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!
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.
NASCAR Fan Q & A · Matt Taliaferro · Wednesday October 31, 2007
It’s safe to say the boom is over. With NASCAR's television ratings dropping at an alarming rate (down 16.7% from Atlanta's 2007 telecast) and a half-full house at said track â€” Atlanta! A cradle of stock car racing! â€” it is past time for a change at the top of the NASCAR hierarchy.
As rumors continue to swirl that the board of directors could replace Brian France with his uncle Jim, the ever-dwindling masses who now only watch the final 25 laps of each week's race are optimistic that the sport's current trends come to a screeching halt. You know the issues, but I'll list them anyway: An IROC-style car that has taken all ingenuity out of the teams’ hands, a pompous indifference to the sport's rich heritage, a feeder series in shambles, judgment calls made during races that seem to defy the laws of common senseâ€¦ I could go on and on, but you get the idea.
Jim France watched his father, Bill Sr., organize this great sport into something real while his brother, Bill Jr. (with Jim’s help) brought it to prominence. He's been around the sport for nearly 50 years, and has seen what works and what does not. The turn of the century brought about great growth that saw NASCAR hit unprecedented heights, but the last two years have witnessed first a leveling off, then gradual decline in overall popularity. The rubber-neckers are leaving; only what’s left of the diehards remain.
Speaking of such folk – I'm a huge Kentucky Wildcat fan. Born and raised in the Bluegrass, UK Class of '98. I thought Tubby Smith was a man of character and a solid basketball coach. That did not mean, however, that I was disappointed when he departed to take the head coaching job at Minnesota. I knew that – although Tubby was an able coach and a good person – the program had stagnated, and a change had to be made if the school wanted to remain a national power. The same can be said for NASCAR. Brian has had his time and, whether you agree with his decisions or not, did the best he could, reaping financial benefits once thought unattainable for his family's business. But the time for change â€” with a different perspective that is paramount for the sport to thrive â€” faces the sanctioning body once again.
Thanks for the questions this week, all. Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org to spout off, ask a question, or simply give an opinion. This is your column as much as it is mine – so get interactive!
Q: Isn’t it ironic that in the midst of the worst drought the South has seen since the Dust Bowl that water would be in the fuel at a NA$CAR race? A race that they considered restricting practices, etc. to conserve water? When was the last time you heard of water being in any team’s fuel? â€” Kevin S. Clone
A: The irony wasn't lost on this junky, Kevin, although the area did have a good dousing leading up to race weekend.
As for water in the fuel cells, I honestly don't know how that shows up in a number of cars and, to make it more baffling, doesn't affect some machines ‘till the end of the race. Moisture in Sunoco's supply somewhere along the way, perhaps? Although that's been denied, I don't see any other theory that "holds water" at this point.
The last time I remember water in the fuel system playing a factor â€” and it very well could have happened since â€” was in the 1991 Dover Busch race. Davey Allison had the lead until his car sputtered during the race's final caution period. That handed Todd Bodine his first career Busch Series victory, while some newcomer named Jeff Gordon ran second that day in a Bill Davis Ford.
One last bit of irony before we move on: Michael Waltrip was fined 100 Gs as punishment for a fuel additive at Daytona. Should Sunoco be fined the same for theirs?
Q: With Alan Gustafson assuming crew chief duties for Casey Mears in 2008 and Tony Eury, Jr. sticking with Dale Earnhardt, Jr., what becomes of Darian Grubb? He has done an admirable job, in my opinion, of steering the Mears ship this year and filling in for Chad Knaus in 2006. So, is he destined for a trip back to the Engineering Department? â€” Telli V.
A: He sure is, Telli. Grubb, who has three wins as a crew chief on the Nextel Cup level with Casey Mears and as the interim crew chief for Jimmie Johnson during Chad Knaus' suspension last season, will coordinate the at-track engineering efforts of both the Earnhardt and Mears teams in 2008.
I can't say I'm surprised, either. When I talked to him after last year's Las Vegas win, I got the distinct impression that he was crew chiefing only because the team needed him. He didn't seem to long for the spotlight and, honestly, looked a little uncomfortable taking the credit that he felt the team deserved – not solely the driver or the crew chief.
This move just feeds the theory Grubb's a low-key customer who thrives in the team role. He's proven that he's got the chops to sit atop the war wagon, but is just as valuable (and happy) doing his behind-the-scenes thing on a weekly basis.
Q: I'm trying to figure out why Roger Penske thinks it is so important to have Sam Hornish, Jr. in a full-time [Cup] car next season. If the guy can't qualify the car after trying numerous times already, why does Penske think he will have success next year? Some guys are cut out for it, some aren't. â€” Gerald Swift
A: I'm assuming you are speaking to the rumor that Penske is considering transferring the owner points from Kurt Busch's No. 2 team to Hornish's start-up operation, ensuring he is guaranteed a spot in the season's first five races. To that, I have to side with Penske: If there is a loophole, you'd best jump through it if you expect to keep up with the competition. Busch has a Past Champ's Provisional that will ensure his entry for six races next year, anyway – so making such a move does nothing to hurt the viability of the other team.
Backtracking a bit, though, I agree that Hornish has not shown much in eight Busch Series starts over the past two seasons. His best finish in that time came at Atlanta earlier this year, when he muscled her home for a 15th-place finish. The six failed Cup starts are troubling for any team, let alone a Penske-powered outfit. And let’s not forget, with defending IRL champ Dario Franchitti out of the picture, Hornish stands a better shot at continued open-wheel fame.
One less guy to worry about, right? And far less worrisome than trying to learn the ropes of Nextel Cup.
©2000 - 2008 Matt Taliaferro and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
The Clown Prince of NA$CAR, ‘Brian the all-knowing’ has been successful in driving even a die hard like me away. Thank God the Steelers are off to a good start this year so I have something worth watching on Sunday afternoon!
A few successful family run businesses are run into the ground by the second generation, but at least NA$CAR survived until the third.
By the way, is Brian subject to NA$CAR’s drug testing program?
Nascar should have found a better race fuel supplier than sunoco . Having any contaminants in racing gas is inexcuseble . What must their street gas be like if their race gas is full of water .
Since Atlanta is under severe drought conditions, I wonder if any of the fuel supply semi’s were used to haul water…unofficially.
I for one, and probably many, am fast loosing my interest in NASCAR until ESPN and the 35 guaranteed starting spots are history, and don’t blame Waltrip for putting the water in the fuel.
I hope that a gasoline company would have better sense than to contaminate a race gas truck with water and then not bother to clean it before hauling the gas. But Sunoco might try to use that as an excuse to get sympathy . I suspect the water was in the tank at the track because of many instances of a little water in each load of gas . They just didn’t pay attention to the problem , or they are cutting quality to save money .
To all you non-Jeff Gordon fans, don’t bite my head off for saying this….But if Brian France is indeed kicked to the curb and Uncle Jim takes his place I’m as curious as the next fan to know what will happen to the way things are currently run within the four walls of NASCAR. Most particularly, will the Chase become a thing of the past? And if so (here’s the JG part)will Jeff, in all the NASCAR archives, be given an asterisk (*) behind his name to show that he should have been a champion for the 5th time in 2004 and then again had his 6th championship for this year? Had it not been for the Chase, everyone knows Jeff would be just one championship away from tying Dale Sr. and the King himself. Just a thought if things really do change!!!
Steve M. is right!
Having been a NASCAR fan since the late 60’s, it has really lost its appeal as a sport. Now it is more like professional wrestling. It seems that it is correographed to produce the winner NASCAR wants. Caution flags come out for “debris” that we never see. Speeding penalties are dished out to some and not to others, like Gordon and Johnson. Penalties are given for stupid things like running over the pit road cone; passing the commit line and then entering the pits; crossing the commit line and then changing you mind; and others. Whatever happened to good old racing? Bumping, grinding, pushing, bump-and-go, sling shotting. Oh, no…….
Now we have cars that look all the same and come as close to resembling the car at the dealers as a lime looks like a watermelon. Let’s go back to the old days and return with the true STOCK CAR. No fancy side spoilers, front spoilers, and wings. Just clean cars that look like the advertised car, with a front air dam that does not extend beyond the hood size. Put a spoiler as big as all outdoors on back to aid in control. Get rid of the carb and lets go to fuel injection, multi valves, and computer relays on the cars for performance and tire management. And get rid of the damned plate at Daytona and Talladega. IF it is too fast, use a smaller engine like a 4.7ltr that every manufacuter has. Dodge, Ford, and GM has one already being used, and if Toyota doesn’t, TS.
And fire Brain France, get rid of the Chase(unless the points are changed for those drivers only), keep the Cup drivers out of the Nationwide series, and get rid of that UGLY Cup champions trophy.
I don’t understand the idea of Gordon having supposedly won some mythical mid-season championship . The championship has not been decided yet . When the Chase began everyone lost their points and started over . This came as absolutley no surprise whatsoever to Gordon , or anyone else connected to Nascar racing . At the time the points were reset , Gordon had a substantial lead . Would that lead have held until the end of the season making him the champion ? Who knows . Who can prove that he wouldn’t have had several DNFs and some more poor finishes and done no better than second or even third in the points . Since all of us knew going in what the rules were , how could it possibly matter what his points total was . The only thing the initial points were used for was to determine who would be in the chase . If some feel that the CHAMPION OF THE PRE-CHASE QUALIFYING POINTS TOTAL deserves a trophy and parade then by all means go for it . But we all knew that number would mean nothing when the Chase started , so why the hysterics .
NASCAR racing is dying because of over saturation by the ex beer and tobacco marketing wizards ( i think i can guess why they are no longer employed in their former jobs ) in Daytona . There are simply too many tv shows concerning NASCAR . I became interested in NASCAR when 15 minutes on Wide World of Sports was all you were likely to ever see of a race . That meant that if you were a fan you eagerly waited for any report on tv or in the media , and waited until the following month to read about it in Hot Rod , or Stock Car Racing , or one of the other few magazines that covered racing .The only way you could see a race was to go to the track . Now you merely have to turn on tv and watch races from all over the world . Read the internet and know the race results from any where in the world . Now we are flooded with shows about NASCAR ( most of them no more than background noise ) including pre race shows , and these people have to invent things to report on for that much air time .How many shows on a weekly or daily basis to report on the same racing news over and over . And fans are getting bored .And the same goes for local short track racing . You can now see racing from your arm chair , why go to the track .
While we’re on the subject of” what if “ regarding possible championships , i know of at least two seasons that Earnhardt could have been the champion if things had gone his way . I know of one and possibly two of those types of seasons that could apply to Petty . Thankfully , the championship in Nascar is not rated by how close you came , or by rotten luck that should never have been . Think your favorite driver got screwed out of a championship ? Your favorite driver could have backed into a championship or two he maybe didn’t deserve .
You will never see a fuel truck hauling potable water,(drinkable) as well as any other water..officially or unofficially…there are enough regulations to choke a horse on that matter. This is why you see tanker trucker specifically marked as “water”. Word is as well that the tanks at the track do have alarms that trigger any contamination,(such as water), in the tank. It was stated that the alarm never went off..whether that means that there was no water in the tank or that the alarm failed was never explained but I was given the impression that this was their way of saying that the tanks were fine.
Good point Mike C. Over exposier is definately a henderance
Good points Mike C. N.A.S.A.R. is indeed being over exposed in some instences
i agree with pistol! i have been a nascar fan , since back in the 60“s and the racing ,is terible, now. i have stopped going to the tracks, and tape the races, and fast forward almost all of the race. when jr. france took over, that was the beginning of the end and the end is almost here!!!!!
To Margo L., regarding your comments on “some mythical mid-season championship.” Please see http://www.onebadwheel.com/driver/nascar-non-chase-point-standings.php which has non-chase points as of this past weekends race. Jeff Gordon would be 439 points ahead of 2nd place; thus putting him rightfully in the Championship for 2007. And if you look at this page(edited by Frontstretch.com for display issues) you will see that the final non-chase points standing did indeed show that Jeff Gordon would have won the Championship that year by 47 points ahead of 2nd place. These are facts Margo, you can argue them all you want, but that won’t change them. And to Pistol and Jo-Jr.fan, I respect what you are saying. I have only been a die hard NASCAR fan for the past 5 years so I won’t even begin to think that I know as much about the sport as the two of you, but I will say that for those of us who are relatively new to NASCAR; well, all these changes are just part of life. Nothing stays the same and everything is contstantly changing – including, maybe unfortunately, but including NASCAR. I for one will not stop watching the sport and will continue to rip on other drivers and be mad at bad calls made by the officials and bi*ch about new rules and hate it when they change formats. But NASCAR is something else to me besides all of that; there is a camaraderie between the fans. The drivers themselves are just good, decent guys (most of them) and I still look forward to getting together with my friends every week to drink a few beers and have a few laughs (and maybe a few tears – depending on what happens to my driver) during the race. I have empathy for what you are saying about the good ole days of racing, but those days have been over, and for quite some time. And if indeed Brian France is replaced, and the Chase is a thing of the past, and if Gordon never gets his asterisk, well, so be it. But his true fans will always know just what a spectacular driver he is; 4 Championships or 10, it won’t matter. See y’all in Texas!!!
Well Steve M , i don’t know what to tell you . The rules for the Chase were well known to us all . Perhaps you just misunderstood that Gordon ( or any other driver ) would not get to keep their points when the Chase started . Sad i know , but rules are rules . Are you the person that created the phrase “ if the race ended now “ concerning points ? The html of the web site you list pretty much says it all . What If . If you have the time , go back through Nascar history or the history of any sport , and you can probably find many instances of, if a call had only gone the other way . But they didn’t . Gordon and Hendrick haven’t threatened to sue over it , so they must have understood as we all did . Let it go . There are far more important things to attend to in life than trying to re-write Nascar history .
Margo, what I’m trying to say is if the Chase ended after this season, never to be seen again because it was decided that the Chase didn’t work; would Jeff be given some kind of credit for the two seasons that he should have won under the old points system? You are correct; every driver knew what they were getting into when the Chase started and Jeff is the last person to say anything negative about the old vs. new points system. If, in the future of NASCAR, the Chase is gone and the points are based on something much closer to what we had pre-Chase, don’t you think it would be appropriate to denote the drivers (not just Jeff) who would have won the Championship based on a points system that I believe had been basically the same for numerous years? Again, if that doesn’t ever happen, then so be it. There is always so much talk about who the better driver is; Jeff Gordon or Dale Sr. Well, by keeping with the Chase points instead of the points system that Sr. raced with, is just another brick wall that has been built to ensure that we will never know (by looking at numbers only). I’m by no means trying to change the history of NASCAR by taking away the wins of Kurt Busch (2004 Champion) or Jimmie Johnson (if he wins this year). And if the Chase continues as is, then that’s fine, but if it goes back to what we had, then that’s when an (*) is needed. To keep changing the points system every few years because it isn’t working isn’t fair to any of the drivers who are trying, and deservably so, to make a small mark in sports history.
Sorry to say that one of those drivers didn’t stop racing voluntarily , so making any comparison by numbers is going to be impossible . There is a very good chance that Earnhardt would have raced for two or three more years , and i think it’s safe to say he would certainly have won some more races , and who knows , maybe another championship or two . But fate played a hand , and we’ll never know .
I’ve never been a Jeff Gordon fan, always been one of the boo birds, so to speak. However, I think I can unequivocally say that he is the current class of ALL Nascar drivers, (and that pains me to say it) but the truth is the truth. NASCAR gave almost a thousand points to some of the drivers, but they didn’t give anything to Gordon, if fact, they in essence took points away (a second place position).He deserves this championship whether he won it or not, and to say the very least, BRIAN FRANCE IS AN IDIOT!!!
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