NASCAR Changes Qualifying Format
posted by Summer Bedgood
Tuesday March 11, 2014
Following safety concerns regarding NASCAR’s new qualifying format, the sanctioning body is introducing some changes in preparation for this weekend’s race at Bristol Motor Speedway. According to the Associated Press, NASCAR is banning teams from cool-down laps after their qualifying attempts, but will instead be allowed to hook up cool-down units to the engine through hood flaps.
Late Tuesday afternoon, a release from NASCAR fully detailed the changes. Teams will be allowed a single cool down unit to be connected through the right or left side hood flap, however the hood must remain closed. Additionally, two crew members will be allowed over the wall while cooling down.
“The qualifying is new to all of us and as we have said over the past several weeks, we are looking at it from all aspects,” said Robin Pemberton, vice president of competition and racing development. “Following discussions, both internally and with others in the garage area, we moved quickly to make a few revisions that will be effective starting with our two national series events at Bristol Motor Speedway this weekend. We believe this will only enhance and improve what has demonstrated to be an exciting form of qualifying for our fans, competitors and others involved with the sport. Moving forward we will continue to look at it and address anything else that we may need to as the season unfolds.”
The move comes after three weeks of NASCAR’s new knockout qualifying system, where multiple cars are allowed to make qualifying attempts at the same time instead of the traditional one-car-at-a-time procedure. Drivers and teams had complained that the new rules didn’t allow them to cool their engines down on pit road, and the cool-down laps caused a dangerous situation with slower cars staying on the track at the same time that other cars were running by them at much higher speeds.
The rule will begin this weekend in Bristol, a track that has a much narrower racing surface than Daytona, Phoenix, and Las Vegas.
Kurt Busch to Attempt The Indianapolis-Charlotte Double
posted by Phil Allaway
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Andretti Autosport announced this morning that Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet in the Sprint Cup Series, will attempt the Indianapolis 500 in a fifth entry for the IndyCar Series team. Once the Indianapolis 500 is completed, Busch will fly from Indianapolis to Charlotte, jump in his No. 41 Chevrolet and compete in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Busch considers the opportunity to do the double as an old-school throwback moment.
“This is really to challenge myself within motorsports,” Busch said in Andretti Autosport’s press release. “Perhaps I am a bit of an old-school racer; a throwback, I guess. I enjoyed the era of drivers racing different cars and testing themselves in other series. It is tough to do now for a variety of factors, but when the opportunity is there, I want to do it. While NASCAR is my home, I have been fortunate to compete in Pro Stock on the NHRA circuit a number of years ago and test a V8 Supercar. This opportunity was a talk with Michael [Andretti] over dinner one night, a “What if,” and now it’s becoming a reality for me to drive in the Indy 500 with Andretti Autosport. It’s literally a dream come true. To go to the famous Brickyard with the iconic Andretti name, it doesn’t get much cooler or better than that.”
Busch will be doing the Indianapolis-Charlotte double as a Memorial Day mission to men and women serving in the U.S. Military via the Armed Forces Foundation. Fans can contribute to the cause by texting AFF to 50555 to donate $10.
Busch, who has never raced an IndyCar, passed Rookie Orientation at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last year during a test session. At the time, Busch was more or less testing the Dallara DW12 for fun.
Busch will be the fourth driver to attempt the Indianapolis-Charlotte double. John Andretti was the first driver to attempt it in 1994. After finishing four laps down in tenth in Indianapolis, Andretti crashed and had engine problems in the 600. Robby Gordon has attempted the double five times, most recently in 2004. However, Gordon failed to make it to Charlotte on time and did not start the 600 in 2000 (P.J. Jones started Gordon’s No. 13 Ford in that instance). Finally, Tony Stewart has attempted the double twice (most recently in 2001) and is the only driver to ever complete all 1100 miles. Neither of the three drivers has won either leg of the double. The best finishes are Stewart and Gordon’s sixth-place finishes at the Indianapolis 500 (although Gordon’s came in 2000, the year he didn’t make it to Charlotte in time to start the Coca-Cola 600), and Stewart’s fourth-place finish in the 2001 Coca-Cola 600.
Danica Patrick, Justin Allgaier Talk About Phoenix Incident
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
A disappointing start to the year for Danica Patrick won’t include continued conflict. Patrick met with rookie Justin Allgaier Sunday, shortly after the Phoenix Cup race after a wreck ruined both drivers’ days. Patrick, who was critical of the No. 51 car on the radio, claiming Allgaier was “driving all over the track” appeared receptive to a conversation that quickly settled differences over what will be a long season.
“She was just upset because she got involved in the crash that we had,’’ said Allgaier to the Motor Racing Network. “She says she’s been through this and that she felt like I needed to settle down at that point. I explained my position on why everything happened. I think she understood where I was coming from. It doesn’t fix either one of our racecars. It doesn’t fix either one of our days. Unfortunately, we were both having pretty decent days.’’
Allgaier wound up 30th due to the incident while Patrick was 36th. The incident, which was caused by Allgaier’s spin also involved the No. 32 team and Travis Kvapil, which wound up 38th after sustaining heavy damage.
Camping World Close to Extending Title Sponsorship of NCWTS
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Marcus Lemonis, CEO of Camping World, Grand Marshal of Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway, and star of CNBC’s “The Profit,” made the announcement over the weekend that the retailer is very close to announcing a deal that would continue its title sponsorship of NASCAR’s Truck Series. The original agreement with NASCAR is scheduled to conclude after the 2015 season.
According to the sanctioning body, no formal contract has been signed, but “the agreement between the two parties has proven to be a beneficial one.”
“In about a month, we’ll be announcing a significant extension to that contract. It’s been great for us,” said Camping World’s Lemonis in a statement. “The NASCAR relationship has worked well for Camping World. When we started, we had 35 stores. Now, we’re up to 120 stores. As we travel the country and we meet new customers in stores, they always are very appreciative of our relationship with NASCAR. It’s been good.”
Gaining a long-term commitment from Camping World to sponsor the Truck Series would be a relief for NASCAR, which is set to lose Nationwide Insurance as title sponsor for the NASCAR Nationwide Series at the end of the 2014 season. The sponsorship of the Cup Series by Sprint runs through 2016.
The NCWTS is back in action on March 29th at 2:30 PM (ET) when the trucks visit Martinsville Speedway in the Kroger 250, which can be seen on Fox Sports 1. Ratings for the season opener were up 11 percent.
Harvick Takes Win At Phoenix In Second Race With New Team
posted by Justin Tucker
Monday March 3, 2014
Phoenix International Raceway has become Kevin Harvick’s home away from home. Sunday Afternoon was no exception as Harvick charged to the front early and would dominate for much of the day, leading 224 of the scheduled 312 laps to record his record fifth win on the one mile oval and his third win in the last four races at Phoenix.
Harvick, coming off of a disappointing Speedweeks which was capped by a last lap crash in the Daytona 500 in his debut with Stewart-Haas Racing, set the tone on Saturday by winning both practices while having the best 5 and 10-lap averages in the first practice of the day on Saturday. On Sunday, Harvick and his No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet was nothing short of flawless as he was able to hold Dale Earnhardt, Jr. by .489 seconds after a late race restart to claim his 24th career Sprint Cup Series victory.
“Man, this is awesome,” Harvick said after his dominant victory on Sunday. “Man, this just solidifies so many things and so many decisions. It’s been so much work with all the time and effort that these guys (the crew) have put in—but what a race car.”
Stewart Haas Racing co-owner Gene Haas shared in Harvick’s excitement after the race.
“It took long enough,” Haas joked. “This is phenomenal. I think there was a lot of skepticism last year about what myself and Tony (Stewart) what we were up to, was there a lot of madness to this. Quite frankly, it’s a great team, there’s a lot of synergy at the shop, people working together. I don’t know what we did, but I think we put together a great organization.”
Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt, Jr. continued his hot start to the 2014 season. Earnhardt Jr. would finish second on Sunday, marking his seventh consecutive top 10 finish since the end of the 2013 season. Earnhardt Jr. was pleased with the effort after a coast-to-coast whirlwind week after winning his second Daytona 500 and also gave great praise to the efforts of Harvick and the No. 4 team.
“I’ve got to congratulate Kevin. Those guys were two-tenths faster than everyone all weekend in practice. They were just phenomenal,” Earnhardt said. “To be able to run with them all day was a big confidence builder for us.”
Joining Harvick and Earnhardt in the top 5 of The Profit on CNBC 500K were Brad Keselowski with his second consecutive top 3 run of 2014 in third. Keselowski’s Team Penske teammate Joey Logano would finish fourth, and Jeff Gordon would come home fifth in his No. 24 Pepsi Max Chevrolet.
Jimmie Johnson finished in sixth, followed by Ryan Newman with a nice rebound after Daytona in seventh. Carl Edwards would carry the banner for Roush Fenway Racing by finishing eighth, Kyle Busch was ninth, and Jamie McMurray would finish tenth.
A look at the Profit on CNBC 500K by the numbers. There were 14 lead changes among eight different drivers, there were eight cautions for 39 laps which slowed the race pace to 109.229 MPH.
Next Sunday, the Sprint Cup Series heads to Sin City and the Las Vegas Motor
Starting Lineup: The Profit On CNBC 500K
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday March 1, 2014
Drivers in RED (i) are those ineligible to collect Sprint Cup points
Daytona 500 TV Ratings Down
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Wednesday February 26, 2014
What was the longest weather delay in Daytona 500 history turned out to bring NASCAR lower ratings and TV viewership Sunday night than expected. According to a report Monday from FOX Sports, the 56th running of the Daytona 500 airing at 8 PM (ET) posted a 5.6/10 national household rating/share which averaged 9.3 million viewers. That’s down 44 percent from last year’s 9.9, easily making it the least-watched Daytona 500 of all-time.
Due to the six-hour, twenty-two minute rain delay in Daytona, the race was up against the primetime coverage of the Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony from Sochi, Russia on NBC (15.25 million viewers). FOX also reported that 69% of the pre-rain delay viewers of the race, which began at 1 PM (ET) kept tuning in.
In comparison, the 2013 Daytona 500 on FOX was the most-watched race in five years, posting a 9.9/22 rating/share, commanding 16.7 million viewers. The Daytona 500 in 2012, the first to ever be run on a Monday and in the primetime slot did a 7.7/13 overnight rating/share which resulted in 13.67 million households viewing the race according to Nielsen TV ratings data.
Earnhardt, Jr. Claims Second Daytona 500 Victory
posted by Justin Tucker
Wednesday February 26, 2014
Ten years is a long time. For Dale Earnhardt, Jr., it felt like an eternity. NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver endured many near misses and close calls at the Daytona 500 since his only win in the Great American Race in 2004. Earnhardt had finished second in two of his last three Daytona 500s coming into Sunday’s race. He was also riding the tail of a 55-race winless streak, dating back to Michigan in 2012.
However nothing would stop Dale Jr. on Sunday, not even a 6 hour and 22 minute rain delay from capturing his second Daytona 500 win. Earnhardt Jr. led a race-high 54 laps on the evening and used some timely drafting help from teammates Jimmie Johnson and, on the final restart, Jeff Gordon to separate from the pack and secure the victory.
“Winning this race is the greatest feeling that you could feel in this sport besides accepting the trophy for the championship,” said a jubilant Earnhardt after pulling into Victory Lane. “We could fight off battle after battle. We got a little help at the end there from Jeff to get away on the restart. This is amazing. I can’t believe this is happening. I never take this for granted, man because it doesn’t happen twice, let alone once.”
Aside from the race itself the big story of the race was the 6 hour and 22 minute red flag, which threatened to move the race to Monday evening (had the race been postponed, FOX Sports’ Chris Myers had tweeted that the race would resume at 5:00pm EST). However, Mother Nature would cooperate and would allow the race to be run under different conditions from which they practiced this week. Once the race resumed, the intensity picked up from the changing track conditions. This allowed the pack to race side-by-side and at times 3-wide up to seven rows deep.
Joining Earnhardt Jr. in the top 5 for the 2014 Daytona 500 were: Denny Hamlin who closed out a spectacular Speedweeks in second, Brad Keselowski in third, Jeff Gordon in fourth, and Jimmie Johnson who overcome two wrecks leading up to the 500 in fifth.
Rounding out the top 10 in the Daytona 500 were Matt Kenseth in sixth, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. in seventh and Greg Biffle would bring his No. 16 Ford home in eighth. Austin Dillon would come home ninth in his first Cup Series race in the iconic No. 3 for Richard Childress Racing, while Casey Mears would round out the top 10.
A couple of major contenders for the Daytona 500 win would see their hopes dashed early on as Martin Truex, Jr. would blow up just 30 laps into the race, relegating him to a 43rd-place finish in his debut for Furniture Row Racing. Crew chief Todd Berrier was already in Nashville for a test session before the race was even over. Kyle Busch, meanwhile would have a pit road violation just before halfway and would spend much of the race battling back from that mistake. Busch would eventually finish 19th after leading 19 laps.
Danica Patrick would also be bit by bad luck as she was caught up in a multi-car wreck on lap 145. Patrick would lead her second consecutive Daytona 500, but wouldn’t have the finish to show for it finishing 40th. Tony Stewart would encounter a frustrating evening as well, with a fuel pickup problem derailing his quest for his first Daytona 500 win. Stewart would finish 35th.
A look at the Daytona 500 by the numbers. There were 42 lead changes among 18 drivers, while seven cautions for 39 laps would slow the race pace to 145.290 MPH.
Next week, the Sprint Cup Series heads to the “diamond in the desert,” Phoenix International Raceway for The Profit on CNBC 500K. The Green flag is scheduled for 3:15pm EST.
Nationwide Series Post-Race Quotes: Drive4COPD 300
posted by Thomas Bowles
Tuesday February 25, 2014
Frontstretch Interviews – Courtesy Mike Neff
ELLIOTT SADLER – FINISHED 4th
Thoughts on the race?
It’s definitely a lot different racing than what we’re used to.
Comfortable with it?
Yeah, it’s just different. You’re worried about what you’re doing, but you’re also worried about what everyone else is doing and they’re not doing more than you’re doing. Physically pushing a guy is way better than just riding so you just gotta time it right and push it to the edge.
Happy to start the year with a top 5?
Yeah. Hell, that was the worst we ran all day, I think. I have no idea how they put the 3 car in front of us on that last restart. I hadn’t seen the 3 car hardly all day. When they put us from fifth to sixth, on the outside line, it just really boxed us in. I would have really restarted behind my teammate and given him a good push to the front. Anyways, it is what it is; we’ll take it and move on.
Looked like you were up front all day.
The guys did a good job. We had a fast race car. Great pit stops, just really proud of these guys. The car’s in one piece and we can take it to Talladega now. Great job by my guys. A lot of effort came into coming down here to Daytona and giving ourselves a shot to win. We had that chance to be up front and make some things happen. Fifth is not what we want, but we’ll take it and move on.
Bumping vs Pushing?
It’s way harder. You don’t want to lay on the guy in front of you, so it’s tough racing. A lot different than what we’re used to, ‘cause you gotta go. You gotta drag the brake too ‘cause you don’t want to hit the guys and you don’t want to stay on him. It’s a lot harder mentally than what we’ve done in the past.
Car was strong all day. Pushing vs. Bumping, is that harder to do than just getting on somebody and pushing them?
Yeah, it is a little bit. When you bump ‘em, you jar ‘em, it kinda jacks ‘em a little bit. It’s a little more abrupt, obviously. I thought it was OK there at the end. It was certainly fun and hopefully entertaining. But a little bit of a struggle in the early part of the race and the midpart of the race to see a good race. And that’s unfortunate for the fans. You can’t do that the whole race, you can’t tear up your stuff, knock your grill in, overheat your motor, all that stuff so there’s no sense in doing all that until you get down to the last lap. The 7 and the 6, they did a good job. Man, the 7 really held the 22 and I tight on the bottom. I was rubbing his door and hitting the apron at the same time, no room whatsoever. So it was good; wish we were the ones who could have won but a lot better now than what we were last year.
Going home in one piece makes it a lot better, right?
Yeah. My back feels good. My foot feels good. Past years here, I’ve been going home with pain so I’m alright.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Truck Series Post-Race Quotes: Daytona (Exclusives)
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday February 22, 2014
When you’re on the outside like that, how frustrating is it?
It’s so hard. Timothy Peters has won here. Kyle Busch has won everywhere. Ron Hornaday has been running Trucks forever, probably before I was even born. I was surrounded by veterans there, and like I told them I don’t have a rookie stripe but I’m a rookie. This is only my fourth Truck race ever, my fourth superspeedway race, and man, I figured out when the 17 got up in front of me, I pushed him. And as soon as I pushed him, he took off. And I went with him. And I just kept doing it, and before I knew it, he was leading. And I saw Ron in my mirror, backed up to him, and if it wasn’t for him, I don’t know what would have happened. I gotta thank him big time for that. That was a true teammate move right there. I really appreciate that. He just bounced off me and we got to the front. I tried my hardest to sidedraft Kyle. I was probably touching his door.
Top 5 in the No. 30 truck. This deal come together at the last minute, but you had a heck of a truck. Tell us about your night.
Yeah, I’ve got to thank Turner Scott Motorsports. The guys worked so hard on this Rheem Comfort Products Chevrolet. Exciting! Just got hung up on the outside and had to wait for my teammate there to catch up. And then he got to the bottom, so… I got the old 32 and started pushing ol’ Ryan to the front. So, it’s not bad. We’ll take it. You just don’t want to step over that boundary. You don’t know how far to push and shove. We bumped about six times down the straightaway without latching onto them. Hopefully, that was OK and we came home with a top 5.
Connect with Mike!
Check in with Matt and Jay on their site at CareyandCoffey.com.
Tony Lumbis · Thursday October 4, 2012
As I’m sure you all know, the past few weeks certainly have not been the most pleasant of my career. I was informed that I would not be back with the team and then found out with the rest of you that Kurt Busch would be in the car. I had an inkling that he was going to replace me, but that was for the team to talk about, not me. What did catch me off guard was the fact that I will be out of the car after Talladega. I would have expected to at least have been able to finish the season after all of my efforts, but it is not to be.
With that being said, I am already working on putting this disappointment behind me so that I can focus on the fact that I’ll be a free agent and I need to move forward. It’s late in the season and a lot of moves have already been made in terms of seats being filled, but those are the cards that I was dealt. I will do the best that I can to emerge from this in the best possible situation.
Tony Lumbis · Thursday August 23, 2012
As drivers, there is always something to do in between races and this week was no different. On Tuesday, we were at Pikes Peak for testing. Overall, I thought things went pretty well. Some stuff worked, some didn’t. Any time we get to test, it serves as a good opportunity to gather information that we can apply anywhere. If I had to pick a specific track where I expect what we learned to especially benefit us, I would say Richmond more than anywhere else; Pikes Peak is just a little bit rougher. We’re also hoping some of the things we found could work at Bristol.
We used to get to Pikes Peak a lot but this is actually the first time since the end of last year that we were able to test there. I enjoy going there and if they got rid of some of the bumps, I think you would see a lot more teams crossing the country to test there. From a short track perspective, I think it’s one of the best venues in the nation to collect data and knowledge at. I think it’s a great facility and I have a lot of fond memories from when we used to race there.
Tony Lumbis · Thursday July 19, 2012
I would like to thank everyone for your words of support for the firefighters and those impacted by the fires out here in Colorado. Fortunately, they’ve got all of them taken care of finally and we got some rain. It’s still a severe drought but at least it’s not the timber box that is used to be. The firefighters did a great job containing the fires so I hope we don’t have to worry about it the rest of this year. The closest one to us was probably the Boulder fire about 15 to 20 miles away so it was far enough where it didn’t have us too worried but close enough to keep an eye on it. We feel very fortunate.
The drug screening process in NASCAR has come back into the spotlight of late and a lot of people have shared their opinions on the system. I think as with any process, there are always ways that you can refine it.
Regan Smith · Thursday June 14, 2012
Before I write on anything else, I need to point out that my prediction last month about the L.A. Kings winning the Stanley Cup came true! I just had a feeling that with the way they were playing they would go all the way. My predictions don’t always come true so I need to let everyone know when they do.
Things have been starting to look better for the Furniture Row Racing team and I. There are several factors contributing to the turnaround and one of them is that RCR, who we have a technical alliance with, is also performing better of late. We have the ability to look at what they’re doing and do the same things that they’re doing. It’s a good relationship from that standpoint. Harvick is the flagship of the organization so we need to continue to look at what they’re doing to get better. The rest of us are getting better, we’re just not necessarily making the jumps that the No. 29 is making. I felt like Darlington and Charlotte were good weeks. We didn’t get the results that we wanted but we had more speed than we had in the weeks prior to that.
Regan Smith · Friday May 11, 2012
Our weekend at Talladega certainly did not go well for the Furniture Row Racing Team. I’m not sure yet what specifically broke, I can just tell you that it was just a catastrophic failure. We didn’t get hot or anything crazy like that, not even in practice or at any point during the weekend. I really didn’t have any intentions of racing that hard because of the rule package but as it turned out, it didn’t matter. The guys have to look at the engine and won’t know the official cause for another week or two. There were a lot of parts coming out of it so they’ll be digging for awhile.
Restrictor plate racing is under the microscope once again after this most recent round. This overheating issue needs to be looked at, but it’s one of those situations where we’re damned if we do and we’re damned if we don’t.
Tony Lumbis · Friday March 2, 2012
It’s a new season and I’m happy to be writing to you again in 2012. I’m excited to get started after an eventful offseason which included getting married and going on our honeymoon. As you may remember back in November, the location, which was St. Lucia, was a secret. I ended up slipping a little bit to Megan but it was a surprise for the most part and we had a great time!
To say that Speedweeks in Daytona were eventful would be an understatement. For starters, we had a new rules package to deal with, which included smaller air openings and no driver to driver communication. I think the changes worked well from my perspective. The mission to break up the tandems was accomplished. Some guys weren’t overly thrilled with eliminating the communication between drivers but I really never liked that to begin with so I was perfectly fine with that. It felt more like an old school speedway race than the last few times we were there.
Regan Smith · Friday November 11, 2011
A lot has certainly happened in the world of racing since the last time I wrote in. First and foremost, I just want to express how terrible I feel for Dan Wheldon’s family, my thoughts are with them following that tragedy. Unfortunately, racing is a dangerous sport and one of the draws to motorsports in general is that there is a little bit of a danger element. We all know as race car drivers going into it that there is a possibility of something bad happening. The reality of the situation is that things can happen and unfortunately they did. The main thing we can do now is learn from what happened to Dan, and move forward to make all forms of motorsports possible, including stock cars.
Regan Smith · Thursday October 13, 2011
Fuel mileage seems to be the name of the game in 2011 and it played out again a few weeks ago in New Hampshire. We ran into the same scenario there back in the summer and it didn’t work out well for our Furniture Row Racing Chevrolet. Fortunately, I was able to learn a lot from that experience and we had a much better result the second time around.
Regan Smith · Thursday September 15, 2011
This past weekend at Richmond was an emotional one for several reasons. First and foremost, it marked the tenth anniversary of 9/11. Like most people, I know exactly where I was that entire day, down to the moment I realized it was an actual attack. I can remember wondering when the third plane hit the Pentagon, exactly how far was this going to go? Were they going to start hitting buildings here in Charlotte? Is this going to go all the way across the coast? Fortunately, our government did a good job getting all the flights out of the air as quickly as they could. It was such a memorable day, one I hope this nation will never have to see again.
They certainly did a good job at Richmond commemorating that tragic day. In fact, I think one of the best things about NASCAR is how we honor this nation. We have the ability to run special paint schemes on cars and our sponsors will support running patriotic symbols instead of their company logo. Teams in other sports don’t have that luxury like we do in NASCAR. It was cool to see the support that so many companies gave as well as the NASCAR community as a whole to honor the day.
Tony Lumbis · Thursday August 11, 2011
The first thing that I want to mention this week is how happy I am for Paul Menard and his entire family. Indianapolis means a lot to them and I know just how much that Brickyard 400 victory meant. I was full of mixed emotions during the final laps of that race. We could see the win and the battle for the lead and could not be a part of it because of the fuel mileage situation. Still, it was really cool for both Paul and me to get our first wins this year, and in two of the four biggest races.
It definitely has been a popular year for first time winners. I think it’s a product of these new cars that everyone is trying to figure it out. The competition is so close week in and week out, that anyone can play the right strategy and get the right track position and it will work out really well. Once you get out in front, it’s a lot easier to stay there because of the aero package. Although that certainly isn’t the only reason why we’ve seen an influx of first timers. Sometimes, you just have years where this type of thing happens. The stars have aligned a little bit and I don’t think having several first time winners is a bad thing for our sport.
Tony Lumbis · Friday June 24, 2011
We’ve definitely experienced some bad luck this year, but this past week at Michigan we had one of our bigger heartbreaks of the season. First, we got into Dave Blaney on pit road which caused a fair amount of damage to our Furniture Row Racing Chevrolet. It was just a matter of us taking two tires and getting back out quickly to keep our track position. Unfortunately, when you’re that early in the race, you have 43 cars all hitting pit road at the same time. We just made a mistake getting off of pit road and should’ve checked up. We had just about recovered when late in the race we had a different set of unfortunate circumstances. I made contact with another competitor and cut down a tire. Unfortunately, that ended our chances of salvaging a decent finish out of a roller coaster day.
The week before Michigan, we had another great qualifying run; in fact, we sat on the pole for most of the session until getting knocked off the top spot. While I was watching each driver take his qualifying laps following us, I kept wondering if someone was going to hit their marks perfectly and beat us. Even though we put up a solid time, I knew I had left a little time on the track, specifically in the tunnel turn so I knew it wouldn’t be impossible to beat us and sure enough, a few guys did.
Regan Smith · Thursday May 26, 2011
It certainly has been a really busy couple of weeks with all of the additional media obligations I’ve had since our big Southern 500 win. There have been a lot of events down here in North Carolina and I got to tour ESPN studios, which was really cool. That was something that I always wanted to have an opportunity to do and it was neat to get that experience. The studio was much bigger than I expected and it was quite eye-opening to learn about how much goes into the production of their shows.