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!
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.
Summer Bedgood · Tuesday October 8, 2013
For Johanna Long, finding a way into NASCAR’s upper ranks has been a rough road as she searches for sponsorship. Long has had the opportunity to race in a limited schedule of NASCAR Nationwide events with ML Motorsports this year, a quality organization where she’s looking for more backing to put together a full season in 2014. At times, the team has shown flashes of brilliance; Long has a respectable nine top-20 finishes in 17 starts. But she also has three DNFs, all for wrecks and is clearly still learning the ropes of stock car racing at age 21. ML Motorsports is growing along with her, an upstart independent based outside of the hotbed of North Carolina that hopes to “break the mold” of needing to be based in the Southeast, affiliated with a top-tier Cup program in order to thrive in NASCAR’s second-tier division. At the same time, they struggle occasionally, with both equipment and horsepower for those exact same reasons.
That’s not the only obstacle in place here. Is Long, a woman driver trying hard to make history of her own, tired of playing “second fiddle” to a peer with far more experience and marketing savvy? She sat down with Summer Bedgood in Kansas to talk about being a female racer in the Danica era, her goals for the future, and what’s fun off the track.
Summer Bedgood, Frontstretch.com: Do you think you would be in the spotlight more if Danica Patrick weren’t in the sport?
Johanna Long: Well, I don’t look at myself as a female driver anyways. I look at myself as another driver out there. She’s doing a great job right now. She’s definitely a trailblazer in the sport, but it’s not me focusing on myself and doing the best I can every time I get on the racetrack. Once I start finishing in the top 15, top 10, top five regularly, then all of that stuff is gonna come.
Bedgood: So does it offend you when someone says they are a fan of yours just because you are a female driver?
Long: No, definitely not. I know that I am a female and that’s something that I am proud of being in this sport. But also noticing young girls wanting to get started racing is really cool to see and for them to watch me and see me go up the ranks and be here, it’s kind of cool to be a role model in that way too.
Bedgood: Do you think there is too much focus on diversity in the sport right now?
Long: No, I don’t think so. I guess when you get out there, you don’t mind the diversity part outside, but when you get inside, you like everyone to know that you’re there for a reason and that’s because you’re just a driver, not just because you are a female.
Bedgood: What about next year? What is the potential for you to have a full-time ride for the first time in your career?
Long: To be completely honest, I have no clue. I don’t know what my future holds. Hopefully I am in the Nationwide Series or in NASCAR. But right now it’s focusing on 2013 and I’ve got six more races this year to think about. It’s about going out there and giving 110% and showing people that I do belong here and that I do deserve a shot to stay.
Bedgood: What about moving up to the Sprint Cup Series? Obviously that is a long-term plan of yours, but is that something you are thinking about right now?
Long: Right now, no. Hopefully one day that is where I will be, but it’s all about focusing right now on the 2013 season and getting the finishes that we deserve at ML Motorsports.
Bedgood: What do you need to be a top 10 driver in this sport? You’ve had over 60 starts in this series with no top 10s. What needs to happen for you to become a successful driver?
Long: Well, definitely having those sponsorship dollars to make the program. You just have to have everything go your way. I’ve had a lot of decent finishes. A lot of top elevens. Just messed up a little bit. But just putting the whole race together is really big.
Bedgood: When you guys are searching for those sponsorship dollars, do you push the female aspect of it? Is that something that is even part of the discussion?
Long: Oh yeah, it’s something that you do have to bring up because I am a female. My name is Johanna, is it a girl’s name, and I do have hair. So you do push that, but it depends what it is.
Bedgood: Does it really help?
Long: I think finding sponsorship right now is hard for everybody. Everyone’s out there trying to find sponsorship so it’s just trying to find that right person to take a chance on you and really believe in you and think that you deserve a shot. That’s definitely hard to find.
Bedgood: You are also part of a youth movement going on in the lower levels of this sport right now. Once the current Sprint Cup Series drivers starting retiring in 10, 20, or more years, do you see yourself being one of the top level drivers once that happens?
Long: I sure hope so. That’s what I want. I’m out here racing and I’ve been racing since I was eight years old. That’s the biggest goal of mine is to make it to the Cup level but also be successful in NASCAR.
Bedgood: I know you said you are focused on 2013, but do you even have a five to ten year plan for your future?
Long: It’s hard to say a five-to-ten-year plan. You definitely have to have the sponsorship dollars in NASCAR. But if anything could go perfect, I would like two or three more years in Nationwide. I feel like I’ve gained a lot more experience. I haven’t raced a full season in any level in NASCAR.
Bedgood: Do you think that would help, to have a full season?
Long: Oh, yeah, for sure. Once you’re in the car, it’s crazy how much I learn every time I sit in that seat. If you kept on going all year long, it’s gonna help you when you miss five weeks. It’s hard to get your kickback.
Bedgood: Is there a big talent gap between the Truck Series and Nationwide Series? You hear all the time that there is a huge difference between Nationwide and Cup, but what about Trucks and Nationwide?
Long: Talent-wise, no. In NASCAR, there’s so many good drivers. Especially in the Nationwide Series this year, the talent that’s in this series is unbelievable. The series, I feel like this is the best that it has been in a very long time.
Bedgood: What about Cup drivers in the Nationwide Series? Does that bother you?
Long: No, not at all. I feel like when they race in the Nationwide Series, I feel like that makes you strive to be better, and you learn so much from those guys and watching the lines that they run, you can learn a lot from them.
Bedgood: What’s the atmosphere like here at ML Motorsports? Do you think you could be successful here long term?
Long: Yeah, these guys at ML Motorsports work extremely hard. Without Miss Mary Louise Miller and ML Motorsports, I definitely wouldn’t be here today. I doubt I would be in NASCAR right now if it wasn’t for them. Her giving me the opportunity to race these 21 races for these two years, it means a lot to me and I owe everything to her.
Bedgood: You’re obviously very successful at the short track level, like in late models. Would you rather race full-time competitively at those levels, or race full-time in a mediocre capacity at the NASCAR level?
Long: I just wanna race. Whatever it is, if I can race every weekend, I just wanna be in the seat. That’s a big goal of mine, and short track racing that’s in my blood and always will be. When I’m not racing in NASCAR, I’m definitely out there at a late model race just watching or being involved.
Bedgood: So you still do a lot of that, don’t you?
Long: Oh, yeah. I’ve raced at seven races already this year.
Bedgood: And you probably plan on more the rest of the year?
Long: Oh yeah. I have a couple more this year that we have planned. A couple big ones. But right now, I have six more races with these guys and giving ML Motorsports my time and just doing the best that we can.
Bedgood: Does constantly racing make you a better driver?
Long: Yeah, you learn so much every time you get in the seat and just racing with people and learning different people’s techniques. I feel like just being in the car is a major help.
Bedgood: What do you like to do outside of racing?
Long: Go to the racetrack! No, hang out with friends and going back to visit my family because they do live in Pensacola, Florida still and I live in North Carolina. So I like to go home and visit my family and just hang out. Just chill out.
Bedgood: So if you had to describe yourself to someone and you had to leave “racecar driver” or anything related to racing out, how would you do that?
Long: I feel like I’m a very outgoing person. I like to cut up and have a good time. A lot of people think I’m really shy, but once you get to know me I’m pretty loud.
Bedgood: Is your whole family like that? It’s just racing all the time?
Long: Yeah, well, my dad raced when I was little and I was always there at the racetrack since I was five years old. My whole family almost always comes to all of my races, so it’s a big family event.
Bedgood: *Do you have any favorite television shows? *
Long: You know, it’s the craziest thing. I don’t really watch a lot of TV. If I’m on my computer, I don’t really sit at home and – I’m always on the go. I can’t sit home longer than 30 minutes and I go crazy.
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Thank you for the nice interview. What a sweet girl, the girl with talent saying those too nice and not true(she is doing a great job) things about Danica..what a class act this young lady is. Somebody with some real $$$ take a interest in her please!!!
….Oh and thank you so much for ML Motorsports investing in a real talent!
She was ok on the short tracks, had the best of the best. Once she stopped paying huge money to race the late models she went backwards in a hurry. And winning the Snowball Derby should not be her free pass to a NASCAR ride either, Steven Wallace also won it.
Yes, it does say it all. It says she’s been driving around in crappy equipment on a part-time schedule with a bunch of Cup drivers in the field. Like over half of the Nationwide field. Thanks to Cup drivers and a lack of sponsorship dollars, I never, EVER take a driver’s Nationwide performances as any indication of their actual skill.
short track follower, did you fall on your head when you were young. This young lady has constantly improved and run competitively in 3rd tier equipment. with the right funding she would run up front, no doubt in my mind. to compare her to Steve Wallace is crazy, he had the best equipment and tore up cars every week, plus he acted like a retard every week, give this gal a break and she will compete with the best.
Am I the only one that noticed that Johanna was ALWAYS qualifying better than Danicant…? And Johanna USUALLY finished BETTER than Danicant the year and a half Danicant was in Nationwide???!?! PUT JOHANNA IN A GOOD RIDE, AND SHE WOULD DO SOOOO MUCH BETTER THAN DANICANT!
ML Motorsports cannot give her a fulltime ride. She needs someone to come along and give her a quality, fulltime ride for next year. Afraid that without that, she will fade into the sunset.
Been keeping an I on her & she seems to be improving all the time & shortytracker you apparently don’t know that a consitant team/car/contract all make a huge difference in performance & I think if this driver had some of that she would be further along at this point..(prob better than Danica)..& Summer there is nothing worse than filling in words with the same question twice(as she said “if she in the seat more it helps”)..cheap shot..sure But cheap writting ..NEVER
So you want to compare her to Danica instead of Wallace? Why because they are females? So this conversation is about who is the better diversity in racing and not talent? Wallace and Long came from the same places, short tracks, not open wheel. The only place Long won at when she was in late models was her home track of P’cola, if that’s all it takes to be labeled talented then Augie Grill and Bubba Pollard should have Hendrick cups rides by now.