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.
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!
Check in with Matt and Jay on their site at CareyandCoffey.com.
Mike Neff · Monday November 18, 2013
Key Moment – For at least the second time in the Chase, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. had the best car on the race track at the end of the event. With laps to go he tried to dive to the bottom of the track and pass Matt Kenseth for the second spot. When that failed he tried to pull a slide job and nearly wrecked both of them. From then on, he and Kenseth were done and watched Denny Hamlin drive off to the victory.
In a Nutshell – The green flag dropped on the race and Matt Kenseth did what he had to do. In the first 166 laps Kenseth led 144 of them, which ensured he would get a bonus point for leading a lap and a bonus point for leading the most laps. Unfortunately for Kenseth, while he never fell too far back, he never led again. From that point on the sun went down and it was Denny Hamlin’s race to lose. He led 70 of the remaining 107 laps with a sprinkling of Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski and Dale Earnhardt, Jr thrown in. Earnhardt looked to be coming back for a shot at the win late in the race but was unable to surpass Kenseth for second and eventually resigned himself to a third-place finish. Hamlin’s victory came in his last chance to win this season and continued his streak of winning at least one race every year since joining the series full time in 2006.
Dramatic Moment – With 34 laps to go, Paul Menard’s right rear tire caught fire. He rode around the track, came into the pits and stopped in his pit box, with a roaring fire coming out of the rear of his car. The team actually attempted to start a tire change before realizing the severity. Before a fireman reacted the right rear tire exploded on the car, leaving crewmen a little shaken up. Fortunately, everyone involved was ok.
What They’ll be Talking About Around the Water Cooler
On a lap 193 restart, Jeff Gordon missed a shift and bottled up the entire outside line, and Matt Kenseth and Jimmie Johnson both got out of shape and eventually made contact. Both of them were able to continue on and battle to the end of the race. Johnson received left front damage and could very easily have cut down a tire, making the race to the title much more difficult.
NASCAR has a large amount of requirements for safety on pit lane. A fireman for every pit stall is one of them. The sanctioning body might want to make it a requirement that they actually pay attention and react when a life threatening situation arises. There was no excuse for the delay in responding to the fire on Paul Menard’s car. They had warning a lap before he came into the pits and the car sat on pit lane for an extensive period of time, including an explosion, before a fireman ever came over the wall to try and put it out. Note to the firemen: The gas tank is near the rear tires. A fire can literally be a very explosive situation.
Denny Hamlin has been in the Cup Series for eight full seasons. In the previous seven, he’d won at least one race every year. Coming into Sunday’s race he was still winless in a season he’d much rather forget. In the second half of the race his car was the one to beat, and, unlike some of the other races this year where he led early only to fade, Hamlin sealed the deal and made it eight straight years with a win in the Cup series.
The Cup Series still managed to have a full field in every race this season. There were many races where no one went home after qualifying, 22 to be exact, and there wasn’t a single weekend where more than two cars went home all year. With Michael Waltrip racing shutting down a team and rumors that one or two more cars might not be fielded for the entire 2014 season, there is a very real chance that we could see a race next year without a full field of cars. The debate can be raised about whether that matters or not, but the simple fact is, the television networks don’t have to pay all of the royalty money without 43 cars on the track. It will be interesting to see how many one-off backup car rides end up hitting the track next year to ensure the TV money hits the coffers in Daytona.
Speaking of teams running the entire schedule, there were 40 teams that attempted to run all 36 races on the Cup schedule this year with 39 of them making all of the events. Compared to the Nationwide Series, where only 31 teams attempted the full 33 race schedule or the Truck Series where 26 teams attempted the full 22 race schedule. There have already been announcements that some teams are not coming back for the support series which means even fewer teams competing for the starting lineups in both series. The Nationwide Series had two races this year without full fields while the Truck Series had six races that were not full fields (not including Eldora which had a smaller starting lineup by rule). The long term health of the sport is in serious trouble and the folks in Daytona really need to look long and hard about what they’re doing in the support series to encourage team ownership and fan interest.
NASCAR continues to battle the integrity issue and this weekend they didn’t do themselves any favors. The Cup race had at least two debris cautions that were questionable at best. The first, when Harvick was struggling and getting close to going a lap down, looked like it was an effort to keep him relevant to the title hunt. The second was when Johnson was debating about coming in for an unscheduled pit stop. While Menard was smoking and possibly dropping debris, it was not shown on television and smelled of race manipulation. If the folks that run the show want the fans to believe they give a rat’s about integrity, they really need to work on coordinating their debris cautions with the race broadcast so that the fans don’t have a shadow of a doubt about the legitimacy of the call.
The integrity question was raised even more vociferously on Saturday night when the final caution of the night flew for the flaming wreck of Regan Smith and Jeremy Clements on the front straight. There was obviously a huge amount of oil left on the front straight and the cleanup process was destined to take an extensive amount of time. Austin Dillon was in a situation where he was going to be hard pressed to hold off drivers behind him with fresher tires. The caution drug on for 12 laps, leaving only five competition laps to settle the race and the season points battle. In the end, Sam Hornish was unable to advance his position far from Dillon and the point at least seemed to be moot, but once again the integrity issue reared a very ugly head. NASCAR really needs to look at instituting a rule that any time a caution extends beyond five laps they automatically red flag the race or quit counting laps. That will eliminate the appearance that they are favoring one driver over another based on whatever call they are making.
Speaking of the Nationwide Series, Austin Dillon won the title without winning a single race during the season. NASCAR changed the Cup points when Matt Kenseth won in 2003 with only one victory. Let’s all light a candle and say a prayer that the words Nationwide and Chase are never mentioned in the same breath this off-season.
For those of you who don’t understand starting and parking. Josh Wise, and Joe Nemechek each earned over $2,790,000 while posting DNFs in almost half of the races they ran.
The Hindenburg Award for Foul Fortune
Whenever the word explosion and race car are used in the same sentence it cannot be good. Paul Menard’s day ended early thanks to a fire and ultimate tire failure. Menard was in the to 10 for most of the first two-thirds of the race before the incident. In a season marked by quite a few crazy luck moments, it seemed only fitting that Menard’s day would end with a ball of flame and a tire erupting into a cloud of black smoke on pit road.
Trevor Bayne’s week went from bad to worse. The week started with the announcement that he has been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. It ended with an unceremonious end to his season when his engine failed on his car 44 laps from the finish of the race.
The race on Sunday started off in less than successful fashion for Travis Kvapil. Within the first 27 laps of the race Kvapil brought out two caution flags. After that he was frequently on television as the leaders put him more laps down. In the end, he finished the event 19 laps down.
The “Seven Come for Eleven” Award for Fine Fortune
Jimmie Johnson was 74 laps from his sixth championship when it almost all fell apart on a restart. Jeff Gordon bobbled when he got on the throttle, and the resultant scramble caused damage to the left front fender on Johnson’s car. He was about to come in for an unscheduled pit stop when a debris caution flew. While his car ultimately was fine, and his tire was fully inflated, the fact that a major problem was averted on the initial contact was a very fine fortune.
Danica Patrick has been much maligned by fans throughout the 2013 season, and her race was not progressing much better than most of the rest of her season during the first half. Fortunately for Patrick, she received the Lucky Dog on back-to-back cautions which put her back on the lead lap with 110 laps to go. When the checkered flag flew she was in 20th place and she earned the Rookie of the Race honors. Patrick finished in the top 20 in 25% of the races this season, including four of the final 10. Her average finish this season was four spots higher than her average starting position.
Kevin Harvick came into the race at Homestead mathematically alive for the title. For much of the first half of the race, he was completely out to lunch and was getting close to going a lap down when the caution flew on lap 153. Harvick and his crew chief, Gil Martin, kept plugging away and ended up securing a 10th-place finish. In a truly professional effort for the entire season, Harvick and his team raced as hard as they could and came withing 34 points of winning a title with a driver who knew he was leaving the organization long before the checkered flag flew at Homestead.
Jimmie Johnson won his sixth title in his 12th season in the Cup series. Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt won their sixth titles in their 15th seasons.
Johnson is 38 years and 61 days old. He and Richard Petty both won their sixth titles at the age of 38, although Johnson is 83 days younger than Petty. Earnhardt was 42 when he won his sixth title.
Chad Knaus has led the No. 48 team to all six of their Sprint Cup titles. He is second all-time in Cup Series championships by a crew chief. NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee Dale Inman spearheaded eight Cup Series titles.
Denny Hamlin’s victory is his 23rd of his Sprint Cup career. It is his second victory at Homestead-Miami Speedway and only win in 2013.
The win was Hamlin’s fourth top 5 of the season and his eighth top 10.
Matt Kenseth’s runner-up finish was his second of the season and his ninth top-2 finish of 2013.
Dale Earnhardt, Jr.‘s third-place finish was his seventh podium finish of the year and his 10th top 5 of 2013. For the second year in a row, Earnhardt scored 10 top 5 finishes.
Danica Patrick was the Rookie of the Race. Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. was declared the 2013 Rookie of the Year.
Austin Dillon is the 2013 Nationwide Series Champion. He is the third driver to win a Truck and Nationwide Series title (Johnny Benson and Greg Biffle).
Kyle Larson is the 2013 Rookie of the Year in the Nationwide Series.
Matt Crafton is the 2013 Camping World Truck Series Champion.
Ryan Blaney is the 2013 Rookie of the Year in the Camping World Truck Series.
Top 10 by Manufacturer –
Toyota – 5
What’s the Points
The points are over and done. Jimmie Johnson is your 2013 Sprint Cup Series Champion, besting Matt Kenseth by 19 points. Kenseth scored the most bonus points for the season with 56. Kevin Harvick came home in third, 34 points behind Jimmie Johnson. Kyle Busch came home seventh on Sunday and held onto fourth in points by a single marker over Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Busch and Earnhardt ended the year 55 and 56 points out of the lead, respectively.
The second half of the top 10 saw Mr. Asterisk, Jeff Gordon, finish sixth in points, 82 behind Johnson. He ended the year one point ahead of Clint Bowyer, who managed to make the Chase and run respectably in the face of the runner-up jinx from 2012. Speaking of the jinx, Jimmie Johnson’s efforts at Homestead in 2012 obviously paid off handsomely with him ending the year in third so as to avoid the runner-up jinx and ultimately win the 2013 title. Joey Logano moved up to eighth in the point standings with his eighth-place finish at Homestead, while Greg Biffle’s 24th place finish dropped him to ninth in the final season tally. Kurt Busch had a long day at Homestead, but fortunately had enough of a lead over Ryan Newman going into the final race to secure his place as the last driver going to Vegas.
The rest of your Chasers were Ryan Newman, Kasey Kahne and Carl Edwards. Edwards and Kahne finished the race 12th and 13th, respectively on Sunday, and they ended the season 13th and 12th. Brad Keselowski did manage to hang onto the best of the rest thanks to his sixth-place finish at Homestead. He ended up 34 points ahead of Jamie McMurray.
Overall Rating(On a scale of one to six beer cans with one being a stinker and a six pack an instant classic) – The track at Homestead is aging gracefully and has really begun to wear tires. Fortunately, Goodyear brought a tire to the track that actually wore out and made tires a benefit. The end result was on track passes for the lead along with multiple lanes of racing. Cars were able to make time on the bottom of the track, but it was more abusive to tires. Cars that rode at the top were able to save tires and gain ground at the end of runs. The end result was a race with quite a bit of passing, including on-track passes for the lead. While the race wasn’t a barn burner and the championship battle was never really in doubt, it was still a great race from a competition standpoint. We’ll give it three frosty Amber Bocks before we head off to a much needed Winter break.
The Sprint Unlimited is 85 days away. February 15th the first race of the 2014 season, albeit a non-points race, will be contested at Daytona International Speedway. It will be broadcast on Fox Sports 1 and MRN.
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Kenseth was one very embarrassing race at Phoenix away from a second championship. That’s gotta hurt pretty bad.
I wonder if Wrangler makes real comfortable bridesmaid dresses that fit Junior.
I didn’t really watch the race but I did tune in for the last 25 or so laps. The second Johnson crossed the finish line I went back to football. I saw more than I wanted or needed to see.
watched the last hour of pre-race, figured it wouldn’t be hendrick lovefest. flipped back and saw menard’s tire explode. wondered why red-flag wasn’t thrown. saw where the 48 hadn’t crashed or blown up so i turned off. could not stomach post-race celebration. saw pics in paper this am with johnson and knaus wearing the big ring hats.
saw where princess sparkle pony had 20th place finish. saw where her beau won rookie of the year.
sure hope brain fart is happy with the sport. most fans i know are done with it.
happy off season folks!
“When the checkered flag flew she was in 20th place and she earned the Rookie of the Race honors.” You need to either proofread better or fact check. Stenhouse won the Rookie of the Year, not Danica.
Also, I never heard Gordon say on his radio that he had missed a shift, so I assume that is a guess on your part? I agree he definitely didn’t get going on that restart, but I didn’t hear a reason given on his radio.
The race was not that bad other than the constant chase talk.
Happy that 2013 is over, next year we can look forward to another Johnson championship. I see the comparisons to equaling Petty & Earnhardt’s record of 7 has already begun, even though it is apples and oranges. 10 race trophies compared to full seasons, but it makes NASCAR happy in some way.
Hey Gina, the statement, even as you copied it into your comment, was that Danica won the Rookie of the Race, not of the year.
It was even noted in the Worth Noting section. Danica Patrick was the Rookie of the Race. Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. was declared the 2013 Rookie of the Year.
Yep…just another pathetic “race”, if you wanna call it that…another pathetic “chase”…and another pathetic “championship” for the cheater…I’m done with nascrap, as are millions of others!!…way to go idiot brian!!!
Glad to see Brian made the trip to Homestead so he could be front and center to hand his golden boy the trophy. Must have been too busy sipping cocktails on Friday and Saturday as he was nowhere to be found. What a leader!!! (sarcasm over)
2 questions about the Menard incident: 1) Why did they wait so long to throw the yellow, when last week a piece of tape was out of the groove and the threw the yellow immediately? 2) Why didn’t someone tell Menard to stop his car next to a safety truck and get out of the car? His spotter had to see the fireball underneath his car. To me, it never should have gotten to that point and the fact that the guy carrying the extinguisher couldn’t get it to work didn’t help.
Is it as obvious to anyone else as it is to me that Nascar wanted Dillon and the #3 as their NW series champ. How can fans take this “sport” seriously with all the deliberate attempts to get the results they want? Pemberton has no credibility, so his explanation rings hollow. I feel bad for Hornish. He has no ride next season yet and you wonder if he won the championship if that would open some doors for him.
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Homestead proved again that it is the best 1.5 mile track on the circuit. All three races were competitive with lots of passing (contrast that to the US Grand Prix, I could count the on-track passes with one hand). I wish ISC would give Homestead Kansas’ second date.
On the Menard debris caution. TV clearly showed flaming debris flying off the car before the yellow. If that’s not a debris caution, I don’t know what is.
Not throwing the red flag in the Nationwide race was a head scratchier. In the end it didn’t matter because good tires still got the front.
And as much as I didn’t want to see it, kudos to the 48 they have the Chase format mastered. At this point only really changing up the Chase schedule (e.g. replace Dover with a road course) could stop the 48.
Why is no one else questioning the delay in throwing the yellow when Menard started burning up. Last week they threw one when a car got out of the groove. The difference is this week Dale Jr was leading and they didn’t want to mess that up. You can’t script a race but you can damn sure try I guess
I cannot and will not ever give kudos to anything HMS. Nascar was very obvious with their efforts to get Dillon a win. They really want folks who are obsessed with the #3 to embrace the driver who will be fielding that number in Cup. Sheep manipulation. But Sam was the one who wasn’t given the benefit of competition laps due to their twisted thinking. Roger did not look happy and who can blame him.
I find it very odd in this maddening sport that a “Champ” can be crowned without ever winning a race. Same to be said for Cup, a “Champ” is crowned on a reset system that eliminates most of the competitors and give the crown to the best driver after 10 races instead of 36. Doesn’t make a lick of sense. If old Brian can wiggle more money out of someone, it make sense to him. As for Ricky with the ROTY, give it back Ricky, you stunk.
Without a doubt, Jimmie and Chad are the best 10 race champions to ever race in Nascar.
Didn’t watch the race. Season ended at Phx from my prospective. The Chase is a pile of crap. I still love racing but I find Nascar to contrived with mysterious cautions and inconsistent penalties. I’m going to do my best to go see some local short track racing in 2014 without the hoopla. I don’t have time for NASCAR BS. Peace
OK, Mike, sorry, my bad and I should have read it better. I didn’t know there WAS an award for rookie of the race.
matt -i questioned why red flag wasn’t thrown for menard’s fire. yellow should have been thrown no more than sparks, flames were seen on track. but like you said 88 was leading.
If wishes were fishes…. I wish Bush and Shrub had been battling it out for the cup by one or two points and the win when they take each other out on the last lap and Harvick breezes by with that great grin of his. Oh well, congratulations Jimmy, by the current rules you did what you’re supposed to do.
For the Chase-haters, If you look at the non-Chase points, Johnson was the best over 36 races, too, by a higher margin than the Chase points.
My interest in NASCAR is beyond low at this point. Johnson & Knaus are a great team but about as popular as poison ivy. Watched the last five laps yesterday and then quickly turned it OFF.
Turned on the race for a while until I saw the caution for the plastic wrapper. It must have been one of Danica’s.
I stopped watching when Danica almost took out Kenseth while she was being lapped AGAIN.
How many “debris” cautions over the season gave Hendrick cars (including Hendrick-Stewart) lucky puppies?
I forgot to ask “Who will make the chase in twenty fourteen?”
How many will be in?
It is true that Jimmy would of still won the championship without the chase by 41 points. But its a fact he would not of won 6-times without the chase. Jeff Gordon would of won one of them. Don’t remember the other. I wish Jayski would show the points under the old points system, which I still prefer. At least you could make up more points by running in higher positions. This new points system makes it too hard to make up points with a bad finish.
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