Kurt Busch to Attempt The Indianapolis-Charlotte Double
posted by Phil Allaway
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Andretti Autosport announced this morning that Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet in the Sprint Cup Series, will attempt the Indianapolis 500 in a fifth entry for the IndyCar Series team. Once the Indianapolis 500 is completed, Busch will fly from Indianapolis to Charlotte, jump in his No. 41 Chevrolet and compete in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Busch considers the opportunity to do the double as an old-school throwback moment.
“This is really to challenge myself within motorsports,” Busch said in Andretti Autosport’s press release. “Perhaps I am a bit of an old-school racer; a throwback, I guess. I enjoyed the era of drivers racing different cars and testing themselves in other series. It is tough to do now for a variety of factors, but when the opportunity is there, I want to do it. While NASCAR is my home, I have been fortunate to compete in Pro Stock on the NHRA circuit a number of years ago and test a V8 Supercar. This opportunity was a talk with Michael [Andretti] over dinner one night, a “What if,” and now it’s becoming a reality for me to drive in the Indy 500 with Andretti Autosport. It’s literally a dream come true. To go to the famous Brickyard with the iconic Andretti name, it doesn’t get much cooler or better than that.”
Busch will be doing the Indianapolis-Charlotte double as a Memorial Day mission to men and women serving in the U.S. Military via the Armed Forces Foundation. Fans can contribute to the cause by texting AFF to 50555 to donate $10.
Busch, who has never raced an IndyCar, passed Rookie Orientation at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last year during a test session. At the time, Busch was more or less testing the Dallara DW12 for fun.
Busch will be the fourth driver to attempt the Indianapolis-Charlotte double. John Andretti was the first driver to attempt it in 1994. After finishing four laps down in tenth in Indianapolis, Andretti crashed and had engine problems in the 600. Robby Gordon has attempted the double five times, most recently in 2004. However, Gordon failed to make it to Charlotte on time and did not start the 600 in 2000 (P.J. Jones started Gordon’s No. 13 Ford in that instance). Finally, Tony Stewart has attempted the double twice (most recently in 2001) and is the only driver to ever complete all 1100 miles. Neither of the three drivers has won either leg of the double. The best finishes are Stewart and Gordon’s sixth-place finishes at the Indianapolis 500 (although Gordon’s came in 2000, the year he didn’t make it to Charlotte in time to start the Coca-Cola 600), and Stewart’s fourth-place finish in the 2001 Coca-Cola 600.
Danica Patrick, Justin Allgaier Talk About Phoenix Incident
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
A disappointing start to the year for Danica Patrick won’t include continued conflict. Patrick met with rookie Justin Allgaier Sunday, shortly after the Phoenix Cup race after a wreck ruined both drivers’ days. Patrick, who was critical of the No. 51 car on the radio, claiming Allgaier was “driving all over the track” appeared receptive to a conversation that quickly settled differences over what will be a long season.
“She was just upset because she got involved in the crash that we had,’’ said Allgaier to the Motor Racing Network. “She says she’s been through this and that she felt like I needed to settle down at that point. I explained my position on why everything happened. I think she understood where I was coming from. It doesn’t fix either one of our racecars. It doesn’t fix either one of our days. Unfortunately, we were both having pretty decent days.’’
Allgaier wound up 30th due to the incident while Patrick was 36th. The incident, which was caused by Allgaier’s spin also involved the No. 32 team and Travis Kvapil, which wound up 38th after sustaining heavy damage.
Camping World Close to Extending Title Sponsorship of NCWTS
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Marcus Lemonis, CEO of Camping World, Grand Marshal of Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway, and star of CNBC’s “The Profit,” made the announcement over the weekend that the retailer is very close to announcing a deal that would continue its title sponsorship of NASCAR’s Truck Series. The original agreement with NASCAR is scheduled to conclude after the 2015 season.
According to the sanctioning body, no formal contract has been signed, but “the agreement between the two parties has proven to be a beneficial one.”
“In about a month, we’ll be announcing a significant extension to that contract. It’s been great for us,” said Camping World’s Lemonis in a statement. “The NASCAR relationship has worked well for Camping World. When we started, we had 35 stores. Now, we’re up to 120 stores. As we travel the country and we meet new customers in stores, they always are very appreciative of our relationship with NASCAR. It’s been good.”
Gaining a long-term commitment from Camping World to sponsor the Truck Series would be a relief for NASCAR, which is set to lose Nationwide Insurance as title sponsor for the NASCAR Nationwide Series at the end of the 2014 season. The sponsorship of the Cup Series by Sprint runs through 2016.
The NCWTS is back in action on March 29th at 2:30 PM (ET) when the trucks visit Martinsville Speedway in the Kroger 250, which can be seen on Fox Sports 1. Ratings for the season opener were up 11 percent.
Harvick Takes Win At Phoenix In Second Race With New Team
posted by Justin Tucker
Monday March 3, 2014
Phoenix International Raceway has become Kevin Harvick’s home away from home. Sunday Afternoon was no exception as Harvick charged to the front early and would dominate for much of the day, leading 224 of the scheduled 312 laps to record his record fifth win on the one mile oval and his third win in the last four races at Phoenix.
Harvick, coming off of a disappointing Speedweeks which was capped by a last lap crash in the Daytona 500 in his debut with Stewart-Haas Racing, set the tone on Saturday by winning both practices while having the best 5 and 10-lap averages in the first practice of the day on Saturday. On Sunday, Harvick and his No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet was nothing short of flawless as he was able to hold Dale Earnhardt, Jr. by .489 seconds after a late race restart to claim his 24th career Sprint Cup Series victory.
“Man, this is awesome,” Harvick said after his dominant victory on Sunday. “Man, this just solidifies so many things and so many decisions. It’s been so much work with all the time and effort that these guys (the crew) have put in—but what a race car.”
Stewart Haas Racing co-owner Gene Haas shared in Harvick’s excitement after the race.
“It took long enough,” Haas joked. “This is phenomenal. I think there was a lot of skepticism last year about what myself and Tony (Stewart) what we were up to, was there a lot of madness to this. Quite frankly, it’s a great team, there’s a lot of synergy at the shop, people working together. I don’t know what we did, but I think we put together a great organization.”
Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt, Jr. continued his hot start to the 2014 season. Earnhardt Jr. would finish second on Sunday, marking his seventh consecutive top 10 finish since the end of the 2013 season. Earnhardt Jr. was pleased with the effort after a coast-to-coast whirlwind week after winning his second Daytona 500 and also gave great praise to the efforts of Harvick and the No. 4 team.
“I’ve got to congratulate Kevin. Those guys were two-tenths faster than everyone all weekend in practice. They were just phenomenal,” Earnhardt said. “To be able to run with them all day was a big confidence builder for us.”
Joining Harvick and Earnhardt in the top 5 of The Profit on CNBC 500K were Brad Keselowski with his second consecutive top 3 run of 2014 in third. Keselowski’s Team Penske teammate Joey Logano would finish fourth, and Jeff Gordon would come home fifth in his No. 24 Pepsi Max Chevrolet.
Jimmie Johnson finished in sixth, followed by Ryan Newman with a nice rebound after Daytona in seventh. Carl Edwards would carry the banner for Roush Fenway Racing by finishing eighth, Kyle Busch was ninth, and Jamie McMurray would finish tenth.
A look at the Profit on CNBC 500K by the numbers. There were 14 lead changes among eight different drivers, there were eight cautions for 39 laps which slowed the race pace to 109.229 MPH.
Next Sunday, the Sprint Cup Series heads to Sin City and the Las Vegas Motor
Starting Lineup: The Profit On CNBC 500K
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday March 1, 2014
Drivers in RED (i) are those ineligible to collect Sprint Cup points
Daytona 500 TV Ratings Down
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Wednesday February 26, 2014
What was the longest weather delay in Daytona 500 history turned out to bring NASCAR lower ratings and TV viewership Sunday night than expected. According to a report Monday from FOX Sports, the 56th running of the Daytona 500 airing at 8 PM (ET) posted a 5.6/10 national household rating/share which averaged 9.3 million viewers. That’s down 44 percent from last year’s 9.9, easily making it the least-watched Daytona 500 of all-time.
Due to the six-hour, twenty-two minute rain delay in Daytona, the race was up against the primetime coverage of the Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony from Sochi, Russia on NBC (15.25 million viewers). FOX also reported that 69% of the pre-rain delay viewers of the race, which began at 1 PM (ET) kept tuning in.
In comparison, the 2013 Daytona 500 on FOX was the most-watched race in five years, posting a 9.9/22 rating/share, commanding 16.7 million viewers. The Daytona 500 in 2012, the first to ever be run on a Monday and in the primetime slot did a 7.7/13 overnight rating/share which resulted in 13.67 million households viewing the race according to Nielsen TV ratings data.
Earnhardt, Jr. Claims Second Daytona 500 Victory
posted by Justin Tucker
Wednesday February 26, 2014
Ten years is a long time. For Dale Earnhardt, Jr., it felt like an eternity. NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver endured many near misses and close calls at the Daytona 500 since his only win in the Great American Race in 2004. Earnhardt had finished second in two of his last three Daytona 500s coming into Sunday’s race. He was also riding the tail of a 55-race winless streak, dating back to Michigan in 2012.
However nothing would stop Dale Jr. on Sunday, not even a 6 hour and 22 minute rain delay from capturing his second Daytona 500 win. Earnhardt Jr. led a race-high 54 laps on the evening and used some timely drafting help from teammates Jimmie Johnson and, on the final restart, Jeff Gordon to separate from the pack and secure the victory.
“Winning this race is the greatest feeling that you could feel in this sport besides accepting the trophy for the championship,” said a jubilant Earnhardt after pulling into Victory Lane. “We could fight off battle after battle. We got a little help at the end there from Jeff to get away on the restart. This is amazing. I can’t believe this is happening. I never take this for granted, man because it doesn’t happen twice, let alone once.”
Aside from the race itself the big story of the race was the 6 hour and 22 minute red flag, which threatened to move the race to Monday evening (had the race been postponed, FOX Sports’ Chris Myers had tweeted that the race would resume at 5:00pm EST). However, Mother Nature would cooperate and would allow the race to be run under different conditions from which they practiced this week. Once the race resumed, the intensity picked up from the changing track conditions. This allowed the pack to race side-by-side and at times 3-wide up to seven rows deep.
Joining Earnhardt Jr. in the top 5 for the 2014 Daytona 500 were: Denny Hamlin who closed out a spectacular Speedweeks in second, Brad Keselowski in third, Jeff Gordon in fourth, and Jimmie Johnson who overcome two wrecks leading up to the 500 in fifth.
Rounding out the top 10 in the Daytona 500 were Matt Kenseth in sixth, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. in seventh and Greg Biffle would bring his No. 16 Ford home in eighth. Austin Dillon would come home ninth in his first Cup Series race in the iconic No. 3 for Richard Childress Racing, while Casey Mears would round out the top 10.
A couple of major contenders for the Daytona 500 win would see their hopes dashed early on as Martin Truex, Jr. would blow up just 30 laps into the race, relegating him to a 43rd-place finish in his debut for Furniture Row Racing. Crew chief Todd Berrier was already in Nashville for a test session before the race was even over. Kyle Busch, meanwhile would have a pit road violation just before halfway and would spend much of the race battling back from that mistake. Busch would eventually finish 19th after leading 19 laps.
Danica Patrick would also be bit by bad luck as she was caught up in a multi-car wreck on lap 145. Patrick would lead her second consecutive Daytona 500, but wouldn’t have the finish to show for it finishing 40th. Tony Stewart would encounter a frustrating evening as well, with a fuel pickup problem derailing his quest for his first Daytona 500 win. Stewart would finish 35th.
A look at the Daytona 500 by the numbers. There were 42 lead changes among 18 drivers, while seven cautions for 39 laps would slow the race pace to 145.290 MPH.
Next week, the Sprint Cup Series heads to the “diamond in the desert,” Phoenix International Raceway for The Profit on CNBC 500K. The Green flag is scheduled for 3:15pm EST.
Nationwide Series Post-Race Quotes: Drive4COPD 300
posted by Thomas Bowles
Tuesday February 25, 2014
Frontstretch Interviews – Courtesy Mike Neff
ELLIOTT SADLER – FINISHED 4th
Thoughts on the race?
It’s definitely a lot different racing than what we’re used to.
Comfortable with it?
Yeah, it’s just different. You’re worried about what you’re doing, but you’re also worried about what everyone else is doing and they’re not doing more than you’re doing. Physically pushing a guy is way better than just riding so you just gotta time it right and push it to the edge.
Happy to start the year with a top 5?
Yeah. Hell, that was the worst we ran all day, I think. I have no idea how they put the 3 car in front of us on that last restart. I hadn’t seen the 3 car hardly all day. When they put us from fifth to sixth, on the outside line, it just really boxed us in. I would have really restarted behind my teammate and given him a good push to the front. Anyways, it is what it is; we’ll take it and move on.
Looked like you were up front all day.
The guys did a good job. We had a fast race car. Great pit stops, just really proud of these guys. The car’s in one piece and we can take it to Talladega now. Great job by my guys. A lot of effort came into coming down here to Daytona and giving ourselves a shot to win. We had that chance to be up front and make some things happen. Fifth is not what we want, but we’ll take it and move on.
Bumping vs Pushing?
It’s way harder. You don’t want to lay on the guy in front of you, so it’s tough racing. A lot different than what we’re used to, ‘cause you gotta go. You gotta drag the brake too ‘cause you don’t want to hit the guys and you don’t want to stay on him. It’s a lot harder mentally than what we’ve done in the past.
Car was strong all day. Pushing vs. Bumping, is that harder to do than just getting on somebody and pushing them?
Yeah, it is a little bit. When you bump ‘em, you jar ‘em, it kinda jacks ‘em a little bit. It’s a little more abrupt, obviously. I thought it was OK there at the end. It was certainly fun and hopefully entertaining. But a little bit of a struggle in the early part of the race and the midpart of the race to see a good race. And that’s unfortunate for the fans. You can’t do that the whole race, you can’t tear up your stuff, knock your grill in, overheat your motor, all that stuff so there’s no sense in doing all that until you get down to the last lap. The 7 and the 6, they did a good job. Man, the 7 really held the 22 and I tight on the bottom. I was rubbing his door and hitting the apron at the same time, no room whatsoever. So it was good; wish we were the ones who could have won but a lot better now than what we were last year.
Going home in one piece makes it a lot better, right?
Yeah. My back feels good. My foot feels good. Past years here, I’ve been going home with pain so I’m alright.
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2014 Truck Series Post-Race Quotes: Daytona (Exclusives)
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday February 22, 2014
When you’re on the outside like that, how frustrating is it?
It’s so hard. Timothy Peters has won here. Kyle Busch has won everywhere. Ron Hornaday has been running Trucks forever, probably before I was even born. I was surrounded by veterans there, and like I told them I don’t have a rookie stripe but I’m a rookie. This is only my fourth Truck race ever, my fourth superspeedway race, and man, I figured out when the 17 got up in front of me, I pushed him. And as soon as I pushed him, he took off. And I went with him. And I just kept doing it, and before I knew it, he was leading. And I saw Ron in my mirror, backed up to him, and if it wasn’t for him, I don’t know what would have happened. I gotta thank him big time for that. That was a true teammate move right there. I really appreciate that. He just bounced off me and we got to the front. I tried my hardest to sidedraft Kyle. I was probably touching his door.
Top 5 in the No. 30 truck. This deal come together at the last minute, but you had a heck of a truck. Tell us about your night.
Yeah, I’ve got to thank Turner Scott Motorsports. The guys worked so hard on this Rheem Comfort Products Chevrolet. Exciting! Just got hung up on the outside and had to wait for my teammate there to catch up. And then he got to the bottom, so… I got the old 32 and started pushing ol’ Ryan to the front. So, it’s not bad. We’ll take it. You just don’t want to step over that boundary. You don’t know how far to push and shove. We bumped about six times down the straightaway without latching onto them. Hopefully, that was OK and we came home with a top 5.
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2014 Budweiser Duels Post Race Quotes
posted by Matt Stallknecht
Friday February 21, 2014
BUDWEISER DUELS POST-RACE QUOTES
They’re saying the wheel bearing burned up in it. I don’t know what caused it, they’re taking it all apart to figure out what the heck happened. Something abnormal that’s for sure I don’t think I’ve ever had that happen at all. Hopefully, we made the race and hopefully we can fix the problem before Sunday.
WHAT WAS THAT LOUD BOOM ONCE YOU TURNED INTO THE GARAGE?
Loud pop was a tire… thankfully, it popped, hopefully it didn’t hurt anybody. All the heat created in the left front that popped was pretty weird.
REALLY GOOD RUN. WHAT DID YOU THINK OF IT?
Yeah, it was good. We have a car we can work with for the 500. Got a good starting spot, so we’re going to rest easy, fluff and buff our car for a couple of days and get ready for Sunday.
ANY DIFFERENCE ON WHETHER THE TOP OR BOTTOM LANE WORKED?
Yeah, I was just moving around, trying to stay with the flow. For me, this car works on all parts of the racetrack. So I’m pretty happy with it.
DALE EARNHARDT, JR.
GOT SHUFFLED BACK, AFTER PIT STOPS AND THEN COULDN’T GET BACK UP TO THE FRONT. WHY?
Nah, we were just sitting there waiting until the last few laps to make a move. You didn’t want to pull down and get sent to the back. Seen a couple of guys get sent to the back really quick so we were just kind of waiting for the end. I felt like we had a good situation there with Ambrose behind us — we had a good run off Turn 2 and I went. It was the last lap, time to go do something, nobody went with us but hopefully Sunday is a different story.
We got a great car. We don’t have to work hard. We learned, we got a good race car. Got a car in one piece, ready to go so we’ll try and get through the next couple of practices, deliver it to the starting group this Sunday and we’ll be real happy.
YOU’RE IN THE DAYTONA 500!
Yeah, it’s pretty awesome. This Whitetail Chevrolet was so fast that I knew all I had to do was stick it behind smart, intelligent drafters and we could have a good finish. That’s what we did in the Duels and I’m excited. I’m excited to go do some stuff with the Nationwide car and have some more practice with this. But to know that we’re locked in the Daytona 500’s pretty cool.
YOU WERE OBVIOUSLY IN FRONT OF THAT MELEE AT THE END. WHEN YOU WERE UP FRONT THERE IN THE BEGINNING, WERE YOU HOPING TO JUST STAY IN LINE AND LET YOU FINISH TOP 5?
I was pretty content to ride and luckily I knew a lot of people around us were. It was nice to have a little calm and not really have to be racing hard the whole time. I knew that the pit stop was going to shake everything up and that’s exactly what happened. Fell back a little bit there but made the right moves at the end to get a good finish.
HOW STRONG ARE THESE RCR CARS?
They’re very strong! They definitely have the capabilities to be winning one of these races.
YOU’RE IN THE TOP 5 FOR YOUR HEAT IN THE DAYTONA 500. YOUR PRIMARY CAR IS SITTING RIGHT IN THE GARAGE, KIND OF WADDED UP. DID YOU THINK THIS ONE HAD IT IN IT?
Yeah, it’s a brand new car also. It’s just not quite as good as the primary but still a damned good car. I’m just proud of everybody at RCR for building such fast race cars. All of our cars have been fast, ECR motor’s been strong, even our affiliate teams have been qualifying really good and racing good. So… excited about 2014! It’s going to be a good year.
WELL MAN, YOU STARTED IN THE BACK BUT WORKED YOUR WAY TO THE FRONT WHEN IT COUNTED MOST. WERE YOU JUST BIDING YOUR TIME THROUGHOUT THE RACE?
Eh, you never know if you’re going to get back up there or not. We had to start at the back, we had to make a run early and see what we could do. We drove right to 10th, or something like that and then it got stagnant. We tried to make something happen, and went to the back again. Drove back up to the front. Again, just really proud of my guys. Matt Kruder did a hell of a job on that pit stop getting just enough gas in to gain some spots there.
RCR CARS SEEM PRETTY DARNED STRONG. DO YOU THINK THE RCR CARS HAVE SOMETHING FOR THEM ON SUNDAY — ESPECIALLY THE THREE JOE GIBBS RACING CARS THAT SEEM TO BE THE CLASS OF THE FIELD RIGHT NOW?
Oh yeah. The 20 car was extremely fast. The 11 didn’t qualify that good, but he’s a good drafter. I think he won. We definitely have something for him.
Check in with Matt and Jay on their site at CareyandCoffey.com.
Key Moment – On the final restart, when track position is the key to everything, Kenseth took off and left the field. He led the final 43 laps and wasn’t challenged by anyone.
In a Nutshell – Matt Kenseth led one lap before the halfway point of the race. He led all but one of the last 92 laps, and that was just because he pitted in the first stall on pit lane so he didn’t lead the lap when all of the lead lap cars came down the pit lane under caution. Kasey Kahne and Martin Truex looked strong early but both had rough races during the second half of the event and never contended with Kenseth.
Dramatic Moment – Kahne and Truex were out of contention by lap 200 but Jeff Gordon looked like he had the potential to run away with the race. Unfortunately there was a caution on lap 202 and when Gordon came into the pits he slid through his pit, decided to take four tires and never got above 13th after that. With Kenseth running away from the field, it might have been a little more interesting if Four-Time might have been there to say something about it.
What They’ll be Talking About Around the Water Cooler
Twitter will be the death of our society yet. Apparently, NAPA is going to leave Michael Waltrip Racing because of all of the negative comments posted on Twitter after the Richmond race. First of all, if that is the only reason that NAPA is leaving MWR, then their management is even bigger morons than they appeared to be for all of these years that they actually gave their money to Michael. Secondly, if this is going to cost Martin Truex, Jr. a ride, he should be suing the crap out of NASCAR. Truex was the only driver at Richmond in the MWR stable who did nothing but give 100%, which is exactly what NASCAR just made a rule for. Truex didn’t do anything wrong and not only lost a Chase berth but now is supposedly going to lose his job. If I was Truex, I’d be getting my hand on F. Lee Bailey’s phone number and setting up a dream legal team to pry Brian France’s wallet open.
NASCAR called for another competition caution due to rain the night before the Cup race; however, only some teams heeded the warning. Why? This may be an incorrect assumption, but aren’t competition cautions supposed to be a safety precaution so that the teams can look at the wear on the tires since the track is so green after the rain? If that is the case, then the teams should be required to change all four tires to look at the wear. If the teams don’t feel that the danger of blowing a tire is greater than taking two tires to gain track position, then NASCAR is wasting their time throwing the caution. Basically, take a vote in the drivers’ meeting. If more than half want the caution, then throw it and let every team change four tires. Even better, let everyone change four tires and keep the same position they had on the track when they came in for the yellow flag.
If we’re going to have to hear about restarts constantly now that they changed the rules, can we just change them one more time and go to a standing restart? Just like school bus races during the Summer Shootout at Charlotte, stop the cars on the front straight and once they’re all stopped, drop the rag and everyone go. No jumping, no dropping back. If you go before the flag, you’re black flagged. If you go on the green, you get what you get and good for you.
It hasn’t been mentioned enough lately, but the Gen-6 car is still hurting the sport. During the telecast, Dale Jarrett was talking about the speed that the cars have now and how that makes things even tougher than they were before at New Hampshire. The cars are so fast, and so dependent on the air flowing over them to make them handle better, which makes them faster, but also makes it even harder to pass. We’ll keep preaching it until someone listens. Just take everything off below the front bumper and the cars will slow down. The air going under them will keep the cars behind from being aero loose and the overall result will be much better racing.
There were speculations this week about the 2014 schedule. Well, don’t expect major changes. The majority of the rumors have already been debunked thanks to early announcements. Darlington will not be on Labor Day, at least in 2014. Atlanta still has a race date, and it will be August 31st. Nobody is going to get a race date unless they are already on the schedule or owned by SMI or IMC.
For all of the integrity fans, the debris caution on lap 200 was for something on the backstretch. If the slightly slightly wadded up advertising decal was the debris, then NASCAR and their tireless search for integrity has hit another black hole. For the love of all that is reasonable, stop throwing cautions for anything under the sun if the race isn’t playing out the way you want to see it.
Hearing that Chip Ganassi was on the radio and none too pleased with Juan Pablo Montoya for spinning his teammate Jamie McMurray. With Montoya leaving at the end of the year, off to work for Roger Penske in the world of open wheel, these next few months could turn into a real circus.
The Hindenburg Award for Foul Fortune
Kasey Kahne looked like a car who could contend for the win early in the race. Unfortunately for him, with 50 laps to go, he ground to a halt on the inside front straight wall and saw his hopes for a title go up in smoke. Kahne got inside of Brian Vickers on the exit of Turn 4 and broke loose, slamming into the inside wall and breaking something important in the front end. While he did make it back out to run a few more laps, his thoughts of winning a title are now a pipe dream.
Bobby Labonte got back into the No. 47 for the first time in three weeks thanks to broken ribs from a bicycling accident. He made it 53 laps before he blew a tire and was torn up on the frontstretch when Kevin Swindell ran into him after he spun. Labonte finished the race 139 laps down and out of the race.
The “Seven Come for Eleven” Award for Fine Fortune
Jeff Burton started 25th and simply marched toward the front, ultimately finishing up with a top 10. Burton found himself on the outside looking in at the racing groove with twenty laps to go but muscled his way back into line continued his run to the front.
Jamie McMurray was sideways on the frontstretch on Lap 38. He gathered himself, drove a smart race and came home with a top-5 finish. He also is in good graces with his boss, unlike his teammate.
Brian Vickers was the car Kasey Kahne was trying to pass when he had his misfortune. Vickers held onto his car and eventually came home in seventh place. Vickers is certainly looking like he’s going to be a contender next year, at least for the regular season.
The top 10 finishing cars by manufacturer were:
What’s The Points?
Matt Kenseth was in first place after all of the shenanigans that are the point reset took place after Richmond. He has since won two races which, no matter how you try and convolute the point system, means he still has the point lead. Kenseth is 14 points ahead of Kyle Busch and 18 points ahead of Jimmie Johnson. With eight races to go in the Chase, Kenseth is certainly looking like the favorite after two weeks. Carl Edwards rebounded from a horrible starting spot and a rather unimpressive run to finish in ninth place. That still leaves Edwards 36 points out of the lead. Edwards will have to outrun Kenseth by five positions per race over the final eight to beat him to the title. The way the No. 20 team is running, that is a tall order. Greg Biffle is fifth in points, 38 out of the lead. In reality, he’s probably already out of the title hunt but we’ll let the optimists try and convince us otherwise.
Sixth place in the points, sitting 39 from the lead is Kevin Harvick. The consistency of the No. 29 is admirable but that isn’t going to help make up that kind of deficit in eight races. Kurt Busch fell a spot to seventh and now needs to make up 40 points and leapfrog six people. As much as people would love to see Kurt make it to the top of the ladder, it isn’t going to happen this year. Jeff Gordon’s popular day ended poorly, with his car in 15th position. While he led 36 laps, he wasn’t near the lead when it mattered the most and finds himself on the outside of the hunt looking in. Newman and Bowyer are the first drivers that are basically a full race behind and done for in the Chase. Earnhardt Jr. and Logano are beyond out of it, they’re trying to just save face and possibly make it to Vegas for the banquet. Kasey Kahne is hoping for a full field invert with four to go.
In the battle of the rest, Brad Keselowski is leading Martin Truex Jr. by 40 points.
Overall Rating (On a scale of one to six beer cans, with one being a stinker and a six-pack an instant classic) – New Hampshire is always a great race, provided they don’t put restrictor plates on the cars. This one was no exception. Drivers were putting their cars two and three wide all day long and tires at least made a little bit of a difference. In the end, being out front was more important than anything else, which is why Kenseth won the race, leading most of the last third of the event. We’ll give this one three frosty Miller High Lifes for entertainment, but only entertainment because there was no suspense.
Next Up — Next Sunday, the series heads to Dover International Speedway. The race will be at 2:00 Eastern and will be shown on ESPN. It can also be heard on MRN radio. For those who are hoping for a different outcome, Kenseth has an average finish at Dover of 13.6. It is where he made his Cup series debut and he has two career wins.
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Didn’t Swindell run into McMurray?
Best action on the race track was Johnson trying to overtake Biffle for third in the closing laps. Should Johnson lose the championship by one point, Greg Biffle will be my hero.
I hope Labonte didn’t re-injure his rib cage. I never saw them interview him after his crash, but I could have missed it; the Panthers were crushing the Giants on another channel.
And…. another top-30 for All-Star Danica Patrick. Kudos to the Go-Daddy girl!
Wasn’t it Kenseth’s 500th start?
It was Kenseth’s 500th start not his 600th and both Kensteh and Petty are the only two drivers to win on their 500th start.
It was nice seeing Kyle drinking the Monster drink after the race. I wonder what Coke and Pepsi think? Shouldn’t Kyle be stuffing his face with M&Ms?
“Just take everything off below the front bumper and the cars will slow down. The air going under them will keep the cars behind from being aero loose and the overall result will be much better racing.”
Could it really be that simple? Oh wait. Where did you get your Master’s degree in Aerodynamic Engineering? Oh, that’s right.
Maybe, just maybe, there’s more to it than you know.
Someone at NASCAR marketing isn’t reading thier memos. Thier oft repeated Chase commmercial still has a tag line “12 drivers- 1 Champion) Um, guys, this year it’s 13 drivers. I counted.
Surprised Hendrick did not pay NA$CAR to give Jeffy Poo the win.
New Hamspshire is always a great race, with one exception? To each his own, but I can’t remember more than a handful of non-Modified events at this track that were worth an afternoon.
matt – thought the same thing when i saw that commerical yesterday. guess they didn’t feel like spending money to re-do it.
when i first went on line sunday am said 80% chance of rain and i thought, oh no, here we go again. thankfully they got that race in, sun shined and it looked like a nice day in new hampshire. clouded over at end of race.
wonder how tough that huge lobster is that kenseth is holding.
so kasey kahne had his bell rung…didn’t see very clear after being released from infield care center.
can this season just be over with? tv commentators are reaching as well as they were already talking about “whomever survives the big one at talladega”.
think i saw jr more in tv commercials than i have on the track past few weeks.
oh well… onto dover. wonder if mwr can stay out of the news this week?!
i thought the restarts were fantastic and provided side by side by side racing but i noticed that it took three or so laps to get single file. ho hum.
i thought casey was just pissed and didn’t feel like answering the same question posed three different ways. his “sorry, i can’t really hear you” was much nicer and more polite than “will someone get this mfer out of my face.”
interesting that the guys who normally run well at NH were very nearly “also rans” it seemed like track position was far more important than it usually is there. speaking of the gen 6 car i just can’t help but notice how much it really doesn’t look anything like the street car past the front bumper, especially the nationwide cars. can you honestly say that you’d buy a camaro or mustang that looked like that? i think not.
also found it interesting over at jayski’s that the points would be tighter under the old system, not that it really matters as teams race the new system quite differently.
also thought that the overheard comments from the president of 5 hour energy to clint boyer before the race are maybe the most telling indicator of nascar’s true standing….
be interesting to hear if Dr. Jerry Punch thought Kasey Kahne was loopy from the wreck or just pissed he crashed!
He looked like he’d been drinking or high on tv.
Either way, I’m glad he’s okay.
Twitter will be the death of society? Really, somehow I doubt that, but certainly social media plays a role in getting things out in public faster than it used to. A few years ago, you may remember BottleGate in NaSCAR. That was when NASCAR sold the rights to VL to Powerade but some of the drivers who were winning races – Johnson & Gordon in particular – had contracts with Gatorade. NASCAR was putting signs on the cars in VL that were a direct opposition to the sponsors for those cars and then fined Johnson’s team for putting their own sign up that obscured the Powerade sign. Gordon won the Brickyard and celebrated on the front stretch. Next wk, NASCAR penalized the team by failing them during tech and causing them a problem on pit road. My point is that everything in NASCAR is sponsor driven and sometimes NASCAR takes advantage of that. They also take full advantage of the fact that it is their field, bat & ball & they make the rules. No team should ever forget that.
During Bottlegate, I called Coca Cola since that was back before social media had become so popular and expressed my dismay at NASCAR penalizing drivers in VL. The PR lady told me – we don’t control that. My response – you control the $, the $ controls the actions. I don’t know if Coke got in touch with NASCAR about it, but the nonsense did stop.
In this case, the NAPA and 5-Hr Energy, bad press is bad press, whether it comes through FB, twitter or the old-fashioned way, in a letter or on the news. Let’s face it – CBS did a segment about cheating in NASCAR. The guy from 5 hr energy was making noises about NASCAR’s integrity – well, most of us fans already know that deal. Over the years, we’ve seen the debris cautions that don’t exist, the restarts that are questionable, maybe even speeding penalties, the list goes on, so yes, I think that manipulation by the sanctioning body goes on at the track every week. That doesn’t excuse an entire racing organization attempting to manipulate things there way or for their sponsors to condone it.
Unless the 20 has a part failure or gets wrecked in the next couple of races, this is down to a 3 team battle (18, 48). I’m really impressed by what the 20 team has done this year. I just hope if they keep it rolling and clinch at Phoenix, NASCAR won’t use it as an excuse to gimmick the Chase up even more.
Good article. I would give money to the Truex or Bowyer legal defense fund. But once they go down that road, they are screwed as far as Nascar is concerned. It’s bad enough to not be a Hendrick/chevy driver.
I wrote NAPA a nice little letter this weekend letting them know, amoung other things, that they will not be getting my business anymore.
Watched football all weekend, the refs are so bad this year that I began to wonder if they were all related to Brian France.
I really hope things work out for the best for Truex (one of my favorites). He’s a good clean competitive driver and seems like a really nice guy. This may actually be a blessing in disguise, especially if JGR creates a spot for him with a fourth team.
Last year when word got out that Kenseth was leaving RFR, Jack Roush said Matt was going over to the dark side. I’m thinking things are looking pretty sweet for Kenseth on the dark side this season!
Kind of shocking start to The Chase, Kenseth winning the first 2.
There’s still NASCAR racing? Think I’ll return to Indycar … maybe the Indy 500 will be a BIG DEAL again. NASCAR needs to remember that fiasco ‘cause they’re well on their way down the same ‘track.’
Twitter might not be the death of society but it certainly has brought back the pitchfork mob mentality to the world. Never in the history of mankind has there been such an effective way for a relatively small, very loud, group of likeminded people to sway public opinion so easily. And Corporate America, being the wusses they are, can’t handle the least bit of controversy. Mob Rules! Thanks Twitter.
Good point about the sponsors, and these idiots listening to the Twitter twits don’t understand that half of them could care less, they like to complain, about what they do not know but complain they will. That is why Napa and any other sponsor caving to this mob mentality will not get my business.
agree with Mike – remove everything under the front bumper, and introduce tire competition into the racing – i bet the product will improve tenfold….“crap-year” needs some competition to get their real tire engineers back in the game.
Just sell a “The Official Pizza Of NASCAR” sponsorship and make all the cars run with a Pizza sign L to R on the roof.
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