The Frontstretch: Fanning the Flames: NASCAR's Longest Owner/Driver Marriage, And Pending Roush Divorces? by Matt Taliaferro -- Thursday May 27, 2010

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Fanning the Flames: NASCAR's Longest Owner/Driver Marriage, And Pending Roush Divorces?

NASCAR Fan Q & A · Matt Taliaferro · Thursday May 27, 2010


I received a text from my brother last weekend stating I guess ur watching the hall of fame induction, this is really cool. Coming from a college-age kid that isn’t necessarily a die-hard, I thought what he said was really cool.

Good job, NASCAR. You often take our body blows when we don’t like what we see. I liked what I saw at the Hall of Fame, though, so it’s only fair to give you an “a-atta boy.”

Now I’ve got a vacation to get to, so let’s skip the formalities and get to your emails. As always, I can be reached using this link. We’ll start off with one of your favorite posters:

What happened to the standardized start times? NASCAR.COM lists the start of [last] week’s race at 9:30 PM! And I saw a TV ad for next weeks Indy race starting at noon? What gives?!?!?
— DansMom

A: The Sprint Showdown started at 7:30 EST, which is what the standardized Saturday night start time is. If ya wanted to see the Big Show, you had to stay up a bit later.

As for Indy, yes, it’s going green at its traditional 1:00 EST start time, but coverage on ABC starts at noon. Any talk you’re hearing about pushing Indy’s start time an hour earlier to allow “The Double” and Bruton’s 20 million bucks pertains to next season. And at this point the times and the treasure are still just talk, although by next week at this time, they may both be fact.

In regards to annual complaints about NASCAR rotating the All-Star race to different tracks, be careful what you ask for.

Boring show in the All-Star race. Will NA$CAR ever consider moving it around to different tracks? Richmond especially would be a great place for it, but of course I’m a homer.
— Cecil Mason, Richmond, Va.

A: Be careful what you wish for. There are a lot of 1.5-mile venues out there that bring twice the sleep-induction factor as Charlotte. If the All-Star Race floats around, it will end up at cookie-cutter and big flat tracks at a 5:1 ratio over the short tracks, which is what everyone wants to see when talk like this springs up.

For the time being, though, I don’t see it moving and haven’t heard any rumblings whatsoever.

Matt, Jr. Nation continues to cry about Jr. and McGrew, but Carl Edwards was invisible during the All-Star race and he’s been invisible for a season and a half. Why no talk of splitting Edwards and Osborne up or any of the other Roush crew chief and the driver pairings? At some point, when the whole company is in left field a shake up needs to be made.
— Benny R., Arkansas

A: Honestly, I don’t think shuffling crew chiefs is the fix to Roush’s problems. The Roush Fenway organization has won three of the last 48 races — and two of those were plate-track wins. If this were just driver/crew chief issues, the winning percentage would be much higher and the problems wouldn’t be across the board. Besides, we’ve seen Edwards and Osborne split up in the past and Carl was miserable. We’ve also seen the damage this pair can do when the cars are there.

The problem for Edwards, Osborne and the entire organization is that, at the moment, the cars aren’t close. They are getting beat because of computer simulations that aren’t jiving and equipment that simply isn’t up to the HMS’ and JGR’s of NASCAR. A team’s chemistry can be spot on, but if the car is built to be a 13th place car, it’s more often than not going to be a 13th place car.

If Bass Pro is staying with Earnhardt Ganassi like jayski is reporting, does that mean McMurray is feeling confident about his shot at another year there too? I would hate to see Jamie Mac’s momentum killed again. He looks comfortable at EGR and it’s translating into good runs.

A: Aloha, Fogel. That’s as much Johnny Morris’ call as Chip Ganassi’s. Of course, Ganassi talked Morris — the founder of Bass Pro Shops and a huge supporter of motorsports — into the hire in the first place, so we know Chip’s opinion does hold weight. As does that Daytona 500 win.

I couldn’t agree with you more that McMurray looks like a different driver since coming home. I wouldn’t be shocked if he scored another win this season, and that’s not a prediction I was making about him in his Roush years. Concurrently, I wouldn’t be shocked at all if he was offered an extension. In fact, I’d kind of be surprised if he wasn’t.

Since Harvick has re-signed with Childress, does that make the two the longest tenured driver/owner combo outside of Jeff Gordon and Rick Hendrick? My math says Harvick and Childress have 10 years together and Gordon and Hendrick have 19 this year. Thanks Matt!,
— G. Pender

A: Your math looks right if you count the one race at Atlanta in 1992 that Gordon entered for Hendrick. And the Harvick/Childress numbers are on the money, too.

However, there is one pair in between the two in question, and that combo is Matt Kenseth and Jack Roush. This year marks Kenseth’s 11th with Roush (after a one-race stint with Bill Elliott in 1998 and five with Robbie Reiser as the listed owner in ’99). This tandem also donned the same DeWalt primary colors for 10 years, nowhere near the length of time as Gordon’s 19 with DuPont, but impressive nonetheless.

Continuing down the list we find the aforementioned Harvick/Childress team tied with Jimmie Johnson and Rick Hendrick, going strong at a decade together (counting Johnson’s three starts for HMS in 2001). Johnson’s Lowe’s sponsorship has been on board every step of the way, too. Just behind them sit Greg Biffle and Uncle Jack at nine years strong, followed by Carl Edwards/Roush at seven years.

Kasey Kahne also has seven years in the same seat, although the ownership changed from Ray Evernham to George Gillett sometime in 2007. Wrapping up, we find Jeff Burton and Childress at six-and-a-half years, with Clint Bowyer/Childress and Denny Hamlin/Joe Gibbs at six apiece.

Thanks for making it this far. If you need me, I’m on a bass boat for next the five days. With the cell phone off.

And by the way, in response to a reference I made last week that a few of you wrote to me about, here’s your video link of the week. Thought I forgot, didn’t ya?

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05/27/2010 07:46 AM

I hate to say this, given that I am a Roush/Kenseth/Biffle fan, but I think Roush will quit NASCAR at year’s end. Why? Because Ford will quit NASCAR all together! I don’t think Ford feels they get any bang for their buck showroom traffic wise. Back in the day, those days that DansMom says we should put out of our minds and forget, as they mean nothing to today’s fans like her, win on Sunday meant increased showroom traffic on Monday. Not so today with the spec series that NASCAR has become. Look for the #6 team and Ragan to be gone completely. Look for the #99 team to either fold completely, or Edwards and Osborne will try to wing it alone, in a Chevy! Look for Kenseth and Biffle to form their own team with Robbie Rieser, again in Chevys. As for the other Ford teams, Richard pety Motorsports, what’s left of it, will also join the Bow-Tie Brigade! Ditto for any other Ford team. In 2011, there will be no Fords running in any NASCAR series. And there will be no Roush for people like that Mike characture to hate! But, as long as Matt Kenseth and Greg Biffle are competing, I’ll still watch, even if they are diving a car I hate!

05/27/2010 10:37 AM

Great observation about the Roush Fenway organization. Their cars are just a tick off almost every race and adjustments don’t help.

05/27/2010 11:38 AM

I appreciated the video. It was a good start to a great weekend of racing. I hope you and the bass boat have much fun together.

05/27/2010 12:27 PM

Rufus, I hope you are totally wrong! But, in reality, even I hate to admit it, but you are probably right! Why would Ford have anything to do with Brian’s farce of a show? Like you said, back in the day, a win on Sunday meant sales the following week. By the way, who cares what DansMom says! Anyway, Ford did not take the bailout like G.M. did. And I wonder how much of that bailout money found its way into Rick Hendrick’s bank account? Ford is doing pretty good despite the poor showing on the track. As for Roush leaving, again, I hope not, but I wouldn’t blame him. His manufacturing facility is something to see! He doesn’t need a farce of a show like NASCAR anyway! Yes, Ragan needs to be let go! Eric Darnell should have got that ride! Too late now, with UPS bailing to Childress and Harvick! Kenseth, Biffle, and Rieser forming a race team? They could make it work! But that would depend on who they aligned with. You can bet Hendrick wouldn’t have anything to do with them! As for Edwards, well, I really don’t know! It seems after his Talladega wreck last year, he lost his competetive desire! Sad!! I like Carl! I’ve met Carl and he is very Fan-friendly! But, if Ford does pull out, what about the Wood Brothers? I cannot imagine the #21 on anything but a Ford! I guess they will just fade into oblivion! I’m a Ford man, have been since I was born! So when the last Ford pulls off the track, that will finally be it for me! Even though Kenseth and Biffle would still be running, I just could not bring myself to cheer for any Chevrolet driver!

05/27/2010 01:04 PM

Sure hope Ford stays in NASCAR.Would be a waste to watch without them.

05/27/2010 04:06 PM

Not a fan of Ford or Roush either one. BUT NASCAR NEEDS BOTH OF THEM. I can remember the days that Ford outnumbered Chevy I respect Ford for NOT TAKING the bailout money, and my next vehicle could be a Ford( don’t tell anybody) I’ve always been a Chevy man.
Nascar needs as many teams, owners and manufactors as they can get. When the teams were allowed to work on the cars the racing was MUCH BETTER because some of the smaller teams could take chances and maybe steal a win, now days that does not happen.(about the only team that works in the gray area these days is the 48 and Chad, I rank Hendrick below Roush so there is one chevy owner I root against everyweek)

05/27/2010 04:13 PM

Nascar needs a halftime like most other sports. Let the teams work on the cars. It will make for better racing at the end of a race. it want hurt racing, it will make it better for the fans and that’s what pays the bills.


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Contact Matt Taliaferro

Recent articles from Matt Taliaferro:

Fanning the Flames: Of Daytona, Danica, Dale, and Duels
2009 Season Review: Tony Stewart
2009 Season Review: Ryan Newman
Fanning the Flames: Closing the Inbox on the 2009 Season
Fanning the Flames: The Crew Chief Carousel and Other Assorted Oddities