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.
Phil Allaway · Wednesday December 9, 2009
Well, with Tuesday’s announcement (not broadcast on television, but streamed online at GoDaddy.com) that Danica Patrick will run a limited schedule in the Nationwide Series in 2010, along with the ARCA Racing Series presented by Re/Max and Menards race at Daytona on February 6, the question of whether Danica will try stock cars or not is finally answered. I’m personally happy that this media blitz is now over.
However, now that the word is out, the prognostication will begin. How will Danica adjust to stock cars with extremely limited testing? History is not on Danica’s side here. Drivers that have come from the open wheel ranks (IndyCar Series, the former CCWS) to NASCAR have typically struggled early on. Jimmy Vasser only made two Busch starts in 2003, although he did run well at Daytona until getting taken out in Mike McLaughlin’s crash. Dario Franchitti’s struggles last season in the No. 40 in Sprint Cup were a stark contrast to his past success. Paul Tracy never produced all that much in his few NASCAR starts. Scott Speed has struggled in Sprint Cup, as has Sam Hornish Jr., and even Juan Pablo Montoya has struggled at times since he came to stock cars at the end of 2006.
I don’t believe that Daytona will be any problem for her. In fact, the 200-mile ARCA race could serve as a legitimate test session for her, since ARCA announced recently that Nationwide cars are now eligible to run in the series. As a result, JR Motorsports could legitimately bring the car she would run in the 300 mile Nationwide race down to the track a week early so that she could get used it, with some alterations so that the car will met ARCA regulations.
Truthfully, at this point, the Nationwide Series can use all the publicity that it can get. It’s arguable that they are roughly where the Champ Car World Series was in 2005, with waning interest and a low car count. In addition. the series has had to fight off accusations that it is nothing but “Cup Lite” for most of the decade, especially in the last few years with full-time Cup drivers winning the last four series championships. So getting Danica to race there is nothing short of a coup. She brings droves of her fans to the table, and it’s up to NASCAR and the tracks (whichever ones in addition to Daytona that she races at) to take advantage of this opportunity to draw in those fans. We know GoDaddy will hold up their end of the bargain marketing-wise… now, the sport needs to follow suit.
Of course, Danica also brings in sex appeal with her to NASCAR (see Peak Antifreeze and GoDaddy commercials, SI Swimsuit shoots, etc.), and this could potentially end up being controversial. I’ll admit that I really don’t care about her little ad campaigns and photo shoots, but it may turn off some other race fans. GoDaddy CEO Bob Parsons mentioned on Tuesday that there will be different kinds of ads used to publicize Danica’s Nationwide activities, but he didn’t really go into details. This is something to look out for over the next couple of years, though.
Another issue that may haunt her is her, at times, confrontational nature. During her time in the IndyCar Series, Patrick has had multiple altercations with other drivers, once punching Jaques Lazier after a crash, and getting in well-publicized arguments with Dan Wheldon and Milka Duno after on-track incidents. This will not go over very well with her peers if she tries that stuff in the Nationwide Series. She’ll have to keep her emotions in check since, unlike in the IndyCar Series, retribution can be performed relatively easily and painlessly. Truth be told, I really don’t think this will be an issue, but you never know.
There are still some unknowns as to what Danica’s schedule will look like for 2010 in the Nationwide Series. Previously, it had been assumed that Danica would drive 12 or 13 races in the series next season, but the exact number was not announced on Tuesday. All that was announced was that she was coming to the series (along with the aforementioned ARCA race at Daytona), and that they unveiled the new No. 7 Chevrolet. Now, Danica is still dedicated to the Izod IndyCar Series, so the races that she will do in the Nationwide Series will not interfere with her open wheel responsibilities. This means that her schedule will be front and back loaded with NASCAR races, while the open wheel events take up most of the year.
For her part, Danica is definitely taking this opportunity seriously and wants to do well, as any normal driver would. It is unclear what many experts think that she could be capable of in her Nationwide starts, but let’s briefly take a look at what she has to work with.
First off, Tony Eury Jr., Dale Jr.‘s cousin (and recently announced as a co-owner of the race team), will be her crew chief. Say what you want about Eury, but he’s not a terrible choice. They could have easily done worse.
Second, she’s driving for JR Motorsports with guaranteed backing from GoDaddy. This is one of the best teams to drive for in the series. She’ll have support from Hendrick Motorsports as well, and we all know their strengths. She’s not going to be working with a bunch of scrubs.
Third, its still quite unclear who she’s going to be racing against in the Nationwide races, as there’s lots of open rides for 2010 at the moment. Of the teams that do make the grid for Daytona, there are likely to be quite a few start-and-park cars sprinkled among them.
And fourth, let’s not discount the fact that Danica actually has a great deal of natural skill behind the wheel. She’s not just some random woman who backed into the IndyCar Series because of sponsorship, like Milka Duno with CITGO. The IndyCar Series is very competitive, and she has run well in the series since she first entered it.
Do I think Danica is going to win a Nationwide race in 2010? No, I don’t. Maybe in 2011, but not next season. I think she’ll acquit herself just fine, though. Next year will be a learning experience, since Danica has never driven a race car as heavy as a Nationwide car (I’m not sure, but I think the heaviest race car she’s driven previously is either a Daytona Prototype in Grand-Am, or the Toyota Celica she drove in the Toyota Pro/Celebrity race in Long Beach back in 2002. Of course, a Nationwide car has much more than the 168 horsepower that the Celica GT had). Staying out of wrecks should be a priority during her adjustment period.
Do I think Danica can be competitive in the Nationwide Series right away? At Daytona, yes. At the other tracks (which are unknown at this point) that she races at? More than likely, but it’ll be a little harder. I think that she can definitely get three or four top 10’s in 2010. A couple of those races might challenge for the best-ever finish by a woman in a Nationwide race (for those of you like me who love minutiae, that is a seventh place finish for Patty Moise at Talladega in July, 1995). In 2011, I could definitely see her improving on her performance next season, just based off of her improvement in the IndyCar Series. When it comes to Danica, the sky could be the limit if she plays her cards right…
Honestly, having Danica Patrick in the Nationwide Series, even for a limited schedule, should benefit the series in the long term. Yes, it would be nice if she was able to score a victory or two, but we cannot count on that happening right away. NASCAR should take advantage of this to promote their main feeder series and try to further differentiate it from Sprint Cup. How they choose to publicize this remains to be seen.
©2000 - 2008 Phil Allaway and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
Open wheelers have “typically” struggled? I don’t recall AJ Foyt, Mario Andretti, Tony Stewart and many others “struggling.” That doesn’t mean that Danica won’t, but she might have no problem.
As a long time nas$car whose been on the fence for a while, this just gives me one more reason to not watch the sport. Don’t get me wrong, she looks good and she“s a DECENT IRL driver, but we all know this another bid desparation play by nas$car to attract more bandwagon fans. nas$car has chased a lot of their loyal long time fans with crap like this. You’ve got Erin Crocker busting her but off in the lower series’ and she can’t get a shot. What a joke. Maybe if she did some photo shoots with next to nothing on, she’d get a shot. This is all about publicity, plain and simple. Judging from the poll you took, I’d say I’m among the minority when I say I could care less. If I want to see babes in skimpy bikinis I’ll open my copy of SI swimsuits.
So Nationwide cars are now allowed in the ARCA series. Are we now going to see 10 cup drivers in an ARCA race? woo hoo!!!!!!!!!
Indycar does not have “Droves” of fans so how can she? Looks like some marketing people are trying to bamboozle everyone.
This just shows how desperate Nascar is, and this is nothing more than a gimmick to get ratings up.
She’s not even that hot. Without all the make up, camera angles and air brushing she looks pretty average.
Driving a race car well , requires great eye sight , exceptional balance and coordination , and quick reflexes . Winning races requires all of the above along with a very competitive personality . Certain males or females can and do have all of those traits . The type of car or the type of track doesn’t have as much to do with a drivers success as you might think .
About Danica’s “confrontational nature”: We want her to act like Stewart, Montoya, Hamlin…all calm and collected. Or maybe Harvick, Kurt Busch, and the great JJ when they first came into Nascar. Why would we want more from this driver than we did from the drivers of the past who also did and still do have a confrontational nature?
Give this young lady a chance to succeed or fail on her own without predetermining the end results. At least she has the courage to try to do something new.
Danica will struggle as have most of the others who have tried to make the switch.
If Rick Hendrick puts his marbles behind Patrick, it won’t be at the expense of JG & JJ. So, you can guess who the odd man out will be. Yes, Jr., the most over rated driver in the history of NASCAR.
And as we all know , the chemistry between driver and crew chief/crew makes a huge difference in whether or not a driver and team is successfull . If she is in the right situation , with the right crew , she’ll be fine .
Give Danica credit for giving NASCAR a try
If a female driver was going to move over to NA$CAR from the IRL, it should’ve been Sarah Fisher. She gave the Winston West Series a try for a couple of years and went back to the IRL because of the amount of time it was taking to make the transition to the Top 3 Tiers of NA$CAR. So she went back to the IRL. She knew her limitations. Her performance wasn’t that bad in a “taxi cab”.
We’ll see if Danica can drive a “taxi cab” or if she’s more worried about her marketing and branding as she’s said in recent interviews.
Maybe Danica will draw more interest and viewers to the Nationwide series, which just might draw the interest of more sponsors to the series, which just might help several teams to be more competitive and keep people employed – which just might make some NASCAR bashers choke. Sounds good to me.
Hey Danica, It’s me, a “stock car” racing fan. I need you to do me a huge favor.
Could you please take your name off of my stock cars? NA$CAR just went through my stock cars and they’ll probably be calling you.
I need you to do this for me. Quickly. Huge.
I can’t wait to hear the radio between her and Eury. How long will it take for her to speak Suthren? She’ll probably start with “ Hay Joonyer. We goin’ back to the Whiskey t’nite? I sure had me a fine time last nite and you can sure GoDaddy. That ole Tony, he sure is mean. He keeps tryin to tell me how to drive that stupid car but I jest don’t git it. I’m sure you can relate, cantcha Sweety. Let’s just go on down to the Whiskey and forget ‘bout all this stuff. Lord knows we can afford it. HEE HEE.
David in Texas…
That might be the post of the year. Loved it…
It is sad that NASCAR is sinking this low. I mean this woman has won ONE race in Indycar.
I compare her to Anna Kournikova. She doesn’t really have the talent, but uses her sex appeal to get attention. She has done as much in Indycar as Sarah Fisher. The only difference is that Sarah Fisher has not done photo spreads in a bathing suit and other sexy attire.
She might as well drive a car for Jr. in my opinion. This way, we have the most over-rated driver in Indycar driving a NASCAR stock car for the most over-rated driver/owner in NASCAR.
Scott: She also came in 5th in points in IRL this year. Something the other 19 or so racers behind her would love to have done. She also won a race in 2008. She does have skills and talent.
Whether they translate to NASCAR is anyone’s guess. She did test back in 2004 and impressed Steve Addington, who was there for the test, a lot. But whether this means anything, we’ll have to wait and see.
Hey Ed-Georgia! The drivers you listed had another thing going for them, and that’s back in the days when race cars were real race cars, and in fact they used to hold back-to-back Indy car, and Stock Car races on the same track, same afternoon, so converting to a “stock car” from and “Indy Car”, was something already accomplished!
Today however, Danica, as an example, would be converting from an Indy Car, a “REAL” race car, to a NA$CRAP “POS”!
So her learning curve is going to be STEEP!
And it does not matter what one thinks about her talent, or achievements in racing, it is simply about the money! You bring money to the table, you drive a race car! Simple as that!
And I would love to see a Sarah Fisher in a “stock car”, but as we all know, sex appeal makes money! Ask Milka Duno! If anyone wants to criticize a female driver for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, it is Milka! ONLY because of her hot looks, not her talent (whatever talent she may have anyway).
And hey Scott! Say what? Danica races wheel to wheel with the best of them! Week in, week out! And as I see it, she proved herself FIRST as a REAL INDY CAR DRIVER, then the “sex appeal” thing came along! Not vice-versa!
And, David in Texas/Tom Bowles??? SAY WHAT? I read Davids post several times, sorry, I don’t get it! What am I missing?
But then again, I am just a NA$CRAP raised TURNIP! Dumb as rocks!
Wish her the best of luck.Whatever happens,That’s the way it is.
What’s the big deal? If Patrick makes it, she makes it. If she doesn’t, she doesn’t.
Guy or girl? Who cares? The talent’s the thing, and I’m willing to offer a guess that she’s better than some of the folks on the track already, such as those who get a ride because they bring sponsor money rather than bringing talent. Time will tell.
For those who won’t watch because a “girl” is on the track, they aren’t much when it comes to being fans. I doubt that many will miss them.The races are the thing, not the gender.