NASCAR Changes Qualifying Format
posted by Summer Bedgood
Tuesday March 11, 2014
Following safety concerns regarding NASCAR’s new qualifying format, the sanctioning body is introducing some changes in preparation for this weekend’s race at Bristol Motor Speedway. According to the Associated Press, NASCAR is banning teams from cool-down laps after their qualifying attempts, but will instead be allowed to hook up cool-down units to the engine through hood flaps.
Late Tuesday afternoon, a release from NASCAR fully detailed the changes. Teams will be allowed a single cool down unit to be connected through the right or left side hood flap, however the hood must remain closed. Additionally, two crew members will be allowed over the wall while cooling down.
“The qualifying is new to all of us and as we have said over the past several weeks, we are looking at it from all aspects,” said Robin Pemberton, vice president of competition and racing development. “Following discussions, both internally and with others in the garage area, we moved quickly to make a few revisions that will be effective starting with our two national series events at Bristol Motor Speedway this weekend. We believe this will only enhance and improve what has demonstrated to be an exciting form of qualifying for our fans, competitors and others involved with the sport. Moving forward we will continue to look at it and address anything else that we may need to as the season unfolds.”
The move comes after three weeks of NASCAR’s new knockout qualifying system, where multiple cars are allowed to make qualifying attempts at the same time instead of the traditional one-car-at-a-time procedure. Drivers and teams had complained that the new rules didn’t allow them to cool their engines down on pit road, and the cool-down laps caused a dangerous situation with slower cars staying on the track at the same time that other cars were running by them at much higher speeds.
The rule will begin this weekend in Bristol, a track that has a much narrower racing surface than Daytona, Phoenix, and Las Vegas.
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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Check in with Matt and Jay on their site at CareyandCoffey.com.
Key Moment – Carl Edwards came into Texas with the most wins in the history of the Cup Series. Early in the event, he was able to get in front of Jimmie Johnson and keep him at bay for 10-lap segments. But on Lap 186, Edwards’ engine started going south and Lap 187 saw his day come to an end with an engine failure. That also put an end to anyone who truly contended with Johnson for a win at Texas.
In a Nutshell – The race in Texas started out with Jimmie Johnson in third place. It took him nine laps to get to the front. After a couple of caution periods, pit stops left him a position or two behind but he quickly worked back to the point as the tires began to wear. During a green flag stop on Lap 240, the right-front tire changer dropped a lug nut which caused the stop to last 17 seconds. As a result, he came out of the pits in sixth. It took him 16 laps to drive through the front of the field and reassume the point. From there on, it was the Jimmie Johnson show. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. finished second for the fifth time this season while Matt Kenseth managed a fourth-place run to stay within seven points of the lead in the standings.
Dramatic Moment – Matt Kenseth had a pit road speeding penalty on lap 173 that ultimately put him back on track just in front of the car of Jimmie Johnson. While it could have been a disastrous moment for Kenseth, he and his team maintained focus, stayed on the lead lap and battled back to a fourth-place result.
What They’ll be Talking About Around the Water Cooler
Told you before Talladega: this championship is a two-horse race. After Sunday, there is no doubt that the only two teams in this title hunt are the No. 20 and No. 48. Matt Kenseth’s team went into Jimmie’s house last week and stole the points when everyone thought Johnson would take the win. This weekend, the pundits were sure that Kenseth’s prowess this season on mile-and-a-half tracks would afford him the chance to stretch out a lead. Instead, Johnson came in and laid the smack down, dominating the race and sending a very clear message that the title goes through them. Phoenix will hold the key of whether Homestead will be a race between the two or a points race by the leader only.
Texas offered up the opportunity for tire management for one of the few times this season. It made the racing a bit sportier in the pack, and again allowed for on-track passes for the lead, even if the vast majority of them were by Johnson blowing by whomever was in front.
Last year, Johnson and Brad Keselowski put on a memorable show at Texas, trading paint and leads before Johnson ended up winning the race. A blown tire for Johnson at Phoenix then torpedoed his hopes for title number six last season. This year’s Chase run seems to be a little bit stronger for the No. 48 team, their best since 2010. That’s said despite claims Chad Knaus had on Sirius XM Radio after the race that, while he felt like the team is good, it definitely still needs improvement. Well, if the No. 48 bunch gets any better before next week, this thing could be over quickly.
Martin Truex, Jr. is going to be driving for Furniture Row Racing in 2014. It was announced he’ll be driving the No. 78, which has historically carried the Furniture Row livery. There was no mention of NAPA during the press conference, although the thought was that the auto parts supplier would be coming along. Perhaps Barney Visser, team owner, will split some of the races to finally spend someone else’s money in this racing game. If not, NAPA may go elsewhere or they may bail out altogether on the sport. Time will tell.
Texas Motor Speedway has been one of the most popular tracks on the circuit since it was constructed, especially in terms of at track fan attendance. But in what can only be described as a display of the state of the sport, the stands were ¾ full at best on Sunday at TMS. Next season, we’ll see if the addition of the giant HD screen will make a difference or if the lack of racing produced this season is just keeping people from attending these events.
While a recent national story was posted about the future of stock car racing, especially the Cup Series in terms of little to no talent coming up through the development ranks I’m here to tell you that’s not the case. Attending the All-American 400 at Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway this weekend, it was quite evident there is a plethora of talent moving toward the upper divisions of stock car racing. Chase Elliott won the race and put a bow on the career Super Late Model Grand Slam. Daniel Hemric won the Southern Super Series Inaugural Championship as he prepares to make his second career Truck start next weekend in Phoenix. John Hunter Nemechek and Harrison Burton both raced on the historic track surface. Hunter Robbins had a great run for a top-5 finish. Other hot shoes that competed in the 400 included Ross Kenseth, Kyle Benjamin, Cody Coughlin and Erik Jones. There is no doubt the sport of NASCAR racing has a very bright future with all of this talent moving up.
The Hindenburg Award for Foul Fortune
Jeff Gordon woke up the echoes of four-time nation with his win last Sunday at Martinsville. The thoughts of a run at a fifth title went up in a cloud of wall paint dust when his tire blew in turn one on lap 73 and he pounded the wall. While the team got him back out after 184 laps, his hopes of shocking the world with an asterisk title were dashed.
Kyle Busch really didn’t get the chance to establish whether he was going to be a contender on Sunday before he lost a tire and hit the wall in turn three on lap 57. His team kept him on the lead lap and tweaked his car to get him back to a runner-up position until lap 298, when he sped on pit lane and had to pay a pass through penalty. He kept himself on the lead lap and clawed his way back to a 13th place finish.
Bobby Labonte’s career very well might be coming to an end before our eyes, one Sunday at a time. While he is one of the classiest drivers in the garage and a fierce competitor, this season has been a disappointment to say the least. Sunday didn’t help any thanks to an expired engine on lap 144. If this is the end, it was a pleasure watching Labonte win Joe Gibbs Racing’s first Cup title and becoming the first driver to win a Nationwide and Cup title in his career.
The “Seven Come for Eleven” Award for Fine Fortune
Matt Kenseth had a pit road speeding penalty that could have severely damaged his title hopes. Fortunately for him, Carl Edwards done blowed up and dropped some oil on the back straight, bringing out the caution and allowing him to catch back up to the field. Eventually, he would work the No. 20 Toyota back into the top 5 and settled for fourth place.
Speaking of drivers whose careers are winding down, Mark Martin has been less than dominant while filling in for Tony Stewart. The team has been struggling to give Mark what he needs in a car and Mark has been struggling to race what they’ve given to him. This weekend, the team built a new car for Martin and did some experimental things in the package. There was no telling if the car would even last for 500 miles, let alone be competitive. Fortunately for Martin, he made it to the end and actually came home in 11th position — his best run since Richmond in September and arguably his best since coming to Stewart-Haas Racing.
For the second race in a row, Denny Hamlin finished seventh. His recent treatment for his back pain has been relieving quite a bit of the agony and has him feeling more of what the car is doing through the seat of his pants. Whatever kind of animal sacrifices his witch doctor is doing, hopefully they’ll continue to work so that he can get back on top of his game for next season with no pain. The treatments have worked, so well the driver is even considering abandoning offseason surgery.
Top 10 finishes by Manufacturer
What’s the Points?
Jimmie Johnson had a maximum point day while Matt Kenseth finished fourth. As a result, Johnson leads Kenseth by seven points with two races to go. The only other driver who can mathematically take the lead in points on a single race day is Kevin Harvick, who is sitting third, 40 outside the lead. 52 out and in fourth is Kyle Busch, whose difficulties on Sunday kept him from moving up to the third spot. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. booked another runner-up finish, which has him sitting 62 points behind Johnson but 22 in arrears to Harvick for third.
The second half of the top 10 is started by Jeff Gordon, sitting 69 behind the leader. The crushing day at Texas took him from potential title winner to virtually eliminated. Clint Bowyer is tied with Gordon, 21 points more than the maximum number of points a driver can earn in a single race behind the leader. Greg Biffle sits in eighth, ahead of Joey Logano and Kurt Busch, the last two drivers inside the top 10 in points.
The rest of the Chase contenders are Carl Edwards, 116 points behind Johnson; Ryan Newman, 118 points out; and Kasey Kahne, 133 points behind and last amongst the Chasers. Kurt Busch through Kahne are mathematically eliminated from the title now that Texas is in the book.
Overall Rating (On a scale of one to six beer cans, with one being a stinker and a six pack an instant classic) – On-track passes for the lead tend to make a race exciting. When every on-track pass for the lead that doesn’t take place on a restart is by one driver, the excitement fades. When that same driver leads 255 of 334 laps, the excitement is extinguished. Intermediate races have been snoozers for most of the year and the second-to-last one of the season was no exception. Try as we might to give this event any substantial amount of brews, we just can’t do it. One old, moldy Hudepohl is all that can be mustered for this runaway snoozefest.
Next Up — The series heads to Phoenix for the penultimate race of the 2013 season. Jimmie Johnson and Matt Kenseth head in to battle for the season title. Johnson looks to have a better result than last season while Kenseth looks to send another message and see if he can make Johnson have to race at Homestead. The race coverage begins at 3:00 PM Eastern on ESPN. For those who like to listen rather than watch, the MRN gang will be broadcasting on your local affiliate along with SIRIUS XM Satellite Radio.
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ROTY is a joke, as each rookie..all three of them have had horrible seasons. The worst I can remember anyways…ugh. Why bother.
If I go to a Texas race next season it will be for the trucks and Nationwide race.
The Cup series is BORING.
Hello Nascar? There’s an iceberg ahead.
I turned this race off early on and never looked back. It seems that Johnson has at least 30 more hp than anyone else. Zzzzzero beers.
All of you Frontstretch writers must have “asterisk” on the brain! First Bowles in his tweet after Gordon’s crash, now here again. Well IMO, EVERY Chase trophy winner should have an asterisk after their name — it is NOT a full season championship, this has been and continues to be a stupid way to define a champion using just the last 10 races that happened to be on the schedule.
ROTY? Ha, what’s that? Another wasted award considering the field of candidates over the past few years. I wouldn’t be surprised to see NASCAR give it to Danica just to have another something to crow about in their PR since certainly the performance of the highly touted Gen 6 car and the racing are not worth anything.
Oh yeah and NASCAR should apologize to Denny Hamlin & refund his $25K since he wasn’t wrong in his comments after all. Of course the fans knew that all along, it’s only NASCAR and it’s management who aren’t very bright, along with so many of the media who until recently have been saying like a bunch of robots – the Gen 6 car is great.
I agree with jerseygirl… all chase championships should have asterisks after them.
The race was pretty boring and I can’t stand the #48 team, but that doesn’t change the fact that they delivered a solid butt-whippin’ to the entire field yesterday, and they certainly made a point with it. I won’t concede that championship to them just yet, but they have to be the favorite now.
All-Star Danica Patrick got quite a bit of TV time yesterday. I think ESPN showed her getting lapped at least 3 times by the #48. I guess any exposure is better than no exposure.
I wonder how Jack Roush feels watching Penske’s 2-car Ford operation run up front while his 3-car operation blows, both literally and figuratively.
Thanks for the kudos to Bobby Labonte, Mike. He’s always been one of my favorite drivers. I was in Charlotte when he got his first cup win and won me the money from our race pool that day. I was in Darlington when he won the Busch race in the Shell car while subbinbg for Tony Stewart who had an Indy car race that day and got my picture taken with him before the race. He’s always been a class guy and though his cars haven’t been much to speak of over the last few years, you never heard him complain about it. If this is truly it for him in cup, I hope he sticks around and drives in some truck races next year.
i got tired of hendrick-lovefest from pre-race show. for some reason it seemed painfully slow and long. watched a bit, saw johnson take lead, flipped to watch falcon’s lose, flipped back to race, saw johnson leading, gordon in garage, then later flipped back and saw tires with strange wear patterns. flipped again, fell asleep, phone call at 7 pm woke me up and flipped back and it was over with. i didn’t even bother to try to find out who won, as i knew it was johnson. guess hendrick’s check cleared brain fart’s account this week.
Glad to see you mention the talent moving up and the AA400 this weekend. In a way the future is very bright, however the cynic in me wonders other than Chase & possibly Ross, how much of that talent will actually get a chance to make it to cup.
It’s no longer just about talent, now the only way to break through is to bring a sponsor.
Here we are with our Hendrick fatigue again, Janice. I knew what the story would be and who they would talk about no matter who dominated. I checked timing and scoring three times, saw Johnson with midasmicah’s aptly-put 30hp advantage, and never gave it another thought.
Since Texas has had two dates for Cup, the November attendance has been the lesser attended of the two events. Yes, people are still recovering from the economy—a good portion of Texas attendance comes from out of the DFW metroplex. But it is also opening weekend of deer season here and the Cowboys had a home game Sunday. Sure that cuts the numbers. Seems NASCAR would switch the Texas and Phoenix fall events. Might get some of those deer hunters back in the stands.
There was a race this weekend? Damn, missed yet another one.. oh well, I’ll just have to catch one next season…that is, if Billy-boy and his Band start playing OUR song again…
time to watch the event – 37 minutes. with 80% less gibberjabbing and no commercials, kudos to the guy who invented the fast forward button. while texas dosn’t top the list of races that shouldn’t have two races… well…
i’m not a conspiracy theorist although there’s damning evidence that nascar isn’t above manipulation but isn’t it odd that the 48 and the 20 run at the top of the leaderboard every week and the 20 comes through what seemed to be the mostly cars “not in the hunt” with ease on an aero track where passing is usually limited to restarts and pitstops?
why do i keep watching? because sometimes.. sometimes a good race breaks out despite nascar and that my friends is pure joy and worth my time. like for those lucky enough to have recorded the world series whelen modified race at thompson. i think it was on fs2. (heck, even watching tv i was standing and shouting at the tv for the last 20 laps of a race that was recorded.) i remember when that was more often the case with nascar “cup” races. so sad.
The race (as it usually is) was pretty entertaining in-person. However, this is one of the few TMS weekends where the nationwide race was probably a better race than Cup (NW usually is kind of a stinker). Truck is always a better race, so no change there. Ty Dillon kinda put a whuppin’ on the field in that race, which was unusual.
The 48 was definitely just better than everyone else. Significantly. Old tires. New tires. Unless they were actually cheating, not much that can be done about someone just having a better car. Even in comparison to his teammates.
Oh Texas Motor Speedway how do I hate thee, let me count the ways.
1. House of horrors for Jeff Gordon.
2. The poster child for boring cookie-cutter racetracks built in the 1990s.
3. The “Ferko” lawsuit and it’s aftermath.
They can build as big a TV as they want and create many more bacon concoctions, but I don’t think I will be going out of my way to visit Texas anytime soon. I really wish we could take this date and give it to the Circuit of the Americas.
On the plus side, the Truck race was great, and the Whelen Modifieds season finale at Thompson was also played on Sunday, and it was FANTASTIC.
Anytime a Hendricks car wins I’ll give it ZERO!
Do you think that the AAA Texas 500 is the Worst Sprint Cup Series Race of 2013?
Right on babydufus! Whelan Modifieds – the best kept secret in NA$CRAP. All of their races should be televised.
Which of these would be the best thing to do:
1. Increase the banking in the turns at Texas Motor Speedway from 24 to 31 degrees in all four turns.
2. Award a NASCAR Cup Series race to the Circuit of the Americas.
It doesn’t bother me so much when Jimmy wins races, its just that when he wins, there isn’t anyone else to equal enough to race with him. Years past when there were dominant drivers who won a lot, at least they had to actually race against someone to get the wins. With approximately twenty cars capable of winning, why can’t at least a handful be competitive in the same race, especially with all the ones that tested before this race.
It sure looks like the 48 and the 24 switched cars for a while to give Gordon a chance to get into the Chase.
The best thing to do is get someone that knows about racing in charge instead of Brainfart and his band of yes man lackeys.
How this **** show gets ratings over 1.0 is a testament to NASCAR’s turd-polishing abilities. Cup series needs a new formula. Today’s generation is not interested in watching a single file parade for 5 hours and it shows in the attendance.
I hate the dominance of the 48, in fact something about the cool precision of the entire team just puts me off without obvious reason. Then I read where several folks are saying how much better the truck race was but it was a carbon copy of the cup race with Ty Dillon and the 3 playing the part of JJ and the 48.
What gives? Is the 48 dominance just that sickening to 90% of us race fans? I wish I could put my finger on what it is about the 48 team that makes me want to take a nap or put sugar in their gas tank.
NASCAR with the 48 team involved feels like having an undertaker at a birthday party. Sure, he’s a nice guy and is good at his job and all but, ick, who want’s to pal around with him?
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Kelly Balson joins OSCAAR Super Late Model tour ranks in 2014
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