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 – Brian Vickers chased down Tony Stewart and passed him for the lead on lap 287. He survived the final restart to score his third career Cup series victory and broke a 75-race winless streak.
In a Nutshell – In another homage to the aero dependency of modern NASCAR stock cars and the rock like durability of their race tires, the race saw three on track passes for the lead that did not occur on a restart and Brian Vickers rode his tires and fuel to the win by being out in front at the end of the event.
Dramatic Moment – Tony Stewart, Brian Vickers and Kyle Busch went three wide into turn one when the final green flag of the event flew. Vickers stayed in the gas on the outside, Stewart got loose in the middle and Busch made the car stick on the flat of the apron. Vickers cleared turn two with the lead and pulled away for the victory.
What They’ll be Talking About Around the Water Cooler
Not sure if NASCAR is sending a message to the No. 48 team but after Jimmie Johnson’s car was found too low in the front after qualifying his time was disallowed and he was put to the back of the pack for the start of the race. When Sunday morning rolled around, the team presented the car for technical inspection and had to go through the inspection process no less than three times to be approved for the race. Johnson’s car is historically one of the most scrutinized cars week-in and week-out, but this weekend they were examined even more thoroughly than normal. Perhaps the team was trying to push the envelop a little again and NASCAR is making sure Chad Knaus knows they’re watching closely.
Danica Patrick dumped Ricky Stenhouse Jr. who then took out Travis Kvapil. The TNT folks tried to make it look like she might have been bumped from behind before she hit Stenhouse. The video did not seem to justify that stance but there was no question that she turned hard left and took out Stenhouse. In her garage interview after getting out of the car, she stated she misjudged the braking zone and lost control of the car. The No. 17 driver has won the Rookie of the Race in all but two races this season so perhaps she saw an opportunity to finally scored another ROTR award.
Racing involves speed and when objects are traveling at speed and they run into items that aren’t moving it can do damage to a car. However, the incessant cautions for debris that, at least based on what they showed on TV, was nothing more than large pieces of tire slag outside of the racing groove is simply frustrating for both fans and drivers. There is a constant stream of rubber coming off of race tires during events and sometimes it accumulates under cars and falls off in a large piece. It isn’t metal and it isn’t going to cut a tire. The sanctioning body needs to let the drivers race and stop trying to make the race track a pristine environment.
Brian Vickers won the Camping World RV Sales 301 as a part time driver. The last part-time driver to win a Cup series race was Trevor Bayne in 2011 driving for Wood Brothers racing. The last part-timer to win on a non-plate track was Johnny Benson in 2002 at Rockingham.
While the Cup series put on a snoozer of a race and the Nationwide event was another Kyle Busch domination, the Whelen Modifieds put on a tremendous race at New Hampshire. 27 lead changes among four drivers. Only three stints at the front lasted more than seven laps. 12 cars finished on the lead lap and the margin of victory was .153 seconds.
The Hindenburg Award for Foul Fortune
Joey Logano must have broken a big mirror or something. Last week he ran over something at Daytona and cut down a tire, killing a shot at a decent finish at the World Center of Speed. This week just five laps into the event he cut down a left rear tire and killed his car. It might behoove Logano to sacrifice a chicken during the off week.
Casey Mears gets caught up in more people’s junk than anyone else in the series (purely unscientific statistic). Sunday he was just getting into the rhythm of the race when Kevin Harvick and Marcos Ambrose got into a pissing match and Ambrose went for a spin. Mears had no way to avoid the spinning No. 9 and center punched his passenger side door. Mears might want to buy the chicken for Logano during the off week.
Marcos Ambrose raced Kevin Harvick hard early in the race and attempted to crowd the Bakersfield, CA driver as he was going by him in turn three. Harvick took exception and dumped Ambrose on the exit of turn four. It took Ambrose team 20 laps in the garage to fix his car, which took him out of contention for the win, but got him back on the track in time to garner as many valuable championship points as he could.
Kurt Busch was the car to beat for most of the day. On a very jumbled up restart on lap he went into turn one three wide in a battle for eighth position. Ryan Newman was on his outside and had been beating and banging in his own right since the drop of the green. Busch came down in front of Matt Kenseth and, while they didn’t make contact, was incredibly close and lost the rear end of the car, sliding up and taking himself and Newman into the fence. Newman pulled away with damage while Busch’s day ended near the wall in turn two.
The “Seven Come for Eleven” Award for Fine Fortune
Jeff Burton is keeping the seat warm for Ty Dillon which will keep him in the Cup series for two more seasons at least. While he’s managed just six top 5s and 15 top 10s in the last two and a half years, he still shows moments of his former self. Loudon has always been one of his better tracks so a podium finish is not a total surprise. After starting ninth, Burton ran around the back of the top 10 or the beginning of the teens for the first half of the race before a pit call put him up to the front of the pack. He ended up capitalizing on that change in track position to bring home the No. 31 in third.
Aric Almirola ran around in the 20s for much of the race before a pit call in the early part of the last 100 laps managed to get him to the front of the pack. He battled courageously through four restarts and was able to bring home the legendary No. 43 in fifth place.
David Stremme started the race in the 42nd position. Through hard work and keeping his nose clean, he was able to bring home a 20th place finish. Stremme has not scored a top 10 since 2007 and only has three top 20 finishes this season, but he still represents the old school mentality of racing for the love of the sport.
Brian Vickers ran seven races this season before his victory today at Loudon. He had only managed two top 10 finishes and had an average finish of 19.6 with two DNFs. For his career he has three wins, 25 top 5s, and 65 top 10s in 271 starts.
Since the first race at Loudon in the 2008 season, no one has been able to win twice at the track. The 11 races have seen eleven different winners. They’ve include Kurt Busch, Greg Biffle, Joey Logano, Mark Martin, Jimmie Johnson, Clint Bowyer, Ryan Newman, Tony Stewart, Kasey Kahne, Denny Hamlin and Brian Vickers.
This race was Vickers first win at Loudon. In 16 career races at the track he has three top 5s and four top 10s. His average finish is 19.1 at the Magic Mile.
Kyle Busch’s runner-up result was his ninth top 5 of the season. It is his fifth top 5 of his career at Loudon.
Jeff Burton’s third place finish is his second top 5 of the season. It is his ninth top 5 finish in 37 career races at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Aric Almirola’s top 5 run increased his career total by 50%. He now has three top 5 finishes to his name in his 90 career races. Almirola has landed a top 5 finish both last season and this one.
Top 10 by manufacturer
Toyota – 3
Even though his girlfriend sent him for a spin that knocked him out of the race for several laps and sent him to a 34th place finish, Ricky Stenhouse Jr was still the rookie of the race.
Morgan Shepherd started the race in the No. 52. At 71 years and 9 months old, Shepherd broke the record for oldest driver to start a Cup race by five years. While Shepherd was anything but competitive, he is still in great shape for a man of his age and it was great to see some attention come his way for something besides running at the back in the Nationwide series. Current fans don’t realize that Morgan has four wins, 63 top 5s and 168 top 10s in the Cup series in 514 races over a 27 year career in the Cup series. Shepherd finished fifth in the points in 1990.
What’s the Points
After all of the trials and tribulations of post-qualifying and pre-race inspection, Jimmie Johnson still brought home a sixth place finish. The resulting points now have Johnson in the points lead by 56 points over Clint Bowyer. Carl Edwards finished eighth in the race and is still third in points, 73 behind Johnson. Kevin Harvick ran in the 20s and high teens for 2/3 of the race before jumping up into the top 10 and ultimately scoring a 7th place finish. That keeps him fourth in the point standings, one behind Edwards and 74 behind Johnson. Dale Earnhardt Jr. started the race in third and slowly but surely worked himself backwards, finally coming home with a 14th place finish. He is still fifth in points 118 away from the top of the points.
Matt Kenseth ran a very uneventful race, leading near the midway point before finishing off the race in a ninth place effort. That leaves him in sixth place in the points, 120 away from Johnson. Kyle Busch’s runner-up performance has him tied with Kenseth for sixth place in the points but Kenseth owns the tie-breaker with four wins to Busch’s two. Greg Biffle finished the race in 15th position which leaves him eighth in points a mere 150 behind Johnson. Defending champ Brad Keselowski started on the pole and ran in the top 5 for the first half of the race before slipping back into the teens for a short period. He came back to notch a 4th place finish that, thanks to the troubles for Kurt Busch, Tony Stewart, Kasey Kahne and Martin Truex Jr., vaulted him to 9th place in points. Rounding out the top 10 is Kahne who, after nearly being wrecked on the back straight late in the race, rebounded to an 11th place finish which moved him up two spots and put him in the top 10.
Kurt Busch lost five points after leading the most laps in the race before taking himself out along with Ryan Newman with an aggressive, three-wide move in turn one. He’s now 14th in points and does not have a win to fall back on in the Wild Card yet so he is in need so some strong finishes over the next seven races. Along with Busch was Tony Stewart’s effort to try and win the race on fuel that ultimately backfired. His 26th place finish dropped him three points in the standings to 13th, but that does keep him in the Wild Card hunt.
The Wild Card race, at this point in the season, is Martin Truex Jr. and Tony Stewart, each holding one win. Truex is just one spot away from the top 10 in points and could easily end up there providing he can have a handful of quality finishes.
Overall Rating (On a scale of one to six beer cans with one being a stinker and a six pack an instant classic) – The race on the flat, one-mile track at New Hampshire Motor Speedway very well could have been a single can stinker. However, there was quite a bit of racing and movement in the pack behind the leaders, and the fuel/tire strategies did actually provide for some movement in the pack. With that said, it was still a track position battle that saw only three passes on the track for the lead. Seeing cars three-wide as the race was winding down and the all out battles for position saved the race a little, but it didn’t make it a classic. In the end, it is a two beer effort that allowed Brian Vickers to do something that we don’t see happen very often — a part-time driver winning a race.
Next Up — Next week, the Cup series is off for their final break in the schedule before a champion is crowned in Homestead. Enjoy the Nationwide Series at Chicago or visit a local short track and watch the future stars of NASCAR as they hone their skills in the Whelen All-American Series.
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i saw post race interview with johnson…surprise, surprise, surprise…he complained about inability to pass. what a rare complaint from him, but he still managed to finish in top 10 after starting last.
i liked hearing that they had difficulty getting through tech prior to the race. nascar scrutinized the 2 bunch for a while as well.
not sure, but what happened to logano? i guess i missed that when i flipped channels. congrats to brian vickers. thankfully mikey was in england so we didn’t have to see him.
what i was of race, i got tired of the broadcasters talking about johnson.
i see another great weekend for jr nation….started 3rd dropped like a rock. wonder if letart’s job is in jeopardy?
I’m not sure why NASCAR felt the need to throw so many questionable debris cautions yesterday. There seemed to be enough legitimate ones. Of course, as you mentioned, when the only passing occurs on pit road and track position negates racing, I guess you need as many cautions as possible to manufacture some excitement.
So would that last caution been thrown if the 88 was leading the race at the end?
How many times does a car have to fail inspection before nascar says “that’s it, go home”? How many chances does one get?
I think ol’ Havawrek deserves the “Dickhead of the Race” award. The B.S. with Ambrose was just that….B.S.
The modifieds put on a heck of a race this weekend. Too bad the Nationwide Series nor the Cup Series had racing that matched the modifieds.
after reading mike’s thoughts i’ll add some of my own…
so i’m watching the modified race and thinking how those guys were complaining of a rock hard tire yet they still managed to put on a spectacular show. then i wondered what if anything nascar could/would learn from that (a free-er rule book? match the cars to the tracks better? less dependency on aero?)
After watching harvick mercilessly dump ambrose it seemed to reaffirm my theory that many of the so named “elite” drivers seem to have a sense of “entitlement,” guys like him, denny and carl seem to have no problem dumping people who race them hard and any point of a race, jimmie certainly thinks that people should just move over for him and rollover and play dead on restarts. the gap between the havs and the have nots seems to be widening. i don’t see that as an indicator of a healthy sport. then i look at kurt who now has to earn everything he gets. he’s probably over driving the car to make up for the fact that it isn’t top equipment and making mistakes doing so. yet he’s loathed for past actions and racing harder than “the new elite.” i wouldn’t exactly say i was a fan but right now i’ll respect drivers like him and brad and even kyle to some extent over the “gimme boys.” this is called “stock car racing” not “endurance racing” and should be treated as so by the participants.
speaking of denny i’ll say it again, that team isn’t running well enough to make “the chase” even if they didn’t miss races.
ok, so kyle might be right after all, danica… not a racer, and i think the sport and the racing would benefit if that ride were in the hands of someone else who actually is a talented racer while she runs in another series learning the trade. and just what does it say about the money in the sport when stewart dumps “his friend” for the likes of either harvick or danica? when “the sport” becomes more business than sport, my observation is that you can see; more commercials, less fans, more entitlement, less racing and once mighty coliseums removing seats and building facades and other means of generating profit (or if you call it what it is, draining money from the fans who still support the venue.) i wonder if there’s more comparisons to the mods… a series that comparatively has way way way low money involved but puts on a much much much better race.
I followed some of the race while doing chores. It wasn’t that interesting to watch on TV.
I’m not sure why Harvick dumped Ambrose, but then again, I’m not sure why the rich kid in the 27 car dumped Gordon either. I was glad that Gordon was able to drive up through the field and get a top 10 finish.
I’m happy for Brian Vickers. He’s worked hard to get another chance in Cup. I hope that Stenhouse wins Rookie of the year, but then again, NASCAR would probably prefer his girlfriend wins it, so I wonder how that will all turn out?
It makes no sense to me why Johnson would be complaining about not being able to pass. He drove from last place to where he finished, so it is a dumb comment. I think babydufus is right. It is the whole “entitlement” concept and “how dare your race me” that has become rampant and stupid. The 48 car, for the most part, always seems to be able to pass no matter what. Somebody needs to deflate his ego or he won’t be able to fit in the car.
I was happy for Brian Vickers for the win, but even happier that Mikey wasn’t there to put his mug into the camera shots.
Glad I stopped watching. Thanks for the column so I only have to waste 5 minutes a week on the farce that is Nascar.
My first trip to NHMS. Great experience. Pretty good racing on Saturday and Sunday (outside of Kyle Busch whipping the Nationwide field again).
Modifieds are always a good show. In addition, they look better doing it. Let’s get some wider, softer tires on the cup cars and see what they do.
Of course, leave it to a cup driver to create an 8 car pileup in the Mods.
When Brian heard about the penalty on the 48 car, he didn’t want to answer the phone when Hendrick called this morning.
Maybe they should put the Cup drivers in modifieds on Sunday.
Making the comment about Danica dumping her boyfriend to win the ROY, is about as dumb a comment as I have seen on this website. And you guys wanted to get respect from the reader? Anything to continue the hate on Danica I guess. Will anything she does make you happy, Mike? You hate hearing about her but you have a negative comment about her every week.
It looked to me like Gordon tried the slide job on Menard and slid up in front of Menard while Menard was on the gas. I call the error on Gordon.
Harvick doesn’t like anyone racing close to him, so him dumping Ambrose didn’t surprise me. He’s always whines when someone actually races him.
Overall, I’m happy Vickers won, but I’m always suspicious when a car can’t do a burnout.
“Will anything she does make you happy, Mike?”
I can’t speak for Mike but how about if she admits she wasn’t ready for the Cup level and go back to Nationwide for a year of two. Like Hornish.
Bill B, what I don’t get is people crapping on her for no reason. The media started this circus, not her. She is in her first full year in Cup, seeing some of these tracks for the very first time in a Cup car, but if she doesn’t finish top 10 every week she is a failure? Why isn’t she given the 3 year window like most other rookies? Is it because she’s female? Indycar drivers have all struggled in Cup (yes Juan has struggled too) so I don’t know what anyone was expecting out of her.
Every interview I have seen she talks about learning and getting better. I don’t see why that makes her so evil?
She also didn’t make the decision to put her in a Cup car so soon. I totally agree with you about pushing her up too soon. That decision was all about money. Funny how Pastrana hasn’t done much in NW but he seems to get a pass, even though he is basically there under the same circumstances.
Alot like to compare her with her replacement in the GoDaddy Indycar when it suits them best, but I don’t remember Danica crashing on the first lap of any races recently.
I just don’t get the outright hatred that some people have for her for no reason at all.
First of all, thanks for taking the time to read and especially to write. I truly appreciate each and every person who takes time out of their day to read what I write. I’m truly humbled.
As for Danica hatred, I don’t get why I’m accused of that when I very seldom mention her in the column. I don’t have the exact numbers handy but just off the top of my head I believe I’ve only mentioned her four times in the 20 or so columns I’ve done this year. I don’t have feelings about her one way or the other. I very seldom write about anyone in the 20s and 30s in the finishing order. I merely observed that, as she headed into turn 1 she was three to four feet to Stenhouse’s right and turned dead left to make contact with him. I’ve watched a lot of racing in my time, and done some, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen a car go that hard to the right or left without a major parts failure. That’s why I wrote about it this week.
Again, if you can point out where I’ve been overly critical or harsh when it wasn’t warranted I’ll accept the criticism like a man, but I just don’t think I say or point out anything that isn’t true.
Thanks again for reading and especially writing. It means the world to me whether you agree or disagree with my point of view.
Gina, if your not interested, then dont comment. Oh and BTW it was only a matter of time til Danica wrecked her BF. She’s hit everybody else so far.
I’m surprised you only gave this one 2 beers Mike.
I thought the network did a much better job of using the stationary cameras and giving more wide shots of the racing action. I liked the mix of strategy and tire wear and the need for some finesse when running on a flat track.
I would have given it at least 4 if only for the chance to see some of the better drivers in not so great equipment get a chance to shine with their skills…
But that’s just me…
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