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 – Mark Martin was playing a fuel strategy that needed one more caution flag to play out in a victory at Michigan. Unfortunately for him there wasn’t one and he had to come to the pits with two laps to go, surrendering the lead to Joey Logano.
In a Nutshell – Joey Logano was the fastest car in practice and qualifying, led the most laps, and crossed the finish line first in Michigan. Between qualifying and Logano winning, the race saw Jimmie Johnson rebound from a practice crash to put himself in contention for the win before his engine blew up. Dale Earnhardt Jr. looked to be a factor until lap 135 when he blew a right front tire and had to head to the garage for repairs. Kurt Busch once again was a factor but came up two spots short while Greg Biffle came up a bit short in his attempt to win three races in a row at Michigan.
Dramatic Moment – On the final restart of the race, Joey Logano went three wide into turn one to get past Kevin Harvick, then battled Kurt Busch through the next two laps before securing the second spot on the track in order to be the leader once Mark Martin ran out of gas.
What They’ll be Talking About Around the Water Cooler
The track at Michigan hasn’t aged enough for the folks at Goodyear to provide a tire that will wear out so the aero dependency of the Gen-6 car was once again the biggest factor in the race, resulting in two on-track passes for the lead, including the one where Logano passed Martin as he ran out of fuel. After the promise that the Fontana race showed early this season, the latest version of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car has turned into an even more aero dependent beast than the original COT. Hopefully the folks at Goodyear are going to be on the right track with this combination tire they’re going to bring to Atlanta, or we may be in for a very long period of less than heart pounding racing.
Speaking of tires, there is no doubt that tires failing and sending cars into the wall, no matter how safe or soft, is not what most fans want to see. That said, getting to the point where the tires don’t wear out for the entire length of a race is ludicrous. While no one actually accomplished it, there were multiple teams that had said they could go the entire distance of Sunday’s race without changing the left side tires on their cars. No matter what people in charge of the sport are trying to do, the thought of not changing tires cannot be in the best interest of the sport.
Like the Chase or hate the Chase, it is down to brass tacks time over the next three weeks. Clint Bowyer and Carl Edwards look to be primed to lock in their Chase positions after Bristol. Anyone who is 96 points ahead of 11th place after the checkered flag falls on Saturday night will be guaranteed to be in the Chase. Bowyer and Edwards are 113 and 103 points ahead of 11th . Provided they don’t have a horrendous result at Bristol, they will be able to roll the dice and go for wins at Atlanta and Richmond to try and secure bonus points for the Chase. Kevin Harvick should be able to lock in as well if he has a decent run. He is currently 90 points ahead of 11th which isn’t far from the magic 96 point number.
Rumors are circulating that Mark Martin is going to fill in for Tony Stewart for the remainder of the season. With Brian Vickers signing on with Michael Waltrip Racing for a full-time ride, he is primed to run out the string in 2013 in preparation for the 2014 season. Martin continues to hang on like a bad rash after going through the whole last lap with Rusty Wallace about a decade ago. If the rumors are true it is disappointing that SHR didn’t choose to reward Scott Riggs for his efforts for the organization throughout the years or reward a developing driver who would benefit from some Cup seat time like Justin Allgaier or perhaps Johanna Long. Hopefully Martin will give them whatever it is they’re looking for.
Speaking of rumors about Stewart-Haas Racing, the juiciest rumor of Sunday night is that Kurt Busch has been offered a full-time ride at SHR. With Furniture Row Racing being a satellite operation for Richard Childress Racing and the owner of RCR seeming to always have a warm spot for the elder Busch in his heart, it seemed like RCR was where he would end up. It goes without saying that the SHR haulers at the track in 2014 could be quite the center of entertainment between the boss, Kevin Harvick and Busch all having a penchant for momentary lapses in judgment in front of television cameras. Makes you wonder how long it will be before Kyle Busch ends up in the ranks at SHR as well.
After Saturday’s race at Mid-Ohio, it seems as though more fans are clamoring for additional road course races. Ten years ago, people would have begged for more root canals before they would have asked for more road courses. Unfortunately, the racing has become so uninspiring on ovals, and the sanctioning body has shown they aren’t going to add more short tracks so road courses are the only chance left for fans to see good ol’ fashioned trading paint. Bill France Sr. must be turning over in his grave.
Speaking of the Nationwide race, AJ Allmendinger is two for two in the series this season. It will be interesting to see if he makes it back to the Cup level or if he’s going to stick with running in the less popular IndyCar and GrandAm events.
James Buescher cracked the win column on Saturday at Michigan in the Camping World Truck Series. The defending champ is sitting third in points and is still within striking distance of the series title if Matt Crafton stumbles over the next 10 races. The win ties him for wins with Crafton, Jeb Burton and Ty Dillon, the other three drivers in the top four in points for the series. Buescher is trying to become the first back-to-back champion in the series. Don’t count him out.
The Hindenburg Award for Foul Fortune
Jimmie Johnson may have secured the first spot in the Chase but his weekend we anything short of celebratory. He wrecked his car on Saturday and had to go to a backup. After starting from the back of the field he’d raced his way up to a point where he was certainly in contention to win the race, and his motor failed. Whether the No. 48 team was trying something or not, in the end it wasn’t a good weekend for Johnson and the momentum from the regular season is slipping away if he can’t turn it around in the next two races.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. looked strong early in the race, led twice for 20 laps, and was working his way back to the front of the pack when his right front tire suffered a rapid deflation, sending his car into the wall and ending his hopes for winning the race. In the end he crossed the finish line in 36th and lost another spot in the top 10. He is now 20 points ahead of 11th heading into the last three races of the regular season. Fortunately for Earnhardt he’s heading to three tracks where he has had success during his Cup career.
Kyle Busch started the race in 10th and worked his way to second at one point during the race. He was struggling as the laps wound down toward the last quarter of the race and was running 13th when he spun in turn two on lap 157, backing his ride into the fence. After some pit road repairs he attempted to get back in the fray but spun again on lap 174 and doing further damage to the back of his car. Busch has had a lot of success at most of the tracks on the schedule, but Michigan continues to be a tough venue for him.
The “Seven Come for Eleven” Award for Fine Fortune
Due to the fact that he had to pit from the lead with two laps to go, most people would think that Mark Martin had a foul fortune day. However, if you look at the whole picture, his day was setting up to be very bad and almost came full circle to a win. Martin started outside of row two and dropped like a stone through the first 40 laps, ending up in 29th position. When the caution flew on lap 107, Martin was the first car a lap down and received the Lucky Dog. From there he played strategy and came within five miles of taking home the trophy.
Paul Menard started 20th, moved forward slightly during the first half of the race, then made a jump into the top 10 for the second half of the race, clawing his way all of the way to fourth at the end of the race. While Menard’s chances of making the Chase are still relatively slim, this weekend went a long way toward keeping him alive until Richmond rather than eliminating him.
Kasey Kahne had a tire trying to fail during the race but made it to pit lane before it failed completely. The result was the best finish for the Hendrick contingent on Sunday, coming home in seventh position. That save also kept Kahne in the top spot in the Wild Card standings for the Chase and only four points out of the top 10.
Ford – 4
What’s the Points?
Jimmie Johnson done blowed up early and came home in 40th position. While he still leads the points, Johnson is no longer a full race ahead of second place. Clint Bowyer is still in second, without a win, but is only 41 points in arrears to Johnson. Carl Edwards only has one win but he’s still sitting third in the points after his 10th place finish on Sunday. Kevin Harvick’s second place finish keeps him in the fourth spot in points, 64 in back of Johnson. Kyle Busch’s long day didn’t drop him out of fifth place and he’s now 107 points behind the leader.
Matt Kenseth jumped over Dale Earnhardt Jr. to grab the sixth spot in points 125 behind Johnson. Earnhardt is now 134 points behind Johnson and sitting precariously in seventh. Brad Keselowski’s 12th place finish has him still sitting in eighth, 146 back. He’s two points ahead of Kurt Busch, who rides his third place finish back into Chase contention in ninth. Greg Biffle came home ninth in the race but dropped back to 10th in the points, 150 behind Johnson.
Kasey Kahne moved up to 11th in points and is first in the Wild Card standings by both points and wins. Martin Truex Jr. dropped two spots to 12th but still holds the second spot in the Wild Card race thanks to his win. Joey Logano is now 13th and breathing down the neck of Truex for that second Wild Card spot.
Overall Rating (On a scale of one to six beer cans, with one being a stinker and a six pack an instant classic) — For those people who are hard core fans of parades, Michigan was setting up to be the perfect Sunday for them. However, somewhere along the way, the racing gods reached won and touched eight different drivers on the shoulder and made them spin. Thanks to those eight cautions, and one for debris, we had 10 starts on Sunday that allowed Michigan to still show the multi-groove racing it can provide, although not as much as it once did thanks to the yet to fully age repaving job. The vast number of starts and associated crazy racing, along with the inevitable fuel mileage questions at the end of the race resulted in the race getting three fresh cans of Pabst.
Next Up — The ticket that used to be the toughest in all of NASCAR to get is now just another race. The Night Race at Bristol is next Saturday night starting at 7:30 PM Eastern on ABC and PRN.
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You writers amuse me. Martin Truex Jr. did not win one race in something like 210 trys..Logano wins 3 in 170 and you say “only”, come on, have some fairness in what your report. It was crickets for years, nobody said a word about old Martin. Truex has been around alot longer than Logano.
again, watched end of race to see what would happen. couldn’t help but wonder if a mystery debris caution would had come out if a driver other than mark was leading and needed caution for fuel mileage.
and does espn think they’d get a straight answer from johnson about “experimental” equipment being tested on his car since he had clinched?
if the rumor about kurt busch going to stewart/haas is true..man i sure hope they have a padded room in that operation so that they can set a cage match up for the drivers and owner to work things out…..4 hot heads (stewart, haravick, bush and princess). if stewart/haas was planning 4 teams, why give ryan his walking papers?
bristol this weekend then atlanta……anyone coming to atlanta, bring your rain gear. we’ve had so much rain this summer it’s ridiculous. we’ve had so much rain that you can sit and watch mold race.
I am SO PUMPED that football is back. Bristol used to be THE race to NOT miss. Now, with everybody points racing to the chase, I’ll watch an NFL preseason game over Bristol.
Amazing how far down the list Nascar has become in the Brian France years.
Martin to the #14 isn’t really that big of a deal. It’s temporary and Stewart probably tagged Martin because he knows he won’t tear up equipment.
Kurt Busch to SHR next year is a way bigger deal, especially since Kurt brings no sponsorship and Haas says they will sponsor him themselves. They must really want Kurt Busch in their stable.
Was Jeff Gordon even in the race? I thought after last week, Gordon would be a driver possessed, but he was never a factor and if he cracked the top ten I never noticed.
Danica Patrick managed a top-25 finish, so kudos to her.
Again the Nationwide race was much better than the Cup race, and it wasn’t won by a Cup driver. There might be a cup ride for Allmendinger at EGR, but I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy.
Janice I’m just north of Columbia SC and we’ve had the same deal with the constant rain this summer. In fact, the cloud over my house has been there so long I actually named him Clancy the Cloud. Honestly, I wish Clancy would just go the hell away.
carl – know what you mean. umbrella is permanently affixed to me. georgia normally gets close to 50” of rain a year, well with 4.5 mos left in year, and rainy season (fall) not here yet, we surpassed that 50” mark this weekend.
Oh… and Roger Penske got a Cup trophy and a Nationwide trophy this weekend. Sweet!
If the Kurt Busch rumor is true, it makes me wonder how much influence Harvick had on that deal. He’s complimented Kurt several times this year, especially when it comes to discussing what he’s brought to the table at competition meetings and setup wise with RCR and Furniture Row.
Those 2 haven’t always seen eye-to-eye, but there’s no denying the talent. Also curious that Stewart is possibly inviting what was once his biggest rival into his stable. I believe the line of thinking here is Kurt’s a better driver than Newman, and sponsorship may be easier found with Busch if he’s running up front more consistently. What he’s done in that 78 is remarkable. If the rumor is true, I think we’ve found a team that can legitimately challenge Hendrick Motorsports on a week-to-week basis.
Granted, it’s all Hendrick equipment…but if they bring in Todd Berrier with Busch/Harvick, that’s a trio with nearly the last 10 years of working together in some fashion.
Ha… now HMS should withdraw support and refuse to lease engines to SHR. That would change the dynamics a bit.
Otherwise I can’t think of anything to say about that race. It just seemed to meander for 3 hours. Even with several legitimate cautions it seemed to lack drama.
Pretty much a waste of a Sunday based on what I saw of it.
I have to say I have little interest in the high speed parades – obviously the Gen6 car is no better than the COT was as far as producing decent racing esp when combined with the rockhard tires Goodyear brings.
Hmm, I like Bill B’s idea – HMS should stop providing engines to SHR – I’ve always thought it was silly to provide engines to your competitors anyway – although I guess $ is $.
hank – kurt busch might be a “better driver than newman”, but kurt busch can be a sponsor’s nightmare. unless he’s bringing “monster energy drink” along with him as a full time sponsor.
it doesn’t take either one of the busch boys much to have a melt-down.
I can live with an attitute problem when we’re running up front. I can’t live with a not winning problem, even if he’s the nicest guy in the garage.
If you need any further proof, see Elliott Sadler’s career.
Once again it was proven NASCAR needs to slow these cars down. Kenny Wallace mentioned on the radio using the “tapered spacer” the Nationwide cars use. A 205 mph parade is not entertaining. They need to do something on the 1.5-2 mile tracks. Though watching the Michigan races this year, I can’t help thinking that this is what “unrestricted” racing would look like at the Superspeedways. The cars were hitting 210+ at times entering the corner. If Michigan is any indication, then keep the plates on.
On a side note, it looks like the 24 is done for the Chase. The team just looks lifeless right now.
when the commentators kept referencing the speeds at the track, 210/215 mph, i couldn’t help but remember ernie irvan’s wreck all those years ago that nearly ended his life. he hit wall in turn 2 at 170. sure cars are safer now and there’s the safer barriers, but i kept thinking about irvan’s wrecks.
Gina and Upstate24fan, obviously, the TV didn’t show a lot. I will tell you this, being in the stands on Sunday was well worth it. Yes, whoever was in front in the clean air could pull away, but there was plenty of action going on mid-pack. And even though it was total B.S., watching Jimmie having to take it behind the wall was worth the price of admission alone! Lots of cheering there, despite it being the previously mentioned B.S.
As for Johnson and blowing the engine in his back-up car, Everyone there Saturday couldn’t help but notice the 48 crew unloading the back-up car before Johnson’s car came to rest after hitting the wall. What was Chad trying with the primary car, and why were they so quick to pull the back-up car out? And, was Jimmie instructed to damage the primary car so it was necessary to pull out the back-up car. Chad is a good crew chief, but, he is also a sleazebag, just like his Felonious boss! Look for more of the same B.S. out of the 48 team over the next three races as Chad carries out more experiments before he and Jimmie crush the competition in the chase.
Ken, TV never shows a lot of the actual racing. It’s one of the main reasons that I am giving serious consideration to canceling my cable. I can save a lot of money w/o it. I won’t need ESPN for NASCAR and I really don’t have any interest in watching FoxSports1 – especially since they will simply continue NASCAR racing presented by The Waltrip Brothers show. Sorry, no interest whatsoever.
Unfortunately, too, as upstate24fan so bluntly put it, the 24 team doesn’t look likely to make the chase for 2013, so again, what little interest I had in NASCAR will come to a screeching halt after Richmond.
Do I think JJ & Chad are playing their usual games? You bet your sweet bippy.
Notice that in all this talk of “silly season” its just a reshuffling of the same old names? And while he certainly is/was a great driver a 54 year old driver is still getting good rides, there isn’t any young talent out there? Finally if anybody had any doubt about the relative strength of the NFL vs. Nascar, all you had to do was be in Richmond the last three weeks. 165000 people (total) showed up to watch the Redskins training camp. TRAINING CAMP! amazing.
Ban the cookie cutters!
No more Dull Ds!!
Come on people, join in the chant!!
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