when I got an invitation to meet friends for dinner on Sautrday night, I happily went. Based on what I have read about the race, I made the right decision.
I like Brad K but I’m sure he is going to get fined. NASCAR always wins, even when they are wrong, wrong, wrong.
Another typical Texas race…I had a very nice nap for the last 100 laps due to boredom. Why they race at this track is a mystery to me.
Can someone please tell me how Tony Stewart does it…? If he wasn’t out of the box at first on that pit stop, if you review the video you’ll see that he backed even further out of the box before they changed his left side tires. If that would have been anyone else but a Hendrick team, that would have been at least a drive-through.
In addition, how the hell can a car run two days of testing, two days of practice, qualifying, and then be found to have parts that are “not in the spirit of the rule” be found on the morning of the race? Signs are that Ford is not paying enough money under the table to the France’s bank account. Looks like Toyota outbid Chevy for the championship this year.
yuppers, Old Marty hit 210..what a feat. Logano gets slammed for 104, Jr. gets slammed for 144. Love the bias. 210, now thats a story.
I agree with Under, why wasn’t TS given a penalty, he clearly was out of the box. Also is it true that Kyle entered pit road and it was closed and did not receive a penalty?
I was getting up on the edge of the couch looking forward to see if the #18 would run down the #56 and then if the pass would be made. I was completely dumbfounded when NASCAR threw another bogus yellow. I don’t think I can take much more of this BFjr era. BTW…..I have always been a Penske #2 fan and without this caution a 9th was virtually impossible, but I am a fan of good hard racin foremost.
I’ll bet that all the #2 rear housings are more legal than the current #48.
Last year Brad beat Brian’s Golden Boy. How’s that working out?
It seems Tiger is the Hendrick of golf.
You know what needs to be done after last night’s abomination? Award a Cup race to the Circuit of the Americas, along with a host of other tracks to replace these horrid, insipid cookie cutters.
@ Tom Dalfonzo:
The Cup Series used to have a multitude of unique tracks that provided quality racing. Those tracks were purchased by the France family (I$C) and Bruton Smith ($MI), then closed. Their dates were awarded to wait for it……. Texas, Kansas, Joliet, Kentucky, Loudon, and California. Gone are Rockingham, Wilkesboro, the Southern 500, and one of the Atlanta dates.
One more example of greed ruining NA$CAR.
Too many bogus cautions ruined the race. NASCAR has a pre-determined number of drivers they want on the lead lap, usually around 20. So keep an eye out. The next time there is a long green flag run and they reach that 20 cars on the lead lap mark, a fake caution is a comin’.
Please move this race to Rockingham! They can run the trucks on Saturday and Cup on Sunday. Think about all the travel money teams could save if they ran that close to home.
I really hope that Brad and Hamlin (and a few others) don’t back down…but we’ll see. I seriously doubt John Middlebrook will rule in THEIR favor.
Kyle and Toyota better be careful. If they start winning too much Nascar (and those “judgement calls”) will show up and find “something”.
got an early start on my bedtime saturday night. woke up and saw jr was running back with danica. guess dw’s comments about jr being points leader from a few weeks ago are true?!
what i remember seeing of the race, i don’t recall the commentators overly hyping the nra 500. sure that is based on political outcry.
i feel sorry for brad. roger is going to have to sit him down and tell him it’s just not worth fighting the monster of na$car. lots of us long-time fans realize that, and truex even made a comment about that bogus late race caution. brad just needs to take the punishmnent and race hard to re-take the points lead. it’s going to be a l o n g, horrible season if no one shakes up the top spot in the points this early in the game. already the talking heads are spouting 6th championship.
I wish the fans would stop going to Texas. I used to think California was the worst on the circuit, now it’s Texas with Phoenix a close second. Hopefully Kansas will have more tire failures like last year which actually created a good race – If not, it’s gonna be a really fast, aero dependent snoozer.
I fell asleep just after the halfway point of the race. I had a cup of coffee just after the race started but even that just wasn’t enough to overcome 500 laps of sleep-inducing boredom.
You know what would fix this sport? If Brian France could penalize fans $100 every time they complain about the racing, they’d quit their whining and start enjoying the races again. If we’d just shut up…
Hammond looks almost as stupid in that hat as the Dillon brothers. Guess they all wanna be cowboys. Arrested development? :)
you know, i wonder about why they have hammond out on the south-40 like they’ve had all year long. not that i don’t mind….he’s just an IDIOT who loves his tanning bed or spray tan subscription. at least he didn’t have his pink scarf on this time!
Sorry… that was the kool-aid talking. Wicked stuff; apparently it causes your tongue to get stuck in your cheek.
Bill B and Carl D: if not a financial incentive, I’ll take the MENTAL HEALTH incentive: if I have to watch any more garbage like Sat’s TX race I will go mentally insane…oh wait, sorry, additional comments were just cut short by NASCAR throwing a bogus yellow on me…
RE: Tony Stewart’s pit stop, I can’t remember the rules. Is the issue the front wheels, or the whole car? Because at Bristol I know its legal to make a pit stop with the right rear tire over the line, as the pit boxes are very small. Isnt that the case everywhere, though? As long as the front is within the lines, the right rear tire can be on or over the line.
So wasn’t this car supposed to make the cookie cutter tracks more racy? Still waiting for that to happen. And I agree, Texas has never provided good racing, so why are we going there twice again?
I know the teams will get better at it, but I see no indication of the racing getting any better with this new car. Sure hope that changes soon, but I’m not holding my breath. So far the car is all hype and no substance.
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