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.
Matt Stallknecht · Friday May 17, 2013
It’s All-Star Weekend in NASCAR Nation, and what is traditionally one of the more dramatic and arresting events of the season lies just around the corner. We’ve seen a little bit of everything this season as we head into the All-Star Break, there’s been some incredible racing, upsets, tempers flaring, and much more. Once again, the All-Star Race has a new format, seemingly for no purpose other than the whims of NASCAR’s higher ups. The effect that that new format will have on the excitement of the event will no doubt be the leading story heading into the weekend, and you can be sure that every Tom, Dick, and Harry in Internet-Land will have their own unique opinion on the format changes. I am one of those Tom, Dick, and Harrys, so without further ado, I give you my take on what to expect for this upcoming weekend’s All-Star festivities.
1. Will this year’s round of format changes spice up the All-Star Race?
Yes, the racing is contrived. Yes, the race is 100% geared toward manufactured excitement. And yes, you can be sure that more than a few folks will be calling the legitimacy of the race’s finish into question. But putting all of that aside, the All-Star Race generally puts on a good show for the fans nonetheless, and NASCAR seems hell-bent on tweaking the event’s rules to further ante up the excitement. Some years it works (the 2002-2003 “Survival of the Fastest” format was particularly fun, and also quite polarizing), some years it doesn’t (last year’s “segment winners get a guaranteed top 4 starting spot in final segment” resonated well with almost no one), but you can always count on something being new every time the All-Star race descends upon us.
So what’s new for the race in 2013? The race will once again feature five segments of 20 laps apiece, and the starting order for the final segment will be determined by each driver’s average finish compiled from the first four segments. The prevailing thought is that this will make it so that a driver has to perform well in each segment to get a good starting spot for the 5th “money segment”. Unlike most years, where drivers sandbag for the first two or three segments and then go all out in the final segment, drivers will have to treat every segment like it is the last one. For the first time in All-Star Race history, every lap in the event will actually mean something.
This bodes quite well for the possibility of overall excitement throughout the whole race. It likely won’t make the typically hairy final segment any more exciting, but it should give a needed energy boost to the typically dry opening segments of the event. Combine all of that with the Gen-6 cars that have proven to be noticeably racier on intermediate tracks, and you may just have the recipe for an instant classic.
2. Who figures to advance from the Sprint Showdown?
The Sprint Showdown, which is the qualifying race for those drivers not locked into the All-Star, is arguably one of the more underrated events of the Sprint Cup season. Broken into two segments of only 20 laps each, the Showdown is the only true “sprint race” that NASCAR has to offer. The top two finishers (along with a third driver who wins the fan vote), will advance to the All-Star race. The Showdown, being a sprint race, tends to reward drivers who are either fast qualifiers or incredibly aggressive drivers willing to do whatever it takes to blow through the field into a transfer spot as quickly as possible. Looking at the entry list, a few names jump out as possibilities for filling those criteria.
The most obvious driver who figures to advance into the All-Star race is Martin Truex Jr. His MWR #56 machine has had incredible speed on the mile and a half track this year, and Martin is a great qualifier to boot. While he’s anything but aggressive, he will likely qualify up front and have a quick enough car to stay there for the duration of the event. Pencil him in as the winner of the race for now. As for the fan vote, it pretty much goes without saying that Danica Patrick has that locked up. And given a new rule (designed for her perhaps?) for the race, she doesn’t even need to finish on the lead lap of the race to advance to the All-Star!
With two predictions set, that leaves one more driver to fill in the final transfer spot to the All-Star race. Given that the field is relatively weak this year, only a few drivers will be truly competitive enough to duke it out for the final position. Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Jamie McMurray, Juan Montoya, Aric Almirola, and perhaps Paul Menard are the only drivers outside of Truex who ought to have enough speed to race their way into the event. Of that group, Stenhouse Jr. likely has the best chance of advancing. His ultra-aggressive style is tailor made for an event like the Sprint Showdown, and he tends to be at his best on smooth intermediate tracks like Charlotte.
Anything can and usually will happen in races like this, but given how weak this year’s field is, it’s pretty much a given that the few “heavy hitters” in the race will be the one’s advancing to the All-Star race.
3. Can Kyle Busch finally win the All-Star race?
The race would appear to be perfectly suited for him. Kyle Busch, being the ultra-aggressive, no-holds barred driver that he is, should have won the All-Star race by now. Oh sure, he’s had cars capable of winning the race, but every year something (usually himself) trips him up. 2010 certainly comes to mind, that being the race where his over-aggression at the end of the race led to him getting wrecked. Busch’s experiences in the All-Star race over the years have been a microcosm of his career: always fast, but can’t seal the deal. Could this be the year he actually gets it done?
Well, not if last week is any indication of what is to come for Busch. Despite dominating the whole race at Darlington, Busch once again choked away the race when it came down to the finish, further showcasing his seeming inability to perform under pressure. He does it in the Chase once a year, he’s done it in other big races that he should have won, and he will likely do it again. There’s been much talk this year about the “New Kyle Busch”, and I have a feeling we will get a clear picture of how much Kyle Busch has developed personally after this weekend’s race.
We know his JGR equipment will be fast, and we know he will likely be there at the end of the race. But will he let the demons of past All-Star races, and even last week’s race, come back to bite him? Whatever the answer to that question ends up being will be quite telling in terms of just how far Kyle Busch has come as a driver, as one more instance of him choking away/ruining a race that has always eluded him could cast a negative spell on what has been an otherwise sterling year for him.
4. Will Kasey Kahne finally stick up for himself?
Kasey Kahne is a nice guy. Really, he is. Kahne is generally the last guy you will see either retaliating at someone, getting angry at fellow drivers, or yelling at his crew. Maybe it’s just his easygoing West Coast mentality. Kahne is an extremely clean racer who prefers to just do his own thing on the race track. So clean and easygoing is Kahne, that he will often underreact to being pushed around by other drivers…drivers such as Kyle Busch. Kahne has been wrecked 3 times by Busch this year, with the most obvious incident occurring last Saturday night in which Busch blew turn 1 and forced Kahne to spin out. Whether or not Busch meant to wreck Kahne is irrelevant, because Busch knows Kahne is the kind of guy who he can push around.
How does one come to such a conclusion? One only needs to look at Kahne’s post-race interview at Darlington to figure this one out. While most drivers would be seething with anger and vowing to rip Busch’s head off for having been wrecked by him three times in one season, Kahne’s reaction was dry and emotionless. He more or less said that he was “disappointed” in Busch and that he hoped it wouldn’t happen again. That’s not the kind of attitude a driver who has been wrecked three times by another driver should have.
Kahne obviously has the speed to win a championship this year, but unless he asserts himself a bit more on track, he is going to continue to get stepped on. The All-Star race is known for fireworks and lots of contact. If Busch and Kahne are near each other again and Busch decides to play the aggressive card, it would be in Kahne’s best interest to lay the law down and push back. Continuing to let other drivers use Kahne up is only doing him a disservice at this point, and this week would be a fantastic time for Kahne to start upping his level of aggression on track. Not doing so will likely only lead to more “disappointment” for driver #5.
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“And given a new rule (designed for her perhaps?) for the race, (Danica) doesn’t even need to finish on the lead lap of the race to advance to the All-Star!”
Here’s another great idea… Instead of a fan vote, let’s have a “King Brian” vote. Before the race, Brian France walks down pit road wearing a crown, and with a scepter, touches the head of each driver he deems an all-star. To spice up the show, Michael Waltrip can walk behind him in a jester outfit and make jokes about Ford drivers.
The only thing that has changed about Kyle is that he has learned to avoid the cameras when he is in the midst of a meltdown.
Go get ‘em Kyle!
He’s one of the few reasons I still watch Nascar because he’s one of the few drivers who isn’t conservative and reminds me of old-school guys like Dale Sr.
To hell with the PC media and the Nascar overlords and all their bias.
Go Kyle Go!
And rest in peace Dick Trickle.
Apparently this writer didn’t actually watch the 2010 All Star race or last week’s race. How did Kyle choke last week he cut a RR tire. If you are going to make snarky comments at least make sure you aren’t so uninformed. Doesn’t this website have editors?
James, Kyle choked hard in both races. His tire wasn’t actually down when Kenseth was passing him last week. He was also complaining of a tight car. Cars don’t get tight when RR tires go down, they get very loose. His tire may have been going soft but I personally didn’t think that was what lost him the race.
And in 2010, Kyle had the fastest car and walled it trying to make an ill advised move on his teammate Denny Hamlin which effectively ruined his race.
So yes, I watched both races :)
Well I PERSONALLY think that Kyle was trying to move behind Kahne to set himself up for passing him in the next corner. And I PERSONALLY think that Kahne went into the corner too hot and spun himself out. It was good hard racing by both. Kyle didn’t touch him. And I PERSONALLY think Kyle felt bad about it.
I don’t KNOW when Kyle’s tire went down, but it WAS amazing that he made it to the end of the race.
I PERSONALLY don’t consider Darlington a choke for Kyle either.
I agree with James. I dont consider it a “choke” when your tire is losing air.
I am curious (personally).
Well Matt, Dave Rogers seemed to think that was the problem, but maybe you know more than him.
Why do I sense a Kasey Kahne take out of Busch if there is an opportunity?
well said Lane. Kyle makes watching NASCAR fun like it was years ago. GO ROWDY!!! Yes, R.I.P. Dick, you will be missed.
D, your “King Brian” gag was damn funny.
RIP Dick Trickle
Read Matt’s comments (above mine…note the “personally” line). This article and his comments are his and I have mine.
Obviously Matt isn’t the biggest Kyle fan and that’s fine. I was throwing in my two cents. LOL.