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.
“Silence! I ‘keel’ you.”
Oh, come on. Don’t tell me you don’t know the lovable little skeleton I’m referencing. He’s famous for “Jingle Bombs” and being slightly offensive but mind-blowing hilarious.
However, it appears another entity is attempting to utter a very similar phrase: NASCAR.
No, they won’t be “keel”-ing anyone, but they seem to be trying their hardest to silence those with something negative to say about them. No one knows this witch-hunt better than Denny Hamlin, one of the sport’s more vocal drivers who was recently fined $25,000. Why? It was for a comment that couldn’t be pointed out, in a 350-page novel because it wasn’t even remotely controversial. It was a simple criticism, on the development of the Gen-6 race car made out of a strong opinion and a desire to improve the racing. Hamlin was only trying to be honest; so much for that.
Instead, with the punishment, severe by NASCAR’s standards its result was to silence the other drivers in the media center. The very next week, they were kissing NASCAR’s butt with such force you could practically see the indiscreet feces rolling down their face at Las Vegas.
I apologize for that mental image. Did I make my point?
Saturday night in Texas, though, proved that you can only silence a squeaky wheel for so long. Drivers have opinions, are passionate and, fines or no fines, won’t take any crap from NASCAR about it. If something needs to be said, there are a handful of drivers who will darn well say it if they feel the need arises.
Brad Keselowski, the sport’s reigning champ, is tops on the list, one top-tier wheelman all sides of the sport can look to for honesty. He, too, has run into trouble with NASCAR but it has never stopped him for very long (See: February’s USA Today article and subsequent fallout). Apparently, this weekend was one of those times, because Keselowski had a lot to say about NASCAR’s … erm … “integrity” once he exited his car on Saturday night.
Here’s his quotes:
“I have one good thing to say. That’s my team and effort they put in today in fighting back with the absolute bull that’s been the last seven days in this garage area. The things I’ve seen over the last seven days have me questioning everything that I believe in, and I’m not happy about it. I don’t have anything positive to say and I probably should just leave it at that.”
“There’s so much stuff going on … you have no f——— idea what’s going on. And that’s not your fault and that’s not a slam on you. I could tell you there’s nobody, no team in this garage with the integrity of the 2 team. And the way we’ve been treated over the last seven days is absolutely shameful. I feel like we’ve been targeted over the last seven days more than I’ve ever seen a team targeted. But my guys kept their heads on straight and they showcased why they are a winning team and championship team. We’re not going to take it. We’re not going to be treated this way.”
“I’m very worried about losing my crew chief, Paul Wolfe. But I tell you I’ve got one of best owners [Roger Penske] in the garage and I’m going to be first one at his desk telling him if anything happens. We’ll both be in a meeting with anybody and everybody who’ll listen. There’s been so much stuff going on, I could make a list two pages long, but I’m out.”
Now, some context is in order here. Prior to the start of the race, Keselowski and teammate Joey Logano’s Fords were held in the garage after NASCAR discovered they had illegal rear end housing. Officials forced both teams to alter their vehicles before allowing them onto the grid, confiscating the parts they felt were “bad.” While Logano nearly missed the green flag, starting the race from the rear Keselowski was able to make it to the grid before the green ever flew. Everything seemed fine, in the end as Keselowski went on to finish ninth; his teammate, Logano actually pulled off a top-5 result.
However, Keselowski’s post-race meltdown was basically some pushback at NASCAR for apparent, behind-the-scenes nonsense connected to what happened that sent him over the edge. Criticism over the team being “targeted” also likely stems from Martinsville, a week earlier when the No. 2 car was called for a violation, pitting outside their box when cameras clearly showed the call was wrong. However, no specific details were mentioned in these rants; instead, they’re vague references to “things” and “concerns.”
That’s what makes it so hard to gauge the whole truth. Though I can’t quite make up my mind whether Keselowski is whining, or if what he’s saying needs to be taken seriously, the truth is that I was surprised by his candor. After all, hasn’t NASCAR made a recent statement that no negative press at all will be tolerated?
Yes, some of Keselowski’s outspokenness came from the fact that penalties are expected for the team on Tuesday, anyway. Perhaps he had nothing to lose. At the same time, based upon how the driver was phrasing his disgust, this rant was a long time coming. It was built up, over a period of weeks and months and this incident was the final straw. Keselowski was going to have this statement, no matter what, and the assumed penalty basically gave him the outlet necessary to vent.
In other words, he really doesn’t care.
That didn’t surprise me. Keselowski has and likely always will be the outspoken model we need in NASCAR. One person I didn’t expect to be so bold, though was Martin Truex, Jr. While he was well on his way to what looked his second career victory, NASCAR threw an ill-timed and questionable at best caution for debris that effectively screwed Truex over. On the final pit stop, he lost on pit road to Kyle Busch and was just never able to recover from it.
On pit road after the race, Truex was asked what he thought of the last caution and if he would have won the race without it. His response? “Shoulda, coulda, woulda — it happened to us a few times last year, too.”
Hmm … to me, it sounded like he answered the question by not answering the question. Truex also indirectly hinted that this decision is a routine thing. That’s not something we don’t already know, but for a driver to say it after NASCAR has essentially threatened them is somewhat surprising.
However, the biggest surprise came on Twitter later that night. They were two words that made me do a double take as I rushed to scroll back down my timeline to make sure I’d seen it right: “Debris huh????”
Um … yeah. NAPA Know How ain’t buyin’ it. And, unlike Keselowski, Truex does have something to lose. Though he’s not off to a great start this year — 18th in points and 100 off Jimmie Johnson’s pace – the last thing he needs is to lose any more ground for an angry response.
Will he get penalized for it? I doubt it, but at the same time I didn’t see a Hamlin penalty coming, either.
The truth is, this” honesty” isn’t altogether rare. Even when NASCAR gets their panties in a wad, it seems drivers are still willing to speak out. Stewart has been haggled by NASCAR several times for his comments and still will say the most controversial things. Hamlin, out recovering from an injury will stay quiet for now but inevitably go back to his outspoken ways at some point. And as for Kurt Busch … well, he’s Kurt “motherf—-ing” Busch.
That willingness to take the risk, regardless of consequences speaks to NASCAR’s credibility to drivers when it comes to their at times overbearing attitude. If you’re going to get fined for every sneeze that gets snot on NASCAR’s cufflinks, you might as well make it a good one. You may as well speak your mind when walking on glass! Bottom line, the penalty has become meaningless to them; instead, it’s all about reporting the “crime” and holding NASCAR accountable for their accusations.
We often make much of drivers not speaking their minds enough, but the truth is, the ones that do seem to be getting bolder. NASCAR’s mode of punishment, then is backfiring; they’re shooting themselves in the foot every time they fine a driver for an opinion they give. And the outspoken ones, from Hamlin to Keselowski are realizing that. The backlash, should a penalty come won’t be at the driver or the sponsor: it will be at NASCAR. If they’re fining a driver for speaking the absolute truth, that just makes it worse.
So I, for one, was thrilled to see Truex’s and Keselowski’s comments, along with other drivers who refuse to put up with the attempt to suppress any alternative opinions. Let’s hope NASCAR takes the hint and backs off.
For in all honesty, a squeaky wheel is just what this sport needs to stay relevant.
Connect with Summer!
©2000 - 2008 Summer Bedgood and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
are fans at home going to be able to call in and question “questionable” calls by na$car like someone did at the masters this past weekend? apparently a fan watching game on high def tv noticed a penalty that wasn’t called and called into the tv station who in turn alerted the officials to the issue and penalty was noted.
I suspect Nascar will start docking points as well as issuing fines for drivers who dare make a disparaging remark. Drivers won’t be so quick to speak their minds when the penalties affect the entire team and not just their own bank account.
That said, the drivers cannot continue to allow themselves to be bullied by an overbearing Nascar CEO who cares only about his own wealth. The time is now for drivers to show some solidarity, for crew chiefs to be forthcoming about what’s really going on behind the scenes, and most importantly, for owners to fully support their teams when they’ve been wronged by Nascar. It’s probably going to take a few extreme measures to make an impact. When a marque driver decides to sit one out rather than race, or multiple drivers hold a joint press conference to spotlight the issue, the resulting media firestorm will really put Brian France front and center of a controversy I guarantee you he doesn’t want.
Kudos to Brad Keselowski for not letting Nascar bully his team without calling them out for it. I’m sure there will be a price to pay, but there are times when you simply have to stand up for yourself and say “enough is enough”.
If the sponsors reach a point to where they no longer want to spend money on a team or driver who is a target of Nascar, then, maybe, that would make a difference. Or not.
Nascar would gladly just let the sponsor be “the official sponsor of Nascar” and the driver/team would be on their own.
Until there is a REAL pushback from the drivers and teams and OWNERS (or who are not Hendrick), then I don’t see much changing.
God bless you Brad. Keep up the good fight.
This sport is dead until Brian France sells his stake. The shrill tone of their press releases and willignless to lie in the face of plain truth indicates massive disfunction behind the scenes.
The sport needs to be bought up and more than half the current staff need to be let go to cure the cancer that runs through it.
It no longer serves any master but France’s paranoia, vanity and ego, as we are no longer about The Fans, no longer about The Tradition, no longer about The Race.
I dont want to watch this dishonest parade that feels so much like footage from a tin horn dictatorship showing off its military hardware.
The drivers all think that NA$CAR has the power and they must be sheep and do as they’re told. What they need to realize is that they have the power because without the drivers, NA$CAR is nothing. If they all stood together and told Brian France and NA$CAR to go screw them selves, NA$CAR would have to give in to their demands (the manufacturers finally figured that out which is why the Gen6 cars look more like street cards).
been going to the races since back in the 60’s, stopped going two years ago,and have been taping, and fast forwarding,so, I, even shocked, myself, when one third ,thru, the race ,saturday night, I stopped watching the farce of a race, and whtched programs I, had recorded!! the races now are a joke, and not worth watching and certainley, not worth ,traveling hundreds of miles, and spending your hard-earned money to already know who gets the win!! NASCAR IS A RIGGED, UP JOKE ANYMORE! It is almost,on it’s death bed!
I want to take sides…but I need more info then the ramblings of Brad. The guy made no sense! It was like watching a building implode..exciting while it was happening..but after the dust settled you just look at the pile of rubble and say…boy that was alot of hoopla and all that’s left is a small pile of rubble…and that’s what I fear may happen to Kez. For me Brad’s tirade would have made me say Ah Ha…if he hadn’t pulled out the black helicopters….I need more facts and less rambling. The drivers want to be heard..make a difference…bring changes to a sport that is so desperately in need of revival…I just don’t know if what Brad eluded to is going to help his..or anyone’s stance… NASCAR wants to be right…Brad wants to be right…Penske just wants everyone to get along…I fear it’s going to be a long season for everyone…and no one is going to come out ahead…especially the fans.
How about addressing the cowardly withdrawal from backing the sponsor of the race? Nothing like biting the hand that feeds you! Anybody got the sand in their craw besides Kez to address the NRA being outed? I didn’t think so… Don’t want to get those girly-boy politicos upset with you…
I applaud Brad’s honesty even though it is going to cost him. NASCAR always wins. It is frustrating as a fan to watch them run this sport. The powers that be in NASCAR have pretty much taken all of the fun out of things. The racing and results have become incredibly predictable. NASCAR never lets the facts get in the way.
I have NO expectation that any of the marquee drivers will speak up. I’m a Gordon fan and I know that he will simply state the PC deal, and so will Mr. Vanilla Johnson.
Not hard to figure it out Lydia. Do you believe that those involved have the right to voice an opinion that might not be the same opinion as that member of The Lucky Sperm Club who runs Nascar? Yes or no; pretty damn simple.
I’m a KyBu fan, but that last caution was BS.
Um, grumpiestoldman, there were only two chevies in the top 10 so your last sentence is a little off base.
I would bet that behind the scenes, weeks ago, that when the NRA sponsorship became a hot topic that NASCAR heavily discounted the NRA sponsorship (i.e., refunded a large percentage of the originally agreed upon price)and told the NRA that, while they could still be the official sponsor of the race, they would not be getting the exposure that normally comes with such sponsorship.
And, while I agree with all of you that want the drivers to band together and stand up to NASCAR, what you are really talking about is unionizing. I am not going into whether that would be good or bad but that’s what it would take.
You’re kinda right (in my opinion) DonMei…it COULD be a yes or no answer…but I truly don’t know what the question is… I truly don’t know
And to Alan concerning the NRA sponsorship…I read two articles this morn…both said Fox/NASCAR gave the NRA exactly what they asked/paid
I love your mental imadge as it covers what most see but never say. Should let Brad and the rest say what they feel and let it be. Ha! Maybe next year it will be named “The Abortion 500” as it’s an amendment and law too! Why Not??
Problem = Brian France
was it Nascar’s fault that the two drivers in question were illegal? it seems 2 & 22 weren’t following the rules and they got busted!!
No Fine for Brad K… If I were Hamlin I’d pay that fine when hell freezes over.
phil h… I’m not so sure the issue is as black and white as you imply. According to Jayski, NASCAR VP of Competition Robin Pemberton stated “It’s just something that is not in the spirit of the rules”. In other words, it’s not technically against the rules, it’s just one of those things that Nascar selectively and situationally rules on. I understand that Nascar can’t foresee everything that a crew chief might do to gain an advantage, but Brad’s comments, especially since he alludes to Nascar’s actions over the entire week, have me convinced that we don’t know the whole story here.
This artical must have been written before they found that Truexs car was to low, since there is no mention of the violation.
NFL soon Please
Most Nascar fans aren’t old enough to remember Roger Penske’s first major win in the Carribian in the 60’s. He violated the FIA rulebook but got away with it. Integrity indeed!.
Lydia, if you notice in Brad’s rant, he made no specific allegations and never mentioned Nascar. That was by design. Having said that, he is subject to penalties, so the fine will just get added in even though its not an official fine according to Nascar.
You have to wonder if Truex failed inspection was after his interview about getting screwed by that debris caution. coincidence?
I remember Jimmie’s car “not in the spirit of the rules” at some point in the past, but yet no penalties and certainly no cars being held up from taking the grid. Nascar is consistent at being inconsistent.
The “problem” with the rear end housings sounds very similar to the “problem” that cost Mark Martin his championship. It’s not against the rules but NA$CAR doesn’t like it. It’s a decision based on their rule book.