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 – With 29 laps to go, and at least a handful of drivers looking at trying to stretch their fuel to the finish, NASCAR spotted a spring rubber 20 feet from the racing surface, on the apron in Turn 3 and threw the caution flag. As a result, any chance of the most dominant car on the day losing the race went out the window.
In a Nutshell – Dale Earnhardt, Jr. had one of his best chances to win, outside of Michigan since moving to Hendrick Motorsports in 2008. But everyone in Junior Nation, hoping NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver was going to turn his pole position into a win simply sighed once Jimmie Johnson drove to the front and took the lead on lap 120. Earnhardt wound up second, done in by trouble getting on and off pit road as for the eighth time in his career, Johnson went to Victory Lane at Dover, setting the all-time win mark for the series at the tricky, one-mile concrete oval.
Dramatic Moment – After the caution period for the dangerous spring rubber in Turn 3, Johnson started on the outside with two fresh right-side tires while Earnhardt was on his back bumper with four fresh bolognas. Earnhardt cleared Jeff Gordon on the inside, slotting in behind the No. 48 car with 26 laps to go and looked primed to pull off the win. But while Earnhardt got to almost the back bumper of Johnson about five laps into the run, it was the most drama that could be squeezed out of the event. Johnson pulled away and strolled to the victory.
What They’ll be Talking About Around the Water Cooler
I’m hearing that there is going to be a test at Charlotte Motor Speedway after the race, in two weeks to try out a new configuration for the Gen-6 car that will eliminate aero push when a car is behind another car. The technology was supposedly introduced by Toyota for the original Gen-6, but NASCAR didn’t have time to test it thoroughly before the 2013 season. If the aero push can be eliminated, the complaint from fans about no passing for the lead on the track may finally be heard and fixed. The rumor is that teams have stocked up on steel and are building some cars to run at the test. We’ll have to wait and see if it really happens and how successful these changes could be.
Martin Truex, Jr. has not announced his plans for next year. Word is that NAPA is going to go with him, wherever he goes, but it won’t be to Joe Gibbs Racing. Gibbs feels that he’d be undermining a fellow Toyota team if he signed Truex away from Waltrip, even though MWR has stated he’s free to look for another ride. Possible destinations for Truex, should he choose to leave include Richard Childress Racing and manning a potential expansion car at Furniture Row.
The folks at Penske Racing are starting to get a reputation… and it is not a good one. After the Nationwide race on Saturday, Logano was celebrating his fourth straight win at Dover in the series while his crew was trying to make the No. 22 car pass post-race inspection. Try as they might, the nose was found to be too low and Logano was considered illegal. While NASCAR won’t take the win away, they’ll be sure and knock six points out of the owner’s total while probably hitting them with another fine. After the Richmond rumors and the Texas failure earlier this year, the folks at Penske better start double checking their figures before they put the cars back on the racetrack.
This coming week will be the second display of the multi-zone tread race tire from Goodyear. They tried it out at Atlanta and the tire did not have any failures due to the new, multi-tread feature. Kansas is a recent repave that has, fortunately already lost a little grip. Let’s hope that this tire will give up as well, actually creating a race with the Gen-6 car where new tires make a difference.
As the landscape of next season continues to take shape, Quicken Loans announced they are going to go to RCR with Ryan Newman while Jimmy John’s is going to head to SHR with Kevin Harvick. Word has also come down that Kurt Busch will be driving the No. 41 in 2014. Now, if we can just get the paint scheme to be a mirror image of the boss’s ride…
Denny Hamlin is trying some alternative treatment to avoid offseason back surgery. While he has tried to make it sound like he’s doing OK, it’s clear the injury is bothering him. Admitting he’s trying other treatments, while stating he had to get out of the car at Richmond during practice because of the pain is all you need to know on that one. The problem is going to be, if Hamlin tries this alternative method and it doesn’t work, he’s going to be going under the knife early in 2014 and will most likely not be right for the upcoming season either. It is still looking like the veteran should have gone ahead and had the surgery this summer when he realized he wasn’t going to make the Chase.
While NAPA is leaving MWR next season, 5-Hour Energy announced that they will be back to sponsor Clint Bowyer in 2014. The company was planning on waiting until later in the year to make the announcement but, with the uncertainty around the team with NAPA pulling out they felt it was best to do it now. MWR financier Rob Kauffman still insists the team will run three cars, full-time next season.
It was announced this week that Valvoline is returning to Hendrick Motorsports in 2014. Valvoline, in NASCAR for decades was with the organization when Jeff Gordon won his first title for Hendrick in 1995. The move means that Quaker State is out of the mix at HMS until at least 2017, when this agreement with Valvoline runs out. It would seem that a team looking for a sponsor might want to be on the horn to the folks at Quaker State before they are snatched up by a bigger organization. That big team could be Roush Fenway, who has had Valvoline ties for years but may finally be losing out completely to Hendrick on that one.
The Hindenburg Award for Foul Fortune
Brad Keselowski has had a less than desirable year as the defending champion of the Cup Series. Sunday’s race was the one-year anniversary of his last win in this division – and a microcosm of how the year has gone. Starting sixth, he ran around in the top 10 for most of the first half of the race but on lap 228, he pulled into the garage with a failing rear end on his car. While Keselowski did get back on track, by the end of the event he finished 45 laps down in 37th place.
Carl Edwards was the sexy pick for a lot of the pundits who didn’t want to jump on the obvious Johnson or Matt Kenseth picks at the start of the Chase. Coming into the race at Dover Sunday, he was fourth in the standings and people still thought he had a chance at the title even though he was 36 points behind. Unfortunately for the fans of Cousin Carl, a faulty hub sent him to the garage late in the event and he ended up finishing 35th, 15 laps down to the leader. Edwards is now 11th in points, 65 behind Kenseth and done for another year.
Kasey Kahne’s Chase is the nightmare that just won’t end. At the end of Sunday’s event, he dropped a cylinder and limped home one lap down. He took a wave around on the last caution to be on the lead lap, but couldn’t stay there due to the sick powerplant and wound up a lap back in 13th. Kahne made it into the Chase as a “wild card,” by virtue of two wins but it looks like he’s light years away from contending for a third – or the Cup Series title.
The “Seven Come for Eleven” Award for Fine Fortune
Dale Earnhardt, Jr. tried his best to screw up his weekend by missing pit lane on one pit stop and coming in uber slow on another. Fortunately, his car was fast enough that he was able to come out of the pits on the lead lap after both miscues and ended up crossing the finish line in second place.
Jeff Burton managed to score the Lucky Dog twice during Sunday’s race. While he did end up a lap down, only 12 cars were on the lead lap at the end of the race. Burton parlayed his fortunate hound results into a 14th-place finish.
Jamie McMurray started the race in the seventh position, only to slide backwards through the latter part of the race’s first half. Fortunately, his team kept him on the lead lap, making adjustments and eventually landed McMurray the highest-finishing position of any non-Chase driver (11th).
What’s the Points?
Here’s a display of just how hard it is to make up points, along with a greater example of why anyone beyond third place is out of the running already in the title Chase. Jimmie Johnson led the most laps, won the race, and finished six places ahead of Matt Kenseth on Sunday. For all those efforts, Johnson gained just 10 points on Kenseth. He is still eight points behind with seven races to go on the year. To recap: the points leader had an off day, Johnson was flawless and he only picked up 10 points. That example shows how nobody that is 39 or more points back right now has a shot at this title, narrowing the field into a three-horse race. Kyle Busch finished fifth on Sunday and is now 12 points behind Kenseth, the final driver in the trio battling for the top spot. Kevin Harvick and Jeff Gordon are tied for fourth, 39 points out and leading the “best of the rest” at this point in time.
Greg Biffle came home ninth on Sunday and that puts him 41 points behind the leader. He’s hoping to jump over Harvick and Gordon to claim the “best of the rest” title. Ryan Newman is now officially one race out of the lead, after his eighth-place finish leaves him 48 points off the top spot. Clint Bowyer is eighth in points, some 51 behind the lead while Kurt Busch had a loose wheel during the race on Sunday that resulted in him coming home 21st. He is 55 points behind in the Chase.
Further back, Dale Earnhardt, Jr.‘s second place finish vaulted him to 10th in the standings. A few more runs like this one and Earnhardt will be sure to have a table in Vegas. Rounding out the Chasers are Carl Edwards, Joey Logano and Kasey Kahne, who are already making plans for how they’ll answer the questions during next year’s Media Tour about how good 2014 is going to be.
Overall Rating (On a scale of one to six beer cans, with one being a stinker and a six-pack an instant classic) – After a complete snoozefest on Saturday during the Nationwide race, Sunday’s parade was very close to being salvaged by a myriad of cars running short on fuel at the end of the event. Unfortunately, the ridiculous caution for the off-track spring rubber eliminated that possibility, so we were left with a ceremonial drive to the checkers by Johnson. We’ll give this one two cold Schlitz just because Jimmie Johnson was able to break a record he held with Richard Petty and Bobby Allison. Let’s see next if he can double his win total at Martinsville to break a record that is also held by Petty.
Next Up – For the second time this season, we’ll be subjected to a race in front of the Hollywood Casino at Kansas Speedway. Coverage begins at 1:00 PM on ESPN and MRN.
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Three cautions for spring rubbers. Get real. The last one was a joke as that one was waaay off the track. How stupid do they think we are?
While I am not a big fan of fuel mileage races, it could have been a very interesting ending.
Debris cautions are now as predictatble as drivers making a left turn during a Nascar race. Manipulation? Integrity? Hello?
What? The Gen-6 car having issues? Hmmm…….
Dover used to be a race I liked to watch. It’s not the track.
I didn’t see the race but have read there were a LOT of empty seats. Nascar on “The Chase” to get fans back?
Why is there a “Breaking News” section on this site when it’s so far outdated? What’s the point of it being there?
I watched the beginning of the “race” and turned to the NFL after the first caution at 11 laps. It’s sad news about L.C. Greenwood. When I tuned in again and saw Johnson on a restart pull away from Kyle Busch like he was tied to a tree I figured the “racing” was over. The cautions for the dangerous track conditions just sealed the deal.
I watched the Topless 100 on Sunday. Brian probably thinks it’s 50 models on a stage. If Brian went to a Bare Naked Ladies concert he’d expect to see nude women.
This will be a very enjoyable Monday for Brian without the call from Hendrick. He can ship the championship trophy for Golden Boy that he has had on his desk since January to Hendrick now.
Overall Rating… To paraphrase a famous TV personality, “No beer for you!”.
Easily one of the worst races of the year. I will admit that mid-way through the race I switched channels and watched “World’s Dumbest” (hoping to see a Waltrip), but when I switched back to the race, the running order was basically the same as it was an hour earlier. Apparently all I missed was one of the spring rubber cautions.
It’s a sad season indeed when an early race at Fontana is way better than a chase race at Dover.
I watched about 5% of the race during breaks of MLB & NFL. Just another merry-go-round with sad TV coverage. Guess those tv ratings will show a new viewer each time I tuned in. Poor product; poor presentation.
I was at the race,yeah, Dover is really a snoozefest for the most part. I enjoyed the fact that Gordon had a very decent day since those have been rare at Dover over the past 5 yrs.
Personally, although I certainly agree that the last caution was one of NASCAR’s competition cautions, I was happier than I would have been watching a fuel mileage race and worrying they would run out of fuel.
the gen 6 has aero issues? Do tell! Ha, well maybe NASCAR can fix it, but I’m not holding my breath.
We’ll probably skip the spring race at Dover next year. I can only stand to be bored into sleep at this track once per yeare
The last caution makes some sense, given that the spring rubber was on the entrance to pit road. With green-flag pit stops looming, the odds that someone would hit it were fairly high. Or maybe my memory is failing me and the spring rubber was in turn 3 well before the cars hit the apron to pit.
I’m glad NASCAR is working hard to fix the aero-push issues with the Gen 6 car, I really am—but with the years they’ve had to work on this car, couldn’t they have figured these things out a bit earlier?
As a long time nascar fan, I’ve had it. MWR got caught because they cheated so badly. The Dorks from Daytona do it all the time. They just do it smoother about it. I watched maybe 5% of this race. I mgave it zero beers.
Re: Breaking News,
J.P., on that part of the website we only post major NASCAR news that occurs… not the little things that happen sometimes. So that’s why it can sometimes appear outdated.
watched beginning, turned back over with 40 laps to go. was waiting for johnson to pull over and let jr get win to get monkey off back, but then i’m sure na$car would have said johnson wasn’t putting forth 100%. i was almost sure that is what hendrick was saying into radio when shown on tv when he was standing on jr’s pit box. when i saw friday night that jr had the pole i was shocked. figured he qualified johnson’s car.
The most notable thing about this race was the LACK of fans in the stands (as JP said). I almost thought I was watching a Nationwide race. Maybe it’s time for Dover to lose one of its races?
for that last caution.
so, was that caution thrown in hopes of providing a more entertaining non fuel mileage ending? were “officials” watching the race and any other of the restarts where the outside lane had a nearly uncontested advantage until aero made it nearly impossible to pass?
Johnson isn’t the kind of teammate that would move over for one of his teammates. He has shown many times that he cares only about himself.
Saw only the end of the race. Saw the spring rubber caution and could only laugh. Manipulation? It just so happens that one of the Chasers was going a lap down as well (Bowyer).
I expect Nascar to do anything they can to the top 3 so they can make the points interesting again. I personally hope all 3 of them run away with it to show everyone just how needless the Chase really is.
So the 5-Hour energy news wasn’t “Breaking News” considering all that’s happened?
I love it when Dale Jr doesnt win like that. The tears of his fans taste heavenly.
Things should improve this week. Because when you think fender-banging, edge-of-your-seat Sprint Cup racing, you automatically think Kansas.
If spring rubbers are so caution worthy, why are they not tied down, banned or dealt with.
There are a lot of spring rubber cautions – heck two of the three cautions in just this one race.
Maybe NASCAR doesn’t think this is a problem but more as an opportunity. Like holding an ace up your sleeve.
I used to watch this sport when it was the real-deal. This passed Sunday I spent yet another day renovating an olde farmhouse…and only Monday afternoon did I even sign on to Frontstretch to see WHO won on Sunday (and actually WHERE the race was, for that matter). Thanks to the folks at NASCAR for taking away the one last thing I could still enjoy on Sundays after I lost everything else in a divorce! Now, I prefer to hang drywall on Sundays…it’s so much more exciting…
Carl D- LOL oh man, Love your comment, yeah, Kansas, the hotbed of exciting racing..
Steve, thanks for confirming what I always say – Johnson doesn’t layover for anyone esp not a teammate.
carl d – when they said next race was in kansas, i immediately wondered what the weather would be like!
na$car desperately needs for jr to win a race. he’s their cash cow. look at how many commericals he’s featured in. i’m sure most of his father’s fans (like myself) have long seen the true racer in jr and moved onto something else. i laughed when i heard jr in an interview and said he still wants to win a cup championship. jr ain’t no young whippersnapper and he has always had issues with his self-confidence. he has a daily reminder of his near death experience in that visible patch scar on his neck from when he was burned in that sports car race in sonama those years ago. as i say, how many different crew chiefs has he had over the years? he won busch championship with his cousins! even the name earnhardt doesn’t guarantee 100% full-time sponsorship for the car he’s racing. that speaks volumes to me.
That last caution was total BS. It actually ruined what a I thought was a very good race. There as actual racing for the lead at times and tires did appear to matter. That’s why I thought Jr. was in prime position, but the aeropush won in the end.
Carl D. Great comment about those Waltrips. I hate being negative about a sport I’ve spent my life enjoying, but those two ruin my enjoyment of racing. I cannot believe FOX can’t see what others can see, the Waltrips have long since worn out their welcome.
Why is there a “Breaking News” section on this site when it’s so far outdated? What’s the point of it being there? Roger that JP. Managing Editor, your answer was just a tad weak but more fun than the Dover race.
Junior Junior Junior!!! OMG it was disgusting the way the media was overhyping his second place finish. You would have thunk Jesus was driving the car. GEEZ…Ricky Craven could not stop gushing, it was embarassing. Ricky, I used to respect…hhhmmmm.
First NASCAR race I have missed all year. Doesn’t sound like I missed anything. Oh, and do we really need THE CHASE?
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