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 – Jimmie Johnson was obviously the car to beat until lap 76 when his right front tire rapidly lost air and put his No. 48 into the wall off of turn one. As a result, Johnson spent the last half of the race trying to get his car to handle and chasing a top 15 finish.
In a Nutshell – Jimmie Johnson was the car to beat until he blew a tire. After that Kasey Kahne was the best of the field but Jeff Gordon beat him on a late race restart to grab the point and looked to be headed to a win. Matt Kenseth spun to bring out a final caution and that was the opening Kahne needed. Gordon had a great final restart but Kahne drove it deep into turn one and cleared him off of turn two to regain the lead and hold on to it for the final lap and a half.
Dramatic Moment – On the final restart, Kahne spun his tires and Gordon got out to a comfortable lead heading into turn one. Kurt Busch pushed Kahne into turn one and Kahne drove around the outside of Gordon to snag the lead by the entrance to the tunnel turn and the win.
What They’ll be Talking About Around the Water Cooler
Fox Sports announced their extension with NASCAR through 2024. After NBC was awarded the end of season races and three of the races that are currently being carried by TNT there were three races left that did not have television rights announced. The Fox Sports deal picks up those three races, along with 16 Nationwide races and all of the Camping World Truck Series races. The part that is most interesting is that seven of the Cup races are going to be carried on Fox Sports 1. For those of you who have missed the non-stop onslaught of commercials for the new sport network, it is the new name for SPEED. While some people might not find this surprising, the thought that the premier stock car racing series in the country now has seven of their races being carried on a network that has less reach than HGTV. The slow and steady decline to being a niche sport once again is well on its way.
Hendrick Motorsports is so far ahead of everyone else in the sport it is hardly fair. Last week they had six of the top seven finishers between house teams and satellite organizations. This weekend they put three house teams in the top five and had five cars in the top 10 including two of the Stewart Haas Satellites.
While no one will know what was going through Juan Pablo Montoya’s mind as he dove to the inside in turn one three-wide at Pocono on the very first lap, He certainly helped teach Ricky Stenhouse a lesson. When someone has their nose to the inside you need to leave them enough room or they’re going to spin you out. Stenhouse claims he won’t forget what happened going forward but Montoya won’t care.
Pocono is a different beast from everything else they run on the Sprint Cup schedule. With the surface beginning to age and lose some grip, the racing is starting to show signs of getting back to what it once was. Kahne and Gordon running a complete lap side-by-side at the end of the event showed just what Pocono racing can be.
As if things can’t get worse for Denny Hamlin, he comes into Pocono, one of the best tracks on the entire schedule for him, and he doesn’t even make it to the competition caution. Hamlin finished the race in 43rd after blowing a right front and killing the nose of his No. 11 Toyota. Since Hamlin broke his back at California, he has managed two top 5s and three top 10s in 11 races. At this point, if Hamlin needs an operation on his back it would be best for everyone if he went ahead and went under the knife.
Jimmie Johnson was the best car on the track without a doubt until his right front tire failed on lap 76. From then on it was a battle to try and salvage as many points as possible. Thanks to a vast quantity of Barebond and perseverance by the team, Johnson managed to wrangle a 13th place finish. While in the end that may look like a bad day for the No. 48 bunch, it is the kind of effort that wins championships when something like that happens during the Chase.
Ryan Blaney continues to make a name for himself in the Camping World Truck series. Having never raced on the demanding track that is Pocono before this weekend, he schooled some experienced drivers on his way to taking the win. Blaney has been running a Ford for Brad Keselowski in the Truck races this season and to say that is bringing a knife to a gun fight is an understatement. The Ford camp at Pocono consisted of Blaney, his teammate Ross Chastain, Bryan Silas, Sean Corr and Jennifer Jo Cobb. The only effort at a greater disadvantage was Chris Lafferty, the only Dodge in the field.
Speaking of the Trucks, running 125 mile races on a 2.5 mile track is just silly. If you’re going to run a race at a track the size of Pocono, Daytona or Indy, you need to run at least 250 miles.
Austin Dillon led the most laps on Saturday night which allowed him to score the same points as Sam Hornish, who was the top finishing Nationwide regular and who finished two spots ahead of Dillon. That allowed Dillon to maintain his 14 point lead in the standings over both Hornish and Regan Smith. While it is far too premature to seriously talk about Dillon winning the title, he is at least poised to score that win. If he does, he’ll be positioned as well as anyone since Greg Biffle to win the big three titles. Biffle is the only driver to win a Truck and Nationwide title while Brad Keselowski and Bobby Labonte are the only two to have won Nationwide and Cup.
The Hindenburg Award for Foul Fortune
Matt Kenseth and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. were on the receiving end of Juan Pablo Montoya racing like it was the last lap on the first lap. As a result, Stenhouse spent the day driving around with a Barebond laden car just trying to make laps. Kenseth overcame the damage and turned in a solid performance until three laps to go and then spun out. In the end he came home with a 22nd place finish.
David Stremme and his team have been chasing the dream all season. They don’t have the big budget and they don’t have the extensive resources that the big teams have, but they run the full race every week. Sunday saw them fall victim to the dreaded failed right front and ended up with a top 30 finish.
Jeff Burton continues to have terrible luck haunt him. He lost track position due to a quarter panel issue and then got sucked into an incident between Travis Kvapil and Danica Patrick. A car that could have finished in the top 10 ended up in the 35th spot.
The “Seven Come for Eleven” Award for Fine Fortune
Tony Stewart stepped on himself with a speeding penalty early in the event and rebounded, thanks to some quality pit work to a ninth place finish. That finish gave Stewart three top 10 finishes in the last four races.
While some people might feel as though Jeff Gordon had some foul fortune, losing the lead on the final restart, he put on an impressive show all day long. Starting 22nd, Gordon was quickly inside the top 15 and spent the last 130 laps of the race in the top 10, most of it in the top 5. While Gordon really needs a win or two to solidify his Chase position, running as well as he has been of late positions him to be a formidable foe for Jimmie Johnson in the final 10 races assuming Gordon qualifies for it.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. put on a yeoman like effort through the first half of the race to get to the top 5. He stayed there for most of the remainder of the event but lost three spots on the next to last restart. Fortunately for Earnhardt there was one more restart and he was able to gain one of those spots back, securing another top 5 finish for the season.
Kasey Kahne’s victory is his 16th of his career. He has started 345 races in his 10 years in the Cup series.
Kahne has won two races this season. His first came at Bristol in the Spring.
This is Kahne’s second career victory at Pocono in 20 races.
Jeff Gordon’s second place finish is his 19th top 5 in 42 career starts at Pocono. It is his sixth second place finish to go with six victories at the Tricky Triangle.
Kurt Busch’s third place finish marks his 10th top 5 in 25 career starts at Pocono.
There were 27 lead changes among 14 drivers during the 160 laps on Sunday. Six of those lead changes were actually on track passes for the lead. While it is far from a record, it is a vast improvement over the last four or five races we’ve seen this season.
Amazingly, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. still managed to win the Rookie of the Race even though he was 47 laps down to the leader.
Top 10 finishers by Manufacturer –
Chevrolet – 6
What’s the Points
Jimmie Johnson finished 13th and GAINED points in the standings today. Clint Bowyer, who is currently second in the standings, finished one spot behind Johnson but didn’t lead a lap so he lost two points to the point leader. Carl Edwards had another tremendously unassuming run to an 11th place finish to gain one whole point on Johnson. Kevin Harvick struggled his way to a 17th place finish but managed to hang onto fourth place in the points. Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished fifth in the race and held onto fifth in the points.
The second half of the top 10 is where the movement happened on Sunday. Kyle Busch finished the race in eighth while Matt Kenseth spun late in the race to come home 22nd. As a result Busch jumped up to sixth while Kenseth fell back to seventh. Kahne’s win and Gordon’s second place finish allowed both of them to leapfrog Greg Biffle who scored a 10th place finish himself. Kahne is now eighth in points while Gordon is ninth. Biffle is holding onto 10th by the skin of his teeth.
In the Wild Card race, Tony Stewart sits 11th in points with a win to hold the first Wild Card position. Martin Truex Jr. is 14th in points but he is the next highest in points with a win. That gives Truex the second Wild Card spot at this point in time. Truex is one spot ahead of Ryan Newman so he is far from comfortable with five races left before the cutoff for the Chase.
Overall Rating(On a scale of one to six beer cans with one being a stinker and a six pack an instant classic) – Pocono gets a bad wrap just because it is a huge facility and the racing can get a little strung out. There is not much in Stock Car racing that compares to the fan out on the front straight at Pocono when cars end up six wide before they get to turn one. Add in the myriad of pit strategies in play on Sunday and the race was very compelling. Add in six on track passes for the lead and we’ll give the Gobowling.com 400 a crisp 4 cans of premium lager.
Next Up – Time to turn right and left one more time in 2013. The Cup series heads to the Finger Lakes region of New York to run the Cheez-It 355 at the Glen. If the finish this year is anywhere close to the battle between Marcos Ambrose and Brad Keselowski at the end of last season’s race we’re in for a treat. Coverage starts at 1:00 PM on ESPN and MRN.
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what i saw, when i saw johnson have issues, i wondered if other drivers/teams say to themselves, oh goodie, someone else has a chance.
hendrick still won, was surprised “team orders” didn’t get handed down for gordon to win.
Why don’t they just put Hendrink’s and Stewart-Haas cars on the track by themselves and send the rest of the field to a different track. They don’t have an advantage, do they? Naaah!!!
For Pocono that was a pretty interesting race. However one can’t help but feel a large part of that had to do with the 48 having issues. Until that point it looked like the ending was predestined (never a good thing for any sporting event). I will give it five cans because it was an interesting race to watch despite being at Pocono which traditionally produces 1 or 2 can races.
Ricky’s taken out on the first lap and finishes 47 laps down but he still finishes ahead of whatshername by three laps. There is a racing God.
Here’s a list of drivers who won for the Wood Brothers:
The winners for Bud Moore:
No one will convince me that another driver in the 48 couldn’t do as well or better than Johnson in Brian’s special car. Look at Kurt Busch in the 78. It’s running up front but it’s nowhere near the same car as the 48.
If hard-nosed determination translated into wins every time, we’d be talking about Kurt Busch running away with the championship and not Johnson. How the #78 team has managed to be this competitive and not yet win a race this year is baffling.
“While in the end that may look like a bad day for the No. 48 bunch, it is the kind of effort that wins championships when something like that happens during the Chase.”
I don’t think I’ve ever seen Danica Patrick so dejected after a race as she was yesterday. I think she realized that wreck was completely her fault and was quite upset about it. Still, to hear her say a good finish for her team was a top 20 tells me she’s set the bar pretty low and is very disappointed that she can’t even accomplish that goal.
Jeff Burton and Bobby Labonte need to gas up the boat, buy some bait, and spend a few weekends fishing on Lake Norman.
I like the Dillon brothers but somebody needs to tell them the only person who looks more ridiculous in a cowboy hat than they do is Jeff Hammond.
Fun stat: the 27 lead changes yesterday were the most in a Pocono race since there were 30 in the 2004 June race, which was 40 laps longer. Just one of the many reasons yesterday’s race was so good.
As a 24 fan, I’m disappointed to get so close to a win for my driver. I think Jeff could have held Kasey off if not for that outrageous move on the outside on the last restart. Kasey had the best car, though—he was running sub-52 second laps for almost all of the last two runs and was consistently three to five tenths of a second faster than the cars behind. Johnson looked only marginally faster than the 2 and the 78, and I think Kahne would have outrun him even without the tire trouble.
Hey! I like the Cowboy hats. Great change of pace from the standard issue caps.
Surely Timmy Hill was the Rookie of the Race?
I saw a tweet yesterday saying Timmy Hill won the Rookie of the Race.
Sorry, a guy in a racing firesuit wearing a cowboy hat looks as silly as a guy in chaps with a racing helmet on.
There are a team or two besides Kurt’s that have been competitive this year and haven’t won, hopefully they will soon. As for Hamlin he is now the third wheel at JGR, he is the new Logano and I bet its driving him nuts. A word of advice Denny in all his egotiscal glory gave to another driver..“Hush little baby hush”.
I was disappointed that Gordon didn’t get the win yesterday since the team had a really strong day and great restarts. It was too nice a day to spend inside all day, so I only came in to watch the last 10 laps live – the rest I saw via recording, but I can’t say I was disappointed that Johnson blew a tire so that he didn’t buzzkill the race for anyone who isn’t a 48 fan.
LOL about the cowboy hats. Yes, I don’t quite get the point with the Dillon brothers & the hats. To me they look silly, even though I like both of the young drivers.
Boy, I was really surprised to hear Danica say that a top 20 would be a good day for them. Really? Considering the $ for sponsorship that team gets. I would still like to see what Johanna Long could do in that car with the funding & team. Kyle Petty looks kind of right in his comments, doesn’t he?
Kyle Petty was spot on with his comments.
yeah, those boys’ve gotta loose the cowboy hats. they look as foolish and forced as mr bush’s snow angel.
I apologize to all of the Timmy Hill fans. I did not think he was running for points in the Cup series which would make him ineligible for the Rookie of the Race. In looking at the results he was indeed eligible and did win the Rookie of the Race.
Again, apologies to Timmy and congrats on taking the Rookie of the Race.
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