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.
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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.
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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 – The caution flag flew on lap 219 when Brad Keselowski’s rear bumper cover flew off his car in Turn 4. When the pit stops on that final caution of the race were completed, Matt Kenseth was the first car off pit lane and the rest of the day was all but academic.
In a Nutshell – From Friday morning, Matt Kenseth had the car to beat at Kansas this weekend. Everyone tried. No one could.
Dramatic Moment – As the final laps were winding down, Kasey Kahne was chipping away at Kenseth’s lead, ever so slightly to take a shot at passing the leader for the win. The duo came up on Regan Smith, with the interval about half-a-second and passed him with what seemed to be little trouble. However, by the time the leaders were coming out of Turn 4 to take the white flag, Kahne was on the back bumper of Kenseth and looked like he might make a real race out of it. The No. 20 car pulled away through Turns 1 and 2, though and Kahne was unable to make a serious challenge before the checkered flag flew.
What They’ll Be Talking About Around The Water Cooler
Kyle Busch is an outstanding talent but the question has always been his head. This weekend, he blew up two motors in his Truck and wrecked his Cup car three times. The only response? “This is Kansas.” When a place can get into a driver’s head like that, there are other things that will find their way in there, too. Busch may be more “mature” than he used to be but that mental strength still needs further improvement to win a championship.
Denny Hamlin is trying hard to make it back into the No. 11 for Richmond, two weeks earlier than doctors predicted. He says that if he doesn’t make it Saturday night, based on MRI results and medical clearance he’ll at least start Talladega and ride in the back. He says such a strategy is “safe.” Umm, what? Did you see the 25-car crash that was the last lap of this race in the Fall? If his back isn’t ready for Richmond, let’s hope he isn’t the first caution at Talladega so he can get out of the car and not re-injure it in the Big One.
Elliott Sadler seemed like the logical choice to fill in for Denny Hamlin in the No. 11 when Hamlin was forced to the sidelines. J.D. Gibbs went with Mark Martin and Brian Vickers instead, choosing not to disrupt Sadler’s run in the No. 81 at Kansas. Well, Sadler made the least of that opportunity, qualifying 24th, fading back in the field and eventually backing it into the wall after just 85 laps. The whole weekend, with Sadler’s invisibility was in sharp contrast to the runs achieved by both Vickers and Martin in the No. 11. Yes, there is a level of difficulty to debuting a brand new car for any team, even the best of them. But weekends like these make me think it’s time for Elliott to realize that his days in the Cup Series are over; time to just focus on the Nationwide Series instead.
Goodyear came to Fontana with a tire that wore out and ended up having an outstanding race on a track that normally produces snoozers. Everyone thought that the Official Tire Supplier of NASCAR had finally figured out what it would take to help make racing better on intermediate tracks. Remarkably, they have brought the Flintstone tires back for both Texas and Kansas. The result was people spinning out unexpectedly and Matt Kenseth running 267 laps on four left-side tires. Not sure what it will take to get this company to understand that tires wearing out and giving up grip is a good thing.
It had no bearing on the race, but it was very cool to see the STP colors on the No. 43 this week for Aric Almirola. Anyone who has been a fan for a long time or seen the grainy movies of Richard Petty’s domination of the sport had to love seeing the Petty blue and STP orange circling the track.
With the bombing on the minds of so many people, it was cool to see the Michael Waltrip Racing cars sporting numbers that mimicked the number bibs for the Boston Marathon. But it would have been nice to see some of the teams do something special for the people of West Texas, all of whom were impacted by the devastating explosion at the fertilizer plant, too.
The Hindenburg Award For Foul Fortune
Joey Logano has been up and down this season on the luck meter, hoping to ride the momentum of a top 5 at Texas to another strong finish at Kansas. Unfortunately for Logano, Kyle Busch couldn’t lock up his brakes and keep his car up on the banking after he put it in the fence a second time during the race on lap 102. Logano tried to make it by on the apron, but Busch slid down and made hard contact with his right front and totaled the No. 22. Logano wound up 39th.
The Orange Cone, a fan favorite on Twitter, met an untimely demise early in the race when Mike Bliss tried to come to the pits and missed the entry. The cone ended up in the garage area before his carcass was able to extricate itself from the nose of Bliss’ car.
JJ Yeley and his team tried their damndest to run the entire race at Kansas. They even changed out a transmission in the middle of the event. Unfortunately, with four laps to go Yeley pulled into the garage to prematurely end his day after scraping the wall. He was 35th, his seventh straight run outside the top 25 since Daytona.
Juan Pablo Montoya has assumed the Denny Hamlin Eeyore monicker in the Cup garage this season. He seems to be constantly waiting for something bad to happen and, once again on Sunday, it did when he had a flat right front on lap 163 just after pitting for tires and fuel during a green flag stop. After having the best car in Saturday practice, then driving into the top 10 on Sunday the ending (27th) was a tough pill to swallow.
The “Seven Come for Eleven” Award for Fine Fortune
Matt Kenseth started from the pole and, unlike so many of the other challengers he faced all day, never got caught on pit road by a caution. Most of the other drivers who had a shot at the win were on pit lane or just off it at some point when a caution flew; that meant they had to take a wave around to get back on the lead lap. Kenseth never had that happen all day and spent the entire race, except for a minor moment around lap 180, inside the top four.
Mark Martin is only running a partial schedule for Michael Waltrip Racing and after Sunday, he might be about ready to cut back some more. Martin almost wrecked at least three times during the race and had to display some very finely tuned driving skills to keep from putting his No. 55 in the fence or causing a massive wreck on one of the restarts. But when all was said and done, Martin notched a top-10 finish in the Aaron’s Dream Machine for the third time in seven races this season.
Logano’s teammate Brad Keselowski somehow received damage to his left rear at the start of the race and ended up spending most of the day trying to recover from it. He went a lap down shortly after the first caution of the event due to spending too much time on pit lane trying to fuel the car. The caution after they went a lap behind, the Blue Deuce team rolled the dice on the next one, took the wave around and were rewarded when Elliott Sadler brought out the caution just a handful of laps later. The No. 2 team spent the entire day trying to overcome the damage to the quarterpanel but somehow, when the checkered flag flew, settled into sixth place.
Toyota – 4
What’s the Points?
We’ve seen this story before. Jimmie Johnson didn’t have the best car, although he did lead for a short stint in the middle of the race, but he brought the No. 48 home to a third-place finish and continues to lead the series standings by 37 over Kasey Kahne, the new second place man in points after another runner-up finish this season. Brad Keselowski may not have a win yet this year but he’s knocking out top 5s and 10s and that has him sitting third, 38 behind Johnson. Greg Biffle was 19th on Sunday but is still holding down fourth place in points, trailing the leader by 47. Rounding out the top five is Dale Earnhardt, Jr. now 48 points in arrears to Johnson after running 16th.
The second half of the top 10 find themselves all at least one full race behind Johnson, which doesn’t mean a hill of beans because the points reset after Richmond. Carl Edwards looked to have a pretty sporty package for them this weekend but came home in 17th which has him sixth in points, 49 back from the leader. Kyle Busch had a horrible weekend in Kansas but he does still have two wins. Busch is 54 in back of Johnson. After taking the win this weekend, Matt Kenseth has jumped up to eighth in the points, 59 behind the top spot. Clint Bowyer is 64 out of the lead while Paul Menard is hanging on to the tail end of the top 10, 71 points back from Johnson.
No one outside of the top 10 has won a race, so the Wild Card is a moot point right now. The Denny Hamlin watch finds him 26th in points, 42 outside the top 20. He’ll still have to win a couple of races for it to even matter.
Overall Rating (On a scale of one to six beer cans, with one being a stinker and a six pack an instant classic) – Thanks to tires that didn’t wear out, teams were able to take two and not lose track position all day long. As a result, the cars out front stayed there the entire race, with some passing in the pack but none at the front. There was a grand total of one on-track pass for the lead. The “battle” for the point over the last handful of laps did nothing to restore the luster to this snoozer again in Kansas. One hot can of PBR is all that we’re going to crack open for this one.
Next Up – The series heads to the favorite track of most of the drivers in the garage next week as Richmond International Raceway will host Cup, Nationwide, K&N and the Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown. Unfortunately for short track fans, the showdown is not going to be on TV this year so look to Race22.com, Speed51.com and MRN Radio for coverage. The Cup race will be on Fox and MRN on Saturday at 7:30 PM.
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Miraculously, I managed to avoid napping during yesterday’s race. The restarts were fairly exciting, and there were enough cautions so that we got to see several of them. In a way, I was reminded of Darlington in that most of the wrecks were self-inflicted by drivers who just lost it all by themselves. Yes, I should be ashamed for comparing Kansas to Darlington.
The best car won the race. It wasn’t a fuel mileage finish. Debris cautions were for real debris. Jimmie Johnson didn’t win. For those reasons I’ll upgrade the rating from a single hot PBR to couple of slightly-chilled natty lights.
i didn’t fall asleep cause i was knitting during the race. if not for that i’m sure i would have curled up on the couch.
my email keeps getting daily specials from talladega to get me to part with my money.
be real interesting to see how penske’s appeal goes this week. i nearly choked when i heard someone say something about it being an impartial board that will hear the appeal.
i did manage a good laugh when princess sparkle pony was complaining about david gilliand. and for those fans of princess sparkle pony, she’s 25th in points.
i was really expecting a “pit road penalty” for brad once he got back on the lead lap. and dale jr seems to be back to his finishing order of last season.
Richard Petty says someone HAD to snitch on Brad and Joey since the cars went through two inspections beforehand. (Yahoo Sports) I doubt Mr. Middlebrook will be as kind to them as he was to Hendrick.
I too was shocked at the tires that were being used.
It’s obvious that the teams know that the only way to really pass is on pit stops and restarts. After the first two laps you are pretty set if you’re in the top 5. Not much of a race.
Re: Montoya. When you’re in the back of the pack week after week, year after year, it’s not foul fortune. You’ve lost your talent and will soon be out of the game. I see him in sports cars only next year.
I wonder who is enjoying thumbing their nose more? Kenseth at Jack Roush because of all the crappy equipment Roush gave him all those years, or Gibbs at Logano because Logano obviously was the problem in the performance of the number 20.
A three-can race for me. This car gives plenty of reason for optimism: of the four 1.5- and 2-mile tracks the Gen-6 has run so far, three have seen the battle for the lead go down to the last laps. Though Kahne couldn’t pass Kenseth yesterday, he was able to draw alongside him coming to the white flag. The COT era saw very little of this, and I think it can only get better as the car and tires are optimized.
It’s kind of a shame that the last debris caution flew when it did, because it put Kenseth’s dominant car right back in the lead. It would have been fun to see Stenhouse battle for his first win. Still, between the finish and the exciting restarts, it was a reasonably fun race.
Everyone knew this was going to be a “SLEEPER”.
Can’t fault Goodyear for hard tires at a newly paved track with those speeds. Kansas needs some age fast. The cars looked like they were floating on ice out there.
Now I know the “real” reason why Kansas got a second race date: Sprint’s headquarters is down the street from the track, in Overland Park, Kansas. What a coincidence!
2nd race in a row that I opted to not bother to watch. I had my computer on and used trackpass, twitter and the radio to follow the race while I did chores in the house. Races this boring simply aren’t worth me wasting an entire afternoon “watching”. Of course the truly terrible tv broadcasts also make that an easy choice.
Fontana was the BIG surprise so far with a good race. Goodyear and NASCAR need to pull their heads out of where the sun don’t shine, stop worrying about what the drivers are saying about the cars and make a better product. Their window of opportunity to hold my interest is running out the closer we get to nice weather.
I still think if the networks would sit down and try to figure out a NEW way to show the action on the track instead of focusing on one or two cars, they’d get more people watching. Zooming in on one or two cars in the screen may be fun for the camera man, but when you can’t pick out the action you want to watch yourself – watching on TV just sucks!
I’ll only give in one can. I won’t say the race was boring but I’m tired of the racing taking place on pit road (and Kansas doesn’t have a monopoly on that). I am also tired of 4 tires not paying off vs 2 tires. Taking two tires should be a gamble but when the tires are that hard, everyone takes two tires. I used to like it when you were never sure if it would pay off or not. Now it seems to be the norm.
With the exception of racing for the lead there was passing back in the field.
I thought Nascar was going to address the “clean air” issue with these cars on these 1 1/2 mile tracks. Of the races so far, doesn’t look like anything is different. Kahne could get close to Kenseth, but when he got to him he couldn’t pass. Same as the other car.
Funny how the Danica haters instantly blame her for her issue with Gilliand. Lets see, she didn’t earn her ride, she is always in the back of the field, she gets good finishes based on attrition are amongst the comments of the haters. All things you can say about Gilliland. Maybe he needs to start driving better. He has one win in a NW series race and nothing else while Danica has far better credentials. Why don’t you all just admit it. You hate Danica because she is a female. I applaud her for sticking up for herself from all the bullying she gets on the track. And yes, she does get bullied. If you don’t believe me, go watch some footage. The way the drivers race her, it appears they can’t handle a women besting her on the track. Pretty sad to say the least.
Um, Gilliland was on the lead lap while Danica was not. Maybe she should learn to cut the lead lap cars some slack and they’ll return the favor eventually. Don’t hate her just sick of how much attention she gets. And, her constant whilning of how everyone races her so hard is laughable. She’s a rookie in NASCAR, they don’t have to give her anything. She has to earn it just like all the others have had to in the past.
well said, bette and spot1. It has nothing to do with “hate” and I’m tired of any time someone criticizes DP that someone jumps on “everyone just hates her” bandwagon.
I’ve been a Gordon fan since he started in the Cup series. Trust me, I know hate!
LOL!!! I just checked the article too and she wasn’t mentioned there either.
Last time I checked Gilliland’s actually won a race that wasn’t an exhibition. It was in a stock car against 42 other drivers instead of 15 other drivers. David’s clawed and scratched for every ride he’s received. Sparkle Pony, well, you know the story…
Oh Damn, I forgot to search for “Sparkle Pony”.
I have to agree with all the above responses to Steve. Lets think about it this way. Danica is 25th in points. One spot above her in 24th is Casey Mears. What if every week you had to hear DW on fox commenting ad nauseum about how well Casey was driving today. “Boys, he’s moved up from 31st to 28th in just 40 laps.” “Just look at how well he’s getting the Geico Ford to stick on the bottom of the track.” And then after the race they interview the top five finishers and Casey Mears. Nascar.com has Mears’ picture splashed all over the place. You’d think, what the hell! This guy’s in 24th place in the points! Well that’s how most of us feel about Danica. It’s ridiculous to give the 25th place driver in the points standing so much media coverage when they have done so little. As far as her being a female, I have absolutely no problem with that. I would love to see Johanna Long get in a car as good as Danica’s. I think she’d do great! *No offense to Casey Mears, he’s done better than Danica this season with probably 1/4 the funding.
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