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.
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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 – Kurt Busch pulled into the pits on lap 35 and sped. When he came in to do his drive through penalty, he sped again which resulted in him having to do a “stop and go” on lap 37. Busch was the only car that seemed to have anything for Martin Truex, Jr. during the race; his pit road indiscretions kept him from being able to give the No. 56 a run.
In a Nutshell – Sometimes, good things come to those who wait. Martin Truex, Jr. has been waiting for 218 races, but Sunday his patience was answered with an unlikely win on a road course.
Dramatic Moment – On the final caution of the race, Jeff Gordon went to the pits to gas up and get tires. Martin Truex, Jr. stayed out and assumed the race lead. Gordon ultimately made it back to second, but no one had anything for Truex, who led the final 28 laps of the race and was pulling away the entire final run.
What They’ll be Talking About Around the Water Cooler
In an amazing display of egocentricity, Darrell Waltrip was invited to give the command alongside a contest winner. Once they completed the command, Darrell ripped the mic away from the young lady, who was celebrating her moment in the spotlight just so he could utter his idiotic boogity crap and point the spotlight on himself.
A remarkable turn of events took place before the cars even got off pit lane. Paulie Harraka was apparently texting and driving, plowing into the back of Alex Kennedy who had checked up because David Reutimann had stopped on pit lane. At the same time, Bobby Labonte pulled into the garage with a radiator problem before he turned on to the track. Aside from all of that action, Jacques Villeneuve was sitting on jack stands as the first parade lap was going on with fluid coming out of his car on pit road.
Bobby Labonte was unceremoniously ousted from his ride last week so that they could evaluate the state of the team. He comes back this week and they forget to connect a hose or two that results in him failing to complete a lap. Here’s a suggestion for the JTG crowd – you have a lot bigger issues than your driver. For the record, AJ Allmendinger is now coming back quickly, at Kentucky this Saturday which leaves Labonte’s consecutive starts streak – currently at 704 – in serious jeopardy unless he wants to start and park.
It only took Juan Pablo Montoya three laps to tick somebody off and four laps to dump someone. His actions left Kyle Busch angry enough to send a sarcastic Tweet after the race showing his pleasure the No. 42 ran out of gas; at the checkered flag, the Target Chevy looked like it had been playing a game of bumper cars instead of trying to navigate around a road course. Pretty sure there isn’t anyone in the Cup series that can irritate people faster on the track than JPM. At the same time, he’s damn fun to watch.
Paulie Harraka has three career wins in NASCAR touring competition, if you call the K&N Series touring competition. He’s run 11 Truck and four Nationwide races without scoring a single top 10. It is great seeing drivers who have a lot of talent get a shot to run a Cup Series race as a reward for what they’ve done so far in their career, right? Let’s just say there are a lot more out there who should have been on Sunday’s starting grid before Paulie Harraka was given that chance.
It still makes no sense why the Cup Series refuses to use rain tires on a road course. These are supposed to be the best stock car drivers in the world. There is no reason they can’t handle turning left and right on a wet surface with tires designed to handle that kind of situation. Formula 1, Le Mans… hell, Legends cars run in the rain. If we’re going to be all wound up about stock cars on road courses, they need to keep racing when it starts pouring.
Kyle Busch can do some amazing things with a race car. He can also figure out how to shoot himself in the foot with the best of them. Busch was dumped by an overaggressive Juan Pablo Montoya, which pushed him deep in the field. After he clawed his way back to the top 15, he hit the pits during the second caution of the race and managed to get a speeding penalty on top of it all. Sure, he was the victim on Sunday but some of that damage, when things go wrong continues to be self-inflicted.
NASCAR has been running races at Sonoma for 25 years. They ran at Riverside International in 1958 and ran 108 races there. With all of that experience, they still don’t understand how local caution flags work. If a car is off track or spins and is trying to restart, you don’t have to throw a full-course caution. It really isn’t that difficult of a concept. However, considering they can’t figure out rain tires, only waving yellow flags on part of a racetrack is probably just a little too complex.
The Hindenburg Award for Foul Fortune
Bobby Labonte is the consummate professional. His team has hardly given him the best equipment to compete with, but you don’t hear him throw his guys under the bus. The 43rd-place finish on Sunday had nothing to do with Labonte’s driving.
Kyle Busch was knocked for a loop by Juan Pablo Montoya early in the race. He then had a speeding penalty and followed that up with another knock off track by Carl Edwards that put the end to his potential to compete for the win. As a result, he ended up as the first car one lap down (35th) when the checkered flag flew.
Juan Pablo Montoya was once again bitten by the “if anything bad can happen, it will happen to Juan” bug again. JPM was running in second place for the majority of the final run and pitted the final time on the same lap that eventual winner Martin Truex, Jr. did. Unfortunately for Montoya, he didn’t get the same “King Of Mileage” tag which caused him to run out of fuel right after taking the white flag. He finished the race as the last car on the lead lap in 34th.
The “Seven Come for Eleven” Award for Fine Fortune
Kurt Busch went a lap down to the leaders on lap 36 while serving a stop and go penalty for speeding entering the pits — the second time he was caught. He got back on the lead lap, then fell off it again before working his way back to the front and came home with a fourth-place finish. While he put himself in position to have to battle back, it was still an impressive run. The No. 78 team keeps knocking on the door…
Jeff Gordon tried to get a leg up on everyone by diving onto pit road right before the caution flew for rain early in the race. Unfortunately, pit road was closed about one second before he hit the commitment line. As a result, he had to start at the back of the field on the restart and had to work the entire race to get back to the runner-up spot.
Brian Vickers had to start shotgun on the field thanks to his full-time driving gig in the Nationwide Series keeping him away from Sonoma for qualifying Saturday. While Vickers ended up 13th, he did manage to lead the race for three laps and he had a nearly flawless run from the back of the pack. Vickers also managed to do it without punting anyone out of the way or knocking someone on top of a tire barrier.
Top 10 Cars By Manufacturer
What’s the Points?
Jimmie Johnson came home with a ninth-place finish in Sunday’s festivities at Sonoma. It was a decent run, but six spots behind Carl Edwards after a two-tire stop called by Chad Knaus late, instead of four scrubbed some speed off the No. 48. Since neither of them led a lap, Edwards gained six points on the leader in the standings and now sits 25 points behind Johnson. Clint Bowyer came home with a fifth-place finish, which drew him within 45 points of Johnson and means that there are now two drivers within a race of him in the points. Kevin Harvick came home with an undramatic top 10, which keeps him fourth. Matt Kenseth rolled home in 19th after a late race free fall which saw him drop from the top 5 over the final 20 laps. He still sits fifth in the standings.
Greg Biffle ran eighth on Sunday without appearing on TV for anything other than being passed. That moved him into a tie with Dale Earnhardt, Jr. for sixth but Biffle is credited with the spot in points because he has a win and Earnhardt doesn’t. Kyle Busch now sits eighth after his disaster, within striking distance of falling out. Brad Keselowski led, which gave him a bonus point but that doesn’t do much when you finish 21st. Keselowski is ninth in points without a win in his column yet. Rounding out the top 10 is Martin Truex, Jr. who rides the bounty of his first victory in 218 races to a spot in the Chase.
Kasey Kahne is the first driver in the “Wild Card” standings thanks to his victory at Bristol. Tony Stewart is the other driver, at this point in time, with a victory who is in the top 20 in points, so he would fill out the final “Wild Card” slot.
Overall Rating (On a scale of one to six beer cans, with one being a stinker and a six pack an instant classic) – Road course racing, like the wine from the Sonoma area of California, is an acquired taste. As road courses go, the race was pretty good. Multiple strategies put different drivers in the lead at different times. Some people drove like darts without feathers and sent multiple cars off the track. Others made pit road mistakes that caused them to have to run through the field and ended up with top-5 runs. All things considered, we’ll give this one four cans of Budweiser, because that is about as far from a California Chardonnay as you can get.
Next Up — It’s time to head back to Kentucky Speedway and find out if the traffic patterns can handle the ¾ capacity crowd that will be showing up for the race. The green flag will drop on Saturday night this week, so tune in to TNT at 7:30 PM or PRN radio to hear the action.
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Darrell Waltrip is a tool. I guess he doesn’t have any real friends just a bunch of yes men. If he did have friends one of them would take him aside and tell him how stupid BBB is and how much everyone hates it. But, here we are.
What an interesting race to watch. Every time I thought I had an idea of how it was going to go something would happen to change the dynamics.
I think Bobby Labonte needs to step back until he has a decent ride or retire. For a past champion he has really allowed himself to taint his career in the name of having a ride. What’s the point of riding around at the back, unless he’s just doing it for the money. Maybe he’s trying to set a record for how long a driver can linger based on past success. He’s even outdone Darrell I think.
As soon as Kurt Busch took the lead and looked like the car to beat I told my friend, “Don’t worry. He’ll do something to f-up his race”. And sure enough…
The start of the race was very comical with all those problems before the green flag dropped.
Juan Pablo got what he deserved. He was trying to bully his way to the front when, if he’d just let the race unfold, he’d have gotten there on ability alone. What’s wrong with that boy.
It might be time for Denny to think about that back surgery if he still plans on doing it in the off season.
Yeah, why can’t NASCAR learn to use local cautions? I can give them a break on the rain deal but local cautions seem like a no brainer.
For the last 3 or 4 years the road courses have produced some of the best races of the year. They really need to put one in the chase.
It was a pretty good race yesterday; not as good as the Nationwide race Saturday but still one of the better races of the year. It was good to see Truex finally get the monkey off his back.
I suspect we’ve seen the last of Bobby Labonte in the #47 car. Just as well for all involved. I’d like to see Hamlin go ahead and get his back surgery and Bobby return to JGR in the #11 for the rest of the season.
You did not mention All-Star Danica Patrick. No matter; I will do it for you. She notched another top 30, her 13th of the season. She has only 3 finishes outside the top 30, and none outside the top 40.
Somebody grab a mallet. I thought we were done with Darrell Waltrip this year, but just like a whack-a-mole, he keeps popping up.
I thought FOX was done regarding Nascar races this year. But, wait….there’s ‘ole Larry Mac talking Hendrick and the 48 and …. look! it’s DW and the boogity yell.
I enjoyed the race and am happy for Truex and Toyota.
If this race proved anything, it is that road course ringers are not what they used to be and I suspect you’ll start seeing fewer used by full time teams. I remember when a road course was on the schedule, you could pencil in Fellows, Said, R. Gordon, Tommy Kendall, etc. Top finishing ringer (don’t consider Ambrose a ringer) was 18th yesterday. Not anymore. The cars are so similar that a Stenhouse can ride around, stay out of the way and get a finish that is not damaging.
One thing that was not mentioned much aside from the Biffle comment in this artice, and I’m not sure if it is due to the fact that it is expected, but the TNT coverage was awful yesterday. I mean, were they doing like ESPN for soccer matches and broadcasting from a TV feed in a studio in Charlotte or Atlanta and not at the actual track? Did they all do an early morning excursion on the wine trains before they started the race? Coming back from breaks they were about 5 seconds behind the action.
And I am a huge Kyle Petty fan, but perhaps he should stop tweeting with pissy fans during the race and focus on the event at hand. We get that people think you play favorites and criticize you and yes, even say you got where you are in the sport because of your last name. Why give them validity by responding to them on Twitter during the race?
Finally, I know this is a NASCAR related column, but it would have been nice to mention something about the gentleman who was killed at LeMans Saturday.
This was another case of the same old people doing the same old thing. The broadcast wasn’t that bad. As someone mentioned, using stationary cameras meant no following the same couple of cars lap after lap, so that was a positive. But it just wasnt exciting. Maybe its me but the spark has gone out it seems.
Might mention that Dave Blaney was back home in Ohio racing a winged sprint car this weekend! And was joined on Sunday night by Nationwide regulars Brad Sweet (who won the UNOH All Star Sprint Week feature event!) and Kyle Larson who finished 2nd to Sweet in the feature event. Blaney could only manage a 19th place finish. Nice to see the big boys come to play!!
Perfect call on Jaws. I started to change channels but didn’t make it before the Boogity BS. Maybe some of your
I also agee about Jaws Waltrip. He seems clueless as to what the fans want to hear from the TV guys. The Boogity is just plain IGNORANT, insulting us fans and making the whole sport look stupid. He should listen to Wally, who I believe does a great job on the telecasts.
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