The Frontstretch: NASCAR Mailbox: Owners Points, Outlaws, And Onto Greener Pastures by Summer Bedgood -- Thursday September 5, 2013

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NASCAR Mailbox: Owners Points, Outlaws, And Onto Greener Pastures

Summer Bedgood · Thursday September 5, 2013


I don’t know about you, but I’ve really enjoyed watching Silly Season fall into place. We now know that Jeff Burton is out at RCR. We know that Kurt Busch is out at Furniture Row Racing, and is going to Stewart Haas. We know Ryan Newman is leaving SHR, and Kevin Harvick will be his replacement.

But there is still a lot we don’t know, and it feels like every week another domino either falls into place or a new driver jumps into the mix. Throw in the monkey wrench that several of those drivers are competing for a spot in the Chase for the Sprint Cup, and it makes the days between races a lot more interesting.

Oh, by the way, we’re headed to Richmond this weekend and the Chase will be set come Sunday morning. One has to wonder what that will do for next year’s driver lineup.

Now, on to your questions:

Would you please run something explaining owners points regarding the chase. The Stewart/ Martin thing makes no sense to me. What do owners points have to do with the Chase? — Richard

There are two points structures in NASCAR: Owners points and drivers points. The standings that the television always has after the race and the standings you usually look at are going to be the drivers points 99% of the time. In other words, these are the driver standings:

Jimmie Johnson
Clint Bowyer -28
Kevin Harvick -42

These are the ones that matter. This is what you are going to see underneath the ticker at the top of the television screen this weekend.

Most of the time, the owners and drivers points are exactly the same for most of the teams. Aside from a few teams who switch drivers throughout the year, there is no difference in either standings.

While Smoke has long since been out of the Chase as a driver, he’s still in the mix as an owner. The No. 14 team is 15th in Owners Points, with a win, plus Martin and his new SHR team tested last week at Richmond as well. Could they play a part in Saturday night’s championship outcome?

However, the drivers points are only for one person: the driver. The owners points are only for one person: the owner. The owner’s points are associated with the car number, which is what you are hearing about with the No. 14 car.

When Tony Stewart got hurt and was knocked out of the car, he stopped earning points in the driver’s standings. That’s why his name has dropped in the standings week after week.

What you are hearing about with the owner’s Chase is that the No. 14 car will continue to earn points no matter who is driving the car. So while Stewart’s name may be dropping in points, the No. 14 car will be in a completely different position in the standings because they still have a driver in their car. So while Stewart is 23rd in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver standings, the No. 14 car is 15th in the owner standings.

The reason you are hearing so much about the owner points is that the points structure is exactly the same in both the driver and owners points, aside from the fact that the points are allocated to different people. Each position is worth the same amount of points, the bonus points for leading laps are the same, and there will be a points reset and wild card spot for the owner’s Chase. The reason you haven’t heard much about this up until the last couple of weeks is that all of the drivers either in the Chase or trying to work their way in there have had the same driver in the seat all year. However, because Stewart was in such good standing to make the Chase before the injury, all of a sudden the No. 14 team’s focus switched to the owner’s standings.

It doesn’t look like that team will make the Chase in the owner’s points, but I hope that at least now you know why it was something they were focused on.

_Wow, I’m amazed. I think it’s kinda sad that someone who brought so much disgrace to his sport, his teams, and his family is being treated like the prodigal son by all the press, TV announcers and SHR. They talk about him like he’s making a comeback from some illness like Vickers or maybe one mistake like the Dinger. NOT SO! I believe in second chances but we’re talking time after time, team after team, year after year at the track and away. I think he needs a little more time proving he’s changed. Sure he’s talented but nobody’s so talented they should be given carte blanche as respects their behavior. I mean come on it’s a slap in the face to other drivers who have adjusted their behavior like Tony and brother Kyle. Is it all about the money? Is he really that big a draw?? I got news for you, I tune in to watch DESPITE Kurt Busch not because of him.

One of the things I like best about NASCAR is that its’ stars aren’t a bunch of jerks that get away with abhorrent behavior just because they win races or games. We can feel comfortable making them our heroes. I watch almost every race as well as qualifying etc., I let sponsors know I’m buying their product because they sponsor my driver or NASCAR. I go to at least one race a year which is easily about a $1,000. weekend all total which is a lot for us little people you call fans. So please, help me understand, what’s so very special about Kurt Busch that he doesn’t have to follow the same rules as the other drivers? They may get a second chance but he’s got nine lives. I really want to know!_ —CA99FAN

You asked about five different questions, but the main question seems to be “why does Kurt Busch keep getting ‘second’ chances?”

I think the main reason is that he’s talented, and the owners see that. It’s why Busch has continued to get rides year after year, despite the fact that he seems like a total butthole to work with at times.

It’s why Haas is using money from his own company to put Busch in a fourth car that they did not have the infrastructure to support. It’s why James Finch and that team put up with him for so long. It’s why Furniture Row Racing really, really wanted to keep him, and offered him a contract at Bristol about the same time they probably got wind of the Haas deal.

Why do teams keep hiring Kurt Busch? Because he’s an Outlaw.

Had Busch been a washed-up talent and still been a butthole, no one would have cared. He wouldn’t continue to be given these chances and we’d stop hearing about him after a while.

But Busch is a champion, and he is a darn good driver. He’s practically carried both FRR and Phoenix Racing on his back for the past two years, and made those teams relevant and perpetual storylines when they otherwise wouldn’t have been. As far as his treatment by the press, it’s a good story. Busch doesn’t blow up at the media as much as he used to and appears to be making a genuine effort to stop being a jerk. So forgive us if we call it like we see it.

So, in the case of Busch, it hasn’t been about the money. He keeps getting picked up by teams because he’s a great driver.

Gene Haas’ history in NASCAR prior to the SHR has been dismal at best considering the millions he spent to be a back marker. Haas’ ego led to his tax problems and prison time. Time has shown he has not learned from his past. Tony Stewart could have been in attendance by remote video or audio for the Busch press conference, but wasn’t. Stewart could have released a press release welcoming Busch aboard but didn’t. Patrick could have joined in the press conference or release a statement welcoming Busch aboard, but didn’t. Harvick, while still under contract to RCR didn’t say a word, including on Twitter. Zippy has not said one positive word about Busch coming on board. So for anyone to think that everyone, let alone the top members of SHR is on board with this is crazy.

When Busch was approached by Haas, he should have contacted Stewart, since everyone knows he was not in favor of a fourth team, be it Busch or Ryan Neumam. Stewart could be reached as he has met several times with officials from his team, been interviewed via phone by some in the media, and several drivers have said they have been over to see him. Think about it, he is at home recovering and not at some intensive car unit being sedated!

Ryan’s departure will leave a great many employees angry at Haas and will hold it against Busch. Those who may be assigned to work on Busch’s cars may not give 100% or even sabotage things.

I believe Busch made the worst move of his career into getting involved in SHR without the full true support of Tony Stewart. If he was as smart as he claims to be he would try to get out of this contract and resign with current team. Gene Haas’ ego is once again out of control and this mess will crash and burn. The hope is that SHR is not part of the ash pile when the last flames flicker out! — Ed

Gosh, when I heard the Kurt Busch/Ryan Newman/Stewart Haas news last week, I didn’t expect to get so many angry e-mails about it! Yes, it appears Newman got screwed over, but I’m pretty sure he will be okay.

Honest to goodness, though, Busch would have been stupid not to take the ride. Yes, FRR has done a fantastic job this year despite their status as an underdog … but they are still an underdog. SHR is anything but, and can obviously contend for race wins with everyone else.

Ryan Newman moves from being the third most popular driver at SHR to a team and sponsor eager to rebuild their image and stature in the sport. Might he actually be the biggest winner in all of this driver swapping?

I also think the guys at that team are man enough to not sabotage their own team because they think Newman got screwed over. Whether the driver is Busch, Newman, or whoever, the crew members that wind up fielding that car aren’t going to intentionally lose just because they are mad at Gene Haas. That doesn’t make sense and if that team struggles, that won’t be why.

Also, I know you sent this before the press conference on Wednesday, but Stewart basically said that there was no malice between him and Gene Haas. Obviously he would have preferred there be more communication, but he isn’t pissed and they will move on from it. Kevin Harvick has also been bantering back and forth with Kurt Busch this week, and confirmed they had both buried the hatchet and both want to win.

Busch made the right decision. It may have been to Ryan Newman’s detriment, but this is a “what have you done for me lately” business and Busch has just been more impressive than Newman in the recent future, given the equipment he has been provided.

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09/05/2013 09:13 AM

What I like about the Busch Brothers is whatever position they are running at the moment is all the car has in it at the moment. They drive for the moment and the “Big Picture” is secondary, that’s what makes them exciting to watch whether you like them or not. They take losing very hard, as the passion to win is so strong. In other words Winning still means something to them. I sometimes doubt the desire to go for the win, if it means letting it all hang out from some of the other drivers.

In Gene Haas defense, I will say that its refreshing to see a driver hired for his abilities and not his financial assets.

09/05/2013 11:26 AM

Ed is crazy. That made absolutely no sense